What is Consciousness?

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 10 months ago

Dr Demartini explores a frequently asked question: what is consciousness? He outlines why asking yourself quality questions can help you become conscious of unconscious information so you can experience full conscious awareness by seeing both sides of the consciousness equation simultaneously.


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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 10 months ago

The topic of “consciousness” and the question “what is consciousness?” seems to be more widely discussed more recently than usual. With the rapid advancements in AI, including artificial intelligence tools such as GPT Chat, and numerous other emerging technologies, many people are questioning what consciousness actually is.

Consciousness has intrigued me since a young age, and while it still partly remains a mystery, there are a number of theories and principles to consider. I'll share some of them with you below.

When you think of consciousness, you likely gauge it by levels of wakefulness, from deep comas to full alertness. This spectrum includes deep comas with no response to stimuli, light comas with slight responses, drowsy states, external environmental alertness, and eventually, internal and reflective awareness.

These stages also involve degrees of conscious and unconscious awareness, reflecting a quantitative scale. Even in a coma, some people can recall information afterward.

We also know you’re your consciousness ranges from subconscious, unconscious and conscious to superconscious states.

Now, let's explore if consciousness is solely a brain function - cortical or subcortical - or if individual neurons play a role.

Some organisms such as a single-cell paramecium amoeba display basic intelligence and reflexes, but the boundary of consciousness remains uncertain. Is it intelligence, voluntary actions, or mere reflexes? There are varying degrees of debates around whether something is truly conscious or not.

Consider knee reflexes as an example, when stimulating your knee, it results in it jerking upwards without you consciously controlling it.

You can likely see why there are very murky answers to debates around the boundary of consciousness and whether it involves showing intelligence or only when you are further awakened and doing something at will.

Another example is plants - they respond to their environment, secreting hormones and chemicals. One may then argue that plants are conscious.

In other words, the boundary between awareness and response isn't clear.

Scholars like Freeman Dyson and Thomas Nagel contemplate consciousness's connection to quantum physics, while Michio Kaku suggests the universe is made of consciousness.

Panpsychism even asserts consciousness as the fundamental basis of everything.

So, what is consciousness, and how can you even begin to comprehend it?

There's a wealth of evidence that has attempted to dissect consciousness - from brain lobes to neural associations, neuronssynapsescell bodiescentriolesDNAmolecules, and proteins, right down to and even quantum entangled events.

There’s a theory on consciousness for every one of those layers, and from what I can tell, these theories tend to not be entirely accurate and they only provide fragments of the larger puzzle.

However, labeling consciousness solely as either universal or individual poses certain challenges.

Unconscious states, where an individual shows no apparent reaction, along with collective responses observed in groups of animals like birds, and the influence of epigenetically stored information that generates subconscious impulses and instincts, further complicate the task of providing a definitive definition of consciousness.

Consciousness's complexity is evident in various fields of study, and approaches to the question like neuroscience, quantum physics, and biochemistry.

The spectrum ranges from a belief that consciousness is a creation of the human brain/mind to the idea of a universal field of intelligence.

what is consciousness

DNA's communication through biophotons, proteins, and environmental feedback also serves to add to the enigma.

Not to mention the fact that the brain has vast numbers of homeostatic feedbacks to guide you towards becoming your most productive, inspired and authentic self.

Another question could then be: where does self end and other begin? Or are other and self the same? Ancient philosophers, including Aristotle, and modern mystics have pondered these questions.

Different disciplines also approach consciousness with distinct perspectives. Psychologists, Psychiatrists, mystics, quantum physicists, neurologists, biochemists - each offers a piece of the puzzle.

The concept of consciousness even takes on holographic aspects. Pribram and Peach's research highlights how the brain can adapt when other parts of the brain have been cut out.

So what is consciousness? Well, it's still a mystery to some degree. As Stephen Hawking acknowledged shortly before his passing, we're far from comprehending all its many facets.

What we do know is that you can become more aware, more awake and more fully conscious by doing certain activities.

As such, it is probably wise to learn various tools that will help you maximize your consciousness.

Imagine encountering someone you're infatuated with. You're likely conscious of their upsides and unconscious of their downsides. As such you tend to be more vulnerable to being fooled by who they are because like being partially asleep, with gaps in information and blindness to some downsides at that moment.

This scenario entails being conscious of one side and unconscious of the other - still part of your consciousness. It's a stage of wakefulness, alertness, and awareness.

At the same time, if you allow your intuition to whisper questions to you to make you conscious of the parts you are unconscious of, you can become fully conscious and see both sides of that person simultaneously. 

In the realm of epistemology, the study of knowledge, you learn how infatuation blinds you to downsides, and resentment obscures the upsides. However, simultaneously acknowledging both sides, as Wilhem Wundt suggests, allows you to be fully conscious of – and truly love - both sides.

It appears that the fully conscious state embodies grace, love, awe, and a gamma synchronicity in the brain – a state of simultaneity of opposites being brought together in union.

As Heraclitus said in the 6th century BC, it's the union of complementary opposites. This constitutes full conscious awareness, and consciousness appears to be striving for that integration.

what is consciousness

Throughout history, consciousness has progressively evolved on this planet, gradually becoming more integrative, reflective, comprehensive, and all-encompassing. This evolution has propelled a shift from an unaware state to a more aware state.

The more quality questions you ask that help make you aware of what's unconscious so you can wake up full-consciousness, the more you illuminate yourself and become awakened and enlightened instead of asleep and darkened.

I often say that you become your true self to the degree that you make everything else a reflection of you. I also speak about how, at the highest level, nothing is missing in your awareness.

At the lowest level, there tends to be more scarcity and things missing in your awareness, as opposed to an abundance of awareness.

The moment when you can see both sides of an individual or an event and be fully aware of it, you are most likely to experience a state of love.

When you truly love something, you're likely to be fully aware of both sides simultaneously.

When you judge someone, you’re likely aware of only part of them, and are unconscious or asleep to some of their parts.

What tends to stop you from being fully aware are the parts that you're too proud or too humble to admit that what you perceive in them, is inside you. Here’s why.

When you judge and look down on someone, you tend to be too proud to admit what you see in them, lies inside of you.

When you look up at someone, you tend to be too humble to admit what you see in them, lies inside you.

However, when you become fully aware and fully conscious, you are able to have true reflective awareness and have an intimate relationship because there’s no separation between your individuality and them in the  world around you. You now have in a sense one mind.

Erwin Schrödinger's book, “Mind and Matter" describes one mind and how all of this is likely an illusion of separateness.

So one could say that the highest level of consciousness is a state of complete awakening or reflection.

Now, you're in unity with panpsychism, in harmony with universal intelligence.

Instead of being partially illuminated, your consciousness broadens and you no longer tend to be reactive or blind to ultimate reality.

For me, embracing a life where I recognize my reflection in others' traits feels more authentic.

Through my signature 2-day online Breakthrough Experience program and the Demartini Method, which is my key methodology that I teach to help people wake up their mindful state sometimes referred to as super consciousness, I help you recognize that whatever you perceive in others exists equally within you.

As such, if you look at yourself, whether you are infatuated or resentful to another individual,  as a result of a one-sided judgment - you have whatever you see in them to the same degree, to the same equivalent. Once you see this and you realize that there is no difference between yourself and another, that the seer, the seeing, and the seen are the same. In other words, you experience expanding your consciousness of yourself because you can realize and recognize that what you see out there is reflective of you.

what is consciousness

This realization tends to greatly engender humility and empathy, dissolving separateness between yourself and others, bringing about full consciousness, transcending individualized consciousness, and possibly stretching to infinity.

As G. H. Hardy describes, your journey is an endless pursuit of the absolute perfection that embodies life's magnificence. That perfection lies in achieving full conscious awareness and a state of love.

Human Values

Every human being, including you, has a unique hierarchy of values. When you're living congruently with your very highest value, you tend to have the most objectivity, reflective awareness, fulfillment, grace and gratitude for life.

It’s one of the many reasons why I run the Breakthrough Experience program almost every week, to help people have full consciousness and experience tears of gratitude for initially unseen magnificence of their life. Because when you are fully aware, you are more likely to become increasingly aware of the magnificence and awe, the eureka moment of existence, and are able to transcend the average construct that most people are trapped in in their lives.

You are in bondage to anything you infatuate or resent. Anything you infatuate with or resent occupies space and time in your mind and runs you. But the moment you transcend this state of incomplete awareness and have full consciousness, you become fully aware and able to fully love. To me, that's the wisest way to live. That's why I teach the Breakthrough Experience. That's why I've developed the Demartini Method to help wake up full consciousness, and gain an awareness of our interconnectedness and the unified nature of the universal mind.

While I could discuss this topic for hours on end, something I do in my Prophecy I Experience program, my aim for this article was to provide you with a taste of it. My intention was to leave your mind gently spinning while also assuring you that there is a method to awaken your full consciousness.

This method (the Demartini Method) can lead to deep love, appreciation, inspiration, enthusiasm, presence, and transcendental awareness - an awareness beyond the surface.

To Sum Up:

  • Consciousness is a magnificent expression and maybe the very foundation of your whole existence.
  • It's plausible that everything possesses consciousness to varying degrees. The notion of a boundary between the inanimate and the animate might be more fluid than previously thought. The deeper you delve into the quantum realm and explore mathematical abstractions, the more you may realize that intelligence subtly permeates all levels.
  • Various theories on consciousness may be contributing pieces to the larger puzzle. As you continue to explore the mysteries and delve deeper into quantum realms, perhaps reaching even the mathematical depths of Planck and beyond, you might find that an all-encompassing matrix of love is at the core. No matter what you’ve done or not done, you are worthy of love.
  • This knowledge could potentially serve as the binding thread that unites religions, philosophies, and sciences on the highest level.
  • It’s what I'm deeply invested in through the Breakthrough Experience and the Demartini Method. I'm committed to helping people catch a glimpse of the potential that resides within each human being.
  • Everything going on inside you functions as feedback systems to help you maximize your potential so you can become your most magnificent authentic self. The world around you also serves as a continuous feedback loop, urging you to embrace authenticity, empowerment, and love. True wisdom involves recognizing both the internal and external feedback loops, which together guide you toward your most genuine, empowered, loving and full conscious self.


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