I’ve been fascinated by the concept of consciousness over the past few years. I’ve found that it has complemented my own studies of mindfulness & understanding my behaviours & beliefs. If you’re curious about exploring “the hard problem of consciousness”, I’d highly recommend seeking out any books or talks by Donald Hoffman who has some amazing new insights into the topic. I would also recommend the book “Conscious” by Annaka Harris – it gives a concise overview of the challenges we face in understanding consciousness.
Recently, I’ve been listening to a series of talks by Deepak Chopra on well-being. He approaches the subject primarily from the perspective of spirituality, which admittedly I have not put much attention to. As a result, it has been a refreshing look at a topic that I have much interest in. You may be challenged by his opinions, but he does a good job of presenting information from various sources in a step-by-step manner. I am not going to try to convince you to accept his ideas, but in light of the “hard problem” that still defies explanation, I have found some interesting material in his talks to consider.
In discussing consciousness, one of the key questions that Deepak starts with is “where am I?”. In exploring this question, we start to reveal the puzzle of consciousness & reality. To summarize his ideas, he states that our being or “soul” is timeless, formless & non-local. That mirrors some of the concepts from Donald Hoffman who is exploring whether consciousness is a fundamental state or building block of reality.
If our consciousness is a formless, timeless entity, I can start to understand the challenges we face in our everyday reality. We exist as physical beings in our understanding of reality, and as such, are subject to whatever physical laws of nature that govern this existence.
When I look at my own behaviours, beliefs, and reactions to experiences, I am starting to understand that my own consciousness may be dealing with the physical limitations of the tools it has to work with, mainly my brain. My development as I’ve grown has included learning new things, understanding concepts, and forming habits & behaviours that I continually reinforce. This would include the memories that I continually form. That there is a disconnect between something that is timeless & another thing that is bound by physical laws becomes easier to accept.
As an analogy, I see how experience is like that stream of shapes continually coming at you in a game of Tetris. In Tetris, the goal is to fit the puzzle shapes together in the most efficient & optimal way to avoid a build-up of unused spaces & shapes. As enjoyable as the game can be, it can also be a bit stressful as you see yourself apparently falling behind and running out of room to manoeuvre.
My habits, behaviours & ways of thinking are the strategies I use to move these shapes (or experiences) as they come at me. Over time, these habits can build up in ways that adversely affect my ability to objectively experience what is happening. I fall into patterns.
I’m not going to attempt to discuss an optimal way to play Tetris 😊. However, I have found it useful to see the similarity between my experience or existence and Tetris in order to help me see the patterns of behaviour that I may choose by default. It helps me visualize the perception of increasing stress levels when I think that things are out of my control. It also helps me remember that the tools I have (i.e. my brain) are not the same as “me” and that if I feel challenged in a situation, it’s a chance to show some acceptance & understanding and see it as an opportunity to grow.
I thank you for the time you’ve taken to read this article and I hope it has resonated with you in some way.