The inscription over the ancient Greek temple of Apollo instructed all who entered to ‘Know Thyself.’
Consciousness as the knower within must cognize consciousness as its own self. The one that you are seeking is the very one that is seeking.
The great rishis and sages of the past refined their consciousness through meditation practices to make it a reliable research instrument for this exploration of consciousness. Spiritual traditions of the past have prescribed the experience of pure consciousness, or unqualified consciousness, as the means for knowing consciousness. We can also comprehend consciousness through intuition, inspiration, creativity and insight.
Objective methodologies are important and crucial aids in our quest to know consciousness, but insufficient in themselves. Wonderful insights have emerged through brain scan studies, neurotransmitter research, and molecular neurology, but they can’t show us what consciousness is.
Attempting to understand consciousness objectively is like trying to understand the music from a radio by studying the physical properties of the radio and ignoring the radio waves that the receiver is processing. Studying the brain is an inferential and intermediary way to gain information about consciousness, not a direct way.
If you close your eyes and think of a sunset in your mind, no amount of research will ever find that sunset in your brain. All you can find is electrical impulses. That image exists only in consciousness. This same principle applies to all perception.
The reason self-knowledge is considered the essence of all other knowledge is because to the enlightened sages of the past consciousness is the ground of being. Consciousness is the foundation that connects all humanity, all life, all creation.
In this respect, the brain is really the by-product or epiphenomenon of consciousness, not the other way around. Our body and biology is a product of consciousness, and it is through this human nervous system that the consciousness of the universe becomes conscious of itself.
Consciousness is not an epiphenomenon of the brain, rather it is the ground and source of our experience of the world. The tools of objective science cannot quantify consciousness. To understand consciousness we must use the subjective means of direct experience.
~ Deepak Chopra 2008
~ See and hear Chopra give an illuminating YouTube talk on, “The Mystery of Consciousness?” (74 mins)