Consciousness is much like gravity, i think. Gravity is simply the warping of space-time by objects with mass. The more mass, the more space-time warps, and thus the more of an effect the object has on the things around it. With consciousness the determining factor is not mass, but biotic complexity or information-density. The human brain is the most information-dense object in the universe, so it is likewise the most conscious object.
But gravity is simply the warping of space-time, not inherent within matter itself. The same can be said of consciousness. It is the warping of some sort of universal nature of mind–what Buddhists call Buddha-nature. As space-time is the basis of physical reality, this mind-dimension would appear to be the basis of the reality of all awareness, abstraction, and information. Undoubtedly it would share an extremely close relationship with space-time in organizing a working reality as we know it.
This second “dimension” parallel to, but in conjunction with space-time, is certainly non-dual and transcendent of any and all conceptuality if it does indeed exist. So this would account for the many anomalies we witness where physics ends up breaking down, as when dealing with astrophysics and quantum mechanics. The culprit is transcendent, non-conceptual, non-dual mind-reality or “Buddha-nature,” which is likely the source of all of existence, and the driving force behind all complexity and organization: the very thing that counters the thermodynamic law of entropy, allowing something such as life to manifest.
In many ways this new side of reality can be seen as essentially God or the Tao or Brahman, whatever you wish to call it. Existence stems from it. Even the laws of space-time occur through the workings of mathematical properties which are themselves abstract concepts. Furthermore, as quantum physicists have determined (in particular Feynman, i believe) every possible history happens simultaneously, and it is a conscious observer who determines which history was the “right” one. From this perspective too, Buddha-nature (or God, Tao, Brahman, what-have-you) is the source of existence, because it is the deepest, most subtle nature of mind in the same way space-time is the deepest, most subtle nature of physical existence.
So therefore, as an extrapolation from this, i would have to say that i don’t feel physics will be able to go much further until it begins incorporating the notion of consciousness. Causality and abstraction are too deeply rooted in the subtlest of physical laws and properties for consciousness not to be taken into deeper consideration.