WHAT IS CONSCIOUSNESS? PART 2

The observer mind generates light

In an earlier blog, we abstracted some ideas from various spiritual experiences, proposing that consciousness really consists of an observer mind and that which it is observing. The observer mind is mostly latent in our everyday life, but can become active during meditative or other spiritual experiences.

In this blog, we go further, and suggest that the activation of the observer mind generates light, while the phenomena that is being observed is associated with the absence of light (i.e. the darkness). Thus, our consciousness may be fundamentally connected to the underlying constituents (i.e. light and dark) of the universe.

THE OBSERVER MIND AND LIGHT

Meditator reaches a state of enlightenment

In our blog “What is Consciousness?”, we said that an observer mind could become active and even separate from the body. We go further here to claim that this observer mind produces pure white light. 

NDErs often report that they are drawn into light, which is accompanied by a feeling of universal or unconditional love. In this light, they sometimes meet deceased relatives, communicate with God, and undergo a life review. They also report seeing past lives. Similarly, meditators have clear light experiences, which are associated with deep illumination and universal knowledge. 

What may actually be happening is the observer mind that is latent in everything is awakening. As this awakening happens, light begins to be generated. Thus, light is a byproduct of an awakened mind. 

This makes metaphysical and physical sense. The photon, the fundamental particle of light, is timeless. This property is consistent with descriptions of awakened states of consciousness. The person who awakens often describes feeling that time (and space) are no longer relevant. This could be happening because the awakened state (or enlightenment) literally involves the generation of light. 

THE OBSERVED MIND AND DARKNESS

If the observer mind is associated with light, then that which it is observing may be associated with darkness

If an awakening observer mind is associated with the generation of light, then what about the phenomena being observed? There is a clue from near death experiences. In addition to moving into the light, many NDErs have reported experiencing a deep dark void. What could this darkness be?

This darkness could be the experience of a shadow self from the vantage point of the observer. As the observer separates from what it is observing, the observer self is able to see its own shadow. Shadows occur where light is absent. So just as the observer mind is associated with light, the shadow mind is associated with the absence of light i.e. darkness.

In sum, during meditation or deep spiritual experiences, when we see or experience darkness, we may actually be experiencing our own shadow. Since shadows occur when light is absent, this shadow self contains no light.

THE REAL SELF AND THE ILLUSORY SELF

The self may consist of a real self and an illusory self – two sides of the same coin

So what does all of this say about who we are? If the observer mind generates light, and the shadow self is the absence of light, it points to the idea of a real self and an illusory self. This idea has been discussed in many spiritual and religious traditions, including Hinduism, where the real self is called Brahman, and the illusory self is called Maya. In Christianity, there is God the Father in opposition to Satan. In Buddhism, there is the idea of self and non-self.

We can call these two distinct selves the light self and the dark self. Other names for this are the soul and the ego. If you consider your own mental experience, you may be able to differentiate these two selves. When you are experiencing your light self, you feel motivated, joyful, and connected. When you experience your dark self, you may feel disconnected, sad, fearful, or even engage in antisocial behaviors (behavior that is harmful to others). 

There may be an evolutionary pressure that is selecting for greater self-awareness. Much of our current problems stem from our ego dominated consciousness. As we evolve, we may grow into more connected, compassionate beings, unless we destroy ourselves before then.

CONCLUSION

Light and shadow as fundamental to consciousness

In summary, we have discussed the idea that the observer mind may be generating light, and the shadow mind is associated with the absence of light, i.e. darkness. These two levels of self – the light self and the dark self are complementary – one can’t exist without the other.

The pressures we see in society, ranging from unsustainable systems to increasing authoritarianism will, hopefully, awaken us to who we truly are – an interconnected web of life that exists to experience joy and discover truth. 

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