New Dawn Magazine December 27, 2013
By RUPERT SHELDRAKE, Ph.D.
We have been brought up to believe that our minds are inside our heads, that mental activity is nothing but brain activity. Instead, I suggest that our minds extend far beyond our brains; they stretch out through fields that link us to our environment and to each other.
Mental fields are rooted in brains, just as magnetic fields around magnets are rooted in the magnets themselves, or just as the fields of transmission around mobile phones are rooted in the phones and their internal electrical activities. As magnetic fields extend around magnets, and electromagnetic fields around mobile phones, so mental fields extend around brains.
Mental fields help to explain telepathy, the sense of being stared at and other widespread but unexplained abilities. Above all, mental fields underlie normal perception. They are an essential part of vision.
Images Outside Our Heads
Look around you now. Are the images of what you see inside your brain? Or are they outside you – just where they seem to be? According to the conventional theory, there is a one-way process: light moves in, but nothing is projected out.
The inward movement of light is familiar enough. As you look at this page, reflected light moves from the page through the electromagnetic field into your eyes. The lenses of your eyes focus the light to form upside-down images on your retinas. This light falling on your retinal rod and cone cells causes electrical changes within them, which trigger off patterned changes in the nerves of the retina. Nerve impulses move up your optic nerves and into the brain, where they give rise to complex patterns of electrical and chemical activity. So far, so good. All these processes can be, and have been, studied in great detail by neurophysiologists and other experts on vision and brain activity.
But then something very mysterious happens. You consciously experience what you are seeing, the page in front of you. You also become conscious of the printed words and their meanings. From the point of view of the standard theory, there is no reason why you should be conscious at all. Brain mechanisms ought to go on just as well without consciousness.
The standard theory of vision applies to all species of animals with image-forming eyes. It does not explain why there should be conscious vision in any animal species, or in people. There is just unconscious, computer-like data-processing by the nervous system.
Then comes a further problem. When you see this page, you do not experience your image of it as being inside your brain, where it is supposed to be. Instead, you experience its image as being located about two feet in front of you. The image is outside your body.
For all its physiological sophistication, the standard theory has no explanation for your most immediate and direct experience. All your experience is supposed to be inside your brain, not where it seems to be.
The basic idea I am proposing is so simple that it is hard to grasp. Your image of this page is just where it seems to be, in front of your eyes, not behind your eyes. It is not inside your brain, but outside your brain.
Thus vision involves both an inward movement of light, and an outward projection of images. Through mental fields our minds reach out to touch what we are looking at. If we look at a mountain ten miles away, our minds stretch out ten miles. If we gaze at distant stars our minds reach out into the heavens, over literally astronomical distances.
The Sense of Being Stared At
Sometimes when I look at someone from behind, he or she turns and looks straight at me. And sometimes I suddenly turn around and find someone staring at me. Surveys show that more than 90% of people have had experiences such as these. The sense of being stared at should not occur if attention is all inside the head. But if it stretches out and links us to what we are looking at, then our looking could affect what we look at. Is just an illusion, or does the sense of being stared at really exist?
This question can be explored through simple, inexpensive experiments. People work in pairs. One person, the subject, sits with his or her back to the other, wearing a blind-fold. The other person, the looker, sits behind the subject, and in a random series of trials either looks at the subject’s neck, or looks away and think of something else. The beginning of each trial is signalled by a mechanical clicker or bleeper. Each trial lasts about ten seconds and the subject guesses out loud “looking” or “not looking.” Detailed instructions are given on my website, www.sheldrake.org.
More than 100,000 trials have now been carried out, and the results are overwhelmingly positive and hugely significant statistically, with odds against chance of quadrillions to one. The sense of being stared at even works when people are looked at through closed-circuit TV. Animals are also sensitive to being looked at by people, and people by animals. This sensitivity to looks seems widespread in the animal kingdom and may well have evolved in the context of predator-prey relationships: an animal that sensed when an unseen predator was staring would stand a better chance of surviving than an animal without this sense.
Educated people have been brought up to believe that telepathy does not exist. Like other so-called psychic phenomena, it is dismissed as an illusion.
Most people who espouse these opinions, which I used to myself, do not do so on the basis of a close examination of the evidence. They do so because there is a taboo against taking telepathy seriously. This taboo is related to the prevailing paradigm or model of reality within institutional science, namely the mind-inside-the-brain theory, according to which telepathy and other psychic phenomena, which seem to imply mysterious kinds of ‘action at a distance’, cannot possibly exist.
This taboo dates back at least as far as the Enlightenment at the end of the eighteenth century. But this is not the place to examine its history (which I discuss in The Sense of Being Stared At). Rather I want to summarise some recent experiments, which suggest that telepathy not only exists, but that it is a normal part of animal communication.
I first became interested in the subject of telepathy some 25 years ago, and started looking at evidence for telepathy in the animals we know best, namely pets. I soon came across numerous stories from owners of dogs, cats, parrots, horses and other animals that suggested these animals seemed able to read their minds and intentions.
Through public appeals I have built up a large database of such stories, currently containing more than 4,700 case histories. These stories fall into several categories. For example, many cat owners say that their animal seem to sense when they are planning to take them to the vet, even before they have taken out the carrying basket or given any apparent clue as to their intention. Some people say their dogs know when they are going to be taken for a walk, even when they are in a different room, out of sight or hearing, and when the person is merely thinking about taking them for a walk. Of course, no one finds this behaviour surprising if it happens at a routine time, or if the dogs see the person getting ready to go out, or hear the word “walk.” They think it is telepathic because it seems to happen in the absence of such clues.
One of the commonest and most testable claims about dogs and cats is that they know when their owners are coming home, in some cases anticipating their arrival by ten minutes or more. In random household surveys in Britain and America, my colleagues and I have found that approximately 50% of dog owners and 30% of cat owners believe that their animals anticipate the arrival of a member of the household. Through hundreds of videotaped experiments, my colleagues and I have shown that dogs react to their owners’ intentions to come home even if they are many miles away, even when they return at randomly-chosen times, and even when they travel in unfamiliar vehicles such as taxis. Telepathy seems the only hypothesis that can account for the facts. (For more details, see my book Dogs that Know When their Owners Are Coming Home, And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals.)
In the course of my research on unexplained powers of animals, I heard of dozens of dogs and cats that seemed to anticipate telephone calls from their owners. For example, when the telephone rings in the household of a noted professor at the University of California at Berkeley, his wife knows when her husband is on the other end of the line because Whiskins, their silver tabby cat, rushes to the telephone and paws at the receiver. “Many times he succeeds in taking it off the hook and makes appreciative miaws that are clearly audible to my husband at the other end,” she says. “If someone else telephones, Whiskins takes no notice.” The cat responds even when he telephones home from field trips in Africa or South America.
This lead me to reflect that I myself had had this kind of experience, in that I had thought of people for no apparent reason who shortly there afterwards called. I asked my family and friends if they had ever had this experience, and I soon found the majority were very familiar with it. Some said they knew when their mother or boyfriend or other significant person was calling because the phone sounded different!
Through extensive surveys, my colleagues and I have found that most people have had seemingly telepathic experiences with telephone calls. Indeed this is the commonest kind of apparent telepathy in the modern world.
Is this all a matter of coincidence, and selective memory, whereby people only remember when someone they were thinking about rang, and forget all the times they were wrong? Most sceptics assume that this is the case, but until recently there had never been any scientific research on the subject at all.
I have developed a simple experiment to test for telephone telepathy. Participants receive a call from one of four different callers at a prearranged time, and they themselves choose the callers, usually close friends or family members. For each test, the caller is picked at random by the experimenter by throwing a dice, or by using a computerised random-number generator. The participant has to say who the caller is before the caller says anything. If people were just guessing, they would be right about one time in four, or 25% of the time.
We conducted more than 800 such trials, and the average success rate is 42%, very significantly above the chance level of 25%, with astronomical odds against chance.
We also carried out a series of trials in which two of the four callers were familiar, while the other two were strangers, whose names the participants knew, but whom they had not met. With familiar callers, the success rate was 56%, highly significant statistically. With strangers it was at the chance level, in agreement with the observation that telepathy typically takes place between people who share emotional or social bonds.
In addition, we have found that these effects do not fall off with distance. Some of our participants were from Australia or New Zealand, and they could identify who was calling just as well as with people down under as with people only a few miles away.
Telepathic emails and text messages are the latest version of this phenomenon, and an extensive series of experiments with emails has given very similar results to the telephone experiments. Positive and highly significant statistically. (The details of all this research on telepathy in people and in pets are published in a series of papers in peer-reviewed journals, and the full texts are available on my web site).
An automated version of the telephone telepathy test that works on mobile telephones is now up and running and can be accessed from the Online Experiments Portal on my web site, www.sheldrake.org.
Laboratory studies by parapsychologists have already provided significant statistical evidence for telepathy (well reviewed by Dean Radin in his book The Conscious Universe, Harper 1997). But most laboratory research has given rather weak effects, probably because most participants and “senders” were strangers to each other, and telepathy normally depends on social bonds.
The results of telephone telepathy experiments give much stronger and more repeatable effects because they involve people who know each other well. I have also found that there are striking telepathic links between nursing mothers and their babies. Likewise, the telepathic reactions of pets to their owners depend on strong social bonds.
I suggest that these bonds are aspects of the fields that link together members of social groups (which I call morphic fields) and which act as channels for the transfer of information between separated members of the group. Telepathy literally means “distant feeling,” and typically involves the communication of needs, intentions and distress. Sometimes the telepathic reactions are experienced as feelings, sometimes as visions or the hearing of voices, and sometimes in dreams. Many people and pets have reacted when people they are bonded to have had an accident, or are dying, even if this is happening many miles away.
There is an analogy for this process in quantum physics: if two particles have been part of the same quantum system and are separated in space, they retain a mysterious connectedness. When Einstein first realised this implication of quantum theory, he thought quantum theory must be wrong because it implied what he called “spooky action at a distance.” Experiments have shown that quantum theory is right and Einstein wrong. A change in one separated part of a system can affect another instantaneously. This phenomenon is known as quantum non-locality or non-separability.
Telepathy, like the sense of being stared at, is only paranormal if we define as “normal” the theory that the mind is confined to the brain. But if our minds reach out beyond our brains, just as they seem to, and connect with other minds, just as they seem to, then phenomena like telepathy and the sense of being stared at seem normal. They are not spooky and weird, on the margins of abnormal human psychology, but are part of our biological nature.
Of course, I am not saying that the brain is irrelevant to our understanding of the mind. It is very relevant, and recent advances in brain research have much to tell us. Our minds are centred in our bodies, and in our brains in particular. However, they are not confined to our brains, but extend beyond them. This extension occurs through the fields of the mind, or mental fields, which exist both within and beyond our brains.
The idea of the extended mind makes better sense of our experience than the mind-in-the-brain theory. Above all, it liberates us. We are no longer imprisoned within the narrow compass of our skulls, our minds separated and isolated from each other. We are no longer alienated from our bodies, from our environment and from other people. We are interconnected.
The new edition of Dr. Sheldrake’s classic book The Sense of Being Stared At, And Other Unexplained Powers of Human Minds, is available from all good bookstores and online retailers.
If you appreciated this article, please consider a digital subscription to New Dawn.
DR. RUPERT SHELDRAKE is a biologist and author of more than 80 papers in scientific journals and ten books. His book The Sense of Being Stared At, And Other Unexplained Powers of Human Minds, has just been released in a new edition by Park Street Press. He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge and a Research Fellow of the Royal Society. From 2005-2010 he was the Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge University. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, near San Francisco, and a visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut. He lives in London with his wife, Jill Purce, and their two sons. His web site is www.sheldrake.org.
© Copyright New Dawn Magazine, http://www.newdawnmagazine.com. Permission granted to freely distribute this article for non-commercial purposes if unedited and copied in full, including this notice.
Minds Beyond Brains: New Experimental Evidence by Rupert Sheldrake
Image: Idea go /freedigitalphotos.net
My Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday – Marc Chagall: The Blue Violinist, 1947
More Chagall´s Art: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/marc-chagall
New Dawn Magazine / May 11, 2012
By IAN LAWTON
Modern studies repeatedly suggest that a significant proportion of people in the Western world now believe in reincarnation. Although this phenomenon can be traced back to various esoteric movements that flourished from the second half of the 19th century, it gained significant ground with the explosion of popular interest in Eastern spiritual approaches in the 60s. And it was reinforced by a proliferation of therapists offering to regress people into their past lives.
Yet now the tide seems to be turning again. For some years the emphasis has been moving more towards the idea that we are all part of the One, the All, the Source, the Absolute, the Ultimate, the Great Spirit or whatever we choose to call the ‘universal consciousness’. Of course this is not a new idea. But what is changing is that especially more intellectually minded spiritual seekers are tending towards the view that anything outside of the ‘One’ is mere ‘illusion’.
In fact this word illusion is used a great deal in spiritual circles these days, although actually in quite different contexts, and it is perhaps worth considering what these are. Of course readers would all agree that the physical world itself is to some extent an illusion, at least inasmuch as it is underpinned by the nonphysical planes and states of being that science is increasingly pointing towards. But what about the idea that we only reincarnate for as long as we fail to see through the ‘illusion’, and that as soon as we gain ‘enlightenment’ we can ‘break the bonds of karma’ and ‘reunite with the Source’? More radical still, what about the idea that any notion of individuality is completely illusory on all levels, and that as soon as we die there is no sense of continuation of any sort of individual soul consciousness?
Whether or not they make it explicitly clear, these latter two are the ‘illusion models’ supported by a significant proportion of our best-known spiritual commentators of modern times – be they proponents of, for example, the ‘power of now’, or of ‘cosmic ordering’, or of ‘quantum mysticism’. Yet to see the world in this way is entirely at odds with what we might call the ‘experience model’, which holds that we lead many lives in order to see all sides of every emotional coin, and to learn to deal with the manifest challenges that life on this planet provides. In other words, a model in which the emphasis is on an individual soul growing by experience over many lifetimes.
If we are to adopt a rational approach then, rather than relying on ‘revealed wisdom’ ancient or modern, it is surely sensible to consider which of these models is best supported by logical analysis and the available evidence.
We can start with the premise that there must exist some sort of ultimate force or energy that underlies the entire universe, both seen and unseen, which is the Origin or Source of everything in it. However ineffable it may be, this principle of a universal consciousness is almost a logical necessity, and it is certainly supported by scientific research at both the quantum and the macrocosmic level. The idea that ‘we are all one’ is also a common element of transcendental experiences, whether spontaneous, meditative or induced by hallucinogens. So our next step must be to investigate whether, at the same time, there is any real evidence to support the idea of an individual consciousness that exists or survives independent of the physical body.
The most relevant area of research here is near-death experiences. In particular we are interested in cases that involve subjects returning with factual information that is subsequently verified, and yet so obscure that they could not reasonably have acquired it in any ‘normal’ way.
Near-Death Experience & Reincarnation Cases
One of the most fascinating cases on record took place in the early 70s, and involves a gifted young Russian scientist called George Rodonaia. His work on chemical brain transmitters was sufficiently valued by the KGB that they were not prepared to lose his expertise to the US by letting him take up an invite to further his research at Yale. On the day of his departure, as he stood on the pavement in Tbilisi waiting for a taxi to the airport, he was deliberately mown down by a car and pronounced dead at the scene. His body lay in a morgue for three days, but as the autopsy began his eyelids flickered and he was rushed to surgery.
As a man of science George had never had any time for religion. So those close to him were bewildered when, three days into his lengthy recovery, he began to describe what had happened while he was ‘dead’. In fact his was a relatively non-typical and highly transcendental experience, but for our current purposes he also claimed he had also been able to travel anywhere he liked while ‘out of body’. In particular he was drawn to a newborn baby in the hospital adjoining the morgue because she would not stop crying, and doctors had been unable to diagnose the problem. Much to his surprise he found that he was able to communicate with her telepathically, and also to scan her body and establish that her hip had been broken, probably at birth. Incredibly, as soon as George was well enough to pass on this information, the doctors x-rayed the baby and found that she did indeed have a fractured hip.
There are other, similar cases of near-death experiences involving obscure, factual information that combine to strongly suggest that our individual awareness or consciousness does indeed continue to exist even when the physical brain is absolutely non-functional. So far so good. But is there any evidence to support the further idea that individual souls have many lives?
Here we encounter two important areas of research, the first involving children who have spontaneous memories of past lives. Although historically most of these cases have come from Asia, one of the finest involves a young American boy called James Leininger of Lafayette, Louisiana. Born in 1998, his fascination with toy planes from the earliest age took a more sinister turn as he approached his second birthday, when vivid nightmares began. He would thrash around in his sleep, kicking out with his legs up in the air and moaning: “Airplane crash, on fire, little man can’t get out.” His mother Andrea had no particular religious convictions but, when her mother suggested these might be memories of a past life, she began to encourage little James to talk about them. And he began to reveal startling details, such as that the pilot of the plane was also called James; that he had been shot down by the Japanese; that he had flown Corsairs; and that one of his fellow pilots went by the name of Jack Larsen. He also mysteriously mentioned the single word Natoma.
His father Bruce remained dubious about any sort of spiritual explanation, but he knew that neither he nor any other member of their family had any particular interest in aircraft or the war. So he began to research, and quickly established that an aircraft carrier called the USS Natoma Bay had been stationed in the Pacific during World War II and had taken part in the notorious battle for the Japanese island of Iwo Jima early in 1945. He ordered a book about this, and was flicking through it one day when James pointed to the island of Chichi Jima on a map and exclaimed, “Daddy, that is where my plane was shot down.” He then made contact with the ‘Natoma Bay Association’, who confirmed that Jack Larsen had been one of the pilots, and also that only one pilot had been lost at Chichi Jima: 21-year-old Lt James M. Huston Jr.
Bruce also knew that Huston had flown Wildcats, not Corsairs, on the Natoma Bay. But when he made contact with Huston’s elderly sister she kindly sent him some photos – including one of her brother standing proudly next to a Corsair. Military records then showed he had originally been part of an elite special squadron who test-flew these planes. But the real clincher involves three ‘GI Joe’ dolls. When Bruce asked his son why he called them Leon, Walter and Billie he replied, “Because they greeted me when I went to heaven.” Again military records confirmed that three of Huston’s fellow Natoma Bay pilots were Lt Leon S. Conner, Ensign Walter J. Devlin and Ensign Billie R. Peeler – and that all three had died before Huston on other engagements. None of this detailed information is available on the internet pages about the Natoma Bay even now, let alone in popular books and so on.
Past Lives & Hypnotic Regression
The second area of past-life research is hypnotic regression. With this we must first appreciate that the human brain appears to store a complete record of everything we have ever been exposed to, no matter how briefly or how long ago, and that although most of these memories remain inaccessible to our normal consciousness they can be accessed in trance. So apparently authentic and detailed past lives, even including strong emotions and strange accents and so on, have sometimes been proved to come from perfectly normal sources – not least historical fiction, which is often overlooked by spiritual researchers. Nevertheless, there remain some cases involving information so obscure that only a paranormal explanation seems appropriate.
One of the finest involves a young woman dubbed Jane Evans, who was one of many subjects regressed by the Welsh hypnotherapist Arnall Bloxham. She first visited him in the late 60s and proved a responsive subject who, over the course of a number of sessions, regressed into six separate lives from Roman times onwards. She would go on to be the star of a 1976 documentary made by the initially sceptical BBC producer Jeffrey Iverson, entitled ‘The Bloxham Tapes’. Her most celebrated past life was that of a persecuted Jewess in 12th century York, but on close investigation this case is somewhat inconclusive. In fact her strongest life in terms of obscure evidence involved Alison, a young servant to the 15th century French financier and merchant, Jacques Coeur.
Some of the historical information Jane came up with in trance was relatively obscure, and could only be verified by professional French historians. For example, she said that Charles VII’s nickname was “heron legs”; that his son Louis had poisoned his wife; that his mistress Agnes Sorel had two pet dogs clothed in “coats of white fur with jewelled collars”; and that Coeur was Jewish and his father was a goldsmith. Perhaps more impressive was her knowledge that Coeur was an avid collector of art, with paintings by Jean “Fouquet,” the court painter to the king and one of Coeur’s debtors; by Jan “van Eyck,” the court painter to the nearby Duke of Burgundy; by “Giotto,” an Italian master from the previous century; and by the little-known “John of Bruges” who, Iverson established only with great difficulty, was also known as John Bondolf and was a Flemish court painter for the king’s grandfather. More impressive again was her report that Coeur had a “body servant” called Abdul, who was “dressed differently from the others” – because it was only from obscure French court records of the time that Iverson was able to confirm that he did indeed have an Egyptian body slave.
Impressive enough, yet the clincher in this case is Jane’s recall of a “beautiful golden apple with jewels in it” that she said had been given to Coeur by the Sultan of Turkey. All of Iverson’s initial attempts to verify the existence of such a piece drew a blank until his last night in Coeur’s home town of Bourges, when he returned to his hotel to find a message from a local historian. The latter reported that he had been searching through contemporary archives when he found “an obscure list of items confiscated by the Treasury from Jacques Coeur”; and in that list was a “grenade” of gold – a pomegranate. Of course this is so like an apple in shape and size that the English word contains the French root pomme. It is also worth noting that one sceptic’s supposed attempt to trace all these details to a historical novel is a complete travesty, because the novel has an entirely different plot and contains virtually none of these obscure details.
Again there are other, similar cases of both childhood recall and regression that involve equally obscure yet verifiable information about past lives. But could all these merely result from subjects tapping into some sort of universal memory, or even from possession by the deceased? Probably the strongest evidence that these are indeed memories from the subjects’ own, individual, past lives comes from subjects also being regressed into the time between lives, or ‘interlife’.
This stems from the research of a number of pioneering psychologists and psychiatrists around the world, who each stumbled on the interlife independently in the 70s and 80s. Their subjects’ reports are extremely consistent, so that the experience can be broken into five main elements: transition and healing, past-life review, soul group interaction, next-life planning and returning. This evidence from what now constitute thousands of subjects from diverse backgrounds suggests strongly that there is a continuity of individual soul identity across many lives.
The Holographic Soul
So how do we properly bring this evidence of individual soul survival and reincarnation together with the idea of a universal consciousness that underlies everything? Although the most profound spiritual sources have hinted at the truth throughout the ages, the most simple yet elegant solution has only become available to us in recent decades with the discovery of the hologram. And it involves applying this principle not to the brain, nor to memory, nor even to the universe as a whole, but instead to soul consciousness itself:
Soul consciousness is holographic. We are both individual aspects of the Source, and full holographic representations of it, all at the same time. However this does not mean that soul individuality is in itself an illusion. The principle of the hologram is that the part contains the whole, and yet is clearly distinguishable from it.
The other message that comes through loud and clear from interlife research, as well as from the most profound spiritual sources, is that free will and personal responsibility reign supreme. This is what allows us to learn from our mistakes, and to grow as souls. So any next-life previews seen between lives merely represent major probabilities and lesser possibilities, and there is no karmic punishment or predestiny. Indeed the idea of karma itself has arguably outlived its usefulness, because it is clear that the dynamics of how our attitudes, intentions and experiences feed into the futures we create for ourselves, both across and within lives, are far too complex to be reduced to simplistic ‘laws’.
In conclusion it appears that there are no ‘flaws in the grand plan’. The physical world is not an abomination created by fallen angels. Nor is the reincarnation cycle something to be escaped from at all costs, either by suddenly gaining the enlightenment to see through the illusion, or by learning to give up all ‘attachment’ so as to generate no more karma. Although we would do well to aim for a degree of emotional detachment and balance, and regular meditation is absolutely invaluable in trying to bring our ‘higher selves’ to the fore, life is to be lived and experienced!
So where does it all end? Interlife evidence, again backed by the most profound spiritual sources, suggests that we continue to reincarnate until we have exhausted all the possibilities for growth in the physical plane. And this is only the ‘end of the beginning’ of the soul’s journey, because there are many other opportunities for new experiences in other realms. As for the idea of ‘reuniting with the Source’, the concept of the Holographic Soul suggests that we never split off from It in the first place, and that It is always within us and us within It.
What about the million dollar question from which ‘illusionists’ tend to shy away? What is the whole point of the universe in the first place, and how do we humans fit into the ‘big picture’?
The Source’s primary aim, in diversifying into all the billions of holographic soul aspects of itself that operate in the various realms throughout the universe, is to experience all that is and can be. So as individualised aspects of the Source who have chosen to reincarnate on this planet, we are merely fulfilling a small part of that objective by gaining a balance of all the experiences available via this route.
James Leininger’s amazing story is documented in the book Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot.
If you appreciated this article, please consider a digital subscription to New Dawn.
IAN LAWTON is a spiritual philosopher, the architect of ‘Rational Spirituality’ and one of the world’s leading authorities on the interlife. Further case studies are available in the simple, pocket-size Little Book of the Soul (2007), while the full research for this article can be found in The Big Book of the Soul (2008). For further information and to order The Big Book of the Soul, see www.ianlawton.com.
© Copyright New Dawn Magazine, http://www.newdawnmagazine.com. Permission granted to freely distribute this article for non-commercial purposes if unedited and copied in full, including this notice.
Today’s post is in participation of a writing challenge hosted by the blog Me My Magnificent Self (http://memymagnificentself.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/challenge-2014-my-awakening-experience-and-moving-forward/ ).
It will also be a chapter in an upcoming free e-book! I hope you enjoy my piece.
Wake up and Smile at Life
It was late November and I was taking a class on Energy Medicine. As part of the class we were guided through an Inner Smile Meditation. I had never practiced this meditation before but was open to the experience. The instructor gently led us through the first step: thinking of something that makes us smile. It could be anything as long as it induced a genuine smile to our face. Instantly I thought of my children and their bright and smiling faces appeared in my mind. It was easy to smile back at them and to feel my heart lighten with joy. The next step was to…
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“With evidence growing that training the mind or inducing certain modes of consciousness can have positive health effects, researchers have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body. A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of intensive mindfulness practice.”
Image canvas: worldpaperswide.com
The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;–
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;–a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.