Scientists and religious leaders endlessly argue whether consciousness arises from the brain or consciousness comes first and the body-brain system after. Neither can disprove the other as the truth is a mixture of both.
Beyond Brain Consciousness
A recurring mistake of modern self appointed teachers, not themselves deeply trained by a true teacher, is to overvalue the quiet state that arises when thoughts are stopped.
Whole systems are then devised from the subconscious thoughts, feelings and actions that arise in this state. This mistake is signaled when people talk mainly of 'awareness', of 'witnessing' and of the 'now' and of 'being present'. This sense of over-viewing separation is a relatively passive brain state, hiding within it the ego itself. The ego does not die and reappear when thought is stopped or resumed. Neither does the Deep Mind (Real Self) manifest or disappear with the cessation of thought or its resumption. Further, neither body stillness nor emotional inactivity nor the state of mental quietness, can cause the ego to fade and the Deep Mind to arise.
No old wise teacher I have ever met has seen the state of no thought, no movement or no emotion, as more than an elementary stage through which we must quickly pass. These are partial methods that have a place in a larger scheme of training, best directed by those who have themselves been transformed over many decades by this same deep process.
3 Types of Neurons
Brain consciousness is directly connected to the activity of the neurons both in the head and spread throughout the body. These neurons divide functionally into 3 groups - sensory-neurons, motor-neurons and inter-neurons. Sensory-neurons receive sensory information from both the 5 external senses (sight, hearing, smelling, taste and touch) and the 5 main internal senses (pain, muscle change, joint movement, pressure, and temperature). Motor-neurons initiate motor impulses to control muscle function, control the chemical balances and stimulate the endocrine system. Inter-neurons mutually stimulate each other in intelligent patterns. Only a small proportion of this final activity - mutual stimulation - produces conscious thought. To use various methods to stop conscious thought, typically with enhanced awareness of the information from the 5 external senses, produces a slightly unusual state. But in this simple brain state the main mass of neurons are still fully active, mostly on a subconscious level. Then to base all further progress on this 'slightly unusual' state is to trap your consciousness in the brain (which is just part of the body) and will not lead to the deep part of yourself nor to the inner worlds.
As the 2 most active outer senses are seeing and hearing, people trapped in the superficial-mind typically take on a fixed stare and talk with a carefully considered air while perhaps moving slowly and deliberately, all so as not to disturb their quiet awareness based in their external senses. In that superficially quiet brain state with enhanced awareness of the outer senses, people unrealistically imagine that they then experience reality through pure awareness. In reality the mass of subconcious activity of the brain with all its unrealised conditioning dominates and distorts communication with their inner self. This quiet state cannot in itself carry the person beyond the reach of their own ego.
Teachers, who basing their methods in this quiet brain consciousness, not having undergone long training with some good teacher, typically then stress the idea of 'being present' along with the idea that past and future do not exist, not realising that past, future and present are all simple brain perceptions. The deeper parts of a person do not operate in this time frame. Existence as a whole - including past, future and present - manifests simultaneously in the "ever present here and eternal now" in a way that is understood only according to the depth of Being used to perceive it. Only deep training with someone who has themselves escaped the brain consciousness has any realistic hope of success. No system devised by thinking or found spontaneously from this quiet brain state will lead people to freedom. So, sadly throughout history, millions have meditated in each generation, while only a few have found the freedom of the True Self. Unfortunately for the deeply trained teachers, those others, who basing their systems on the few flashes of inspiration that do occasionally occur in the quiet brain state, mislead the mass of seekers, attracting them with systems that seem to require little effort.
Transcending Brain Consciousness
All higher forms of meditation aim at transcending brain consciousness, while all lower forms aim at modifying brain consciousness. Higher forms must be given from above as the superficial mind cant design its own escape.
"Intellect (superficial mind) is of no use at all for seeing within, for turning towards the Self. For that it has to be killed or extinguished, or in other words it has to merge in the source from which it sprang."
"You are the Self even now, but you confuse your present consciousness with the Absolute Consciousness or True Self. This false identification is due to ignorance and ignorance dissapears together with the ego. Killing the ego is the only thing to be done. Realisation already exists."