Centre for Conscious Awareness, in conjunction with international academic partners are dedicated to formal research in wellbeing, consciousness, healthy living and related topics.
Research papers and articles can be selected below:
Sounds and Cymatics of Musical Notes for Healing
This audio-visual presentation was created in honour of the World Sound Healing Day celebrated every year on 14th February.
It is a global invitation to sing or chant harmonious sounds with the intention of emanating positive emotions, such as joy, love and compassion, to Mother Earth and the environment. It is supported by the International Sound Therapy Association (ISTA), and many other organisations, including Sound Healing practitioners and researchers.
The harmonious sounds of musical notes of certain scales (or Ragas) of Indian Classical Music (Carnatic Music) which are known to produce positive emotions such as joy, love, compassion and so on, have been selected and rendered by voice, with the intent of radiating joy, love and compassion to Mother Earth. The visuals depict patterns of the sounds of musical notes, known as Cymatic patterns, generated using CymaScope App.
The intent of the video is that people watching and listening to this, may also sing along with it, on World Healing Day, and every day as well, expressing gratitude to Mother Earth and the environment.
The video contains excerpts from two Raga Therapy CD Albums: ‘Tuning in for Sound Health’ Volume 1 and Volume 2, recorded in 2006 with inspiration and guidance from Srinivas Arka.
Sound is a key component of Arka Dhyana Intuitive Meditation developed by Srinivas Arka.
Sound has been portrayed significantly in many of his books and CDs. Excerpts on aspects of Sound from his books are highlighted below.
“Sound represents our physical existence and the visible universe.”
(“Becoming Inspired” book, Ch.3, The Essence, Section 7: Experience and Illumination, p34).
“The right pronunciation of sounds will benefit you, others and even the environment that surrounds you.”
(“Arka Dhyana Intuitive Meditation” book, Ch. Sound, p57).
“The practitioner is focusing their intentions through the mediums of sound and touch.”
(“Arka Dhyana Intuitive Meditation” book, Ch. Questions and Answers, p116).
“There is no action without sound and there is no sound without action”.
(“Becoming Inspired” book, Ch.11, The Heart, Section 30, p154).
“When an action or an event occurs, it generates ripples of vibrations. These vibrations are detected by the human auditory nerves, and hence register as sound. The voice of action is called sound. Any action performed consciously or unconsciously creates a ripple of vibrations. This fixed law of the universe cannot be altered.
Whether the sound of the action is harmonious or disharmonious, melodious or noisy, its vibrations always affect the existence of some entity. If you place an animal near a brass gong and strike the gong with a hammer, the vibrations generated from it can disturb the cellular activity in the animal. If the vibrations generated from striking the gong are of sufficiently high frequencies, the animal may even die.
There is an unrelenting generation of sound vibrations in the universe. It is ceaseless. When sound vibrations are regular in rhythm or harmoniously produced, we accept them and call them music. If sounds are harsh and dissonant and we have difficulty bearing them, we call them noise. Their deleterious effect on the body and mind cannot be avoided whether we like it or not.
Sound cannot exist without the drum of action, and action cannot take place without producing sound. If there is action, you can always say that there is sound, and vice versa.”
(“Adventures of Self Discovery” book, Ch.24, From Silence to Sound - From Sound to Silence, p100).
-Write up by Meera Raghu
International Journal of Social Work and Human Services Practice Horizon Research Publishing Vol.6. No.3 July, 2018, pp. 65-74
Levels of Consciousness: The Role of the
Heart and Pulsation
International University of Professional Studies (IUPS), Maui, Hawaii, USA
International Journal of Social Work and Human Services Practice Horizon Research Publishing Vol.6. No.3 July, 2018, pp. 75-88
A Study to Explore the Effects of Sound
Vibrations on Consciousness
Independent Researcher, New Zealand
Sound is a form of energy produced by vibrations caused by movement of particles. Sound can travel through solids (such as metal, wood, membranes), liquids (water) and gases (air). The sound vibrations that reach our ear are produced by the movement of particles in the air surrounding the source of sound. The movement or vibration of particles produces waves of sound. Sound waves are longitudinal and travel in the direction of propagation of vibrations. The pitch of sound is related directly to its frequency, which is given by the number of vibrations or cycles per second. The higher the pitch of sound, the higher is its frequency, and the lower the pitch, the lower is its frequency. Human ear can hear sounds of frequencies ranging from 20 – 20,000 cycles per second (or Hertz – Hz). Sound waves can be visually seen and studied using ‘Chladni’ plates, which was devised and experimented by Ernst Chladni, a famous physicist with a passion for sound/music. In this experiment the source of sound is connected via a wave driver to the Chladni metal plate with fine sand strewn on it. The sound vibrations cause the plate to vibrate at the same frequency, which causes movement of the sand particles to form patterns of the sound generated. The visual patterns comprise of nodes or regions where the sand particles accumulate, and antinodes or regions where the sand particles drift away from. Each frequency of sound causes a particular pattern to be formed on the plate. The study of wave phenomena is also called ‘Cymatics’ (Raghu, 2016). Sound vibrations can come in contact physically through the body and have an effect on our consciousness at the mental, emotional and spiritual levels. Sounds that are musical can be categorized as consonant sounds that are pleasant, and dissonant sounds that are unpleasant or not so pleasant. Musical sounds are comprised of notes in increasing or decreasing order of pitch (frequency). The interval between notes can give rise to consonance and dissonance. Example, an interval of an octave -a range of seven notes - is said to be consonant, whereas an interval between adjacent notes can be dissonant. These are studied by experimenting with musical notes and intervals, their visual patterns and their effect on consciousness. While consonant intervals can cause happiness, joy, courage or calmness, dissonant intervals can cause tension, anger, fear or sadness, thereby affecting the emotional aspect of consciousness.
Keywords: Consciousness, Sound, Vibration, Music, Emotion, Chladni, Pattern, Energy
Sound is everywhere. There is perpetual movement and action in the world around us, and this produces a variety of sounds, such as those coming from Nature, from animals, those generated by humans in the form of speech or music, those that are generated by vehicles, machines, gadgets that are used for comfort, leisure and convenience. What is interesting or important about Sound? Sound is an integral part of our lives. Whether we like it or not, the vibrations of these sounds reach us, not only through the hearing sense, but also by coming into contact with the physical body. The sound vibrations can affect us either positively or negatively, entering into our being, via the physical, mental and emotional realms, thereby affecting our consciousness as a whole. Therefore, while it is important, it would also be interesting, to know more about the nature of sound, how it affects us, and in what way we can harness it positively and try to reduce its negative impact on us.
Sounds that we hear can be either pleasant - such as music, or unpleasant - such as noise. Music is an important aspect of sound. We listen to music of on the radio and television, and via live or recorded concerts of musicians, for entertainment. We are exposed to a variety of music, classical music, folk music or film music, and Western or Eastern music. Whatever the type, music is comprised of what are known as notes, which are tones of sounds of certain quality that help create pleasantness in the listener. Music has a positive influence in humans, plants and animals (Arka, 2013, p. 31). It would help to have a basic understanding of the theory of sound vibrations, the fundamental concepts of music, as music comprises sound vibrations.
Nature of Sound Vibrations
The sounds we hear are characterized by sound vibrations and are propagated as sound waves. Sounds waves require a medium, such as solid, liquid or gas, through which the sound vibrations can be transmitted. The sound waves coming from a sound source, such as the human voice or musical instrument, are typically transmitted as sound vibrations in the surrounding air, and communicated to the destination, such as the human ear. Sound waves are mechanical in nature, because the vibrations are transmitted mechanically to the surrounding air (or any medium), through a series of compressions and rarefactions of the particles in the air (or any medium). Sound waves are longitudinal waves, meaning that the direction of vibrations of air particles (or of any medium) is in the same direction as the propagation of the waves.
The sounds we hear are characterized by sound vibrations and are propagated as sound waves. Sounds waves require a medium, such as solid, liquid or gas, through which the sound vibrations can be transmitted. The sound waves coming from a sound source, such as the human voice or musical instrument, are typically transmitted as sound vibrations in the surrounding air, and communicated to the destination, such as the human ear. Sound waves are mechanical in nature, because the vibrations are transmitted mechanically to the surrounding air (or any medium), through a series of compressions and rarefactions of the particles in the air (or any medium). Sound waves are longitudinal waves, meaning that the direction of vibrations of air particles (or of any medium) is in the same direction as the propagation of the waves.
Sound Vibrations are measured in terms of Frequency / Pitch, Wavelength, Amplitude:
Frequency is the number of vibrations per second,also known as cycles per second (Hertz-Hz);
Wavelength is the length of a single wave (vibration);In other words, the wavelength is the spacing of a wave; the distance from the high-point of one wave to the next high-point of the wave; that is, between the point of one crest of the wave and the next crest of the wave; or between the point of one trough of the wave and the next trough of the wave. The wavelength of the wave is highlighted in red in Figure 2 above.
Amplitude is the intensity or loudness (volume) of sound;
Pitch indicates if a particular sound is of higher or lower frequency; it is commonly used in music to describe whether a note is of high pitch or low pitch.The frequency is a precise scientific unit of measurement; while pitch, although defined by its frequency, also has a subjective component that takes into account the relative placement of the frequency within the context of an established tuning system and in relation to other frequencies.
Let us look at some of the common terms used in music:
Musical tone is a steady periodic sound. A musical tone is characterized by its pitch, duration, loudness and timbre. A pure tone is a simple tone with simple wave form, and a complex tone is a combination of two or more pure tones.
Musical Note is a complex form of musical tone and is characterized by its pitch, duration, loudness, and timbre. In addition, it is not periodic and includes vibrato, transients or graceful embellishments applied to it. In Indian music, a note is called Swara.
Timbre is the quality of the musical sound produced. It is that quality by which a musical sound or note can be identified with reference to which source it comes from, for example, whether it is voice, or musical instruments such as violin, drum, veena, or flute, and so on.
Pitch is a perceptive property a musical sound or note can be identified with reference to its frequency. Pitch of a note is directly related to its frequency – high pitch refers to high frequency, low pitch refers to low frequency. Pitch does not refer to the absolute frequency value, but indicates its position, whether high or low, in a given frequency range. Pitch in music is used to arrange musical notes in a particular order.
Scale is a range of musical notes ordered by a fundamental frequency or pitch. A scale may have notes in increasing order of pitch, which is called ascending scale; or it may have notes in decreasing order of pitch, which is called descending scale. Scales in Western and Indian music are shown in Table 1 below.
The frequency or frequencies at which an object tends to vibrate with when hit, struck, plucked, strummed or somehow disturbed is known as the natural frequency of the object. If the amplitudes of the vibrations are large enough and if natural frequency is within the human frequency range, then the vibrating object will produce sound waves that are audible. Octave in music is the interval between a note of a particular pitch (or frequency) and another note which is double or half the pitch (or frequency). Depending on whether the pitch is double or half, it is called higher octave or lower octave, respectively.
The frequency or frequencies at which an object tends to vibrate when hit, struck, plucked, strummed or disturbed is known as the natural frequency of the object. If the amplitudes of the vibrations are large enough and if natural frequency is within the human frequency range, then the vibrating object will produce sound waves that are audible (Natural Frequency, n.d.).
Sound vibration inside a tube forms a standing wave. A standing wave is the result of the wave reflecting off the end of the tube (whether closed or open) and interfering with itself.
Nodes and Antinodes
In a sound wave, the areas of highest vibration are called antinodes and areas of least vibration are called nodes.
Fundamental, Overtones and Harmonics
When sound is produced in an instrument by blowing it, only the waves that will are generated by the air-column in the tube resonate. The longest wave that can be generated in the tube is called the fundamental, while other waves that are generated are called overtones. Overtones are multiples of the fundamental frequency. Overtones are other frequencies besides the fundamental frequency that exists in musical instruments. Instruments of different shapes and actions produce different overtones. The overtones combine to form the characteristic sound of the instrument. The natural frequencies of an object or a musical instrument are referred to as the harmonics of the object or musical instrument.
When two (or more) sounds are produced having a frequency difference of less than about 20 or 30 Hz, you will hear "beats." The frequency of the beats will be at the difference frequency. If the frequency difference is larger than about 20 or 30 Hz, a tone is usually perceived rather than distinct beats.
A musical instrument can be forced into vibrating at one of its harmonics (with one of its standing wave patterns) if another interconnected object pushes it with one of those frequencies. This is known as resonance - when one object vibrating at the same natural frequency of a second object forces that second object into vibrational motion. The word resonance comes from Latin and means to "resound" - to sound out together with a loud sound. Resonance is a common phenomenon of sound production in musical instruments.
This involves changing the natural vibrational frequencies of an object and replacing them with different vibrational frequencies of another object, thereby actively changing the vibrations of one object to that of another object. Entrainment is considered as an active method, whereas resonance is considered as a passive method. (Healing Sounds, n.d.)
Ragas of Indian Music
Ragas form the basic feature of Indian music. A raga has a distinct musical entity, has a separate aesthetic form and can be recognized by a trained ear. A raga consists of musical notes of a particular scale within an octave. The number of notes that a raga may have, can range from a minimum of four notes to seven notes. One of the oldest ragas is Mohana, which is a pentatonic raga.
A sruti is a note of minute pitch which can be identified by a trained ear. It is a musical interval with the smallest audible difference of pitch and is a fraction of a semitone. The values of srutis can be expressed in terms of vibration per second.
Consonance and Dissonance in Musical Intervals
Consonance is that quality of a musical interval, which has a pleasant or harmonious effect on the listener. The fundamental note and its octave bear a ratio of 1:2, which means that the frequency of a higher octave note to the fundamental is double that of the fundamental note itself. Such an interval is called unison and has a pleasant effect on the listener. In Indian Music, Consonance is known as ‘Samvaaditva’ in Sanskrit and produces harmony. The notes are called Consonant notes or Samvaadi swaras and are said to be consonant to each other. In the same way, when a fundamental note and its perfect fifth note, which bear a ratio of 3/2, provide a pleasant experience to the listener. It constitutes the first landmark in the evolution of the tone system.
Dissonance is that quality of a musical interval, which does not have a pleasant or harmonious effect on the listener. The intervals between adjacent notes mostly produce dissonance. Dissonance is known as ‘Vivaaditva’ in Sanskrit and produces disharmony. The notes are called Dissonant notes or Vivaadi swaras and are said to be dissonant to each other.
Some musical intervals are neither consonant nor dissonant, because they neither have pleasant or unpleasant effect on the listener. Such intervals are called Supportive intervals, also known as Anuvaaditva in Sanskrit. The notes in the interval are Anuvaadi swaras.
These form the basis of Indian music in creating a pleasant effect and providing harmony.
The effect of musical intervals on health is also significant in Western Music.
One of the reasons why listening to music is so healing for us, is due to the power of musical intervals. A musical interval is created when one note is played with another note. The interval can be created by playing two notes together, or one after the other. When two notes are played together the interval has a stronger effect on us. The frequencies of the two notes of the interval create a mathematical ratio that affects the body in different ways. When we listen to all the intervals in the musical scale it is profoundly healing for our body and our mind. Pythagoras discovered that the ratios of the musical intervals were found in nature, the planets and constellations. (Simon, H., n.d.)
The relation between musical intervals and emotions are shown in the Intervals Table. (Ref: Table 3 below).
Consciousness is an abstract concept that has been the subject of study for scientists and philosophers for a number of years. Consciousness pervades everything throughout the universe. There is consciousness in every living entity as well as non-living entity. It is the aspect with which an entity perceives everything and itself in the universe. Whatever we see, hear, touch, taste, and feel, enters into our consciousness first through the senses and then as decoded information from the brain.
In one philosophical study, Consciousness is explained as follows.
“In human beings, consciousness manifests as awareness. This is also true of plants and animals, but their expressions of awareness are different from those of humans. For instance, plants show their awareness by responding to music with improved yields of fruits, flowers and crops. Humans also have this awareness in abundance. A person is said to be conscious when they can be aware of what they are sensing, including processes such as thinking, seeing, hearing, feeling and imagining. When a person is conscious, they experience their surroundings. Conscious awareness takes one to an even deeper level. It is not just a matter of raising awareness intellectually through knowledge. Here you raise your awareness emotionally and with the full involvement of your deeper mind prevailing in the heart region. In this process you gain positive energy, intuitive wisdom and a sense of direction. It is not logical but one can experience it mystically - an inner reality which has the potential to become an outside reality.” (Arka, 2013, p. 31, 38-39)
Conscious Awareness is awareness with full involvement of the heart. The level of conscious awareness varies amongst the various entities; the non-living entities having conscious awareness at the very lowest level, or even at zero; whereas the living entities have conscious awareness varying ranging from lower to higher levels. Consciousness has many layers (Arka, 2013) as quoted below.
There are 6 Main Levels of Consciousness:
M (Mind) - Consciousness: Mind is the first level, which manifests on the surface of the cerebral region. As it becomes sharpened by the cultivation of learning, it evolves into a faculty called Intellect.
SM (Subliminal-Mind) - Consciousness: The second level, which is below the surface mind, is the subliminal or subconscious mind. We are unaware of its potential and capabilities, which may seem incredible to the surface mind. Many of your daily activities are governed by your subconscious mind.
F (Feeling-Mind) - Consciousness: The third level is the feeling mind. This feeling-consciousness generally prevails in the heart area and can thus be called the Heart or Heart-Consciousness. It includes an emotional faculty called intuition. Almost all mothers have this faculty naturally available and readily accessible to help them understand the intense needs of their children and people they care about.
H (Emotional-Heart) - Consciousness: The fourth level is the deeper heart, where you feel emotions with even greater intensity. This can be called the spiritual heart, or your inner consciousness. The presence of the surface mind is reduced, but the presence of the subliminal or subconscious mind is enhanced. It is formed by impressions gathered through all you have learned and experienced, along with the imprint of your personality.
HS (Heart-Soul) - Consciousness: The fifth level is between the deeper heart and the ultimate essential being (Soul). Here you experience inner-space, and the mystical Universe, where generally the laws of physics start reversing (for example, it is not time-bound and gives an experience of timelessness, and an experience of inner space, which is beyond physical space). This could lead you to experience many alternate realities and possibilities that give access to your own soul. Here you become more connected with Nature and the forces of the Universe.
PS (Pure-Self) - Consciousness: The sixth level is core consciousness. This is the very essence of your whole presence and of everything that you feel, think and do. It is addressed as the Soul or Self. It is the inner-most consciousness, the ultimate essential being.
The different levels of consciousness within can be experienced via the inner voyage of Intuitive Meditation, but much dedication is needed to explore one’s Inner Self. (Arka, 2013, p. 36-38)
In recent years, neuroscientists have been trying to find the true nature of consciousness, by means of the “Neural Correlates of Consciousness (NCC) – its goal is to find the difference between neural activity that produces consciousness and that which does not. It is defined loosely to start with as: the awake state in which we have experiences about which we can report at free will or request.” (Lamme, n.d.).
Consciousness is also described as: “It is what vanishes every night when we fall into dreamless sleep and reappears when we wake up or when we dream. Thus, consciousness is synonymous with experience of shapes or sounds, thoughts or emotions, about the world or about the self. Consciousness depends on certain parts of the brain.” (Tononi, G., 2012).
Another theory named Integrated Information Theory (IIT) of consciousness, proposed the axioms of IIT as “Intrinsic Existence: consciousness exists and each experience is actual; Composition: Consciousness is structured and each experience is composed of multiple phenomenological distinctions, elementary or higher-order; Information: consciousness is specific and each experience is the particular way it is; Integration: Consciousness is unified, each experience is irreducible to non-interdependent, disjoint subsets of phenomenal distinctions; Exclusion: Consciousness is definite, in content and spatio-temporal grain, each experience has the set of phenomenal distinctions it has, neither less nor more, and the experience flows at a particular speed, neither faster nor slower.” (Tononi, G., 2015)
“The IIT strives to provide a theoretical approach to the precise quantification of the richness of experience for any conscious system. This requires calculating the maximal amount of integrated information in a system. IIT refers to this as the system’s phi (Φ) value, which can be expressed numerically, at least in principle.” (Fallon, F., n.d.).
A further explanation to understand Phi: “Phi or Φ is a measure of the system’s ‘integrated information’. In Consciousness, Koch equates phi to “synergy,” the degree to which a system is “more than the sum of its parts.” Phi can be a property of any entity, biological or non-biological
Even a proton can possess phi, because a proton is an emergent phenomenon stemming from the interaction of its quarks.” (Hogan, J., 2015).
Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s perspective of Consciousness: “What is consciousness? What is a conscious mind?
Consciousness is that which we lose when we fall into deep sleep without dreams or when we go under anesthesia, and it is what we regain when we recover from sleep or from anesthesia.” (Damasio, A., 2011)
Perception of Consciousness
What is it exactly that we lose when we are in deep sleep or when we are under anesthesia?
The Mind: it is a flow of mental images – that can be sensory patterns, visual, tactile or auditory images – this flow of mental images is the mind.
The Self: there is something else other than what we experience. We are not passive exhibitors of visual, tactile or auditory images; we have ‘selves’. So, we have a ‘self’ that is within the conscious mind.
A conscious mind is a mind with a self in it; A self introduces a subjective perspective in the mind; we are only fully conscious when self comes to mind. A portion of the brain stem actually makes brain maps of different aspects of our interior, different aspects of our body; they are exquisitely topographic, and exquisitely interconnected in a recursive pattern. It is out of this tight coupling between the brain stem and the body, that we generate this mapping of the body that provides the grounding for the Self, and that comes in the form of feelings, primordial feelings, by the way. So we get a picture of interconnectivity, in which we have the brain stem providing the grounding for the Self, in a very tight interconnection with the body; and we have the cerebral cortex providing the great spectacle of our minds with the profusion of images that are the contents of our minds, and that we normally pay most attention to as we should, because that’s really the film that is rolling in our minds.
Antonio Damasio continues that: You cannot have a conscious mind if you don’t have the interaction between cerebral cortex and brain stem; you cannot have a conscious mind if you don’t have the interaction between the brain stem and the body. There are three levels of Self to consider: the proto self, the core self, and the autbiographical self. The autobiographical self is built on the basis of past memories and memories of the plans that we have made. It is the lived past and the anticipated future. The autobiographical self has prompted extended memory, reasoning, imagination, creativity, and language. (Damasio, A., 2011).
Emotion and Consciousness
According to Antonio Damasio:
The feeling of an emotion is a process that is distinct from having the emotion in the first place. So, in order to understand what a feeling is, we need to understand what an emotion is. An emotion is the execution of a very complex program of action; some actions that are actually movements - external – movement of our limbs – hands/feet, expressions of face etc.), and internal – that happen in the heart or gut; and movements that are actually not muscular movements – but rather releases of molecules – say for example in the endocrine system – into the blood stream. In a broad sense, it is movement in action.
An Emotion consists of a very well-orchestrated set of alterations in the body that has, as a general purpose, making life more survivable, by taking care of a danger or taking care of an opportunity, or something in between.
A Feeling is actually the portrayal of what is going on in the organism when you are having an emotion. If you have just an emotion, you would not necessarily feel it. To feel an emotion, you need to represent in the brain in structures that are actually different from the structures which lead to the emotion – what is going on in the organism when you are having the emotion. So, you can define very simply, as the process of perceiving what is going on in the organism when you are in the throes of an emotion. And that is achieved by a collection of structures – some of which are in the brain stem, some of which are in the cerebral cortex, namely the insular cortex.
Emotion is a reaction to the world. Emotions are engaged when the states outside of our organism are fairly high in positive or negative directions. Emotion is in a way, a contribution to a sort of an auto-pilot. So, this is a level of response to the world, that is automated, and it is largely non-conscious. Then you take consciousness of it, and once you start feeling what is happening, and connecting the feeling to what you are perceiving, then you realize that there is the danger or opportunity. The entire process is then made conscious and enters the mind flow. Then the experiences of emotion also have a way of modelling what you are going to do next, because we have feelings which can actually stay in memory. Then we have a possibility of using feelings of certain emotions for future planning. It is a way of keeping alive, and also of constructing a view of the world, and making sure that the view is taken into consideration when planning future events. (Damasio, A., 2011)
When Emotions Make Better Decisions
We cannot always make decisions by logical reasoning alone. It is because the lift that comes from emotion. It is emotion that allows you to mark things as good, bad or indifferent, literally in the flesh. And it is that kind of emotional impetus that are lacking. We are constantly being swayed in what we do; what we remember from the previous situation is not the facts, not just the outcome that may be good or bad; we also remember whether or not what we felt was good or bad. When you are making decisions, and of course the options you make are going to produce good or bad outcome or something in-between, you do not only remember what the factual result is, but also what the emotional result is. That tandem of fact and associated emotion is critical, and of course, most of what we csntruct as wisdom over time, is actually a result of cultivating that knowledge about how our emotions behaved and what we learnt from them (Damasio, A., 2009).
Physics / Mathematics Perspective
According to physicist Max Tegmark:
“Consciousness is mathematical pattern : the way information feels when processed in a particular way.
How could something as complicated as consciousness possibly be explained by something as simple as particles? Because consciousness is a phenomena that has properties above and beyond the propereties of its particles. Physicists call such phenomena as Emergence phenomena.” (Tegmark, M., 2014)
Tegmark states that the characteristic properties of ice, water and water vapour are different even though they are made of the exact same kind of water molecules. They are different due to the arrangement of particles of water molecules in them. Just as there are certain conditions under which various states of matter - such as steam, water, and ice - can arise, so too can various forms of consciousness, he argues. So it’s not the particles that make a difference, it’s the patterns into which they are arranged. Solids, liquids and gases are all emergence phenomena in that they have properties above and beyond those of their particles; they have properties that the particles don’t have.
Similarly, he thinks that: “consciousness too is an emergence phenomena. Because if one drifts off to sleep and consciousness goes away, one is still made of the same particles, the only thing is the pattern of arrangement of the particles.
Properties of Consciousness
How can a bunch of moving particles that are physical, possibly feel as non-physical as our consciousness? He thinks: Because consciousness doesn’t only have properties above and beyond those of its parts, but also has properties that are independent of its parts, independent of its substrate, independent of the stuff that it is made of. There are also other phenomena in Physics that are also substrate independent in that sense – for example – waves – these have properties like wavelength, frequency, speed and we can describe them with equations, even without knowing what kind of substance the waves are in. So these waves take a life of their own, above and beyond the substrate – for eg., the waves can cross a lake even though the individual water molecules are going around in tiny little circles.
More specifically consciousness is the way information feels when it has been processed in certain complex ways. So this means that it is substrate independent and it also means that it’s only the structure of the information processing that matters not the structure of the matter that is doing the information processing. Consciousness is simply the way information feels when it is being processed in certain complex ways – by particles moving around in very special patterns; it is the patterns that really matter. (Tegmark, M., 2014)
Physics Perspective - Superstring Theory
According to Physicist Dr Brian Greene:
Superstring Theory is the theory that tries to answer the question: what are the basic fundamental indivisible uncuttable constituents making up everything in the world around us.
The idea is like this: we imagine we look at a familiar object – candle and a holder. Imagine that we want to figure out what it is made of. So, we go on a journey deep inside the object and examine the constituents. Deep inside we all know if you go sufficiently far down, we have the atoms; beyond the atoms, they have electron that swarm around the central nucleus that has neutrons and protons. Even the neutrons and protons have smaller particles inside of them known as Quarks. That is where conventional ideas stop. Here is the new idea of String Theory. Deep inside any of these particles there is something else – the something else is this dancing filament of energy – it looks like a vibrating string – that’s where the idea of String Theory comes from. And just like the vibrating strings of a cello or musical instrument can vibrate in different patterns, these can also vibrate in different patterns – they don’t produce different musical notes – rather they produce the different particles making up the world around us. This is what the ultra-microscopic landscape of the universe looks like. It is built up of a huge number of these little tiny filaments of vibrating energy, vibrating in different frequencies, the different frequencies produce the different particles, the different particles are responsible for all the richness in the world around us. And there you see unification – because matter particles, electrons and quarks, radiation particles, photons, gravitons, are all built up from one entity – so matter and the forces of nature are all put together under the rule-… of vibrating strings and that’s what we mean by a Unified Theory.
But there is the catch: when you study the mathematics of String Theory – you will find that it doesn’t work in a universe that just had three dimensions of space – nor 4, 5, or 6 - ... finally if you can study the equations you will find that it works only in a universe that has 10 dimensions of space and 1 dimension of time. It leads us right back to this idea of Kalutza and Kline that our world when appropriately described has more dimensions than the ones that we see - extra dimensions.
According to Newton: Absolute space – provided an arena, a stage.
According to Einstein: Space and time can warp and curve – and that’s what gravity is.
According to String Theory: Gravity, Quantum Mechanics, Electromagnetism, all together in one package, only if the universe has more dimensions than the ones that we see. (Greene, B., 2005)
Imagine a spirit consciousness, floating in the vast nothingness or void, without the physical body or mind, and without anything around, just by itself. Spirit decides to expand its consciousness all around itself without moving. It creates a sphere around itself. This is the first circle created. It has an awareness of what is around itself in 360 degrees. Then the spirit-consciousness moves to the very edge of the sphere and again expands itself the same extent as before and creates another sphere, repeats what it did the first time. This gives rise to the second circle, and the resulting pattern is known as the vesica piscis.
The spirit continues flawlessly along the first sphere moving one radius away from the previous circle and expanding into a sphere and so on. This sphere will have its circumference passing through the centre of the first sphere. It continues to do this around the first sphere creating about six spheres around it. This is the beginning and it keeps continuing further and further creating more spheres around the newly created spheres.
Each time a new sphere is formed it gives rise to more information coming out of it. The first complete pattern or image that comes out of this is called the Seed of life or the Genesis pattern.
From the Seed of life pattern – emerges knowledge about mathematical proportions such as the right-angled triangle, angles, and knowledge about light etc. [See Figures 4 and 5 below].
The second image which is the egg of life is formed during the second vortex motion. Upon its completion it creates a three-dimensional shape, egg of life. The pattern continued to form the flower of life and continued further gives the fruit of life. Although this may be beyond any religious beliefs and thoughts, it seems to form the basis of many of the schools of thought that talk about creation (Melchizedek, D., n.d.; Spirit Science, n.d.).
This pattern with 13 circles is one of the most sacred forms of existence. This is called the Fruit of Life. From this fruit of life pattern, details of creation came into being and from which the fabric of the details of reality were created. It is one of the most important information systems in the universe, one of the basic creation patterns of consciousness in existence.
Everything in the universe follows a certain pattern, geometry or mathematical order that originated as the basis of creation. All the information whether tangible or non-tangible is said to have originated from this pattern of creation is known as the flower of life. All branches of knowledge, such as music, languages, science, and so on, are said to have originated from the flower of life, which has been found in many places around the world including India. (Melchizedek, D., n.d.; Spirit Science, n.d.).
Effect of Consciousness on Water
The works of Masaru Emoto, a Japanese author and researcher, have highlighted that human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water. The result was that he always observed beautiful crystals after giving good words, playing good music, and showing, playing, or offering pure prayer to water. On the other hand, he observed disfigured crystals in the opposite situation. Emoto published several volumes of a work entitled Messages from Water, which contain photographs of ice crystals and their accompanying experiments. (Emoto, M., n.d.)
Research and experimental studies on consciousness, emotions and feelings have shown that even though we are represented externally by the physical body, internally deep within us we are primarily made up of energies and patterns of vibration. This may also be understood from the perspective that the physical body consists of millions of cells of different kinds, which are in turn composed of molecules, atoms, sub-atomic particles such as quarks and even smaller particles, and finally in the form of patterns of energy that vibrate like strings (Greene, B., 2005).
As sound is composed of mechanical vibrations and is close to the physical, it is interesting to see how sound vibrations affect us. Musical sounds or notes are very closely related to emotions and feelings, each pattern or set of notes corresponding to a particular set of emotions, positive or negative. Consonant notes and intervals are said to produce positive emotions like joy, happiness, courage, enthusiasm, peace, and so on, whereas dissonant notes and intervals are said to produce negative emotions like anger, sadness, fear, and so on. The principle behind this research: when sound vibrations of consonant notes and intervals that produce positive emotions are applied externally to a human listener, then by the principle of entrainment, the emotional energies within the listener would also begin to vibrate in harmony with those sound vibrations applied externally. This in turn would help bring positive emotions and enhance positive energies within the body. (Sambamurthy, P., n.d.; Brown, R., Williams, L., etal, n.d.; Hagman, F., 2010; Willimek, D. & B., 2013).
Scientists and acoustics engineers have carried out studies and experiments on sound vibrations since many years. One of the interesting experiments that caught attention was that of Ernst Chladni, a German physicist and musician, who conducted experiments with vibrating plates and sound patterns. He devised techniques to study the patterns of vibrations on mechanical surfaces, metal plates of different shapes. Chladni used a metal plate on the surface of which sand was sprinkled. When the plate was stroked on the edge with a violin bow, characteristic geometric patterns could be produced, depending on the location of the bow on the edge of the plate, and the physical dimensions of the plate. The patterns are formed by nodes/antinodes, representing points of zero/non-zero amplitudes. The patterns of vibration were revealed through the use of sand, which settles into the nodal lines producing strikingly remarkable shapes. The plates came to be known as ‘Chladni Plates’ and the patterns were called ‘Chladni Figures’. These provided a way to visualize the effects of vibrations on mechanical surfaces. The famous pioneers who are known for their successful experimental work in the field of Cymatics are Robert Hooke, Ernst Chladni and Hans Jenny who gave the name Cymatics to this field of study. (Raghu, 2016)
Experiment Using Chladni Plates
The equipment used and the experimental setup for generating Chladni patterns are shown in Figure 9 and Figure 10 respectively.
Equipment comprises the following:
Two metal Chladni plates - Circular and Square (24x24) cm
Mechanical wave driver
Signal generator (0-800 Hz)
Microphone, Connecting cables, Fine sand
The signal generator is connected to the wave driver. The Chladni plate (square or circular) is fitted at its centre on the spindle of the wave driver, to be able to vibrate freely upon excitation. The fine sand particles are sprinkled on the metal plate. The desired frequency is set on the signal source and the volume gradually increased, to find the vibration ‘Chladni’ patterns being formed on the plate by the movement of the sand towards the regions of the nodes and forming the respective patterns (see the images in Tables 4, 5 & 6).
The Chladni patterns were produced with the signal generator as source for standard musical pitches of higher and lower octaves. The patterns were also generated and observed for the consonant notes in a Major Pentatonic Scale (known as Raga Mohana in Carnatic Music).
The theory of the Six Main Levels of Consciousness of the philosopher Arka, is an analysis of the main levels a practitioner will go through when he or she undertakes the inner journey of Self-discovery using a heart-based meditation method such as the Intuitive Meditation (IM) method. It opens science to a new way of understanding and researching consciousness for it permits phenomenological experiences associated with the different levels, to be researched using different methods including the scientific method. As it addresses the experiencing aspect of consciousness, it cuts through the dilemma posed by Chalmers, which he terms the "hard problem of consciousness". In addition, by recognizing the thinking Mind (often associated with the brain) as the first level, it helps incorporate the work already undertaken by many scientists. The levels mentioned by Arka are: 1) M (Mind) – Consciousness, 2) SM (Subliminal-Mind) – Consciousness, 3) F (Feeling-Mind) – Consciousness, 4) H (Emotional-Heart) – Consciousness, 5) HS (Heart-Soul) – Consciousness and 6) PS (Pure-Self) – Consciousness. In a recent study using a repeated measures design, it was found that participants showed a significant shift towards a more feeling-based consciousness after learning the Intuitive Meditation Method and practicing it a minimum of five times over a 6-week period as measured by the same Feeling Consciousness Scale. This gives support to the third Feeling Mind level of consciousness Arka mentions in his theory. As the role of the heart is said to play a key role in this theory, in this article we present information regarding the heart, embryonic development and pulsation to understand more about the relevance of the heart and why it has been used as a center of attention in meditation practices throughout the ages. Embryogenesis also poses interesting but difficult questions, which, as yet, Western Science has not addressed. It also stimulates the enquiry into the nature of "consciousness" and the fundamental question: Who are we?'
Keywords: Levels of Consciousness, Self-discovery, Intuitive Meditation, Phenomenology, Experiencing Consciousness, Feeling-mind Consciousness, Embryogenesis, Pulsation
The theory of the Six Main Levels of Consciousness is based on the phenomenological experiences of the philosopher Arka and that of his pupils. It involves a profound analysis of the levels and qualities of consciousness he experienced as he turned his awareness or surface consciousness awareness inwards on his journey to discover his true nature or self . Although Arka (2013) points out that different people's experiences within each level will be unique, he also claims that the levels are common when following the Intuitive Meditation method, which is also known as or Arka Dhyana. This suggests that other people using this method, or a method similar to it, will experience similar levels on their journey of Self-discovery. This makes his theory testable through replication, at least from an inner experimental point of view of other practitioners. As each level is said to consist of specific qualities, it enabled scientists to investigate the different levels scientifically through questionnaires, scales and/or technical means.
In this paper, I first give some background information, which includes a brief introduction to Western and Eastern approaches to consciousness, some definitions and what I mean by experiencing consciousness. I then present what meditation on the Self involves. This is followed by Arka's theory, some supporting comments and a brief description of the IM method Arka developed and used to investigate his inner world. I also point to some recent research and the scientific method used to test the third level mentioned in Arka’s theory. I clarify what is unique about IM and I discuss another heart-based method known as Prayer of the Heart. As this or similar methods have been used extensively by different cultures throughout recorded history, at least in the Mediterranean area, Persia and India (Louchakova, 2004), it poses the question what is so special about the heart? In an attempt to throw some light on this, I look at various aspects of the heart including research concerning the heart, investigations involving heart transplant patients, embryology, the development of the heart and central nervous system (CNS), and pulsation.
In the West, the scientific research into the nature of consciousness is still in its infancy, with little agreement as yet on what is meant by consciousness (Block, Flanagan, & Guzeldere, 1997; Crick, 1994; Dennett, 1991; Pribram & Ramirez, 1980, 1995; Velmans, 2009). According to Grof (1985) Western science stripped the original view of Newton and Darwin of their belief in divine intelligence underpinning all of creation and replaced it with one of radical philosophical materialism. This has given rise to the belief that consciousness is a product of the brain. Disciplines that are still based "on the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm of mechanistic science" (Grof, 1985, p. 65) are inclined to support a materialistic point of view of consciousness. Material science also considers individual organisms as "separate systems that can communicate with the external world and with each other only through their sensory organs" (p. 22). According to this approach, time is considered linear with memory somehow stored in memory banks of the central nervous system.
This model of reality is now being supplemented by quantum-relativistic physics [which] has transcended the concept of solid, indestructible matter and separate objects and shows the universe as a complex web of events and relations . . . However, the physicist has very little to say about the variety of the different forms the cosmic dance takes on various other levels of reality. The experimental insights from unusual states of consciousness suggest the existence of intangible and unfathomable creative intelligence aware of itself that permeates all realms of reality. This approach indicates that it is pure consciousness without any specific content the represents the supreme principle of existence and the ultimate reality. From it everything in the cosmos is derived. (Grof, 1985, p. 72)
This definition is very similar to that of Sen who states that in classical Indian writings such as the Upanishads, consciousness is thought to be the essence of Atman, a primal, immanent self that is ultimately identified with Brahman—a pure, transcendental, subject-object-less consciousness that underlies and provides the ground of being of both Man and Nature. (Sen as cited in Velmans, 2009, p. 1)
Arka's (2013) definition is consistent with the above view but clarifies it further by suggesting consciousness manifests itself through physical matter. Similar to bacteria that are able to survive with a complete lack of oxygen and in high temperatures, consciousness lacks boundaries, can take any form or shape and can emerge under challenging life conditions. In spirituality, consciousness is mainly a non-physical yet powerful entity that is the pivotal point of all life and activates the senses in every living being. It is highly responsive and expressive and activates many levels, especially in humans. (Arka, 2013, p. 37) Arka’s (2013) theory about different levels consciousness is intimately linked to his definition.
This background would not be complete if I did not clarify the term experiencing consciousness, especially for readers who have never meditated. Here I give an analogy. If we take a strawberry, we can weigh and measure it, cut it up, find its chemical composition and compare it to other fruits. In this way we can find out about many of its properties. Science is normally involved in this type of inquiry. However, until we pop the strawberry into our mouths, we do not know what it tastes like. This is when we have the experience of "strawberry." When we do this, some people might suppose that others have the same experience as they have, but really we cannot be sure of that. However, we can ask them about their experience, and although the words they give are not the experience, we might be able to get a general idea about the taste or "experience of strawberry" from different people’s subjective points of view. When we talk of different meditation methods, they become the independent variable like the strawberry, but in this case we want to know what happens to the person’s inner experiencing consciousness.
When different methods of meditation are investigated, the experiencing consciousness of each individual also depends on the intention that one set which makes results obtained using different meditation methods very difficult to compare (Lindhard, 2016). The intention of the IM method is the realization or knowledge of the Self, a process that is said to lead to enlightenment (Arka, 2013). This inner journey is a process, not unlike an outer journey. If we want to go to Rome, our experiences will be different if we fly or go by land or sea. Likewise if we want to go to Katmandu, our experiences will be very different from going to Rome. The inner journey is no different. To be able to compare experiences, we have to keep certain variables constant. We also have to obtain information from each individual about his or her subjective inner experiences. Only then we might get an idea if the experiences of other people share certain characteristics or qualities when following a certain method of meditation or when experiencing a certain level of consciousness.
Although, the term qualia, is often applied to individual subjective experience, its use can be controversial as it is often related to the description of a mental state of having an experience (Eliasmith, 2004). As I am proposing that there are inner experiences that are not necessarily related to mental states even though for scientific comparability they have to be reported using words, I prefer the more neutral term experiencing consciousness. There are also other ways of expressing our experiencing consciousness; art of every form is a great testimony to this. The term experiencing consciousness enables scientists to ask people about their subjective experiences to find out if there are certain consistent qualities to their experiences that are consistent between different sets of people or under different experimental conditions.
What Does Meditation on the Self Involve?
The art of meditation is an ancient one and yet its aim is as alive today as it was in days gone by. For some of us, there comes a time in our lives when we want to know the source of our existence beyond that of our surface personality. Before there were books or teachers, people no doubt wondered who am I, how do I fit into all this, how does nature work? These questions are not so different to what scientists ask, but in the past people took their questions deep inside and sat down and turned their attention inwards and waited for intuitive insights to arrive. In India, these people later became known as yogis, philosophers, seers, and rishis and the approach they adopted is the phenomenological approach or inside out perspective.
Predating modern psychology, methods were developed to make it easier for people who wanted to explore their true nature or self. These methods involved "the experimental phenomenological introspection into the living topological construct of the Self" (Louchakova, 2007, p. 82) or "serious self-pondering into the depth of the soul about ... [our] existence" (Arka, 2013, p. 29).
To help clarify the relevance of meditating on the Self and what it involves, I use the analogy of a computer. In Arka’s system, he identifies the aspect of the person who undertakes the journey as the "I awareness," "I ego conscious awareness," or "I ego awareness" (2009; 2013). For me this can be compared to the cursor of a computer where the cursor is not the computer, but it helps us move around the computer enabling us to use it in various ways including discovering its different programs and inner properties. We normally shine our "I awareness" on the world outside with the help of our senses. However, in meditation, in the quest for self-realisation, we withdraw our attention and senses from "the outside world and start shining our “I Awareness” of light on our inner world" (Arka, private correspondence, Oct. 2017).
Normally we use a computer for different tasks but we do not reflect on its parts. Nor do we reflect on the fact that without electricity or power of some sort, it does not run. In addition we do not contemplate that behind the computer, behind the energy that makes it run, is an external mind, which put all this together in the first place. Can we honestly separate all these different aspects of the computer, or are they in essence "one"? When we start reflecting on our essence or self we also start undertaking a journey, which starts revealing our different aspects or parts. However there also comes a time when we also need to go beyond what is seen and start contemplating how all this "runs" and who is behind the visible self and what is it's nature.
Arka's Theory of the Six Main Levels of Consciousness
The levels mentioned by Arka (2013) in his theory are: 1) M (Mind) – Consciousness, 2) SM (Subliminal-Mind) – Consciousness, 3) F (Feeling-Mind) – Consciousness, 4) H (Emotional-Heart) – Consciousness, 5) HS (Heart-Soul) – Consciousness and 6) PS (Pure-Self) – Consciousness.
The first level, Mind – Consciousness (M), "manifests on the surface of the cerebral region (and,) as it becomes sharpened by the cultivation of learning, it evolves into a faculty called intellect" (p. 37) and involves thinking. Subliminal-Mind – Consciousness (SM) is the second level and it is below the surface mind. We are generally unaware of this level's potential and capabilities (p. 37). The next level is Feeling- Mind - Consciousness (F) and it involves the feeling mind. "This feeling-consciousness generally prevails in the heart area and can thus be called the Heart of Heart-Consciousness. It includes an emotional faculty called intuition". (p.37) The fifth level, Heart-Soul – Consciousness (HS) "is between the deeper heart and the ultimate essential being (Soul). Here (the practitioner) experience(s) inner-space and the Mystical Universe, where the laws of physics start reversing and lead (s one) to experience many alternative realities and possibilities that give access to (one's) own soul" (p. 38). The practitioner also becomes more connected with Nature and the forces of the Universe. Although Arka claims there are other levels between these levels, the final and sixth level he mentions specifically is Pure-Self – Consciousness (PS). Another name for this level is Core-Consciousness and it comprises of "the very essence of your whole presence and of everything that you feel, think and do. It is addressed as Soul or Self". (Arka, 2013, p. 38)
Being experience based, Arka’s theory cuts through what Chalmers (1995) termed the hard problem of consciousness. Arka (2013) describes the journey of Self-discovery as "a journey from the 'Rational Mind to the Emotional Heart to Pure Consciousness'" (p. 3). It involves uniting mind, heart, and soul and transforming one’s past (Arka, 2013) or transcending one’s ego (Louchakova, 2007).
Mind of the Heart and Mind of the Head
The Prayer of the Heart method also centers on the Self via the heart center. In its initial stages it begins "by associating the repetition of Divine Names . . . with the somatic sense of self in the chest" (Louchakova, 2005, p. 295). However, in the "contemporary 'accelerated' form the beginning attention is fixed in the chest to access the Gnostic 'mind of the heart' ... Whence, the phenomenological analysis of the Prayer of the Heart uncovers the inner structure of consciousness within this 'mind of the Heart' as opposed to 'mind of the head'" (Louchakova, 2005, p. 295). Here we see a distinction between the thinking mind and the mind of the heart. Furthermore, she points out how "data from the focus groups show that intentional consciousness associated with the head usually consists of self-reflective, analytic/synthetic, logic based constructs as opposed to the lived experience in the chest" (Louchakova, 2005, p. 295). As such, the inner structure of consciousness described by Louchakova is consistent with the first and third levels outlined by Arka (2013) in his theory.
Heart-based Methods of Meditation
The IM is based on three pillars; touch breath and a vibratory sound. It is also accompanied by a gesture, which guides the surface mind to the centre of the upper chest or heart area.
Methods of meditations can either go above the surface mind or below it, and the IM method goes below it. Methods of meditation that go below the mind are slightly easier (Arka in Lindhard, 2016). Another distinguishing feature of the IM method is that practitioners meditate on their deeper self with the intention of discovering their true nature or self. As stated earlier, not all meditation methods are similar, not do they all have the same goals.
Although historically Prayer of the Heart was used extensively by different cultures, science does not know much about it. "It is rooted in an understanding of the Godliness of man and the humanness of God". (Louchakova, 2004, p. 35) The ancient Egyptians, Jews and the Desert Fathers practiced it extensively. It is also close to the traditions involving Self-enquiry (atma-vichara) and Kashmiri Shaivism (Louchakova, 2004). The IM method also involves Self-enquiry.
Scientific Research into the Theory of the Six Main Levels of Consciousness
As the Prayer of the Heart method takes years of training and is considered by seekers as "being complex" (Louchakova, 2007, p. 82), the IM method was chosen in a research project to find out what happens when participants were trained to go below their thinking minds and connect with their deeper Self (Lindhard, 2016; 2017a). This research was also undertaken to start validating the theory of Arka or at least one of the levels he mentions in it.
In a repeated measures design, a significant difference at the .001 level was found between scores using a scale known as the Feeling Consciousness Scale (FCS), which was constructed for this experiment (Lindhard 2016; 2017a; 2018). The scale includes items such as feeling of unity, peace, intuition, positivity, awareness of emotions, and connection to one's inner Self, sometimes expressed as soul, inner being, or atman. The changes in score were obtained after participants attended five IM training sessions spread over 6 weeks (a total of 13.5 hours). The second time the scale was administered, several open questions were added. Statements from these questions supported and added clarity about some of the traits mentioned in the FCS (Lindhard, 2017a) and also suggested there may be a relation between increased sentience and intuition, especially in females. Due to the small sample size and that the scale is a project in development, these results are tentative, especially those related to possible gender differences. The results also only give support for the third level Arka mentions in his theory, not the whole theory.
What is also novel about this study is the way the participant's inner phenomenological experiences regarding different traits describing the quality of their consciousness, was investigated. The measure constructed involved self-reporting through participants rating their experiences after training in IM, in much the same way as scales involved with the mindfulness meditation technique (Feldman, Hayes, Kumar, & Greeson, 2004; Buchheld, Grossman, & Walach, 2001; Baer, Smith, & Allen, 2004; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Chadwick, Hember, Mead, Lilley, & Dagnan, 2005; Michael, Black, & Garland, 2016).
The construction of the FCS itself involved a series of steps, for the scale items were not only deduced from theory but also derived from interviewing eight people who had practiced the IM method for between 7 months and 2 years*. Five open-ended questions were also included when applying the scale the second time. This was to see if there were some emerging elements or factors that may have been overlooked while constructing the scale.
One of the participant's drawings after each session clearly reveals the inner journey of self-discovery is a process (Lindhard, 2016; 2018). In contrast, words, but particularly numbers, have many limitations in showing ones' inner explorations as dynamic and form part of a journey. Questionnaires or scales also have their pros and their cons. They are relatively quick to complete, economical, and usually easy to analyze (Rattrey & Jones, 2007, p. 235). But closed questions or statements may restrict the depth of the participant’s response, resulting in the quality of the data collected being incomplete or diminished (Bowling, 1997; Rattrey & Jones, 2007).
But in spite of these limitations, this research opens new possibilities in how phenomenological inner experiences can be recorded using the scientific method, which is also quantifiable. In future studies involving meditating on the Self or the other levels Arka mentions in his theory, in addition to obtaining information about the practitioners’ phenomenological experiences, it might be interesting to also include technologies like the MCG, ECG, EMG, EEG, or the SQUID to also get information from the outside in perspective.
* For a full description of the steps undertaken see Lindhard, 2106
What Is the Importance of the Heart?
In his theory, Arka gives prime importance to the heart, as does the Prayer of the Heart method of meditation. Lindhard’s research (2016; 2017a) supports the third level of his theory known as Feeling- Mind - Consciousness (F) which is seen as generally prevailing in the heart area (Arka, 2013). This is in contrast to the thinking mind, which is generally associated with the brain and is connected with our intellectual abilities and information we receive through the senses. These considerations pose the question why is the heart so important.
But first, to understand the connection of Feeling-Mind Consciousness and the heart, we also need to specify what we mean by feeling. The etymology of the English verb "feel" might be one of the reasons why some people might have a problem with relating the verb feel to the heart. In late Old English the verb "to feel" is "to have a mental perception," from Proto-Germanic *foljan (source also of Old Saxon gifolian, Old Frisian fela, Dutch voelen, Old High German vuolen, German fühlen 'to feel,' Old Norse falma 'to grope')" (Online Etymology Dictionary, n.d.a., Feel, para. 1). The translation of the verb to feel into Spanish as sentir avoids this difficulty for Spanish speakers as the etymology of this Spanish verb comes through the Latin root sentire which originally meant to listen, but later came to represent all the senses (Etimología de Sentir, n.d., Sentir, translation of para. 1). This later acceptance is related to the etymology of the English verb to "sense": "'to perceive by the senses,' ... Meaning 'perceive (a fact or situation) not by direct perception' is from 1872" (Online Etymology Dictionary, n.d.b, Sense, para 2).
Here we are not talking about the physical senses, but intuitive guidance, which seems to be linked to the Feeling-Mind of the heart. Arka (2013) talks about the senses below the senses or mystical senses, which are not reliant on our physical senses. It is basically that level that was addressed in Lindhard's (2016) study. After certain confusion about the term feel in the pilot study, I changed the wording of some of the scale items by including the phrase "as an inner experience." I also did this, as it is the ability to feel or to sense as an inner experience that the IM method is said to awaken.
Research Involving the Heart
As modern day science mainly relegates the function of the heart to a mere "piston-pump" (Burleson & Schwartz, 2005, p. 1109), one cannot help wonder why many traditions have used the heart, rather than for example the liver, as the center of attention in their meditation practices.
In recent times, some scientists have begun to investigate the heart's other attributes. The heart has been found to have an intrinsic nervous system of its own, containing around 40,000 neurons called sensory neurites. This extensive and complex neural network has been characterized as a brain on the heart or heart-brain (Aour, 1991; 2007; 2008). This allows the heart to act independently of the brain, sending and receiving meaningful messages of its own through the autonomic nervous system. The heart has been found to send more signals to the brain than vice versa (McCraty, Atkinson, Dana Tomasino & Bradley, 2009). Based on a study which showed that the heart and the brain receive information before an actual event takes place, it appeared that the heart seemed to receive the "intuitive" information a few seconds before the brain (McCraty, Atkinson & Bradley, 2004a; 2004b). HeartMath has done extensive research into the different ways the heart communicates with the brain. According to them, there are four communication pathways: neurological, chemical, biophysical, and energetic (HeartMath Institute, 2016b, Heart Brain Communication section, para. 1).
Some of the unusual findings concerning heart-transplant patients raise questions for which science still needs to find answers. Between five and 10 percent of the people who receive a transplanted heart, report changes in their tastes, personalities, and most extraordinary, in their memories (Skofield, 2012). Some recipients are also able to access information about their donors (Pearsall, Schwartz, & Russek, 2005) even though information concerning the donor's identity is always kept anonymous. This information can come from feelings, dreams, and experiences.
Science as yet cannot explain these findings, however it seems that sensitivity of the recipient is a requirement in retrieving information Where the information is stored, is still a mystery although several theories into heart functioning have been formulated (Pearsall, Swartz, & Russek, 2005; Swartz & Russek, 1997; 1998; Russek & Schwartz, 1994; Oschman, 2009). Although many scientists, such as Kandel (2007), have explored and shown how memory is stored in the brain, information from heart transplant patients suggest that memory is not only stored in the brain but might be stored either in the heart or outside of the organism where the heart and the person's ability to connect with it, plays a role in its retrieval. As nerves from the heart to the brain and vice versa are cut during the implant operation, it seems as though this area needs to be researched further if we are really to understand more about the storage of memory, its retrieval and the possible connection of memory to the heart.
Embryogenesis, Pulsation and the Development of the Heart
In this section I examine the phases the embryo undergoes in forming itself a body. Here I limit my reflections to the first 49 days of the organism's life in mortal form. As somatogenesis (the formation of a body) is possibly connected to pulsation I also highlight recent finding in how the heart as an organ is formed. I do this because spiritual traditions have always suggested that if one discovers one’s own nature or self, one discovers the nature of the universe (Lindhard, 2016; 2017c). Although they were talking about the inner spiritual journey of Self-discovery, I feel the embryogenesis can also help to clarify our own nature or self.
The Four Principle Kingdoms of Nature
Looking at the process of somatogenesis of the human embryo through the eyes of van der Wal (2003/2014), takes us on a journey, which has certain similarities with the development of nature. During the first 49 days, the development of the human embryo appears to follow the principle kingdoms of nature showing reminiscence of the mineral, plant, animal and human phases, a process it shares with all human embryos (van der Wal, 2003/2014; Lindhard, 2017b). Each phase exhibits certain characteristics (van der Wal, 2003/2014), or ways of being (Lindhard, 2017b; 2017c) where each "way of being" may also be considered as a mode of consciousness. Here I briefly summarize the different phases and ways of being*.
Van der Wal likens the spherical form and behavior of the zygote to a "mineral" for it too has a protective outer shell and splits into ever-smaller segments on the inside. During this phase the organism is a closed system that follows the laws of matter, of physics and mechanics and can be seen as existing in space but outside of time for although it lasts a week in mammals, it is not counted in the number of days or months regardless of the duration of the pregnancy. At the end of seven days, if no new mode of being is introduced, the embryo will abort.
The next phase requires that the embryo put "down roots" - a phase known as nidation and which van der Wal (2003/2014) likens to the plant phase. This phase is "within time" and is one of expansion where the organism reaches out far beyond its physical boundaries.
Pulsation of the primordial heart at the cranial end of the germinal disc heralds the next or animal phase. Instead of growing upward like a plant, the pulsating heart turns and begins its decent to its final position slightly left of center in the upper chest. At the same time a process known as delamination or folding, takes place, which creates innerness. Now the organism has an inside and an outside.
Van der Wal (2003/ 2014) distinguishes a fourth human phase. Although the human embryo shares "innerness" with other animals, a new impulse starts with the elongation of the brain at the end of the 4th week. This is accompanied by certain characteristics including the appearance of the neck as the head grows cranially away from the trunk. It is the capacity to become upright or vertical that distinguished humans from animals for this shifts the center of gravity, which is on the outside in animals to the inside in humans. Although humans share the upright position with penguins and kangaroos, van der Wal (2003/2014) is talking about "a balance of the head on the trunk which in turn is balanced on the lower extremities" (p. 49). This allows the human to move in a unique way, which is not shared by other animals. The center of gravity in apes is slightly to the front and to the back in marsupials; essentially the center of gravity of animals is outside and draws the animal toward the environment and earth. It is this shift that allows humans to be aware of their inner world and experience "a center in our selves" (van der Wal, 2003/2014, 49). Having a center inside can also be considered as being related to the capacity of humans to later undertake an inner journey to discover their true nature or Self (Lindhard, 2016; 2017a; 2017c; 2018a).
*For a more detailed account consult van der Wal (2003/2014) and Lindhard (2016; 2017b)
The Development of the Heart System and the CNS
The first indication of the heart system is the development of blood in the ectocyst, or outer egg where blood is the first functional differentiation of the mesoderm. It then flows from the metabolic periphery of the trophoblast, or extra-embryonic mesoderm, to the body stalk, which is at the caudal end of the germinal disc. It then proceeds toward the cranial end of the embryo, running alongside the outside of the germinal disk. Interestingly, blood is flowing even though at this stage the heart as an organ has not yet developed. At the central point, which van der Wal calls the "centripetal junction of blood vessels," it comes to a halt and then flows back to the periphery through other capillaries. "This point of reversal, where the flow comes to a standstill, turns about, and takes on a rhythmical character, is the first indication of the origin of the heart" (van der Wal, 2003/2014, p. 44). On the same day the heart begins to pulsate, the notochord starts to form (Moscoso, 2009). The notochord is said to play an organizing influence" in the formation first of the neural plate, which then in turn folds to form the neural groove, which then closes to form the neural tube. This newly formed "neural tube" then gives rise to the nervous system (Scheibel, 1997, Appearance of the Notochord section, para. 1). The brain, which is part of the central nervous system (CNS), therefore develops after heart system has begun to develop.
Arka sees the creative impulse or creative principle behind all matter incarnating into matter through the heart for, to him, "pulsation is the underlying core principle and the property of universal existence, cosmic existence and local existence" (Arka in Lindhard, 2016, p. 87). From the literature review the role of pulsation in creation, including the creation of the body, human or otherwise, is an area that has not been explored fully by science. In the comparison between the developing heart and the developing notochord, including the CNS, it was found that with the advent of the pulsating heart, the morphological ontology of the embryo mirrors the different broad phylogenetic stages of creation from worms to mammals and invertebrates to vertebrate forms (Lindhard, 2016). This comparison is based Corno, Kocica, & Torrent-Guasp (2006) research which suggests that the folding of the human heart follows the evolution of "cardiac morphology which occurred in millions of years from worms to mammals" (p. 562) and Scheibel's (1997) suggestion that the first task of mesoderm in endocyst is to "come together to form a long cylindrical structure ... recapitulating the earliest event in the transition from invertebrates to vertebrate forms, a transition which occurred at least six hundred million years ago (Appearance of the Notochord section, para. 1). As the formation of these changing forms coincide with the advent of tangible pulsation of the primordial embryonic heart, it seems as though there might be some connection. In talking about the formation of different biofields, Rubik (2008) supports this suggestion by drawing our attention to the fact that the formation of fields "might also include acoustic and possibly other subtler energy fields not yet known to science" (Rubik, 2008, p. 555). The electromagnetic field of the heart is the largest in the body and it extends beyond the body and also permeates the body, which of course includes all cells (Ben-Amar Baranga, 2010).
Vedic non-duel philosophy recognizes it is difficult to separate the force that creates the intelligence behind this force, and the universe itself.
The essential nature of the Lord is perpetual spanda (creative pulsation). He is never without spanda. Some hold that the Highest Reality is without any activity whatsoever. But in such a case the Highest Reality being devoid of activity, all this (i.e. the universe) will be without a lord or Creative Power. (Singh, J. 1992, p. 10)
This view suggests that the Highest Reality, Intelligence or Consciousness is present in us and in all forms as spanda or pulsation as well as being present outside of us. As we have seen, when primordial heart starts to pulsate, folding of the three-dimensional mesoderm layer occurs which creates innerness, where the morphological development of the heart and the different organs are created in "waves" or different time intervals. Van der Wal in keeping with Blech Schmidt claims the term mesoderm gives rise to confusion in perception as derm means limiting skin and mesoderm is not a skin or border but "inner tissue. ... with a third dimension" (van der Wal, 2003/2014, p. 42). For this reason he prefers to write it as meso(-derm). Meso (-derm) supplies the proteins and collagen which are the basic building blocks of the structural components of the embryo’s physical body. It seems that it is pulsation and its relationship to folding which creates a cylindrical like form which folds on itself, thus adding a time dimension to the three dimensional meso(-derm). This suggests that we live in a time bound body. As the human heart pulsates at a rate between 60 and 72 beats per minute, it seems that time as measured by the clock which consists of 60 seconds per minute, might have originally had a connection to the biological heart rate of 60 heart-beats per minute.
As pulsation or spanda is considered as being inseparable from the Highest Reality or Consciousness, it also seems that the pulsating heart is the organ of incarnation of Consciousness. This is reflected in the following phrase “timeless Eternal Spirit in a time bound body - a most intriguing paradox” (Arka, 2005, p. 68).
The approach to consciousness adopted in this paper is very different from that of scientists who have never investigated the nature of their own consciousness or self. As thinking mind consciousness is the first level according to Arka’s theory, one can easily assume that this is the only level that exists. Descartes certainly did with his famous saying Cogito ergo sum. Although he doubted everything but his thinking and thus established he is a thinking being, he did not go deeper and question what is the fundamental nature of his "I" or self beyond his ego identity doing the thinking.
Although all humans and animals share a waking and sleeping consciousness, how can we assume that the quality and level of the experiencing consciousness in other people is the same as our experiencing consciousness especially as their experiencing consciousness, its contents and its quality are not visible to us? How do we know what a child's experiencing consciousness is like or that of a new-born baby or even that of the opposite gender? How can we know about the experiencing consciousness of other living forms or animals? How do we know about the changing quality in consciousness the embryo experiences as it grows itself a body?
By looking at our embryonic development, we have suggested that the incarnating organism will need to develop different ways of being if it is to continue to grow. This way of looking also seems to throw some light on the different modes of consciousness of the different kingdoms, where guidance possibly not only comes from only inside the organism (for example, via genes), but also from outside, enabling synchronicity of development between the different aspects and parts. This guidance is possibly related to pulsation, which becomes tangible in animals and humans via the pulsating heart.
Western science generally believes consciousness is a product of the brain. Psychological theories about consciousness have not been based on subjective experiences, but those of Freud, Jung, Adler and others theorists have been based on insights obtained from their patients' experiences.
This is in contrast to the Eastern way of exploring consciousness, which is based on subjective experience. Arka’s theory is based on subjective experience and it introduces a developmental aspect to consciousness suggesting that not only the quality of our consciousness might change as we develop, but that consciousness might also be first linked to the heart and then later become associated with the neural system of the brain as we develop thinking mind consciousness. This theory is therefore able to encompass Western scientists research linked to the brain, but it suggests there are other deeper levels, which are linked to the heart. It also suggests that the levels of consciousness associated with the heart are primary. This is consistent with embryology, which shows the heart system starts to develop prior to the neural system.
In a research study (Lindhard, 2016; 2017a; 2018) that complies with Western scientific criteria regarding method and procedure, a change in experiencing consciousness as measure by the FCS was shown to occur after participants where trained to go below their thinking mind using the IM method. It seems that the quality of consciousness to do with the heart is not the same as thinking mind consciousness and is characterized by feelings such as unity, positivity, connection to one's soul or self and intuition. This study supports the third level Arka (2013) talks about in his theory.
Other sources indicate that we not only have a thinking mind associated with the brain but a heart-mind associated with the heart (Louchakova 2005). The complex neural network of the heart that was discovered by Armour (1991; 2007; 2008) has been characterized as a brain on the heart or heart-brain. (McCraty, Atkinson, Dana Tomasino & Bradley 2009) have shown that the heart sends more information to the brain than vice versa. Information gathered from the experiences of certain people who have received a new heart, suggest they can assess information about their donors through their new hearts although the how and the where this information is stored, has not get been established. But as recipients received a new heart and not a new brain and the nerves of the heart are severed during the implantation of the new heart, it suggests that memory might not only be stored in the brain but also in either the heart or outside of the organism where the heart and the person's ability to connect with it, plays a role in its retrieval. If the spiritual path requires transcending our past as suggested by Arka (2013), it makes sense to meditate on an organ, which might be associated with memory or the retrieval of memory. These comments, studies and findings suggest that the heart is more than a piston pump and might be linked to a Feeling -Mind that is different from our Thinking Mind.
Our early embryonic development when looked at through the eyes of van der Wal (2003/2014) opens us to many new insights regarding our nature and the nature of nature and the phases the human organism undergoes in forming a body. This way of looking at our embryonic development also seems to throw some light on the different modes of consciousness of the different kingdoms. As suggested by Arka, it seems that the formation of the material world including our physical bodies might be related to pulsation, which he sees as being the "core principle" behind existence. It is also possible there is a relationship between heart pulsations, embryonic folding and its relationship to time as measured in heart pulsations instead of seconds.
The considerations presented suggest that maybe we are not our bodies. Maybe we are not our past or personal history but a fragment of the Highest Intelligence, Pure Consciousness or timeless Eternal Spirit incarnating in a time bound body via the pulsating heart. This would explain why different cultures throughout recorded history have used the heart as the focus of attention in their meditation practices. Instead of meditating on the physical heart, in reality they would be meditating the Highest Intelligence or Consciousness incarnating through the pulsating heart. This is a provocative suggestion where personal inner exploration that involves overcoming one's own personal past, seems to be the only valid way to test this hypothesis to the complete satisfaction of each individual. From a scientific point of view, it seems that until subjective experiences are fully accepted as a legitimate area of inquiry by scientists, consciousness and its relationship matter and to the brain, will remain a mystery trapped in purely theoretical conjectures which are unable to certify to the complexity of our fundamental nature or self.
My gratitude goes to Srinivas Arka who introduced me to the Intuitive Meditation method, which is enabling me to experience and understand life in so many new ways and also for his inspiration and encouragement to think, feel and see things in their true perspective, through science, logic and intuitive experience. My gratitude also goes to goes to Dr. van der Wal for helping me see the embryo with new eyes.
The Chladni patterns were observed using square plates for frequency 440 Hz (middle note A) and lower/higher octaves (consonant notes) (See Table 4). The patterns are dependent on the dimensions of the plate, and it may be noted that these are kept constant and not varied while conducting the experiments.
The Chladni patterns were observed using square plates for male voice and female voice as well. (see Table 5). It may be noted that the male and female voices are an octave apart in frequency; therefore, they have a consonant interval between them.
The Major Pentatonic scale, i.e. a five-note scale, (also called Raga Mohana in Carnatic Music), which consists of consonant notes, was chosen for this experiment. The notes of this pentatonic scale were used to generate the Chladni patterns using the square plates (see Table 6).
Studies by Hans Jenny (and followed by other scientists) show that when playing a toning sweep through a range of frequencies, there is a moment when chaos ensues when changing to another tone. He found that the chaos occurs when matter of any kind is rearranging itself into a new form based on the new frequency. Matter is designed to move away from chaos and into form and vice versa, a never-ending cycle that occurs on all levels continuously from our cells to our universe. This can be seen in patterns 3 (E-Ga), 4 (Pa-G) and 5 (Da-A), where the pattern for 4 (Pa-G) appears with less symmetry than those for 3 (E-Ga) and 5 (Da-A). Hans Jenny through his study of cymatics also developed a theory that molecules inside each cell of our body can be positively affected by sound vibration. (Linton, R., 2008)
Clear geometric patterns were observed when the vibrations were harmonious and pleasant. When using the voice as source (for the same pitch), it showed that the patterns were similar to those observed for the lower octaves using the signal generator as source.
The consonant notes and intervals in the pentatonic scale produced clear patterns, and are indicative of the harmonious nature of vibrations. It may be noted that the harmonious consonant notes are utilized in the humming of sounds during.
Every living entity is made up of a set of patterns of vibrations. The cells of our body can be positively affected by sound vibration. The human body has key energy centres.
These are called Chakras or portals in the human energy field. Located along the central channel of the body from the base of the spine to the top of the head, they are conceived of as whirling, wheel-like vortices through which universal/cosmic energy flows into and out of a person. There are seven major chakras, plus many minor ones. Each chakra corresponds to specific glands, organs, and facets of your being. Energy flows through the chakra system in two ways. First, it flows up and down along the central channel, connecting the chakras. Second, it flows horizontally, in an exchange of energy with the cosmos. Chakras can become blocked or imbalanced. This has a significant impact on the entire energy system. (Hauser, N., n.d.)
Sound and Music have healing characteristics which can be used in the balancing of the chakras and regulating the flow of energy in the system. Each chakra is associated with a sound, corresponding to each note of the musical scale as in Table 7 below.
Philosopher, author, inspirational speaker, developer of human positive potential programmes and Founder of the Centre for Conscious Awareness (CCA) Registered Charities globally.
Chair of the XLIII CICA, International University of Professional Studies (Hawaii, USA), Chair of Consciousness Research CICA, President CCA Spain.
With grateful acknowledgements and my sincere thanks for this great opportunity provided to me for presenting a research paper at the XLIII CICA Conference at Mysuru, India.
Extending my sincere thanks to the Chairs and Members of the Scientific and Organizing Committees of the XLIII CICA Conference at Mysuru, India.