Support IONS

Why does IONS need planned gifts?


Bill Kalahurka

“One reason I love IONS is the way it was born. Edgar Mitchell, a no-nonsense, analytical scientist on his way back from the moon who has a moment of cosmic consciousness that changes his life.”
–Bill Kalahurka



The short answer is that bequests from estates of individuals are not subject to the fluctuating economy. They come from individuals deeply committed to the work of IONS and help to build its endowment, providing a reliable source of ongoing support to IONS for years to come. Also, bequests provide a lasting tribute to the donors, honoring their names and the names of their loved ones perpetually.

The long answer is found in IONS’ history, mission, and accomplishments. The vision for creating the Institute of Noetic Sciences began in 1971. Nations throughout the world had galvanized around the exciting frontier of space exploration. The potential for scientific understanding of our world seemed unlimited to a naval air captain named Edgar Mitchell. He was a young, pragmatic test pilot, engineer, and scientist, whose dream came true when he was recruited for a mission to explore the moon on Apollo 14. Space exploration symbolized for Mitchell what it did for his nation—a technological triumph of historical proportions, unprecedented mastery of the world, and extraordinary potentials for new discoveries.

But it was the trip home that Mitchell recalls most. Sitting in the cramped cabin of the space capsule, he saw planet Earth floating in the vastness of space, and he became engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness and experienced an epiphany. In Mitchell's own words: "The presence of divinity became almost palpable, and I knew that life in the universe was not just an accident based on random processes . . . The knowledge came to me directly."

Upon his safe return “home,” Mitchell sought out others who likewise felt the need for an expanded, inclusive view of reality. Together they resolved to explore the inner world of human experience with the same rigor and critical thinking that made it possible for Apollo 14 to journey to the moon and back. In 1973, this small group of explorers founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences. The term noetic is derived from the Greek word nous, meaning “mind and all its ways of knowing.” The mission for these noetic scientists was, and continues to be, to expand our understanding of human possibility by investigating aspects of reality—mind, consciousness, and spirit—that include but go beyond physical phenomena. They seek to seek to understand the inner world as thoroughly as the outer world—based on the premise that what finds expression in the world at large is a reflection of our interior landscape. Today, three decades later, the Institute continues its mission as a worldwide research, education, and membership-based organization, now located in Petaluma, California.

Over the years, IONS has sponsored hundreds of projects, including a comprehensive bibliography on the physical and psychological effects of meditation, an extensive spontaneous remission bibliography, and studies on the efficacy of compassionate intention on healing in AIDS patients. (See our Research section for detailed information on these and other scientific endeavors.) Since 1987, the Institute has published a magazine (now adapted as the Noetic Post) that highlights research in the broad field of noetic sciences. IONS also played a key role in the development of the popular Heart of Healing television series and book, produced by Turner Broadcasting in 1993. In 2000, the Institute expanded its scope by purchasing 200 acres of land in Northern California for its offices, scientific laboratory, and a retreat center. Today, we have nearly 15,000 members and close to 300 community groups worldwide.

IONS conducts and sponsors leading-edge research into the potentials and powers of consciousness—including perceptions, beliefs, attention, intention, and intuition. While the Institute explores phenomena that do not necessarily fit conventional scientific models, we maintain a commitment to scientific rigor balanced by personal and collective wisdom in order to support a shift in consciousness that will transform present global conditions into a world grounded in freedom, wisdom, and love. Serving an emerging movement of globally conscious citizens dedicated to manifesting our highest capacities, IONS

  • explores the frontiers of consciousness
  • builds bridges between science and spirit
  • researches subtle energies and the powers of healing
  • investigates the science of love, forgiveness, and gratitude
  • studies the effects of conscious and compassionate intention
  • seeks to understand the basis of prevailing worldviews
  • practices freedom of thought and freedom of spirit

We invite you to join our organization and become involved as we continue to actualize Edgar Mitchell's vision of deep exploration into consciousness, self, and society.

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