Dr Thanh-Tam Pham - 12/06/2022

What is consciousness?

Consciousness refers to awareness and wakefulness such as being aware of objects in the surrounding and of our own thoughts, feelings, moods and of our identity. We are aware of the environment through our five senses to give us a perception of vision, touch, smell, sounds, taste. Consciousness is described as something different from the material or the physical world. How can one abstract (consciousness, mind, spirit) and one concrete (physical, material, energy) realities interact with each other? Materialists assume that consciousness including feelings of love, compassion, happiness…is the product of the physical. Consciousness would then be the result of the organisation of particles, atoms, molecules, cells and electrical activity in the brain that somehow becomes conscious with feelings, emotions and thoughts. This physicalist viewpoint is completely unable to explain how the physical creates consciousness. 

What is matter?

Matter is fundamentally energy with different manifestations such as electricity, magnetism, and gravity.  Physicists now presume that all these energies emerge from one unified field. Quantum physics demonstrates that the smallest particles or constituents of matter has randomness, uncertainty, and non-locality. The ultimate constituents of matter are not localised in time and space. The source of matter is thus non-material.

Dr Tony Nader M.D, PhD, a neuroscientist, proposed that Consciousness is all there is that is Consciousness appears as matter. Consciousness is not a product of a nervous system, a brain, but rather it is the fundamental reality.

There are strange things in the Universe that science does not yet comprehend:

A new paradigm is formulated by many scientists: Consciousness is a unified field from which all manifestations emerge.

This holistic and unified basis has inspired Eastern minds for at least two-and-a half thousand years. 

The quest to understand what nature is made of has led scientists to study beneath the visible, cellular level to the molecular, atomic, nuclear, subnuclear levels to deconstruct the material universe into tiny bits of abstract, fluid, pure energy fields which themselves appear to emerge from one subtler field that some greatest scientific minds called it a field of consciousness or intelligence.

Sir James Jeans quoted in his speech in 1934: “I incline to the idealistic theory that consciousness is fundamental, and that the material universe is derivative from consciousness, not consciousness from the material universe. In general, the universe seems to me to be nearer to a great thought than to a great machine. It may well be, it seems to me, that each individual consciousness ought to be compared to a brain cell in a universal mind.” In his book, The Mysterious Universe, Jeans stated “Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter… we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter”. 

Erwin Schrodinger put it: “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. “

Basic aspects of the physical world such as mass, momentum was universally understood but with the advance of quantum mechanics, it was the beginning of a scientific revolution. With the study of the actions and interactions of very small particles electrons, photons, quarks and others, quantum physics evolved from its particle- based theory to the quantum field theory. The primary elements of reality are not individual particles, but underlying fields wrote Wilczek and Devine. All electrons are excitations of an underlying field, naturally called the electron field, which fills all space and time. Steven Weinberg, a scientist, and Nobel laureate, wrote: “The basic ingredients of nature are fields and particles are derivative phenomena.”

This understanding of the primacy of fields over particles, of the abstract over the concrete- takes us one step closer to abandon physicalism in favour of non- physical- Consciousness as the fundamental field of life and nature. 

One Unified Field: A Field of Consciousness

According to Dr Tony Nader, there is one unified field of Consciousness, the hidden stuff that carves itself into objects, planets, stars, animals, humans, and all that exists in our universe.

Nuclear energy is much more powerful than chemical energy and it operates literally a million times smaller. Thus, the unified field is a field of abstract silence and yet it is a dynamic field of infinite potential, the source of immeasurable creativity as well as the potential source of destruction. Nature organizes from sub microscopic to macroscopic, from probability waves and quantum fields to mountains and planets and living organisms. Thus, our bodies at the deepest levels are fields and pattern of fields that interact to form atoms, molecules, proteins, DNA and organ systems to perform vital tasks such as digestion, respiration, and so on. 

On the surface levels, based on our sensory experience, only objects and material things seem real. In the quest for the ultimate reality, particles are expressions of fields, and the unified field is the ultimate reality because beneath all layers and expressions, that is what you find, the infinite, unbounded no-thing-ness.

What is consciousness?

It is not easy to define consciousness. There are many aspects of consciousness such as awareness, alertness, attention, focus, wakefulness. It is simply said to be the ability to be aware of something, to be awake to evaluate ourselves and our environment.

Until recently, science is all about studying the objects in the material world and not at all about the subject who is studying the object. Consciousness as such was never a topic of study as it is deemed to be too subjective. The quantum principle destroys the concept that there is a world out there, but the observer can influence the behaviour of the observed electron: it can behave as a particle when observed and is a wave in its natural state. 

The Fourth state of Consciousness

The three levels of consciousness are the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious. Since the 1970’s research has identified an important fourth state of pure Consciousness. This fourth state is attained during deep meditation and characterised by a paradoxical combination of an awake, alert but quiet, even silent mind, along with a relaxed, restful body. This state of inner silence, known in the yoga tradition as samadhi, or transcendental Consciousness or transcendence. It involves a quietening of the mind and ultimate transcendence or going beyond active or excited mental states to a silent, peaceful, inner, often luminous awareness. In this state, the individual does not experience any particular thought or object of perception but only Consciousness itself. In Buddhism, it is nirvana. There is an experience of something beyond the senses, mind, and intellect. The ultimate truth is in Being. 

Consciousness is fundamental and the brain is not the source of our consciousness. But when the brain is damaged or impaired, the consciousness becomes diminished or seems to disappear. The brain is the transducer of Consciousness as the radio is not the source of the music, the source is the waves. The brain is not the creator of Consciousness.

Studies have found that far from being a uniquely human characteristic, consciousness and intelligence pervade the entire range of life, in all living things, in plants and even in single-cell life forms.

Consciousness is real but it is intangible and non-measurable, is a phenomenon that we know subjectively exists, though we don’t really know what it is, much less where it is located. Dr Tony Nader believes Consciousness is not only real and it is not only primary but is the only reality.

Consciousness is singularity, there is nothing but itself looking at itself. It has the following three values:

  1. Someone who is the subject- the conscious observer.
  2. An object of consciousness (or thing which is being observed)
  3. A process that links the observer to the observed.

Every man’s world picture is and always remains a construct of his mind. We are stuck within the limitations of our senses within the range that they were designed to recognize. The only realities we know are the ones our brain manufactures. Consider the fact that our eyes can perceive only in the rather narrow frequency range, we cannot perceive the ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. Similarly, dogs can hear frequencies much higher than ours and that their sense of smells more sensitive than ours. Imagine our nervous system could see the entire spectrum of the electromagnetic field, all the space around us that now seems empty would be full. It could even be opaque because of all the waves including, radio waves, microwaves, infrared, ultraviolet, etc. If our ears could hear radio frequencies and tune in, we would not need radios to hear broadcast music. 

In quantum physics, while individual particles may behave randomly, as a group their overall behaviour tends more strongly towards predictability. Evolution, life, law and order are not dependent on isolated individual atoms but on large number of entities, forces, and processes that are intermingled, and these are largely predictable based on current science.

Consciousness appears as many roles as possible, inherent within itself, identity (the ego), the ability to discriminate (the intellect), and the ability to associate itself with various roles (the mind).


Life, a field of all possibilities.

Most of us are stuck in a set of beliefs about what we can or cannot do. These limitations in consciousness are part of our personal qualities, strengths and weaknesses, social condition, family expectations, cultural pressure. The pattern of our individuality must evolve within those specific constraints. The more you free yourself from these boundaries, the more your life can widen and flow more freely and you can transcend the perceived boundaries that now hold you in their grip.

As you grow in consciousness, you have greater and greater freedom. There is an infinite potential. 

Everyone chose a life path, with some tracks that are narrow with rigid boundaries of beliefs about what is acceptable and right while other paths are more open, unrestricted, and inclusive. Our path through life is influenced by our genetic, karmic inheritance as well as the customs of the family and society.  As we grow through personal experiences in life and improvement in our capacity to understand the world as well as our fellow humankind, our wisdom can expand to allow us to open our eyes to new possibilities, uplift our spirit and given us new hope. It is possible for any human being to rise to higher states of consciousness.

The more limited an individual’s awareness, the less is their ability to make the right decisions. As Dr Nader said “The more we explore below the surface levels, the more certain it is that we are one unified field, an unbounded ocean of pure Being.




One Unbounded Ocean of Consciousness by Dr Tony Nader.