Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Consciousness is more than brain

The current issue of TIME featured a huge section on the brain, which I slogged through to see what, if anything, I could learn. Article after article explored the physical side to thought, emotion, sensation—things which I don't really believe are physical.

But the section ended with an intriguing piece, The Power of Hope, by Columbia's Scott Haig, M.D. (I've linked to it, but only read it if you're okay with some gruesome physical descriptions.) Haig had a patient whose brain had apparently gone through the ravages of disease. The brain physically wasn't there anymore, and the medical staff was preparing the family for the patient's imminent demise. But then the patient actually regained consciousness, spoke plainly to his family, shared some tender moments, was even affectionate, for about five minutes. He then slipped back into unconsciousness and passed on within the hour.

Haig writes:

[I]t wasn't David's brain that woke him up to say goodbye that Friday. His brain had already been destroyed. …

What woke my patient that Friday was simply his mind, forcing its way through a broken brain, a father's final act to comfort his family. The mind is a uniquely personal domain of thoughts, dreams and countless other things, like the will, faith and hope. These fine things are as real as rocks and water but, like the mind, weightless and invisible, maybe even timeless. …

I see the mind have its way all the time when physical realities challenge it. In a patient stubbornly working to rehab after surgery, in a child practicing an instrument or struggling to create, a mind or will, clearly separate, hovers over the machinery, forcing it toward a goal. It's wonderful to see, such tangible evidence of that fine thing's power over the mere clumps of particles that, however pretty, will eventually clump differently and vanish.

This, to me, is a compelling example of what Mary Baker Eddy tried to show us with Christian Science—that consciousness, identity, exists separate from the body and brain, and that consciousness can supersede physical conditions even in extreme cases.

Haig speaks of the will as a powerful force. Christian Science takes it one step farther and reveals the only will as divine. The reason this works, the reason that we can break through material conditions on any occasion, is that there exists a supreme power that is entirely spiritual. Our mind has dominion over matter because all consciousness is an emanation of the divine Mind. Our will for good can overcome obstacles because it reflects the divine will, which is omnipotent good.

You could say the same for our capacity for unconditional love, for unselfish honesty, for joy in the face of anguish. These things all extend from our Creator, infinite Love, Truth, Spirit. We don't originate these things—we express these things because we were created to do so.

None of these things are connected to or dependent on a body or a brain. In fact, I would say that it's these things that animate the body, not the other way around. It's my consciousness that makes the brain work, not the brain giving me consciousness. This means that as I think, so I am. And I can control my thoughts.

I wish TIME would spend more "time" on subjects like these. I'll bet there's a lot of evidence out there for MBE's Science, if we'd only acknowledge the place of consciousness in the equation.

Consciousness constructs a better body when faith in matter has been conquered. Correct material belief by spiritual understanding, and Spirit will form you anew.

--Science and Health

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 1/30/2007 10:19:00 AM, Blogger Kate said...

dear laura...

a very powerful message, illustration and I am grateful...Kate

At 1/30/2007 02:26:00 PM, Blogger Kiran Paranjape said...

Hellow There!
Another nice post with great messagen which compelled me to write the comment.The human brain is a physical center of emotions; consciousness is metaphysical. The death is for a physical being not for the spirit or soul. If a person has harvested super-consciousness through years of meditation, the spiritual self can take presidence over physical self. When physical energy ends; spiritual energy takes over. It emphasizes the fact that one should divert one's attention from physical body to spiritual self.


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