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The Physics of Consciousness

Greeting Bloggers!

                I apologize for the delay in getting this blog out but I had major thigh surgery six weeks ago and am finally back to full recovery.

                With the increasing sophistication of many people, as a reflection of their exposure to Net, after-dinner discussion, conversations with friends, and an increasing focus on spirituality, meaning and purpose – one of the most reoccurring questions that comes up is – what is the basic stuff of the universe that gives rise/birth to our everyday reality?

                Over 100 years ago, Einstein stunned the scientific world and won the Nobel Prize by describing how light could appear as either a particle or wave – depending on how the experiment was set up. This laid the foundation for quantum physics. Up until that time, it was believed that atoms and molecules were static—motionless – inert. Again, Einstein confirmed that atoms and molecules were in constant motion – juggling, vibrating and dancing to their own individual harmonies and song. Einstein and his contemporaries also believed that the universe was static – neither expanding nor contracting except for the rotation of the planets around the sun. In 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was indeed expanding and shattered another myth of physics at the time.

                Einstein went on to publish his special theory of relativity with the most famous equation in physics – E=mc2 – which in essence explains how matter and energy are interchangeable. All matter is energy – and energy by increasing or decreasing its vibratory rate can crystallize or materialize into different densities of matter.

It was Werner Heisenberg, in 1925 who put it all together and came up with the foundation of quantum physics – arguably the dominant physics in the world today. Without going into too much detail – the broad strokes of quantum physics are as follows:

First, a photon-light particle or an electron can be in two places at the same time. This is an impossibility in our level of reality and would be analogous to a person being in both Boston and New York simultaneously. This is called bilocation – not possible in our reality but quite common in the sub-atomic quantum world. It is also possible in the reality of certain tribal people and monks. Even with some deeply religious people.

Secondly, in the quantum domain – a particle or electron can go from here to there without crossing the intervening space. Not possible in our reality but electrons are constantly disappearing and reappearing but not in a linear here to there fashion. It is as if the electron goes from existence to non-existence to existence without a cause and effect process.

Thirdly, an electron or any quantum particle can behave as if it is a wave or particle depending on how the experiment is set up. This chameleon like ability is common to all sub-atomic particles when they can shape-shift like the legendary Siberian shamans and certain shamans in the upper Amazon.

Fourthly, if electrons – orbiting around the nucleus of an atom are separated – by say one thousand light years and the polarity of one electron is changed – it’s sister electron – faster than the speed of light will change its angle of polarization to complement its former companion so that they will always have identical angles of polarization. Quantum physicists refer to the strange property in the subatomic world as “non-locality” where one quantum particle can instantaneously influence another particle over any distance despite there being no exchange of force or energy. Non-locality shattered the very foundations of physics. Matter could no longer be considered separate and that there is a strange state of interconnectedness that exists between unrelated sub-atomic events.

                Perhaps even more astonishing is that there is compelling evidence experimentally that the only time any quanta ever manifest as particles is when we are looking at them. Physicists have devised clever strategies to support this conclusion. Physicist Nick Herbert agrees with this interpretation and with tongue in cheek says that behind his back – the world is radically ambiguous and is a flowing, amorphous quantum soup. The moment he turns and tries to see the soup – his glance turns it back into our ordinary everyday reality. I am beginning to think that physicists are becoming more and more like metaphysicists and shamans in their way of viewing the world.

                The point of this brief excursion into our cosmic classroom is to help look beyond the limitations of our five senses. In other words, if you were to micro-size and shape shift into the sub-atomic quantum reality of the chair you are sitting in – nothing would be static. It would be a blooming – buzzing series of vibrations, a resonating exchange of strange, mysterious, subtle energies. Every particle, photon, quark, electron has some mysterious form of energized awareness – the ability to make decisions – for lack of a better description. In other words, nothing in our domain is “dead” – but there seems to be a purpose or meaning at every level of our reality – and these particles are able to respond to the intentionality of the physicists’ experimental design.

                Thus, every person has a part of ourselves rooted in the quantum domain. Every cell in our body – has energetic tendrils – subject to the wild and woolly rules of this mysterious, perplexing underworld which totally violates the everyday sense of our materialistic clockwork universe. It was Einstein who said – the most beautiful emotion we can experience – is the mystical – that we should stand in awe of this strange world—which our dull facilities can comprehend – only – in their most primitive forms.

                I have often wondered whether people like Einstein, Mozart, gifted artist Georgia O’Keefe and many others – in the history of ideas – have a different filter – a wider aperture of consciousness that allows them to dip deeper into the energy sea of consciousness of all that is, was – or will be – lifting the creative insights that we label as genius.

                A brief sidebar – hopefully – to explore and open up another corridor of consciousness for your consideration. For the past 25 years, part of my private practice has included cancer counselling. Most of my patients are committed to being treated with chemotherapy of radiation but there is also an emerging interest of integrating and complementing metaphorically – left brain western medicine with right brain alternative and non-ordinary forms of healing. The complementary therapies such as yoga, Reiki, therapeutic touch, hypnosis and energy psychology are being accepted and there are now 37 medical schools offering courses in alternative therapies.

                However, I was interested in what other cultures were offering and this led to over 20 years of researching and documenting cross-cultural healing practices in Brazil, West Africa, Mexico, the Philippines, and India. In Brazil, I worked with a functionally illiterate woman named Maria who – using just a pair of scissors would open up a patient’s body – no anaesthetic – no antisepsis – no antibiotics – no pain. With a professional CBC cinematographer – we filmed several “operations”. For example, after snipping open a gaping wound in a 28 year old man’s stomach – flies and wafting dust everywhere – the table surrounded by curious onlookers and relatives – she removed what looked like a tumour – pinched the sides of the open wound together – sealed it with a band aid – no suturing – and the patient would be helped off the table – and an hour later he was kicking a soccer ball with his son.

                Very much like Plato’s shadows on the wall of the cave, mystics and philosophers for millennia, and more recently quantum physicists are all saying the same thing: what we see is an illusion – the shadows if you will – that there is a much deeper reality which once it is assessed, can create the miracles of the Maria’s, Saints and Shamans of our world.

                I can’t help but be amused by Woody Allen’s take on illusion – “If our reality is an illusion, then I definitely overpaid for my carpet!”


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