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Intramural Project

The Transformation Project

Principal Investigators
Marilyn Schlitz, PhD, Cassandra Vieten, PhD, Tina Amorok, PsyD

Since 1997, our team of researchers has actively investigated processes through which people make significant shifts in the way they experience themselves and view the world, focusing in particular on positive transformations of consciousness, or those that result in improved health, well-being, a sense of meaning, purpose, belonging, and engaged action to make the world a better place. This project included three main areas of inquiry: 1) Surveys of nearly one thousand people about life-enhancing transformations; 2) In depth interviews with over 60 teachers and masters of the world’s spiritual, religious, and modern transformative traditions; and 3) Longitudinal studies with hundreds of people engaged in learning and spiritual practice programs for the express intention of transforming their worldviews in positive ways. While the experiences people shared differed widely, in each, a radical broadening of worldview and redefinition of relationship to the world around them took place, leading to significant changes in motivations, priorities, and quality of life.

These findings have been published (Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life, New Harbinger, 2008), adapted to an online interactive course, an online community representing more than 30 nations, and residential, experientially-based learning programs for adults.

We would like to acknowledge the following for supporting this project:

Peter Baumann, Raymond Benton, The Clements Foundation, Richard and Lois Gunther, The Lee and Louis Kuhn Foundation, H. B. McEver & Christina Weltz, Claire Russell, The Synthesis Foundation, Ian and Victoria Watson, and Claudia Welss

A Research-Based Model of Consciousness Transformation
This article, published in Shift Magazine, Issue 23, Summer 2009, describes the Consciousness Change Model that IONS Researchers developed from more than a decade of investigation into transformations in consciousness. (To download this pdf to your computer, right-click and select "Save Link As..." or "Save Target As...")
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