17 Jan Exploring the Akashic Experience: My Personal Journey (Part 2)
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 transformation.
Piggybacking on this insight came many conversations with a professor of neuroscience, Robin Baracco. During lengthy discussions, many years before the neuroscience revolution, I learned about how much we knew—and still don’t know about consciousness, brain, and mind. One day Dr. Baracco gave me another book, Psychic Exploration by Edgar Mitchell, the Apollo 14 astronaut. This volume completely changed my life and sent me on an intellectual odyssey that compels me to this day. The idea that a serious group of scientists were exploring psychic or psi phenomena seemed to me to be the harbinger of a new paradigm I felt sure we needed. Instead of placing my focus on the material aspects of reality, endemic to the dominant culture, I decided to commit myself to understanding the transformative potentials of human consciousness.
I began doing very preliminary remote viewing experiments with an experimental psychologist, Charles Solley, at Wayne State University. We spent the summer of 1977 personally testing the claims made by physicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff in their book, Mind-Reach, that people can describe geographical locations about which they have no sensory information. We were our own subjects and experimenters; the results were startling and compelling.
On the first day, we invited a self-proclaimed psychic to visit the psychology lab and be our “subject.” I was the “outbound” experimenter in the first session, the one who visited a distant site. The description given by the psychic didn’t even come close to matching the geographical site that I viewed. We tried a second trial. This time I served as the “inbound” experimenter, sitting with the subject in the lab and asking for her impressions of the location of Dr. Solley, the outbound experimenter.
When Dr. Solley returned, he asked the “psychic” to describe her impressions. Again, she described almost nothing that matched the site. Remembering that he and I had both produced strong matches in our initial explorations, he then asked me if I’d had any impressions. I was quick to say no; I was the “objective” experimenter, after all. He pushed a little; surely I had some impressions? I conceded that a strange symbol (resembling the Greek letter omega) had come to my mind and I made a quick drawing.
He grew excited and took us to the building where he had been sitting during the “sending” period. Sure enough, there was a fence surrounding the building that was made up of the symbol I had drawn, and etched on the side of the building was the symbol. This was my first insight into the potential myth of objectivity in our studies of consciousness. It was also one of the first times I gained some direct, first-person experience of the phenomena I was hoping to study.