Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ask IAC: How can I See Auras?

Thank you to J.P. from the Ukraine for this question. IAC London shared some tips on getting started with perception of the bioenergetic system of biological systems from trees to fellow humans and explains more about what what auras are here. Enjoy the tips and information and we encourage you to continue development of your psi abilities with IAC's training courses at our campus in Portugal or at one of our educational centers in Europe, such as London.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Podcast: Author Luis Minero and Brenda Dunne, former Princeton PEAR Lab manager in conversation

After a fascinating series of podcasts with contributors of the acclaimed anthology Filters and Reflections: Perspectives on Reality (which included a chapter by IAC's Nelson Abreu), ICRL has started a new series entitled Conversations on Consciousness.  Episode 2 features IAC president and author of Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience Luis Minero in conversation with Brenda Dunne, president of ICRL, former manager of the historic PEAR laboratory, and co-author of the classics Margins of Reality and Consciousness and the Margins of Reality. You can find this and other thought-provoking podcasts:
http://icrl.org/icrl-podcasts/

Friday, January 24, 2014

Podcast: World's Largest Consciousness Research Project - Adam Currydiscusses Collective Consciousness App

In a previous blog post, we mused about the future applications of consciousness research in "every day life." In this edition, we introduce you to a new platform that could yield many such applications.  It is quite literally "an app" for mobile devices and what could be described as largest consciousness research project ever, placing the experience of decades of mind-matter interaction research at Princeton University in your pocket. Adam Curry of Collective Consciousness App invites you to support this citizen science project enabled by a mobile device app that will be freely available.  You can help make it a reality by supporting the crowd-funding campaign that has 45 days left as of the date of publication.

IAC Consciousness Radio's latest podcast is a conversation with Adam Curry, the inventor-entrepreneur-consciousness scholar who conceived the app.  The compelling citizen science project is currently being crowd-funded and counts with the support of renown creatives, technologists and researchers.  


The project is capturing the imagination of consciousness studies aficionados, mindfulness practitioners and scientists from various organizations.  Collective Consciousness App aims to provide a powerful, freely-available tool that is based on the research of the famed Princeton PEAR Lab and Global Consciousness Project



CONSCIOUSNESS APP
from Subtangle on Vimeo.


Adam Curry began his consciousness scholarship in earnest when he became involved with the PEAR lab in 2002.  He is the Program Chair of the upcoming Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration in San Francisco, June 5 - 7, 2014.




During high school, his observance of a gravity-related anomaly led to his invention of a novel technique and device for short-term earthquake forecasting. He spent several years traveling, researching, and organizing a global forecasting network. He was lauded by the US Congress, the Office of Naval Research, and was the 2002 recipient of the CERES connection prize, for which the MIT Lincoln Laboratory named an asteroid after him.




Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nurse's Research of Near-Death Experiences Reported in UK's The Daily Mail newspaper

Our recent post about the NDE quickly rose to the top 10.  If you missed it, be sure to check it out [Near-Death Experience symposium review] - and while we are on the subject, we would like to report on a new book by Dr. Penny Sartori.  Dr. Sartori practiced as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse for 17 years, where her research interest for near-death experiences (NDE's) was sparked by patients reporting such experiences after resuscitation.  Reportedly cynical at first, she eventually came to see the NDE as a veridical phenomenon.  She came into prominence in the field with the publication of The Near-Death Experiences of Hospitalized Intensive Care Patients: A Five Year Clinical Study, which was discussed in the BCC.  

Dr. Sartori's new book, featured in the UK's The Daily Mail, is entitled The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences: How Understanding NDEs Can Help Us Live More Fully, presenting evidence, discussing the details of the experience (such as out-of-body experience, tunnel experience, meeting non-physical entities, life review experience), distilling the kind of transformational insights or messages that patients bring back from their NDE's and the kinds of positive changes they can produce, such as overcoming the fear of death. Dr. Sartori also ponders on what the NDE might indicate about the nature of consciousness, highlighting that consciousness does not seem to arise from the brain, but rather that the brain is a sort of transceiver for consciousness that can exist independently from it.

Not since 1975, when Raymond Moody coined the term NDE in Life after Life, has there been such widespread interest in the phenomenon.  Dr Sartori's book, as well as the recent best-seller from Dr. Eben Alexander, and the UN-supported Human Consciousness Project, among others, are all helping to increase public awareness of evidence of the survival of consciousness after biological death.  Often dismissed by cynics as the result of lack of oxygen, the work of NDE researchers like Dr. Pim van Lommel has shown that explanation of lacking.  The phenomenological richness of out-of-body experiences, whether of the NDE or the spontaneous or intentional kind, are only reducible to optical illusion of a brain gone awry by those who have not experienced them and who refuse to admit the possibility of life after death.  One does not have to abandon the scientific spirit and rigor to explore this possibility, as exemplified by Dr. Sartori's journey.

With the cooperation of community groups like local branches of the International Association for Near Death Studies, through lectures (and the publication of Demystifying the OBE), the International Academy of Consciousness continues to make in-roads into helping those who have experienced a near-death experience realize that they can have further experiences without going through a physical trauma.  Through subtle energy mastery and OBE practices, they can gather additional insights and work side-by-side with the fraternal entities (Extraphysical Helpers, spirit guides) they met briefly on an ongoing basis through lucid projectability (conscious, intentional, periodic, recalled out-of-body experiences). Of course, those who have not had such experiences can also train to have them in a safe and rewarding manner: the proof is, indeed, in the pudding.


 
The Wisdom of NDE's - Book Trailer

Monday, January 13, 2014

Near-Death Experience symposium review - An “Insider’s Perspective” of Experiencing Death


Consciousness scholar Thomas D. Abraham shares an "insider’s perspective” on the mini-symposium Experiencing Death: An Insider's Perspective.  We also look forward to your questions and responses.

On December 11, 2013, I was delighted to attend a mini-symposium event at the New York Academy of Sciences entitled Experiencing Death: An Insider’s Perspective, which was part of a four-part series moderated by Steve Paulson called Rethinking Mortality. The topic of this symposium was centered around the near-death experience (NDE) and the out-of-body experience (OBE) and speakers including prominent NDE author and neuropsychiatrist, Peter Fenwick; NDE experiencer Mary Neal, MD; neurologist, Kevin Nelson, MD; and NDE researcher, Sam Parnia, MD, PhD.

First, I must say how exciting it was to see hundreds of people in attendance in what is gradually moving from the fringes of serious investigation to more of a forefront of scientific study. As the speakers acknowledge, the fundamental questions pertaining to the nature of consciousness are some of the most interesting one might ask. The discussion began immediately with disagreement over the definition or what it means to be dead. Is death something one can ever return from? How does one objectively define “death.” 

Traditionally, this definition involves a cessation of the heart (cardiac arrest) and respiration as well as fixed, dilated, and unresponsive pupils. Dr. Nelson argued, however, that true death occurs with neuronal apoptosis resulting from a lack of blood-supplied oxygen. Thus, he claimed, that the subjective experience of an NDE including the OBE are related to ongoing brain activity potentially occurring after cardiac arrest but prior to neuronal death. Hence, there is a distinction between near-death and return-from-death experiences in which case he argues the later is impossible. Given this frame, we can then consider all of the components of an NDE experience as related to brain function and the stress-induced flight-or-fight response of the person facing death. 

Of course, mention was made of the numerous studies producing what I would call out-of-body illusions dating back to early neuro-stimulation experiments conducted by Wilder Penfield and up through modern research by Olaf Blanke, Henrik Ehrsson, and the like. To anyone who has had a lucid OBE, whether provoked by an NDE or not, this explanation feels thoroughly unsatisfactory as exemplified by Mary Neal’s description of her personal experience. 


Sam Parnia and Peter Fenwick do not advocate a strictly materialist explanation of the phenomena or of the consciousness for that matter. Overall, I think both researchers did an adequate job of refuting most of Nelson’s arguments. For instance, as Parnia explained, brain activity required to produce the intense visual sensations associated with these experiences would certainly register on EEG. However, one can observe flat-line brain activity following cardiac arrest, even in patients reporting conscious experience during the time of supposed death. 

Likewise, the disembodied visual perspective of the consciousness cannot be easily explained by an open eye and dilated pupil, especially when the eye is unresponsive to visual input. This is even more brought into question when we consider the accounts of NDE survivors who veridically report activity that is not local to their body (such as in another room etc). Lastly, as Neal alluded to, it is hard to explain the patient’s report of experiencing an “increase in consciousness” or lucidity when the brain is in a state of deprived oxygenation. 

The panelists also discussed cross-cultural similarities and differences in NDE accounts including the frequently reported tunnel experience and encountering beings of light. It was mentioned that atheists tend to have similar experiences despite their lack of spiritual affiliation. Again there was little agreement as to the significance of the commonalities or of the differences across cultures. Nelson did suggest that some variability might be explained due to physical conditions such as the person’s age and the manner of death etc. The point was raised that many survivors have reported seeing Elvis, whereas children may report having seen Santa Claus, for example. Fenwick offered a more social explanation based on the cultural upbringing and personal circumstances of the patient. 

The conversation left off with a resounding agreement of a great need and interest to find ways to objectively experiment with this phenomenon. Also discussed were the many challenges facing this line of research including the logistical impracticality and, of course, obtaining grant funding. 


Overall, I was very happy to see such a didactic discussion on this topic and to see multiple viewpoints represented. That said, I found the arguments to be insufficient in many ways. For starters, I think there is a desperate need to disambiguate the terms NDE and OBE and for researchers to begin to recognize the NDE as one of many ways in which an OBE can be provoked. As all of the panelists came from either medical or clinical backgrounds, I think, perhaps there is a bias to consider the problem only through the NDE lens. However, studying the OBE only through the use of NDEs is highly impractical for obvious reasons. 

Secondly, even though the panelists acknowledged that an OBE can be provoked by other means, the notion was raised that only the NDE is capable of eliciting the profound, meaningful, and life-altering experience associated with OBEs. This, again likely stems from a bias on the part of the panel, none of whom, aside from Neal, have actually had an OBE. 

Likewise, even Neal, from what I can gather, has only had the one lucid OBE. This is not to downplay the significance of the event, just to say that it hardly constitutes a wealth of self-research pertaining to the phenomenon. I think the lack of personal experience with the OBE is a huge issue in this case. Not only does it result in a narrow experimental framework, I also feel the foundations of the arguments themselves were lacking a degree of multidimensionality. For instance, if indeed one accepts the premise that the consciousness is not a bi-product of brain matter but rather is “non-local” or perhaps supersedes matter, what are the real implications of this? For instance, while the panel discussed experiential differences stemming from culture, no one considered other multidimensional factors such as polykarma or the affinities with the “beings of light.” 

What are the specific connotations of the relationships between the projected intraphysical consciousness and the extraphysical consciousnesses they encountered, and how does this color the experience? Does this relationship extend beyond this intraphysical lifetime or are these extraphysical consciousnesses always someone we’ve known in this life? Was the NDE “sponsored” (i.e., provoked) by an extraphysical consciousness, perhaps as an existential course correction, or was the episode simple the result of a mishap? This lack of personal experience, I believe, causes one to interpret the data from a very intraphysical seat and therefore construct a narrow mental model of the event. 

Multidimensional characteristics such as existential seriality (rebirth, reincarnation), polykarma, and cosmoethics, don’t fit into that model and are thus omitted. Likewise, in the case of Neal, a religious upbringing can cause a spiritual interpretation congruent with one’s preexisting inclinations. Following repeated experiences with the OBE, hopefully, we begin to detach from this conditioning and become more discerning with our observations. This does not in any way serve to undermine or downplay the spiritual and life-altering nature of the experience. It is merely to say that a conception of God is merely a narrow and culturally conditioned interpretation with which we are well-served to dismiss with in our investigations of the unknown. This stands for ANY preconception, whether religiously derived or not. In sum, I would enthusiastically agree that we need to study this topic more intensely. 

Secondly, I argue that the NDE is not in any way a requisite for having an OBE. As such, we should employ the healthy, natural state of being a projected intraphysical consciousness (induced via one of many trainable lucid OBE techniques) as a primary subject of inquiry. Lastly, any serious researcher of this topic, especially one who acknowledges the tremendous benefit for those who have experienced an OBE, necessarily must strive to have more of their own personal experiences providing a foundation for exploration devoid of intraphysical bias. One cannot fully appreciate the multidimensional implications and complexities of the subject matter from a purely academic standpoint.

A video of part of the event is up on Youtube: http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zPCvuva2deU&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Ffeature%3Dplayer_embedded%26v%3DzPCvuva2deU

Thomas D. Abraham, an IAC scholar based in Colorado, has a background in cognitive neuroscience. Previous presentations in consciousness scholarship include:
 

"Vehicles of Consciousness," Poster Session, Science and Non-Duality, San Rafael, California, USA 2013
 

"Energetic Games: Models of Self-Research and Bioenergetic Development,"1st International Symposium on Conscientiological Research, IAC Research Campus, Evoramonte, Portugal, 2005

Friday, January 3, 2014

Mediumship, Ectoplasmic Phenomena: Video, Book and Event Recommendations

There has been great interest generated on the subject of ectoplasm and physical phenomena by students from IAC courses such as the upcoming Qualifications in Energosomatics and Energometry (18 - 26 January, Portugal), Multidimensional Praxis: Ectoplasm and Clairvoyance, Wagner Alegretti's Ectoplasm and CDP Advanced 2: Assistantial Energetic Field.  Also, the recent post sharing a new educational film on the history of the subject quickly became the 6th most read post in our blog. For additional documentaries, consider the BBC's Science and Seance on rise and height of Spiritualism in the US and UK in the Victorian era and Afterlife Investigations on physical evidence collected during a more contemporary case.

For more on a historical perspective of psychical or psi phenomena, including ectoplasmic ones, we recommend the upcoming course on the History of Parapsychism that will be webcast from Los Angeles with an New York-based scholar. For more information, contact california@iacworld.org.

Recently, IAC scholars in Italy and Los Angeles had an opportunity to meet US-based, Austrian documentary-maker Robert Narholz who has been documenting contemporary efforts to study phenomena of mediumship and ectoplasmic physical phenomena. Our readership should find his video recordings under read lighting quite interesting, such as the one that follows:

 


Among contemporary researchers, we can find distinguished psi researcher Dr. Stephen Braude (Braude is a past president of the Parapsychological Association, and the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Scientific Exploration, author of several articles and books on the subject). In this interview, he discusses his investigations with the Felix Circle, a German group led by a cardiologist. IAC recently visited researchers from other organizations based on the consciential paradigm, including Ectolab, which is focusing on physical and physiological correlates of psi phenomena.

We leave you with four book recommendations:

A. The first English-language translation of the 1908 Mediumistic Phenomena
by Dr. Filippo Bottazzi, translated by Antonio Giuditta and Irmeli Routti, published by ICRL Press on the extraordinary case of Eusapia Palladino. Respected scholar on the history and research of psi phenomena, Carlos Alvarado, has written a review of the book in Journal of Scientific Exploration.



http://icrl.org/icrl-press/mediumistic-phenomena/

B. Secondly, retired NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory physicist Dr. Jan Vandersande's Life After Death: Some of the Best Evidence summarizes a century of literature, personal experiences in seance circles in South Africa and elsewhere, including several interesting photographs. Below you can find an interview with the author.



C. There have been, throughout history, cases of clever techniques used to fool even intelligent, well-educated individuals. Anyone interested in the study of ectoplasmic phenomena should learn about this - one source to consider is the book Psychic Mafia. The challenge of ruling out trickery is one of the reasons phenomena like the out-of-body experience, which can be independently produced and verified, are so important to paradigm change.

D. For those who can read Portuguese: ECTOPLASMA - Descobertas de um médico psiquiatra




Nelson Abreu
IAC California