I Exist, Therefore I Am – Conscious!
When I first read Empedocles’ famous “The nature of God is a circle of which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere”, I thought: “philosophers are crazy people” – didn’t know about non-locality then. He must have already understood the reality of panpsychism (the idea that the mind is not only present in humans, but in all things) but then, all ancients did, or believed that anyway. We like to consider them rathe primitive It makes a whole universe of sense to me now, but I had to grow up before, and out of my previous conditioning.
I used to see the world as divided between those people who accept the “God up there” idea, and those in favor of the idea that there is no God at all, and that the world has come into existence just like that, out of nothingness – like many mainstream scientists like to believe today.
I was quite jealous of those having faith, as they could easily accept strange things and call them “miracles”. As my parents were totally irreligious, an absolute requirement of their time and of the communist type of society, my very religious grandparents were trying hard to give me a minimum of religious education. As a little girl, I have spent many long and lonely summers back there at my grandparents’ village, trying to figure out the best way to spot Him while He is spying on us. Lying in the deep grass I was squinting my eyes until they would become sore from trying hard to discern among the passing clouds a silhouette seated on some gauzy mass observing us. “He must be very interested in us, people, as He must know to which department He is to send us after some indefinite time”, I thought. But, you know what? Hard as I tried, I could never, ever see Him.
Growing up, such episodes seemed ridiculous; this, my formal education and the “materialist-dialectic” communist ideology that was being insidiously forced on us, made me grow up considering my grandparents’ religion and God as some myth, an anachronistic story of other times.
I wish that didn’t happen – I mean, growing up without having faith. Maybe my inner and outer life could have been way easier had I not been torn between two incompatible things: my absolute disbelief in anything outside of this tangible, material reality, and the impossible-to-deny experiences that I have been trying for so long to bury deep in some dusty folders of my mind.
But inside there it seems that there was another authority ruling over that department, one that I hadn’t previously been aware of – my Soul, or my higher Self. “Inexplicable” episodes that somehow reminded me of certain previous experiences that I chose to deny or forget, forced me to reconsider everything, because the inner, or “higher” mind, won’t give me any break.
Then long years of inexplicable depression followed – the more inexplicable, the more painful. Now, I believe, it’s the inner forum that doesn’t tolerate to be lied to. The inner pressure caused by different, even opposing beliefs can result in a powerful internal struggle that only shows on the outside under the form of depression – called in psychology cognitive dissonance. To me, it became a matter of self-validation, of identity: my mind could not accept that another part of it knew and operated with things of which it didn’t consciously know.
When the amount of inner pressure becomes intolerable you would start doing anything: even undertake intensive research on mind and on how it functions – among many other things, on consciousness, as I was to find out later. But then, one thing lead to another, and I had to deepen myself into many more domains than I could ever see possible initially.
I said before that I wish all this didn’t happen, but I know I’m wrong: it is because of all this that I have certainly gained a never imagined clear insight, in most unexpected ways, coincidences, or, rather, synchronicities.
It is the pain of depression that actually triggered in me a “do it or die” attitude; it forced me to search long and wide for answers as to who I am and why am I, or are we all, here. I owe it to have made me become the new me, the person who is now eager and open to everything, to life and to others, ever-hungry for sense and meaning, for a more comprehensive understanding of it all. So, I feel like I have to say it: “Thank you, depression!”
What I know today is that God is The Intelligence permeating the whole, even though He/She/It is of a totally different nature than in my grandparents’ version. In all humbleness, I finally came to understand God as the fundamental field of Information (Consciousness) that permeates the universe, independent of space and time. As beings endowed with a reasoning mind, we are all actively involved in its processes and its evolution.
Having had my own, subjective experience, I now tend to see things in a more simplified way, although I need to explain it to my logical mind in ways that would not insult my intelligence anymore: I, the conscious subject, am observing the world, the object of my observation, while also being the object of observation of an All-Comprehensive Consciousness. Since I cannot deny the fact that there are psychological mechanisms out there that are outside of our conscious control, I can imply that there is at least one level of consciousness that is higher, above mine.
If this One, or Oneness, is ever interested in my humble person, it is not in order to “punish” or deprive me of some privilege, like a hypothetical “magical” place where all is love and light, but one that is operating at my own development, as part of a global evolution.
There was nothing wrong with me, after all: my brain, like many other brains – maybe all brains, as a matter of fact – would just grasp some of the information available in the generic field – there was no need for me to fear “arcane knowledge”,and this is, in fact, in line with newest findings from a whole lot of disciplines, from quantum physics to system sciences to neurology.
Christopher Koch, (neurologist at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle and known from the Brain project), is now suggesting a theory that looks like panpsychism:
“…consciousness extends to all (…) creatures, (…) it’s an immanent property of highly organized pieces of matter, such as brains.”
How such an immaterial thing as consciousness can arise from the material brain has troubled philosophers and thinkers for millenia – today it is called the hard problem of consciousness, coined by philosopher David Chalmers.
There are also others who would rather keep themselves on the safe side by elaborating very cautious definitions and theories, to stay in the middle, as a definition of consciousness is hard to elaborate, if not impossible. In his entry for the 1989 version of the Macmillan Dictionary of Psychology, Stuart Sutherland showed that consciousness was not a word of easy grasp.
Consciousness—The having of perceptions, thoughts, and feelings; awareness. The term is impossible to define except in terms that are unintelligible without a grasp of what consciousness means. Many fall into the trap of equating consciousness with self-consciousness—to be conscious it is only necessary to be aware of the external world. Consciousness is a fascinating but elusive phenomenon: it is impossible to specify what it is, what it does, or why it has evolved. Nothing worth reading has been written on it.
Based on all this I have written a spiritual memoir which I intend to publish and describe the inner and outer journey: a journey of becoming conscious of consciousness, in a way. If it can avoid others the pain that was caused to me by my conflicting worldviews,I really believe it’ll be “worth reading”.
10 thoughts on “Cogito, Ergo Sum – Thank You, Depression!”
Thank you for sharing your journey in this awesome post.
Coming to see consciousness as fundamental is a Copernican shift in world view. And it is like an upgrade of our operating system. With a new operating system, you get many cool new features. Like manifestation abilities. Or frequent occurrence of synchronicities.
I can relate to the connection between depression and waking up. For you, it was the trigger for waking up. For me, it was a phase during the journey when the old world view collapsed.
Best wishes for your journey!
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• Hi Karen, thank you for visiting my blog and deciding to follow – I hope you will enjoy it! Glad I found your blog, too, as I think that there is a large need for the spreading of this kind of information, and I am looking forward to reading more.
I named my blog “patterns” as an alternative to the well-known term of archetypes/. We are all caught in the major one, the archetype of transformation, so what we are all doing, is just giving, sharing with others our own accounts of the Journey. After having had my own shaking experiences and own shots of awe, I was compelled to get inside the “engine”, try to understand for myself who, what, why, would make us go through all this – wasn’t quite a believer myself at the time, and wasn’t that ready to do the shift. It took some time and effort, but now I have to give back all that I have been blessed to receive, even against my will – the stuff you wrote about in your post “Many forms of divine guidance” is really talking to me, as I have lived them myself – I don’t think I would have believed from other people’s testimonies, that’s how “deep-freeze-sleep” we find ourselves to be in. Actually, it is still so very personal to me, that, after years of struggle, I still have some resistance to make it public!
So, good luck in your work, and good luck to me too, as I know that I definitely want to go all the way there!
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Well, you snagged me! I’m on day 8 of blogging 101 and had to find 4 new bloggers and comment on one of their posts.
I’m a relatively new grandma, and a woman of great faith. My soon to be 2 years old grandson has a dad with no faith in God, or even in himself. My daughter, his mommy, was raised in church but I guess her faith never grew….as she’s not able to share much faith with her son, my grandson. He’s being raised with a lot of “NO”. “Don’t”. ” Stop it!”
So now I know I must help him find faith! I am living a transparent life so I hope that helps!
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Happy you stopped by. I, too have been blessed with an angel: he’s three y.o. now. I understand your commitment to him, and can only subscribe to your motivation to try and offer him the best.
If I am to talk from my own experience as a growing child between grandparents – the paternal ones, very religious, the maternal ones, not so much, I can only say that it is all about the child’s personality: they do come into this world with their own, and a strong one as is. So, you may have the surprise that, in a few years, he’ll ridicule you for being so attached to some “weird faith” f the past (if he’s of the nonconformist type, like I was).
The best way, I truly believe, is to be just the living example of what you would like to preach – educate him into. Eventually he’ll grow into believing in what he will choose for himself, drawn from his own life experience.
I am saying all this because individuals, society today are not anymore what they used to be, when they would be passingly receiving from the older generation. Today everyone wants to filter everything through the filter of own experience. If he will grow an admiration for you and your character, he’ll have enough guiding light not to falter on the way.
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I agree! We try to live our faith! His paternal grandpa and his wife are believers like us. We do pray over our meals and he loves to say AMEN!
Wow, I loved your post! It has basically everything I like reading about: the mind, the mysterious brain, the quest of a soul. I am at a point of my life where I am very selfish: I only like reading things that teach me something. No patience for poems or love stories. No offense for those who appreciate them, and I do know there’s always something to learn from them too, but not my cup of tea. I’ll definitely read your other posts and follow you! This is why I think I’m a winner: for meeting people like you!
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I can read the symptoms: imagine me, my whole life a reading addict – teaching literature – then, just like that, couldn’t take it anymore, not even one page; all I would crave for was only nonfiction, philosophy, scientific texts! It was a disaster for my career, but what a blessing it turned out to be in the long run! I thank the Universe for “forcing” me to take the path that I did; so, when people tell me they are interested in what I write, it means the whole world to me.
In case you’re not tuned in to what I’m doing thousands of miles from you – I’m giving you a standing ovation for this post. It was so obvious from the few things that you posted in the past, that you had interesting things to say, and it was frustrating that you weren’t sharing them here. It is scary, pressing that ‘publish’ button, but so worthwhile, both for you and your readers.
Lots of people share your ideas, to a greater or lesser extent. I love how you look for the science behind it.
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Oh, Jane… I can … stay one month alone on a peak of a mountain on the tip of my toes in a full storm… but I can’t expose myself; but expose, I must. I’m a cancer, you know, and of the worst kind. Thanks for the warmth, I feel it!
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I think that if you stayed one month alone on a peak of a mountain on the tip of your toes in a full storm you’d be likely to get exposure.
You can expose yourself. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
I’m a typical Aquarius. It’s probably easier for me. It doesn’t even occur to me to hide anything about myself, except perhaps my emotions, sometimes.