The connection between brain, mind and body has fueled scientific debate over the past few centuries. At IONS, it is one of our primary hypotheses that consciousness goes beyond the brain. Unlike ontological religious or spiritual beliefs, it is a scientific hypothesis, which we believe, can be tested using the scientific method and the modern tools of science.
Meditation has been used as a transformational tool for thousands of years. In the West, meditation is a new practice that has increased in popularity over the last couple decades. Meditation research allows us to see exactly how it works and how it may improve our health and lives using rigorous scientific methods. I’ve been excited to study meditation research ever since I first tried it. I’ve always had a curious and inquisitive mind and wanted to know how things worked. This curiosity led me to become a naturopathic physician and then a clinical researcher.
Twenty years ago I was distributing research by the Union of Concerned Scientists to global executives of major corporations at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, trying to get their attention and hoping to influence their policies. The research concluded we had twenty years before Earth and humanity reached a climate tipping point, beyond which there was no turning back.
Four years after releasing my documentary Reality and the Extended Mind, and 350 thousand views later, I recently reflected on the life-changing story of how it all came about…
One of the most fundamental dualities in our everyday experience is the duality between consciousness and nonconsciousness; the contrast between that of which we are aware in our everyday experience (individual consciousness) and that of which we are not aware (everything else — all nonconscious processes). For example, your awareness of reading this blog post is conscious. But the mechanisms that allow you to read this post and become aware of it are entirely nonconscious.
Have you ever thought of someone for no apparent reason and then that person called? Or have you known who was calling before you looked at the caller ID or answered the phone? If so you are in good company. Surveys show that more than 80% of people have had experiences like this.