This is Post 31 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series. Summaries of the other articles in this series can be found by clicking here.
In interpersonal relationships, when we are reflecting silently about someone, especially someone we are concerned about, it is natural to engage empathetically using the the four perceptual components, or functions of Consciousness, in the following way:
‘How do they understand this situation?’ (Thinking); ‘How do they feel about this?’ (Feeling); ‘What is the need in them that is causing them to feel that way?’ (Intuition / Volition); ‘What solution would concretely fulfil that need in a practical way? (Sensation).
So, the mandala of the functions of Consciousness is not only an analysis of the process of perception – it is a framework to guide empathetic connection, communication and action. Those on the path of the inner life can also ask the same questions inside. In the intra-personal relationship between Consciousness and our psychological parts that I have been exploring in the last two posts (here and here), we have been acknowledging the enormous value of connecting self-empathetically in this way. When we do this work of inner empathy, it is the same four perceptual components, or functions of Consciousness, that provide us with a guiding framework.
Self-Empathy with a Companion
In self-empathy the whole process place takes place inwardly and does not have to be externally verbalised. If we were however, to bear witness to our internal self-empathetic connection by describing our experience to a spiritual companion who is ‘holding space’ for us, there are several ways we might approach it – but usually it feels best to silently connect with the part and then speak for the part as we describe our internal dialogue to our friend.
We might for example ask ourselves inwardly: ‘How is this part of me thinking about this situation? What is its point of view?’ (Thinking); ‘What does this part of me feel about this? What is the emotional history of this part, that it should feel this way?’ (Feeling); ‘What is the need that leads this part of me to feel that way?’ (Intuition / Volition); ‘What solution or strategy would concretely fulfil this part’s needs / my needs in a practical way? (Sensation).
This is Post 21 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series. Summaries of the other articles in this series can be found by clicking here.
As previously, when reflecting on the brahmavihāras, I feel a need to emphasise that muditā, which is often translated as Sympathetic Joy, but better translated as Appreciative Joy, is not merely a mental state, but an attitude of Consciousness, and a way of being that gives expression to a quality of the universal Consciousness as we relate to the practicalities and specifics of human life. While we need to acknowledge that it is a cosmic attitude, it is also an attitude that individual people will often embody in rich personal ways even if they are not choosing to adopt the practice of resting as Consciousness. Muditā involves being in this physical world in way that is informed by, and supported by, the healing, evolutionary, and compassionate energy of our transpersonal source – so if we express this consciously it is extremely powerful source of blessing and creativity.
Muditā can perhaps be better understood by contrasting it with its egoic counterpart, which is the ordinary egoic Sensation function, which Buddhist tradition speaks of in terms of the vedanā skandha. Through meditative self-inquiry we come to recognise that we habitually and unconsciously bring multiple assumptions to the experience of Sensation and the experience of being in a physical body – assumptions that we come to recognise as untrue. Foremost among these incorrect assumptions, is the way we take the physical body to be absolute evidence of our ultimate separateness. This sense of separateness, and the ways in which we live with it, or seek to overcome it, is fundamental to, and characteristic of, the experience of being human. Buddhist tradition speaks of this habitual perception of separateness and the associated preoccupation with ‘looking after number one’ in terms of the klesha of māna, which is usually translated as ‘pride’, and sometimes as ‘conceit’.
The Human Realm – Separateness healed by Appreciative Joy
Of the Buddha’s Six Realms, which I have talked about briefly in a previous post (here), the realm associated with the Southern Quadrant of the mandala, is the Human Realm. This Human Realm, in which we find ourselves, occupies an archetypal position in the mandala of egoic styles, and can be regarded as the egoic counterpart, and polar opposite, of Appreciative Joy. The Human Realm is regarded, in Buddhist tradition, as a very special and fortuitous place to be reborn, but it is also the realm associated of the egoic Sensation function, and has particular problems for us, and a particular style of egoic unconsciousness, which we need to explore and become familiar with. Continue reading
This is Post 18 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series. Summaries of the other articles in this series can be found here.
In order to fully understand the brahmavihāra, or attitude of Consciousness, that the Buddha called upekṣā, or Equanimity, it is very valuable to contrast it with its polar opposite in egoic consciousness. Indeed each of the four brahmavihāras is essentially an archetypal or transpersonal power by which a particular aspect of the egoic mind is healed. To help us consistently experience the transformative effect of the four brahmavihāras we need to understand the nature of the close relationship between these four beneficent cosmic principles on the one hand – and the four corresponding tendencies in the egoic mind on the other.
A Spiritual Choice within each Quadrant of the Mandala
In previous posts I have talked about the choices we face, in every moment, between each of the qualities of Consciousness on one hand, and each of the corresponding qualities of the egoic mind on the other. In regard to the Thinking function and the Mental Body, we find that Equanimity and the quality of Objectivity that is integral to it, are in polar opposition to the egoic tendency towards judgement and the inability to just be with things (and people) and let them be as they are. An important way in which this opposition was previously highlighted (in a previous post – here) was in the stark contrast between the positive mirror of Consciousness and the negative mirror of narcissism.
As we start to practice the mandala wisdom we recognise that each quadrant of the mandala presents us with a spiritual choice – and to recognise that we have a choice where we previously were not even aware that choice was possible, is always an experience of empowerment. We live in a world that claims to give us choices, and which even overwhelms us with choices, but ultimately the only thing that really gives us choices is Consciousness. Continue reading
This is Post 16 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series. Summaries of the other articles in this series can be found here.
In the previous posts about the the Buddha’s Equanimity practice – a practice which aims to bring the Mental Body and the Thinking function into alignment with Consciousness, I have briefly touched on the symbol of the mirror. The mirror deserves more time however, because it is such a profound symbolic pointer to spiritual truth. It is a deeply paradoxical and indeed an ambivalent image – both extremely positive and extremely negative.
As a positive image, we find the mirror as a symbol of Consciousness, as in Zen or Tibetan Buddhism (which I have spoken of in a previous post – here); again in the Ancient Greek myth of the hero Perseus; and elsewhere. The mirror is also a symbol of narcissism – an extremely important psychological concept, and one that has profoundly negative personal and cultural implications.
Perseus and Medusa
The mythic hero Perseus encountered the Gorgon Medusa in a landscape littered with the crumbling remains of countless heroes who had been turned into stone by her gaze. So great was the force of her narcissistic objectification of those who meet her gaze – that they are immediately reduced to literal objects. Perseus manages however, to avoid her petrifying stare by only looking at her reflected image in the mirror shield that he has been given by the Goddess Athene. Only the heroes with divine help succeed – those with the capacity for reflection that Consciousness gives them. All the rest fail. Continue reading
This is Post 15 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series. Summaries of the other articles in this series can be found here.
One of the most common misconceptions about meditation is the idea that it is a merely mental activity. Anyone who would characterise meditation in this way has been taught incorrectly. Meditation is more akin to dance than ordinary egoic thinking. We meditate with the body.
But we need a much larger and more sophisticated conception of what the body is, than scientific materialism has afforded us. We need an understanding of the subtle bodies, especially the first four subtle bodies: the Physical body; the Mental body; the Emotional body; and the Volitional body – which may be called the surface bodies. This seeming digression from my thread of discussion about the brahmavihāras is necessary if we are to fully understand the actual experience of the brahmavihāras and embrace them as transformational processes in our felt experience of resting as Consciousness.
We need ways of thinking about the body that are experientially true – conceptualisations that fit our actual experience. Prior to modern medicine and the domination of our thinking by the Newtonian / Cartesian dualism of a physical body and a mind that is entirely separate, various ancient cultures had very rich and complex ways of imagining the soul or mind/body system.
Psycho-Physical Anatomy – The Seven Bodies
For me, the most experientially true account of our psycho-physical anatomy is given to us by the great meditation traditions of India and Tibet, which identify seven subtle bodies, or ‘energy bodies’, or auras. While we can say that the first of these is most obviously connected with the physical body (which we now know from Science to be much more subtle than we had thought – pure energy and empty space in fact), and the other six are certainly not separate from the physical body. To be true to our experience we need to speak of the whole integrated system not as body and mind but as a body-mind – an integrated body-mind that is described both by the mandala and by the hierarchy of subtle bodies.
As Carl Jung recognised, the depth of human psychological experience cannot be understood unless we conceptualise it as being simultaneously individual and universal – ultimately characterised by a mysterious internal relationship between these two poles, which leads to an integration of these two poles. He gave us a vision of soul that includes a spectrum of experience – the personal, physical and instinctual at one end of that spectrum, and the universal, spiritual and archetypal at the other. This is how we experience ourselves in meditation. Far from leaving the body behind, we find ourselves greatly expanding our sense of what the body is, and opening to more and more subtle dimensions of bodily experience.
The Tibetan Buddhist Body-Mind Model as a Middle Way
The seven layers of our psycho-physical anatomy are a way of objectifying and conceptualising the paradoxical nature of our range of felt experience when we turn our attention inwards in meditative-inquiry. The range of our experience in meditation is vast – we have the experience of being a person in a physical body, but we may also recognise that the core of our experience of self is Consciousness – a non-locatable field phenomenon, that appears as a unity, and seems to pervades the universe.
The universal Consciousness in which we rest is generally ignored because it is non-personal and felt to be incongruous with our concrete experience of a separate physical body. By seeing the body as not single but seven-fold, and predominately energetic and subtle, we are able to overcome that fundamental incongruity and give ourselves a way of making the universal Consciousness central to our experience, while also emphasising the energetic dimensions in the way we think about our inner life.
Many modern Western students of Buddhism, not finding a clearly articulated body-mind model in the early Buddhist texts, tend to shy away from the challenge of giving conceptual form to our experience of the body-mind. There is some value in this attitude of avoiding conceptualisation – just letting our experience be as it is. This approach can however, paradoxically lead to extremely crude and un-thought-through conceptualisations – and at worst leads to an unconscious embrace of a scientific materialist view that is far from that proposed by the Buddha.
It is important to remember that the Buddha rejected the anti-body view that he had initially embraced when he embarked on his spiritual search. The insights gained at the time of his Enlightenment found expression in a ‘Middle Way’. This was an extremely subtle view of the path to realisation, in which the body was embraced, and seen as the vehicle of, and venue for, realisation – and valued both as the crucible in which spiritual transformation takes place, and as the vehicle for the compassionate activity of Enlightenment.
The venue for the practice of samadhi, or meditation, is the body; and the states of dhyana, or meditative absorption, are bodily-felt experiences. It is however, with a keen awareness of the reservations that some may have about this, that I have I am going to be taking the body-mind model that is found in Tibetan Buddhist tradition as the starting point for some ideas that I have found helpful. In my experience the model works. We can think of it as a somatic ‘anatomy’ – but hopefully not in a literalistic way. The main thing is that we release the literalism, and the extreme constraint that unconscious scientific materialism places on our ability to fully receive the rich, complex, and multi-layered experience of embodied Consciousness.
The Mental Body – the Somatic Reflection of the Thinking function
The somatic dimension that we can call the Mental Body is the second of the seven that are spoken of in esoteric literature. All these subtle bodies are ‘mental bodies’ of a sort, but have different felt-qualities and associations, so I will try to distinguish what we might mean by this term. This subtle body is experienced as, and ‘seen’ by some, as very slightly larger than physical body. This means that the first subtle body – the complex psycho-physical reality that we can call the Physical Body – rests inside the Mental Body. Thus it is entirely enclosed and interpenetrated by it, and subject to its contents – a fact that all healers, acupuncturists, shiatsu practitioners and applied kinesiologists would attest to. While we cannot know the mechanisms involved, it seems clear that all the subtle bodies interpenetrate and resonate with each other to some degree – and that the Physical Body and the Mental Body are a particularly closely related pair.
The Physical Body and the Mental Body exist in polarity with each other in that one is yin, or feminine, or receptive, while the other is yang, or masculine, or expansive. Understanding these polarities is of great assistance in meditation. I shall be returning to this phenomena in future posts, and shall be addressing the little known fact that the Mental Body is experienced as yin, or receptive, in men, and yang, or expansive, in women.
The Thinking Mind is Both Energetic and Neurological
Even if the mechanisms of this are not knowable, it is helpful for meditators to think of the egoic mind as an energetic and somatic phenomena – one in which thinking has an energetic reality, not just a neurological one. It seems that even though thoughts take place in the neuronal networks of the brain, there is an energetic reflection of thought in this somatic phenomenon that I am calling the Mental Body.
So, in addition to the more concrete and well-understood neurological and hormonal connections between the subjective experience of the thinking mind and physiological processes of the body, there is also a profound energetic one. And whereas the neurological re-wiring of our brains, and the calming of our endocrine systems that has been traumatised by fear-based thinking can take a little time, the energetic realignment of our Mental Body, can be achieved relatively quickly if we allow the Mental Body to rest receptively in relationship with the primordial stillness of Consciousness.
The Buddha’s Equanimity practice – Healing the Thinking Mind
This is the power of the Buddha’s Equanimity practice. It allows the Mental Body, and hence the personal thinking mind, to be held in the healing field of Consciousness itself. The transformation that takes place is a purification of the Thinking function, which starts with the Mental Body, and then via its profound effect on the Mental Body, initiates a process in which the dysfunctional wiring of the brain is progressively undone.
When we rest as Consciousness and acknowledge that from the point of view of meditation practice, the Thinking function of the mind is primarily energetic and only secondarily neurological, we open ourselves to a powerful new path of psychological transformation. By choosing to allow the Mental Body to rest as Consciousness and be informed by the field of Consciousness, we do not immediately wash it clean of all its egoic habits of punishment, judgement, justification and projection of shadow, but we do very concretely initiate that profound process.
Purifying the Mind and Integrating Mental Clarity
When we rest in a receptive relationship to Consciousness, we may not suddenly experience the perfect peace of the Great Equanimity immediately, but we can open ourselves to it, and we can readily experience a deep sense of Being, and a sense of alignment with a transpersonal healing power. It is as if we can rest under an inner waterfall of white healing light that is running through our body purifying us and washing us clean of the mental negativities that are inherent in egoic thinking. The more we rest in the mental silence and the mental stillness of the field of Consciousness, the more our mind is cleansed by it, and the more we integrate its qualities of objectivity and mental clarity.
The Buddhist tradition speaks of the purification process within our meditation practice as one in which egoic kleshas are released. These kleshas can be thought of as the energies of the egoic mind – somatic energies that accumulate in the subtle bodies. To the extent that life in self-identification we will accumulate kleshas, and those kleshas have a momentum – they will keep us in habitual egoic identification until we release them though meditation. The category of kleshas that Buddhist tradition associates with the Thinking aspect of the mind is called dvesha, or ‘hatred’ – but this includes the egoic habits of punishment, judgement, justification and projection of shadow, which I mentioned above. The more extreme kleshas that accumulate in the Mental Body show the characteristic quality of ‘hatred’, but they all fall into the category of dvesha. I shall be returning to this important theme in future articles.
Being as the Basis of Identity – Not Thought
Our experience of the Mental Body when we rest as Consciousness, is not primarily one of thought, but of Being. We are still aware of the momentum of our thought processes and of our reflections on our experience, but these are felt to be secondary to the experience of Being. Consciousness and Being are in the foreground of our experience, and thought is arising secondarily, and in that context.
The effect of resting as Consciousness is to fill the Mental Body with the experience of Being. What we experience over time is a new basis for our identity. Our identity is no longer predominantly a mental construction as the Cartesian error (“I think, therefore I am”) would suggest, but instead is rooted in Being, and in the field of Consciousness. It is as if Consciousness stands behind us like a constantly affirming friend, except that we are that Consciousness – we are that friend.
William Parker 2017
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For more on the themes addressed in this post consider reading these previous articles:
This is Post 13 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series.
When we look within, we find that Consciousness, the ultimate nature of the human mind, appears to be structured like a mandala – like a compass rose. And at each of the directions of this inner compass are ethical principles that are inherent in the nature of Consciousness. In the last few posts, I have been starting to explore one cultural form of this archetypal mandala structure – an ancient pre-Buddhist formulation called the four brahmavihāras – the four ‘abodes of Brahma’, sometimes called the four immeasurables.
Meditation as a Mandala-Cycle
Traditionally in the Indian and Himalayan countries our circumambulation of, or progression around, the mandala, follows the path of the sun in the northern hemisphere, so we enter the mandala in the east, which is associated with sunrise; then move round clockwise to the south, which is associated with mid-day; then move round clockwise again to the west, which is associated with sunset; then move round clockwise again to the north, which is associated with midnight; and then return to the east point and the sunrise once again. I shall be adopting this traditional order as I go deeper into the four brahmavihāras in the future articles is this series over the coming weeks. When we have a full understanding of all four brahmavihāras there is great value in practicing all four in sequence, as a mandala-cycle. Continue reading
This is Post 12 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series. Summaries of the other articles in this series can be found here.
Consciousness is like the space we move through – it is easy to go through life completely unaware of it. And even though it is always there when we look for it, its nature can be difficult to grasp. If we are setting out to systematically familiarise ourselves with the ultimate nature of mind, the four brahmavihāras provide us with an extremely good, and relatively simple framework for engaging in this exploration – one that highlights the inherently ethical and relational nature of Consciousness. They also offer us four very attractive and relatively easy ways of moving out of ordinary egoic consciousness into states of alignment and healing.
The Four Mahabrahmavihāras
In Mahayana Buddhist tradition, reflection on the brahmavihāras brought a development to the early Buddhist approach to that teaching, which is of enormous practical and philosophical significance for those who wish to use the brahmavihāras as a framework for meditation and self-inquiry, and I would like to share it here.
Essentially, the understanding arose that it is helpful to see each one of the brahmavihāras as having both a personal, egoic and conditional aspect, and a transpersonal, or archetypal, or unconditional aspect – even though these two aspects can never be completely separated. The implication was that the most effective way to connect with the brahmavihāras is by opening ourselves to the transpersonal aspect of each one – and allowing the energies of each one to flow through us.
For example mettā, or Loving-Kindness came to be seen as a reflection, in personal felt experience, of mahamettā, or Great Loving-Kindness, which is unconditional, archetypal and transpersonal – an aspect of the field of Consciousness in which we rest. Each of the personally experienced brahmavihāras has a corresponding archetypal source in Consciousness – a mahabrahmavihāra. Continue reading
This is Post 8 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series. Summaries of the other articles in this series can be found here.
It is often claimed that meditation brings about psychological integration – that it helps us to become less scattered and more unified. This is certainly true, but I am hoping that it will be helpful for us if, in this article, I clarify the nature of the disintegration that is inherent in ordinary egoic consciousness, so that we can better understand why, ultimately, Consciousness itself is the only force that can bring about psychological integration. Clearly, the egoic will has a part to play, but the integration process that we speak of in spiritual and discourse is a ‘Middle Way’ in which the universal and the personal meet and are reconciled.
In the course of the development of psychology and psychotherapy practice during the 20th Century, an understanding was introduced that, while it was startlingly original at the time, also seems to be an absolutely obvious reality in everyday life. This was the idea of the Unconscious. The notion of the Unconscious has been conceptualised in detail in a variety of different ways, but the core idea is that the mind is structured in such a way that we all tend to have a variety of unconscious thoughts, feelings, desires, sensations, intentions and memories, that are entirely incongruous with, and even opposite to, the contents of our conscious mind.
Egoic parts – Soul parts – Psychological parts
This tendency for the self to continuously divide against itself leads inevitably to, not a single self but a profusion of opposing pairs of psychological parts. I am not talking about Schizophrenia here, or Multiple Personality Disorder – rather I am referring to a commonplace psychological reality that we are all familiar with in ourselves and others. We are all familiar with internal psychological conflict, and our language reflects this. When we are trying to make a decision, we say “Part of me feels this, and part of me feels that”. When we use the personal will to deny a thought, or a feeling, or a desire, we usually have a “reaction”, and suddenly find ourselves identifying with a part of ourselves that we had previously suppressed. Continue reading
This is Post 8 in the ‘Mandala of Love’ book blog series.
Students of Carl Jung’s ideas will be aware that he associated the four physical elements (Earth, Water, Air, and Fire), and the four perceptual-psychological functions (Sensation, Thinking, Feeling, and Intuition-Volition). These four perceptual-psychological functions are usually arranged as a mandala, like a compass rose, with the rational-discriminative functions of Feeling and Thinking forming an opposition across the horizontal axis at West and East; and the perceptual-creative functions of Intuition / Volition and Sensation forming an opposition in the vertical axis at North and South.
On a superficial level Sensation, Thinking, Feeling and Intuition-Volition are egoic functions – the four primary functions by which individuals know and relate to their experience, and construct their identity. Jung, however, named these the Four Functions of Consciousness. Fully aware that these four functions are, in essence, four aspects of the Divine, he presented a rich and compelling analysis of how the potential for Consciousness and self-realisation is, sadly, usually unrealised, and how the same four functions give rise instead, to the various styles of limited egoic consciousness, each with a particular style of unconsciousness that goes with it. Continue reading
I am disturbed by what I see in the world. Even as I am personally seeking to orient myself to that which is eternal and satisfactory, I am keenly aware of the suffering that we are collectively creating for ourselves on this planet. While I hear others expressing wilful optimism, I cannot help but see a world in the grip of a frightening unconsciousness, and making deeply unsustainable choices that will lead to misery. Our world appears to be caught between, on one side, a postmodern world-view that rejects as ideology the notions of social progress, objective reality, morality, truth and reason (following, it would seem, Friedrich Nietzsche’s dictum – “there is no truth, only interpretations’), leading to various forms of nihilism and narcissism; and, on the other side, fierce amoral world-shaping ideologies such as neoliberalism and religious extremism.
There is however, in the 21st Century, an emerging community of people throughout the world, who are seeking a new ethical basis for humanity; who would wish to seek out and establish a post-postmodern foundation for ethics and social justice. They seek a movement forward culturally and spiritually, one that specifically avoids merely retreating back to either conventional religious belief or the limitations of a merely humanistic moral philosophy. These are the creative and reflective people who will be interested in the content available on this website, where I hope to present understandings and practices that support a grounded spirituality that is deeply ethical because it is rooted in the experiential study of Consciousness.
My belief, based on my experience, and on a lifetime of spiritual study and practice, is that Consciousness is not an epiphenomenon of the brain, but exists, and has always existed, as an objective presence in the universe – a presence that is universal and benevolent in particular ways, and can even be described as acting as a compassionate, evolutionary, and healing force. This belief has become a form of faith for me – a deep and passionate conviction. As someone who has, despite experiences to the contrary, lived in a scientific materialist world-view for most of my life, this new knowing has been something of a revelation, and quite a challenge to my old habits of mind.
So, the core of my thesis, and the core theme of the material on this website is that Consciousness, and the subtle qualitative mental functions that arise in association with Consciousness, are the basis of human ethics, and are our only reliable guide to what is ultimately satisfying and sustainable – and this knowledge is easily accessible and knowable in our own experience through meditation and self-inquiry. I hope to be posting articles regularly, and some of these blog posts will be based on sections from my forthcoming book: A Mandala of Love: Consciousness, Ethics, and Society.
One of the most important sub-themes, that I hope to be demonstrating in the book, is the fact that the field of Consciousness has shaped human evolution, and has shaped the human brain, and that our continuous interaction with that field is the distinguishing feature of our humanity. Homo Sapiens is a uniquely empathetic, imaginative, collaborative, and richly creative creature, and all of this springs from the nature of Consciousness. We are almost certainly alone in our galaxy – and possibly unique in the whole universe, and yet this planet and the lives of the human beings who live here are treated without reverence – for lack of a world-view that acknowledges the mystery and wonder of our situation.
My view of evolution is rooted in scientific facts, but goes far beyond the conventional atheist view of most scientific discourse. It is not a religious view either. My aim is to combine the scientific and spiritual sensibilities in a new synthesis that is balanced and respectful to both. The most obvious place in which these two strands are coming together is in new understandings of the mind-brain problem. In my view, no better explanation for Consciousness has yet been put forward, than that proposed by Roger Penrose (a mathematical physicist) and Stuart Hameroff (an anaesthesiologist), whose elegant model places the threshold or interface between the quantum mechanical functioning of the brain (i.e. Consciousness), and classical (i.e. neurological) functioning of the brain, not in the synapses, but in the molecular micro-tubules within neurons.
Because quantum physics is so impenetrable for most people, and because the culture of the scientific community, and that of the religious establishments, have historically tended to be so polarised against each other, the implications of these ideas are only slowly being recognised. But there are now clear signs that this knowledge could provide the foundation for a spiritual renaissance. I believe, like many others, that the 21st Century needs to evolve a universal spirituality, and a spiritual psychology, that can provide a new ethical foundation, one based on experienced truths rather than a beliefs. Science brings with it a spirit of objectivity and universality, which rises above the limitations of language and of cultural forms, and once the implications of quantum mechanics have been accepted, it has the potential to play an important part in the healing of human culture and spirituality.
So in short, it is my conviction – and I am certainly not alone in this – that Consciousness, when we examine it carefully, is in many respects identical to what previous generations would have called God; and that the study of Consciousness is the key to the realisation of human potential. For me, the recognition of Consciousness as the omnipresent field the Divine is our starting point. And the process of becoming deeply familiar with that reality, provides us with a new basis for the ethical discernment, ethical action, and ethical vigilance that we so need to face the complexities and dangers of the modern world.
In my book I hope to set out a body of experiential knowledge that supports this view, drawing on my experience of Buddhism, Quakerism, Christianity, archetypal psychology, my work in the Occupational Therapy profession; together with my studies in brain science, quantum physics, and biology; and on my years of psychological innerwork, self-inquiry and meditation. Such is the culture of specialisation in the modern world that these areas of discourse are not usually brought together, so that many important connections are not made.
My aim is to provide reflection on all these areas in a way that combines and brings new understandings – a new synthesis that, I believe, the world urgently needs. It is my wish that this synthesis will support those who share my concerns, which is why I have decided to share my writing on this website as a series of blog posts.
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