What Near-Death Experiences Tell Us About Consciousness and the Concept of the Self ~ Sam Parnia, MD, PhD

The New York Academy of Sciences – June 22, 2010
Shifting Realities: Myths, Models & Morality
Life, Death & the Pursuit of Morality

What Near-Death Experiences Contribute to the Concept of the Self
Sam Parnia, MD, PhD

How does our understanding of the concepts of life and death affect our moral sensibility, decisions, and actions? This symposium engages scientific and humanistic focus upon the ways in which human finitude can, and perhaps should, impact moral character.

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The Thinking Ape: The Enigma of Human Consciousness

What is the origin and nature of consciousness? If consciousness is common to humans and animals alike, what are the defining traits of human consciousness?

Nobel laureate psychologist Daniel Kahneman, philosopher David Chalmers, expert in primate cognition Laurie Santos, and physician-scientist Nicholas Schiff will discuss what it means to be “conscious” and examine the human capacities displayed in cognitive, aesthetic, and ethical behaviors, with a focus on the place and function of the mind within nature.

The New York Academy of Sciences
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This event is part of The Emerging Science of Consciousness Series, which brings together leading experts from various fields to discuss how the latest research is challenging our understanding of the very nature and function of consciousness in our daily lives.

Non-Duality :The groundless openness by Douwe Tiemersma

Non-Duality; The Groundless Openness, gives an extended and precise exposé of the various forms and aspects of non-duality in a question-answer style. It contains introductions and talks arranged in a systematic order, offering a thorough insight into non-duality and showing viable ways for its realization.
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Ever since his radical encounter with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj in 1980, Douwe Tiemersma has been helping people recognize non-dual openness as the ground of their own existence. Due to his background in yoga he encourages a relaxed, integrated bodily recognition. As such, he offers meditation, pranayama, hathayoga and chakra yoga to compliment the weekly satsangs which take place at the Advaita Center located in Gouda. The Advaita Posts published here on this blog comprise his ongoing teaching in the form of a bi-weekly magazine.

Currently retired, Douwe was professor of Biology, Philosophical anthropology and Eastern studies at Erasmus University in Rotterdam for many years. As an advaita teacher, he seamlessly integrates many aspects of both Eastern and Western arts and sciences in order to focus on a very practical recognition.

Douwe was a co-founder and for many years the principal editor of the Dutch language magazine InZicht: wegen van radicaal zelf-onderzoek (InSight: Paths of radical self-inquiry). He has authored or co-authored over 20 books in the Dutch language, chief among them are Naar de Openheid, Openingen naar de Openheid, Non-Dualiteit, de grondeloze openheid, Verdwijnende scheidingen, Psychotherapie en Non-Dualiteit, Management en Non-Dualiteit, De elf grote Upanishaden, Mediteren leren, Chakrayoga and Pranayama.

Text Satsang

An Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Schiermonnikoog, June 20, 2012

Insight only on the level of consciousness is still not realization

Many people have difficulty with the transition from the observer’s point of view to a totally open sphere of infinite being. We have already confirmed that the transition happens by itself because there is no longer an ‘I’ that can do something. But that naturally occurring process will only take place when you have truly stabilized at the perspective of the observer. If you are easily distracted, you’re right back to the mental or material viewpoint. So stay in the spacious sphere of that perceiving consciousness. Of course that consciousness is already infinite, but still there’s always an observing viewpoint and an object space in which things appear.

You will want to remain on level of the observer for a long time, until you become aware of yourself anew there and the process continues. That only happens when you find it to be the most important. If other things are more important to you, your attention is focused there and there’s a concentrated, focused form of consciousness. Invariably when you have become distracted by something in the outside world or internally in your mind, you again have the old restrictive situation in which you’re stuck to a small, limited location. Gradually you come to know the value of remaining on the level of the observer. When you have recognized how important and valuable it is, then you can always stay there. Then that is the most important for you. Then the further release goes by itself.

Many people surely find this interesting, it fits into their lifestyle, but fundamentally nothing changes. It needs to be total for something fundamental to change. What does that mean? It needs to totally come into the fore. I can refer to it and it remains to be seen whether it occurs. But I can certainly say that those who have ever really gone along with this process of total breakthrough had that attitude. Because this was the most important, the rest could fall away.

Despite all the interest in advaita the number of people who have actually proceeded is very small – because it requires everything. Who is ready for that? It will just be apparent. So it’s all connected to your orientation. This sphere of your orientation is more important than the content of your action within that sphere. The way in which you are and the way in which you do things is more important than what you do. At a certain moment it no longer matters what you do. But you will need to be totally present in that process.

Could you go a little deeper into the importance of insight and total involvement?

First insight will need to be there, the recognition of what is most important to you. You will have to get to know it, but initially it’s not present in a stable manner. When you remain alert, it can stabilize. Through this you will increase your outlook on the level of clear insight: This. It doesn’t take place on the level of mental consciousness. Mental consciousness is always mediated by all different kinds of ideas, thoughts, words, patterns. You withdraw and see these patterns from the level of insight. From there you confirm directly what’s important and what’s not important. You’re not reasoning from the mental level. Ask yourself: what about myself? This sphere with this external view through which I see everything, that’s my most important position. What I see is much less important than the way in which I see it. I am conscious on the level of insight.

Of course, there is also an emotional side. Clear consciousness by itself doesn’t have so much force. Something can certainly be confirmed, but it will need to become total. The whole feeling sphere will have to go along with it. You can say a hundred times that you are not the body, but whether that is actually realized is another thing. When the body falters and the end is in sight, then too don’t you easily say: of course, my own being isn’t dependent on what happens to the body?

Insight only on the level of consciousness is still not realization. It will have to concern all aspects of yourself. It will need to be a very concrete experience. Of course the ordinary life, reasonably adapted to society, can continue more or less in the old way although a crack is always possible. But you are genuinely interested in how it goes, your actual attention, your heart is there in the reality of the great being-awareness. And of course that doesn’t correspond with what is commonplace within society. When you are grasped by the open sphere then the importance of all other things falls away. They are relative with respect to the one which then functions as the center.

This spacious sphere becomes the framework within which phenomena arise and can be accepted, in which life goes on. We all want to live together in a good way, everyone agrees with that. What does this ‘good’ mean for co-existence? It means that there is a feeling for each other and a togetherness. On a certain level there are no separations, there is a non-duality. Don’t focus on all the many details in which we differ, but focus increasingly on this non-duality.

Then you will feel contact with it and the sphere will become steadily stronger. This non-duality doesn’t mean that everything is the same but rather that there is a unity which carries everything along. This unity, which is also goodness, becomes very evident when you relinquish your position as the observer.

The Storm Before the Calm by Neale Donald Walsch

This Enhanced eBook features Audio & Video!

Something happened in early 2011 that hasn’t happened in decades, perhaps centuries-and we didn’t even notice it. That is, we didn’t see it for what it was.

Massive unrest from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya rocked the Arab world and threw the globe into political crisis. Within days, an earthquake-tsunami-nuclear calamity of terrifying proportions shocked Japan and sent the world reeling once again, even as the globe’s financial markets shuddered to sustain themselves while states and nations tottered on the brink of bankruptcy-where many still linger.

All of this, of course, we did notice. What we may have missed was that ancient predictions for this period of time called for exactly this: simultaneous environmental, political, and financial disasters. Were we seeing the beginning of “the end of history”-and not picking up the signal?

In his prescient new book The Storm Before The Calm, seven-time New York Times best-selling author Neale Donald Walsch offers a startling answer: yes. But Walsch also says there is nothing to fear, advancing an extraordinary explanation for what is happening even now all over the planet. Then-and more important-he provides a stunning prescription for healing our lives and our world through the answering of seven simple questions, inviting people everywhere to join in an earth-saving exchange at TheGlobalConversation.com. Compelling and perfectly timed, The Storm Before The Calm answers every question that is worth asking about December, 2012 and beyond.
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With an early interest in religion and a deeply felt connection to spirituality, Neale Donald Walsch spent the majority of his life thriving professionally, yet searching for spiritual meaning before beginning his now-famous Conversation with God series. These books have been translated into 37 languages, touching millions and inspiring important changes in people’s day-to-day lives. Seven of his 27 books have reached the New York Times bestsellers list.

Storm before the Calm – Neale Donald Walsch

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