What is consciousness and why is our urgent contemplation of its nature such a vital catalyst in our transformation- not just for our survival but for our evolutionary leap into a higher stage of development as a species?
Edgar Mitchell was the sixth astronaut to walk on the moon and founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. What was Mitchell’s experience that provided him with a deep insight into the nature of consciousness? It was the view he had of Earth from outer space:
“In one moment I realised that this universe is intelligent. It is proceeding in a direction and we have something to do with that direction. And that creative spirit, the creative intent that has been the history of this planet, comes from within us, and it is out there – it is all the same….
Consciousness itself is what is fundamental and energy – matter is the product of consciousness… If we change our heads about who we are – and can see ourselves as creative , eternal beings creating physical experience, joined at that level of existence we call consciousness- then we start to see and create this world that we live in quite differently.”
(For more on Mitchell’s insights go to the Winter 1992 issue of Noetic Science Review #24.)
Mitchell’s view, that we are material manifestations of the divine is echoed by physicists Peter Russell and Amit Goswami and evolutionary spirituality visionaries such as Andrew Cohen. These thinkers offer a view that the universe is at its most fundamental level consciousness itself, that it is self aware, and that humans are the first material forms that are aware of being aware. The practice of meditation can provide us with a direct experience of this self as consciousness. Andrew Cohen takes this further by bringing an evolutionary context to this revelation. Consciousness is here whether we are sitting in meditation or having a discussion with other people so what we do in the world shapes the future of the world. The context for everything we do is consciousness itself. In this process consciousness or awareness or spirit, which is the intelligence of the universe Mitchell experienced above, evolves itself, through material form and we humans are at present the highest stage of this material development and we see that we maybe, the first material form, to have the self awareness of having the capacity for co creation – this is where life becomes very creative, exciting and we as the human species become very responsible for our actions as we see our place in this evolutionary spiritual process.
In the Introduction to his book, Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse, author David Jay Brown writes:
“Douglas Roshkoff told me that the larger a corporation grows the smaller its brain becomes in comparison and the less control it has over what it is doing. Like the dinosaurs, part of us – the military- industrial complex for example – may have grown disproportionately huge at the expense of other parts. The challenge we currently are facing is due to the imbalance that comes from within ourselves. With exception of natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and possibly asteroids EVERY problem that the human race currently is facing is entirely self created. All that we need to do in order to survive is learn how to get along with each other… but apparently this just isn’t as simple as it sounds.”