Kent Van Cleave
The question is posed, “Even if I know that I am the consciousness or awareness that creates experiences in space and time, how do I get insights on handling those experiences? Because our mind has a limited view and it seems that decisions made using brain logic or mind is like playing blind. Or, is it that consciousness ‘unconsciously’ influences the brain that we are not aware of? Then why do some of our decisions go wrong?”
Pt. Chopra states that awareness is what creates mind, body, and universe, that mind, body, and universe are awareness in disguise. He further states that when our decisions go wrong it is because they come from the mind, and not from a deep level of awareness. He further states, “in the universe everything is correlated”.
I start my reply with a basic premise, drawn from my study of the self. Stripping everything away, going to the lowest common denominator of being, I believe that there is a God principle that underlies all. Everything, from subatomic particle to galaxy, is driven to seek connection. Subatomic particles connect to form atoms, and by doing so, they reach a higher state, a state of enhanced meaning. Atoms connect to form molecules, thereby attaining a still higher state.
It is necessary to broaden the foundation of my argument, so as to support it well, and this requires a topic shift. In my study, experience, and reflection on self, I came to believe, as did the Greek philosophers, that we are triune beings, body, mind, and spirit. This is not incompatible with Pt. Chopra’s taxonomy of body, mind, and universe, particularly if one acknowledges Jung’s beliefs on the unconscious.
The word spirit comes from the Greek spiros, which means breath. I equate spirit with the God principle, the drive of everything to ceaselessly seek connection. As humans, we seek connection because it is the source of all meaning, and we must find meaning, both without and within.
Jung divided the psyche into three parts. The ego he equated with the conscious mind. He also posited a personal unconsciousness, roughly analogous to long term memory, things known but not presently in our consciousness. The third part of the psyche, he stated, is the collective unconsciousness, a universal knowledge born into each of us, representing the distilled wisdom and experience of all of humanity. And there is now emerging evidence to support a collective unconsciousness.
Recently, scientists have been able to write terabytes of information into synthetic DNA, then retrieve and reconstruct it to its original form, indirectly providing support for the idea that we might pass on our experiences through our genes. More recently, direct evidence has shown that we do, in fact, write experience into our DNA. And if that information is there written in our genes, we must have some means of accessing it.
When we mediate, Jung felt, we shift focus from conscious mind to unconscious self. The personal unconscious is our conduit, our means of connection with, the collective unconscious, and the means by which we access that universal knowledge, that universal being. In more prosaic terms, we are accessing the wisdom stored in our DNA,
This is compatible with the Hindu view of our selves. We are ego, or jiv-atman, living in a world, or maya. From our conscious perspective, we view others as separate from ourselves. But jiv-atman is really only a an extension of, and a connection with atman, or the universal consciousness, the universal being. And when we die, we awaken to the understanding that we were, from the beginning, God. “Namaste” roughly translates to “the God in me recognizes the God in you.”
What I am trying to do with these statements is support the proposition that spirit is the same as the universe. The God principle, connection, is spirit, and is present in and determines all. It is the correlatedness that Pt. Chopra speaks of.
Synthesizing this, and responding to the question, Pt. Chopra is right – decisions go wrong when they have not accessed our deeper knowing. Through mind only, we can only connect the surface constructs of our consciousness. Maslow said that we do not have a vocabulary for communicating on spiritual matters. This is why logic-based decisions are more fallible. Truly, we make the best decisions when they are informed by our spiritual wisdom.