Personal Narrative

While I was always curious about the world, I began my formal research as an undergraduate at Montieth College, Wayne State University. Growing up in Detroit, I witnessed a time of great social and political unrest. It was clear to me that the system was in crisis and we needed a change. In the midst of this turmoil, in the fall of 1977, I discovered the history of science and Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolution. There were several ideas in this book that captured my imagination. Science has long been a powerful force in defining our understanding of the world and our place in it. But even in science, this model of reality is not fixed. Indeed, Kuhn’s model of paradigm shifts was demonstrated time and again in the history of science and cosmology. As a idealistic teenager ready for change in my life and my world, I was sure a paradigm shift was needed.

About the same time I came upon a book by Edgar Mitchell, the Apollo 14 astronaut, entitled Psychic Exploration. Here was a book in which a multidisciplinary scientists, philosophers, and historians made compelling arguments that consciousness may be the next paradigm shift. While our dominant worldview and model of science have focused on the objective world out there, the major source of our social and environmental problems are within us, within our individual and shared consciousness. In particular, each contribution offered some opportunity to consider the implications of psychic, or what are now referred to as psi phemonema, as data points that pointed to a new paradigm for science and society. In this paradigm, we are not simply victims of a world in which we are spectators, but active agents in the evolutionary process. Big ideas…

I joined with these scientists to bring a scientific perspective to claims of the paranormal. I looked at the reach of consciousness under randomized, double blind protocols in leading laboratories in the United States and Europe. My primary base at the time was a Research Fellowship at the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man in Durham, North Carolina.

My interest in healing began in 1980. I turned my laboratory work to study claims made by healers that they could affect change in the physical conditions of their patients through will or intention. I worked first with mice, and found that there were significant differences in arousal rates of sedated mice when healers “sent healing intentions” for them as compared to control mice who received no such intentions. This intrigued me.

In 1982, I began a decadelong collaboration with Dr. William Braud at the Mind Science Foundation in San Antonio, Texas to move my work on healing into studies with human physiology as the primary outcome variable. In this way, we created an objective way of measuring a concept like intention at a difference. Over 13 formal studies later, we concluded that there was an effect that was beyond chance expectation.

At the same time, I began to study social anthropology. While I found the quantitative approach of the laboratory very useful, I was eager to learn rigorous methodologies for studying the qualitative aspects of human experience. I conducted fieldwork in rural Texas on power relations and water resource management, gaining a master’s thesis and publishing a book entitled, Reflections on Medina Lake which chronicled a 75 year cultural history of a small irrigation reservoir in South Texas. Later, as a graduate student at the University of Texas, Austin, I conducted fieldwork in the West Indies, focusing on power relations and health care discourse, again combining historical and ethnographic methods. Throughout my graduate work, I maintained my interest in healing and the extended capacities of human consciousness.

In 1993 my career took a turn. I moved to northern California where I held a post doctoral fellowship in the Psychology Department of Stanford University. Building on my various interests over the previous years, I conducted a discourse analysis of controversial science, looking at the skeptic/proponent debate in parapsychology. At the same time, I had the opportunity to work as Research Associate with Dr. Ed May at the Cognitive Sciences Laboratory at Science Applications International Corporation. Here we conducted advanced research on remote intention on human physiology, again finding results that could not be explained by chance.

A year later, I was invited to join the faculty of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). I became the Director of Research and then Vice President for Research and Education. In 2009 I became President and CEO of IONS. Currently I hold the position of Ambassador for Creative Projects and Global Affairs. Over the past 19 years, I have conducted original research in consciousness and healing, resulting in the book, Consciousness and Healing: Integral Approaches to Mind Body Medicine, Emerging Worldviews, resulting in the book, Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life, and Extended Human Capacities, resulting in the current development of a feature film entitled, Death Makes Life Possible and an educational program on Worldview Literacy.

I continue to hunger for a paradigm shift that will lead to a more expanded understanding of our human possibililteis. I believe that there is a remarkable potential in bringing together the best of science with a deep and abiding appreciation for culture and consciousness. In a time when there are so many worldviews, belief systems, and ways of engaging reality, we really have no choice but to gain a clearer understanding of our human nature, and what we may become.

Current Projects

I am eager to harvest 35 years of work on consciousness transformation and healing to contribute to the kind of positive personal and social transformation that is being called for in our times. My goal is to contribute to the emergence of a more sustainable worldview through original research, field formation, education, multi-media communications, and a global network of colleagues.

With a multi-disciplinary team, I am actively developing a program on “worldview literacy” in which we are creating standards based curriculum for schools across the world, developing an interactive network of students and educators, and developing on-line programs to train and test our trainings in classrooms. I am also creating a feature film that explores different cosmologies or worldviews around death, dying and beyond. This project is being done in partnership with Deepak Chopra.

I continue to develop my understanding of healing. As Senior Scientist at California Pacific Medical Center, I have had the privilege to work with a multidisciplinary team to explore the mind/body relationship. I am also working with a network of health professionals to shift the paradigm from a disease-based to a healing based model of healthcare. I am applying my insights about change and transformation to helping craft a new system of medicine in America.

I recently collaborated with a team of scientists from CPMC and IONS to develop a training program on compassionate intention for caregivers of cancer patients (Radin, et. al, 2008).

I am currently the Principal Investigator on an NIH sponsored clinical trial to explore the role of expectancy of distant healing in the recovery of wound healing in a clinical surgery based study. We are in the data analysis phase of this study.

I am the Principal Investigator on a qualitative and quantitative study of transformative practices. This work has resulted in a co-authored book entitled: Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life and a companion DVD entitled, Living Deeply: Transformational Practices from the World’s Wisdom Traditions. Several technical articles have been published and several more are in preparation.