May 072001

It was my third major operation. As always, our family doctor remained present. Already sedated, I heard a big bang. An oxygen cylinder had exploded right here in the operation theater. I thought this would postpone the operation. Hearing the doctors talk I remained comatose. In fact, the operation was over. The surgeon was worried that I remained unconscious while our family doctor thought I had come around. “She is awake,” he said. Suddenly someone slapped my face hard. Reluctantly I left my cocoon of wakefulness where I was safe from the pains and perils of life.

I remember this because I chanced upon Ken Wilbur’s article How Big is our Umbrella? (Noetic Sciences Review, Vol. 40). The author looks over the field of consciousness studies, finding at least twelve major schools delving into the subject. They range from cognitive science to subtle energy research. Amazingly, they are often opposed, contradictory and dramatically conflicting, as Wilbur puts it. He ends his article with a paragraph that wants to be shared:

“And when we pass from all this research, and put theory temporarily at rest, and when we relax into the primordial ground of our own intrinsic awareness, what will we find therein? When the joy of the robin sings on a clear morning dawn, where is our consciousness then? When the sunlight beams from the glory of a snowcapped mountain, where is our consciousness then? In the place that time forgot, in the eternal moment without date or duration, in the secret cave of the heart where time touches eternity and space cries out for infinity, where the raindrop pulses on the temple roof, and announces the beauty of the divine with every single beat, when the moonlight reflects in a simple dewdrop to remind us who and what we are, and when in the entire universe there is nothing but the sound of a lonely waterfall somewhere in the mists, gently calling your name – where is your consciousness then?”