In this episode of Global Spirit, host Phil Cousineau explores both the ancient and the contemporary interest in consciousness or awareness. It has been studied in the East through a variety of spiritual practices including meditation. In the West, psychologists, quantum physicists, and other scientists have shared their understandings of consciousness with the public. Some spiritual teachers believe that awareness is the common thread of all religions. Others are convinced that there is a universal consciousness that nourishes all people who tap into its riches. Cousineau also leads the discussion into a consideration of whether or not all species have consciousness and whether or not we are in the midst of a crisis of consciousness.

Sraddhalu Ranade is a scientist, educator, and scholar at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in India. He is presently involved in the production of video programs based on India’s cultural roots; he also conducts teacher-training programs based on a soul-centered approach to education. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences on science and spirituality and lectures around the world on the yoga teachings of Sri Aurobindo.

Peter Russell is a scientist, keynote speaker, and author of From Science to God and The Consciousness Revolution. He studied mathematics and theoretical physics at Cambridge University, meditation and eastern philosophy in India, and has a post-graduate degree in computer science. Russell is a fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, The World Business Academy, and an Honorary Member of The Club of Budapest.

To Continue This Journey:

  • "A transformation in consciousness is something that opens the door for us. It's almost as though we are in a small, enclosed, dark room. We feel constrained, we feel limited in some way, and then the door swings open — and suddenly there's a sense of possibility where there might have been none before. There's a sense of having options where we didn't perceive any before. And there's a change in perception, especially in terms of scope," Buddhist meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg has written in Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Daily Life edited by Marilyn Schlitz, Cassandra Vieten, and Tina Amorok. Have you experienced a transformation of your consciousness? What was cause of this transformation? Have you been able to find others who have had the same experience?
  • Cousineau states in a prelude to this program that the inquiry into human consciousness is the "holy grail" of the entire Global Spirit series. Do you see it the same way?
  • What stands out in your mind about Sraddhalu Ranade’s understanding of the process of awareness and the contribution of human consciousness to the world at large?
  • Share your reactions to the discussion about consciousness in animals, plants, and rocks.
  • What do you think about Peter Russell’s understanding of the strengths and limitations of science when laid alongside spirituality?
  • Discuss the ways in which human consciousness can provide access to wonder and awe.