Snippets from two essays I wrote.
Implicit-explicit gradient of nondual awareness or consciousness-as-such
Nondual awareness as the broadest way of knowing
The concept "Apples are red" is one type of knowing. It 'exists' in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. You might call this 'factual' or 'propositional' knowing. How to ride a bike is another type of knowing. You might call this 'procedural knowing'.
A conventional view holds that all types of knowing ultimately resides in the brain, and that we could be 'brains living in vats' (ref: that we form explicit representations of all inputs and then act to minimize prediction error. The part nondual awareness people object to is the explicit representation part). People who take nondual awareness seriously reject this view, and believe that there is a very broad form of knowing that unifies the brain, body, and environment in a non-conceptual but direct experience.
It's difficult to talk about with words, and sounds mystical until an experience in an altered state of mind (whether through substances, meditation or by happenstance), 'pulls back the veil' of concepts, and reveals this background knowing. 'Nondual awareness' points to this background knowing.
Nondual awareness is always present, on a gradient from explicit to implicit
Axes of consciousness.
Consciousness is high dimensional, but consciousness researchers have often conceptualized it in 2 dimensions: global state and phenomenal content.
Energy as longevity intervention
Longevity researchers talk about extending the human lifespan. People immersed in the ‘productivity subculture’ talk about carefully managing time or attention to get more things done. I claim they share an underlying desire; to bring forth more from life, to have more vividness, richness, satisfaction. One factor that hugely mediates how much you can make of life is energy. I have seen few people in these subcultures talk about the importance of energy, and even fewer notice that it is a capacity you can explicitly cultivate.
On different conceptions of energy
In the western culture, energy is usually referred to either as a fairly specific scientific entity that is measured in joules or watt-hours, or else a very vague description of how a body feels (“I feel energized”).
In contrast, eastern spiritual traditions have a number of very detailed frameworks around the practice and cultivation of energy, also referred to as prana (in the Indian yogic traditions), qi/chi/氣 (in Chinese/Japanese traditions), rLung (in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition). You may have seen, for instance, the map of meridian lines in the human body, which correspond to channels that qi moves through…