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Our world culture is founded on the belief that consciousness is derived from matter, giving rise to the materialistic assumption that informs almost every aspect of our lives and is the root cause of the suffering within individuals, the conflicts between communities and nations, and the degradation of our environment. The Nature of Consciousness exposes the fallacy of th Our world culture is founded on the belief that consciousness is derived from matter, giving rise to the materialistic assumption that informs almost every aspect of our lives and is the root cause of the suffering within individuals, the conflicts between communities and nations, and the degradation of our environment. The Nature of Consciousness exposes the fallacy of this belief and suggests that the recognition of the presence, the primacy and the nature of consciousness is the prerequisite for any new paradigm that is to address these issues at their core.


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Our world culture is founded on the belief that consciousness is derived from matter, giving rise to the materialistic assumption that informs almost every aspect of our lives and is the root cause of the suffering within individuals, the conflicts between communities and nations, and the degradation of our environment. The Nature of Consciousness exposes the fallacy of th Our world culture is founded on the belief that consciousness is derived from matter, giving rise to the materialistic assumption that informs almost every aspect of our lives and is the root cause of the suffering within individuals, the conflicts between communities and nations, and the degradation of our environment. The Nature of Consciousness exposes the fallacy of this belief and suggests that the recognition of the presence, the primacy and the nature of consciousness is the prerequisite for any new paradigm that is to address these issues at their core.

30 review for The Nature of Consciousness: Essays on the Unity of Mind and Matter

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    ** NB - this is a long review, but this is the important piece: if you are interested in self-growth, spirituality, and understanding the nature of the world and your self, please, please read this book.** What would happen if someone came along and proved the existence of God? Not much, probably. At first. Now, I’m not talking about a booming voice from the sky. That’s a demonstration of God, not proof. And we’ve tried that kind of thing before. Resurrecting the dead and materializing objects ** NB - this is a long review, but this is the important piece: if you are interested in self-growth, spirituality, and understanding the nature of the world and your self, please, please read this book.** What would happen if someone came along and proved the existence of God? Not much, probably. At first. Now, I’m not talking about a booming voice from the sky. That’s a demonstration of God, not proof. And we’ve tried that kind of thing before. Resurrecting the dead and materializing objects out of thin air mostly just gets you in trouble. No, I’m talking about proof in the mathematical sense, in the system of logic that science is supposed to be based on: philosophical proof. I’m talking about solving the ontological problem that Western philosophers have been wrestling with for a few thousand years. You’d have to admit that would be pretty significant. At the crux of the attempt at such a thing is the primary dilemma: the question of how consciousness arises from matter. This is historically known as the “hard question of consciousness”. Many people agree that if you can conclusively solve this, you either prove or disprove the existence of spirit, and therefore, God. You’re going to hear me get pretty excited in this review, and I’m going to make some seemingly outlandish comparisons. But the reason is this: I think Rupert Spira has just written such a proof. I realize that I am going to come across as over-the-top. I have thought a little about how I can write about the importance of this book without you thinking that I’m just in an irrational fever. But in the end, I see that this is unavoidable, so I’m just going to go ahead and say what I think. But know that I do not write this lightly or out of impulsivity. This book may be – could be (should be?) – one of the most important books of this era. You know that excitement you feel when you first come across a truly great idea? When you first started to understand Eckhart or Katie? Rupert is not only certainly in this league, but he performs something almost miraculous here: he explains himself using the language and parameters of logic, philosophy, and science. He has used the language of the world to undo itself in the most impressive feat of pure intelligence that I’ve ever witnessed. I have this sense that if people could possibly read and follow what he is saying in this book, it will tip us over the edge of the paradigm that needs to shift: the paradigm of materialism. This might be what we are waiting for, and who. I mean, I’m not a betting man, but I will gladly wager a few thousand dollars that in 20 years this book will be considered a culturally significant artefact on a global scale. But I will also concede that historically, it often takes us more than a few decades to collectively recognize genius. And let’s be clear that without using that word lightly, I believe this is a work of true genius. It took us a while to catch on to Buddha, to Gallileo, but less time for Einstein – you just never know how open we are, or how sensitive is the 99th monkey. Wouldn’t it be nice if more of us could hear the voices of pure sanity, even when they fly in the face of what we know? There are different types of genius. Some genius is insightful and creative in a particular domain, such as in music, math or sport. And then there is the genius that somehow makes essential connections across domains, creating new directions of thought that transcend and synthesize often disparate realms. Da Vinci and Shakespeare come to mind. Now, see? You’re thinking that I’ve gone way overboard. I know it. You’re thinking that Rob is just fallen in love with something and these comparisons are ludicrous. And all I can say is: let’s wait and see. Katie may be the enlightened “World Teacher” but she never wrote with pure logic – her voice is one of experience and poetry (not to downplay that!). And Eckhart is a Buddha for our age, but precisely because his teaching is so accessible to so many (which is his brilliance) does it mean that he avoids the meatier challenge of picking the whole system apart with our trickiest and most essential tool: words. Most enlightened beings avoid the philosophical argument. Buddha and Jesus sure did. But that means we are left with metaphor and interpretation. But Rupert goes right into the heart of it. People have often said, “If Eckhart is the what, then Katie is the how.” And I would like to offer this addendum: “Then Rupert is the why”. Why is it an actual, scientific fact that matter’s essence is a consciousness that unifies all things? Wouldn’t it be just fucking the coolest thing if someone could finally do what Socrates, Kant, Descartes, St.Anselm, and all the existential and ontological philosophers of the past could never quite get right? In just a few short dozen pages or so, Rupert presents the most airtight, rigidly logical and fiercely factual ontological argument that - to my knowledge – has ever been presented in the Western world. I’m sorry, I want to not sound overly dramatic here, but holy shit folks! Imagine how it felt to be the few physicists who appreciated Einstein’s newly published paper on the general theory of relativity? That’s how I feel. I’ll admit: maybe this is just me. I’m a strange person. But I’m not stupid. At least not in this realm of thought! But I’m also far from a world authority, I admit. However, this man not only expresses but embodies the truths we have been talking circles around in a way that has shifted my life. Obviously, I don’t expect anyone else to have this reaction to his work. But I see that some people have. I don’t know what else I can say here but I see that my singular motivation is this: to essentially beg you to read this book and try to understand it. It is important. This is not just about those of us in “spiritual” pursuits. This is a book that scientists and academic philosophers need to read. And because it is intellectual in its language and logical in its presentation it might just be that the thinkers that inform the rest of the world might grasp some of these ideas and shift the platform upon which the rest of the planet rests. I realized at the beginning of this book that this is not a “spiritual” book as I was expecting. It is a philosophical treatise. It is (at least the earlier parts of it) an academic work that I feel is akin to nailing pages to the door of the establishment. He is explaining the very old philosophy of nonduality – of advaita Vedanta, but in a way that starts from pure experience, not from belief or mysticism. If ever there was the case of a writer “blowing my mind” it’s this. It is so logical, so left brained, so elegant. It’s just incredible. Clearly I have drank the Kool-Aid of Rupert Spira. And I will do anything I can do in my own power to meet and speak with this remarkable individual. I mean, if the Buddha or Jesus were alive, wouldn’t you want to hang with them? I’ve met Eckhart, I’ve met Katie. I even went to Ramana’s ashram, but he was long gone. But currently anyway, this feels more personal. Not that he would, but if Rupert tells me to cast away my nets, I’m pretty sure I’d follow him. All the ideas that I stand for, that I have tried to express in my own writings and research (and failed pathetically at!) he nimbly and easily speaks. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m cancelling the rest of my plans for the next while so I can re-read his work.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    This book is outstanding. I can’t even for a moment begin to convey how incredible it is, words fall short. If you are a seeker of truth read it. If you are not a seeker of truth, read it and find the truth anyway.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Phil Calandra

    "The Nature of Consciousness....." is one of the most comprehensive and compelling books written on Advaita Vedenta Philosophy. From my prospective many questions have been answered that other books have failed to address. Notwithstanding the foregoing, this is not an easy book but must be read slowly and diligently; however, in my opinion, it is not beyond the comprehension of the average reader. I would highly recommend it. "The Nature of Consciousness....." is one of the most comprehensive and compelling books written on Advaita Vedenta Philosophy. From my prospective many questions have been answered that other books have failed to address. Notwithstanding the foregoing, this is not an easy book but must be read slowly and diligently; however, in my opinion, it is not beyond the comprehension of the average reader. I would highly recommend it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Talk about getting real! This book addresses the question of what is real, what is true, what is this here/now we are experiencing, better than any other writing available. Strong statement, I realize. Every key point written here is verifiable in your own experience. Read this, go to the author’s website and YouTube channel for more, and see for yourself!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Wachter

    Revolution Long held beliefs incrementally change as the rule, but seem to evaporate instantly as Spira unveils a flipped paradigm for science and humanity. “Of course, of course”, was my inner narrative as I arrived, right side up at the end of his book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carole Brooks Platt

    I'll be writing a blog post on this book shortly. I'll be writing a blog post on this book shortly.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jakob

    What is real? This book puts forth the non-dual worldview, with consciousness as the only tangible reality. It battles the assumptions of matter and world and a separate entity within it called yourself, and through diligent looking at only what we know, agues that consciousness is all that exists, and we are all aspects of that same undivided infinite consciousness. Rupert Spira is one of the clearest teachers of non-duality, and I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to figure out who t What is real? This book puts forth the non-dual worldview, with consciousness as the only tangible reality. It battles the assumptions of matter and world and a separate entity within it called yourself, and through diligent looking at only what we know, agues that consciousness is all that exists, and we are all aspects of that same undivided infinite consciousness. Rupert Spira is one of the clearest teachers of non-duality, and I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to figure out who they are and what reality is. This book puts into words things that I've wanted to express but couldn't find the words to. I've taken off one star from my review because it feels repetitive at times, and because my Kindle version was poorly formatted. But with this much clarity and depth, including citations from poets and religious traditions which were greatly appreciated, it's never the less as clear an expounding of non-duality as I've found. I made notes on evey other page when I had that Yes, this rings so true-feeling. "Our longing for love comes from the intuition of our shared being. It is the longing that resides in the hearts of all apparently separate selves to be divested of their separateness and returned to their original wholeness or oneness. Love is the experience of that oneness of being." "The knowledge 'I am' that shines in each of our minds and that remains present throughout all experience is the same light of pure knowing, refracted into an apparent multiplicity and diversity of minds. Just as the space in all buildings is the same unlimited space,seemingly divided into a multiplicity and diversity of spaces of different shapes and sizes, so the knowing that shines in each of our minds is the same knowing, only seemingly divided into a multiplicity and diversity of minds by its reflection in numerous bodies". "The mind can never find, let alone describe, the reality that it seeks, for it is itself the very activity that seems to divide that reality into a multiplicity and diversity of objects and selves, each with its own name and form that can be described in language". There are people who will scoff at words such as these. I know because I was one. If they dare take the leap beyond their assumptions of the world, there is an abundance of peace that is very hard to describe in words. Rupert Spira does it as well as anyone I've read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David McDonald

    A fantastic but flawed piece of philosophy, from the very start Spira lays out an interesting but misguided interpretation of consciousness; playing the sceptic game but not taking his scepticism far enough. Spira addresses the “mind/matter first” problem by pointing out that everything happens within consciousness (mind), and therefore matter is an unjustified assertion. On page 17, Spira says; "Any intellectually rigorous and honest model of experience must start with awareness, and indeed neve A fantastic but flawed piece of philosophy, from the very start Spira lays out an interesting but misguided interpretation of consciousness; playing the sceptic game but not taking his scepticism far enough. Spira addresses the “mind/matter first” problem by pointing out that everything happens within consciousness (mind), and therefore matter is an unjustified assertion. On page 17, Spira says; "Any intellectually rigorous and honest model of experience must start with awareness, and indeed never stray from it. To start anywhere else is to start with an assumption" I would amend "To start is to assume", that is, ANY investigation has to unjustifiably assume that something exists, we (colloquially) exist and that 'we' can make investigations of that 'something' To pretend otherwise is to be guilty of the very thing Spira is blaming the materialist of doing. Continuing on, Spira also just assumes consciousness (or awareness) exists. His justification: "We all experience it". Consider someone pointing out assumptions in the mind first hypothesis (like Spira does with the material first hypothesis) as follow; "There is no such thing as consciousness, there is only chemicals performing reactions and those reactions we identify as consciousness." Any attempt to say "that only happens within a mind" can be retorted (just as Spira does with materialists) by saying "I don't believe in minds or consciousness, I only believe in chemical reactions" And so on... Lastly, my biggest contention within this philosophy is that it's unfalsifiable, that is, how would a non-materialistic universe be differentiated from a materialistic one? With all that said, as a modern theological/spiritual work, this book shines bright. If you are looking for an easily digestible but applicable exploration into Advaita Vedenta Philosophy, look no further, just don't expect its ontology to be respected outside of faith-based communities.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marcel Armstrong

    Hammers in the Understanding Rupert does an incredible feat putting into words an otherwise ineffable experience. For realizing one's true nature - the nature of consciousness - must be experienced firsthand. Mere intellectual or conceptual understanding will not suffice. This book is a rare gem for those meditators out there to get an articulate formulation of what happens in meditation. And for those who do not meditate, perhaps this book will stir an impulse within to begin the journey. Ruper Hammers in the Understanding Rupert does an incredible feat putting into words an otherwise ineffable experience. For realizing one's true nature - the nature of consciousness - must be experienced firsthand. Mere intellectual or conceptual understanding will not suffice. This book is a rare gem for those meditators out there to get an articulate formulation of what happens in meditation. And for those who do not meditate, perhaps this book will stir an impulse within to begin the journey. Rupert has a clearly defined framework for which he bases the consciousness-only model of reality for the individual and indeed all of existence. Ultimately, the interior content of mind and exterior content of matter are reconciled as being and arising from the same source of consciousness. In these essays, Rupert does repeat his conceptualizations over and over again in different ways. If they are not easily grasped at first, this method does hammer them in. All in all, this is book is truly remarkable in the scope of its content and depth of its explanations. It has corroborated my experiences in meditation in words, and has compelled me to go deeper into my nature as consciousness.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John

    An exceptionally important book to read. The book is exceptionally repetitious, and could easily have been written in much less than 100 pages. It draws from several Indian traditions, including J. Krishnamurti, and the tantric traditions of Kasmir Shavism, Dzogchen Buddhism. It attempts to be a step by step logical approach to the nature of consciousness. However there are several significant non sequiturs in his logic, as well as some false assumptions, which lead to nebulous conclusions. It a An exceptionally important book to read. The book is exceptionally repetitious, and could easily have been written in much less than 100 pages. It draws from several Indian traditions, including J. Krishnamurti, and the tantric traditions of Kasmir Shavism, Dzogchen Buddhism. It attempts to be a step by step logical approach to the nature of consciousness. However there are several significant non sequiturs in his logic, as well as some false assumptions, which lead to nebulous conclusions. It almost feels as though the author already had pre-drawn conclusions and attempted a logical path to reach those conclusions. I still feel that it is still valuable, in the sense that it allows the reader to reach new understandings about the nature of consciousness, and that some of the conclusions are not too far off the mark. Just be aware that, although it all sounds quite logical and complicated, based on my own very intense reading, background understanding, and logical progression, it actually is not. As always, each reader must come to his/her own conclusions, which may be even more profound than that which is expressed by the author.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Linda McKenzie

    Spira's best book yet. Very simply, if you have a burning need to really understand the nondual nature of reality, this book is a must. And by "understand" I don't mean just intellectual knowledge. It's not possible to have intellectual knowledge of nondual reality, since it transcends the intellect. The book is one long guided introspection that uses words very skilfully to point to that which can only be known directly, non-conceptually. And it's all in very clear, plain English that almost an Spira's best book yet. Very simply, if you have a burning need to really understand the nondual nature of reality, this book is a must. And by "understand" I don't mean just intellectual knowledge. It's not possible to have intellectual knowledge of nondual reality, since it transcends the intellect. The book is one long guided introspection that uses words very skilfully to point to that which can only be known directly, non-conceptually. And it's all in very clear, plain English that almost anyone could understand. You feel yourself slipping into a very clear, obvious awareness of being awareness quite effortlessly while reading it. Like Spira's previous books, it's one to take slowly and contemplatively. Spira also addresses here some common misconceptions and seemingly gnarly issues that crop up for many on this path. He's rendered a great service to all genuine seekers of nondual truth by demystifying it and making it as simple, clear and accessible as it could be without sacrificing depth.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Srinath

    May be I should have read this book earlier. May be not. Explaining consciousness is impossible in English. Any language is made for duality as explained by Ruper Spira himself . But in this book I think he comes the closest to explaining it. He removes mysticism from spirituality. His explanations remove any doubt that consciousness/spirituality is a myth. Swami Vivekanda's works brought spirituality to the world in the 19th/20th centuries. May be Rupert Spira's works will do the same for us. O May be I should have read this book earlier. May be not. Explaining consciousness is impossible in English. Any language is made for duality as explained by Ruper Spira himself . But in this book I think he comes the closest to explaining it. He removes mysticism from spirituality. His explanations remove any doubt that consciousness/spirituality is a myth. Swami Vivekanda's works brought spirituality to the world in the 19th/20th centuries. May be Rupert Spira's works will do the same for us. One read is not enough for this work. May be it is the new age Bhagavadgita. To be read, implemented (both as a meditation and practice), and realized every single day (using dualist words to express even though time may not exist in pure consciousness)

  13. 5 out of 5

    William A Black

    A new articulation of familiar themes An arresting (or liberating) exposition on fundamental assumptions that form the basis of our current global culture and civilization brilliantly argued and logically presented. This book, and related works, hold the potential to transform the dominant intellectual and metaphysical status quo. I felt some frustration in the implication that there are only three teachers, one school of Hinduism and one practice that are worthy of mention. Others are passed over A new articulation of familiar themes An arresting (or liberating) exposition on fundamental assumptions that form the basis of our current global culture and civilization brilliantly argued and logically presented. This book, and related works, hold the potential to transform the dominant intellectual and metaphysical status quo. I felt some frustration in the implication that there are only three teachers, one school of Hinduism and one practice that are worthy of mention. Others are passed over with scarcely more than a nod and a wave of the hand. Nonetheless, this book is a milestone in metaphysics.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chetan Narang

    The directness with which Rupert Spira has discussed all of this text is nothing short of a remarkable achievement. I can definitely see that this book is easily a candidate for being the source for some of the most misinterpreted quotes ever. And that's ironical considering the fact that a significant purpose of this book is the correction of the more prevalent misinterpretations of our time. But how it works out is how it works out. The directness with which Rupert Spira has discussed all of this text is nothing short of a remarkable achievement. I can definitely see that this book is easily a candidate for being the source for some of the most misinterpreted quotes ever. And that's ironical considering the fact that a significant purpose of this book is the correction of the more prevalent misinterpretations of our time. But how it works out is how it works out.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pam Reeves

    All We Need to Know Rupert Spira clearly and simply explains reality, existence, life and all the hard and paradoxical things we spend lifetimes trying to understand in this book. Every page resonated and I carry his message/ teaching with me throughout my days. It is a life-changing book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christy ofthewoods

    Very important information, however, felt a little repetitive at times which made me bored, (was probably just me but I feel like a video of him talking about this would be better than a book) and also, if I heard the movie screen analogy one more time I was gonna pull my hair out, lol.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Everett Grandy

    Bear naked consciousness Such is need and often not wanted. To lay bear ones own ignorance before ones own ignorance. Take I,mine,they, theirs, it, take objectiveness out of this and all seeking of cognition of self. It's only a matter of ...Will. Hear Bear naked consciousness Such is need and often not wanted. To lay bear ones own ignorance before ones own ignorance. Take I,mine,they, theirs, it, take objectiveness out of this and all seeking of cognition of self. It's only a matter of ...Will. Hear

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Repetitive, but good to have these ideas drummed into my head. I really like Spira, but probably Being Aware of Being Aware is the only one you need.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Egil

    «To research the ultimate nature of reality without first know the essential nature of our own mind, is the madness from which our culture is suffering.»

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    Important concepts for everyone to understand: awareness/consciousness. Four stars for repetition. Five stars for Spira’s understanding of reality.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dusica

    This is one of the best books I read in a while. I highly recommend it to those on a spiritual path of non-duality.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Complicated

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    I am....

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alan Boyle

    Great book 📖 👌 Great 👍 book highly recommended, you need to read it slowly for it to sink in.it took me a couple of weeks reading but well worth the time invested

  25. 4 out of 5

    Merlijn Jansen

    Interesting subject but I found it to be written so badly to be unreadable.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Arun

    Nothing here, move on. Wait, says who ? Ok I get it it is profound. Again, says who ?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Derek Recsei

    Dense and dogmatic & repetitive in parts, but fascinating all the same. Led me to Dr Bernado Kastrup and his writings in Idealism and a cosmic consciousness.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    As always, illuminating and brilliant. I’ve read a number of Spira’s books this year and though there is a fair amount of repetition in them I find the repetition is good for learning and retaining the teachings which can be complex and challenging to comprehend. Highly recommend.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark Austin

    The longer version of Being Aware of Being Aware. It has the same general content just spread across a few hundred pages, reiterated using a few dozen different metaphors and quotations. It's broken down into convenient 1-3 page segments, making for good once-a-day reading. It also becomes pretty formulaic with the idea spoken, turned into a metaphor, then closed with a quotation. The formula is so obvious that it began to start to pull me out of what was being said somewhat (hence the 4 stars in The longer version of Being Aware of Being Aware. It has the same general content just spread across a few hundred pages, reiterated using a few dozen different metaphors and quotations. It's broken down into convenient 1-3 page segments, making for good once-a-day reading. It also becomes pretty formulaic with the idea spoken, turned into a metaphor, then closed with a quotation. The formula is so obvious that it began to start to pull me out of what was being said somewhat (hence the 4 stars instead of 5 stars I gave BAoBA even though they are essentially the same material). That said, still great stuff and I'm re-reading it. Plus the afterword is fascinating.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bart Everson

    From time to time I enjoy reading a book that challenges my assumptions, and what assumption could be more deeply held than materialism? Rupert Spira gives me pause to reconsider much of what I take for granted. These essays do have a loose flow, an argument which might be said to build over the course of the book, but I think each stands on its own pretty well. I read the whole thing from cover to cover, slowly. It's excellent bedtime reading, because he returns to the theme of deep sleep repea From time to time I enjoy reading a book that challenges my assumptions, and what assumption could be more deeply held than materialism? Rupert Spira gives me pause to reconsider much of what I take for granted. These essays do have a loose flow, an argument which might be said to build over the course of the book, but I think each stands on its own pretty well. I read the whole thing from cover to cover, slowly. It's excellent bedtime reading, because he returns to the theme of deep sleep repeatedly! These essays are pure, simple, clear, and direct. Sometimes parts seemed a bit repetitious, but I can't deny he drives his points home. There's not a lot of practical advice: for example, Spira talks about the virtue and value of meditation, but you won't find instructions here on how to meditate. What you will find is another way of thinking about — well, almost everything. I'd recommend anyone and everyone pick this up and read the first chapter. If it intrigues you, read some more.

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