At Home Within: A Noetic Program for Homeless Shelters and Social Service Agencies

The Institute of Noetic Sciences has always been dedicated both to discovering how science can help us understand powerfully transformative experiences and practices and to applying what we learn to reduce suffering and enhance well-being in everyday lives and real world settings.

The At Home Within project for the homeless is an example of how Noetic Sciences can help people who are facing the greatest challenges of their lives get back on their feet and learn tools that can help them thrive and reach their highest potential.

In 2004, John Records, the Executive Director of the Committee on the Shelterless (COTS), a local homeless program which is nationally recognized for its success, approached IONS to propose a collaboration. He wanted to explore how the results of our research could help people whose lives had been shattered to not only find jobs and homes on the outside, but also discover a deep sense of connection, purpose, meaning, and well-being on the inside. We enthusiastically picked up the challenge, and the At Home Within program was born.

Shortly thereafter, with the help of IONS Director of Research Cassandra Vieten and a team of staff members and volunteers from both organizations, we were engaged in providing transformational, restorative practices to the members of the Mary Isaak Center, COTS’ adult homeless shelter. Soon, groups of homeless residents of the shelter were participating in meditation, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, chi gong, yoga, drumming, guided visualization, Somatic Experiencing, Emotional Freedom Technique, iRest, and many other ancient wisdom practices, and we were studying the impact of their participation on their stress levels, psychological well-being, and overall wellness.

This video describes what happened:


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