Mas allá del espacio y tiempo - LAZSLO



Ervin Laszlo
with Alexander Laszlo


BEYOND SPACETIME
A NEW SCIENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
AND THE MEANING OF EXISTENCE


Introduction by
Deepak Chopra
Foreword by
Stanislav Grof


Contributions by
Nassim Haramein
Ede Frecska
Gary Zukav
Christopher Bache
Jean Houston
Tulku Thondup
Na Aak
Zhi Gang Sha


Version of February 7, 2015
and the Meaning of Existence
Annexes


  1. The Fifteen Point Credo of an Evolved Consciousness
II. An Assessment of the Evidence for the Survival of Consciousness
III. A Concise Overview of the Akasha Paradigm
  1. An Excerpt from the Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science


REFERENCES


INDEX
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PREFACE
Rational people know that we cannot live forever: the human body cannot exist in the world indefinitely. But even rational people suspect that this may not be the end of the story. There may be more to the world than what we can see and touch and measure with our instruments. There may be a deeper level of reality. Are we quite sure that we would not exist in some way in that “deeper world” when our existence in this world has come to an end?  
Unless we are hide-bound materialists, we are not sure. Ever since our forebears reached the level of consciousness where they became aware of their mortality, they asked themselves, what happens when we die? Is the demise of our body the end of our existence? None of the great civilizations have thought that this would be the end of the story.
With the rise of modern science beliefs in an after life—in the survival of a soul or spirit—were considered flights of fantasy, wishful thinking. Science, after all, assures us that we are our body. If our body is mortal, then so are we. And even if we go with religion and spirituality and believe in the existence of a soul or a spirit, where would that soul or spirit reside when it has left our body? In heaven or in hell, or in some other realm beyond the world? The world of the body is the only world there is. Rational people recognize this and stop deluding themselves.
This kind of rationality is no longer shared at the leading edge of science. Not that science would tell us that we have an immortal soul—that tenet is still in the realm of religion. But at its cutting edge science has opened the door to researching the possibility that existence does not end when the body does.
On the one hand there is ever more evidence for the continuity of consciousness beyond the brain and body. More and more people come up with experiences that indicate that their consciousness has persisted beyond their brain. These are near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences, transpersonal experiences and experience of communication with “the dead”—who, it seems, are not simply dead. Such experiences do not only come about at the threshold of death, but surface for normal and healthy people when they enter the state of consciousness known as the meditative or altered state. I have reviewed and assessed the reality of such experiences in an earlier book, and summarize the results in the Annex, below.  
On the other hand we now have the prospect of finding a rational explanation of the continuity of consciousness beyond the demise of the body. There is a new realization in science that the world of the body is not the only world there is. Beyond spacetime there is another dimension or domain of reality. It is the realm physicists call the cosmic matrix, the grand unified or zero-point field, the implicate order,… my preferred name for it is the Akashic field or Akasha dimension. This domain was called the deep dimension in philosophy and it was known as the vacuum that is a plenum in Buddhism. It was called
“quantum vacuum” in modern physics until it became evident that it is not empty, a vacuum, but filled with dark matter and virtual energies: a plenum. This realm of reality appears to harbor the fundamental laws and regularities of nature. It appears to be a field: a universal holonomic field. I now identify it as the Akashic Holofield. It is perfectly reasonable to inquire whether it could be the seat of the consciousness that accompanies human existence from birth to death, and may continue to accompany it beyond death as well.  Consciousness may accompany a cyclic existence in the cosmos,  with phases from birth to death, and from death to re-birth.
The idea that existence is not linear and finite but cyclic and continuous is part of humanity’s great cultural traditions. It is known as the Wheel of Life in Western esoteric systems and as Samsara in the East. In light of the new developments in science, the possibility that these concepts harbor an element of truth—that our existence is cyclic and continuous—can be and merits to be raised.
The book in the hands of the reader raises this possibility. It has been written on the basis of a rational assessment of the evidence, supported by a rationally constructed theory that offers the simplest consistent explanation of the evidence.  The evidence is for the continuity of consciousness beyond the brain, and indeed beyond space and time—but not beyond the real world. It comes in the form of experience that occurs mostly in altered states, whether these states are brought about by meditation, prayer, rituals, deep esthetic enjoyment, psychedelic substances, or encounters with insights that disclose a deeper meaning to life and existence. They speak to the reality of conscious experience beyond the range of the five senses. These experiences are a fact of existence, and their recognition is now reaching the point where they can be brought into the ambit of science. The time has come to shift inquiry about consciousness from insightful personal speculation to the domain of testable and consensually validated empirical inquiry.
A new science of consciousness is on the horizon. It holds out the hope that it will enable us to better understand who we are, what the world is, and what the deeper meaning is of our cyclically renewing and possibly infinite existence.
E.L. January 2015
INTRODUCTION
Deepak Chopra
What you did today has nothing to do with the meaning of life, and yet it has everything to do with the meaning of life. That’s the paradox of the greatest mysteries. We don’t spend time thinking about them. When deciding between a Cobb salad or a tuna sandwich for lunch, my choice doesn’t depend on the meaning of life, the origin of the universe, or what happens after I die. Life is too demanding, its hard realities too hard, to expend energy on imponderables. But everything you did today depended on a hidden force inside you, the force of your core beliefs.
Core beliefs are so fundamental that no one needs to consult them. They function like unstoppable Energizer bunnies, fueling our thoughts, emotions, actions, and reactions. If you deeply believe that you don’t matter in the larger scheme of things, there is no doubt that your day isn’t going the way it’s going for people who believe that the whole world revolves around them. Pessimism versus optimism, empathy versus indifference, service versus selfishness, peace versus violence—all of these issues get settled, for better or worse, at the level of core beliefs.
I recently talked to a CEO who had founded an organization devoted to near-death experiences (NDE), and his attitude toward public acceptance was very mixed. “No one is interested in big issues, Deepak. They only think about themselves, which is why nothing every changes. But promise them eternal life, and maybe you can inspire people to be more compassionate and loving. Their whole conception of themselves has to change before the world can change.”
He was addressing, in his own words, the level of core beliefs that fuel our daily life.  NDEs already have enough popular support, I imagine, that “going into the light” may replace Heaven as the accepted notion of an afterlife. Devout believers would probably be shocked to learn that according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Heaven isn’t an actual place but a state of grace in which the soul joins God.  This brings up the second important point about the greatest mysteries of existence. If you ask them what happens after we die or what is the ultimate meaning of life or anything of that magnitude, the automatic answer is “Nobody knows.”
Yet in reality the answers to the greatest mysteries are lodged in convenient pigeonholes in almost everyone’s head. A huge majority of people they will either go to Heaven when they die or will go nowhere. There isn’t much wiggle room between casual religious belief and casual atheism, the two compartments most people fall into.  
If my description of the situation seems credible, there’s every reason to value highly a profound thinker like Ervin Laszlo. His new science of consciousness, written with his sons Alexander and Christopher, aims to change our core beliefs, which in turn will change how we lead our daily lives. Science doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  It must serve the evolution of consciousness. Only the evolution of consciousness can produce a better world.
On the way to proposing a new science of consciousness as the need of the planet, Laszlo refuses to be pigeonholed into believer or atheist, taking the rare course of free and open thinking.  His working assumptions are the following:
The mind is deeply mysterious, but it has the capacity to figure itself out.
Since all experience occurs in consciousness, the key to every mystery ultimately goes back to consciousness.
We mustn’t assume, out of petty arrogance, that consciousness is solely a human quality.
Imponderable questions can be pondered, once you expand your conception of reality.
Any discovery made “in here” through thought and insight can be verified “out there” in the material world. Science is amenable to wisdom and can be expanded to encompass it.
Each of these assumptions is arguable except for the last one. There are dedicated, stubbornly convinced materialists who would toss out any attempt to settle imponderable questions through science. Anyone who has worked seriously in the field of consciousness—never mind cosmic consciousness—knows what it is like to be told that your endeavors aren’t “real science.” Laszlo has persisted long enough to enjoy the present moment, when consciousness studies are not only accepted but form one of the most exciting frontiers in science.
What led us to this turn-around was reality itself. Finally, we are compelled to go wherever reality leads us. Einstein famously said, "There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle." This echoes the notion that deeply held beliefs covertly guide everything we do. But by implying that for him, everything is a miracle, Einstein unwittingly let science off the hook. Science doesn’t investigate miracles, yet as long as everything falls into that category, it doesn’t matter what you work on. Finding the next new industrial plastic is on an even playing field with discovering the source of consciousness in the universe.
But this is a cop out—as Einstein well knew, being someone who respected spiritual perspectives—and reality eventually pressed the issue. It became imperative, once the quantum field was established, to know where the field originated, which meant discovering the origin of space and time, and this in turn led the investigation beyond spacetime. By the same token, since the brain is made up of atoms that can be reduced to subatomic particles, and these in turn disappear into the infinite, invisible quantum field, one has to ask how consciousness emerged from the same “nothing”—the quantum vacuum—as the universe itself did.
Laszlo has gathered these issues together in an “all roads lead to Rome” perspective that I believe is absolutely appropriate, in fact necessary. The present situation in science has come down to one of two possibilities. Either matter came first and originated mind, which would make materialistic explanations valid for everything. Or mind came first, producing the panoply of outer existence, in which case everything is traceable back to consciousness. The time for splitting the difference between these two choices has passed. Gone, too, is the assumption that consciousness can be set aside as irrelevant to the real business of science, which is measurement, experimentation, data collecting, and verifying facts.
We live in a hazy transition zone that this book attempts, with considerable success, to transcend.  The epoch of naïve realism (the belief that the world of the five senses can be simply accepted as a given) is quickly drawing to a close. The applecart was overturned a century ago, when quantum pioneers like Erwin Schrödinger could assert the following:

To divide or multiply consciousness is something meaningless.
I venture to call it [the mind] indestructible since it has a peculiar time-table, namely mind is always now.  There is really no before and after for the mind.
There is obviously only one alternative, namely the unification of minds or consciousness…. [I]n truth there is only one mind.
As you can see, there’s a rich history of thinking about imponderable questions and expanding science to encompass them. For a long time the direction of physics veered away from Schrödinger’s line of inquiry. Now we find ourselves completing the circle by going back to a basic assertion made by another quantum pioneer, Max Planck: “There is no getting behind consciousness.”
Because it addresses life as well as the afterlife, this book can be—and will be—accused of muddling science and mysticism.  Behind such an accusation is the need to protect hidebound ideas. One of these concerns the brain, which supplies our interface with reality (about this there is no disagreement). If you are a staunch physicalist, someone who refuses to accept any explanation outside materialism, the brain must be the creator of the mind, and the world we perceive must be registered faithfully by the brain.  But there’s no doubt that the human brain is fallible. Its mechanisms are easily fooled, by optical illusions, for example. Its fixed neural pathways constantly distort even basic perceptions, as when a person suffering from anorexia looks at her starved and wasted body but sees it as “too fat.”
Leaving aside its fallibility, the human brain processes only a fraction of the billions of bits of sensory data bombarding it every day. Through a process of filtering and reduction, it creates an image of the world that is acceptable for everyday navigation, nothing more. It has been rightly said that the “real world” is actually a reflected image of how the brain works. It is an abstraction built up from mechanical manipulation at the neural level.
To simplify, the real world is like a fenced-in corral that includes only what is acceptable and permissible while shutting out what is not. Acceptable and permissible are personal terms—we all know people who are blind to aspects of their lives that are glaringly obvious to others. But these are also social and cultural terms. The brain can shut out what society refuses to see. Sometimes this refusal runs deep into the unconscious. The historical denigration of women and blacks, for example, was created by a complex mélange of beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, received opinions, and willful blindness. All of these ingredients changed the brains of the people who participated in them, including the victims.
A new science of consciousness must reach beyond the conventions of brain-based acceptable and permissible reality. Physicalists find doing this impossible except in a limited way. They insist that the brain must be delivering reality, because for them there is no other alternative. Thus the brain is given a privileged position. Rocks, trees, clouds, hydrogen atoms, and quarks are not conscious, but even as it sits in the middle of the scene, with no qualities to distinguish its “thingness” from the “thingness” around it, we are supposed to view the brain as totally unique.  This is pure animism, the belief that spirits live inside material objects, verging close to religiosity, turning the brain into a three-pound god.
By abandoning physicalism, we would not be returning to an age of superstition (the favorite straw man of the skeptical camp). We would be expanding the fence of science, allowing in more of reality.  Until there is an understanding of how the mind interfaces with reality, no viable explanation exists for any experience, much less the mystical.



The new science of consciousness proposed in this book explores reality beyond the brain, not just as it applies to the afterlife but as the only path that leads to the source.  Mind outside the brain was a routine belief in the age of faith (when God was the cosmic mind); it was always a workable hypothesis in philosophy from the ancient Greeks onward.  It was pushed to the fringes by the scientific revolution of the modern age, and until yesterday, it was scientific heresy. Reality didn’t care. Whatever our shifting attitudes, reality has brought us to a fork in the road. One signpost says “consciousness is the source,” the other signpost says “matter is the source.”  By investigating the deepest mysteries still facing us, Ervin Laszlo indicates which road to choose and with his new science of consciousness inspires us with the courage to actually take it.


FOREWORD
Stanislav Grof
In 1962, after fifteen years of intensive study of the history of science, Thomas Kuhn, one of the  most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, published his important and ground-breaking book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Kuhn 1962). He demonstrated that the history of science is not a process of gradual accumulation of data and formulation of increasingly accurate theories.   It breaks into distinct periods, each of which is governed by what Kuhn called paradigm - a constellation of basic metaphysical assumptions, beliefs, values and techniques shared by the members of the academic community. Scientific activity during such periods (“normal science”) is essentially problem-solving within the conceptual constraints of a paradigm, comparable to a chess game.
This situation continues until observations reveal new facts that seriously question the basic assumptions of the leading paradigm. After mainstream scientists concede that the challenge to the existing belief system cannot be handled by questioning the expertise, integrity, or sanity of those who present it, original thinkers formulate daring alternatives to the established way of thinking in an attempt to resolve the conceptual crisis. This period of “abnormal science” ends when one of these alternatives is accepted as the new paradigm that governs the theory and practice during the next historical period.
It has become increasingly clear that we are currently experiencing a major paradigm shift comparable in its scope and importance to the Copernican revolution. In the course of the twentieth century, various disciplines of modern science have amassed an extraordinary array of observations, which cannot be accounted for or adequately explained in terms of the materialistic worldview. These “anomalous phenomena” came from a wide range of fields from astrophysics, quantum-relativistic physics, and chemistry to biology, anthropology, thanatology, parapsychology, and transpersonal psychology. A very apt definition for ”anomalous phenomena” is “what is left after we apply a bad theory.” The fact that so many scientific disciplines constituting the current materialistic worldview are plagued by these baffling observations and paradoxical findings indicates urgent need for a radical paradigm change.
Pioneering researchers formulated revolutionary new theories attempting to solve the  disconcerting enigmas in their respective fields. Over a period of several decades, a radically different understanding of reality and of human nature started to come into view; it became known as the emerging paradigm. Among these new perspectives were David Bohm’s theory of holomovement, Karl Pribram’s holographic model of the brain, Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphogenetic fields, Ilya Prigogine’s theory of dissipative structures, transpersonal psychology, and others (Bohm 1980, Pribram 1971, Sheldrake 1981, Prigogine 1980).
However, these attempts constituted a mosaic of attempts to address specific problems that have emerged in the context of individual disciplines. They lacked mutual cohesion and remained disconnected enclaves in the tapestry of the materialistic worldview.
Ervin Laszlo’s systemic inter- and trans-disciplinary research, extended over a period of over half a century and culminating in his book Beyond Spacetime, accomplished something that none of  the earlier revolutionary approaches were able to do. His connectivity hypothesis and his concept of the Akashic Holofield provided plausible explanation for the anomalous phenomena, paradoxical observations, and paradigmatic challenges plaguing a wide range of disciplines and made it possible to integrate them into a comprehensive theory of the universal information field, a “theory of everything” (Laszlo 2007). In his unique systemic and interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving, Laszlo also succeeded in dissolving the boundaries between science, philosophy and spirituality.
In this essay, I will focus on this last aspect of Ervin Laszlo’s work, since I had the pleasure and privilege to be at the cradle of transpersonal psychology,  a discipline attempting to integrate the best of modern science with authentic spirituality, and have been involved for over half a century in consciousness research. My special area of interest has been exploration of a large and important subcategory of non-ordinary states of consciousness that have unique healing, transformative, heuristic, and even evolutionary potential. I have coined for these states the term  “holotropic” (literally “moving toward wholeness” from the Greek holos = whole and trepo/trepein = moving in the direction of something)(Grof 1985, 2000).
Novice shamans experience holotropic states during their initiatory crises and later in life induce them in their clients for therapeutic purposes. Ancient and native cultures have used these states for millennia in rites of passage and in their healing ceremonies. They were described by mystics of all ages and initiates in the ancient mysteries of death and rebirth. Procedures for inducing them (“technologies of the sacred”) were also developed and used in the context of major world religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity. Additional important categories of holotropic states are experiences induced by psychedelic substances, near-death experiences (NDEs), and UFO-related events and phenomena.
My own introduction to holotropic states of consciousness happened in November 1956 when – as a beginning psychiatrist – I volunteered for an experiment with LSD-25, a new investigational substance that was sent to the Psychiatric Department of Charles University in Prague by Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company in Basel. In my session, I had a magnificent experience of cosmic consciousness, which had a enormous impact on my professional and personal life. Following it, the study of holotropic states of consciousnes became my profession, vocation, and passion (Grof 2006).
I started using psychedelics as adjuncts to psychotherapy after three years of laboratory research of these substances in the context of a large multidimensional interdisciplinary project. The extraordinary inter- and intra-individual variability in the reactions of our experimental subjects was unprecedented in the world of pharmacology. It made clear that these substances were not ordinary pharmacological agents with reasonably predictable effects. They were potent catalysts of the unconscious processes allowing the material from the depth of the psyche to emerge into consciousness. I realized we were not doing psychopharmacological research, but exploring the human psyche with the help of extraordinary new tools. It was not an exaggeration to compare the potential significance of psychedelics for psychiatry to the crucial role the microscope plays in biology and medicine or the telescope in astronomy.
From the very beginning, the use of  serial sessions with psychedelics for self-exploration and psychotherapy brought about experiences and observations that challenged the existing paradigm. In the early sessions of the series my patients were experiencing colorful geometrical (fractal-like) visions and reliving memories from childhood and infancy. However, when the sessions continued or the doses were increased, a new phenomenon emerged: the same clients now discovered in their psyche a trans-biographical domain that is not recognized by mainstream academicians and clinicians. They started reliving
episodes from their biological birth and releasing the emotions and physical feelings that they had held back since the time they came into this world. Although this challenged the belief of traditional psychiatrists that it is not possible to have a memory of birth, because the brain of the newborn is not completely myelinized, it did not represent a major conceptual challenge.
The myelinization argument is very unconvincing and even absurd considering that prenatal research has demonstrated sensitivity of the fetus already in utero. In addition, memory exists in primitive organisms that do not have a brain at all and there is general agreement in professional circles that the quality of nursing and even bonding (exchange of looks between the mother and the newborn) has profound effect on postnatal life (Kennel, and Klaus 1985, Kennell and Klaus 1988). The illogical denial of the importance of birth is very likely due to repression of the frightening memory of a very painful and potentially life-threatening situation. However, as psychedelic research continued, much more formidable conceptual challenges emerged. In the sessions appeared memories of various stages  of prenatal life, fast experiential replays of the entire embryogenesis, and even cellular memories of spermatozoids and ova during the process of fertilization (Grof 2006).
Further probing of the depth of the unconscious revealed another vast transbiographical experiential domain for which I chose the term transpersonal.  It comprises a rich array of experiences in which consciousness transcends the boundaries of the body/ego and the usual limitations of linear time and three-dimensional space. It took me three years to map this territory before I felt that the new cartography included the most important categories and types of transpersonal experiences and phenomena. By that time I realized that this understanding of the psyche was not new at all. Certain parts of it had been described by psychoanalytic renegades Otto Rank, C. G. Jung, and Sandor Ferenczi, others  bore resemblance to the great spiritual systems of the East that Aldous Huxley included in his Perennial Philosophy (Huxley 1950). My map integrated all these previously disconnected insights into the human psyche and cmplemented them with the new observations from modern consciousness research (Grof 1985, 2000).
Table 2. shows a complete taxonomy of transpersonal experiences that I witnessed in my clients, experienced myself, or for the existence of which I have received  reasonable evidence. Time and space do not allow me to explore the entire spectrum of these fascinating phenomena at the length which they deserve. I will discuss briefly  only the most important and representative examples. Transpersonal experiences fall into four large categories. The first two of these involve transcendence of the usual spatial and temporal boundaries resulting in experiential identification with various aspects of spacetime throughout history, at the present time, and occasionally even in the future. The third category comprises experiences portraying beings and processes in a dimension that lies beyond spacetime. And finally, the fourth category contains phenomena that seem to suggest that localized consciousness can influence the objects and processes in Spacetime or enter into playful interaction with them.
Before embarking on more detailed discussion of experiences in these four categories, it  is important to emphasize that transpersonal phenomena have an extraordinary property which undermines the basic metaphysical assumptions of Western science. They can provide access to accurate information about various aspects of the universe that reaches far beyond the intellectual knowledge of the subjects involved. In many cases, it was possible to confirm that these individuals had not received this information through the ordinary channels, other times it was information of a kind that no media can offer (e.g. the body image of animals, olfactory, gustatory and tactile sensations, or species-specific experience of sexual arousal). Interested readers will find many specific examples in my previous publications (Grof 1985, 2000)
For example, experiential identification with another person can provide deep insights into that person’s personality, emotional life, thoughts, and sometimes even personal memories. Becoming an eagle, bat, or dolphin can convey information about these animals body image and the unique way they experience the world. People experiencing encounters with archetypal beings and visits to archetypal domains can obtain information about mythologies of which they had previously no intellectual knowledge (Jung 1956, 1959).
Past life experiences can accurately portray costumes, weapons, architecture and other aspects of the cultures and historical periods involved and in rare instances even specific historical events (Grof 2006).
The transcendence of consciousness within spacetime begins with the experience of dual unity when  the boundaries of the body/ego dissolve and the individual seems to become one with another person while also retaining his or her own identity. Experiences of this kind are common between a pregnant mother and her fetus or nursing mother and her baby. Conversely, adults experiencing in holotropic states regression to the breast or to the womb can have a sense of fusing with their mothers. The practice of maithuna, sexual union in Vamamarga Tantra, is designed to induce experiential fusion of the partners reaching the spiritual level.
In mediumistic experiences the identification with the other person is so strong and pervasive that the individual loses his or her identity. The dissolution of consciousness can extend further and result in experiential identification with entire groups of people (e.g. all mothers of the world or all suffering or dying individuals), and even in the experience of the field of consciousness of the entire human species. Experiences in this category can also portray the interior of the subject’s body down to the microscopic level – its organs, tissues, and even cells. The transcendence of spatial boundaries can cross the species barrier and lead to authentic identification with animals and plants from any level of the evolutionary tree. Less frequent is experiential identification with inorganic materials and processes, such as granite, amber, diamond, or an exploding volcano (Grof 2006).
Incredible and absurd as it might seem to a  Westerner committed to a monistic materialistic worldview, these experiences suggest that everything we can experience in the everyday state of consciousness as an object has in the holotropic states of consciousness a corresponding subjective representation. These observations support the basic tenet of Hindu spiritual philosophy that the material world is a manifestation of Absolute Consciousness (Brahman, Satchitananda).
I have discussed earlier reliving of episodes from infancy, birth, and prenatal life. These can be better understood as examples of the transcendence of linear time rather than the reliving of memories in the conventional sense. The reason for this is that they represent an integral part of an uninterrupted line of historical replays that includes sequences for which it is difficult or even impossible to find a material substrate. Here belongs identification with spermatozoids and ova during the process of conception experienced on the cellular level of consciousness, sequences of ancestral, racial, collective, and karmic experiences, and those portraying events in the evolution of the animal and botanical kingdoms. Temporal transcendence can also involve inorganic objects and processes, such as evolution of the universe or early history of our planet.
Transpersonal experiences in the third category are related to a dimension that is radically different from consensual reality. It is immaterial and lies beyond spacetime; within it there are no boundaries and everything seems to coexist in the eternal Now. It is a realm that harbors archetypes, cosmic principles that form and inform the material world; these can manifest either in their universal form or in the form of specific culture-bound entities. The experiential spectrum of holotropic states includes also encounter and communication with deceased persons and discarnate entities, such as spirits, shamanic power animals, and spirit guides. In its farthest reaches, individual consciousness can identify with the Universal Mind or Cosmic Consciousness, the creative principle of the universe. The most profound experience available in holotropic state is immersion in the Supracosmic and Metacosmic Void, primordial emptiness and nothingness which is the source of existence. The Void has a paradoxical nature; it is a vacuum, in the sense that it is devoid of any concrete forms, but it is also a plenum, since it seems to have the potential – all the information and energy – necessary  to manifest the material universe.
The fourth category of transpersonal experiences comprises phenomena that seem to occur in a twilight zone between consciousness and the material world. C. G. Jung used for it the name psychoid, borrowing the term from the founder of neovitalism Hans Drietsch. The most common of them are synchronicities, meaningful connections between intrapsychic experiences and events in spacetime (Jung 1960). Additional examples are supernormal physical feats of athletes, the yogic siddhis, physical mediumship in spiritistic seances, UFO experiences, Poltergeist and intentional psychokinesis.
The existence and nature of transpersonal experiences violate some of the most basic assumptions of materialistic science. They imply such seemingly absurd notions as the relativity and arbitrary nature of all physical boundaries, nonlocal connections in the universe, communication through unknown means and channels, memory without a material substrate, the nonlinearity of time, or consciousness associated with all living organisms, and even inorganic matter. Many transpersonal experiences involve events from both the microcosm and the macrocosm, realms that cannot normally be reached by unaided human senses, or from historical periods that precede the origin of the solar system, formation of planet earth, appearance of living organisms, development of the nervous system, and emergence of Homo sapiens
The totality of the experiences and observations described above represents a formidable challenge to materialistic science, something that cannot be handled by minor conceptual patchwork (ad hoc hypotheses), but asks for major paradigmatic overhaul. After more than half century of research into holotropic states of consciousness I am convinced about the ontological reality of the transpersonal domain and its pivotal gnoseological importance. Mainstream scientists tend to deal with this challenge by denying or misinterpreting the existing evidence. This stalwart resistance based on radical incompatibility of the new data with the dominant paradigm in science is further fomented by a tendency of scientists to “confuse the map with the territory” alluded to by Thomas Kuhn and discussed at length by Alfred Korzybski and Gregory Bateson (Kuhn 1962, Korzybski 1933, Bateson 1972). The inclination to mistake the existing paradigms for an accurate and definitive description of reality has been pervasive in the world of science.
Ervin Laszlo’s attempt to deal with the baffling problems and paradoxes in various disciplines of modern science, a tour de force extended over half a century and culminating in the present book, represents a phenomenal achievement ( Laszlo 1993, 1999, 2003, 2007). The importance of his work for consciousness research and transpersonal
psychology is truly groundbreaking. I will try to briefly outline the radically new perspective that his work offers on the problems encountered in the research of holotropic states, particularly those connected with a wide range of transpersonal experiences.
The most important general conclusion that one can draw from various avenues of modern consciousness research is that consciousness is not a product of the neurophysiological processes in the brain, but an essential and integral part of existence.  This realization is also the basic tenet of Ervin Laszlo’s philosophical and scientific worldview. According to him, consciousness does not originate in the brain, but beyond spacetime in what he calls the Akashic Holofield. This field forms and informs all the entities and phenomena in Spacetime.
The Akashic Holofield represents the Logos of the cosmos; it contains all the information, rules, and regularities that govern the events in the material world and the behavior of its constituents. It also conserves a complete holographic record of the history of the universe and of our planet including the patterns of consciousness that created it. Since this field has no boundaries and partitions, all the information contained in it is present in all its points. Consciousness of three-dimensional entities in spacetime is localized but intrinsically nonlocal, because it is a projection from the Akashic Holofield. Communication between them can be instantaneous over any distance and any interval of time.
Many problems related to transpersonal experiences can be resolved if we accept Laszlo’s postulate of the Akashic Holofield with all the characteristics that he describes and consider the possibility that localized consciousness maintains its connection with this field and can access the information stored in it. One of the most astonishing observations in holotropic states is the possibility of what appears to be time travel to other historical periods and countries. I have in my records many reports of individuals who were convinced that they experienced events that took place in ancient Assyria or Babylonia, Japan at the time of the samurais, in the French Revolution, colonial Africa, and many other times and places. I have personally experienced what appeared to be convincing past life experiences in ancient Egypt and Czarist Russia and similar sequences from ancient and more recent historical periods and various geographical locations (Grof 2006). The possibility that information about events in spacetime remains holographically recorded in the Akashic Holofield is a basic assumption of Ervin Laszlo’s information field theory. The existence of these experiences can thus be seen as the empirical validation of his ideas.
Experiential identification with other people, animals, plants, and inorganic materials, for which it is impossible to find horizontal communication channels, become understandable if we accept the possibility that the connection is mediated by the information field that lies beyond spacetime. This would also account for Jung’s “a-causal connecting principle” underlying synchronicities and for such ESP phenomena as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychometry, and astral projection. Psychoid events could be seen as situations in which localized consciousness reaches Beyond Spacetime and appropriates the capacity of orchestrating the behavior of various constituents of Spacetime as it does in the creation of the phenomenal world itself.  Shift of localized consciousness to the Akashic Holofield could account for many experiences and events occurring in near-death situations, during the dying process, or following biological death. Examples would be out-of-body experiences (OBEs), veridical OBEs in congenitally blind people (“mindsight”), the bardo body and bardo realms described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, apparitions of recently dead relatives and friends, the “welcoming committee” of deceased people appearing to those who are close to death, auspiciously timed physical events in the life of survivors, communication with deceased people, haunted houses and castles, and visions of astral planes and spirits.
Ervin Laszlo’s theory of the Akashic Holofield offers an elegant solution for the dilemmas and paradoxes in a number of scientific disciplines, which have remained and persisted even after earlier revolutionary attempts had provided partial corrections. I am referring here to David Bohm’s theory of holomovement, Karl Pribram’s holographic theory of the brain, Rupert Sheldrake’s concept of morphic resonance and morphogenetic fields,  Ilya Prigogine’s discovery of dissipative structures, Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy, Gregory Bateson’s generalist world view, and others ((Bohm 1980, Pribram 1971, Sheldrake 1981, Prigogine 1980, Whitehead 1929, Bateson  1972).
However, Laszlo also achieved something that previous generations of modern
scientists would have considered impossible. He explained and illuminated a number of seemingly obscure and absurd assertions and tenets found in mystical and esoteric literature. For example, the Jain religion describes all beings in the universe as self-deluded separate units of consciousness (jivas) that misperceive themselves as autonomous units. The jivas have an important characteristic that seems fantastic and incredible:  each of them has the information about all the others. Vedic mythology describes a pearl necklace in Indra’s heaven in which the pearls are arranged in such a way that each of them reflects all the others; this necklace symbolizes the universe. In the remarkable philosophy of mutual interpenetration found in Avatamsaka (Huayan) Buddhism, the essence of the universe is succinctly captured in four statements: One in One, One in Many, Many in Many, and Many in One.
The ancient Emerald Tablet (tabula smaragdina) attributed to Hermes Trismegistus states: “That which is below is like that which is above and that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing.” The idea that the macrocosm is contained in every microcosm can be found in many esoteric systems: Tantra, Kabbalah, the Gnostic tradition, and others. The concept that each of us is identical with the entire universe is graphically represented in the images of Purushakara Yantra, Adam Kadmon, and the Gnostic Cosmic Man. Research into holotropic states has brought empirical validation for this idea, if it is properly understood. Each of us is identical with the entire universe, but not in terms of what can be weighed and measured, but because we have the potential to experientially identify with any of its parts.
Laszlo’s worldview also subsumes ideas from various philosophical systems. Thus in the monadology of the great German mathematician and philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the universe consists of monads,  essential forms of being that are eternal and indestructible. Each of them contains the information about all the others and reflects the entire universe in a pre-established harmony (Leibniz 2010). According to Alfred North Whitehead, the universe is made up of momentary events of experience rather than enduring material substances. Each of these moments (”actual occasions”) contains the entire history of the universe and is internally related to all the others (Whitehead 1933).
Ervin Laszlo’s interdisciplinary theory summarized in his opus magnum Beyond Spacetime bridges and integrates science, philosophy, metaphysics, and spirituality. However, its potential significance reaches even farther; the concept of the Akashic Holofield has important implications for and application in ecology, economy, sociology, politics, and religion. It could become a priceless instrument in solving the problems brought into the world by industrial civilization and show us the way to a sustainable global civilization.
[Tables to be added]
References
Bateson, G. 1972. Steps to An Ecology of Mind. San Francisco: Chandler Publications.


Bohm, D. 1980. Wholeness and the Implicate Order. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.


Grof, S. 1975. Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research. New York: Viking Press. Republished in 2009 as LSD: Doorway to the Numinous. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.


Grof, S. 1985. Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, New York: State University of New York (SUNY) Press.


Grof, S. 1998. The Cosmic Game: Explorations of the Frontiers of Human Consciousness. Albany, New York: State University of New York (SUNY) Press.


Grof, S. 2000. Psychology of the Future. Albany, New York: State University of New York (SUNY) Press.


Grof, S. 2006. When the Impossible Happens: Adventures in Non-Ordinary Realities. Louisville, Colorado: Sounds True.


Huxley, A. 1945. Perennial Philosophy. New York and London:  Harper and Brothers.


Jung, C. G. 1956. Symbols of Transformation. Collected Works, vol. 5, Bollingen Series XX, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.


Jung, C. G. 1959. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Collected Works, vol. 9,1. Bollingen Series XX, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.


Jung, C.G.. 1960. Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle. Collected Works, vol. 8, Bollingen Series XX. Princeton: Princeton UniversityPress.


Kennell. J. H. and Klaus, M. 1998. “Parental Bonding: Recent Observations That Alter Perinatal Care.” Pediatrics in Review 19:4-2.  


Klaus, M., Kennell, J.H. and Klaus, P. H. 1995. Bonding: Building the Foundations of Secure Attachment and Independence. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.


Korzybski, A. 1931. "A Non-Aristotelian System and Its Necessity for Rigor in Mathematics and Physics." A paper presented before the American Mathematical Society at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, New Orleans, Louisiana, December 28.


Kuhn, T. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


Laszlo, E. 1993. The Creative Cosmos: A Unified Science of Matter, Life and Mind. Edinburgh: Floris Books.


Laszlo, E. 1999. The Interconnected Universe. Conceptual Foundations of Transdisciplinary Unified Theory. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.


Laszlo, E. 2003. The Connectivity Hypothesis: Foundations of an Integral Science of Quantum, Cosmos, Life, and Consciousness. Albany, NY: State University of New York (SUNY) Press.


Laszlo, E. 2007. Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.


Laszlo, E. 2014. The Self-Actualizing Cosmos. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.


Laszlo, E. 2014. The Immortal Mind. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.


Leibniz G. W. 2010. The Principles of Philosophy Known As Monadology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Pribram, K. 1971. Languages of the Brain. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.


Prigogine, I. 1980. From Being to Becoming: Time and Complexity in the Physical Sciences. San Francisco, CA: W. H. Freeman.


Sheldrake, R. 1981. A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation. Los Angeles, CA: J. P. Tarcher.


Whitehead, A. N. 1929. Process and Reality. New York: Macmillan.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
[to be added]
Deepak Chopra, Stanislav Grof, Gary Zukav, Nassim Haramein, Paolo Renati, Ede Frecska, Tulku Thondup, Jean Houston, Na Aak, Christopher Bache, Sylvie Ouellet, Anne Deligne, ZhiGang Sha, William Gladstone, … .

PART ONE
THE CONTINUITY OF CONSCIOUSNESS


Commonsense in the modern world, supported by the conservative mainstream of science, maintains that consciousness ends when the life of the body ends. This belief has no foundation in reality and is already breaking open under the weight of contrary evidence. There is, it appears, consciousness after death, between lives, and before re-birth.  Evidence on this score joins the rapidly mounting body of documented information that speaks to the persistence of consciousness beyond the functioning brain (the NDE). But consciousness persists not only in the temporary absence of a working brain, but also in its permanent absence: when the individual is irreversibly dead.
Affirmations of the persistence of consciousness beyond death were said to be in the exclusive province of spirituality and religion. Now, in light of the accumulation of new evidence, the reality of  consciousness beyond death is entering the awareness of manuy more peoplein society. Its study in science is handicapped by its seeming disconnect with the established theories in the life and the cognitive sciences and in physics. This problem is about to be overcome. Multiple areas of agreement are emerging between reports on after-death consciousness and theories of information and interconnection in the natural sciences.
We shall explore the connection between experience beyond death and the emerging paradigm in science in Part Two. But first we assess the case for consciousness after death, between lives, and before re-birth, letting the evidence speak for itself.


CHAPTER ONE
CONSCIOUSNESS AFTER DEATH
There is conscious experience beyond the death of the body, and it begins with the experience of dying. At that point consciousness no longer has the physical body as a point of reference and it journies beyond space and time without the constraints on a material entity.
The nature of after-death experience
After-death experience is strongly colored by the values, worldviews, beliefs and predispositions of the subject’s recently ended life. Different individuals undergo the same kind of explerience in different ways. We illustrate this with two experiences. The first has been channeled by the trance-medium Jane Sherwood, and the second is the summary of the experience of the Tibetan “delogs” (who can leave their body and recount what they had experienced) provided Tulku Thondup, a noted Buddhist master.
E.K.’s experience -- Speaking through the English medium Jane Sherwood, the entity who identified himself only as E.K. said that he found himself awake in the transition state and arising feeling marvelously refreshed and happy. He said that he wandered for awhile in the “something-nothing” surroundings of that queer world and was unable to make any sense of it. The brooding silence drugged him into unconsciousness for a long time,  but when he next woke his body felt quite different, no longer frail and weak, but vigorous and ready for anything as though he had suddenly stepped back into youth. Then E.K. experienced a panoramic life-review after which he fell asleep. When he awoke from that slumber he found himself on a hillside. He described the view:
This was no earthly beauty. There was light on things and in them so that everything proclaimed itself vividly alive. Grass, trees, and flowers were so lighted inwardly by their own beauty that the soul breathed in the miracle of perfection . . . I am almost at a loss to describe the heavens as I saw them from my hillside. The light radiated from no one direction, it was a glowing, universal fact, bathing everything in its soft radiance so that the sharp shadows and dark edges which define objects on earth were missing. Each thing glowed or sparkled with its own light and was lighted as well by the circumambient splendor. The sky, as I looked upward, was like a pearl gleaming with opalescent colors. There was a suggestion of unfathomable depth of space as the shimmering colors parted their transparencies to show the infinite abyss.
The Tibetan delogs’ experience -- We now contrast what appears to be the same experience—the experience of joy, wellbeing and contenment—in the Tibetan delogs’ vision of the Blissful Pure Land. This is the description of one such vision by the Buddhist master Tulku Thondup.
The terrain of the Blissful Pure Land is soft and even, like the palm of a youthful hand. It is boundless, young, fresh, tender, and comforting to the touch, with no thorns, pebbles, rocks, or slopes. It is quiet, peceful, joyful, and immaculate. It is made of seven precious materials and adorned with golden designs without any trace of harshness, grossness, roughness, filth, dullness, or decay. It is bright and colorful, emitting rays of light. In this very pure land, other immeasurable Buddha pure lands appear as reflections in the face of a clear mirror. …
This pure land has no dark or ordinary mountains, but it is adorned with many kinds of smooth mountains of precious gems with high and low peaks. Here and there, the mountains are adorned with heaps of precious gems, mines of precious treasures, caves of precious jewels, and huts made of exquisite vines.
Exquisite trees in colorful designs adorn the landscape. There are trees made of one, two, or three precious substances. Many others are made of seven precious substances: the roots are made of gold, the trunks of silver, the branches of lapis lazuli, the leaves of crystal, the petals of carnelian, the flowers of mother-of-pearl, and the fruits of rubies. All these trees are soft and comforting to the touch, spreading sweet fragrances in all directions. Soothing sounds are carried by the currents of the wind.
This pure land is adorned with chains of wide and deep lakes, ponds, and rivers where many beings are at play with great ease. Comfortable steps of precious gems lead you to the ponds and lakes filled with uncontaminated water. The ground is made of precious jewels covered with golden sand. The ponds are filled with water with eight healthful qualifies: it is clear, cool, light, tasteful, soft, pure, healthful for the throat, and healthful for the stomach. Heavenly lotuses emitting a celestial aroma float upon the waters. The temperature of the water changes according to your wish. Rivers flow with the sounds of hundreds of thousands of symphonies that are incomparable even to any celestial music. The banks of the lakes and rivers are filled with richly scented groves.”
These reports demostrated the different ways in which the same basic experience—that of entering into the joyous embrace of another world—is accessed by individuals with different cultural backgrounds. There are further differences even within the same culture, as we shall see.
A Western farmer’s experience – The trance medium George Wood seemed possessed by the entities he channeled. He used his own vocal chords to transmit their message, and recorded the resulting information. The following is the recording of the experience of George Hopkins, a farmer.
Following a fairly detailed account of his death, Hopkins said that he saw “someone hurrying down the road like mad to the doctor’s… I heard them talking about me. I thought what the hell’s wrong? I’m here! I heard them say I was dead!”
After the burial, Hopkins experienced himself walking behind other people on the path from the cemetery. There, directly in front of him and coming towards him was his wife.
But not my wife as I had known her, in the past few years of her life. But as I knew her when she was a young girl. She looked beautiful, really beautiful. And with her I could see one of my brothers who died when he was about seventeen or eighteen. A nice looking boy who was fair-haired. They were laughing and joking and coming up to me. I thought well here I am and there they are, so I am all right. They’re sure to know what to do now.
My wife and brother made a proper fuss of me, saying how sorry they were that they were late. They said, “We know you hadn’t been too well, but we had no idea you were coming as sudden as you were. We got the message but we’re sorry we couldn't get here quicker.”
I thought that’s odd. How the hell do they get about? I knew I’d got about, but as far as I was concerned I seemed to be walking about, same as I did before, except that everything was much lighter. I didn’t seem to have any heaviness of the body, and no more aches and pains like I used to have. They started to try to explain things, but they wouldn’t say too much. They said I’d got to get sort of adjusted settled.
Bertrand Russell’s experience -- Lord Russell was a leading British analytical philosopher, a lifelong champion of thinking free of “metaphysical” accrutements. He did not hesitate to say that he did not believe in life after death. After he died he seems to have realized that messages purportedly coming from him will be greeted with scepticism and he went to some pains to counter such criticisms. The message conveying the experience of his own death was channeled by the medium Rosemary Brown.
You may not believe that it is I, Bertrand Arthur William Russell, who am saying these things, and perhaps there is no conclusive proof that I can offer through this somewhat restrictive medium. Those with an ear to hear may catch the echo of my voice in my phrases, the tenor of my tongue in my tautology; those who do not wish to hear will no doubt conjure up a whole table of tricks to disprove my retrospective rhetoric.”
Having done his best to bolster the credibility of his message, Russell went on to describe the experience that followed his death.
After breathing my last breath in my mortal body, I found myself in some sort of extension of existence that held no parallel as far as I could estimate, in the material dimension I had recently experienced. I observed that I was occupying a body predominantly bearing similarities to the physical one I had vacated for ever; but this new body in which I now resided seemed virtually weightless and very volatile, and able to move in any direction with the minimum of effort. I began to think I was dreaming and would awaken all too soon in that old world, of which I had become somewhat weary to find myself imprisoned once more in that ageing form which incased a brain that had waxed weary also and did not always want to think when I wanted to think.
Other after-death experiences
The renowned psychiatrist and neurologist Karl Novotny died in Vienna in 1965. On a hunch after his death his former patient and friend Grete Schroder visited a medium. The medium then came up with the following after-death experience by Novotny.

It was a lovely evening in spring and I was spending Easter at my country home. I had not been really well for some time, but I was not confined to bed. So I agreed to go for a walk with some friends. As we started out, I felt very tired and thought perhaps I ought not to accompany them. However, I forced myself to go. Then I felt completely free and well. I went ahead and drew deep breaths of the fresh evening air and was happier than I had been for a long time. How was it, I wondered, that I suddenly had no more difficulties, and was neither tired nor out of breath?
I turned back to my companions and found myself looking down at my own body on the ground. My friends were in despair, calling for a doctor and trying to get a car to take me home. But I was well and felt no pains! I couldn’t understand what had happened. I bent down and felt the heart of the body lying on the ground. Yes—it had cease to beat—I was dead. But I was still alive! I spoke to my friends, but they neither saw me nor answered me. I was most annoyed and left them. However, I kept on returning. To say the least it was upsetting to see my friends in tears and yet paying no attention to what I was saying. It was very upsetting too, to look down at my dead body lying in front of me, while I felt in perfect health.
And there was my dog, who kept whining pitifully, unable to decide to which of me he should go, for he saw me in two places at once, standing up and lying down on the ground.
When all the formalities were concluded and my body had been put in a coffin, I realized that I must be dead. But I wouldn’t acknowledge the fact; for like my teacher Alfred Adler, I did not believe in an after-life. I visited my university colleagues, but they neither saw me nor returned my greeting. I felt most insulted. What should I do? I went up the hill where Grete lives, she was sitting alone and appeared very unhappy. But she did not seem to hear me either.
It was no use, I had to recognize the truth. When finally I did so, I saw my dear mother coming to meet me with open arms. Telling me that I had passed into the next world—not in words of course, since these only belong to the earth. Even so, I couldn’t credit her statement and thought I must be dreaming. This belief continued for a long time. I fought against the truth and was most unhappy.
Another experience with a similar content was channeled by George Wood. It came from an entity who identified himself as Rupert Brooke.
It seemed as if I was in a body which no longer seemed, at first, to be the same, and yet in appearance it was the same. I just couldn’t understand it. I just didn’t realize that I had died.
Everything seemed in a sense quite natural, and yet the body I was using seemed quite foreign to me. I didn’t feel it had any weight. There was a terrible lightness about myself.
I pinched myself and was startled to find that I did not feel anything. That worried me terribly. Then I had one or two shocks when I realized people didn’t see me… I thought if I can’t feel myself when I pinch myself, why should a person see me who was still on Earth in the old body? I thought it must be that I am on some vibrational rate which is not common to Earth, and therefore people can’t see me. I could see other people but they couldn’t see me. It all seemed so strange.
I remember vividly sitting beside a river and looking at myself, and not seeing myself. I could see no reflection. I thought “That seems most extraordinary. I have a body and yet it has no reflection.” I couldn't adjust myself at all. I was going round to various people that I had known, trying to tell them that I was alive and well, and they just didn’t realize that I was there.
*    *    *    *    *
Although experiences in the initial phase of the journey of consciousness beyond death are diverse in imagery, the experiences themselves have shared features and a common feeling tone. Aside from the frustration of not having a physical body and thus not being recognized by the living, and with the exception of the fearful experiences that surface occasionally, they are experiences of entering a different but welcoming realm, and ranging in that realm without the limitations of ordinary existence in space and time.


A note on the authenticity of the channelled messages
How much credence can we give to to messages from deceased individuals? It is not the subject himself or herself who reports on the experiences but another person, who in most cases is in an altered state of consciousness.  Does the experience on which he or she reports truly originates with a person who is already dead?
Some of the here cited messages testify to the style and personality of the person from whom they are said to originate, and in others they testify to a keen desire on the part of the deceased person to comminucate. These features do not exclude the possibility of fraud, whether conscious or unconscious. There are cases of a still higher level of authenticity, however, and following a brief review of the relevant features of the channeling phenomenon, we shall cite one such case in more detail.
Communication said to be with a deceased person comes in various forms. The simplest and clearest form is clairvoyance: the medium, in a relatively normal state of consciousness, claims to see or hear a deceased person, in most cases a friend or relative of the “sitter.” A more complex yet also more common form of communication is where the medium enters a state of trance. The medium’s consciousness appears to be dominated by an intelligence that takes control over the his or her speech, writing, and behavior. In the most intense forms of this kind of experience the medium’s mind and body seems possessed by the foreign intelligence.
Mediums claim to have the ability to sense, hear and see things that are beyond the range of sensory experience. Sometimes they hear voices that dictate messages they then relay to the sitters or commit to paper; in other cases they engage in “automatic writing,” allowing their fingers to compose the messages of which they had no conscious knowledge.
In regard to messages that convey impressions and information on experience beyond death, it is a condition of authenticity to ensure that they could not have come from living persons. There are cases that satisfy this requirement to a remarkable degree. We cite here a particularly robust case that concerns a game of chess between a living and a deceased grandmaster.
The English medium Robert Rollans, who did not play chess and had no interest in the game, was engaged by the amateur chess-player Wolfgang Eisenbeiss to transmit the moves of a game that was to be played by a living and a dead chess player. The latter was to be found by Rollans. Eisenbeiss gave Rollins a list of deceased chess grand masters and requested Rollins to ask in a state of trance who among them would be willing to play. On the 15th of June, 1985, the former Hungarian grandmaster Geza Maroczy responded.

Maroczy was born in 1870 and died in 1951. In the year 1900 he was the third-ranking chess grandmaster. He responded to Rollans’ trans-state invitation as follows. “I will be at your disposal in this peculiar game of chess for two reasons. First, because I also want to do something to aid mankind living on Earth to become convinced that death does not end everything, but instead the mind is separated from the physical body and comes up to us in a new world, where individual life continues to manifest itself in a new unknown dimension. Second, being a Hungarian patriot, I want to guide the eyes of the world into the direction of my beloved Hungary …”
Korchnoi and Maroczy began to play. It was a protracted game due to Korchnoi’s illness and his frequent travels: it lasted no less than seven years and eight months. Speaking through Rollans, who in his normal state of consciousness would not have had any idea of what was going on, Maroczy gave his moves in the standard form known to chess players: for example, “5. A3 – Bxc3+” and Korchnoi replied to Rollans in the same form. Every move has been recorded. The game ended on the 11th of February,1993, when at move forty eight, Maroczy resigned. Subsequent analysis showed that it was a wise move: five moves later, Korchnoi would have achieved chess mate.
In this case the plausibility that the medium channeled a deceased person is strong. Not only did the medium not play chess and had no conscious knowledge of the moves he transmitted, but the moves he transmitted were on the level of a grandmaster. Moreover they demonstrated the personal style of a particular grandmaster: that of Maroczy. It is not evident how the medium would have accesses these moves from anyone other than Maroczy himself.
COMMENT
Jean Houston
When I was nineteen years old I had a weekend hobby that few would consider intelligent. I jumped out of airplanes—with a parachute of course. The training was simple and fast. We were taken to an old barn, where we learned to jump from its rafter into a pile of hay. Afterwards we were taught how to leap out from the plane into the sky, the count-down to pulling the ripcord, and some savvy advice on how not to break anything in our body upon landing.  As an after thought we were shown how to fold our parachute for the next jump. As jumps in those far off days were quite cheap—five dollars a jump, I took quite a few of them.
For a while skydiving became a weekly event until one Saturday afternoon, I pulled my ripcord and nothing happened. I continued to tug away and still nothing happened. I must have folded my parachute wrong.  I looked down  at the ground which was rising up to meet me forever, when, suddenly, my mind entered an amplitude of  serenity and I found myself in life review.  It seemed as if most of the events of my life from infancy to nineteen
went by at their own time—not every little pork chop  and chocolate bar, but the main events. The categories of time were strained  by the tensions of eternity.  Eternity had entered local time, and what was more, I seemed to be enveloped in a vast field of Consciousness which pervaded all  and everything. I was a tiny dot in this Field , and yet, I was all and everything.  It felt as if I had a vantage point from beyond spacetime wherein I could view the history of my life in spacetime.  This glorious experience went on forever and then the parachute must have eventually opened for I found myself on the ground with a sore ankle.  Needless to say, that was my last jump. (Or, perhaps, the chute never opened and you are reading this in Paradise.)
This experience helped to set me forth on a journey to explore the existence of Consciousness as the all enveloping nature of reality.
Of course in the pursuit of such knowledge you come up against the rabid materialist agenda as exemplified by Francis Crick who essentially called us biological robots.  In his book The Astonishing Hypothesis he informed us that “You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” In other words, he says we are robots.  To me, his statement qualifies in the category reductio ad absurdum. Our being, our reality, our sense and sensibility is nothing but an assemblage of molecular components signifying nothing beyond  the machinery that chances to manufacture Shakespeare, Mozart. Georgia O’Keefe, Confucius . The latest version of this is that we are the 3 D print outs of  a trans galactic computer system that produces us as virtual models for its entertainment.   Delightful as this materialist fantasy is, I find greater truth in Ervin Laszlo’s statement that “We are not biochemical machines destined to run down, but beings endowed with an infinite consciousness and a finite, but cyclically renewed body.”  
The theme of this remarkable book is that  our consciousness continues beyond the death of the brain in the deep domain of the cosmos. This hypothesis is supported by exemplary reports of  the continuity of conscious experience after the body dies. Ultimately, it comes down to the “deep domain of the cosmos”  wherein Consciousness  itself is the ground of all being, the source and sustenance of what we call “Reality”.
Fractals and the nature of reality — One thing we know about reality is its fractal nature. Fractals are those patterns of repetition that are similar at all levels of magnification.  You look at a huge coastline and see a certain wave pattern. But then look closely at the wave eddies in the sand and you see that they repeat fractally the coastline.  They are not exactly the same, but they are certainly similar in process, if not exactly in form. Natural objects that are approximated by fractals to a degree include clouds, mountain ranges, lightning bolts, snow flakes, various vegetables (cauliflower and broccoli), and animal coloration patterns Something under the microscope looks almost exactly like something that is two hundred light years across in the sky.
Looking at other patterns like trees, for instance, we see fractals of the brain and the circulatory system.  Seashells are fractally related to the whorl pattern in flowers, to the ear, to the heart, to the DNA spiral, to the Labyrinth, to the galaxy.  And every thing is patterned after the Universe to which it is connected. The fractal dimensions in nature comprehend both outer and inner natures.  Thus, the fractal repetitions of our lives with certain types of events repeating variations of themselves across time.
I am one who seeks to find a field of similarity and relevance between what may hitherto been seen as divided and distinguished worlds--art and science, theatre and politics, reason and imagination, spirituality and economics, myth and history.  And I can better do this when I see how one contains the fractals of the other. But now, with the understanding of the ways in which fractal resonance informs the whole, with increased observation of these patterns in both microcosmic and macrocosmic worlds as well as culture, we appreciate the ways in which ancient and indigenous people actually saw this and created symbolic structures that mediated and wove these together in mandalas, myths, and philosophies.  “As above so below…As without so within.”
We have to consider that we are the stuff of photons and other subatomic matter which compose the most basic properties of information. Our minds and the universe are mirrored realities. Just as matter and space evolved from a tiny dot to a universe of staggering proportions that seems to encompass body, soul and mind, so we too emerged from a pin size dot of the fertilized egg  into an immensely complex system that encompassed body, soul and mind. Laws of form and emergence govern  the genesis of ourselves and the universe: these include order and disorder, growth and entropy, determination and differentiation, and, above all, continuity. These laws are part of the matrix which we call Consciousness.
Understanding Consciousness is a journey that a few have undertaken, perhaps most successfully in the spiritual journey of the mystics in their pursuit of a larger reality.
For what is mysticism but the art of union with Reality, and a mystic, a person who aims at and believes in the attainment of such union. In its classical spiritual form it is a heroic journey, and valiant efforts are required to follow the path. Many of the spiritual teachers of the world have likened our lives to “a sleep and a forgetting.” The mystic path, rather, is predicated on awakening, on going off robot and abandoning lackluster passivity to engage cocreation with vigor, attention, focus, and radiance, characteristics we might note we can find in reports of near and post death experience. Thus the mystical experience is perhaps the greatest accelerator of evolutionary enhancement. Through it, we tap into wider physical, mental, and emotional systems, thereby gaining entrance into the next stage of our unfolding, both individually and collectively. Once the province of the few, the mystic path may now be the requirement of the many—a unique developmental path for self and world.
In a lifetime of studying the art and science of human development, I have found no more powerful, practical, and evolutionary practice than what is known as the mystic path. When I have studied or talked with seekers who have had this experience, they have told me of a joy that passes understanding, an immense surge of creativity, an instant uprush of kindness and tolerance that makes them impassioned champions for the betterment of all, bridge builders, magnets for solutions, peacemakers, pathfinders. Best of all, other people feel enriched and nourished around them. Everyone they touch becomes more because they themselves are more. Perhaps we have needed the changes and accelerations of our time to put the flame under the crucible of becoming so that such inward alchemy could take place.
Mysticism seems to rise during times of intense change and stress. Add the sufficiency of current shadows and the breakdown of all certainties, and we have the ingredients for the current universal pursuit of spiritual realities. We live in a time in which more and more history is happening faster and faster than we can make sense of it. The habits of millennia seem to vanish in a few months and the convictions of centuries are crashing down like the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. And yet, the deconstruction of traditional ways of being may invite the underlying Spirit of which we are a part to break through. Similarly, the experience of dying is that of  the most radical deconstruction followed, as we learn in this book and countless other accounts, by the most complete breakthrough into another order of being  within the great Consciousness of the cosmos.
Many have written of the mystic path and tracked its myriad adventures and planes of development. I have found Evelyn Underhill, writing early in the twentieth century, to be one of the finest guides to the experience. In her great work Mysticism, she presents the mystic path as a series of eight organic stages: awakening, purification, illumination, voices and visions, contemplation and introversion, ecstasy and rapture, the dark night of the soul, and union with the One Reality. In reflecting on these stages for this book, I’ve discovered that of the nature of each of these stages  has a remarkable similarity to many of the descriptions reported of the after-life journey.  These seems to be part of the hologram of fractally repeated experience that relate to both the experience of the mystic and many of the descriptions of the after-death experience. Indeed, the correlations both in description and in tone have a remarkable correlation. Here, for example, is a brief look at the stages of the mystical life both as they are found in classical mysticism as well as in reports of  consciousness in the after life.
In the first stage, “awakening,” one wakes up, to put it quite simply. Suddenly, the world is filled with splendor and glory, and one understands that one is a citizen in a much larger universe. One is filled with the awareness that one is a part of an enormous Life, in which everything is connected to everything else and it is very, very good. This correlates with the many reports of the expanded awareness and happiness of the initial “awakening” of those who cross the threshold between death and the greater life.
The second stage of mystical development is called “purgation” or “purification” Here one rids oneself of those veils and obstruction of the ordinary unexamined life that keep one from the knowledge that one has gained from awakening. One is released from old ways of being and recovers one’s higher innocence. In traditional mysticism it can take the form of a very intense pursuit of asceticism or  rigorous work on oneself to rid the vestiges of negative behaviors.  In the reports of  after life experience the fractal continues with  some form of judgement, life review, and karmic work in which understanding, feelings and emotions are purified and there is altogether greater clarity on the meaning and values of one’s life and time.
The traditional third stage is called the path of “illumination”: one is illumined in the light. The light of bliss—often experienced as actual light—literally pervades everything. One sees beauty and meaning and pattern everywhere, and yet one remains who one is and able to go about one's daily work. The stage of illumination is also one that many artists, actors, writers, visionaries, scientists, and creative people are blessed to access from time to time.  In the accounts of consciousness beyond spacetime, the experience of light as the all pervading essence is a constant in the reports. “The light radiated from no one direction, it was a glowing, universal fact, bathing everything in its soft radiance so that the sharp shadows and dark edges which define objects on earth were missing. Each thing glowed or sparkled with its own light and was lighted as well by the circumambient splendor.”
The fourth stage is called “voices and visions.” One sees, hears, senses with more
than five senses—an amplitude of reality including things one has never seen before, such as beings of different dimensions, angels, archetypes, numinous borderline persons, or figures from other times and realms. It is a state of revealing and interacting with a much larger reality—including those spiritual allies that lie within us and the unfolding of the unseen gifts that we all contain. The after-life experience is similar not only in one’s encounter with family and friends who have also passed on but with a panoply of higher beings, gods, higher planes of existence and other dwellers in the realms of spiritual existence.
The fifth stage is what Underhill and others call “introversion,” which includes entering the silence in prayer and contemplation. It is a turning to the inner life, wherein one employs some of the vast resources of spiritual technology to journey inward to meet and receive Reality in its fullness. It results in daily life as a spiritual exercise, bringing the inner and the outer life together in a new way. In the correlate expression of life beyond death it takes the form of raising one’s vibration to the frequency domain of the beyond-spacetime dimension.
The sixth stage is referred to as “ecstasy and rapture.” Here the Divine Presence meets the prepared body, mind, emotions, and psyche of the mystic, which, cleared of the things that keep Reality at bay, now can ecstatically receive the One. It involves the art and science of happiness. There are similar reports in the experience of the after life of an expanse of feelings of joy, rapture and exceeding happiness
But, alas, after all this joy and rapture, the next stage, the seventh, is what is termed the “dark night of the soul,” obeying the dictum that what goes up must come down. Suddenly the joy is gone, the Divine Lover is absent, God is hidden, and one is literally bereft of everything. Here one faces the remaining shadows of old forms and habits of the lesser self, preparing one to become more available to the final stage. Again, there appears to be a fractal of this in the higher frequencies before meeting with the One.
The eighth and last stage is called the “unitive life.” At this stage one exists in the state of union with the One Reality all the time. One is both oneself and God. For those who enter this state, it seems as if nothing is impossible; indeed, everything becomes possible. They become world changers and world servers. They become powers for life, centers for energy, partners and guides for spiritual vitality in other human beings. They glow, and they set others glowing. They are force fields, and to be in their fields is to be set glowing. They are no longer human beings as we have known them. They are fields of being, for they have moved from Godseed to Godself.  The experience in the world beyond spacetime appears to be remarkably the same, the entering into unity with Consciousness Itself, utter absorption into Spiritual union and grace.
In this book, we discover that these stages are not just for the mystic, but have their their equivalence in the after death experience.  One appears to be the fractal resonance of the other. All of us have had experiences of awakening to the beauty and
wonder around us. And we have known the rigor of releasing old habits, and even the creativity and joy that come from new ways of being and thinking. We cannot avoid the depression and psychic flatland that accompany the dark night of the soul, and we may even have glimpsed or possibly experienced moments of transcendent union.
In studying the fractals of the mystic way to the journey beyond death we find that love is the supreme quality that underlies the experiences. It is through the experience and practice of love that we travel both here and hereafter to the heart of the ONE, to Consciousness itself, lured by love to our infinite being wherever and however we exist.
CHAPTER TWO


CONSCIOUSNESS BETWEEN LIVES


In the initial phases of experience after death, consciousness appears to be attracted by the body even if it is no longer attached to it. Experience is centered on the immediate surroundings of the body, and on the fate of the body after consciousness had departed from it. Thereafter after-death experience becomes more removed from the body, and of the world that surrounds the body.
The experience of judgment
Having one’s recently concluded life subjected to an assessment of its merits and demerits appears to be a nearly universal feature of the journey of consciousness beyond the body. In religions and the major spiritual traditions this assessment is pictured as a single epochal event. For religious people in the Western world it appears as the divine judgment to which the dead are woken and summoned to learn their destiny. Will they enter eternal life in heaven, or descend to eternal damnation in hell?
The idea of entering the Kingdom of God, or of being condemned to suffering in a realm below, is part of the eschatology of the Abrahamic religions. The judgment that decides which of these paths will be taken by the individual appears in Judaism and Christianity as the Last Judgment, the Day of Judgment, or the Day of the Lord, and in Islam as Yawm al-Qiyamah or Yawm ad-Din. A particularly graphic description of it is in the Books of Daniel, Isaiah and The Revelation:
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:11-12)
The Tibetan master Tulku Thondup described the experience of the judgment that awaits the individual in the following terms.
After some time, many of us will witness the arrival of the Lords of the Dead (shinje; gShin r.Je), who come to fetch us. They are the agents of the Dharma King, king of the Lords of the Dead (shinje chokyi ghalpo; gShin rJe Ch’os Kyi rGyal Po) who is the highest and final authority in the Court of Judgment for the dead. The Lords of the Dead appear in various forms and play different roles. You might see them arriving to summon you to the court, supervising the deliverance of your judgments, and executing the edits of the Dharma King.
At this juncture, we will leave our old location and go far away on a strenuous journey. It will seem as if we are trekking over amazingly high mountain passes and narrow paths. That will be followed by the feeling of crossing an endless hot desert. Then we make our way over a long, dangerous bridge above a turbulent river. Finally we will reach the court of the Dharma King, king of the Lords of the Dead.
The court of the Dharma King is the place where our next birth will be decided after the records of our past positive and negative deeds have been checked. We will be examined by defenders, who will plead for us by presenting the evidence of our positive deeds. The prosecutors argue against us by presenting the evidence of our negative deeds. For the records of our deeds, they check a mirror in which our deeds appear; notes in which our deeds have been recorded; and pebbles in which our deeds will be measured out on scales.
The experience of judgment, the same as that of death and its aftermath, is strongly colored by the culture of the individual. Tulku Thondup noted that these experiences “bear the imprint of the mental, emotional, and cultural impact of the experiencer’s mindstream.”
In his after-death messages, the noted psychic researcher Frederic Myers pointed out that the passage to the higher plane of discarnate existence is open to “ethical souls” but closed to selfish, cruel and violent persons. Such a person languishes on the “Plane of Illusion” until he or she,
faces up to his own misery, to his vice; and then the great change comes. He is put in touch with a portion of the Great Memory…the Book of Life. He becomes aware of all the emotions roused in his victims by his acts. … No pain, no anguish he has caused has perished. All has been registered, has a kind of existence that makes him sensible of it once he has drifted into touch with the web of memory that clothed his life and the lives of those who came into contact with him on earth.
Speaking through the medium Rosemary Brown, Sir Donald Tovey, a well-known British musicologist, writer, composer and pianist who died in 1940, said that “each and every soul meets here [in the after-death realm] with its just deserts, not because they are dispensed by a presiding deity, but because it is literally true that one reaps what one has sown.” But what one has sown does not condemn those who have caused suffering to others to a self-made hell: their way remains open for evolving into the light.
The experience of ascent to higher planes
Judgment, according to the information researched and channeled by the Sylvie Ouellet, a noted medium, former teacher and notary in Quebec, Canada, is not a single act occurring at one given moment in after death. It is an ongoing process of assessment in the consciousness of the deceased, as he or she pursues a path beyond the death of the body. If the assessment warrants, the way is open for consciousness to enter the higher planes of existence.
Reports on the higher planes date back to antiquity. They are conveyed in Hinduism in the Advaita Vedanta, they are present in Shamanism and Hermeticism, in Neoplatonism and Gnosticism, in the Kabbalah as well as in theosophy and anthroposophy. The reports describe diverse modes and forms of experience, but they have a common core: the experience of ascent to higher planes of existence.
In recent times Paramhansa Yogananda described the higher planes in his Autobiography of a Yogi. After death, he wrote, individuals first enter the astral plane. There they work out the tasks of their karma through astral incarnations, and if not, they are reborn to the physical plane to face the tasks in their next lifetime. If and when they attain the meditative state of samadhi, they progress to the “illumined astral planet,” and from there they may reach the more subtle causal spheres—then “final unification.”
The consensus among the diverse accounts is that after death consciousness enters the astral plane, and through various intermediary stages progresses to the causal plane. From that supreme plane, and possibly already from the astral plane, it re-enters earthly existence, unless it reaches the supreme realms where existence is pure and infinite.
The historical accounts of the ascent to the higher planes are most likely sourced in the personal insight of insightful individuals—a prophet or a master. The disciples record his or her insights and hand them down to the followers. More recent accounts are reported by psychic mediums. Among these accounts we cite here the information researched and channeled by Sylvie Ouellet.
Ouellet discovered psychic abilities in adult life and began to transmit the information she received from spiritual guides. She made it clear that it is difficult to describe a unique trajectory for the journey of what she called the “soul” beyond death, since there are various alternative paths. Her information agrees with traditional views in that the principal stages of this journey are seen as a progressive ascent to the astral, the mental, and the causal planes of existence, including various stations and subdivisions within them. These planes of existence are not beyond the world, they are particular vibratory realms of it.
While we live our earthly existence, Ouellet said, the density of “physical matter” prevents us from seeing the other side. When we die we pass into the ethereal domain: death is a passage from the material to the immaterial realm of the world. This is a change in the rate of our vibration. The deceased, as is often said, go toward the light, but light is not a place but a rate of vibration.
In the initial stage of this passage the soul becomes conscious of the death of the body, and in the next stage it accepts this fact and leaves behind the emotional and mental baggage it no longer needs. On the astral plane the world is experienced as an illusion nourished by one’s desires and emotions. Existence on this plane is generally agreeable, except at lower levels where a sense of suffering may persist.
On the astral plane the vibrations emitted by the emotional body of the deceased can be captured by the physical body of the living, and thus information can be exchanged: “transcommunication” is possible. On the mental plane, however, the living need to raise their level of vibration to correspond to the vibrations emitted by the mental body of the deceased.  In most case this requires recourse to a psychic medium.
The plane beyond the astral is the mental. On that plane the consciousness of the individual leaves behind everyday concerns. The focus is on conveying love and compassion to help the individual pursue the quest for his or her next incarnation in peace and serenity. Trans communication on this plane transmits messages of universal relevance rather than of mainly individual interest.
The mental plane is a plane of higher feelings: of love, joy, compassion, thankfulness, as well as peace and serenity. To experience these feelings, individuals must have “nourished” their consciousness with such feelings during their incarnate existence. During the incarnate phase, Ouellet says, the astral body of the individual accumulates the energies associated with the lower emotions, such as fear, doubts, attachments, and conditional love, while his mental body accumulates the energies associated with higher emotions, such as generosity, compassion, joy, and unconditional love. The causal body accumulates the energies of still higher emotions, those concerned with vigilance and the mastery of the ego.
If the individual has never experienced higher emotions on Earth, he or she cannot experience them after death: his or her astral body will be filled with lower-level energies and these will constrain or block the ascent of consciousness to the higher planes.
In order to discharge the range of low-level energies accumulated in earthly existence, the consciousness of the individual needs to stay more extensively on the astral plane. But if he or she has cultivated feelings of love, compassion, peace, joy and other higher emotions, his or her consciousness will be able to ascend to the higher planes, including the causal plane.  
All individuals ascend eventually to the causal plane, except those who chose to leave their incarnate existence prematurely by an arbitrary act such as suicide. These individuals may re-incarnate from the astral plane. This is not to be seen as a punishment, Ouellet points out, but the consequence of interrupting a natural process.
On the causal plane only the consciousness of great masters will have distinct awareness; the energy on that plane is too high—the vibratory rate is too different—to allow conscious awareness for others. As a result most individuals experience awareness on the causal plane only as brief flashes, and then lapse into unconsciousness, as in sleep.
Existence on the causal plane is for the most part a preparation for the next incarnation of consciousness. Feelings and emotions become purified and separateness is replaced by genuine individuality. The individual is reunited with the “celestial family” of evolved individuals, and insight is conveyed into the nature and the reason for his or her existence on this and on other planes. But, as just remarked, except for highly evolved consciousnesses, these insights reach the individual in an unconscious, non-self-aware state.
Frederic Myers’s account of the journey of consciousness after death conforms in many respects to the account given by Sylvie Ouellet. Myers’ messages have been meticulously prepared to ensure their credibility. He developed the method of “cross-correspondences”: the messages are addressed to different psychic mediums who do not know each other. They are puzzling in themselves, but their meaning emerges when they are joined together. Even then, they are not easy to decode as they often contain reference to obscure passages in classical literature, the academic specialization of Myers’ earthly existence.
The brunt of Myer’s messages regarding the higher planes of existence have been dictated to the medium Geraldine Cummins.  According to Myers’ dictation, in most cases after death there is a period of unconsciousness and recuperation in a place called Hades. The sejour in Hades varies with the needs of the individual. Some, such as children, need but a brief period of recuperation (in a personal communication Ouellet pointed out that this period can be brief because for children there is no need to remain extensively on this plane: they are not filled with the lower energies that would block their passage to the higher realms).
However, Hades is only an intermediate resting place between the “plane of matter” and “the Lotus Flower paradise.” It appears to be the astral plane and not the Heaven to which Western believers yearn, since there is another realm beyond it: “the Plane of Illusion.”
Place plants, insects, fish, birds and beasts into their several classes. These resemble the [grades] in a public school. The essences or souls of plants, after dying, gather together in their myriads and in time form one whole. These … go up one step in the ladder then, and are one when they enter the body of insects. Myriads of insect lives again make one being which, in due course, enters the body or a bird. And so the process continues.
From the Astral ”resting place on the road” humans and some higher animals return to earthly existence. Myers himself did not return (at least at the time he dictated his account), but after resting for a time in the Lotus Flower paradise he passed to the next plane: the mental. An ethical soul will wish to go up the ladder of existence since, with few exceptions, his or her longing for physical existence has been overcome. The exceptions are those who aspire to a great intellectual feat on earth, or want to “play a major role in the strife of earthly life.” These may wish to recarnate already from the astral plane. However, in most cases the soul of ethical individuals is released from Illusion-land, “from that nursery in which they merely lived in the old fantasy of earth.”
Myers ascended beyond the Lotus Flower Paradise to the fourth plane of existence he called Eidos. Earthly experience is a poor copy of experience in Eidos: it is a “copy of a masterpiece.” In Eidos “we dwell in a world of appearances in some respects similar to the earth. Only all this vast region of appearances is gigantic in conception, terrifying and exquisite according to the manner in which it presents itself … It is far more fluidic, less apparently solid than earth surroundings.”  (Eidos, it appears, is the mental plane of discarnate existence.)
In Beyond Human Personality, the second volume of Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, Myers set forth his account of the stages of the ascent of consciousness to the higher planes. Eidos, he wrote, is a loftier world,
… magnificant, exquisite, full of strange beauties and forms that may still be, in some respects, reminiscent of earth. These are, however, infinite in variety. They are composed of colors and light unknown to man. There, on this level, will be found a perfection in outward form, in surface appearance; a perfection only occasionally realized in the creation of the greatest of earthly artists. … On this lumiferous plane the struggle increases in intensity, the efforts expended are beyond the measure of earthly experience. But the results of such labor, of such intellectualized and spiritualized toil and battle also transcend the most superb emotion in the life of man. In brief, all experience is refined, heightened, intensified, and the actual zest of living is increased immeasurably. The purpose of all the toil and battle is to experience the full possibilities of this plane, so that the soul may pass beyond it, to planes still more removed from earthly existence.
Beyond Eidos is the plane Myers identified as the Plane of Flame. This appears to be the causal plane. On this plane the soul is “an artist who lives in his masterpiece, derives from it, in all its features, in the freshness of its evolving, changing creation, that strange exhalation which may, perhaps, at one rare moment, be known to a creative genius—though very faintly—while he still lives upon the earth.”
On the  Seventh State, the plane beyond the Plane of Flame, “…pure reason reign supreme .. the souls who enter this last kingdom of experience … bear with them the wisdom of form, the incalculable secret wisdom, gathered only through limitation, harvested from numberless years, garnered from lives passed in myriad forms … they are capable of living now without form, of existing as white light .. as pure thought.”
Beyond the Plane of Light, there is yet a seventh state. This state
“… baffles description. It is heart-breaking even to attempt to write of it .. [entering this state] means the flight from the material universe … You dwell not only outside of time but outside of the universe on this last plane of being.”
At the Seventh State beyond the Plane of Light the ethical soul has arrived at the highest level in the cycle of incarnations. Existence on this ultimate or penultimate Causal Plane plane reflects the vision of the Abrahamic religions of admittance to the sight of God, and of the Buddhist tradition’s Nirvana, the supreme union with the World Soul.


COMMENT
Tulku Thondup

Reading this chapter is highly inspiring and educational. As it says, one’s experience after death will be colored by one’s culture.
As this narrative suggests, and as Buddhism teaches, our identity is not our body or our career, but our mind, our consciousness. The body is merely a guesthouse. When we die, our mind leaves the body and takes rebirth in another life. In rare cases, if the person is a delog, they can cross the “boundary of no-return,” as you call it, and nevertheless return to their former body. 
According to Buddhism, every being takes rebirth after death in some worldly realm—except if they become enlightened, transcending karma, cause and effect. A person’s future life totally depends on their past mental habits—their karma.  If they were drenched in negative thoughts and deeds, they will suffer in one of the hellish realms. If they were highly evolved, they could take rebirth in a pure land. None of this should be surprising, as our future existence is the reflection of our own mind. 
I would like to add that there are many levels of pure lands in the Buddhist tradition. The highest levels of pure lands can be perceived only by fully enlightened ones, such as Buddhas.  Other levels of pure lands, such as the one you cite can be perceived by highly realized beings who do not have to be fully enlightened. In which level of pure land we take rebirth depends on our    level of spiritual attainment.  
If we wish to have a better rebirth, we need to improve the habits of our mind and our physical deeds inspired by our mind.  Then and only then will the chains of our lives be ones of a happy existence.

CHAPTER THREE
CONSCIOUSNESS BEFORE RE-BIRTH
The journey of consciousness beyond death is surprisingly documented. Although the
modern individual is convinced that there cannot be communication from beyond death (because there is nothing after death that could communicate), there is evidence that communication can and often does take place, especially from the lower, astral plane. We continue to have conscious experience after death, first of the circumstances of our death, and then of the stages that follow. Some of the reports of this experience can be checked against eyewitness accounts, and they often prove verifiable down to the most minute detail.
Experience in the discarnate state is more veiled in the advanced stages. Communication with entities at the higher planes requires an evolved consciousness, such as those of spiritual masters and other exceptional individuals. However, there are glimpses from these planes and they suggest that existence on these planes is often a preparation for re-birth to earthly existence.
Often children have recollections that predate their own birth. These recollections may include encountering, and even selecting, the child’s future parents. In many cases the ore-natal memories have been checked with the recollections of the parents, and they mesh with what the parents remember as having taken place.
Re-incarnation and re-birth researchers call pre-natal recollections “intermission memories.” The window of time for them is narrow: the same as for memories of past lives, intermission memories fade around the age of six, and they tend to vanish by the age of seven or eight.
The historical accounts
The belief that we are re-born from an earlier existence is present in nearly every culture. The failure to recollect our previous existence is said to be due to our having forgotten the memories of our previous life during rebirth.
The classical Greeks dressed this belief in the garb of Hellenic mythology. They spoke of Hades, the domain of the dead, traversed by five great rivers, the Styx, the Acheron, the Cocytus, the Phlegethon and the Lethe. Sojourn in Hades was only for a while after which the journeying consciousness—the Greeks called it “the shade”’—would return to earthly existence. Before returning it drank from the waters of Lethe, the river of oblivion. The waters washed away all memories of the past life and allowed “the shade” to return to earth unencumbered by memories from previous lives.
Plato described the idea of forgetting in his theory of anamnesis. The soul is immortal, he said, it is repeatedly incarnated and carries its knowledge from life to life. However, in the trauma of birth it forgets its accumulated knowledge. The Roman poet Virgil later wrote that at Lethe “the souls who are destined for reincarnation … are drinking the waters that quench man's troubles, the deep draught of oblivion… They come in crowds to the river Lethe, so that … with memory washed out they may revisit the earth above.”.
Anamnesis and related accounts of forgetting during birth are powerful ideas, but it appears that they do not hold without exception. Past-life memories surface routinely in the experience of psychiatrists who place their patients in an altered state of consciousness, and they emerge also in dreams and in meditative states. Psychic healer Ann Deligne found that in an altered state of consciousness all otherwise normal people can find themselves existing in one of their former lives, on another continent, of a different age, and with a different sex and skin color. And children often come up with clear recollections of having lived at another time in another place, and in another body. Remarkably, some of these recollections include episodes that predate the birth of the child. These are the so-called “intermission memories.”
Some recent intermission memories
Past-life and reincarnation researchers Jim Tucker and Poonam Sharma collected more than 2,500 recollections by children that suggest that they had previously lived at another time and in another body. The children take on the identity of the previous personality to the extent that, instead of recognizing their actual parents, they recognize the family and the environment of the person they remember having been in their previous life. They behave as if they were that “foreign personality” even if that personality belonged to a different generation and was of the opposite sex. A small girl, for example, would take on the personality of an elderly man with that man’s values, habits, and preferences.
However, in most (if not in all) cases the foreign personality lived in the same geographic region as the child, shared the same culture, and belonged to the same sex. That personality has often died a violent death, and in some remarkable cases the birthmarks on the body of the child correspond to the fatal injury suffered by the foreign personality.
The time interval between the death of the previous personality and the birth of the child who recollects the events that preceeded his or her birth is usually quite short: the median time in Tucker’s studies turned out to be sixteen months. There are a few cases, however, where the interval exceeds fifty years, and there are cases where it is less than nine months.
These findings refer to the standard “reincarnation-type” recollections. “Experiences of the reincarnation type with intermission memories” comprise another category of recollections. These include the recollection of the child meeting his or her parents before being born—meeting in most cases the mother but sometimes also the father.
Intermission recollections typically include episodes of four kinds: memories of the subject’s own funeral, memories of other events from his or her previous life, memories of existence beyond space and time, and memories of conception or rebirth. These recollections are generally clearer and prove to be more consistently verifiable than reincarnation-type experiences without intermission memories.
Intermission memories are not dependent on the presence of past-life memories. Only a small fraction of the children who recollect previous lives have intermission memories, while many children who have intermission memories do not recollect having lived previous lives.
Three memories with intermission episodes
A frequently cited case intermission recollection is that of Katsugoro, a Japanese boy born in 1806. He recounted detailed memories of his past-lives and was taken to the house where he said he had lived. There he was eventually accepted by a couple as their son Tozo. Katzugoro/Tozo talked about his intermission memories. He said that after his death he was guided to a beautiful field by a man with long white hair. After spending some time there, the man led him to the house where he was reborn.
A more realistic case was reported by Jim Tucker in 2013. James, a four year old boy on hearing his father say how happy he was to have him as a son, said, “That’s why I picked you: I knew you would be a good daddy.” He added, “When I found you and Mommy, I knew you would be good to me.” When his father asked where he had found them, James replied “Hawaii. It was not when we all went to Hawaii. It was just Mommy and you. I found you at the big pink hotel.” The father confirmed that before James was born he and his wife stayed at the Royal Hawaiian, a large pink hotel on Waikiki Beach, on a different section of Honolulu.
A third case, also reported by Tucker, involved a young girl in Thailand named Ampan. She started talking about her previous life when she was five. Ampan was often crying and saying she wanted to go home. Her mother said that her home is here, but Ampan said that it is in Buhom, a village three miles away. Her parents had never been to Buhom and did not know anyone who either lived there and would have visited their village from there.
Ampan recollected her past life in Buhom. She said her name had been Wong or Somwong. She died young, having contracted dengue fever. When she died in the District Hospital a van took away her body. She ran after it but could not catch it. She then started to walk, and after a few miles passed in front of a house and saw a woman. She was looking for water to drink. There was a cool breeze and rather than continuing to walk, she lay down to rest. Subsequently she realized that the woman she saw there was her future mother.
Findings from a controlled intermission-memory survey
The sociologist Masayuki Ohkado carried out a rigorous questionnaire- and interview-based survey of the intermission-type recollections of twenty-one children in Japan. The children ranged from 50 months (4.16 years) in age to 177 months (14.75 years). The median age of the children was 98 months (8.16 years). The median of the age when the children first started talking about their memories was 48 months (4 years). The children usually came up with such memories in a relaxed state, in the bath or at bedtime. Some mothers noticed that the children became more eloquent while recounting the memories, speaking clearly and with concentration. One mother noticed that her child, who suffered from stutter, became fluent while recalling the memories.  
Ohkado, as other reincarnation researchers, grouped the children’s recollections under three headings: memories of dying, memories of existence after death, and memories leading to rebirth. The latter include memories of the child choosing, or being directed to, his or her parents. Of the group of 21 children in Ohkado’s survey only two had after-death memories but twenty-one reported memories of existence between lives and twelve had pre-birth memories.
Intermission memories can contain remarkable visual detail. Ohkado reported that a six-year-old boy said, “I was flying in the sky, looking for my mother. Looking down. I could see my mother and chose her. I thought she was the best person. She looked lonely, and I thought, If I come to her, she will not feel lonely anymore.” A nine-year old girl described the place where she was before she came into her mother’s womb. “There were many children, or souls, and a god, an entity with authority.” To the question “Is he like a school teacher?” the girl replied: “No, no, no! He is much more generous … He was looking after us, like a counselor.”
Ohkado’s research elicited memories of the place where the children have been before they were born. Thirteen children described the place where they were as cloud or sky, and three as light. Four described it as a “wide space where you can seen the Earth,” “a place like a star,” “a place where there are a number of levels,” and “up there,” and one said that it was “a place in the shape of a long ellipse.”
All twenty-one children said that they were not alone. Fourteen said that there was a god or god-like entity with them and that entity advised them about their future parents or gave permission for them to be born to parents of their choosing. Twelve children reported being with their present family members or friends. One said there were many “light balls” there and it was difficult to know who they were, although they were probably people close to him in his present life.
Fifteen of the twenty-one children said they could see “earthly affairs,” but could only recall episodes related to their own parents and households. Thirteen described how they felt in their between-lives existence. Eight said they felt peaceful or calm, two said joyful or excited. One admitted feeling lonely, and three said that the feeling was difficult to describe, or that it was not different from what he felt now. Seventeen children reported choosing their parents. Nine of them remembered choosing only the mother and eight recalled choosing both mother and father. Of these eight, four chose the mother first, and the other four chose both parents at the same time. Twelve children remembered coming to their mother’s womb. Three among them said that an entity—a god, a shining ball, or an angel—helped them.
Three of the twenty-one children gave accounts that could be confirmed by the current parents. A girl who was five or six at the time said to her mother “When you were young, I frequently came to you.” The mother confirmed that before she got married she often felt that a small child, or child-like entity, was looking at her and bustling around her. Another child said to her mother, “I saw you in a gorgeous white dress. You were holding a dog.” The mother recalled that after the wedding ceremony she entered a room where a dog was waiting for her. She specifically remembered holding the dog because she knew that she was not supposed to do that in her wedding dress. The third child made a drawing of a four-story house next to a mountain and said that this is where he had been. The mother confirmed that as a child she had lived in a four-story building from which she could see the mountains.


Other forms of re-incarnation
Intermission memories suggest that consciousness beyond spacetime returns to spacetime. In the classical form of its re-incarnation the consciousness of the previous personality enters the womb of the mother and takes over the developing consciousness of the embryo. This is re-birth, the most frequent, or at any rate the most widely known, form of re-incarnation.

However, consciousness in the realm beyond spacetime can re-incarnate to spacetime in ways other than by re-birth. The alternative forms are not necessarily enduring: they may be temporary. What they have in common—and what differentiates them from re-incarnation as re-birth—is that they occur not at conception, but sometime later, during the lifetime of the receiving individual.
When the foreign personality takes over the consciousness of a living individual we can speak of a case of “possession.” And when the foreign personality does not dominate but merely co-exists with the host personality, we have cases of ”sharing.” Sharing may involve one, or even several foreign personalities. However, the period of sharing is usually relative short. The foreign personality can withdraw, or made to withdraw, and the host personality then returns to its normal condition.
A yet another form of re-incarnation likewise begins during the lifetime of the receiving individual but its lasts throughout his or her lifetime. In these less usual forms of re-incarnation we can speak of a case of consciousness-substitution.
Jim Tucker reported a particularly striking case of possession: the case of Juta, a small boy in Thailand. Four months after Juta was born, his mother’s older brother was killed in a motorcycle accident. A few months later Juta developed respiratory problems accompanied by high fever. After he recovered he had two dark spots on the upper part of his left arm. These matched spots on the left arm of the deceased uncle, who planned to have a tattoo there but stopped because it proved to be painful. Juta also developed a protruding navel, such as his uncle had.
Juta was raised by his mother, yet it was his grandparents that he called Mother and Father. His uncle was the only person to call them by these formal names. He called his own mother by a nickname that his uncle called her when he was teasing her but nobody else did. Juta’s behavior began to simulate the behavior of the deceased uncle. He joked with the uncle’s friends much as the uncle used to do, for example, pouring drinks for them with the same gesture and jokes his uncle had. When Juta was two he said that he had worked for a construction company in Bangkok and showed great interest in construction equipment. He would point to the uncle’s motorcycle and say that it was his.
These personality and bodily traits disappeared when Juta approached the age of five. The spots on his arm were becoming faint, and he stopped speaking of his uncle and copying his habits and mannerisms. He re-assumed his previous personality as a normal child.  
Another case of possession has been reported by Anne Deligne, a French psychic healer. It concerned Christian, a reputable French businessman. He broke off relations with his father, who was a serious alcoholic. A few months after his father died, Christian began to drink. His family could not understand what had happened: he was not so close to his father to be driven to alcohol by his loss. Christian himself could not understand what happened to him. He told his wife that it is “stronger than I am. I can’t control myself.” The father appears to have continued to dominat Christian after his death, much as he has dominated him before in his life.

Anne Deligne succeeded in finding the probable cause of the presence of a foreign personality in several of her patients. Gaelle, a masseuse and therapist, has suffered from a feeling of sadness all her life. She did not know that her mother expected twins, and that the other foetus had aborted during gestation. The doctors noted the presence of another placenta during her birth but did not attach importance to it. Gaelle suffered throughout her life. “It is as if there is a lack of life in my body—as if I am a ‘living dead’,” she said. Years of psychoanalysis did not help, although Gaelle was often with her “double” in her dreams. During a session of family constallation therapy she realized that she may have a twin sister. She understood that her sister has to be recognized: she named her Sophie and wrote her a long letter. She came to Anne Deligne to help her separate from her sister, a process that proved long and arduous.
Deligne was sought out also by another young woman, named Sandy. She was beautiful and very feminine. Sandy confessed, “I am too feminine…That is my problem. It is as if my masculine side did not exist. I do not know how to decide. I rely on men for everything. I would like to be more independent.” It turned out that her mother had an internal haemorrhage about four months into her pregnancy and this could have been caused by the loss of a twin. In a family constallation session Sandy realized that she carries a twin brother. This could explain her excessive femininity: the twin brother had absorbed her masculine side. But Sandy loved her unborn brother and was years before she was ready to take leave of him.
It is evident that one could ascribe the problems reported by Deligne’s patients to a transfer or projection of guilt or responsibility to an imaginary person. This hypothesis difficult to accept, however, in view of the specific detail and encompassing scope of the foreign personality, especially in instances when the host individual had never met that personality.
There are cases, moreover, where the foreign personality does not just dominate but actually replaces the personality of the host. Quantin, a seemingly normal Frenchman, was such a case.
In his forties, Quentin was married and led a happy life with his wife and two teen-age children. He owned a small business and was doing well. But he had a health problem: he was overweight and was afraid of a heart attack. One afternoon Quantin was not feeling well and went to sleep in the living room. He felt something leaving above his head, and then he felt as if he was being invaded by a strange force. When he awoke two hours later, he no longer knew who he was, nor where he was. He did not recognize his wife and his children. His doctors diagnosed total amnesia.
Quantin had acquired a new identity and he eventually accepted it. He closed his business, divorced his wife, then met the woman who became his second wife. He worked as an osteopath and created a new existence for himself. His previous personality had fully, and as it appears permanently, vanished. It was replaced by the new personality.
When a deceased individual enters another individual at conception, it is a case of re-birth. If it happens later in life but is merely temporary, it appears to be a case of possession. And if the foreign personality takes over the personality of the living individual for the rest of that person’s life, it is neither re-birth nor possession but consciousness-substitution, yet another way in which the consciousness of a deceased person incarnates in a living person. Unlike in the case of intermission memories—where a child recalls events he or she had experienced prior to his or her birth—there is no assurance that in these cases the personality who enters and temporarily or permanently takes over the consciousness of the person would be the person he or she had been in a previous life.
Whether we are dealing with cases of re-birth, possession, sharing, or consciousness-substitution, the fact is that they testify that the consciousness of the individual does not vanish with the demise of the body of the individual. It continues to exist beyond spacetime and enters a journey that in most cases conduces to higher planes of discarnate existence. Consciousness may also seek to re-incarnate from a lower plane of its discarnate existence: the astral plane. In these cases consciousness seeks to complete a task left unfinished in its previous incarnation, or just seeks forgiveness and love. Anne Deligne claims that it usually leaves when it has found what it was looking for.  


COMMENT
Na Aak
Every culture has its own technologies, disciplines and practices to enter into the ethereal realm, such as meditation, sacred plants, extremes of temperatures, fasting, prayer, sleep deprivation, contemplation, and still others. What we call a non-ordinary or altered state of consciousness is an experience beyond linear space and time, where the right brain functions expand and the person looses the limitations of the self-encapsulated ego.  It is an experience where I can identify myself as part of the environment that surrounds me, my consciousness becomes amplified, it opens to the transpersonal realms, the realms beyond the individual. In these states I typically experience physical symptoms, perinatal and biographical memories with deep emotional charge, and a transpersonal expansion beyond space and time.
One of the most important steps in the evolution of our consciousness is to open up to experiences in these non-ordinary or altered states.  Indigenous communities created rituals and ceremonies to allow people to enter into an experience that would take them outside of the illusion of separation into the realm of spirit, the realm of the Akasha.  These practices have been misinterpreted as barbaric, primitive and magical.  They have been taken out of context and seen as empty rituals. Yet the objective of these practices has been to overcome affliction, rise above ignorance, and merge in the womb of the cosmos while intuiting the wisdom of emptiness.
In indigenous societies these experiences come about in the ordinary states of our consciousness. The non-ordinary is the experience of the physical-material aspect of life.  The shaman or the medicine person can live permanently in the connected state. If I told a medicine person that my dead father has contacted me and walks around the house asking for my help, he would say that this is very good, talk to him and see what he wants. But if I told this to a doctor or an academic the most likely answer would be extreme concern with my mental health and the recommendation to seek psychiatric care.  
The mystical experience is characterized by real yet extrasensory sensations, such as tasting color, seeing lights and shadows, experiencing rushes of coldness or heat in the body, hearing voices, taking to spirits, shifting shape with plants, animals or deities, and seeing beyond time into the past and the future.  These sensations are part of the ordinary state of consciousness for the mystic and shaman. Their life is a continuous experience of the Akasha.  If their mental state were to be analyzed in the context of mainstream mediciube, the diagnosis would be paranoid schizoid disorder.
The mystic or shaman describes existence beyond the sphere of emptiness in terms of three basic forms or states: the astral, the causal, and the material. These realms corresponds to attributes such as emotion, intellect, and materiality the same attributes that give birth to the human psyche.  Scriptures such as the Upanishads and other Vedic texts describe the forms that emerge in the various realms, but most important realization is the existence of the fifth element: the ether.  The ethereal realm, “the body of the universe” is what allows things to be visible even when they are not solidified into gross existence.  
The ethereal realm is the subtle body of the universe, the place where all things exist in potential. It is the hologram of the universe.  This hologram is not visible to the human eye but it is real, it is the origin of everything that is manifested in gross from.  In this hologram there is no separation in space and time. All things are together, beyond spacetime. All the information in the universe is here and now. This means that things vibrate slow enough to become perceptible, but fast enough to remain one.  This is what we can describe as the Akasha, the unbroken field of consciousness.  
In this realm separation is an illusion. We see, hear, touch, smell and taste the world with our senses and analyze the data with our brain, but these are only the tools we use to
experience the world. In the realm of gross existence the consciousness of a human being is bound and restricted by its wrapping of bones, muscles, blood and skin. The afflictions of this material body find a home in its attachments, aversions and repulsions.  Our eye is blinded and we cannot see.          
Beyond death we embark on a journey of detachment that can help us recognize the true nature of the cosmos.  The passage into the various bardos of consciousness requires a trained teacher to guide discarnate consciousness through its many afflictions. When we embark on this journey our attachments become like ropes that pull us away from pristine cognition into the drama and chaos of experience. The journey that starts beyond death will be the most important occurrence of our life.  We can consider knowing and befriending death wise investment for attaining freedom from suffering.
Spiritual emergence is a natural part of human growth and maturity. The human being spontaneously reconnects with its surroundings and the true nature of reality.  If things would be left without arbitrary intervention, all things would ultimately return to their origins.  All of creation knows where home is and where to go to find congruence, peace and liberation.  This is why despite misguided practices that numb the brain and consciousness we conserve an instinct to return to the Akasha. A shaman or a mystic can be supportive of this experience, yet most people wander around the world experiencing extra-sensorial sensations and feeling lost, having no clue as to what is happening to them.  Spiritual emergence can easily be mistaken for a psychotic episode and if it is treated as such the transformative initiation may become a destructive experience for the individual.
The journey beyond death can lead to the pristine cognition of the golden light that lies at the end. Can we behold that light? Can we love and accept unconditionally who and what we are? Or are we holding on to guilt and to shame?  Guilt will become like lead for the ethereal body, locking us into an affliction that we cannot overcome. Religions have created rites of passage and told us that deities are waiting for us on the other side with lists of commandments and punishments.  In indigenous cultures this is seen as a primitive idea. The passage is governed by a spirit that is actually the mirror of our own deeds. For example, in the ancient Mayan tradition the last space before total dissolution is the Etznab, a room of mirrors where what we see is a reflection of our own being. There is no “body” any longer, what was the unconscious is now the conscious.
This is the first phase of the journey of our discarnate being, the phase where there are no hidden corners and all our merits and demerits are present to us.  The final judgement comes from the state of my own consciousness: can I love and accept my self unconditionally? Or do I despise my self?  This will decide the state into which I shall pass. Will it be reincarnation in a new body, or a trap created by the persistence of my incarnate afflictions.
When the material body ceases to exist, the ethereal hologram of the individual remains in a transient state. In this state the ethereal self still suffers from attachments and ignorance. Its emotions and mental patterns determine the direction it will take.  An evolved consciousness recognizes this transient state and prepares for the journey to reincarnation, or else into a formless state of being.  The guidance of a teacher can make a major difference.

At this stage communication with the discarnate consciousness can be clear and effective.  The person still exists in the ethereal realm, its psyche persisting in a holographic form. If this consciousness does not manage to proceed to the following stages, it will remain in an in-between phase.
It is important to differentiate between a consciousness that has remained trapped in-between the phases, and evil entities or demons.  The hologram of the person can wonder around in familiar places and people in a tranquil state and become something like a guardian angel.  It is taking care of its loved ones until it is time for them to cross over.  But a consciousness also can remain in the in-between state, not knowing whether it is dead, nor where it is to go.  When this happens living people often have dreams and experiences in which the departed person asks for help, and may even be insistent and demanding. In other cases the consciousness of the deceased, having cultivated afflictions and attachments in life, finds it difficult to let go and it remains in a perturbed state, creating waves of affliction.
In traditional Egyptian culture the heart of the deceased is placed in a golden scale where Anubis in the presence of Osiris weighs the heart in relation to a Ma’at (truth – a feather of a bird or an ostrich).  The heart riddled by guilt is heavy as led, and only the heart that had cultivated truth is light as a feather. It is our own afflictions and virtues what will dictate how we experience death and existence after-death.  The role of the shaman or medicine person is only to accompany the soul. But its work has to be done while the person is alive.
The new millennium generations transform and perceive far beyond the physical dimension.  Many children and young people live already in the world of the shaman and the medicine person: they have a natural connection to the domain beyond spacetime.  This evolution is natural and must be cultivated if we hope to endure on this planet.  The new man and woman have the consciousness and capacities to drive the change that is needed in the world, to turn the tables on war and violence.  As adults we can either be afraid of the change we see in our children, or we can educate ourselves to be part of the evolution that unfolds in their consciousness.
A crucial step is to update the map we use to understand the human being.  In ancient cultures there have been complex and sophisticated maps that, amazingly, turn out to match our current scientific understanding.
The map I find most congruent with reality is a combination of transpersonal psychology and quantum science with the structure of existence described in the Vedic scriptures. This will give us a perspective on the human being that is independent of, and distinct from, the self-encapsulated ego and at the same time permits the realization that we are one with the Akasha.  Embracing this perspective will shift our view of death and dying, transforming them into a glorious birth into the cosmos.  
PART TWO
FOUNDATIONS OF A NEW SCIENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS



Reports on conscious explerience after death, between lives, and before re-birth are remarkable, but they are also incredible. The evidence in many cases is robust, but it is not given due recognition, mainly because it lacks a credible explanation. Credibility, as elsewhere in today’s world, means support by an established scientific theory. Failing such support the evidence can be held significant and even plausible, but not necessarily true.
The chapters that follow intend to rectify this situation. We cannot claim that the considerations presented here establish the scientific truth of after-death, between-lives, and pre-rebirth reports, but we do say that they point toward this possibility. The fact that the experiences are beyond the scope of sensory information and are not fully replicable are not obstacles to recognizing their scientific credibility: after all, all but a tiny fraction of the processes and entities recognized in science are beyond the limits of sensory observation, and with the exception of a few processes, they are also not fully replicable.
Entities in the domain of the supersmall as well as the superlarge fall into this category. The criteria for scientific credibility is not recourse to direct experience and replicability, but consistency with already established fact. This can be, and we believe will be, achieved, as foreshadowed in the chapters that follow. In their further development explorations such as these will shift reports on consciousness beyond death from the domain of esoterism to the bona fide fields of science.


CHAPTER FOUR
WORLD BEYOND SPACETIME
If consciousness persists beyond the brain, it no longer persists in the same field of reality as the brain. An incarnate consciousness is an immaterial consciousness, not part of the domain of material phenomena. It is not a material entity and it is not in space and time. Does this mean that it is an imaginary phenomenon?
This conclusion would follow only if we cannot recognize a domain of the real world beyond space and time. This is no longer indicated. Science recognizes a domain beyond spacetime, and existence in that domain could not be a material kind of existence.
A consciousness detached from the material brain is an immaterial phenomenon. Could it persist in a domain of the world beyond space and time? This prosition is intrinsically meaningful and it could corresponde to the facts. If it is not embraced in the mainstream of science, it is for a failure to take into consideration the evidence: it does not accord with the dominant concept of consciousness. According to the current concept consciousness is produced in and by the brain, and hence it cannot exist beyond the brain.
It is conceivable, however, that consciousness is not reducible to brain function; that it is more fundamental. We now consider at this possibility in greater depth.

What is spacetime?
In the context of science, existence beyond space and time is existence beyond spacetime. Spacetime is the four-dimensional matrx that integrates the three observed dimension of time (length, width, and height) with the lived dimension of space (the elapsed interval between successive events, or the duration of the events themselves). The dimension of time can be integrated with the dimensions of space since the interval between successive events depends on the space in which the events take place, more exactly, on the spatial coordinate system in which they occur. Thus time is relative to space, and together they make up the matrix for computing relations between events in the universe.
Pre-quantum science, including relativity theory, envisaged a seamless continuum underlying the reality we observe. Quantum physics segmented that continuum into discrete units. Quanta are the smallest units that can be identified on the basis of quantum theory. Quanta are units of the smallest identifiable interval of time, which is the Planck time of 5.4 x 10-44 second, and of the smallest identifiable unit of space, which is the Planck length of 1.6 x 10-35 meter. At these dimensions quanta are vibrations with determinate time-cycles (frequencies) and space-cycles (wave-lengths). The Planck-size vibrations are the “elementary” particles, such as photons, electrons, and quarks, that furnish spacetime. The meso- or macro-scale objects that we observe are integral assemblies of quanta, such as atoms, molecules, crystals, macromolecules, cells, organisms and ecologies and, on the astronomical dimension, large-scale assemblies of atoms and molecules such as planets, stars, stellar systems, and galaxies.  
The matrix made up of the totality of quanta forms a matrix, in string theory, the “world sheet.” The matrix (or world sheet) may be of more than four dimensions. Some quantum cosmologies postulates ten or more dimensions, of which three are said to be manifest—available to observation and measurement—and the rest are “hidden.”
As a matrix, spacetime is a theoretical construct: a map. It is the map of the universe’s network of quantized spatial and temporal relationships.
What is beyond-spacetime?
Cosmos is not the same as universe: it is a wider or deeper reality. Cosmos includes the spacetime matrix classically seen as the universe itself, and it also includes a domain that was not known in physics until fairly recently. This is a domain that can be said to be part of the cosmos but not part of the universe. Here the universe is equated with the territory for which the spacetime matrix is the proper map. However, there is a “territory” that goes beyond, for it exceeds both space and time. The exisztence of such a territory or domain has been long suspected, but it was not scientifically described and hence was not recognized.

The territory that constitutes the known universe is populated by spatial and temporal configurations of vibrant energy. These configurations are what in classical science and in modern commonsense are known as the basic elements of “matter.” In fact, they are complex bound-energy configurations of which the smallest instances are quanta. The rest of the “material world” is made up of integrated configurations of quanta. Quanta and the matter-like configurations of quanta have mass, they reflect light and obey the action of forces and fields. But they are not elements or configurations of matter conceived as the category of basic existents in the cosmos. Rather, they are local densifications of energies present throughout spacetime. An electron, for example, is a high-density configuration of the fields surrounding the atom. The electron appears where the fields are the strongest; where the field-configuration is the most dense.
In the absence of quanta, space was believed to be empty: it was said to be a vacuum. Space is not empty, however, even in the absence of quanta it is filled with staggering amounts of energy. If we are to characterize it we should say that it is a plenum. These quantized configurations of energies emerge when a critical quantity of energy is inserted into space. This was the case in the cosmic explosion known as the Big Bang. At that level of energy-insertion the packets of bound energy we know as quanta emerged from cosmic space—the plenum. Quanta emerged pairwise: particles and anti-particles. When they collided they annihilated each other. The quanta that survived this super-energetic chaos made up the matter content of the universe: particles, atoms, molecules and the large-scale assemblies of quanta such as planets, stars and galaxies.
Quanta are also catalyzed when man-made accelerators, such as the large hardon collider of CERN, insert the critical quantity of energy. When energies are inserted in the range of those produced in the Big Bang, a variety of quanta “scatter” forth (as mapped by so-called Feynman scattering diagrams). These quanta persist for fractions of a millisecond before falling back into “space”—i.e., into the plenum. The quanta are the short-lived virtual particles. They move in and out of the observable or measurable range of frequency. When they fall below that level they do not cease to exist: they re-surface with the same properties they had before.
The universe is the totality of quanta in the observable/measurable state of density. Spacetime is the matrix of these entities in regard to their spatial and temporal relations.  
Entities below the observable state of density constitute another domain of the cosmos. The beyond-spacetime domain has its own properties. Entities in this domain are not quantized: they are integral parts of a unified field. The field is a singularity rather than a multiplicity best characterized as a field of seamlessly integral information. In this regard, as we shall see, it approximates a hologram.
The pre- and beyond-spacetime hologram—the “Akashic holofield”— harbors the ensemble of the laws and regularities that govern the interaction and evolution of the quantized energy-configurations that populate the plenum. It is the integral logos of the cosmos.  
The beyond-spacetime domain of the cosmos is both the womb and the grave of the quantized energy-configurations of the manifest universe. Quanta were triggered in the beyond-spacetime domain at the birth of our universe, and will fall back beyond spacetime when the last particles—stripped nuclei of hydrogen—“evaporate” in galaxy-size black holes.
Quanta have finite existence in the universe, but the energies they configure appear to be infinitely present in the cosmos. The things we know as “matter” may be temporary densifications of these energies.
Classical and modern accounts of the domain beyond space and time
The existence of a domain of the cosmos from which the manifest universe would have arisen and into which it will ultimately return has been anticipated in the history of thought. The Hellenic philosophers gave it various names: Plato called it the realm of Forms or Ideas, Pythagoras Kosmos, and Plotinus The One.
A century before Plato, Pythagoras spoke of the “aether” as the fifth element of the world, in addition to earth, air, fire and water. Aristotle pointed out that this element does not have any properties, it does not become hot or cold, as the other elements. Plotinus elaborated this concept in the fourth treatise of his Second Ennead. Based on first principles, he reasoned that matter must exist in two forms: in one form it makes up the material world where things have form and can change form, and in another it is without a form of its own. The creative principle of the cosmos gave rise to formless matter, and formless matter in turn gave rise to shifting, form-changing matter.
Plato illustrated the idea of the two domains in his famous “parable of the cave.” Think of a cave, he said, filled with prisoners chained to the floor in such a way that they can only see the wall in front of them. The opening of the cave is behind them, and the light that enters casts shadows on the far wall of the cave. The prisoners see only the shadows and begin to give names to what they see. They come to believe that it is the real world, yet the real world is behind them. It takes an enlightened mind not mistake the shadows for reality.
The Chinese sage Lao Tse offered the same basic insight. All things originate in the Tao (also known as the Dao), and all things return to the Tao. The Tao is the creator of
everything, Heaven, Mother Earth and countless planets, stars, galaxies, and universes. It is both the source of all things, and the destination of all things. It is not observable in itself, and not even nameable. Lao Tse said, “Tao cannot be seen by our eyes. Tao cannot be heard by our ears. Tao cannot be touched by our hands.” It has no shape and no space and no time. What is it, then? The Tao is the “blurred reality”—the veiled realm of the world.
The basically same concept held sway in India. The ultimate reality of the world is Brahman: eternal and eternally unchanging. The world of space and time is lila, the unceasing play of appearance and disappearance, of forming and dissolution. It is a manifestation of Brahman.
The Hindu rishis called the ultimate reality of the world Akasha. A Sanskrit term, Akasha stands for the fifth element of the cosmos, beyond vata (air), agni (fire), ap (water), and prithivi (earth). The Akasha holds all the elements within itself, but it is also outside of them. It is the cosmic ground from which everything has emerged, and into which everything will ultimately return. In his classic Raja Yoga, Swami Vivekananda said that the Akasha is
… the omnipresent, all-penetrating existence. Everything that has form, everything that is the result of combination, is evolved out of this Akasha.” Akasha becomes the sun, the earth, the moon, the stars, the comets; … becomes the human body, the animal body, the plants, every form that we see, everything that can be sensed, everything that exists. The Akasha cannot be perceived; it is so subtle that it is beyond all ordinary perception; it can only be seen when it has become gross, has taken form. At the beginning of creation. Vivekananda said, there is only this Akasha, and at the end of the present cycle the solids, the liquids, and the gases all melt into the Akasha again, to arise in it in the next cycle of creation.
Paramahansa Yogananda wrote that the Akasha is the “subtle ‘background” against which everything in the universe becomes perceptible. A corresponding concept was already given in the Upanishads. “All beings arise from space, and into space they return: space is indeed their beginning, and space is their final end.”  
These ideas did not vanish from human consciousness with the passing of time, they cropped up again and again. At the dawn of the modern age they entered the sphere of science. Giordano Bruno spoke of an infinite universe filled with the unseen substance called aether or spiritus. The heavenly bodies are not fixed points on the crystal spheres of Aristotelian and Ptolemaic cosmology, but move under their own impetus through this basic cosmic substance.
In the nineteenth century the idea of the space-filling aether (or ether) entered the world of science. According to the theory of French physicist Jacques Fresnel, the ether fills all space. It is not observable in itself, but produces observable and measurable effect.
Fresnel’s mechanistic conception of the ether could be and has been tested, but it was not confirmed. At the turn of the 20th century Albert Michelson and Edward Morley created experiments to detect the “ether drag” predicted in Fresnel’s theory, and the drag did not materialize. Although Michelson warned that the experiments did not disprove the existence of the ether, only a particular theory of it, physicists discarded the space-filling ether hypothesis and embraced Einstein’s special theory of relativity in its place. They believed that we can account for relations between things and events without taking recourse to an underlying “reference frame.”
However, the concept of an underlying and intrinsically unobservable plane or domain of the world came back to physics in the second half of the 20th century. Physicists began to trace the fields and forces of nature to common origins in a unified, a grand-unified, and then super-grand-unified field. In the Standard Model of particle physics the basic entities of spacetime are not independent material things even when endowed with mass. They are nodal points in a unitary matrix, local densifications or concretizations of the fields and forces that fill space.
As subsequent theories showed, the fields and forces of nature act on spacetime but are not in spacetime. This was underscroed by the discovery in September of 2013 of the geometrical object called “amplituhedron.” As physicists Nima Arkani-Hamed and Jaroslav Trinka said, this object is not merely an instrument of calculation but an object in the real world. It is not, however, in the spacetime domain of the world. It appears that the laws that govern interaction and evolution in the universe are not in the manifest domain of the universe: they are beyond space and time.
Decades earlier, physicist David Bohm pronounced the key insight.
What we experience through the senses as empty space is the ground for the existence of everything, including ourselves. The things that appear to our senses are derivative forms and their true meaning can be seen only when we consider the plenum, in which they are generated and sustained, and into which they must ultimately vanish.
We can now hazard an answer to the question “what is beyond spacetime?” Beyond spacetime is the domain the rishis named the Akasha, Plato conceived as the realm of Forms or Ideas, Aristotle and the Hellenic nature philosophers associated with the Aether, and Buddhists knew as the emptiness that is an all-encompassing fullness. It is the domain mainstream scientists called the quantum vacuum and cutting edge researchers now recognize as the cosmic plenum. It is the domain where the laws that govern interaction and evolution in spacetime are given without separation in space and time, as in a hologram.
COMMENTS


Nassim Haramein





CHAPTER FIVE
CONSCIOUSNESS BEYOND SPACETIME


We have seen that there are good reasons to affirm the existence of a domain beyond spacetime. The question we now raise is whether this domain would be the seat of the stream of sensations that appears to us when we introspect on our experience—the stream we call our consciousness.
Does consciousness—our personal consciousness and all consciousness— originate beyond space and time? The answer to this question is not as clear and straightforward as modern people think. Modern science answered with a clear-cut negative: there cannot be consciousness beyond spacetime for the brain produces consciousness, and the brain, the same as the organism that harbors it, is in spacetime. Where there is no brain, there cannot be consciousness. Since beyond spacetime there cannot be living organisms there cannot be working brains, and hence cannot be consciousness.
We are no longer as certain of this answer as we were even a few years ago. It is no longer certain that the brain would be actually producing the consciousness that appears for us when we introspect. There could be other ways our brain could access the stream of sensations that constitutes our consciousness than by producing it through neurons firing in sequence in our cranium. Moreover there are robust strands of evidence coming to light that suggest that there is conscious experience in the absence of a living and working brain. These include protocolled and apparently veridical instances of conscious experience in the absence of a functioning brain. They come from a variety of sources. They come from people who arrived at the portals of death and returned, from spiritual masters, and from ordinary people who enter a meditative, prayerful, deeply loving or otherwise non-ordinary state of consciousness. And they come, as we have seen, from psychic mediums who “channel” what appears to be the consciousness of people who are no longer alive.
Do such reports provide credible testimony that consciousness survives the death of the organism? If consciousness is not produced by the brain, such reports are not intrinsically incredible: a consciousness that is accessed but not produced by the brain could persist in the absence of the brain. Following the demise of the organism consciousness could persist in a domain beyond spacetime. Consciousness persisting beyond the brain could be consciousness existing beyond spacetime.
We have already discussed the nature of spacetime and the nature of the domain beyond spacetime. Now we consider the pertinent insights regarding consciousness itself.

What is consciousness?
We experience consciousness throughout our life and we would think that we know what it is. But we are not sure. Received wisdom is that consciousness is a product or by-product of the brain. Yet it is also possible that the brain, rather than producing consciousness, is merely transmitting it. This possibility was raised by William James in his widely discussed 1899 Ingersoll Lecture on Immortality.  
James spoke of a “veiled” domain of the world from which information is transmitted by the brain. This is the “transmission theory” of consciousness, an alternative, he said, to the “production theory.” It has the advantage that it can account for many seemingly esoteric phenomena that remain a mystery for the production theory—phenomena that suggest that consciousness can exist beyond the brain. James was keenly interested in these phenomena and was impressed by the evidence for them. Clearly, if consciousness is only transmitted and is not produced by the brain, it can exist beyond the brain.
The issue, whether consciousness is produced by the brain or is transmitted by it, merits a deeper look. Here we consider the principal alternatives regarding the nature of consciousness in reference to the emerging insight that the world is not only what we can touch, see, hear, taste and smell, but also what underlies and governs what we can touch, see, hear, taste and smell.
THE CLASSICAL CONCEPT  
The Turbine Theory: consciousness is generated by the brain
In the modern world the prevalent belief is that the stream of sensations that makes up our consciousness is generated by our brain. This is much like a stream of electrons being generated by a turbine. As long as the turbine functions, it generates a stream of electrons: electricity. As long as the brain functions, it generates a stream of sensations: consciousness. When it shuts down, consciousness vanishes. Consciousness no more exists in a dead brain than electric charge exists in a stopped turbine. Therefore, the standard argument claims, it is evident that just as the turbine generates electricity, the brain generates consciousness.
The turbine is an apt metaphor because it refers to a tangible object that produces something intangible. We do not see, hear or taste electricity; we know it only by the effects it produces. This is much the same with consciousness. We experience the stream of sensations, feelings, volitions and intuitions we call consciousness, but we do not observe anything we could call consciousness. The observation of the brain and its workings does not disclose consciousness; all it discloses are networks of neurons embedded in grey matter firing in complex sequences. The neurosciences tell us that these cerebral processes coordinate the myriad reactions that maintain the organism in the living state.
In the conservative version of the classical concept the very existence of consciousness is denied: it is said to be an epiphenomenon, something like an illusion. In more sophisticated versions of the theory the existence of consciousness is recognized and is ascribed to brain function. Mainstream scientists claim that there is incontrovertible evidence for this assumption. When brain function is impaired, the stream of sensations is distorted, and when the brain stops functioning, the stream vanishes. Thus consciousness must be a product of brain function.
In a more advanced version of the classical concept the reality of consciousness is acknowledged, and it is allowed that it is not limited to the human brain. Consciousness may be present in all living species. The question is, where to draw the line, above which there is consciousness, and below there is none. It may be that consciousness appears at a particular level of complexity in brain function: a complex brain and nervous system generate consciousness, a simpler brain and nervous system is merely a biochemical reaction system. As primate researcher Jane Goodall noted, even fifty years ago chimpanzees were placed into the category of complex reaction systems without an ”interiority.” Further research disclosed mind-like elements in the comportment of chimpanzees and in other primates and scientists allowed that they may have a form of consciousness. But if chimpanzees have consciousness, do mice have it? And insects? The cut-off point is difficult if not impossible to establish.
But even allowing that consciousness is the product of a particular level of complexity in brain function, the Turbine Theory—the theory that the brain generates consciousness—still faces the so-called “hard question” in consciousness research. This is the question, philosopher David Chalmers said, of how “something as immaterial as consciousness” could arise from “something as unconscious as matter.” How the brain operates is a comparatively “soft” problem that neurophysiologists can be expected to solve step by step. But the question, how an “immaterial consciousness” can arise out of “unconscious matter” cannot be answered by brain-research, for brain research deals only with “matter,” and matter is not conscious. Philosopher Jerry Fodor pointed out that “nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. Nobody even knows what it would be like to have the slightest idea about how anything could be conscious.”
Scientists seldom speculate on the origins and basis of consciousness but when asked, many of them express some perplexity on this score. The journal Science, the academic publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, published a special issue in 2005, celebrating its 125th anniversary. It featured 125 questions that scientists have so far failed to solve.  The most important unanswered question turned out to be What is the universe made of?, followed by What is the biological basis of consciousness?
Problems of the Turbine Theory— for modern commonsense the Turbine Theory is the most plausible hypothesis regarding the origins and nature of consciousness. However, the tenet that consciousness is generated by the brain is not only an unsolved problem for philosophers and an object of perplexity for scientists: it is actually contradicted by observation.
The consciousness-generating brain theory, the same as other theories in science, can be upheld as long as the predictions flowing out of it are corroborated by observations. The critical prediction for the Turbine Theory is that when the brain stops functioning, consciousness vanishes, just as when a turbine stops, the electric current generated by it ceases.
At first sight this prediction seems confirmed by observation. When cerebral functions cease, consciousness ceases as well. This is not observed in the first person, but it is a reasonable inference from the observation of people who are brain-dead. They do not behave as if they had a working consciousness.
The prediction that consciousness ceases in the absence of cerebral function does not admit of exceptions. We could no more account for the presence of consciousness in a dead brain than we could account for the presence of electric charge in a stationary turbine. Observations to the contrary would place in question the dominant concept of consciousness in the modern world. But observations to the contrary did surface. In some cases consciousness does not cease when the brain stops working. This is a direct counter-indication of the Turbine Theory.
Evidence for this paradoxical finding is furnished by people who have reached the portals of death but returned to the living (this is the so-called NDE: the near-death experience). It is now widely known that in some cases critically sick people become temporarily brain dead, but they can regain normal cerebral functions. Brain-dead peiods are not as rare and unusual as most people believe. Brain function normally stops fifteen seconds after the cessation of heartbeat, but it takes about a minute for the life-support equipment to be activated even in well-equipped ambulances and in the intensive case wards of hospitals. Nonetheless, many individuals return to life after their brain-dead period. Life can persist even following minutes without brain function. Standard practice is to consider the patient irreversibly dead when he or she suffered two twenty-minute periods without brain function within four hours. Even this may be unduly pessimistic: there have been cases when patients regained consciousness after more than twenty minutes without heartbeat and brain function. The surprising finding is that during this period conscious experience can occur. This has been attested in an estimated six million documented cases.
NDEs create the nearly indubitable conviction in those who undergo them that consciousness is something that is connected to the brain, but is not produced by the brain. Among many others, Italian brain-researcher Nitamo Montecucco had an experience that made this indubitable for him.  


When I was fifteen I was riding a motorcycle at night on a dark country road when a truck pushed me on a rock. The bike turned over, I was thrown in the air and then crashed violently to the ground. A moment later I watched my inert body on the roadside from a height of about 8 or 10 meters. There was no pain, I felt very well. My bodily perceptions had remained in my body while I was a free consciousness. Then I saw a car coming at high speed and knew that it would have run over my body hardly visible on the dark road ... I tried to return to my body, and woke up in that aching body. I rolled off the road and the car passed close by, but without hurting me. The experience was so clear that, despite its strangeness, I have no doubt that my consciousness is not only in the brain, but is somehow only connected with it …. Then, in Oregon in the winter of 1983, as I was walking in the snow suddenly my breathing stopped and my consciousness expanded in a pulsating bright light that embraced the whole valley. All things, the valley, the mountains, the houses and the people were a continuum of consciousness ... an entanglement where everything was related to everything else. Existence was an ocean of awareness that I melted into…. I knew everything directly and spontaneously, beyond thoughts and words. Then I returned to my body... but nothing was the same it had been before. Since then I have devoted my life to research and experiment to understand the nature of brain and of consciousness.
Reports such as the above are widespread. The near-death experience occurs in people young or old, in every part of the world. They are a critical issue for the Turbine Theory. A product or by-product of brain activity cannot persist in the absence of the cerebral function that generates it. There is no known physiological mechanism that could account for conscious experience in a flat brain. Yet some NDEs rprove to be veridical: the experiences undergone by the patients during their brain-dead period match the experiences they would have had if their brain had functioned normally.
One of the most striking and most thoroughly examined cases is that of a young woman, Pamela Raynolds. She died on May 29, 2010, at the age of fifty-three, nineteen years after experiencing clinical death induced by a surgical team whose goal was to remove a large aneurism lodged in her brainstem. During the operation she was clinically dead, with a flat EEG and no bodily functionality. However, according to her documented and verified report, she could see, hear, and remember even minor details of her surgery.  
Veridical perceptions that do not appear to have been produced by the brain also occur when the individual is healthy. One variety of such experiences is known as the OBE: out of body experience.
The perceptions that occur in an OBE are beyond the range of the eyes of the subject and hence beyond the scope of the brain that would have sent the information to the eyes. The most often reported visual perspective is a point just under the ceiling of the room, although often it is higher, sometimes above the rootfop. According to a recent study of a cross section of the population, ten percent of those interviewed said that at least once in their lives they had an OBE: they found themselves outside their physical body.
The NDEs and OBEs is not the only critical evidence challenging the brain-generated consciousness theory. There are indications that consciousness exists independently of the brain not just on special occasions, and not only during the temporary cessation of brain activity, but also in the permanent absence of brain function: when the individual is fully and irreversibly dead.
Psychic mediums, we have seen, seem able to channel messages from deceased persons. The autheticity of these transmissions has encountered various objections, among them that the mediums themselves invent the messages, or that they pick them up from living persons through some form of ESP. There are cases, however, in which these possibilities can be effectively ruled out: the messages conveyed by the mediums contain information that neither the mediums themselves, nor any living person with whom they could have been in touch could have possessed. One such case is the game of chess between a living and a deceased chess grandmaster reported in Chapter One.
People who have died appear able to communicate not only through psychic mediums, but even through electronic instruments. Known as ITC (Instrumental Trans-Communication), this strange phenomenon consists of anomalous voices appearing on tape recorders, radios, and even on ordinary telephones. Sometimes anomalous images appear on TV receivers tuned to the white noise of an empty channel. Hundreds of controlled experiments on ITC have been reported in various parts of the world and they leave little doubt that the phenomenon exists, although it lacks a satisfactory explanation.
A PLAUSIBLE ALTERNATIVE
The Computer Theory: consciousness is generated by the brain and it is conserved beyond the brain
Evidence that consciousness persists in the absence of brain function is a critical problem for the turbine theory. Yet the evidence is robust and needs to be taken into account. The simplest and most logical way of accounting for the persistence of consciousness beyond the brain is to assume that some elements of consciousness are conserved beyond the brain. NDEs, past-life experiences, and experiences of ADC (after-death communication) could be instances of experiencing items of consciousness that have been conserved—“saved”—not in the brain (for in these instances the brain is inoperative) but beyond the brain.
The term “saved” is a meaningful metaphor: a functional analogy of the persistence of an individual’s consciousness beyond the brain.
For purposes of the Computer theory, consciousness is a string of information inserted on a computer. If the information is entered on an old-fashioned computer without internal memory and links to other devices, we have the equivalent of the classical turbine: the information entered on the computer is limited to that computer. When the computer is temporarily or permanently out of commission, the information disappears and cannot be recalled. But modern computers can have internal memories as well as external drives, and they can also be linked to information networks. Then the information entered on the computer does not disappear when the computer is turned off: it may be saved to its memory drives, or to the network with which it is linked.
A networked computer is similar to a turbine connected to an energy grid. A connected turbine can be stopped and even destroyed, and the energy it has generated remains conserved. Of course, the particular electric charge generated by the turbine cannot be identified. This is not the case in a computer with internal or external memory or link to a network: the information entered on it can be identified by a particular code. When it is “called up” it appears precisely as it was entered, regardless of whether or not the computer on which it was entered is still functioning.
The Computer Theory of consciousness is a useful metaphor for understanding how consciousness could persist beyond the brain. The answer is that the experiences that constitute consciousness are conserved in nature. This is a widely advanced hypothesis. Physician and medical researcher Robert Lanza, for example, suggests that the information that constitutes consciousness (the “soul”) is conserved in nature at the quantum level. Since it is conserved beyond space and time, it can be anywhere in the world, in the body or outside of it. Conserved at the quantum domain, it remains available for transfer to other domain after the death of the body.
The theory that consciousness is saved in nature can account for recalling one’s own experiences, but it cannot account for recalling the experiences of others. A more sophisticated variant of the theory can do so. The elements of consciousness could be stored in nature in the manner of a cloud-computing system. Such a system receives information from a variety of sources and it saves and integrates all the information it receves, and makes it available for recall.
Problems of the Computer Theory— The cloud-computing theory of consciousness is a suitable metaphor for understanding the observations that come to light at the frontiers of consciousness research. But the Computer Theory has its limitations even in the cloud-computing version: there are elements of experience that it cannot account for. These concern the experience of not just recalling a past experience, but of communicating with what appears to be a living consciousness—even the consciousness of a person who is no longer living.
The Computer Theory cannot account for this remarkable finding. If there is something like a cloud-computing system in nature, the recall from it should be the same as the original. Such a system stores and conveys the information that has been entered in it and does not elaborate it. This limitation applies even if the system records and integrates information from a variety of sources. There are experiences that go beyond this. It appears that one can not only recall some items or elements of experience, whether of one’s own or of another person, one can also communicate with what one recalls. The entity with which one communicates appears to be a living consciousness, but it cannot be the consciousness of a living person.
This is a surprising yet widespread phenomenon. It surfaces in the mystical experience, in the experience of therapists who induce altered states of consciousness in their patients, and in the experience of trance mediums. Therapist Allan Botkin claims to have induced what he calls “after-death communication” in thousands of patients; after-life researcher Raymond Moody reported similarly large number of cases of spontaneous communication with deceased persons; and hundreds of psychic mediums report communication with discarnate intelligences that answer questions and recount what happened to them after they had died.
It appears that one can communicate with entities that have a sense of self, carry memories of physical existence, and may manifest the wish to communicate. Communication with these entities is known as “transcommunication.” It is not explained either by the Turbine or by the Computer Theory. It places into question the very foundations of the dominant concept of consciousness: the assumption that it is generated by the brain.
THE REDISCOVERED HOLISTIC CONCEPT
Holofield Theory: consciousness resides in a holofield beyond spacetime
As already noted, received wisdom is that the brain generates consciousness. The more sophisticated version of this concept is that consciousness, though generated by the brain, is conserved beyond the brain. But we have seen that even this version cannot explain the phenomena of communicating with an entity that appears to be a living consciousness but is not the consciousness of a living individual. How could such a consciousness persist beyond a functioning brain?
We need to consider the possibility that William James was right: the brain does not generate consciousness but transmits it. This alternative is now within the compass of science. It is conceivable that consciousness originates in the domain beyond spacetime, and is transmitted by the brain to spacetime.
Consciousness is a complex stream of information that appears for the individual when he/she introspects on his or her experience. If that stream is produced by the brain, the display would be a product of the brain. But it appears that the stream includes items that exceed the information accessible to the brain. The standard theory cannot explain how such information would be captured and processed by the brain.
The wider range of consciousness
Transpersonal psychology pioneer Stanislav Grof drew up a “cartography” of the psyche based on consciousness that includes on the one hand experience during and even before birth, and on the other transpersonal experiences. The latter, Grof noted, transcend the usual boundaries of the individual—his or her body and ego—and the limitations of three-dimensional space and linear time.
Grof devided transpersonal experiences into three basic categories. The first, he wrote,
…involves primarily transcendence of the usual spatial barriers,or the limitations of the “skin-encapsulated ego,” as Alan Watts referred to it. Here belong experiences of merging with another person into a state that can be called “dual unity,” assuming the identity of another person, identifying with the consciousness of an entire group of people (e.g.all mothers of the world, the entire population of India, or all the inmates of concentration camps), or even experiencing an extension of consciousness that seems to encompass all of humanity. Experiences of this kind have been repeatedly described in the spiritual literature of the world.
One can even transcend the limits of the specifically human experience and identify with the consciousness of various animals, plants, or even witha form of consciousness that seems to be associated with inorganic objects and processes. In the extremes, it is possible to experience consciousness of the entire biosphere, of our planet, or the entire material universe. Incredible and absurd as it might seem to a Westerner committed to materialistic philosophy and to the Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm, these experiences suggest that everything that we can experience in our everyday state of consciousness as an object has in the holotropic [nonordinary] states of consciousness a corresponding subjective representation. It is as if everything in the universe has its objective and subjective aspect, the way it is described in the great spiritual philosophies of the East. For example, in Hinduism all that exists is seen as a manifestation of Brahman and in Taoism as a transformation of the Tao.
The second category of transpersonal experiences is characterized primarily by overcoming of temporal rather than spatial boundaries, by transcendence of linear time. …  The vivid reliving of important memories from infancy and of the trauma of birth … can continue farther and involve authentic fetal and embryonal memories from different periods of intrauterine life. It is not even unusual to experience, on the level of cellular consciousness, full identification with the sperm and the ovum at the time of conception. But the historical regression does not stop even here; it is possible to have experiences from the lives of one’s human or animal ancestors, and those that seem to be coming from the racial and collective unconscious as described by C. G. Jung. Quite frequently, the experiences that seem to be happening in other cultures and historical periods are associated with a sense of personal remembering (déjà vu or déjà vécu); people then talk about reliving of memories from past lives, from previous incarnations.
The third category of transpersonal experiences is even stranger; here consciousness seems to extend into realms and dimensions that the Western industrial culture does
not even consider to be “real.” Here belong numerous encounters or even identification with deities and demons of various cultures and other archetypal figures, visits to mythological landscapes, and communication with discarnate beings, spirit guides, superhuman entities, extraterrestrials, and inhabitants of parallel universes. Additional examples in this category are visions and intuitive understanding of universal symbols, such as the cross, the Nile cross or ankh, the swastika, the pentacle, the sixpointed star, or the yin-yang sign.
The mainstream in modern science and philosophy dismisses these experiences as simple imagination. As the much repeated pronouncement of classical empiricism claims, there cannot be anything in the mind that was not first in the eye. If so, the elements of transpersonal experience are imaginative recombinations of elements conveyed by the senses. Imagination and fantasy expand the range of what appears in the mind, but does not expand the range of consciousness in the world.
The problem with the traditional dismissal of transpersonal experience is that many forms of this experience convey veridical, and often verified, information about the world. This is true especially of the first and the second category of experience noted by Grof: experience that transcends the spatial, respectively the temporal boundaries of sensory experience. These varieties of experience include not only contact with things and events that are spatially or temporally remote, but also communication with the contacted entities: so-called transcommunication. As noted in Chapter One, many such experiences cannot be dismissed as a mere imaginative recombination of items of of experience conveyed by the eye and ear. The range of human consciousness is far wider than the range of human sensory experience.
The Akashic holofield and the transmission of consciousness
If consciousness is not produced by the brain but is only transmitted by it, we must ask how this transmission would be possible. Evidently, if the brain is a transmitter, it must have access to the information it transmits. That information must be given in a way that the brain—and as neuroscientist Frecska notes, also the body, and conceivably all bodies—have access to it. This must be universal access. It suggests that the information that appears as the consciousness of living system is given in the world in a distributed form, as in a hologram.
The consciousness that sources the information accessed by the brain and body is a holographic information field. The perennially intuited “cosmic consciousness” of the spiritual traditions is an Akashic holofield.
The holofield theory of consciousness is a logical expansion of the holographic universe theory embraced by physicists. In the basic version of this theory the 3D things and events we observe are projections of 2D codes at the periphery of spacetime (if not in another universe).
The holographic universe concept has been brought to the attention of physicists by David Bohm in the late 20th century, and empirical support for it has surfaced in 2013. At that time Fermilab physicist Craig Hogan proposed a hypothesis that could be tested against observation. He suggested that the fluctuations observed by the German gravity-wave detector GEO600 may be due to the graininess of spacetime (according to string theory at the supersmall scale spacetime is not smooth but patterned by minuscule ripples: it is ”grainy”). It turned out that the inhomogeneities found by GEO600 were not gravity-waves. They could be, however, the ripples in the structure of spacetime. This would be the case if they are 3D projections of 2D information coded beyond spacetime. If the grains found by GEO600 are of the indicated size, Hogan’s hypothesis would gain experimental support. Subsequent measurements confirmed that the spacetime ripples are precisely the size they would have to be if they were 3D projections of 2D codes beyond spacetime.
Further support for holographic spacetime theory came in the work of Yoshifumi Hyakutake and colleagues at Ibaraki University in Japan. They computed the internal energy of a black hole, the position of its event horizon, its entropy and several other properties based on the predictions of string theory and the effects of virtual particles. Hyakutake together with Masanori Hanada, Goro Ishiki and Jun Nishimura then calculated the internal energy of the corresponding lower-dimensional cosmos with no gravity. They found that the two calculations match. The internal energy of a black hole and the internal energy of the corresponding lower-dimensional cosmos are the same. Black holes, as well as the cosmos as a whole, are holographic. Spacetime and the quanta and systems of quanta that appear in spacetime, are projections of a beyond-spacetime hologram: the Akashic holofield.
The holographic universe theory can be extended to include the phenomena of consciousness. The logos of the cosmos is the ensemble of the laws and regularities that govern existence and evolution in space and time. This is a complex and embracing algorithm stored beyond spacetime in the distributed form of a hologram. This algorithm “quantizes” the unbroken continuum of the universe and creates the spatial and temporal matrix known as spacetime.
Spacetime emerges in a continuous progression from unbounded wholeness beyond spacetime. Every “thing”—every knowable, isolable, individually representable entity—emerges from the inclusive wholeness of the beyond-spacetime plenum (the “quantum vacuum”) in accordance with lawful processes of self-constitution. From the “singularity” of the plenum comes the “multiplicity” that constitutes the manifest universe. In quantum theory the process can be described as the progressive subdivision of the unbounded vibrations that constitute the wholeness of space. The unbounded vibrations divide into bounded vibrations: these are the objects that populate space and time.
The dynamic that limits the degrees of freedom of the embracing wholeness of the plenum by creating separate (if merely apparently separate) entities is the self-generative logos of the cosmos. It is the dynamic that creates identifiable bound-energy vibrations within spacetime: individual entities. This dynamic is the software of the cosmos, the “superinformation” that is not in spacetime but acts on spacetime. Its action results in the progressive “discretization” of the wholeness of the cosmos by limiting the degrees of freedom of vibrations in particular spatial and temporal locations.
While the entities that emerge from the process of quantized discretization remain instrinsically nonlocal—they are projections of the beyond-spacetime hologram and hence are present throughout space and time—they become progressively “localized,” acquiring spatial and temporal boundaries. Energy, charge, spin, and the other parameters of the entities classically known as “matter” emerge within the spacetime matrix.
From the perspective of entities in space and time, the logos that governs existence and evolution in space and time is a holographic field. It creates “fractal sub-quantization,” the spacetime structure where every bounded vibration is composed of all the others. This makes the entities that emerge in space and time similar to the pearls in Indra’s net: each vibration—or pearl—is a fractal segment reflecting all the others.
The consciousness of spacetime beings is the internal read-out of information projected by the beyond-spacetime holofield. Consciousness is the internal face of this in-formation, and the seemingly discrete structures that result from the progressive fractal discretization of the primordial sea of wholeness are the external face.
The extension of holographic universe theory to include the consciousness that appears in entities in space and time accounts for the observed nonlocality of consciousness. Beyond-spacetime (“Akashic” or “cosmic”) consciousness is accessed by all entities in space and time, and thus communication between the entities is instantaneous regardless of location in space and time. One read-out of the cosmic hologram communicates with another read-out. This communication is not subject to the constraints of communication in space and time. It is instantaneous over any distance in space and over any interval in time.
The consciousness that appears for us is a localized but nonlocal manifestation of the Akashic holofield. The separateness of individual consciousnesses is an illusion. Our consciousness is one with all the consciousness that appears in space and time. Erwin Schrödinger’s insight is confirmed: the overall number of minds in the world is one and we cannot speak of consciousness in the pural. Later in his life Carl Jung came to a similar conclusion. The psyche is not located within the cranium, he asserted, it is part of the single generative principle of the cosmos, the unus mundus. More recently physician Larry Dossey summed up his decades-long experience of healing body and mind with the affirmation that there is but one mind in the world. All individual minds are part of the One Mind, an infinite field of consciousness.
The Holofield Theory of consciousness is the logical alternative to both the classical Turbine Theory and the Computer Theory. It is the best response to date to Einstein’s call for a conceptual scheme that can tie together the observed facts with simplicity and consistency. The Holofield Theory ties together a wide variety of observed facts about consciousness, including those that are anomalous for the Turbine and the Computer Theories. The Holofield Theory is is consistent, but on first acquaintance it does not seem as simple as the theory that the brain of each person generates his or her own consciousness. But simplicity, while a meaningful aspiration in the design of scientific theories, is relative to the facts the theories are to tie together. These facts, it appears, refer to a world that is complex and remarkable beyond the ken of the classical theories.
Einstein said that the universe is as simple as possible, but not simpler. The same must apply to the theories by which we seek to describe the universe.  
COMMENT
Ede Frecska
Outstanding research studies, scientific essays and entire volumes have been devoted to elucidating the quantum aspects of consciousness. Only a few among them have addressed the issue of the biological interface, namely, how the quantized spacetime world interfaces with the nervous system. My expertise is in biophysics and neuroscience, and—the same as Ervin Laszlo—I do not find it possible that the neuroaxonal network of the brain could perform this interface function. The principal fallacy of neuroscience is the assumption that every human experience—most of all consciousness—can be reduced to the function of a single system: the neuroaxonal network. Such a reduction cannot solve one of the most puzzling enigmas of modern physics, the quantum measurement problem since it cannot answer the basic question: how can an electrochemical system produce quantum phenomena? Interface function by the neuroaxonal network of the brain cannot account for thoroughly researched findings in parapsychology, nor can it explain the documented results of alternative healing, data from near-death experiences (NDEs), insights from non-ordinary states of consciousness, and other phenomena that Stan Grof denotes collectively as “anomalies.” Attempting to defend the dominant paradigm, the one-network theory of neuroscience bluntly refuses to address these anomalies.
In an effort to break out of the obsolete framework of the mainstream, I concluded that networks other than the neuroaxonal are involved in the processes of perception and consciousness. In accordance with Ervin Laszlo’s theories, I proposed a three-tiered model of human experience with the Akashic holofield at the base (1). I was later surprised to discover that this model mirrors the tripartite soul concept of the shamanic worldview (2), and also fits the concept of embodiment emerging in artificial intelligence theory and other cognitive sciences.
Figure 1. The three-tiered networks of human perception and consciousness
Figure 1 depicts two inputs for human knowledge and perception: 1. The sensory input linked to the spacetime domain and 2. quantum effects linked to the domain beyond spacetime. Both inputs provide an inner representation of, or an instant access to, the environment: one through the brain, and the other through the body. Two networks, the neuroaxonal and the subcellular, process these representations: one in a symbolic and the other in a holographic form. Sensory signals provide the input for the ordinary states of consciousness.
The vast majority of cellular connections and twenty percent even of neuroaxonal communication occur through close connections, so called gap junctions (electrical synapses between neurons). The cytoplasm of neighboring cells is directly connected by microchannels and a subcellular network of microtubular-microfilamental system passes through the junctions, linking every call of the body. The neuroaxonal system of the brain is penetrated and informed by this immense microtubular-microfilamental matrix.
In Figure 1 the crossed grey arrows between the left and right hemispheres, as well as between the neuroaxonal and subcellular networks, denote inhibitory effects (left–right hemisphere and up–down network dominances) in ordinary state of consciousness. Quantum correlations (marked with uncrossed grey double arrows) are persistent and independent of the state of consciousness. Their function becomes manifest primarily during non-ordinary states (e.g., during shamanic ecstasy and the trance state of mediums) when information enters from the subcellular matrix to the neuroaxonal system (shown by the black arrows). The nature of this transfer, an important coupling mechanism, is unclear; it may occur already at the synaptic membranes.
The most important point of these interactions is that the body is the interface between the brain and the beyond-spacetime holofield. This is also the lore of the head-hunter Shuars and the Hawaiian Hunas: it is the ‘body soul’ component of the tripartite soul that conveys visions to the ‘mental soul’. The former represents our bodily functions mediated by the subcellular matrix, while the latter is related to the brain (2). The Akashic holofield is the source of consciousness, and the brain is the receiver of the information. The body is the relay between the field and the brain.
It may appear that there is an inconsistency between the "discarnate" feature of consciousness (a major contribution of this book) and the body as the interface in ordinary and non-ordinary information transfers. However, there is no contradiction in regard to some non-ordinary states of consciousness: for example, when a shaman goes into trance, shifts attention inward from the outside world, and through the body receives information on the external world—for example, visions and intuitions that are of service to the community.
An intriguing question is how the body functions as an interface when an out-of-body experience takes place takes place simultaneously with a near-death experience.  Perhaps after death the body still maintains its perceptive processes and after resuscitation the subject recollects his or her anomalous experiences—those that originate in the holofield. Given that we are dealing with nonlocal processes, such information flows are possible. Bodily existence and consciousness are interwoven—an important point affirmed in this book. The subjective feeling of “I am” (the sum in Descartes’ Cogito ergo sum) is not part of the body’s interface function: it is a nonlocal feature that is at the same time both “out there” and “in here.”
The ‘free soul’ (in Ralph Emerson’s term the ‘Oversoul’), that is, the immortal component of the tripartite soul cluster, is our imprint in the beyond-spacetime holofield. According to the Hawaiian Kahuna tradition the ‘aumakua, the Oversoul, is our personal creator: the primordial source of our self. It divides at birth, producing a seed that takes up residence in a new body. As the “divine source,” it projects our immortal soul into the newborn. Similarly to other cosmogony myths, the Kahuna tradition emphasizes that our personal creator is the immortal part of our self. The personal Oversouls together create the spirit of humankind, the ka po’e ‘Aumakua (3).
This kind of traditional wisdom matches the Akashic holofield theory. Or, to be precise, the holofield theory substantiates and clarifies the teachings of many branches of the wisdom traditions.


References
  1. Frecska E 2012. Nonlocality and intuition as the second foundation of knowledge. Neuroquantology 10:537-546
  2. Frecska E, Moro L, Wesselman H 2011. The soul cluster: Reconsideration of a millennia old concept. World Futures 67:132-153.
  3. Wesselman H. and Kuykendall J. 2004. Spirit medicine: Healing in the sacred realms. Carlsbad: Hay House, Inc.


CHAPTER SIX
THE CYCLE OF EXISTENCE
The persistence of consciousness beyond the body has been recognized in the great religions and spiritual traditions of humankind. Now, in light of the evidence for the presence of consciousness beyond the brain, and in view of science’s recognition of a domain beyond spacetime, we can re-affirm the spiritual traditions’ intuitive insight as a tenet of a science. Consciousness is a fundamental element in the cosmos. As other fundamental elements, it is neither contingent nor transient.
This gives us a basis for reconsidering the modern world’s dominant concept of human existence. If the consciousness that appears in us is the manifestation of a cosmic field of consciousness, our existence does not end when life in our body does. The consciousness that appears for us is not the product of our individual brain but the manifestation of the fundamental logos of the cosmos.
Existence in space and time is not limited to the existence of the body. It is the existence of an infinite consciousness temporarily associated with a finite body. This is an ancient insight, expressed in the oriental wisdom traditions as the doctrine of Samsara.
Samsara: the cycle of existence
Existence according to the doctrine of Samsara is cyclic: it consists of well-defined phases. One phase leads from birth to death, and another from death to re-birth. The birth-to-death phase begins at conception and continues until death. It includes periods of sleep and wakefulness, ordinary and altered states of consciousness, states of elation and joy, and states of depression and suffering. The complementary phase leads from death to re-birth and is known as the phase of transmigration. The two phases toegether forms a continuous cycle. Birth leads to death, and death to (re-)birth. The cycle continues with the next phase, from birth to (re-)death.
Tibetan Buddhism calls the phases of existence “bardo.” Bardo stands for “intermediate,” “transitional,” or “in-between” state. Samsara as a whole is a continuous cycle comprised of six phases, each with its own bardo. The bardo of transmigration is the one most often cited, but it is not the only bardo: it is preceded and again followed by five others. These are the Shinay bardo, the bardo of the phase of birth and life; the Milam bardo, the bardo of the dream state; the Samten bardo, the bardo of meditation; the Chikkhai bardo the bardo of the moment of death; and the Chönyid bardo of the phase of luminosity hallmarked by visions. Then follows the Sidpa bardo, the bardo of transmigration.
The phase of transmigration begins with the demise of the body. Tibetan masters speak of the “fatal sickness” that leads to dying, marked by the dissolution of the gross and the subtle attributes of life with the disintegration of the physical, mental, and spiritual elements of existence. This phase ends and the next phase begins, they tell us, with the cessation of breathing and heartbeat.
The after-death phases—the fourth and the fifth bardo—mark the “passage of the ultimate nature.” The passage starts with the emergence of “luminous visions” which convey not only light but also images and sounds. The visions last only a moment, before the
perceiving mind falls into unconsciousness. That is the beginning of the sixth bardo, that of transmigration. That bardo ends in turn at the moment of conception, which marks the beginning of the next incarnate phase of the cycle.
The cycle of existence in the science perspective
One can also describe the cycle of existence in independently of spiritual insights and traditions. The emerging concept of consciousness provides the basis for thinking of existence as an unbroken cycle. In this concept consciousness is a fundamental element of the world. The path traced by the persistence of consciousness is a cycle with alternating phases: a phase in spacetime is followed by a phase beyond spacetime. In the spacetime phase the living organism receives the beyond-spacetime logos of the world and manifests it as a stream of lived experience. In the beyond-spacetime phase consciousness enters and journies beyond space and time.
The consciousness associated with the body in the spacetime phase of existence co-evolves with the body. The body emerges in space and time in processes of physical, physico-chemical, biological, and then social, ecological, and sociocultural evolution. Some of the particles that sprung from the vacuum in the wake of the Big Bang cohered into atoms, and some of the atoms cohered into molecules. Some molecules cohered into macromolecules, crystals and cells, and some of the cells cohered into cellular and then multicellular organisms and communities of organisms.
Organic bodies evolved in space and time, and their consciousness co-evolved with them. Consciousness in the spacetime domain evolved from an undifferentiated “feel” of the world in particles and simple entities, to the articulate forms of perception and cognition that appear in the higher forms of life. That consciousness would accompany the body through all phases of its existence has been known to sages and philosophers. In the metaphysics of Plato, for example, the soul is a fundamental element of the world, subsisting in a realm above the body. In the basically Platonic metaphysics of Whitehead all things in the world—all “actual entities”—have a fundamental dual attribute: they have a mental as well as a physical pole. But mainstream scientists recognized consciousness only in living organisms, and within the many species of organisms only in those that have an evolved brain and nervous system.
In light of the emerging science of consciousness we can say that consciousness accompanies living beings throughout their cycle of existence. It shifts from the spacetime to the beyond-spacetime domain and back again. The shift from spacetime to the beyond-spacetime domain is the process of dying, and the shift from beyond-spacetime to spacetime domain is the process of birthing. Death and birth are not terminal conditions but cyclically repeating phase transitions. They can be described as “re-birth” and “re-dying”—or “re-incarnation” and “re-discarnation.”
The shift from the beyond-spacetime to the spacetime domain could be initiated at conception: empirical studies show that the development of the embryo is accompanied by an elementary and then progressively evolving awareness. The individual does not begin the incarnate phase of his or her existence as a tabula rasa. Such phenomena as “inborn knowledge” or “inherent instinct” have a logical explanation. The parents produce the physical-biological template for the development of the embryo, and the consciousness that co-evolves in the embryo enters that template in the course of the embryo’s development. Hence the evolving consciousness of the embryo carries a rich array of elements carried over from prior incarnations.
Death needs to be similarly reconsidered. It is not a one-time terminal event of consciousness leaving the body and then ceasing to exist. Clinical studies of near-death experience show that after heartbeat and breathing have stopped, for a while consciousness remains associated with the body. The reports cited in Part One testify that at first the deceased does not realize that he or she has died. Later this realization dawns, yet the newly discarnate consciousness retains its individual identity.
Birth and death are not the beginning and the end of a one-time adventure of physical existence. They are cyclically iterated shifts in the individual’s unending cycle of alternately incarnate and discarnate existence.
Living beings are not biochemical machines destined to run down. They are beings with an immortal consciousness incarnated in a mortal but cyclically renewing body.


COMMENT


Gary Zukav


Ervin Laszlo’s Beyond Spacetime, is a wonderfully open belief system.
Belief that the universe is inert (read: dead) and phenomena within it are inexorably controlled by rigid regularities (read: constants) within an overall context of chance (read: we don’t know how the whole thing started or why) is a closed belief system.  Belief that the universe is mechanistic (read: a big machine) and/or that our experiences are predetermined (read: free will is an illusion) are also closed belief systems.  Their assumptions prevent exploration of alternatives from inside and outside the system just as the fortified walls of medieval cities kept inhabitants in and marauders out.
Belief that the Universe is alive, wise, and compassionate, on the other hand, is an open belief system.  So also is belief that the world is meaningful even if we cannot always detect, conclude or deduce the meaning, and many other belief systems that are not defended by indestructible dogmas – including dogmas once considered heretical (think: Copernican astronomy).  They open believers to possibilities of meaningful explanations that are “nonsense” (literally) in the closed courtyards of rational inquiry.  They are academic anathemas of verifiable veracity.
So powerful and pervasive is the ability of belief systems to shape our experiences that they appear to be products of our experiences.  The more our experiences conform to a belief system, the more indisputable it becomes. Empirical science by definition assumes that only experiences of the five senses can validate the maximum economy and elegance of a theory that is at once consistent within itself and consistent also with experience.  This assumption was the strength of science and adherence to it lifted human understanding above superstition.  Yet not even a theory as comprehensive as the quantum theory can be claimed to demonstrate how nature “really is.”  In fact, the quantum theory appears to demonstrate that the way Nature “really is” can never be known – that its properties are forever inseparable from observations of them.  Albert Einstein’s wonderful analogy of a watch is my favorite argument for open belief systems.  We can see the hands move, he said.  We make hypotheses about what inside the watch causes the hands to move as they do, but we can never open the watch and look inside.  (The watch, according to Albert, is Nature.  Today we might say, the Universe.)
Yet so strong is the hold of a belief system that Einstein himself (who is one of my heroes) declared – perhaps in a moment of passion – the opposite of his conviction that the
watch cannot be opened. “God does not play dice!” he proclaimed unequivocally.  These words may be the most often cited by physicists to honor – paradoxically – Einstein’s reverence for the unfathomable mystery of the world.  The most incomprehensible thing about the universe, Albert also said, is its comprehensibility.  I love him for that.
Now we come to an entirely new circumstance in human history.  An expanded perception is emerging in hundreds of millions of individuals that is not confined to the limitations of the five senses!  Were it not rapidly becoming a shared perception, individual examples of it would continue to be dismissed as hallucination or fantasy – near death experiences of beauty, wonder, and awe; premonition of events that have not yet occurred; communication with deceased loved ones; grounded sense of self as immortal in some significant way; experiences of one’s life as meaningful; intuitions of gifts within us – gifts that we were born to give – and the thirst to discover and give them.  None of these are new in the human experience.  What is new is the species-wide appearance of them in a startlingly brief period of time.  Within a few generations these expanded perceptions will be common.  Never before has the consciousness of a species as complex as our own transformed so dramatically and thoroughly, much less so quickly.
What are we to make of this – apart from denying its existence?  When a question is asked that cannot be answered with conventional understanding, the way of the seeker – the true scientist – has always been to expand into a larger context.  When the question was asked, for example, if forms of life exist that are smaller than we can see, the microscope was invented.  Now questions that we have asked since our origin are being asked with new relevancy - do domains of the universe exist beyond the confines of the five senses?  As humankind expands into its larger awareness, answers are arriving through direct experience.  But how can science account for this??
This brings me back to Ervin Laszlo’s wonderfully open belief system. It bridges the domain of space and time (the physical world) and the domain beyond spacetime (nonphysical reality).  It does not attempt to describe the inside of the watch or the way Nature “really is.”  It provides a model that invites discourse and intellectual inquiry into the most fecund, profound, and relevant questions now before us while honoring the rigorous requirements of scientific certitude.  The certitude it seeks is not the surety of knowing how the universe works, but of exploring a model that opens us to understanding our new experiences from the context in which we find ourselves – a five-sensory world.  It does not deny or condemn the expanded, multisensory, experiences of millions.  On the contrary, it begins with them and seeks a cogent explanation that can help us explore them more deeply, that opens portals of awe and leaves them open.  It begins the discussion that could transform the five-sensory (empirical) discipline of science into the multisensory investigation of new multisensory experiences that are coming to the foreground of human awareness.  
Ervin Laszlo’s system does not attempt to define Divinity.  A set cannot be defined in the terms of one of its subsets.  Five-sensory perception is a subset of a larger set, and that larger set is the nonphysical domain from which we come and to which we will return.  This larger domain has no place, and no possibility of being recognized, in the self-defined

discipline of a five-sensory science that is limited in its ability to address the most vital issues before us.  Ervin Laszlo’s new belief system leaves doors ajar through which yet unappreciated ways to welcome wisdom and compassion may pass.  No one knows how the Universe works, but a new species of multisensory humans is now encountering domains of experience that invoke full, deep, and reverent appreciation of the Universe.  Only an open belief system can support this irreversible encounter.
I wrote The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics about quantum mechanics, particle physics, relativity, and quantum logic; ten years later I wrote The Seat of the Soul about evolution, the soul, karma, and authentic power. I mention these books because they show anyone who is watching how science that invites exploration of human consciousness (such as interpretations of the quantum theory) and our new and expanded human perception are both moving swiftly into mainstream awareness.  This is the context in which Ervin Laszlo’s book appears.    
I have assembled some excerpts from The Seat of the Soul and substituted (in parentheses) Laszlo’s term “spacetime” for terms of mine such as “domain of the five senses” and “Earth school” and also substituted Ervin’s term “beyond spacetime” for my term “nonphysical reality” to illustrate an easy semblance (in my opinion) of his belief system and my descriptions of the transformation in human consciousness that is occurring. This is a very rough approximation, and it leaves out many important things, but its fun to experiment with.  Here are some examples (page numbers from The Seat of the Soul, 25th Anniversary Edition are in brackets).
The ease with which Ervin Laszlo’s terms and mine can be interchanged points, in my opinion, toward an emerging science that is not anchored in the intellect and the limitations of the five senses but is anchored in the heart and accounts for the full range of multisensory experiences that are becoming the substance of human consciousness.  The premise of this science will be that Life permeates all, that there is only Life.  It will also, in my opinion, reveal, explain, and model living experiences of Love – beyond the realm of reason - as the meaning, purpose, and essence of our being.  If this new endeavor should sprout from the soil of five-sensory science, Ervin Laszlo’s new wonderfully open belief system could be the acorn that grows into a great future tree.




PART THREE


THE MEANING OF EXISTENCE


Belief in the unending cycle of existence is not an aberration of modern rationality and good commonsense. On the contrary: the aberration is the belief that existence ends when the life of the organism comes to an end. Every sentient being “knows,” in a primal, intuitive sense, that he/she/it is immortal: that he/she/it lives neither for the first nor for the last time. Traditional people knew this instinctively, and artists, spiritual people and scientists are now discovering it consciously.
The misapprehension of Newton’s originally mystical grasp of the world as a mechanical array of material elements (which Newton meant to be a description only of the world’s external manifestations) displaced the intuitive insight of continuous existence with the idea of a finite and linear lifetime in passive space and indifferently flowing time. In the modern world this misapprehension grew into the conviction that, as a popular saying goes, “we only go around once.” Yet we do not go around only once, but go around again and again. Existence is a continuous cycle with multiple phases. Birth and death are major transition points, not terminal points.
We now query the meaning of the cycle of existence. Could there be more to being in the world than the dogged striving to survive to the biological limits of what may after all be only one phase of our existence? Could there be a deeper meaning as to why we are here—why we pursue what we now realize is an unending cycle of existence?
CHAPTER SEVEN
INTENTION IN THE UNIVERSE
Existence, we have said, is cyclic and infinite and not linear and finite. What could be the meaning of this cyclic, and cyclically recurring existence?
Questions of meaning have always excited the thinking of prophets, sages and philosophers. But in the modern world philosophers contested that existence would have a deeper meaning. Only intentionally laid plans and projects can have meaning: the meaning their creators give to them. If existence is not an intentional condition in nature, the claim that is has meaning is mistaken: it arbitrarily “anthropomorphizes” something that just “happens” in the world.
However, existence in the world may not be lacking in intention. How could we tell that this is the case?
Evidently, we can turn to religion and spirituality for an answer. The world’s religious and spiritual systems inform us that the world, as we find it, is the intention of its Creator, or its creating forces and spirits. These are important and conceivably cogent assertions, but they are beyond the scope of science. In the scientific context we need to have empirical indications of the presence of intention in the world. Can we find such evidence?
Indications of intention
Complex, self-reproducing entities arise in space and time: sentient beings like us. We are astonishingly complex and coherent. If systems such as us have come about in nature, we can ask whether this was due to a fortuitous process or to some form of intention and design. This need not concern the purposive creation of the entities that populate the universe; it could concern the process that brought forth these entities. Is there some form and level of intention behind the processes that bring forth complex systems in nature?

It is clear that it is extremely improbable that systems of the level of complexity exhibited by living organisms would have come about by chance. There appears to be something more than mere serendipity at play in the universe; something like a predilection for producing complex systems.
We observe highly complex self-organizing systems that exhibit self-awareness and advanced cognitive capacities and these demand levels of communication and coherence that are inexplicable in the context of random mechanisms. In fact, as Haramein notes, “statistical analysis demonstrates very clearly that the probabilities for even some of the most simple and fundamental molecular biological functions to occur under random processes is improbable if not completely implausible. Furthermore, any slight alteration of the fundamental constants and forces [of the universe], making their value something else than exactly what they are, would have resulted in a universe devoid of any organized matter, whether at the galactic scale, stellar level, or planetary structures, making life as we know it untenable.”
The remarkable penchant of the universe for life and complexity poses the “fine-tuning problem” in science. As Haramein notes, on the biological level the problem is exemplified in the evolutionary pathway of the DNA-mRNA-tRNA-rRNA transcription and translation system. This system is at the heart of all living systems, and its complexity and precision foreclose any explanation in reference to chance. Even the nucleoride sequence of the common fruitfly is statistically improbable to have come about by random processes. There are over 100 naturally occurring nucleotides (generated by modifying the 4 canonical ribonucleosides) that make up the rRNA molecule. If each position of the rRNA subunits were to be tested with each of the 100 possible nucleosides, then with a length of 4448 nucleotides in some species there are 1004448 different possible configurations—that is 1.0 X 108896 possible first order configurations. The 13.7 billion years that elapsed since the birth of the universe is far too short to run through these many possibilities so as to hit on the right one. Mathematical physicist Fred Hoyle compared the level of serendipity required for creating a living organism by random processes to the probability of a hurricane blowing through a scrapyard assembling a working aeroplane.
Random processes do not explain the order we find in the universe, whether in the domain of galaxies or in the sphere of life. But if the astonishingly precise fine-tuned correlations we find in the world did not come about by chance, then another factor must have entered into play. “Something” has biased the chance interplay of possibilities so as to produce the order and complexity we observe. Evidently, we are not asking for the presence of an intention to create each and every species of complex system, or even to create any system of this kind. What we are asking for is the possibility of an intention to create the process that would create the various species of system. The mathematial theory of self-replicating automata tells us that complex systems can be generated on the basis of simple rules: basic algorithms. If the universe is to generate the kind of complexity that meets our eye, its basic algorithms must be extraordinarily precise. This precision is not likely to be achieved by random processes in the available timeframes. There must be a selection pressure to produce the observed outcomes. That suggests an intent behind the processes that generate order and complexity in the universe.

The nature of intention
If there is intention underlying the emergence of complexity in the universe, the nature of that intention would be disclosed by the features of the emerging complexity. A basic feature of complex systems is their coherence. The systems that arise and evolve in the universe exhibit various, but on the whole remarkable forms and levels of coherence. This could be an indication of the nature of the intention that drives evolution in the universe.
What is “coherence”? According to physics, all things emit vibrations at specific frequencies. If the vibrations are in phase, the system that emits them is coherent. In a fully coherent system all vibrations are in phase and thus all parts are coherently related to all other parts. In such a system what happens to one part is communicated to—it is “felt by”—all the other parts.
Coherence on the physical plane — The universe exhibits remarkable coherence at the basic physical level already. Coherence is exhibited, for example, by the fact that the mass of elementary particles, the number of the particles, and the forces between them display harmonic ratios. This astonishing fine-tuning is a precondition of the emergence of coherent systems, and it is not likely to be the outcome of a random selection from among the alternative possibilities.
There is a whole array of such “coincidences.” Already in the 1930s, physicists Arthur Eddington and Paul Dirac noted that the ratio of the electric force to the gravitational force is approximately 1040, and the ratio of the size of the universe to the size of elementary particles is likewise around 1040. This is surprising, since the ratio of the electric force to the gravitational force should be unchanging (these forces are constant), whereas the ratio of the size of the universe to the size of elementary particles should be changing (given that the universe is expanding). In his “large number hypothesis,” Dirac speculated that the agreement between these ratios, the one variable, the other not, is more than a coincidence. But if it is more than a coincidence it is not merely temporary and transient. In that case either the universe is not expanding, or the force of gravitation varies proportionately to its expansion.
Additional coincidences come to light when comparing the ratio of elementary particles to the Planck-length (which is 1020) and the number of nucleons in the universe (“Eddington’s number,” estimated at 2 x 1079) which is . close to the square of 1040. These are very large numbers, yet they exhibit harmonic ratios.
There are further indications of coherence at the foundations of the physical universe. Observations indicate that the cosmic microwave background radiation is dominated by a large peak followed by smaller harmonic peaks. The series ends at the longest wavelength that physicist Lee Smolins termed R. When R is divided by the speed of light we obtain a measure of time that agrees with the age of the universe. When the speed of light is divided by R, we get a frequency that equates to one cycle over the age of the universe. And when we square and divide the speed of light by R (c2/R) we get a measure of acceleration in the expansion of the galaxies that corresponds to the observed value.
Cosmologist Menas Kafatos showed that many of these factors of coherence can be interpreted on the one hand in terms of the relationship between the masses of elementary particles and the total number of nucleons in the universe, and on the other in terms of the relationship between the gravitational constant, the charge of the electron, Planck’s constant, and the speed of light. Scale-invariant relations appear. The physical parameters of the universe are proportional to, and hence coherent with, its overall dimensions.
Particles emerged in the universe thanks to another factor of unexpected and prima facie inexplicable coherence. This concerns the so-called “CP violation” (where C is “charge conjugation” and P is “parity inversion”—the kind of inversion produced by reflection in a mirror). Given that the universe was born in one cosmic singularity, it should contain equal numbers of particles and antiparticles. But if that had been the case, space would be free of matter: the particles and antiparticles would have annihilated each other on collision. But parity between particles and anti-particles has been violated: there is a surplus of particles in the universe. This is surplus forms the “matter-content” of the universe.
Coherence on the biological plane  — On the physical plane the universe is astoundingly coherent, and this coherence is the basis of the evolution of systems on the biological plane.
Living systems are even more astonishingly coherent than the physical universe. It appears that all elements of the systems are interconnected and are instantly intercommunicating. Connections (“entanglement”) that transcend the known limitations of communication in space and time were believed to exists only on the microscale at very low temperatures. On higher levels of size and temperature the connections that make up entanglement were believed to break apart and the systems would assume their classical state. However, it turned out that this is not always the case. Not only quanta, but entire molecules, cells, and even living organisms exhibit coherence that suggests quantum-type interconnection. This was demonstrated by Eric Cornell, Wolfgang Ketterle, and Carl E. Wieman in an experiment for which they received the 1995 Nobel Prize in physics. They showed that under certain conditions particles and atoms—they tested rubidium and sodium atoms—interpenetrate as quantum waves.
In 1999 the atoms of a heavy isotope of carbon (“buckminsterfullerene”) were shown to be capable of entanglement: these atoms exhibit wave in addition to corpuscular properties. By 2005 also complex organic molecules could be entangled, and in 2007 biophysicists Gregory Engel and collaborators reported that quantum-type coherence is present in green sulphur bacteria: it acts as an energy “wire” that connects the light-harvesting chromosome to the bacterial reaction center. This allows living organisms to evolve through
photosynthesis, converting the energy of the Sun to counterbalance the tendency of biophysical systems toward thermal and chemical equilibrium.
Complex organisms could not have evolved and could not persist in the universe in the absence of quantum-type interconnections. The human body, for example, consists of 1014 cells, and each cell produces 10,000 bio-electro-chemical reactions every second. The reproductive system alone produces 500 billion cells per day. There are more than 200 different types of cells in the body, and they perform functions as varied as metabolism, growth, response to stimuli, adaptability, and reproduction. Coherence calls for the precise coordination of myriad cells communicating at various speeds, ranging from relatively slow (among hormones and peripheral nerve fibers), to very high along (the Ranvier rings of myelin-shielded nerves).Such coordination presupposes nonlocal quasi-instant communication among the cells. Neurophysicist Rita Pizzi discovered nonlocal correlations among groups of cells, and physicist Giuliano Preparata found information-storing quantum coherence domains in water, making water the physical basis of multicellular organization in the higher species of organisms.
Biophysicist Mae Wan Ho gave a much cited description of the coherence characterizing living organisms, comparing it to the functioning of an immense superorchestra. The orchestra’s instruments span a spectrum of size ranging from a piccolo of 10−9 meter to a bassoon or bass viol of one meter or more. The instruments jointly span a range of 72 octaves. The orchestra never ceases to play, and mantains a recurring rhythm and beat with endless and never repeating variation. It can change the key, the tempo and the tune. Every player enjoys maximum freedom in improvising while remaining in beat and in tune with the whole.
The coherence that comes to light in organisms Is not limited to individual organisms: it also present in the systems formed by distinct organisms. An ecology, for example, is an ordered complex system with multiple correlations among its parts. Each part is constantly “tuned” to all the other parts and jointly maintains the ecosystem in its milieu.
The emergence of coherence — Ever since the 1920s, when the Friedman equations that decode the dynamic structure of the universe proved unstable, cosmologists realized that the universe changes over time. It evolves from the initial explosion known as the Big Bang to the state we observe today. And it continues to evolve, either expanding infinitely in cosmic space, or reversing in finite time to its initial quantum-state. Following this Big Crunch another universe could emerge, and the process would repeat, as predicted in some cosmological “multiverse scenarios.” Here we are not concerned, however, with the evolution of the universe and with successive universes, but with the evolution of coherence in our particular universe.
There are myriad processes under way each and every second throughout space and time, and they include everything from interaction between nucleons and electrons in hydrogen atoms to the collapse and “evaporation” of the superdense remnants of collapsing stars in black holes. These processes unfold in time, and they produce higher levels of coherence. This is also true of the processes that charaterize the evolution of life.
A few decades ago scientists debated whether the evolution of life would be a basic and universal process or a local and accidental one. It was known that life in the universe is physically improbable. Physical processes tend to run down toward entropy and not up, toward structures that conserve and process energy. The evolution of life on Earth appeared to be an instance of cosmic serendipity.
Until the dawn of the 21st century this was the prevalent view. Life is a chance occurrence due to an improbable coincidence of the thermal and chemical conditions that are required for it. It so happens that these conditions obtain on Earth. This is a planet with the right mass at the right distance from the Sun. a main-sequence G2 dwarf star. The planet occupies a nearly circular orbit, has an oxygen/nitrogen rich atmosphere, a large moon and a moderate rate of rotation. It has liquid water on the surface, and a correct ratio between water and land-mass. It is protected from asteroids by giant gas planets, and it is at the right distance from the center of the galaxy.
Evidently, the confluence of these conditions must be rare in the universe. But we now realize that this does not mean that life itself would be rare: it appears that there are less improbable conditions under which it can evolve.
It appears that organic molecules, the basic building blocks of life, are produced under an unexpectedly wide range of conditions. A team of astrophysicists headed by Sun Kwok and Yong Zhang at the University of Hong Kong in 2011 found 130 organic macromolecules in the vicinity of active stars, including glycine, an amino acid, and ethylene glycol, the compound associated with the formation of the sugar molecules necessary for life. The molecules are present even even in the vicinity of hot and active stars. They appear to be produced in the course of the physical and chemical evolution of stars. If so, the evolution of life is not an improbable event in the universe: the universe, it appears, is predisposed for the evolution of complex systems.
*    *    *    *    *
It is time to summarize. What can we conclude from this wide-ranging survey of putatively intentional processes in the universe?
The universe appears to be predisposed to evolve complex systems. These systems exhibit a high level of coherence, and thus the predisposition of the universe seems to be for evolving coherent systems.
Coherence could be self-generated in the universe provided that the information for the coherence-generating process is given.  (As the well-known Godel theorem demonstrates, a consistent system cannot include all the information that creates its consistency.) The
information that introduces an intentional (or intention-like) information in the universe must be given in the forms of a set of algorithms that define the universe’s coherence-generating process. Once this information is given, self-organizing processes can generate the coherence we find in space and time. The basic information, similarly to all laws and regularities of nature, cannot be part of the entities and relations on which it acts: it must be beyond space and time. The intention to create coherent system appears to be part of the fundamental logos of the cosmos.


CHAPTER EIGHT
THE MEANING OF EXISTENCE


Our astonishingly fine-tuned universe cannot be the result of mere chance. As systems evolve, there is an continuous if nonlinear increase in their level coherence. Notwithstanding periods of comparative stasis and occasional retrogression, a trend if unfolding toward higher levels and more embracing forms of coherence.
This cannot be mere chance. Random processes must be biased by a factor that creates a self-generating process that creates the coherence we find in space and time. There is a drive or tendency toward coherence in the systems that emerge in space and time. In an anthropomorphic formulation we would say that the universe “seeks coherence.” If this is true, however, we can ask about the meaning of existence. Existence in this universe is not a neutral, non-intentional process but an active process embodying and implementing the penchant for coherence in the universe.
The canonical trend
The canonical trend toward coherence began with the birth of this universe about 13.7 billion years ago. Coherent structures began to evolve from swirls of gases into proto-stars and nebulae as interstellar dust cohered into lumps that acquired structure and created process. The emerging structures became part of more embracing systems: stars and stellar systems, galaxies, and systems of galaxies. On some planets chemical molecules assembled into organic molecules and these assembled in turn into colonial and multicellular organisms. On Earth the first forms of life emerged in the primeval seas over four billion years ago, and then evolved intermittently and selectively but unceasingly into more and more embracing and coherent systems. This suggests a meaning underlying existence in the universe.
Plato said that discourse about the nature of the real world is at best a likely story, and this holds with particular force for stories about the meaning of existence. However, Plato’s caveat is not a reason for refraining from investigating the meaning of existence,only for eschewing dogmatism about the answer we give. What is the likely meaning of existence is a reasonable question, and it may have a reasonable answer.
The likely meaning of a nonrandom series of events such as those that constitute an identifiable trend resides in the attainment of the state or condition that would be achieved when the trend finds completion. In regard to the observed canonical trend this state or condition can be described. It is a state of complete coherence in space and time. This means coherence both within the systems and among them.
In science this kind of coherence is called supercoherence. The question is whether achieving supercoherence may be the intention underlying existence in the universe.
The meaning of the trend — Given that systems in space and time have both a physically real body and a just as real but non-physical consciousness, the trend that underlies their evolution concerns their body as well as their consciousness. The body-related axis of the trend can be readily identified. It is to heighten the coherence of the organism, as well as of its relations to the rest of the world.
Coherence in the body indicates health in the body. It is a condition in which all the cells, organs and organ systems of the body are finely tuned to maintain the organism in its physically improbable condition far from thermal and chemical equilibrium. This calls for precisely balancing the depletion of free energy within the body (the increase of entropy) with the importation of free energy (negative entropy) from beyond the body. A coherent organism performs this feat and maintains the system in the condition of dynamic balance we call health.
Coherence between a system and other systems around it spells wellbeing: social, cultural and ecological balance. Every living system has multiple strands of relations to other systems around it, and some of these are a precondition of its viabililty. The systems are embedded in multiple higher-level social and ecological systems, and ultimately in the planetary socio-ecosystem.
The coherence of living systems embraces their internal as well as their external relations, it extends from the cells that make up their body to the web of life on the planet. A supercoherent system achieves coherence on all these levels. It is in good health, and is in tune with the systems that surround it.
Achieving supercoherence is the meaning of the trend on its physical axis. The trend also has a consciousness-related “mental” axis.
Consciousness, we found, is not produced by the body but is transmitted by the body. On the higher rungs of evolution the transmission involves a brain and a nervous system. In general, the more complex and coherent the body (and its brain and nervous system), the more embracing and articulate is the consciousness transmitted by it. The brain and the body function as transceivers. As other transceivers, they do not determine the content of the reception, only its clarity and range. A coherent body is an efficient wide-band transceiver.
The canonical trend optimizes the efficiency and extends the band-width of the body-brain transceiver. The body and brain transmit information from spacetime as well as from the beyond-spacetime domain. Information of spacetime origin is conveyed by electromagnetic waves, and wave propagations in the air, water, and other physical fields. Information from beyond-spacetime consists of intuitions, insights, visions, and other sensations anomalous for modern commonsense.
The brain transmits spacetime and beyond-spacetime information with the quality and the range permitted by its level of evolution. A highly evolved brain is an optimal transmitter, tuned to both spacetime and beyond-spacetime information.
The canonical trend points toward the physically highest possible quality and range of transmission. This is the intrinsic meaning of the trend. This condition is unlikely to be achieved by every system. But the state of systems can be optimized at lower levels of evolution as well. The optimal state at any level calls for finely balanced energy and information flows within the systems, and finely tuned relations between the system and other systems in their surroundings.
The cosmic intention — The mental axis of the canonical trend amplifies the capacity of systems in space and time to transmit consciousness from beyond-spacetime. Evolved individuals are coherent in brain and body, and they are highly qualified transmitters.The transmission of Akashic holofield consciousness into space and time is the key to discovering the intention underlying the canonical trend. It is this transmission that manifests intention in the universe; it is what lends meaning to existence in space and time.
As the canonical trend unfolds, the transmission of cosmic consciousness gains in effectiveness and in scope. The universe becomes infused with the consciousness the wisdom traditions called Brahman, Buddha, Cosmic Christ, Keter, Allah, the Tao, Anima mundi, or Great Spirit—the cosmic consciousness we identify as the fundamental logos of the cosmos.
The systems that arise and persist evolve in space and time are vehicles for infusing cosmic consciousness into the universe. Enlightenment for a spacetime entity means becoming an effective channel for the transmission of cosmic consciousness. Enlightened entities raise the frequency of vibrations in the universe so as to resonate with the holoconsciousness that resides in—more exactly, that is—the beyond-spacetime domain of the cosmos.
At the apex of evolution the one-consciousness of the cosmos becomes one with the consciousness of entities in the universe. Cosmic consciousness—Brahman, Buddha, Cosmic Christ, Keter, Allah, the Tao, Anima mundi, the Great Spirit—beholds itself in the consciousness that infuses the universe.
COMMENT
Chris Bache


Ervin Laszlo’s Beyond Spacetime gives me the same reaction I have had to all his books – a deep, instinctual, enthusiastic “Yes!”  The scientific evidence he assembles for the Akasha paradigm makes my mind sing, but my Yes comes from a deeper place. It comes from the convergence of Laszlo’s scientific vision with my personal experience. It comes from decades of exploring the farther limits of consciousness using the psychedelic protocols developed by Stanislav Grof.
I believe that psychedelics represent a major turning point in philosophy, a true before-and-after advance. Their impact on Western thought has been delayed by the spasm of denial that branded them “hallucinogens” and locked them away as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” But this reflex to criminalize psychedelics is exactly what we would expect when the stakes are this high, for these substances have the power to unravel and transform our culture’s deepest convictions about what is real and true.
Laszlo’s vision of the cosmos lifts science to a new horizon. He sees our universe floating in an invisible meta-universe of infinite potential, matter dancing in the quantum field, galaxies informed by a cosmic intelligence, a seamless wholeness that sustains and orders the diversity of life, every part driven by a relentless urge to grow and evolve, self-emergent creativity operating on timeline that staggers the imagination, our minds a fractal manifestation of the mind of All-That-Is.
The convergence of Laszlo’s vision with insights arising from psychedelic research is deep and significant. The unified consciousness that Laszlo postulates can be experienced firsthand when psychedelics are used judiciously, systematically, and heroically. By methodically hyper-sensitizing our consciousness, by surrendering to the explosion of awareness that rises from within, by riding the cycles of death and rebirth that crush and liberate us, we enter into a deepening communion with existence. As the constrictive patterns of our private minds fall away, we awaken inside the mind of the universe itself.
It is difficult to overestimate the significance of this discovery coming at this precise moment in history. Just when Western culture had convinced itself that the entire universe is a machine, that it moves with a machine’s precision and a machine’s blindness, the capacity to experience the inner life of the universe is being given back to us. Because machines are not conscious, the appearance of consciousness in the universe has been interpreted as a cosmic accident, a remarkable stroke of good luck, nothing more. The entire human endeavor with its vast range of sufferings and joys has been emptied of existential significance because it has been judged to be merely a product of blind chance that disappears in a wisp of smoke when death finally snuffs our candle out.  
When one gains access to the inner experience of the universe, however, one learns that far from being an accident, our conscious presence on this planet is the result of a supreme and heroic effort. Far from living our lives unnoticed in a distant corner of an
insentient universe, we discover that we are everywhere surrounded by orders of intelligence beyond reckoning, that our consciousness does not end at death but continues in an ocean of time. In brief, we discover the universe that Laszlo describes so eloquently.
The most meaningful response I can offer to Laszlo’s project is to share a personal experience of the communion I speak of. I hesitate to do so, however, because it is dangerous to lift an experience out of its context, in this case the context of the larger visionary journey in which it was embedded. But there is space for only one example so I offer this experience to illustrate the kind of contact with cosmic consciousness that psychedelics can facilitate. Nature exacts a price for such intimacies, but I will prune away the suffering that took place earlier in the session and skip over the many cycles of death-rebirth that prepared the ground in the preceding five years. Here we move directly to the fruition that took place in the second half of the session. This experience took place in the 19th session of 73 high dose LSD sessions I did between 1979 and 1999.
When I eventually moved beyond the field of collective suffering, I entered an exceptionally clear state that was vast and time-saturated. It felt both ancient and open-ended, a field of infinite possibilities. As I stabilized in this new environment, a circle opened around me and created a space that became an arena of dialogue between myself and a larger Consciousness. I discovered, much to my surprise, that the experiential field within the circle was responsive to my thoughts. When I first discovered this, I had the ecstatic sensation of confronting an enormous Intelligence that included and surrounded my own. “That's right,” it communicated to me. “That's exactly what is happening.”  I began to ask It questions and It answered by orchestrating my experience in the circle. It was an extremely subtle process.
After some intervening experiences, I was brought to an encounter with a unified energy field underlying all physical existence. I was confronting an enormous field of blindingly bright, incredibly intense energy. Experiencing it was extremely demanding and carried with it a sense of ultimate encounter. This energy was the single energy that comprised all existence. All things that existed were but varied aspects of its comprehensive existence.
The experience then changed into a powerful and moving experience of the Cosmic Tree. The energy became a massive tree of radiant energy suspended in space. Larger than the largest galaxy, it was comprised entirely of light. The core of the tree was lost to the brilliant display but limbs and leaves were visible around its edges. I experienced myself as one of its leaves. The lives of my family and close friends were leaves clustered near me on a small branch. All of our distinguishing characteristics, what made us the individuals we were, appeared from this perspective to be quite minor, almost arbitrary variations of this fundamental energy.  
I was taken around the tree and shown how easy it was to move from one person's experience to another and indeed it was ridiculously easy. Different lives around the globe were simply different experiences the tree was having. Choice governed all experience. Different beings who were all part of Being Itself had simply chosen these manifold experiences.
At this point I was the tree. Not that I was having the full range of its experience, but I knew myself to be this single, encompassing consciousness. I knew that Its identity was my true identity. I was actually experiencing the seamless flow of consciousness into crystallizations of embodiment. I was experiencing how consciousness manifests itself in separate forms while remaining unified. I knew then that there was fundamentally only One Consciousness in the universe. From this perspective my individual identity and everyone else's appeared temporary and almost trivial. To experience my True Identity filled me with a profound sense of numinous encounter. “So this is what I am.” The freedom was sheer bliss.
For the next several hours, this Consciousness took me on an extraordinary tour of the universe.  It was as though It wanted to show me Its work. It appeared to be the creator of our physical universe, its generative intelligence.
It would “take me somewhere” or open me to some experience and I would come to understand some aspect of the working of the universe. Over and over again I was overwhelmed at the magnitude, the subtlety, and the intelligence of what I was witnessing. “That's incredible.” “I'm beginning to understand.” The beauty of the design was such that I was repeatedly left breathless by what I was seeing. Sometimes I was so staggered that I would stop and It had to come back for me. “Keep up. Keep up.” It said, taking delight in my awe. Sometimes I was not sure what I was seeing and It would do something and everything would suddenly become larger and I would understand. Then It would take me on to something else.
These experiences were the most ecstatic, most cognitively marvelous, most existentially satisfying experiences of my life. My elevation into the field I was now in had the subjective quality of remembering, as did all my experiences on the tour. I was reawakening to levels of reality that I had previously known but forgotten. I was lifted into one “higher” and “larger” experiential field after another. With each transition I entered a deeper level of quiet and bliss-filled peace. It was as though an amnesia lasting billions of years was being lifted from me layer by layer. The more I remembered, the larger I became. Wave after wave of awakening was pushing back the edges of my being. To remember more was to become more.
Finally I was lifted into a particularly spacious and peaceful dimension. As I remembered this dimension I was overcome by an overwhelming sense of homecoming and felt fully the tragedy of having forgotten this dimension for so long. I cannot describe how poignant this was. Being fully restored to this dimension would be worth any cost. I asked what had happened and It explained that we had left time. Then It said, “We never intended so many to get caught in time.”  It felt like time was simply one of the many creative experiments of the multi-dimensional universe I was being shown.
Though these experiences were extraordinary in their own right, the most poignant aspect of today's session was not the discovered dimensions of the universe themselves but what my seeing and understanding them meant to the Consciousness I was with. It seemed to be pleased to have someone to show Its work to. I felt that It had been waiting for billions of years for embodied consciousness to evolve to the point where we could at long last begin to see, to understand and appreciate what had been accomplished. I felt the loneliness of this Intelligence having created such a masterpiece and having no one to appreciate Its work, and I wept. I wept for its isolation and in awe of the profound love that had accepted this isolation as part of a larger plan. Behind creation lies a love of extraordinary proportions, and all of existence is an expression of this love. The intelligence of the universe's design is matched by the depth of love that inspired it.
AFTERWORD


Zhi Gang Sha
The Tao, the Evolution of Consciousness
and the Meaning of Existence

I am honored to  contribute my thoughts to this book. From my perspective as a Tao servant and teacher, I appreciate the science of consciousness proposed by Ervin Laszlo as well as the insights provided by Deepak Chopra. The great Tao sage Lao Tse explained that the Tao is the source of  all life and all creation. Many thinkers understand the concept of the Tao as source, as yin and yang, as two and the ability of two to create three and from three to create all things. This is the process of  Tao creation. What fewer scientists have studied is what Tao scholars call “the blurred condition”—the veiled reality indicated by Laszlo’s concept of the cosmic domain beyond spacetime. It is from this veiled domain that all things arise in the universe, and into which all things return. We can comprehend the cycle of existence as all things arising from and then moving back to the Tao. The reverse of creation is the return of all things to Tao, their source. This is a major insight that Laszlo’s theory shares with the Tao.
As a student of Tao, I agree with Ervin Laszlo that there is purpose and directionality in the evolution not just of matter but of consciousness itself. Laszlo speaks of the Cosmos as the deeper reality which is even more inclusive than the universe. The universe contains all matter. The cosmos contains not only all matter but all consciousness. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed. Matter and the universe are subject to the laws of space and time. The Cosmos is boundless. Even more remarkable, the Cosmos is evolving. Consciousness in the Cosmos is growing. In Laszlo’s theory the Cosmos is evolving in the direction of greater coherence—what many would call greater beauty, greater awareness and greater joy.
In my teaching I emphasize that each human being can access this higher consciousness which is not just created from the Tao but is  at the same  time the Tao itself. When I access this deeper reality which transcends space and time I can perform miracle healings.
My personal mission is to teach others not only how to acess this deeper reality, to heal themselves and others, but eventually to return to the Tao as more evolved beings. This return can even include entering the state of Tao awareness or Cosmic Consciousness while still in human form. In my tradition it is reported that those who achieve the state of Tao are able to transcend the limits of space and time. All things are unified in the Cosmic Consciousness, the Akashic Holofield.
It is impossible to talk about the Tao. The Tao is larger than the largest and smaller than the smallest. The Tao has no beginning nor end and is infinite in every direction. All comes from the Tao and all will return to the Tao. The journey of the individual soul is to incarnate as a human being and through unconditional service to the life force and other souls to return to the Tao. In being of service to other souls, purification takes place, and with perfect purification a human being can reach immortality.
This is not an easy or quick path.  Millions of lifetimes of service will be required and even then a single misstep of pride or wrong action could cause a soul to fall in vibration and require starting the journey all over again.
Ervin Laszlo has identified many scientific principles which corroborate my teaching. Not just human beings but every rock, tree, and  element on Earth has a soul, a consciousness. Every DNA, RNA, cell and quantum has a consciousness. We do not in modern science have the ability to measure these consciousnesses, but I believe that the principle of a deeper dimension of reality will be, and already is, understood by science. It is important that we progress to this level of understanding because it will alter human behavior in positive and significant ways. If we knew that every element in our world had a consciousness we would be more careful in how we treat not just each other but mother Earth and all creatures, all plants, the air, the water and all the elements.
Laszlo writes that there is a directionality in the world, a trend that confers meaning on our existence. I could not agree more. For me that trend is to find our way back to the Tao. The Tao rewards good behavior and punishes bad behavior. The Tao resonates with the good and not with the bad. The Tao has compassion for dark forces but  is itself the purest of the pure. I advise my students to purify, purify, purify and practice, practice, practice the chants and actions which will assist them on the journey of their consciousness. Every word, every action, every thought in every moment impacts on the journey of consciousness. The paradox of individual existence is that our individual soul and our spacetime bound bodies are ultimately part of a universal soul, a pure field which I call Tao and Laszlo calls the Akashic Holofield. The deep reality beyhond spacetime is without begining and end and it encompasses  all that we are, all that we think, and all that we feel in a unified field that transcends space and time.
Laszlo developed the theory of the Akashic Field, and here the Akashic Holofield, to explain the beyond-spacetime domain of reality. This is the Tao. Align yourself with the Tao and you may reach not just an understanding of immortality but immortality itself. This may seem impossible to a traditional scientists focused exclusively on measureable phenomena. But allow your consciousness to evolve and you may experience the veiled reality, the condition in which you are both part of the domain of space and time, and of the domain beyond, that is limitless, boundless, and immortal.



ANNEXES
I.
THE FIFTEEN POINT CREDO OF AN EVOLVED CONSCIOUSNESS
  1. I am part of the world. The world is not outside of me, and I am not outside of the world. The world is in me, and I am in the world.


  1. I am part of society, and society is part of me. I am what I am in my communication and communion with my fellow humans. I am a coherent whole with the community of human life on the planet.


  1. I am part of nature, and nature is part of me. I am what I am in my communication and communion with all living things. I am a coherent whole with the web of life on the planet.


  1. I am one of the evolved manifestations of the trend toward coherence in the universe. All beings drive toward coherence in interaction with all other beings, and my essence is this cosmic drive. It is the same essence, the same drive that is inherent in all the things that arise and evolve in the universe.


  1. There are no absolute boundaries and divisions in space and time, only transition points where one set of relations yields prevalence to another. In me, the relations that integrate the cells and organs of my body are prevalent.  Beyond me, other relations gain prevalence: those that drive toward coherence in society, in nature, and in the universe.


  1. The separate identity I attach to other human beings is a convenient convention that facilitates my interaction with them. My family and my community are just as much “me” as the organs of my body. My body and mind, my family and my community, are interacting and interpenetrating, variously prevalent elements in the network of relations that encompasses all things in the world.


  1. The gamut of concepts and ideas that separates my identity, and the identity of any person or community from the identity of other persons and other communities is a convenient but arbitrary convention. There are only gradients distinguishing individuals from each other and from their environment and no absolute divisions and impenetrable boundaries. There are no “others” in the world: we are all living systems and we are all part of each other.


  1. Attempting to maintain the system I know as “me” through ruthless competition with the system I know as “you” is a grave mistake: it could damage the integrity of the embracing whole that frames both your life and mine. I cannot preserve my own life and wholeness by damaging that whole, even if damaging a part of it seems to bring me short-term advantage. When I harm you, or anyone else around me, I harm myself.


  1. Collaboration, not competition, is the royal road to the coherence that hallmarks healthy systems in the world. Collaboration calls for empathy and solidarity, and ultimately for love. I do not and cannot love myself if I do not love you and others around me: we are part of the same whole and so are part of each other.


  1. “The good” for me and for every person around me is not the possession and accumulation of personal wealth. Wealth, in money or in any material resource, is but a means for maintaining myself in my environment. As exclusively mine, it commandeers part of the resources that everyone needs to share if we are all to live and thrive. Exclusive wealth is a threat to everyone in the human community, including you and me, and those who hold it.



  1. Beyond the divine whole we recognize as the cosmos, only life and its development have intrinsic value; all other things have merely instrumental value: value insofar as they add to or enhance intrinsic value. Material things in the world, and the energies and substances they harbor or generate, have value only insofar as they contribute to life and wellbeing in the universe.


  1. The idea of “self-defense” even of “national defense,” needs to be rethought. Patriotism if it aims to eliminate adversaries by force, and heroism even in the well-meaning execution of that aim, are mistaken aspirations. A patriot and a hero who brandishes a sword or a gun is an enemy also to himself. Every weapon intended to hurt or kill is a danger to all. Comprehension, conciliation and forgiveness are not signs of weakness; they are signs of courage.


  1. A healthy person has pleasure in giving: it is a higher pleasure than having. I am healthy when I value giving over having. The measure of my excellence is my readiness to give. Not the absolute amount of what I give is the measure of my excellence, but the relation between what I give, and what my family and I need to live and to evolve.


  1. A community that values giving over having is a community of healthy people, oriented toward coherence through empathy, solidarity, and love among its members. Sharing enhances the community of life, while possessing and accumulating creates demarcation, invites competition, and fuels envy. The share-society is the norm for the communities of life in the universe; the have-societies of modern-day humanity are an aberration.


  1. I am here not just to persist, to endure suffering or enjoy fleeting satisfactions or justify my existence in my own eyes and the eyes of others. I am here to learn—to learn to become a conscious and positive part of the canonical trend that lends meaning to my existence, and to all existence in the universe.
II.
AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EVIDENCE FOR THE PERSISTENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
BEYOND THE BRAIN
THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE
Documented cases of NDEs indicate that conscious experience during the time the brain is clinically dead occurs with significant frequency. Moreover the recall is often veridical: it embraces things and events that people with normal brain functions would have experienced at the given time and place.

There was no widely recognized name for this experience, nor was any modern book written on it until Raymond Moody published his Life After Life in 1976 and suggested NDE—“near-death experience”—as the generic name for it. Moody amassed a large collection of first-hand reports by people who returned from a near-death state and was struck by the consistency of the reports. He noted that the experience included several core features, and these he termed “traits”. Martin Sabom, a cardiologist specialized in the resuscitation of cardiac arrest victims, tested the cases known to him in regard to the recurrence of these traits. He found that of the seventy-eight patients he interviewed thirty-four (43%) reported an NDE, and of them 92% experienced a sense of being dead, 53% the out-of-body experience, 53% rising into heaven, 48% saw a “being of light,” and 23% had the tunnel experience. All his patients who had an NDE reported a reluctance to return.
Current interest in NDEs has been sparked by a clinical study carried out over more than two decades by Dutch cardiologist Pim van Lommel. Van Lommel conducted standardized interviews within a few days of resuscitation with survivors of cardiac arrest patients who had recovered sufficiently to recall and recount their experiences. He asked them whether they could remember the period of unconsciousness, and what they recalled of that period. He coded the experiences reported by the patients according to a weighted index. Van Lommel found that 282 out of 344 patients had no recollection of the period of cardiac arrest, but sixty-two reported some recollection of what happened during the time they were clinically dead, and of these forty-one had a “deep” NDE.
Assessment
The great variety and frequent occurrence of conscious experience during periods when the brain was clinically dead suggest that consciousness can persist in the temporary absence of brain function.
Objections of many kind have been raised to the actual occurrence of near-death experience, and some objections appear well taken. It turns out, for example, that the “tunnel experience” and the appearance of a bright light at its end may be due to a sudden rush of blood to the brain. This is known to occur when the organism is entering a critical phase near death. However, veridical perceptions in many cases of NDE has no standard explanation. These perceptions occur in the absence of measurable brain activity, yet they match the perceptions the subject would have had in a normal state of waking consciousness.
NDEs do not occur in all cases when individuals who were at the threshold of death return to life. But this is not a major objection. First, because NDEs occur in a significant number of cases: for example, Van Lommel reported that twenty-five percent of his patients had such experiences. Second, because a report on a near-death experience is a recall of a past experience and such recall does not happen in every case. Even vivid experiences can be forgotten, or recalled only in non-ordinary states of consciousness.
The significant fact about NDE is that conscious experience has occurred during the time when the brain has been clinically dead. This is now sufficiently documented to be considered true beyond reasonable doubt.
AFTER-DEATH COMMUNICATION
Encounters with the dead have been an element of popular culture for centuries. From Shakespeare’s dramatic entrance of Banquo’s Ghost in Macbeth to the saccharine-sad
circumstances of the encounter between lovers in the movie Ghost these encounters have been regularly featured in fiction. However, there are also reports of encounters with the dead in which factual information, unknown at the time to the living witness, has been transferred.
Although the phenomenon has been known for centuries, the first systematic study was undertaken by the Society for Psychical Research in 1882. The results were published two years later in Volume X of the SPR Proceedings. This was followed up by similar research in the United States and by the French astronomer Camille Flammarion. In 1925 Flammarion published a hugely influential work titled Death and its Mystery where he presented scores of cases of spontaneous contact with deceased individuals.
In 1959-60 Dr. Karlis Osis conducted a massive survey in which he asked thousands of health-care professionals across the United States about the deathbed visions of their patients. He received 640 replies based on the observation of 35,000 dying patients. Such was the success of this study that others soon followed. In recent years researcher Emily Williams Kelly has reported that forty-one percent of dying patients in her study reported a deathbed vision.
In May 1988 Bill and Judy Guggenheim created the ADC Project, the first in-depth research into this phenomenon. They collected more than 3,300 first-hand accounts from people how strongly believed that they had been contacted by loved ones who had died. Their book Hello from Heaven describes this project and contains 353 of the most powerful accounts.
In most cases contact is spontaneous, but it can also be intentionally induced. Induced contact with the deceased is a relatively recent phenomenon. Once an appropriately altered state of consciousness has been attained in the subjects, they can communicate on their own. Psychotherapist Allan Botkin, head of the Center for Grief and Traumatic Loss in Libertyville, Illinois, claimed that he and his colleagues had successfully induced after-death communication in nearly three thousand patients.
According to Botkin, ADCs can be induced in ninety-eight percent of the people who try them. Usually the experience comes about rapidly, almost always in a single session. It is not limited or altered by the grief of the subject or his or her relationship to the deceased. It also does not matter what the subject believes prior to undergoing the experience. He could have been deeply religious, agnostic, or a convinced atheists.
ADCs can occur without there having been a personal relationship between the experiencing subject and the deceased communicator. Combat veterans can experience contact with the anonymous enemy soldier whom they killed and for whom they grieve. ADCs can occur also without guidance by a psychotherapist. For the experience to occur, it is sufficient to induce the appropriate state of consciousness. Indeed, as Botkin reports, leading the experiencing subject is likely to inhibit the unfolding of the experience. The appropriate state of consciousness is an altered-state, brought about by means of a series of rapid eye movements. Known as “sensory desensitization and reprocessing,” this produces a receptive state in the subject’s consciousness in which otherwise vague impressions tend to be vivid and convincing. The therapist who induces the receptive state hears his patient describe communication with a deceased person, hears him insist that their reconnection is real, and observes the patient move rapidly from a state of deep grief to a state of elation and relief.
Assessment
The frequency of documented cases of after-death communication suggests that the phenomenon is not exceptional. Recently deceased persons do appear on occasion to the living, and can even communicate with the living.
Indigenous people recognized contact with deceased relatives: their cultures speak of contact with ancestors whom they honor and venerate as if they were living. In the modern world such contact is an anomaly; claims that deceased persons can be contacted are considered esoteric. However, that contact and communication can take place after death is strongly suggested by the evidence. The evidence shows that in some cases “something” that manifests a sense of self and carries memories of physical existence, and on occasion appears clothed in a physical body, is communicating with a living individual.
TRANSCOMMUNICATION THROUGH A MEDIUM
In most cases of “transcommunication”—the communication of a living with a deceased person—the medium who channels the contact is in the deeply altered state of consciousness known as a “trance.” The process of communication is not essentially different from spontaneous or induced cases of communication, except that a third entity is added. Rather than the subject himself or herself being in an altered state of consciousness, it is the medium who enters such a  state.  The subject, known as the “sitter,” is in a normal state, listening to the messages or, if committed to paper, reading them.
The question is, what level of credibility can we attach to the evidence that
communication with a deceased person actually takes place? Since it is not the subject himself or herself who experiences the communication but a third person, this is a difficult question to answer. Is the third person truly reporting on what he or she is experiencing? And is his or her experience truly originating with the non-incarnate “communicator”?  Is it conceivable that the report originates with a living person and is transmitted to the medium in an undisclosed way, perhaps through extrasensory perception?  
Medium-transmitted communication falls into two categories: physical transmission, and mental transmission. The evidence for physical transmission is through observable events supposedly produced or transmitted by the medium, such as raps, the movement of objects, and the materialization of objects, and even of discarnate individuals. This type of evidence is problematic because it is highly open to fraud—many if not all such manifestations require complete or nearly complete darkness. It is also problematic because there is no presently conceivable scientific explanation for the physical effect produced by the communicating entity, or by the medium who channels that entity. For these reasons we do not include in this review phenomena the involves the materialization of persons or objects and similar physical effects.
Evidence for contact with deceased persons through mental transmission by a medium is more tractable. This kind of evidence comes in various degrees of clarity and complexity. The simplest and clearest form is clairvoyance: the medium, in a relatively normal state of consciousness, claims to see or hear some of the deceased friends or relatives of the sitter, and transmits contact with them. Contact may be in plain language or through signs or occurrences that symbolize the meaning of the communication.
A more complex yet at the same time more common form of mental mediumship requires that the medium enters the deeply altered state of consciousness known as trance. In these instances the medium’s consciousness appears to be dominated by a foreign intelligence that takes control over his or her speech, writing, and possibly also behavior. In the most intense forms of this kind of transmission the medium’s mind and body seems completely possessed by the foreign intelligence.
Trance mediums seem to have the ability to sense, hear and see things that are beyond the sensory experience of ordinary people. These abilities are known as clairsentience, clairaudience and clairvoyance. As already noted, some mediums seem able to materialize objects, creating a substance known as ectoplasm, and so-called “transfiguration mediums” can take on the physical form of the communicating entity.
Assessment
Is medium-transmitted communication with deceased persons truly communication with persons who have died transmitted by the mediums, or is it produced in some way by the mediums themselves?
There are cases in which we have reasonably robust evidence that the mediums did not, for they could not have, produce the messages they have transmitted: they did not possess the knowledge or information they had verbalized. In some cases a language unknown to them was used, and in others skills and knowledge were involved that the mediums themselves did not possess.
Could the medium have picked up the missing information and knowledge in some hidden or unusual way from a currently living person? There have been cases where nobody in the entourage of the mediums had the pertinent knowledge, skills, or information. Could the mediums have picked up these things from persons beyond their immediate environment? This would suggest that they could scan the field of relevant knowledge and receive the information they wanted through a form of super-ESP. This possibility cannot be excluded, but it seems extremely far-fetched.
In the robust cases of medium-channeled transcommunication the messages conveyed by the mediums originate with an entity that had information that neither the mediums themselves had, nor anyone they could access. In some cases the communicating entity displayed the intention to communicate, whether to clear up an unsolved crime or to shed light on a hitherto unknown event. It also displayed the intention to dispel all reasonable doubt regarding the authenticity of the messages. These factors suggest that the consciousness of the communicating entity had survived the brain of the entity with which that consciousness has been associated.
INSTRUMENTAL TRANSCOMMUNICATION
Contact and communication with deceased individuals can also be achieved through electronic instruments. “Electronic Voice Phenomena” (EVP), is a repeatedly observed and recently also recorded phenomenon. A number of books and articles have been published protocoling the relevant observations and experiments.

The EVP experimenter whose work first attracted wide attention was Dr. Konstantin Raudive. In his 1971 book Breakthrough he reported that he had recorded some 72,000 voices emitted by unexplained paranormal sources, of which 25,000 contained identifiable words. Since then a wide range of controlled experiments have been carried out. Currently research on EVP is spreading; the number of serious investigators is increasing. Father Francois Brune, who has been surveying the field for many years, estimated that there may be as many as twenty thousand researchers in various parts of the world, concentrated mostly in the United States and Germany.
Experimentation with instrumental communication began when wireless transmission had been developed. Scientists realized that the universe contains vast amounts of information that are beyond the reach of the human senses but not beyond the reach of man-made receivers. Sir Oliver Lodge, a physicist known for his development of electromagnetic theory, demonstrated the communication potential of radio signals at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1894. The preceding year Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla demonstrated the similar potential of Tesla waves and a year later Guglielmo Marconi exhibited the potential of the electromagnetic field as an invisible communication medium. These scientists believed that this invisible form of communication could be used to communicate with higher planes of existence.
EM spirit- or trans-communication received a first boost in 1877 when Edison discovered a process to record and replay human voices. Records could then be kept of human voices and of musical events. In 1901 the American ethnographer Waldemar Borogas used the Edison phonograph in Siberia to record the chants and invocations of the Chukchees shamans. Much to his surprise he discovered anomalous voices on his recordings. Borogas had been witnessing the ceremonies in which shamans enter their dream states and during these ceremonies disembodied voices appeared on the recordings. Later George Noory wrote in his book Talking to the Dead that in one later session the shamans communicated directly with the source of the voices, and then they obliged by again manifesting the voices and allowing them to be recorded.
The Brazil-based Portuguese researcher Augusto de Oliveira invented the “Cambraia Vocative Telephone” in 1933, and the Brazilian investigator Prospero Lapagese published plans for an “electric mediumistic device” that would not only capture spirit voices but would also photograph the communicators using a form of X-Ray. It is not known whether this machine was ever built.
Beginning in 1974, Hans Otto König, an electro-acoustics engineer in Germany, experimented with various sources of background noise, including running water in addition to radio static. He noticed that all these carried sounds that reach into the ultrasonic range, whereas regular tape recorders do not register sounds above 20,000 Hertz. He then designed a source of background sound consisting of four sound generators that produce a complex mixture of frequencies above the humanly audible range.
With this device König received numerous anomalous voice communications over a period of several years. Another series of experiments were carried out by Dr. Anabela Cardoso, a senior diplomat from Portugal. She first used general radio broadcasts for background noise but then switched to white noise, using a short wave radio and an AM radio tuned to around 1500 KHz. This frequency is known as the “Jürgenson wave’ by EVP experimenters as this is the frequency with which the pioneer EVP researcher had the most success.
Assessment
Reliance on electronic instruments renders the authenticity of the contact open to doubt, much as reliance on mediums does. Electronic instruments are open to willful manipulation, and hence to fraud.
In the robust cases much care has been exercised to exclude the possibility of fraud. Engineers have been checking the functioning of the instruments and experimenters had repeated the experiments in the presence of witnesses. Some experimenters, such as Hans Otto König, were themselves electric engineers, and others, including Anabela Cardoso, a senior diplomat of Portugal, had a reputation to protect. Whereas absolute proof of authenticity could not be achieved, there is reasonable assurance that through electronic instruments the consciousness of deceased persons can be contacted and engaged in communication. It appears that consciousness can persist in a form where it produces signals that electronic devices can convert into audible sound.
PAST LIFE RECOLLECTION
Glimpses of previous lives have been reported by many people, but regression analysis provided a systematic way of collecting the evidence. “Regression” in psychotherapy means going back in the mind of person beyond the range of his or her present lifetime. Normally this calls for shifting the consciousness of the patients into an altered state. Doing so may or may not require hypnosis; often breathing exercises, rapid eye movements, and a well-formulated suggestion prove sufficient. When the patients reach the appropriate state of consciousness, the therapists impel them back from memories of their present life, to memories that appear to be stemming from previous lives.
Moving patients back to early childhood, infancy, and even physical birth is seldom a problem. The patients re-live the corresponding experiences even to the extent that, if they stem from early infancy, exhibit the involuntary muscle reflexes typical in infants. It appears, however, that it is possible to go back still further, to memories of gestation in the womb. Some therapists find that they can take their patients back beyond the womb. After an interval of apparent darkness and stillness, strings of anomalous experiences appear, memories that seem to be of other places and other times. The patients not only recount them as if they had read of them in a book or seen them in a film, but re-live the experiences. They become the person they experience, even to the inflection of their voice and the language they speak, which may be one they do not know in their present life.
Assessment
Do memories emerging in altered states of consciousness provide testimony that the individual whose memories are recounted had lived a previous life? If all people had previous lives we would expect that a significant number among them would have some recollection of those lives, yet only few people have such recollections. We know that access to anomalous experiences calls for entering an altered state of consciousness, and we also know that for such experiences to be communicated, they need to be vivid enough to be recollected in the waking state. Moreover if they are to be reported without fear of ridicule, they also need to be well documented. These conditions are not likely to be frequent.
Whether living subjects had lived other lives in the past, and whether the recollections that surface in their altered states of consciousness are bona fide memories of those lives, is not clear. But the evidence is robust in regard to a basic fact. Whether or not the memories that surface in the consciousness of individuals are memories of their own previous lives, or are fragments from the life of others, the memories do surface. They imply that the consciousness of a person who had once lived and is now deceased does not vanish, but can be re-experienced in the consciousness of a living person.
Re-incarnation
There are experiences, we have seen, that suggest that the subject has lived in another body and had another existence. Some experiences are so vivid that they take over the consciousness, and even the behavior, of the subject. Then the subject may believe that he or she has reincarnated the alien personality.
As in the case of past-life recollections, it is not the interpretation of the observed phenomena that concerns us but the actual occurrence of the phenomena. The observation is that a consciousness that was once the consciousness of a living person reappears in the consciousness of another person.
Experiences suggestive of reincarnation are not limited either geographically or culturally. They occur in nearly all corners of the planet and among people of almost all cultures. They tend to be clear and distinct in children whereas they are mostly indistinct in adults, appearing as hunches and vague impressions. The experiences include the sensation of déjà vu: recognizing a site or a happening as familiar, even though to the best of one’s knowledge one has not encountered it before. The sensation of deja connu, encountering a person for the first time with a sense of having known him or her from beforehand, is another frequent experience.
Assessment
So-called “reincarnation-type experiences” can be vivid and convincing to the extent that they appear to provide testimony that a previously living personality has been incarnated in the subject. This belief is strengthened by the observation that birthmarks on the body of the subject correspond to the bodily features of the person whom he or she seems to incarnate. This is most strikingly the case when the alien personality suffered bodily injury. The corresponding marks or deformations sometimes re-appear in the subject.
Many observers of this phenomenon, including pioneer reincarnation researcher Ian Stevenson, held that matching birthmarks are strong evidence for reincarnation. However, we should note that the coincidence of birthmarks and other bodily features in a child with the fate of a previously living person is not necessarily assurance that that person is reincarnated in the child. It could also be that a child with the given birthmarks and bodily features is particularly adapted to recall a personality with the corresponding features from a memory field in nature.
III.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE AKASHA PARADIGM
Einstein remarked, “[in science] we are seeking the simplest possible scheme of thought that can tie together the observed facts.”  Scientists seek the scheme that best convey a comprehensive, consistent, and optimally simple understanding of the world. When found and accepted, that scheme functions as the paradigm for further research. But even when accepted, the scheme is not established once and for all, since the observed fact grow in number and become more complex and diverse over time. Thus the established paradigm needs to be periodically updated. The new paradigm must be solidly based on what is already known about the nature of reality, but it pieces together the elements of scientific knowledge in a more consistent, coherent, and meaningful way. It is a new gestalt, a new way of organizing the dots of scientific knowledge, connecting them with optimum simplicity and coherence.

The paradigm currently emerging in science connects the dots of scientific knowledge in a radically new way. It is a shift from a view of the world where entities, events and interactions are local and separable, to a concept that considers things, events and interactions as intrinsically “entangled” and nonlocal. It is at the same time a shift from the unidimensional view where the observed and observable universe is the principal or sole reality, to the recovery of the perennially recurring concept that sees the observed domain of the world as a manifestation of a deeper, inherently unobservable but fundamentally real domain.
Nonlocality
A world where connection and nonlocality are fundamental features is an integral world. Here nonlocality is a fundamental factor: things that occur at one place and time also occur at other places and times—in some sense, they occur at all places and times.
Nonlocality is an inference from current observations, but it is not accounted for by the twentieth-century paradigm that grounds those observations. There is a need for a paradigm in which nonlocality is a basic feature—the paradigm of a world that is intrinsically nonlocal. Such a paradigm is now emerging at the leading edge of scientific inquiry. It is based on a new understanding of how parts interact within wholes and build larger wholes. The key concept in understanding this kind of interaction is the concept of field.
Fields are bona fide elements of the physical world though they are not observable. They produce, however, observable effects. They connect phenomena. Local fields connect things within a particular region of space and time, and universal fields connect things throughout space and time.
The particles and forces observed in the universe are states of excitation of  underlying fields. The universal forces are described as Yang Mills fields, replacing the classical electromagnetic field. Quanta are described by fermionic fields, and the elusive particles that endow quanta with mass make up the Higgs field. All physical phenomena are “field excitations,” vibrational patterns in spacetime.
Space itself is not an independent variable in the field equations and is not an independent element in the universe. The structure of space is dependent on the conditions that define the presence of the mass points that were classically known as matter. Spacetime itself is generated by fields.
Electrons, muons, and quarks, as well as bosons (light and force particles) and fermions (matter particles) are vibrational modalities defined in accordance with the geometry of spacetime. Empty space is a low vibrational pattern, a “hole” in Calabi-Yau space, and particles appear at the intersection of the boundaries of Calabi-Yau space-holes.
Nonlocal interaction results from the conjugation of the waves emitted by quanta and systems of quanta. (Waves are conjugate when their oscillations are synchronized at a common frequency.) The information present at the nodes of the interference patterns produced by conjugating waves is shared among the waves. The synchronization of the phase of the waves emitted by quanta and systems of quanta correlates their state.
Until recently most physicists maintained that the waves involved in nonlocal interaction are electromagnetic (EM) waves. This is not plausible, however, and leading-edge physicist now realize it. On macroscopic levels and with extended time frames, nonlocality in interactions calls for long-range phase-conjugation and this is beyhond the scope of EM fields. In these fields the effect falls off with distance and time. There is, however, a kind of field that can explain nonlocal interaction at micro- and macro-scales and over all finite distances: the field of scalar waves. Scalars are longitudinal rather than transverse waves such as EM waves, and they propagate at velocities proportional to the medium in which they propagate. Their effect, unlike those of EM waves, does not fall off with distance and with time.
It is plausible that the field responsible for nonlocal interaction in nature is a field of scalar waves. Since the propagation-velocity of these waves is proportional to the density of the medium in which they propagate, and since space is known to be a super-dense virtual energy medium, scalars can be expected to propagate in space at supraluminal velocities. This can account for nonlocal interaction over finite distances.
Cosmology
The Akasha paradigm offers a new understanding of the nature of the universe: a new cosmology. In science cosmology is an empirical inquiry, offering an understanding of the origins, evolution, and destiny of the macro-structures of the universe. In philosophy cosmology is a broader inquiry: it intersects with metaphysics (the science of first principles, based on the fundamental “physics” of the world), and with ontology (systematic inquiry into the nature of reality). Akasha paradigm cosmology is a pilosophical cosmology, based on findings in the natural sciences.

First Principles -- According to the Akasha paradigm the cosmos is an integral system actualizing in the interaction of two domains: an unobservable beyond-spacetime domain, and an observable manifest domain. The beyond-spacetime domain is the Akasha: the “A-domain.” The observable domain is the manifest domain: the “M-domain.” The A- and the M-domains interact. Events in the M-domain structure the A-domain: they alter its potential to act—to “in-form”—the M-domain. The A-domain “in-forms” the M-domain, and the in-formed M-domain acts on—“de-forms”—the A-domain. The M- and the A-domains do not signify a cosmos split in two. The cosmos is one, but to the observer it is meaningfully considered under the heading of two domains: a fundamental domain and an experienced domain. The diversity of events in the experienced domain is a manifestation of the unity that governs their interaction in the fundamental domain. This is the basic tenet of Akashic cosmology. We now elaborate upon it in more detail.
The particles and systems of particles that arise in the M-domain interact with each other as well as with the A-domain. Every particle and every system of particles has what philosopher Alfred North Whitehead called a “physical pole” through which it is affected by other particles and other systems of particles in the M-domain, and a “mental pole” by which it is affected by the A-domain. Whitehead called these “prehensions”—the action of the rest of the world on particles and systems of particles in space and time.
As all things in the M-domain, human beings have both a physical pole and a mental pole. We “prehend” the world in two modes. We prehend the M-domain through the fields and forces that govern existence in the manifest world, and we prehend the A-domain as the spontaneous intuitions Plato ascribed to the realm of Forms and Ideas, Whitehead to eternal objects, and Bohm to the implicate order. The former are the known effects of the external world on our organism, and the latter the more subtle insights and intuitions that appear for most of us but are mostly ignored in the modern world.
The M-domain and the A-domains are related diachronically (over time) as well as synchronically (at a given point in time). Diachronically, the A-domain is prior: it is the generative ground of the particles and systems of particles that emerge in the M-domain. Synchronically, the generated particles and systems of particles are linked with the A-domain through bi-directional interactions. In one direction the A-domain “in-forms” the particles and systems that populate the M-domain; and in the other the in-formed particles and systems “de-form” the A-domain. The latter is not the eternal and immutable domain of Platonic Forms, but a dynamic matrix progressively structured by interaction with the M-domain.
Particles and systems of particles in the M-domain are not discrete entities, disjoined either from each other or from the A- domain. Ultimately, the things that populate the M-domain are soliton-like waves, nodes, or crystallizations of the A-domain. It is in the A-domain that they actualize, it is with the A-domain that they “dance” and co-evolve. And it is into the A-domain that they re-descend when a universe completes its evolutionary/devolutionary trajectory in the multiverse.
Origins of the Universe -- Recent cosmological models view the universe as a cycle in a vaster and possibly infinite “multiverse.” The universe we inhabit is not “the” universe, but merely a “local” universe.
Being a cycle in a vaster multiverse offers a cogent explanation of the coherence that characterizes our universe. It is astonishingly coherent: all its laws and parameters are finely tuned to the emergence of complexity. If the universe were any the less coherent, life would not be possible and we would not be here to ask how life had evolved on Earth and possibly elsewhere in the vast reaches of cosmic space. Did it evolve by chance?
The hypothesis of serendipity faces a serious problem of probability. Although the theory of large numbers allows that in a large number of tries even otherwise improbable outcomes have a finite probability of coming about, the number of tries needed to reach a significant probability that a coherent universe such as ours would come about is enormously high. The “search-space” for this selection is the number of universes that are physically possible, and according to some versions of string theory, this number is of the order of 10500. On the other hand the number of “hits” is extremely limited: only a handful of this staggeringly large number of possible universes is capable of bringing forth life; the rest are biologically sterile. And yet life has evolved on this planet, and it may exist on other planets as well.
The hypothesis of inheritance—that our universe would have inherited its coherence-generating properties from a precursor universe—is supported by sophisticated cosmological models. One such model is the loop quantum gravity cosmology developed by Abhay Ashtekar and a team astrophysicists at the Institute for Gravitational Physics and Geometry at Penn State University. Loop quantum gravity cosmology permits the definition of the state of our universe prior to the explosion and following inflation that is said to have given birth to it.
The standard model does not permit going back even to the time that immediately followed the birth of the universe: matter was so dense at that time that the equations of general relativity did not hold. However, the mathematics of loop quantum gravity permit “retrodicting” the conditions reigned in the universe prior to its birth. In this model the fabric of space is a weave composed of one-domainal quantum threads. In this model Einstein’s four-domainal continuum is only an approximation; the geometry of spacetime is not continuous but has a discrete “atomic” structure. Before and during the primal explosion this fabric was torn apart, making the granular structure of space dominant. Gravity shifted from a force of attraction to a force of repulsion, and in the resulting cosmic explosion our universe was born.
The simulations of loop quantum gravity indicate that prior to the birth of our universe there was another universe with physical characteristics similar to our universe. Ashtekar and collaborators were surprised at this finding and kept repeating the simulations with different parameter values. But the finding held up. It appears that our universe was not born in the singularity known as the Big Bang, and it will not end in the singularity of a Big Crunch. The universe we inhabit is not exclusively “our” universe but part of a “multiverse”—of an indefinite number of universes. Big Bangs and Big Crunches are phase transitions in a pulsing phase-iterating multiverse with critical transitions from one universe to the next during which spacetime shrinks to quantum dimensions. The matter-component of the prior universe “evaporates” in black holes and is re-born in the superfast expansion that follows the final collapse. Instead of a Big Bang leading to a Big Crunch, we have recurring series of Big Bounces.
The theory of inheritance between successive universes (successive cycles of the multiverse) offers a more cogent explanation of the coherence of our universe than either the theory of random selection or a theological appeal to supernatural providence. Calculations based on loop quantum gravity cosmology lend the inheritance thesis significant support. It appears that in the transition between the successive cycles the parameters and other physical characteristics of the preceding cycle are not cancelled but affect the next cycle.
Calculations by Alejandro Corichi of the National University of Mexico show that a “semiclassical state” on one side of the Big Bounce peaks on a pair of canonically conjugate variables, and these strongly bound fluctuations on the other side. The change in fluctuations on the two sides is insignificantly small (10-56) even for a universe of 1 megaparsec (approximately three and a quarter million light years), and becomes still smaller for larger universes.
The hypothesis of trans-cyclic inheritance is compatible with some versions of superstring theory. An evolved form of M-theory calls for eleven domains: ten domains of space, and one of time. According to Brian Greene ours is a “three-brane set” universe embedded within a larger string-landscape consisting of many three-brane sets (branes are mathematically defined spatially extended entities that may have any number of domains). The branes collide and create a rebound. This dynamic drives the evolution of universe cycles in the multiverse.
A number of cosmological models embrace the concept of an enduring cosmic matrix underlying the birth, evolution, and devolution of our universe and of other universes. The hypothesis of trans-cyclic inheritance suggests that these universes are not born in a condition of tabula rasa: through the underlying cosmic matrix they are “in-formed” by the collapsing precursor universe.
Evolution in the Universe -- Astronomical and astrophysical evidence indicate that our universe is not a steady-state but an evolving system. Its matter-content was created in a cosmic explosion approximately 13.8 billion years ago, and will vanish in a Big Crunch in the distant future. Within these time-horizons it evolves in stars and galaxies, and reaches high levels of complexity on physically favorable planetary surfaces.
Particles arise from the underlying holo-matrix in each cycle of the multiverse, and evolve to form systems of particles, and multi-ordinate systems of systems of particles. However, this process is not indefinitely sustainable: evolution in each cycle is limited by physical conditions in that cycle. The cycles are finite, and the conditions they provide are not indefinitely compatible with the existence of complex systems.
Thermal and chemical conditions are compatible with complex systems only during the expansionary phase of the universe. As expansion reaches an apex and gives way to contraction, physical conditions for complex systems become unfavorable. During the super-compacted phase in a collapsing universe only the stripped nuclei of atoms persist in an ultra-dense plasma; and then they also die back into the holo-matrix of the Akashic deep dimension.
However, the cosmos may be a multiverse of multiple universes, and the evolution of one universe may only account for the evolution of one cycle in it. On the hypothesis of trans-cyclic inheritance, the physical characteristics of one universe affect the physical characteristics of the next. In this fashion a vaster process of evolution can unfold. This evolution is described in Akashic cosmology as follows.
In each cycle of the multiverse the A-domain of a universe in-forms the M-domain, and the in-formed M-domain de-forms the A-domain. A learning curve obtains across the cycles. The A-domain is progressively de-formed, and it progressively in-forms the M-domain. Consequently the systems that populate the M-domain are increasingly in-formed by the A-domain. Thus they attain higher peaks of evolution in equal times, or equal peaks of evolution in shorter times.
If the sequence of cycles produces progressive change in the M-domain, and if that change de-forms the A-domain, the sequence of cycles must reach an omega cycle. In that cycle the A-domain actualizes its full potentials to in-form systems in the M-domain, and systems in the M-domain achieve the highest peak of evolution that is physically possible in that domain.
Theory of perception
The Akasha paradigm maintains that there are two basic sources of information reaching systems from the world, not just one. There is information from the manifest M-domain, as well as from the deep A-domain. Under conditions on this planet, information from the M-
domain is primarily in the form of wave propagations in the electromagnetic spectrum and in the air. Information from the A-domain is however in the form of wave propagations on the quantum level. For life-forms such as ours, signals from the M-domain are received through the senses, while those from the A-domain are processed by quantum-level decoding networks in the brain.
 Everyday experience is dominated by information conveyed by the five exteroceptive senses: these are sights, sounds, smells, flavors, and textures. This, however, is only one of the sources of information reaching the organism. Underneath the networks that process information from the sensory organs are networks processing information in a non-sensory mode. Sensory information is processed by neurons connected by synapses in the brain’s neuroaxonal network, and subneuronal networks process information through interaction with wave-propagations in quantum fields.
The subneuronal networks at the subcellular level are built of cytoskeletal proteins organized into microtubules. The microtubular networks are connected to each other structurally by protein-links and functionally by gap junctions. Operating in the nanometer range, the number of elements in these subneuronal networks substantially exceeds the number of elements in the known neuroaxonal network: there are approximately 1018 subneuronal microtubules in the brain, compared with “merely” 1011 neurons.
Neurophysiologist Stuart Hameroff and physicist Roger Penrose suggest that the network of microtubules processes information on the quantum level. It may also be, however, that it is the periodic lattice within the network of microtubules that is responsible for quantum-level information processing. The “microtrabecular lattice” is part of the cytoskeletal lipoprotein membrane, a web of microfilaments seven to nine nanometers in diameter. Psychiatrist and brain researcher Ede Frecska and psychologist Eduardo Luna suggested that this lattice processes quantum-level signals in the brain.
Perception is highly selective in both modes. The brain is a collection of nerve cells that function as multi-layered frequency receptors, and these select the signals to which they respond. Due to conditioning from early in life, each receptor becomes wired to respond to a particular frequency. The act of “tuning in” to the information reaching our brain means picking out the frequency patterns that are familiar from an ocean of patterns and frequencies that are unfamiliar.
As the receptors tune to particular frequencies, a pattern-recognition response is generated. The information-processing networks interpret the selected pattern in accordance with the interpretation already established for it. By tuning into the same pattern over and over again, the established interpretation is reinforced.
Selectivity based on repeated patterns is typical for all aspects of human experience, and the same level of selectivity exists also in regard to the information processed by the subneuronal networks. For modern people the information received in this mode is unfamiliar, and it is largely filtered out of conscious awareness. This is unfortunate, as recognizing the insights and intuitions reaching us from the A-domain—as traditional peoples have done sime time immemorial—could be important to all humanity. A-domain information connects people with each other and their environment and inspires more empathy between and among individuals and with nature.
Health
The paradigm emerging in the current revolution in science is of more than theoretical interest: it has practical implications. One of these implications—the one that is both the most ancient and the most revolutionary—regards our health. New-paradigm medicine maintains that the health of our body can be maintained, and reestablished when needed, with access to information from the world’s Akashic domain.
Information in the Organism -- The human body consists of trillions of cells, and each cell produces thousands of bio-electro-chemical reactions every second. This enormous “living symphony” is precisely governed and coordinated, focused on the paramount task of maintaining the organism in its physically improbable living state. Governing and coordinating the reactions that enable the organism to stay alive is the function of the information that pervades the body. Information in this context is not a peripheral adjunct to biochemical processes but that which governs and coordinates those processes. The information that governs the organism differentiates one species from another, one individual in a species from others, and a healthy individual from a sick one. It also spells the difference between a normal cell and a cancerous cell, a healthy organ and a diseased one.
Classical biology held that information in the body is limited to genetic information, and that genetic information is fixed for a lifetime. Current findings indicate that this is not the case. The information that governs organic functions is more complex and comprehensive than the genetic code in the DNA, and it is not rigidly fixed but open to adaptation and modification. Even genetic information is modifiable. Although the sequence of genes in the DNA is fixed, the way that sequence affects the body is flexible: it is governed by the epigenetic system, and the epigenetic system is adaptive.
The way cells reproduce in the body is likewise modifiable: their operative program changes in interaction with the rest of the body. It now turns out that the information—the “programming”—of the cells can also be purposively modified. Recent discoveries in medicine (Biava 2009) demonstrate that stem cells in the body can be reprogrammed. If some of these cells are mutant—only replicating themselves—by reprogramming they can be reintegrated with the rest of the organism. When they are reprogrammed, cancer cells, for example, either die off (through apoptosis, programmed cell-death), or become functional parts of the body. By replacing cancerous and degenerated cells with reprogrammed stem cells, many forms of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases can be eliminated. These previously fatal diseases become reversible maladies.
The Qi Attractor -- According to the Akasha paradigm the information that coordinates the functions of a living organism is a specific pattern in the sea of Akasha-domainal information. This corpus of information governs action, interaction, and reaction throughout the manifest world. It also governs the functions of the living organism. It is a blueprint of normal organic functioning.
 The blueprint of organic functioning for living species emerged in the course of the interaction between the M- and the A-domains. The A-domain, as we said, in-forms systems in the M-domain, and the in-formed M-domainal systems de-form the A-domain. The information generated in this interaction is conserved in the A-domain. The A-domain is the memory of the M-domain; it is the manifest world’s “Akashic Record.”
The sea of Akashic information includes the species-specific pattern that is the blueprint of healthy functioning for the organism. This pattern results from the long-term interaction of a species with the A-domain; it is the enduring memory of those interactions; and it codes the generic norms of viable species. For human beings it is the equivalent of the Qi (or Chi or Ch’i) of Chinese medicine and of martial arts, the prana of Hindu philosophy, and the life-energy of traditional Western medicine. Without access to this Qi, prana, or life-energy, errors in cellular and organic interaction, reaction, and transcription would accumulate in the body and would lead to ever more serious and ultimately terminal malfunctions. This is inevitably the case—for biological organisms on this planet are inherently mortal—but access to the species-specific Qi attractor slows the degenerative processes and enables the organism to unfold the potentials of its inherent vitality.
Implications for Medicine --  Life can emerge and persist in the universe because living systems tune into and resonate with information in the Akasha-domain. Malady and malfunction are errors in the way a living system receives and processes this information. In many cases these errors can be corrected. This has major and, in modern medicine, largely unexploited implications for the maintenance of health and the cure of disease.
 In traditional societies people made more effective use of the Akashic Qi-attractor of their bodily health. Shamans, medicine men and women, and spiritual leaders were remarkably accomplished in safeguarding the physical condition of the people in their tribe, village, or community. Modern physicians, on the other hand, are more accomplished in curing diseases than in safeguarding health. Their approach to disease derives from pathology, using artificial means to cure disease with the introduction of synthetic substances and making use of surgical interventions. By these means modern medicine has prolonged life expectancy and produced treatments for numerous diseases. But synthetic substances and artificial interventions produce a plethora of unwanted and undesirable side effects. And they divert attention from the innate self-healing powers of the organism, disregarding the healing powers of natural substances and of closer harmony with natural rhythms and balances.
The methods of modern medicine have their place and utility, but they are not the necessarily and always the best way to maintain health and cure disease. Prior to the manifestation of disease there is a breakdown or blockage of information in the organism, and these conditions can be treated by reestablishing resonance with the organism’s Akashic Qi attractor. Doing so is to treat the cause of the malfunction rather than its symptomatic manifestation.

The Akasha paradigm suggests that the first task of the medical practitioner is to adapt the M-domainal interactions of the organism for optimum reception of A-domainal information. This calls for attention to the relations of people to their social as well as natural surroundings. Stresses and strains in family and community impair the ability of the organism to cope with adverse conditions and toxic substances in its environment. They interfere with its reception of Akashic information and thus diminish its vitality.
Patients can be helped to “tune into” their natural environment. The organism is a psychosomatic system, in constant interaction with its surroundings. It is sensitive to information from the M-domain as well as from the A-domain. Both kinds of information are vital for health. In today’s world there is an urgent need to regain contact with the A-domain. The fuller and clearer our reception of our species-specific Qi attractor, the greater our capacity to safeguard and foster our health.
The information that governs healthy organic functioning is present in every living organism. When accessed, it can correct blockages, breakdowns, and malfunctions. Calling attention to this previously known but currently nearly forgotten method of natural self-healing is the principal contribution of the Akasha paradigm to modern medicine.
Freedom
There is more to human freedom in the world than a science based on the old paradigm would have us believe. We are an organic part of a nonlocally interconnected universe, and we interact not only with its manifest domain, but also with its Akasha domain. This gives us a far greater degree of freedom than interaction with the manifest domain alone.
 There is no absolute freedom for any system in an interconnected world. Absolute freedom presupposes a total lack of ties to the rest of the world, and in this universe this is impossible. But absolute freedom is not only not possible, it is also not desirable. Freedom does not reside in being “free from” external influences, but in being “free to” act the way we decide to act. In the latter sense we have a significant degree of freedom in the nonlocally interconnected universe.
The Scope of Human Freedom -- Freedom in the world is neither nil, nor full; it is a matter of degree. The scope of freedom is determined by external as well as internal factors. The external factors limit the scope of behavior. In regard to human beings they reduce the range of intended actions to the physically—and also psychologically and socially—feasible.
The internal factors are elements of freedom. They allow a living organism to select the way it acts from the range of possible ways. The relative weight of the external versus the internal factors differentiates between the freedom of an amoeba to move in relation to its food supply and the freedom of a human being to select the way he or she wishes to live. For the amoeba the external factors are fully dominant, whereas for the human being the internal factors gain in importance. In biological systems the element of self-determination can be highly significant.
As already remarked, in less evolved species information received from the external world arrives mainly in the form of an undifferentiated “feel” of the world, while in more evolved species the world is perceived through a rich flow of information that can be coupled with a wide range of responses. In a human being this flow is further differentiated as a series of articulated perceptions with conscious as well as subconscious, rational as well as emotive elements. This offers scope for a wide range of responses.
In the new paradigm we recognize information reaching us from the manifest as well as the Akashic domain. We select our response to the information that reaches us from both of these domains. We admit some of this information to our consciousness as bona fide perceptions of the world, and exclude other information as irrelevant or illusory. In the modern world we have come to exclude from consciousness most of the information that reaches us from the A-domain. This constrains the scope of our response to the world around us; it limits the range of our freedom.
Enhancing the Human Potential for Freedom -- Like other living systems, we need to maintain ourselves in a dynamic state far from thermal and chemical equilibrium through the intake and processing of information, energy, and the quanta-based substances we regard as matter. This calls for constant high-level sensitivity to the vital flows of information, energy, and matter. Lest our free energy become depleted and our vitality impaired, we must select the right flows at the right time, and couple them with the right responses.
 The more complex the system, the more decisive is the selection of the information to which it responds, as well as the selection of its response to it. We achieve this “stimulus-response coupling” through the processing of the information we receive from the world. Our freedom is enhanced to the extent that this information is thoroughly processed: that the signals are properly selected, clearly differentiated, and accurately coupled with responses.
One aspect of our freedom is the purposive selection of the influences that act on us. Another aspect resides in the selection of our response. Whereas in comparatively simple organisms the responses to external stimuli are largely pre-programmed, in humans the response is conditioned by a series of “intervening variables.” These are partially, if only partially, under our conscious control.
A vast array of sub- or non-conscious variables also determines our response to the information that reaches us. This array includes tacit preferences and unexamined values, cultural predispositions, and a range of acquired or inherited leanings, preconceptions, and prejudices. They shift the factors that determine our response to the world from the world to us. They highlight the crucial role of worldviews, values, and ethics, as elements of human self-determination and hence of freedom.
Consciousness can extend the range of our freedom. If we adopt consciously envisaged worldviews, and bring consciously envisaged goals and values to bear on our life, our freedom acquires an additional goal-oriented domain. And if we allow not only the sensory information that connects us with the manifest world to penetrate to our consciousness but also the more subtle insights and intuitions that reach us from the A-domain, we further extend the effective range of our freedom.
In addition to information that originates in the external world, we can respond also to information that we ourselves generate. As conscious beings capable of abstract thinking and imagination, we can envisage events, people, and conditions without actually experiencing them. We can respond to this self-generated information the same way we respond to information from the external world. We can recall the past and envisage the future. We are not limited to the here-and-now. Not only can we react, we can also proact.
This element of our freedom is vastly expanded by allowing the information that comes to us from the A-domain to reach our consciousness. Akashic information is nonlocal information; it could have originated anywhere and at any time, and could concern any thing or event in the universe. Our envisagement of any part of this holographic information can take us entirely beyond the here-and-now, into the entangled supra-luminal domain of the all-things-at-all-times.
The Good
It may well be that we have the highest potential for freedom of any being on this planet. As conscious human beings we can be aware of this freedom and make purposive use of it. The question we address here concerns the humanly and morally optimal use of this freedom.
Morality enters this discourse because, if we can choose the way we act, we have the responsibility to choose it wisely. Evidently, we can act to maximize our own self-interest, and that is what most people believe they are doing most of the time. But we can also act with a measure of altruism and public spirit. Acting in that way may not be contrary to our self-interest—at least to our enlightened self-interest.
Self-interest makes us seek the satisfaction of our immediate desires and aspirations, and if desires and aspirations are sound, they will coincide with the needs and aspirations of others. In a strongly interconnected and interdependent world truly enlightened interests coincide. What is good for one is good also for others. But what are truly enlightened interests and aspirations?

The Truly Good -- Philosophers have been debating what is truly good for more than two thousand years. No definitive answer has emerged. In Western philosophy the view of the classical empiricists has prevailed: judgments of good and bad are subjective; they cannot be decided unequivocally. At most they can be related to what a given person, a given culture, or a given community holds to be good. But that, too, is subjective, even if it is subjective in relation to a group: then it is intersubjective.
 In Akasha paradigm philosophy we can overcome this impasse: we can discover objective criteria for the good. These criteria do not carry the certainty of logic and mathematics, but they are more than subjective or intersubjective. They are as objective as any statement can be about the world. They refer to the conditions that ensure life and wellbeing in an interconnected and interacting universe. Enhancing these conditions is objectively good. And these conditions can be briefly outlined.
As already noted, living organisms are complex systems in a state far from thermodynamic equilibrium. They need to meet stringent conditions for maintaining themselves in their physically improbable and inherently unstable condition. What is good for them is first of all to meet these conditions. Life is the highest value. But what does it take to ensure life for a complex organism on this planet? Describing all the things that this entails would fill volumes. But there are basic principles that apply to all living beings.
Every living system must ensure reliable access to the energy, matter, and information it needs to survive. This calls for fine-tuning all its parts to serve the common goal: to maintain the system as a living whole. The term coherence describes the basic feature of this requirement. A system consisting of finely tuned parts is a coherent system. Coherence means that every part in the system responds to every other part, compensating for deviations and reinforcing functional actions and relations. Seeking coherence for one’s self is a truly sound aspiration; it is indubitably good for us.
But in an interconnected and interacting world the requirement for coherence does not stop at the individual. Living organisms need to be internally coherent, with regard to the fine-tuning of their parts, but they also need to be externally coherent, with well-tuned relations to other organisms. Hence viable organisms in the biosphere are both individually and collectively coherent. They are supercoherent. Supercoherence indicates the condition in which a system is coherent in itself, and is coherently related to other systems.
The biosphere is a network of supercoherent systems. Any species, ecology, or individual that is not coherent in itself and is not coherently related to other species and ecologies is disadvantaged in its reproductive strategies. It becomes marginalized and ultimately dies out, eliminated by the merciless workings of natural selection.
The great exception to this rule is the human species. In the last few hundred years, and especially in the last decades, human societies have become progressively incoherent both with respect to each other and with their environment. They have become internally divisive and ecologically disruptive. Human societies could nevertheless maintain themselves and even increase their numbers because they compensate for their incoherence by artificial means: they make use of powerful technologies to balance the ills they have wrought. This, of course, had and has its limits. Whereas in the past these limits appeared mainly on the local level, today they surface also at the global scale. Species are dying out, diversity in the planet’s ecosystems is diminishing, the climate is changing, and the conditions for healthy living are reduced. Humanity is surpassing the carrying capacity of the planet.
What is truly good for us in this crucial epoch can be defined. It is to regain our internal and external coherence: our supercoherence. This is not a utopian aspiration, but—as noted in Chapter Seven—the cosmic intention implied by the unfolding of the canonical trend in the world.
Supercoherence is health-enhancing and socially and ecologically sound. It gives rise to behaviors and aspirations that are good for us, good for others, and good for the world. In this sense it is objectively good. It is the resounding answer to the quest for the highest value philosophers called “The Good.”
IV.
AN EXCERPT FROM THE MANIFESTO FOR A
POST-MATERIALIST SCIENCE


a) Mind represents an aspect of reality as primordial as the physical world. Mind is fundamental in the universe, i.e. it cannot be derived from matter and reduced to anything more basic.


b) There is a deep interconnectedness between mind and the physical world.



c) Mind (will/intention) can influence the state of the physical world, and operate in a nonlocal (or extended) fashion, i.e. it is not confined to specific points in space, such as brains and bodies, nor to specific points in time, such as the present. Since the mind may nonlocally influence the physical world, the intentions, emotions, and desires of an experimenter may not be completely isolated from experimental outcomes, even in controlled and blinded experimental designs.


d) Minds are apparently unbounded, and may unite in ways suggesting a unitary, One Mind that includes all individual, single minds.


e) NDEs in cardiac arrest suggest that the brain acts as a transceiver of mental activity, i.e. the mind can work through the brain, but is not produced by it. NDEs occurring in cardiac arrest, coupled with evidence from research mediums, further suggest the survival of consciousness, following bodily death, and the existence of other levels of reality that are non-physical.


f) Scientists should not be afraid to investigate spirituality and spiritual experiences since they represent a central aspect of human existence.







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