Cloud consciousness…

Logic dictates that as an IT professional and a cosmic crusader on a constant quest for the truth, evidence is sought across all forms; science, technology, philosophy and religion.

In work recently, we have moved our solution to the cloud and as such the vendor pitches presented diagrams of the benefits of moving away from in-house infrastructure and applications.

Whilst listening to the sales spiel, my mind drifted away from the corporate patois and focused in on the on-screen diagram depicting a typical overview of cloud computing, instantly taking on a whole new angle.

Take Drop Box. I currently take pictures and videos from various mobile devices and store them in my local cache (local cache being RAM when I’m viewing them, hard drive when my computer is turned off). So that such “memories” are not lost, I log on to the Drop Box cloud via a user name and password (personal to me) and upload the said pictures and videos. All such “memories” are materialistic, physical.

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing

Brain Function

Take your brain. You currently take pictures and videos from your senses and store them in your local cache (local cache being the limbic system, a store which lets you recall memories during conscious awareness when you are awake and also during unconscious awareness when you are asleep). All such “memories” are non-materialistic, metaphysical, but where is our esoteric ethereal Drop Box?

Cosmic Consciousness

Take the Akasha (or cosmic consciousness). As individuals, reality or existence is a subjective experience for each and every one of us. There is a growing body of (noetic) science which posits that all human experience is captured and uploaded to a central core which exists outside the space-time-continuum (though a Drop Box style upload is replaced with an entanglement to the source), a belief held dear by ancient Hindus.

The previous skeptical me would have laughed that off a while back, putting it down as a work of fiction. Now however, the evidence for such a mechanism grows exponentially. Near Death Experiences, Out of Body Experiences, After Death Communication, Medium Communication and Past Life Recall all point to a premise that not only does conscious experience appear to exist beyond the brain, but that under certain circumstances the “consciousness cloud” can be accessed.

Let’s take a look at the example below, and in particular Derek:

Akasha

Like ourselves, Derek logs in and uploads his personal data to Drop Box so it doesn’t get lost in case he has a local hardware failure. Additionally, Derek works for the Drop Box Security Management Team and as such has universal access (via the Admin user name and password) to see the photos and videos of others.

Derek’s skills do not end there. Derek is a medium and has the ability to tune in to the cosmic consciousness and obtain the memories and experience of others. He has in cosmic terms been imbued with the ability to both upload and download to and from the cloud.

If we are to believe that such growing “alternative” evidence exists and it’s sources can be trusted (including our own non-materialistic experiences), then so it will be that the cosmic consciousness will continue to evolve and mature.

Whether our not we are simply perception transmitters or whether our consciousness continues to exist beyond our hardware failure (physical death) remains to be seen…

Signs are there, learn how to look…

Synchronicities, according to Carl Jung, “are events that hold meaningful coincidences if they occur with no causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related”.

Coincidences, according to Plutarch, “are no great wonder if in long process of time, while fortune takes her course hither and thither, numerous coincidences should spontaneously occur”.

Serendipity, according to Horace Walpole, “means a fortunate happenstance or pleasant surprise, discoveries which happen by accident and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of”.

Over the last three weeks, the wheels on my Buddhist motorbike have been well and truly out of kilter, and so it seems have those to close me. Looking for the root cause of my problems these days is a lot easier than it used to be, my mind is relatively clear and signs of cause and effect present themselves with transparency.

My daughter came out of school on Friday visibly upset and after some of my soothing words and warm hugs, enlightened me with the root cause of her classroom woes. I told her not to worry and that we would talk about it at the weekend and if needs be I would go in to see the teacher.

So sitting down on the sofa after breakfast, I grabbed a piece of paper and a propelling pencil from my office desk and went over to the bookshelf to find a hard back book to lean on. The one which (almost) literally jumped off the shelf was Coincidences by Brian Inglis. That was the start of it. I had a pretty rough time in school and in part it was down to the lack of parental support, very rarely did my parents sit me down to understand or tease out from me the root cause of the problem and guide me to potential solutions (the only one I recall them suggesting was “punch them”, not sage advice).

Here I was 30 years later on the sofa with my daughter, evidently with more wisdom on my side. In truth her current issues are quite minor (noisy boys in the classroom and a bossy friend) but truly listening to her, soothing her and agreeing to put a plan of action in place to reduce/remove her suffering turned her frown upside down. We drew out a map of her classroom and she showed me where the noisy boys who were disturbing her concentration sat; she showed me where the bossy friend sat; she showed me where the teacher instructed the class from. It was clear that explaining her situation and my offering to see the teacher next week to improve the situation would help her a lot. After our conversation she turned to me and said “I love you Dad”. Beautiful.

Climbing the stairs to the bathroom for morning shower, I briefly reflected on the book I had picked from the shelf and our very own coincidence of school-time woes. Showers and baths are great places to think and to purge oneself of thoughts and negativity and today was no exception. I thought long and hard over the last three weeks and the root cause of my current dhukha state was work. The high profile project I am working on has gone off the rails a bit of late and as a result has piled on the pressure and stress for all those involved. I understood this. I also understood that there is little I can do about it, but what I can do is to stop getting stressed about things that are not under my control.

After stepping out of the shower, I felt like the dhukha had washed away with the suds and for the first time in a few weeks my head felt clear. As I dried myself, I stood a while looking at the picture we had bought for our bathroom re-fit this year. It’s not an expensive piece, just a few pounds from the local store. It’s not a masterpiece by any stretch, just a photograph of a collection of seaside paraphernalia. For the first time I looked at it, really looked at it, deconstructing each element, and it wasn’t long before a surge of energy and synchronicity hit me.

The elements that stood out:

  • The Shell (the company I work for).
  • The Anchor (the heavy weight dragging me down).
  • The Rope/Noose (the constricting nature of working in high profile projects and for “the man”).
  • The Net (a symbol of entrapment).

Here staring me right in the face was the root cause of my woes, my dhukha, but there are two further symbols to counteract the negativity:

  • The Fish (a reference to the Almighty).
  • The Stars (for me, a symbol which represents the Universe and of cosmic consciousness).

I am a firm believer that with a clear mind, the signs (call them breadcrumbs, call them synchronicities) are there, you just need to learn how to look…

The Search for the Quantum Soul…

Invisible things. Unseeable things. There are plenty of things in this Universe that we cannot perceive due to the limited senses that we have, even with the advent of technology and instrumentation. Granted we can see a lot more than we used to be able to, but we are still limited to perceiving the macro-world and not the immaterial world.

We cannot see feeling, yet we can feel or detect it. We cannot see emotion, yet we can feel or detect it. We cannot see consciousness, yet we know that it exists (whether local or non-local, science or God is still up for grabs).

Reality is both self-perpetuating and internally generated. What I perceive, what I see, what I experience is personal to me, very personal to me. We may see an object in the same way from a materialistic perspective, but how we feel about it will invariably be very different. That said, if reality is both self-perpetuating and internally generated, then you may not actually exist (“there is no us, there is only I”).

Metaphysics has and will always be a hard nut to crack. To prove one’s own subjective experience difficult if not impossible, and not very scientific.

Spirituality and noetics has a problem, a hard problem. Science is easy. You take a thing you can perceive, you run a test, you see the results, you have the evidence to suggest the way a thing is. How do you do that with a thing you cannot perceive a thing you cannot see? Science sees consciousness as an epiphenomenon of the most complex organism in the known Universe (the human brain), and as such it is the responsibility of non-science to prove otherwise.

I have read evidence to suggest that consciousness exists outside of the brain and although I lack any real direct experience thus far of knowing that, I lean more towards that way of thinking. Mainstream science conveniently bundles up all mystic experience under confusion and delusion, rather than tackling the hard problem head on.

That said, there are people out there who are in search of scientific evidence that the soul exists and it does so at a quantum level (and by quantum I mean quintessence – the fifth element, Akasha). Dr Penny Sartori and Professor Stuart Hameroff are both experts in the field of anaesthetics and suggest that conscious awareness and experience occurs even when the brain is flat-lining (be it a near death experience or under anaesthetics).

The study of quantum mechanics (what Einstein called spooky action at a distance) and the progression towards a unified theory of everything may prove one way or another that consciousness exists in a dimension outside the material world.

Science, religion, philosophy and spirituality can co-exist. Science, religion, philosophy and spirituality does exist and it resides in me.

I may have near death experiences, I may have out of body or psychedelic experiences and I may be able to hear communications from realms beyond but how do I prove that to the outside world?

The answer is I don’t have to. What I see, what I experience, what I know is personal to me and only me.

I witness synchronicities on a regular basis and see them as markers for the bigger picture, evidence to suggest that all is not what it seems and in fact the quantum soul may in fact exist…

We are equal. We are One….

When one possesses the wisdom of the Buddha (in part of course, not in whole), it is easier to empathise with others, especially when confronted by aggression and anger.

When one truly understands that aggression and anger in others is merely a by-product of suffering, anxiety and disorder (dukkha), then the path to forgiveness is but a small step.

It is easy to sound self-righteous when when one is in a position of wisdom, so it is wise to choose ones words carefully when suggesting potential paths for others to take to potentially overcome what pains them; sensitively is required (and perhaps explaining to others that your are free from suffering is best kept to oneself).

Boldly sharing our own negative experiences and explaining how we obtained serenity and peace can often help in such situations.

We all learn by our mistakes and there are always solutions to resolve the root causes of such pain, one just needs to open ones eyes and see the reality of the situation and understand that the solution lies within. Nothing external can fix root cause problems; no pill, no drink, no drug, no advice can eradicate the suffering. Understanding our internal landscape is the key to peace and the gateway to a better life.

A situation happened in work yesterday which made me put in practice what I had learned from the Buddha (via the sage words of Steve Hagen). I had scheduled a meeting in a room at work, but when I arrived there were three occupants in the room. I very politely asked them to leave as I had booked the room in advance and the male turned around and started verbally abusing me, followed up by an aggressive confrontation whereby marched right up to be, putting his face in mine, staring deep into my eyes with such venom. I was in shock at first that such a thing had happened in a global corporation such as mine, promptly apologised to my guest (new customer) and advised that his actions were not representative of the attitude or principles of the company.

Initially I was livid, angry that someone had tried to use their authority / loftier position in the organisation to intimidate me and gain advantage (and my meeting room). After a moment of calm, I soon realised that the confrontation was a reflection on him and of his evident dukkha, so forgiveness was instant. Whether I seek out an escalation to make sure he is aware that his behaviour in our organisation is totally unacceptable is yet to be determined.

I could have given him confrontation back (and a previous version of me probably would have done that and then some) but instead chose not to. I am not a better man than him and he is not a better man the I. We are equal. The difference between us is that I am awake, I understand that it is dukkha that creates such situations, I am understand that dukkha exists and I am aware and in control of mine and he is not. Just because someone has received a better education (him being a privately educated attorney (so I found out) and me being comprehensively educated IT geek), just because someone is further up the chain of command (he being several grades above me (so I found out) in the organisation), just because someone is paid a significant amount extra (a + b = c) does not make him a better person. We are equal.

We. Are. All. Equal.

We. Are. All. One…

The Descent of Man…

Reality itself may well be an illusion, be it optical, aural or otherwise. Reality itself may well be a hologram, a projection from or of the singularity, the one true source.

If you (like me) believe in the theory that there is a central existential core that resides beyond the confines of the space-time-continuum, then what we currently experience as individuals and as a collective (both good and bad), continues to evolve the cosmic consciousness.

It seems that “humanity” is fast reaching a point (not in “time” nor in accordance to Arthur Eddington’s “Arrow of Time”) of high entropy; disorder. Each periodical or TV news bulletin displays the shock and horror in glorious Technicolor each and every day. There is a new publication in town and it’s called “The Daily Dukkha”.

On an individual level (another reference to the self I know), I am fortunate enough at the moment to not be suffering any dukkha at all; entropy is currently very low with me; order. One look outwards though and the world is full of dukkha and in particular the refugee crisis in the Middle East. By all accounts, Aleppo has been destroyed, the symbolism of the first ever civilisation on this planet ceasing to exist not lost with me.

Social evolution (in the modern “Ascent of Man” sense) truly began with the Neolithic Revolution (aka the Agricultural Revolution) which saw the development of farming practices, drastically changing “human” lifestyle, permitting far denser populations which in time formed towns and cities. Cities were centres of trade, manufacturing and with it varying degrees of military control and protection. Thus in 10,000 CE, Aleppo, the very first civilisation was born.

Before Aleppo, man lived a largely nomadic hunter-gatherer existence and a much simpler way of life. Before Aleppo, skirmishes were tribal, often over a patch of ground or natural resource. There was no greed, just a simple need for sustenance. As with things, it is desire that leads to greed, to dukkha, and Aleppo really was the origin of human desire, the metaphysical concept of wanting not needing “planted” firmly in the psyche of homo sapiens.

Over the millennium, desire has increased exponentially and as a result so has conflict, and today we see this conflict all too often. For me, the solution lies neither with geopolitics nor within religious doctrines, but within the self; if we all could see this and follow the principles as suggested by Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha), then things would really change (remembering that Buddhism is a philosophy and way of life not a religion). Too often these days do we seem to apply geopolitical band aids to resolve self-perpetuating situations, invariably making matters worse, much worse in fact. The descent of man seems somewhat inevitable.

However, where there is darkness there is also light. Many local projects have started to make a real difference to the lives of those affected by such dukka in Syria, Israel, Afghanistan and Iraq and there has been an outpouring of peace, love and understanding here. Sadly the government here in the U.K only took action once the British public had took matters into their own hands. That my friends will be the answer in the end, it will be the people who will take action for the greater good, not governments nor corporations. Humanity will realise at some point that it is only after the cessation of desire and greed that “things can only get better”.

Whether that is pre or post Apocalypse remains to be seen, but let’s hope that as a collective we can as one wake up before it really is too late.

The path is clear, but no eyes can see…

Each dawn that breaks gives one a renewed chance to wake up. Not from slumber in the literal sense, but metaphysically speaking. Each day that arrives brings about change; a day older (for sure); a day wiser (perhaps) and a day closer to death (depends on how you define death…).

Some people (by choice or otherwise) live in a perpetual state of the un-awakened, happy to continue to live out their existence without feeling the need (or having the capacity) to challenge the true nature of reality. As all human experience is subjective and individualistic, no one can truly say that their approach is right or wrong.

For those who choose to challenge the five senses and Einstein’s cosmological principles, the first steps are the most difficult as there is no set path to follow. What is clear is that something usually sparks a flame for knowledge, knowledge which is hitherto forgotten or as yet unknown.

Science, religion, philosophy and noetics seem to be the most logical places to start looking, and most quests invariably encounter all four. Like countless others, my quest had to start by looking inside myself. What I found wasn’t pleasant. What I found was suffering, anxiety, stress and disorder. What was more difficult to find, but not impossible, was the root cause of such pain. What I found was craving, wanting and desire. What was even more difficult was how and what to change. What I found however was the solution and for the first time in my life I could start to see true nature of reality emerging. This was my spiritual epiphany.

Over the course of just a few months, I came to the conclusion that my suffering, fueled through my own desires, could ease by diminishing this metaphysical concept known as the ego or the self and that sustained focus on my “ikigai“, (in my case the family) would yield a new peace within me. Through yoga, meditation, reiki and complimentary therapies, I would keep this inner light with me at all times, ready to distinguish the darkness should it return.

My path was now clearer, and it was only after reading Buddhism: Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen did I realise (without knowing it) that the path and resolution I had followed related to the Buddhist Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path:

  • The Four Noble Truths
    • The truth of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, dissatisfaction).
    • The truth of the origin of dukkha.
    • The truth of the cessation of dukkha.
    • The truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha (the Eight Fold Path).
  • The Eight Fold Path

    • Wisdom
      • Right view (viewing reality as it is, not just as it appears to be).
      • Right intention (intention of renunciation, freedom and harmlessness).
    • Ethical conduct
      • Right speech (speaking in a truthful and non-hurtful way).
      • Right action (acting in a non-harmful way).
      • Right livelihood (a non-harmful livelihood).
    • Concentration
      • Right effort (making an effort to improve).
      • Right mindfulness (awareness to see things for what they are with clear consciousness; being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion).
      • Right concentration (correct meditation or concentration).

Whilst I could concur that the Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path were a set of principles that everyone true to themselves (forgive me for the use of the word self, Steve) and others should adhere to, what was missing for me was the true nature of reality. Nietzsche was not entirely complementary of Buddhism (as you would expect) and classified it as a subdivision of nihilism, which to some extent I can agree with.

But what is reality? What is it that our senses experience and translate into pictures, sounds, smells, tastes and feels, is it all an illusion? Does true consciousness reside within the brain? Is the true nature of reality hidden from view for a reason? All these questions puzzled me, so the path I took at the crossroads led me to noetics, and in particular the works of Ervin Laszlo and Anthony Peake (my conclusions detailed in The Noetic Nook).

One thing is for sure, life and human experience is subjective and there appears to be no single path to the truth. The key however is to awaken, awaken to the truth that it is desire that causes suffering and to put a stop to ones ego will yield rewards to ourselves and to those around us. We may never truly experience the true nature of reality until we depart from the physical plain, but what we do each day can reduce our physical (and mental) pain.

Instrumental Communications (EVP)

When I think of instrumental communication in relation to other-realm transmissions, my thoughts instantly drift to the silver screen and visions from Poltergeist (TV) and The Exorcist (tape recorder). If such a thing as Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) exists, then what is it exactly is it?

A short while back I did some research on the electromagnetic spectrum on the basis that I had read somewhere that our senses can only perceive 5% of it, and if that was correct, then what was it that made up the rest? The electromagnetic spectrum starts off at the Extremely Low Frequency of 3 Hz (radio waves) reaching to a high of 300 EHz (gamma radiation), decreasing in wave length as the hertz increases.

With the spectrum, there are only 2 specific sections we (as the average layman) can tune into with our senses, namely VF (or Voice Frequency aka sound) which occurs between 300 Hz and 3 KHz and NUV (or Near Ultra Violet aka sight) which occurs between 300 THz and 3 PHz. What we can perceive as reality (sights and sounds) are both visible and audible within such ranges, and we have over time developed instruments which allow us to extend beyond such boundaries (via radios, Infra-Red Cameras and Spectroscopes and the likes), whose job it is to translate image and sound frequencies so we can see and hear what is being transmitted.

If communications are being projected by a consciousness(es) (or indeed the source / the singular collective consciousness) then at what part of the electromagnetic spectrum are they being broadcast on? My theory is that if indeed messages are being transmitted from another “realm”, then certain folks (like mediums, those with psychic tendencies or those who attain altered states of consciousness) have some innate ability (or otherwise in the case of the meditator) to tap in to such communications, experiencing beyond the normal VF and NUV boundaries of the aforementioned average layman. If it is the case that apparitions and messages may only appear to certain folks, which are broadcasted on different frequencies then as long as we have the ability to capture such transmissions via electronic devices, then it should be possible to prove this (should the sender of course wish to – there is always a catch)…

The number of EVP recordings is on the increase (I suspect due to the ubiquitous and affordable technology available to us), all made possible through such works of Faraday, Hertz, Tesla, Marconi and Edison. There are several interesting examples of EVP communications via tape recordings (Gregorian chants – the church wouldn’t lie about such matters surely?), via video (optical feedback loops recorded to reveal images of deceased German personalities) and perhaps the most interesting of all cases which involved Ervin Laszlo, which broadcasted dedicated messages via a radio in front of a room full of witnesses.

The use of electronic devices does open up the seed of doubt as to whether the communications which are transmitted are in fact authentic (much in the same way way mediums are due to “proof by proxy” and not direct experience), and a quick search of EVP on YouTube will reveal servers full of implausible and downright silly examples of this. Trying to find legitimate and actual proof of EVP on the internet is a pointless exercise. That said, several high profile invididuals with cases of EVP (including parliamentarians) were in fact willing to go on record to declare their experience, not caring for the risk of a reputation bashing.

OPINION: My initial research into EVP revealed the exact opposite of evidence (anti-evidence?) so I must say that as of yet, I have not seen or heard anything plausible with my own lugholes and peepers, so I remain on the fence. I did attend a session at the London College of Psychics last night where I recorded an Erlendur Haraldsson lecture relating to his latest book “The Departed Among the Living: An Investigative Study of Afterlife Encounters” on the basis that if there was a location that could project transmissions from the other realm, then that was definitely one of them! I did at exactly 7:25pm get a full on surge of reiki energy shooting up and down my chakras but sadly on playback, no “other voices” could be heard. I do intend to experiment EVP on my own using, I just need to find a shop which actually sells a radio (remember them)…

I would only regard personal evidence as a success if I received targeted and specific messages contained within the EVP recording, not random voices (as these could be cross-channel communications on the radio and thus render the evidence not sound, and certainly not proof of non-local consciousness. What I am also intrigued about is reiki and what exactly (and I mean exactly) it is. I have been attuned (Level 2) and can under certain conditions bring in invisible energy forces to expedite the meditative process, but what it is I’m tapping into remains (for today at least) a mystery…

Medium-Transmitted Communication

The further one removes oneself from direct experience, the more difficult it becomes to believe. When we introduce a third party, and a third party who could potentially make a profit out of a situation, then the trust in the source (the disconnected consciousness) becomes stretched.

The word “credibility” is a key word when reviewing the ability and outputs of mediums. A key question for me is what exactly is the medium communing with, is it the deceased individual (perhaps even via a 4th party spirit guide), or is it the projected subconscious thoughts of the “sitter” via ESP or is it in fact an ability to tap in to the collective consciousness, the source?

So when one looks for evidence, one must assess the credibility and accuracy of the information presented and judge beyond reasonable doubt. Tenuous links, if, buts and maybe’s hold no sway here. Most people are very sceptical when it comes to clairvoyance (on the basis of the aforementioned profit perspective), especially in this digitally connected age which makes “life” that much easier for mediums to profile future clients (should they wish to).

In the more intriguing of historical cases, the evidence is presented which the medium would have struggled to find via other means, via connections with complete strangers which includes follow-up actions in this plane of existence which bear fruit, much like the example of the medium who determined the exact location of a hidden last will and testament (sewn inside a coat of the deceased) which superseded the previous iteration, much to the chagrin of the original profiteer.

Oddly, I was reading the Medium-Transmitted Communication chapter from The Immortal Mind in my local Starbucks and after examining the case of the dead poet Roden Noel (who frequented Cornwall to write), I closed the book and headed for home, only to come across a camper van parked at the end of my road with a flag of Cornwall sticker on the back window…

On a personal note, I have been to see two public displays of mediumship. The first was Derek Acorah at Southport Theatre, a man who in my opinion is a complete and utter charlatan and a proven fraud who gives clairvoyance a bad name, clearly only in it for the profit. The second was a visit to a local spiritualist church a few years back, whereby an “expert” who had been through a Near-Death Experience of his own was brought in to relay messages from his spirit guide to certain (perhaps ‘pre-selected’) members of the congregation, again all very random and tenuous and not at all credible.

Whilst those two experiences were rather disappointing, there are two others which were a lot closer to home and a lot more accurate, both involving my wife. The first was an innocent trip to the solicitors to file for a divorce from her first husband. The area of Liverpool we resided in at the time was awash with solicitors, so after perusing the phone book (remember those?) she made her selection. Oddly, the one she selected was furthest away from our house, but pick it and went she did. The appointment was set for lunchtime which worked out well as she could pick our boy up from morning day care on the way. She was invited to sit down by the solicitor who greeted her with a smile on his face, followed by a little chuckle. He opened the meeting by saying that he was glad she turned up today as he had a message for her, my wife looking on very confused. He went on to say that he often received messages from the other side and that he had been in the presence of Mary this morning, stating that her real name was Cathleen but my wife knew her as Mary (her Grandmother was baptised Cathleen but was known by her middle name of Mary by all those who knew her). The message was quiet profound, he stated that she had told my wife not to worry about her brother going overseas and that she was there to keep an eye out for him (one week earlier my wife’s brother had flown out with the Royal Engineers to diffuse bombs in Bosnia).

My wife believes in spirits and welcomed the message, nodding and smiling. On to business and the formalities of the Decree Nisi where discussed and the appropriate documentation signed. As she was leaving, her took her gently by the arm and softly asked her “What happened with the jam tarts this morning?” Earlier in the day when she picked up our boy from day care, like any other day, she went armed with a shiny ten pence piece, in preparation for the daily cake purchase. That day was different. Instead of selecting a cupcake, “J” instead insisted that he wanted a jam tart. Knowing full well that he didn’t like them, my wife tried to persuade him to buy a cupcake, but as he was so adamant, she let him purchase one anyway and learn a valuable lesson. He took one bite of the jam tart and spat it out on the floor, demanding a replacement which never came, much to the annoyance of the little one who then proceeded to have a full on tantrum…

I have never had a direct clairvoyant experience but something was trying to help me along my way. Not only was the flag of Cornwall thrust in my face, but later in the afternoon I had to prepare an application for my son’s entertainment licence (for a TV show he appears on here in the UK). To support the application, I needed two photos, which I knew I had spare in the “purple folder” where I keep all of our household documents. I reached in for the photos and found them, but as I did some sheets of paper fell on the bed. Of the one-hundred plus documents in the folder, the one that decided to present itself was the only medium notes my wife has ever kept from a visit she made to a local clairvoyant 3 years ago…

In the evening I said to her that I wanted to visit a medium to experience the experience myself, and she duly gave me the number for a guy a few miles away who was apparently very good. Oddly the next morning, she came to me and said a friend of hers is starting up a medium reading night and would my wife like to offer her holistic therapy services as an accompaniment to the readings and could we do it from our house…

OPINION: I have always been quite sceptical about clairvoyancy, my take that there are a lot of folks out there that claim to be in touch with “out there”, purely for monetary gain and often extending the grieving process of others. That said, the examples from my wife really did have a profound effect on my judgement. Here is someone I trust with both my life and my children lives, who does not lie to me (with the exception of how many dresses she buys from eBay / Next), so I have no reason doubt, at all, that what she has shared with me is the truth. On that basis, I must therefore conclude that some folks do have the ability to make a connection with something from beyond. I look forward to my first personal clairvoyant experience, no doubt reported in full before infinity beckons…

Apparitions and After Death Communication (ADC)

So straight in with the second big question in as many blogs, no messing around (again): “Can human consciousness exist when the brain is fully and permanently incapacitated and does consciousness exist beyond death?”.

From the outset, evidence to support apparitions and ADC (After Death Communication) is less robust than that of NDE’s on the basis that they are not direct reports from those who are having the experience, they are as it were the projections of consciousness from other people, people who no longer reside in this plane of existence.

There are of course countless tales of ghosts and apparitions through the ages, that being a vision (or otherwise) of someone or in some cases something that has deceased which manages somehow to manifest its non-material self into being.

In the more intriguing of cases, information has been presented which the viewer could not have possibly known (should indeed these be truthful counts of what actually happened). Studies into such phenomenon pre-date (and no doubt outweigh) by some way those of Near Death Experiences.

Deathbed visions feature prominently in such studies, and that in itself is something I have second-hand experience of. My gran on my mum’s side became ill and it was her decision to pass over at home, surrounded by her family (a much more common thing is those days – 1960’s). In the hours before her death, she drifted in and out of consciousness, but towards the end of her life in this place, she became very lucid, her demeanour notably changing for the good. Minutes before she died, she sat upright in bed without aid and with a smile on her face opened her eyes. Her vision was not on those physically present in the room, but on other characters, acknowledging each one in turn at the end of her bed. Once she had finished she lay back down on the bed and closed her eyes. Interestingly, such apparitions were only presented to my gran’s consciousness; no one else in the room could see what she was seeing. Within minutes the dreaded death rattle pierced the silence in the room and she was gone.

The experience was quite profound for some in the room, whilst scary for some, others fully understood the ramifications of what they had just witnessed, a full on spiritual experience.

Penny Sartori (the nurse, now doctor, referenced in my previous blog regarding Near Death Experiences) has witnessed this exact phenomena on several occasions in her then capacity of nurse and went on to study and write a book about it. Another one for my growing list…

Further second-hand experience of apparitions involved my eldest son who came in to our living room looking a little upset when he was about four. When asked what the matter was, he said that the man at the bottom of the stairs was hurt. He told us that he came downstairs and saw an old man with blood coming from his head and that we should come see and help. We followed him into the empty hallway, my son turning to us saying he had gone away now.

Although apparitions may appear spontaneously, apparitions or ADC can be induced either via hypnosis or deep meditation (rather than through a medium), both of which altered states of consciousness. Whilst the examples are interesting (revealing “facts” that the viewer could not have possibly known, such facts corroborated via independent means) the most intriguing case for me regarded a truck driver who passed away following a crash in my home town of Liverpool. Three days after he passed away, his partners’ sister was left an answer machine message from the trucker. She contacted the telephone company and they said that it was impossible for the service to make a mistake in terms of the time when the message was left and that although rare, it was not the first time someone had experienced phone calls from the dead.

After Death Communications (not via mediums) is not a new thing, ancient cultures have always connected with those who have passed for guidance and advice, although it must be said that in the “Western World”, such experiences are by and large seen as esoteric and too delusional to be taken seriously, with the sharer often ridiculed. That said, in my opinion there is a shift in consciousness about consciousness itself, and hopefully this will lead to more experiences being shared, which should (in theory) lead to less cases being debunked, paving the way to prove that consciousness does in fact exist beyond the brain beyond reasonable doubt.

I guess one of the main reasons why I took up yoga, meditation and reiki two years ago was my individual quest for the answer to the key questions posed in both this blog and my last. I for one want to experience things first-hand, on the basis that one can only truly confirm or deny whether something exists if one experiences things with the senses we have (five or otherwise). I have attained semi-altered states of consciousness via yoga/meditation, lucid dreaming and Lucia No 3 to some extent, and I will continue to do so to see what things are presented to me. I do believe that based on the wealth of evidence as well as the cases of my gran and son, that apparitions may well exist.

Whether that constitutes immaterial consciousness and consciousness outside of the brain cannot be confirmed. Yet…

Near Death Experiences (NDE)

So straight in with the big question, no messing around: “Could human consciousness exist in the absence of a living brain?” Isn’t that the million dollar question…

I have over the years read a lot about NDE’s (Near Death Experiences) and find the whole think quite fascinating actually. I guess if one looks for evidence of non-local consciousness, then NDE’s (for me) are the most logical place to start.

Once the brain is clinically dead (and by that I infer that one is clinically dead with the cessation of cerebral blood flow and oxygen), then after a period of intense “about to die” brain activity (which could be explained as the final electrical surge during the glutamate flood), one is fact dead. Deceased. An ex-human. One is indeed pushing up the daisies…

Thinking of a logical simile, death is like a computer: when it’s time to log off you prepare yourself, click Start > Shut Down and the internal parts process such a request which results in a spike of electrical activity – shutting down all services and processes before finally presenting a black screen. Once in this mode, one can move the mouse or type on the keyboard, but alas there is no response (unless you resuscitate it by pressing the power button again of course). Our computer cannot experience or store anything whilst in this mode, so I guess this is where we as humans may differ and as such the search for synthetic or artificial consciousness will be in vain.

The catalogued NDE cases I’ve read are very interesting indeed, especially those OBE (Out of Body Experiences) where folks have witnessed items from way above their vantage points like mouse traps on high cupboards, shoes on a roof etc after all visible brain activity has ceased. No doubt there have been some seriously clever and impartial folks documenting and studying such events, and personally I would like to think that experiences like seeing deceased relatives, beings of light and tunnels are in fact evidence of something beyond this realm. If we can only experience five percent of the electro/audio magnetic spectrum of what we call reality with the limited five senses we have, then one has to conclude there is something else out there. Exactly what that is, I guess we may never know.

The more intriguing cases for me are NDE’s of the young, for surely if an infant has no preconceptions about religion, beings of light, tunnels and the concept of death, then if in those cases they were able to describe such things in detail then for me the evidence really does start to stack up. There was one case that Penny Sartori who studies and writes about NDE’s cited, whereby a four year old child (whom obviously had little/no religious experience) managed to describe their NDE in great detail; going into a tunnel, meeting people and seeing a gate which they never went through.

Whilst there are extremes variety and wealth of evidence both captured and studied, I ask myself the question whether consciousness is non-local based on the NDE’s evidence I have read thus far and can I presented can be regarded as being beyond reasonable doubt. There is still something which the logical part of me questions. Take time dilation. I have first-hand experience of time dilation when “not conscious”, through vivid dreams and the Lucid Light Device (Lucia No 3) where extensive periods of dream-time occur within seconds or minutes of real-time. NDE cases could simply be experiencing “something” during that shutdown mode when the brain is hyper-active based on preconceptions or religious/spiritual beliefs of the individual. However, what cannot be accounted for I suppose is where someone is clinically dead with no visible brain activity who experiences activities in our reality (like OBE’s in the operating theatre – as some have described in great detail) once the brain has flat-lined. What could possibly explain such a scenario other than concluding one of two things: the brain can continue to function for a time after clinical death when all observable life signs have ceased, or that indeed consciousness is non-local.

I cannot say that I have had an NDE, but I can say that whilst under the influence of Lucia No 3, I had what can only be described as near death experience “experience”. I saw a tunnel. I saw white amorphous shapes what could be regarded as beings of light. Could it be that by immersing oneself in total light, one can attain an altered state and voyage into the void, into what could possibly be the collective consciousness?

OPINION: I do believe that people do have NDE’s. I do believe that certain NDE’s are difficult to counter given some of the incredible and fantastic evidence. The more and more I read, the more and more I begin to believe that there is something else out there, and NDE’s help in some way to proving that. However, I would not go as far as to say that it is beyond reasonable doubt at this stage. No doubt if I had a full on NDE then I could be persuaded, but I’d rather not just yet if I’m honest…