A New Way of Envisioning
Consciousness and the Brain
by Daniel Neiman
Consciousness and the Brain
by Daniel Neiman
In a similar vein, psychic Ingo Swann, who is well known for his gift in remote viewing - the perception of objects or events outside of one's sensory awareness - was tested to see what his brain activity was like when he used his psychic power. In the experiment, run by Dr. Michael Persinger, he was hooked up to an EEG machine and asked to identify objects in a distant room. "At the very moment that he was able to 'see' the items remotely, his brain showed bursts of fast activity in the high beta and gamma range...Those bursts of activity occurred primarily over the right occipital region, the portion of the brain relating to sight." Furthermore, an MRI scan showed that the large parieto-occipital right-hemisphere lobe of his brain, which is involved in sensory and visual input, was 'unusually large'. 38
Again, as with the Buddhist meditators, we see that advanced awareness and perception are associated with gamma-ray brain activity, which is the highest level of electromagnetic frequency. Moreover, we see that areas of the brain can grow and strengthen their neural connections through performing tasks that utilize those brain areas. Most importantly, it is conscious intention that lies behind it all. Without regularly exercising the large parieto-occipital region of his brain through the conscious intention to see faraway places and objects, would this area of the brain be as large in Swann as it is?
It seems likely that it would not be in light of the Lazar study which showed that Buddhist meditators had thicker than normal brain areas that were activated during their many years of meditation. However, it could be that Swann was simply gifted from birth with an unusually large parieto-occipital region of his brain. Likewise, it could also be the case that people who are drawn to become meditating monks already possess thicker portions of the brain related to attention and sensory awareness. So, we can only tentatively conclude that focused intention can permanently change the structure of the brain. Further research will hopefully clarify this issue.
Now we've seen examples of people decreasing activity in certain areas of the brain, as with OCD patients and subjects trying to control emotional response to stimuli, and examples of people increasing activity in certain areas of their brain, as with Buddhist meditators and Ingo Swann. This all shows us that by consciously focusing our thoughts we can control the flow of energy in our brains and even control the brain's development; clearly, consciousness is the director of matter.
Another category of conscious control that deserves equal mention is belief. The focused attention of your thoughts is one thing, and deeply held beliefs are another. Everyone knows about the placebo effect, whereby someone's belief that they are receiving a medicine is all it takes to make them better, regardless of whether or not they are actually receiving a pharmaceutical drug. However, this effect takes many forms, not just in regards to pharmaceutical medicine.
One interesting study, run by University of Michigan researchers, tested the placebo effect by injecting saltwater into the jaws of young, healthy men. The saltwater should have created painful pressure in the subjects' jaws. However, the young men were actually told that they were receiving pain relief. Well, the suggestion worked. "They reported feeling better. The placebo treatment reduced the brain responses in a number of brain regions known to be implicated in the subjective experience of pain." 39 In other words, the person's belief that they were receiving pain relief triggered the brain to respond in accordance with that belief. Again, one's consciousness is in the driver's seat.
Another study looked at the effects of 'sham surgery'. This is where a person goes in for surgery, is put under, given incisions to look like something has been done, but no actual surgery takes place. The patient is simply cut open and sewn back up again. I will quote one example from The Spiritual Brain:
"...a 2004 study compared thirty patients who received controversial embryonic stem-cell implants for Parkinson's disease to patients who received only a sham surgery. Those who thought they had received the stem cells reported better quality of life a year later than those who thought they had received the sham surgery, regardless of which surgery patients had actually received."40 (emphasis added)
All of the evidence examined so far shows that consciousness has direct control over the body. By consciously directing your attention or thoughts, you can directly control the flow of neuronal activity in the brain. Furthermore, an ingrained belief also instantiates brain and bodily processes to conform to that belief.
In my view, the brain produces conscious awareness while you are in a physical body, your conscious awareness being what you actually experience. However, this electromagnetic energy of the brain is the result of consciousness operating through the brain. Consciousness is the light that sustains the body and moves the energy within it. Without conscious light, the body dies. There can be no zombies.
The brain is constantly transmitting information about the body and outside world, as received through the senses, to conscious awareness. The brain is also being guided by consciousness to produce emotions, thoughts, direct awareness to certain sensations, memories, or other areas of focus, or to move some part of the body. A conscious thought could be said to be received by the brain, as if there were some transfer of energy. However, in my view, consciousness can directly control brain activity.
To me, consciousness is the intelligence using the brain as a medium to operate through. Consciousness, therefore, has no need to transfer anything to the brain. Rather, consciousness produces a thought by directly moving the energy of the brain to create the energy pattern associated with that thought. Since consciousness underlies and forms the energy, it is in control of how that energy is formed, or the pattern that it takes.
Consciousness is like the ocean, and the waves on the ocean are the energy that we see manifest in physical reality. The wave rests on the ocean and the ocean can direct that wave and manipulate it in any way it sees fit. So too can consciousness direct the energy of the material world. As the basis of the material world, consciousness can create any energy pattern it wants. Our individual aspect of consciousness can do the same with the brain, creating specific energy patterns in the brain to create the desired experience.
Furthermore, consciousness stores all of the information ever experienced via wave patterns. When the brain is no longer functional (when you die), then consciousness no longer has an interface to operate through and so separates from the body and returns to its Source.
Now, we are ready to tie all of the preceding sections together. There is a Supreme Consciousness at the base of reality. It is an Intelligent Consciousness containing infinite possibilities. This Consciousness contains infinite energy in potential and manifests the energy of the material world from this infinite potential, at the same time determining the patterns which that energy takes. It directs the material universe via what we know as the laws of nature, which are really like habits of mind of the Creator. The laws of nature are no more than the ideas about how to run the universe in the Mind of God. DNA and cellular structures show clear evidence of intelligent design.
Now, based on this model we can easily postulate that the Consciousness underlying reality is the Intelligence that forms and directs all the energy of the material world. It is in direct control, not through some sort of transfer of energy, but because it manifests the energy in the first place. Instead of random evolution, then, we may speak of intelligently directed evolution of life. DNA was created by the consciousness underlying reality creating specific patterns of energy, or matter. DNA can then be said to be an intelligent formation of cosmic consciousness, just as our consciousness forms the energy patterns in our brain. Our individual consciousness is but a tiny aspect of this overall consciousness. Our brain acts as an interface for this aspect of consciousness to experience material reality.
by Daniel Neiman
Reprinted by kind permission of Daniel Neiman