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What can Anesthesia tell us about Consciousness?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Anesthesia is commonly used to put people to "sleep." This article is an interesting examination of why we do it, going deep into awareness, consciousness and fear.

  • Reflect On:

    Can awareness continually exists without interruption regardless of the fact that we are not always able to access our experiences, or remember them when given Anesthetic? What is awareness? Can we really be 'awake' when we are acting out of fear?

Before you begin...

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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.

When patients ask anesthesiologists what we charge for putting them to sleep, we often say we do it for free. We only bill them for the waking up part.

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This isn’t just a way of deflecting a question, it also serves as a gentle reminder to both parties regarding the importance of “coming to.” If we couldn’t regain consciousness, what would be the point in having the surgery in the first place? Nobody wants to experience pain and fear if it can be avoided. If the only way to avoid the pain of an operation is to temporarily be rendered unconscious, most people will readily and willingly consent to that, as long as we can return to our natural state of being alert and interactive with the world around us. We are awake and aware and that–rather than any particular conception of health–is our most precious gift.

--> Read: A rare mineral can remove harmful toxins & heavy metals with just 30 seconds a day. Click here to learn more.

How does Anesthesia work ?

From an Anesthesiologist’s point of view, we really shouldn’t charge for putting someone to sleep. It’s too easy. With today’s medications, putting someone to sleep, or in more correct terms, inducing general anesthesia, is straightforward. Two hundred milligrams of this and fifty milligrams of that and voilà: you have a completely unconscious patient who is incapable of even breathing independently. The medications we administer at induction are similar to the lethal injections executioners use. Unlike executioners, we then intervene to reestablish their breathing and compensate for any large changes in blood pressure and the patient thereby survives until consciousness miraculously returns sometime later.

In addition, those in my field have to contend with the reality that we really don’t know what we are doing. More precisely, we have very little if any understanding of how anesthetic gases render a person unconscious. After 17 years of practicing Anesthesiology, I still find the whole process nothing short of pure magic. You see, the exact mechanism of how these agents work is, at present, unknown. Once you understand how a trick works, the magic disappears. With regard to inhaled anesthetic agents, magic abounds. 

Take ether, for example. In 1846 a dentist named William T.G. Morton used ether to allow Dr. Henry J. Bigelow to partially remove a tumor from the neck of a 24-year-old patient safely with no outward signs of pain. The surgery took place at Massachusetts General Hospital in front of dozens of physicians. When the patient regained consciousness with no recollection of the event it is said that many of the surgeons in attendance, their careers spent hardening themselves to the agonizing screams of their patients while operating without modern anesthesia, wept openly after witnessing this feat. At the time, no one knew how ether worked. We still don’t. Over the last 173 years, dozens of different anesthetic gases have been developed and they all have three basic things in common: they are inhaled, they are all very, very tiny molecules by biological standards, and we don’t know how any of them work.

Why we still don’t know…

If you have never closely considered how our bodies do what they do (move, breathe, grow, pee, reproduce, etc.), the answers may be astounding. It is obvious that the energy required to power biological systems comes from food and air. But how do they use them to do everything? How does it all get coordinated?

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These are the fundamental questions that have been asked for millennia, by ancient shamans and modern pharmaceutical companies alike. It turns out that the answers are different depending on what sort of perspective and tools we begin with. In the West, our predecessors in medicine were anatomists. Armed with scalpels, the human form was first subdivided into organ systems. Our knives and eyes improved with the development of microtomes and microscopes giving rise to the field of Histology (the study of tissue). Our path of relentless deconstruction eventually gave rise to Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. This is where Western medicine stands today. We define “understanding” as a complete description of how the very molecules that comprise our bodies interact with one another. This method and model has served us well. We have designed powerful antibiotics, identified neurotransmitters, and mapped our own genome. Why then have we not been able to figure out how a gas like ether works? The answer is two-fold.

First, although we have been able to demonstrate some of the biological processes and structures that are altered by an inhaled anesthetic gas, we cannot pinpoint which ones are responsible for altering levels of awareness because inhaled anesthetic agents affect so many seemingly unrelated things at the same time. It is impossible to identify which are directly related to the “awake” state. It is also entirely possible that all of them are, and if that were the case consciousness would be the single most complex function attributed to a living organism by a very large margin.

The second difficulty we have is even more unwieldy and requires some contemplation. As explained above, western medicine has not been able to isolate which molecular interaction is responsible for anesthetics’ effect on our awareness. It is therefore reasonable to approach the puzzle from the opposite side and ask instead, “Where is the source of our awareness in our bodies?” and go from there.

We do know that certain neurological pathways in the brain are active in awake patients, but if we attribute consciousness to those pathways then we are necessarily identifying them as the “things” that are awake. To find the source of their “awakeness” we must then examine them more closely. With the tools we have and the paradigm we have chosen we will inevitably find more molecules interacting with other molecules. When you go looking for molecules that is all you will find. Our paradigm has dictated what the answer would be like if we ever found one. Does it seem plausible to think we will find an “awareness molecule” and attribute our vivid, multisensorial experience to the presence of it? If such a molecule existed, how would our deconstructive approach ever explain why that molecule was the source of our awareness?  Can consciousness ever be represented materially?

A more sensible model would be to consider the activity of these structures in the brains of conscious individuals as evidence of consciousness, not the cause of it.  To me it is apparent that, unless we expand our search beyond the material plane, we are not going to find consciousness or be able to understand how anesthetic gases work. Until then I know I am nothing more than a wand-waver in the operating room. And that is being generous. The magician is the anesthetic gas itself, which has, up to this point, never let us in on the secret.

What happens when someone goes “under”?

The mechanistic nature of our model is well suited to most biological processes. However, with regard to consciousness, the model not only lends little understanding of what is happening, it also gives rise to a paradigm that is widely and tightly held, but in actuality cannot be applied to the full breadth of human experience. We commonly believe that a properly functioning physical body is required for us to be aware. Although this may seem initially incontrovertible, upon closer examination it becomes quite clear that this belief is actually an assumption that has massive implications. To be more precise, how do we know that consciousness does not continue uninterrupted and only animate our physical bodies intermittently rather than the other way around, where the body intermittently gives rise to the awake state? At first, this hypothesis may seem absurd, irrelevant and unprovable. I assure you that if you spent a day in an operating room, this idea is not only possible, it is far more likely to be true than the converse.

Let us first consider how we measure anesthetic depth in the operating room. We continually measure the amount of agent that is circulating in a patient’s system, but as described earlier, there is no measurable “conscious” molecule that can be found. We must assess the behavior of our patients to make that determination. Do they reply to verbal commands? Do they require a tap on the shoulder or a painful stimulus to respond? Do they respond verbally or do they merely shudder or fling an arm into the air? Perhaps they do not even move when the very fibers of their body are literally being dissected.

There are many situations when a person will interact normally for a period of time while under the influence of a sedative with amnestic properties, and then have absolutely no recollection of that period of time. As far as they know, that period of time never existed. They had no idea that they were lying on an operating room table for 45 minutes talking about their recent vacation while their surgeon performed a minor procedure on their wrist, for example. Sometime later, they found themselves in the recovery room when, to their profound disbelief, they noticed a neatly placed surgical dressing on their hand. More than once I have been told that a patient had asked that the dressing be removed so that they could see the stitches with their own eyes.

How should we characterize their level of consciousness during the operation? By our own standards they were completely awake. However, because they have no memory of being awake during the experience, they would recount it more or less the same way a patient who was rendered completely unresponsive would. This phenomenon is common and easily reproducible. Moreover, it invites us to consider the possibility that awareness continually exists without interruption, but we are not always able to access our experiences retrospectively

During some procedures where a surgeon is operating very close to the spinal cord, we often infuse a combination of anesthetic drugs that render the patient unconscious but allow all of the neural pathways between the brain and the body to continue to function normally so that they can be monitored for their integrity. In other words, the physiology required to feel or move remains intact, yet the patient apparently has no experience of any stimuli, surgical or otherwise during the operation. How are we to reconcile the fact that we have a patient with a functioning body and no ability to experience it? Who exactly is the patient in this situation?

What can Near Death Experiences (NDEs) tell us?

If we broadened our examination of the human experience to consider more extreme situations, another wrinkle appears in the paradigm. There are numerous accounts of people who have experienced periods of awareness whilst their bodies have been rendered insentient by anesthetics and/or severe trauma. Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are all characterized by lucid awareness that remains continuous during a period of time while outside observers assume the person is unconscious or dead. Very often patients who have experienced an NDE in the operating room can accurately recount what was said and done by people attending to them during their period of lifelessness. They are also able to describe the event from the perspective as an observer to their own body, often viewing it from above.

Interestingly, people describe their NDEs in a universally positive way. “Survival” was an option that they were free to choose. Death of their body could be clearly seen as a transcending event in their continuing awareness and not as the termination of their existence. Very often the rest of their lives are profoundly transformed by the experience. No longer living with the fear of mortality, life subsequently opens up into a more vibrant and meaningful experience that can be cherished far more deeply than was possible prior to their brush with death. Those who have had an NDE would have no problem adopting the idea that their awareness exists independently of their body, functioning or not. Fear and anxiety would still probably arise in their life from time to time, but it is the rest of us who carry the seemingly inescapable load of a belief system that ties our existence to a body that will perish.

What happens when we wake up from Anesthesia?

The waking up part is no less magical. When the anesthetic gas is eliminated from the body, consciousness returns on its own. Waking someone up simply requires enough space and time for it to occur spontaneously. There is no reversal agent available to speed the return of consciousness. I can only wait. In fact, the waiting period is directly related to the amount of time the patient has been exposed to the anesthetic. At some point the patient will open their eyes when a threshold has been crossed. Depending on how long the patient has been “asleep,” complete elimination of the agent from the body may not happen until a long while after the patient has “woke.” 

By the time I leave a patient in the care of our recovery room nurses, I am confident that they are safely on a path to their baseline state of awareness. Getting back to a normal state of awareness may take hours or even days. In some cases, patients may never get their wits back completely. Neurocognitive testing has demonstrated that repeated exposure to general anesthesia can sometimes have long-lasting or even irreversible effects on the awake state. It may occur for everyone. Perhaps it is a matter of how closely we look.

Interestingly, it is well known that the longterm effects of anesthetic exposure are more profound in individuals who have already demonstrated elements of cognitive decline in their daily life. Indeed, this population of patients requires significantly less anesthetic to reach the same depth of unconsciousness during an operation. This poses an intriguing question: Is our understanding of being awake also too simplistic? Is there a continuum of “awakeness” in everyday life just as there is one of unconsciousness when anesthetized? If so, how would we measure it?

Does our limited understanding of awareness keep us “asleep”?

Modern psychiatry has been rigorous in defining and categorizing dysfunction. Although there has been recent interest in pushing our understanding of what may be interpreted as a “super-functioning” psyche, western systems are still in their infancy with regard to this idea. In eastern schools of thought, however, this concept has been central for centuries.

In some schools of Eastern philosophy, the idea of attaining a super-functioning awake state is seen as something that also occurs spontaneously when intention and practice are oriented correctly. Ancient yogic teachings specifically describe super abilities, or Siddhis, that are attained through dedicated practice. These Siddhis include fantastical abilities like levitation, telekinesis, dematerialization, remote-viewing and others. The most advanced abilities, interestingly, are those that allow an individual to remain continuously in a state of joy and fearlessness. If such a state were attainable it would clearly be incompatible with the kind of absolute psychological identification most of us have with our mortal bodies. It may be of no surprise that Eastern medicine also subscribes to an entirely different perspective of the body and uses different tools to examine it.

Certainly fear has served our ancestors well, helping us to avoid snakes and lions, but how much fear is necessary these days? Could fear be the barrier that separates us from our highest potential in the awake state just as an anesthetic gas prevents us from waking in the operating room? It is not possible to remain fearless while continuing to identify with a body that is prone to disease and death. Even if one were to drop the assumption that the source of our existence is a finite body, how long would it take to be free from the effects of a lifetime of fearful thinking before any changes that reflect a shift in this paradigm manifest? As long as we leave this model unchallenged we may be missing what it means to be truly awake.

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Consciousness

Super Moon In Scorpio: Realism & Depth

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7 minute read

Before you begin...

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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.

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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!

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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

Before you begin...

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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!

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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Alternative News

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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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.

‘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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