Depart Knowledge of Self

Depart on a Journey to Discover Our Inner Universes

Go deep with­in to a reflec­tive aware­ness of the con­nec­tions between nodes of life. Gain insight from empti­ness, and find your­self with­in that clear, open space.

“Biz­zarie di Varie Fig­ure”, Gio­van­ni Bat­tista Bra­cel­li, 1624

“Our own indi­vid­ual inner uni­verse, our way of being con­scious, is just one pos­si­ble way of being con­scious. And even human con­scious­ness gen­er­al­ly, it’s just a tiny region in a vast space of pos­si­ble con­scious­ness­es… With a greater sense of under­stand­ing comes a greater sense of won­der, and a greater real­iza­tion that we are part of and not apart from the rest of nature.” — Anil Seth

If we wish to gain insight on our true nature, it is nec­es­sary to delve into the field of consciousness.

One grow­ing approach to this inves­ti­ga­tion con­cerns a branch of meta­phys­i­cal phi­los­o­phy deal­ing with the study of the mind called noet­ics. In Greek, noē­sis / noētikos describes inner wis­dom, direct know­ing, intu­ition, or implic­it under­stand­ing. The Petaluma, Cal­i­for­nia based IONS (Insti­tute Of Noet­ic Sci­ences) describes Noet­ic Sci­ences as: “A mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary field of study that brings objec­tive sci­en­tif­ic tools and tech­niques togeth­er with sub­jec­tive inner know­ing to study the nature of real­i­ty.”1 In this mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary field, the study of sub­jec­tive expe­ri­ence is seen through a sci­en­tif­ic lens to exam­ine ways in which con­scious­ness per­tains to the phys­i­cal world.

The idea behind the term uni­ty of con­scious­ness is that when we expe­ri­ence sen­sa­tions like sound and feel­ing, or smell and taste, we do so all at once.2 Con­scious­ness has the capac­i­ty to inte­grate com­plex parts and pat­terns into a seam­less whole. Con­scious­ness plays a cru­cial role in sup­port­ing indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive trans­for­ma­tion, and engag­ing a glob­al com­mu­ni­ty in the real­iza­tion of human potential.

Con­scious­ness is not a fixed qual­i­ty we pos­sess, but rather an evolv­ing expe­ri­ence of who we are. We can devel­op our aware­ness of con­scious­ness when we qui­et our inner dia­logue and calm the fran­tic pace of our dai­ly lives. Deep­er insights of con­scious­ness occur when we tune into the res­o­nant fre­quen­cy we share with all oth­er obser­vant beings. To cre­ate con­di­tions for our bod­ies to live in a healthy, relaxed, and lib­er­at­ed state, enables the mind to gain greater aware­ness of the sen­sa­tions the body receives. This col­lec­tion of sen­so­ry input and extrasen­so­ry insight can then be recon­fig­ured by the mind, through com­plex pat­tern recog­ni­tion and res­o­lu­tion, to influ­ence mat­ter. At this pre­cise moment, the uni­ty of con­scious­ness expands to allow for a state of total har­mo­ny. Per­haps this is what is meant by the title of the Radio­head song “Every­thing in its right place”.

“Alle­gor­i­cal-sym­bol­ic Work”, Uncred­it­ed, 1922

“Tech­nol­o­gy is a man­i­fes­ta­tion of mind. It’s our thoughts and imag­i­na­tion brought into phys­i­cal form. If you look around this room, every object, even the room itself, start­ed as a thought. And like thoughts, tech­nol­o­gy can run wild, and cause immense dev­as­ta­tion and suf­fer­ing, or it can be our ally, to help us real­ize that which we all see: Peace, truth, love, enlight­en­ment, what­ev­er name you want to give to that.” — Mikey Siegel

New pieces of tech­nol­o­gy are cur­rent­ly being cre­at­ed to help access and explore the mys­ter­ies of con­scious­ness. One of the peo­ple in the spot­light of this pur­suit is an engi­neer named Mikey Siegel who has been work­ing on inte­grat­ing tech­nol­o­gy with con­scious­ness through a series of glob­al events he’s titled the Con­scious­ness Hack­ing Meet­Up. These com­mu­ni­ty-based gath­er­ings offer the oppor­tu­ni­ty for atten­dees to try out a device Siegel cre­at­ed called Heart­sync which can con­nect up to 24 peo­ple wear­ing EEG head­sets to a com­put­er, visu­al­ize their heart-rates, and emit cor­re­spond­ing sounds through speak­ers. This device enables a group of peo­ple to syn­chro­nize their breath­ing and heart-rates into a col­lec­tive rhythm. Through Siegel’s net­work of Meet­Up events called Project Nights, oth­er indi­vid­u­als and star­tups are able to share poten­tial­ly influ­en­tial pro­to­types.3 For instance, a group called Lucid­ing Inc. has invent­ed a spe­cial­ized head­band that can send elec­tri­cal puls­es to you while you sleep, which they claim allows for the abil­i­ty to con­trol one’s dreams and enjoy lucid­ly-nav­i­gat­ed desires.

Tech­nolo­gies that sense and trans­mit heart rhythms, or that allow us to choose our own adven­tures through our dreams, reveal the pow­er­ful inter­work­ing of our own bio­log­i­cal machin­ery. We are learn­ing to har­mo­nize the ener­gies of our exter­nal tech­nolo­gies with the ener­gies of our inter­nal tech­nolo­gies. Along the way, we are deriv­ing an ever greater mean­ing of what tech­nol­o­gy can be. Most of all, tech­nol­o­gy can be inter­pret­ed as a man­i­fes­ta­tion of human imagination.

PCH exper­i­ments with Brain Com­put­er Inter­faces (BCI)

Altered states of con­scious­ness are a built-in fea­ture to human expe­ri­ence. Pop­u­lar­ized modes for quick­ly alter­ing consciousness—like enter­tain­ment, caf­feine, alco­hol, hal­lu­cino­gens, sen­so­ry depri­va­tion, or elec­tri­cal brain­wave stim­u­la­tion —are ripe for rein­ter­pre­ta­tion. Like with chem­i­cal sub­stances, the poten­tial for depen­den­cy to devel­op presents risk to cer­tain avenues for alter­ing con­scious­ness. Yet ancient prac­tices will con­tin­ue to be our most acces­si­ble means for expe­ri­enc­ing inter­nal trans­for­ma­tion. The most sus­tain­able means for gain­ing insights from dif­fer­ent states of con­scious­ness might very well con­tin­ue to include the shaman­ic method of rhyth­mic per­cus­sion, or the yog­ic meth­ods of breath-work, move­ment, and meditation.

We believe that in the future, ecosys­tems for explor­ing and expand­ing con­scious­ness will con­tin­ue to grow. So too will the num­ber of pos­si­ble paths toward the dis­cov­ery of the truths hid­den with­in each of our inner uni­vers­es. Oppor­tu­ni­ties to access enlight­ened expe­ri­ences from with­in will con­tin­ue to unfold. All the while, humans will grad­u­al­ly devel­op a more cohe­sive con­nec­tion with the out­er universe.

Depart Knowledge of Self

Embark into Greater Awareness

Lucid dreams, med­i­ta­tion, and hal­lu­cino­gens serve as bridges between states of con­scious­ness and reveal the pow­er of mind over matter.

“As a lump of salt thrown into water melts away…even so, 0 Maitreyi, the indi­vid­ual soul, dis­solved, is the Eternal—pure con­scious­ness, infi­nite, tran­scen­dent.” — The Bri­hadaranaya­ka Upanishad

Mys­tic wis­dom reveals uni­ver­sal truths that exist out­side the intel­lect, and can be obtained only in the spir­it realm. Mys­tic aware­ness becomes avail­able with dis­tance from the intel­lect and cor­re­spond­ing sense of self. The amount of pro­cess­ing sim­ply to nav­i­gate one’s every­day indi­vid­ual expe­ri­ence requires pow­er­ful cal­cu­la­tions and ener­gy. As such, liv­ing in a con­stant state of mys­tic aware­ness is unfor­tu­nate­ly not prac­ti­cal for nav­i­gat­ing the phys­i­cal world. Yet, we can cer­tain­ly become more aware of the truth about our inter-con­nec­tions by giv­ing greater atten­tion to insights shared by mys­tics. We can also pri­or­i­tize some time each day to take a break from all our pro­cess­ing and, in a calm, appro­pri­ate space, learn to devel­op mys­tic awareness.

No mat­ter what we come across in that time and space, we will at least ben­e­fit from access­ing a more self­less realm and stop burn­ing so much ener­gy on judg­ing our­selves. We should, instead, learn to embrace all of who we are, appre­ci­ate our var­i­ous flaws and mis­takes, and see how our imper­fec­tions con­nect us to the per­fect­ly chaot­ic com­po­si­tion of life.

US Pub­lic Health Ser­vice Poster, 1942

The Upan­ishads are ancient San­skrit writ­ings that com­prise part of a larg­er body of reli­gious texts known as the Vedas, text that informs core ele­ments of Hin­duism as well as Bud­dhism and Jain­ism. These writ­ings are con­sid­ered “author­less”. The date of their ori­gins remains in ques­tion, although some schol­ars have placed the ear­li­est writ­ings as far back as 800 BCE. As ear­ly philo­soph­i­cal texts, the Upan­ishads are extreme­ly pre­cise in describ­ing a con­nec­tion between the phys­i­cal world and the spir­it world.

We believe that once we begin to dis­tance our­selves from the demands of our ego-tech­no-cen­tric eco­nom­ic sys­tem, we will free up space to pur­sue a more mys­ti­cal rela­tion­ship to the nat­ur­al world. In small ways we can uncov­er the con­nec­tions between peo­ple in order to arrive at a more spir­i­tu­al­ly awak­ened existence.

Fig­urine with joint in the PCH studio

When we sleep we enter an entire­ly dif­fer­ent space in real­i­ty. Dream Yoga describes a tantric process, in the realm of lucid dream­ing, typ­i­cal­ly taught as a trans­fer of enlight­ened expe­ri­ence from a teacher to a stu­dent. One of the first sen­sa­tions prac­ti­tion­ers of this type of dream­ing often report is the chal­lenge of learn­ing to fly dur­ing their dream. Per­haps this com­mon, ini­tial expe­ri­ence of Dream Yoga reflects humanity’s fas­ci­na­tion with flight. Maybe it’s a fea­ture of a shared desire to exceed our species’ phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions. In any case, dream flight reminds us that we’ve entered an enhanced plane of exis­tence, in which the oth­er­wise impos­si­ble becomes achiev­able. In a lucid dream, the dream­er delib­er­ate­ly arranges the envi­ron­ment and their actions by their own active choice. In Bud­dhist tra­di­tions, the dream state is taught to be just anoth­er pass­ing state of con­scious­ness, or illu­sion of the phe­nom­e­nal world. Sim­i­lar to how a rain­bow reveals the col­ors with­in the vis­i­ble spec­trum of light, so too can dreams reveal what we might not yet be able to explain.

How might we trans­fer the wis­dom of Dream Yoga’s mys­ti­cal state into prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tions to soci­etal chal­lenges? How might we take proac­tive con­trol of our envi­ron­ment through enlight­ened expe­ri­ence? There are var­i­ous path­ways to unfold the lay­ered pro­jec­tions that com­prise real­i­ty. How­ev­er we access that unfold­ing of self and sen­so­ry per­cep­tion, we dis­cov­er that we are all con­nect­ed to a mys­ti­cal cos­mic force. The soon­er we col­lec­tive­ly come to that real­iza­tion, the soon­er we will be able to begin cre­at­ing the next chap­ter of human achievement.

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