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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Evolving towards Cloud Consciousness: A MYSTIC LOOKS AT THE INTERNET OF THINGS

Ten years ago, I wrote Digital Dharma as a way to look at the emerging technology of the Internet as a challenge to our old “consciousness of separation.”i I saw the development of our telecommunications networks as a mirror and guide to the evolution of our global consciousness, and the social/spiritual issues at each level, as reflections of the chakra system and its seven “energetic transponders.” I started with the on-off (first chakra) binary signaling of the telegraph, through the telephone, radio, television, the internet, virtual reality and social media, and ended with what I saw as a model of seventh-level chakra consciousness: the emergence of peer-to-peer (P2P) “grid computing” and the wireless micro-connectivity that would enable “the internet of things.”

Today, the grid-based “cloud” is indeed our dominant communications metaphor, and the United States and China are rushing to control the fifth-generation (5G) communications platform that will allow the smallest “intelligent devices” to connect with that cloud. One one level, it is important that we debate what country manufactures and controls this new technology, as well as the potential dangers of engulfing every corner of the earth in 5G signals, but from a mystical perspective, there is a deeper esoteric question reflected in the electrical structure of cloud technology: are we ready to move from separation consciousness to shared intelligence, from tuning into the grid, to becoming the grid itself?

The Transpersonal Metaphors of the Cloud

In my early posts (and book chapters) dealing with the television, the Internet, and virtual reality, I discussed the critical challenges of always-on-connectivity, and the resulting fear response of “wall building,” projection of a “curated self,” and a retreat from the belief in truth itself.ii Countering these fears requires us to step into integral thinking: seeing the world as one living network, accepting our “data nakedness,” and staying open to wonder of the “tweets of all beings,” as we tune to the voice of Gaia herself. This new “networked awareness” is also at the heart of deep-seeing practices: such as energy balancing, past-life repair and family constellation work, channeled guidance, and other forms of quantum healing. Our new challenge however, is not about our individual connections as nodes on the Divine Network, but in moving past individual identity itself, seeing the universe simultaneously from a place of self, and at the same time seeing ourselves as holograms containing the entire network in our separate being. If the Internet, social media and encoded reality held the projection of the old challenge, the Internet of Things is the mirror of our new transpersonal, inter-subjective evolution.

As we move more and more of our computer memory and processing into the shared space of the cloud, we find the core metaphor of shared intelligence. Cloud-based technology allows for data storage, software and computing processors to reside out on the network "grid" and be called forth only when needed. The cloud has become the "place" where we store more and more of our cumulative human intelligence, relying on ever-more-powerful search engines and "data mining" algorithms, crowd-sourcing and social media recommendations to make sense of this overflowing abundance: the collages and mash-ups, meshes, mixes, remixes of our popular culture.

The cloud-based “internet of things,” is more than a way to envision self-driving cars and talking personal assistants, but a physical representation of the embedded intelligence of a self-aware universe, where each node monitors its surroundings and shares its experience with the grid itself. Of course, this scenario has a frightening side: in the service of our "lower selves" these technologies can lead us to a beehive-like world devoid of quiet personal space; where global corporations use 5G wireless to extend their control to the most remote corners of the planet; where the smallest personal action is tracked in giant marketing databases; a world where physical nature and even human love are replaced by computer simulations. The spiritual metaphor is the blasted open Crown Chakra – connecting unfiltered to all the ginns and tricksters of the astral plane; lost in the psychic hall of mirrors, caught in never-ending technology-enabled spiritual attention deficit disorder.

But when seen through the lens of spiritual metaphor, the very structure of the cloud offers us a path to a very different outcome: what mystics have understood as "unity consciousness," the simultaneous knowledge of the knower and the known, of individual identity and cosmic oneness. Here knowledge resides equally, both in the network, and at all of its nodes and the spaces in betweeniii; not hoarded by one tribe, gender or species, nor projected into an unreachable central God Authority.

As I wrote in Digital Dharma:

Beyond the web of communicating appliances is the seventh-level vision of an interconnected creative culture… And beyond this cultural vision is this spiritual teaching: We can create a world where all beings are simultaneously aware of their common Source (the universal intelligence of the Grid) and their power to download all the divine love and light their field can handle… deciding to fully connect with every other being, and simultaneously with something greater than oneself… We are conscious of our own programs, but we also hold space for the greater field that connects us all. This is a web where connectivity extends, in Matthew Fox’s words, “into the heavens and into the past (to our ancestors) and the future (to our descendants) to make community happen… it is light meeting light.”iv

Living in Cloud Consciousness we are challenged to see that our intelligence has always been connected in every action – past, present and future, and that we and all the other individual processors are sharing the same memory and power source. On the internet we learned to process our own data, drawing from external repositories as needed; in the cloud we hold all the repositories in common, consciously downloading those wisdom programs that use our human consciousness for a higher purpose. Our bodies and our life experiences become vessels of divine curiosity; and our prayers of gratitude become the uploading technology that refreshes and heals the great web of Being..

i Digital Dharma: A Users Guide to Expanding Consciousness in the Infosphere (Quest Books, 2007; JAICO, 2012)

ii See my “teleconsciousness” blog posts at or my Facebook Digital Dharma Notes at

iii Patricia Albere’s “Mutual Awakening Process” is one new approach to tuning into the inter-subjective wisdom between our individual fields. See:

iv Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh (Harmony Books, 1999), p.112