Journey into the Heart of Consciousness

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Coming Soon!
Living in a Mindful Universe

As you may have heard or seen, I’ve written another book that I am looking forward to sharing with you all.

On October 17, 2017, Rodale Books will publish my latest work, Living in a Mindful Universe: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Heart of Consciousness, which I’ve co-authored with Karen Newell, co-founder of Sacred Acoustics. Those who know us will recognize the valuable nature of her contributions.

Living in a Mindful Universe relates the emerging view of consciousness that is revolutionizing the scientific community, and is, in many ways, the continuation of my journey since writing Proof of Heaven. This journey parallels an unprecedented shift in the western scientific paradigm that, when fully incorporated, will lead to far more meaning and purpose in our lives. Read more

Deepening Our Understanding of Mind

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For some time now, I have toyed with the idea of writing an article for the mainstream press on the fascinating turns that have recently emerged in the mind-body discussion. Such notions included the possibility of writing for Scientific American, a magazine I have always appreciated, but also one that I have come to realize is a bastion of materialist science. Anticipated resistance by the editorial board has given me pause, but I was heartened by the recent appearance of a guest blog posted by someone whom I have come to see as an ally in some of my evolving ideas concerning the nature of consciousness.

Bernardo Kastrup’s Scientific American blog posting of March 29, 2017 is a sign of significant progress along these lines. Entitled “Transcending the Brain: At least some cases of physical damage are associated with enriched consciousness or cognitive skill,” Bernardo’s article opens as a response to Sam Harris’s blog attack on my book Proof of Heaven. Harris had scoffed at my claim that my mental experience had been greatly enhanced despite the extensive neocortical damage incurred through a global case of bacterial meningo-encephalitis. Harris joked about how a “few well-placed hammer blows should render a person of shallow intellect a spiritual genius.”

In my presentations, I offer the examples of terminal lucidity (great clarity seen in the mental worlds of elderly demented patients as they approach death) and acquired savant syndromes (in which brain damage, whether trauma, stroke, autism, etc. unmask superhuman mental capacities) as commonly observed evidence that the brain is not the producer of consciousness, but instead only functions as the receiving filter that allows in limited forms of primordial consciousness. Another example, which I wrote about in a blog posting, “Compelling Studies on Drugs and Consciousness,” on 4/18/16, concerns three recent scientific papers on the shocking findings concerning brain activity under the influence of powerful psychedelic drugs, like psilocybin, dimethyltryptamine, and LSD. Note that I do not recommend the use of these substances outside of any sacred or investigational context.

Completely contrary to what conventional physicalists like Sam Harris would expect, the studies revealed that the most extraordinary mental experiences occur in those who have the greatest inactivation of major junctional regions in the brain! This finding was so astonishing that it prompted Christof Koch, Chief Scientist for the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, to write a column in Scientific American entitled “This is Your Brain on Drugs: To the great surprise of many, psilocybin, a potent psychedelic, reduces brain activity.” His column portrayed the extraordinary nature of the findings, especially because of the dramatic reduction in activity of the most complex junctional regions in the brain, and the fact that no regions of the brain showed any increase in activity – widespread suppression was seen, and its degree correlated with the power of the psychedelic experience itself!

Bernardo has taken these same observations and written a very coherent article concerning the mind-brain relationship, in a way that clearly portrays the existence of mind as something that cannot be explained by brain alone. His article is a breath of fresh air for those who have come to realize the fatal errors of the materialist position (that consciousness arises from the brain). My hardiest congratulations go out to Bernardo for his excellent ongoing work adding some intelligence to the mind-body debate that is now entering a very fruitful phase.

The main reason I have been so occupied the last few months (and have not been posting regular blog entries) is that I have been hard at work over the winter writing my 3rd book. It is the natural extension of the story told in Proof of Heaven, but covers the nine years of growth and understanding with which I have been blessed since awakening from coma in November 2008. My life partner, Karen Newell (co-founder of Sacred Acoustics) is my co-author. Those who know us will realize her hearty contributions have greatly enhanced the quality of this offering, which will be published in North America on October 17, 2017 (foreign editions are still pending). We are most excited about the book, and feel that it will continue the robust awakening for humanity that was foretold in Proof of Heaven in 2012. I will be sharing more of that book and what it promises in blog postings over the next few months. In the interim, we have several workshops planned at which we will discuss and share some of the methods and techniques from the book.

We hope you can join us for one of these workshops, talks and retreats:

August 3-6 in Denver, CO – Explore the Extraordinary IANDS National Conference

August 11-20 in Montreal, Canada – Ancient Wisdom, Science & Spirituality IIIHS International Conference

August 25-27 in Rhinebeck, NY – Riding the Wave of Consciousness: Life in the New Paradigm Omega retreat

September 22-24 in Scotts Valley, CA – Behind the Illusion: Revealing the Soul’s Journey 1440 Multiversity retreat

And for our European friends,

November 11-12 in Madrid, Spain – Mas Allá De La Luz  Symposium on NDEs and Consciousness

These events and more are listed on my Events page as soon as they are made public.

Science Supports the Reality of the Soul

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True open-minded skepticism is our greatest ally in trying to better understand the mind-brain connection as it is revealed through the extraordinary lens of near-death experiences (NDEs).

True skeptics will thus greatly appreciate the rich presentation of NDEs in a new landmark book, The Self Does Not Die, originally published in the Netherlands in 2013 and recently expanded into an English edition. The authors, Titus Rivas, Anna Dirven and Rudolf H. Smit, have gone to great lengths to objectively analyze over 100 cases of veridical perception during NDEs, when the brain (according to the accepted principles of modern neuroscience) was in no condition to support such conscious experiences. The quality of empirical data and the objective assessment and refutation of possible materialist interpretations make this book a refreshing, and very worthwhile, read.

The authors begin with 14 cases of extrasensory perceptions of the patients’ immediate bodily environment. Then they progress through 18 cases of such perceptions beyond the range of the patients’ physical environment. Next they describe 36 cases of such perceptions, including the oft-discussed case of Pam Reynolds, during conditions incompatible with any conscious awareness – many of these well-documented cases occurred during cardiac arrest. Four robust cases of telepathy are examined where either the NDEer had a telepathic experience in relation to someone else, or alternatively, where someone had a telepathic awareness of the NDEer. Here they recount the extraordinary case of George Rodonaia, who was declared clinically dead for three days. After-death communications (ADCs) of NDEers with both strangers (5 cases) and with people familiar to them (6 cases) are then shared. Seven observations of NDEers having out-of-body experiences are then reported, including several in which others at a distance perceived the NDEer being out of body, and vice versa.

The authors include ten fascinating cases of healing in NDEers that are inexplicable by current medical science (so-called “miraculous healing”), including such well-known cases as Anita Moorjani and Mellen-Thomas Benedict. Finally, they cover four cases of paranormal psychic abilities, such as after-death communications (ADCs), extrasensory perception (ESP), psychokinesis (PK) and precognitive dreams after NDEs. They conclude by pointing out the materialist explanations for such phenomena are illogical and inadequate (including extensive discussion of the extreme tactics involved in trying to debunk my book Proof of Heaven).

In short, this book goes a long way towards eliminating once and for all the feeble counterclaims of the materialist position which tries to deny, ignore and generally dismiss some of these truly remarkable NDE accounts.

The Self Does Not Die is an important and timely book that offers significant empirical support to the emerging scientific view that consciousness is fundamental in the universe, and that the soul exists and does not depend on the physical brain for its conscious expression.

As one studies the scientific evidence included in this book and recent works on the mind-brain relationship (eg. Irreducible Mind and Beyond Physicalism, etc.), it becomes clear that to reach a deeper understanding, we must reject the materialist position. These empirical data refute the production model, which states that the brain produces consciousness out of physical matter. Rather, the filter model (i.e., that the brain serves as a receiver of primordial consciousness) is far more reasonable in accounting for all the available evidence. Sooner or later, the sheer frustration with the ongoing inadequacies of materialist pseudo-explanations will nudge the prevailing western paradigm towards the deeper truth, as it is objectively represented in this remarkable book.

Karen Newell and I invite you to attend one of our upcoming multi-sensory evenings or workshops to explore the mind-brain relationship firsthand.

Please see our Events page for full details.

References:

Rivas, Titus, Anna Dirven and Rudolf H. Smit. The Self Does Not Die: Verified Paranormal Phenomena from Near-Death Experiences, Durham, NC: IANDS Publications, 2016.

Kelly, Edward F., Emily Williams Kelly, Adam Crabtree, Alan Gauld, Michael Grosso, and Bruce Greyson. Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.

Kelly, Edward F, Adam Crabtree, and Paul Marshall (eds). Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Confronting Evil, Part II

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Just as people began responding to my blog on “Confronting Evil,” reports started coming in about the tragic deaths in Nice, France on July 14 – the killing of innocent people around the world continues to shock us daily. Yet again, we are confronted with unbelievable crimes against humanity, no matter what the cause, from mental instability to terrorism. If this is earth school, what are our lessons today? And more to the point, how does the force of pure love felt by so many who report near-death experiences play a role through all of us in healing?

After extending the deepest condolences and prayers of love and comfort for the victims and their families, we have a choice to make – to meet hatred with hatred or to bring love and compassion into the equation. Forgiveness may take some time, but is also key to shifting the dynamic of love in our world.  The one who benefits most from forgiveness is the forgiver.

Each of us individually has the free will to choose our response, and each of us is at a different level of awareness, learning, and spiritual growth.  It is not about being better than another, or always choosing wisely (because we do learn from mistakes), or even sharing a common belief system.  But it is, I think, about reaching closer to a mutual goal of unconditional love, at our own rate. After all, some may not yet realize that love is a worthwhile goal, and no amount of being told “this is what you should or must believe” will get them there.  We all learn and grow based on our own experience and understanding.
We know, from the sheer numbers of NDEs and the commonality of their reports, that the soul is not limited by the existence of the physical body, and is eternal. Yet, many people do not believe the soul is eternal, because they have not personally experienced an NDE or other spiritually-transformative experience (STE), nor read much about their evidential nature. They may not have had the opportunity to meditate, pray or experience the spiritual aspects in their lives — yet.  They have their own lessons to learn, as do we all.

My worldview has been shaped not only by my profound NDE deep within coma, but also by the confirmatory testimony from many souls I have met along the pathway of sharing my experience and its most positive message about humanity and our earthly existence. The underlying message is one of unity, Oneness, and the higher good of all being the goal. I believe that this focus on the primacy of love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness is at the core of all of the great faiths of the world, although it has often been twisted and distorted by those humans who take it on themselves to interpret and present to the masses an altered version of the original message of the prophets, often towards the goal of controlling others. This mode of control is completely at odds with the simpler and more profound message originating in those great teachers of love and compassion – Buddha, Christ, and Muhammad being prime examples.

This worldview is centered in the Oneness of all consciousness, and the source of that Oneness is the infinite healing power of unconditional love at its core. As always, a cardinal transgression at the heart of this worldview is the act of killing — the killer violates the miracle of life through killing, whether of self or others. From my journey, it is clear that suicide and homicide are wrong at the deepest levels. Homicide is justified only if it prevents the homicide of others. Peaceful solutions and avoidance of escalation of violence through retribution and revenge represent the ideal. But in our complex world, one must often support the actions of good police officers, who endeavor to protect all citizens without bias or prejudice, and of soldiers, who protect the innocent by defending against threats and violence. When the intent to value and protect life is central, such actions are manifestations of this same fundamental love and respect for the sanctity of life. The deep love of this universe is just, and honors not only life but the expression of free will by those who respect others. We are all co-creators of the world we wish into being from our loftiest dreams.

To clarify specific questions regarding the “life review” that a terrorist might have, my journey witnessed the broad mechanism of souls having their life review as a crucial part of the soul school aspect of existence, that we are all here to learn and teach as consciousness evolves.

The life review is not what an individual perceives simply from their own perspective, but rather it is an omnidirectional evaluation from everyone with whom we have interacted – we feel our words and actions through their eyes, and through their extended family and friends’ eyes and hearts, and through those who may read a news article about a public incident, etc. Crucially, we feel the emotional impact that our actions and thoughts have on others, from their perspective.

The perceived boundaries of our individual self turn out to be ephemeral, and the Oneness we share with all other beings becomes apparent. So, the murderer will feel the emotions, pain and sadness of the murder victim, and there is no escaping this. Magnify that by the number of people harmed or killed, and by the number of people around the world who are shocked around feelings for that murderer.  These are intense feelings that will likely be a personal hell for the one having such a “life review.” After he completes his review, in the brilliant healing light of the unconditional love of Source, he will come to better understand the crucial role of love.

Free will is available to all – it is not whether, but how it is used, that can assist one in evolving swiftly or slowly, or remaining stuck.  And, as far as the force of love at the source getting through to someone cast as “evil,” it depends on all of us, doesn’t it?  If such actions are countered with hatred, love will have a hard time being seen or felt. On the one hand, we could allow the terrorists’ agenda to trap us in fear and hatred of them and their actions, and to separate us from others.  If, on the other hand, enough people shift to love and pray for all, that some kindness can penetrate the wall of hate the terrorist has constructed, then we begin to chip away at those hardened beliefs that lead them to repeat their cycles of destruction. Of course we must try to contain their actions and protect others, but there is a fine line in our approach, our intent.

As a civilization, we have a responsibility to defend people from such violence, and how we go about it is another free will choice—one that benefits from many thoughtful people engaged in finding answers. Most people, including myself, would defend themselves or their families if they were personally threatened. But what do we do after the danger passes?  Do we forgive, do we pray, do we re-center ourselves in love?  How do we honor the fallen in this seemingly perpetual cycle of violence? Perhaps their extreme sacrifice can lead us to review our laws (internationally) about allowing guns in our communities, to reword our every message and action based in love, and to enter more publicly into dialog about our mutual journeys of soul that endeavor to bring down walls rather than build them higher. We are truly One, and the more we come to know and live this, the better off we all will be.

Confronting Evil

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True forgiveness is an essential choice that many successfully embrace in seemingly despicable circumstances. In my younger years, I sensed great truth in the saying “Tout comprendre, tout pardoner.” Translated, this oft-quoted phrase means “if you understand someone else completely, you can pardon all of their actions.”

This supposition hinges on the notion that humans react similarly to various specific challenges, and assumes that we all pursue rational solutions to our problems with others. Does this apply in the face of apparent evil, such as the spasm of terrorism and efforts at counter-terrorism that grip our modern world? Can we truly come to fully understand the life and motives of a terrorist, to the point of “pardoning” their actions? Doesn’t the rampant killing of innocents violate everything that a sane human being holds dear?

Our official response, as a culture and as a nation, is often to label the perpetrators as “evil,” and to base our actions on a standing principle of retaliation when wronged, and on a newer policy, at least in the USA, of destroying anything or anyone we label as “evil.”

After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, then-President George W. Bush referred to the rogue states of Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the “axis of evil,” which he claimed to be the main source of terrorism at that time. Since then the world has witnessed an expansion of institutional terrorism as well as a spike in “evil” activity by individual, disgruntled terrorists or malcontents across many countries and continents. The concept and consequences of “evil” are as old as time, but the choices we make about how to confront it or root it out in today’s world have more far reaching consequences than ever before.

Episcopal priest Steven Paulikas recently wrote a thoughtful op-ed piece in the New York Times (6/27/16) concerning the “fool’s errand” of trying to stamp out the evil expressed through terrorist acts. He highlighted the writings of philosopher Paul Ricoeur, who was orphaned when his father died as a soldier in the first World War, and who himself spent five years as a French prisoner-of-war held by the Germans. Ricoeur realized that evil exists not as a thing per se, but as a black hole of thought, making it a much tougher entity to simply “extinguish.” He stressed the importance of responding to evil appropriately, mainly in the form of addressing the suffering of the victims. This wisdom espoused by Ricoeur involved “an unwavering commitment to relieve and prevent suffering,” as Paulikas put it.

Ultimately, I believe any such eradication of evil will come from a deeper understanding of the experience, emotions and motives that drive all involved. As much as the National Rifle Association would urge us all to take up arms and take this fight to the level of Armageddon, I know that our ultimate solution will involve love, compassion and forgiveness. Otherwise, it all mires down into an endless cycle of repetitive violence, revenge, and misery for all concerned. The falsehood that one can destroy such “evil” through military might has been exposed and disproven time and again in the recent decades of escalation— the status quo is not leading towards a solution. And these cycles, when replicated on a micro-scale in our own neighborhoods and families, deliver no better results.

The way out? To express our free will in the face of this madness. To break the cycle of revenge and retribution will involve choosing a higher view, one that is broad enough to engage a win-win strategy and that includes all of us together on this journey. This view is no Pollyanna dream, but a potential goal strongly supported by emerging scientific notions of the nature of consciousness, and the ever-evolving evidence that we are all part of One Mind — thus to harm my neighbor (or my enemy) is to harm myself, in a very real sense. Combine this awareness with compelling evidence from the study of the mind-brain relationship: that the consciousness of which we are all a part is eternal, and that the rich literature on near-death experiences (NDEs) offers much evidence for a fundamental reality that is spiritual at heart – a reality that derives its essence from the power of unconditional love at the core of all creation. With clearer vision, one begins to glimpse a pathway out of this morass.

Having your life “flash before your eyes” is not just some recently discovered concept – the “life review” aspect of NDEs has been described across numerous cultures, belief systems and continents for millennia. The life review at the end of one’s physical life is the stage on which our higher souls (and soul groups) judge the various thoughts and actions of our lives that still have important lessons to offer. Given the strong purpose of justice and of learning that is inherent in one’s life review, it serves as a powerful corrective in one’s eternal soul journey, gently but firmly providing lessons that steer us more towards love, compassion and forgiveness. Each lesson helps us to integrate our individual desires with the Oneness so often and affectionately described by the millions who have been there as a result of an NDE or similar forms of spiritually-transformative experiences (or STEs).

The life review of someone who has killed others will be a hellish experience that involves feeling the pain and suffering not only of each of the victims, but also of all the other souls who felt pain when coming to know of their act of killing. This reality comes not from the dogmatic preaching of ideologues, but from the empirical evidence of human experience–from those who have been there, as revealed by the increasing number of stories of NDEs and similar STEs liberally annotated over the internet in recent decades. Much of the absolute tsunami of such evidence comes as a result of enhanced techniques of cardiac resuscitation available to physicians worldwide over the last half century or so. The world is populated with literally millions of souls alive today who have been to the other side and returned to share their experiences. And, the increased number of incidents and expanded reporting through books, media and the internet are not by accident or coincidence. Ignoring such evidence is a choice we should not make.

As the reality of the One Mind, of our interconnectedness, and of the core presence of love as a fundamental constituent of our evolving universe becomes more established and begins to alter our perceptions of ourselves and of our role in this evolution of consciousness, this reality will displace the false sense of separation so prevalent in our current materialistic world view. We will finally begin to mature as a sentient civilization, choosing to move towards the loftiest of realities of human potential—one based in peace, harmony, and a focus on the higher good. Even if only a small percentage of souls currently recognize this reality, it is nevertheless present in every soul’s fundamental essence, waiting to be turned on, to be expressed instead of repressed. On a practical level, we can exercise free will guided by oneness and love in matters of everyday experience as well as in those of international policy.

We are all, truly, in this together. But we have fooled ourselves into a false sense of separation, whether from secularist and deterministic Newtonian science or the competitive dogma spewed to the masses from religious zealots of diverse beliefs that run counter to the original unifying principles in the mystical traditions of all of the great faiths. The fundaments and birthright of this universe are based in love, compassion and forgiveness.

I believe we have reached a major juncture, from which we can choose either awakening to these eternal truths, or committing planetary suicide. The choice is ours. I, for one, am optimistic that our destiny is to choose awakening.

 

Your Sense of Free Will Defies Conventional Science

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In a provocative article concerning free will (The Atlantic, June 2016), British philosopher Stephen Cave alarms readers with a discussion of the apparent damage that a belief in determinism—the idea that events are predetermined and completely defy any human notion of free will—would cause in our social systems. Fortunately, his commentary is based on erroneous materialist assumptions, rendering his alarming conclusions as unfounded.

Cave opens by pointing out how “the sciences have grown steadily bolder in their claim that all human behavior can be explained through the clockwork laws of cause and effect,” which he claims is an extension of the 150 year-old intellectual revolution that began with Charles Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species. He then proceeds to discuss how the tools of modern neuroscience to investigate the workings of the brain have helped to resolve the nature-vs.-nurture debate, and specifically he illuminates how neural networks are shaped by the forces both of our genes and of our environment.      

He then steps off the cliff that has doomed so many such philosophers (and others, including neuroscientists) by stating that “…there is also agreement in the scientific community that the firing of neurons determines not just some or most but all of our thoughts, hopes, memories, and dreams.” He couldn’t be further from the truth – not only is there no such “agreement,” but in fact many thought leaders are actively rejecting the simplistic physicalist falsehood proposed by Cave.[1]

He could have then saved himself the trouble of pointing out the abhorrent consequences to our society of completely eradicating free will. As revealed by studies in the article, it is the belief in determinism that causes the societal issues. Propagating such a belief (as Cave does) actually contributes to this problem, especially when it flies in the face of the empirical evidence.

The emerging neuroscience of consciousness and related philosophy of mind suggest that consciousness is fundamental in the universe. The physical brain does not produce consciousness, so much as serve as a filter that allows primordial consciousness to trickle into our awareness in a very limited fashion, which is the “here-and-now” that we experience in normal waking reality.

The more research performed on the brain itself, the more elusive is the phenomenon of consciousness. Dr. Wilder Penfield, one of the most renowned neurosurgeons of the 20th century, wrote a fascinating book in 1975 entitled The Mystery of the Mind. In it, based on many decades of electrically stimulating the brain in awake patients and based on all of his scientific work studying consciousness and the brain, he concluded the brain does not create consciousness or free will. Period. But the world was not ready to hear that in 1975. I believe the world is fully ready for that message now, although many adherents to scientific materialism remain willfully stuck in past theories by ignoring the overwhelming body of evidence supporting non-local consciousness (i.e., telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis, out-of-body experiences, remote viewing, near-death and shared-death experiences, past life memories in children indicative of reincarnation, etc.).

The notion of a purely “clockwork,” deterministic universe (“objective physical reality”) should have died a natural death as the result of experiments in quantum mechanics began illuminating the fine structure of the material world more than a century ago — yet it still lingers on, with all of the damaging effects wrought by such false materialistic (and decidedly deterministic) thinking. The associated concept of atomism, which posits that all in the universe can be understood as consisting of the smallest possible material constituents that exist separately from one another, encourages a false definition of separation that leads to confusion and distortion when trying to approach the deeper truth.

A more refined quantum view sees all in the universe as interconnected, as one. Quantum physics is the most proven theory in the history of science and strongly implies the holism of the universe (not atomism, or the false division of the universe into separate parts). The fundamental nature of primordial consciousness yields the best approach to understanding reality, to heed the deep lessons of the empirical quantum data. Fortunately, those lessons leave the possibility of true free will as absolutely real.

The consciousness implied by the measurement problem in quantum mechanics is the “observer within,” the most primordial awareness of existence. By cultivating our sense of that observer self, we are able to transcend the simplistic automatic behavior purported by materialist philosophers as evidence of our lack of free will, and instead approach the full-bore capacity for manifestation implied by fundamental primordial consciousness, to truly actualize the world dreamed by our higher self—the ultimate expression of our free will.

Karen Newell, co-founder of Sacred Acoustics, and I offer teaching sessions for groups around the world in accessing this deep observer state, and using it to manifest the world of our dreams — to manifest the free will of our higher soul. We invite you to participate in one of our upcoming Events.

The evidence suggesting consciousness as fundamental in the universe is strengthening —  the notion of free will remains alive and well in human endeavors. The sooner we assimilate this understanding into our modern worldview, the sooner we begin manifesting, through our free will, a world that lives up to the finest of human aspirations, unfettered by the bleak falsehoods of deterministic materialism.

 


[1] Explore Journal, May-June 2016, vol.12, no.3, pp. 162–164 “Declaration for Integrative, Evidence-Based, End-of-Life Care that Incorporates Nonlocal Consciousness,” by Stephan A. Schwartz, Gary E. Schwartz, PhD, and Larry Dossey, MD

 

Compelling Studies on Drugs and Consciousness

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One of the most fundamental, and damaging, falsehoods in modern science is that all that exists is the physical world, and the closely related concept that the physical brain creates consciousness. Modern neuroscience is contributing to the rejection of this misconception through a set of interesting experiments assessing the action of various psychedelic drugs on the brain (specifically those that influence serotinergic receptors).

Scientific investigations that utilize psychedelic drugs offer measurable and functional outcomes that inform our evolving notions of consciousness and our understanding of the full nature of reality. However, let me be clear from the outset of this article that I do not recommend the casual use of such substances in a non-sacred, recreational setting. In research studies, the quality and quantity of drug administered can be strictly controlled and monitored, which is not the case in most recreational settings where such psychedelics can be dangerous to one’s health.

For purposes of scientific research, they offer compelling findings which mirror the effects of non-drug induced spiritually transformative experiences such as near-death experiences.

First is a report from Imperial College in London in 2012 in which functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) was used to evaluate various brain regions in subjects under the influence of psilocybin, the active principle in psychedelic mushrooms (the genus Psilocybe consists of over 100 species).1 The most remarkable finding of that study was that the activity of major connection regions of the brain was greatly diminished in those who were having the most profound psychedelic experiences, as opposed to the increase in activity anticipated by physicalist scientists who believe the brain creates consciousness and all of experience.

These results were confirmed by a Brazilian study published in February 2015 assessing brain activity through fMRI, this time in subjects under the influence of ayahuasca (which contains the active psychedelic compound N,N-dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, normally present in our brains but in only minuscule amounts).2 Ayahuasca caused a significant decrease in activity throughout the main junctional network in the brain, known as the default-mode network (DMN).

Just this month, the Imperial College group in London refined these observations with another confirmatory study, this one examining the effects of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide-25), the most potent psychedelic, active in doses of 10s to 100s of micrograms.3 In brief, they report decreased integrity of the DMN and decreased alpha and delta power in another main junctional network, the exact opposite of what one would expect if the physical brain were creating the extraordinary conscious experiences.

The reason these studies are so crucial (and confounding to the materialists who believe the physical brain creates conscious experience) is that they powerfully refute the simplistic and false physicalist notion that the brain creates consciousness. The most extraordinary experiences were reported by those subjects who had the greatest inactivation of their brain’s junctional center network activity, as measured through fMRI and MEG. As the brain becomes less active, internal experience actually becomes more active.

This is completely consistent with my own experience in deep coma due to severe bacterial meningitis (as recounted in my 2012 book Proof of Heaven). As my neocortex was destroyed by the invading bacteria, my conscious awareness greatly expanded to levels unprecedented in my normal waking experiences of my entire life. That shocking reality nagged at me especially in the early months after my coma, at a time I was trying to explain the whole experience as a vast hallucinatory trick of the dying brain (defaulting to my pre-coma reductive materialist scientific beliefs, honed by several decades working as a neurosurgeon).

My doctors knew from the medical evidence in my case that my neocortex was far too damaged to be supporting any mode of robust conscious experience, including any elaborate hallucinations, drug effects or dream states. After extensive review with some of the doctors who cared for me, and with several interested colleagues in neurosurgery, it became apparent that that ultra-reality occurred because the experience was real, although it did not occur anywhere in our 4-dimensional space-time of the observable physical universe.

As is often the case with global media completely steeped in the conventional materialistic paradigm, the press reports about the most recent study falsely trumpeted the opposite of the actual findings. Both the Guardian and CNN focused on some of the fMRI images, but completely missed the astonishing conclusions of the actual study, instead misinterpreting them as showing increased brain activity as opposed to the remarkable decreases in activity the paper actually reports.

Although such scientific investigations into psychedelic drugs are crucial in our evolving notions of consciousness and understanding the full nature of reality, I do not recommend the casual use of such substances in a non-sacred, recreational setting. However, very powerful tools exist for those seekers seriously interested in pursuing the deep mystery of consciousness within us all.

Meditation is a time-proven technique for those seeking to understand the universe by going within. For those who do not yet have a reliable means of meditation I suggest the tools of differential sound frequency brain entrainment I have helped to develop with Sacred Acoustics. Co-founder Karen Newell and I travel the world sharing these tools in our presentations – a list of upcoming presentations is listed here.

We are spiritual beings living in a spiritual universe – we can come to know this fact by going within. Given there is but one Truth we all seek, it should come as no surprise that open-minded science that acknowledges all of the relevant empirical observations (including not only psychedelic drug experiences and epiphanies during meditation, but near-death experiences, shared-death experiences, precognition, after-death communication, death bed visions, out of body experiences, remote viewing, past life memories in children indicative of reincarnation, etc.) should help lead us towards that Truth. This will lead to a necessary synthesis of science and spirituality that is crucial to our evolution as a species and to the well-being of all life on our planet.

[1] Carhart-Harris, RL, Erritzoe D, Williams T, et alia. “Neural correlates of the psychedelic state determined by fMRI studies with psilocybin,” Proc. Nat. Acad. Of Sciences 109, no. 6 (Feb 2012): 2138-2143.

[2] Palhano-Fontes F, Andrade KC, Tofoli LF, et alia. “The Psychedelic State Induced by Ayahuasca Modulates the Activity and Connectivity of the Default Mode Network,” PLoS One (2015).

[3] Carhart-Harris, RL, Muthukumaraswamy S, Roseman L, et alia. “Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by multimodal neuroimaging.” Proc. Nat. Acad. of Sciences (Mar 2016).

A Vision of Hope for 2016

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Each new year offers an opportunity for reflection on the recent past, and consideration of the world we live in and where it is headed. How might we see the whole spectrum of current events in a sensible way, so that we can envision how we might actively influence the coming year in a favorable direction? The terrorist attacks in Paris, Lebanon and California, as well as escalating warfare in the Middle East, are most troubling, and, according to many media reports, our group psyche is reaching levels of fear not faced since immediately following the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01.

These events are indeed disturbing. However, I am heartened by the degree to which I see many in this world awakening to a deeper understanding of our connectedness through consciousness. This profound interconnectedness can help lead us to a more peaceful, loving and harmonious world. Witness how a few weeks after the horrific attacks in Paris, world leaders convened in the very same city to construct the most effective and significant agreement to address climate change in our history. Given the fits and starts of prior attempts at collaboration on this most crucial issue, this confluence of global intentions to address the increasingly dire situation of greenhouse gas production is most promising.

The most central message I bring through my presentations and books is the insurmountable power of unconditional love to change our world for the better. In spite of what many would point to as the darkness of our times, I remain optimistic that the way out of our troubles is always at hand.  Our beacon in these times, as during past challenges, is the great power of the human spirit to usher us into a far better and more harmonious world for all through love, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance and mercy. Unconditional love has infinite power to heal, whether one is talking about healing the individual, the soul group, ethnic populations, nations, all of humanity, all of life on earth, or beyond.

During this holiday season, as we contemplate the potential of the coming year, I invite you to join me in prayer and meditation seeking to manifest a more perfect world. I see this as very much within our grasp. It is up to each and every one of us to serve as a conduit for that love — to love ourselves first and foremost, and to express that love through choices that actively serve to spread that love through us to all of those around us. We all have the ability to serve as points of light for the infinite healing power of love — we simply need to make that choice.

Please enjoy this audio interview that I provided for the Heaven on Earth telesummit I participated in earlier this year.

My best personal wishes for love, peace and harmony – for all of this world!

 

Revelations from NDEs

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I just completed a five-session webinar through Evolver Learning Lab, co-presented with Karen Newell. The whole experience was very satisfying, and it was a wonderful opportunity to share the work we’ve been doing with a broader audience and to give participants a chance to experience for themselves how to access universal consciousness by going deep within.

The webinar opened with a session that shared the same title as the appendix in my second book, The Map of Heaven: “The Answers Lie Within Us All.” This introductory session hinted at the profound mystery of consciousness as it is just now being seriously explored by the scientific community, and previewed how differential-frequency sound recordings can be used to access answers to the deepest mysteries facing human understanding.

The second session dove deeply into “Love and Consciousness,” with detailed information on accessing the powerful electromagnetic field of the heart , followed by a third session in which we were joined by Dr. Larry Dossey, world-renowned thought leader and author of the world-changing book The One Mind, who discussed the evidence supporting the Oneness of all consciousness. He talked through some of the implications of the One Mind: what unified consciousness means to us individually and as members of an infinitely greater collective.

Having established some fundamental principles about consciousness and familiarized participants with the latest research and thought about the possibilities for understanding reality, we then shifted into more interactive material in sessions four and five. Starting with exercises to “Awaken the Observer Within,” we focused on the extreme mystery of awareness itself—and on how to separate the One Mind consciousness from the egoistic little voice in our heads. From that neutral state of pure consciousness, we intuitively understand that we are far more than the simple physical bodies living birth-to-death, and we can start to cultivate the sense that we are truly eternal spiritual beings interconnected with all other life throughout the universe and with the Divine Itself. Many of us have experienced this to some degree, but it takes practice and courage to allow that truth to fully suffuse our lives and guide our choices. The course’s grand finale concerned nothing less than free will itself—and challenged participants to take a place right at the center of the unprecedented awakening going on even now for all of humanity.

We were blessed with a thoroughly engaged audience who communicated frequently through the forum set up at sacredacoustics.com and through the 30-minute Q&A segments at the end of each of the webinar’s sessions. If you couldn’t join us live for the course, you can still obtain all archived material at this link. Either way, I invite all who are interested to visit the forum and join the conversation.

Karen and I extend our boundless gratitude to Evolver Learning Lab, Dr. Larry Dossey, and the webinar’s wonderful participants. It is through the tireless energy and curiosity for truth in such seekers that this world is moving toward a far grander comprehension of reality – one that is absolutely crucial for our very survival.

A huge thank you from all of us – for all that you gave over the course of your webinar with Evolver Learning Lab.  It was truly an in depth experience – so much gratitude pouring in from our participants – and all the sessions were lively and rich, with much wisdom and experience shared. We thank you also for continuing the conversation with the attendees on your Sacred Acoustics forum, and for providing us all with the meditations and a wealth of literature to refer to.
– Henrietta Weekes, Evolver Learning Lab moderator

The material shared was tremendous, inspiring and powerfully uplifting. I am so grateful to all of you for this work. Thank you. I am so grateful for the information and knowledge I have received. I look forward to future opportunities to hear more about this amazing subject from Karen and Eben. They are so great together and they make everything very easy to understand. It has been a very powerful and beautiful experience for me. Looking fwd to next time:)
– Joan Hynes

More on the Evolver Learning Lab “Revelations from NDEs” Class

Attuning to your Inner Wisdom

 

Have you ever asked these questions: Who am I? What is my role in the Universe? Until now, science has left those questions to religion. But the emerging view of consciousness is radically blending our science, philosophy and theology into something far better suited to answering them. In truth, the answers lie within each and every one of us.

For more than 20 years as an academic neurosurgeon, I had no explanation for the phenomenon of consciousness. In fact, I attempted to dismiss it entirely, reflexively agreeing with the previous generation of scientists who had explained it away as an illusion of the physical workings of the brain. But the more we learn, the clearer it becomes that this simplistic explanation isn’t scientific at all. The good news is that it is rapidly being supplanted by a far richer and more empowering view of consciousness, one that also invokes a much deeper mystery around the nature of existence.

This emerging view posits that consciousness, rather than being created by the physical brain, is actually fundamental.  The brain is a filter, allowing a limited aspect of consciousness to operate here in our physical world.  Consciousness is the master and creator of all that is (as opposed to being created by the brain). A fascinating implication of this view is the notion that unlimited guidance, understanding and creativity are available to us all by tapping into this infinite fount of all knowledge.

It isn’t just a theory anymore—my experiences, both in coma and after recovering, are proof. And I’m not the only one, as there are millions of experiences out there that support all of this. With the help of deep meditation techniques, I’ve been able to assist others in generating their own experience.

There are tools available to each and every soul on this journey – tools to explore the answers that lie within us all. To learn more about such tools, join me and Karen Newell, co-founder of Sacred Acoustics, in Attuning to Your Inner Wisdom, a 70-minute online course that we have produced through SimonSays to help demonstrate how differential sound frequency brain entrainment can help you join this grand adventure.
Learn More Here

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