Measuring the immeasurable

I have a book in my library, Measuring the Immeasurable: The scientific case for spirituality (Sounds True, 2008) which contains chapters from contributing authors discussing a diverse range of topics relating to research and spiritual methodologies and ways of being.  However, one chapter from the anthology by contributing author Charles Tart entitled “Consciousness”, caught my eye.  It’s a beautifully written chapter which not only inspires pure enjoyment, but one which explores the intersection of psychology, transpersonal psychology and parapsychology in a context of understanding consciousness, a particular passion of mine.

My own book, Consciousness and the search for reality, will shortly be available and in it I also discuss the relationship and intersection between spiritual psychology, the individual, higher life, and consciousness.  The word roots for consciousness provide a clue for my approach in that consciousness means ‘knowing together’, which in the context of spiritual psychology is seeing and knowing everything in ourselves.  But what does this mean?  How do we do this?  And if we do, what then?

Most people think they are conscious however the truth is that we often go through our day in at times what seems to amount to a dreamy state of abstract awareness.  Writing about consciousness in a Western post-modern epoch is challenging, especially because there are so many opinions from so many people.  Which of these can we trust?  Which of these resonate with us such that we know we have found a truth?  It is difficult because people in good faith are searching for something with which to connect, for something which will answer what may be a burning question they have.  Fuelled by a force they may not quite understand, they are driven to search relentlessly, to know, to experience something above and beyond themselves.

It is hard to be a human being.  Life is difficult for all of us in different ways and death, disaster and trauma never seem to be far away.  But there is something good in the Universe, there is something which is striving to bring us to our greatest happiness, we just need to connect with what that is.  Tart in his chapter recounts Maurice Bucke’s spiritual-mystical experience.  Described in full, it is an astonishing event which Bucke himself describes as ‘an aftertaste of heaven’.  We can all have these experiences, we don’t have to be ‘special’, we just have to be open to them.

Michele T Knight Written by:

Dr Michele Knight is a Social Worker, Social Scientist, researcher and independent scholar. Her interest and research in the end-of-life has its origin in the lived experiences of her own bereavements, her near-death and shared-death events, the returning deceased and attitudinal responses to those experiences. Since 2006, she has been extensively involved in community development, support and advocacy in both a professional and community services/voluntary capacity in the areas of bereavement and grief, hospital pastoral care, and academic lecturing/tutoring. Her PhD, Ways of Being: The alchemy of bereavement and communique, explores the lived experience of bereavement, grief, spirituality and unsought encounters with the returning deceased.

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