The Reality of Consciousness

by Peter Russell – 
Wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, the collapse of the wave function and entanglement all point to awareness being an intrinsic aspect of reality. Yet we are still trying to understand them in terms of a worldview that believes the real world to be that of space, time, and matter, and relegates consciousness to some artifact of brain processes.

Yet the one thing of which we are certain is that we are aware. And it is the one thing the current worldview cannot account for. is profound anomaly will ultimately lead to the full paradigm shift to which contemporary physics is, unwittingly, pointing.

With consciousness as primary, everything remains the same and everything changes. Mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry are unchanged. What changes is our assumption as to what they are describing. They are not describing the unfolding of a physical world, but the unfolding of a universal self-aware eld. We are led to the conclusion that the entire cosmos is a vast eld of knowing, knowing itself, and in that knowing creating for itself the appearance of a material world. Why then don’t we see it that way? Why does the material world appear devoid of consciousness?

From the deep pools of Eastern wisdom, to the fast-paced rapids of the West, Peter Russell has mastered many fields, and synthesized them with consummate artistry. Weaving his unique blend of scientific rationale, global vision, and intuitive wisdom, Peter brings a sharp, critical mind to the challenge of self-awakening. The next great frontier of human exploration, he shows, is not outer space, but inner space—the development of the human mind.

He has degrees in theoretical physics, experimental psychology, and computer science from the University of Cambridge in England, and has written ten books in this area, including The Global Brain Awakens, Waking Up in Time, and most recently, From Science to God: A Physicist’s Journey into the Mystery of Consciousness.

Published on Nov 21, 2014

TheseEyesGod

Peter Russell was kind enough to post his original lecture, The Primacy of Consciousness, on his YouTube site in full, not just a clip, by request.  It is such a powerful, ground-breaking presentation that the world deserves to hear it. https://youtube.com/watch?v=-d4ugppcRUE



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Communicating with Care

by Peter Russell –

In all communication, there is one thing that each and every one us requires. We all want to be appreciated, honored, and respected. None of us want to feel criticized, rejected, ignored or manipulated. To reduce it to its simplest terms, we each want to feel loved. I do not mean love in a romantic sense, or some outpouring of emotion, but simple caring. This is the universal bottom line of every human relationship. We all want to feel cared for

If each of us would like to be treated with care and respect, then it should be our intent to give this to others. But what often happens is the exact opposite. Instead of trying to ensure that the other person feels loved and appreciated, we end up in a vicious circle of recrimination and attack.

It usually starts by our feeling hurt over something someone said or did. Whether they intended to hurt us, or whether it is all our own creation does not matter. The fact is we feel hurt, and if we are not fully conscious of our own inner processes, we are likely to defend ourselves by attacking back in some way. It’s not the most noble or wisest response, nevertheless that is the way us less-than-enlightened folk sometimes react.

We may respond with a cutting remark or criticism, a resentful tone of voice, a shift in body language, or simply by making no response at all. Whatever form it may take, the underlying intention is that the other person should feel just a little hurt—not much, not enough to disrupt the relationship, but sufficient that the other person should not feel totally, one hundred per cent, loved.

But if the other person is also less than enlightened, their response to a perceived attack will probably be similar to ours. They will probably attack back, and do or say something intended to make us feel a little hurt and not totally loved.

So the vicious circle gets set up. It may not always be that obvious. On the surface it often looks as if the relationship is going well; both people are friendly with no open hostility. But underneath a sad game is being played out. Each person, in their attempts to have the other person behave in a more loving manner, is actually withholding love from the other. It is little wonder that many couples end up in therapy.

Principle of Right Speech

The vicious circle can be broken if two people start from the recognition that each wants to feel loved and at ease. The question then becomes: How can I communicate so that this requirement is satisfied? This is the essence of a high quality relationship—the intent that other’s should feel cared for and respected

The Buddha called this the principle of “right speech.” If you cannot say something in such a way that the other person feels good on hearing it, then it is better to retain noble silence.

This should not be interpreted as a cop-out. “I have something difficult to say, and I don’t know how to say it in such a way that you won’t feel hurt, so I shall just keep quiet.” We need to get our feelings out, but we need to so in a way that does not initiate the vicious circle of mutual attack. So we should retain noble silence only so long as we need to, while we work out how to say what we have to say in a kind and caring manner.

How can we do this?


There are several things that can help:

Become vigilant against attacking thoughts. Filtering out these less than noble intentions can remove much of the problem at source. Simply the intent not to be attacking can be a major help.

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Avoid expressions or examples that might “push their buttons”, or which they might construe as attacking, even though no attack is intended.

• Speaking the truth is one thing. How you speak it is quite another. Consider how you might shape your communication so that the other person does feel appreciated. When you have something difficult to say, preface it with the reason why you want to say it, letting the person know it comes from an attitude of caring rather than attack. To start by saying: “I value our professional relationship, and want to see it grow, but for that to happen, I need to discuss an issue that is difficult for me,” sets a very different tone than simply blurting out whatever you have to say.

Express your fears. They are also part of the truth, and expressing your fear of rejection, of being misunderstood, or of looking foolish, helps others appreciate your own concerns, and can put them more at ease—which, remember, is the goal of this exercise. Such fears are part of the truth, and expressing them as that—simply the truth of how you are feeling about the conversation—can do a lot to ease communication.

Learn what works. If despite your best intentions, a colleague feels attacked or resented from something you said, ask for suggestions as to how you could have said it better. You will be surprised by how much you can learn.

• When this practice slips, as it surely will from time to time, and the attacking mode creeps in, there is nothing like a genuine apology to set things back on track. Own up to your mistake (we are all human after all), and try to express yourself again with a more caring intention.

The essence of this approach is simple kindness—respect and care for the feelings and inner well-being of another. This is the Golden Rule that is to be found at the heart of the world’s spiritual traditions. In the Bible it is said, “All things whatsoever that ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Similarly, in the Koran we find, “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”

The contemporary sage Ram Dass once remarked that “Relationships are the yoga of the West.” This does not mean our relationships should have us sitting or standing in strange positions, but that they can be a path to spiritual awakening. They can be our greatest teachers. They give us the opportunity to practice not only kindness, but also compassion, forgiveness, and respect—qualities that are surely needed in the world today.

The more that we raise the quality of our relationships at home, work and in life generally, the more that we lubricate the wheels of life, and the more that everything else we have to do becomes that much easier and more enjoyable.

Deeper Meanings of Loving Your True Self

by Peter Russell –

Love your self. It’s a common refrain. One way to interpret this is loving who you are—accepting yourself just as you are, warts and all; having compassion for your shortfalls, while rejoicing in your gifts. Loving ourselves in this way relieves us of much self-judgment and self-criticism.

The Deeper Meanings

We can also love ourselves at a deeper emotional level. We can take that feeling of love, which dwells in our hearts, the feeling that we often connect with loving someone else, and allow it to flow towards ourselves. In this case we are not loving our manifest selves, with all their various qualities, we are simply experiencing love for our self. Culturing such feelings of self-love brings deep ease and relief.

Beneath this individual self there is what some traditions call the “true self.” Others call it the pure self, the unconditioned self, the universal self, no-self, essence, pure being, or true nature. It is that which is always there whatever our experience. It is the essence of what we call “I”—something so familiar and personal, and yet on deeper inspection totally impersonal, without any qualities or character. It is the pure am-ness that we know when the thinking mind becomes still, and we rest in primordial awareness.

The taste of this essential self is delicious. Mystics have written volumes of poetry about its blissful nature. Enlightened ones have urged us to discover it, and to soak in the calm and joy it brings. Knowing this true self is so delightful we do need to develop or culture love for it. We cannot help but be in love it with it.

peterrussell.com

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Deeper Meanings of Loving Your True Self

by Peter Russell

Love your self. It’s a common refrain. One way to interpret this is loving who you are—accepting yourself just as you are, warts and all; having compassion for your shortfalls, while rejoicing in your gifts. Loving ourselves in this way relieves us of much self-judgment and self-criticism.

The Deeper Meanings


We can also love ourselves at a deeper emotional level. We can take that feeling of love, which dwells in our hearts, the feeling that we often connect with loving someone else and allow it to flow towards ourselves. 
In this case we are not loving our manifest selves, with all their various qualities, we are simply experiencing love for our self. 
Culturing such feelings of self-love brings deep ease and relief.

Beneath this individual self there is what some traditions call the “true self.” Others call it the pure self, the unconditioned self, the universal self, no-self, essence, pure being or true nature. 
It is that which is always there whatever our experience. 
It is the essence of what we call “I”—something so familiar and personal and yet on deeper inspection totally impersonal, without any qualities or character. It is the pure am-ness that we know when the thinking mind becomes still, and we rest in primordial awareness. The taste of this essential self is delicious. 
Mystics have written volumes of poetry about its blissful nature. Enlightened ones have urged us to discover it and to soak in the calm and joy it brings. Knowing this true self is so delightful we do need to develop or culture love for it. We cannot help but be in love it with it.

peterrussell.com

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Enlightenment and Perception

by Peter Russell –

A New Way of Seeing – If being right is your goal, you will find error in the world, and seek to correct it. But do not expect peace of mind. If peace of mind is your goal, look for the errors in your beliefs and expectations. Seek to change them, not the world. And be always prepared to be wrong.

Being able to experience reality as it is, undistorted by our hopes and fears, is often referred to as “enlightenment.” The reference “light” in this word is usually thought of in the sense of illumination. A mind that is enlightened is said to be an “illumined” mind. It is a mind that has “seen the light,” or sees things in a new light. There is, however, another sense of the word “enlighten” that is equally appropriate. That is “a lightening of the load. ”

The heaviest burdens in this life are not our physical burdens but our mental ones. We are weighed down by our concern for the past, and our worries about the future. This is the load we bear, the weariness that comes from our timefulness.

To en-lighten the mind is to relieve it of this load. An enlightened mind is a mind no longer weighed down by attachments; it is a mind that is free. Being free, it is a mind that is no longer so serious about things — it takes things more lightly. Could this be why enlightened people often laugh and smile more?

A Shift in Perception

From either perspective — that of illumination or that of lightening the load — the essence of enlightenment is a shift in perception. It is a shift from seeing the world through the eyes of concern, to seeing without judgment; seeing what is rather than what ought to be or might be.

Enlightenment is waking up to the illusions contained in the belief we have been fed with since birth; the belief that whether or not we are at peace depends upon what we have or do in the material world. It is discovering for oneself, as a personal experience of life, that whether or not we are at peace depends upon our perception and interpretation of events.

This alternative way of seeing is to be found at the core most of the great spiritual traditions. It is, for instance, the very foundation stone of Buddhism. As a prince in a wealthy kingdom, the young Buddha — Sidhartha, as he was then called — had everything he could wish for in the material plane. But, like many of us today, he realized that wealth and luxury do not in themselves remove suffering. So he left the palace and set out determined to find a way to end suffering. After six years of studying with various ascetics, yogis and other holy men, and learning many practices and mental disciplines, he was little nearer his goal. Then one day, sitting in meditation, he had a realization that caused him to wake up — and hence gain the name “Buddha”, which simply means “the awakened one”. He summarized his insight in “The Four Noble Truths”, which might be paraphrased as:

1. We all experience suffering in some way or another — mental, physical, emotional, spiritual.

2. Suffering is self-created. A consequence of our desiring things to be other than they are.

3. It need not be this way. We have a choice as to how we perceive the world and live our lives.

4. There are systematic ways to set about changing how we think and perceive.

Parallel sentiments can be found in Christianity. The phrase, “Sinners repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” is often interpreted as an admonishment to be sorry for the day of judgment is coming. But if we look back to the Greek texts we find another possible interpretation.

The Greek word that we translate as “sin” is amartano. This, as Maurice Nichol pointed out in his book, The Mark, is a term derived from archery and mean to have missed the mark, to have missed the target. The target we are each seeking is inner fulfillment, but, imagining this will come from what we have or do, we aim in the wrong direction, and so “miss the mark.” It is this fundamental error as to how to find happiness and peace of mind that is our “original sin.” The word translated as “repent” is metanoia, which means a transformation of mind. So “sinners repent” can also be translated as “those who have missed their target, and not found happiness in the world around you, change your thinking” for what you are looking for lies very close by, within you.

Nor is it just religious teachers who have proclaimed this truth. The Greek philosopher Epictetus, living in the first century AD, made one of the most succinct and powerful expositions of this wisdom when he wrote, “People are disturbed, not by things, but by the view they take of them. “

Choosing to See

In principle, we can make this shift of perception at any time we choose. Whenever we are caught up in trying to make the future the way we want it to be — which, in one way or another, is most of the time — we have the opportunity to look at things differently. Rather than wondering, “How can I get such-and-such so that I can be happy?” we could ask, “Even if I were to get what I want, would I then be at peace?” And, “If I do not get what I want, can I still be at peace?”

If there is a willingness to look at things differently the answers to these questions are nearly always “No” and “Yes” respectively. Then, having let go of our anxiety about the future, our attention is once again free to return to the here and now.

That much is easy. The difficulty comes in remembering to stop and ask. It is in this that we need practice. And for most of us the aspect of life that offers us the most opportunity for practice — and where we most need help — is in our personal relationships. For it is here that we come up against some of our deepest conditioning and some of our strongest judgments.

source – peterrussell.com

Enlightenment and Perception

by Peter Russell – 

A New Way of Seeing:
If being right is your goal, you will find error in the world and seek to correct it. But do not expect peace of mind. If peace of mind is your goal, look for the errors in your beliefs and expectations. Seek to change them, not the world. And be always prepared to be wrong.

Being able to experience reality as it is, undistorted by our hopes and fears, is often referred to as “enlightenment.” The reference “light” in this word is usually thought of in the sense of illumination. A mind that is enlightened is said to be an “illumined” mind. It is a mind that has “seen the light,” or sees things in a new light. There is, however, another sense of the word “enlighten” that is equally appropriate. That is “a lightening of the load. ”

The heaviest burdens in this life are not our physical burdens but our mental ones. We are weighed down by our concern for the past, and our worries about the future. This is the load we bear, the weariness that comes from our timefulness.

To en-lighten the mind is to relieve it of this load. An enlightened mind is a mind no longer weighed down by attachments; it is a mind that is free. Being free, it is a mind that is no longer so serious about things — it takes things more lightly. Could this be why enlightened people often laugh and smile more?

A Shift in Perception

From either perspective — that of illumination or that of lightening the load — the essence of enlightenment is a shift in perception. It is a shift from seeing the world through the eyes of concern, to seeing without judgment; seeing what is rather than what ought to be or might be.

Enlightenment is waking up to the illusions contained in the belief we have been fed with since birth; the belief that whether or not we are at peace depends upon what we have or do in the material world. 

It is discovering for oneself, as a personal experience of life, that whether or not we are at peace depends upon our perception and interpretation of events.

This alternative way of seeing is to be found at the core most of the great spiritual traditions. 

It is, for instance, the very foundation stone of Buddhism. As a prince in a wealthy kingdom, the young Buddha — Sidhartha, as he was then called — had everything he could wish for in the material plane. Like many of us today, he realized that wealth and luxury do not in themselves remove suffering. So he left the palace and set out determined to find a way to end suffering. 
After six years of studying with various ascetics, yogis and other holy men and learning many practices and mental disciplines, he was little nearer his goal. Then one day, sitting in meditation, he had a realization that caused him to wake up — and hence gain the name “Buddha”, which simply means “the awakened one”. 
 He summarized his insight in ‘The Four Noble Truths’, which might be paraphrased as:

1. We all experience suffering in some way or another — mental, physical, emotional, spiritual.


2. Suffering is self-created. A consequence of our desiring things to be other than they are.


3. It need not be this way. We have a choice as to how we perceive the world and live our lives.


4. There are systematic ways to set about changing how we think and perceive.
Parallel sentiments can be found in Christianity. The phrase, “Sinners repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” is often interpreted as an admonishment to be sorry for the day of judgment is coming. But if we look back to the Greek texts we find another possible interpretation.

The Greek word that we translate as “sin” is amartano. This, as Maurice Nichol pointed out in his book, The Mark, is a term derived from archery and mean to have missed the mark, to have missed the target. The target we are each seeking is inner fulfillment but imagining this will come from what we have or do, we aim in the wrong direction and so “miss the mark.” 

It is this fundamental error as to how to find happiness and peace of mind that is our “original sin.” The word translated as “repent” is metanoia, which means a transformation of mind. 
“Sinners repent” can also be translated as “those who have missed their target, and not found happiness in the world around you, change your thinking” for what you are looking for lies very close by, within you.

Nor is it just religious teachers who have proclaimed this truth. The Greek philosopher Epictetus, living in the first century AD, made one of the most succinct and powerful expositions of this wisdom when he wrote, “People are disturbed, not by things but by the view they take of them. “


Choosing to See

In principle, we can make this shift of perception at any time we choose. Whenever we are caught up in trying to make the future the way we want it to be — which, in one way or another, is most of the time — we have the opportunity to look at things differently. 
 Rather than wondering, “How can I get such-and-such so that I can be happy?” we could ask, “Even if I were to get what I want, would I then be at peace?” And, “If I do not get what I want, can I still be at peace?”

If there is a willingness to look at things differently the answers to these questions are nearly always “No” and “Yes” respectively. Then, having let go of our anxiety about the future, our attention is once again free to return to the here and now.

That much is easy. The difficulty comes in remembering to stop and ask. It is in this that we need practice. For most of us the aspect of life that offers us the most opportunity for practice — and where we most need help — is in our personal relationships. For it is here that we come up against some of our deepest conditioning and some of our strongest judgments.

peterrussell.com

The Roots of Thinking

by Peter Russell –

Much of our thinking takes the form of self-talk—conversations we have with ourselves, inside our minds.

Clearly, the original root of this verbal thinking is speech. Speech gave humans the ability to communicate with each other, share experiences, learn from each other, and amass a collective body of knowledge. Using verbal language within our own minds brought many new abilities, including the abilities to rehearse what we might say to another, to recall past conversations, and to plan future actions.

This gave us a whole new way of meeting our needs. We can understand the world around us, how it works, and take steps to improve our circumstances. This is the present root of so much of our thinking.

Needs and Wants

If you look at your own thinking, you will find that a good proportion of it is concerned with meeting a need of some kind or another—the needs for security, approval, love, companionship, status, respect, control, stimulus, comfort, etc..

For many of us, such thinking is going on nearly all the time. Sometimes, it may just be in the background, but it is there, occupying our mental resources. Most of it is a complete waste of time and energy. As Mark Twain famously remarked, “My life has been full of disasters, most of which never happened”.

Looking more closely, you will find that many of these thoughts concern imagined needs—things we imagine we need in order to be happy. We imagine we need someone to regard us in a good light, or we need some new clothes, or we need to eat some gourmet food. These are not true needs; they are “wants” or desires, or in some cases simply preferences. But still they occupy our thoughts.

When we believe we need such things or situations in order to be happy, we become fixated upon getting them, and this leads to no end of thinking about how to get the world to be the way we believe it ought to be.

The Roots of Discontent

This, as so many spiritual teachers have pointed out, is the root of our much of our suffering. By telling ourselves that things need to be different, we create a sense of discontent, a dis-ease.

This is the sad joke about human beings. We all want to find greater contentment, but many of us are so busy worrying about whether or not we will be content sometime in the future, we never allow ourselves to be content in the present. Instead, our minds become preoccupied with planning and scheming, worry and anxiety, hopes and fantasies. And, when things don’t turn out the way we think they should, we easily fall into anger, grievance, judgment, or depression.

When we do manage to get whatever it is we think we want, we may indeed feel better. But we feel better, not because that particular thing has made us feel better, but because we have, for the moment, stopped creating a sense of discontent. We are no longer disturbing ourselves. But before too long we find something else that is missing, and again fall into discontent. And again start thinking about what we might do to make things the way we want.

Return to Natural Mind

Careful observation of the mind reveals that focusing on a particular thought limits our perception. We become lost in thought, unaware of much is what going on around us, and also what is going on within us. A mind caught up in self-talk is less likely to notice how it is feeling, or how the body feels. Moreover, all this thinking results in a background mental tension. There is a sense of tightness in the mind, a constriction in our consciousness.

The world’s mystical traditions repeatedly affirm that the mind in its natural state—that is, before it is filled with thoughts, worries, plans, and regrets—is a mind that is at ease. When we are no longer caught in the “story” of the thought, and our attention comes to rest in natural mind, we become aware of that which was always there, behind all the many forms—the field of pure consciousness from which all thinking emerges. We awaken to the omnipresent root of all thinking. There, beneath all our thinking, we find the freedom, contentment, and ease, that we had sought through all our thinking.

source – peterrussell.com