life ~ relationship ~ flow ~ inclusivity ~ dynamic ~ playfullness ~ movement ~ balance ~ change ~ growth

Academic Enquiry
The Nature of Wisdom
Science and Wisdom
Eco/Sustainable Literacy
Linguistic Relativity
Learning and Education
Sustainable Futures

Experiential Approaches
Ancient and Indigenous
Consciousness Studies
Scientific Research
Living Community
Spiritual Literacy


In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little
miracles of self-reference...Our very nature is such as to prevent us from
fully understanding its very nature. Poised midway between the unvisualizable
cosmic vastness of curved spacetime and the dubious, shadowy flickerings of
charged quanta, we human beings, more like rainbows and mirages than like
raindrops or boulders, are unpredictable self-writing poems — vague,
metaphorical, ambiguous, and sometimes exceedingly beautiful.

Douglas Hofstadter - I am a strange Loop.

Consciousness is the one thing that science admits exists but cannot explain. Why is there consciousness in the universe? For thousands of years we have been trying to understand what it is all about: What is the self? What is the "I"? If we are all made of the same stuff we do we experience ourselves as separate?

We know that it is something to do with a feeling of Being-ness. And that if we meditate or follow certain spiritual disciplines we can occasionally lose our individual sense of 'I' and experience ourselves as part of a much larger unity. In India we find the concept of 'Atman' which is when you distance yourself from all your thoughts, feelings and experiences and merge with a universal pure consciousness. And Atman–which is the universal pure consciousness–is Brahman, which is the source of all. The essence of self is, in other words, what some of us call 'God'.

Buddhists have a 2,500 year tradition of introspective inquiry into the nature of mind without developing the science of brain and behavior that we have in the West. There is now increasing interest in bringing together the first-person methodologies of Buddhism with the third-person methodologies of western science. For example, scientists can now reveal the neural networks and biochemical functions behind emotions like empathy, but not what triggers it or how to create it.

We access consciousness through two primary ways of 'seeing' : 1) a simple 'self-other' mirror based upon the physical senses and the conditioning of culture, or 2) a 'concentric seeing' that is more consistent with ancient and indigenous views, and which allows a more dynamic sense of self as in dynamic process with the whole. The first encourages us to think of ourselves as separate entities at the mercy of external influences, the second to see everything as the movement of energetic forces with endless and unbounded potentialities. The first seeks to fit everything into the accepted worldview, the second encompasses a much fuller range of experience that often transcends the accepted worldview.

'Each person you come to is a different mirror. And since you’re
just another person like them maybe you’re just another mirror too,
and there’s no way of ever knowing whether your own view of yourself
is just another distortion.

Maybe all you ever see is reflections.
Maybe mirrors are all you ever get. First the mirrors of your
parents, then friends and teachers, then bosses and officials, priests
and ministers, and maybe writers and painters too. That’s their job
too, holding up mirrors'

Robert Persig

Web Resources

Online Directory
This is a directory of 5186 free online papers on consciousness in philosophy and in science, and of related topics in the philosophy of mind.

Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness

Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness

SAC Bibliography of Consciousness Studies

The website of Alan Wallace
Dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D., continually seeks innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Centre for Consciousness Studies - University of Arizona

Centre for Research on Concepts and Cognition

Excerts from Douglas Hofstadter's writings

The Journal of Consciousness Studies

Growing Into the Light: The Matter and Mystery of Consciousness: a 'Science and Spirit ' Interview with Susan Greenfield

Monroe Institute Research

Scientific and Medical Network