In this video Deepak Chopra, MD, and Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD., were discussing “the Nature of Consciousness” in front of a large in-house audience. https://www.facebook.com/1975293189394717/videos/2006140909643278/
Kabat-Zinn was talking about his parents who, through their own careers and pursuits, both held very separate views of what reality meant to them, and how he, as a child and then a man, used his parents’ disparate reality views to steer his own late-adolescent life into the subjects that he pursued during his academic endeavors.
If you are into meditation or meditative philosophy, you are familiar with Jon Kabat-Zinn, whose first book that I read way-back-when was Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life.
These two were talking about many of their early-academia influences such as quantum physicist David Bohm and religious scholar Huston Smith, and the Indian mystic/intellectual/philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti whose subject matter included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, and how the group psyche must evolve to meet the needs of this world now awakening. “I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. … The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth.” ―Jiddu Krishnamurti
So basically during this conversation between Chopra and Kabat-Zinn, I’m comprehending that all these previous influential thinkers mentioned by them provided the scaffolding from which each of them constructed their own personal views on life in general, and showed them how best to perceive and interpret this reality experience for themselves. They each created their version of reality through the influence of others who had previously affected them in some way—a newly shared perspective perhaps—a new way of thinking or considering the world around us.
And while I’m writing this, I realize that I’m doing the very same thing in my blog posts—I’m charting the history of my early influences and how my personal philosophy now reflects those influences and the thoughts first expressed long ago by others. Perhaps most of us are mere synthesizers of other’s original thought. Possible, I suppose. Or there is NO original thought, just periods of time in which that thought surfaces for consideration from various receptors of consciousness who interpret it in their own ways.
So back to the nature of reality and consciousness: Here you have two meditation masters discussing the process and benefits of meditation, but also how reality is a personal creation—an intention of how you focus your consciousness. Okay but…..
So what is consciousness? (I thought that’s what they were suppose to discuss but didn’t.)
What is consciousness? Wow—that’s a tough one (which must be why they didn’t get into specifics), other than to say consciousness is awareness of self and the greater surroundings.
Awareness is simply sentience—the ability to feel, perceive, or experience.
But interpretation of that awareness is what shifts the perception to judgment or opinion, and makes for subjective reality, which is how each of us interprets the reality experience for ourselves.
So then does that mean that the nature of consciousness is simply the aware observer observing that whatever is, IS?
Or is consciousness an infinite ocean of Allness from which our meager perceptive abilities can sample only droplets at a time without flooding our sensing mechanisms (blowing our minds)?
I think Eckhart Tolle referred to this previously somewhere, that consciousness is NOT a “thing”—it is EVERYTHING—ALLNESS—the Source of us individually and ALL other possibilities.
Consciousness is that infinite, ever-present ocean—ever churning, ever pulsing, ever being, wave after wave, in indescribable vastness and indeterminable immensity—substance, void, material and non, presence, essence, simply ALL possibilities both imaginable and inconceivable.
For humans, consciousness refers to our material processes of being alive and aware of our surroundings, including the awareness of ourselves.
But consciousness in general is indefinable and indistinguishable from what we refer to as God or Source.
No wonder Chopra and Kabat-Zinn avoided the details on the nature of consciousness in that hour discussion.