by Patrick Marsolek (12/2014)
The Akashic field is a metaphysical library which exists outside of time and space. It is thought to be a universal record of everything that has ever happened, a kind of database, that a psychic or a mystic could access for healing, visioning or understanding. The idea of an Akashic field is popular in spiritual and New Age thought as an explanation for intuitive information and spiritual insight. This concept has long been ridiculed by materialistic science, since there is no conceivable way that such a thing could exist in a strictly physical world or that humans could access it. At the same time, our evolving understanding of quantum physics has lead scientists towards hypothesizing a pervasive, universe-wide field of energy and information. The quantum vacuum and zero point energy, could be the source out of which everything in the physical world arises and returns. Many scientists acknowledge the existence of a quantum field, yet most believe they are not at all accessible to the human consciousness. Yet, a universal quantum field sound strikingly similar to the Akashic field. Ervin Laszlo, a philosopher of science and a systems theorist, convincingly argues that they are one and the same. The existence of an Akashic field, or A-field, as he calls it, might give us a unifying theory that would finally bring together objective science and the consciousness that perceives it.
In hindu thought, Akasha refers to the one, eternal and all-pervading substance that is imperceptible. A fundamental property to the universe, it exists outside of space and time, a strikingly similar concept to the quantum vacuum. The concept of Akasha has informed Eastern thinking for thousands of years. According to Vedic thought, the material universe was created when Akasha was activated by Prana, the universal energy, in a kind of super awakening or big bang. The idea of an Akashic Field as a kind of library that stores all the information of the world seems to have come from the early members of the Theosophical movement, such as Annie Besant, Charles Leadbeater and Manly Hall. It is thought that many of their theosophical writings came directly from the Akashic field.
Though the specific term Akashic Record is fairly recent, saints, sages and visionaries have been able to access universal knowledge directly for as long as we have records. Maharishi Bhrigu, who’s credited to be the father of Hindu astrology is thought to have compiled a book of literally millions of horoscopes of past and future people. In China, Tajao purportedly channeled information on a variety of subjects and Sujujin reportedly only needed the first name of a person to be able to accurately describe their life history. The oracles of the Greek temples and the mystics of the Sufis also were able to access “divine” guidance. In the west, Edgar Cayce may be the most famous medium who could “read” uncannily accurate information relating to medical issues of his clients. He referred to his process of acquiring information in trance as accessing the Akashic Records.
There are innumerable other people who seem seem to have this kind of access to information outside of space and time. The intuitive archaeologist George McMullen was able to walk onto a field over an archeological site and accurately tell the story of who lived there, when, what they looked like and where their constructions would be. McMullen described to me how at several sites he encountered a native from a historical time waiting at the edge of the village to meet him and show him all the sights of that place. It was as if the awareness of that place was waiting to be released to McMullen’s receptive consciousness, similar to a record waiting to be played. Nostradamus also “read” his future history from some place outside of time. Modern remote viewers have shown the ability to accurately describe distant locations in the present, past, and future with only a randomly assigned target coordinate to cue them.
Another fascinating phenomenon is that of Jane Roberts and her channeled writings of the entity Seth. Channeling - which may be another interpretation of accessing the Akashic field - allows an individual to tap into very specific knowledge, higher intelligence and even know languages that they don’t have in their day-to-day lives. Seth, speaking through Robert’s when she was in trance, asserted that the fundamental stuff of the universe is ideas and consciousness, and that once an idea is conceived it exists forever. He went on to state that all knowledge could be accessed by “direct cognition”. This is reminiscent of Robert Monroe’s description of receiving “rotes” of information from higher beings when he was traveling in his out-of-body states. These dense “downloads” of information might also be likened to a record being triggered and played into Monroe’s consciousness.
All these examples show us that we seem to have connection to knowledge that is outside of us, it’s part of our nature, even down to the day-to-day intuitions that guide ordinary people. Many philosophers and scientists who have delved into the mysteries of consciousness have theorized ways to describe this phenomena of interconnection. Since Akasha is fundamental property of all things, Vedic thought proposes that everything is interconnected through this fundamental property. One poetic image from the Avatamsaka sutra states, “... there is said to be a network of pearls, so arranged that if you look at one, you see all the others reflected in it. In the same way, each object in the world is not merely itself, but involves every other object and, in fact, is everything else.” Jung referred to the part whereby we are all connected as the collective unconscious, as he attempted to describe his own experiences of archetypal energies and symbols.
Looking at the outer world, the interconnecting qualities that are now being recognized in science are often referred to as some kind of field. A field is a matrix, or a region of influence, that has effects in space and time, usually through some force or energy. This hypothesis suggests that all fields exist in physical reality, though they can’t be observed directly. They are inferred through observable effects. For example, a magnet exerts a field of energy that can affect physical iron filings. We experience gravity when we feel our weight on the ground or drop a stone.
Rupert Sheldrake has championed the idea morphogenetic fields. These fields of information are thought to be correlated with any kind of biological action. They exist outside of time and space, and are thus universally present, guiding biological growth, and in essence, connecting us. Some biologists even propose there is a field consciousness that is responsible for the near-instantaneous movements of a flock of birds or a school of fish.
The Quantum physicist David Bohm postulated an implicate order that underlies all of physical matter at the quantum level and is expressed through holomovements, a dynamic wholeness-in-motion whereby everything moves together and is interconnected. Karl Pribram described it in terms of holography. In a holographic image, the visual information exists throughout the whole image, so that any piece of the whole contains part of the whole image. In holographic theory, the human brain is part of this holographic dimension and has access to it. A hypothetical, unifying field has also been called by spiritually minded people the cosmic mind, the universal mind, and the psi-field. More recently, quantum physicists refer to the quantum vacuum and the zero point energy (ZPE) field as the plenum from which all the energy in our physical world arises.
A convincing case is made by Ervin Laszlo that science is finally in a place to produce a theory of everything, a meeting point between the cutting edge of quantum physics and lived experience of spiritual thinkers. In his books, The Self-Actualizing Cosmos and Science and the Akashic Field he draws on advances in quantum physics, biology and consciousness studies to show that the quantum vacuum and the ZPE may be inherently an information field.
ZPE theory suggests that the physical world we live in arises billions of times each second from the universal field of quantum potential. Everything we know and experience comes from that source and sooner or later returns there. Laszlo theorizes that this vacuum generates a kind of holographic field that is outside of time and space, and is the memory of the universe. The presence of memory and information reinforces the idea of consciousness as a primary aspect of the universe. The fundamental primacy of consciousness is not an unusual perspective to come from those delving into quantum physics. As Neils Bohr said, “We can admittedly find nothing in physics or chemistry that has even a remote bearing on consciousness. Yet all of us know that there is such a thing as consciousness, simply because we have it ourselves. Hence consciousness must be part of nature, or, more generally, of reality.”
Seeing the similarities of the Akashic Field and the ZPE field, Laszlo calls them collectively the A-field, purposely using a scientific sounding name. Laszlo is a strong proponent for science and believes that science produces reliable and predictable knowledge that is both empirical and experimental. He also acknowledges that science can only cover the objective world, always requiring a subject who experiences the data. Consciousness, mind and experience are all part of interior subjective experience, which has been the realm of the spiritual traditions and cannot be measured by science. Laszlo suggests that information - which he describes as mind perceiving differences in energy - might be the missing link that can unify science and spirituality. He proposes that all the varieties of anomalous experience that humans have -- out-of-body, near-death, past-life, spontaneous healing, precognition and various psi-related experiences -- show that human consciousness is not only tapped into this field, but is part of it.
Humans being interconnected with everything in the universe and able to access it first hand is nothing unusual to various lineages of Eastern thought and to many indigenous peoples. Many cultures believe in a circle of life, whereby every living and non-living thing is connected. There are many reports of a kind of sympathetic resonance with the animals that were the primary sustenance to many native peoples. Josiah Gregg was an explorer, naturalist, and author who traded on the Santa Fe Trail during the 1830s. On one occasion he watched a Comanche arc an arrow that killed a prairie dog out of sight behind a hillock, a trick Gregg could not duplicate with a rifle. Though Westerners dismiss this belief of connection as “magical thinking,” “sympathetic magic” and “irrational superstition,” to the people who have these experiences that reality is the more obvious truth than the materialist myth of separation and disconnection.
A-field theory, and the trend of quantum physics, is returning Western science to a place in the universe where we are connected with each other and with nature. Laszlo draws on his experience with non-linear systems theory, the quantum phenomena of non-local interaction and entanglement to suggest that in a very real sense, everything we do as humans has an affect on the rest of the world. He suggests that when the system is functioning coherently - in sync, harmonious and energetically aligned - the whole system thrives and evolves together simultaneously. He goes on to say that when humans act incoherently, behaving as if we are separate from nature and the universe, we run the risk of going extinct as a species. This sentiment resonates with Albert Einstein’s words, “A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal decisions and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Laszlo’s A-field theory can provide a practical framework for those wishing to pursue their understanding of how consciousness and matter interact in our universe through scientific means. In quantum mechanics we recognize how consciousness and intention have manifest effects; we can also acknowledge there are similar expressions of connection in our daily lives. Rupert Sheldrake’s research with telephone telepathy and Dean Radin’s work with distant intentionality and precognition seem to confirm the A-field’s interconnectivity outside of time. These are practical, replicated avenues of scientific study that validate how a connecting field may be influencing our daily lives.
On the personal side, these thoughts give rise to questions. If the whole world is conscious, and we are part of it, why don’t we all recognize it? Why don’t we have access to the Akashic field whenever we want? Polls show that most people have had some experience of telepathy, precognition or other psi-phenomena. It’s only a small percentage of people immersed in a materialistic worldview that claim these connective phenomena are impossible. Yet, even those who believe don’t seem to have these experiences regularly. Laszlo echoes what others have suggested, that this information field is more easily accessible to most Westerners in altered states of consciousness. Edgar Cayce, George McMullen and Nostradamus all did it in a kind of trance. For some people it takes a near death experience to wake up to their connection to the universe.
Different schools of philosophical thought have theories for why we might not know we are all connected. The engineer and philosopher Bernardo Kastrup argues in Why Materialism is Baloney for idealism, where consciousness is primary in the universe. He suggests that the human mind and body that we can objectively study is essentially an image arising out of a universal field of consciousness. He uses the metaphor of a whirlpool in a river, having shape and form, yet still being entirely water, suggesting that we are whirlpools in the river of mind. Kastrup proposes that the reason we don’t know we are part of the river is that our brains and bodies are essentially filtering out everything other than what is in the forefront of our consciousness - the personal whirlpool of our egos and our bodies.
The whirlpool metaphor also suggests that we would have unitary and so-called “paranormal” human experiences when we quiet the body and brain which couldn’t happen if the brain were producing consciousness. This has been shown to happen in dramatic ways when electromagnetic fields or psychoactive substances disrupt our normal brain functioning or when we have a near-death experience. On the more practical, safer side, innumerable individuals have accessed the A-field through naturally produced trances and altered states. You can learn to meditate, do self-hypnosis, or induce a more dramatic altered state through holotropic breathwork. The multiple paths of yoga originated with the specific intention of connecting the mind and the body to experience a unitary state. It might also help to pay attention to the day-to-day intuitive experiences you already have which might be glimmers from your own Akashic connection. Imagining you are innately part of the A-field, and thus interconnected with everything in the universe, might also change how you treat others and the world around you.
Patrick Marsolek is a writer, dancer, facilitator, clinical hypnotherapist and the director of Inner Workings Resources. He leads groups and teaches classes in extended human capacities, consciousness exploration, personal development, and compassionate communication. He is the author of Transform Yourself: A Self-hypnosis Manual and A Joyful Intuition. See www.PatrickMarsolek.com for more information.