Beyond Thought

Beyond Thought

2011, Psychology  -   143 Comments
Ratings: 7.78/10 from 220 users.

Beyond ThoughtIn a world full of constant change, we are always aware of what's going on and what we think about it.

This gives us a sense of who we are related to what we are aware of. This documentary reveals that awareness itself is not what you think.

Indy Feature Documentary. Shot from Mexico to Canada, along the west coast of USA.

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143 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Very, very interesting. I gave 10 stars, love it.

  2. I was resistant at first but you actually penetrated this old issue with some new insights and moved me toward a fuller and more useful grasp of familiar constructs. Good job. What are you up to nine years later?

  3. HALLELUJAH HERE I AM! I'm moved by this film, which started as a result of an event in the life of the film-maker director (James Hebert) who interviewed people about their experience of thinking and what is beyond it...I loved reading into the faces of the some of the people as they talked. I think it is important to avoid saying 'thoughts are physical' without qualifying 'thoughts have a correlated physical manifestation' (the concept thought includes our experience of it) and I don't agree that what is beyond thought and all that is beyond thought is 'sensory perception' although it is another thing from thinking. Surely, ultimately, to discover and become aware of awareness is not the end... leads to the 'one who is aware'...?

  4. I can't follow a word game. And I can't dwell to much on the abstract aspect of it, but can actively strive toward this: "The reality of man is his thought, not his material body. The thought force and the animal force are partners. Although man is part of the animal creation, he possesses a power of thought superior to all other created beings. If a man’s thought is constantly aspiring towards heavenly subjects then does he become saintly; if on 18 the other hand his thought does not soar, but is directed downwards to centre itself upon the things of this world, he grows more and more material until he arrives at a state little better than that of a mere animal.Thoughts may be divided into two classes: (1st) Thought that belongs to the world of thought alone. (2nd) Thought that expresses itself in action.... etc. etc. ~Abdul-Baha, Baha'i Faith

  5. New age drivel.

  6. just came across this documentary by accident.... first thoughts i had was, what utter bullshit... then at the point when you go into thoughts .. something happened, first time in a long time i smiled, just came *aware* of my negative thought's stumbling around in my head all the time.. the latter part of the movie is more or less missing at the moment... ended up thinking about the thoughts and loosing the grip of them.
    So to conclude, i really really enjoyed this ...

  7. I ll have to think about what I just watched. ☺ Ironically this documentary is food for thought.☺

  8. My awareness of my awareness by not acknowledging my awareness is pretty much telling me this doco should be under philosophy or religion, not psychology.

  9. sorry..spellchecker is getting me.. "thought runs ram-pit" --- or out of control...

  10. As I watch a little further....maybe aware ness and thought work best when in balance....but in our modern world and lives....thought runs armpit, takes over, and messes up the balance.

  11. My thoughts are telling me that maybe awareness just just exists, and there is nothing more.

  12. Maybe we've use our thoughts and logic to discover awareness, and awareness is aware of our thoughts, but can awareness be aware of itself? Only our thoughts have found's a circle or endless loop..

  13. it is really amazing to see and hear how the individuals being interviewed talk about 'people' and 'you' when they are obviously talking about themselves. ' People dont -this, people dont - that..' it is very tiring to listen to..! James Kennedy makes me agitated. I cant watch this.. Sorry !

  14. What a great little documentary. Getting right to the heart of the matter of existence. I am aware that i think therefore I AM.

  15. Even an amoeba has awareness... if it can sense a chemical gradient and know which way it needs to move then it is aware of its world in its own context. If it is hungry, is its search for food not carried out in an aware search to alleviate its body's hunger? It may not have a high level of conscious thought context that enables them to express how they feel but every lifeform is aware of how it feels.

    Here is a description of less than 70 milliseconds of content that I observed as my brain was generating my thought into place way before my tongue could verbalize the chunk of meaning....

    "After the second stream embedded in the distance, I flashed 90 degrees leftward and zipped forward almost faster than I could notice. After reaching the end of that forward path, the stillness became a fixed location looking forward into a blackness that contained a black form moving ahead into the distance. I knew I was at the spot that marked the forward place where this information would progress to upon reaching its destination in my horizon. And as it landed like a string of beebees collliding into clay, the last part of it collided into the exact spot forward from which I viewed. I was anticipating the breaking of the bond that would release me leftward to zip through the next chunk."

    Give me a year with a competent neuroscience graduate student and
    I will make the world aware of the physical brain and how it holds together the person that it contains. Furthermore, the basic nature behind its process is directly connected to the mind of God in that they work exactly the same way, except our brains work with pieces constructed and governed by an electrical nature, and God's brain is governed by rules of quantum gravity. The problem is this: before anyone on Earth will know that I am real, I will have to single handedly work out the details of what God reveals to me and recreate the beginning of time and triggering a big bang on the quantum level of gravity that will move the Sun across the sky, saturate the atmosphere into utter darkness for three days... and as the light returns to the faithless cowards that fill this Earth, they will finally realize that God has spoken. You have been given signs but you don't notice. The coming age of aquarius will arrive in true form on the day that God gives me the gift that will release the divine expression of His displeasure for how you perceive your false gods. There is only one God, and I will show Him to you in all physical realness in a model of quantum gravity that nobody will look at until I show them. And over the next thousand years, the number of humans that will actually understand the logics of creation will be less than the fingers on my hand. This is why I will do God's bidding in a righteous way, because the only way to make you understand is with proof that scares you. Showing you the proof in logic is like discussing calculus with a group of rats. The day will come that forces the blind to see and the deaf to hear, and after that day, God will be accurately brought into view for Earth to see. It's nor my fault that a big bang bomb will be required before anybody will open their eyes and actually take notice of the God that wants nothing more than for you to notice that He is here. I would rather be in heaven than carry this burden, but I value God's life most high, and heaven will rejoice when it succeeds in getting Earth on a spiritually correct path that will transcend our animalistic cultures into the perfect age over the next millenium.

    You don't believe in God, any more than a monkey believes in Santa. You believe in dreams and fairy tales. If you truly believed, then you would know that God is not going to come to you on TV or in any way that you expect. If you truly believw in God, and you don't believe in me, then you truly don't believe.

    1. I think you have to much time on your hands and need to lighten or lol enlighten up.

  16. 54:27 explains it all.


  17. we are the potato chip and the creator of the patato chip.

  18. Nothing does not exist... never has and never will because that is quite
    simply what the words No thing means. Ergo when you think or feel you
    are seeing or hearing nothing you could actually be starting to become
    aware of somethimg that is possiblly far larger or smaller than you cn
    presently percieve. And that is just part of the choice we all have to
    individually make. Nice video thanks for sharing.

  19. Pretty good documentary, but the narrators voice was highly annoying in my humble opinion.

  20. Oh my god! I just have no words to describe what this is because the most amazing experiences are not confined to expression through language!!! This is the ultimate and only reality, the ultimate and only truth and thank you ever so much for presenting it in the most real yet amazing way...thank you, thank you, thank you...

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. There's a facebook page if you would like to comment there as well.

  21. OK, the sense of self is sustained by language and reinforced through the continuum of the inner dialogue but is it created out of thought/language? If it were, who would think the first thought?
    Our incessant addiction to reason and thought processes is in a sense, the self reassuring itself of itself - a kind of survival strategy that perhaps arises out of our organic condition.
    It might be that the sense of self is a modification of the natural, "instinctual" impetus of all organic composites from atoms through cells to mammals - a force that maintains the integrity/survival of each unit as a separate entity. All matter maintains it's integrity through this "impetus" (cell walls, electro-magnetic forces etc.) until it's clock runs out.
    With homo, this instinctual, physical self-maintaining force becomes intellectualized through language, creating a complex sense of self...
    Awareness beyond thought is a liberation from the intellectual sense of self but exists still as an experience - experienced by the organic selfness.
    It's not advantageous to overlook the organic in which is inherent all knowledge and mhistory.

  22. I'm more concerned why awareness exists within my body. Are humans aand awareness living symbioticly? Wherein, awareness is aware of itself but unable to act, so it takes a human host who then takes on some form of self awareness. I guess that's assuming awareness is more or as aware of itself than I am of it now. I guess it really is like there is someone else in my mind who creates a situation where my actions are observable and measurable. What if awareness isn't aware of itself and that's why it is silent in our minds and only we can observe it. What of awareness is only a by product of our interaction with awareness. What if this relationship is parasitic?

  23. Sweet, warm and funny, useful information for humans to explore
    science and spirit...
    "The downside of developing personal self-awareness, is that if there is any kind of suffering hidden, that suffering that you've been hiding comes
    to the surface and will magnify, thus leading to a fear or dislike of.... becoming more self-aware.
    and this kernel: "Is awareness aware of itself?"

  24. I am annoyed that this exists. I've been developing something like this for teens. This is beautiful, a little chaotic at points but the message is set. Thank you for sharing this!

    I suggest looking into self actualisation for those that enjoyed this.

  25. nice one

  26. What a great little doc this was 10/10.

    It’s got Rocky Horror, cars, babies and a sweet soundtrack to go with it. The narrator, who has a very intriguing and pleasant voice interviews various people from all walks of life and asks them about thoughts and awareness. A lovely and thought provoking documentary.

    The Crucified One

  27. I am a Buddhist Chaplain in UK prisons. This Documentary would be a great training aid. Does anyone know where I can get this on DVD. MANY THANKS

    1. Facebook page "Beyond Thought" and message me there.

  28. Asking if awareness is aware of itself is evidence of a dual mind - living in separation. Believing there is two separate entities. Ex: there is our mind/thoughts and then there is awareness. Truth is we are awareness itself, only paradoxically we are not aware of it, as we are caught up at the level of mind. Its the same as asking is there is God or first cause and then asking does this first cause have a first cause itself. The (asleep mind) will always see duality. Them us, day night, black white, male female, God us, mind body etc etc etc. We shouldnt judge awareness by our own asleep standards.
    Awareness just is! -omnipotent, limitless, formless. Meditation - being quiet, receptive and open (as well as familiar to all first principals - will wake you up to yourself - which is awareness. Then you may live my inspiration - intuitively. Bear in mind this awareness is one with everyone else - runs through everyone else.

  29. I am aware of this keyboard (me, Javier ). Something (my conscious mind) is aware that I am aware of this keyboard. Something is aware that something is aware of this keyboard, etc, can go to the nfinite. If some entity is aware of another subordinated entity, there must be a bigger entity to be aware of the first entity, then another then another then another in an endless pattern. Which one is the last piece of the chain? God? Some mystic force? Donno. I am not aware of that.

  30. The beauty of awareness is profoundly expressed by the child Ashley. At 14:46, Ashley begins to teach the moderator about true awareness and he clearly missed it being to caught up in trying to get her to answer the question according to what he was aware of. The moderator clearly did not understand his own question and therefore could not understand Ashley's answer. Her very first answers from 14:54 through 15:26 are correct but as the moderator continued to prod her, she clearly became agitated. I feel that in this particular instance, Ashley, not yet being conditioned to formulate an in-depth opinion or a false sense, was aware that the moderator did not understand her replies and simply walked away from him. That was solid proof that awareness is substantially more aware of itself than the effort put forth in trying to prove some being's awareness. That was GREAT!

    1. The moderator was making a point for everyone to see, that ashley did not identified herself with the roles other people expect her to fill. In doing so, he covered every aspect of the potential that she would fall for the trick, but she didn't. The moderator knew exactly what he was doing, and all of it was well thought out before a second of film was ever shot! Hello? She has not yet established a "false sense of self" as shown here, thanks to the moderator.
      Yes, it is great to see how we all start off this way, i agree.

  31. This was such a beautifully presented, and innocent movie. There is a gem in there, but you have to be 'aware' to see it. It is the short segment with the softly spoken (Jamaican?) fellow, Mooj (1.22.05). The answer comes to the question "is awareness aware of itself?" Like a Zen koan, this asks for something more than just an intellectual or an "I think it's..." answer. It is no good to think of awareness as a 'thing' that we are contemplating comfortably, out, 'over there', outside of our experience. Even the Zen Tanto falls over. It's a comic session, with lots of people dribbling all over themselves, tied up in knots, trying to answer. The ones who are stuck are closer than the ones who answer straight away. Mooj is the only person who can save himself - he says "'I am' is actually the Christian name of awareness." But he still doesn't go far enough.

    So, what is the one true name of this awareness, aware of itself? What color are its eyes? What does it wear? If you can answer this, then you can smash all of the graven images that have been tricking you into believing your knowing - raising these ones up and lowering those. Awareness lives and breathes, and is genuinely alive - what a miracle!

  32. Very very good a student of Ramana Maharshi
    we are pure eternal SELF....meditation is the best way to become aware
    of THAT ....our truth identity

  33. wow this really gives me an insight. i cant remember ever not being aware of the emptiness.
    ive always felt sort of alone, like everyone lives in this imaginary version of the world, everything tinted by that color, even me, i have this tint. its like theres another me in me trying to f--k with my perception
    i tried asking friends and family about it but they just call me crazy. i think they are too far in it. working jobs they hate to buy sh*t that dont make them happy...
    then they think they see ghosts, or fail to see how their actions affect people, or talk about 'thats not fair' as if someone broke the rules, as though they are law created by man.
    you cant make up whats in the world, your feelings dont change reality, only your perception of reality...
    you cant trust what you think or see, it has to be questioned. there is no answer of course...
    the only real truth is the search for truth.

    1. Wise. I hope you find your sangha, or your spiritual community. You are already a teacher!

    2. I know what you mean, and I feel the same as you do.
      Thanks for putting it in writing that I can understand.

  34. Om (niet ;) ) over na te denken....Very inspiring, eye opener

  35. wow !! that's why I love philosophy! I had experienced and thought a lot about problems mentioned in this doc :-D
    Yes, I'm capable of being aware of my awareness. However, can my awareness be aware of its awareness ???????????????

    1. "I'm capable" who am I ????

    2. When you run into the woods, the birds flee. When you walk, they look down at you.

    3. Can you elaborate upon that statement please?

  36. Things that stuck most in my mind about this doc was that the magician guy with his irritating "ya know" every other sentence and I felt kind of traumatised by the time the other guy had finished talking about his dog eating the poison and the emotions he went through knowing she was going to die because of it and then there was the woman whose husband died 4 days after his birthday. F**** - I wish I had never watched any of it now.

  37. For a Moment Are we all agree on Awareness is Aware(know) itslef. Taken As example Ashley not Knowing herslef called Sisters's sister. So how Does Everyone Know what actually they want to know or want to be?

  38. what an interesting film and beatifuly made. Definitely gets you thinking about thinking or what is also known as metacognition. Everyone should have a go at mastering awearness.

    1. You should have a go at mastering spelling.

    2. not everyone has English as a mother language. I -for example- was born in Algeria; country with Arabic & french only.
      so behave. please.

  39. After this documantary was made all of its participents

    were placed in a psyche ward due? to the narrator tricking everyones logic.


  40. one of these days... i'll try to get myself so drunk and talk to the camera... wanna hear myself talking trash... hehe

  41. great use of multimedia and some good stuff in there!

  42. Terrific doc. I quote "You can not be other than the awareness itself". You don't have to believe it, you have to experience it on your own. Don't try to understand with your brain, simply feel it. Be you

  43. for some reason i don't feel like the final question is deep at all. it is because the answer to the question does really seem self evident. to be aware you must examine the boundaries of your own personal awareness. awareness is the search for truth. but to say that we are aware we must know the truth. but it is out of the times that we are not aware that we in turn find a new sense of awareness. it seems like a tricky way to make people think in a kind of circular thought, awareness is ever changing so the awareness of awareness is always in flux; at times awareness is aware at times awareness isn't. i feel thats why most people laughed at it, because they felt like it was a mind trick. a twisting of language vs reasoning.

    oh and we are much more than just our awareness. we are a painting of the chance, circumstance and decisions in our lives. I don't believe in a "true self" we are already our true selves. its more a question of finding what gives you reason for living.

    otherwise, i enjoyed the piece. very good stuff. the guy got it right at the end. he untwisted your little verbal/mental puzzle he looked like he was proud :D

  44. Hello Jimmy, although I have already acknowledged the existence of what the documentary describes as awareness through religious teachings, I still appreciate the creatively expressed to share your insight through film. I like escapism once in a while. I also enjoy seeing the states of everyday folk and their amount of awareness of themselves, whether lacking or abundant. I have read previous comments criticizing the lack of intellectual or scientific research, but I do not see a reason to judge this film's merit on criteria it was not intended to fill. At least I don't think you intended this to be scientific, academic, or intellectual otherwise I would have expected a lot more references to other work. heehee. Of course, there's room for improvement but I was too busy not comparing or evaluating that I don't want to offer any suggestions. I do wonder if you quit your job to pursue film after the elbow incident as it had triggered a critical turning point in your life. hmmm laters!

    1. @Chara,
      Yes the film is definitely not intended to be scientific, as it is pointing out something beyond intellectual thought. It's a little rough I agree, but decent for a first documentary. Some people are critical of the presentation of the topic, but we all agree on the existence of awareness. That's the main point.

  45. Why not checkout Jiddu Krishnamurti on Youtube, man who spent over 60 years inquiring / investigating thought, thinking and the whole human consciousness. Its possible to deceive our-self by using thought as the tool of awareness....

  46. Feels to me like this whole thing is just a wittgensteinian misunderstanding of languge, constantly looking for a interpretation of some vague idea. The whole thing just feels wishy washy.

  47. omg stop interviewing people who answer things like ''i dont know, like... i don't know.'' or ''it's knowing things you don't know, you know...''.

    what a stupid contemplative documentary! this is N-N-N-N-NOTHING!!!

    1. @Xerces,
      It's about recognizing who you are beyond mental contemplations.

      Please feel free to recommend a documentary to exemplify your point you are making, and we can keep this comment section to be more productive for viewers to hear all perspective available on the topic of awareness itself.

    2. I follow you fully here dude! this is where I call "Psuodu-Science".

      This is like saying there is a purpose, a destiny in our lives; as a biology student this does not seem logical! But yet as a human I would like to think so because it gives me hope, but that does not necessarily make it true.
      But than again, sometimes, living in ignorance, is better than getting hurt and face reality of life.

      Furthermore, you may be truly aware of youself when, for example you are drunk, and say something supposly true things about yourself and the world around you; but then the next week when your drunk you may say the total opposite.
      Meaning you cannot control your thoughts; daily thoughts streem through your mind all day, even when you sleep! This does not mean that the thoughts actually ARE you.

      This view of awareness is philisophical and should not be allowed to make a documentary about - this will keep on fooling people where they actually become unaware just for seeking the awareness in itself. Instead we should follow the old Roman's saying: "Live and let live"; there is no goal.....

  48. Almost a waste of time. Most of the people interviewed sounded like idiots. Some of the older down and out chaps had some good insights. The questions and direction were good enough but most of the people interviewed came off like dolts. More brains less dolts.

  49. Just because somethings have not been proven by Science doesn't necessarily mean that they are not true. That is the difference between open-minded individuals and close-minded individuals.

    Has intelligent alien life been proven by Science? No. Does this necessarily imply that they cannot exist? Also no. How about the opposite, does that necessarily imply that they must exist? Also no.

    It is important for human beings to keep an open mind. Those who think that their entire universe is defined by Science live in a very small universe indeed. Either that or you really don't understand Science because if you have understood Science you would understand what Science can answer and what Science can't. You would understand the limitations that Science currently has. Does Science really understand what goes on inside blackholes? Does Science understand how gravitation relates to electro-magnetism? There are a lot of things Human Science, as a type 0 civilization does not yet understand, so don't be too arrogant and claim that Science can explain everything right now. If you truly understand Science you would be more open minded and be less obnoxious and insulting.

    1. Well said. That is the problem of fitting the evidence to the theory.

  50. sometimes independently produced means good, sometimes it doesn't

  51. Really enjoyed how he wrapped it back to the little girl that was unable to comprehend the existence of another person's 'being,' much like it is hard for us to comprehend whether or not we are actually aware of our awareness.

    After reading the comments, I must watch 'Primacy of Consciousness' to see what the argument is all about.

  52. Sensibility is what is needed to be aware of awareness.
    when I close my eyes and no thoughts cross my mind what I sense is everything that surrounds me, even if its far or close, matter or emptiness, even gravity pulling down can be sense. awareness has no feelings is just reality fitting it self as its shown: naked eyes.
    Even in a dream consciousness and awareness take place and wake us up from an unfamiliar situation or thought.

  53. Sorry about the incomplete sentence in the second paragraph. I do hope that others enjoy the documentary :)

  54. For years I use to view thoughts as being synonymous with the 'self,' hence there was no perceived distinction between the turmoil of passing thoughts and this sense of 'I'. With meditation this distinction became increasingly vivid, though paradoxically with that distinction came the sensation of no permanent 'I'.

    I would suggest a book called "Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity", written by a philosopher by the name of Charles Taylor. This book elucidates a cultural transition wherein the 'self' becomes viewed as a distinct entity that is objectified as a subject of evaluation. I would therefore respectfully disagree with some of previous comments. I think Descarte's conclusion is in many ways unjustified (i.e. Descarte may rightfully conclude that 'thinking exists,' but to the existence of a self behind the thinking is something he assumes and fails to justify).

    I would also suggest that language provides a framework for structuring experience. It is through language that meaning is imposed upon experience. Awareness is outside of this...though I would also suggest that there

    I will briefly comment about the documentary. This documentary is a rudimentary introduction to basic ideas in meditation. I suppose it is good for many people to be introduced to these ideas, but it is highly deficient in terms of academic rigor (as are most documentaries). I personally do not care what these individuals think about awareness and found this documentary extremely boring.

    1. Hear, hear

  55. thanx for that one

  56. i think therefore i am - René Descartes

    1. It should read "I think, therefore I am, I think."

  57. My question is -Do our thoughts occur in the language we are trained to speak and if so, how would our thoughts occur if we had never been trained in language? Would we exist in a pure state of awareness?

    1. I'd say our thoughts occur in many forms - contemplating past experiences, anticipating future events, etc. Perhaps our language just labels these thoughts, however they would no doubt occur in the absence of language. For example, have you ever forgotten the words to explain your thoughts/opinions - it doesnt mean these thoughts don't exist :)

    2. That is a very interesting concept Lando. From my ignorant position I would disagree with the notion of existing in a pure state of awareness, if anything I believe language or an ability to contextualize thought/sensory information is the key to greater awareness, though I am assuming awareness and understanding share common traits at a human level of conciousness.

    3. Back in the documentary, from 0:11:00 to 0:12:00, is a great example of a thoughtless awareness state with baby Reese.

    4. The post I just edited/deleted quickly turned into a direct attack as I have a number of issues with the philosophy you're preaching, but I don't want to take that route, so I will get a copy of Charles Taylor's book that Sindere recommended, and second Luckin Fefty's suggestion of 'The Primacy of Conciousness' as it seems to tackle similar concepts in a way more palatable to me.

    5. @Lando,
      Yes, thoughts are the internal dialog you "hear" inside your head. Almost always in your native language and with the "sound" of your voice.

    6. I think there always has to be a language, even for basic decision making inside the head of one single person. It is possible that cave paintings were the first externalized language where grunting and pointing to the image on the cave wall conveyed a message…food or danger. And I think those spit/spray hand images on the cave walls is evidence of self awareness, saying, “I was here”.

    7. The recent BBC Horizon episode "Do you see what I see?" answers this question interesting documentary on our awareness of colour, and how our brains and minds affect it.

    8. I believe that language is a set of symbols, richly oxygenated with layers of subtext and meanings from archetypes, perceived past experiences, etc. so there would be other "symbols" in the absence of a language as we understand languages to be. It is when we understand that these are symbols and not the world itself that we really begin to probe deeper into our experience. Into who we might be. The idea that "there is no spoon" captures this beautifully to me. The spoon is not bending, I am the one changing by realizing that there is no spoon. :)

  58. I have always believed in being "aware" instead of just thinking thoughts, but this documentary really tapped into part of us all, regardless of outer influences. It does explain our existance.

  59. At a very basic biological level awareness is the function of the senses to record experiences in the brain and prepare an appropriate response now or when they occur again in the future.
    When you are aware, you are cognizant of your immediate surroundings and the emotional effect they have on you, dictating your physical or verbal response(s) to the various stimuli in those surroundings.

    I see self-awareness as that aspect of the brain that allows you to be mindful of your perceptions; the very instant you experience them, giving you control over your reaction to the stimuli in your reality. When an individual is self-aware, they are truly the owner/operator of their life.

    The narrator asks if ‘awareness is aware of itself’. My answer is not necessarily. The state of awareness can be hypnotic at times, like when you are totally immersed in some function and time seems to speed up, having hours pass by but perceived as minutes. At those times you are not consciously aware of yourself, your conscious awareness is focused on the task at hand.

    Self-awareness IS the state of being aware of oneself. In my experience, self-awareness is being perceptive of SOME of the numerous functions going on in the conscious brain that determine who you are (at that moment) in regard to your immediate situation.

    Sometimes, when in a conversation, I experience self-awareness as a separate mindset that acts as an interpreter, allowing me to steer the conversation in a more advantageous direction.

  60. Don't think about awareness, be awareness. A millions words used to describe awareness will never give you awareness.
    So, if you excuse me, the world wants to distract me from being aware and I have to begin thinking again. Just the thought of having to think makes me tired. I wish I could spend more time being aware.

  61. As someone who has spent very little time contemplating these subjects, this film, for me, provides a great starting point in exploring who we are (both as an individual and collectively).

    Like many people I believe that material belongings, physical appearances and intellectual achievements are not an accurate illustration of who we really are, rather a reflection of the group, class or category to which we have strived to belong, the competing desires we’ve followed along the way and of course the hand we have been dealt within our physical existence. Major oversimplification; however this roughly describes the view held by open-minded individuals I know.

    However, while I like the idea of holding true to this view I can’t say I know anyone – including myself - who doesn’t at some level discriminate on the basis of these attributes (group/class/etc). Would this be because at some level our choices, driven by our thoughts, provide insight into who we really are? When our thoughts stand still does our awareness have an opinion of our surroundings, providing some type of feedback mechanism to direct our thoughts towards making choices that might improve our state of being - physical or otherwise?

    Can someone help me here - is my aim to be mindful of my awareness and allow it to have greater scope in keeping my thoughts on track? Or are all thoughts redundant and simply a distraction to finding my true self?

    While as a newcomer I am still having trouble with the concepts – I definitely feel that this has unearthed a deeper platform from which I can consider the topics of our physical and spiritual existence… but where do I take it from here?!

    1. I think our thoughts can inspire us but having the wrong thoughts can also harm us. We still need thoughts to integrate within society but our thoughts are very limited.

      There is a lot that science can't tell us since it can't describe reality accurately enough either. Can science predict with 100% certainty the weather of all places on earth tomorrow? No, because we can't even measure the current state of the weather accurately today. Science is limited to approximations and reductions of complex interconnected problems into simpler ones that it can handle. But not every complex problems can be reduced into simpler ones effectively.

      Our classification of everything around us is also a form of simplification. By dealing with the attributes of a group/class/etc, we don't need to know everyone but because it is an oversimplification, it is not always right therefore it doesn't describe reality accurately.

      If we have only learnt to listen rather than filling our thoughts with classifying everyone into mental categories. Awareness is very hard for modern day human beings to pursue.

    2. Awareness doesn't have an opinion, provide feedback, direct thoughts, make choices or improve anything. All of that is just thoughts thinking about something you are aware of.

    3. Appreciate your comments James, I have enjoyed over the past few days identifying and being aware of my thoughts, and in doing so trying to isolate myself from these thoughts (and thereby letting them pass through me) - it sure is helpful in stress management and certainly I think the process leaves me feelign lighter and happier!

      I am wondering whether this is the attraction of drugs for many people - i.e. that they allow you to exist without dwelling too much on your thoughts (particularly the negative ones!). Of course the process of taking drugs is destrcutive in many other ways and I wonder if your film and the concepts presented might assist users in finding other ways to connect with themselves...


    4. I see awareness as that background filtering process that often moves to the forefront, giving emotional life to some thoughts and allowing others to pass by, into the subconscious to be re-filed. The best example I can think of that may be easily related to most is if , when you were younger, you were ever on a class trip to a museum or other source of eye and mind candy and you stopped and became so engrossed in what you were experiencing that you didn’t realize the group had moved on and left you there alone among a room full of strangers. Then as your focus goes from your ‘experience’ to your surroundings, there is a sudden realization of your circumstances and you visually scan the area for a familiar face or hear a familiar voice. At that moment you are truly aware, your mind is reeling like a facial recognition program comparing the faces you see to those of classmates filed in your subconscious; at the same time your ears are micro-tuned for familiar voices and you try to connect the two in an anxious search for familiarity. You become self-aware when you sense the feeling of panic starting to overpower rational thought and you ‘consciously’ start reassuring yourself that all is okay.

  62. I think that as soon as a child is capable of being self-aware, this should be made obvious to them and reinforced.

    Often politicians, wall street crooks and most forms of unbalance is the DIRECT CAUSE of most the world population being in complete messes. And it is because they are unaware of what they are really doing. Not all, but most are just zombies doing what our culture of money and self importance has taught them to take as values.

    There should be shall we say, "An Awareness" class that is taught in say grade school which teaches children of this self-awareness. That their thoughts are only an abstraction made by their awareness, and that if we are not careful these thoughts can be mistaken for the REAL YOU.

    Then I think the Zeitgeist can be spread and a much kinder and rational world can happen. Not until then.

    No technology, no science, no invention will fix our problems (destroying nature and ultimately ourselves) UNTIL we teach Self-Awareness to grade school.


  63. as a wiseman in hollywood said recently..."winning"... not

  64. When we are aware of all of our mistakes,perhaps we can start fixing them.We being the human race.

  65. i didn't realise that a lack of awareness pervaded the human population until i watched this. I thought people were generally quite aware of their own thoughts and perceptions and the way their viewpoint changes their view of the world and themselves. "im hardly aware at all woah imagine being aware all the time that would be like y'know really cool and you know?"
    "did you know that awareness IS you?"
    "when you are aware of turning your head its as if the whole world is turning around you"
    "woah if you were aware all the time that would be like woahhh! you'd probably be like ghandi... but i mean when i meet my heroes its kind of sad cos its like are you really aware of life or is it just your work???"
    "when i go to a party everyones like do a magic track yo magic man so i guess thats who i am to them"
    I have heard better contributions to this debate from a 4 year old.

  66. I think its very reasonable to consider human awareness as the basis of being human ,in fact without awareness there would be no platform for thought.
    If you think that the fact of your awareness is somehow central to you finding your true self your probably correct. However, as we are trapped in physical form it becomes apparent that we must also be aware of another human basic need, that being survival on a physical level. Perhaps, our awareness, being of such a pure form, is much easier to retain, as opposed to our survival wich can be much more complicated and thought requiring. Any who, I think that a retreat into the purity of somthing so basically human as being aware can be inspiring and relaxing. If you want to know your true self and never do,well, life didn't come with the promise of getting what you want.

    1. What are the qualitative differences between "human awareness," and the awareness of other beings. The book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman explicates the apparent gap from "humanity" to "animals" quite well. In the book Daniel rigorously travels through literally hundreds of psychological studies, which gives a picture of the human mind that is profound in its insight and depth.

      We now have a reasonable grasp of how the human condition is both unique and synonymous (strange dichotomy I know) with the mind of "lesser" beings. Much of our experience and conscious awareness are governed by an ancient (thus exquisitely adapted and evolved) system that allows us to unconsciously navigate the world around us. Our brain, and the brains of most every mammal, reptile, and bird, receives information, associates it with past experience, and adjusts our emotional and physical response to the stimuli encountered. There are literally thousands of experiments that confirm empirically that a large portion of our reactions, beliefs, body movements, judgments, etc. are more a reflection of unconscious associative memory than "intentional" consciously planned action.

      The human condition is no doubt unique; just as the mussel, frog, or canine condition is unique, but we share a vast majority of our genes, biology, and nervous system processes with the animals we share this planet with. Our great leap forward exists in our abilities of speech (and thus comprehension of abstract forms and concepts) coupled with our enlarged pre-frontal cortex.

      We are continuously self-aware. Most animals when looking in a mirror cannot understand there is a self, and thus react to the reflection as though it is another. However, the animals that are capable of recognizing themselves in the mirror has a breadth that goes well beyond the great apes (humans, chimps, gorillas, orangutans, bonobos), and includes orcas, dolphins, and elephants (more distant mammals) as well as magpies (birds... a display of convergent evolution showing that "human" consciousness is not rare given enough galaxies, stars, planets, and most of all time).

      The point I'm making is that we are not as unique as we tend to believe we are. No other being we know of has ever created a piece of art as glorious as the Sistine Chapel, understood the age of the planet or the universe (even we didn't until quite recently), or created a Large Hadron Collider, but many of the animals (mostly mammals, and strangely enough [very distantly removed] birds) we share our lives with have the same machinery we do. We've simply been fortunate enough to acquire a genetic mutation that modified the structure of our vocal cords allowing for more diverse sound production (vowels). There are birds that systematically pick up flaming sticks, carry them to dry fields, start a fire and circle to catch fleeing rodents. Elephants of certain cultures intentionally ferment fruit, and proceed to get inebriated. Certain crow communities have a night watchman. If he/she fails (a member of the community is killed on his/her watch), then the watchman is killed as well. This is intelligence, consciousness, community, culture, and society demonstrated by an array of different creatures.

      All creatures that display these traits are more recently evolved (within the last 80 million years), and I find it quite amusing to ponder what will walk this Earth 80 million years from now.

    2. Ocasionally I've felt compelled to liken my brain to an information processor and memory retrieval system much like a computer.I'd especially experienced that feeling once after a dream I'd had about a trip in an airplane. You see I'd never flown before and I was a little anxios, so I geuss I was a little preoccupied before I went to sleep.
      When I finally did fly I was amazed at how accurately my mind created the experience in the dream pre flight. Somehow my brain took all the data given it about flying and arranged it so I might get some idea of what it might actually be like. Now, was this awarenes at work as an information gathering mechanism or merely a grey matter sub-routine or vice-versa. More likely that they are just different aspects of the same thing, like radio waves and x-rays.

  67. Every once in a while I make the mistake of scrolling down on this site. I by now should know better than that but for some reason I keep making the same mistake. People are so disrespectful and so full of hate and negativity on this site it is depressing. The man was just trying to create something beautiful he wasn't asking you forsake your god or science, he was just trying to get all of us to slow down sometimes and appreciate the world around you. For that he gets verbally kicked and his beliefs crushed. But he is no different from the many people you have there movies placed on this site. I have learned a once again that when you come here never scroll down all I will find is hate.

    1. Oh come now, people are not near as full of hate on this site as you make out, they simply didn't like something that you did. Most peoples objections about it being unscientific stem from the fact that the synopsis makes you think you are fixing to watch a science documentary about scientific research into subconscious versus conscious awareness. Instead you get a purely subjective opinion concerning awareness based on mysticism or spirituality. Nothing wrong with that, but there is also nothing wrong with people letting others know that ahead of time, or expressing their opinion about the doc as they wish and the moderators allow. I agree that on many of the postings concerning religion it does turn ugly, and I often disapprove of this in my posts, but this wasn't bad at all. Art gets critiqued if it is exposed to the public, that is simply the way it works.

    2. You nailed it buddy - I scrolled down and read your comment. It was full of hate and negativity.

    3. Anthony,
      Thanks for your support.

  68. i hope he breaks his other arm... might wake up properly ...

    1. No thanks, it hurt enough the first time. :)

  69. @Brandon Loya

    "As someone in physics this was very boring. His "awareness" ideas are not worth your time!"

    And you KNOW this how?

    Some of my favorite mystics are scientists, theoretical Physicists to be exact. Some of them are alive yet today. Among those of blessed memory are Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

    Einstein is a good example. When we are shown a graphic illustration of gravity, part of his STR, it is in a basic three dimensional frame, the bowling ball on a trampoline. It depicts the warping of space caused by mass. The graphic makes it, at least partly, understandable to average viewer.

    What is not shown is the rotated view of 360 degrees nor is the motions involved. They would be the rotation around the central mass and the central mass around another more massive body or bodies through time. In this case the compression of space in the direction of acceleration and the tailing off of this compression in the opposite direction, looking much like a comet.

    Just how did he “envision” that? The idea didn’t exist in any book. It certainly wasn’t through the math. That followed later. He had to ignore the current dogma (turn off the thoughts) and allow his imagination (consciousness or awareness) to explore all on its own, freely without the fear of peer review (more thoughts). Although that concern came later.

    He had no way of knowing beyond his mathematical computations which were his proof of his imagination. He couldn’t test the theory physically. That remained for another.

    It really doesn’t matter whether you believe the mind exists as a separate entity or whether it is the product of evolution through natural selection by the survival of the fittest. (I don’t know how that type of thought would be beneficial in natural selection.) That self aware mind still exists. The how and length of its existence no one can know, only speculate through our prejudiced thoughts. Those thoughts are called beliefs. You have yours others have theirs. Let them have their freedom as readily as you project yours.

    1. Hmm okay. I never took his freedom away? I like to read a few comments before I spend time watching a long film. Therefore, I expressed my thoughts about the film for other users to consider. By "its not worth your time". I give an obvious opinion that I did not like the film. It would be silly to think that I actually knew it was not worth your time. I was also excited that I was the first to comment :). Also, I am truly glad you like physics!


    2. It seems like someone isn't spending their time in Oxford very well... Less Trolling on inter-webs forums on worthless documentaries and more time READING PHYSICS! You don't want to get stuck having to go to graduate school at TTU do you? obtw say hi to Richard Dawkins for me. :)

    3. Haha The intense studies here at Oxford call for some good forum debates... Good ol Dawkins I dont know that he gets in the public eye as much now. If I see him I will tell him John said hi. Although, (according to Wolframalpha) there are about 3.7 million John's out there.

  70. I didn't get happy until I stop wanting stuff

    1. So,when that happened exactly?

    2. Because you can never really own anything around you. You can only interact with the physical world and in this world, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Meaning that any physical object that you think you "own", "owns" you back. Anything you affect, affects back at you.

  71. Interesting documentary though it raises more questions than it answers. Here are my thoughts on this topic starting with some quotes.

    "You are not one person but three, one who you think you are, one that others think you are and the one you really are".
    "Body is a combination of five elements and the mind is merely a bundle of thoughts. One should neither be attached to the body nor follow the vagaries of the mind. Drive away the evil qualities of Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and Matsarya (desire, anger, greed, infatuation, pride and jealousy) and manifest your inner peace and bliss"
    “Man extols God as omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, but he ignores His presence in himself.” - Quotes from Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

    Sat (being), Chit (awareness) and Ananda (bliss) is the core of all beings. The name and form constitutes the outer shell. Identifying with the body or mind causes the duality, the cycle of pleasure and pain, the delusion that you have a separate identity. We are afraid of death, of losing our name and form but we are beyond that like waves in the ocean which arise from it, exist for some time and then crash on the rocks to become the ocean again.

    Is Awareness aware of itself? Of course it is. Universal consciousness pervades every atom of this creation. It may remain formless and attribute less e.g. Bramhan or Allah. It may choose to take a form like Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavir, Nanak, Jesus ... etc. to guide the humanity back to the path of Dharma (right conduct). One who wants to experience the sweetness of sugar would not enter into lengthy discussions about its shape and form or speculate about its various attributes or hear about its description from other people, he would simply put it on his tongue. Spirituality or awareness of spirit comes from within and grows inside till the individual consciousness (body/mind) drops away to merge with the universal/god consciousness. The whole purpose of our existence is to experience that everlasting bliss which is beyond the duality of pleasure and pain.

    1. I don't fully understand my "whole purpose", but it is more complex than everlasting bliss and neither precludes nor demands that I follow (for want of a better term) any of the named or unnamed prophets.

      I try to avoid "new age" mumbo-jumbo. I find it to be a simplistic mash- up of randomized eastern and western religion and philosophy. There is no enlightenment for me there.

    2. I don't really follow any "new age" mumbo-jumbo either. But I try to think through what I believe in, based on my personal encounters and experiences.

      I have always been a student of Science but even Science doesn't have all the answers. Look at the big picture, we are still pretty much an earth-bounded race, stuck in our teensy-weensy corner, relative to the size of our entire universe. Our science can't possibly be expected to explain everything at this time. Whatever science doesn't provide, we still have to make it up ourselves along the way.

      One of the most valuable gifts that a human being has is the potential to inspire others and to rally them around a cause, even unto death. So you can choose to inspire others to do good and benefit society, but you also have the potential to inspire others to do quite the opposite. That is your choice and free will.

    3. "Whatever science doesn't provide, we still have to make it up ourselves along the way"

      Why? Why not just say, "We don't know"? Makes much more sense than just making it up as you go, in my opinion. Science certainly doesn't know everything, nor does it claim to. In fact one of the central tenets of the scientific method is to never close a line of inquiry in the hopes that we learn more in the future. The problem is that human nature is to want to categorize things or label things, it makes us feel more safe and nature more predictable. Through experience though we have found this rarely produces the whole truth of the matter, and serves to dissuade others from looking into them. Science is not near as closed minded as people would like to believe, it simply refuses to indulge illogical conjecture. Give science a logical alternative though and it will pursue it until it proves or disproves it. Makes sense to me.

    4. Why not just say that "We don't know"? Because simply, we are human beings and human beings are instinctively inquisitive, regardless whether you are a professional scientist or otherwise. This documentary is a classic example of a case in point.

      I actually think that human science is a lot more closed minded than many people would like to believe. Just look at the recent scientific history, what happened when a lesser known scientist challenged a famous scientist. Furthermore, it is human science that categorizes and labels things.

      Lastly even science has become a form of religion in the minds of man. Who are their gods? Einstein, Hawkings, etc. It becomes very difficult to prove that someone who is right so many times, can be wrong sometimes. But aren't we all only humans?

      If the scientific community can wave their hands and claim that the locations of quantum particles cannot be predicted due to the uncertainty principle, why can't they understand that nothing can be absolutely impossible, just highly improbable. What would you say is the probability of a Big Bang happening in an empty universe without time and space? And yet here we are. No scientific laws in this universe is absolute.

    5. You don't understand science.

      You may think that science is more close minded than many people think, but that's merely conjecture on your part and untrue. Einstein and "Hawkings"(sic) are gods to no one. Their theories are open to examination and are challenged continually. Some have been overturned or revised and the revisions will be revised.

      "Why can't they understand that nothing can be absolutely impossible, just highly improbable. No scientific laws in this universe is(sic) absolute."

      This shows a particularly poor understanding because it is exactly where science leads us.

    6. "You may think that science is more close minded than many people think, but that's merely conjecture on your part and untrue."

      Tell that to Nikola Tesla when he went up against the great Thomas Edison over his idea of AC power transmission which costed him a Nobel prize. Tell that to Cantor when he went up against Kronecker, Poincare, Weyl, and Brouwer over his idea of transfinite numbers which ultimately plunges him into a deep depression. Tell that to Boltzmann when he went up against Mach, Ostwald, and Jaumann over his kinectic theory that ultimately led to his suicide.

      Don't get me started on Joule's challenge to the great Lavoisier over his caloric theory which costed him dearly in his early years, and the scientific community rejection of Julius von Mayer's work on the conservation of energy then which almost destroyed him.

      "This shows a particularly poor understanding because it is exactly where science leads us."

      Science, being a wholly human-created philosophy, is as flawed as any human being. Science is whatever is in-fashion to believe in, in your era. If it would stop you from insulting me any further, we shall just agree to disagree.

      "Science is the tool of the Western mind and with it more doors can be opened than with bare hands. It is part and parcel of our knowledge and obscures our insight only when it holds that the understanding given by it is the only kind there is." - Carl Jung

    7. No one has made the claim that men of science are without flaw; however a unit of work is called a joule, not a Lavoisier. We transmit power by Tesla's mode, A/C. In every case you cite the scientific method has shown the correct path.

      You quote Carl Jung, who practiced necromancy and had Philemon as an imaginary friend. He wrote about alchemy and practiced "automatic writing"; far closer to being a spiritual medium than a scientist. Quoting Jung with regard to science is a particularly weak point .

    8. You totally missed all my points yet again and your scientific method has never shown THE correct path.

      Here I'll say it: Thanks for teaching all of us what a joule is. Your mastery of your First Grade Science is indeed impressive.

    9. I attempted to answer each point you made. Perhaps your point was poorly stated or non-existent. I invite a last reply from you. I think we've exhausted this.

    10. did the man using a computer and on the internet saying the scientific method has NEVER shown the correct path?

      lol how does this site attract so many simpletons?

  72. This is very interesting, there is a meditation technique that helps to bring you to a higher level of awareness. When you have reached that state, you are aware of what is around you without thinking about it. It becomes instinctive as you move around and interact with the world around you. It is hard to explain but it is as if you can "feel" the things around you, and you can interact with them using parts of your body with only minimal effort, even without looking directly at them.

    As for his last question, I think "self" is only an illusion. Your body is not your true self because your body dies but your true self would never dies. This is why true awareness can only be brought out when you are not thinking.

  73. Wow what a powerful film, I went through all sorts of emotions and I am suprised at how intelligently the narrator explains the steps to lead us into backwards from thinking that thoughts are not really us, but the awareness of itself that develops the thoughts. Just an amazing challenge to the mind.

    1. Nice. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  74. I have to go rewatch "The Primacy of Consciousness" to undo the damage this documentary has caused.

    1. its superbrainwashing, ultimate selfishness as a philosophy...cunt

    2. @Luckin Fefty,
      Thanks for the recommendation on this work from Peter Russell!

      The video of his conference, Physics of Consciousness, is a great talk on the subject in which he uses the phrase "Absolute Consciousness" in the same way this documentary uses "Awareness Itself". I'm glad there are so many ways for different preferences and perspectives to come to the same realization.

  75. This doc seems to borrow much from the Power of Now

    1. didn't he quote the book as a primary source to begin with? why is it worth mentioning if the author already said so? the author also never claimed to be the originator of any of these thoughts, this is just a different presentation of something that has been presented elsewhere. :)

  76. That comment being this being very similar to Thich Nhat Hanh's teaching of mindfulness. I won't direct the curious to his website this time, lol

    1. no please dont they are selling something no doubt. your thoughts form the world- buddha- and its free

  77. Some good parts, some parts i didn't realize i wasn't listening anymore until i caught myself coming back...i guess i was accessing that self awareness. lol
    But i quit before the end!

    1. Hope you can finish it someday and post an update. :)

    2. Bonjour James,
      I always pay a special attention to a doc when the maker gets involved in the discussion panel. I will try to give some time today and re-watch the doc. Even though at times some of the docs are not my cup of tea...i always have respect for the dedication it took for someone to go all the way and arrive here at TDF.
      All treatises on subject of awareness catch my attention, sometimes i am just a bit lazy and i do see so many docs, some become quite repetitive.
      I'll get back to it, and then get back to you.

  78. A decent reminder to slow down and take it all in, but not very scientific. I had to stop watching when the guy was talking about his dog that had eaten poison and was dying. I have always had a dog, several that I was very close to. Right now my buddy is a pit-bull named Chance, raised him since he opened his eyes four years ago. He sleeps in my room, in my bed if I don't watch him closely. It was hard to watch someone in such a sad situation, trying to hold it together. I am going to be a mess when Chance's time comes but, that's the price of the deep meaningful relationship we have shared I suppose. Better to have loved and lost.... such a cliche, and yet so very true.

    1. wald0, I think I know how you feel. I raised a dog from the time she was born for twelve years. Nipper, a mongrel, was the last remaining pup; runt of the litter. Her mother, my dog Blackie, died doing what she enjoyed most, chasing cars. (We lived on an oil lease three miles from anything). Nipper was with me from age five until I was seventeen. It seemed like my entire life and her death devastated me. I'm now sixty-four. Occasionally, she still visits in the wee hours while I sleep.

    2. Sorry for your loss, I understand completely. People that have never connected with a dog don't understand, but they can be like family. I have always been a loner, so dogs were/are my best friends. Some people say that is sad, I guess me being a loner or outsider sort of is but not what I have shared with my dogs. Anyway, we are way off topic really so Ill end it- but thanks for the reply.

  79. What a mind blowing documentary!
    My head hurts from thinking about it and I'm not even close to done thinking about it yet.

    1. i get it

    2. No! Don't think about it! It's called "Beyond Thought" for a reason. Ha :)
      Although, I did make it to blow your mind, or let's say to get you to be aware of awareness which is not your mind.


  80. He should have read some John Locke and Berkeley. It had some interesting questions, but all in all I feel like I have wasted my time.

  81. Horribly unscientific and very spiritual... As someone in physics this was very boring. His "awareness" ideas are not worth your time!

    1. I would have loved to have interviewed a physicist, but they all turned me down. The "awareness ideas" presented were a collective of the majority. It's true it's not going to be worth anyones time if they are looking for entertainment.