Before answering the above question, I thought it would be helpful to answer another question first : what do we mean by consciousness ?
Two definitions of consciousness
If you look in a dictionary , you will see a lot of definitions along the lines of “the quality or state of being aware of something external or internal, such as an object, a state, an emotion or a fact”, “the normal state of being awake and able to understand what is happening around you”, “a person’s mind or thoughts” or even collectively as “knowledge that is shared by a group of people” (such as in political or environmental consciousness).
All these definitions refer to what I would call everyday or
“ordinary” consciousness : the physical function of being aware of your surroundings (via the sensory information provided by our of five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell) or internal states (feelings or thoughts). From a purely mechanistic point of view, this is the only consciousness that exists : its our brain perceives reality, nothing more, nothing less. It lives as long as we live, and dies with us when our body ceases to exist.
However, but you look at ancient spiritual traditions as the findings of a growing number of scientists and philosophers, you will get something completely different. There would appear to be another type of consciousness, one that might more aptly be written as Consciousness (with a capital “C “). It is the invisible, unifying and seemingly intelligent field that underlies everything in existence. It is eternal and exists outside time and space. It is pure Information.
Throughout history, this Consciousness has had many different names : it is the “immortal soul” of Plato, but you can also hear it referred to as God , the Universal Mind, the “net” (ancient Hindus), the “Divine Matrix” (Gregg Braden), or simply the “ether” (Newton and Einstein). Some modern scientists simply refer to it as “subtle energy”. By whatever name, these concepts imply the existence of something greater than us, a sort of unifying force, or the Source of All That Is.
“Very interesting” you might say, “but does this type of consciousness really exist?” Judge for yourself: the article below by Olivier Lockert , which I have translated from French, does a very good job of answering this question.
Incidentally, Olivier is an author, teacher and hypnotherapist from Paris, France. He is also the inventor of Humanist Hypnosis, a therapeutic approach which combines this larger view of Consciousness with hypnosis and certain elements of transpersonal psychology. The result is an approach that can help people heal and achieve personal growth in ways not possible using traditional forms of hypnosis or psychotherapy. You can find more information on hypnosis in general and the development of Humanist Hypnosis in other places on this site. The official link to this site is here (in French only).
Consciousness Exists! by Olivier Lockert
All of the work in Humanist Hypnosis is based upon the concept of Consciousness. “Yes, but does Consciousness really exist ?” you could legitimately ask. For logical, scientific et open minds, the answer is “Yes. Consciousness exists!” And here we are not talking about a response from a philosophical point of view but proven scientific observations, based upon real experiments with concrete and verifiable elements.
There has always been ample evidence. It was the ancient Greeks who first discovered the atom; they also talked about our “immortal soul”. Do you think that they were “sometimes right, sometimes wrong”? Famous scientists from prestigious European, American or Russian universities, perfectly accredited, have conducted countless scientific experiments. Their conclusions demonstrate the existence of “something else” beyond the material world and of our conscious experience—even that of the Unconscious. Something that allows us to explain a number of psychological and physical phenomena that would be inexplicable otherwise if one only takes into account the material world and the laws of chance, of our conscious mind and the Unconscious…Because while you can deny the facts, despite their multiplicity, but after a certain number of so-called “coincidences”, it is less rational to refuse to accept the evidence. “Fact do not cease to exists because they are ignored,” as Aldous Huxley once said.
You know that you dream. However, while asleep, you conscious mind no longer functions: someone can pass right next to you without you realizing it. You are no longer “here”; you are “somewhere else”. So who is “You” who is aware of dreaming since your conscious mind, which is made up of all of your sensory perceptions, is “off line”, asleep? As you dream, your Unconscious expresses itself and carries you away into the adventures of the dream world…and “You” perceive that you dream — “You” even remember these dreams upon waking. First, this “You” cannot be your conscious mind, the part of you that watches over you and is aware when you are awake since it is, by definition, asleep. Second, this “You” cannot be your Unconscious mind, since it is the part that is dreaming and is, by definition, “not conscious”. You can’t know what it is doing, not any more than a fish can that it is in the water, or any more than a walnut can know the color of its shell nor the form of the tree that is bearing it. Because for that, it would be necessary to be outside of itself, to be able to see itself, to become “conscious” of itself from a distance…This “You beyond you” is something other than your conscious or unconscious mind. To explain the everyday phenomenon of realizing that you dream, you need a third part!
Here, it is important to eliminate any superstition, which is the cloud of ignorance which hides reality. Rather, it is by exploring the rational and concrete mechanisms behind all seemingly « extraordinary» phenomena that we can discover the exceptions : the tiny but nonetheless very real subset of events that are inexplicable by logical or mechanistic means. For example, you can explain the phenomena of « déjà vu » as a defect in the encoding process of the brain. which records a present experience as a memory, causing us to have the false impression that we’ve already « been there before ». But it’s more difficult to explain how I could dream of a certain situation 3 days before it happens, describe it to my wife the morning after, and then experience it in person…especially when I am not personally concerned (i.e., there is no possible contact between my unconscious mind and that of the persons to whom my « premonition » happens, which could explain my intuition in advance of the situation). In a few words : one day, a car comes along that I do not recognize (that is unknown to me) and as such could not guess the make or the color in advance. A man gets out that I do not know and could not know, and he tells someone else, whom I could not know that he would meet there a sentence that it would be impossible for me to guess…especially in a dream 3 days prior ! In other words, a situation that it would be impossible to predict, but that I had nonetheless dreamed of beforehand, with my wife as a witness. So… ? Many things can be explained, but not all things can be. An here it is not that we lack the knowledge to explain them, but rather, we need to change the framework into which we introduce our “explanations”
There are countless examples of phenomena that are inexplicable by logical means, and we are not going to list them all here. Nonetheless, it is the existence of this “illogical” subset of events that interests us. As Sherlock Holmes would say: “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”. To explain why a person turns around when I am looking at him from behind and hidden in order not to be seen, to be able to guess what a friend or relative is doing at the very moment he is doing it, for me to dream the same dream as 2 of my friends at the same time, there must be “something” in me that exists beyond space (and time). And this “something” must be…well, omnipresent. To explain my premonitory dream, to explain that I can guess where I will meet up “by chance” a friend several hours in advance, or that I can narrowly miss being hit by an object that none of my 5 senses could have possibly warned me of…there has to be something in me that has access to the past as well as the future, whether it’s only a matter of a few tenths of a second or even up to several days. There must be something that ignores time, something that exists beyond of time. For example, to explain the simple fact that we are conscious of ourselves (the famous “I think therefore I am”), to explain that we are aware of our dreams while sleeping, to explain that a person who is clinically dead but who “comes to” and remembers what happened (NDE)…even far away from herself, during a period in which her brain was not functioning…To explain why “there is something rather than nothing”. To explain why life appeared against all odds, to explain the appearance of and reproduction of all forms of life—there as well against all odds (the passage of a fertilized to a baby is a miracle, and yet it is constantly renewed in all species!) There must be something in us that is fundamental and constitutive at a supreme level. And this “something” must form our very essence, at the heart of who we really are, something that is greater than just the “us” that is conscious or alive, in the physical or medical sense.
Our unconscious mind is unaware of space and time, quite simply because it is located in the layers (parts) of the brain which are not equipped with the capacity to detect and calculate space and time (these two concepts are learned in childhood; they are not innate). Our unconscious mind cannot see through walls, or at a great distance, or backwards or forward in time…and especially that it is, by definition, “not conscious”. So, it is not responsible for these phenomena.
Our conscious mind merely consists of our perceptions…our Unconscious mind can’t explain everything…
From a logical point of view, there must be a third part. A sort of higher Consciousness that is fundamental, that is all at once the creator of and the very fabric of all reality, beyond space and time.
In Humanist Hypnosis, we don’t do scientific research; we do psychotherapy. The search for the “scientific truth” (and the unavoidable controversy surrounding this search) does not matter much to us. As such, I will merely explain as simply two principles at the foundation of quantum physics, principles that were proven long ago by repeated experiments over the course of many decades, and which form the basis for the research and practices of today’s physicists. You will notice yourself that the following two points, well-known, concrete and indisputable, clearly indicate the existence of a higher Consciousness (as well as making certain modern technologies possible such as the barcode laser that records your purchases at the local supermarket or the one that reads your CDs in your living room!). We will not go too much into the details, often complex, which brought to light these considerations. The logical mind likes things that can be proven, but it can butt up against explanations that are too technical and detailed. For more details, you will find a short bibliography and a few links at the bottom of the page. And I thank my purist and scientific friends in advance for excusing any oversimplification or pedagogical “shortcuts” that I may take.
Quantum entanglement, or “Spooky action at a distance”
One of the key principles in quantum physics, quantum entanglement (aka “Spooky action at a distance”), is a derived from EPR paradox (meaning Einstein-Polski-Rosen, 1935). This phenomenon was been firmly established by experimental means as of 1954, and more recently, reproduced by the French team of scientists led by Alain Aspect in 1983 (Gold Medal Award by the CNRS, or the National Centre for Scientific Research in France). The results of this experiment were reconfirmed again in 2002.
As its name would indicate, entanglement shows that the notion of distance is an illusion generated by our brain and that, in reality, contrary to what our five senses (biology = brain) tell us, nothing is or has ever been separate! Two particles will remain in continuous communication with one another, acting as a single particle that is non-dissociated, and that no matter what the subjective distance that separates them.
To better understand, watch the video at this link:
The entanglement of all of creation demonstrates that we form a single entity, spread out throughout the entire universe. Add that to the fact that each fragment of the world is simultaneously both a “wave” and a “particle”. As such each visible “particle” forms the material world as we know it, and the “waves” (the twin of these particles) form a subtle and invisible universe which may obey different laws, but is nonetheless just as real as the material universe—and is in close relation with it.
Understand that nothing truly separates the particles we a made of and say, the particles which make up a plant, your neighbor, a planet, the carpet of your living room or a shooting star at the farthest corner of the universe!
Examine the image below and attempt to fully grasp what you see:
THERE IS ONLY ONE PARTICLE! ONLY ONE! You perceive several particles, spread out or as a sort of reflection of one another, but there is, in reality, only one particle. The space which appears to separate each part is an illusion generated by our brain, subjected to the laws of relativity (space, time) of our dimension. A single particle was photographed at the same time as this image. What you see is what is referred to in Quantum Physics as a “superimposition of states” which allows a particle to occupy an infinite numbers of states at any given moment (position, energy, etc.) It’s staggering! One single particle has already been photographed in over 3000 different places simultaneously! And the phenomenon has been well-known since the beginning of the 20th century.
And the “wave function”, the wavelike or informational aspect of each particle? Well, it’s spread out everywhere…in filled and empty spaces, in us as well as all around us. So, have you guessed what this “wave” truly is?
“The theory determines what we can observe” (Albert Einstein)
One of the fundamental principles of Quantum Physics is that the observer (by the very act of watching) affects the outcome of an experiment. How? Quite simply because the act of measuring or observing a phenomenon collapses the “wave function”, also referred to as “Psi”; in other words, the wavelike aspect which constitutes the entire universe. Possessing only its “material” (or particle) function, the observed object begins to behave like any other type of matter by following the laws of cause-effect, time, etc.
Once again, to better understand, watch the video below:
It is interesting to note that this experiment was conducted by the British physicist, Geoffrey Taylor, in 1909! And the wave aspect of light had already been discovered in 1801 by fellow Briton, the brilliant doctor and physicist, Thomas Young.
And in your opinion, just what is this “wave function”? And why would the presence of an observer “kill” it (a real term)? … The answer according to Humanist Hypnosis, of course, more philosophical than scientific, would be: because the Consciousness of the observer, made up of a huge mass of waves, since it is consists of pure Information, literally absorbs the “wave function”, leaving behind only its material aspect, and as such, it has only the reactions of what one would expect matter to have. In short, the wave aspect IS the Consciousness itself. That’s why philosophers say that “Consciousness” is everywhere! Because it is this wave that permeates and forms everything. It is in you, as in all of creation. It permeates atom as well as empty space. It structures the world. It is at its origin.
A pure materialist will tend to focus his Consciousness on what is concrete: i.e. matter subject to the laws of cause and effect, and thus the “particle” aspect of observed objects (or of his life!). No one is forcing him to do that; he does it by personal preference. It’s his choice. By doing so, he causes the corresponding wave function to collapse. This wave function is pure Information, a pure field of probabilities, of possibilities, of which the possibility of a rational, logical world, fixed and immutable is but one of many possible worlds. As such, the course of his existence of this materialist will be an unsurprising series of causes and effects, with no fantasy : our materialist will have “created his reality”, thus demonstrating involuntarily the magic of life!
Another person, one who accepts the wavelike aspect of the world, will preserve the wave function, and thus the characteristic that “anything is possible”… The observation of this person will not kill the field of probabilities but will bathe it in his own Consciousness, even reinforcing and increasing the possibilities. In this fashion, a person who is open to and lives according to the “magic of possibilities” has the choice to focus his Consciousness only on what he desires, and thus causes the positive possibility of his choice to “collapse” (or manifest)—and this is not due to the hazards of cause and effect. That’s what’s you call “creating your reality”.
All the same, it is critically important to point out that the “we” that creates our reality is made up of 100% of ourselves: which means a mere 10% that is conscious and…over 90% unconscious!!! So if you want to know what your Unconscious “creator” looks like, you need only look around you: because he’s the one that is creating your reality!
Your Consciousness creates the world !
A fortunate coincidence : in Quantum Physics, the wave function is referred to as “Psi” (Louis de Broglie, 1924, then by Schrödinger). It remains to be seen if the effect of the observer of the experiment, which has been well established at the “super microscopic” (nanoscopic) level in Quantum Physics, exists as well at the “macroscopic” level of everyday life. …And once again, pictures speak louder than words to convince.
This is what frozen water looks like :
(Sample of water from the Lake Fujiwara dam, in Japan).
The same sample after a priest (Kato Hoki, of the Temple Iyuhouin) prayed for an hour for this water…
…No comment !
This photos came from the work of Professor Masaru Emoto in Japan. They show the impact of thought, and even music, upon water. Below are further examples:
The above water was “marked” by the thoughts: “I hate you. You make me sick.”
And here above is the image of water “touched” by joy, love and gratitude.
See water being cristallized in real time with music from Dvorak playing in the background:
It is important to note that the actual type music does not matter. What matters is the reaction of the person listening to it (i.e. whether he or she likes it or not).
And this is what happens when you are happy or unhappy.
You may know that the body of an adult is composed of 66%-70% water. A foetus of 3 months contains 98% of water—for comparison’s sake—the percentage of water in a jellyfish is 96%! And in humans, with age this percentage diminishes. So you can imagine at which point your thoughts can influence (“charge”) and modify the deep structure of your body.
Many other experiments show the effect of Consciousness on the world and on our own bodies. For example, have a look at these Kirlian images.
The first picture shows a drop of mineral water (left), and then this same drop after being “programmed” by the concentration of the experimenter (right). The experimenter merely sent his thoughts toward the drop of water, and there is a clear change in the structure of the electrical radiation emanating from the drop, as shown in the photograph! At no time did anyone come close to (or touch) the drop, and the photographs were taken 5 minutes apart. The “control drop” does not show any of pink rays. Conclusion: the effect of Consciousness upon matter has been photographed (and this same experiment is possible using any kind of object: mineral or vegetal.
Consciousness affects all that is…
Experiments have shown for a long time that 1) our emotions can have an effect upon our DNA (see definition of psychobiology). This phenomenon is already well-accepted in medical circles. This phenomenon has also been observed at a distance between sperm and egg (in vitro fertilization is impossible until relations in the couple improve, and this with the same sample!) and 2) the Russian biologist Vladimir Poponin and his team, demonstrated in several experiments (1995) that human DNA could have an effect its environment. In this case, photons which came near the DNA would crystallize differently depending upon the mood of the person who was taking the DNA samples!
It’s the principle of entanglement as applied to our body and its environment. We can still have an influence over the “little pieces” of ourselves even when they are separated from us. And we have an effect on everything around us, most likely for the same reason. We are one with Everything because we all spring from the same “seed”: the tiny particle of matter and super-concentrated energy at the origin of the Big Bang. There really isn’t any true separation between us and the world: it’s an illusion. If the earth’s climate acting abnormally, do you think we are the only ones concerned? If so, why has the climate on Jupiter been demonstrating the same aberrations during the same time period, which record wind storms topping 700 km, never before seen? The same goes for Saturn and its moon, on Mars, Venus and even on distant Pluto, where minor planets of unknown origin have appeared (but whose appearance was predicted thousands of years ago by the ancients…).
We are truly One with everything since the beginning of time, and will be forever. Every one of our acts has consequences, for ourselves as well as for others. For us, and all the rest.
There’s only one thing left to do: become conscious of all that…
What kind of world would we discover is we could separate ourselves from our conscious mind, go behind its limits of perception and connect ourselves to the true creative power of our Consciousness?
It has been shown that our everyday reality consists of 400 billions bits of information per second. It would appear that our various biological filters (i.e. sensory perception) of our mind (beliefs, education) only allow us perceive 2000 of these packets of information per second. In other words, we only perceive 0.000000005% of the “Real Reality” that surrounds us…and that only at the unconscious level. Because our tiny and much more limited conscious mind is only able to manage 5 to 9 bits of information per second (Miller’s Law). That’s less than a speck of dust compared to the vast pool of information in which we bathe at this very moment. We are like blind men trying to cross an 8-lane highway at rush hour!
To put it another way, we perceive practically nothing of Reality. We know today that all observable matter in the world around us (“baryons”: planets, stars, gases, your body, etc.) only represents 0.4% maximum of the total mass of the universe!!! The rest being composed of “dark matter” (24.6%) and dark energy (about 75%: unknown and “unknowable”)…And even what appears to us as emptiness contains a tremendous amount of energy: for example, a single hydrogen atom (10−²³ cm³), contains in and of itself a trillion times more latent energy than the mass of all the stars and planets within the 20 billion light-years that surround us!! And if you imagined that the nucleus of this atom as the size of a basketball, its electrons would be orbiting around it at a distance of 35 km! An enormous void, yet full of energy…When you think that your Consciousness could potentially collapse 99.6% of creation into matter (the reduction of the wave function of all of the “non-baryonic” matter of the universe)…There you have your “Big Bang”. (for more information, read this article in French in Futura Sciences).
Closer to our own experience, you have an experiment that was conducted in Washington, D.C. during the summer of 1993 by a group of persons who practiced transcendental meditation. The experiment demonstrated that the crime rate could be lowered by 25% when 4000 persons meditated and prayed for the city. The reduction of 25% had even been predicted in advance, and a representative of the Washington police declared on television that it would have required 60 centimeters (2 feet) of snow to produce an equivalent reduction in the crime rate! Nonetheless, that is what happened, and without snow—and that thanks to the good will of 4000 persons, not even 1% of the population. You can find more details about this experiment on the site of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy.
The theory of the physicist Jean-Pierre Garnier-Malet on how time functions (which received an award for having predicted the orbit of planetoids discovered beyond Pluto) is based upon the fact that human activity generates Information. There is a “potential future” that each one of us can manifest and make real (or not) quite unconsciously, by choosing among a vast “basket” of human Information (like a field of probabilities). What a Pandora’s box! If our basket is filled with good things, we will select happiness and positive events; if, however, it is filled with bad things, we will “realize” (make real) only unhappiness and losses. You can see the importance of becoming more conscious of our impact on the planet and the life of everyone on it, because while thinking “good thoughts” may not bring you of positive results right away, you will be contributing to making the world a better place in which to live and in which you will have a better life. If, on the other hand, you are giving off “negative vibes”, even involuntarily, for example by watching a violent film, the you are unconsciously filling our collective matrix with negative possibilities that the more fragile or sensitive among us will manifest at our collective loss. Of course, you are an educated person, and you won’t go off and kill someone after leaving the movie theater. But these murderous thoughts are nonetheless in the air, driven there by the thoughts of tens if not hundreds of spectators, who become unconscious generators of negative thoughts. It is these kinds of “thoughts in the air” that artists refer to when they talk the creative process and how they “catch in midair” the inspiration for their work. They are certainly not the only ones who are sensitive to this “ambiance”—we are constantly bathed in the same flow of ideas and thoughts.
That’s the Humanist way of thinking: it is to ensure that, by acting at an individual level, that we ensure that the planet becomes a better place. And at the present time, given the current ecological crisis on planet Earth, one of our primary objectives should be its mere survival!
So how many “positive thinking” people will it take to stop or reduce the violence in the world? To stop pollution? For the economic situation to become more equitable and profitable for all? We saw it earlier—less than 1% of the population can make a difference. If you are this single person out of the 100 who live around you, who decides be happy as best you can, then your happiness will spread to others. It will become part of the “air du temps”, and we will all have a chance to live, us and our children. We can start to “change the world” at an individual level, simply by showing kindness to our fellow man, while trying to live as happily as we possibly can! (See Free Hugs , derived from the darshans of the Indian spiritual leader Amma, or quite simply the concept behind RêVolition).
And even more powerful: if we can infuse drops of water with “positive thoughts”, what would happen if we tried to do that with the oceans of the world (Projet Hado)? They would become virtual generators of peace and good humor! And if you could load up the clouds that pass constantly overhead with positive thoughts—they would rain down joy and happiness all over the planet!
Whether you are conscious of it or not, you affect your reality by virtue of your very existence. Experiments show that anyone, whether alone or as a member of a group, can have an effect upon a Random Number Generator (RNG). This is amazing enough in itself because computers should be able to produce series of completely random numbers in a consistent manner; yet, it has been observed that even a tiny animal can influence an RNG! And we have observed the activity of different RNGs, located in different places in the world can be modified whenever a large number of human beings focuses upon a single event, even the most ordinary such as the moment when the evening film begins on the television. Of course, the bigger the event, the more dramatic the effect. For example, the events of a September 11th were an astonishing example of this effect. The Earth literally trembled at the horrors of man. Our collective Consciousness affects the entire planet! When millions of persons think or feel the same thing, the natural phenomenon of entropy (the tendency toward chaos, as measured by the RNG) reverses itself, and the world enters into “negentropy”. It enters into a sort of harmony. What would happen if, instead of involuntarily concentrating our intentions upon catastrophes, we voluntarily choose to entertain the most marvelous and positive thoughts?
We are powerful Creators of our existence. Every single one of us creates his or her reality on a permanent basis. It is because of this that the material world exists. But only a small fraction of us creates reality consciously, and even fewer have control over the phenomenon…
You have probably understood by now how important it is to “become conscious”, how big an influence you have on the world around you, and the vital importance of re-discovering Who You Really Are in order to quickly take control over the helm of the ship we are all sailing upon.
To end this article on Consciousness on a lighter note, see the video below, inspired by the mathematical fable “Flatland” of the English pastor, Edwin A. Abbott, at the end of the 19th century, and a precursor of thought in four dimensions.
Re-gain Consciousness of yourself. Take care to keep your thoughts positive.
And be happy. Our future depends upon it!