For people with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, who have lost the ability to form short-term memories, living only in the present falls far short of what many meditators intentionally seek through their daily practice. Although Alzheimer’s patients don’t fixate on possible future outcomes, they can no longer experience the bliss that comes with living fully in the moment, says Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, because they have lost the cognitive brain, the part of consciousness on earth that is separate from Pure Self.
In an interview with Science and Nonduality, Tanzi, a professor of neurology at Harvard University, uses his research into the genetic basis of Alzheimer’s disease as the starting point for a discussion of the evolution of the brain and Consciousness, as well as how lucid dreaming and spiritual insights have enabled him to make intuitive leaps in his research by tapping into greater awareness.
Throughout the interview, which is featured in Science and Nonduality Anthology Volume 5, Tanzi delves into the role of the brain, not as the seat of consciousness, but as a radio that taps into that consciousness. In turn, consciousness is the seat of all experience and arises as a result of Pure Awareness becoming aware of itself. This replaces the traditional subject-object view of the universe, says Tanzi, with a loop of awareness looking back at itself. People — as a vast collection of bacteria and cells — are just one example of consciousness being created in this way.