What is Meditation

Meditation Techniques

Spiritual Inspirators

 

 

 
CONSCIOUSNESS & AWARENESS

I. Consiousnes & Evolution

II. Defining Awareness & Consciousness
III. The Mystery of Awareness

IV. The Enigma of Consciousness
V. Consciousness in the East and the West
VI. What Can be Said About Consciousness
VII. The Ouroboros Consciousness
VIII.  Ouroboric Super-Awareness

IX. The Super-Awake Flow
X. Fields of Consciousness

XI. Group Meditation
 


THE INNER AND THE OUTER PERSON
The inner and the outer Person
Integral Suffering and Happiness
Modern Forms of Suffering
 

THE BUTTERFLY OF THE SOUL

The liberation from or of the Self
The Glue of Love
God wants to be Human

CIVILIZATION & CONSCIOUSNESS
Civilization and Consciousness 
Civilization and Consciousness Part II

 


 





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the transcendence
of duality
in consciousness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


THE OUROBOROS STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
 

God is a fountain flowing into itself
St Dionysius

In the light of the mirror of you,
the universe observing itself through consciousness.
Roger Penrose

Who has prepared this evening meal? asks the seeker.
A man, responds the sage.
Dost know his name?
asks the seeker.
Not I. His name is not spoken.
He is more silence than speech.
He is above name.
What food has he prepared for this feast?
Himself, no less than himself,
says Meister Eckhart.

The moral is that those who live the life of
the five senses never taste this food.

Meister Eckhart

When consciousness turns inward, there is a sensation of not-knowing.
When it turns outward, that which can be known is created.
Nisargadatta Maharaji

What I describe here, everyone can check out for themselves in their own inner lab. Just being quiet and focusing on one's inner self can work wonders.

The primordial Pan-Consciousness versus the Concentrated Light of Man
Let me begin by outlining my intuitive understanding of consciousness, aided by Occam's Razor: A primordial, non-self-aware pan-consciousness appears to permeate time and space. This ubiquitous consciousness is what I refer to as God. However, God is not self-aware.

Consciousness is omnipresent, yet it lacks self-awareness. The real journey begins with human beings, who possess the unique ability to be aware of this God-consciousness. In my interpretation, inspired by Meister Eckhart, this equates to self-conscious awareness.

I am certain
as I live that nothing is so close to me as God.
God is nearer to me than I am to my own self;
my life depends upon God's being near me,
present in me.
 
So is he also in a stone, a log of wood,
only they do not know it.

If the wood knew of God and realized his nearness
like the highest of the angels does,
then the log would be as blessed as the chief of all angels.

Meister Eckhart

C.G. Jung posits that after the trials of Job, God chose to manifest as man. In this context, the Son of God represents nothing less than the weak yet omnipresent light of God, focused within the narrow pinhole mirror of the human brain.

In this vein, a human being can be seen as a reflection of God, yet, paradoxically, this reflection surpasses the original in a specific sense: God achieves a higher level of Himself through His Son.
 
The endless bewilderment of self-exploration
At the forefront of the exploration of consciousness lies an endless expanse of bewilderment. Every time we cross its frontier, we are met with a new level of perplexity, a series of endless mysteries behind the mysteries. Yet, it is precisely in this space of mystery that something profound can occur. When we redirect our curiosity from its natural outward trajectory to an inward exploration of itself, we may be able to develop an expanded state of consciousness.

 
This shift is not easy, however, as the human mind is primarily designed to focus on the external world and ensure our physical survival through the intake of calories. Our subjective 'I' is not naturally programmed to look at itself, to observe its own inner workings. Therefore, exploring the depths of consciousness requires utmost sincerity and vigilance. We must commit ourselves to the task of inward exploration, even when it is difficult, and when we are met with resistance from our own minds.

There are all too few who are fully ripe
for gazing in God's magic mirror.
Meister Eckhart

The restless and outgoing mind can however be called inward through the process of meditation. When you close your eyes and ask yourself, Who am I?, the knowing of not-knowing intensifies. Initially, a sense of bewilderment arises as the 'I' asking the question dissolves through the very act of questioning.
 
When you look for yourself, you dissappear

There is nothing to understand.
Papaji

Meister Eckhart suggests that to see God, we must become blind. This may seem paradoxical, but it points to the fact that the ego cannot look at itself without spiraling into annihilation. When we direct our attention inward, an unknown something observes itself. This activates an infinity function where the solid conscious observer instantly melts into fluidity, so that the one asking, Who am I?, ceases to exist. We are only our 'I' as long as we look away from ourselves. Consequently, we vanish each time we try to catch ourselves directly, and without a subject capable of understanding, understanding becomes meaningless. Not knowing is in this sense wisdom as opposed to knowing which creates knowledge.

When Awareness is directed against itself,
a feeling of not knowing is created.
 When Awareness is going out,
knowledge is created.
Nisargadatta Maharaj

Thus, the question Who am I? dissolves, and we, like a rubber band, snap back to our normal equilibrium of being a solidified 'I'. However, this new 'I' is different from the older one that just one second ago tried to get a glimpse of itself. As we know from quantum physics, we cannot observe anything without changing it. We cannot even remember something without changing our memory of it. Therefore, the disappearance of 'I' during introspective self-examination creates a spiraled transformation, where a new 'I' contineously replaces the old 'I'. The relay of "Who am I?" is now in the hands of the next 'I' in the race towards a black hole of continuous death and rebirth.

How to see God?
To see Him is to be consumed by Him
Ramana Maharshi

Ego cannot look at itself in God's magic mirror, without spiralling into anihilation.  However pure consciousness in its essence can do so and even thrive. In the micro ego-death of self enquiry, a more intense consciousness is born. The strange and wonderful thing is that as the not-understanding and dissolution of solidified subjectivity intensifies during this investigation, so does the abstract consciousness experiencing it. Through the loophole of increasing curiosity-driven not-knowing, our consciousness expands in both quality and quantity.
  
Atman and Brahman
Let me in this context repeat the lessons from the chapter
What is Consciousness. Pure consciousnes in its abysmal essense does not expand, neither in quantity nor in quality. Consciousness belongs to another dimension where such terms from time and space does not give any meaning. What expands in clarity and quality is the part of the human brain that somehow is able to recreate a simulacra of of what Meister Eckhart terms 'the primordial ground'.

In India, since ancient times the individual human soul has been called Atman. The universal soul was termed Brahman. In this context it would give meaning to view Atman as a brain derived simulacra of ding an sich.
In this context, I envision Atma-consciousness as a time-space 'copy' of the absolute space-timeless primordial abyss. Individual human made consciousness can be compared to a soap bubble, whose thin and ultra-transient membrane reflects the sky.


Atman in Brahman

The black hole of the Soul
When the human created space-time created simulacra consciousness in such a loop begins to chase its own tail, wakefulness accelerates in intensity. It can be illustrated by the acceleration of gravity and breakdown of traditional natural laws that happens in front of a black hole. I do believe this is more than a mere analogy. The cosmos is consisting of reuse of mathematical algorithms on all levels from the infinite small to the infinite big. We are in this sense a mini galaxy with a black hole in our soul. We fear the hole as death and at the same time we are attracted to its attraction. The brain-derived possibility of Atma-consciousness in feed-back singularity falls in love with the grand attractor abiding in ding an sich. This is the needle point where death and life meet in a dance room beyond time and space as we know it.

This is what Meditation is all about: to make Atma-consciousness aware of Brahma-consciousness in an expanding self-referential loop with the potential capacity to end in a singular state of explosive conscious not-understanding.
In this context, the following statement from Meister Eckhart gives 'sense':

In unknowing knowing shall we know God.

Eckhart rarely uses the the term consciousness. Among the Western mystics, the singular state of consciousness has been termed 'God'. God is in my view nothing but a projective concept of a rare state of being within man's own event horizon. God abides in a concentrated form in the complexity of the human brain as super consciousnes.

Let us sum up. The 'variability' of consciousness is, at its core is a result of the human brains ability to enter an intensified state of self referentiality. The first looped stage is when consciouness becomes aware of itself in wakefulness.
 
Mystics from all times and places have experienced something that so far have been out of reach of comon man, occupied as he was with the algoritms of survival. Meister Eckhart states:

When the spirit turns from all things
 becoming into the not-becoming....
  
Then the void shines into void.

On the narrow path of describing consciousness as experience, I would now declare that there is a state of concentrated consciousness where it becomes self-aware in being able to experience experiencing.

 
THE OUROBOROS STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
I call this state the Ouroboros state of consciousness.

The Ouroboros state can only happen in highly advanced and complex biological brain structures with an extended capability of self-referentiality.

 
The Ouroboros Snake is one of the world's oldest trans-cultural symbols. C. G. Jung interpreted the Ouroboros as an archetypical mandala.


The snake-god of
the Azteks: Queztacoatl

The Ouroboros state of consciousness emerges when the serpent begins to feed upon itself, symbolizing a sort of mental autophagy. As Meister Eckhart eloquently puts it, in this state, man becomes his own meal.

This existential cycle resonates with ancient Indian philosophy, encapsulating the ceaseless loop of Brahma's creation, Shiva's destruction, and Vishnu's delicate balancing act between the two. In this state, there is neither a true beginning nor an end—yet paradoxically, it consists solely of beginnings and ends.
As T.S. Eliot articulates:

"We shall not cease from exploration,
and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive
where we started and know the place for the first time"

This encapsulates the enigmatic nature of consciousness within spacetime: it both exists and does not exist, and it is in this paradoxical state that it mirrors the Kantian 'thing-in-itself,' of the primordial ground, a state that transcends even the diffuse, omnipresent form of God.
 

Human Consciousness as a Fedback Loop
The ouroboros snake is a perfect methophor for
consciousness going into a feed back mode. Where the attention goes, the prana flows. In introspection consciousness is becoming aware of consciousness in a loop. This is why the introvert question of who am I, is devoid of answers. It creates a feedback loop where the entity that puts the question eats itself before an answer can be made. However, instead of the answer there is a knowing of the process as such. In this state one basically loses the connection to the outside known world in the same way that a microphone in feedback is not able to amplify what it normally is designed to do, like a speech or a song. When information dissolves behind the event horizon of the black hole of consciousness, an abstract subject-object-less consciousness as such arises.

A healthy soul in a healthy body

If the doors of perception were cleansed
every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.
W.Blake

In this context, I would define the term, enlightenment, as a singular feedback of Consciousness into Consciousness. Here Rumi's polishing of the mirror becomes mandatory. Consciousness and it's time-space correlate in the form of the capability of high quality experiencing is necessary for Consciousness to reach a point of no return in order to enter the state of a singular feedback.
A dull and low quality of attentive consciousness, will not be able to reach the point of no return.
 
The first Loop: Being Conscious about Consciousness
The possibility of being conscious about being conscious is most probably a feature that only can evolve in grown-up humans and some of our primate relatives.

The child pictured above is conscious, but it is still not being conscious about being conscious. A trained meditator will often be conscious even in the phase of slow wave sleep. However, only when he wakes up into being conscious of being conscious he can have a glimpse of the fact that he was conscious all along. The meta-consciousness of being conscious will emerge gradualy as we grow up. A human being is, in this respect, a concentrated rabbit hole of self-awaring Consciousness. We are self conscious oases in the vast delicious dessert of primordial unconscious Consciousness.

What is the mirror of consciousness made of seen from the Atma level? It consists of neural feed back connections between brain cells. A mirror is a feed back mechanism.



The human sensory PA system
A phenomenon that can illustrate introverted attention in singular feedback is an amplifier connected with a microphone pointed at itself. When the microphone is busy sensing extroverted sounds like a singers voice, the system fufils the purpose it was created for. However, if a sensitive microphone comes too close to the loudspeaker it is connected with, an explosive sound like a howl will emerge.

 
Click for an example of a singular
feedback created sound loop.

The singularity of sound feeding into its own output radically overwrites the normal functions of the system. As sensory bio-feedback we function quite similar to this self-oscillation process. Actually a professional PA system is designed not easily to go into a feed back mode. Even professional stage microphones for live concerts are designed with a certain dullnes towards subtler weak sounds in such a way that a feed back is prevented already in its birth. Evolution has for sure made the same mechanism for our senses, in order to prevent us from the stand and stare mode when we were supposed to hunt for calories.

Creating a feedback loop between a microphone and speaker requires three key components that are similar to a meditative feedback loop:

• Firstly, the microphone needs to be placed near or pointed towards the speaker. Similarly, we need to get close to ourselves and direct our attention inwards by shutting out external distractions.
  
• Secondly, the input sensitivity of the amplifier must be turned up. Similarly, our senses need to be sharpened and attuned. We can only achieve this heightened inner sensitivity through intimate and vulnerable honesty.

• Thirdly, when the output volume of the amplifier is turned up, there may be a sound feedback. The greater power outlet of the amplifier is comparable to the outlet capacity of a healthy and strong person. When we have an excess of healthy physical energy, with an abundance of chemical-firing neurons, we may find ourselves in various states of flow, even in external situations like running or dancing. This form of feedback is more prevalent in young people.
 

Within this spectrum, there are basically two meditative extremes. One pole consists of sensitive introvert people, and the other of people with lots of outgoing energy.

Visual feed back

Another type of feedback loop can be observed when a camera is pointing at itself through a monitor screen.

Below is a video clip that illustrates a dynamic version of an accelerating introverted loop. The loop in the video is created simply by pointing a video camera at the TV screen it is connected to. The fractal, singular, and kaleidoscopic patterns are created by the handheld camera constantly amplifying its own signal. Tiny movements in the camera create unpredictable and dynamic changes, all leading towards the Great Attractor of infinity.

 
Isn't it thought-provoking that such a simple act as pointing a camera
at oneself can create such surprising and complex phenomena?
 

Self referential Amplification through the five Gates of the Senses
The mirror and the microphone provided us with illustrative examples of light and sound feed back.

In the human body the awarenes of inner sensations and feelings is the first to get activated. Once you close your eyes, there is an instant and automatic rise of abstract sense based awareness within the body. Sense amplification is the first step into the meditative self-referential space.

 
An Indian Saint once shared with me that his first groundbreaking enlightenment experience began with an itching sensation on the top of his head. As he sat in front of an enlightened Master and looked at him, the feeling grew until it consumed him and he lost all sense of time, space, and body.

As a general rule introspective self referentiality happens first through the close and intimate registration of body sensations. From there on it can happen through all the five sense circuits. One can in meditation commonly hear sounds and observe light phenomenons. Even taste and smell can in rarer cases get activated.
 
Thoughts are sounds
Even the thinking mind can be triggered into a self-referential loop.
Repetition of a mantra, where a syllable, a word, or a sentence is repeated mentally or even loud ad libitum, is a sound-based meditation. In this repetition, the cognitive meaning in the thoughts vanishes, leaving the meditator with pure sound. Thoughts, in essence, are sounds. Even the initial "Who am I?" meditation is essentially a thought-based technique that collapses the cognition of thoughts.
 
It's important to note that the quality of self-referential amplification depends on the quality of attention given. Dull and low-quality concentration cannot reach the point of no return, which is necessary for consciousness to enter the state of singular feedback. An attention interface that is too obsessed with chasing external objects will only meet with boredom when looking inside.
 
This state of singular feedback, which I define as enlightenment, occurs when consciousness is amplified into consciousness in such a way that it comes close to the singularity. The capability of high-quality experience in consciousness and its correlation with time-space is necessary for consciousness to reach this point.

Two forms of meditative feedback
In a regular meditation session, most of us will only experience a full-blown explosion of pure consciousness in rare cases. However, less can also do. When turning inward, the level of feedback intensifies, not enough to go into a singularity but enough for us to feel blissful and relaxed. The Indian called this state Sat Chit Ananda.
 

The synaptic dance of the Ouroboros

The ancient symbol of Ouroboros, the serpent eating its own tail, represents the cyclical nature of life, and in the context of neurochemistry, it can also represent the continuous feedback loop of signaling chemicals in the brain. When we meditate, we can experience a range of feelings from relaxation to ecstasy, which can be explained by the activation of the brain's signaling chemical circuits. In this sense, life's purpose could be seen as the pursuit of a cocktail bar of signaling substances, each with its own unique effect, such as serotonin, dopamine, GABA, acetycholine, DMT, and many others. With up to 200 different chemical neurotransmitters keeping the party of life going, the possibilities are endless.

Psychedelics and sense-feedback 
Interestingly, people who use entheogenic substances often report profound experiences of eternity and divinity. This is because these substances increase the sensitivity of the brain's five input circuits, resulting in an explosion of a multitude of self-referential feedback loops. The similarities between meditative and psychedelic experiences is rooted in the world of feedback interfaces. In both cases, sensory impressions are intensified to the point that a singular feedback loop is inevitable, leading to visions and experiences beyond the ordinary.

 
 

 

 

 


NOTES

Two types of meditators
Within this spectrum, there are basically two meditative extremes. One pole consists of sensitive people, and the other of people with lots of excess energy. Usually, the sensitive meditators will be introverted, and the energetic meditators will be more extroverted. Both of these types can go into meditative supervigilant self-swing, but despite this important common gift, they often do not thrive in each other's company. The sensitive meditator's challenge is to avoid narcissistic sensitivity. She must be able to accommodate her vulnerability without going into reactive defense. The energetic meditator's challenge is sometimes a lack of empathy, and his challenge is not to use his abilities as a supervigilant energy bomb for selfish purposes. In a gross generalisation we find the sensitive meditator on the New Age scene and the outgoing meditator in extreme sport, yoga and scientific set and settings. They tend to quantify their meditation, telling themselves and others to count breathing on in and exhales.
This new outgoing meditator is slowly replacing the old new age introverted and sensitive meditator and this devellopment in a way showing how our society embraces spirituality through the process of quantification and commodification.
 
My ideal for a modern meditator would be the ambiverted type on top  of the bell curve.