Gaia theory states that the Earth is a conscious being, Hindus texts have conscious planets and stars, Egyptian texts talk of conscious stars and the ideal next life to aim for would be that of a star.
Conventional science says we are of such complexity that we each produce a consciousness of our own. Some religions would say that the consciousness we have is given to us by some grace or process.
The idea that there is an unconscious goo in the womb that at such a level of complexity develops consciousness keeps the catholic priests busy in debate. The idea that planets like earth regulate an atmosphere to nurse life (Gaia Theory) is compelling.
But none of the theories add up to a complete simple "aaah" they leave much open and add complication.
I'm not sure that the Taoists ever got to explaining consciousness directly but instead told us to not bother with dual thinking and see all is "of one" - The idea that bits do not make up a whole rather that a whole divided to give the impression of bits.
The way I have come to see how it all fits together, and I think this is how Buddhists see it is that:
There is a consciousness and we are OF that one and only consciousness. - we are bits of it like bubbles on a stream.
Allan Watts said something like; 'Apples do not come into a tree but out of a tree, people do not come into the world but out of the world' I have this notion too that there is a consciousness of no shape form or time, that brings this about.
None of us then have consciousness, we are of the one consciousness we are in it, of it. Fed by it, infused with it. - Like a TV and the way TV Shows and electricity from one main source give the TV's their animatedness, the TV show is everywhere. A TV can become unfit to receive the show and new TV's just have to be able to receive TV shows, and not be such that they have to make TV shows.
This does perhaps leave some unanswered questions but none I have a problem with - it just seems to wrap it all up in a simple lovely package and removes all the complexity attached to many consciousnesses in a complex universe.
This post originally appeared on Ta-Wan's blog, Tao Wow.