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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...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_raw_html]JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyaHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZ3d3cubnByLm9yZyUyRnBsYXllciUyRmVtYmVkJTJGMTA0MzUxNzEwJTJGMTA0NDA2NDY0JTIyJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjIxMDAlMjUlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIyOTAlMjIlMjBmcmFtZWJvcmRlciUzRCUyMjAlMjIlMjBzY3JvbGxpbmclM0QlMjJubyUyMiUyMHRpdGxlJTNEJTIyTlBSJTIwZW1iZWRkZWQlMjBhdWRpbyUyMHBsYXllciUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRmlmcmFtZSUzRSUwQSUwOQ==[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]May 22, 2009 3:20 PM ET Heard on All Things Considered By Barbara Bradley Hagerty Fourth of a five-part series Link to NPR and this Episode Transcript from All Things Considered on NPR Ninety percent of Americans say they pray — for their health, or their love life or their final exams. But does prayer do any good? For decades, scientists have tried to test the power of prayer and positive thinking, with mixed results. Now some scientists are fording new — and controversial — territory. Mind Over Body When I first meet Sheri Kaplan,...