The IONS Consciousness Transformation Model

Central to the Institute’s research has been investigation into the phenomenon of transformations in consciousness—significant changes in the way that people perceive and shape their reality. Such transformations often lead people to experience more meaning and purpose in their lives, becoming more compassionate and service-oriented and becoming agents for positive change in their communities and beyond. How do these transformations happen? What are the facilitators? What are the barriers to transforming?

We believe that the more we learn about this complex and mysterious process, the more successful we’ll be in helping individuals, communities, and institutions to cultivate the paradigm shifts that are needed today. To that end and for over a decade, IONS researchers engaged in a series of studies that included analysis of individual narratives of personal transformations; focus groups with teachers of transformative processes; in-depth interviews with 60 representatives of ancient and modern wisdom traditions; surveys of over 2000 people who had experienced their own transformations; and longitudinal studies of people engaged in transformative practices.

This led us to develop a working model of consciousness transformation that is depicted in the diagram below. It shows that transformation begins with a subjective experience of inner (noetic) knowing and then follows a continuing process of exploration and practice, leading to the enrichment of both the individual and the collective. Implicit in our model of transformation is the belief that bridging individual experience, the wisdom of the world’s spiritual traditions, and the rigor and discernment of science leads to new knowledge, understanding, and practical applications of the powers and potentials of human consciousness. This particular intersection of the objective with the subjective is also what we call the “noetic sciences.” And just as geographical maps facilitate in-depth exploration of specific territories, this working model frames the transformative process in a way that guides much of the Institute’s work.

IONS Consciousness Transformation Model

Your are welcome to use the IONS Consciousness Transformation Model in your work — please cite the source as: Institute of Noetic Sciences Consciousness Transformation Model (© 2011) by Cassandra Vieten, Tina Amorok, and Marilyn Schlitz,

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