What is of a modern day pioneer actually sound like? Well, we’re about to find out as I chat today with Andrea Blackie. She is the co-founder and editor of a publishing company named “Param Media” – that’s P.A.R.A.M media found at parammedia.com. Now their quest is very unique, it is to bring together scientists from all over the world in such desperate fields as neurology, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, as well as Greek philosophers, and their journey is to explore what is it mean when we say “reality”? What is consciousness and how do we understand how it functions and how we access it? Now if your thinking that this sound like pretty heavy duty topics well they are. But Andrea Blackie has the unique talent of being able to take what seems to be very complex matter, and turns is into something that you and I not only can understand but can apply it in our own quest to find out more about ourselves. You know, her voice may sound young but she is a very old soul, and her intellect blows me away. So let’s find out what’s going on in the cutting edge of science and the quest for knowing who we are as humans and what our journey in this world is all about.
Lesley: So welcome Andrea Blackie! And my first question in you is, how does a graduate in French on a deans list nevertheless will spend her first job in France in the field of languages become an award-winning startup publisher?
Andrea: Well Lesley, thank you so much for that question and I’m so happy to be connecting for you today, um, very interesting question. I guess I would say that one of my first loves in life was language – in particular the French language-, and it’s about one trajectory that I’ve been exploring from a real young age. And I knew that as soon as I graduated I wanted to immerse myself in an environment that would allow me to speak French everyday, so naturally I moved to France. But at the same time another passion that I was nurturing was opening up to philosophical exploration, and I have been fortunate at that time to meet some very close friends who also share that shame passion. So while I was exploring…
Lesley: So what was that passion?
Andrea: Passion being the philosophical exploration and how I can transform it personally. So while I was exploring the French language trajectory and getting experience in the world, but teaching and really opening opening up to that I was also in touch with these friends with whom I had this supposed philosophical exploration, and that was when I began editing our..what would become our first Param media which is the “Eternal Law”. So while I was exploring one part of my dream of being in France and living my life in French I would simultaneously beginning to edit this book an and explore this topics. And then…long story short is that I start moving to Vancouver BC, and we end up launching that book with the ones require company- Param media.
Lesley: So, Param media has it’s inspiring pioneers, and I’m gonna read just a little part of your vision. What if the power of mass media was used to help us awake into reality instead of keeping us found by the chains of common consciousness? What great potential would emerge from a culture that nurtured by the dense oppressed the inherent beauty and intelligence of its people? What transformations would result from remembering that our incredible technological power ultimately relies upon the pioneering imaginations of creative visionaries? So, how does that vision get played out everyday as a publisher?
Andrea: Wow wonderful question! I would say that that vision plays out for me just everyday in my own life and in the life of the lives of the co-founders of Param media, and something that was foundational to what brought us together. To that definitely plays a huge role in the people that we work with, the authors that we connect with and whose work we put out to world, every single publication that we have that is the message that we want to convey. And that was really something that we saw with the day of the of the launch of our first book “The Eternal Law”, we were seeing all these other people in the world who were also on that kind of transformational journey with whom this kind of publication resonated.
Lesley: Just for a second, under the first book being “The Eternal Law”, can you give us like a one second definition of what is? What is the law?
Andrea: Yes! Well I’ll get this right, I’ll get this subtitle of the book just to give a very brief overview of how it’s all put out there. And so it’s “The Eternal Law” ancient Greek philosophy, modern science and modern physics in ultimate reality. So the exploration of those seemingly very different topics for what we wanted to bring together, and the Eternal Law itself is something that is mathematical in nature which sounds like it’s more in the academic side. But really when you get into it in a deep way, it’s also had a very deep spiritual dimension to it as well. So it’s about exploring the foundational nature of reality through the contents of those… Again, seemingly desperate fields we have ancient philosophy on the one hand and modern physics, but there are a lot of beautiful interconnections between those things.
Lesley: So, you bring together a vast range of scientists from a variety of scientific fields — I think there’s neurology, there’s obviously philosophy, What are other scientific fields that you bring together?
Andrea: Well, our fortunate to be working with others who are pioneers and experts in many different academic fields, and in terms of the sciences as you mentioned there’s neurology and also physicists and those working with field of chemistry. In the Eternal law the main focus is on modern physics or what many people know as quantum physics, but also brings an explorations of biology, chemistry, pretty much the philosophical foundations of science itself also plays a very important role.
Lesley: And what is the sort of integration glue that bring these desperate minds together? What is it inside of the core of these sciences that they find some universal perspective?
Andrea: Right great question! I think that what brings these different kinds of explorations together and people with expertise in different fields is that they all share a very authentic passion for seeking out the true nature of consciousness and of reality, and how that impacts not just in their work, in the field of sciences or whatever field they may be in but how it affects them as people and inter personally with those around them.
Lesley: So at the same time that they’re studying and researching the phenomenon of consciousness and reality, they are living inside of their learning and applying it in their own personal lives. So what might be an example?
Andrea: Right! I like the way you put that.
Lesley: What might be an example of that? What might be an example of the finding that starts to become a core element to one’s living?
Andrea: I think that once you start to open yourself up to the kinds of questions that one ask themselves about the fundamental nature of reality, it starts to kind of color all aspects of your lives and from the very smallest to the very largest. Yeah, I think that that’s one of the keys to how it’s brought into the personal form is that the kind of questioning that you can apply within science, within the work can also then be turned in words to the person themselves and they can continue that process of questioning and discover deeper aspects of themselves. And in turn there’s a deeper exploration of the world around them going one at the same time and starts keep the connections between the two.
Lesley: So, one of the definitions of consciousness that I found is that it’s a human operating system within which we think, feel and act. It seems like a pretty denying definition but maybe true. What would you say is that the definition that your scientists and yourself…what is consciousness?
Andrea: Right. I think that part of our operating system that’s definitely part of it however there’s a dimension that goes beyond that sort of transcends the everyday level, like to think of it as a direct sense of self awareness. Um, so when you’re sitting there thinking what is it that’s doing the thinking, and can say, “Well, I’m thinking. I’m the one doing the thinking.” And what is this I? And I would say that consciousness is linked very intimately which what would be called the mind or the soul, and it’s a way for us to tap into deeper truth. Of course it does have to do with how we exist in the world that we see around us, but it also transcends that level and it’s more about our self awareness and how we fit into the greater unified whole.
Lesley: So, one of the areas that you’re publishing in is the scientific post materialism, and that is where we start to realize that science is a 19th and earliest 20th century. The really focus on the fact that we were all physical and that all that really counted was matter, you know, the physics of what we could see, and touch and know to be mass. And then, as we evolved in our scientific exploration, we’ve started to realize that there’s much more in quantum mechanic physics, it was an area that allowed us to start to look at that. But one of the questions that I’d have is in that view, what’s the difference between the mind and the brain?
Andrea: Oh wow big question! Yes, and a really important question I think that often gets kind of taken for granted or swept under the rug under the materialists view, essentially a lot of people would say that the brain is the mind or that is sort of the seed of our awareness and it’s reducible to that. However, with the ship into materialists science made the function of the brain and very, very important, and we have so much to learn in that field. But the fundamental reality transcends at physical level and the brain is more like –we can see would say– a receiver for that greater knowledge. So with the post materialist movement it’s a kind of shifting into a new paradigm where the physical is just the brain in and of itself isn’t the limit to reality.
Lesley: So, you know, one of the statements in publication is that minds are apparently unbounded and may unite us in way suggesting a unitary one mind that includes all individual’s single minds. And that actually also comes from Jungian theory that we can access a global consciousness as suppose to simply the consciousness of our own self. For those listening where this doesn’t seem like, “That’s not my reality.” Like, how do I access a global consciousness when I’m one human and I’ve got my experiences and that’s all there is, how does one access a global mind?
Andrea: Right. Um, yeah, it doesn’t sound like something that’s too easy to just– you know– flip the switch and do. And it can be challenging for sure when there’s different modalities that could help us get in touch with with that sort of thing. Meditation is a big one, a lot of people can use that to get in touch not only with their own awareness but the greater awareness surrounding them of which they’re apart. And being open to asking some very deep metaphysical questions, I think it’s one of the keys to not being shut off to things beyond their physical senses.
Lesley: …I am in tracking, I do apologize but you used the term “metaphysics”, and a lot of people probably their eyes roll back and say, “What’s that?” So what is your definition of metaphysics?
Andrea: Right. Well, it is generally sort of a term with an academic philosophy, and it can seem a little scary but it’s really kind of beautiful concept that can be used in our exploration of consciousness. And basically what it is, it’s our attempt to get a rational understanding, so an understanding that’s clear to us and that we can explain more or less clearly to others about what the fundamental aspects of reality are…things to do with, what is being, what is knowing, what is identity, how can we grasp those things and how can we communicate that knowledge with others? So, metaphysical questions do play a part in the personal exploration.
Lesley: So, one of the books that you’ve edited is the “Beacon of Mind: reason and intuition in the ancient and modern world.” Now, what is reason, what is intuition and how are they interconnected?
Andrea: Right. That’s a question that I’ve been holding really close to myself for quite awhile now especially as we’ve put this work together that includes viewpoint insights from a really wide variety of people from science, from business world, from experts in yoga and IT — it’s such a wide variety. And something that I found that really resonated with me that kept coming up over and over with this two concepts –reason and intuition– is that..Yes, they do have different manifestations in our lives but they’re really important to integrate. So take a step back and maybe talk a little bit about how they are different. So reason has more to do with our logical minds in using analysis, using our mental faculties to…when you step-by-step reasons to find about the truth about something or to explore concepts. And then intuition is quite a different modality and lest different words you could use for intuition as well like a gut feeling, sometimes it’s more of an emotional response, but it’s also really important tool to help as arrive that knowledge and sometimes that just get overlooked in our world. And I think that more and more people are getting more in touched with their intuition, and what I would love to see is people kind of fostering both and then seeing how they can come together for even deeper knowledge.
Lesley: I think there has been this kind of…in our 20th century mechanistic mind we do an either/or “Am I being rational or am I being intuitive?” In the engineering world, rationality seems to be the dominant modality and intuition is secondary. And yet what you’re saying is, is that the very nature of science requires both of these and to be operating in simpatico with one another.
Andrea: Yes absolutely. I mean, the history of the great scientific discoveries and you really see in the birth of quantum physics, it’s sort of peppered with stories of these flashes of intuition. And I think that that people are somewhat aware of it but maybe it gets a little less attention than the rational side, and there is a bit of a false dichotomy going on, like you’ve said it becomes an either/or. So, what we really want to do is value both and see that they both have unique applications, but to be a whole person and to really make deeper discoveries we need to bring the two sides together.
Lesley: So, I loved in John Spencer’s book “Einstein’s real guiding principles,” his highest ideals were truth, beauty and kindness. So, here we have a man – Einstein – who’s been given a great credo to his scientific discoveries, and yet he brings in deals such as beauty, truth and kindness. So, how did these different world views integrate each other so that we can grow sort of a different awareness of ourselves in the world around us?
Andrea: Right. I think it starts with each person ticking on that exploration for themselves and asking what do these things need to them, what does it mean to be in touch with your intuition? And even what does beauty mean, what is a beautiful experience…and really examining how these things apply to your own life. Like Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living”, that’s an idea that I really take to heart. In terms of integrating those things…yeah, but I think it really does come down to doing a work on ourselves and having that transformation, but also finding a community of other people who are also on that journey as well. And who are integrating those parts of themselves and making help, help us…not guide us but help us to guide ourselves.
Lesley: Right, because that’s in the interaction with others that we start to actually tap in to these other consciousness as well as trigger the intuition. I wanna know how, how do you Andrea know that you’ve got an intuitive hit?
Andrea: Ah okay… Yeah, that’s a wonderful question, it is something that’s difficult to put into word sometimes. It’s a unique feeling and of course even when…for myself when I get in touch with what feels like, oh, this is resonating as a deeper intuition, something is coming in and telling me to pay attention to this. Then no matter how strong feeling is –you know– I have to take a step back and say, “What part of me is telling me that this is true?” or “Why is this resonating?” Um, sometimes this may come from some idea from outside that’s been I’ve been carrying around for a long time, some other aspect of what my upbringing or my surroundings. So, it’s a bit of a tricky balance because –you know– you never want to forsake that kind of unique feeling of inner knowing that each person can gain access to but the same time it’s kind of like a coupling of reason and intuition. So you get that feeling like a sort of a gut feeling, it’s almost of this surreal thing, it’s hard to pin down into words. And then you can apply the reason on top of that, and say, “What am I becoming from and is this true? And can I prove that this is true?” So yeah, again, I think it really does comes to that combination that integration of our reasoning ability and our deeper intuition.
Lesley: So, I love the way you just explained that because that shows exactly how those modalities come together. And I have this question ever since I start reading this material, where does mathematics fit in?
Andrea: Yes, that is something that maybe some people shy away from. You think that, “Oh, that’s sort of in the world of academia”, even myself I’m not particularly strong in math. I’ve never thought of myself as in terms of an academic pursuit, but there is such a deep, deep beauty, a deep philosophical beauty in the order of mathematics. So it really has to do with uncovering this underlying unifying order, and mathematics is kind of like the language or the vehicle to which that gets expressed. And as humans we are able can tap into that language and use it to uncover those truths and get in touch with them. So, through the process of editing our books, working with Param media have come to have such a deeper appreciation of the beauty of mathematics in that philosophical sense.
Lesley: So what would be an example? I know this is a tough question but what’s an example of a mathematical equation that resonates in this field?
Andrea: Um, I guess sort of the cliche answer would be equals EMC squared. I mean, you know, the kind of the equations that Einstein worked on. There’s also the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, you know. There’s so many…especially in the history of quantum physics that really was a key time where the beauty of mathematics was coming to the floor, and combining in really interesting ways with how we view reality as a whole. Not just a mathematics on the page or the physics on the page but how does that impact our perspective on on our reality.
Lesley: I understand completely and I think part of what you’re saying is, is that the mathematicians figures hands on the page. I mean, um, they see patterns in what you and I would look at as just a list of things, and all of a sudden their mind picks up an automatic set of patterns that then lead them to another set of questions that then take them further. So it’s not only the actual numeric thought that we have of like 1 and 1 equals 2, it’s way the mathematical mind experiences information and I’ve always been fascinated by that. My father is an actuary which lives in the world of mathematics, and I see it all the time in him- and he’s 95 as we speak – I always see in him the fact that he sees the world through a whole series of patterning that is really from his mathematical background. That’s why I just wanted to ask the question because I think some of us just think of it as numbers and equations, but there’s something fundamental in terms of have a mind operates in that field.
Andrea: Yes absolutely.
Lesley: So, I’ve just had a question – you know -people have said, “Okay, well now you just need to just shift your consciousness in order to become aware of what is going on.” What is shifting consciousness mean? Because just in the same way that a mathematician uses a different kind of consciousness to see, what is it mean by “We have to go and shift our consciousness?”
Andrea: Right. Well, there’s many different ways that can manifest in terms of what it looks like in the outside, and likewise there’s different shades of how that feels inside in each person when they start to…I guess open up on kind of…yes, open up to that transformation into a different kind of exploration of consciousness. And, I think what it look like for me was that…I mean I’ve always been quite logical and analytical so I did question things a lot, but then that became ramped up not just in the frequency of the questions but in the character of the questions and the debt of them. So I think that shifting consciousness has to do really with the examination of yourself and also see how you really fit with the people in the world around you. And as you make that shift and start questioning reality around you and questioning the nature of who you are and who we are as a whole, then you do see the relationships around you in a really different light. So it does color all aspects of your life unavoidably and that’ can be a really beautiful thing, and you can end up really deepening and strengthening connections around you who are also on that journey, and it could be a really challenging too with those relationships and a relationship with yourself too.
Lesley: Yes, we can ask questions that we’re not really surely like the answers to. Now, just before we go, you’ve used the word “transformation” a few times and the transformational experience, what you mean by transformation and a transformational experience?
Andrea: Right. When people talk about spiritual transformation, it kind of…it’s framed within the view of an evolution or going from something lower to something higher, or ascending from something at a lower state to a higher state. And what I think that’s part of it, what it also means for me is an uncovering of a deeper truth that’s already there. So the essence is already there in ourselves and the underlying reality is there, but as we transform it’s like clearing a way of that which doesn’t as closely align with that deeper truth. So, I think that the idea of being a progression or an ascension upwards is very useful in a lot of cases, but what also resonates is that it’s kind of going into a core and shutting away that which isn’t the truest self.
Lesley: So this is truly my last question and it’s because I’m doing the meditation series with Deepak Chopra and Orprah, this 21-day series is on beliefs. And basically what it says is, is that beliefs define a reality. So, could one say that when you are operating strictly from a sense of belief if this happens, and where does belief in a scientific method come together?
Andrea: Okay great question. Um, in terms of belief, it’s something that when you can’t really be separated from any human endeavor that includes science, so…it’s even both as tools to reach a deeper truth. And even when engaged in the scientific method and it’s pure and rigorous away, it’s possible – you know – as humans we still do have to rely on our own consciousness and what we believe. Now that being said I wouldn’t say that those beliefs create a reality or create a world around us, they do certainly help shape our perspective of it and can help deepen our understanding of it, but essentially the truth itself is kind of there underlying everything. And we can use our beliefs to help propel us forward to get deeper into that truth, but sometimes those beliefs can hold us back and that’s only need to question them, and say, “Why do I really hold this belief. What is it based on?”
Lesley: How do we know if we’ve reached the truth? How do we know that?
Andrea: Yes. Well and just in terms of in the scientific investigation in the world of sciences, it’s a very powerful domain and if we do it correctly we can get closer and closer to the truth, we have to realize that it’s still a limited modality. Um, we can know so much about the world around us through science and through that kind of exploration, but what we really need to combine out is our inner knowing and then questioning that inner knowing. So it’s a continual renewing process of making those discoveries and in going back and reflecting on them. And that’s true…there should be true within science and then in terms of our personal exploration just continuing to test ourselves, examine ourselves, examine the process that we’re using. And again, having a community of people around you who are also undergoing that same thing is really, really helpful in terms of getting us closer and closer to those truths. Because we’re in this vast sea of knowledge and as a species we’ve discovered a lot but in terms of the collective whole it’s kind of like a tiny spec going to keep going.
Lesley: So I’m just gonna say that that’s… we’ve only had a tiny spec of going through the mind of Andrea Blackie. Holy cow! We could go deeper and deeper, but ultimately I’m taking is that we have as beings this inner knowing that we need to really trust. And if we keep questioning it, and questioning it, and questioning it we find it taking us deeper and deeper and we somehow know when you’ve reached those truths in ways that then the science of us starts to take apart and we keep going that rejuvenation process.
I could talk to you all day my love but our time has come to an end. I can’t believe how well you’ve responded to questions that scientists around the world are asking and you just put them out – there you go! So I’m gonna sign-off now and say holding you tightly because you are a one powerful woman. Thanks for being with me!
Well, it certainly became true in this interview how the question leads to the question leads to the question, I think I must have said “And this is my last question” at least two if not three times. That is definitely the nature of our pursuit of greater knowing. It reminds me of an interview I did a couple of weeks ago with Kathy Manners, and we talked about how important the construct of the question was in undertaking change or transformational work in an organization or a community. And how we construct that question really helps us to determine what path of discovery we’re really on. Now some of us may seem esoteric – you know – a circle sort of questions and yet it’s not a circle, it’s spiral taking us deeper and deeper, and wider and wider. It’s tough work than fact in psychology we call it “the work”. I want to thank Andrea for doing such a brilliant job of filling my tough questions, and I do want you to check out her website it’s parammedia P-A-R-A-M-M-E-D-I-A dot com. There you’ll see publications that they’re putting out to the world and some brief abstracts of what those books are about – I’m sure they’re going to pique your curiosity. Well, I also hope that I’m piquing your curiosity. And so, check me out at www.womenwholead.co and on facebook women who lead radio show. I do want you to ask me some questions. Let’s keep a dialogue going because remember this is your show and I am your host Lesley Southwick-Trask. See you next time!