Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mind or matter?

All that is comes from the mind;
it is based on the mind,
it is fashioned by the mind. The Pali Canon c. 500-250 B.C.

Contrary to the Pali Canon, Tule wrote in a comment to Reign of God,
We have no verifiable experience of consciousness apart from that arising from a physical brain.
He and other atheists (some, not all) think that physical stuff—atoms, cells, molecules—create thoughts.
But Sondra Lewis quotes the Pali Canon and writes,
Physical reality is an effect of consciousness, not the cause of consciousness. Consciousness comes first. We sometimes tend to get things upside down, thinking that matter came first and somehow, out of dead, inert matter, consciousness suddenly burst onto the scene.
Here we have the “Mind versus Matter” debate at its most basic level. On a less basic level, the question in this debate only asks whether mind or matter has the bigger impact on events. But the above sides disagree on this basic question: What is the source of everything?

How we answer can make a huge difference in our lives. Check out a past blogpost of mine, Divinity in all, with a message that harmonizes with Sondra and the Canon. Sondra writes:
At its most basic, All-That-Is/ God, is consciousness. Everything that exists, seen and unseen, is an extension of that consciousness. We are not separate from All-That-Is/God. We are an extension of God. We are a part of that Source in the same way that a painting is part of the artist, or a novel is an extension of its author. . . .

We are used to thinking of ourselves in very limited terms, in comparison to who we actually are and what we are capable of. In order to begin to understand the [Seth] material you really have to stretch your concepts of how life and the universe work.
Sondra recommends the book Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts. I’m reading it and highlighting nearly every page. If you’re an atheist who thinks your thoughts are made by physical matter, here is an excerpt to chew on:
The printed line does not contain information. It transmits information. Where is the information that is being transmitted then, if it is not upon the page? . . .
the symbols—the letters—are not the reality.
The reality is spiritual; consciousness lies behind every object; thought is prior to physical reality. And here is the reason, says Seth, that what we believe makes a huge difference in our lives:
When you . . . do not realize that your thoughts and feelings form physical reality, then you feel powerless to change it.
As I indicated a few posts down, I have made huge positive changes in my life by working with the realization that my thoughts produce practical effects. To my emails about all this, Phil Rogosheske responded,
I really enjoy reading this material. I need to ponder this idea that all is consciousness and consciousness is primary. It takes a while to redirect your thinking.
For enlightened Christians who have gone beyond literal belief in doctrine, who regard spiritual advance as the prime purpose of life, and who understand psychology, the Seth material carries us forward. I was prepared for it with the Jungian understandings of ego, conscious, and unconscious. It indirectly affirms religion and goes beyond it to a deeper understanding of spiritual life.

1 comment:

Dave60 said...

Mind vs. matter, from my perspective it really makes no difference except to the individual. If you look at the question as either/ or, you end up on one side or the other locked in a debate without a reasonable answer. The universe exists, we experience it, and how it came into existence is important only in that it gives the individual contemplating the question satisfaction to think they know or have an answer. None of us can prove our answers to anyone else, but we get trapped in the defense of what we believe and this cause much argument and sometimes conflict. One Buddhist sect believes it is futile to focus on what we cannot know and instead focus on life as they experience it in the now. I tend to agree that all we can know is what we can experience. To come to an understanding of that , is to find peace.