The huaca of Q’ollur R’iti, Huaman Lipa region Peru*
Consciousness and Locality, A wild guess
Where abides the mind? Science swears it must be in the brain, because where could it be otherwise?
Indeed we experience our consciousness in our awakened state in the brain, or at least in our body. But is this the whole story?
The Dutch cardiologist Pim van Lommel has authored two articles in Nature, and later on a book**, about Near Death Experiences (NDE) combined with Out of Body Exbperiences (OBE) that question the matter of the localisation of consciousness. If you have not read about it: the core content is that people who are actually dead, i.e. flatlined, and had no brain activity at all, after recussitation reported OBE and NDE, i.e. going to the light, finding solace and meeting departed friends of family, and also seeing themselves, actually dead, in the hospital, and can report about what happened then and there. This is impossible if consciousness is localised in the brain solely.
Although research on this topic is very difficult, Van Lommel’s findings should make you wonder. If it is not anomalous, what then?
There is another field of research, and that is about reincarnation and regression therapy. On reincarnation Dr Ian Stevenson has done rigorous research, and regression therapy is the order of the day. My first encounter was with the books of Dr. Brian L. Weiss, a renowned psychiatrist.
I have always found the idea of factual reincarnation very difficult, and I still do so. From a logical standpoint I prefer the reasoning of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, who asked the rethoric question: What is there to reincarnate?
But what if reincarnation is not factually so? Are there other possibilities? I have since long held the feeling that my consciousness held stories that are real, but do not relate in any known way to experiences that I have had in life. Where do they come from, how could they be induced? The negative cannot be proven, so I cannot say that some exeperiences that I have had, were not transformed in my consciousness to stories that are recognisable as stories that could have been true.
The most striking example is that as a very young child I was piromaniacal. I outgrew this trait, but much later (50 years+) I was told, by someone who could not have known about this former trait, that in a former life all my possessions ware set afire because of envy, and that I suffered a severe fate then. To this day I do not know whether this is a true story, but some circumstances around the story make it for me of a high degree of probability. Brian Weiss stells very interesting stories about regression therapy. But whether they are true stories or pure coinciding stories cannot be known.
But van Lommels thesis that NDE and OBE together suggest a non-localised consciousness, confirms my idea that as a brain/mind apparatus we are not only localised in the brain, but also somewhere else. For the ease of using this idea I call it the Akasha fields. How these operate is not clear, but this is only a wild guess. In the Akasha fields are stored all experiences and stories of this universe. When born you are tuned to a bandwidth in the Akasha fields that enables you to download the information available in this bandwidth, but also to upload your experiences. It may even be the case that as humans we have acces to the general human bandwidth, and also to a personal bandwidth. These personal bandwidths also can overlap in varying degrees. You may be more of less susceptible to the set. Some people may have a better receiver, and some bandwidths may have better transmitters.
This wild guess would solve a lot of puzzles. For instance the question why we do grow into human beings, while it is known that our cells cannot hold the complete blueprint for reproduction of a complete human being.
Or why some people have overlapping memories about past experiences.
Or why I had this pyromaniacal trait at a young age, or other memories that I have and may stem from so called past lives. In my proposition, they belong to the transmitted information of my bandwidth.
Reincarnation as fact to me seems very unlikely, and although remembering stories from the Akasha fields, could be called a form of reincarnation, this feels different for me. I look at myself as quite unique, but my remembrance of stories from the Akasha fields might in some way be my designated assignment in this live to cope with them, to solve the questions that they pose, and in that way to solve the Buddhist puzzle of karma. It might not be my karma, but I could easily fit in with the idea that karma in general sould be resolved.
The strongest argument for this proposition to me seems that in Buddhism it is believed that at the moment of liberation all karma is done with at once. Zhabkar writes in Song 18:
20. This is Dzogchen’s primordial liberation that comes into existence of itself.
Not having departed, he has arrived in buddha-hood.
Not having done anything, fulfilment arose spontaneously.
Not having given up, his afflictions are purified on the spot.
He is a man with the pure and exalted mind of the highest lama’s.
25. Follow his path, and all karma will be done with.
On enlightenment all karma is exhausted, thus also the karma that I should repay to others, not present at the moment. This begs for some explanation, which is easily given with my proposition.
* A huaca is a holy stone or other item that suggests connection to another world. In Peru the Church as monopolised these places that stem from Inka times, and has build churches around them. Q’ollur R’iti in het high mountains about 100 km east of Cusco is one of the most famous huaca’s. Each year in June a hugh festival is held with thousands of people who can only travel there by foot.
**The book: Pim van Lommel MD, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of Near-Dear Experience, Harper-Collins 2010, original in Dutch, Eindeloos Bewustzijn, 2007.