When I was a kid, I read a few books on UFO's and occasionally saw a story about crop circles popping up somewhere in the world. UFO's were largely considered science fiction. Those who talked about them were considered fringe, unreliable, or even crazy. That's not the case anymore.
UFO's have now been re-cast as UAP's–unidentified aerial phenomena. The term UAP doesn't carry the same baggage as "UFO" so it can be talked about more credibly. And the people talking about this are credible, including many leaders in the U.S. military as well as members of the U.S. Congress such as former Senate majority leader Harry Reid. (I'm not saying the people speaking out before were not credible, but it was hard for the general public to know for sure.) The U.S. Department of Defense recently confirmed the authenticity of some UAP photos and videos, including some demonstrating technological capabilities far beyond the scope of our engineering and scientific understanding.
So what does this have to do with consciousness?
Aside from these recent confirmations and accounts of UAP's over the last many decades, many of the world's cultures have mythologies that describe "aerial phenomena" or objects in the sky as well as "people" or living beings that come down from the skies. In Hinduism, there are descriptions of different dimensions of reality, different planets, and different kinds of species that populate them, along with advanced technologies and abilities. Yogis who have learned to increase their range of perception (or who are in the company of other such yogis) describe encountering human-like, "superhuman", and other species. One example is the the yogi Sri M, who wrote the book Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master, in which he describes seeing UAP's with advanced technology and new species.
These aren't just stories. They come along with philosophical frameworks and introspective consciousness-changing practices, including those of advaita vedanta, sankhya, and yoga, that detail ways of approaching and understanding such phenomena. They also stress the importance of preparing oneself in every way to be able to integrate such experiences into one's life rather than being overwhelmed or confused by them, as often happens. Such preparation isn't as exciting as capturing a rare UAP image or reverse engineering advanced technology, but it is essential for long-term success.
The public is now on the verge of being ready to accept the reality of UAP's and therefore the real possibility of communication with living beings with greater intelligence than we human beings. It's not a fringe topic anymore. Similarly, the study of consciousness through science and direct experience is no longer a fringe topic. It is exploding in popularity.
There is a bridge between these two–UAP's and consciousness–that can be uncovered if we set aside the pre-conceived notions of "woo" that come along with both. It's not an easy task, especially in the case of consciousness when the fundamental approach of an objective science places a limit on what we can know through that approach. We can still snap a rare pic of a UAP, but a direct image of consciousness is in itself a paradox. Nevertheless, with open-mindedness and diligence, we can sift through the often conflicting and controversial information available on both topics and arrive at our bridge.
If developments on these fronts continue, we will be entering a new phase of our story as a species–one in which our humanity, consciousness, philosophy, science, engineering, technology, and history and future as a species dovetail. We have the tools to be ready, if we open our eyes.