Psychic Exploration: A Challenge for Science by Edgar D. Mitchell, ScD, PhD [Updated Dec 12, 2013]

Psychic Exploration, A Challenge for Science is a primer on psychic research, life’s purpose, and the meaning of the universe. Originally published in 1974, this landmark anthology of nearly thirty chapters on every area of psychic research is finally available again. Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut and moon walker, as well as a distinguished researcher of the study of human consciousness, brought together eminent scientists to write about issues once considered too controversial to discuss. This book includes fascinating chapters on the history of parapsychology, telepathy, hauntings, psychic phenomena, and consciousness, along with an extensive glossary and index. This timeless anthology continues to be appealing as a reference work for those curious about the history of parapsychology, fans of the world of psi, and readers interested in the meaning of the universe. Contributors include: Willis W. Harman, Jean Houston, Stanley Krippner, Robert Masters, William G. Roll, Russell Targ, Charles T. Tart, Montague Ullman, and many more.

Click here to take a look inside.

Edgar D. Mitchell, ScD Institute of Noetic Sciences

Published on Sep 19, 2013

Dr. Mitchell speaks a group of high school students about the moon, consciousness, and more.

Advertisements

Self Comes to Mind : Constructing the Conscious Brain Written by Antonio Damasio

From one of the most significant neuroscientists at work today, a pathbreaking investigation of a question that has confounded philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists for centuries: how is consciousness created?

Antonio Damasio has spent the past thirty years studying and writing about how the brain operates, and his work has garnered acclaim for its singular melding of the scientific and the humanistic. In Self Comes to Mind, he goes against the long-standing idea that consciousness is somehow separate from the body, presenting compelling new scientific evidence that consciousness—what we think of as a mind with a self—is to begin with a biological process created by a living organism.

Besides the three traditional perspectives used to study the mind (the introspective, the behavioral, and the neurological), Damasio introduces an evolutionary perspective that entails a radical change in the way the history of conscious minds is viewed and told. He also advances a radical hypothesis regarding the origins and varieties of feelings, which is central to his framework for the biological construction of consciousness: feelings are grounded in a near fusion of body and brain networks, and first emerge from the historically old and humble brain stem rather than from the modern cerebral cortex.

Damasio suggests that the brain’s development of a human self becomes a challenge to nature’s indifference and opens the way for the appearance of culture, a radical break in the course of evolution and the source of a new level of life regulation—sociocultural homeostasis. He leaves no doubt that the blueprint for the work-in-progress he calls sociocultural homeostasis is the genetically well-established basic homeostasis, the curator of value that has been present in simple life-forms for billions of years. Self Comes to Mind is a groundbreaking journey into the neurobiological foundations of mind and self.

Antonio Damasio

Antonio Damasio is Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience and Neurology at the University of Southern California, where he heads USC’s Institute for the Neurological Study of Emotion and Creativity. As a researcher, Dr. Damasio’s main interest is the neurobiology of the mind, especially neural systems which subserve memory, language, emotion, and decision-making. His research has helped to elucidate the neural basis for the emotions and has shown that emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision-making.

As a science writer, Damasio’s books deal with the relationship between emotions and feelings, and what are their bases in the brain. His 1994 book, Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain, was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. His second book, The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, was named as one of the ten best books of 2001 by New York Times Book Review, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, a Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and has eighteen foreign editions. Damasio’s most recent book, Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain, was published in 2003. In it, Damasio explores philosophy and its relations to neurobiology, suggesting that it might provide guidelines for human ethics.

Antonio Damasio Quotes:

Emotions and the feelings are not a luxury, they are a means of communicating our states of mind to others. But they are also a way of guiding our own judgments and decisions. Emotions bring the body into the loop of reason.

Even in the small world of brain science [in the 1860s], two camps were beginning to form. One held that psychological functions such as language or memory could never be traced to a particular region of the brain. If one had to accept, reluctantly, that the brain did produce the mind, it did so as a whole and not as a collection of parts with special functions. The other camp held that, on the contrary, the brain did have specialized parts and those parts generated separate mind functions. The rift between the two camps was not merely indicative of the infancy of brain research; the argument endured for another century and, to a certain extent, is still with us today.

When Emotions Make Better Decisions – Antonio Damasio

Antonio Damasio, noted researcher and professor of neuroscience at USC, explains how emotions are integral to decision-making. He discusses his experiences working with people with brain damage who are unable to decide things as simple as where to go to dinner.

Mapping Consciousness ~ Peg Donahue, Karen Kallie, RN, MACP

In these times in which we live, the pace feels accelerated. Change is rapid and often comes in tumultuous ways or through trying circumstances. It is more imperative than ever that we strengthen our consciousness and notice where we put our attention and use our energy and intentions in response to everyday life and the world around us. Developing our consciousness may indeed to the single most important thing that we can do in any time but it is even more crucial in times of crisis.

To develop the energy of our consciousness is to develop the power necessary to move through difficult times with strength and clarity. Opening to higher levels of consciousness puts us in touch with the spaces vital to creative problem solving and the ability to see possibilities rather than getting mired in fear. Becoming aware costs nothing, yet it offers so much.Becoming aware opens our eyes, our ears, our hearts and our Selves. Becoming aware helps us to develop love, forgiveness and compassion towards ourselves and others. Becoming aware helps us to view life through a deeper lens.

About ten years ago Dr. David Hawkins wrote a book called Power vs.Force, in which he speaks about living from your inner source of power (your Self) vs. spending your life reacting to outside forces. His message is even more relevant today.

Using kinesiology to measure “truth,” Dr. Hawkins calibrated emotions on a scale ranging from zero to one thousand. Tests consistently demonstrate that the body becomes weak in response to unhealthy mental stresses, emotions and attitudes, and the body stays strong in response to healthy emotions such as love and joy. In Dr. Hawkins work, the calibration range of 200 became the balance point. Emotions below 200 calibrated as weak, and everything above 200 was categorized as strong. The good news is that our collective consciousness is becoming stronger.

In his later book, The Eye of the I, (p.29), Hawkins states, “…the consciousness level of mankind as a whole remained at 190 and was unchanged for centuries until, suddenly in 1986; it jumped across the critical line from falsehood to Integrity and Truth at 200 and on to its current level at 207, which indicates progressive integrity and truth.” The emotions on the scale are emotions that we experience throughout life. We all have ups and downs. We have good days and other days when nothing seems to go right.

The important thing is to recognize this and to actively choose to spend more time in higher emotional and feeling states that the lower ones. Various tools and techniques can help each of us develop our ability to pivot out of the lower emotions and move into the higher realms.
The more we experience the higher emotions on a regular basis, the healthier and happier we are likely to be. In addition, as each of us raises our own consciousness, we are helping to raise the collective consciousness of all of mankind and our planet.

The emotional levels within the Map of Consciousness* from high to low are:

Level Calibration
Enlightenment 700 –1,000
Peace 600
Joy 540
Love 500
Reason 400
Acceptance 350
Willingness 310
Neutrality 250
Courage 200
Pride 175
Anger 150
Desire 125
Fear 100
Grief 75
Apathy 50
Guilt 30
Shame 20

Below 200, Hawkins found that life is about survival … just getting through things. Above 200,people begin to care for others in addition to themselves. At the level of 500, which is achieved by about 4% of people worldwide, the data show that the motivating force is the happiness of others.

Many others, in addition to Hawkins, are spreading a similar message. In their book, Ask and It is Given, Esther and Jerry Hicks provide a series of practical tools and techniques for moving up a similar emotional scale. They tell us that everyone can have precisely what he or she desires by coming into alignment with the vibration or the energy of what we want. They state that since we are already a match for what we are getting, we simply need to realign our energy patterns to match that of what we truly desire.

To paraphrase Wayne Dyer, the author of The Power of Intention, if you keep on doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you are getting. The way to get what you truly want is to align your thoughts, feelings and intention with it. Thus, if you want things to change, you have to change the way you look at everything, the way you think about everything and the way you experience everything. Once again, this is the same message as that of Hawkins and Hicks. Our thoughts, feelings and yemotions draw circumstances and events to us just as much as we use
them to push things away.

Lynn Grabhorn presents a similar message in her book, “Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting.” Grabhorn relates many anecdotes and stories of how our thoughts and feelings influence our lives. Once again, the consistent message it that the power is within each of us to be, do or have whatever we desire. We simply need to tap into our consciousness and become aware of our Selves. When we tap into our inner resources, we can shake loose the patterns that have locked us in place and begin anew.

Similar information about health and health patterns is coming from other areas as well. Stories of people who rid themselves of illness or whose symptoms disappear after a diagnosis serve to strengthen the belief that the frequencies of everything are influenced by our energy fields, including our positive and negative thoughts. Thus, the power of positive thought and positive energy is immense. Norman Vincent Peale wrote about this years ago in his book, The Power of Positive Thinking.

All this information keeps coming back to the same foundation: our consciousness. We have a tremendous power to heal ourselves from within and to be fundamentally happy. How we think and how we feel influences our life and what happens around us. We can see that the lower emotional energy patterns, the ones that Hawkins calibrates below 200, are the ones that limit our health and happiness, while the higher ones expand it.

The Map of Consciousness provides new awareness regarding feelings and their effects. It also highlights the importance of managing our inner world of thought and feeling. There are many tools and techniques available in this regard that can help develop a strong foundation for daily life. Explore the possibilities! Embark on a journey of discovery an adventure to a new SELF! For today, perhaps just choose to be happy no matter what!

Copyright 2010, Peg Donahue, Karen Kallie, RN, MACP
http://www.livingenergyworks.com

The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness By Steven Pinker

The young women had survived the car crash, after a fashion. In the five months since parts of her brain had been crushed, she could open her eyes but didn’t respond to sights, sounds or jabs. In the jargon of neurology, she was judged to be in a persistent vegetative state. In crueler everyday language, she was a vegetable.

So picture the astonishment of British and Belgian scientists as they scanned her brain using a kind of MRI that detects blood flow to active parts of the brain. When they recited sentences, the parts involved in language lit up. When they asked her to imagine visiting the rooms of her house, the parts involved in navigating space and recognizing places ramped up. And when they asked her to imagine playing tennis, the regions that trigger motion joined in. Indeed, her scans were barely different from those of healthy volunteers. The woman, it appears, had glimmerings of consciousness.

Try to comprehend what it is like to be that woman. Do you appreciate the words and caresses of your distraught family while racked with frustration at your inability to reassure them that they are getting through? Or do you drift in a haze, springing to life with a concrete thought when a voice prods you, only to slip back into blankness? If we could experience this existence, would we prefer it to death? And if these questions have answers, would they change our policies toward unresponsive patients–making the Terri Schiavo case look like child’s play?

The report of this unusual case last September was just the latest shock from a bracing new field, the science of consciousness. Questions once confined to theological speculations and late-night dorm-room bull sessions are now at the forefront of cognitive neuroscience. With some problems, a modicum of consensus has taken shape. With others, the puzzlement is so deep that they may never be resolved. Some of our deepest convictions about what it means to be human have been shaken.

It shouldn’t be surprising that research on consciousness is alternately exhilarating and disturbing. No other topic is like it. As René Descartes noted, our own consciousness is the most indubitable thing there is. The major religions locate it in a soul that survives the body’s death to receive its just deserts or to meld into a global mind. For each of us, consciousness is life itself, the reason Woody Allen said, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying.” And the conviction that other people can suffer and flourish as each of us does is the essence of empathy and the foundation of morality.

To make scientific headway in a topic as tangled as consciousness, it helps to clear away some red herrings. Consciousness surely does not depend on language. Babies, many animals and patients robbed of speech by brain damage are not insensate robots; they have reactions like ours that indicate that someone’s home. Nor can consciousness be equated with self-awareness. At times we have all lost ourselves in music, exercise or sensual pleasure, but that is different from being knocked out cold.

THE “EASY” AND “HARD” PROBLEMS

WHAT REMAINS IS NOT ONE PROBLEM ABOUT CONSCIOUSNESS BUT two, which the philosopher David Chalmers has dubbed the Easy Problem and the Hard Problem. Calling the first one easy is an in-joke: it is easy in the sense that curing cancer or sending someone to Mars is easy. That is, scientists more or less know what to look for, and with enough brainpower and funding, they would probably crack it in this century.

What exactly is the Easy Problem? It’s the one that Freud made famous, the difference between conscious and unconscious thoughts. Some kinds of information in the brain–such as the surfaces in front of you, your daydreams, your plans for the day, your pleasures and peeves–are conscious. You can ponder them, discuss them and let them guide your behavior. Other kinds, like the control of your heart rate, the rules that order the words as you speak and the sequence of muscle contractions that allow you to hold a pencil, are unconscious. They must be in the brain somewhere because you couldn’t walk and talk and see without them, but they are sealed off from your planning and reasoning circuits, and you can’t say a thing about them.

The Easy Problem, then, is to distinguish conscious from unconscious mental computation, identify its correlates in the brain and explain why it evolved.

The Hard Problem, on the other hand, is why it feels like something to have a conscious process going on in one’s head–why there is first-person, subjective experience. Not only does a green thing look different from a red thing, remind us of other green things and inspire us to say, “That’s green” (the Easy Problem), but it also actually looks green: it produces an experience of sheer greenness that isn’t reducible to anything else. As Louis Armstrong said in response to a request to define jazz, “When you got to ask what it is, you never get to know.”

The Hard Problem is explaining how subjective experience arises from neural computation. The problem is hard because no one knows what a solution might look like or even whether it is a genuine scientific problem in the first place. And not surprisingly, everyone agrees that the hard problem (if it is a problem) remains a mystery.

Although neither problem has been solved, neuroscientists agree on many features of both of them, and the feature they find least controversial is the one that many people outside the field find the most shocking. Francis Crick called it “the astonishing hypothesis”–the idea that our thoughts, sensations, joys and aches consist entirely of physiological activity in the tissues of the brain. Consciousness does not reside in an ethereal soul that uses the brain like a PDA; consciousness is the activity of the brain.

THE BRAIN AS MACHINE

SCIENTISTS HAVE EXORCISED THE GHOST FROM THE MACHINE NOT because they are mechanistic killjoys but because they have amassed evidence that every aspect of consciousness can be tied to the brain. Using functional MRI, cognitive neuroscientists can almost read people’s thoughts from the blood flow in their brains. They can tell, for instance, whether a person is thinking about a face or a place or whether a picture the person is looking at is of a bottle or a shoe.

And consciousness can be pushed around by physical manipulations. Electrical stimulation of the brain during surgery can cause a person to have hallucinations that are indistinguishable from reality, such as a song playing in the room or a childhood birthday party. Chemicals that affect the brain, from caffeine and alcohol to Prozac and LSD, can profoundly alter how people think, feel and see. Surgery that severs the corpus callosum, separating the two hemispheres (a treatment for epilepsy), spawns two consciousnesses within the same skull, as if the soul could be cleaved in two with a knife.

And when the physiological activity of the brain ceases, as far as anyone can tell the person’s consciousness goes out of existence. Attempts to contact the souls of the dead (a pursuit of serious scientists a century ago) turned up only cheap magic tricks, and near death experiences are not the eyewitness reports of a soul parting company from the body but symptoms of oxygen starvation in the eyes and brain. In September, a team of Swiss neuroscientists reported that they could turn out-of-body experiences on and off by stimulating the part of the brain in which vision and bodily sensations converge.

THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL

ANOTHER STARTLING CONCLUSION FROM the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion. Consciousness turns out to consist of a maelstrom of events distributed across the brain. These events compete for attention, and as one process outshouts the others, the brain rationalizes the outcome after the fact and concocts the impression that a single self was in charge all along.

Take the famous cognitive-dissonance experiments. When an experimenter got people to endure electric shocks in a sham experiment on learning, those who were given a good rationale (“It will help scientists understand learning”) rated the shocks as more painful than the ones given a feeble rationale (“We’re curious.”) Presumably, it’s because the second group would have felt foolish to have suffered for no good reason. Yet when these people were asked why they agreed to be shocked, they offered bogus reasons of their own in all sincerity, like “I used to mess around with radios and got used to electric shocks.”

It’s not only decisions in sketchy circumstances that get rationalized but also the texture of our immediate experience. We all feel we are conscious of a rich and detailed world in front of our eyes. Yet outside the dead center of our gaze, vision is amazingly coarse. Just try holding your hand a few inches from your line of sight and counting your fingers. And if someone removed and reinserted an object every time you blinked (which experimenters can simulate by flashing two pictures in rapid sequence), you would be hard pressed to notice the change. Ordinarily, our eyes flit from place to place, alighting on whichever object needs our attention on a need-to-know basis. This fools us into thinking that wall-to-wall detail was there all along–an example of how we overestimate the scope and power of our own consciousness.

Our authorship of voluntary actions can also be an illusion, the result of noticing a correlation between what we decide and how our bodies move. The psychologist Dan Wegner studied the party game in which a subject is seated in front of a mirror while someone behind him extends his arms under the subject’s armpits and moves his arms around, making it look as if the subject is moving his own arms. If the subject hears a tape telling the person behind him how to move (wave, touch the subject’s nose and so on), he feels as if he is actually in command of the arms.

The brain’s spin doctoring is displayed even more dramatically in neurological conditions in which the healthy parts of the brain explain away the foibles of the damaged parts (which are invisible to the self because they are part of the self). A patient who fails to experience a visceral click of recognition when he sees his wife but who acknowledges that she looks and acts just like her deduces that she is an amazingly well-trained impostor. A patient who believes he is at home and is shown the hospital elevator says without missing a beat, “You wouldn’t believe what it cost us to have that installed.”

Why does consciousness exist at all, at least in the Easy Problem sense in which some kinds of information are accessible and others hidden? One reason is information overload. Just as a person can be overwhelmed today by the gusher of data coming in from electronic media, decision circuits inside the brain would be swamped if every curlicue and muscle twitch that was registered somewhere in the brain were constantly being delivered to them. Instead, our working memory and spotlight of attention receive executive summaries of the events and states that are most relevant to updating an understanding of the world and figuring out what to do next. The cognitive psychologist Bernard Baars likens consciousness to a global blackboard on which brain processes post their results and monitor the results of the others.

BELIEVING OUR OWN LIES

A SECOND REASON THAT INFORMATION MAY BE SEALED OFF FROM consciousness is strategic. Evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers has noted that people have a motive to sell themselves as beneficent, rational, competent agents. The best propagandist is the one who believes his own lies, ensuring that he can’t leak his deceit through nervous twitches or self-contradictions. So the brain might have been shaped to keep compromising data away from the conscious processes that govern our interaction with other people. At the same time, it keeps the data around in unconscious processes to prevent the person from getting too far out of touch with reality.

What about the brain itself? You might wonder how scientists could even begin to find the seat of awareness in the cacophony of a hundred billion jabbering neurons. The trick is to see what parts of the brain change when a person’s consciousness flips from one experience to another. In one technique, called binocular rivalry, vertical stripes are presented to the left eye, horizontal stripes to the right. The eyes compete for consciousness, and the person sees vertical stripes for a few seconds, then horizontal stripes, and so on.

A low-tech way to experience the effect yourself is to look through a paper tube at a white wall with your right eye and hold your left hand in front of your left eye. After a few seconds, a white hole in your hand should appear, then disappear, then reappear.

Monkeys experience binocular rivalry. They can learn to press a button every time their perception flips, while their brains are impaled with electrodes that record any change in activity. Neuroscientist Nikos Logothetis found that the earliest way stations for visual input in the back of the brain barely budged as the monkeys’ consciousness flipped from one state to another. Instead, it was a region that sits further down the information stream and that registers coherent shapes and objects that tracks the monkeys’ awareness. Now this doesn’t mean that this place on the underside of the brain is the TV screen of consciousness. What it means, according to a theory by Crick and his collaborator Christof Koch, is that consciousness resides only in the “higher” parts of the brain that are connected to circuits for emotion and decision making, just what one would expect from the blackboard metaphor.

WAVES OF BRAIN

CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE BRAIN CAN BE TRACKED NOT JUST IN SPACE but also in time. Neuroscientists have long known that consciousness depends on certain frequencies of oscillation in the electroencephalograph (EEG). These brain waves consist of loops of activation between the cortex (the wrinkled surface of the brain) and the thalamus (the cluster of hubs at the center that serve as input-output relay stations). Large, slow, regular waves signal a coma, anesthesia or a dreamless sleep; smaller, faster, spikier ones correspond to being awake and alert. These waves are not like the useless hum from a noisy appliance but may allow consciousness to do its job in the brain. They may bind the activity in far-flung regions (one for color, another for shape, a third for motion) into a coherent conscious experience, a bit like radio transmitters and receivers tuned to the same frequency. Sure enough, when two patterns compete for awareness in a binocular-rivalry display, the neurons representing the eye that is “winning” the competition oscillate in synchrony, while the ones representing the eye that is suppressed fall out of synch.

So neuroscientists are well on the way to identifying the neural correlates of consciousness, a part of the Easy Problem. But what about explaining how these events actually cause consciousness in the sense of inner experience–the Hard Problem?

TACKLING THE HARD PROBLEM

TO APPRECIATE THE HARDNESS OF THE HARD PROBLEM, CONSIDER how you could ever know whether you see colors the same way that I do. Sure, you and I both call grass green, but perhaps you see grass as having the color that I would describe, if I were in your shoes, as purple. Or ponder whether there could be a true zombie–a being who acts just like you or me but in whom there is no self actually feeling anything. This was the crux of a Star Trek plot in which officials wanted to reverse-engineer Lieut. Commander Data, and a furious debate erupted as to whether this was merely dismantling a machine or snuffing out a sentient life.

No one knows what to do with the Hard Problem. Some people may see it as an opening to sneak the soul back in, but this just relabels the mystery of “consciousness” as the mystery of “the soul”–a word game that provides no insight.

Many philosophers, like Daniel Dennett, deny that the Hard Problem exists at all. Speculating about zombies and inverted colors is a waste of time, they say, because nothing could ever settle the issue one way or another. Anything you could do to understand consciousness–like finding out what wavelengths make people see green or how similar they say it is to blue, or what emotions they associate with it–boils down to information processing in the brain and thus gets sucked back into the Easy Problem, leaving nothing else to explain. Most people react to this argument with incredulity because it seems to deny the ultimate undeniable fact: our own experience.

The most popular attitude to the Hard Problem among neuroscientists is that it remains unsolved for now but will eventually succumb to research that chips away at the Easy Problem. Others are skeptical about this cheery optimism because none of the inroads into the Easy Problem brings a solution to the Hard Problem even a bit closer. Identifying awareness with brain physiology, they say, is a kind of “meat chauvinism” that would dogmatically deny consciousness to Lieut. Commander Data just because he doesn’t have the soft tissue of a human brain. Identifying it with information processing would go too far in the other direction and grant a simple consciousness to thermostats and calculators–a leap that most people find hard to stomach. Some mavericks, like the mathematician Roger Penrose, suggest the answer might someday be found in quantum mechanics. But to my ear, this amounts to the feeling that quantum mechanics sure is weird, and consciousness sure is weird, so maybe quantum mechanics can explain consciousness.

And then there is the theory put forward by philosopher Colin McGinn that our vertigo when pondering the Hard Problem is itself a quirk of our brains. The brain is a product of evolution, and just as animal brains have their limitations, we have ours. Our brains can’t hold a hundred numbers in memory, can’t visualize seven-dimensional space and perhaps can’t intuitively grasp why neural information processing observed from the outside should give rise to subjective experience on the inside. This is where I place my bet, though I admit that the theory could be demolished when an unborn genius–a Darwin or Einstein of consciousness–comes up with a flabbergasting new idea that suddenly makes it all clear to us.

Whatever the solutions to the Easy and Hard problems turn out to be, few scientists doubt that they will locate consciousness in the activity of the brain. For many nonscientists, this is a terrifying prospect. Not only does it strangle the hope that we might survive the death of our bodies, but it also seems to undermine the notion that we are free agents responsible for our choices–not just in this lifetime but also in a life to come. In his millennial essay “Sorry, but Your Soul Just Died,” Tom Wolfe worried that when science has killed the soul, “the lurid carnival that will ensue may make the phrase ‘the total eclipse of all values’ seem tame.”

TOWARD A NEW MORALITY

MY OWN VIEW IS THAT THIS IS backward: the biology of consciousness offers a sounder basis for morality than the unprovable dogma of an immortal soul. It’s not just that an understanding of the physiology of consciousness will reduce human suffering through new treatments for pain and depression. That understanding can also force us to recognize the interests of other beings–the core of morality.

As every student in Philosophy 101 learns, nothing can force me to believe that anyone except me is conscious. This power to deny that other people have feelings is not just an academic exercise but an all-too-common vice, as we see in the long history of human cruelty. Yet once we realize that our own consciousness is a product of our brains and that other people have brains like ours, a denial of other people’s sentience becomes ludicrous. “Hath not a Jew eyes?” asked Shylock. Today the question is more pointed: Hath not a Jew–or an Arab, or an African, or a baby, or a dog–a cerebral cortex and a thalamus? The undeniable fact that we are all made of the same neural flesh makes it impossible to deny our common capacity to suffer.

And when you think about it, the doctrine of a life-to-come is not such an uplifting idea after all because it necessarily devalues life on earth. Just remember the most famous people in recent memory who acted in expectation of a reward in the hereafter: the conspirators who hijacked the airliners on 9/11.

Think, too, about why we sometimes remind ourselves that “life is short.” It is an impetus to extend a gesture of affection to a loved one, to bury the hatchet in a pointless dispute, to use time productively rather than squander it. I would argue that nothing gives life more purpose than the realization that every moment of consciousness is a precious and fragile gift.

Steven Pinker is Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard and the author of The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate

When The Impossible Happens: Adventures in Non-Ordinary Realities by Stanislav Grof, MD, PhD

Feelings of oneness with other people, nature, and the universe. Encounters with extraterrestrials, deities, and demons. Out-of-body experiences and past-life memories. Science casts a skeptical eye. But Dr. Stanislav Grof—the psychiatric researcher who cofounded transpersonal psychology—believes otherwise. When the Impossible Happens presents Dr. Grof ‘s mesmerizing firsthand account of over 50 years of inquiry into waters uncharted by classical psychology, one that will leave readers questioning the very fabric of our existence. From his first LSD session that gave him a glimpse of cosmic consciousness to his latest work with Holotropic Breathwork, When the Impossible Happens will amaze readers with vivid explorations of topics such as:

“Temptations of a Non-Local Universe”—experiments in astral projection
“Praying Mantis in Manhattan” and other tales of synchronicity
“Trailing Clouds of Glory”—remembering birth and prenatal life
“Dying and Beyond”—survival of consciousness after death
Here is an incredible opportunity to journey beyond ordinary consciousness—guaranteed to shake the foundations of what we assume to be reality—and sure to offer a new vision of our human potential, as we contemplate When the Impossible Happens.

——————————————————————————–
An Interview with Stanislav Grof

by Janice & Dennis Hughes, Share Guide Copublishers

Stanislav Grof, M.D., Ph.D. is one of the world’s foremost researchers of the further reaches of the human mind. A psychiatrist who has researched non-ordinary states of consciousness for over 50 years, he is one of the founders of transpersonal psychology. Dr. Grof is the bestselling author of numerous books, and his latest, When the Impossible Happens, presents a mesmerizing firsthand account of inquiry into such topics as survival of consciousness after death, synchronicities, reincarnation, and remembering birth and prenatal life. Dr. Grof lives in Mill Valley and is a professor of psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

The Share Guide: Dr. Grof, you’ve written extensively about the phenomenon of synchronicity–meaningful coincidences which defy a rational explanation. This seems to dovetail with our previous interview, which was with Jack Canfield, on The Law of Attraction (described in the bestseller The Secret). Both concepts relate to the idea that there’s an interaction between the psyche and the world of matter, and that our thoughts can affect reality.

Stanislav Grof: I have personally experienced over the years many examples of this kind of thing–an interaction between the psyche and what we consider the material world, the objective reality. This is something that should not be happening if the universe is really the way it’s described by materialistic science. I have also seen countless examples of synchronicity with my clients and other people. It is an unquestionable phenomenon. Dr. Carl Jung was the first to describe this phenomenon, and his radical discovery challenged some of the most basic assumptions of the materialistic world. It took Jung 20 years of collecting observations before he dared to present this information to his colleagues.

The Share Guide: Did people believe him?

Stanislav Grof: No! And even now, it’s not generally accepted by academic circles. Because it challenges something that’s very, very essential to traditional science–which is the idea that the universe is basically governed by chains of cause and effect.

The Share Guide: To better illustrate this concept of synchronicity, can you give an example?

Stanislav Grof: Here’s an amazing story that I heard from Joseph Campbell during one of his seminars at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. He used to live in Greenwich Village in Manhattan on the 14th floor of a high-rise building. His study had two sets of windows–one was overlooking the Hudson River, which was a very beautiful view and those windows were open much of the time. The other two windows faced Sixth Avenue, and they were hardly ever opened. Joseph said those particular windows were only opened a couple of times during the 14 years he lived there.

Joseph was, at the time of this story, working on his World Encyclopedia of Mythology–in particular, the first volume called The Way of the Animal Powers, a comprehensive encyclopedia of shamanic mythologies of the world. And he was specifically working on a chapter on the mythology of the African bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. In that mythology, the praying mantis is a central, heroic figure. So Joseph was surrounded by all these articles about the praying mantis and pictures of the praying mantis.

Just as he was working on this, he suddenly had this completely irrational impulse to go and open one of the windows on the side that he never opened. So he does this and looks out of the window, and he automatically turned his head to the right without really knowing why, and there on the 14th floor of the high-rise building was a great specimen of praying mantis. And Joseph said the praying mantis gave him this meaningful look, and then just continued up the wall. So that’s a remarkable example of synchronicity, because you don’t see many praying mantis in lower Manhattan!

The Share Guide:
Synchronicities happen all the time, especially once you’re open to the concept. It seems crazy that so many people chalk much of this up to coincidence. Do you think this is due to rigid thinking?

Stanislav Grof: Yes, this is something that you find very often in the scientific circle. These people practice something I call “scientism” rather than science–they have a rigid conviction that the current worldview is definitive and it’s absolutely accurate; no major surprises are accepted. They cannot imagine that the worldview would change radically, but this is how science naturally proceeds.

The Share Guide: In the past you’ve done extensive research and therapy using psychedelic drugs, including LSD. But don’t you currently use Holotropic Breathwork instead to achieve non-ordinary states of consciousness?

Stanislav Grof: Yes. Holotropic Breathwork is a method that my wife, Christina, and I developed when we lived at Esalen Institute, because we did not have permission to use psychedelics anymore. So we experimented with breath and music and bodywork, and we put these together to create a very powerful method of therapy and self-exploration. We started this back in the mid-70’s. You can actually induce the same spectrum of experiences that we used to do with psychedelics. Holotropic Breathwork is now used all over the world, in many workshops, seminars, etc.

The Share Guide:
You’ve found that people can achieve therapeutic results as dramatic as those with psychedelic drugs?

Stanislav Grof: Yes, the results are very similar. Actually, we feel that the combination of breathing and releasing bodywork that we’re using is more effective at clearing psychosomatic symptoms than psychedelics were.

The Share Guide: For our readers who are unfamiliar with Holotropic Breathwork, can you give a brief description?

Stanislav Grof: First, we normally do this work with groups, although it can also be done individually. But when people experience it in a group with connection to others, it’s a much more powerful way of using this method. I’ve tried to dispel some of the misconceptions that people have about non-ordinary states of consciousness, so when these groups meet, we spend several hours preparing for the experience. It seems that during the industrial and scientific revolution, these non-ordinary states were basically rejected.

And many of the tools used and the context in which they can be produced have actually been outlawed. We don’t have a category in current psychiatry that would say, “This is a spiritual experience.” Many people over the years who have experienced non-ordinary states of consciousness have been diagnosed as mentally ill and hospitalized. They’ve been given tranquilizing medication when in other cultures this type of experience would be considered to be perfectly normal. So with our Holotropic Breathwork workshops, we try to dispel some of the misconceptions beforehand and explain the range of experiences that people can have. We ask people to find a partner and we work with half of the group at a time.

So half of the group are “breathers” and half of the group are what are called “sitters.” We do an introduction, which is designed to relax people as much as possible, and make way for the inner healer to take them wherever they need to go. And then we ask them to breathe fast in a particular way, tying the inhalation and the exhalation into kind of a circle of breath–and then allow anything that emerges to happen. People can make any sound that emerges, any kind of body movement. The only restriction is not to do anything that would hurt them or others or destroy the precious property of the place that’s hosting the workshop.

The Share Guide: This is pretty far from traditional talk therapy!

Stanislav Grof
: It resembles in many ways what happens in Kundalini yoga, only people are not in the lotus position; they are in the reclining position.

The Share Guide: Traditional talk therapy seems to have very limited success for those with deep-seated problems. With a method like Holotropic Breathwork, you seem to get much faster results. Many people stay in talk therapy for years and never seem to resolve their issues. What are your thoughts on this?

Stanislav Grof: One of the problems is that the definition of the psyche which is currently accepted in psychiatry and psychology is painfully limited and superficial. It’s limited to what we can recall that happened to us since the time we were born. Freud introduced the concept of the unconscious mind, but it’s still limited to the time after birth. Freud described the newborn as a clean slate. In other words, there’s nothing that precedes birth that’s of any interest for a psychiatrist or psychologist–including birth itself, which is incredible. Psychiatrists put a lot of emphasis on the conditions of nursing, and the importance of the early relationship between the mother and the child, but at the same time they ignore the fact that the hours before and during birth are a major psychological event that’s tremendous.

The Share Guide: They don’t think that we’re conscious then, right?

Stanislav Grof: Right, but this is incorrect. So one of the things that you have to do when you work with these non-ordinary states–or the special subcategory of holotropic states [holo means “whole” and tropic means “moving toward” so holotropic means “moving toward wholeness”]–is deal with the fact that the psyche is larger than traditional psychiatry defines it. Besides the biographic domain, there is what I call the perinatal domain, which contains all the stages of birth that we went through, recorded in photographic detail.

There are also prenatal experiences. In addition, there is another domain of the psyche which we now call transpersonal. This includes such things as experiencing oneness with other people, experiencing group consciousness, experiencing identification with various animals or other life forms, transcending time, and having collective karmic experiences. We can even have experiences and encounters with various mythological figures from cultures that we never personally studied. It’s observing these experiences that led Jung to the conclusion that we don’t have just the Freudian individual unconscious, but also what Jung called the “collective unconscious,” which is actually two different domains or aspects: the historical, where we carry the history of humanity in our psyche; and the archetype, where we carry our cultural heritage and mythologies.

The Share Guide: You stated in your latest book that biological birth is the most profound trauma of our lives. Can you explain?

Stanislav Grof: When we started working with LSD years ago, we discovered that it’s a misconception that we are not aware during the birth process. What happened was that during LSD sessions, people without any guidance or prompting suddenly started reliving in photographic detail what happened to them when they were in the clutches of childbirth. For me this came as a surprise, because in my traditional medical training I was taught that there can’t be any consciousness at birth–the child doesn’t notice that something strange is happening; it’s not recorded anywhere.

The reason that’s usually given for this is the cortex of the newborn is not mature enough to record that kind of experience. This is incorrect. Because of course, the same would then apply to the nursing experience, which is immediately following and much more subtle than the experience of birth. Yet in spite of this, psychiatry generally accepts that the experiences of nursing are perceived and very important, but not birth itself. So there is an unbelievable paradox that’s so surprising for a discipline that prides itself on being logical.

The Share Guide: Was there any backlash in your field when you first started writing about these unconventional ideas about birth?

Stanislav Grof:
It was a mixed reaction. Some people in the academic circles found it extremely interesting, and the argument that I just mentioned made a lot of sense to them. Other people were stuck in their belief that the brain is not developed enough. But you don’t have to have a developed cortex to have memory; in fact, there’s species that don’t have any cortex at all and they still have memory. Several years ago, the Nobel Prize was given to Eric Kandel for his work on the memory mechanism of the sea slug. I think it’s incredibly inconsistent to give a Nobel Prize for studying the memory mechanisms in a sea slug and at the same time deny that such a highly organized brain as that of a newborn baby is incapable of recording memories of the first hours of life.

The Share Guide: Do you think the field is getting any better these days, and opened up more?

Stanislav Grof: Yes. There are numbers of professionals who have parted ways with these traditional concepts. They often end up in our various workshops. Then they experience for themselves memories of birth and so forth. But often when they return to their academic setting, they just decide to continue playing the game because they are afraid to be considered unscientific or irrational.

The Share Guide: So is the field of psychiatry rather polarized now?

Stanislav Grof: Yes, because the new research and evidence is in such conflict with the current world view that dominates science. And it’s not just one field. There was a time when I was interacting with anthropologists, and several of them told me fantastic stories about their experiences doing fieldwork in Shamanic cultures. They actually had manuscripts about this work that they didn’t dare to present to their professional colleagues because they were afraid that they would damage their reputation.

The Share Guide:
In your latest book, When the Impossible Happens, you talk about how in certain parts of the world, such as Brazil, people are more open minded. Do you think that all of us would benefit from experiencing Holotropic Breathwork and other non-ordinary states of consciousness? And if everybody did this, how do you think it would affect Western society?

Stanislav Grof: I’m very interested in what responsible, supervised work with these holotropic states would do for people–and also participation in shamanic rituals and other powerful forms of extreme psychotherapy. I am also interested in spontaneous near-death experiences and spontaneous episodes of non-ordinary states that we call “spiritual emergencies.” Current psychiatry would see these as psychotic states, but all these experiences can profoundly transform people. And people who engage in responsible exploration with holotropic states tend to develop a certain kind of world view and a certain kind of attitude.

For example, their level of aggression and anger is significantly lowered and they develop a sense of compassion. They experience a melting of boundaries–racial boundaries, gender boundaries, cultural boundaries, political boundaries–and they tend to develop an all-embracing attitude towards the world and a tremendous interest in international peace. People also develop spontaneous, profound ecological sensitivity when they experience holotropic states of consciousness. They suddenly see the essential oneness with other people, with other species, with nature, and so on.

They realize that we cannot do anything to the earth that we would not simultaneously do to ourselves. So you don’t have to teach people ecology; they just experience it on a very personal, cellular level. I believe that people who have these experiences become a different kind of human. They are very much oriented towards service, towards synergy and cooperation, rather than competition at the expense of others. If more people were like this we’d have a much better chance for survival as a species.

The Share Guide: You write a lot about reincarnation in your current book.

Stanislav Grof: Yes, I have a significant chapter in the book entitled “Have We Lived Before?” This is something that comes up a lot in Holotropic Breathwork sessions and we also saw it daily when we worked with psychedelics. It’s a very common, very important category of human experiences.

The Share Guide: Do you think past life memories are a result of people having actually lived previous lives or could they relate to tapping into the collective consciousness?

Stanislav Grof: Past life memories are experiences that often happened in other centuries and frequently in other countries that we know nothing about. And so in that sense, it comes from the collective unconscious. But does this prove that we have lived before as a separate unit of consciousness? I would have to say no. It’s a very good hypothesis that explains certain observations, but it is still a hypothesis, and there’s always more than one to explain the facts. In the history of humanity, there have been incorrect hypotheses to explain observations, such as Aristotle who believed that the earth was the center of the universe.

Reincarnation is our hypothesis to explain the characteristics of past life experiences that have been verified as fact, with clear information about certain cultures and historical periods. And these experiences also seem to be connected to various forms of emotional and psychosomatic disorders. Those are all facts that anybody who is open-minded and interested can verify by their own research. But that’s not necessarily proof that we have lived before.

Even in India, the cradle of ideas about reincarnation and karma, this would be considered a very low-level, popular explanation of these kinds of experiences. The high level spiritual teachings of India will tell you that there’s only one entity that ever incarnates, which is Brama. The whole universe is just one being that assumes these different roles–the split units of Brama take on autonomous identities. So the experience of being separate is an illusion; we are all manifestations of the same being.

The Share Guide: Some people have a profound fear of heights, yet can’t relate this to any direct experience in life. Is this related to a past life? Could it be that a person died falling from a great height in a past lifetime and that’s why they don’t like heights now?

Stanislav Grof: In one of my books, Psychology of the Future, there is a chapter on emotional and psychosomatic disorders, and there is a section specifically about fear of heights. Besides anything that might have happened in childhood, for example, or what might have happened in another lifetime, there is a very profound connection between the final stages of birth and the experience of falling. So the fear of heights could have something to do with what was experienced in the final stages of birth.

The Share Guide: Certain people with mental impairments, like autism, have extraordinary abilities in certain areas. Some of these people can play music or paint beautifully or do complicated math, but they can’t take care of themselves. What do you think causes this, and do we all have untapped genius abilities?

Stanislav Grof: There is no way there’s a logical explanation for the idiot savant who is able to tell you which day of the week was a particular date within a range of 100 years. This is obviously information coming from sources that are on another level.

I think we all definitely have untapped abilities–and experiencing the holotropic state increases the probability that you will be able to use it in some creative way. I think this type of phenomenon is one more challenge to the traditional view that you can explain everything by studying the physiology of the brain. It’s one of those things that we call anomalous phenomenon and a lot of them happen in non-ordinary states of consciousness.

Grof explains how the brain is the hardware, like a telelvision set, that picks up the signal from consciousness, which is in the field and turns it into thought.

Antonio Damasio – Brain and mind: from medicine to society. 1/2

Antonio Damasio-Brain and mind: from medicine to society. 2/2

The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav


I’ve always wanted to read this book but couldn’t find it in bookstores. So finally I managed to get its audio version.

It digs deeper into quantum mechanics.

Gary Zukav has written “the Bible” for those who are curious about the mind-expanding discoveries of advanced physics, but who have no scientific background. Like a Wu Li Master who would teach us wonder for the falling petal before speaking of gravity, Zukav writes in beautifully clear language–with no mathematical equations–opening our minds to the exciting new theories that are beginning to embrace the ultimate nature of our universe…Quantum mechanics, relativity, and beyond to the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen effect and Bell’s theorem.

“Reality is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends upon what we look for. What we look for depends upon what we think. What we think depends upon what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. what we take to be true is our reality.”

EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED 🙂

The Eight Chakra: The seat of the soul:
The conflicts of a human’s life are directly proportional to the distance at which energy of personality exists separately from the harmonic frequencies that emanates from the divine spark or soul.
The Seat of the soul, the eighth chakra holds the ancient knowledge of our soul contracts and ultimately, our life purpose.
The 8th Chakra is the energy center of divine love, of spiritual compassion and spiritual selflessness. The seat of the soul is the major core star of our energetic system, also holding the records of on what our souls had agreed as specific lessons in our upcoming lifetimes and past lives.

The Conscious Universe The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena by Dean Radin

Psychic Phenomena: Unquestionably Real

Dean Radin’s The Conscious Universe forever lays to rest any question as to the experimentally demonstrated existence of at least some psychic (or “psi”) phenomena. Using the statistical technique of meta-analysis, Radin methodically and forcefully examines the results from nearly a century of increasingly sophisticated experiments. Notwithstanding the possibility of thousands of researchers committing fraud in a massive decades-long conspiracy, or a complete misapplication and misunderstanding of meta-analysis, the existence of telepathy (mind-to-mind perception), clairvoyance (perception at distance), precognition (perception through time), psychokenesis (mind-matter interaction), and perhaps other psi phenomena (e.g., mental interactions with living organisms) is incontrovertible.

Now, a statement such as “forever lays to rest any question” may, to a careful audience, seem extreme. But that’s just the point. If carefully read, Radin’s thorough, relentless, and pointed volume will — or should — win over even the crustiest and most skeptical (but open-minded) mainstream scientist. The hows and whys of psychic phenomena remain unknown, but whether they occur is now settled. Post-Radin, a refusal to accept the reality of psychic phenomena is itself prima facie unscientific and untenable.

New Ideas are Accepted in Stages

In the Introduction, Radin describes how the acceptance of a new idea occurs in four stages. First, skeptics “confidently proclaim that the idea is impossible because it violates the Laws of Science”; second, “skeptics reluctantly concede that the idea is possible but that it is not very interesting” and its effects are extremely weak; third, the mainstream realizes the importance of the idea and “that its effects are much stronger and more pervasive than previously imagined”; and fourth, those who were originally skeptical now “proclaim that they thought of it first.” With psi, we are currently in

the most important and the most difficult of the four transitions — from Stage 1 into Stage 2. While the idea itself is ancient, it has taken more than a century to demonstrate it conclusively in accordance with rigorous, scientific standards. This demonstration has accelerated Stage 2 acceptance, and Stage 3 can already be glimpsed on the horizon.

The book has 4 main parts: Motivation, which discusses science, replication (or reproducibility), and meta-analysis; Evidence, where meta-analysis is applied to the various types of psi research, and the leveraging of skeptics’ objections into continually improving experimental designs is described; Understanding, which presents a field guide to skepticism and skeptics, a discussion of why scientists can’t “see” psi, and a comparison between “Orthodox ‘Separateness’ Science” and psi-friendly “Proposed ‘Wholeness’ Science”); and finally, Implications, a short discussion of psi theory and what it might all mean.

Motivation and Evidence constitute the heart of the book. From the beginning, Radin is clear that “persuasive scientific evidence for psi requires independently replicated, controlled experiments.” If psi is real, the skeptics ask, then why can’t it just be repeatedly, reliably demonstrated? The answer is two-fold: (1) although a “simple,” large-effect, repeatable psi demonstration may not be possible on demand, the same thing is true of most truly interesting problems in science, and (2) with the application of meta-analysis, it becomes clear that various types of replicated psi effects have been unambiguously demonstrated. In fact, “when psi research is judged by the same standards as any other scientific discipline, then the results are as consistent as those observed in the hardest of the hard sciences!”

Meta-Analysis:
The Analysis of Analyses

Meta-analysis, the analysis of analyses, can be thought of as an integrative review or a “structured technique for exhaustively analyzing a complete body of experiments.” Radin states that:

Meta-analysis has been described as ‘a method of statistical analysis wherein the units of analysis are the results of independent studies, rather than the responses of individual subjects.’ In a single experiment, the raw data points are typically the participants’ individual responses. In meta-analysis, the raw data points are the results of separate experiments.

Thus, “by combining thousands of people’s performances over hundreds of experiments, we can obtain very high levels of confidence about the existence of psi.” Put another way, “when we combine results of many similar studies to form the equivalent of a single, grand experiment conducted by many experimenters, from many locations, over many years, we also substantially increase our confidence in the outcome.

Meta-analysis has exploded in popularity because behavioral, social, and medical sciences needed a “method of formally determining whether the highly variable effects measured in their experiments were replicable.” Since data from similar but not identical experiments are combined, some reevaluation of the original data is needed. This leads to criticisms of mixing apples and oranges (which is fine if what you’re after is facts about fruit), and the “file drawer problem,” which insinuates that many unsuccessful experiments go unpublished, sitting in file drawers and skewing results.

A comparison to aspirin studies is useful. Individual studies on aspirin reducing heart attacks were not very persuasive, but when many studies were combined, the aspirin effect was declared to be real. This, says Radin, is

exactly what meta-analysis has done for psi experiments. Considered individually, some psi experiments have been successful but the effects did not appear to be easily repeatable. This uncertainty has fueled the skeptics’ doubt for over a century. But when studies are combined, there is no doubt that the psi effects are real.

Meta-Analysis Applied To Psychokinesis

As one of the clearest examples of psi meta-analysis, consider random number generator (RNG) experiments, sometimes called “micropsychokinesis,” where subjects attempt to “will” the generation of more “1s” than “0s” (chance predicts equal numbers). Radin sets the stage:

Today, most RNG experiments are completely automated, including the presentation of instructions, the provision of feedback on a trial-by-trial basis, and data storage and analysis. Most RNGs are technically highly sophisticated, employing features such as electromagnetic shielding, environmental fail-safe alarms, and fully automated data recording.

The results? A 1987 meta-analysis looking at 832 studies (597 experimental and 235 controls) showed overall odds against chance beyond a trillion to one. When skeptics rated the various experiments, observed hit rates were unrelated to experimental quality. As for the “file drawer” problem, “the number of unreported or unretreived RNG studies required to reduce the RNG psi effect to a non-significant level was 54,000 — about ninety times the number of studies actually reported.”

The Bottom Line

The meta-analyses presented for the other types of psi research are similarly impressive. As a consequence, “Informed opinion even among skeptics, shows that virtually all the past skeptical arguments against psi have dissolved in the face of overwhelming positive evidence,” and “informed skeptics today agree that chance is no longer a viable explanation for the result obtained in psi experiments.” Only time will tell, however, if the scientific establishment’s acceptance of psi will really be this simple and inevitable.

The Conscious Universe is not without its problems. The book could have stood more editing: at times it rambles, is overly repetitious, or seems insufficiently integrated. Moreover, when Radin gets into subject matters that are not his expertise — he says some things about physics and mysticism that Ken Wilber, in Quantum Questions : Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists (1984), shows are patently not so — he occasionally falters. Nonetheless, this extraordinarily important, watershed volume should be read by every serious student of the human mind, and put into the hands of anyone who insists that “there isn’t a shred of evidence for psychic phenomena.” That’s just not true any more.



Dean Radin
is senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). He earned a BSEE magna cum laude in electrical engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and both an MS in electrical engineering and a PhD in psychology from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. For ten years, he was a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories and later a principal scientist at GTE Laboratories, where he was engaged in R&D on a wide variety of advanced telecommunications products and systems.

For fifteen years, he has conducted experimental studies of psi phenomena in academia and industry, including appointments at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, University of Nevada, and SRI International, the latter as a visiting scientist on a classified program of psi research. Before joining IONS, he cofounded the Boundary Institute and was in charge of a psi research program at Interval Research Corporation in Palo Alto, California.

Radin was elected president of the Parapsychological Association, an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in 1988, 1993, 1998, and 2005. He also served as a counselor in the Society for Scientific Exploration from 1986 to 1994, and was program chair for the Society’s annual meetings in 1987 and 1997.

His research awards include the Parapsychological Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award and the Rhine Research Center’s Alexander Imich Award for advances in experimental parapsychology. He has earned Special Merit Awards from GTE Laboratories and Bell Labs. He has received grants from the Richard Hodgson Memorial Fund Grant at Harvard University, the Bial Foundation in Portugal, the Parapsychology Foundation in New York, the Society for Psychical Research in London, the Swedish Society for Psychical Research in Stockholm, the Institute for Border Areas of Psychology in Germany, and the Bigelow Foundation in Las Vegas.

Radin has been interviewed about his research for feature stories in The New York Times Magazine, Psychology Today, Newsweek, and New Scientist, and he has given dozens of invited lectures around the world. Radin is author of the award-winning book, The Conscious Universe (1997, HarperCollins), the forthcoming Entangled Minds (2006, Simon & Schuster), and is author or coauthor of over 200 journal articles and technical reports

ABSTRACT

Do telepathy, clairvoyance and other “psi” abilities exist? The majority of the general population believes that they do, and yet fewer than one percent of mainstream academic institutions have any faculty known for their interest in these frequently reported experiences. Why is a topic of enduring and widespread interest met with such resounding silence in academia? The answer is not due to a lack of scientific evidence, or even to a lack of scientific interest, but rather involves a taboo. I will discuss the nature of this taboo, some of the empirical evidence and critical responses, and speculate on the implications.

Speaker: Dean Radin
Dean Radin is a researcher and author in the field of parapsychology. He is Senior Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and four-time former President of the Parapsychological Association. He holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a masters degree in electrical engineering and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has worked at AT&T Bell Labs and GTE Labs, mainly on human factors of advanced telecommunications products and services, and held appointments at Princeton University, Edinburgh University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, SRI International, Interval Research Corporation, and Boundary Institute. At these facilities he was engaged in basic research on exceptional human capacities, principally psi phenomena.
Category:

The Evolutionary Mind: Conversations on Science, Imagination and Spirit: by Ralph Abraham, Terence McKenna, and Rupert Sheldrake


Consciousness: The Final Frontier
A Review by Sarah Fox

This volume collects a series of conversations — termed “trialogues” — which took place over several years between three exceptional thinkers. Though working in different fields—Ralph Abraham is a chaos mathematician and computer graphics pioneer; Terence McKenna (who died in 2000) was a psychedelic explorer, ethnopharmacologist, and time theorist; and Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist who developed the theory of “morphic resonance” — the three were close friends and shared many common concerns. They moved their private conversations to the public arena in 1989 at the request of the Esalen Institute in California, and over the years they met frequently at various locations, resulting in the first trialogue volume, Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness. This second volume, sadly, will be the last of the published trialogues due to the untimely “departure from the corporeal plane” of McKenna, the group’s obvious Firekeeper.

The conversations recorded in this collection read more like a sequence of manifestos, and share none of the flavor of a live conversation. They are wide-ranging, erudite, achingly articulate, and entirely focused, although perhaps intellectuals of this magnitude really do talk with such remarkable fluidity. The primary impetus for discussion is, as the title suggests, evolutionary psychology — each participant addresses a shared suspicion that human evolution will occur most significantly at the level of consciousness, and all concur that this evolution will happen not over millennia, or even centuries, but swiftly and soon. Essentially, according to these three, human evolution will likely entail a complete transcendence from history, and quite possibly from any concept of time.

McKenna sees humans as representing a peculiar species influenced by an “attractor pulling in the direction of symbolic activity.” In the chapter called “Time,” McKenna elucidates that the attractor, with which we are colliding, is:

“an object that we cannot precisely discern, lying just below the event horizon of rational apprehension; nevertheless, our cultural east is streaked with the blush of rosy dawn. What it portends, I think, is an end to our fall, to our sojourn in matter, and to our separateness. It lies so close to us in historical time, by virtue of our having collapsed our options in three-dimensional space, that you need only close your eyes, have a dream, take a shamanic hallucinogen, practice yoga, and there you will see it. It’s an attractor that’s been working on the species for at least a million years. I maintain that it is actually a universal attractor, and we represent a concrescence of complexity that is truly transcendental….The ride to the end of history is going to be a white-knuckled experience.”

McKenna conceives of this end of history, this “last thing,” as “The Eschaton,” a kind of black hole whose basin will provoke a violent break from any boundaries, including the boundaries between life and death: “truly beyond ambiguity, beyond syntax.” All three suspect that “time is speeding up…there isn’t much left.” Nevertheless, the prospect is not handled necessarily with pessimism. McKenna again: “We are literally packing up and preparing to decamp from Newtonian space and time, for the high world of hyper-dimensional existence.” Abraham favors a fractal model for understanding the phenomenon of boundaries. “Chaos and cosmos must be properly balanced for a healthy social system,” he claims, and “an openness to all attractors…based on a cosmology in which the stream has the same morphology as the heavens, which have the same morphology as some mathematical object” could ensure the “stability and longevity of a culture as well as the health of an individual.”

As to “when” this meeting with the Eschaton may take place, McKenna theorizes “December 21, 2012.” This date happens to coincide with the ancient Maya calendar’s “end of the 13th b’ak’tun” which many have surmised predicts the apocalypse. However, McKenna came by his theory through science, evaluating historical data, how it produced curves in ebbs and flows of novelty in time, and basing his prediction on “spiral closure.” Like most Maya scholars, McKenna too sees this end date as representing more of a “new beginning” than an absolute end. Yet his vision anticipates a fatal global crisis. Sheldrake, on the other hand, sides with a more Utopian, sustainable prediction, arguing for a period of total transformation involving “first of all, psychedelics; secondly, the revival of animism; thirdly, mathematical objects visible to all through computers; and fourthly, communication with the stars.” This vision, in Sheldrake’s mind, will culminate in a time in which “the kingdom of heaven is realized on Earth.”

In the chapter “Between the Apocalypse and Utopianism,” Sheldrake, Abraham, and McKenna explore ways of defining the impending transformation through a triad of their individual specialties, respectively scientific utopia, chaos utopia, and psychedelic utopia. They view two traditions — the Utopic, described as triadic and virtuous, and the Millennarian, described as spontaneous and apocalyptic — and attempt to locate their own trinity in an overlap between these two. Elsewhere they discuss fractals, psychic pets, skepticism, psychedelic revival, and everything else, and always towards the potential for intersection.

All three heartily conclude that consciousness is the final frontier, and is where our human future lies. There is no question that the book delivers radical, mind-blowing encounters on every page. Yet the form of conversation lends a spirit of generosity to the rendering of very complex ideas — the reader is placed in the role of eavesdropper, leaving her free to take sides, but also encouraged along by an absence of pedantics in favor of friendly and collaborative conjecture. While not culminating in any ultimate, mutual determinations, the existence of these trialogues assures the evolution of the ideas within them — all readers will feel stimulated to spawn their own impassioned conversations examining consciousness and its potential. http://www.powells.com//review/2006_12_31


The Brilliant minds of Terence McKenna, Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abraham come together to speak about the Evolutionary Mind.
Terence McKenna – The Evolutionary Mind 2/7

Do Our Thoughts Have the Power to Heal? ~ Edgar Mitchell and Marilyn Schlitz

<a href="http://http://player.vimeo.com/video/14588870?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

Do Our Thoughts Have the Power to Heal? from Institute of Noetic Sciences on Vimeo.

“>

Visionaries: Edgar Mitchell and Marilyn Schlitz
Marilyn Schlitz, President of IONS and Edgar Mitchell Astronaut, Scientist and Founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences are featured in this excerpt from Feature Length Film “The Living Matrix – The New Science of Healing” by emaginate. Marilyn and Edgar explain the science of exploring the emotional and empathetic elements that may effect healing. Noetic Science explores these and other components of Consciousness and Inner Knowing.

Don’t Kiss Them Good-Bye (Paperback) by Allison Dubois (Author)

Book Summary of Don’t Kiss Them Good-Bye
From the professional medium and profiler who inspired the hit TV series “Medium” comes a memoir filled with fascinating stories of her encounters with “people who have passed” and her adventures assisting various law enforcement organizations.

Her visions have helped solve crimes; her instincts have helped find missing people.
She can predict future events and read your mind.

When she was six years old, Allison’s deceased great-grandfather came to her with a message for her mother: “I am okay, I am still with you. Tell your mom there’s no more pain.” Allison shared his comforting words with her mother and thus began a lifetime of creating connections between loved ones and those they have lost.

In this stunning book, Allison shares fascinating stories of her encounters with people who have passed and her adventures as a profiler for various law enforcement organizations. With wit and compassion, Allison shows us what it is like to live with these special gifts and talents and also tells about her struggle to live a normal life as a devoted wife and mother. She shows how learning to accept her own gifts has helped her accept the unique gifts of others and how her compelling desire to relieve the pain of others has helped to define her own life, a life committed to the search for ultimate truth.

Medium – Allison DuBois Interview PART 1

Medium – Allison DuBois Interview PART 2

Medium – Allison DuBois Interview PART 3

THE TRUTH BEHIND MEDIUM:
Real-life Allison DuBois explains her first ‘paranormal’ experience and how she goes along with that unusual gift.

Video credit: extracted from the Sci-Fi Channel.
Medium – Allison DuBois Interview PART 4

How God Changes Your Brain~ Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist

God is great-for your mental, physical, and spiritual health. That’s the finding of this startling, authoritative, and controversial book by the bestselling authors of Born to Believe.

Based on new evidence culled from their brain-scan studies on memory patients and meditators, their Web-based survey of people’s religious and spiritual experiences, and their analyses of adult drawings of God, neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, therapist Mark Robert Waldman, and their research team have concluded that active and positive spiritual belief changes the human brain for the better. What’s more, actual faith isn’t always necessary: atheists who meditate on positive imagery can obtain similar neurological benefits. Written in an accessible style-with illustrations highlighting how spiritual experiences affect the mind-How God Changes Your Brain offers the following breakthrough discoveries:

* Not only do prayer and spiritual practice reduce stress and anxiety, but just twelve minutes of meditation per day may slow down the aging process.

* Contemplating a loving God rather than a punitive God reduces anxiety, depression, and stress and increases feelings of security, compassion, and love.

* Fundamentalism, in and of itself, is benign and can be personally beneficial, but the anger and prejudice generated by extreme beliefs can permanently damage your brain.

* Intense prayer and meditation permanently change numerous structures and functions in the brain-altering your values and the way you perceive reality.

How God Changes Your Brain is both a revelatory work of modern science and a practical guide for readers to enhance their physical and emotional health and to avoid mental decline. Newberg and Waldman explain the eight best ways to “exercise” your brain and guide readers through specific routines derived from a wide variety of Eastern and Western spiritual practices that improve personal awareness and empathy. They explain why yawning heightens consciousness and relaxation, and they teach “Compassionate Communication,” a new mediation technique that builds intimacy with family and friends in less than fifteen minutes of practice.

Unique in its conclusions and innovative in its methods, How God Changes Your Brain is a first-of-a-kind book about faith that is as credible as it is inspiring. Whether you are a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or even an Atheist, thinking about God can improve your cognitive functioning, physical health, and make the world a safer place to live.

In How God Changes Your Brain, neuroscientist Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman prove, for the first time, that mediation/prayer improves memory and helps improve the aging brain, and can interrupt the devastating effects of depression, Alzheimer�s disease, and a host of stress-related disorders.

In addition to explaining how different spiritual practices change the brain, this book also teaches readers nine meditations and prayers that will neurologically enhance physical, mental, and spiritual health, and a fifteen-minute exercise that enhances relationship intimacy, even among strangers.

But it is not just about spiritual practices, How God Changes Your Brain tackles fascinating questions such as:

What does God look like?
What does God feel like?
And what happens when God gets angry?

With exciting new research, How God Changes Your Brain reveals the answers to these questions.

Whether you are searching for answers to age-old questions, or want to learn about the most effective ways of improving your brain, How God Changes Your Brain is a powerful guide to help in that journey.

Dr. Andrew Newberg is an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology and Psychiatry and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Board-certified in Internal Medicine, Nuclear Medicine, and Nuclear Cardiology. He is the director and co-founder of the Center for Spirituality and the Neurosciences, also at the University of Pennsylvania.

In collaboration with the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, he has actively pursued neuroimaging research projects on the study of aging and dementia, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and other neurological and psychiatric disorders. He has also researched the neurophysiological correlates of acupuncture, meditation, and alternative therapies, and how brain function is associated with mystical and religious experiences.

Dr. Newberg helped develop stress-management programs for the University of Pennsylvania Health Systems and received a Science and Religion Course Award from the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences for his program entitled “The Biology of Spirituality” in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania. He is currently teaching a course in the Department of Religious Studies entitled, “Science and the Sacred: An Introduction to Neurotheology.”

Dr. Newberg has published over seventy-five articles, essays and book chapters, and is the co-author of the best selling book, Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief (Ballantine, 2001) and The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Religious Experience (Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1999). He presents his research throughout the world in both scientific and public forums. He appeared on Nightline, Good Morning America, ABC’s World News Tonight, National Public Radio, London Talk Radio and over fifteen nationally syndicated radio programs. His work has been featured in Time, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and many other newspapers and magazines. An overview of his work can be viewed at on this site.
Dr. Andrew Newberg – Why God Doesn’t Use Biostatistics

An excerpt from Dr. Andrew Newberg’s keynote lecture “Why God Doesn’t Use Biostatistics: Science and the Study of the Mind, the Body, and Spirituality” presented on September 11, 2008 at the United Nations & Nour Foundation symposium, “Beyond the Mind-Body Problem: New Paradigms in the Science of Consciousness,” inspired by the philosophy of Ostad Elahi.
Andrew Newberg, M.D on God, Reality and Everything 1 of 2

Andrew Newberg, M.D on God, Reality and Everything 2 of 2

Andrew Newberg, M.D on God, Reality and Everything in-between, Mystical experiences and reality

The Living Matrix – The New Science of Healing

This daring documentary was produced by Harry Massey and directed by Greg Becker. Massey is the founder of Nutri-Energetics Systems and Becker is president of an award winning San Francisco based film, video, and digital media production company, Emaginate.

This film “challenges conventional medicine to expand its understanding of human biology” by diving into a journey led by the world’s most respected experts in bioenergetics medicine. This journey takes the viewer deep into the human body and research to teach the lay person how quantum biology impacts health.

Real Life Accounts of Bioenergetics Success

living-matrix-movie Real life stories of the sick and dying who recovered with bioenergetics medicine are told by the former patients themselves and through dramatic representations.

These are patients who conventional medicine had given up hope on and found life through the amazing, life saving principles of bioenergetics.

This groundbreaking film in not based on just patient interview and avid bioenergetics practitioners and believers, it ties together academic and independent researchers and scientists whose clinical research studies reveals bioenergetics to play “as significant a role as biochemistry in human physiology and biology.”

An Eye Opener for Western Medicine

Massey contends that “Western medicine has yet to move outside its comfort zone to embrace these revolutionary findings, which can have profound implications not only for medicine, but for the pharmaceutical industry and other health-related areas.”

Some of the notable bioenergetics authorities are Dr. Eric Pearl, Dr. Rollin McCraty (of HeartMath Institute,) Dr. James Oschman, Peter Fraser (acupuncture professor,) and best selling author Lynne McTaggart to name just a few.

This documentary is for anyone who wants to take control of their health and discover a new and better way to treat and prevent sickness and disease.

Americans Are Turning to Alternative Medicines

Lynne McTaggert shared in her book, “The Field” a wealth of scientific information supporting how consciousness can play an important part in healing and the power of our minds. More people in the Western world are opening their minds to holistic approaches to health and wellness.

A study by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Health found an increase in Americans using alternative health techniques that incorporate information-medicine principles such as meditation, deep breathing, massage therapy and yoga. This increase over the last five years is the highest yet recorded.

With the side effects and dependency of pharmaceuticals and staggering costs of conventional healthcare it makes sense that more people are turning to alternative medicines, including those involving energy and information as explored in The Living Matrix.

The Living Matrix is an excellent film for a deeper look into quantum physics, energy fields, consciousness and how it applies to health and healing.

This film is sure to grab the attention of many Westerners and for good reason.

In our full-length film, we bring you breakthroughs that will transform your understanding of how to get well and stay well. You get an up-close look at the science of information as medicine. Leading researchers and health practitioners share their discoveries on the “miracle cures” traditional medicine just can’t explain. Featuring 16 researchers and scientific visionaries including: Lynne McTaggart, Rupert Sheldrake, Eric Pearl, Peter Fraser, Marilyn Schlitz and James Oschman.

Gregg Braden on consciousness

Gregg Braden takes us on a short trip through consciousness that connects our feelings and our mass reality.

The Highest Level of Enlightenment – David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D

David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D, conducted a 29-year study that demonstrated that the human body becomes stronger or weaker depending on a person’s mental state. He created a scale from 1-1000 that mapped human consciousness. Furthermore, he demonstrated that this map can be used as a blueprint to reach higher states of consciousness that can be identified simply by applying a small amount of pressure on an outstretched arm!

Dr. Hawkins’ research is based on a well-established science called kinesiology, which has to do with the testing of an all-or-none muscle response stimulus. A positive stimulus generates a strong muscle response and a negative stimulus results in a demonstrable weakening of the test muscle. Clinical kinesiological muscle testing as a diagnostic technique has been verified widely over the past 25 years.

Not only that, but this simple method has also been demonstrated to be an effective tool for instantly calibrating human consciousness. Hawkins created a scale of consciousness based on current discoveries in advanced theoretical physics and the nonlinear dynamics of chaos theory. And this “map of consciousness” now makes it possible for anyone to advance toward higher levels of enlightenment faster than ever imagined!

After listening to this program, you’ll be able to:

* Advance your level of consciousness and your understanding of human behavior, just by learning the map of consciousness.
* Gain instant access to information that is beyond the capacity of all the world’s computers.
* Detect the exact point in any complex system where the least effort brings about the greatest result.
* Understand the power of a simple attitude adjustment as well as the consequences of various emotional states.
* Learn how people who calibrate high on the map of consciousness can raise the energy level and calibration of thousands of others just by being in their presence!
* Heal yourself of illness or addiction by reaching the state of consciousness in which it vanishes.
* Learn which foods, environments, companies, books, etc. are harmful (low energy) and which are beneficial (high energy).
* Discover the truth or falsity of any statement, irrespective of your opinions or feelings about it.
* And much more!


David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., is an internationally known spiritual teacher, author, and speaker on the subjects of advanced spiritual states, consciousness research, and the realization of the presence of God. He began working in psychiatry in 1952 and has published original research with Nobel Prize winners that helped revolutionize psychiatry. His national television appearances include The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, The Barbara Walters Show, The Today Show and Oprah and Friends Radio (an interview with Oprah Winfrey).

Dr. Hawkins is the author of the bestselling book trilogy, Power vs. Force, (published in 17 languages), The Eye of the I, and I: Reality and Subjectivity. He is also the author of the bestselling Nightingale-Conant programs The Highest Level of Enlightenment, Truth vs. Falsehood, and The Discovery. David received the Huxley Award, and in 1995 he was knighted by the Sovereign Order of St. John’s of Jerusalem of Denmark.

Dr David R Hawkins Karma and Soul’s Destiny & Lord Byron’s Poem

Dr. David R Hawkins “Karma and Soul’s Destiny” and Lord Byron’s “If That High World” Dr. Hawkins book also decribes: Life itself is not suject to death. If we track the life energy as it leaves the body, we note that it continues on at its calibratable level, the same as before.

The human imagination assumes, of course, that it goes ‘elsewhere’; In Reality there is no ‘elsewher’. Outside time, location, and temporality, there is neither ‘here’ nor there’:there is neither ‘now’ or ‘then’.

If the ego still predominates, the soul will think it is ‘located’ in a specific realm in accordance with its calibratable level of consciousness. It will therefore ‘find and experience its own definition of reality in a nonphysical real.

Dr. David R Hawkins M.D., Ph.D. – Healing and Recovery -Treating/curing/Healing

Dr. David R Hawkins latest book “Healing and Recovery” Forgiveness of self and others. Reaching the field of calibration level of 540 the unconditional love makes us to bring out the healer within ourselves. The innocence of child like consciousness…and its trusting nature and wants to be happy.

When we can reach at the energy field level of 540 of unconditional Love, the revelation of truth and the end result in peace….and there the Healing occurs!!!

%d bloggers like this: