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Two Kinds Of Consciousness

Autumn comes late and lasts long in northern California, but the leaves are dropping in droves now. Brown leaves are stacked on rocks in the stream, some jutting straight up and looking like little stupas.

At the apex of the afternoon, an intense stillness and beauty pervades the streamside. Everything stands still, including and especially thought.

The very act of observing the movement of thought, when the illusion of the observer has ended, deeply affects thought, quieting it completely as the brain gathers sufficient attention.

Psychological time ends with the complete quieting of the mind. There is only the slow current of the water and the slow descent of the sun. Soon the creekside is in shadow and what’s left of sunlight is in the tops of the trees.

The familiar place suddenly becomes unfamiliar, as the entire content of knowledge and the known cease to be the filter of one’s perceptions.

The brain gathers attention when there is sustained, choiceless awareness of what is. By allowing awareness to grow quicker than thought’s ancient, separative habit, the observer and self are negated, and thought and time end in effortless attentiveness.

In all-inclusive, non-directed attention there is total negation, which allows another order of consciousness altogether to come into being in the brain. Bringing about that consciousness, and the benediction that comes with it, is the true meaning and purpose of attention.

There are two orders of consciousness, emergent and transcendent. Emergent consciousness, which is synonymous with thought, is the product of the neural network.

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The consciousness that comes to light when the brain is completely, attentively still is what truly and urgently matters. When all separation, division and duality end in passive awareness and attention, the brain is directly in contact with and participates in the ongoing creation of the universe.

As I’ve proposed in this column, it appears that cosmic evolution has an intrinsic intent to evolve, through random means, brains with the capacity for direct awareness of Mind.

The mind as we usually use the word refers to symbolic activity, in other words, thought-based consciousness. That mind enables us to consciously remove and recombine ‘things’ in the environment, and accumulate knowledge.

Mind, as I’m using the word, refers to the state of awareness and insight that comes into being with complete negation of the observer, self and thought. The intelligence immeasurably beyond thought, knowledge and the known is awakened in the brain.

To this point we humans have defined ourselves in terms of thought and knowledge. What happens when computers surpass us in that dimension, as they are about to do?

We are compelled to not just redefine what it means to be a human being, but to bring about the transmutation within ourselves that leaves symbolic consciousness and knowledge largely to the machines, allowing ordinary human beings to awaken the brain’s latent capacity for higher consciousness.

In the history of knowledge, insights occur in the spaces between thoughts and ideas, advancing knowledge, not in the connections between thoughts and existing knowledge.

However the state of insight is a quality of being beyond knowledge and the known. It flows from choiceless awareness sufficient to gather unwilled and non-directed attention.

The first step is negating the observer. There is nothing special about the observer. In its proper place, the observer is simply a functional necessity. Psychologically however, the observer is an infinite regress of thought’s inherent separativeness, producing untold division, conflict and fragmentation of the earth and humanity.

When the observer ends in passive awareness that’s quicker than the ancient habit of psychological separation, the separate self dissolves along with it.

Sustaining the act of observing without the observer, attention grows, gathering in the brain until it is sufficient to completely quiet thought. The self, ‘I’ and ‘me’ have nothing to do with it, and can only impede transcendent consciousness.

When thought completely yields to non-directed attention, the brain comes awakens intelligence beyond thought. That will enable us to use knowledge and technology wisely.

Both kinds of consciousness, emergent and transcendent, are quantum phenomena. That precludes computers becoming conscious. The great contradiction, which we can and must resolve, is that the quantum phenomenon of emergent, thought-based consciousness, which put the human brain over the threshold for transcendent awareness, has become a tremendous impediment to transcendent consciousness.

This is why meditation, contemplation, or whatever we want to call passively gathering non-directed attention, is so important. Self-knowing, and the unmediated perception of what is, enable us to awaken the human brain’s latent capacity for transcendence.

Martin LeFevre

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