My First Report from the Science and Nonduality Conference
I am posting late this week because I wanted to write some thoughts from the conference I am attending and yesterday was the first day I spent here. The conference itself is a fascinating mix of spiritual teachers who are offering different forms of nonduality teachings and scientitsts who are seeing nondual reality reflected in their work.
Yesterday I saw Mokshananda, Pamela Wilson and Adyashanti. All of whom were pointing awareness toward the ground of consciousness that underlies all of our experience. I also saw Peter Baumman who I don’t believe considers himself to be a spiritual teacher but who was also sharing his own understanding of nonduality by explaining the futility of trying to control reality and espousing the virtues of accepting it as it is.
My own presentation was well received. The main point that I was making was that the experience of Evolutionary Nonduality may at first seem like an awakening that we are having as human beings to the process of evolution of which we are a part. But the deeper nondual interpretation of this experience is that it is the energy and intelligence of the universe itself that is awakening to its own existence though human form.
Last night I also saw two other speakers both of whom I found interesting and compelling. One was Peter Russell and the second was Robert Lanza. Peter Russell has been a leading edge thinker for many years and is a fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, of The World Business Academy and of The Findhorn Foundation, and an Honorary Member of The Club of Budapest. Robert Lanza is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology, and Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
Peter Russell spoke about what he saw as an emerging paradigm shift that he believes is in its beginning stages in science and will unfold over the decades to come. This shift is being catalyzed by an anomaly that is inexplicable to our current scientific paradigm. That anomaly is called “the hard problem of consciousness” and comes from the fact that the one thing that we as human beings cannot deny is that we experience reality and yet our current science cannot explain why we have any experience at all. How does inanimate matter lead to some internal subjective experience of reality? We can explain everything about the world except why it appears to us in the first place. If you take an apple and bite into it as an example, there is no reason why the light that bounces off of the apple and reflects into your eye and stimulates your nerves with signals sent to the brain should become the inner experience of what we see as “a red apple.” There is also no reason that the interaction between the material of the apple and your mouth should produce the inner experience that we taste as an apple. Russell believes that the coming paradigm shift is one in which science comes to the realization that experience is not produced as an after affect, but that experience is an inherent part of all of reality. All of realty down to subatomic particles has some form of experience, which means some form of consciousness, inherent in it.
Robert Lanza was speaking in a similar vein about his theory called Biocentrism. Essentially he believes that all of the problems that science is currently unable to explain, from the hard problem of consciousness to the inconsistencies of the Big Bang Theory all result from the same fundamentally problem. We have assumed that physics is the most fundemental science and that biology is a later manifestation. This leads to the belief that life and consciousness emerge out of matter. Lanza’s theory explains that if we turn the tables and assume that biology is more primary than physics and therefore that matter emerges from life we will have the theory of everything that has eluded physics. In such a short presentation it is impossible to get any thing but a flavor for someone’s thinking, but I definitely intend to follow up on Lanza’s ideas.
My overall impression of the conference is very positive and I feel that this effort to bring scientists and nondual teachers together could lead to some interesting results over time.