Research reported in The Field (2008) was directed toward studying connections between quantum physics and human consciousness. The scientists sought explanations for a variety of theories and phenomena that have long permeated myth, religion, medicine and philosophy.
As we know from the experiences of Copernicus, Galileo, and countless others, science has always fought new ideas which challenge established theories until the research is sufficiently replicated and validated by independent observers. So it should be, and so it was for the studies discussed in this book.
In every field of human endeavor, progress begins with a tiny seed of intuition that grows into the bud of an idea, flowers into research and new discoveries, and culminates in nourishing fruits enjoyed by all. Each phase is essential to the process; each explorer contributes to our evolving knowledge. With this understanding, we remain open to possibilities suggested by author Lynne Mactaggart about who we really are and how we can make a difference.
“If we could understand the inherent potential available to us we might learn how to systematically tap into it, which would vastly improve every area of our lives, from communication and self-knowledge, to our interaction with our material world. Science would no longer reduce us to our lowest common denominator. It would help us take a final evolutionary step in our own history by at last understanding ourselves in all of our potential.” McTaggart, p. 225-6
“If we could finally work out the science of medicine that treats human energy levels and the exact nature of the ‘energy’ that was being treated, the possibilities for improved health [are] unimaginable.” p. 226
“The coming scientific revolution heralded the end of dualism in every sense. Far from destroying God, science for the first time was proving His [sic] existence—by demonstrating that a higher, collective consciousness was out there. There no longer need to be two truths, the truth of science and the truth of religion. There could be one unified vision of the world” (p. 226) which could reduce hostilities instigated by polarized thinking.
“This…could give us back a sense of optimism, something that has been stripped out of our sense of ourselves with the arid vision of twentieth-century philosophy, largely derived from the views espoused by science.” p. 226
“We [are] not isolated beings living our desperate lives on a lonely planet in an indifferent universe. We never were alone. We were always part of a larger whole. We were and always had been at the center of things. Things did not fall apart. The center did hold and it was we who were doing the holding.” p. 226 Perhaps if a critical mass feels this hope, it can spread to people who are deeply disillusioned and disappointed by outdated ideas of who they are, thus reducing meaninglessness and certain forms of depression.
“[A] living system of greater coherence could exchange information and create or restore coherence in a disordered, random or chaotic system. The natural set of the living world appeared to be order—a drive toward greater coherence…. By the act of observation and intention, we have the ability to extend a kind of super-radiance to the world.” pp. 138-9 Perhaps those who acquire greater coherence through meditation are on the right track when they send loving kindness into the world! Who knows? Maybe their efforts are behind our new interest in eliminating practices responsible for our increasingly chaotic ecological systems.
A finding that children are open to far more information in The Field than the average adult is especially heartening. p. 138 Just yesterday I learned that as of this fall, our grandchildren’s school will incorporate a few minutes of yoga and “loving kindness” meditation and mindfulness into their morning meetings. I’m so pleased!
Here are some thoughts offered by my readers:
Brian: “An accessing of universal unconscious material by an increasing number of humans brings forward new dialogues, understandings, new positive choices become available, routes away from the history of conflict. Hopefully also a synthesis of religious thought and a route for the previously agnostic to access a real connection to the”spiritual” nature of existence.”
Susan: “There is no question in my mind as to the power of critical mass having a profound influence on the world, hopefully for the benefit of all. And if we can…see, really see, the unity that is inherent in our lives, of all things big and small, our service in doing the hard inner work is thus meaningful. I’m taking away from your post the need to pray for peace around the world in the hope that my tiny vibration adds to the whole.”
Sally: Having read as much as I could understand about quantum physics for years, one of the most exciting developments is that it is destroying the divisive either/or controversy between science and religion and leads to a deeper understanding of the both/and reality of spirit-energy of all life.
Many of the new ideas discussed in The Field confirm insights and intuitions I’ve acquired over years of study, personal experience, practice, inner exploration and positive change. I no longer need to “believe” because I trust an “inner guru” or “Force” which I, like Carl Jung, call the Self. Perhaps it is simply my portion of The Field. Whatever it may be, the dreams, insights, intuitions and synchronicities it sends my way have improved every area of my life and brought a mystical awareness of the basic unity and connectedness of all life.
So, like Susan, The Field reinforces my need to pray for peace plus hope, intention, and determination to make a positive difference with “my tiny vibration.”
In Part I of this series I asked (1)What would a new idea of Who We Are look like?and (2)What difference could it make to our world crisis if enough of us become coherent [united] in a new idea of who we are?
To answer these questions I summarized findings from recent research in quantum physics as reported in the first half of The Field, by Lynne Mactaggart. Here’s my summary of the remainder of the book.
The images and intentions of others can influence our dreams. McTaggart, p. 126
Ordinary humans have the ability to influence other living things on many levels: muscle activity, motor activity, cellular changes, nervous system activity. The influence seems to increase depending on how much it matters to the influencer, and how much s/he can relate to the object of influence. p. 133
Several common characteristics to experiments in remote influence tended to more readily guarantee success: relaxation techniques (through meditation, biofeedback or other methods); reduced sensory input or physical activity; dreams or other internal states and feelings; and a reliance on right-brain functioning. p. 134
When the left brain is quieted and the right brain predominates, ordinary people can tap into a “deep well of alert receptivity” which brings a state of unity with the single object being focused upon. p. 134
When two people ‘relax’ and attempt to establish some kind of deep connection, their brain patterns become highly synchronized, and the most ordered brain pattern always prevails, nudging the less organized recipient toward a greater degree of order. p. 137
Children are open to far more information in The Field than the average adult. p. 138
Our natural state of being is a relationship—a constant state of one influencing the other.” Just as the subatomic particles that compose us cannot be separated from the space and particles surrounding them, so living beings cannot be isolated from each other.” p. 138
Tests conducted by the behaviorist Dr. William Broud suggested that a “living system of greater coherence could exchange information and create or restore coherence in a disordered, random or chaotic system. The natural set of the living world appeared to be order—a drive toward greater coherence…. By the act of observation and intention, we have the ability to extend a kind of super-radiance to the world.” pp. 138-9
Many of humankind’s greatest achievements may result from an individual suddenly gaining access to a shared accumulation of information—a collective effort in the Zero Point Field—in what we consider a moment of inspiration. What we call ‘genius’ may simply be a greater ability to access the Zero Point Field. In that sense, our intelligence, creativity and imagination are not locked in our brains but exist as an interaction with the Field.” p. 139
“…healing through intention is available to ordinary people, although the healers may be more experienced or naturally talented in tapping into the Field.” p. 193-4
Illness could be a disturbance in the quantum fluctuations of an individual and healing might be a matter of reprogramming individual quantum fluctuations to operate more coherently. Illness could be isolation: a lack of connection with the collective health of The Field and the community. p. 194
Consciousness may live on after we die. p. 195
Group consciousness, working through a medium such as the zero Point Field, may be acting as the universal organizing factor in the cosmos.
In summary, McTaggart writes:
“We have far more power than we realized, to heal ourselves, our loved ones, even our communities. Each of us had the ability—and together a great collective power—to improve our lot in life. Our life, in every sense, was in our hands.” p. 226
Next time: some implications for how we can help make a difference in the world. I invite you to add your thoughts.
“Our world is in crisis because of the absence of consciousness. We need to explore new ideas of who we are.”
This inspires me to ask two questions: What might a new idea of who we are look like? And, what difference could a new idea make to our world crisis? Currently I’m drawing new ideas from quantum physics. Despite my rudimentary understanding of what I’m learning, I’d like to take a stab at answering these questions.
I’ve never forgotten my high school psychology teacher’s casual remark one day that we humans only use about a tenth of our brain’s potential. This remark triggered my latent philosopher and at that moment I started asking the big questions about life: “What potential lies dormant in me and humanity?” “What force makes it all work?”
At 17 I fell in love with Christianity. At 27 a “spiritual” vision dropped me to my knees. At 37 a kundalini awakening dropped me into free fall. At 47 I landed on solid ground via the parachute of Jungian psychology. By then I knew that the traditions and conventions of collective consciousness “out there” held no answers for me and I began exploring my personal and collective unconscious “in here”.
New worlds of exciting ideas opened to me via my Jungian studies, which pointed me toward dreams, mythology, meditation, world religions, symbolism, alchemy, synchronicity, brain lateralization and quantum physics. These and other areas have brought life-changing insights.
Now I’m exploring human consciousness. At the suggestion of my dear friend, Jungian therapist Ann Kennedy, I’m reading The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe, by journalist and author Lynne McTaggart. Following are some cover blurbs that should give you an idea of its relevance to my search:
“One of the most powerful and enlightening books I have ever read. A magnificent job of presenting the hard evidence for what spiritual masters have been telling us for centuries.” ~Wayne W. Dyer
“This important book stretches the imagination. . . .We are on the verge of another revolution in our understanding of the universe.” ~Arthur C. Clarke
“Every now and then a person taps in to the zeitgeist of an age, the evolutionary edge of human consciousness and understanding. The Field by Lynne McTaggart is seminal.” ~Barbara Marx Hubbard, President, Foundation for Conscious Evolution
The Field synthesizes some of the latest scientific discoveries related to consciousness. Together they present some mind-blowing findings about who we are and how we can help heal the world.
Finding #1: Each of us has a field of influence on the world and vice versa.
Finding #2: Everything is in connection and balance with the rest of the cosmos via an exchange of energy.
Finding #3: We are beings of light. Our biological processes are driven by photons of light in every molecule of our bodies. The photons are emitted from each molecule to every other molecule in electromagnetic waves via the water in our cells. The water retains, transmits and amplifies information and energy.
Finding #4: Consciousness is a global phenomenon that occurs everywhere in the body, and not simply in our brains. “Consciousness, at its most basic…[is] coherent [unified and ordered] light.” McTaggart, p. 94.
Finding #5: There is an ocean of microscopic vibrations in the space between things. The universe is a heaving sea of energy exchange, with a basic substructure, or field called the Zero Point Field, containing all possible versions of all possible forms of matter. This means that nature is
“not blind and mechanistic, but open-ended, intelligent and purposeful, making use of a cohesive learning feedback process of information being fed back and forth between organisms and their environment. Its unifying mechanism…[is] not a fortunate mistake but information which…[has] been encoded and transmitted everywhere at once.” McTaggart, pp. 94-5.
“The fact that the human body was exchanging information with a mutable field of quantum fluctuation suggested something profound about the world. It hinted at human capabilities for knowledge and communication far deeper and more extended than we presently understand. It also blurred the boundary lines of our individuality—our very sense of separateness. If living things boil down to charged particles interacting with a field and sending out and receiving quantum information, where did we end and the rest of the world begin? Where was consciousness—encased inside our bodies or out there in The Field? Indeed, there was no more ‘out there’ if we and the rest of the world were so intrinsically connected.” McTaggart, p. 96.
Finding #6: When we wish for something or intend something, an act which requires a great deal of unity of thought, we have an ability to extend our own coherent thought out into our environment. This represents an almost unimaginable amount of power to create, organize and heal.
So this is what a new idea of ourselves looks like! Wow!
I’m only half way through The Field so next time I’ll summarize the rest. Meanwhile, I invite your responses to my second question: If enough of us become coherent in thisnew idea of who we really are, what difference could it make to our world crisis?
“Consciousness can only exist through continual recognition of the unconscious…” ~Carl Jung, Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, Par 178.
What does it mean to be unconscious? It doesn’t mean we’re dull, socially clueless or lacking in intelligence, creativity or passion. It simply means we are so used to thinking and behaving in habitual ways that we’re minimally aware of inner forces that move us every day.
These forces include our shadow (potential our ego actively disowns, both positive and negative), our anima and animus (untapped feminine and masculine potential), and a wealth of other archetypes (inherited psychological patterns and images) including the Self (our core and circumference and our connection to sacred Oneness).
All these entities influence our thoughts, attitudes, and behavior; sometimes for good, sometimes for ill. If we don’t notice and reflect on why we’re thinking or acting the way we do, we miss valuable opportunities to develop our fullest potential.
For example, you and I are having a calm, civilized discussion about politics and you bring up your candidate’s take on a certain issue—say emigration, abortion or gun control—and suddenly I become indignant. So what brought that on? you wonder as I aggressively spout opinions about the rightness of my position and the wrongness of your candidate’s position.
The more I talk the more justified and self-righteous I feel in my indignation. I might even get frustrated and angry at you. My position feels perfectly reasonable to me. How could you not see things the way I do? I wonder. How could you vote for that terrible candidate? Meanwhile, you’re mystified by the heat of my response. You might have strong opinions too, yet you have no problem discussing them calmly.
I’ve studied and thought about this issue. I think I know exactly why I believe what I do and I assume any rational person would feel the same way. But the truth is, I don’t really have a clue because I’ve never explored the inner forces that moved me to adopt my position in the first place.
So what has happened? Something about the mention of this issue activated an unconscious complex of associated memories, attitudes, and emotions. Maybe my complex arose from an early wound—a parent’s cruel neglect, a dismissive attitude or unjustified accusation, a traumatic experience at school or church, a cruelty I suffered at the hands of another, a secret shameful act I once committed. Or maybe the issue reminds me of painful conflicts I’m currently suffering.
My ego doesn’t want to admit to anxiety or self-pity or suffering. I associate these feelings with weakness and victimization, so I ignore them. But now the pressure cooker into which I have stuffed my complex has boiled over. The floodgates separating my ego from my unconscious self have opened, my ego is swamped with emotion, and every cell in my body wants to fight or escape. This time, my instinct is to fight.
I don’t stop to wonder why. I’ve gotten so good at dismissing my anxiety as unimportant or unacceptable that I barely notice it. Nor can I see that my agitated response to you is uncalled for and hurtful.
If you bring this to my attention, I’ll deny any wrongdoing and believe the fault is yours. Later on I might wonder if I came across a little too strong, but unless I’m unusually reflective I’ll soon forget the incident and lapse back into unconsciousness. Sadly, my ego’s dualistic resistance to my unconscious self has once again won the day. And I’ve lost another opportunity to learn, grow and heal.
“The contemplative stance is the Third Way. We stand in the middle, neither taking the world on from another power position nor denying it for fear of the pain it will bring. We hold the dark side of reality and the pain of the world until it transforms us, knowing that we are both complicit in the evil and can participate in wholeness and holiness. Once we can stand in that third spacious way, neither directly fighting nor denying and fleeing, we are in the place of grace out of which genuine newness can come. This is where creativity and new forms of life and healing emerge.” ~Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, pp. 169-171.
Our world is in crisis because of the absence of consciousness. We need to explore new ideas of who we are.
Image Credits: Terence McKenna quote, Thesyncmovie.com. Never Stop Exploring, Quotesgram.com
The Wilbur Award is given by the Religion Communicators Council for excellence in communicating religious faith and values in the public arena and for encouraging understanding among faith groups on a national level.