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Simply Consciousness: An Interview with Tom Kenyon

Based on my work as a therapist and researcher for over three decades, I have come to personally view consciousness through two very different lenses.

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?


When I was eighteen years old I unexpectedly
entered a spontaneous yogic trance in which I
experienced Samadhi. This altered state is
characterized by profound alterations in perceived
time and space, a suspension of breathing (called
kumbhaka in yoga) and a shift of consciousness
from an awareness of one’s self to an awareness of
“awareness being aware of itself.”


In other words, there was no sense of me as a
person, but rather a sense of infinite awareness
resting in an awareness of itself. There was also a
deep all-encompassing sense of peace, universal
compassion and unconditioned love—the likes of
which I had never experienced.


As I had been raised in a Christian culture I had no
idea what I had just experienced, but its profound
nature drove me into a personal quest to find out
what it was.


I discovered clues to its nature in the writings of the
saints and mystics of the Great Contemplative
phase of Christianity during the Middle Ages. And
more clues in the traditions of yoga, Taoism and
Buddhism from the Far East.


But the final piece that pulled it all together for me
would not come from the various spiritual traditions
that I had delved into in an attempt to understand
my spontaneous dip into the infinite pool of
transcendental consciousness. Rather this deeper
understanding would come through the sciences—
specifically the sciences of neuropsychology and
quantum physics. And secondly it would also come
through my study of psychoacoustics—how sound
and music can be used to alter awareness.

As of this writing, I have worked as a
psychotherapist for 30+ years using music, that I
composed, to generate altered states of
consciousness. Early on in my career, it became
clear to me that this approach deepened my clients’
therapeutic experience and accelerated their rate of
progress.


In 1983 I decided to create an informal scientific
organization of researchers around the country
under an umbrella I called Acoustic Brain Research.
For ten years, we scientifically documented the
effects of sound and music on the brain and its use
as an integrative modality to enhance physical and
emotional healing as well as a means to improve
brain performance.


What is your definition of consciousness?


This is, for me, a very poignant question because
how one answers that question will inform how one
views the displays of consciousness. By displays of
consciousness I mean the external behaviors we
engage in when we interact with the external world
as well as our internal mental and emotional
experiences—in other words, the realm of both the
external reality we live in and our internal reality that
influences how we perceive ourselves and our
place in the world.


Based on my work as a therapist and researcher for
over three decades, I have come to personally view
consciousness through two very different lenses.


The first of these is Neuropsychology, which
generally looks at consciousness as a result of
physiological activity in the brain. When there is no
physiological activity in the brain, mainstream
neuropsychologists, by and large, would say there
is no consciousness—as consciousness is a
process that arises exclusively (i.e., solely) from
brain activity.


While this is certainly true for our day-to-day
experiences, there are certain states of
consciousness that seemingly transcend or operate
independently of physiological brain activity.
I use the word “seemingly” because there is, at this
moment in time, no scientific consensus regarding
the validity of internal experiences that are
generated when there is minimal or no physiological
brain activity.


I personally believe that as a result of more open-minded scientists turning their attention to the
phenomena of non-ordinary states of
consciousness, a scientific consensus of the brain
will arise that will include not only physiological
activity as a source of consciousness but also
transcendent activity that is generated from other
aspects of the self that are outside the domain of
brain physiology.


These types of personal (i.e., internal) experiences
include—but are certainly not limited to—such
things as near-death experiences, remote viewing,
altered states of consciousness that occur during
psycho-therapeutic hypnosis, some types of
dreams, some forms of deep meditation and certain
types of contemplative prayer where one’s
experience of time and space are radically altered.
It is not uncommon for persons who enter these
types of non-ordinary perception to have what might
be termed “spiritual experiences.”


As a therapist/researcher, I personally find it more
resourceful to explore these types of experiences
through the lenses of Transpersonal Psychology
and Neuropsychology rather than through the
spiritual dogmas traditionally associated with these
types of numinous experiences. My reason for this
preference is that spiritual dogmas are, by their
nature, territorial and narrow in their view. When
approaching expanded states of consciousness, I
find it more helpful to consider them through
methods of inquiry that are open ended (i.e.,
intellectually expansive) and evidence based.
Working with clients to integrate these types of
powerful transpersonal experiences has led me to
believe that these non-ordinary encounters with
expansive states of consciousness can be a
remarkable source of deep insight and, in some
cases, increased mental and physical wellness.


How did your awareness process start?


My first Samadhi experience unveiled a vast
internal world that was both infinite and self-aware.
And while in this state of mind I perceived that all
human beings possessed a similar transcendent
aspect—whether they were aware of it or not.
My “process” began when I tried to integrate such
an expanded state of consciousness into my daily
life as a human being, which—by its very nature—is
restricted by the limitations of a physical nervous
system that perceives a narrow bandwidth of the
electro-magnetic spectrum—or to say it another
way—we are only aware of the tiniest sliver of
reality (whatever that might be). Furthermore, as
biological organisms we are clearly constrained by
the confines of time, place and circumstance. Our
biological lives are linear with a beginning and an
end point.


But from the standpoint of our transcendent natures
we are not bound by our localized nervous systems,
nor are we bound by time and space. There is no
beginning or end point. And this aspect of us is
infinite, self-aware and by its innate nature
compassionate.


How to bring these two realities together was—and
still is—the task for me. And how to be a conduit for
the expression of all encompassing compassion in
a world filled with so much strife is one of the
hallmarks of the task. This, in a nutshell, is my
process.


What are you the most aware of in your daily
life?


On a daily basis I am most aware of how
unconscious I am. Unconsciousness is a self-perpetuating process.

And much like entropy, it is
something I must continually work to overcome.


What was the deepest internal change that you
have personally experienced from transforming
your consciousness and how it did impact your life
in both spiritual and practical ways?


The deepest internal change I have experienced is
that my perception of the world has been altered
(and continues to be altered) in positive ways. As a
result of regular contact with my own transcendent
nature I am generally more resourceful and creative
as well as compassionate (both to myself and
others).


If I contemplate the changes in myself over the
course of my lifetime, I can clearly point to my
innate transcendent nature as a factor in these
changes. Another factor is the quality of my
relationships with others. When I am in a higher
expression of myself I feel that I interact with others
in more positive ways. And when I encounter others
who are coming from higher expressions of
themselves, I am elevated by their presence.
This embodiment of the transcendent self into our
day-to-day life (i.e., interacting with each other with
greater insight, creativity and compassion) is highly
beneficial both to ourselves and to society.


What is the best advice, words of wisdom that
you would like to share with our readers about the
importance of becoming more conscious?


I would like to divide my answer to this question into
two parts: the physical world where we live our day-to-day lives in and the transcendent world that is
unaffected by our worldly experience.


Part 1: The Physical World


Becoming more conscious is a path not often taken,
and in fact for many people being self-aware is
something to be avoided at all costs.


But without awareness we cannot make the best
choices for ourselves. This certainly applies to our
psychological life, which is the bedrock or
touchstone of what motivates us (i.e., what we do
and why we do it). If we aren’t psychologically selfaware we can easily wreck havoc on ourselves and
others without even knowing it.


But being aware of our social interactions and our
cultural biases is also important because we are all
shaped by the collective. Finally, in today’s rapid
techno society, I think it is vital to be aware of who
is using that technology to affect us and why they
are doing so.


Part Two: The Transcendent


For those who make authentic contact with their
own transcendent natures, a treasure trove of deep
insight, heightened creativity and spiritual wellness
awaits them. The only question is how do you make
contact?


Making contact with the transcendent has been a
focus of mine for decades now. And there are
innumerable ways to do so.


One way, of course, is to follow a spiritual tradition
that imparts reliable methods for making contact
with these higher realms of consciousness. Virtually
every spiritual tradition in the world uses meditation
and/or contemplative prayer as a means to make
contact with the transcendent. Scientific research
has verified that certain types of meditation and
some forms of contemplative prayer make the
brain/mind more receptive and can, indeed,
generate transcendent experiences.


Another way to alter your awareness is through the
use of specific types of music that create a calming
and receptive state of body and mind, which makes
your transcendent nature more accessible.


If you choose to explore music as a method for
altering awareness, listen to music that makes you
feel calm and relaxed. Ideally, your choice of music
will not have lyrics since words stimulate activity in
your left cerebral hemisphere. And in order to alter
your consciousness it is best to increase activity in
your right cerebral hemisphere. Pure sound or
music, without words, has been shown to
accomplish this task beautifully giving you greater
access to non-ordinary states of consciousness.


Gently focus your attention on the music and
become aware of mental, physical and emotional
impressions that arise as you listen. These types of
impressions can allow you to access aspects of
your innate transcendent awareness.


Many of my psychoacoustic sound meditations are
available, free of charge, for your own personal use.


You can find them in the Listening section at
www.tomkenyon.com


Please inspire us by telling us about your current
project or projects?


In response to growing social awareness about the
prevalence and the damaging effects of emotional,
physical and sexual abuse, I am making one of my
sound healing mediations more available to the
public. It is called Healing Regrets, and it is highly
effective at assisting the listener to release personal
regrets as well as transform and help heal
emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse.

You can listen to it and/or download it, free of charge for your
own personal use, by locating it in the queue in the
Listening section or by typing into your browser:
https://tomkenyon.com/healing-regrets


What is the biggest problem in the world today?


I think that climate change and the accelerated loss
of plant and animate species throughout the
world—referred to by scientists as the Sixth Mass
Extinction—are two critical issues that threaten the
very survival of human civilization.
In order to deal with these unprecedented
challenges facing humanity I think we will have to
acquire greater problem solving abilities, enhanced
creativity and greater wisdom. We will have to think
and act outside “the Box” of previous conventional
thinking and ways of being in the world.

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