This past summer I had the good fortune to spend an evening with Dr. Amit Goswami, quantum physicist, prolific writer and teacher.
His jam, to use my daughter’s term, is explaining the link between consciousness and physical reality using scientific principles. He and I had been emailing back and forth about the mutually supportive connection between his theories and my practical results as a Life Coach, so he’d invited me to Baltimore to have dinner and talk in person.
It didn’t occur to me to take a photo when Dr. Goswami and I were together (too busy talking), but instead, here’s a candid shot on the road trip there. That’s my dad, Gus, waving from the back seat , and my son, Nick, driving. The trio of us took the 10-hour trip together.
Today, I want to break down a paragraph from Dr. Goswami’s book, The Quantum Doctor, to further the conversation we started in my last post. Really, there’s only one concept I want to share but it’s a big one to wrap your noodle around if you’re not used to thinking quantum-style. So I’ll quote a sentence or two of Dr. Goswami’s then add my own, hopefully helpful, thoughts.
First, take a look at a drawing I hand-drew for a coaching client awhile back. It depicts the notion that as consciousness moves through your mind, your mind creates two seemingly different things – a self ( ‘me’) and an ‘other’ (everything that is not you, like an apple.)
Dr. Goswami explains this phenomenon in the bolded quotes below.
“One of the surprising things in the event of quantum collapse is that when you look, not only does an object appear in consciousness but also a subject appears looking at the object.”
[This means both the apple and your sense of being separate from it appear at the same time. This means that your mind is the only place that an apple is separate from you. When you are not perceiving it through the lens of your mind, that separation doesn’t exist. Let that sink in a bit.]
“Quantum collapse produces the awareness of a subject-object split – the experience of a subject looking at an object.”
[Ok, with that point made, Dr. Goswami goes on to explain HOW the brain creates this experience of a ‘me’ and ‘an apple’.]
“This can be understood by examining the role of the brain in making a conscious observation… According to quantum rules, before measurement, before collapse, not only the object/stimulus but also the observer’s brain itself, the brain that is taking in the stimulus, must be represented by a wave of possibilities… In the event of a quantum measurement, the collapsing subject and collapsed objects, including the brain, arise simultaneously, codependently.”
[Stop. Let’s digest that. Even your brain doesn’t exist as an object but only as a potential object until it is ‘collapsed’ into existence at the same time as the potential apple is collapsed into existence.]
“The experiencing subject and the experienced object cocreate one another.”
[You and the apple are really the same thing, consciousness, appearing as two.]
“The subject sees the object as separate from it… but it is only appearance; the truth is that consciousness creates both subject and object. Both the brain and the object are collapsed in the same event, but we never experience the brain as an object.
[Take a breath. Let’s read that again. ‘We never experience the brain as an object.’ We can THINK of our brain as an object. But we EXPERIENCE even that thought subjectively, as ‘me’ thinking it.]
Instead, consciousness identifies with the brain that is then experienced as the subject of the experience…”
[Right there. Unlike all other objects, you and I don’t experience our own brain as an object. This is because as consciousness collapses the potential of my brain into form, consciousness identifies with the brain as ‘me’. That’s the unique potential our brains have and express. My brain has the potential to create the experience of a me that is separate from everything else. Your brain creates that experience that there is a separate you reading these words. But the only place that separation exists is in your brain, in your perception.]
“So quantum measurement involving the brain is tangled hierarchy. The reward is that we gain the capacity for self-reference, the ability to see ourselves as a “self” experiencing the world as separate from us.”
[This feels accurate, doesn’t it? We experience ourselves as a ‘self’ experiencing the world as separate from us. What Dr. Goswami offers is an explanation, from physics, for why that is so.]
“The downside is that we don’t realize that our separateness is illusory, arising from a tangled hierarchy in quantum measurement, quantum collapse… So is the subject collapsing the object? Is (are) the object(s) creating the subject? Neither. From behind the scene, consciousness, through the illusion of a tangle hierarchy in quantum measurement, is becoming both, the subject and the object .”
(All quotes from Goswami, A. The Quantum Doctor, 2004, 2011, p 70-72.)
So, that’s today’s share. Clearly, it’s possible to grasp the thought that we are not separate from everything else in the world. You probably understand this from other perspectives and experiences already. Today, you’ve got the science. And we Westerners love our science.
For those who will take part in the 6-month group program I’ll be starting and documenting for my PhD research, we will put this perspective to work. We’ll leverage it to consciously change things in your life that appear ‘other’ than you, in desirable ways.
Until next time, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how YOU might apply this concept to situations in your life already.
Next post: What Goal Would Make your Heart Sing?