There is an interesting conversation online (recording available on YouTube) about the relationship between consciousness and mind.
Sean Carroll, a physicist, takes a scientific materialist point of view, and Alan Wallace, a Buddhist scholar, takes a more “spiritual” point of view. Wallace suggests that consciousness exists beyond mind, and is somewhat unexplainable. Carroll objects, saying no one can explain the mechanism by which this “unexplainable” phenomena of consciousness interacts with the human mind. In my view, the two’s disagreements may be bridged as follows:
Carroll, in another lecture, presents the idea that every “everyday life” phenomena can be explained by a complex formula he calls The Core Theory.
(The other lecture online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x26a-ztpQs8)
The Core Theory equation, which contains terms which reference quantum mechanics, spacetime, gravity, other forces, matter, and the Higgs field, certainly addresses all known frequencies of electromagnetic forces (EMFs).
So here’s the bridge: it is an established fact that ki energy (an energy which many people work with in the healing and martial arts, and which is directly related to consciousness, according to many people versed in various forms of spirituality) can be measured, and is an EMF which resides in the infrared spectrum. Here’s one of many scientific papers asserting this:
From the introduction of this paper: “Many people believe that ‘Ki-energy’ (life-energy) is a ‘superpsychological’ or ‘supernatural’ phenomenon. The aim of this paper is to provide evidence that ‘Ki’ is a ‘natural’ phenomenon. If it is a ‘natural’ phenomenon, it can be studied scientifically.”
What Wallace refers to as “unexplainable consciousness” is in fact an EMF.
How does this energy interact with a human being? It is well known that when the mind “has a thought,” an electrical charge passes through the brain’s neurons. That is to say, an EMF of a particular, measurable frequency passes through the brain. And there exists a mechanism which translates the series of charges into thought, behavior and action. Thus, we know there exists a way in which an EMF interacts with the matter of the human being.
It is not hard to postulate that neurons (or perhaps other biological structures in the human body) are capable of interacting with EMFs of a different frequency — according to the study cited above, in the infrared spectrum (where they located and measured ki energy).
We may not be able to measure the interaction between ki energy and physical structures in the body, but there is certainly no reason to rule out the possible influence.
(While I say “we may not,” I actually suspect, in the “those who know do not talk” department, Carroll and others are well aware of the inter-relationship between ki and the mind, and have simply been trained not to talk about it. Mystery schools down through the ages, including the Masonic Temple, have taught their members to not talk about “inner world” phenomena.)
In any case, if we think of consciousness as an EMF, then there is no problem explaining its existence, its propagation through space, and its interaction with dense matter (like the human body), using Carroll’s Core Theory equation.