Blog

Psychic Exploration When I was an undergraduate, I had several meaningful events that helped shape my life. The first was reading Thomas Kuhn’s book The Structure of Scientific Revolution. This book, and the idea that our paradigms of reality are socially constructed and not absolute, was nothing short of a conceptual liberation. It gave me hope that the failing vision of society that was around me need not be final or binding. Indeed, even in the context of science, we have experienced different models of reality—one replacing another. What was needed for our society, I felt sure, was a fundamental, whole systems...

Where does one’s story start? I begin mine with what I don’t remember. At eighteen months old, as I am told by my family, I found a can of lighter fluid on the table. Being a curious child, I did what curious children do: I put it into my mouth. For months after, my small body rested and wrestled in a hospital, floating in and out of life as my lungs sought the affirmation of breath. Perhaps it was here, in the entrusted hands of a dedicated group of health professionals, in the prayers and intentions of my devoted family, in...

UPDATE: This article will appear in the soon-to-be-released latest edition of The Write Stuff: Thinking Through Essays by Pearson Canada. Looking forward to it! As philosopher John Locke observed: “New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.” So, what limits our desire and capacity to take in new ideas, even when we hold an intention to transform and to grow? What are the barriers to changing our minds and behaviors? How can we develop habits that allow us to explore our own biases? How can we learn to recognize our own...

How can we understand our own and other’s worldviews about death? To answer this compelling question, I have conducted extensive interviews over the past decade with cultural experts and scientists, focusing on diverse worldviews concerning death and the afterlife. A content analysis was conducted on these interviews to identify thematic trends across individuals representing different cultural, spiritual and religious worldviews. From this analysis, a telecourse and web-based learning program was developed. This was organized into a six-part telecourse that was offered as a benefit to Institute of Noetic Sciences members and to others who learned of the course through diverse networks. The...

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a wonderful online interview series as one of six other featured speakers in End-of-Life University 2013. This collection of interviews explored the multi-varied aspects of aging and the end-of-life. The host of the series, Karen Wyatt, MD, kicked off the event discussing why we need an "End-of-Life University." With her extensive experience in this field, including many years as a hospice medical director, Dr. Wyatt brings both her own wisdom and the wisdom of those she has cared for to her work. In her marvelous book, What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the...

 Heeding the Call to Transformation  There are many catalysts for conscious transformation. For many individuals and for organizations, the call to transformation can be related to a particular moment or event. For others, transformation may be a process of small steps leading to some moment when the way of conducting business is no longer viable. It can involve positive, life-affirming openings, often thought of as epiphanies or breakthroughs. More likely, the greatest portal for transformation is a painful or disruptive experience; something that upsets the steady state of everyday experience. “Business as usual” no longer fills the needs of the company...

Examine Your Core Assumptions Examining our core assumptions and worldviews is vital to the creation of business as a transformative practice. This includes the analysis of our core images for work and business. As noted in a report called "Changing Images of Man," written several decades ago by Willis Harman and his colleagues at SRI International: Images of humankind that are dominant in a culture are of fundamental importance because they underlie the ways in which the society shapes its institutions, educates its young, and goes about whatever it perceives its business to be. Changes in these images are of particular concern...

The post-production process of the Death Makes Life Possible documentary is oh-so-close to being complete. I recently had the wonderful opportunity to pay a visit to Skywalker Sound located in the hills of Marin County. My colleagues and I spent the day in awe of the beauty and professionalism of the studio, and of the resulting sound quality for our movie. It was a dream working with Erik Foreman, sound engineer at Skywalker and the man at the controls as we reviewed each scene in the film. I hope you enjoy these photos from inside the studio! [caption id="attachment_1083" align="alignleft" width="1200"]...

Developing New Habits Transformative practices are central to moving from the call to personal and professional change to the development of new and sustainable habits and patterns of behavior. In this way, business can become a transformative practice with the right conditions. As we have learned from neuroscience, our brains lay down neural pathways based on repetitive experiences. If these pathways are associated with dysfunctional behaviors, we may find ourselves facing a crisis of meaning and purpose. Historically it was thought that brains are not capable of change as we move into adulthood. But outdated behaviors that limit personal growth and development need...

Expanding Worldviews For nearly two decades, I have engaged in research on worldview transformations. Working with a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, we have systematically explored the dynamics of transformation. These include the identification of catalysts for worldview shifts, the elements of transformational practices shared across diverse spiritual and psychological traditions, and the outcomes and consequences of conscious worldview transformations for individuals and social institutions, including science, education and healthcare. Worldview transformation practices have been seen to increase self-reflection, personal and social awareness, cultural competence, innovation, resilience, collaborative inquiry, collective problem solving, and prosocial behaviors such as compassion and empathy (Schlitz et al.,...

 Taking the Hit as a Gift Within every culture throughout history, people have developed modes of economic exchange. Today, business is the dominant institution in the world. Engaging in business encompasses a vital flow of commerce, global exchange, means of livelihood, and the lifeblood of many people who define themselves through their work. Business is a common denominator in our complex and interconnected world. It is also an institution that is experiencing profound transformation that is shaking everyone’s worldview. This is the first in a series of blogs about the application of research on transformative practices on the development of conscious...

How can we thrive and flourish when we are constantly bombarded by weapons of mass distraction? How do we find the inner resources to match the complexities of the outer world?  When we are confronted with challenges that pull us off course, what are some simple tools for navigating our way toward healing and positive transformation? Here are some insights I have gained through my years of consciousness research: 1. Examine Your Worldview. As you consider your work and life, it is clear that we all have a unique worldview, belief system, and way of understanding that hinders or promotes our...

Over the past few decades, the field of mind-body medicine has moved beyond the counter culture and into the mainstream. The scientific focus has shifted from the reductionistic view of health as a process based on discrete biological systems to a complex network of dynamic and interrelated systems. It involves the integration of the nervous, immune and endocrine systems, with insights from psychology and emotions research.  This field, that has become known as psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), was informed by the pioneering work of revolutionary scientists. Among them, pharmacologist Candace Pert helped add vital new perspectives on the model of health based...

Our production team is excited to be moving forward on the Death Makes Life Possible film project!  In collaboration Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Foundation, Co Director, Mark Krigbaum, I am thrilled by the progress that our team has made.  Over the past few months we have received feedback and made many changes to the film. We showed rough cuts to a small group of film makers and producers, such as Steve Michelson, Founder of The Video Project and producer of many films, and Jay Wood, producer and writer of Crude Impact. We also showed it at the IONS Conference...

 Adapted from the book Breast Cancer: Beyond Convention. This article, Chapter 12, written by Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D., and Nola Lewis, M.S. Introduction, pg 315-7. People who face serious illness value their time in a new, more urgent way, and do not wish to waste it. If you are in treatment for breast cancer, you no doubt understand this very well. Like many women at this juncture, you may be feeling a greater-than-ever longing for a spiritual connection in your life. Illness often represents a spiritual turning point for patients, leading them to seek out new sources of comfort, strength, and purpose. It's too bad...