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Back to Research: Group Mind

What Can Science Tell Us About Collective Consciousness?
by Robert Kenny, MBA
© 2004 Robert Kenny and Leaderful Teams Consulting


TABLE of CONTENTS
[click on any heading]

Foreward and Overview

A growing number of people are discussing collective consciousness and wisdom. When I first published an article about these topics in 19921, my literature search turned up only one line of related scientific research, begun in 1979, regarding the social effects of “unified field” consciousness, accessed through group practice of transcendental meditation (TM).2 A year later, the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) lab began studying how focused group intention and attention – or “field consciousness” -- brought order to random computer output. In 1995, Roger Nelson and Dean Radin began researching similar effects that occurred when mass attention was captured by events like the O.J. Simpson trial. In 1998, the Fetzer Institute and the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) co-sponsored two national dialogues exploring group consciousness and synergy, which my wife, Julie Glover, organized. Fetzer published a report, Centered on the Edge: Mapping a Field of Collective Intelligence and Spiritual Wisdom, three years later, and supported creation of this website in 2002. The following year Rupert Sheldrake published a book about “extended mind”, and IONS and the Association for Global New Thought co-sponsored the first conference on collective wisdom, which was attended by 2,500 participants. When I did an Internet search regarding collective consciousness in October 2003, I got more than 64,000 hits. In its May-July, 2004 issue, What Is Enlightenment? magazine ran a feature article on collective consciousness. Clearly, the topic has been increasingly infiltrating our social discourse.

Is There Scientific Evidence? If more and more people are talking about collective consciousness, is there any scientific evidence to back it up? Yes – and that’s important. Rigorous science helps us avoid the fuzzy thinking and unquestioned assumptions that too often characterize spiritual and New Age discussions. Moreover, science may ultimately introduce mainstream society to collective consciousness and demonstrate how it can benefit us all.

Over the past 12 years, I’ve studied a good deal of intriguing research about collective consciousness. It suggests that we influence each other in many subtle, yet powerful ways, and that our collective wisdom and creativity can be harnessed for the common good much more than we do presently.

Moving Around This Document. This Foreword and Overview will give you some brief examples of the research. If you want to delve into the research in greater detail, you can explore the longer paper that follows. If you click on a link in the Overview, it will take you to the corresponding section of the in-depth paper. It is the most up-to-date and comprehensive – perhaps the only -- survey of the research on collective consciousness available today. It represents my perspective on collective consciousness, based upon my thinking and experience working with collective wisdom in teams and organizations over more than 30 years. Finally, the paper’s endnotes will allow you in many cases to link to the original research.

We have also provided additional ways for you to find the sections of the paper that are most interesting to you. You can click on the links in the Table of Contents, above.

We will cover a lot of ground in this paper, addressing a number of crucial issues involved in the scientific study of collective consciousness:

  • Defining collective consciousness clearly and operationally, in a manner that allows us to conduct effective scientific research;
  • Beginning to outline a model of individual and social development, and to develop a theory and testable hypotheses regarding collective consciousness, so we can conduct research that is rigorous, disciplined, interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and grounded in human experience and development;
  • Drawing upon theory and research regarding consciousness, fields, subtle energies and tele-prehension, that suggest possible explanatory mechanisms for collective consciousness; and
  • Examining some of the possible implications of building collective consciousness, based upon the research, in terms of physical, emotional and mental healing, strengthening and sustaining our organizations and communities, and facilitating learning and creative collaboration.

Before moving into the body of the paper, let me briefly summarize the main areas of research and potential benefits that I will later address in detail:

What Is Collective Consciousness? Collective consciousness is a mode of awareness that emerges at the first transpersonal stage of consciousness, when our identities expand beyond our egos. A crucial capacity that accompanies this awareness is the ability to intuitively sense and work with the interactions between our and others’ energy fields, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. For example, just as Gene Rodenberry imagined a future where Star Trek’s Spock could “mind meld” with others, more of us are now becoming aware of our capacity not only to intuit each other’s thoughts and emotions, but also to consciously think and create together without communicating through our five senses.

The Role of Energy Fields. Most of the researchers below postulate that energy fields explain the effects of consciousness. Fields are regions of influence.

Examples include gravitational, electric and magnetic fields. Although invisible, we have learned how to measure these fields. Some of the research I will now describe, however, indicates that another type of field may be associated with collective consciousness.

Psi or Tele-prehension. Psi is extra-sensory perception or influence, perhaps made possible by the apparent ability of consciousness to operate beyond the constraints of space and time. Examples include telepathy and remote viewing. The existence of psi (or tele-prehension, as Ken Wilber calls it) has been convincingly demonstrated in a large number of scientific studies, carried out by Marilyn Schlitz, Dean Radin and others. For example, in a number of remote-viewing experiments people have described a distant location to which another individual has been sent, with a statistically significant degree of accuracy, well beyond chance levels. As in other psi experiments, pairs who had an emotional bond have obtained the strongest results. These findings suggest that building a sense of connection and trust in groups may allow members to access and understand each other's perspectives more readily, to “see through each other’s eyes.”

Biologist Rupert Sheldrake and others have conducted a number of ingenious experiments that show that psi abilities are widespread, even in animals. For example, using synchronized video cameras in dog owners’ homes and workplaces, he has proven that dogs go to the front doors of their homes to wait, as soon as their owners decide to return home from work, even though those times are varied daily. Sheldrake, Radin and others have conducted many other telepathy experiments, showing that people can sense the thoughts and intentions of others across space and time. Through tele-prehension, the members of a group may be able to read each other’s minds and engage in a non-sensory, creative, mental interplay.

Facilitated Learning and Creativity. Sheldrake has also demonstrated that we can assist each other’s learning across distances. In one of a number of studies, a group completed a newly created crossword puzzle. It was then broadcast to millions via TV, for them to complete. Subsequently, a new group, that had not seen the puzzle, finished it significantly faster than the original group. If we extrapolate from individual to group effects, these results imply that a team may be able to help other teams to develop cognitively and creatively, without any external interaction. Systems theorist Ervin Laszlo has suggested that such findings may also explain cultural synchronicity in times past, where a discovery or creative renaissance in one culture appeared within relatively short timeframes in other cultures around the world, despite an absence of communication.

The Creation of Order or Coherence. Radin, the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Lab, and Roger Nelson’s Global Consciousness Project have conducted many other intriguing experiments with random-number-generating (RNG) computers. RNGs are programmed to issue zeroes or ones randomly, so that each
number eventually appears 50% of the time. Ordinary people, however, have used intention to create order out of this randomness, causing RNGs that were sometimes thousands of miles away, to issue significantly more of one number over many trials. Bonded pairs – couples in a relationship – produced effects that were six times stronger than individuals. Like the remote viewing experiments, these results indicate that people with an emotional connection, when acting in concert, are more influential than individuals acting alone.

Groups also produce stronger results than individuals. For example, even when only the attention of groups has been captured by high-interest events, the RNG effects have been three times greater than individual-intention results -- despite the fact that the groups were unaware of the RNGs and therefore did not intend to influence their output. When groups of people meditated together – a practice that creates even greater focus by synchronizing members’ brain waves – the effect of their coherent attention was six times greater than the individual-intention results. Finally, during certain events that have captured mass attention, such as Princess Diana’s death and the 9/11 tragedies, the combined output of 60 RNGs around the world has significantly deviated from chance. These results suggest that focused collective attention or intention can create significant order in otherwise random and chaotic reality. It is precisely this effect – the transformation of randomness into coherence -- that underlies insight, learning, healing and creative manifestation.

Interpersonal and Collective Entrainment. Just as we can create order in physical systems through focused attention or intention, a number of experiments have suggested that two or more people can create synchronization or coherence between their nervous systems. For example, Marilyn Schlitz, William Braud and others have shown that calm individuals can intentionally reduce the anxiety of others in distant places, and that focused people can help others in remote locations to concentrate their attention. These effects may be explained by other studies, including those conducted by a non-profit organization, HeartMath, and by researchers at Bastyr University/University of Washington Consciousness Research Lab. Even when participants were in separate rooms, their heart and brain waves became synchronized or entrained, when they had close living or working relationships, or when they felt appreciation, care, empathy, or love toward each other. When people meditated together, their alpha brain waves entrained. And when people were able to internally entrain their own personal heart and brain waves, they caused the heart and brain waves of other individuals to entrain with theirs. Entrainment appears to increase attention, to produce feelings of calm and deep connection, and to facilitate tele-prehension of each other’s sensations, emotions, images, thoughts and intuitions. Like Sheldrake’s facilitated learning experiments, these findings have significant implications, since chronic stress is a key cause of physical and emotional illness, and since enhanced attention greatly improves learning and creativity.

Distance Healing. In another arena – distance healing -- 67% of 150 controlled studies have shown that individuals and groups can use intention, relaxation, enhanced concentration, visualization, and a request to a healing force greater than themselves, to heal others to a statistically significant degree.

Improved Quality of Life, Peace and Social Health. On community, societal and even worldwide levels, more than 20 experiments, published in respected scientific journals, have demonstrated that Transcendental Meditation groups, representing 1% of a target population, have caused significant improvements in social indicators of quality of life, health and mental health, and have reduced crime, accidents, conflict and war, apparently by reducing stress in the corresponding population.

Promoting the Common Good. These and other studies provide strong evidence that, given certain conditions, we can develop and work with our collective consciousness to produce a number of important interpersonal, organizational and social benefits: increased empathy, compassion, understanding, respect, appreciation and rapport; greater cooperation, creative collaboration, teamwork and collective wisdom; and enhanced well-being, peace, and physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. In our increasingly diverse workplaces, communities and global institutions, where we are challenged by extremely complex problems, developing these capacities will not only promote the common good, but could also ensure our survival.

The Focus of This Paper

How I and you enter into a “we”, and how you – as an alien object or “it” – become a “thou”, in a circle of understanding and care, is an extraordinary mystery. A “we” seems to hold the heart of the Kosmos3 hidden in its embrace.
                                                         – Ken Wilber4

I have written this paper in order to give scientists and laypeople alike an overview of the possibilities offered by science and the wisdom traditions, in terms of investigating and understanding the phenomenon of collective consciousness. It is alternately referred to as group, shared, correlated, field, ecological, global, cosmic, or Kosmic consciousness, although these terms are not always used in the same way. In many instances, the various terms reflect ever-widening circles of identity and care, which are correlated with deeper and deeper levels of consciousness.

I have not focused upon collective wisdom for the most part, since I believe it is necessary to begin with consciousness, which precedes wisdom, in attempting to conduct a research program. Apart from some of my own action research, I have not found any research studies on collective wisdom per se. Nonetheless, much of the theory and research described in this paper will indirectly apply to collective wisdom. I do not mean to imply that collective wisdom cannot be the focus of research. For a discussion of collective wisdom, please consult my papers listed in endnote 5, especially those after 2001, including the paper on this website, Calling Out Our Potential: Developing Collective Wisdom and Team Synergy.

I have organized this summary according to various lines of research and practice. In each section, I propose one or more intriguing and important questions, which might help us to study and understand collective consciousness. I also provide links for readers who wish to pursue some of the information in greater detail. I have placed these links in the endnotes, so that I would not clutter or complicate the main text.

Due to space limitations, I will not be able to describe the work of some of the individuals or organizations that have conducted research in the research areas described below. Rather, I have referenced those whose work I believe to be central and critical to the research area. Although I periodically mention critiques and problems, space limitations prevented me from discussing these critiques in detail. Finally, I cannot cover all the arenas of potentially relevant research. For example, the extensive research regarding intergroup relations and regarding teamwork would be very productive areas to explore. My overall intention, rather, is to provide references that will allow readers to consider the debates and controversies in greater detail and to engage in dialogue through this website. If you would like to obtain addition information regarding relevant researchers, whether cited here or not, please consult the articles, chapters, audiocassettes, and book that I have published regarding collective consciousness.5

A number of researchers are now investigating collective consciousness per se,6 or phenomena that may be related. I will refer to the key theorists and researchers below. I recently interviewed or corresponded with most of them (about 20 individuals), to discuss their latest thinking and questions regarding collective consciousness. I also updated my knowledge of the field by reading a number of the latest articles and books. As a result, this paper should give you a fairly comprehensive overview of research that may be relevant to understanding collective consciousness.

I realize that the research questions I have presented will have to be explored in a certain order and over at least the next 20 to 30 years. If one examines the history of the propagation of novel ideas and phenomena, pioneers can wait decades before their ideas enter the mainstream and become eligible for research funding. My hope is that this paper will stimulate interest in research regarding collective consciousness and wisdom. In my conversations with the researchers doing pioneering work in these arenas, one theme emerged consistently: they believe, as I do, that learning to develop collective wisdom may prove extremely helpful in dealing with the complex social and cultural issues that we face as a globe.

The Strengths and Limits of Science

I am delighted that this website is opening a dialogue with the scientific and academic communities regarding collective consciousness. Scientific inquiry can bring disciplined thinking to the exploration of any phenomenon, can unearth unexamined assumptions and beliefs, and can clarify confusing, redundant, and unnecessarily complex terminology and concepts. When novel ideas begin to spread through societies, they often progress from the original innovators and pioneers to the academic and scientific communities. By bringing rigor and discipline to the study of collective consciousness, these communities can help build bridges to organizational and community leaders who might otherwise dismiss the phenomenon out of hand. If scientific investigation validates the reality of collective consciousness and its effects in society, the phenomenon will begin to receive serious, more widespread and mainstream consideration and application over the next 10 to 50 years. If the potential benefits of collective consciousness are demonstrated, in areas such as creativity,7 leadership,8 health and mental health,9 problem solving,10 and sustainability,11 these aspects of our lives may well be transformed and the common good12 may be advanced significantly.

On the other hand, traditional science may be limited in its ability to examine all aspects of collective wisdom. As Ken Wilber has noted,13 science excels in examining sensory experience (via empiric-analytic science) and phenomena that can be understood through reason, logic and concepts (via phenomenological philosophy and psychology). Understanding some aspects of collective consciousness, however, may require the practice of contemplation and meditation, and access to knowledge via gnosis, i.e., direct knowing or realization, which is transrational, translogical and transmental. Such experiences have been elucidated by the world’s wisdom traditions.

In the last case, scientific rigor may still be brought to bear (and speculative, often culturally conditioned metaphysics14 avoided), since claims can still be tested through the essential components of all forms of knowledge validation, including review and consensual proof by a community of trained peers who have practiced the specific approach being used (in this case, introspective phenomenology). Nonetheless, to the degree that the study of collective consciousness requires examination of the higher developmental stages of human consciousness, and the direct experience of Spirit, or infinite, nondual Emptiness, that experience can only be expressed by poetry and metaphor, not by finite and dualistic categorizations and descriptions.

Einstein warned us that science without religion is blind and that religion without science is lame. Since the split has always appeared nonsensical and strange to me, I have chosen to use Wilber’s integrative model as a framework for discussing the research and wisdom traditions presented.

The Challenge of Clear Definition

If we want to approach collective consciousness scientifically, we must first develop a clear definition of what we believe it uniquely is, based upon our experience and observation. For me even to write this paper, I have had to do so. Otherwise, I cannot suggest the areas of research that may be relevant and fruitful.

It is not unusual to find conceptual unclarity and confusion when the dimensions of a phenomenon are first being explored. But if we wish to observe and measure relevant variables, conduct methodologically sound research, and develop findings and conclusions that are valid and reliable, then we must define collective consciousness in a way that is clear, that is as simple and parsimonious as possible, and that can be operationalized (i.e., contains variables that are measurable).

I will present my working definition of collective consciousness, and will situate it within a model of human development, in the next section.

A Model of Human Development

In an online draft of his latest book,15 Wilber continues to lay out an integral model of human development, which is thoughtful, clear, rigorous, interdisciplinary, and grounded in a cross-cultural survey of scientific research and texts from humanity’s age-old wisdom traditions. Because his model is so comprehensive, it provides an excellent overall framework for defining collective consciousness and synthesizing the relevant research. It helps us avoid conceptual confusion and the narrow lacuna and unwarranted absolutism, in which single-discipline theory and research often get trapped. By stripping metaphysical concepts that are culturally conditioned from the transpersonal stages of development, his model allows us to study collective consciousness scientifically.

Wilber portrays his integral model via a comprehensive psychosociograph of individual and collective development. He draws upon theory and research from the wisdom and scientific praxes and proposes correlations between levels of consciousness and types of development.16 The vertical axis of his graphic model represents the overall level of consciousness for an individual or a collective (10 levels are suggested). The horizontal axis displays 12 types of development, which include cognitive (Piaget, Aurobindo), self-sense/identity (Loevinger, Cook-Greuter), moral (Kohlberg), needs (Maslow), values (Graves, Spiral Dynamics) and interpersonal (Gardner) development.

To lay some groundwork for my later discussion of collective consciousness, let me give a brief example of individual development, taken from an essay I wrote.17 At a certain point in their lives, individuals may begin a series of transpersonal stages of development, wherein their “sense of identity or self extends beyond the individual…to encompass wider aspects of humankind.”18 Wilber labels the first of these levels “higher mind (vision-logic)”, on the cognitive developmental line. Here individuals -- having transcended, yet incorporated, their previous identities (e.g., ego-, family-, membership-group-, ethnic-, and nation-centric) -- now consciously choose a world-centric identity, “not just with all humans, but with nature.”19 They go beyond mutual recognition, the “free exchange of…actualized self-esteem needs”20 to mutual identity,21 whereby individuals now recognize themselves in each other, “beyond the illusions of separation and duality.”22 Individuals begin to make organizational decisions, for example, from the perspective of a common good, that transcends, yet embraces, the boundaries of ego, family, tribe, city and nation.

Moreover, whereas individuals on the previous level add up the diverse perspectives in a collective, in order to arrive at integration, individuals working at the vision-logic level “directly see the integral [through] intuition.”23 The development of this intuitive ability may play a crucial role in the development of collective consciousness. Research indicates that members of a group may be able to directly apprehend the unexpressed thoughts and feelings of each other, and perhaps the intelligence of Spirit. If this is so, teams can engage in a relatively fast, nonverbal interplay between their hearts and minds. In my experience, teams and organizations can access a level of wisdom that surpasses, yet incorporates, the individual perspectives of their members.

In terms of collective consciousness, the developmental and spiritual literature describes an evolutionary progression, leading to ever widening circles of identification and care: from a particular group (marriage, family, organization, etc.), to a community (geographic, interest group, etc.), to a society or culture (national, ethnic, tribal, etc.), to all sentient beings, to Nature (ecological consciousness), to the globe (global consciousness), to the cosmos (cosmic consciousness),24 and to the Kosmos (Kosmic consciousness).25 The wisdom traditions assert that, ultimately, an individual “realizes a Self-identity with Spirit.”26

A Working Definition of Collective Consciousness

The circular ripples that radiate out from a pebble thrown into a pond can metaphorically represent our sense of ever widening identity. In Wilber’s 10-level model of consciousness, transpersonal development spans levels six through nine. I believe collective consciousness begins to emerge at level six. I define it as:

A mode of awareness, in which we directly experience, through an intuitive felt-sense, our union with the interconnected wholeness of life, and recognize ourselves in others. Our identity extends beyond our individual boundary and embraces the collective, through a free and conscious act of identification, rather than through definition by convention or external authority.

Once this awareness develops, individuals – because they now perceive themselves as mutually interdependent parts of a larger whole -- develop an authentic, abiding and primary concern and care for common good and for the well being, health and productive functioning of the communities to which they belong (including organizations and, eventually, the global community).

Note that I am speaking about a mode of awareness that may exist in an individual, not a collective. The phrase, “group mind”, that is sometimes used to refer to collective consciousness, gives the impression that a new mind and, therefore, consciousness emerges as a collective entity, a position that is speculative at present.27 I am therefore simply holding for now that the reported experience of connection, of communion, and of direct apprehension of the thoughts and feelings of others is due to some form of invisible interaction between the members of a group. The research cited below will outline some possible explanations for the nature of that interaction.

Note also that I am not using the term coined by Carl Jung, the “collective unconscious”, which he used to describe the phenomena of universal, archetypal and mythological images and symbols which appear across cultures.28 Although collective consciousness involves ever widening circles of identity, and therefore an awareness of the many essential and universal ways in which we are profoundly connected to other humans and to all manifestations of life, building collective consciousness and wisdom is primarily a conscious act – one that explicitly nurtures diversity as the key to reaching true wisdom.29

Developing A Theory, A Model and Testable Hypotheses

To my knowledge, no one has yet developed a theory, a model or testable hypotheses regarding collective consciousness. One productive way to do so would be to use a qualitative research method, such as grounded theory,30 to interview individuals who believe they have experienced collective consciousness. Such a research method allows a theory and hypotheses to emerge from the perspectives and experience of those who possess knowledge of the proposed phenomenon. In other words, the data of people’s experience shapes the theory, rather than it being imposed upon data.

It is common for scientists to first experience or observe a phenomenon, to notice and study correlations between apparently relevant variables, to speculate about and to investigate possible cause-and-effect relationships, and to search for and postulate explanatory mechanisms. The first two activities may take place before scientists formulate a theory or model. To my knowledge, this is the situation today regarding collective consciousness. On this website,31 in my own writing,32 and in the work of others,33 the qualities or dimensions of collective wisdom, the correlations among variables, and potential cause-and-effect relationships have been postulated. Essentially they include:

Qualities of the felt experience of collective consciousness, including resonance; communion; sense of community; interconnectedness; mutual understanding, respect and support; concern for the welfare of each other, others and the common good; precognition of each other’s thoughts, words and/or actions; love; intuition; openness and receptivity; synergy; coordination; being heard and seen fully; shared, correlated, or unified consciousness; and sense of a group field;

Effects that may be correlated with, and possibly caused by, collective consciousness, and/or focused group attention or intention, including increased personal, group and social creativity, collaboration, conflict resolution, wisdom, health, mental health, and effectiveness; and improved decision-making.

Conditions that may support the emergence of collective consciousness and its presumed benefits, including creating a sense of sacred space and time, good listening and communication, openness, receptivity, trust, emotional bonds (warmth, love, care, etc.) between participants, intuition, tolerance, respect, inclusiveness, clarifying purpose and intent, meditative and contemplative practice, and development of higher levels of consciousness.

Collective consciousness is a very complex phenomenon. There are many aspects and dimensions, which might be examined. For example, one might focus upon the qualities of the felt, inner experience of collective consciousness. Or one might focus upon the observable, exterior manifestations and effects of collective consciousness, the behaviors of group members that express concern for the productive functioning of the collective. (I and Julie Glover have considered some of these dimensions in another seed paper on this website,34 such as the distinction between the felt inner sense of communion with others and the exterior processes and interactions which contribute to building and sustaining community.)

Our model should reflect the complexity and wholeness of individual and collective development. The number of interactive variables will therefore make research challenging. On the other hand, well designed, cross-cultural, longitudinal, hermeneutic and structural research35 would honor, rather than reduce, the complexity of human development, would enable us to study the relationship between individual and collective development, and would provide a profound understanding of the nature of collective consciousness.

In the following sections, I will describe theory and research that may be relevant, in order to build an adequate model of collective consciousness and to examine collective consciousness scientifically.

The Felt-Sense of Collective Consciousness: Tele-Prehension

The extended mind is a scientific hypothesis that leads to testable predictions. It is already supported by a large body of evidence, both from people’s spontaneous experiences and from controlled experiments.36
                                                         – Rupert Sheldrake

When asked in interviews to describe the features of collective consciousness, a common response concerns the felt-sense of extrasensory perception or communication, of being able to anticipate another’s words or behavior, of reading another’s mind,37 of seeing through another’s eyes, of feeling another’s feelings, and of a harmonic resonance of heart and mind.38 Consequently, people speak about a sense of deep connection. This may be due to telepathy, the exchange of information between two or more minds without using ordinary senses.

Wilber finds the evidence for psi to be “very compelling”, as do a number of researchers.39 Sheldrake has noted that much psi research has been “scientific, open-minded, and experimental,”40 with research protocols that have typically been more rigorous than those used in mainstream research, even in the hard sciences and with results that often exceed chance by huge margins.

Wilber calls this ability to feel another’s feelings or know another’s thoughts in an immediate and direct way “tele-prehension”.41 He identifies three ways in which tele-prehension may occur:42

1. Psychic or psi phenomena. A key example is telepathy, or prehension (feeling, perception or awareness) at a distance.

2. A transcendent Self (Spirit). Wilber believes “the same nondual and nonlocal Subject inhabits all subjects, such that an instantaneous intersubjectivity from within connects holons43 prior to any [communicative] exchange.”44

3. Harmonic empathy or resonance. In exterior resonance or vibration, a note struck on one string instrument, e.g., causes the same string on another nearby string instrument to vibrate. Harmonic empathy is the “interior equivalent between two sentient beings: a type of felt resonance or mutual prehension – an immediate, nonreflexive, intersubjective presence or resonance with another holon at a similar level of depth.”46

The second proposed source of tele-prehension brings us back to the limits of traditional science, as discussed above, and to the importance of meditative practice and direct awareness, in terms of developing a true and full understanding of collective consciousness.47 Of course, traditional science can be used to study the first and third phenomena, since they may be exterior manifestations of the second.

Ralph Waldo Emerson seems to have described the experience of collective consciousness, even though he did not use that term. He attributed his experience to the presence of the divine, similar to Wilber’s second explanation of tele-prehension. Emerson described his discovery of “an identical [common] nature appearing through all”, which

is God. And so, in groups where debate is earnest, and especially on high questions, the company becomes aware that the thought rises to an equal level in all bosoms, that all have a spiritual property in what was said, as well as the sayer. They all become wiser than they were. It arches over them like a temple, this unity of thought…. All are conscious of attaining to a higher self-possession. It shines for all.48

Emerson referred to God as the Over-soul, “that common heart of which all sincere conversation is the worship.”49 Similarly, Friedrich Holderlin said, “…We calmly smiled, sensed our own God amidst intimate conversation, in one song of our souls.”50

The potential trap is that groups may become caught up in extrasensory phenomena per se, or to become primarily focused upon re-creating, over and over, a wonderful feeling of connection – rather than developing and using the expanded capacities of collective consciousness for the sake of serving the common good. If collective consciousness indeed involves the direct and intuitive sensing of tele-prehension, the implications for mutual understanding, empathy, compassion, mutual support, effective decision-making, creativity, conflict resolution and collaboration are profound. For these reasons, the research on tele-prehension is important to consider. We may be able to identify the key factors or variables that would enable groups to derive the above benefits for the sake of their communities, organizations and societies.

Sheldrake has suggested a number of simple experiments that ordinary folks can conduct, to help scientifically explore and document tele-prehension, which he calls “the seventh sense” (a term designed to distinguish it from the “sixth sense”, a term biologists have already applied to the electrical and magnetic senses of animals).51 He believes that these phenomena are explicable. Rather than suggest research questions for this segment of the seed paper, I refer you to Sheldrake.52 I will outline some questions in the sections below, regarding subtle energies, fields and psi phenomena.

The Role of Subtle Energies

Based upon contemporary research regarding brain functioning and neurophysiology, Wilber considers matter (mass) and energy – or matter-energy – to be two of the exterior, physical forms53 of consciousness (prehension). As life evolves, the states or forms of matter-energy reflect each level of consciousness and become more complex. Wilber views matter-energy as intra-physical: not beyond matter (meta-physical), but interior to it, not above nature (super-natural), but within it. According to this model, matter-energy exists at all levels of evolution.54

What a number of researchers refer to as subtle energy (“prana”), therefore, can be found at all levels. Wilber distinguishes three types of energy: gross, subtle55 and causal, each corresponding to certain states and stages of consciousness.

Wilber proposes four hypotheses, which he believes will clear up much of the conceptual confusion and culturally conditioned thinking regarding subtle energies, in both the wisdom traditions and science:

1. Increasing evolution brings increasing complexity of gross exterior form.

2. Increasing complexity of form is correlated with increasing interior consciousness.

3. Increasing complexity of gross form is correlated with increasing subtlety of exterior energies (energy patterns or fields).56

4. Complexity of gross form is necessary for the expression or manifestation [not the existence] of higher consciousness and subtler energy.57

Wilber believes that the “real test case of any theory of subtle energies is whether it can adequately explicate the chakras.”58 I will discuss this issue in the “Practice, Development and Character” section, below.

Researchers have been attempting to understand the nature of the subtle energies (such as electromagnetic fields or photon emissions)59 harnessed by non-conventional healers. The explanatory mechanism for this type of healing is still unclear.

Field Effects

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
There is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
The world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
Doesn’t make any sense.


- Jelaluddin Rumi

A number of researchers have argued that individuals and groups can influence each other outside of modalities of communication that use the five senses, through some form of field effect.60 This is not a wild or unfounded suggestion: magnetic, electrical and gravitational fields are all “invisible, yet capable of bringing about effects at a distance.”61 In biology, the concept of morphogenetic fields, underlying the form of a growing organism, is widely accepted, yet scientists don’t “yet know what these fields are or how they work.”62 Successful sports-team members refer to a “sixth sense”, empathy, and an ability to “anticipate the moves of the other”63 ; or to a “click of communality,” an almost audible shift whereby sports participants “react as a…unit, rather than as an aggregate of individuals.”64 In my consulting experience, I have found that, if the members of a group or team have established a sense of trust, a warm emotional connection, and an inspiring, shared purpose, they can perform tasks fluidly, efficiently and in a highly coordinated state, with minimal verbal communication or visual contact.65

Under his hypothesis of formative causation, Rupert Sheldrake has postulated that morphogenetic fields are part of a larger family of fields called morphic fields.66 Morphogenetic fields are a new kind of field, unrecognized so far by physics, and are “not just a way of talking about standard mechanistic processes.”67 They evolve, have a history, contain an inherent memory, are created by morphic resonance (a nonlocal influence of like upon like, a transfer of information or an activity pattern, across space and time.) They are regions of influence, located in and around the self-organizing systems that they organize into “spatiotemporal patterns of vibratory or rhythmic activity.”68 They work probabilistically, imparting characteristic properties, wholeness and order upon the “inherent indeterminism of their systems” and make them “more than the sum of its parts.”69

Sheldrake suggests that attention creates perceptual fields, which connect us to what we look at; that mental fields may help explain tele-prehension and the experience we have of “extended mind”; and that a social field “organizes and coordinates the behavior of individuals within a social group, for example, the way individual birds fly within a flock.”70

Sheldrake has suggested that morphic resonance (“resonant connections”) might enable us to perceive each other’s images, thoughts, impressions, or feelings, even if thousands of miles apart. Such a phenomenon “may be similar to, if not identical with…telepathy.”71

Sheldrake and his colleagues have conducted a number of experiments, which so far seem to indicate that his hypothesis is valid.72

Sheldrake believes that attention and intention are the means by which our minds reach out and connect with other members of social groups.73 In fact, the research that I describe in this paper generally examines the role of attention and intention in creating or utilizing mental fields to tele-prehend.

Sheldrake’s work is congruent with Wilber’s model and his hypothesis 3 (above), according to which the subtlety of fields increases as material bodies (or morphic forms) become more complex and the degree of consciousness grows. Wilber suggests the following schema:74

1. “Gross energies surround their associated material bodies in physical fields.”75 Corresponding level of consciousness: sensorimotor or material.

2. The etheric energy field, according to the wisdom traditions, surrounds the physical fields as a more expansive sphere. Vital consciousness. “Dreaming” state of consciousness may begin.

3. The astral (powerful emotional) energy field, in addition to enveloping the two prior fields, passes through the acupuncture meridians of living organisms. Emotional-sexual (emotional-pranic) consciousness. Subtle body-energy begins.

4. Psychic (thought) field 1 is caused by sustained mental activity, according to the wisdom traditions. Mental level of consciousness.

5. Psychic or thought field 2. Higher mental consciousness.

6. The causal field emerged after development of the complex neocortex. Overmental (nearly formless) consciousness. Causal (very subtle) body-energy. Formless state of consciousness.

7. Nondual. Supermental consciousness.

The more complex the form, the greater number of energy fields around it. Wilber believes that these seven, major levels of matter-energy approximately correlate with the qualities that the wisdom traditions have associated with the seven chakras. His synthesis is extremely valuable, in terms of simplifying what is often a bewildering array of seemingly different terms used by researchers and the wisdom traditions.

To give a sense of how part of Wilber’s schema can be related to existing scientific knowledge, the family of gross-energy, for example, contains genus gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear and weak nuclear energy fields. The genus electromagnetic contains species cosmic rays, gamma rays, x-rays, visible light, infrared, microwaves, etc. The taxonomy of his schema is extremely helpful, in terms of framing research on subtle energies and the fields of collective consciousness.

The local aspects of these energy fields, according to Wilber, are the areas of highest density or of greatest probability of being detected. Many can be detected physically with certain instruments76 and can be perceived by highly respected psychics and non-conventional healers.77 Even the most basic types of fields, such as electromagnetic fields, seem to be able to influence objects at a distance, with no observable material traveling between them.

Is There A Field Created by “Group Mind”?

I mentioned earlier that theorists and researchers have sometimes speculated that collective consciousness reflects the existence of “group mind”. Just as we colloquially say, “We are of one mind,” is there a unified mind associated with any coherent collective? As an individual has a mind, does a group have one, too? At this point in time, we don’t know.

From a theoretical perspective, Wilber does not believe that the members of a collective are “like” or “are” an individual or an organism – viewpoints that are called the “organic” model, in the former instance, or the “organismic” model, in the latter case.78 An individual has a center of prehension, which controls and coordinates the parts.79 But in a collective, members are not parts, or subholons, completely subservient to the control and direction of the group or a “Super-I.” Rather, they are co-creative partners, who choose to come together as an association or network because they feel that their interiors (individual values, intentionality, etc.) resonate mutually and empathetically. They then together fashion and agree upon a set of goals, norms, etc., through which they can act in coordination.80 Wilber believes that many proponents of system theory, eco-philosophy, the Web of Life,81 and Gaia as a superorganism, adopt either an organic or organismic model, which reduces the interior of the collective to an exterior system or form and eliminates the freedom and rights of the members. In this sense, Wilber argues that a group mind does not exist.

However, Wilber does believe that the internal and defining aspects of a collective holon or network – the sum total of its interior intersections (shared, cultural-pattern feeling-meanings) and exterior intersections (shared social-behavioral rules) -- are carried in the sum total of its members, including in a morphic field, in (not as) the group’s collective prehensions, and in the members’ genetic inheritance. He calls this “solidarity”:82 the cultural backgrounds, the interior culture, and the intersubjective dimensions of the Kosmic habits of the collective holon; and the interior feel correlated with the collective, exterior morphic energy fields, ecosystems and social systems.83

If we therefore do not see group mind as a conscious entity that controls or dictates the thinking and behavior of the members of a self-aware collective (in contrast to the control and extreme influence exerted by the leader of a cult or a mob), perhaps we can postulate the creation of a group field that represents the conscious and reflective interaction, consensus and shared intentions of the members of a collective – the influence and power of which may wax or wane, based upon a number of dynamic factors. This perspective fits my experience of collective wisdom. Although at times group members seem to simultaneously access the consciousness of Spirit within them (Wilber’s second mechanism of tele-prehension, above), at other times they seem to access – through their explicit and implicit interactions – the wisdom that arises from considering and embracing the diversity and wholeness of their individual perspectives. The interplay of their hearts and minds perhaps creates a group field. Some of the rare research on group effects that I will cite below suggests that groups may create fields that are more powerful and influential than individual fields.

Nonlocal Field Effects

According to the Vedanta-Vajrayana model presented briefly above, which Wilber has incorporated with refinements into his model, subtle matter-energy (bodymind) can exist without gross matter-energy (bodymind), and the causal bodymind can exist without either.84 When you dream during sleep, or during some nonordinary waking states – such as out-of-the-body experiences (or ‘astral travel’) -- you “reside primarily as a subtle bodymind”, according to Wilber. When you are in “dreamless-formless sleep”, or in formless meditative states, or have a near-death experience, you reside as a causal bodymind.85

If true, this may explain how certain nonlocal field effects can occur, since certain energy fields would no longer be tied to a particular form. For example, in the psi research that I report in this paper, distance did not diminish the accuracy of results.86 Although more research is needed, it appears so far that electromagnetic field effects, including those associated with the heart, may operate within relatively circumscribed regions. Fields associated with consciousness, especially mental activity, do not appear to be bounded by space or time.

Wilber believes that the above assertions are “open to a fair amount of empirical and phenomenological testing” of their validity. The subtle energies, in Wilber’s model, are “postulated as real, concrete, detectable, often measurable.”87

Research Regarding Nonlocal Effects 88

I will now review the research regarding field effects.

Insect and Animal Coordination and Nonsensory Communication. Sheldrake considers animal societies to be social morphic units, which “provides a way of understanding the coordination of the behavior of individual organisms within the social unit: the colony, school, flock, herd, pack, group, or pair".89 For example, he and other researchers have concluded that the behavior of the members of termite colonies are coordinated by social fields, which contain the blueprints for the construction of the colony, and pass through physical barriers.90 Experiments have indicated that neither sense-mediated communication, nor an electrical field, can likely explain how termites, after the nest they are building is cut in half and separated by a steel plate, can still go on to create structures and tunnels that are perfectly aligned.91 Consequently, Sheldrake has concluded that in termite colonies:

the individual insects are coordinated by social fields, which contain the blueprints for the construction of the colony…. To make models without taking such fields into account is rather like trying to explain the behavior of iron filings around a magnet [while] ignoring the field, as if the pattern somehow "emerged" from programs within the individual iron particles.92

The highly respected biologist, Edwin Wilson, has similarly argued that "The total simulation of construction of complex nests from a knowledge of the summed behaviors of the individual [social] insects has not been accomplished and stands as a challenge to both biologists and mathematicians.”93

In the case of termite nests, the workers first make columns, then bend them toward each other at some point and join them at a midpoint between the two columns. Termites are blind, so they cannot make this happen through visual alignment. Researchers have concluded that the coordination does not happen through movement back and forth between the columns, to get an alignment through measurement, nor does it seem that sound plays a part.94 And, as Sheldrake points out,

Smell can hardly account for the overall plan of the nest or the relationship of the individual insects to it. They seem to "know" what kind of structure is required; they seem to be responding to a kind of invisible plan. As Wilson phrased the question, "Who has the blueprint of the nest?" I suggest that this plan is embodied in the organizing field of the colony. This field is not inside the individual insects; rather, they are inside the collective field. Just as a magnetic field can pass through material structures, so [must] the colony field. This ability...would enable the field to organize separated groups of termites even in the absence of normal sensory communication between them.95

Gunther Becker suggested that a "biofield," an alternating low-energy electric field produced by the termites themselves, could account for the coordination. The effect fell off as the distance between the groups was increased.96 But Sheldrake, in accordance with Wilber’s model, concluded that "such fields are unlikely to be able to provide the blueprint for the termite nest. How could a specific pattern be established in the electromagnetic field to begin with?"97 Sheldrake suggests that a set of experiments conducted by Eugene Marais may indicate that "another, more mysterious kind of field seems likely to be involved as well."98

Marais separated termite mounds into two halves and inserted a steel plate, which was a few feet wider and higher than the termitary, into the breach of each mound, thereby preventing all sensory and electrical means of communication. Despite this, the termites still built a similar arch on either side of the plate, which were aligned.99 Sheldrake commented:

The repair activity seemed to be coordinated by some overall organizing structure, which Marais attributed to the group soul, and I prefer to think of as a morphic field…. Unlike the field investigated by Becker, it was not blocked by a metal plate, and was therefore unlikely to be electrical in nature.100

However, it "would be difficult to prove that no sounds could have gone...around the barrier."101 So Sheldrake has proposed a research protocol that would control for this and other variables. Unfortunately, no one has attempted to replicate Marais' experiment.

Sheldrake and others have demonstrated that psi capacities are widely distributed in the animal kingdom.102 In a series of experiments, he showed how certain pets sensed when their owners decided to return home from work or an excursion, even when they varied the time from day to day.103

Sheldrake argues that humans have partly lost or neglected the psi capacities that animals demonstrate, and that, as Wilber claims, they are not paranormal or supernatural abilities.104

Biophoton Emissions. Fritz-Albert Popp has detected “biophoton emissions” from living organisms. Photons are electromagnetic light waves with very high intensity.105 Popp discovered in his experiments that bacteria, sunflowers, fleas and fish “sucked up” the light emitted by other living organisms in their environment. He concluded that this exchange of photons, or wave resonance, was a form of communication, even a means for living organisms to influence the health of each other. This may especially be the case when healers use their hands in touch or near-the-body healing.106 From his study of illnesses, Popp hypothesized that illness results from incoherence, in the form of either too little or too much light. “Perfect coherence is an optimum state just between chaos and order.” Popp also believed that biophoton exchange might explain “how schools of fish or flocks of birds create perfect and instantaneous coordination.”107

Stuart Hameroff also found that living tissue emits photons.108 In addition, he discovered that microtubules inside cells109 conduct photons. In collaboration with other researchers,110 he realized that microtubules help create coherence of waves (“superradiance”) in the body. This allows photons to “communicate with other photons throughout the body, causing collective cooperation of subatomic particles in microtubules throughout the brain.”111 Superradiance may account for the tendency of the brain toward EEG synchronization, and may provide another basis for field effects between living organisms.112 (See Correlated Consciousness, below.)

Cardioelectromagnetic Communication: Heart To Brain. Emerson once gave metaphoric expression to something researchers are now beginning to measure.

The heart in thee is the heart of all; not a valve, not a wall, not an intersection is there anywhere in nature, but one blood rolls uninterruptedly an endless circulation through all [humanity], as the water of the globe is all one sea, and, truly seen, its tide is one. It is one light, which beams out of a thousand stars. It is one soul, which animates all people.113
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

A relatively new arena of research is called energy cardiology114 or cardioelectromagnetic communication.115 The heart’s electrical field is measured with an electrocardiogram (ECG). The magnetic component of the heart’s field is “not impeded by tissues and can be measured several feet away from the body.”116 Under certain conditions, the heart’s electromagnetic waves synchronize with the brain waves (measured by the electroencephalogram or EEG) of oneself or other human and non-human animals.117

For example, heart-focused attention is correlated with greater synchronization of heart and brain.118 Sustained positive emotions, such as appreciation, love, or compassion, are associated with highly ordered or coherent patterns in the heart rhythms…and a shift in autonomic balance toward increased parasympathetic activity.119 This “physiological coherence” is the state of “more ordered and harmonious interactions among the body’s systems.”120 Cross-coherence occurs when “two or more of the body’s oscillatory systems, such as respiration and heart rhythms, become entrained and oscillate at the same frequency.”121 When individuals were taught how to use a positive-emotion refocusing technique to generate appreciation, cross-coherence significantly increased. It was expressed as a higher ratio of alpha rhythms in the brain (measured by the EEG) that was synchronized with the heartbeat (measured by the ECG).122 Increased physiological coherence is correlated with a number of health and mental health benefits.123 In the converse, experimental evidence suggests that certain prolonged negative psychological states can facilitate the progression of cancer and increase risk for physical illness and early death.124

As I report elsewhere in this paper, a number of studies have found that subtle energies used by healers are correlated with increased wound healing rates,125 lowered pain,126 increased hemoglobin levels,127 conformational changes of DNA and water structure,128 and changes in psychological states.129 Rollin McCraty has argued that the effect of electromagnetic or “energetic” communication may ultimately be found to be a mechanism in healing of this type. Even though these benefits have to do with individual effects, the research I present below suggests that perhaps people can influence each other’s physiological coherence and thereby help others improve their physical and mental health.

When waves are synchronized and overlapping, their combined amplitude is greater than the individual amplitudes. The information that they carry gets stronger and complete information about the other wave is exchanged. Waves have an almost unlimited capacity for storing information.130 This reality may help explain not only the experience of deep knowing in tele-prehension, but also the healing effects generated by healers who enter rapport with their clients when conducting non-conventional methods.

Several researchers have studied entrainment, or physiological synchronization, between people during moments of empathy. In one experiment at HeartMath, two participants faced each other at a distance of five feet and practiced an emotion-restructuring exercise that has been shown to produce sustained states of internal physiological coherence.131

The alpha brain waves of one subject (measured via an EEG) became precisely synchronized with the R-waves (peak of the waves reflected in an ECG) carried by the magnetic field from the heart of the other subject. “These data show that it is possible for the magnetic signals radiated by the heart of one individual to influence the brain rhythms of another at conversational distances…. The degree of coherence in the receiver’s heart rhythms appears to determine whether his/her brain waves synchronize to the other person’s heart.”132 Similar results have been obtained by other researchers133 and in other experiments conducted by HeartMath.134 For example, Linda Russek and Gary Schwartz found that people who more regularly experience positive emotions such as love and care are better receivers of others’ magnetic-field signals.135

Based on the results of these and other experiments, the researchers at HeartMath concluded:

The nervous system acts as an antenna, which is tuned to and responds to the magnetic fields produced by the hearts of other individuals. This cardioelectromagnetic communication is an innate ability that heightens awareness and mediates important aspects of true empathy and sensitivity to others. It can be enhanced, resulting in a much deeper level of non-verbal communication, understanding, and connection between people…. [It] has the potential to promote the healing process. From an electrophysiological perspective, it appears that sensitivity to information contained in the fields generated by others is related to the ability to be emotionally and physiologically coherent. During coherence, internal systems are more stable, function more efficiently, and radiate electromagnetic fields containing a more coherent structure.136

Besides this heart-to-brain communication, the hearts of different individuals have been found to influence each other (heart-to-heart communication).

Cardioelectromagnetic Communication: Heart To Heart. Although the number of subjects is still too small to reliably generalize, researchers at HeartMath have found that the heart rates of people who have a close living or working relationship, and who generate feelings of appreciation for each other while sitting four feet apart (and being blind to the data), can become entrained. This entrainment apparently also occurs during sleep, between couples that have been in long-term, stable and loving relationships. Their heart rhythms can converge and can simultaneously change in the same direction.137 Another study found that the heart rates of married couples, who were skilled at empathizing, became synchronized and tracked each other during empathetic interactions.138 Despite some methodological problems, several studies have suggested that entrainment may also occur during empathetic interactions between therapists and clients.139

These results regarding cardioelectromagnetic communication indicate the importance of relationship-centered approaches to not only clinical and professional care, but also to team and organizational development. Based upon training thousands of people to maintain coherence during conversation, HeartMath researchers have concluded:

It is a common experience that they become more attuned to other people and are able to detect and understand the deeper meaning behind spoken words…, even when the other person may not be clear…. Intuitive listening helps people to feel fully heard and promotes greater rapport and empathy between people.140

The proposed interpersonal communication mechanisms may in part explain the effects of service and care that emphasize the relational aspects of human interaction in professional settings. For example, see Parker Palmer’s work regarding “teacher formation” and research related to relationship-centered care (RCC), including the Fetzer’s Institute’s program.141

Correlated or Shared Consciousness: Brain-To-Brain Communication. Despite the typical methodological issues that need to be worked out in any new area of research, a number of experiments142 has indicated that tele-prehension of thoughts, images, emotions, intuitions and physical sensations between persons is facilitated when people are bound by close emotional ties and empathy (e.g., “bonded couples” or monozygotic twins), are in an altered state of consciousness, or meditate together,143 although this effect occurs in other situations, too.144 The respective EEG brain wave patterns of pairs become highly synchronized or coherent. EEG alpha rhythms or visually evoked potentials (measured by a functional MRI machine) created in one person can produce the same effects in another, even when members of a pair are separated in sound-attenuated or electromagnetically shielded rooms.145 In addition, in several experiments, individual interhemispheric synchronization occurred (a phenomena that happens during meditation) when paired participants tried to sense each other’s presence while in separate rooms. Moreover, the individual with the greatest synchronization tended to influence the other member of the pair.146

Ervin Laszlo has attributed this phenomenon to field effects.147 Karl Pribram has theorized that our brain perceives objects not primarily through language or images, but by resonating or getting in synch with them. “To know the world is literally to be on its wavelength.”148

Remote Viewing. A common statement from those who experience collective consciousness is that they feel as if they can see through each other’s eyes. Research has indicated that this may, in fact, be true, as one mode of tele-prehension. Mystics, intuitives and psychic healers have all spoken of another kind of sight.

There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight….
Close both eyes
To see with the other eye.

- Jelaluddin Rumi

A number of experiments have tested remote viewing and found statistically significant results, well beyond chance levels.149 In a well-designed, double-blind experiment, an independent researcher prepares target sites. A target is then selected randomly. One person, the recipient, proceeds to the designated site. Through focused attention, a second participant, the viewer, describes the details of the site that the beacon is viewing. Independent judges determine whether the target was correctly described and/or identified.

For example, Jahn and Dunne conducted 336 rigorous trials, with 48 ordinary recipients and remote viewing distances ranging from five to 6,000 miles. Almost 2/3rds of the results exceeded chance levels, with odds against chance of one billion to one. As in other tele-prehension experiments, those recipient-viewer pairs who had an emotional or physiological bond obtained the best results.150

A government panel, including two Nobel laureates and other distinguished researchers chosen for their skeptic views, reviewed 23 years of experimental data. All agreed the research was impeccable.151 A second review by a team that included Dr. Ray Hyman, a noted skeptic, concluded that the results far exceeded chance.152

Hal Putoff and Russell Targ concluded that the most important success factor appeared to be a “relaxed, even playful, atmosphere, which avoided causing anxiety.”153 If viewers interpreted or analyzed the scene, they would invariably guess wrong. Expectation or imagining seemed to have a similar effect.154 The unconscious aspect of the mind and the right hemisphere of the brain seemed to be in use155 – indicating receptivity, rather than conscious control. Meta-analyses indicate that results are more significant when the viewers are in altered states of consciousness.156 These variables match many of the identified success factors in other forms of tele-prehension, and are similar to factors reported by meditators and those in creative states.

Through experiments involving screened rooms, Putoff, Dunne and Jahn concluded that electromagnetic waves could not explain the remote viewing.157 This supports the idea that another type of field, perhaps created by focused mental attention, may be at work.

Another form of mental focus, intention, may create an even more powerful field. I will describe experiments regarding the effects of intention upon other living systems in the following sections.

Nonlocal, Intentional Influence. A large number of studies have examined the ability of people to influence other living beings in remote settings. In a series of experiments, for example, influencers changed the direction of knife fish, got gerbils to run faster on activity wheels, and slowed the rate of hemolysis (bursting of cell walls) in red blood cells.158 In 16 remote staring trials, starees showed significantly greater electrodermal activity (EDA) while being stared at (59%, versus 50% chance), indicating that they had unconsciously felt the attention of the starers.159 These results have been replicated a number of times.160 A meta-analysis reported a significant effect size in experiments where the receiver’s skin conductance was targeted.161 Remote intention has been shown to have a significant calming effect on a group of highly nervous people,162 and to help participants focus their attention, especially those whose attention tended to wander.163 In some cases during these studies, telepathy occurred.164 A number of these findings have been replicated, including intention’s effect upon healing.165

A meta-analysis has shown that intention can affect a wide range of living organisms, including their healing. Moreover, studies have demonstrated that a group can significantly influence the eye or gross motor movements, breathing and brain rhythms of a different group. Although the effects were small in scale, ordinary people, who were trying remote influence for the first time, consistently produced them. The EDA studies succeeded 47% of the time166 and the studies in general had the intended effect 37% of the time, in contrast to an expected 5% chance success rate.167 Distance seemed irrelevant, with effects extending even into outer space, during a space mission.168 The greatest influence occurred when the subjects greatly needed the intended effect, which indicates that healing interactions may be particularly effective. Finally, as with other forms of tele-prehension, strength of effect correlated with how much the influencer related to the subject, increasing as the subjects changed from animals, to human cells, to other people. This finding is consistent with Wilber’s assertion that humans share a greater number of fields (and subtler fields) with each other, than they share with animals, for example, thereby increasing the means and strength of influence.

Ganzfeld (whole field) experiments eliminate sensory input by placing participants in soundproof rooms, covering their eyes, etc. These experiments, including studies of telepathy, have produced the strongest results, with 82% significantly better than chance.169 A meta-analysis of all ganzfeld experiments showed odds against chance of ten billion to one.170

After reviewing a number of studies involving telepathy and psychokinesis (influencing objects at a distance), Braud identified the factors, which make remote influence more likely:

1. Relaxation and alert receptivity via meditation, biofeedback, etc. Gentle wishing, rather than intense willing or striving was most effective.171

2. Reduced activity or sensory input.

3. Dreaming or internal states or feelings that create connection.

4. Right-brain functioning.

5. Belief in success.

6. Viewing life as interconnected and believing that extrasensory communication is possible.172

Meditation involves many of these factors. During the highest state of meditation, siddhis (psychic events) may occur: seeing everywhere at once, unity with the object of focus, and psychokinesis.173 The correlation with meditative states may help explain the effects of meditation reported in a later section of this paper.

Distant Healing Intention. More than 80% of Americans believe that their “thoughts can cause healing for another person at a distance,”174 as do 75% of family practitioners.175 Two-thirds of more than 150 controlled studies of distant healing intention (DHI) over the past 40 years have indicated that distance healing can result in statistically significant healing effects.176 Of the more than 50 of these experiments, that were rated to be of excellent methodological quality, 74% yielded statistically significant results.177 Meta-analyses of these studies “provide strong evidence that DHI is related to predictable changes in a distant person’s physiological state.”178

The DHI healer uses intention as the essential healing modality, rather than conventional chemical, mechanical or energetic interventions, which are avoided by means of spatial, temporal, and/or sensory shielding. Specific forms of treatment typically include intercessory prayer, non-directed prayer, energy healing, shamanic healing, non-contact therapeutic touch and spiritual healing. Most healers use a process of relaxation, enhanced concentration and visualization.179 Comprehensive, excellent surveys of the literature, including possible field effects, evaluations of the efficacy of distance healing, and limitations have been conducted by Larry Dossey, Daniel Benor, Marilyn Schlitz, William Braud, Elizabeth Targ, Dean Radin and others.180

Despite impressive results with some fairly well designed studies, which used clearly defined, randomized, double-blind protocols,181 Elizabeth Targ found that many of the studies, published through 1994, had failed to control for one or more variables other than subtle-energy and/or distance healing, or the treatment and control groups had not been appropriately matched. So she and Fred Sicher designed a double-blind experiment, using healers who utilized all types of healing techniques, who believed that their healing efforts were going to work, and who had had years of successful experience in distance healing. Over 10 weeks, for six days per week and an hour per day, each healer held an intention for the well being of a patient with end-stage AIDS. Each healer treated a new client each week, so that every healer treated every client, in turn. This ensured that overall healing, rather than a particular technique, was studied. During the six-month trial, 40% of the control group died. But the 10 patients who received distance healing survived and became healthier. A team of scientists concluded that the treatment had worked.

But the control group was 10 years older, on average, compared to the treatment group, which might have accounted for the deaths. So Targ and Sicher repeated the study with 40 patients, controlling for all factors, including age and positive thinking (in each group, 50% guessed after three months that they were being prayed for; belief did not correlate with results). The treatment group, over six months, was healthier in every way: fewer hospitalizations (three vs. 12), hospital days, and new AIDS-defining illnesses (two vs. 12); significantly lower disease severity and doctor visits; significantly improved mood; and, overall, significantly better medical outcomes on six of 11 measures. Fifty statistical tests determined that no other variables accounted for the results.182

These results were confirmed by a 12-month study of traditional forms of intercessory prayer (mostly Christian or non-denominational) for cardiac patients. Teams of intercessors, who were not gifted healers, but simply believed that God responds to prayer, prayed for one patient over 28 days, thinking the first name of the patient. Intercessors did not receive feedback regarding results. Neither the medical staff, nor the patients, was aware of the study. Symptoms for the prayer group decreased by 10% more than the control group; and they had fewer adverse medical events, shorter hospital stays, and a number of other superior indicators. As in the Targ/Sicher study, not the prayer method, but, rather, holding a healing intention, was what mattered.183

In all the well designed studies Targ had reviewed, it was this last factor that seemed common: effective distance healers used intention, combined with a request and surrender to a healing force greater than themselves (“the spirit world, a religious figure, the collective consciousness, light, or love”184). Ultimately, healing influence may be drawing upon the life force and consciousness of Spirit itself, with us acting as the receptive and open vehicles for the physical manifestation of wholeness.185

Radin conducted a study of two groups that used DHI. The effect size for changes in electrodermal activity of the target was almost twice as large as previous meta-analytic estimates involving individual attention. “This suggests that groups may enhance DHI effects.”186

Other studies of distance healing, using group meditative practice and focusing upon social effects, are reported below.

Social and Cultural Healing. Only two of the 150 studies covered by the surveys mentioned above involved distance healing by groups.187 It is not possible to conclude from such a small number of studies whether individual of group healing efforts are more successful.188 But the research I describe below may indicate that Jung may have sensed the power of collective healing, a power which indigenous and Eastern traditions have not forgotten:

Our personal psychology is just a thin skin, a ripple on the ocean of collective psychology. The powerful factor, the factor which changes our whole life, which changes the surface of our known world, which makes history, is collective psychology, which moves according to laws entirely different from those of our [individual] consciousness.

- Carl Jung189

Groups of Transcendental Meditation (TM) practitioners have had significant impact upon the well being and physical and mental health of surrounding geographic communities. Mainstream scientists have tended to dismiss the TM research out of hand, primarily because of questions about the TM organization’s alleged “promotion of the personal interests”190 of its founder, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, or because of skepticism that believers or practitioners could conduct unbiased research, or because TM researchers occasionally claim that TM is more effective than other techniques.191 Yet, 50 very rigorous, socially focused, scientific studies, which have “controlled for alternative explanations,”192 have been conducted over more than 30 years. Many of the experiments have been published in well respected, peer-reviewed scientific journals. The results have been impressive, in terms of improved quality of life and health and decreased crime rate, accidents, war, etc. I cite some of these studies below.

The Maharishi originally hypothesized that if 1% of the population193 in a geographic area practiced TM, the coherent calm and stress reduction created by the group’s meditation would, via what he called the “Unified Field”, lower conflict and other forms of social disruption in that area. (If a group practiced the more advanced TM-Sidhi program, he hypothesized that only the square root of 1% of the population would be needed.) According to his hypothesis, individual stress increases collective stress on all levels of collective consciousness (family, community, city, state, national and world), and vice versa.194 But a meditating group’s coherence – defined as “working together for mutual support, achievement and fulfillment”195 – is more powerful than the incoherence of the larger system within which it is located. It can therefore bring order to the whole. The incoherent members of the larger system tend to move “randomly”, working against each other and therefore canceling each other’s actions and efforts. This effect has been compared to the laser, where a “relatively few in-phase, coherent photons stimulate the whole system to become coherent,”196 or to the heart, where the pacemaker cells – about 1% of the total cells – cause all the heart’s cells to beat rhythmically.

A 1993 study found that, when 4,000 people meditated together, violent crime in Washington, D.C., declined 23% over the course of the experiment, in contrast to its rising in the months before and after. The results were shown not to be due to other variables, such as weather, the police, or anti-crime campaigns. The predicted effect had been posited with and independent review board, which had participated in the study design and monitored its conduct.197 A similar effect was shown in a study of 24 U.S. cities, in which 1% of the urban population regularly practiced TM. A follow-up study demonstrated that the 24 cities saw drops of 22% in crime and 89% in the crime trend, compared to increases of 2% and 53%, respectively, in the control cities.198

During a two-month period in 1983 in Israel, on days when a TM-Sidhi group equaling the square root of 1% of the surrounding population meditated, independently published data showed that war-related deaths in Lebanon dropped 76%, and conflict, traffic fatalities, fires and crime decreased. In Israel, the national mood increased, as measured by a blinded content analysis of the emotional tone of the lead, front-page picture story in the Jerusalem Post, and the stock market increased. Other potential causal variables were controlled for.199  Predictions regarding war-reduction in Lebanon and increased quality of life in Israel had been posited with two independent project review board of scientists before the experiments began. The study was subsequently repeated seven times, with statistically significant effects.200 Research in five conflict-ridden locations around the globe,201 in the U.S.,202 and worldwide (via TM-Sidhi assemblies of 7,000 practitioners, equal to the square root of 1% of the world’s population in the mid-1980s) produced similar effects.203

According to David Orme-Johnson, one of the regular researchers of TM, the experience of “transcendental consciousness” has been shown to result in increased individual coherence, “as indicated by improved health, creativity, intelligence and social behavior,”204 in more than 600 studies conducted by 200 universities in 30 countries. Several studies regarding TM showed that interhemispheric coordination and the number of areas in the cortex perceiving information increased.205 These results are similar to those reported in the section on cardioelectromagnetic communication (above) and in the general literature on the physical and mental health benefits of meditation and contemplation.206

The sociological studies cited in this section measure social health in a broad sense; and the research on individual health benefits may be extrapolated to the social arena. Other studies have examined the effect of group TM practice on aggregate, more typical measures of individual physical and mental health. For example, eight studies have shown that group TM meditation is significantly associated with improved physical and mental health among others outside the TM group.207 After controlling for a number of factors, meta-analyses of TM studies have found it to be “more effective than the clinically derived approaches that are modeled after it” in reducing anxiety,208 improving psychological health,209 and reducing tobacco, alcohol and drug use.210 More than 500 studies have reported stress-reducing effects of TM practice, thereby presumably benefiting physical and mental health.211 Several studies support the hypothesis that TM practice can reverse long-lasting effects of stress on neuroendocrine regulation.212 A recent study may provide “empirical support for a postulated psycho-neuroendocrine mechanism that could mediate the observed reductions in behavioral indicators of social stress”213 reported in the studies cited above.

Many of the TM studies purport to show that group practice “has a more beneficial effect than individual practice.”214 Moreover, larger groups may have more significant effects than smaller groups. For example, one experiment examined the degree of serotonin turnover – a neuroendocrine benefit linked to reduced stress – and correlated it different-sized TM practice groups. The results strongly suggested that increasing group size “increases serotonin turnover, not only in group members, but also in individuals completely outside the group.”215

The Effect of Psychosocial Support and Community Upon Physical and Mental Health. A good deal of research indicates that relationships and involvement in strong community or social networks, including psychosocial support groups,216 are important predictors of physical and mental health, of recovery from disease, and of length of life.217 For example, in one study a small town of immigrants had a strong sense of community, which spanned class and economic lines. In spite of many high-risk health factors, the townspeople had a heart-attack rate less than 50% of nearby towns.218 But a generation later, when the sense of community had dissolved, the heart-attack rate matched the rate of the neighboring towns. Studies of cardiac patients have demonstrated that “isolation – from oneself, one’s community, and one’s spirituality – rather than physical conditions, is one of the greatest contributors to disease.219 Research has suggested that social connections and support may slow the progression of cancer and reduce mortality risk from it.220 People who live the longest are often not only those who believe in a higher spiritual being, but also those who have the strongest sense of belonging to a community.221

Although one might argue that the benefits of community and support networks arise through the observable interactions between members, the research presented in this paper suggests that we influence each other in additional and perhaps more powerful ways. Developing collective consciousness is a way to work more consciously and skillfully with the healing and creative powers of community.

Indigenous traditions, communally oriented cultures, and a number of Eastern traditions still recognize the primary role of community in individual health, and see a rupture in one’s connection with the community as a key factor in physical, emotional and mental disease.222 In mainstream U.S. culture, we have unfortunately shredded a good deal of our sense of community, including that which once existed in the workplace. Given the research presented in this paper, it is imperative that this destruction be reversed.223 If organizations and communities hope to nourish the health, well being and productive contributions of their members, they need to build a sense of care, mutual support and community.

Collective Intention and Attention, Coherence and Global Consciousness. Just as remote attention and intention influence the harmonic order and coherence of living systems, similar effects have been found upon randomness generated by machines. Indeed, our influence upon inanimate reality may be as profound as our influence upon living systems, as one mystic noted:

All things in the world have been made in consideration of everything else. Everything in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, is penetrated with connectedness, with relatedness.

                                                         - Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias224

A random number generator (RNG) or random event generator (REG) electronically issues the numbers “one” or “zero” in random sequences. We can test empirically whether individuals can influence the output of these computers, causing more “ones” than “zeroes” to occur, to a degree that represents a statistically significantly deviation from chance (a 50% probability of one of the two events occurring) or randomness. You might ask, “What does that have to do with collective consciousness?” First, it can show the ability of humans to create order or coherence in reality, a phenomenon that underlies health, learning, creativity, meaning and culture. Second, it may demonstrate that focused collective attention and intention bring these benefits to large segments of our world.

Over many years, Helmut Schmidt tested gifted psychics, while Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne, of the Princeton University Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) lab, tested ordinary people. Both sets of participants achieved RNG output that represented statistically significant deviation from chance. Over a 12-year period, in 2.5 million trials, 52% of the trials and almost 67% of the PEAR’s 91 participants influenced the REGs in the intended direction,225 compared to 54% of Schmidt’s trials.226 More than 25% of the PEAR experiments involved distance influence, up to thousands of miles.227 Because of the nonlocal nature of these effects, Roger Nelson began calling the experiments “field consciousness” studies.

Roger Nelson and Dean Radin conducted a meta-analysis in 1987 of more than 800 REG experiments conducted by 68 researchers. The intended results228 had been achieved 51% of the time. Similar results were found in a subsequent meta-analysis covering experiments over 41 years, between 1959 and 2000.229 The odds of this outcome over such a large number of trials (where results would be expected to return to chance levels) are a trillion to one.230

The PEAR lab also conducted studies with pairs of people, who knew each other previously. Together they tried to influence a REG. In 42 experimental series with 15 pairs and 256,500 trails, many produced results that exceeded the effect of either person alone.231 “Bonded pairs” – couples who were in a relationship – created a coherence effect almost six times as strong as individuals.232 Jahn and Dunne suggested that emotional closeness might create resonance between individuals, and result in stronger influence, just as two waves that are in phase or synch amplify a signal.233

When REGs were taken to a variety of group events,234 the REG data seemed to become ordered when activities were more intense or captivating; when they evoked concentration, or were emotionally meaningful to participants -- in other words, when many or all of the group’s members became simultaneously more attentive and engaged in an event, when their collective consciousness became more coherent or focused, or when they were engaged by similar, intense feelings or thoughts.235 Although participants were unaware of moments when the REG’s output had become ordered, in one study they described a corresponding, high-interest event segment as a “special, shared moment.” One participant said that the “change in the group’s energy had been almost palpable.”236

The effects of group attention were three times greater than the earlier individual-intention PEAR studies.237 Just like pairs and couples, groups seemed to produce larger results. Nelson discovered that, when a group was meditating together, the effects were six times as great.238

In the mid-90s, Dean Radin began studying high-interest points during mass-viewer events, and found similar, significant influences upon REG output. For example, during the March 1995 Academy Awards, with an estimated viewership of one billion, he operated two REGs, with one in a nearby room and one 12 miles away. He and an assistant noted what they considered high interest and low interest segments during the ceremonies. A subsequent comparison of these events to the REG data showed that the highest interest periods correlated significantly with ordered REG output, and that the odds against this happening were 1000 to 1. In the four hours after the event, both REGs very soon returned to and maintained randomness.239 Radin replicated these results with other events, such as the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial verdict, the 1996 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies, and in smaller groups, such as a personal growth workshop.240 By 1997 these results had also been replicated by researchers in 12 studies. Highly significant results were obtained, with odds against chance of 10,000 to one.241

Although Dick Bierman has correctly noted that, “It is unclear if the driving factor behind these apparent anomalous correlations is a shared emotion, a shared attention, or a specific state of consciousness that may transcend ordinary time and space constraints,”242 the effect is unmistakable. It will take more experimentation, together with measurement and control of other variables, in order to know how to interpret the underlying causal factors.

In 1998, Nelson began calling the machines EGGs, or ElectroGaiaGrams, and decided to enlist 40 other scientists in setting up a global network of devices. His goal was to test for something like the “noosphere”, Teilhard de Chardin’s term for a field of intelligence that he believed surrounded the earth.243 Through Nelson’s Global Consciousness Project (http://noosphere.princeton.edu), researchers have been studying the correlated effect that world events have upon the random numbers generated by the EGGs. According to the Project’s hypothesis, a positive deviation from randomness is predicted.244

Researchers so far have found that some events have been correlated with significant results (for example, Princess Diana’s death, New Year’s celebrations, and 9/11, one of the most striking results245). Nelson believes these events captivated public attention. During all the public ceremonies for Diana, the degree of coherence was 100 to one against chance.246 Based upon various independent data analyses of results observed on 9/11 from the EGGs network, performed by Nelson,247 Radin,248 Peter Bancel,249 and Richard Shoup,250 together with a critical analysis by Edwin May and James Spottiswoode,251 Nelson offered the following interpretation of the strong deviations from randomness that with correlated with the major events of September 11:

We do not have a theoretical understanding of the sort that must underlie robust interpretations…but I would like to describe a speculation…that the instruments have captured the reaction of a global consciousness…. Based on evidence that individuals and groups manifest something we can tentatively call a consciousness field, we hypothesized that there could be a global consciousness capable of the same thing…. It would seem that the new, integrated mind is just beginning to be active, paying attention only to events that inspire strong coherence of attention and feeling. Perhaps the best image is an infant slowly developing awareness, but already capable of strong emotions…. The EGG network reacted in a powerful and evocative way. While there are certainly sensible alternative explanations, this is not a mistake or a misreading. It can be interpreted as a clear, if indirect, confirmation of the hypothesis that the EGGs’ behavior is affected by global events and our reactions to them…. The results from this scientific study are an apparent manifestation of the ancient idea that we are all interconnected, and that what we think and feel has an effect on others.252

If Nelson’s speculations are borne out by further research, then humanity has inherited a new responsibility: to be conscious of the impact of our pooled thought and feeling. The following studies highlight an important consideration: namely, that collective intention for advancing the common good, organized through prayer or meditation (especially its advanced forms), may create a field effect that is opposite the one created by largely unconscious, mass attention. In other words, collective intention that is grounded in love, empathy, compassion, altruism, etc., may create a healing field effect, in contrast to mass attention that is focused primarily by fear, threat, danger, mistrust, horror, anger, etc.

Shortly after 9/11, TM practitioners gathered in Iowa for five days “to meditate together to create an influence of stability and peace”253 in the United States. Orme-Johnson predicted post facto that strong coherence in the EGGs output would have been produced on September 26, 2001, the day on which the highest number of meditators (1800 individuals) practiced. When Nelson analyzed the data, he found that its departure from expectation on that day was “steady and unusually strong, leading to a final result that has a chance likelihood of about one in 1000, had it been an a priori prediction, instead of a non-formal exploration.”254 (In science, formal experiments are based upon predictions made before data collection begins.) This result may support the hypothesis of TM’s founder that the experience of a unified field of consciousness creates coherence in the environment.

Orme-Johnson also predicted post facto that the strongest coherence would be reflected during periods of TM-Sidhi “yogic flying”, an advanced meditative technique, which involves a “subjective experience of waves of bliss.” The concatenated result for the five days of group practice, during the time period of most powerful results (7:00 – 7:30 p.m.), showed a fairly steady trend, but as a negative deviation from randomness, the opposite direction predicted by Nelson’s hypothesis. Commenting on the results, Nelson noted how this opposite-direction result occurred during another focusing of collective intention for the common good:

Although this [the TM-Sidhi analysis] is a non-formal exploration and is too little data to allow robust interpretation, such an effect corresponds to a reduction of the size of deviations from expectation in the nominally random data. It is worth noting that the Silent Prayer on September 14, 2001 [conducted simultaneously via many organized events in Europe and the eastern U.S.] showed the same pattern…, steadily opposite to the usual direction; but somehow it looks right – symbolic of the moment’s contrast to the preceding days…. Perhaps we should predict such an effect from deeply focused meditations.255

A recent study, with EGGs located in TM meditation halls, found a ten-times more powerful effect for yogic flying, compared to regular TM.256 As predicted ahead of time, the effect was again opposite the trend direction produced during and immediately after 9/11.

Although further study, replication and careful interpretation of these results are necessary, the data trend’s opposite direction raises an intriguing possibility regarding the positive effects that collectives can have upon communities, societies and our world, when collective intention is marshaled – and practiced -- on behalf of the common good. As these and the earlier TM-related data suggest, perhaps we can mobilize and harness large-scale, constructive intention, in order to bring healing to dis-eased situations locally, regionally and globally.

The above results, together with the relatively larger effect sizes obtained in studies of bonded couples and of groups, suggest that DHI by groups may be more efficacious, relative to DHI by individuals, after controlling for other variables. Group-based DHI certainly deserves more study.257

Facilitated Learning and Creative Synchronicity. Sheldrake has conducted a number of experiments, which seem to indicate that morphic resonance and field effects may facilitate faster and easier learning by individuals and groups who attempt to learn a skill or behavior after an individual or group in the same species initially does so. Researchers have investigated this phenomenon in terms of language skills, solving crossword puzzles, birds pulling caps off milk bottles, conditioned aversion among chicks,258 and other forms of learning.259 These experiments have replicated earlier research by others.260 In one experiment, the average time required by participants to initially solve visual puzzles was recorded. The same puzzles were then shown to several million television viewers, for them to solve. Subsequently, a group of individuals, who had not watched the program or seen the puzzles, solved the puzzles much faster than the original group.261

Laszlo has used similar ideas to explain creative synchronicity across cultures or individuals in different locations, who could not have been aware of each other’s work. He has studied instances where they appear to enter into field-mediated communication, regardless of the distance separating them. For example, “the great breakthroughs of classical Hebrew, Greek, Chinese and Indian culture occurred almost at the same time [750 to 399 BC]…among people who were not likely to have been in actual communication.”262 Laszlo has suggested that some creative acts may be

due to the elaboration of an idea or pattern in two or more minds in [direct, but unconscious] interaction, a process in which the results transcend the individual abilities…. Perhaps [when individuals] with high levels of motivation and great powers of concentration focus on similar tasks, the similarity of the states of brain and mind allows some level of access to each other’s cerebral processes.263

A number of other researchers have noted this phenomenon.264 Harold Gardner has suggested that it might be salutary “to view the field as the ‘prime mover’” in such cases.265

If learning and creativity can be facilitated and distributed by field effects, perhaps healing can also be – among the members of teams, organizations, local communities, and even our global community. The research described in this paper, especially the TM research, suggests that this is a possibility.

Cautions and Considerations
When Designing and Interpreting the Research

When reviewing the research and considering the possibilities regarding collective consciousness, it is important to address several important issues.

Reductionism and Absolutism. The most common problems that I have seen arise during discussions of collective consciousness are reductionism and its converse, absolutism. Reductionism occurs when, for example, any one discipline or professional specialty reduces or collapses all the diverse aspects of a whole phenomenon to its own partial, discipline-specific perspective. We have stories and sayings in ordinary life that expresses the partialness of reductionism. Examples include the blind men who think that the part of the elephant they’re touching – its truck, leg, or tail -- is the whole elephant, unconnected to the other parts. Similarly, we have a saying, “If you’re a hammer, everything is a nail.”

The converse of reductionism is absolutism. In this case, a discipline inflates its perspective, claiming that its perspective can absolutely explain every aspect of a phenomena. In the preceding examples, the elephant’s tail is seen as the whole elephant. The hammer is seen as the tool that contains the solution to every problem.

In terms of collective consciousness, systems theorists seem to fall quite often into both traps (although other disciplines at times do the same). The external processes and systems of any collective become the sole focus. “If we take a group through these processes, or structure an organization this way, or teach these techniques, then collective consciousness will be ensured,” the thinking typically goes. What gets sacrificed are the inner aspects of individual or collective life, issues like psychological or moral development, meditative practice, culture, and so on.

A second major area of reductionism during discussions of collective consciousness centers around quantum physics, especially the quantum vacuum and the Zero Point Field. Wilber correctly notes that the issue of where to locate the quantum vacuum in the overall consciousness-mass-energy model “has probably caused more theoretical trouble than any other single item…. The result has been calamitous.”266 Because this is such a common and widespread error, I’d like to spend a little time on it.

Because the quantum wave potential is “a vast source of creative energy that gives rise to denser material particles,” many scientists have equated it with Spirit, God, the Tao, Brahman, etc., or limitless consciousness itself. However, since subatomic particles emerge from the quantum potential and therefore are the material beginning of the evolutionary chain, equating the quantum potential with Spirit means that “the higher the level of evolution, the farther away from God you get…. The quantum potential is not actually a radically formless or nondual domain…, but rather is simply one aspect of a manifest realm that itself has qualities and quantities, and hence is not radically Unqualifiable.”267 In other words, unqualifiable nondual Spirit is reduced to a material aspect of dualistic reality.

An example of this reductionism underpins Lynn McTaggart’s book, The Field.268 The title refers to the Zero Point Field (ZPF), a field associated with zero-point energy, the “ever-present energy in the emptiest state of space at the lowest possible energy, at temperatures of absolute zero, out of which no more energy could be removed…. All elementary particles interact with each other…, causing random fluctuations of energy.” These interactions, “when added across the universe, give rise to enormous energy.”269 The ZPF implies that all matter in the universe is “interconnected by waves…, tying one part of the universe to every other part.”270 This description is fine. But McTaggart’s explanation of every single phenomena in life by means of the ZPF is where problems begin to arise. Before I give a few examples, let me speak about involution or creative manifestation.

The wisdom traditions are virtually unanimous that an involutionary movement (or creative manifestation)271 preceded life’s evolutionary movement, proceeding from pure Spirit through soul, mind, life (prana) and insentient matter (the quarks and atoms of quantum physics). According to this cross-cultural view, the quantum potential is therefore not Spirit, but Spirit-as-prana. “When the Schroedinger wave function [in quantum physics] collapses [a movement from multiple potential states to a particular particle form], prana gives rise to matter. What the quantum mechanical formalisms are catching is a brief glimpse of – in a merely third-person, abstract, mathematical form – the staggering power of etheric-astral energy.”272 Some quantum physicists turn an event at the bottom of the involutionary cycle into its beginning. Put another way, they conflate the beginning points of the involutionary and evolutionary cycles.

McTaggart falls into this conundrum. First, she calls the ZPF “a repository of all fields…a field of fields.”273 For the reasons mentioned above, this turns evolution on its head. Moreover, rather than seeing quantum fields as one of many types of fields, all reflecting various levels of consciousness and complexity, she reduces all of them to one.

Second, McTaggart makes a number of huge, interpretive claims, which she does not adequately support, in my opinion. She refers to the ZPF as:

a life force flowing through the universe – what has variously been called collective consciousness or, as theologians have termed it, the Holy Spirit. [The scientists studying the ZPF] provided a plausible explanation of all those areas over the centuries [that] mankind has had faith in, but no solid evidence of…, from the effectiveness of alternative medicine and even prayer to life after death. They offered us, in a sense, a science of religion.274

I have serious problems with these claims. Although one might be able to argue that some simple form of collective consciousness – or, more accurately, prehension -- exists at the subatomic level, I would argue that collective consciousness fully and meaningfully emerges only at later stages of evolution, when transpersonal consciousness begins to develop. Second, as explained above, subatomic particles or their interactions are unlikely to be able to contain the subtle energies that may, in fact, help explain some of the phenomena described in this paper. Third, McTaggart has taken a Christian concept – Holy Spirit – an aspect of the divine, and has applied it to the nondual, which constitutes another reduction, from a theological perspective. Finally, she assumes that science can explain all aspects of religion, ignoring the limits of science in terms of studying realities that can only be accessed via gnosis, as I explain elsewhere in this paper.

David Bohm’s dualistic formulation of the implicate and explicate orders also reflects this problem.275 He portrayed the implicate order as quantum and spiritual, and the explicate order as Newtonian and material. But, as Wilber points out,276 the wisdom traditions hold that, in the energy aspects of the involutionary movement of the Great Chain of Being, each holon is implicate to (the creative source of) its subholon, whereas each subholon is explicate to (the manifestation or expression of) its holon. Life’s creative process begins at the causal level, eventually working its way to the quantum level, in successive implicate-explicate movements. But if you absolutize physics – an all too common situation – the Great Chain is itself collapsed into one movement, and the nondual is equated with one pole of a dualistic formulation.

Bohm eventually realized this dilemma. In an attempt to solve it, he proposed a “super-implicate order”. But the problem of qualifying the unqualifiable remained. He then added a “beyond the super-implicate” realm, creating a four-level, rough approximation of the chain of being. But because his model was based on physics, he reduced the middle section of the chain, which includes the domains of biology (the “life” level) and psychology (the “mind” level), to the domain of physics (the “matter” level).

The Two Truths Doctrine. Another problem, according to Wilber,277 with equating quantum (or string or symmetry) realities with nondual Spirit is highlighted by the “Two Truths Doctrine.” Conventional or relative truths can be known by science, but absolute or nondual truth can only be known by gnosis (satori, etc.), a direct apprehension through transformation of consciousness. Relative truth addresses finite events, about which you can make true or false, assertoric statements, and the conditions under which your assertions are true. But when you attempt to categorize (organize into discrete, defined parts) nondual Spirit, you enter the realm of contradiction and ad absurdum and ad infinitum regressions. For the philosopher-sage, Nagarjuna, for example, the Ultimate is empty (shunya) of qualities and categorizations. To communicate one’s experience of the nondual via language, one must resort to poetic metaphor, such as the “One”. By contrast, in quantum physics, the vacuum potential is a model, and one can therefore communicate via dualistic, assertoric language.

The trick is not to reduce all of reality, including the nondual, to the quantum level, but rather to see the quantum level of reality as isomorphic to other levels. In other words, each level of reality will be implicate or explicate to other levels. Each level will have certain unique fields that express its energy, but do not necessarily express the energy of other levels or other phenomena. If we approach collective consciousness from a comprehensive, integral framework, we will avoid the traps of reductionism, absolutism and, at times, inappropriate language.

Harmful Field Effects. Occasionally someone asks me whether field effects can be harmful. The simple answer is yes. In fact, we all already live in the midst of a number of harmful, unhealthy fields. We may be in a destructive relationship, or work in a toxic organization with a narcissistic leader, or be part of a religious organization that has cult-like characteristics, or live in a community characterized by high levels of conflict or crime.

But what about individuals or groups who consciously and maliciously harm others? This is a very important question. Larry Dossey has documented examples of the ability of malicious thoughts to harm and cause disease.278 You can take steps to inoculate yourself, so to speak. HeartMath, for example, has found that people, who are able to maintain their own physiological coherence, are “more internally stable and, thus, less vulnerable to being negatively affected.”279 This is one reason that I stress development and practice so much: the more you can discover who you truly are, the more you can develop your own internal compass, and the more you choose to live in a state of honesty, acceptance and love, the less you will be affected by negative, external influences.

Some people, such as the TM practitioners, believe that the powers of influence one achieves are commensurate with one’s level of consciousness, and are otherwise unavailable. In addition, as one’s moral development and identification with others evolves, one chooses to live more responsibly and for the sake of the common good. In such cases, causing harm to others becomes less and less likely. This is another reason I stress development and practice. A growing body of research seems to indicate that our thoughts and feelings, individually and collectively, affect others – perhaps to a degree we have not imagined or understood. I believe, therefore, that we have a personal responsibility to develop our capacities, strengthen our concern and care for the common good, and create healing field effects in our organizations and communities. I do believe that the TM practitioners are correct when they say that coherent, unified, field consciousness is much more powerful than typically incoherent, malicious intentions.280

The cautions and considerations that I have just outlined, lead me to speak a bit about the crucial importance of practice, development and character for the building and sustaining of collective consciousness and wisdom on behalf of the common good.

Collaborative Creativity. Sheldrake’s hypothesis, as explained above, is that members of a social holon – once present or past members of that holon have learned a behavior – can draw upon morphic resonance, their collective memory, to learn the habits and skills established by their predecessors. If true, then members of a collective, through their own learning and development, can assist the learning of other members of the collective and of other similar collectives.

However, as Sheldrake admits, a major limitation of his hypothesis is that it cannot explain how novel or creative behavior occurs. The first field – such as the field of a new idea – “comes into being through a creative jump. The source of this evolutionary creativity is unknown. Maybe it is a matter of chance. Maybe it is an expression of some inherent creativity in mind and nature.”281

As we all know from our experience, the cumulative habits of teams, organizations, societies and cultures can stifle change and innovation very effectively. Moreover, memory involves recall of something that has already occurred. Although it may provide a helpful stepping-stone in the creative process, it refers to the past, rather than the new. So, how can collaborative creativity take place?

I have addressed this question in depth elsewhere,282 so I will only make a few comments here. I believe that the answers lie in the arena of human development. From the wisdom traditions, from the social sciences, and from our personal and professional practice and experience of change and transformation, we know that attitudes and beliefs can make a big difference. For example, how open and curious we are, how willing we are to take risks, etc., together with the behavioral choices we make, can determine how creative we are and how fast we learn. Obviously, mystery is still involved here, as any spiritual teacher, educator, consultant or therapist will tell you. Nonetheless, many spiritual practices, for example, are specifically designed to help practitioners become more and more open, flexible and adaptive, and to embrace and recognize change as the true nature of reality.283 Various developmental traditions describe an evolution of consciousness, which increasingly takes practitioners away from constantly repeating patterns, routines and habits,284 while taking them toward increasing openness, change, experimentation, and intuitive insight. This way of living can cut throw off the crushing weight of unconscious habit.

Intuition may in fact hold the key to creativity. Research has indicated that tele-prehension and creativity may each call upon similar capacities and skills. In one experiment, for example, Charles Honorton and Marilyn Schlitz found that artistically gifted people were more successful at ESP than ordinary individuals.285 My experience with teams is that collaborative creativity arises after the group has engaged in an intuitive process. It appears that the diversity of a group requires that the members find an overarching or underlying, broad and inclusive perspective, one that incorporates the different viewpoints. In the intuitive sensing of this large and encompassing perspective, a novel insight about a problem or issue seems to arise.

In groups and collectives, individual members can inspire each other to be more creative and transformative by the way they live – a marker of true leadership. The more members of any collective who make choices for openness, freedom and creativity, the more the culture of the collective will take on those characteristics. They begin to act like what chaos theory refers to as “chaotic attractors”, as more and more members of the group choose to enter harmonic resonance with them (Wilber’s third form of tele-prehension, as described earlier). I once worked for an organization where such a strong transformative field had been built, that visitors would literally sense it and remark upon it when they walked in the door. Unfortunately, this is more often the exception than the rule.

I also believe that Spirit responds to an invitation, especially a collective invitation, to learning and creativity. Here the involutionary and evolutionary movements of life meet and interact. This, I believe, is what Wilber is talking about under the second form of tele-prehension presented above.

The Importance of Practice, Development and Character

There is a way
Between voice and presence
Where information flows.
In disciplined silence it opens.
With wandering talk it closes.

- Jelaluddin Rumi

Wilber’s integral model of development is very important, in terms of hypothesizing and studying the relationships between development, human capacities, subtle energies and field effects. According to the Vedanta and Vajrayana traditions, only when individuals have consciously developed a particular level of consciousness can they permanently realize, access and master the correlated states of consciousness and behaviors, “converting ‘temporary states’ to ‘permanent traits’”.286 Research has supported this view by finding, for example, that the dreams of infants and children do not contain or express capacities associated with the higher levels of consciousness, such as formal operational thought, postconventional images and morality, etc. Such contents only appear during early adulthood. Furthermore, although an infant exhibits energy fields associated with the families of gross, subtle and causal (described earlier in this paper), because it enters waking, dreaming and sleeping states;287 it does not possess the species and subspecies energy fields because it has not developed the correlated stages of consciousness.288

To illuminate the difference between temporary states and permanent traits, we can examine what happens when a crisis (such as a flood or earthquake) occurs in a community. In such situations, community members often respond in remarkable ways: they demonstrate full commitment to the common good, work tirelessly on its behalf, collaborate in extraordinary ways, and exhibit great levels of compassion, care, altruism and effort. They often describe the experience of communion, community and collaboration as a rare and singular peak experience. Although this experience may result in an ongoing transformation for some, most community members and the community itself typically return to ordinary behavior within a relatively short period of time after the crisis subsides, as old patterns and habits subsume the temporary state of collective consciousness.

But those who transform, whether through a conversion experience or ongoing practice, and then reside in the transpersonal levels of consciousness, seem to be able to express collective consciousness regularly and relatively consistently. At some point, they experience what I call “the communion of the heart.” They begin to evidence ongoing care for the common good and to exhibit consistently collaborative intention and skills, no matter what situation they are in, no matter what group, organization of community they are involved with at any particular time.

We now stand at a critical juncture, where we can begin to interface the modes of inquiry and the findings of the wisdom and scientific traditions. By stripping most metaphysical constructs from the wisdom-tradition consciousness model in his recent work,289 Wilber has opened more of the model’s stages to scientific investigation. Scientists studying human development have already described at least 12 major levels of consciousness, which can be studied in at least 24 developmental lines. Furthermore, in the online draft of his latest book, Wilber has begun to integrate these scientific findings and the various wisdom-tradition versions of the human chakra system into his integral model of development, thereby correlating them with the states and stages of consciousness and their associated energy fields.290 Wilber’s synthesis provides a comprehensive framework to study scientifically the relationship between human development, character, collective consciousness, and related, sustainable capacities and skills. To realize the individual and social benefits of developing collective consciousness and wisdom, which have been suggested by the research described in this paper and by applied disciplines such as organizational and community development, we need to learn how to develop these sustainable collaborative capacities and skills.

I would argue, based upon my experience working with groups and teams over the past 33 years and upon my study of the research,291 that we will only be able to develop and utilize our collective wisdom through consistent practice, self-honesty and courage. Research regarding the means for developing collective consciousness is therefore crucial. I will now describe some promising and necessary areas for studying collective consciousness.

Future Lines of Research

As we have seen in this paper, the scientific investigation of collective consciousness is just beginning. Areas of fruitful research might include:

  • What is unique about collective consciousness? How does it differ, if at all, from what occurs in high performance teams, for example? How does it differ from mob or crowd psychology? How does it differ from group identities that are built upon separation from others (e.g., a skinhead group, certain ethnic groups)?

  • How might we best define collective consciousness, in a manner that is parsimonious, yet essential, and that allows us to operationalize our definition and conduct good research?

  • What theory best explains collective consciousness? What model best represents it? What testable hypotheses can we formulate about it?

  • What can research on love, altruism, empathy, compassion, forgiveness, etc., tell us about the relationship, if any, between those phenomena and collective consciousness?292

  • How is collective consciousness manifested or expressed on one or more of the 24-plus lines of development?293 What is the relationship or correlation between individual and collective development?

  • What can other cultures, past or present, teach us about collective consciousness and wisdom? Are there cross-cultural aspects that tell us about the essential and universal aspects of these phenomena?

  • What do various disciplines have to teach us about collective consciousness (e.g., intergroup relations, diversity and multicultural studies, team building, organizational development and fields, transpersonal psychology, collaborative creativity, group psychology, etc.)294

  • What do the wisdom traditions, including shamanic practice and experience, tell us about collective consciousness?295

  • What have we learned or can learn about group dreaming, including setting an intention before sleep and using tele-prehension? What can other cultures tell us about communal dreaming?296

  • How can the research the social benefits of group TM meditative practice be studied within other meditative and contemplative traditions? If the social benefits of such practice are replicated, how can we teach reflective practice in order to advance the common good and collective health? 297

  • Do groups of subtle-energy healers, working together, produce physical and mental health benefits that are faster and/or greater than those produced by single healers?

In all cases, an interdisciplinary focus would help address the complex nature of collective consciousness and would help ensure that our research is integral; a cross-cultural focus would help us determine what is universal; and a longitudinal focus would help us see to what degree collective consciousness changes in tandem with developmental stages.

Summary and Conclusion

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.
– Marcel Proust

Humanity is embarking on an exciting journey, exploring ways to consciously use our collective wisdom and power to benefit the common good. In some ways, these communal methods have been known in the wisdom traditions for a long time. But, in other ways, we are approaching them fresh. First, we are exploring them scientifically, moving from an arena of metaphysics and belief, to an arena of experimentation, practice and methodologies that can be used to train many people. Second, we are harnessing the true nature of healing and creativity, which involves relationship-centered and collaborative approaches, and coming into individual, organizational and societal wholeness, both of which are inherently spiritual and sacred by nature. These approaches promise to restore community in mainstream U.S. culture, especially in our organizations. Third, we are beginning to consciously learn how to work with field effects, and to assume individual responsibility for our crucial contributions to the health and creativity of our relationships, our organizations, our communities and our culture.


Robert Kenny, MBA, is a Fetzer Institute Fellow, founder of Leaderful Teams Organizational Consulting, and co-founder of Bluff House Retreats. For 21 years he was a human resources executive at the Federal Reserve Bank, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Citicorp, and a comprehensive, non-profit educational and health center in New York City. He has published a number of articles on collective wisdom, and is writing a book, Change Your Life, Change Your Work: The Transformative Power of Reflective Practice and Inspired Action. You can reach him via email .

 

Endnotes

1Kenny, Robert M. (1992). Reflections on group consciousness and synergy. ICIS FORUM, 22 (2), 3-11.

2An extensive body of research has been conducted regarding the impact of collective consciousness, via the practice of transcendental meditation by groups, upon indicators of social cohesion and health (e.g., homicides, suicides, traffic fatalities, unemployment, conflict, and quality of life). Beyond what I describe in this paper, all the research is summarized at www.mum.edu/tm_research/summary_tm_res.html.

3Wilber uses the term “Kosmos” in its original sense: “the patterned nature or process of all domains of existence…, not merely the physical universe…. [It] contains the cosmos (physiosphere), the bios (biosphere), nous (noosphere), and theos (theosphere, or divine domain).” Wilber, Ken (1995, p. 38). Sex, ecology and spirituality. Boston, MA: Shambhala.

4Wilber, Ken. (In press). Kosmic Karma (Vol. 2) [Online]. Boston, MA: Shambhala. Available draft: http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm.

5Kenny, R. M. (1987). Elliott Jaques’ Stratified Systems Theory: A review and critique. Unpublished master’s thesis, New York University, Stern Graduate School of Business, New York, NY.

Kenny, R. M. (1992). Op cit.

Kenny, R.M. (Facilitator). (1993, August). Team effectiveness, group consciousness, and individual psychological development. Invited workshop presentation at the Celebration of Community Conference, co-sponsored by the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), Olympia, WA. Available audiotape.

Kenny, R.M. (Facilitator). (1993, August). Decision-making tools: How to build consensus in teams. Invited workshop presentation at the Celebration of Community Conference, co-sponsored by the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), Olympia, WA. Available audiotape.

Kenny, R. M. (1994). Community-building by M. Scott Peck, M.D.: A critique. ICIS FORUM, 24 (1), 37-58.

Kenny, R. M. (Facilitator). (1994, August). Psychological development and team building. Invited workshop presentation at the Annual Conference of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology (ATP), Asilomar, CA. Available audiotape.

Kenny, R. M. (Speaker). (1995, August). Maturation, psychospiritual development, and Peck’s community-building model: A critique. Sidney M. Jourard Division 32 (Humanistic Psychology) Award paper, presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago, IL.

Kenny, R. M. (Speaker). (1995, September). Community-building and human development. Invited presentation at the New York Conference on Social Research, New York, NY.

Kenny, R.M. (1996). Creative collaboration and human development: A case study. Unpublished paper, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, San Francisco, CA.

Kenny, R.M. (Facilitator). (1996, November). Team creativity and individual development. Invited workshop presentation at the Common Boundary’s 16th Annual Conference, Washington, D.C. Available audiotape.

Kenny, R.M. (1997, August). Creative collaboration and human development: A case study. Invited paper presentation at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago, IL.

Kenny, R. M. (1998). Creative collaboration: The untapped resource of synergy. Unpublished doctoral candidacy essay, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Institute, San Francisco, CA.

Kenny, R.M. (Speaker). (1998, October). Building healthy and sustainable communities. Invited presentation at the New York Open Center’s Conference on Sustainable Societies, New York, NY. Available audiotape.

Kenny, R.M. (Speaker). (1999, June). Collective relationships: The challenging, yet golden, road to spiritual development. Invited paper presentation at the semi-annual colloquium of Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, San Francisco, CA.

Kenny, R. M. (1999, Fall). Spread leadership! Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures, 39.

Kenny, R.M. (2000, January). Developing leaderful groups. The Co-Intelligence Institute. Available: www.co-intelligence.org or via email .

Kenny, R. M. (2000, Summer). Creating community. Communities Magazine, 23-25.

Kenny, R. M., in collaboration with Glover, J. R. (2001). Calling out our potential: Developing collective wisdom and team synergy: With reflections on our collective future. Kalamazoo, MI: The Fetzer Institute. http://www.collectivewisdominitiative.org/papers/glover_callingout.htm.

Kenny, R.M. (2001, June [excerpts], and 2000, May [full interview]). The chalice of community: An interview of Robert Kenny. Online Noetic Network. Available transcript: www.wisdomtalk.org or via email .

Kenny, R. M. (2002, Summer). Developing collaborative, creative and ethical leadership through the use of reflective practice. Newsletter of the Pacific Northwest Organizational Development Network, 6.

Kenny, R. M. (Facilitator). (2003, September). The transformative power of collective practice, wisdom and inspired action in organizations and communities (Conference Recording Services, Inc., Cassette Recording No. 051, http://www.conferencerecording.com/newevents/awa23.htm, 510-527-3600). Invited workshop presentation at the Annual Conference of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), presented in collaboration with the Association for Global New Thought (AGNT), Palm Springs, CA.

Kenny, R. M. (2003, October). Inspiring creativity and sustainability through reflective practice. Workshop presented at the annual conference of the Organizational Development Network (ODN), Portland, OR. Proceedings available at http://www.odnetwork.org/conf2003/proceedings/index.html or via email .

Kenny, R. M. (Facilitator). (2004, March). Building Individual and Organizational Creativity, Collaboration, Vision and Leadership Through Reflective Practice. Invited workshop presentation at the monthly meeting of the Pacific Northwest Organizational Development Network (PNODN). Seattle, WA.

Kenny, R. M. (May-July, 2004, pp. 79-80). The science of collective consciousness: A summary. What Is Enlightenment?, 25.

Kenny, R. M. (In press). Change your work, change your life: The transformative power of reflective practice and inspired action. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Kenny, R. M. (In press). Creative collaboration and human development: When the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In A. Montuori & R. Purser (Eds.) (In press), Social creativity (Vol. 3). Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Kenny, R. M. (In press). Creating healing teams, organizations and societies. In M. Schlitz & T. Amarok (Eds.), Consciousness and healing: Integral approaches to mind-body medicine. New York: Churchill Livingston/Elsevier Science Limited.

6For example, Benor, D. J. (September 2003, pp. 1-12). Collective consciousness: The journey IS the destination. The International Journal of Healing and Caring, (2), 3.

7Kenny, R. M. (In press). Creative collaboration and human development. Op cit.

8Kenny, R. M. (1999, Fall). Op cit.

9Kenny, R. M. (In press) Building personal, organizational and community health through collective consciousness and action. Op cit.

10Kenny, R. M. (In press). Change your work, change your life. Op cit. Kenny, R. M. (2003, September). Op cit.

11Kenny, R. M. (2003, October). Op cit.

12Kenny, R. M. (1994). Op cit.

13Wilber, K. (1996). Eye to eye: The quest for the new paradigm. Boston, MA: Shambhala.

14Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

15Wilber, K. (In press). Ibid.

16Wilber, K. (In press). Ibid. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptD/part1.cfm.

17Kenny, R. M. (1998). Op cit.

18Walsh, R., & Vaughan, F. (Eds.) (1993, p. 3). Paths beyond ego: The transpersonal vision. New York, G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

19Wilber, K. (1995, p. 290). Op cit.

20Wilber, K. (1995, p. 313). Ibid.

21Wilber very rightly notes: “The manifest world continues to expand correlative with the amount of love sentient beings can bring to it…. The greater the degree of the evolution of consciousness, the more transparent the boundaries themselves become to Emptiness” or Spirit. See Wilber, Ken (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptD/part1.cfm. Love may actually constitute the energy that accounts for many of the phenomenal aspects of collective consciousness.

22Wilber, K. (1995, p. 292). Op cit.

23Wilber, K. (1995, p. 610). Ibid.

24For example, see Bucke, R. M. (1974 [1900]). Cosmic consciousness: A study in the evolution of the human mind. New York: Causeway Books.

25“The awakening of the ultimate Self or nondual I-I of all holons, which brings with it the full recognition of the Kosmic solidarity or ultimate We of all holons, a recognition of that infinite depth or nondual Spirit that grounds all intersubjectivity and solidarity, as disclosed and illumined by causal and nondual paradigms [practices].” Wilber, Ken. (In press) Op cit.
http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm. These terms will be explained throughout this paper.

26Wilber, Ken. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm.

27For example: “Only an individual holon has a dominant monad or ‘I’ with a singular agency or intentionality, and thus…has consciousness per se (although a collective interior holon can have a type of diffused consciousness, e.g., ‘group ego’). Wilber, Ken. (In press, n. 6). Op cit.
http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm.

28Jung, C. G. (1964). Man and his symbols. Garden City, NY: Windfall/Doubleday.

29Kenny, R. M., in collaboration with Glover, J. R. (2001). Op cit.
www.collectivewisdominitiative.org/papers/glover_callingout.htm.

30Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. New York: Aldine de Gruyer.

Glaser, B. G. (1992). Basics of grounded theory analysis. Mill Valley, CA: Sociology Press.

31Briskin, A., Erickson, S., Lederman, J., Ott, J., Potter, D., & Strutt, C. (2001). Centered on the edge: Mapping a field of collective intelligence and spiritual wisdom. Kalamazoo, MI: The John E. Fetzer Institute. Available: www.collectivewisdominitiative.org/CenteredOnTheEdge/thebook.htm

32See endnotes 1-8.

33This body of work will be referenced in the remainder of this paper.

34See Calling Out Our Potential. Op cit.

35Hermeneutics studies inner realities as people experience them (e.g., how people feel about their experience). Structuralism studies how inner realities manifest as behavior. These two research methods, when used together, are well suited to studying stages of human development. Cross-cultural research would help us see what is more universal, while longitudinal research would allow us to determine which patterns of being-in-the-world constitute stages, rather than states. See Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptD/part1.cfm.

36Sheldrake, R. (2003, p. 16). The sense of being stared at: And other aspects of the extended mind. New York: Crown.

37Charles Tart found in his research that, when two subjects hypnotized each other, they claimed to know each other’s thoughts and feelings. Tart, C. Psychedelic experiences associated with a novel hypnotic procedure: mutual hypnosis. In C. Tart (Ed.) (1969), Altered states of consciousness (pp. 291-308). New York: John Wiley. As I discuss in this paper, there are certain non-drug processes which group members can consciously and willingly undertake to create altered states of consciousness, such as meditation, which may enhance their ability to think and create together, or to influence the advancement of the common good.

38Kenny, Robert (1996). Op cit.

39E.g.: Elgin, D. (1997). Collective consciousness and cultural healing: A report to the Fetzer Institute. San Anselmo, CA: Millennium Project. Available: www.awakeningearth.org.

Laszlo, E. (1995, pp. 88, 106). The interconnected universe: Conceptual foundations of transdisciplinary unified theory. River Edge, NJ: World Scientific.

Radin, D. (1997). The conscious universe: The scientific truth of psychic phenomena. New York: Harper Collins. Available www.boundaryinstitute.org/ or www.psiresearch.org.

Sheldrake, R. (1995). Seven experiments that could change the world. New York: Riverhead Books. Available: www.sheldrake.org.

Wolman, B. B. (Ed.) (1977). Handbook of parapsychology. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Utts, J. (1991). Replication and meta-analysis in parapsychology. Statistical Science, 6, 363-403.

40Sheldrake, R. (1995, pp. 23-24). Ibid.

41Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm. Wilber says that the first way, psi, is not his main focus; accordingly, he will focus upon the other two; and, because the third is the most acceptable way for mainstream science, he will refer to it most often. He also notes (ibid, n. 49): “The only way there is a direct sharing of subjectivity is through tele-prehension…But a hermeneutic circle also consists of inter-subjective exchanges, such as signs and symbols [shared, e.g., through language].” In the main text (Excerpt C) Wilber calls tele-prehension “direct depth-to-depth resonance”.

42Ibid.

43A whole, which has a coherent and unique identity and agency, and which is simultaneously a part (subholon) in another whole. The transcendent yet inclusive new whole joins the parts into a deeper commonality, wherein the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For example, a molecule is a subholon of a cell, and a cell is a subholon of an organism. Wilber, K. (1995, p. 18). Op cit.

44“Spirit, in a metaphoric fashion, is the nondual Self of all inter-selves…, which allows any understanding to occur at all – not because you and I are part of a super-I, but because there is only one Super-I that is identical in and as all individual I’s, the single nonlocal absolute subjectivity that inhabits all subjects, and thus brings them together.” Wilber, K. (In press, n. 48). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm.

45See another paper of mine on this website, which has definitions of resonance and the related, important concepts of attunement and entrainment in coordinated and synergistic groups. Kenny, R. M., in collaboration with Glover, J. R. (2001, pp. 3-4). Op cit. www.collectivewisdominitiative.org/papers/glover_callingout.htm.

46For Wilber, “depth” means consciousness. In holons with the least consciousness (e.g., subatomic particles like quarks), Wilber, like Whitehead, calls consciousness “prehension”. If I understand Wilber, he is saying that one cannot experience harmonic empathy with another sentient being who has evolved to a higher level of consciousness (or greater depth), because one has not yet experienced that level of consciousness in oneself. Perhaps you have experienced this on a verbal level with a great spiritual teacher: you don’t really understand some of the things that he or she is talking about, because you have not yet experienced or prehended those things. See the description of “solidarity”, under the “Fields” subheading of this paper.

47“Those who have engaged the causal-nondual paradigms [practices] have found that the realizations brought forth by those paradigms decisively contribute to otherwise insoluble issues, such as the mind-body problem and intersubjectivity…. Although the ‘conclusions’ of these other paradigms cannot be seen by the mental paradigms, they can be seen by integral individuals, who can then directly contemplate their relevance for these issues [emphasis added].” Wilber, K. (In press, n 15). Op cit.
http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm.

48Emerson, R. W. (1969). In R. Cook (Ed.), Ralph Waldo Emerson: Selected prose and poetry. San Francisco, CA: Rinehart. (Original work published 1909-1914).

49Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1969, p. 107). Ibid.

50Quoted in Wilber, K. (1995, p. 606, n. 1). Op cit. “Notice that one song of our souls is not the same as being cells of the same body…. The former is the harmonious intersection of souls in a nexus-song; the latter is parts of an organism – partners versus parts.” Wilber, K. (In press, n. 48). Op cit.
http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptD/part1.cfm.

51Sheldrake, R. (2003, pp. 4-5). Op cit.

52See Appendix A in Sheldrake, R. (2003). Ibid.

53Morphic form, discussed later, is another. Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit.
http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

54Wilber believes, however, that “some aspects of the higher dimensions might be truly meta-physical.” Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

55Unless I have misread the draft of his book, Wilber’s terminology appears contradictory. He is using the term “subtle energies” as an overall classification, even though he labels one of the levels of energy as “subtle energy.”

56“Complexification of gross form is the vehicle of manifestation for both subtler energies and greater consciousness.” Wilber, Ken (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

57The basis for putting forth this hypothesis will be explained below, including the section on “Nonlocal Effects”.

58Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

59Dossey, L. (1997, pp. 175-177). Be careful what you pray for…you might just get it. San Francisco, CA: Harper.

Green, E.E. (1991, June 21-25). Copper wall research psychology and psychophysics: Subtle energy and energy medicine: Emerging theory and practice. Proceedings of the first annual conference, International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine (ISSSEEM). Boulder, CO.

60E.g.: Alexander, C.N., Davies, J.L., & Orme-Johnson, D.W. (1990). The effects of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field: Reply to a methodological critique. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 34, 756-768.

Krippner, S. (1992). The Synergy Project: A worthy enterprise in need of clarification. ICIS FORUM, 22 (2), 9-10.

Peoch, R. (1988). Chicken imprinting and the tychoscope: An anspi experiment. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 55, 1-9.

61Sheldrake, R. (2003, pp. 10-11). Op cit. http://www.sheldrake.org/papers/Morphic/.

62Sheldrake, R. (1999, p. 302-306). Dogs that know when their owners are coming home: And other unexplained powers of animals. New York: Three Rivers Press.

63Murphy, M., & White, R.A. (1978). The psychic side of sports. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

64Novak, M. (1976, pp. 135-136). The joy of sports. New York: Basic Books. Nikolai Bernstein has conducted some fascinating research. He filmed and analyzed the rhythmic movements of dancers, by attaching sensors to parts of their bodies. The sensors revealed that the dancers were moving in waves. Because the movements could be represented by Fourier transforms (mathematical formulas that can represent complex patterns including those involved in optical images, and the relationships between quantum waves via their interference patterns), Bernstein was able to predict the subsequent movements of dancers “within a few millimeters.” (Cited in Pribram, K. H. [1991, p. 137]. Brain and perception: Holonomy and structure in figural processing. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.)

Reviewing this and other research, Pribram concluded that our brain communicates with our body via waves and patterns, and that our senses operate by analyzing frequencies. (Cited in McTaggart, L. [2002, p. 87]. The field: The quest for the secret force of the universe. New York: Harper Collins.) This may help explain how sports participants can anticipate each other’s movements ahead of time, since the waves may be able to be communicated nonlocally between team members who have achieved a certain level of resonance. These findings may also indicate that sense-based communication may be occurring on non-apparent levels, making extrasensory communication somewhat ordinary, rather than extraordinary.

65Kenny, R. M. (In press). Creative collaboration and human development. Op cit.

Kenny, R. M. (1998). Op cit.

66Sheldrake, R. (1999, p. 302). Op cit.

67Sheldrake, R. (1999, p. 302). Ibid.

68Sheldrake, R. (1999, p. 306). Ibid.

69Sheldrake, R. (1999, p. 303-304). Ibid.

70Sheldrake, R. (1999, p. 304). Ibid.

Sheldrake, R. (1985). A new science of life: The hypothesis of formative causation (new ed.). London: Blond.

Sheldrake, R. (1988). The presence of the past: Morphic resonance and the habits of nature. New York: Times Books.

Sheldrake, R. (1992). Note on “Reflections on group consciousness and synergy.” ICIS FORUM, 22, (2), 11.

Sheldrake, R. (2003). Op cit.

71Sheldrake, R. (1988, p. 221). Ibid.

72E.g.: Mahlberg, A. (1987). Evidence of collective memory: A test of Sheldrake’s theory. Journal of Analytic Psychology, 32, 23-34.

Sheldrake, R. (1999). Op cit.

Abraham, R., McKenna, T., & Sheldrake, R. (2001). Chaos, creativity and cosmic consciousness. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press. See also the other works cited here.

73Sheldrake, R. (2003, p. 279). Op cit.

74As with the other aspects of his integrative classification system, Wilber notes that the number of levels is “rather arbitrary” – just as you can measure temperature in either a 180-degree Fahrenheit scale or a 100-degree Celsius scale. Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

75Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

76Harold Saxon Burr was a Yale physiologist was one of the first scientists to experimentally detect energy fields. Others include Motoyama and Tiller.

77E.g., Michael Levin. Their perceptions essentially match the drawings made by Burr, based upon his instrument measurements, which depict “typical and important aspects of these energies.” Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

Benor, D. J. (January, 2004). Fields and energies related to healing: A review of Soviet and Western studies. The International Journal of Healing and Caring, On-line, (4), 1, 1-11. Available: www.ijhc.org.

78Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm.

79“A ‘we’ is not a single prehension of a single I, but the shared prehension of member I’s linked by similar signification and/or tele-prehensions; this is why neither a we nor an its [the exterior or social forms of a collective holon] can perceive.” Wilber, K. (In press, n. 34). Op cit.
http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm.

80Wilber calls this intentional action “agency”. Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm.

81Wilber believes that “some sort of ‘web’ or interobjective totality” exists, but considers it a “conception that enters the prehensive worldspace of only…humans at the ‘yellow’ level in the values line of development. [Wilber, K. (In press, n. 17). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm.] Values and behavior at this level might include: express self to reach goals and better self and some others, be successful, gain materially, compete/strive/drive and win/achieve, delegated authority makes decisions, and self-actualization may take precedence over service. [Forman, J. (2003). Introduction to integral theory and methodology. Unpublished paper.]

According to Wilber, a worldspace is a shared “cognitive map of the external world,” which determines the “band of circumscribed stimuli that can be responded to,” that register, or that have impact or meaning. The band of stimuli that register becomes deeper and wider as group members transform and develop. A worldspace is created, enacted, codetermined, or “disclosed by a particular degree of shared [common] depth,” by members establishing “an opening in which similar-depthed holons can manifest to each other, for each other.” [Wilber, K. (1995, pp. 540-541). Op cit.] If Wilber’s view is correct, individuals may be able to consistently register each other’s thought and experience their connection within the web of life when they develop a certain level on the values and cognitive lines.

82Solidarity comes in two forms. Vertical solidarity means that two or more holons share a similar level of consciousness and therefore resonance of depth, which can form part of the horizontal or cultural solidarity (shared horizons, in terms of meanings, norms, traditions, etc.) that is required for mutual understanding. When both forms of solidarity exist, individuals experience “adequate resonance”, or genuinely overlapping intersubjectivity. Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit.
http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm. “Spirit is the empty center of the agency or subjectivity of all holons, the nondual Subject that is the ultimate, nonlocal instantaneous ground of all intersubjectivity. Kosmic solidarity means that we are ultimately of one culture with all sentient beings, top to bottom [developmentally], and hence we can, in our varying degrees, resonate with other sentient beings authentically” (Ibid, n. 55).

83Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm. “In the present moment, solidarity is also established by tele-prehension, such as immediate harmonic resonance” (Ibid, n. 50).

84Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

85Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

86McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 164). Op cit.

87Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

88I am going to address only issues of nonlocality or space in this paper. Solid research also exists regarding field effects that appear to influence past or future events, and therefore transcend time. This is a complicated issue and space does not permit me to consider it. If you wish to read about the relevant research, please see my paper on the scientific evidence for collective wisdom at www.collectivewisdominitiative.org.

89Sheldrake, R. (1995, p. 238). Op cit.

90Sheldrake, R. (1995, pp. 80-81). Ibid.

91Wilson, E. O. (1971, p. 229). The social insects. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Cited in R. Sheldrake (1995, pp. 86-88, 231). Op cit.

Marais, E. (1973, pp. 119-120). The soul of the white ant. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin. It is possible, however, that sound could travel around the steel plate. The experiments did not control for this.

92Sheldrake, R. (1995, pp. 80-81). Op cit.

93Wilson, E. O. (1971). Op cit. Cited in R. Sheldrake (1995, p. 231). Op cit.

94Wilson, E. O. (1971, p. 229). Ibid.

95Sheldrake, R. (1995, p. 83-84). Op cit.

96Becker, G. (1977). Communications between termites by biofields. Biological cybernetics, 26, 41-51.

97Sheldrake, R. (1995, p. 86-87). Op cit.

98Sheldrake, R. (1995, p. 87). Ibid.

99Marais, E. (1973, pp. 119-120). Op cit.

100Sheldrake, R. (1995, pp. 87-88). Op cit.

101Sheldrake, R. (1995, pp. 9-31). Ibid.

102Sheldrake, R. (1995, p. 90). Ibid.

Sheldrake, R. (1999). Op cit.

Sheldrake, R. (2003, p. x). Op cit.

Long, W. J. (1919). How animals talk. New York: Harper.

103Sheldrake, R. (1995, pp. 93-94). Ibid.

104Sheldrake, R. (2003, pp. ix and 2). Op cit.

105Popp believes that biophoton emissions explain morphogenesis, the phenomena that Sheldrake and others have studied. (See McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 47). Op cit. But this may be true only on a certain levels of matter (e.g., the cellular level), as discussed elsewhere in this paper, in terms of absolutism in physics.

106Benor, D. J. (January 2004). Op cit.

107McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 51). Op cit.

108Hameroff, S. R. (1987). Ultimate computing: Biomolecular consciousness and nanotechnology. Amsterdam: North Holland. Cited in L. McTaggart (2002, p. 92). Op cit.

109Microtubules are tiny hollow cylinders made of “microscopic hexagonal lattices of fine filaments of protein, called tubulins.” McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 92). Op cit.

110Karl Pribram, Kunio Yasue and Scott Hagan.

111McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 93). Op cit.

112Zohar, D. (1991, p. 70). The quantum self. London: Flamingo.

113Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1969, p. 52). Op cit.

114Russek, L. G., & Schwartz, G. E. (1994). Interpersonal heart-brain registration and the perception of parental love: A 42-year follow-up of the Harvard Mastery of Stress Study. Subtle Energies, 5 (3), 195-208.

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See also Pearsall, P. (1998). The heart’s code: Tapping the wisdom and power of our heart energy. New York, NY: Broadway Books. Pearsall reviews some of the relevant research and presents his studies of the experiences of heart transplant patients, who seem to experience the memories of individuals whose hearts have been transplanted. Although I find that Russek, Schwartz and Pearsall fall into a reductionistic and absolutist trap, with regard to quantum physics and biology, their results are nonetheless interesting and relevant.

115McCraty, R. (2003). The energetic heart: Bioelectromagnetic interactions within and between people. Boulder Creek, CA: Institute of HeartMath. Available: www.heartmath.org.

116McCraty, R. (2003, p. 1). Ibid.

117McCraty, R. (2003, p. 8). Ibid.

118McCraty, R. (2003, p. 2). Ibid.

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119McCraty, R., Atkinson, M., Tiller, W. A., Rein, G., & Watkins, A. (1995). The effects of emotions on short term heart rate variability using power spectrum analysis. American Journal of Cardiology, 76, 1089-1093.

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120McCraty, R., & Atkinson, M. (In press). Psychophysiological coherence. In D. Childre, R. McCraty, & B. C. Wilson. Emotional sovereignty. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.

121McCraty (2003, p. 4). Op cit.

122McCraty, R. (2002). Influence of cardiac afferent input on heart-brain synchronization and cognitive performance. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 45, 72-73.

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McCraty, R., & Atkinson, M. (In press). Op cit.

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130Waves are synchronized or “in phase” when they trough and peak at the same time, even if their frequencies (the completion of a full wave cycle, such as trough to trough) and amplitudes (the height of the wave form, from trough to peak) differ. McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 26). Op cit.

131Childre, D., & Martin, H. (1999). The HeartMath solution. San Francisco, CA: Harper.

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136McCraty, R. (2003, p. 9). Op cit.

137McCraty, R. (2003, pp. 12-13). Ibid.

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Dossey, L., et al. (1999). Healing through prayer: Health practitioners tell the story. Toronto, Canada: Anglican Book Centre.

Dossey, L. (1999). Reinventing medicine: Beyond mind-body to a new era of healing. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco.

Benor, D. J. (2001). Op cit.

Targ, E. (2002). Op cit.

Astin, J. A., Harkness, E., & Ernst, E. (June 2000). The efficacy of “distance healing”: A systematic review of randomized trials. Annals of Internal Medicine (132), 11, 903-910.

181Byrd, R. C. (1988). Positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer in a coronary care unit population. Southern Medical Journal, 81 (7), 826-829.

Miller, R. N. (1982). Study on the effectiveness of remote mental healing. Medical Hypotheses, 8, 481-490.

182Sicher, F., & Targ, E. (1998). A randomized double-blind study of the effect of distant healing in a population with advanced AIDS: Report of a small-scale study. Western Journal of Medicine, 168 (6), 356-363.

183Harris, W., Gowda, M., Kolb, J. W., Strychacz, C. P., Vacek, J. L., Jones, P. G., Forker, A., O’Keefe, J. H., & McCallister, B. D. (1999). A randomized controlled trial of the effects of remote, intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients admitted to the coronary care unit. Archives of Internal Medicine, 159 (19), 2273-2278.

184Sicher, F., & Targ, E. (1998, pp. 395-363). Op cit. Cited in McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 193). Op cit.

185Nelson, R. D. (1999, January, p. 20). The physical basis of intentional healing systems. PEAR Technical Note, 99001. Princeton, NJ. Available: www.princeton.edu/~pear/.

186Radin, D. I., Machado, F. R., & Zangari, W. (2000). Op cit.

187Byrd, R. C. (1988). Op cit.

Harris, W., Gowda, M., Kolb, J. W., Strychacz, C. P., Vacek, J. L., Jones, P. G., Forker, A., O’Keefe, J. H., & McCallister, B. D. (1999). Op cit.

188Targ, E. (2002). Op cit.

189Reid, H., Fordham, M., & Adler, G. (Eds.) (1954, p. 371). The collected works of C. G. Jung: The symbolic life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

190McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 211). Op cit.

191I do not have a vested interest in presenting this research. I do not practice TM, nor do I have any connection to TM groups or the university founded by the Maharishi. Rather than privilege one meditative technique over another, I tend to look for the commonalities among them. Although I believe that spiritual practice is important, the teachers I respect most emphasize other factors, too, such as honesty and courage in facing whatever we fear. Nonetheless, the TM research is persuasive and seems to have important things to tell us about the effects of meditative practice and focused group intention.

192Orme-Johnson, D. (September 1993, p. 2). The science of world peace: Research shows meditation is effective. The International Journal of Healing and Caring On-Line, 3 (3).

193Ibid. (p. 4).

194Ibid. (p. 3).

195Ibid. (p. 3).

196Ibid. (p. 4).

197Hagelin, J. S., Orme-Johnson, D. W., Rainforth, M., Cavanaugh, K., & Alexander, C. N. (1999). Effects of group practice of the Transcendental Meditation Program on preventing violent crime in Washington, D.C.: Results of the National Demonstration Project to Reduce Crime and Improve Governmental Effectiveness in Washington, D.C., June-July, 1993. Social Indicators Research, 47, 153-201.

198Dillbeck, M. C., et al. (1981). The Transcendental Meditation program and crime rate change in a sample of 48 cities. Journal of Crime and Justice, 4, 25-45.

199Orme-Johnson, D. W., Alexander, C. N., Davies, J. L., Chandler, H. M., & Larimore, W. E. (1988b). International peace project in the Middle East: The effects of the Maharishi technology of the unified field. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 32, 776-812.

200Davies, J. L., & Alexander, C. N. (April 2003). Alleviating political violence through reduced collective tension: Impact assessment analysis of the Lebanon war. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality. www.mum.edu/m_effect/36_lebanon/index.html

201Orme-Johnson, D. W., Dillbeck, M. C., Bousquet, J. G., & Alexander, C. N. An experimental analysis of the application of the Maharishi Technology of the United Field in major world trouble spots: Increased harmony in international affairs. In R. A. Chalmers, G. Clements, H. Schenkluhn, & M. Weinless (Eds.) (In press, pp. 2532-2548). Scientific research on Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program: Collected papers 1985 (Vol. 4). Vlodrop, The Netherlands: Maharishi Vedic University Press. www.mum.edu/m_effect/32_int_relations/index.html

202Cavanagh, K. L. (1987, pp. 799-804). Time series analysis of U. S. and Canadian inflation and unemployment: A test of a field-theoretic hypothesis. Proceedings of the American Statistical Association, Business and Economics Statistics Section. Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association. www.mum.edu/m_effect/28_misery_index/index.html.

Dillbeck, M. C. (1990, pp. 399-418). Test of a field theory of consciousness and social change: Time series analysis of participation in the TM-Sidhi program and reduction of violent death in the U.S. Social Indicators Research, 22. www.mum.edu/m_effect/27_violent_deaths/index.html.

Orme-Johnson, D. W., Gelderloos, P., & Dillbeck, M. C. (1988a, pp. 127-146). The effects of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field on the U. S. quality of life (1960-1984). Social Science Perspectives Journal, 2 (4). www.mum.edu/m_effect/24_us/index.html

203Orme-Johnson, D. W., Cavanaugh, K. L., Alexander, C. N., Gelderloos, P., Dillbeck, M. C., Lanford, A. G., & Abou Nader, T. M. (In press, pp. 2532-2548). The influence of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field on world events and global social indicators: The effects of the Taste of Utopia Assembly. In R. A. Chalmers, G. Clements, H. Schenkluhn, & M. Weinless (Eds.) Scientific research on Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program: Collected papers 1987 (Vol. 4). Vlodrop, The Netherlands: Maharishi Vedic University Press. www.mum.edu/m_effect/37_trends/index.html.

Orme-Johnson, D. W., Dillbeck, M. C., Alexander, C. N., Chandler, H. M., Cranson, R. W. (April, 2003). Effects of large assemblies of participants in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program on reducing international conflict and terrorism. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. www.mum.edu/m_effect/38_global/index.html

204Orme-Johnson, D. (September 1993, p. 4). Op cit.

205Proceedings of the international symposium on the physiological and biochemical basis of brain activity. (1992, June 23-24). St. Petersburg, Russia.

Second Russian-Swedish symposium on new research in neurobiology. (1992, May 19-21). Moscow, Russia.

206Koenig, H. G., & Cohen, H. J. (Eds.) (2002). Op cit.

Murphy, M., Donovan, S., & Taylor, E. (1997). The physical and psychological effects of meditation: A review of contemporary research, with a comprehensive bibliography, 1931-1996. San Francisco, CA: Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Health Publica Icon Health Publications (2003). Meditation – A medical dictionary, bibliography, and annotated research guide to Internet references. Boston, MA: Icon Health Publications.

Engel, K. (1998). Meditation: Empirical research and theory, vol. II. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

Schlitz, M., & Lewis, N. (Summer 1997, pp. 34-38). Frontiers of research: Meditation east and west. Noetic Sciences Review, 42.

Walsh, R. (2001). The practices of essential spirituality. IONS Review, 58.

207Assimakis, P. D. (November 1989). Change in the quality of life in Canada: Intervention studies of the effect of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program. Abstract published in Dissertation Abstracts International 50(5) Sec. B., p. 2203.

Davies, J. L., & Alexander, C. N. (1983). The Maharishi Technology of the United Field and improved quality of life in the United States: A study of the First World Peace Assembly, Amherst, Massachusetts, 1979. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

Dillbeck, M. C. (1990). Op cit.

Dillbeck, M. C., Cavanaugh, K. L., Glenn, T., Orme-Johnson, D. W., & Mittlefehldt, V. (1987). Consciousness as a field: the Transcendental Meditation and YM-Sidhi program and changes in social indicators. The Journal of Mind and Behavior, 8(1), 67-104.

Goodman, R. S., Orme-Johnson, D. W., Rainforth, M. S., & Goodman, D. H. (1997). Transforming political institutions through individual and collective consciousness: The Maharishi Effect and government. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C.

Landrith III, G. S., & Dillbeck, M. C. (1983). The growth of coherence in society through the Maharishi Effect: Reduced rates of suicide and auto accidents. Unpublished manuscript, Maharishi International University, Fairfield, IA.

Orme-Johnson, D. W., & Gelderloos, P. (1988). The long-term effects of the Maharishi Technology of the unified Field on the quality of life in the United States (1960 to 1983). Social Science Perspectives Journal, 2(4), 127-146.

Orme-Johnson, D. W., Cavanaugh, K. L., Alexander, C. N., Gelderloos, P., Dillbeck, M., Lanford, A. G., & Abou Nader, T. M. (1984). The influence of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field on world events and global social indicators: The effects of the Taste of Utopia Assembly. Unpublished manuscript, Maharishi International University, Fairfield, IA.

208Eppley, K., Abrams, A., & Shear, J. (1989). The differential effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety: A meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45, 957-974.

209Alexander, C. N., Rainforth, M. V., & Gelderloos, P. (1991). Transcendental Meditation, self-actualization and psychological health: A conceptual overview and statistical meta-analysis. Journal of Social and Behavioral Personality, 6, 189-247.

Ferguson, P. C. (1981). An integrative meta-analysis of psychological studies investigating treatment outcomes of meditation techniques. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Colorado, Boulder.

210Alexander, C. N., Robinson, P., & Rainforth, M. (1994). Treating and preventing alcohol, nicotine and drug abuse through Transcendental meditation: A review and statistical meta-analysis. Alcohol Treatment Quarterly, 11, 13-87.

211Jevning, R., Wallace, R., & Beidebach, M. (1992). The physiology of meditation: A review. A wakeful, hypometabolic, integrated response. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 16, 415-424.

Orme-Johnson, D. W., & Walton, K. G. (1998). All approaches to preventing or reversing stress are not the same. American Journal of Health Promotion, 12, 297-299.

Walton, K. G., Cavanagh, K. L., & Pugh, N. D. (In press). Effect of group practice of the Transcendental Meditation program on biochemical indicators of stress in non-meditators: Causal analysis of a field theory of consciousness. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality.

212Walton, K. G., Cavanagh, K. L., & Pugh, N. D. (In press, p. 341). Ibid.

213Ibid. (p. 341).

214Pugh, N., Walton, K. G., & Kavanaugh, K. L. (November 13-18, 1988). Can time series analysis of serotonin turnover test the theory that consciousness is a field? Paper presented at the 18th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Toronto, ON. Society of Neuroscience Abstracts, 14, 372.

215Ibid.

216Cohen, S., Underwood, L. G., & Gottlieb, B. H. (Eds.) (2000). Social support measurement and intervention. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Spiegel, D., & Fawzy, F. I. (2002, p. 91). Psychosocial interventions and prognosis in cancer. In H. G. Koenig H. J. Cohen, H. J. (Eds.) (2002). Op cit.

217Berkman, L. F., & Syme, S. L. (1979). Social networks, host resistance and mortality: a nine-year follow up study of Alameda County residents. American Journal of Epidemiology, 109 (2), 186-204.

Cohen, S. (2002, pp. 101 & 107). Psychosocial stress, social networks, and susceptibility to infection. In H. G. Koenig H. J. Cohen, H. J. (Eds.) (2002). Op cit.

House, J. S., Landis, K. R., & Umberson, D. (1988). Social relationships and health. Science, 241, 540-545.

Pilisuk, M., & Hillier Parks, S. (1986). The healing web: Social networks and human survival. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.

Vogt, T. M., Mullooly, J. P., Ernst, D., Pope, C. R., & Hollis, J. F. (1992). Social networks as predictors of ischemic heart disease, cancer, stroke, and hypertension. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 45, 659-666.

218Galland, L. (1997). The four pillars of healing (pp. 103-105) New York: Random House.

219Kaplan, G. A., et al. (1988). Social connections and morality from all causes and from cardiovascular disease: Perspective evidence from Eastern Finland. American Journal of Epidemiology, 128, 370-380.

220Spiegel, D., & Fawzy, F. I. (2002, pp. 84 & 91). Psychosocial interventions and prognosis in cancer. In H. G. Koenig H. J. Cohen, H. J. (Eds.) (2002). Op cit.

221McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 195). Op cit.

See also: Reed, D., McGee, D., Yano, K., & Feinleib, M. (1983). Social networks and coronary heart disease among Japanese men in Hawaii. American Journal of Epidemiology, 117, 384-396.

Pascucci, M. A., & Loving, G. L. (1997). Ingredients of an old and healthy life: Centenarian perspective. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 15, 199-213.

222Cohen, K. S. (September 2001). American Indian healing in the land of fire and ice. The International Journal of Healing and Caring, On-line, (1), 1, 1-13.

Krippner, S., & Welch, P. (1992). Spiritual dimensions of healing: From native shamanism to contemporary health care. New York, NY: Irvington.

Sered, S. S. (January 28, 2002). Healing and religion: A Jewish perspective. The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, 1-2.

Wozniak, J. A., Wu, S., & Wang, H. (1991). Yan Xin Qigong and the contemporary sciences. Urbana-Champaign, IL: International Yan Xin Qigong Association.

Youngbird, M. (Fall 1994). Native American practice: “It’s not a legend or myth, it’s real. We live it.” Newsletter of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology, 5-11.

223Cohen, S., Underwood, L. G., & Gottlieb, B. H. (Eds.) (2000). Op cit.

224The English title is Know the Ways of the Lord. Cited in G. Uhlein (1984, p. 47). Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen. New York: Bear & Co.

225Jahn, R. G., & Dunne, B. J. (1997). Correlations of random binary sequences with prestated operator intention: A review of a 12-year program. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 11, 345-367.

226Broughton, R. S. (1991, p. 177). Op cit.

227Dunne, B. J., & Jahn, R. G. (1992). Experiments in remote human/machine interaction. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 6 (4), 311-312.

228Radin, D., & Nelson, R. (1989). Evidence for consciousness-related anomalies in random physical systems. Foundations of Physics, 19 (12), 1499-1514. Other experiments regarding the effect of intention upon REGs have been conducted, such as: Peoc’h, R. (1995). Psychokinetic action of young chicks on the path of an “illuminated source”. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 9 (2), 223.

229Radin, D., & Nelson, R. Meta-analysis of mind-matter interaction experiments, 1959-2000 [Online]. Available: www.boundaryinstitute.org.

230Radin, D. (1997). Op cit.

231Dunne, B. J. (1991, December). Co-operator experiments with an REG device. PEAR Technical Note 91005. In Rao, K.R. (Ed.) (1993). Cultivating consciousness for enhancing human potential, wellness and healing (pp. 149-163). Westport, CT: Praeger.

232Interview with B. Dunne (1998, June 12). Cited in McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 119). Op cit.

233Jahn, R. G., & Dunne, B. J. (1987, p. 257). Margins of reality: The role of consciousness in the physical world. London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

234E.g.: Nelson, R. D., & Mayer, E. L. (1996). A fieldREG application at the San Francisco Bay Revels. Cited in D. Radin (1997). Op cit.

235Nelson, R. D., Bradish, G. J., Dobyns, Y. H., Dunne, B. J., & Jahn, J. G. (1996). FieldREG anomalies in group situations. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 10 (1), 111-142. The variables reported in my text are a compilation of observations reported in L. McTaggart (2002, p. 205). Op cit. New York: Harper Collins. The verbatim text from the Nelson et al. article is: “unusually cohesive cognitive interaction, creative enthusiasm, or other forms of emotional intensity” and “high degrees of attention, intellectual cohesiveness, shared emotion, or other coherent qualities of groups.” This would be a good focus for research: when significant order emerges in the FieldREG data, what do participants report as the nature of their experience during those moments? In addition, participants might be given a variation on the devices used in auditoriums, to measure like-dislike reactions to statements made by speakers, perhaps asking participants to indicate times they feel a significant level of cohesion or closeness in the group.

236Nelson, R. D., et al. (1996). Ibid. Cited in L. McTaggart (2002, p. 203). Op cit.

237See also: Schwartz, G. E. K., Russek, L. G. S., She, Z., Song, L. Z., & Xin, Y. (1997). Anomalous organization of random events during an international qigong meeting: Evidence for group consciousness or accumulated qi fields. Subtle Energies, 8 (1), 55-65.

238Nelson, R. (1997, July). FieldREG measurements in Egypt: resonant consciousness at sacred sites. PEAR Technical Note 97002. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, School of Engineering.

McTaggart, L. (2001, February 2). Interview of Roger Nelson. Cited in L. McTaggart (2002, p. 206). Op cit.

Nelson, R. D. et al. FieldREGII: consciousness field effects: replications and explorations. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 12 (3), 425-454.

239McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 208). Op cit.

Radin, D. (1997, pp. 157-74). Op cit.

Radin, D., Rebman, J. M., & Cross, M. P. (1996). Anomalous organization of random events by group consciousness: Two exploratory experiments. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 10, 143-168.

240Radin, D. (1997, p. 168). Op cit.

241Bierman, D. J. (1996). Exploring correlations between local emotional and global emotional events and the behavior of a random number generator. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 10, 363-374.

Blasband, R. (1995, June 15-17). The ordering of random events by emotional expression. Paper presented to the 14th Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, Huntington Beach, CA.

Nelson, R. D., Bradish, G. J., Dobyns, Y. H., Dunne, B. J., & Jahn, J. G. (1996). Op cit.

242Bierman, D. J. (1996, p. 373). Ibid.

243For Teilhard’s exposition regarding the noosphere, see P. T. de Chardin (1964, pp. 132 & 137-138). The future of man. New York: Harper & Row.

244Nelson, R. D. (2002). September 11 2001: Exploratory and contextual analyses. Available: Global Consciousness Project, http://noosphere.princeton.edu/terror.html. Data from the EGGs are combined into a Stouffer Z-score for each second of time. The scores are squared and then added together, to generate a Chisquare for the whole period studied, which includes time periods preceding and following the event. The departure of the Chisquare from chance expectation (randomness, or a horizontal line on the data graph, representing no clear trend) reflects a correlated response across the EGGs.

245Nelson, R. D. (2002). Terrorist disaster: September 11, 2001. Available: Global Consciousness Project, http://noosphere.princeton.edu.

246Nelson, R., et al. (1998). Global resonance of consciousness: Princess Diana and Mother Theresa. Electronic Journal of Parapsychology. Available: http://www.psy.uva.nl/ejap or http://www.princeton.edu/~rdnelson/diana.html.

247Nelson, R. D. (2002, pp. 1-15). Op cit.

248Radin, D. (September 21, 2001, pp. 1-9). Global consciousness project analysis for September 11, 2001. Available: Global Consciousness Project, http://noosphere.princeton.edu/dean.wtc0921.html.

Radin, D. (March-May, 2003, pp. 8-13 & 44-45). For whom the bell tolls: A question of global consciousness. IONS Noetic Sciences Review.

249Nelson, R. D. (2002, pp. 10-12). Op cit.

250Shoup, R. (November 6, 2001, pp. 1-8). EGG anomalies: Comments on the GCP EGG data for September 11, 2001. Available: Boundary Institute: www.boundaryinstitute.org/articles/EGG_salad.pdf.

251May, E. C., & Spottiswoode, S. J. P. (2002, pp. 1-18). Global Consciousness Project: An independent analysis of the 11 September 2001 events. Available: Boundary Institute: www.boundaryinstitute.org/articles/may-spot_sep11.pdf.

252Nelson, R. D. (2002, pp. 14-15). Op cit.

253Nelson, R. D. (2002, p. 1). MUM peace meditation. Available: Global Consciousness Project, http://noosphere.princeton.edu/mumspeak.html.

254Ibid. (p. 2).

255Ibid. (p. 2).

Nelson, R. D. (2002, p. 8). September 11 2001. Op cit.

256Orme-Johnson, D. (September 1993, p. 6). Op cit. Personal communication with the study’s author, Lynne Mason, November 7, 2003. Journal article is in press.

257Radin, D. I., Machado, F. R., & Zangari, W. (2000). Op cit.

258Rose, S. (1992). So-called formative causation: A hypothesis disconfirmed. Biology Forum, 85, 445-453.

Sheldrake, R. (1992a). An experimental test of the hypothesis of formative causation. Biology Forum, 85, 431-443.

Sheldrake, R. (1992b). Rose refuted. Biology Forum, 85, 455-460.

259Sheldrake, R. (1988, pp. 189-196). Op cit.

Sheldrake, R. (1999, p. 311). Op cit.

260Crew, F. A. E. (1936, pp. 61-101). A repetition of McDougall’s Lamarckian experiment. The Journal of Genetics, 33.

Agar, W. E., et al. (1942, pp. 158-167). Second report on a test of McDougall’s Lamarckian experiment on the training of rats. Journal of Experimental Biology, 19.

Agar, W. E., et al. (1954, pp. 307-321). Fourth (final) report on a test of McDougall’s Lamarckian experiment on the training of rats. Journal of Experimental Biology, 31.

261Sheldrake, R. (1988). Op cit.

262Laszlo, E. (1995, pp. 133-135). Op cit.

263Ibid (pp. 130-132).

264E.g.: Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1988). Society, culture and person: A systems view of creativity. In R. Sternberg (Ed.), The nature of creativity: Contemporary psychological perspectives (pp. 325-339). New York: Cambridge University Press.

McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 103). Op cit.

Murphy, G. (1958). Human potentialities. New York: Basic Books.

Tardif, T. Z., & Sternberg, R.J. (1988). What do we know about creativity? In R. Sternberg (Ed.), The nature of creativity: Contemporary psychological perspectives (pp. 429-440). New York: Cambridge University Press.

265Gardner, H. (1988, p. 315). Creative lives and creative works: A synthetic scientific approach. In R. Sternberg (Ed.), The nature of creativity: Contemporary psychological perspectives (pp. 298-321). New York: Cambridge University Press.

266Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

267Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

268McTaggart, L. (2002). Op cit.

269McTaggart, L. (2002, pp. 19-20). Op cit. Based upon a definition by Barrow, J.D. (2000, p. 216). The book of nothing. London: Jonathan Cape.

270McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 24). Op cit.

271This movement is reflected in human creativity, which begins in the realms of inspiration, imagination and mind and is ultimately manifested in form.

272Wilber, Ken (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

273McTaggart, L. (2002, p. 23). Op cit.

274McTaggart, L. (2002, p. xviii). Op cit.

275Through my comments here, I do not intend to detract from the seminal and significant contribution that Bohm made in terms of the use of dialogue. His description of how dialogue in groups can help unearth unexamined, unconscious cultural and familial conditioning and assumptions, and can lead to the creation of truly shared meaning (culture) in collectives, is still one of the best analyses of the power of dialogue to create collective consciousness. See, for example, D. Bohm & M. Edwards (1991, pp. 177 - 199), Changing Consciousness. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco. However, since I am dealing with research in this paper, rather than group processes, I have not discussed dialogue in the text. Instead, please see Kenny, R. M., in collaboration with Glover, J. R. (2001). Op cit. That paper discusses various processes, including dialogue, for developing collective consciousness. www.collectivewisdominitiative.org/papers/glover_callingout.htm.

276Wilber, Ken (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

277Wilber, Ken (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

278Dossey, L. (1997). Op cit.

Regarding the suppression of plant growth by a depressed man, see Grad, B. (1965). Some biological effects of ‘laying-on of hands’: A review of experiments with animals and plants. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 59, 95-127.

279McCraty, R. (2003, p. 12). Op cit.

280I have several responses to the problem of malicious intent in groups:

1. Anyone who teaches or assists with human development has an ethical responsibility to screen participants and to refuse to teach groups who appear irresponsible, selfish, or malicious in their intent.

2. If a group decides to try to learn how to influence negatively the well being of others, no one in a free society can prevent them from doing so. It is therefore incumbent upon the well-intentioned to use their positive influence as often as possible, which may offset the effect of those with separative or destruction intent.

3. In fact, a number of groups historically and currently are likely unconsciously harming others to some degree, since so many of us engage in limited or negative thinking about others, through jealousy, envy, competition, exclusion, hatred, gossip, slander, disrespect, etc. From that perspective, it is incumbent upon us to help group members become aware of the effects of their thoughts and wishes and to change their behavior to be supportive of the well-being of others.

4. Groups intending to increase the well being of others should request the permission of those who would benefit, wherever possible. In any event, and especially in those situations where permission cannot be obtained (such as on a societal level), the group’s intention should be focused upon the highest or common good.

5. If you believe that an individual or group is wishing you harm, you can use certain “shielding strategies” to protect yourself. (For example, see Larry Dossey’s book, mentioned in the previous endnote. The effectiveness of these techniques has been scientifically demonstrated. See:

Braud, W.G. [1985]. Blocking/shielding psychic functioning through psychological and psychic techniques: A report of three preliminary studies. In R. White & I. Solfvin [Eds.], Research in Parapsychology. Metuchen, NY: Scarecrow Press, 42-44.

Braud, W.G., [1990-1991]. Implications and application of laboratory psi findings. European Journal of Parapsychology, 8, 57-65.

Braud, W.G., et al. [1985]. Further studies of the bio-PK effect: Feedback, blocking, generality/specificity. Op cit, 45-48.)

Groups should use these resources to not only protect their members, but to augment their well-being and growth.

All things considered, the potential benefits from teaching groups and teams how to collaborate on behalf of the common good are too great and are so critically needed, in m y opinion, that failure to teach these skills – given the above considerations – would be unethical and result in a significant overall loss for, and therefore harm to, society.

281Sheldrake, R. (1999, p. 305). Op cit.

282Kenny, R. (1996). Op cit.

283Koenig, H. G., & Cohen, H. J. (2002). Op cit.

Murphy, M., Donovan, S., & Taylor, E. (1997). Op cit.

Health Publica Icon Health Publications (2003). Op cit.

Engel, K. (1998). Op cit.

Schlitz, M., & Lewis, N. (Summer 1997, pp. 34-38). Op cit.

Walsh, R. (2001). The practices of essential spirituality. IONS Review, 58.

284For example, see the discussion of “prajna”, the Buddhist notion of “the open ear, open eye, open mind that is found in every living being”, in Chodron, Pema (2002). The places that scare you: A guide to fearlessness in difficult times. Boston, MA: Shambhala.

285Schlitz, M. J., & Honorton, C. (1992). Ganzfeld psi performance within an artistically gifted population. The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 86 (2), 83-98.

286Wilber, Ken (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

287Moreover, because gross, subtle and causal family-energies emerged with the Big Bang, living cells, and triune brains, respectively, all three come with a baby’s body. Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

288Wilber, Ken (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

289Wilber, K. (2000). Integral psychology: consciousness, spirit, psychology, therapy. Boston, MA: Shambhala.

290Wilber, K. (In press). Op cit. http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm.

Wilber, K. (2000). Op cit.

291Kenny, R. M. (1996). Op cit.

292Scharmer, C. O. (1999, October 29). The heart is the key to all of this: Conversation with Joseph Jaworski. Available: Dialogue on Leadership website http://dialogonleadership.org/interviewJaworski.html.

293Wilber and the Vice President of his Integral Institute, Bob Richards, are currently developing a set of research agendas regarding his integral model of human development.

294Brown, J., & Isaacs, D. (1997). The transpersonal domain in large-scale change. Unpublished working paper. Mill Valley, CA.

Gozdz, K., Jaworski, J., & Senge, P. M. (1997). Setting the field: Creating the conditions for profound institutional change. Unpublished manuscript, Center for Organizational Learning at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, MA.

Kenny, R.M. (1996). Op cit.

Flowers, B. S., Jaworski, J., Scharmer, C. O., & Senge, P. (In Press). Presence: Human purpose and the field of the future.

295For example, see Krippner, S., & Welch, P. (1992). Op cit.

296E.g., the Achuar and Huaorani tribes of the Amazon view dreaming as a process that is owned by the group and is a way to connect with the ancestors and the universe. When members of the tribe gather to share their dreams each morning, the individual is seen as the vehicle for life to dialogue with the collective. What can we learn from their orientation and experience? Or from similar processes in Western culture, such as the Social Dreaming process that has been conducted by some members of the A.K. Rice and Tavistock Institutes? What can we learn from the dream research that has been conducted by Stanley Krippner and Montague Ullman, e.g., where thoughts were sent and incorporated in dreams with 84% accuracy, and odds of 250,000 to one that this had happened by chance.

Broughton, R. S. (1991, p. 98). Op cit.

297In addition to TM practitioners, groups might include practitioners of the Yan Xin Nine Step Qigong Method. See Wozniak, J. A., Wu, S., & Wang, H. (1991). Op cit.


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