For most of us, the everyday experience is dualistic. There seems to be a separate, subjective ‘me’ who witnesses objects, thoughts, events, emotions…
Yet by means of meditation we can glimpse the true reality of a unified field of consciousness. Everything is one, and everything is many – at the very same time and without any contradiction whatsoever.
As modern science progresses, it offers more and more conceptual understanding of this beautiful experience of transcendence.
Unified field of consciousness from the perspective of NEUROSCIENCE
One of the most interesting new approaches to the workings of brain and consciousness has been developed by the Dutch scientist Pim van Lommel.
Starting his career as a cardiologist, he witnessed many baffling occurrences of near-death experiences: patients with cardiac arrests seemed to ‘remember’ with amazing clarity events which had taken place when they had been declared clinically dead.
Picked by curiosity, Pim van Lommel studied this phenomenon systematically for more than 20 years in a wide variety of hospital patients.
He published his findings in the renowned medical journal The Lancet, causing an international sensation both among colleagues and the lay public.
Pim van Lommels take on the unified field of consciousness centres around the concepts of non-locality and interconnectedness:
“The mind seems to contain everything at once in a timeless and placeless interconnectedness.
The information is not encoded in a medium but is stored non-locally as wave functions in nonlocal space, which also means that all information is always and everywhere immediately available.” (van Lommel, p. 224, 244)
The implications of this hypothesis challenge dramatically the perception of individual consciousness as something limited and folded upon itself:
“In this new approach, complete and endless consciousness with retrievable memories has its origins in a nonlocal space in the form of indestructible and not directly observable wave functions.
These wave functions, which store all aspects of consciousness in the form of information, are always present in and around the body.
The brain and the body merely function as a relay station receiving part of the overall consciousness and part of our memories in our waking consciousness in the form of measurable and constantly changing electromagnetic fields.
In this view, brain function can be seen as a transceiver; the brain does not produce but rather facilitates consciousness.” (van Lommel, p. 265)
Unified field of consciousness from the perspective of QUANTUM PHYSICS
What sounds radically new in the field of neuroscience, has been a familiar paradigm in modern physics.
The seeds of the theory were laid already by Albert Einstein himself when he postulated that everything in the universe is relative and the existence of different worlds and forms and phenomena can only be accounted for in terms of relativity.
One of the first physicists to take this perspective to its logical and scientific conclusion was David Bohm.
The founding father of quantum physics proposed several metaphors for what the reality of energy/matter continuum looked like.
“The universe and everything in it – including us – may, in fact, be part of a grand cosmic pattern where all portions are evenly shared by every other.
Encapsulating this unified view of nature, Bohm simply stated, “The new form of insight can perhaps best be called ‘Undivided Wholeness in Flowing Movement.’” (Braden, p. xiii)
Towards the end of his life, David Bohm relied mostly on the concept of a hologram to explain the workings of a unified and undivided cosmos:
“Reflecting on the interrelated nature of creation, he became more convinced that the universe works like a grand cosmic hologram.
In a hologram, every portion of whatever the object is contains that object in its entirety, only on a smaller scale. From Bohm’s perspective, what we see as our world is actually the projection of something even more real that’s happening at a deeper level of creation.
It is this deeper level that’s the original – the implicate.
In this view of “As above, so below” and “As within, so without,” patterns are contained within patterns, complete in and of themselves and different only in scale.” (Ibid.)
Bohm’s theories have been gradually sculpted out with experimental evidence and theoretical detail. Beneath their different names and shades – superstrings, compactification, Kac-Moody algebras – all these complex, numerical models point to the same basic truth: everything blossoms out from an underlying unity.
Unified field of consciousness from the perspective of MAHARISHI’S VEDIC KNOWLEDGE
Of course, nothing new in this for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a descendent of a long lineage of Indian yogis.
Like all spiritual sages down the ages, Maharishi was fully aware of this unified field, and characterized it in very specific terms:
“The unified field is fundamentally a field of consciousness.
The field is known as atman, meaning “pure consciousness,” or “self,” since the unified field constitutes the deepest reality and hence the true identity of everything in nature.
The term “consciousness” is clearly distinguished from the highly individualized and anthropocentric sense of the term common to everyday experience: it is used to denote a completely universal field of “pure, self-interacting” consciousness — consciousness aware of itself alone, devoid of any individualizing influence or external objects of experience.
Due to its essential nature as consciousness, Maharishi explains, the unified field has the dual characteristics of existence and intelligence.” (Hagelin, p. 8-9)
Maharishi’s perception of the transcendental field of unified consciousness is fully in line with the advances briefly outlined here above. In fact, he had predicted in 1963:
“The discovery of the field of this one basis of material existence will mark the ultimate achievement in the history of development of physical science.
This will assist in turning the world of physical science to the science of mental phenomena. Theories of mind, intellect and ego will supersede the findings of physical science.
At the ultimate or the extreme limit of investigation into the nature of reality in the field of the mind will eventually be located the state of pure consciousness, the field of the transcendental nature lying beyond all the relative existence of material and mental values.
The ultimate field of Being lies beyond the field of mental phenomena and is the truth of life in all its phases, relative and absolute.
The Science of Being is the transcendental science of mind. The Science of Being transcends the science of mind which, in its turn, transcends the material sciences which deal with the diversity of material existence.” (Maharishi, p. 212-213)
- Bohm, David. Wholeness and the Implicate Order. Routledge, London 1980.
- Braden, Gregg. The Divine Matrix: Bridging Time, Space, Miracles and Belief. Hay House, New York 2007.
- Hagelin, John. Restructuring Physics from its Foundations in Light of Maharishi Vedic Science. Maharishi University of Management Press, 1989.
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The Science of Being and Art of Living. 1963.
- Van Lommel, Pim. Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience. HarperOne, London, 2010.