The Intimacy of Consciousness

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.” — Einstein


A recent conversation with a dear friend with an extraordinary gift for insight and artistry, inspired me to examine the character and quality of our very human consciousness in a way that not only solidified some of my own inclinations, but also clarified them in my own mind, in a way that I previously had not considered. It is a testimony to the power of collaboration, and of opening ourselves to new ideas. I can enthusiastically recommend a visit to their blog:

After many long hours of conversation and contemplation, the images and ideas that we conjured began to coalesce within me, and our collaboration brought forth a keen sense that there is an intimacy to the subjective experience of human consciousness, which points toward not only the many potentials existent in our subjective awareness, but also to the intimate connection between every aspect of our temporal existence with the transcendent aspects of our nature as humans. It requires a kind of “leap of faith,” to even entertain the notion that consciousness may permeate every single particle within the universe, and that the sufficient agglomeration of those particles, in advantageous arrangements, ultimately results in a range of expressions that encompass everything from the beauty of flowers to the bounty of the future; from the proliferation of cells reproducing to the profundity of consciousness evolving; from the simplest relationship between subatomic particles. to the complex relationships between dear friends.

stars at night2

Another wonderful inspiration also recently took place in the comments section for my previous post, “The Fault In Our Stars,” from another gifted writer and poet, Tina Blackledge. Her gifts are abundant, and she possesses an enviable degree of curiosity and tenacity in the pursuit of her art that warrant a visit to her writing as well.

In my previous posting, I wrote about how the sight of the vastness of space affects me, and how my participation in viewing that expanse seems somehow to be a vital part of the experience, and (in a revised version) I responded in this way:

“What I SEE when I observe the vastness of space isn’t as important to me as what I FEEL. It may be that my personal response is atypical in some way, or perhaps I am just more sensitive when it comes to natural phenomena, but I feel CONNECTED to the vastness. In a strange and inexplicable way, I feel as though that open expanse of the universe mirrors something inside me. Whatever it is that I feel when I look out into the depths of space, it matters to me on a deeply personal level that I am so affected by the sight, and like so many of our in-depth subjective feelings about the natural world generally, our internal responses do not always lend themselves well to articulation. I can tell you though, that my view of it is that the depths of space contain much more than simply the elements and components of matter that formed the many galaxies, and my subjective experience of the world we live in, as well as my response to viewing the world outside of our galaxy, feels deeply personal, and intrigues me beyond words.”


The complexity of the neural underpinnings of our cognitive apparatus (our brains) provides us with access to an extraordinary range of functionality. Our experience of the world creates neural networks in the brain which permit neurological functioning, which allows for the production of thoughts, which construct and illuminate the mind, which facilitates the expression of consciousness, which manifests as subjective experience, which creates memories, which provide the basis for discrimination, which supplies us with the raw material for creativity, which relies on intuition, which requires contemplation, which feeds our dreams. In all of this activity, we see the complex relationships between each of the components that contribute to our experience of the world. All of our intimate relationships are a direct result of our intimate relationship with consciousness, and the intimacy of consciousness permeates every moment of our lives.

There are literally millions of significant moments in a person’s lifetime, and each one is essential as a component of that life. Changing even one or two of them with regard to the outcome of those moments could very well alter the path a person follows significantly. We rarely think of our lives as a series of vitally essential moments, but as I sit here and type this, even though this moment may not seem consequential, it surely must be. Important relationships may not result from every encounter we have with another person, but when we begin to feel a sufficient degree of connection to another person’s mind or spirit, the intimacy of consciousness becomes even more apparent.


Just as the minute subatomic particles of our atoms, and the structure of our genetic material, govern a large portion of our continued existence as a physical being, so too do the moment-to-moment components of our daily experiences and memories contribute to the person we are, and to the person we are becoming as the days accumulate. The more we advance in scientific knowledge and probe the mysteries of life, the more we can see that there must be a great deal more to our existence than simple genetics or particle physics, in spite of how much we rely on these temporal aspects as a foundation for the expression of our very human version of consciousness. Intimacy with another human spirit, particularly when we finally become aware of their significance to us in the sometimes mysterious ways that such connections come to be, we realize that no matter how clever we become at tinkering with even our human genes, and no matter how elaborate our understanding of particle physics may someday be, we are compelled to consider the role which our human spirit plays, as a component of our experience within the physical body, and how consciousness contributes to our continuing efforts to unravel the mysteries of life.

3 thoughts on “The Intimacy of Consciousness

  1. Hello John,

    As always, your post is intriguing and thought provoking. You speak of consciousness and spirit as separate entities but what if consciousness is just an awakening of the spirit? As you stated, a subjective reaction is demanded when we are looking into the face of the vastness of creation. The more we learn about ourselves as a species the more miraculous our existence becomes. We have yet to learn all there is to know about the human body and that is exciting. When our minds hunger for more understanding of ourselves and the world around us then we go out and get it, study it, tear it apart, document it, and teach others what we have learned. However, there is a point that each of us reach in our own time that we are faced with something that science and logic cannot explain. The spiritual connection between two humans is real although it cannot be quantified. You aptly stated your recognition of this and yet you still lean heavily upon the scientific explanations of the world because that is where we humans are comfortable. If we can explain it then we feel secure but if it cannot be explained then there is fear that our worldviews and core beliefs may be inaccurate. Note, I did not say wrong because a worldview or our core beliefs should never be stagnate. There is no growth within ourselves if we do not add new information to what we believe. If we do not test our beliefs then how do we know they are valid?

    Many people believe that logic/reason is the natural opposite to emotion/feelings but they are complimentary. Logic will cause your mind to hunger after more and more knowledge and it will take you on a journey of discovery that will cause you to emote all over the place. Then there arrives a point where logic can take you no further and that is when you must be open to allow your heart/spirit/soul to take you beyond what you see. Beyond what you can measure, beyond what is tangible is waiting the greatest discovery you will ever make.

    Thank you for your provocative post. I know I am a bit behind so I have much more reading to do but I am slowly getting back up on that proverbial horse!


    1. Hello Tina,

      You expressed very well the important aspects of the journey toward understanding ourselves and you are correct when you say that we must study it, tear it apart, document it, and attempt to share our ideas with others, if we are to make any progress for ourselves and the world in which we live.

      I don’t think it is so much that I “lean heavily on the scientific explanations of the world,” as it is that I try to relate my experiences as best as I can to what is known about the science of the mind and brain, and about the true nature of the universe, and show that we have to look harder when we are “faced with something that science and logic cannot explain.” There are certain thresholds which science is yet to cross in explaining the mysteries of the universe, but just because we may discover relationships between them, really doesn’t diminish the mystery at all. If consciousness is a fundamental feature of the universe like electromagnetism, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of a non-material or transcendent source that is responsible for its existence in the first place. If consciousness pervades every molecule of the temporal universe, and everything in that universe is an expression of consciousness, just in an amazing array of different forms and energies, our awakening to the spirit may well be made possible by its existence within us in this form.

      I speak often of the “human spirit,” and not everyone is comfortable with that term, because they think it somehow undermines our scientific understanding of our human nature, but the beauty of it is, that science illuminates life, and life is both temporal and spiritual in nature, and the spirit of life is not diminished in the least when we increase our understanding of the many ways in which consciousness manifests in our temporal lives.

      I’m very glad you are taking such an interest in my writing on this subject, and your comments are also illuminating and thoughtful. I very much appreciate you taking the time to contribute so well to the discussion, and look forward to sharing more as we go forward.

      Warm regards…..John H.

      1. Wonderful! I think we may be on the same page here or at least close. The intriguing thing is the differences for that is where exploration and discovery exist. You are correct, many people in the scientific realm “turn you off” as soon as you begin speaking about the human spirit because they believe it invalidates their own perceptions. When someone reacts to the subject in a negative or dismissive way then I know they really are unaware of who they really are or what place or purpose they hold in this vast creation. They may think they do because society reinforces that idea of esteem, accomplishment, etc. but that does not mean the individual knows him or herself at all. The conversation usually ends, but only because the other person is not ready or capable of understanding the subject matter. A person must be very confident in what they know or hold to be true but also acknowledge that there is more than 1000 lifetimes of knowledge and understanding that they will never be able to acquire it in his or her short time span. Yet again, it is the pursuit of that knowledge where the excitement and intrigue awaits to be discovered.

        Many blessings upon you John.

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