Active Consciousness: Selections from Chapter One

PLEASE NOTE: The following excerpt -- Chapter 1 from Active Consciousness: Awakening the Power Within by Amy L. Lansky, PhD -- is under copyright. No copying or distribution of this material is allowed without permission of the author.


Chapter 1. Inner Space: The Ultimate Frontier

Copyright (c) 2011 by Amy L. Lansky, PhD

Sometimes a voyage of discovery begins in the most unexpected of places. For me, it all began with an episode of Star Trek.

In January of 1993, my husband Steve and I were watching the first installment of the popular science-fiction television series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. As a computer scientist working at NASA, I’ll admit that I was a natural-born Trekkie. This particular episode told the story of humans and aliens living on a far-flung space station near a planet called Bajor. Much to their surprise, the station crew accidentally discovers a wormhole—a distortion in the spatial fabric of the universe. By passing through it, they find that they can travel to the furthest reaches of the galaxy in seconds.

Soon, the station commander, Benjamin Sisko, is confronted with an alien species living within the wormhole’s strange hyper-dimensional expanse. Rather than being confined to the three-dimensional universe we humans are familiar with, the wormhole aliens have access to a fourth dimension—literally an extra dimension in space. As a result, they can jump between two locations in our world, no matter how distant, as if they were stepping into the next room. They can also transcend the human experience of time. Rather than perceiving it like we do, as a step-by-step progression that leads only from the past to the future, the aliens are able to visit the distant past and every one of our possible futures in the blink of an eye. This allows them to see and understand the entire scope of human existence as an instantaneous whole.

Using these unique abilities, the wormhole aliens enable Sisko to revisit his past and come to terms with his wife’s death. They also show him his potential future role in the fate of nearby Bajor. In fact, Bajoran spiritual seekers have developed portal-like devices that allow them to communicate with the aliens too. Like Sisko, they have found that catching a glimpse of the entire scope of their lives can serve as a path to enlightenment—one that enables greater clarity, insight, and wisdom.

Somehow, this story grabbed me in a profound way. Rather than tossing it aside as pure science fiction, I lay awake into the wee hours that night wondering if it also contained a kernel of scientific fact. What are space and time? Could a fourth spatial dimension actually exist? And if we could access it, what would we find there?

This book will take you on a voyage of discovery—to the realms of inner space. It is a journey that weaves the strands of many pieces of knowledge together—from scientific results about paranormal phenomena to higher-dimensional models of reality, from the mysticism of enlightened masters to powerful forms of alternative medicine. By assembling this information together as a coherent whole, I hope to convince you that abilities typically relegated to science fiction or fantasy might actually be possible. In fact, not only may we be able to sense our possible futures, but we might also be able to mold them—through powers of conscious creation, or what I call active consciousness. Another important goal of this book is to kick-start your own process of personal transformation so that you can develop these abilities for yourself.

From Robot Consciousness to Cosmic Consciousness

Of course, you may be wondering how a former NASA computer expert could entertain ideas like these! It’s true that my views about human consciousness are unusual for a person with my background. As a researcher in computer science and artificial intelligence for over twenty years, I was known for my work on a variety of computer systems that tried to mimic human reasoning abilities.[1,2] For instance, I built artificial agents that “perceived” as well as “reasoned” about their environment and took actions as a result. Despite or perhaps because of my expertise in this area, I am alarmed when scientists and philosophers equate consciousness with simple forms of awareness, or even with more complex forms of reasoning. The natural result of this equation is to find computers capable of consciousness, or perhaps even worse, to view humans as complex machines![3]

To me, computers are simply complex tools, no more conscious than cars or telephones. And artificial intelligence is just that—artificial. In fact, rather than subscribing to the notion of machine-as-human or human-as-machine, my years as a computer scientist were the period in my life when I became increasingly drawn to the metaphysical. I grew to believe that much more exists than meets our limited awareness, and that the universe is not the mundane three-dimensional mechanistic place that it appears to be. Today, I understand that it is filled with energy fields and forces that scientists have yet to measure. And it is through an examination of our interaction with these energies that I believe humanity will ultimately develop a more accurate understanding of what consciousness is and of our true inner power and potential.

A Doorway to Enlightenment

Where are these energies and forces and how can we access them? The answer is that they lie within you. Just as the Bajorans on Star Trek used portals to contact the wormhole aliens, I believe that each one of us possesses our own personal portal to enlightenment—a doorway that leads to higher dimensions of space and time.

When I first began reading about this subject back in 1993, I was surprised to discover that many physicists do consider four or even more spatial dimensions to be a scientific possibility. Indeed, because the existence of more than three spatial dimensions is necessary for recent scientific theories (such as string theory) to be correct, an acceptance of their existence has become fairly common among physicists over the past decade.[4,5] I also discovered that the mathematics of higher-dimensional space has been studied and envisioned for nearly 200 years, and that it does yield the kinds of phenomena described on Star Trek—in particular, the ability to reach across time and space in an instant.[6,7]

Imagine the possibilities! Given access to four dimensions or even higher-dimensional realms, we could sense our possible futures and weigh the alternatives that lie before us. Rather than feeling like puppets buffeted about in a chaotic world, a higher-dimensional form of awareness would allow each one of us to shape our own destiny and become an active creator—a master of our own fate. Could such an ability be achieved? Or is it pure fantasy?

In the Harry Potter fantasy book series by J.K. Rowling, a potion named “Felix Felicis” enables a power quite like this.[8] After taking it, a person is filled with joy and intuitively knows, at each moment, exactly what to do in order to reach his or her goals. For example, after Harry drinks the Felix Felicis potion, he manages to rescue his friends through a series of very improbable choices, and he does so in a state of sheer happiness, relaxation, and confidence. In the world of Harry Potter, Felix Felicis is simply considered to be a “good luck” potion. But much more profound than bestowing luck, what the potion actually does is enable someone to know exactly what to say or do in order to reach his or her desired goal. It’s like a magic compass that illuminates the best path into the future—the path that allows one’s desires to unfold before them.

After more reading and exploration, I discovered that abilities like these are also an intrinsic part of the belief systems of many cultures. For instance, author Michael Talbot’s intriguing book, The Holographic Universe, describes how the Hawaiian shamans or kahunas believe that thoughts directly affect how the future unfolds. Because most of our thoughts about the future tend to be a jumble of plans, fears, and hopes, our lives seem equally haphazard or random. However, the kahunas believe that by gaining mastery over our thoughts, and in particular by working in cooperation with a more knowing, interior part of ourselves, we can gain control over the world and the future we create.[9]

Is there truth to these shamanic beliefs? And can they be explained scientifically—perhaps in terms of a higher-dimensional form of awareness? Can an average person—not just a trained shaman—make use of such powers in his or her day-to-day life?

I believe that the answer is: Yes. Each one of us possesses our own portal to higher-dimensional realms and capabilities. The process of developing and accessing it requires time, dedication, and sincerity, but attaining at least some form of access is definitely within reach. It is my hope that this book will serve as a guide that helps you get there.

This Book Is an Experience

Try to think of this book as an experience—not just one of reading, but also one of personal development and experimentation. While some parts of this book will simply provide you with information, others will ask you to try out ideas and activities for yourself. If you wish to gain the maximum benefits and effects, please engage with and practice the various suggestions and exercises as you encounter them.

I also designed this book to stimulate the different parts of your mind. Just as there are many kinds of people, each with different orientations of thought and interest, there are also many different facets of each one of us. There is the “everyday” part of us concerned with material affairs, and there is the mystical part of us that suspects there may be more going on. There is the skeptical scientist within each one of us that adopts and defends the conventionally accepted view of things, and there is the part of us that is more open and wondering. For this reason, you will find that different sections of this book address and stimulate these different parts of you. Some will appeal more to some readers than others. But my suggestion is to try and remain open to all of it, no matter who you are or where you’re coming from. The net effect will be an experience that will permeate and change you.

The path of your voyage will be much like a spiral that begins in the outer world and winds inward toward the interior realms of the self. For the rest of Part I, I’ll begin by describing my own journey of discovery and paint a road map of where you will be headed. Then, in Part II, you’ll visit the outer world of science. My goal there is to coax you away from the typical intuitions that most of us have about how the world works—the materialistic or traditional view, where the world is seen as a clockwork mechanism devoid of meaning and mystery. To do this, I’ll tell you about a range of amazing scientific evidence that indicates there may be much more going on beneath the surface of accepted reality than you might think. Not only may there be fields of energy that we are not yet aware of, but they might carry information that has meaning and purpose.

Next, in Part III, I’ll describe a model of what this expanded view of reality might be all about. It incorporates ideas about higher dimensions in space and also provides a way for you to understand how active consciousness might work. My hope is that it will serve as a conceptual construct or mental model for you as you continue along your path. I believe that it also jibes with the unusual phenomena described in Part II.

Then, in Part IV, you’ll move inward toward the interior realms of human experience. I’ll present several esoteric systems of knowledge that describe how human consciousness and reality itself may be operating at a very deep level. These ideas were developed by mystics of the past and adopted by many ancient cultures—and are still important to many people today. You’ll also learn how the scientific information described in Part II and the model described in Part III mesh with these wisdom teachings.

The rest of the book then focuses on your own process of development and evolution. Part V begins by presenting a variety of obstacles that most people confront when they embark upon the consciousness quest, and provides an overview of techniques that have been used to overcome them. Part VI then supplies many exercises and experiments for you to try out for yourself.

Of course, in order to develop active consciousness for yourself, you must do—not just read about it. This includes learning how to meditate and engaging in some serious introspection. For this reason, even from the very beginning of your voyage, I have sprinkled “rest stops” or exercises along the way. These are places where you can stop, play, and experiment with a variety of new ideas and techniques. They include Exercises I—V, provided at the ends of Parts I—V, as well as all of Part VI. All of this material is an amalgam of what I have learned from my own teachers and from researchers who have studied the quest for the inner self. As you proceed down the spiral path, please take time to relax and open up to these experiences. You might be surprised by what you discover! But even if you skip over them initially, please do return to Exercises I—V before you embark upon the deep inner work described in Part VI.

We Are All Connected

Becoming the master of one’s life and achieving one’s desires is something that we all yearn for. But my true motivation in writing this book is much deeper than that. While I do wish for you to learn how to create a life with more abundance, love, and happiness, the real reason I am taking you on this voyage is to help our world survive.

Never in recorded history has there been a more urgent time—a time in which large numbers of us need to wake up and change our way of being in the world. While humanity has faced periods of crisis before, the world’s population has never been so numerous and its future so uncertain. Each day our collective sense of urgency is reinforced by reports about climate change, shortage of resources, international health and financial crises, and growing cultural and political unrest. Indeed, it may be possible that all of these political, cultural, and planetary changes are linked at a deep energetic level.

Whatever our personal views on these matters may be, there’s no denying that real change is coming our way. I believe that the best strategy for meeting these challenges is for each one of us to move forward into a new way of being. This is no time to scurry back fearfully to older ways—ways that may be comforting, but are likely no longer appropriate or sufficient. In fact, the challenges ahead may actually enable us to reach a much better world. We just need to make it happen.

A collective evolution into a deeper form of consciousness may be the critical ingredient that enables us to achieve this aim. As I discuss in Part II, scientific evidence indicates that collective forms of directed meditation can achieve results that exceed the sum of individual efforts. So if large numbers of us try to achieve active consciousness, we might not only be able to improve our own individual lives, but also impact the entire planet. My hope is that this book will inspire you to join this effort—a collective evolution of humanity that will transform our entire world into one of peace, abundance, and joy.

Citations for Chapter 1

1. M.P. Georgeff and A.L. Lansky. “Reactive Reasoning and Planning.” Proceedings of the Sixth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-87), Seattle, Washington (July 1987).

2. A.L. Lansky. “Localized Planning with Action-Based Constraints.” Artificial Intelligence, Volume 98, Number 1-2, pp. 49–136 (January 1998).

3. D. Dennett. Consciousness Explained. Boston: Little, Brown and Company (1991).

4. M. Kaku. Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension. New York: Oxford University Press (1994).

5. L. Randall. Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions. New York: Harper Perennial (2006).

6. E.A. Rauscher and R. Targ. “Investigation of a Complex Space-Time Metric to Describe Precognition of the Future.” Frontiers of Time: Retrocausation—Experiment and Theory, AIP Conference Proceedings, Volume 863, pp. 121–146 (2006).

7. R. Rucker. The Fourth Dimension: A Guided Tour of Higher Universes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company (1984).

8. J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic Paperbacks (2006).

9. M. Talbot. The Holographic Universe. New York: Harper Perennial, p. 200 (1992).