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Finding The Science Of Consciousness: SAND 2015

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If the number of cars in the parking lot at the Dolce Hayes Mansion were any indication, the SAND community is exploding exponentially. With a warm welcome video from Zaya and Maurizio this year’s amazing conference got underway with a talk by Peter Russell on What is Nonduality?

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Peter “defined” nonduality as its name suggests – “not two” and went through both scientific and philosophical bases to make the case that consciousness must be primary.  Everything knowable is within consciousness–even science.

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What sets this conference apart, besides the incredible vibe, is the confluence of top scientists along with nondual and Eastern philosophers in a lively dialogue. And with this year’s title, the unstated aim of the conference was another attempt at coming to a “Science of Consciousness.”

A major contributor to this endeavor is Stuart Hameroff of the Center for Consciousness Study at the University of Arizona who has done extensive research into the very tiniest of organisms and their components in order to find “Where’s the Bing?”  The Bing being essentially BEING – the energetic and presumably intelligent first cause that leads to life.

Stuart makes the point eloquently that “computation and information storage is not consciousness.” His research has discovered the presence of Pyramidal neurons and Microtubules within cellular structures of even one celled organisms that seem to behave consciously albeit on a very basic level. From his famous Microtubules, Stuart has found that the universe wants to feel good – hence Life.

Just as bacteria in a petri dish will move toward nutrients and away from toxins even without a nervous system to guide them, Stuart’s discoveries have led him to conclude that the impetus behind Evolution is a move toward the experience of pleasure, on whatever level that unfolds.

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How Close Is Science To Understanding Consciousness?

He also participated in the essential panel of the first morning: How Close is Science to Understanding Consciousness? The panel included Hameroff, Julia Mossbridge, Chris FieldsHenry Stapp and Donald Hoffman, facilitated by A.H. Almaas.

This incredibly stellar panel of scientists from various fields including physics, mathematics and neuroscience were familiar with one another’s work and engaged in a lively dialogue over whether science is the right way to understand consciousness.

If they were attorneys several of them might have concluded with a “Demurrer” that for science the “hard problem of consciousness” is simply not the issue (so what?) but they gamely tackled this topic.

Chris Fields made the point that science needs to accept certain concepts as undefined – like “energy” and proceed from those assumptions because by its nature it cannot define more deeply.

The very language of Science leads to uncertainty (Heisenberg aside) because everything we know or can know is the phenomenal awareness of something or other.

In studying awareness, Chris suggests that science focus on the less known senses like raw touch and taste as opposed to vision and hearing to discern the working of consciousness.

Ultimately Chris said that “We have no theory as to why there is awareness.” All scientific theory is for predictions based on initial assumptions and postulates with no ontological implications (that is, why something is the way it is). Science, as practiced currently, has nothing to do with being beyond the fact that we understand conditions required for consciousness and its study, but no organization of material objects explain consciousness.

He went further to maintain that no concept of a “boundary” conforms to our best science – all such constructs are artificial overlays of our minds and that any science of consciousness would require us to change our perspective in what awareness is doing, presumably from our materialist predispositions.

Julia Mossbridge was perhaps the most skeptical of the entire endeavor to deal with consciousness in a scientific way because of her belief that there must be a “My” consciousness to be scientific.  What happens to this “me” in deep sleep?  And once there is a me, there is apparently a “not me.”  There is that sense of separation which leads to the apparent but elusive objectivity of scientific inquiry.

Julia also said that the manner of inquiry also depends completely on the specific field of science conducting the work. “Math people want math” and so on.  Her contention was that Science doesn’t (need or intend to) answer why questions, just how questions, echoing Chris Fields’ initial suggestion that science only “works” once certain assumptions or ground rules are set.

Julia said that any scientific inquiry into mind (she is a neuroscientist):

  • Must understand the idea of causality
  • Must understand time

Aspects of consciousness that suggest that A comes after B violate any such notion of causality.

Demurring on “the hard problem” she asked scientists like Stuart Hameroff whether the issue of how consciousness functions scientifically is soluble and more important, and if it is necessarily even an interesting or significant question?  [From a scientific rather than philosophical or metaphysical perspective.]

From her perspective she concentrates on discerning the relationship between the “my experience” and everything else (and presumably is not concerned with who or what this “my” fundamentally is).  For Julia, consciousness is all we got, and not all that there is.  She insists on focusing on what is empirically and objectively knowable.

Quantum physicist Henry Stapp also challenged Hameroff saying that there is simply “no history of ‘Bing” (as something definable). The quantum state is a state of universe and the role of observer is choice without prior rules or definitions. According to Stapp all math explains dualistically. His conclusion: “Matter behaves like an idea. We have an idea-like universe and the one fundamental fact is that consciousness exists.” Science properly focuses on not why consciousness exists but why is it needed scientifically to understand reality.

Stuart Hameroff reiterated and defended his work with Roger Penrose that suggests that it is a pleasurable feedback function that suggests how life originated.

When pressed on the ultimate origin of this function, Stuart more or less went ethereal in a very interesting way – he said that “Space/Time is based on fundamental [immaterial] Platonic values” (or forms?) This resonates with other theories that say that mathematical constants like Pi and Phi are universal values (perhaps forming the basis for the assumptions grounding science that are necessary for thinkers like Chris Fields?)

But ultimately Stuart says that the nature of understanding is non-computable and presumably impersonal.  “Hitler happened, evil exists.”

The Brain As An Orchestra Rather Than Computer

In a wonderful analogy he went beyond the hard problem of “qualia” (the qualities of experience which we all know) to describe reality or consciousness not in computational but orchestral terms so that “like the painter orchestrates dabs of color into a Mona Lisa via the “agency” of consciousness as it were, the orchestral warmup emerges as “music”.

“The brain is more like an orchestra than a computer.”

Don Hoffman took almost a nondual position by zeroing in on the key aspect Qualia or Agency – experience and activity – and asked the core question “take action by whom?”

Don challenges the critical assumption that consciousness has structure that can be objectively known or defined and maintains that “space and time is a format for human experience” and not fundamental.

No scientific theory explains everything according to Hoffman, who said that everybody assumes something and “Consciousness is my given.” Start with consciousness, and physics is not a mystery. If you start with a math model you can make new predictions that turn out valid.

When asked whether consciousness is algorithmic, Hoffman replied simply, “No. Models are not reality. [One can construct an] abstract math model that best models consciousness but the model IS not consciousness.”  The mathematical model still requires a “ground” to work.

Moderator Almaas had his hands full trying to establish a definition of consciousness among the scientists who mainly demurred. His contention was that consciousness is not a thing but an activity or agency (verb) — a point that was reiterated later by Rupert Spira and Deepak Chopra who referred to it as an “activity.”

In terms of qualia, Almaas contends that Consciousness makes feelings possible and is fundamental.  Scientists we can rightly only talk about what it does. When he challenged Stuart Hameroff if he had worked out the math of every experience, Stuart remarked, “You’re being hard on me.”

What makes this conference so unique is the presence of the nondualists like Joan Tollifson who eschew a need for scientific validation entirely with the recognition that [All] “Thought leads to a sense of separation.” Separation cannot be sustained through a deeper inquiry.

According to Joan, life is simple – “When we bring attention to the present moment, everything shifts.”  It is our inner talk that makes it seem that we are separate things; through direct inquiry we can find we’re inseparable from other “objects”.

She inquires as follows:

Is there any place in the sensation where chair and body meet? – Can we find the “me”.  Is it really there? – We can find stories, thought, mental images but where is me? – Consciousness is dividing Wholeness into fragments (sound bites) – Deeply in any sensation there is nothing. – Me in the body is a thought – Reality is undivided – Awakening is just Noticing and being interested in what is happening. – What is going on is simply what’s happening.

This reminded me of Michael Jeffreys’ wonderful description of being moved by watching a video of a boy singing “Amazing Grace” on television and suddenly realizing that all of the emotion was overlaid by his own being – what was “really” happening was simply pixels moving on the screen.

Ultimately for the nondualists it’s not personal. Just a thought or the movement of conditioned patterns.

“This ‘awaring’ presence is our true nature. We cannot doubt being here now. We can doubt an interpretation but not the experience,” Joan said.

Comparing Eastern & Western Wisdom

I have written extensively about philosopher Bernardo Kastrup, and we were fortunate to interview him for Collective Evolution (interview to be featured in an article soon). One thing I found fascinating was his description of the wisdom of East and West. Science or the quest to understand has three components according to Bernardo:

  1. Introspection
  2. Empiricism
  3. Intellect

But the West only uses the last two, while the East focuses on the first two. According to Bernardo the truth must encapsulate all three.

Nondualist Rupert Spira was typically uncompromising in his understated but methodical presentation, maintaining that the ultimate science is the science of mind and the deconstruction of the subject/object nature of language that results in our conditioned perception of separation.

His questions (without answers):

  • What is the irreducible aspect of mind?
  • What is the nature of knowing and who or what could know the nature of consciousness?
  • How can the sun shine on itself?

This type of inquiry leaves no room for a method.  It results in a deep knowing that what one “is” is “without dimension”.  Not in time or space.

The finite mind is the activity of consciousness vibrating itself to know objective experience. The finite mind is an activity; an agency thru which consciousness is able to know itself as one.

Rupert provided an amazing analogy in which he said first, let’s call consciousness a woman named “Mary” who lives in Los Angeles. Mary goes to sleep and begins to dream that she is Jane in New York. To do this she needs to overlook “her own mind” and assumes she is Jane.   Jane’s experience is now that she is “mind inside and all else is matter outside.” She is separate. Jane believes her knowing is located behind her eyes.

Suffering is the price of her separation and she tries to ease her suffering through more matter – things.  Finally a friend she meets invites her mind inward. Her mind sinks into its source divested of its own limitations. Jane falls asleep.  Mary wakes up. Jane was never an entity but an activity (“Mary” = Consciousness = One = Everything).

“Like a spider who spins her world from herself and loses herself in the web.”

Your Body Is A Metaphor For Experiencing Reality

The formal presentations climaxed with who else – Deepak Chopra.  I have watched Deepak with appreciation since his days as the “weird guy on Larry King” I am always enchanted by his style and clarity. He began his presentation with a story of an encounter with a young boy who asked where the ocean came from and similar questions and Deepak turned these around and finally he asked the boy where did the Universe come from?

The reply:  another dimension  The audience laughed and Deepak said he asked the boy where he had gained this wisdom. The reply: Pokemon.

Deepak then outlined the two fundamental mysteries:

  1. What’s universe made of? (We don’t know)
  2. What is the biological basis of consciousness?  (We have no answer).

According to Deepak there is simply no explanation for perceptional or mental experience or “Qualia” without somehow addressing the question of precisely “Who is having experience?” — which is precisely the question he poses to conventional scientists that inevitably bring them to what Deepak said was simply a “dead end.”

He asks, “Where is the I?”  The reality is that the I center of experience cannot be found. Deepak said, echoing Rupert Spira with whom he shared the stage later that evening, that consciousness has “no dimension” – as his colleague Eckhart Tolle says, it is “no thing.”

Deepak continued with an amazing Prezi presentation of the history of scientific theories about reality culminating in the fact that Wikipedia has at least 15-20 current “explanations” of quantum mechanics. ‘’Nobody knows what’s going on.  The math works but no one knows.”

He smirked as he summarized some theories like an “infinite casino infinity of universes,” which made me happy I moved to Las Vegas. For Deepak, Science has become a “math guessing game leading nowhere.”  He went on to describe his own and his colleagues’ work in Qualia which now includes 40 scientific principles of this mysterious phenomenon.

The mysteries of cosmos do not end, they expand –Deepak provided the mind blowing fact that the visible universe is 0.1% of everything that our math tells us exists.  There is also dark matter which is 40% (and we don’t really understand it) and then there is the rest, which is (?) space?

Deepak said,  “Your body is a metaphor for experiencing reality.”

Deepak’s new book which goes into more detail about the latest scientific advances is  Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being by Deepak Chopra M.D. and Rudolph E. Tanzi.  Rudolph Tanzi is a renowned neuroscientist specializing in Alzheimer’s (Deepak also was kind enough to sit for an interview with CE which will be posted shortly).

Everything Offered Something Of Great Value

Much of the conference goes to the community that exists from Wednesday until Sunday and the exchange of ideas. Here are some other participants of note:

Scott Kiloby, a renowned nondual teacher has an addiction recovery program in Palm Desert and spoke on the topic. On a personal level I discussed my own challenges in this area as a result of moving to Las Vegas with its many temptations. Scott confirmed my own experience that many people “on the path” become enamoured of “allowing everything” which results in the surfacing of many unresolved traumas that are stored in the body.

Exacerbated by a new self identification with “being enlightened” the subject cannot understand his or her sudden weaknesses and lapses into depression and self hate. Scott was kind enough to spend a few minutes discussing this issue with me and I suspect that his program is helping many many people.

Om Orgasmic Meditation from OneTaste had a nearby table. “Orgasmic Meditation (OM) is a wellness practice (like yoga and pilates) that is designed for singles and couples to experience more connection, vitality, pleasure, and meaning in every aspect of their lives.”

CE has covered virtual reality and CoreReboot has a new VR app from Dorote Lucci that provides experiences of deep rest and relaxation.

Those who feel the urge to follow their breath inward will be fascinated by the Spire app.  As beautiful as it is functional the Spire is no ordinary stone –it provides information on your breath and stress levels to lead to a harmonious and fulfilling experience.

Another app from  Kathleen of Lockwood United Divine Intentions is intended to promote healing vibrational energy to world and local leaders for transformation (a la Lynn McTaggart).  The app and website “present evidence that Subtle Activism can create positive social and environmental change. As spiritual beings we enact change through our thoughts – our prayers and intentions. The human experience – the physical world – responds to this energy.”

Ex-model and yoga teacher Kristen Eykel presented her Attunement Chakra Meditation. Kristen has founded Sacred Circle Teachings- a physical & spiritual Yoga, Hypnosis & Reiki training academy devoted to empowering the teachers of tomorrow with the sacred knowledge of all time. And Kristen just published her 6-week planner incorporating her teaching.

I’d like to close my review of this wonderful event by sharing an exclusive interview that we at Collective Evolution had with one of the event’s co-founders Maurizio Benazzo. Maurizio’s passion is an inspiration to many and an integral part to why the SAND Conference continues to be as successful as it is. Check it out:

Stay tuned for our interviews with Deepak Chopra, Bernardo Kastrup, Peter Russell and More.

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Consciousness

Super Moon In Scorpio: Realism & Depth

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7 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

We are having a Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26th/27th, which will appear the brightest on the night of the 26th for the majority of the world and on the night of the 27th in the countries furthest East. This is the peak of the Lunar cycle that began with a New Moon in Aries on April 11th/12th. It will also be a ‘Supermoon’, which is when the Moon appears larger and brighter due to its closer proximity to the Earth.

The energies of a Full Moon are strongest in the days surrounding it yet its astrological configurations also play a part over the following two weeks. You may start to see its themes slowly build up after the New Moon prior.

They are a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Moon in Scorpio and the Sun in Taurus. It can play out as either a conflict, an integration, or some sort of dynamic between the energies of both signs. The Moon reflects the expression of feeling and emotion while the Sun reflects the expression of ego and conscious self.

We may feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Scorpio side and others expressing the Taurus side. In some cases, Full Moons can also reflect/trigger some sort of change or release.

Sun In Taurus Opposite Moon In Scorpio

Taurus season began on April 19th/20th and will last until May 20th/21st. It is about practicality, thoroughness, pleasures, food, possessions, beauty, and nature. It is a sensual, tangible, and grounded energy. As a ‘Fixed Earth’ sign, it is like a rock, and is the most invested in the physical/material world in comparison to the rest of the signs. It can also be slow, rigid, habitual, and lazy.

This Full Moon is in its opposite sign of Scorpio, triggering a push-pull or integration effect between both of these signs. Scorpio energy is deep, complex, investigative, passionate, intuitive, driven, powerful, calculated, observant, primal, purging, regenerating, transformational, mysterious, intense, desiring, and sexual. It is associated with fears, shadows, death, secrets, hidden matters, conspiracies, and the extremes of Love and Hate. Scorpio energy can also be controlling, obsessive, jealous, aggressive, savage, vengeful, and manipulative.

While Taurus is more concerned about what is tangible, pleasant, and what’s on the surface, Scorpio likes to dive deep even if it gets ugly, scary, or uncomfortable. Both signs are associated with money, resources, values, and worth; with Taurus’ expression of these things being more ‘self-oriented’ and Scorpio being more ‘relationship/shared oriented.’ Scorpio is associated with taxes, debt, credit, investments, inheritance, which all include more then one party to be involved. Both signs also share qualities of being loyal, stubborn, and possessive.

Pluto Is Stationary, Going Retrograde Shortly After Full Moon

Pluto is going retrograde less than 12 hours following the peak of this Full Moon. It is nearly stopped in the sky (from our geocentric perspective) which is referred to as being ‘stationary’, as it transitions from moving forward to backward. Whenever a planet is in the process of changing motion, its energies become very strong and concentrated. This has been building up in the weeks prior to this Full Moon and will wane in the weeks following.

Some astrologers observe Pluto as the ruler of Scorpio and I personally view it as a sub-ruler or representative of Scorpio energy. Therefore having it stationary at this time amplifies the themes of that sign, mentioned in the above section. This can also be a time of changes pertaining to these themes or perhaps to do with power dynamics, control, hidden matters, obsessions, or things involving sexuality.

Pluto also rules fears, viruses, psychoanalysis, and shadows. The combination of this Scorpio Full Moon combined with Pluto stationary retrograde can be good for initiating a process of deep inner healing, purging, release, or transformation.

Full Moon Part of a T-Square With Saturn, Uranus, Venus, and Mercury

In February, Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus made their first of three exact squares with each other, which will be followed by another in June and the final one in December. However, this energy will be an important part of the astrological backdrop throughout all of 2021 and somewhat in 2022 as they will still be close.

This Full Moon will be triggering this aspect as the Sun will be close to Uranus and this along with the Moon will be in a T-square with Saturn. Saturn themes of restrictions, limitations, tradition, caution, contraction, structure, responsibilities, delays, seriousness, are at odds with Uranus themes of freedom, surprises, progressiveness, rebellion, innovation, science, technology, and metaphysics.

Mercury and Venus are also in Taurus ahead of the Sun in which the Moon will also be opposing and tying in all of these planets together. This configuration can play out as struggles, complications, or restrictions between emotional needs, social life, relationship dynamics, sexual matters, communication, shared values, financial matters, and other ways as well. However, with Saturn serving as the apex of this t-square it could also point to a solution that involves responsibility, discipline, structure, caution, or implementing boundaries.

Things To Consider

Are there any aspects of your life calling for transformation? What do you need to purge? Do you feel like you need to do some shadow work or psychoanalysis? What makes you fearful and why? In what ways do you need to be more responsible, disciplined, structured or cautious? Do you have any attachments or habits getting in the way of feeling free or being your best self? Do you have any financial matters that need to be addressed?

Scorpio Full Moons, and the weeks following during the waning moon, are a great time to initiate different types of cleansing. It can be cleansing of the physical body, clearing/overcoming negative patterns or habits, or purging aspects of our external environment. Scorpio is associated with the colon, excretory system, and reproductive areas of the body, so it can also be good to approach healing modalities connected to those areas.

These are just some examples of themes that could come up or ways to approach this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out as well.  If you wish to do any sort of intentional release, it is best to do so after it begins to wane following the peak or during the two weeks afterwards when it is waning before the next New Moon. The exact peak of this Full Moon is at 3:32am Universal Time on April 27th which is the night of the 26th in much of the world. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology-related content.

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Gain more astrological insight into what is going on in your life and have a better understanding of your individual potentials. Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. I’m currently doing a DISCOUNT with 20-30% off.  Click here for more information or to order.

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Consciousness

A New Media Approach For Improved Sense-Making Through Physiological Coherence

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CE Staff Writer 8 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The simple exercise you were just introduced to is designed to help create a physiological heart brain connection that has been shown to improve memory, learning, problem-solving and discernment.

Since 2009, Collective Evolution has been committed to forging a radically new approach to media and the discussion of current events. Over the years scientific research has come to support the approach we have been taking to help improve the way people consume and synthesize information in order to make meaningful choices in their lives and in society.

Since part of our mission at CE is to observe what is happening in our world from a more neutral point of view, asking what about us and our current human story creates our world, society, ideas, day to day choices, and policies to be the way they are, it was important to us to develop a style that encourages people to be in a state of mind and being where they’re more open to exploring new ideas without bias, cognitive distortions, and immediate resistance.

This discussion is worthy of consideration as most platforms either focus on simple ‘feel good’ or ‘well being’ based content, or focus on news from a purely journalistic sense, often with a political bias. Since our content focus is on both personal transformation and news/current events from a new approach, we have chosen to actually measure whether or not people are having a more positive experience consuming current event information. A recent research survey that will be publicized in March 2021 will show the positive results of CEs approach on audiences well being, emotional state, and development of critical thinking over the 12 years CE has been doing this work.

Coherence & Optimal Function

Decades of research shows that our hearts send more information to our brains than our brains send to our hearts. When our body’s heart is beating in what is called an ‘incoherent rhythm’, it sends a message to our brains and nervous system that produces suboptimal function that leads to a reduction in our ability to learn, make effective decisions, problem-solve, critically think, and self regulate our emotions.

When our heart is beating in a coherent rhythm, it sends coherent signals to the brain and nervous system that then brings each of these systems into synchronization physiologically. The result is opposite of that of incoherent signals. Research shows an improvement in our ability to think clearly, navigate information, make decisions, remember things, and communicate. All of this can come from as little as 60 – 90 seconds of practices like the one we place at the top of each of our articles. Over time, these practices also helps to build self-awareness which helps us see our own bias’ more clearly.

Further research has shown that a connection between thoughtful breathing and the production of a compound in the cerebrum called noradrenaline. This compound goes about as a “mind compost” that is delivered when we are feeling tested, inquisitive, or centered.

Our Unique & Research Backed Style

At CE we have found that the pathway to meaningful and sustainable change in our lives and society comes from being able to self-regulate our emotions, understand and change our habits and patterns, and also from learning how to navigate information in our world in such a way that allows us to carry our personal transformation into the realm of societal change.

In other words, sometimes people can have a spiritual practice or work on personal transformation, but don’t often apply their transformation to questioning or re-imagining things like current events, society, or politics. We are at a critical time in humanity’s history where faith in existing institutions is deteriorating rapidly, typically based on a right intuition people have that these institutions don’t work in their favor. We must begin exploring why our world is in need of change, and at the same time be able to shift our consciousness and thinking enough that we can make societal changes from a new way of thinking and being.

In 2009, we chose to focus our journalistic, video and education content in alignment with these findings. Focusing on a sense of ease, curiosity, and playfulness in our style. We don’t intend on trying to convince people to believe what we are reporting on, instead we encourage them to openly explore and question. This has had a dramatic affect on how people feel when consuming our content, and how they understand what we’re producing.

Commonly reported feedback from our audience includes things like feeling more grounded, hopeful, inspired, clear, and empowered to take action in their personal lives and society. Our readers also report that they tend not to feel a notion of ‘us vs. them’ and division that often occurs when consuming media about current events. Interestingly, readers have also commonly reported that after repeated consumption of our articles, videos, podcasts or courses, they notice a stark difference in how they feel when they consume content from more traditional alternative or mainstream media. This was also a huge discovery for us as it suggests that people’s relationship with other forms of alternative media can bring them new information but does not necessarily help their well being and sense of inspiration to act.

To us, all these suggest that our style not only informs but helps to create a noticeable shift in our audiences state of being. We don’t feel that it is us doing this for our reader, we feel the style and platform invites the reader to, by nature, build their self-awareness, practice emotional regulation, and think more clearly. Imagine how this will ripple out into the world as a result. Imagine how different conversations would be about current events if more had access to this approach.

Controversial Topics & Meaningful Change

At CE, we sometimes cover ‘controversial’ topics that as a society we are often resistant to explore, whether we have a spiritual practice or not. Many of our colleagues and friends in the personal transformation space have chosen not to explore some of these subjects much as they don’t quite align with their brand messaging or line of work, we respect and agree with their choices. However, we saw this as an important challenge to take on in our work as these ‘tough’ conversations need to be had, and we believe they can be done in a way that inspires change and well being.

Culture today is often uncomfortable with uncertainty and thus open inquiry and examination of new evidence has shut off around certain subjects. In our minds, this is causing a very societally impactful sense-making crisis in which we have become divided, distressed, emotional, and unclear as to what is actually going on around us. With this, we are quick to react and are often living on edge. As research shows, when we make decisions within our lives and society based on this state of being, they are often ineffective, suboptimal, and create further disharmony.

Our research has shown that 63% of our audience feels that CE helps them explore tough or controversial subjects while feeling less emotionally charged when compared to when others report on it, whether it’s a mainstream or alternative media source. This was a very inspiring statistic for us as we feel this makes a meaningful contribution towards shifting the way media is told to bring about a better society, without being limited to only focusing on ‘good news’ which has many limitations and, we feel, does not lead to deep societal change.

In our work we have found that combining personal transformation and emotional regulation with the openness to re-imagine society and explore new ideas, even when they are controversial, has created the greater sense of empowerment, clarity and well-being amongst our readers.

In short, our work has helped to provide a path to self-awareness, practice, and the skills to tackle information openly and coherently, thus readers are not triggered by disagreements and different perspectives, and are able to synthesize information into meaningful practice, solutions, and actions steps.

We’re at a critical time for developing a greater sense of self awareness, openness, and increased critical thinking so that we can better explore information without our emotions, biases, and pre-conceived notions getting in the way and shutting down our inquiry.

At Collective Evolution we feel that the journey to creating collective change is one founded upon personal transformation, what might be called a shift in consciousness, which is to say: we must generate a greater conscious awareness of ourselves, how we function, how to regulate our emotions, and think more clearly about what is going on around us. When we make this shift, our perception about life, society and what is possible dramatically shifts, and we begin to tap into a new story about humanity and what we want to create.

With this new story, coherence, and connection to self, we have found that people are inspired to work towards creating a greater sense of harmony and coherence in their lives and society as well. Effectively being able to see how new and emerging ideas can build a new foundation for society, instead of making small adjustments to our current society that’s built on an old and outdated story.

To more fully explore our work, participate in practical courses and engage with a like minded community, consider becoming a member of CETV. Your participation not only helps to empower change in your personal life and society, but also helps support the continuation of our unique and impactful work.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

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Researchers Outline Reality of Psychic Ability & Explore Whether It May ‘Run In The Family’

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CE Staff Writer 8 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It is commonly believed that psychic ability, like many mental and physical traits, runs in families. This suggests the presence of a genetic component. Researchers recently decided to search for one among people with psychic abilities.

  • Reflect On:

    Can special abilities, or psychic abilities be passed down? Are these abilities innate and lying dormant within all of us?

Before you begin...

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‘Psychic ability’ comes in many different forms, from telepathy to clairvoyance or remote viewing, there are a number of phenomena that have been demonstrated under strict scientific controls that have yielded statistically significant and repeatable results. There are also multiple declassified documents that have been archived by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) via their electronic reading room, for example, pertaining to individuals with “special abilities” who are able to perform feats like telekinesis, or healing at a distance. You can access a few examples of that here, and here where I go more into depth.

The literature in this area, from peer-reviewed research all the way to examples from the within the defense departments of  multiple countries, is quite robust. It’s another subject seen as fringe and in-credible yet has more than enough evidence to for a reasonable person to deem these abilities as possible.

The researchers of a recent study published in EXPLORE titled “Genetics of psychic ability – A pilot case-control exome sequencing study” decided to search for some sort of genetic link among people with psychic abilities. They explain:

Many cognitive and perceptual abilities are associated with genetic factors. An open question is whether or not extraordinary “psychic” abilities such as mind-to-mind communication (in the vernacular, telepathy), knowledge of future events before they occur (precognition), and perception of hidden or remote events (clairvoyance), might also be associated with genetic factors. Evidence of the reality of such extraordinary abilities has been offered by multiple meta-analysis of experiments conducted over the past century, which demonstrate independent repeatability and robust statistical significance.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that extraordinary manifestations of these abilities run in families.. Few formal studies have evaluated the genetics of psychic abilities. Telepathy studies with identical and non-identical twins have found mixed evidence for greater concordance among identical versus nonidentical twins on telepathy task performanceOther case studies of families with data on up to four generations have been conducted. The pattern of familial transmission in second sighthas also been examined. This capacity is defined as “a special psychic ability believed to be a natural faculty of mind, regarded as an inborn gift by some andan affliction by others…Second sight implies that there are two forms of sight. One is normal sight and the other is the ability to have prophetic visions which occur spontaneously and arrarely directed at will.” Second sight is considered hereditary within the Scottish tradition. A formal pedigree analysis of second sight found an autosomal dominant pattern f inheritance. Other studies have evaluated the relationships between psychic abilities and the temporal lobe. However, to our knowledge, no similar investigations have been conducted using modern genetics techniques.

Interesting stuff, isn’t it? For the study, more than 3,000 candidates from around the world were selected and screened through two online surveys. This was done to locate people who claimed that they, as well as other family members, had some form of psychic ability. Eligible candidates were then selected as the final “psychic cases,” and then age, sex, and ethnicity-matched individuals, with no claims of psychic ability, were selected as the controls.

DNA from the saliva of the 23 participants were subjected to “whole-exome sequencing.” This is a test that looks at most of the genes within an individual. After this, two independent bioinformatics analyses were blindly applied to the sequenced data. This means the ones doing the analyses had no idea about the results the other lab was getting. They were completely separate.The analyses focused on protein-coding sequences and another one included some adjacent noncoding sequences.

According to the researchers:

Sequencing data were obtained for all samples, except for one in the control group that did not pass the quality controls and was not included in further analyses. After unblinding the datasets, none of the protein-coding sequences (i.e., exons) showed any variation that discriminated between cases and controls. However, a difference was observed in the intron (i.e., non-protein-coding region) adjacent to an exon in the TNRC18 gene (Trinucleotide Repeat-Containing Gene 18 Protein) on chromosome 7. This variation, an alteration of GG to GA, was found in 7 of 9 controls and was absent from all psychic cases.

You can access the full study here.

This means the study did not find any significant markers suggesting that these abilities may be genetic, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t. We already know through epigenetic studies that various traits are passed down to offspring, be it physical or even emotional. It is interesting that the study did however identify a noncoding variant that was largely restricted to non-psychic controls.

The most conservative interpretation of these results is that they result from random population sampling. However, when the results are considered in relation to other lines of evidence, the results are more provocative. Further research is justified to replicate and extend these findings.

Keep in mind, the researchers did test those who claimed to have psychic ability and overall they scored better on the tests than those who did not. There were many limitations to this study, and a big one was the size of the number of people used for the study.

Given the fact that, in the researchers experience and based on my research and examples that I’ve written about, these abilities are undoubtedly real, so looking for some sort of genetic component is quite reasonable and would have tremendous implications.

The researchers explain:

The identification of genes involved in psychic abilities has the potential to yield clues about their distribution within the general population and also their evolutionary origins. Such a finding may also have clinical value because it may help inform the development of pharmacological or environmental interventions to enhance or suppress such abilities, and clinical performance applications could be used. Enhancing these abilities could augment decision-making in many contexts, stimulate creativity in art and science, and improve diagnosis of disease, insofar as these faculties and activities may be partly dependent on, or enhanced by, psychic ability.

For example, perhaps telepathic communications could be developed for individuals living with communication disabilities, such as aphasia or cerebral palsy. On the other hand, suppressing these abilities might alleviate psychotic symptoms in some individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, insofar as “disordered” psychic manifestations may be at risk factor in these individuals.

The Takeaway: Studies within the realm of parapsychology, which encompasses the study of various psychic abilities mentioned in this article, are abundant. Many show eye-opening repeatable results. Remote viewing is one of many great examples, showing “successful replication” by yielding “significant scientific evidence.” (source)

The methodology and the controls on these experiments are tighter than any other area of science where I’ve worked. Dr. Dr. Jessica Utts, former Chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Irvine (source)

Again, there are also documented real world examples that defy belief linked earlier within this article, which brings me to my next point. Much of the science produced today, in my opinion, isn’t really following the scientific method. By that I mean discoveries that challenge what we once thought we knew, and ones that have paradigm shifting implications for humanity, are often ignored and unacknowledged. We see this all the time in the field of parapsychology.

“There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.”
 Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

Why do we fail to properly confront new concepts and ideas that don’t fit within the frame? Studies and results from these realms truly call into question what we think we know about the nature of reality and human potential. They will force humanity to open up to a broader view of reality that currently may not fit within the accepted framework of knowledge in the minds of many. But if there’s one thing that’s constant, it’s change.

Discoveries in this field, I believe, will lead to the realization that love, compassion, thoughts, emotions and service to others are key for humanity to move forward. It’s more than likely that this is the true nature of human beings, not competition and separation.

These must be our priority, we have to change the way we think here on planet Earth. If we continue to operate from a place of greed, ego, and have a lust for power, control and material wealth, which are cultural learnings, not necessarily our nature, we will not move forward to a thriving world. Non-material science has the potential to change the way we perceive the world, and ask the deeper questions like, why do we live the way we do when we can create a human experience where everybody can thrive? How can a race that is so intelligent and technologically advanced be so politically and morally corrupt?

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Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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