Acts of Heroism and the Evidence for One Consciousness
We have all heard the expression, we are all one. In fact many of us, especially in the “new thought” space have willfully considered the notion of a singular consciousness; the idea that we are all connected to a grand field of awareness. We’ve even taken steps to employ this powerful mantra by joining with community groups in the spirit of altruism and seeking to find the bond that connects us all…and that’s a wonderful thing! But still, despite our intrinsic understanding of the importance of community and cooperation on this planet of over 7 billion, are we truly taking into account what may be the stunning backdrop to the, we are all one framework? Is this idea not just a figurative representation but a literal one?
Just recently, I spoke with Dr. Larry Dossey, renowned consciousness researcher and the author of twelve books, including his latest, One Mind – How Our Individual Mind is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why it Matters, about the act of heroism and how this may provide astonishing evidence for this “one mind” idea.
In our conversation he gave two examples of heroic acts, one involving two men: a 50 year old construction worker named Wesley Autrey and a young 20 year old male named Cameron Hollopter.
It was 2007. Both men were in a NYC subway station waiting for their train. After having an apparent seizure, Hollopter fell onto the train tracks, unable to get out. In a knee jerk reaction, Autrey bravely jumped onto the tracks in an effort to save the young man. While Autrey feverishly endeavored to pull the man out and back onto the subway platform, a train was barreling down toward them. Merely seconds away, Autrey knew he wouldn’t have time to get out of the way so instinctively he pushed Hollopter into a small opening or gutter on the tracks and literally shielded Hollopter with his own body. Noticing the two men on the tracks, the approaching train’s conductor tried his best to put on the brakes but was not able to stop in time. The train went over the two men – a total of five cars had passed over them. Miraculously, neither of the men were seriously injured, particularly Autrey, who managed to get out unscathed with merely grease from the train on his knit cap.
On its own, this is a stunning example as to how the altruistic instinct can kick in when one sees another in distress, but as Dossey points out in his book, there may be more to that process than meets the eye. He highlights a point that the great mythologist, Joseph Campbell made regarding acts of heroism and what may be behind them. Campbell observed a theory of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in which he commented, “There’s [a] wonderful question Schopenhauer asked. How is it that an individual can so participate in the danger and pain of another that, forgetting his own self-protection, he moves spontaneously to the other’s rescue, even at the cost of his own life? Schopenhauer believed that self-sacrifice for another occurs because the rescuer realizes that he or she and the individual in need are one.”
This is the postulate that Dossey upholds in One Mind. In fact, he makes a wonderful point in our conversation in which he states, “Perhaps we need to reframe the old saying, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Rather it should say, Be kind to others because in some sense they ARE you!”
Dossey had his own life saving experience while serving as a battalion surgeon in Vietnam. “One day in October of 1969, a helicopter crashed not far from my forward battalion aid station. I ran to the crash site. When I arrived, the upside-down chopper was ringed by a group of soldiers standing at a safe distance because of the expectation that it would explode. The pilot was still conscious but was trapped in the wreckage…Without thinking, I began freeing the door of the inverted aircraft, entered, and cut the seat belts trapping the pilot.” Finally joined by someone else from his medical team, they were able to carry the pilot to safety.
In both of these acts of heroism, Dossey points out the idea that the rescuer’s consciousness literally fuses with that of the person in danger. “…separateness dissolves and individuality is set aside…division is overcome and oneness becomes real.”
In the world of quantum physics and the now well documented evidence for the behavior of subatomic phenomena, notably Einstein’s spooky action at a distance, it has been observed that there is an apparent twin like behavior of particles, no matter their spatial divide – when one particle behaves in one way, the other will follow suit, despite their not being in direct contact with one another. This has also been called non-locality, a term that Dossey made popular some years ago. And certainly this would lend credence to the idea that in some way they are linked by a singular or underlying consciousness. But when you see this idea played out with the human species (and I have a feeling that acts of heroism happen far more than is even documented), the idea that we are linked by this one mind becomes curiously fascinating.
In my forthcoming book release, Conscious Musings – Contemplations to Transform Life and Realize Potential, I point out that despite the temptation to continue to walk the path of service to self in modern times, man still has a primal instinct to involve himself in acts of altruism. “…lending a hand to help another without expectation of a return favor demonstrates that service to others nets a gratifying experience that ultimately serves to warm the heart of the self! Thus service to others is service to self!”
After speaking with Dossey on the idea of the One Mind in a literal context – I too have reconsidered this prospect with a renewed sense of understanding – “Be kind to others, because in some sense they ARE you!”
Although acts of heroism are admirable and moving reminders of our core link to one another, Dossey maintains that it certainly isn’t necessary to partake in such adventures in order to experience the One Mind, firsthand. In our conversation we discussed the idea of Flash Mobs, an exciting and growing trend in which dozens and sometimes hundreds of people will emerge, often acting as chameleons in some public space and all-of-a-sudden they will stand up and put on a brilliant performance, surprising others in the crowd. There are dozens of examples of these touching demonstrations of unity. Here’s one that I found from 2010.
During these most unprecedented and challenging times – a time when one has to ask one’s self “what does the future hold for humanity?” Moving displays of community are popping up all over – a clear sign that we have perhaps come full circle and for some of us, we have opted to embrace a mindset of kindness rather than selfishness. Whether we have rescued another from an oncoming train, saved a pilot from certain death or gathered in groups to share our creative talents, there is an inherent sense that we are indeed, all one! Once this realization is played out on a grand scale, we are sure to see the tribulation of our times decrease exponentially, and a wonderful new vision of the future emerge.
One last thought I wanted to point out while learning of the heroic stories of both Wesley Autrey and Dr. Larry Dossey. Something else occurred that may be indicative of this all-pervading and omniscient consciousness. It seems that at the point of decision to dive in and save another, at the risk of losing your own life, fear of death completely disappears. Perhaps in that split second, there is ultimate recognition (or re-memberance) that there is no death as we understand it, only a shift of focus, from the physical to the non-physical, and thus an instant knowing that it is impossible to annihilate consciousness. This too would be suggestive of the One (never ending) Mind.
To be sure, regardless of the ultimate explanation of what our primal acts of unity mean – If we can manage to make these the rule rather than the exception – I’ve no doubt that mankind will make it through with flying colors!
An exhilarating and reassuring prospect to be sure!
Read my previous article featuring Dr. Larry Dossey: Creativity and the Nonlocal Mind
Alexis Brooks is a writer/researcher within the alternative and consciousness genre and the host of CLN’s Conscious Inquiry Radio Show. Visit her blog at: www.higherjourneys.com or visit her on her Facebook Page.