Consciousness is our capacity to be aware and awake. The controversy is whether consciousness is a product of the human brain or whether the brain is in consciousness. Two ways of looking at consciousness can be characterized as a Bottom UP and a TOP down approach.
The bottom up idea is that consciousness is created in our brains. Each individual has a personal consciousness that is separate from everyone else. Each independent individual is able to build the life they want, based on their efforts and capacity to maneuver through their environment. Certainly, difficult and traumatic experiences affect us but it is possible to overcome these through will power, education and hard work.
The Bottom UP approach is about thinking we can control much of our lives, that we can set goals and be fully responsible for achieving them or failing to achieve them. Fulfillment comes from having the life experiences we want.
What is of primary importance in the Bottom UP approach is to know what we want and then to determine what needs to be done to get it.
The Top Down idea is that we exist within consciousness. Each of us is an individual unit of an infinite whole of consciousness. Just as beams of light are expressions and extensions of the sun, we are the expressive aspect of an infinite non-dimensional essence of life. Our individual existence is within the whole of consciousness. Each individual is a unique expression of the Whole, similar to a hologram. Our life experiences are meaningful – they can educate us and help guide us to live in harmony with the essence of what and who we really are. Our purpose in life is to wake up and become aware of the source, power and substance of the infinite consciousness we are within and to our role within that consciousness.
The Top Down approach to life is to know ourselves as individual expressions of the Whole of existence. We do not need to invent it or create it, only to become aware of it. Then, much like the sunbeams of the sun convey the energy of the sun to the planet, our purpose is to let the wholeness of the Whole be expressed in the situations of our lives.
In the Top Down approach what is most important is harmony from the largest possible view. Instead of thinking "what do I want," or “what should I do?” the question is “what is needed right now?”
While the study of Metapsychiatry uses the TOP Down approach, both the Bottom UP and the Top DOWN are ultimately motivated by love, harmony, and the pursuit of truth. In the Bottom UP view, what we really want is love and happiness. The questions we ask are “how do we find love?” “what will make me happy?”
In Top DOWN the question is “how can I come to know who I am?” and “what is blocking my view of the love and happiness that already are?”
No one here created them selves, nor can they exist by themselves. We all exist within a larger context.
This does not mean that we are like the “Borg” characters of Star Trek that were portrayed as individuals all under the control and manipulation of one central power.
Each individual is a “capacity” to express the Whole in a unique way. This is going on whether we are aware of it or not. Our journey is to wake up to this reality and fulfill it as much as possible.
Driving along the highway provides a good example. Each driver on the road can drive using intelligence, responsiveness and awareness, or not. Each driver is responsible for how they drive, yet, how they drive contributes to the whole of traffic.
We could say that a “good day of driving” occurs when there is intelligence, compassion, alertness and responsiveness at the wheel, where everyone arrives at their destination safely and at the right time.