Technology of Consciousness
by Joan McKenna
There was once a woman who wanted to know everything. She went to a guru who was reputed to be the wisest person in the world. Under the guru's tutelage, the woman lived in a cave surrounded by computers, modems, fax machines, telephones, satellite discs, and an ever increasing pile of newspapers, magazines, fliers, CDs and tapes. Each morning the guru would come and ask the woman if she knew everything yet. Each morning, she would say no, and the guru would strike her across the shoulders with a switch. Each day she worked harder, read faster, slept less, and each morning, she would feel the sting across her back.
One morning, the guru asked "Do you know everything yet?" And she replied, "No." But when the guru raised the switch, she reached up and took it away. The guru smiled. "Good. Now you know what you need to know: that you can't know everything, and how to stop the pain."
--a Sufi tale
I have come to believe that when science climbs the long hill in the conquest of nature we will discover that the land on the other side has been staked out by religion.
I spent many years being an information junkie. It was important to me to know as much as possible about everything I could. It seemed to be my purpose. It was not that I claimed to know everything about everything. But that I had to keep up with what was known or what was important. Where my mother had been "the book", I was driven to be the encyclopedia plus the X files.
I was a Research Analyst, an Information Scientist and a Research Physiologist. I was an investigator and a theorist, an experimenter and a philosopher. My primary field was information and its communication.
Information sciences and skilled research and analysis are needed everywhere and applicable anywhere. Like the natural scientists of the Renaissance, I followed my interests or hired out. Each event or interest in my life led me to study, to identify the primary theories and their correlations, to analyze the underlying assumptions and the principles that governed current thinking on a subject, and my scientific training equipped me to test and verify the given assumptions and principles against the larger principles of physics.
While these are skills that anyone can develop over time, often I was treated as someone who had something special, different from teachable skills that gave me an enormous advantage in investigating and studying new subjects. I turned my appraisal back on myself and came up with a few insights.
I took as "givens" that I am a good researcher. I have good investigative skills. I know how to approach information so that I can obtain the information I want or need in an efficient way.
But more than any of these things were two factors that assisted me long before I realized that they were necessary to anyone who is to make sense out of the vast array of half truths, opinions, agendas, misinformation, propaganda, ignorance and compounded errors that litter every field of inquiry.
I came to understand that how I defined the Big Picture, the Cosmos and my relationship to it was the major organizing factor for not only how I could think, but what I could think about. I came to understand that my consciousness was a technology and by choosing an idea or belief, I was selecting the parameters of my universe of possibilities.
This "Big Picture", like a defined "set" in mathematics, then determined what would be included or not in all the possible ideas consistent with the chosen set. So the "Big Picture" a priori limited all that I could consider and everything would align--MUST align within the set.
We take our biggest definitions with us into all our explorations.
I found that I held certain basic assumptions about the nature of reality that, by definition, empowered me to explore any field with a pro-active, gyroscopic self-correcting, non-egoistic receptivity that focused my attention on the underlying patterns, ideas and principles that governed the subject. I also discovered that anyone could consciously choose an expansive, empowering viewpoint if they knew that they could and they applied it.
There are two aspects to the cosmology I use. Many readers will recognize it as a very basic kind of spirituality and perhaps dismiss it from there, as too simple, too easily understood, and not complex enough to be "secret" or "special".
I would remind these readers that the Mayans had wheels and balls that they used only as toys, not recognizing the technological nature of the circle or sphere. I would point out that electricity has existed since the beginning of time but until we learned how to harness and use it successfully, it was only an interesting and sometimes dangerous phenomena.
I suggest that we consider belief systems of consciousness to be an unrecognized technology and until we come to see and understand the underlying principles governing its use, we live with haphazard consequences individually and as a species.
Science has come to recognize that the experimenter effects the outcome of the experiment. We must go beyond this recognition to empower the experimenter to actively choose belief systems of consciousness that can optimumly be applied for a desired outcome. This was in large measure the metaphysical aspect of alchemical practices.
In my own world view, I discovered two assumptions that I had unconsciously brought to my research and investigations:
First, I have a profound belief, faith and conviction, that there is an orderly, coherent, intelligent and essential pattern underlying all events and phenomena in all the possible universes. You can call it the quantum field, the aether, the Field of Being, or by any of the ten thousand names of God.
I believe the underlying pattern is simple and discoverable anywhere at any time. I do not say that very complex things do not arise from these simple patterns. But I do believe that there is essentially one set of rules, best understood as principles--that govern all that is.
For those of you who promote the theory of the 'Big Bang', I simply ask you to identify any instance in which an explosion results in greater order among the parts blown apart. The only instance I can envision is where iron is blown apart and the particles fall into a magnetic field and align to the field.
But then, we would have to know where the field came from, what causes the field, what is inside and outside of the field, etc. and return to the unanswered question.
It seems to me that there is intrinsic order which we recognize as repetitive patterns. We then test the patterns and look for them elsewhere only to discover that there are underlying laws that effect all that is.
It is the working of these or laws that create all phenomena and all possibility of phenomena. I consider this an implicit wholeness or oneness which is the foundation of reality.
The second factor that shapes my worldview is the belief that I can know these patterns and use them intelligently and effectively. This is extremely important, because it means that I believe that reality or the Universe is fool proof.
My belief is that the first factor---call it the Creative Intelligence or the General Order and Design---is everywhere including in me and in you and that it is self-referenced to express the optimum possible good. At some level, this Creative Intelligence can be relied on to use us, our work, our intelligence, to further the good. Even when we don't understand it.
And the second factor is a guarantee of safe access. This means we get to be fearless in our investigations: limitless, timeless, completely available to discover and know what is revealed. This does not mean that there are no dangers in the universe or in our investigations of the universe. On the contrary, it means that we are more alert, better prepared to see variations in pattern and respond to signs of danger. We are teachable.
While this may seem "woo-woo"--a term I use to describe the individuals, activities and phenomena that are prone to creating skepticism, protests of impossible, and intellectual outcries of "unscientific"-- it is a world view that promotes optimism, confidence, an expectation of success, and a mobilization of greater reasoning and intuitive powers than more cynical viewpoints offer. If it works, pay attention.
Consider: all true scientists must have this viewpoint. If we did not believe that the Infinite was discoverable and knowable and would reveal Itself to us, no one would experiment.
If we did not believe that we could know and use our knowledge for good, no one would become a scientist or a physician or an engineer or anything else. Have we always made the best applications of our knowledge? In the short run, no; but in the long run, most likely yes, because our mistakes inform us as much as our successes and the movement of all science and discovery is toward greater and greater success, greater accuracy and greater accomplishment.
Is this a bit "naive"? You bet. Necessary for observing without prejudice, for unexpected encounters, for trusting the inherent patterns to organize even our perception. And to keep going when others disbelieve, attack or ridicule because we see the pattern unfolding its consistency and its truth.
Is this "objective"? No. No scientist or explorer or inventor is predominately objective. They are passionate, inquisitive, wholly seduced by and involved with the subject of their attention. It is only later, often much later, when academic objectivity reorders the experimenter's findings that we find an "objective" viewpoint to explain the new phenomena, discovery, revelation. (For arguments and insight into this view see The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Kuhn, Scientific Falsification by Imre Lakatos and Against Method by Paul Feyerabend.)
In looking at the lives and writings of inventors and scientists, there is a profound conviction that what they are about is the furtherance of good. This, too, is a necessary consciousness for going the long and hard road of exploration and discovery and the often longer and steeper journey for acceptance and recognition. Success in discovering truth does not guarantee social, political or economic reward. There must be a transcending belief and goal of greater good that holds us to the task. There must be a belief that we serve something greater than ourselves.
From these two primary factors there comes a correlative: We must maintain coherence in our belief in ourselves and the Universe (or God or Infinite Creative Field or Kuhlibaba--the IT of the possible).
Consciousness is itself the technological vehicle that will bring us to the realization, the insights, the success that we desire. What we believe creates a structure and order to our thoughts, our world view and our actions.
What we believe about the nature of the Creative Intelligence...the Universe...the Underlying Field of Energy...God by any name-- is the biggest and most inclusive idea humans have come up with. It is the contextual idea that we set for ourselves and our lives. It either empowers us or pits us against each other, nature and life. All of our other thoughts are set upon and in this contextual idea whether we are aware of the context or not.
We were not aware of gravity-whether as a push or a pull-- as a force or as a principle until Newton saw the invisible cause behind the visible event. Gravity didn't care. It was working on us, in us and for us anyway. Learning to recognize an operative principle empowers us to use it in unprecedented ways.
Choosing A Big Picture Consciousness
First Principle: You create and maintain your consciousness.
Second Principle: Your consciousness creates the worldview of reality you see and experience.
Third Principle: The reality you believe is as much as you know.
In quantum physics, everything is considered as vibration. What if the sum of our beliefs establishes the resonance for the events of our lives? What if we choose and enter a different vibration possibility--perhaps a Universe-- when we change our thinking? What if our biggest ideas or concepts key us into particular dimensions of possibilities?
If we think that there is no organizing intelligence then we enter a universe where we are alone, unaided, in a dimension where actions and reactions are outside of our control and we must struggle to create some safety, some order. It would be a place of constant fear, defensiveness, self obsession and guaranteed struggle. If we do not like the Universe that life without a Creative Intelligence would reveal, we can choose to change our minds. We can choose the idea/ideal that works for us.
But how or what can we believe about this Creative Intelligence and the nature of the Universe that will serve us, sanely, effectively and reliably? A thinking/scientific person considering ideas about what has been called God quickly realizes that opinions, misinformation, irrationality and half-truths litter the field of inquiry. It is so everywhere else, so why not here too?
Our task is to examine what is consistent, reliable, reproducible and coherent with all factors to arrive at some concept or concepts to achieve a perspective that can be applied to all data, all sub-sets, all manifestations because they are particularizations of the universal, individualizations of the absolute and representatives of the ideal.
I am not alone or unique or the first to consider this need. On the wall of my study is a sizable poster of Albert Einstein with a quote. It reads:
"The most beautiful and most profound emotion
we can experience is the sensation of the mystical.
It is the sower of all true science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer stand
rapt in awe
is as good as dead.
That deeply emotiona
conviction of the Presence of a Superior Reasoning Power
as revealed in the
forms my idea of God."
Einstein often expressed his conviction that religion and science have much in common and that we need the expression and the experience of both to be fully human and to effectively apply the technologies that we create.
Most of the emphasis of the media today is on science and technology. Our capacity to obtain information is escalating at an exponential rate. Our abilities to think and use the information that we can and will have access to requires another way of looking at the Universe, a way that is scientifically appropriate, useful and effective.
We can examine our ideas and beliefs with the same scrutiny as we peer into the vastness of space. If we can design experiments to test our hypotheses, we can determine the laws of consciousness as we determine the laws of matter. We can explore the intelligence behind all of creation. We can know the Mind of God. And, like any principle, we can use the discovery to create new, unprecedented expressions of the principle.
If we can come to know the impulsion that drives the cosmic unfoldment, then each piece of the puzzle, each atom and each star, each fractal and each black hole reveals a meaning and purpose, a plan and design.
Engineers and physicists rely on invisible principles consciously applied to create forms and structures. They surrender to these principles as the operative reality.
As citizens of the Universe, if we are to meet and greet intelligence that has not shared our planetary history, we must explore and discover a viewpoint, perhaps even a cosmology that is truly Universal, not just planetary mythology.
A Universal, Cosmic Fulcrum
In languages, we have attempted with Esperanto to create a common denominator. In science, we have evolved mathematics as a global symbol system. We have studied the stars searching for patterns that reflect the workings of the cosmos and sought to find correspondences in our own microcosm.
We are seeking the growing edge of science and spirit. Perhaps what we are looking for is what we are looking with. Perhaps the key to the mysteries of the Universe is to realize that it has been left unlocked, open to us to the degree that, if we can accept and believe and enter into new ideas about ourselves, we can experience unprecedented ideas and understanding of what has been, is and shall be.
In exploring consciousness, we make an inward journey. Different cultures began at different times and each culture found explorers among themselves who described in their cultural terms the inner landscapes.
Can we make a map of this consciousness? Can we teach people to read the map of those who have gone before? Can we open a dialogue that helps us to refine the lens that we look through, creating more accurate understandings, identifying concepts that bring greater freedom, greater creativity, greater awareness?
It is said that when man began to reason, he took the process of evolution into his own hands. We are emerging from a technological impulsion to a spiritual impulsion to achieve a higher, metaphysical integrity with the cosmos.
The next phase in evolution will not happen en mass but individual by individual, by choosing to consider and embody a self-definition that is itself holographic. By that I mean, each individual.
For instance, if we entertain the premise that we live in an intelligent field of energy that includes all that we are, we would discover a principle that implies we think with the Mind of God and that our thought is creative.
If the field of intelligence is everywhere and in all things, including ourselves, then it is a Unity. Unity has no parts. Therefore, all that is present anywhere must be present everywhere. If it exists, it must exist in totality right where we are. In us. As us. The whole expressing through the part.
It is the way that principles work. For comparison consider the equation 2 + 2 = 4. This is a mathematical principle. It exists--whole and complete--everywhere. It cannot be used up. It is where I am. It is where you are. Applying it to planets or writing it planet size does not make it greater. Writing it upon a molecule or in counting atoms does not make it smaller. It is whole and complete everywhere.
We must be able to test metaphysical principles by designing experiments and have them repeated by many people. We can compare notes, methods and outcomes. In this we must be bold. We must be heretics to traditional beliefs and traditional thinking.
What if our spiritual teachers--the mystics and prophets and shamans--discovered methods and concepts that enable us to see at a distance, observe the past or the future, understand the sources of disease and pathways to health, resonate with the earth and the stars with senses that lie dormant only because we have not turned them on by directing our attention and engaging them? What if it is literally true that we invented diseases and death by our beliefs? What if by our consciousness, by the names we give to things, we bless or curse ourselves? What if we are co-creators of our reality at the quantum level?
Are we the observers who do not realize that our ideas, beliefs and expectations change the outcome of the experiments? Create a scientific notebook for exploring truths about consciousness.
Select any chair of medium size and weight that you can lift. Lift it up. Notice its weight and the degree of effort required to lift it. Put it down.
Say to yourself , " I hate lifting this chair. Every time I lift this chair, my taxes go up. Every time I lift this chair, the bank makes mistakes in my checking account. When I lift this chair, I feel discouraged and tired, I have fights with my friends, and my car makes funny noises. I really hate to lift this chair." And lift the chair.
Notice its weight and the degree of effort required to lift it. Put it down.
Now say to yourself, "Cancel! Cancel! That's not what I believe! I love lifting this chair. Every time I lift this chair, my taxes go down and I get a refund. When I lift this chair, I feel great, I look great, I am healthier and happier and sexier. I lift chairs for fun and profit. My life improves every time I lift this chair." And lift the chair.
Notice its weight and the degree of effort required to lift it.
Put it down. Lift it again, if you like.
Please notice: the effects on you did not require that you really believe what you were saying nor did it matter that the statements were not true. The consciousness was transient, yet for most people, the effects are noticeable.
What statement could you make to yourself that would make your life easier, better, more fulfilling? Create it, test it and begin to harness the technology of consciousness.
Have you thought of a friend you haven't seen in a long time only to run into them or have them call? This is called many things, but let us use the holographic model and call it the One Mind operating in us and our friend. Write the names of five or six people that you know on slips of paper.
Put the slips into a cup or jar. Select one at random. Begin to think about that person. See them in your mind's eye. Hear them saying hello to you. Picture yourself meeting them at an expected place and then at an unexpected place. Then put the name aside. How long does it take for them to call or show up in your life
Now, think of some piece of information that you would like to have. Think about it already being in existence. Picture it coming to you in several different ways. Assure yourself that it is now known and revealed to you. Do this several times each day with the expectation that it will be so.
As you practice, the information will arrive faster and often in amazing ways.
To learn more about consciousness and Quantum Thinking, order
GETTING IT: How We Think and How Else We Can Think by Joan J. McKenna.