Consciousness as the Ultimate Reality

Rick Archer of Buddha at the Gas Pump fame shared this article. I quite enjoyed it and asked if I could post it here.

by Rick Archer

At this year’s [SAND] conference I’ll be moderating a discussion between Bernardo Kastrup and physicist John Hagelin. I wrote this little essay in the context of some correspondence with Bernardo, after my interview with him on Buddha at the Gas Pump. He and I were working from the assumption that consciousness is the ultimate reality, manifest creation being an excitation of that underlying field, and were discussing whether inanimate objects can be conscious.


Update – Rick asked me to replace the text with a slightly updated version:

Everything is a self-localization of consciousness, whether conscious or not. In other words, everything is consciousness, but not everything is conscious in any meaningful sense.

Consciousness is omnipresent – all-pervading. Therefore a rock is as much in consciousness and consciousness in it as is a human being. Look to the atomic and sub-atomic levels in either and we see the same orderly laws of nature at play. But move to lesser degrees of magnification and we see much more sophisticated, complex structures in living beings than in rocks – structures capable of reflecting consciousness enough to be conscious, conscious that they are conscious, and in the enlightened, conscious that they are consciousness.

Analogously, we might take the raw materials from which a radio is made – metal, silicon, glass, plastic, etc., and throw them in a heap on the floor. They won’t function as a radio, yet they will be permeated by the ubiquitous electromagnetic field every bit as much as would be a functioning radio capable of interpreting certain frequencies of that field as music.

You could do the same with a human being. Take the elements that comprise a human being and put them in containers on a table. Like everything else, they are universal consciousness appearing as form. But they are not conscious in any meaningful way. But “assemble” them properly – or let nature do it – since human intelligence is incapable of doing so – and you have a conscious being.

The raw elements comprising the “unassembled” human being are consciousness appearing as form no less than those in the “assembled” one. It’s just that the properly “assembled” elements form an instrument capable of conscious experience, while the unassembled elements do not.

“God sleeps in the rock, dreams in the plant, stirs in the animal, and awakens in the human being.” – Rumi

God sleeps, dreams, and stirs in the rock, the plant, and the animal because they don’t have brains and nervous systems capable of enabling consciousness to be fully awake to Itself, but human beings do. It’s just a matter of taking full advantage of the marvelous instrument with which we all are endowed.

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4 Responses to Consciousness as the Ultimate Reality

  1. Davidya says:

    In the context of this site, this is the unfolding reality between Self Realization or Cosmic Consciousness and the advanced stages of Unity.

    In Brahman stage, this is supplanted by Brahman.

    I put this in some context here:

  2. Davidya says:

    As it works out, SAND did not accept the original article above as it wasn’t explanatory enough. Rick rewrote it and that just went live on SAND now.

    Myself, I like the above better but he does expand on and introduce other points in the larger article here:

  3. Davidya says:

    As a followup, Hagelin cancelled and was replaced by Chris Fields in the panel. I found Bernardo had a much stronger position.

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