Kiran Kumar Salagame
Contemporary researches on culture and psychology show that cultural worldviews play a significant role in shaping the psyche of people and also knowledge development across societies. Hence it is more or less agreed that modern scientific psychology is a product of Western ethos and does not qualify in its present state of the art to be called universal in its scope and application. A most fundamental aspect of any cultural worldview is its ontological position vis-a-vis the origins and the nature of the universe. Two primary views have prevailed across societies viz., material and spiritual. The former asserts that Matter is the phusis (Greek), the ultimate substance, of the universe and the latter Consciousness. Under the influence of naturalism, the former has dictated scientific development and to a great extent even the Western ethos. On the contrary, the primacy of Consciousness is upheld in the Indian cultural worldview for ages. In the past few decades, however, advancements in physical and natural sciences have led scientists to uphold the view that Consciousness is primary and that has resulted in a re-visioning of the universe. In this context, Indian spiritual traditions and their teachings, in particular Vedanta and Samkhya-Yoga are found to be relevant in advancing our knowledge of Consciousness. This presentation examines how bridging the two streams of knowledge developed within the framework of two different worldviews can also advance our knowledge, without reinventing the wheel, and reducing the time, energy, and resources spent on research which may be spent usefully otherwise for the benefit of humanity.
Kiran Kumar Salagame, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology (Retired)
University of Mysore
Marcus T Anthony
Protests across the US in 2020 have occurred over concerns about perceived injustices, especially in the wake of the George Floyd murder. Yet popular representations of the situation often lack depth, ignoring underlying psycho-spiritual drivers. In this article futurist Sohail Inayatullah’s (2018) Causal Layered Analysis will be employed to posit a deeper understanding and suggested solution, addressing immediate and systemic factors, but expanding into the mythic, metaphorical and paradigmatic. It will be argued that the arrival of ITopia (IT-focused cultures which mirror mechanistic western values, conceptions and ways of knowing) and the crisis in sensemaking (Anthony, 2020b) have exacerbated an estrangement from the body, society and the psyche. This is now coupled with a sense of disempowerment. However, power can also be framed internally, as the capacity to witness and assume responsibility for the mind. Most social justice narratives today lack deep mindfulness and fail to address deeper psycho-spiritual issues. This paper introduces “responsible active citizenship,” which is founded upon embodied presence and cognitive responsibility (Anthony 2020a,b). Further, an expanded awareness of integrated intelligence (Anthony, 2008, 2017) may help dissidents access expanded intuitive wisdom, facilitate awareness of the potentially destructive shadow and generate wise actions. The essential argument here is that the development of greater internal agency and expanded consciousness (or intelligence) may form part of the response to the political and social challenges of 2020. Embodied presence and integrated intelligence are presented as cognitive structures which might underpin social activism now and in the future, in the spirit of the non-violent resistance of Martin Luther King and Gandhi.
There is an evident battle in our current cultural mileau and this is the result of a severe imbalance. There are systemic power structures that dominate instead of collaborate, that replace the wisdom of the heart’s voice with institutionalized rhetoric, and that seek to control instead of liberate. The mind is locked in a conflict between that which has been embedded through education and the dominant disciplinary discourse from K-12 and beyond and the still small voice of the intuitive heart/psyche with it’s innate gnosis leaving many in our society in angst and floundering. The mental health system or the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry is the main structure that moderates, names and is the sole arbiter of societal “well-being” and their modus operandi only deepens and expands this condition as personal power and agency are usurped. Any person who enters this system is removed from the “Real” as explicated by ecosystemic scholar Charlene Spretnak. One could say that the mantra of our current paradigm is, “If the shoe don’t fit, wear it anyway.” The rise of the feminine aspect of consciousness is being witnessed in the upheaval across the world against these archaic and dominating systems as humanity seeks to transcend and give voice to the heart, so balance can be restored. As consciousness scholars, shamans, mystics and healers how do we bring voice to the voiceless, light to the darkness, embrace and heal the Feminine Soul and have the courage to transform the very systems we are bound to?
Debby Flickinger and Martha Brumbaugh
This is a 10–15-minute conversation (either live or prerecorded) between Dr. Debby Flickinger and Dr. Martha Brumbaugh focusing on the internal and external miracles that emerge when the tenth Caritas Process™ intertwines with Cross-Cultural Shamanic Practice. It will be followed by a 5-minute question and answer session on Zoom.
Dr. Flickinger will demonstrate how Caring Sustainability™ is a caring consciousness that is the reconnection of self, others, and nature with the desired outcome of balance and harmony; when we are open to mystery, we can redirect our course and deepen our understanding of how the universe works and the role we, as individuals, play a part in creating our reality within living systems and conscious awareness. Dr. Brumbaugh will establish how Cross-Cultural Shamanism strives to reconnect one to self, others, and nature. She will explain how the shamanic journey and other ways of knowing, one is elevated to a closer relationship with higher states of consciousness. The healing modalities we will engage in this conversation have the potential to expand consciousness and weave a web that connects mind, body, and spirit. The expected outcome from the presentation will be a heightened sense of consciousness through an ever-expanding view of the web of sustainability and caring practice.
Considerable attention by scholars and scientists has been given to the differences between science and spirituality. Yet could there be a cause or a substratum between these two subjects that is the same? Little attention has been directed to the possibility of cosmic energetics being responsible for the creation of
the universe. This includes our world of time, space, forms, creatures, processes, cycles, science, humankind, ideas, and thought processes. This paper aims to delve behind the created universe, to a cosmological dimension that existed prior. During the earliest period of creation, there may have been cosmic forces responsible for first micro-organisms of creation, processes, stages, elements, and all creation.
Some peoples claim that creation was performed by a divine being or God; others claim that creation of the universe was a natural process of cosmic intelligence. Either due to a divine cosmic being orchestrating a substratum of cosmic forces, or due to a phenomenon of cosmic intelligence, the entire creation occurred. Science, philosophy, spirituality, and psychology all have interest in what exists beyond materiality. Perhaps the concept of consciousness used by scientists, the concept of transcendence used by religions, and transformation used by psychology have a common denominator for transpersonal change.
Keywords: light, action, dullness, cosmic
energetics, nature/materiality, human mind,
Fox and Christoff (2014), in their theorizing about putative neural correlates of metacognition and mind wandering in states of creative thinking, mindfulness, and lucid dreaming, posed a question whether continuous metacognition could be a state useful for “personally relevant, higher-order goals” (p. 19). They defined metacognition as the “ability to reflect upon, comment about, and report a variety of mental states” with inclusion of “metacognitive judgments about perception and performance” (p. 3) in total of 36 operationalized variations of metacognitive processes. At the same time, in their theorizing about neural markers of metacognition, they excluded non-lucid dreaming state of consciousness from due to “deactivation of prefrontal cortical regions involved in executive control and metacognitive monitoring” (p. 15); this notion continues to be unexamined.
In this presentation of phenomenological research conducted with Fox and Christoff’s (2014) 36 definitions of metacognitive evaluations, I will demonstrate that even though non-lucid dreamers are immersed in dreams without awareness of external wordl, in problem-solving dreams (Kozmová, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018), they are able to use varieties of metacognitive processes. The particular situations of dreamers’ problem-solving (or its active avoidance) include self- or environment-made problems, difficulties, dilemmas, or need to satisfy curiosities; these are akin, given the dreamers’ attempts to solve or strategize about them, to “personally relevant, higher-order goals” (p. 19). I propose that non-lucid dreamers, by using metacognitive evaluations as part of their executive skills repertoire, are taking psychological and emotional control over uncomfortable, threatening, or curious events even without support of neural correlates.
Historians, medical and otherwise, will be studying the disaster of the American response to the novel Covid-19 Coronavirus compared to other developed nations for generations; it has no parallel in modern history. How in the world could the richest nation in the world, with the greatest medical resources and with only
4.23% of the world’s population, end up with 25% of the world’s coronavirus cases and deaths? One person every 80 seconds is dying in America, as I write this sentence. But as bad as this catastrophe is, it doesn’t mean it cannot be instructive and that important insights cannot be drawn from what is happening.
As any engineer or physician knows, when you stress a system, mechanical or biological, its faults, flaws, and weaknesses stand out in bold relief. Failure is often a better teacher than success. This presentation argues, on the basis of scientific social outcome data, not philosophy, speculation, or political partisanship that central to any evaluation of the coronavirus pandemic is the need to change social consciousness. This presentation will address the need for universal birthright healthcare system as a first step. Then the role of American financial inequality and racism that the pandemic has brought into focus. Also the role of police brutality and racism in America in events such as this pandemic. Particularly I would like to place the Covid-19 pandemic trend in the context of two other trends: climate change and migrations, and propose that the world has been confronted with a teaching moment that must not be ignored. How we deal with these three trends -- climate change, pandemics, migrations -- will determine what the world will be like probably for the next several centuries.
Panpsychism is the idea that consciousness may be fundamental to matter. It offers a more straightforward solution to the “hard problem” of consciousness than seeking to explain the rise of self-awareness through the brain and its neurochemistry.
In her recent book, Conscious, author Annaka Harris suggests a variation on panpsychism: that consciousness may be fundamental in the same way as spacetime: as a continuous, pervasive field. Such a field would give rise to a range of conscious possibilities as it interacts with matter. The universe, she speculates, could be teeming with types and degrees of consciousness – “flickering in and out, overlapping, combining, separating…in ways we can’t quite imagine, rules by physical laws we don’t yet understand.” This variant of panpsychism has been termed cosmopsychism.
I propose an original critique of this evolving point of view, in 2 parts. First, I will argue for a de-emphasis of consciousness and a greater emphasis on sentience. Since a good deal of human functioning takes place beneath conscious awareness and without individual volition (e.g., proprioception, the circulatory system, the enteric nervous system, the immune system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, placebo effects, dreaming), functions such as these that underlie consciousness must be understood as prerequisites for self-awareness. Organisms’ unconscious capacity, therefore, ought to be recognized as a fundamental aspect of whatever ‘field’ is being postulated by cosmopsychism.
Second, if the capacity for sentience is intrinsic to matter or if (as in Harris’ view) this capacity acts upon matter as a field, it is conceivable that that the universe is hospitable to feelings. As Antonio Damasio has said, the “feeling of what happens” is fundamental to consciousness. It might even be that intense, unconscious feelings can become accessible to others via the field that Harris postulates. This would serve to explain the synchronicities and ESP-type perceptions that some people experience, which seem to revolve around significant felt meaning. Such “meaningful coincidences” are, on inspection, meaningful because they tend to illuminate – either directly or through symbolism – some deep feeling, intuition, or connection with another. Indeed, such experiences could demonstrate the validity of cosmopsychism.
Although the link between art and consciousness has long been fertile ground for rumination, when it comes to efforts at defining consciousness, the improvisatory dimensions of the performing arts often falls to the wayside. In this presentation, I share thoughts about possible insights to be derived from improvised music, jazz and beyond, into important facets of the nature of consciousness. I begin with the long heritage of improvisers-contemplatives in the jazz tradition, and discuss the intimate link between improvisation and meditation. I explore the realm of collective or intersubjective consciousness that is enlivened in collective improvisation and group meditation as a particularly fertile aperture into the nature of mind. I take the common hard-problem of consciousness and posse a second-tier hard problem: Is enlivened interconnected experience epiphenomenal to individual experience, or might it be primordial—as in an intersubjective field dimension of consciousness that is always, already existent, and is enlivened through collective performance?
From a non-materialist standpoint, the answers to both hard problems have striking similarity: Consciousness does not emerge, it is primordial; collective consciousness is not epiphenomenal to individual consciousness, it is primordial to it. I use this topic as a bridge to consideration of the socio-political dynamics of consciousness inquiry, where insights from improvisatory creativity can uphold a dislodging function in the quest. I close with reflection on racial ramifications of this inquiry: Might, in our newfound awareness of the plight of African Americans, the black musical tradition be a unique source of insights into one of predominant questions of our time—What is Consciousness?.
Elizabeth W. Krasnoff, PhD(c)
~ Vibration is the language of consciousness (Laszlo, 2017).
~ Consciousness is more like music than computation. The brain is like an orchestra. Like improvised jazz (Hameroff, 2018).
With a background in Jungian psychology and music, and as a certified Sound, Intuitive and Heartmath® practitioner, I started a sound healing and intuitive counseling practice called Sound Medicine®. Working with sound raised many questions. How are sound and consciousness related? How do we heal with sound? Can sound entrain our brains to advanced levels of consciousness? This talk shares my transdisciplinary PhD research on how auditory binaural beats influence consciousness and the human nervous system and brain. We will visit 28 recent clinical studies on binaural beats from the fields of neuroscience, cognitive psychology and health to understand the current state of knowledge.
I will take you on a tour of what binaural beats are, how we hear them, and the contemporary claims of binaural beat healing audio programs. We will review the five basic brainwaves and their correlative cognitive states of consciousness, and then relate this to the neural gateway of consciousness regulation, the reticular activating system. Then we will look at a summary of these published binaural beat studies to see what has actually been discovered to date.
We will see that external frequencies can resonate or entrain brainwaves; that binaural beats, the difference in two frequencies, can illicit a resonance with brainwaves; and that through selection of BB frequencies we can induce states of consciousness. I will conclude with suggestions for future research in this field.
Research on nonduality is a task that gains in importance given the growing popularity of meditation and the rising number of people seeking a shift in their consciousness. More empirical psychological data is necessary to provide reliable information about specific traits and effects of nonduality, to provide a more complete picture of any mental health or social adjustment implications. A between-groups quantitative study has provided data on how people in four different nondual groups reporting themselves as either “spiritually awake” or persistently “nondual” scored on tests of depersonalization, dissociation, self-expansiveness, general mental health, and memory.
Just as there has been a time in life when the human was not yet embodied on the earth, the higher planes of consciousness may be waiting their time to become a part of our present embodied reality. The human body in sympoiesis with Nature and Cosmos provides process ontology for an emergent ontogenesis with the universe. This unifying view sees the world of the human, Nature and Cosmos as one interwoven primordial
reality where higher and higher forms of consciousness evolve out of a process of involution and evolution at various planes of multiplicity. This is the next stage of development for the entire planet if we are to survive the fragile condition we find ourselves in. As we approach the age of ecological collapse, the human must now shift towards new strategies for survival. The need to explore biological complexity in conjunction with the processes of life makes itself clear. We can no longer be sustained by an ontology of fragmentation. We must find new ways to recapture our human destiny within the community of life processes that shaped us. This is coherent with Jean Gebser’s view of ‘Origin’ and also Teilhard's new Christology. In Teilhard (1959) a
cosmic/transcendental principle (noosphere) is immanent in all entities in the cosmos and seeks to individuate itself through them.
Dying needs to be considered from two points of view, firstly from that of the body and secondly from that of consciousness. The major steps in physical death are well known so will not be repeated here.
The changes in conscious according to the Dali Lama start about 2 years before death. About two weeks before dying death bed visitors are often seen entering the room of the dying, ,they would sit on the bed, which was very comforting for the dying. Maybe one or two, but sometimes a group of old dead friends may come to visit. Visitors are usually only seen by the dying, sometimes by relatives and caring staff and occasionally by children. The message usually is that they have come to help the dying person through the dying process. In the week or so before death the dying will move into another reality, which is described as being full of love and light, spiritual beings and occasionally dead relatives. The dying are shown what the transition will be like and then they return to the hospice or hospital. It would seem that this process is the beginning of separation from the physical body. Just before death patients who have been in long term nursing care and are demented or paralysed may suddenly recover their ability to recognise family, though they may not have done so for a considerable time, or they may sit up in bed using a paralysed limb. This is terminal lucidity. They may greet
the family and often deathbed visitors, wish the family goodbye and then lie back in bed and die.
At the time of death the dying person may visit a friend or family member close to them and give them a message, usually that they are alright and there is no need to worry about them. Then they disappear. Also at the time of death many other non-local phenomena occur. Light may be seen in the room, clocks may stop,
pets at a distance may howl, shapes may be seen leaving the body.
Monika Renz, in a large series of cancer deaths in Switzerland having rated the patients for spiritual experiences, anxiety, pain and denial. She defined three phases in the dying process, pre-transition,
transition and post-transition. During pre-transition the person realises that they are going to die and comes to terms with this, by clearing all attachments, as nothing can be taken with them. And for
the death process to proceed with minimal anxiety it was important that this phase was completed successfully. Failure to do this will lead to a turbulent transition.
Transition is an intermediate phase, when the egoic structures have been loosened and consciousness is in the process of changing. In post-transition non-dual consciousness becomes established and there is an expansion of consciousness in the conscious state. In this view of the death process , death is an expansion of consciousness and not a reduction. It is clearly a very interesting time, with many non-local phenomena appearing.
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