I’d like to get back for a moment to the topic of the very first blog post: how do we raise our consciousness? The best advice I’ve seen was up on the wall behind the counter of the pro shop of a small community golf course in northern Idaho. It said, “Want to improve your game? Then go back and start playing when you were much younger.” This might not give us much hope for ourselves, but it hints at what we ought to offer our children. But before we get into this much more, we need to figure out what we’re even talking about when we say “consciousness”.
Neuroscience, which doggedly holds onto the belief that the brain is primary and that activity in the brain determines everything else, including generating consciousness, has a difficult time defining it. One prominent scientist says that consciousness is what goes away when you are asleep and comes back when you wake up. This, obviously, is a very shallow, most superficial view of consciousness. It is consciousness with a small c, the distinction between being awake or being asleep. As if you don’t have any experiences when you are asleep.
Another Way to Think of Consciousness
The consciousness I’m referring to could be thought of as a property of the Universe, just as matter, or more properly, mass and energy are properties of the Universe. Mass and energy are just two sides of the same coin, interchangeable through the famous equation E=mc2 where m is the mass and c is the speed of light. Consciousness could be thought of as information, a third property of the Universe. There is no simple equation relating information to mass and energy that I know of, but physicists have recently started with a few basic tenets of information theory and from there, derived the mathematics of quantum mechanics (http://arxiv.org/abs/1011.6451v3). I think this feat hints at the primacy of consciousness over matter/energy.
More properly, more than information, consciousness, as I conceive of it, is the source of matter, energy and information. Pure consciousness is the infinite potential out of which come the little strings of String Theory. Information tells the subatomic particles how to structure themselves into matter/energy (our word even says it: in formation) then the structure of the matter/energy stores that information. The Universe is conscious, otherwise consciousness wouldn’t exist. The Universe is intelligent, otherwise intelligence wouldn’t exist. The Universe stores information holographically, otherwise holograms wouldn’t exist.
So the consciousness is there for us to tap into. We are each experiencing and expressing, through how we think and live our lives, a unique combination of properties of the one and indivisible consciousness. We could just as easily be experiencing and expressing other properties of consciousness. Anything any one of us has ever thought or experienced is potential for all of us.
What determines which aspects of consciousness we express? Is it genetic? Is it cultural? Is it how we are parented? How we are educated? The language we speak? Is it karma, destiny or “past lives”? The answer is “yes”.
Consciousness and Beliefs
All of our experiences, awake and asleep, conscious and unconscious, literal and symbolic, lead to the formation of beliefs. What we believe determines which aspects of greater consciousness we can access and express. When children are raised to believe that they can do whatever they put their mind to, they often can. When children are raised to feel stupid and worthless, they often find huge roadblocks in their way no matter which way they turn.
Henry Ford said, “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right.” “I’ll believe it when I see it” is not really how people function. “I’ll see it when I believe it” is much more accurate. People have known this sort of thing for ages, yet deciding what beliefs to instill in our children, and how best to do that, has been problematic. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2790748/pdf/hde0052-0211.pdf)
Teaching our Children
Many different theories about parenting and education exist. The old adage “when there are lots of ways to get the same job done, that generally means none of them works very well” definitely applies to parenting and education. The problem lies in the fact that when you say something to another person, you never really know what they hear, how they take it and what conclusion they draw from it.
“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for an afternoon. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” If you give a child a belief, they may be stuck with it for the rest of their life, locking them into a set way of seeing and being.
If you teach a child how to know themselves, how to see for themselves what they believe, and teach them the tools to be able to change their own beliefs, you make them adaptable for the rest of their lives.
So, instead of trying to instill a certain set of beliefs in our children, which smacks of brain-washing, no matter the end intended, why not teach our children how to find out what they believe, check their beliefs with the higher truth and correct or align their beliefs with higher truth? Imagine, if we all had that skill, we would be very adept at learning the real and deeper lessons ensconced in our life experiences. Then our life experiences will just naturally take us down the path to self-knowing…which is also healing…which is also enlightenment.
P.S. You don’t have to go back to childhood to learn how to change your beliefs for yourself. It’s never too late.
Copyright 2012 Steven M. Hall, MD