What if “Reality” Is An Impostor That Blocks Your Access to Pure Consciousness?
How do you get back to “reality” so that you regain your power as a human?
When my colleagues and I worked with psychotic patients who told us that the television was sending them messages, it was clear that they were disturbed by their own minds. Somehow, their experience of the world spooked them. They were hearing things that nobody else heard—seeing things that nobody else could see. In fact, we were so concerned about their wellbeing, that we immediately shut off those beastly invasions of their minds. On the surface, this sounds great. However, when you do this, you also hurt the body, or cause it to respond violently.
How antipsychotics are also anti-life: When you try to control the brains of people who appear to live outside of our current reality with antipsychotics, they experience brain fog, fatigue, inner tension, muscle stiffness, metabolic dysfunctions like diabetes and obesity.
Curiously, very similar problems exist in many people who do not take antipsychotics. This makes me wonder, is it possible that our “natural” antipsychotics also face physiologic backlash from the body on a day-to-day basis?
How psychiatric “symptoms” may also contain clues about pure consciousness: What if the strange and hallucinatory phenomena that disturb psychotic people could be seen as an overshoot of the brain’s rare tendency to protect us from what we think reality is? What if it is a reminder to us that we cannot actually hear all frequencies of sound—that dogs have us beat on that. Or that rather than people being “after us”, the brain overreacts in some people when it becomes clearer that our consciousnesses are not separate from one another?
What if the mania that we so boldly extinguish from the lives of people who are sometimes wrecked by them, also signifies that ecstasy is possible when you lose your mind? What if depression is the brain’s way of telling us to detach from the reality that we perceive?
In that sense, despite its benevolent origins, does “psychiatry” inadvertently perpetuate the illusion that sane life should be defined by linear thought, fulfilling emotions and whatever is defined by our perceptions? And if we redefine reality and consciousness, might we be better off?
The limits of the perceptual world: I won’t bore you by expounding on the lies that perception can feed us in exchange for the navigational skills it affords us. If you’ve ever watched a helium balloon float around in a room that is apparently still, you’ll know that there are limits to what you can see. Airstreams, atoms, and even anger, are sometimes invisible to the naked eye. The brain’s more superficial function of perception is quite incomplete. In fact, we’ve invented microscopes, telescopes, MRI machines and amplifiers just so that we can expand this perceptual world. However, even they are not enough to define the entire extent of reality.
The psychedelic reminder of reality: Psychedelics challenge reality as we see it. They make you question time, boundaries, and the current conceptualization of yourself. And in so doing, they might alleviate depression, anxiety, and PTSD. While more studies need to be done to properly understand this, despite rearranging the self and introducing another reality, if used safely, the drugs do not routinely perpetuate prolonged psychosis though some report that they can. That’s why supportive psychotherapy is essential for many while using the drugs. In this journey out of perceptual reality, many swear by the transformative effects of these drugs.
Rejecting perception as your primary mode of relating to the world: Of course, perception has it uses. What would we do if we could not see red traffic lights, smell food burning on the stove, or touch people we love? But is it possible that for these very life-saving reasons, we enslave ourselves to perception? In so doing, do we develop a sadomasochistic relationship with our senses, obliterating them from time to time, and (by letting them guard the gates to pure consciousness) letting them obliterate us?
You’re not crazy, burned out, or stretched too thin—You’re blessed: I often got the sense that “mental illness” was simply about people overreacting to the temporary derangement or obstruction of their senses or vitality. Though they turned to “order” to escape these gifts of consciousness, they might have been saved the torture of suicidality, running on highways, or jumping out of their skins by pausing, not critiquing or reacting to these reminders, and simply watching them the way you might watch a dog that smells something that you can’t. Then, the idea is to turn toward what you suspect is the spirit that runs through you.
A materialist approach to spirituality: Consider the following clues to a higher order of being and investigate them as hypotheses. A physics professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth named Vitaly Vanchurin recently reported that the entire universe may be a neural network. If this is true, then our brains may actually have conversation partners outside our bodies.
Certainly, you are reading this because my message travelled some distance to reach you, so the idea that information is suspended somewhere in the atmosphere is not entirely outrageous. This is one idea that supports the possibility that we are connected beyond our bodies. Even after it reaches you, this message can be traveling to a million people at the same time or across time.
Then, an article published in Nature indicated apparently compelling evidence that the universe may be a hologram. Simply put, our experience of a three dimensional reality may be illusory, but we may be possessed by the psychosis that it is not, because we are slaves to our senses. According to many physicists, we may actually be living in a two-dimensional reality, yet we cannot easily conceive of this with our brains.
Anil Seth, professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, has explained that we might be all simply hallucinating our realities. Since we share similar brains, our brains all share the same delusions and hallucinations. When we agree about what we see, it is a kind of massive groupthink based on being misled by the brain.
Pure consciousness: The great sages of ancient wisdom traditions have described a pure consciousness that is unborn, indivisible, and beyond space and time. Philosopher Philip Goff has described this kind of consciousness as being common to all matter. Neuropsychiatrist Peter Fenwick believes that consciousness persists after death. In fact, there are many parallels between physical principles and ancient wisdom traditions (e.g. the idea of a “quantum vacuum” or field of pure potentiality ), though these may simply be metaphors and not actual support of older hypotheses about consciousness.
One of the allures of “pure” or “source” consciousness is that its infinite potential is a field of manifestation and not creation through cause and effect. If one desires this consciousness, one is forever separated from it. It becomes an object.
In order to access it, one must become it and allow it to challenge one’s current conceptualizations of matter and the world of our perceptions.
How to invite pure consciousness into your life:
“Consciousness is pure light, self-luminous by its very nature, that is, although it reveals other objects, it is not revealed by anything else”.
According to Balasubramanian, “Consciousness is the subjectivity; having no relation with any object, it is transempirical, transrelational, and therefore, disembodied.” To know consciousness, is not to analyze it, or probe it with thought. In fact, it is beyond thought. Krishnamurti suggested a useful way to approach this “non-thought” is via negativa—proof by negation.
- Submit to yourself that your brain and perceptions represent a very limited view of reality. Negate them as a primary means of perception.
- Submit to yourself that the subjectivity and objectivity of living matter cannot be divided or subtracted in order to understand life. Negate this division.
- Consider that your entire life is hallucinated from within (or a hologram) and that the shared hallucination you have with others is a testament to your connected consciousness. Negate your belief in what you see.
- Deeply consider that all humans are connected to one another through fundamental consciousness. Negate your perception of separateness.
- Consider that all things came from something. Meditate on what this might be. Use whatever form of meditation you wish, and whatever spiritual or religious vehicle you need.
With the negations above and meditation on the infinite, indivisible consciousness, the experience of your infinite power beyond time and space will become available to you. I am certainly not “there” or whatever is beyond “where”, yet I hope that this description and contemplation will add to your roadmap when life seems dark and you forget that darkness is a reminder to turn toward the indivisible light that courses through you.