Excerpt: “Stepping Stones: My Tao in the Stream of Universal Consciousness”

Joe Mcfatter
8 min readAug 30, 2020


(Installment №2 in a series.)

Following Installment is an Introduction, written in 3rd person….

The author (me)presents this, the memoir of his spiritual journey — his Tao — in chronological order, beginning with the events surrounding the passing of his wife in 1994. He shares that his present view is grounded in epiphany, “mystical” practice, cultural osmosis and examination of evidence revealed by his study of religion and spiritual practices, and equally, looking into the sciences: theoretical physics (particularly the study of quantum particles and fields) and related laboratory experiments; astronomy and cosmological discoveries; neuroscience studies; and, theories posited by a number of great thinkers on the subjects of philosophy, consciousness, the cosmos and religions.

He believes that there is no reason for separation of science from those human beliefs that reside within the spiritual, or mystical, realm of feeling and thought. The separation has only to do with our current state of mental development, limiting our capacity to grasp fundamentally such matters as creation, consciousness, and what happens after “death.” As a result, humanity since time immemorial has resorted to visions of heaven, hell and beliefs in a personal or impersonal God, and figures such as Yeshua (Jesus); i.e., religion. Perhaps the time will soon arrive when humanity collectively considers a “new universal religion” for the 21st Century and beyond: a “religion” founded in recognition of the human mind being inseparable from a universal consciousness. This “religion” does not require a God, nor does it divide people along religious lines: the opposite should be true, that it will unite people as they understand our fundamental oneness with the universe. Many scientists refute any linkages between consciousness and the universe of matter. Perhaps they need to reconsider, that there is something more than matter and its related energy fields — a web of universal consciousness that overlays the web of the physical universe and gives rise to our own conscious minds.

The author has had personal experiences which affirm satisfactorily in his own mind, that there are many things that we do not understand, but which are as “real” as the stones in a stream. He relates his firsthand epiphanies, his experience with reincarnation, and experiences having to do with time. Many readers may have had similar experiences, and this book may help them explore those in the context of scientific/consciousness investigation.

One day while working on this book the author took his usual walk, except this time along the way, three times he suddenly had “ah-ha” moments that stopped him in his tracks, as specific ideas came to him pertaining to some of the more difficult issues he addresses herein. He says that each time this happened, he had no perception of time having passed until his next idea hit, and at the end of the route, it seemed like he had not even been walking as there was no sense of time having passed, nor any remembrances of the walk and what he passed along the way. Such lapses in the sense of time he has experienced before over his life, and likely the reader has also. Once many years ago, when in the midst of what seemed like a major automobile accident about to involve him, time went into ultra-slow motion, enabling him to anticipate and react to avoid collisions. This is a very common experience of those who are suddenly in extreme conditions, and reinforces that time is a construct of our minds. The point is that “time” is wrapped up in consciousness itself, and as many physicists believe, is actually a construct of our consciousness.

As he explains, this book is the culmination of decades of searching for the “next stone” along his personal stream, one of countless tributaries in the one stream of consciousness. The nature of his mind beckoned him forward over the years, to not rest on just one “last” stone, but strive to be “bold” in looking deeper and deeper intellectually, with the ultimate intent of informing his spirit. His view, shared increasingly by many others, including renowned researchers in the fields of neurology, psychology and physics, is that there is no reason to think of spirituality and scientific views as being mutually-exclusive areas of human thought. More and more the historic schism between the two is being dissolved as it becomes clearer and clearer that consciousness is as real as the matter we perceive. Over recent decades an increasing number of scientists of all bents have begun to respond to questions in their own souls about that we call human consciousness and how it may be (it is!) connected to an ultimate, higher universal consciousness, and how consciousness may be connected to what we apprehend as the physical universe as a whole, with all of its characteristics, emanating from the singularity that caused the Big Bang (BB), the continuing expansion of space, the space-time continuum, and the very nature of empty space — quantum space — as a web of fields having several dimensions more than the Cartesian “x-y-z” students learn in geometry.

The author approaches his story through the mind of an accomplished electrical engineer who also can be said to be a “spiritual warrior,” not as one schooled in quantum mechanics or the marvels of cosmology; nor is he a heavy student of world religions and spiritual practices, but has probably explored more than the average seeker, and certainly has devoted much of his free-thinking time over the years to the topics he presents.

As Homo sapiens are moving well into the 21st Century, this could not be more exciting period for aspiring philosophers, physicists and cosmologists — and those coming up who have an inquisitive, “spiritual bent.” Given the exigencies facing humanity, the time is ripe for the younger generations to boldly step up and reach for new insights that give a common understanding to the world. Today there are so many exciting questions and competing theories flowing within the circles of the world’s free-thinking intelligence, with great thrusts being made into the cosmos and particle physics. Indeed what a grand time it is to be alive for the curious one. In many ways humankind is only in the early incipient stage of the quest for “why the universe.” Perhaps out of this grand amalgamation of thought and new scientific revelations there will evolve a new “religion.” However, it is very troubling that also at this time that the ecology of Nature is at the tipping point of surviving or not, all due to we humans. Obviously, whichever way the drama turns, Homo sapiens will reap the effects of its actions.

The human mind does not have the faculty to fully comprehend the scale of the physical universe nor the power of its creation and evolutionary events. Distances, quantities and energy events are so large that while we can talk about them and offer analogies in comparison, frankly these are beyond the reference parameters of our normal world. Aside from the immensity of the universe and time scale, how a series of seemingly random events went on for 13.8-billion years to render Earth and its civilizations again is beyond our capacity to imagine. How the Earth found its orbit around our Sun — a stable sun at that — how it was hit by another speeding mass that knocked off a chunk that eventually became our Moon, how Earth acquired water from the impact of millions of icy asteroids in just the right quantities that left great unflooded lands for life to flourish, how life survived extinction events that gave mammals the opportunity to thrive….the list of “what could have gone wrong” is endless. Was this all chance, natural probabilities, rolling of the dice? The author does not believe so. Within the infinite possibilities throughout these billions of years there was embedded the intelligence, the data, the rules that would result in at some time, at some point, the consciousness that we exhibit. He feels it was predestined, and that we are part of a story that had no beginning and has no ending. One day Homo sapiens will vanish as a species, perhaps to be replaced with some hybrids, perhaps not if we force our Mother Earth over the tipping point of climate change; in any case eventually any form of physical life will vanish from the universe and later the physical universe itself will vanish, either in a “whimper” or a “bang.” But the UC continues uninterrupted, and the author believes we are innate to that primary consciousness.

He explains his view of a primary intelligence without separating this intelligence from what it creates, including us. While we may not be able to “get our brains around” cosmic phenomena such as the energy of supernovas, we do have the ability to begin to understand our relationship to the universal consciousness, the intelligence that creates and governs through its laws, the endless ebb and flow of the physical universes. In this book the author strives to add to the argument that each of us is directly a ripple in this vast ocean of intelligence, and that by realizing this, we can find an enlightened state of mind here and now.

The reader is asked to also look at the extensive “Q & A” section at the end of the book, wherein the author has given answers to questions in his own mind, many of which are thought-provoking. Also, the Suggested Readings list may provide greater insights for the reader who wishes to look more deeply into the areas of study he covers.

One last note, the author uses the terms universal mind and universal consciousness interchangeably, and where he states the Buddha’s teaching, “All is mind,” that “mind” is the UC, of course. The author struggled with whether to capitalize the word “mind” when he refers to the universal mind. He has opted to not capitalize the word because that would perhaps imply a version of monotheism, “God,” which is wholly contrary to his view. He feels our own mind is integral to the universal mind, not separate at any time, and thusly chooses to use “mind,” not “Mind.” Finally, where he uses the term “all” with “mind,” the word “all” is to be literally taken as all of the physical world, matter/dark-matter/ “non-matter” domains/realms throughout the entire universe, and any/all parallel or other forms of universes other than our own.

No story can be told without the liberal use of the word, “time.” So it is with the author’s story, with that word being repeated many times in the course of his story. The point is to be made that “time” is of and part of we humans. We each have a story, and our story is “of time.” As the author reminds the astute reader, time itself is likely an actual construct of our own mind….as is space, so to tell a story about anything we must rely on the natural luxury of those two concepts. It is his view that within the presence of our consciousness in this Earthly realm flows the space-time continuum.

Lastly, the author discovered in his perusal of information in the areas of particle physics and cosmology, that there still remains immense disagreement and outright speculation across competing theories. Presently the search for an absolute Theory of Everything may be a bridge just too far at our present development, and perhaps “forever.”

(To be continued….)