In-Person Events Return

January 17, 2024
Development Team

IONS is thrilled to share the return of in-person events. Recently, two events were held in Florida and Southern California. They marked the first in a series of in-person donor appreciation events IONS will be hosting around the country over the next year.

On December 7th, in sunny LaBelle, Florida, the event was held along the beautiful Caloosahatchee River. IONS Scientist Garret Yount, PhD presented his latest research on lucid dreaming, and shared insights from his new book Why Vibes Matter: Understand Your Energy and Learn to Use it Wisely.

IONS Director of Advancement Rosemary Calderalo welcomes IONS members and introduces Christar Damiano.

The event kicked off with a sound bowl experience performed by sound healer, Reiki master, and shamanic massage therapist Christar Damiano. Christar has traveled to over 50 countries learning different healing modalities over the past 38 years. Sound healing is the use of specific instruments, music, tones and other sonic vibrations to balance and heal the body, mind and spirit. Christar uses tuned crystal bowls that resonate with the chakras to allow for optimum healing in the body. The sound frequencies create a therapeutic atmosphere to promote deep rest, nervous system rebalancing and emotional release. 

I believe all energy is interconnected, and that we all have the power to heal ourselves; not just our physical body, but our emotional body as well.
– Christar Damiano

Christar Damiano conducts an immersive sound bowl experience.

Next, Garret presented his work on lucid dreaming including the most recent results from the study using saliva samples. He reviewed different sleep stages and their effect on the brain. We heard about the remarkable results of the healing lucid dreaming workshop on those suffering with PTSD. He shared how we can induce lucid dreams, dreams when you know you are dreaming.

IONS Scientist Garret Yount presents his latest research on lucid dreaming.

Garret jokingly said “Everyone poke your finger through your hand. Can anyone do it? No? Good, we’re all awake.” He encouraged the group to try to do this induction technique next time they dreamed. After the event, at least one attendee was able to recall this in a dream the next night. As she discovered she could poke her finger through her hand, she realized she must be lucid dreaming. It induced a feeling of excitement that allowed her to fly and do acrobatics in her dream. She shared it was her most fun and vivid lucid dream yet, just as Garret described could happen! Lucid dreaming can be both fun and used for deep healing and spiritual growth

Garret concluded his presentation by answering several inquisitive questions from the group that led to more insight and curiosity. Time remained afterward for ongoing discussion. The event offered networking with like-minded individuals, and delicious refreshments and hors d’oeuvres were enjoyed. Garret signed copies of his new book, Why Vibes Matter: Understand Your Energy and Learn to Use it Wisely, before warm goodbyes were shared among all.

Garret signs copies of his book Why Vibes Matter: Understand Your Energy and Learn How to Use It Wisely
Garret signs copies of his book Why Vibes Matter: Understand Your Energy and Learn How to Use It Wisely.
IONS Associate Director of Communications Leslie Lovejoy, Garret Yount and Christar Damiano pose for a photo at the end of the event.

Exploring Sound and Mind Wandering

On January 11th in San Diego, we celebrated the recent release of the new book Why Our Minds Wander: Understand the Science and Learn How to Focus Your Thoughts by IONS Scientist Arnaud Delorme, PhD. Select IONS staff and local community members gathered at the Unity Center of San Diego to hear a very special presentation from Arnaud, engage in a vocal sound bath experience by Zoe Scaljon, and simply enjoy the company of fellow noetic explorers over delicious refreshments.

in-person events
Monica Summers of the IONS Development department introduced the event.

Zoe’s unique sound performance allowed time for the natural wandering of the mind to occur so that a higher level of focus could be brought to the fascinating presentation. As Arnaud explained, the wandering nature of the mind has often historically been regarded as a negative feature, which was referred to in many Buddhist texts as the so-called “monkey mind” that has difficulty quieting down a pattern of racing thoughts. His book was written with the intent of not only exploring his research about this phenomenon but also providing practical, user-friendly tips for how to tame the mind from falling prey to unintentional and even obsessive wandering.

Learning to become conscious of thought patterns is the first step to being able to bring them under control. He also posed the question of where thoughts come from, sharing a video from a French-Nepalese monk and translator for the Dalai Lama, Matthieu Ricard, about when he was carrying guilt from having attempted to kill an animal and found the Dalai Lama aware of his thoughts without him having to speak them aloud, in what could be described as a form of spontaneous telepathic experience. 

In posing that question, to which there is not yet a universally agreed upon answer in science, the subject of free will was also raised because surely if human beings cannot control thoughts, that may be the precursor to being unable to control the actions which follow those thoughts. The global science community is relatively split when it comes to the subject of free will, as well as whether or not consciousness is an emergent property of our brains.

in-person events
Sound artist Zoe Scaljon, IONS Special Events Coordinator Molly Hankins, Development Director Rosemary Calderalo, Arnaud Delorme and Membership Relations Coordinator Monica Summers pose for a photo at the end of the event.

However, according to Arnaud’s hypothesis, human beings are more than just the function of the brain, and consciousness can have a causal influence on the physical world. He distinguishes consciousness from thinking in the book, citing hypotheses that consciousness may be more of a field, like an electrical field, with the capacity for both local and even non-local influence. “That is our hypothesis here at IONS, you are more than your brain and consciousness can have non-local influence. This is why the Institute was created, to test specifically that hypothesis using the tools of science,” Arnaud said to the attending community of fellow noetically-inclined guests. 

If the premise of this idea is accepted, meaning human consciousness can influence not only the brain and physical body but also external phenomena even outside of one’s immediate environment or sphere of social influence, then how does one maximize that influence to optimize results? You’ll have to pick up the book to dig in on the specific how-tos Arnaud’s research has revealed, including many simple meditative mind-training and awareness-developing exercises designed to help tame the distractions of monkey mind. All attendees received a free copy courtesy of IONS and lined up to have the books signed by Arnaud.

in-person events
Arnaud signs copies of his new book ‘Why Our Minds Wander: Understand the Science and Learn How to Focus Your Thoughts’

Thank you to everyone in attendance and to all members and supporters whose generosity supports IONS.

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