by Gary Simmons
World-renowned philosopher and integral theorist Ken Wilber advocates for the understanding that con
sciousness is foundational to reality, whether scientific or spiritual. In his book A Theory of Everything, Wilber puts forth a comprehensive theory he calls the Kosmos, after the Greek word meaning “the patterned whole of all existence, including the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realms.” Ultimate reality was not merely the cosmos, but the living totality of matter, body, mind, soul and spirit.
The hard problem of consciousness also includes the inability of science or spirituality to adequately define what consciousness is, other than to say that it is integral to any map of reality. Ironically, the quantum principle of wave/particle duality helps us to appreciate how consciousness is not so much a problem, but a trickster with respect to this arena of science and nonduality (SAND).
In the famous double-slit experiment, a proton behaves as either a particle or a wave, depending on whether or not there is an observer or the moment is being measured. In the context of consciousness, we might ask, “Is there a difference between a sentient observer (a human being) and a measuring device?” This question is important because it points to a “cloud of unknowing” that eclipses any intellectual (scientific or spiritual) understanding of consciousness. The Tao that can be known is not the Tao.
Whether it is non-dual awareness, the zero-point field, or pure emptiness that is the foundation of engaging the Kosmos, perhaps now more than ever, it is the time for a deeper, non-dogmatic conversation about birthing a greater reality consistent with creating a world that works for everyone.
Gary Simmons, Th.D., is co-spiritual director of Unity Spiritual Center Spokane, 2900 S. Bernard, in Spokane. He is author of The I of the Storm and The Soul’s Conspiracy. Simmons was cited in the introduction of Wilber’s book, The Fourth Turning. For more information, call 509-838-6518 or visit UnitySpokane.org.