Saturday, July 4, 2020
The Practicing Life - Saturday, July 4, 2020 - The Impact of Consciousness
Life is complicated. Right now we face so many challenges. Our perceived ability to control our world continues to slip through our fingers every day. But we are still designed for joy and for community. And we are agile enough to survive this. We’re incredibly creative and adaptable. And though we sometimes use that adaptability and agility to further dig ourselves into a hole, we, for the most part, usually take two steps forward for every one step back. The long game is to our advantage. Have courage.
Perhaps, it would be worthwhile to consider that there is more to us than what we appear. The greater consciousness of humanity—meaning what the majority of us are thinking or praying about at any one given time—has been shown to play a part in how things unfold. Including the ways which appear to be beyond our ability to intervene. Mysteriousness. Is consciousness at work in places we don’t readily assume? Does our consciousness affect things? Things like the planet, perhaps? We’re made of the exact same materials. Just how deeply does our divine spark reach? Just what might we be able to affect by all of us collectively directing our conscious thought toward the same idea?
While several different faiths have a similar idea to this, in Christianity, Jesus is quoted as saying, “When two or more gather in my name, I am in the midst of them.” It’s an interesting statement. And I’ve heard a few interpretations for it, including its usage in prayerful conflict mediation or to align its references to the Old Testament law recommending two to three witnesses in conflict resolution. Interesting to me that both of these explanations involve the repairing of relationship.
But there is perhaps a more esoteric thought to have about why it might be that if at least two or more gather together in the spirit of the same idea, surprising things can occur. It may be for the same reason that it’s good Old Testament advice to have 2 to 3 witnesses on hand when trying to resolve conflict. They’re not just there to witness, they are there to add their consciousness to the proceedings.
In 1993, a national group of trained meditators created an experiment with the intention to decrease the crime rate in Washington DC. They predicted they’d be able to reduce it by over 20% and prepared to catalog the data empirically. Before the project began, the Chief of Police said the only thing that would create a 20% drop in crime would be 20 inches of snow. The study occurred in summer of that year, but it didn’t snow. The crime rate began to drop immediately after the project began and continued to steadily drop until the end of it. Crime went down 23.3% below the time series prediction for that period of the year. Look that experiment up for yourself. Was consciousness there? If so, what does it imply about our capacity to affect physical reality on the level of our consciousness? What did those meditators affect and how?
This points to an idea that when a group of people choose to direct their thoughts toward a particular idea or reality or solution, stuff happens. Just how much is our consciousness capable of doing?
Let’s then consider for a moment what consciousness itself might be. The primary definition of the word consciousness says only that it’s about our awareness of our own surroundings. That we know a tree is over there and a house is over there and we know are standing in between them is, by definition, “consciousness.” The origins for the word ‘conscious,’ though, are about special knowledge, really. Holders of a secret. And also an inner awareness of self, not just our surrounding environment. In the late 16th century, though, the word ‘conscious’ came to mean an awareness of our own personal wrongdoing. In other words, self-conscious. It meant shame.
But we can also use the word consciousness to describe the part of ourselves which is larger than our physical bodies. The part of ourselves which is plugged into the divine. The part which is permanent and eternal and, true to the contemporary definition, utterly aware of its surroundings and its place within the universe. The part which is aware and self-aware but leaves the shame part to us humans. Shame is one of many classrooms of the human experience. It’s appropriateness lies in the overcoming of it.
Back to consciousness, though. Does our consciousness have physics? In other words, are there rules to it? If we were smart enough, could we measure it? Could we invent a device to see consciousness? If we did, what would we conclude from empirically proving our consciousness exists? What might it change and us and how we more deliberately use consciousness as a tool of advancement?
I believe that when two or more gather in the name of something greater than themselves, magic happens. I think when a certain saturation point of our individual minds gather together around a single thought, the thought itself can hear it. On the quantum physics level, it seems that when we gather we have a greater capacity to collapse a waveform around a particular potential into the reality we ultimately experience. I think I sounded very fancy there.
But that’s the quantum physics way of saying that our expectations are often realized on the quantum level where our thought is provable to affect reality. You can look that up too. I think whatever it is that makes that happen we could safely refer to as consciousness.
It could be thought of as a magic wand, of a sort. One that we’re not particularly sure how it works, or just how much power it has. And for which we probably should get a little bit of education. But it’s a power nonetheless. And one that we own for ourselves to do with as we wish. Make an assumption that how you feel and the thoughts you project manage to accomplish something beyond your understanding. Create communities of those who wish to conduct their thoughts in the same direction with you for mutual benefit. May your divine spark, along with the divine sparks of others, together light a fire storm of compassion and resolution for our world. Amen.
Posted by Wil Darcangelo, M.Div. at 12:00 AM