Blog

As I live into my own process of aging, my worldview has been informed by the depth and insight of many great teachers. These include masters from different wisdom traditions, health care practitioners, friends facing end of life, and researchers studying the transformative nature of death, dying, and beyond. For decades, the team at the Institute of Noetic Sciences has conducted research, created educational programs, and engaged in conversations on transformations in consciousness. We have been led to an ever-expanding appreciation for the aging process and its transformative potentials. We also have found ourselves moved by a great calling to...

What happens when we die? And how does asking this question imbue our lives with greater health, happiness, and pro-social behaviors? Thanks to the support of over 550 of you, we have been able to dig deeply into these questions and more through the 'Death Makes Life Possible' project. Here’s what we’ve been up to: Our multi-talented team of experts has been working tirelessly over the past year on 'Death Makes Life Possible.' This project includes a feature-length independent documentary that we're co-producing with The Chopra Foundation. It explores explores a subject that touches everyone and everything on the planet, and offers...

What does it mean to be part of a greater whole? How does our worldview, or model of reality, impact what we understand about who we are and how we relate to others? And how can we become more aware of all the ways we are part of an interrelated, global community? Recently my colleagues and I explored these questions in a report titled “Worldview Transformation and the Development of Social Consciousness” for the Journal of Consciousness Studies (Schlitz, Vieten, and Miller; 17, no. 7–8 (2010): 18–36). Based on decades of research on consciousness transformation, IONS researchers have developed a theoretical framework for...

An important unresolved question in scientific research in general, and in psi research in particular, is the effect that the expectancy of the experimenter has on experiment outcomes. I am pleased to report that two distinguished colleagues and I have received funding to conduct a new experiment to test the hypothesis that the expectancy of the experimenter will have an impact on the outcome of a psi task. We are now recruiting teachers to help us recruit student experimenters. Here is a brief history of this field of investigation to give a sense of what we're investigating. I'll conclude with...

Marilyn Schlitz joins Deepak Chopra to explore the idea of nonlocality.  Marilyn discusses some recent experiments and research protocols for looking at psychic healing and seeing how the mind can be used to effect physical changes in ourselves and others. How is this possible? Why is this type of research relevant to more mainstream medical practices? [embedplusvideo height="365" width="600" standard="http://www.youtube.com/v/IpuYRWptJuQ?fs=1" vars="ytid=IpuYRWptJuQ&width=600&height=365&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=" id="ep6237" /]...

I just returned from an exciting conference held at the biotech company, Promega. The meeting was entitled Final Passages: Research on Near Death & the Experience of Dying. This eleventh in a series of bioethics forums was held in Madison, WI, April 26–27, 2012, and focused on scientific research into social and ethical issues around dying and near-death experiences. A stellar lineup of global experts addressed a wide range of topics as well as the implications of current research for understanding consciousness. The conference was introduced and chaired by Bill Linton, the founder and CEO of Promega. In his opening remarks, Linton...

A few days ago, on March 7, 2012, Jeanne Achterberg, PhD passed on to the next phase of her spirit journey. Jeanne was a dear friend for decades. Her work with IONS was foundational; she and Dr. Carl Simonton received one of the first IONS grants for her pioneering clinical research on psychoneuroimmunology—then an emerging new field. She helped map the inner mechanisms of the healing response, always eager to understand the links between body, mind and spirit. Her fascination with cross-cultural perspectives on healing led her to a life of integration between cultures, psychology, and science. Jeanne was a faculty member for...

The world is changing before our eyes. As we dip our toes into the 21st century, you and I are watching a full tidal shift in world order. The old order that built civilizations, industrialized nations, and developed world economies, is faced with perplexing challenges – those economies collapsing, those industries capsizing, populations exploding, and increasingly severe problems with health care and the environment. Clearly we have moved on to a new experience of the world. As Francis Cholle, the intuitive intelligence expert, said, “In times of evolution, we can either resist change or we can assist change.” In our business of “assisting...

As the legendary philosopher John Locke once said: “New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.” What limits our desire and capacity to take in new ideas – even when we hold an intention to transform and grow? How can we shift a paradigm that we see as flawed and incomplete without understanding the barriers to changing our minds and behaviors? And how can we develop habits that allow us to explore and reveal our own biases and intolerance of ideas that refute our prevailing beliefs and opinions? These are...

It's been quite a year -- and it's barely April. Extreme political unrest is underway throughout the Middle East. Earthquakes rock New Zealand, China, California and Japan. Shifting plates and tsunami waves in the Pacific Ocean have nuclear power plants perched on the edge of explosion. Like many, I track these global events through social media. I'm overwhelmed by the graphic images that are communicated through video links and real time postings. The Twitter feeds about the earthquake in Japan move so rapidly I can't follow more than fragments of what is being shared. Fearful talk of the next Armageddon is...

Each day the world seems to grow smaller and more complex. Wars rage. Intolerance breeds contempt across races, ethnicities, and nations. Refugees wander, far from their homes. In too many parts of the planet, children go hungry—ending their days filled with fear and hopelessness. There are plenty of reasons for pessimism. At the same time, all over our troubled planet, I’m aware of growing numbers of people who embody a pragmatic though hopeful vision for our collective future, and who are putting their lives on the line to embody it. Over the past months, IONS has launched a world tour to find...

I was preparing for my lecture on consciousness transformation to the League of Optimists in Brussels, Belgium when I got the news: All flights from Europe were cancelled. I was due to go on stage shortly and nothing about the implications of this information had sunk in. I just wanted to be here tonight and home tomorrow. As part of my back story, I was in Europe on our IONS global engagement tour. I had spent the past two breathtaking weeks meeting and connecting with the European consciousness community. Perhaps more importantly, as mother of an 11-year-old son, we were both...

Scientists from across the world fill the meeting hall at the Bial Conference in Porto, Portugal. Movement toward scientific precision around mind and brain defines this exceptional gathering. Tables, graphs, data – all transport the participants toward deeper engagement with a sense of proof; every day we experience greater mastery over the mysteries of consciousness. One after another, scientists representing many disciplines map our inner and outer worlds. Through the lens of objectivity, these thoughtful scholars attempt to explain the nature of consciousness. We are making the unconscious sensible through brain scans, physiological monitoring, statistics, and rational discourse. I’m compelled by...