“Paradise is regained by finding the wonder within the moment.”—Pico Ayer
In 1988, neuroscientist Christof Koch bet philosopher David Chalmers that by 2023, scientists would figure out how the brain produces consciousness. Five days ago, at the annual meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, Koch publicly admitted defeat and presented Chalmers with a case of fine Portuguese wine.
But he also doubled down, betting that in 25 more years, science would understand the mechanism by which the brain’s neurons produce this thing we call consciousness.
Although nobody’s asking little ole non-scientific me, I would take that bet because consciousness doesn’t originate in the brain. In fact, I believe the brain and all its neural pathways—formulated differently in every person—are actually a deterrent to understanding consciousness.
The brain is designed to take shortcuts. Its purpose is to condense the radiant, always-morphing energy field into a narrative we can understand. It doesn’t begin to show us true reality.
True reality is so vast, so beautiful, so all-encompassing that our puny little bodies can’t begin to hold it all. So we construct—in our brains—a story that fits what we’ve decided is true. Amy Leach, last Saturday’s Awakin Call guest, called it the “tedium of knowing.”
I loved that phrase because that’s what happens when we think we have it all figured out. The brilliance, the wonder, the effervescent energy force cannot get through the conditioning we’ve constructed.
The one facet I do appreciate about the brain is that it’s malleable. So, yes, most of us have grown neural pathways that reflect the anguish of our internal imaginings, but these sagas are only true as long as we keep looking at them. We can unwire our pathways by focusing on what’s really happening in this now moment, giving old habits and constraints less power. That’s why I frequently talk about possibility state as opposed to problem state.
I have no clue where consciousness comes from, but I do know that by focusing on this moment and this moment only, I begin to gradually construct a state of beauty, wonder and grace.
Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World)