Is Consciousness Located In The Brain?
Evidence for Reincarnation
Dr. Bruce Greyson reports of cases that suggest that consciousness does not need a physical brain and in fact not even a physical body. Presented at the “Cosmology and Consciousness Conference” hosted by Upper TCV, Dharamsala, in 2011
Is there consciousness in other galaxies? What is the origin of consciousness? What is it like to be a bat, octopus, or a tree? These are all great questions but Dr. Bruce Grayson would like to ask, what it is like to be a human being? Most western psychologists believe that consciousness is produced at least in some way by the brain. There is of course a lot of evidence to that position. There is common sense evidence from our everyday lives. Our brain is indeed involved in perception, thinking, and memory but it does not necessarily suggest that the brain causes those thoughts, perceptions, and memories. Memories could take place in a consciousness somewhere separate from the brain, but are then received and processed by certain receptors in the brain. It’s much like a telephone, radio, or television. The signal or message is created somewhere else, but your cellphone is necessary to receive and process the message.
If we were to measure the electrical activity inside your cell phone, or electrically excite certain parts of it, or remove certain vital parts of your cell phone, we can show that certain parts of the phone were involved in hearing the phone message; but we would not be proving that the message originated in your cell phone anymore than we can prove that our thoughts originate within our brain.
Some of the best evidence of consciousness functioning independently of the brain, comes from near death experiences. These are profound experiences that some people report when they have been on the threshold of death.
Examples of Consciousness Without a Brain
- Deathbed Recovery of Lost Consciousness
- Complex Consciousness with Minimal Brain
- Near-Death Experiences
- Memories of Past Life
- Reported in 10-20% of clinical deaths
- 1,000 cases investigated
- Average age = 31 (range = 1 to 81 years )
- Cause of near death:
- Surgery 32%
- Illness 24%
- Accident 24%
Thinking in Near Death Experiences
- Time Altered 84%
- Sudden Understanding 54%
- Thoughts Speeded 42%
- Life Review 25%
Emotions in Near Death Experiences
- Peacefulness 92%
- Cosmic Unity 78%
- Joy 77%
- Unconditional Love 72%
- Separation from the body 86%
- Senses abnormally vivid 66%
- Extrasensory perception 34%
- Precognitive vision 20%
- Entering another world 76%
- Coming to a “point of no return” 69%
- Meeting a mystical being 59%
- Seeing deceased spirits 36%
Effects of Near-Death Experiences
- More Spiritual 81%
- More Compassion, desire to help 78%
- More Appreciation of life 77%
- More Meaning, Purpose in life 78%
- Greater belief in survival of death 82%
- Less Fear of death 86%
- Less interest in material objects 53%
- Less interest in status, competing 37%
Consciousness Without a Brain in Near-Death Experiences
- Enhanced mental function
- Thinking clearer than usual 47%
- Thinking faster than usual 38%
- Thinking more logical than usual 29%
- More control of thoughts than usual 17%
- Perception from outside the body
- Accurate description of resuscitations
- Vision in experiencers blind from birth
- Published accounts 92% accurate
- Visits with deceased persons
- Seen in 42% of near-death experiences
- More often when closer to death
- 33% of visions are not the expected person
- Deceased persons not known to be dead
- Deceased persons not know at all
Past-Life Memory Cases
- Average age at death in past life =33
- 60% of past lifes end violently
- Average time between lives = 12 years
Evidence of Rebirth
- Personal traits and dislikes
- Unlearned skills
- Birthmarks and birth defects
- 33% of cases have birthmarks or birth defects said to match death wounds in past life
- 18% of these cases have matched confirmed by medical records
The human consciousness, and consciousness in general, is a record of
self-identity information which is embedded into an omnipresent background
consciousness. It has been named Atman and Brahman in ancient vedic
sciptures – Brahman being the cosmic database of all that is and lives, and
Atman being an individual data set. Nowadays these phenomena appear again
in concepts such as the noosphere and morphic or morphogenetic fields….
When we assume the human body as a resonant energy system that is a subset
of the cosmic field of consciousness, we can understand reincarnation as a
resonance phenomenon. When a living person recalls vivid memory data of a
deceased person to that extent that the living person starts to identify
itself with the deceased, then this appears as a reincarnation of the
deceased individual. Furthermore, resonance with the same set of data can
of course occur in more than one physical vehicle, which could explain why
more than one individual can recall the same personal life records, which
may give the impression of multiple reincarnation. The situation is very
similar to the same TV broadcast appearing on different TV sets. What is
essential here is not the manifestation in a physical vehicle. The essence
is to be seen in the recorded field information. The latter can be called a
soul, but in essence it is just data. This is all supported not only by the
so-called reincanation cases, but also by cellular memory phenomena such as
being observed in organ transplant receivers.
As a university scientist, I don’t think that you are critical enough. The
anecdotes you report are interesting but are not real evidence of anything
and certainly not hard data. I believe that your own personal beliefs bias
your interpretations and therefore this is not scientific, it’s just a
bunch of stories.
In Nigeria, we have several reported cases where people who died in a
particular place are spotted in another city or town in exact form and
shape, and are also able to procreate and are fully conscious of their root
– to an extent that they avoid being seen by past relatives. Around some
villages in Nigeria, it is rumoured that some dead persons especially
violently killed ones, use to turn vagabond and wander about forests and
are sometimes spotted by hunters. They have cognitive senses intact and are
able to describe where they came from. Culturally, such people are usually
integrated back into the family. Also, like the case of the girl with scare
on her skull which Dr. Bruce showed; there are also many others who when
reborn have same features as the dead person. Considering this phenomenon
it is really unusual, because when a brain dies, the consciousness should
too. In fact, leaving consciousness temporarily, the fact that the tribal
marks or scares on new born babies having semblance or exactness with dead
persons should suggest that there are so many missing information/knowledge
that material science cannot or have not explained. No known scientific
theory will be able to explain the “scare transfer” from one person that
dies to another that is reborn.
I think in order to answer holistically if brain is necessary or
responsible for consciousness, we may have to rely on spiritual science.
1. Consciousness is a property of muscular system and not of the brain.
According to Purusha Sukta (Rig Veda 1.10.90-1) Purusha has 1000 heads,
1000 eyes and 1000 feet. This actually means we think with Purusha, feel
with Purusha and move with Purusha. In short, Purusha controls our life.
What is this Purusha?
Purusha is our muscular system unifying isometrically into a single muscle
(physiologically and not anatomically).
The point towards which contraction occurs is what we call ‘I’ and acts as
the cursor that enables us to select seven levels of consciousness. Each of
them is named after a Hindu god.
By default, the muscle tone is 50%, which means that we can increase or
decrease it at will.
2. If it is very low or high, it is reset automatically to 50%, which is
why patients in terminal stages appear to be normal.
3. ‘Near death experience’ just means ‘low muscle tone experience’.
4. ‘Reincarnation’ in Hinduism actually means, ‘transformation of an
activity every time it is repeated’. It has nothing to do with past or
The frontier of knowledge today is – MIND IS FUNDAMENTAL.. and the material
world arises from it. Take any city.. or art.. or music.. etc.. and all
these material creations have arisen from human thoughts and imaginings..
and the same goes for the universe. It arose from the information that
guided it.. and we call this information – THE LAWS OF PHYSICS (OR NATURE).
We can’t see the laws of physics because they are META ACTIVITY.. but we
still know they exist because we can see the way they affect material
things.. in the same way that we can not see another’s thoughts and
feelings.. but we can see the affect they have on other people and things.
The evolution of the laws of physics could be expressed better as the
evolution of INFORMATION.. so the entire evolution of the universe.. is in
fact.. the EVOLUTION OF MIND. In today’s culture.. the fact that it is
INFORMATION.. that is evolving so much faster than biological life.. is
impossible to ignore. This also makes it hard for us to ignore the fact
that it is MIND that has been evolving all along.. right from the
beginning.. when the big bang arose.. due to the existing laws of physics.
INFORMATION PRE-EXISTS MATERIAL CHANGES means the same as MIND PRE-EXISTS
MATTER.. Atoms and particles are bits of information.. just as the material
form of DNA is information based.. Like-wise.. language is a material form
that arises from MIND…
Logical reasoning suggests the multi-verse.. and our own big bang.. along
with the laws of physics.. all arise from a PRIMARY FIELD which is, for
most part, dormant energy.. which could be compared to a blank sheet of
paper awaiting information to be written on it. Any physical activity in
this Primary Field.. is what science can detect as material stuff.. while
its meta activity.. like the laws of Physics – remain a mystery due to the
intangibility of meta activity.. (in the same way that we cannot detect the
detail of a persons thoughts or dreams). To sum up.. EVERYTHING that exists
is simply an activity in this Primary Field including the laws of physics
and human CONSCIOUSNESS….
For more information — Google – A Primary Field Theory.
Wonderful video…very informative. …..thank you….
when people have out of body experiences after death, how do they see with
I enjoyed this video. But regarding the near death experiences, they should
have questioned the family members and friends to see if they saw these
same changes that the individuals claimed. Also, the individuals with large
portions of their brains missing should have had MRI’s to scan the brain
during thought processes etc. Maybe they have, but it wasn’t mentioned in
the video. That seems like something that would have made a bigger impact
and would have made more believers. Pretty interesting none the less. Now
we have to consider why we would have to be in this physical form and what
is the purpose. If there is a reason we continue to be reincarnated, why
wouldn’t we remember our past lives? So many questions come to mind, I love
The brain is the computer, the mind is the software. The computer can be
switched off and eventually be scraped but the software can be transferred
to other computers just like our minds can!
I am very skeptical about the transfer of physical damage from the deceased
body to the new fetus. Another point is the meeting of dead relatives in a
sort of heavenly abode. These points stretch credibility beyond
reasonability. However, the central theme about whether consciousness
resides OUTSIDE of the brain is well covered and lays a worthy platform for
further investigation. Thank you Karma Dawa and Dr Bruce Greyson.
“NDE’s”, just basically a lack of oxygen to brain cells causing a collapse
of energy, triggering other cells? Very real to a surviving individual but
all just inside their physical brain?
Super Consciousness is not separate from our own consciousness,because in
both dimension Consciousness is Supreme Vibration of Supreme Element(Param
Tatva or Cosmic Mind Or God it self)
Consciousness without a brain? This report suggests consciousness survives
even without a body.
now i feel made up, i don’t feel real anymore, i don’t feel like anything
is real. is real even a thing? as anything I’m saying a thing at all?
“Mind and intelligence are woven into the fabric of our universe in a way
that altogether surpasses our understanding. The universe shows evidence of
the operations of mind on three levels. The first level is the level of
elementary physical processes in quantum mechanics. Matter in quantum
mechanics is constantly making choices between alternative possibilities
according to probabilistic laws. The second level at which we detect the
operations of mind is the level of direct human experience. It is
reasonable to believe in the existence of a third level of mind, a mental
component of the universe. If we believe in this mental component and call
it God, then we can say that we are small pieces of God’s mental apparatus”
– Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson was a theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his
work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear
“Reincarnation”. How do you know that “our” consciousness isn’t just
tapping into “God’s” larger consciousness, extracting “God’s” previous
experiences, and then attributing them to ourselves?
To me, this all comes down to the concept of the self. What is the self and
where is it located? I see it as a separate quantity apart from simply
whatever is stored in the brain, yet it does reside in the brain. Taking a
thought experiment. Say it’s possible to perfectly store every bit of
knowledge in the brain and transfer that information into a clone with a
blank brain. After the process there would be a clone who acted and seemed
to think just like you. A third party would not be able to tell the
difference between the two of you, assuming a perfect physical copy as
well. Yet, if you died then, you would not “wake up” in the clone’s body.
As far as you are concerned the clone is a separate individual who happens
too act like you. Now, suppose the clone had no brain and your brain was
transferred to it. In that case you would wake up in the clone, complete
with your sense of self intact. So, whatever it is which gives you your
sense of self is in the brain, yet more than just the sum total of the data
stored in it.
well yeah Consciousness is real and yeah it don’t need a brain but with out
a brain you don’t have a body and with out a body then you are dead who
created your consciousness the all mighty and you are allowed to shape it
give that fact we are born with free will. I don’t think reincarnation is
real and if it is real then it would be the workings of the lord.
~ At least the scientists are half right ( Memory ) itself is an emergent
property of brains it takes a certain number of neurons in order to have
memory ~ With memory comes thoughts, perspectives, perceptions, intuition,
etc ~ Our brains are capable of processing both local and non local
information ~ Consciousness is both physical and non physical ~ Local and
non local etc ~ It is both ! the information and the mechanism used to
process the information ~
science is not facts just theory
FYI King Richard’s body was discovered by a woman who said when she stood
in that area she just KNEW his body was below. It was important that his
DNA story is told now.
It is a fact that Buddha also died. So, what was the benefit of “knowing
all”. This can be answered in two ways. One way is to assume that Buddha
got something “AFTER DEATH” which you or me won’t get coz we haven’t passed
the test, in this life. The second way is that Buddha got it “HERE IN THIS
LIFE”. But then he should be able to explain the procedure or formula to us
for getting “that’. But he didn’t, instead he preached some laws that later
on turned into a religion. This is applicable to every man who we term as a
prophet. Now, My question is, are we scratching our heads for the first
situation occurred to Buddha wherein every payment will be made to you
after death or we wants to become a new preacher by taking the payment in
this life? My personal reason for being here is that i want to get
“something” which will make me happy, will solve all the problems, will
make me ????????? etc. but i want to receive this payment in this life and
not after death.
We dont know enought about brain yet.
LEts not make stuff up.
Title does not mach video.
Fascinating hypothesis! Very provocative and enlightening; thanks!
The brain in any animal only a transceiver of a much more complex system.
living tissue is now used in sensors and works better than any solid state
sensors and can receive ftl signals. If you want to sense things that are
not normally recieved then you must use living tissues and when you do will
see what powers brains why do you think brains can communicate with God and
science can not.
Even the best physicist realizes that we still don’t understand 72% of the
thing called Dark energy and 23% of the thing called dark matter in the
universe or multiversesame; in fact, we only have a “standard Physic model”
to explain 5% of thing exist in the universe/mutiverses, thus ” stories”
mentioned here seemingly possible exist, but I don’t believe we understand
how to explain them yet.