Expansion of Consciousness

by Shawn Mikula, shawnmikula@hotmail.com
From: mind-brain.com (http://mind-brain.com)

Intro

The evolution and expansion of consciousness is inevitable. With the expansion of consciousness comes new ways of seeing reality. Everything changes. You see things that you never could of conceived of before. Old philosophies and religions suddenly appear naive and give way to a far more profound understanding. Most religions (including naive Christianity) and philosophies will not last long, simply because it's inevitable that a profound transformation in our consciousness, in our way of understanding and interacting with reality, is going to soon take place. It's inevitable because that's the direction that consciousness is headed.

Please read my section on The Singularity to find out more about what our future holds.

Consciousness is my game, in all of its forms and degrees of intensity, as well as its neural basis, modification, manipulation, and expansion. I observe my own experiences during altered states of consciousness as a psychologist or cognitive scientist would. I note how different modalities are effected and enhanced, how space and time are altered, and how our sense of 'self' is effected (assuming the ego is still intact). In sum, I note both qualitatively and semi-quantitatively how the myriad different dimensions of consciousness are transformed during altered states of consciousness. From my experience, I see there's unfathomable potential for the enhancement and extension of consciousness in all of its forms, and this is what my site is really aimed at ultimately communicating to the public, though its current appearance may belie a different aim or agenda.

Ordinary consciousness is simply too mundane and limiting. It's necessary to understand the neural basis of altered/heightened states of consciousness and to control the neural system so as to bring about these desired states of consciousness. Neuroscience is just reaching into the realm of expanded states of consciousness, though the future consequences of such are simply amazing, and are utterly beyond the imaginative capabilities of the vast majority of people.

How do we expand consciousness?

Mind Expanding/Altering Drugs (http://mind-brain.com/guide/guide/toc.html) are one way, though I think more effective and permanent ways will soon be devised in the future because of the negative side effects associated with these, including poor memory. Nootropics, also known as "Smart Drugs", such as piracetam, hydergine, and nicotine, can offset some of these negative effects, and in fact, will often potentiate the positive effects of mind expanding/altering drugs. Thus, with materials readily available to us today, we can engineer our trips and expand consciousness along many different dimensions.

In the long term, it's crucial to identify the particular brain activities and key areas of the brain that are being effected by mind altering/expanding drugs and that are responsible for expansion of consciousness (i.e., trancendent states of consciousness). Then, we will be in a position to modulate neural activity in these brain areas using safer and more controlled techniques. One such technique is Neural Systems Control (http://mind-brain.com/research_interests.html#nsc). Another technique would involve brain-activity biofeedback (for example, EEG biofeedback, though current EEG is too crude a technique to be really useful for the purposes of expanding consciousness via brain-activity feedback).

What are these brain areas and what types of neural activity are responsible for expanded consciousness?

At this point, anything I say is speculative, and is best disclosed at a future time when more certainty is obtained. What seems certain at this point in time, however, is the involvement of cingulate and higher associational cortices (prefrontal and posterior parietal). Click HERE to learn more about brain organization.

Consciousness may be Expanded along Multiple Dimensions

Consciousness is a multi- dimensional phenomenon. There are many ways of expanding consciousness. The transcendent states achieved thru meditation, while important, are but one type of transcendent consciousness. Unfortunately, many people seem to be of the opinion that there exists only one type of transcendent consciousness, and that it can be reached thru meditation (http://mind-brain.com/meditation.html). However, this view is naive because it disregards the multi-dimensional aspects of consciousness, which may be expanded (or transcended) along many different dimensions to result in myriad different transcendent states of consciousness. The tendency to label such transcendent states as simply 'samadhi', 'nirvana', 'Buddha-consciousness', 'cosmic-consciousness', or 'satori' just reinforces the mistaken notion that there exists only one type of transcendent consciousness.

One of the main goals of this site is to educate others that there are multiple types of transcendent consciousness, not just those associated with the 'classic' mystical experience, and that these different types of consciousness will play a role in the evolution of our consciousness towards The Singularity, when our consciousness, at both the personal and species level, will transcend itself into something that is currently inconceivable.

What is it like to Experience Expanded Consciousness?

In the following, I describe some of the dimensions along which consciousness may be transformed and expanded. These effects will not necessarily be experienced simultaneously, and are to some extent dependent on the individual. The following list is not meant to be exhaustive by any means, but rather highlights a few of the many interesting effects experienced during states of expanded consciousness.

Time Dilation

We've all experienced time dilation to some extent during 'normal' states of consciousness. In general, time dilation occurs when thought processes speed up while memory is left intact (if memory is not intact, you sense something happened but you won't know what or how much subjective time has passed). It's interesting that time dilation occurs along a spectrum. Normally, we may feel like an hour of subjective time has passed after only five minutes of objective time. However, there does not seem to be a limit concerning how much we can potentially dilate subjective time, and some mind enhancing/altering drugs have the property of taking time dilation to the extreme. What seems like entire lifetimes can be experienced in a few minutes.

Vastness

Imagine the sense of 'vastness' you experience when you gaze into the clear night sky. Now imagine that sense of vastness magnified a million-fold or more and you may begin to appreciate the type of expansion of perceptual spaces that occurs during this experience so that they become extremely vast, beyond anything 'normally' conceivable.

Body Expansion

The experience of one's 'body consciousness' extending outwards, usually far beyond one's immediate body. This particular mode of consciousness falls under the category of 'Cosmic Consciousness'. Normally, we have a 'body-consciousness', meaning we're conscious of our arms and legs, as our own and not somebody elses. 'Body Expansion' occurs when your 'body consciousness' extends beyond, usually far beyond, your immediate physical body. It's like your new body is your whole environment and that your 'old' body is simply a nexus or nodal point thru which your will exerts itself. Even during 'normal' consciousness, one can willfully enter into the proper mind-set for 'Body Expansion', though this may not work for everyone.

Ego-Death and the Experience of the 'Self'

The experience of the death of ones ego or 'self' can be frightening for some. I've experienced ego-death and near-death experiences many times (too many to count). Following ego-death, or the destruction of the individuals 'self', what remains is intense, non-reflective (or non-self-conscious) consciousness, the radiant 'Self' (presumably, this is the same 'Self' as revealed in ancient Eastern religious texts such as the Bhagavad-Gita and the Upanashads, the same as experienced during states of 'Cosmic Consciousness', and the same as experienced by religious mystics). This is why such experiences are invariably mystical and religious. Through the death of ones 'self' and unveiling of the 'Self', one soon learns to identify oneself completely with the 'Self' thereafter, even if the ego subsequently re-crystallizes (it re-crystallizes, but remains 'transparent' in the sense of being able to see through it).

Presence

This involves vivid consciousness of a strong, ubiquitous 'presence'.

Higher-Dimensional Spatial Thought

Normally, we construct space and it's limited to 3 spatial dimensions. However, this limitation can be transcended, and grants one, among other things, the ability to discern patterns and connections in perceptual and conceptual thought not visible during 'normal' consciousness.

Ecstasy

This involves the experience of ecstasy and rapture far, far beyond what we're capable of experiencing normally. This experience has absolutely nothing to do with the 'ecstasy' experienced using the drug that goes by the same name, but rather involves an intensity and depth that far exceeds those produced by typical 'recreational' drugs.

Multi-Modal Integration

This experience involves integration across multiple modalities, such as visual, auditory, and proprioceptive, to yield new modalities that are greater than the sum of their parts.

God-Mode

I've half-jokingly called God-Mode an expanded state of consciousness that 'simultaneously' involves many of the above effects, including time dilation, body expansion, vastness, ecstasy, consciousness of the 'Self', and presence. There are many degrees and many types of 'Cosmic Consciousness'. God-Mode is perhaps the highest and most profound type of Cosmic Consciousness I've yet experienced.

What are your personal experiences with expanded states of consciousness?

I've elaborated upon some of my personal experiences HERE (http://mind-brain.com/poem26.html#explanation).

A few more thoughts on the nature of expanded consciousness

The universe, as we directly experience and understand it, is but a construct of the brain that enables us to navigate about and get what we want. It's not a true picture of reality. There are many ways of constructing and experiencing reality, and there are ways of perceiving things other than the 'normal' construct that the vast majority of mankind employs.

These different constructs depend on different modes of consciousness.

Space itself is but a mental construct. There are many ways to construct space other than the familiar Euclidean space most people experience.

Our perceptual constructs will soon give way to something far more profound, something currently inconceivable for the vast majority of humanity because they're all trapped in their little worlds, and they think it's reality, but it's not. We are the universe conscious of itself. Very soon, I think, consciousness is going to experience an abrupt change. Humanity has been confined for so long in an illusion. Individuality will give way to the experience of something common, that sort of underlies the individuality.

Our perceptual realities are only the dimly lit surface of a vast sea of consciousness. I'm not talking about the Jungian collective unconscious per se, but rather something which is indeed very conscious. However, the great majority of man has not experienced this directly because they are confined within their little, illusory perceptual shells which they think is somehow reflective of reality, but it isn't.

We (our conscious worlds) are but waves or ripples on the surface of something vast, the Self, a consciousness which underlies and encompasses all the little spheres of self-consciousness. This is why I think being self-centered is naive. We, as a species, are moving inexorably towards Self-centeredness.

If you directly experience the bigger picture, you'll see just how much of an illusion our 'normal' perceptual reality is. I make no claim to experiencing the full, true picture. However, I have experienced a much bigger picture, and know that's the direction that consciousness is heading, that that's in our future.

People are stuck in their little waves of individuality, they never look deep beneath the surface, and there's something vast there which I strongly suspect is common to all. It's something you have to directly experience because explanations and descriptions will be empty without the actual experience, though I'm not recommending that everybody attempt to experience it just yet. Nonetheless, it is where the future is headed.