Many of you may be familiar with the scientific (yes, scientific!) field of parapsychology. This is the scientific study of psychic, or “psi” phenomena. I will have much more to say on this blog about this topic. I feel as a practitioner, it is very important that people understand that psychic ability has already been proven. There are a sufficient number of studies (thousands, perhaps) offering proof beyond chance of the existence of psi phenomena, from very controlled, scientifically viable experiments. If you don’t know about this, you should. Dean Radin’s books, The Conscious Universe and Entangled Minds are two very excellent places to start. Eventually, I will publish my last lecture given on this subject that will point you to all the particulars (probably several posts.) If I weren’t of a calm mind about most things, though, I would be outraged that this information is not as widely known as it should be. I can think of one of my friends who might say, is there a conspiracy theory behind this? 🙂 (You know who you are.)
I think there are reasons why you don’t know about it. If it is ever going to be widely recognized, I think it is important that two major avenues be explored: 1) the ‘marketing’ of the evidence and especially its resulting exposure into the mainstream culture and the scientific establishment, and 2) a greater understanding of how psi phenomena function. As Dean Radin has eloquently pointed out, the reason why the results of these studies are not more widely known has more to do with the history and philosophy of science than the strength of the studies. It seems important that beyond the concession of skeptics and critics, that the information is also brought to a wider audience, who would, according to polls regarding public experiences and beliefs, be very receptive to the information. (The majority of people believe in psychic abilities and experiences of all sorts.) I wonder who is working on that, if it in fact can be sufficiently addressed? If there is a marketing campaign for the evidence, please somebody point me to it.
As far as how psi functions…As Dean Radin notes, the Congressional Research Service in their 1981 report, concludes that parapsychological studies “suggest that there exists an ‘interconnectiveness’ of the human mind with other minds and with matter. This…would appear to be functional in nature and amplified by intent and emotion.” I think this is one of the key points in understanding the nature of psi phenomena.
Luckily, today’s parapsychologists are focusing on more process-oriented questions rather than evidence-based ones. IE, how this stuff works. One of the most interesting implications is the interconnected web of life, including the human mind and heart. It is fascinating that the strength of connection between two human beings, through emotion and intent, can best facilitate this type of communication through telepathy, clairvoyance, etc. This suggests the naturalness of the process—rather than a “supernatural” origin. Many cases of spontaneous ESP are associated with emotional crises and dangers. It suggests that the strength of an emotion or an emotional connection may serve as a psychic connector, used to convey messages of extreme importance and meaning.
It is interesting to speculate that the unconscious mind may receive such signals more often than reaches our conscious awareness. If we are interconnected, perhaps on an unconscious level (Jung’s collective unconscious), that may be an excellent theory to explain the means by which psi operates. Access to this information may be facilitated by a greater relationship between the conscious and unconscious mind—which can occur through cultivation of meditation practices, hypnosis, the dream state, sensory deprivation, and even psychotherapy. If our conscious minds act as a filter, perhaps it has too much material to work through, and simplifying our intake through reduced sensory awareness may help to develop psychic ability. This is my theory, anyway. And I certainly teach methods to my students that have to do with accessing altered states of consciousness. I am currently going through James P. Carpenter’s theory that the unconscious plays a large part in psychic experiences, you can check out his book, First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life. If you want the Cliff Notes version, go here.
Conversely, I find it interesting but also troubling that evidence from the study of remote viewers indicates that practice and training did not significantly improve their abilities. WTH? This seems counter-intuitive to me, based on the research regarding psi-conducive states. Perhaps this question reveals only more questions regarding other possible “blocks” of ESP ability, similar to the difference in ability that exists between believers and non-believers. People who believe in the ability are significantly more likely to have their own experiences. But with my own experiences with remote viewing, I have found my own methods easier to use for me, personally speaking, than ones I have tried from former government employed remote viewers. I will also post on this blog, my own informal experiment conducted in graduate school that talks about what works best for me in taking on the task of remote viewing.
I believe the ability is widely distributed, and simply poorly recognized or misunderstood. As research indicates, perhaps certain people are better able to “tune in” to the psychic channel, based on experiences or personality, rather than innate ability. Certain highly sensitive people, do seem to be more prone to psychic experiences (me included.) For more on this, please read this excellent book, highly recommended if you are one of those sensitive people: The HISS of the ASP.
I find it fascinating that all ESP could be based on communication from a “future” self. This again, could be relayed in an unconscious way. Wouldn’t that be super cool?
Overall, I believe it is useful for many reasons to continue to study psi ability scientifically, but if the ability is to be cultivated, it is more useful to view it as many shamanistic cultures do—as everyday, normal, culturally accepted spiritual experiences (that can be learned and developed.) This is the basis from which I teach my students, as I think we all have the ability to learn this.