The Science of Naturality
All Naturality teachings and experiences have an underpinning in human biology and body with special connection to the brain and nervous system. In Naturality, ancient insights seamlessly unite with contemporary science.
Universal nature is the source of all that exists. From the most primitive life forms, a process of evolution towards greater and greater complexity began. It took billions of years for the human brain to evolve into its present form, the most marvellous instrument of perception in the universe. Because our brain was fashioned by Nature, the brain is capable of revealing Nature’s secrets and intelligence. This is why it is sometimes referred to as the “three-pound universe.”
Primal consciousness is infinite and contains all possible forms and levels of consciousness. What is experienced depends on how developed the brain is. As our brain develops more and vibrates at a particular frequency, we experience a specific level of consciousness. As self-aware human beings, we can change the structure and physiology of our brain and become conscious of those experiences that are not available to other living beings. This is conscious evolution.
Within us, all possible levels of consciousness are already there, so consciousness itself does not evolve. Rather, the brain evolves and gains more access to different levels of consciousness. All Naturality practices are about changing the structure and physiology of the brain in order to tune into more conscious experience. The natural ability of brain to change is called neuroplasticity.
On the path of Naturality, neuroplasticity is of great significance. As we learn to live according to our nature, our brain becomes freer from the past conditioning. As we experience the process of becoming more natural, the brain is changed radically. It begins to function as a harmonious and integrated unit, filled with peace, passion and bliss.
Below are the various levels of consciousness depending on which part of the brain is involved in perception.
Physical Consciousness: Unicellular and Multi-cellular Organisms
The first active expression of consciousness is in the form of a single cell, which represents the consciousness of the body in its most rudimentary form. The entire cell functions as a brain because nothing is differentiated. However, this single cell is the seed of the fully differentiated human body and brain.
From a functional point of view, the brain has three components: the Reptilian brain, Mammalian brain and the Neo-cortex or human brain. These three components interpenetrate each other and their functions overlap. There is no precise location for the various functions carried out by our brains.
Physical Consciousness: The Reptilian Brain
The brain stem is the reptilian brain. This is where consciousness emerges but without the element of self-awareness or self-reflection.
At this level, the organism lives in survival and reproduction mode with all systems controlled by nature in a predictable pattern. There is no sense of time and space. The organism lives in an unconscious eternity. To become aware of this state is the ‘Expansive Stillness’. We can also call the experience of “Natural Non-Duality”, as there is complete sense of oneness without the other.
Emotional Consciousness: The Mammalian Brain
Emotional consciousness occurs in the limbic system or mammalian brain. This is where the pleasure centers and the centres for the autonomic nervous system, vital for homeostasis and mind-body interface, are located. Experience is based on emotions, not reason.
It is possible for us to become aware of emotional consciousness, which leads to living in the present moment and the experience of the natural self.
Intellectual Consciousness: The Human Brain
With the development of the neo-cortex and prefrontal cortex in humans, the size and weight of the brain increase. At this stage of evolution, humans develop logic, rationality, language and the ability to plan for the future. Linear time emerges at this part of the brain.
Existential Consciousness: The Experience of Dissolution
Here, the prefrontal and neo-cortex lose their dominance and the turbulent energy of the mammalian and reptilian components of the brain take over. This results in mental chaos, a loss of cognitive control and a loss of a sense of self and identity. In existential consciousness, social and cultural customs, rewards and achievements are stripped of their meaning and we are left psychologically naked and exposed.
Witnessing Consciousness: Integration and Wholeness
This stage follows existential consciousness. In the state of integration and wholeness, we become a fully functional individual. We develop a natural and spontaneous witnessing consciousness. The reptilian, mammalian and neo-cortex complexes work in harmony. This is experienced as “flow,” or bliss.
The brain functions as one and as an integral part of the body. This is experienced as oneness of mind and body. The brain is awakened and dormancy is over. This leads to persistent activation of pleasure centers, bringing a sense of well-being.
Increased connectivity and communication exist between various parts of the brain and the body. This results in a feeling of wholeness. This is also felt in the form of tingling sensations in the body and a fountain of energy intermittently pouring into the brain.
The prefrontal cortex thickens and increased “mirroring” properties of neurons are activated, resulting in witnessing consciousness.
Right and Left Brain
The Western concept of the Identity or self differs from the Eastern concept. In the West, the identity or self is primarily a sense of “I” while in the East it is the feeling of “I Am.” “I” is achieved when intellectual consciousness is added to emotional and physical consciousness but they don’t function in unison and harmony. “I Am” contains all three types of consciousness working in harmony, which results in mind-body integration. “I” belongs to the left-brain and is primarily connected with linear time. “Amness” is related to the right brain, which is being aware of one’s existence in the here and now. “I” has sense of time and bound by it, while “Amness” goes beyond time but retains a sense of space.