In his article “Does Consciousness Depend on the Brain?” Chris Carter quotes Schiller, Bergson, and James:
“The brain is not an organ that generates consciousness, but rather an instrument evolved to transmit and limit the processes of consciousness and of conscious attention so as to restrict them to those aspects of the material environment which at any moment are crucial for the terrestrial success of the individual. In that case such phenomena as telepathy and clairvoyance would be merely instances in which some of the limitations were removed.”
The point is well-taken, but seems incomplete. I would suggest that it is not merely the brain which transmits and limits the processes of consciousness and conscious attention, but the entire organism. The human nervous system depends on sensors throughout the body to monitor not only its relationship to its environment, but its own inner functions. Although much of what happens on this level is below the threshold of consciousness per se and occurs autonomously, it nevertheless impacts and affects consciousness.
Moreover, the effort to become more “conscious” takes the form of increased body awareness. Those who are engaged in self-inquiry or therapy may discover impacted emotional nodules, many dating from the first moments of life, lodged in their psychosomatic regions. These also serve to “transmit and limit the processes of consciousness and of conscious attention,” usually in neurotic, conflicted ways. Part of the work of enlightenment, as I see it, is unraveling these knotted complexes of emotional energy within so that they cease defining a person’s awareness along their limited pathways.
Typically such complexes and neuroses operate beneath the surface of our awareness and are fairly invisible until something happens to expose them. The triggering mechanism irritates the complex and makes it irrupt into action. This is usually an unpleasant experience not only for the person with the complex but for anyone else involved, as it represents a breach of immature, regressive patterning into the waking present.
For anyone actively seeking emotional healing or “expansion of consciousness” however, such events present an opportunity for higher-order healing. “You have to feel it to heal it,” the old saw goes, and the feelings that arise when impacted emotional nodules erupt are anything but fun. The typical tendency is to quickly repress them, which is why such nodules remain inaccessible somewhere in the psychosoma.
The higher energies flooding our solar system suggest however, that triggering mechanisms on the planetary and personal scale are going to continue to escalate, forcing both individuals and societies to deal with hidden issues that need to be resolved and healed. Balance and wholeness are needed, and anything that no longer contributes to these must be ejected.
In this process not merely the brain, but the entire psychosomatic organism, will begin to operate from a more rarified state, and its corresponding transmitting and limiting of consciousness will attain a higher level of functionality.