Michael Tymn has a very interesting blog at his gaia page. Michael often writes about the issues of survival after death, such as mediumship and NDE. Recently he published a short interview with Dr. Charles Tart.
Tart is a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California (Davis campus), where he served for 28 years and is now a core faculty member of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, Calif. He has authored more than a dozen books, including Altered States of Consciousness (1969) and Transpersonal Psychologies (1975). He studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before deciding to be become a psychologist. He received his doctoral degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1963, and then received postdoctoral training in hypnosis research with Professor Ernest R. Hilgard at Stanford University.
Michael Tymn starts with generic questions about how Dr. Tart came to parapsychology and about his latest book, The End of Materialism
. But later focuses his questions on the subject of survival. I must say that Dr. Tart had some really interesting answers. He definitely holds his own opinion about things. He also thinks that the basic 5 ESP types, such as telepathy and precognition were proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Canadian Psychic Medium Barb Powell, nicknamed the “Sixth Charm”, is sought out for her skills in Paranormal Investigations as well as psychic/medium readings. A popular psychic who has been in the fore front of the media for the past 10 years. You may have heard her on Darkness Radio with Dave Shrader, Sirius Radio’s Living Successfully or her interview on The Kevin Smith Show. Barb was the only one in the history of The Kevin Smith Show that pulled in so many listeners and tipped audience ratings. She can also be viewed on TV and read about in Magazines.
Could you please tell the story of discovering your intuitive abilities?
I always knew I was ‘different’. I never quite fit in, even if I were in a crowd of people. It was like I was always observing everything instead of being a part of a group. I would see ‘colors’ around people, which I now know to be a person’s energy or aura. I could see spirit, those who have passed on and I would talk about them to people. You learn very quickly as a child what to say and what not to say. I learned to keep my mouth shut about certain things that were out of the ordinary. I tried to make myself fit into society and be like everyone else. I didn’t want to be different.
When I was a young girl there was an incident where my grandfather had passed away unexpectedly. It was my first experience with someone passing away let alone someone who was close to me. A few days later he appeared to me and began to speak to me. I remember it rather clearly. My brother came into the room and I do remember hearing him yell to my mother that something was wrong with Barb. It was like hearing his voice through a tunnel, it was hollow sounding. I was somewhere else at that point, I could not even feel my own body, nor did I have control over my body. My mother came into the room and began to ask me questions and I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t see my grandfather. I remember feeling happy and he wasn’t dead. That perhaps everyone was mistaken. No one in my family knew what was happening, they figured I was stressed and no one talked about it again….ever. I have always been different. As an adult I knew what it was I could do as a child. But it was more shunned then because I lived in a small community. It wasn’t talked about as much as it is now.
In your bio I’ve read about an incident with the church, where you and your husband were thrown out of it because you wouldn’t agree to take your site down and abandon the practice. How do you see today the relations between established religion and psychic abilities?
My husband worked as a youth pastor at the church we belonged to. I was asked to take my website down and to become a ‘prophet’ to the church. My husband calmly told them that only Jesus Christ is the true prophet. Needless to say I did not take down my website, nor discontinue my work. We are all made in the image of God and we need to be our truly unique selves and be ok with who and what we are as long as we are being true to ourselves and living the best life we possibly can.
I do not have an issue with religion, religion has an issue with me.
People need something to believe in and as long as it’s good for them, I don’t see anything wrong with it. I do have an issue with those individuals and organizations that tell people what to do and how to do it. There are many religions and churches that do use their intuition, which they state is from God. I’ve been to churches that the Minister stands up and relays messages of health and emotional well being. I try not to worry myself over what someone else is doing, or what religion thinks of me. I know that I’m trying to do the best I can for myself, my family and for my clients. Living by that rule has helped me to stay grounded and free.
On your site you list skills that you work within. Some of them are: Psychic Intuitive, Medium, Angel Reader, Pet Communicator, Spirit Guide Messages. Some of these concepts require a very special and uncommon world view. I would like to know how you see the world, especially the “unseen” part of it.
I love the world. The world is mysterious and beautiful! Just like the world that has areas such as forests and ocean that has not been explored, so too is the human mind! I truly believe that one day the art of psychic abilities will have the proof needed to show that this intuition is real and accessible to anyone. There will always be those who do not agree or feel that it’s wrong. I’m not here to prove anything, nor to try and argue with someone.
My world is like walking into a busy shopping mall. You can hear people talking, all the conversation and words are bumping into each other and not making sense. This is my world 24/7. When you go to a mall you are not overcome by the noise because you don’t always pay attention to it. Sure it can be overwhelming to you, the crowds, pushing and the business of everything. But you are at the mall to do or get something. Therefore you ignore all this external stimuli. That is what I do. I ignore it unless I’m in work mode. When I’m in work mode, I then pay attention to it. I may not always understand it, but I’ll pay attention to it. The spirit world is very close to our world, there is a very thin thread between worlds is the best I can describe it.
You describe yourself also as a paranormal investigator. What does a “paranormal investigator” do? Could give an example?
A paranormal investigator is simply someone who goes into a place of business or home in order to investigate unexplained phenomena. It’s not always caused by spirit or something unexplained. There have only been a few occasions that I can honestly say that a house or place of business is truly ‘haunted’ and I have been doing this type of work for years full time. I am usually called when people are scared or they fear that business is being affected by what the believe to be spirit. I never go alone and I am usually accompanied by a team. There are those in my team who use equipment such as an EMF reader, Infrared Thermal Scanners, compass and other such tools. Obviously I can pick up any spirit or energy changes in an environment.
One of the services that you offer is “Corporate Psychic”. What is this? How common is it in business to use the skills or psychics?
A corporate psychic is a psychic who uses intuitive skills in order to help a business succeed. This type of psychic is like a consultant who looks at the employees listed and can tell who are the trouble makers and who needs to stay and who needs to go in order to make a business run better and succeed. This psychic can help hire new employees and look at the business to see where things may be going wrong and how to correct it. This type of psychic is also good in picking jury selections as well. I think people would be very surprised to learn just how many businesses use a corporate psychic! It’s quite popular.
You also write that you help with Strategic Planning, Employee selection and hiring etc. How being a psychic make you suitable for performing Strategic planning for corporations? How do you help with employee selection?
It’s all about the energy of someone. A psychic can detect who are the trouble makers and who are better workers. They can tell who will cause issues down the line and hopefully save a business some trouble. I’ve had business owners call me up to ask me about their business. That’s all I need to know from them. From there I can usually tell what the business is about and where things are going wrong and hopefully be able to offer some solutions of how to get things back on track.
You know, mediumship has not been accepted by established science as a fact. Same for other psychic effects and skills. How do you think it would be possible to prove the whole world that there is indeed truth to it?
I learned a long time ago that people will believe what they want to believe and that it isn’t up to me to prove anything to anyone. That is how I choose to live my life. I’m not living for other people or what other’s may think of me and I am now ok with that. It took a long time to get to that point in my life, but I’m there. That doesn’t mean certain things do not bother me…but I’ve learned to deal with them in a more positive way instead of allowing negative thoughts and comments affect me.
There have been many mediums/psychics who have ‘proven’ their skills and there are still people out there that give this work a bad name because they do not work in an ethical way.
Do you ever have any doubt regarding the messages that you relay to your customers through you psychic gifts? In general, what makes you certain that your abilities are real and that the world as you see it?
Because I’m human there is always doubt in our lives. One of the most common questions I get from students is how can they be sure that it’s intuition and not projecting fears or hopes. How can you tell when a hunch is intuition that is valid and not something simply made up or a random lucky guess. My response to them is that you don’t know. That’s the entire challenge of using intuition. I’ve been doing this work for years and have been able to put aside my own fears, ego and personal opinions when doing the work that I do. It’s highly unlikely you will see me crying with a client. I’m very blunt and honest with what I do. Basically with a reading, don’t ask if you don’t want to know the answer. I won’t relay what I know a client wants to hear. I will relay the information I receive, which is one of the reasons I do not like to do criminal cases or cold cases with family members. I will usually only work with police because it’s difficult to tell a family member all the details I receive when working on a case.
How do you think the world will change in the next 10 years?
Things change day by day. In 10 years I believe we will hear more health news in regards to cancer and AIDS. AIDS will change, meaning mutate and there will be another catch to this disease that will cause more panic and fears. But there will be good news in regards to cancer and cures. On a spiritual note, I see that people will become more accustom to hearing and believing in the spiritual realms. However, TV will take it to another level and play off the fears of people. Making things unbelievable and more difficult for those in this line of work. Someone quite famous in the paranormal world will be outed. Meaning there will be bad press for them as there will be those who are on a mission to out spiritual workers and frauds to make their point.
How do you see your mission in this world?
I see myself as getting by in the world. I’m trying to live the best way I possibly can while helping where I can. I’m not out to prove a point or to create a mission plan for myself. My theme is to be me and for me to travel down that road of self discovery and figure myself out. I wasted too many years trying to figure others out and ways I could fit into their world. I’ve set myself free to be who I know I am and that’s a person who is no longer afraid of what others think. Setting your soul free will allow you to sore to heights you never knew existed! Release those limits you set upon yourself. Anything and everything is possible. Don’t worry about the how to and the why. Focus on the goal, don’t focus on how to get there.
My thanks to Barb for taking the time to answer my questions.
There’s a series of enrichment lectures at Google (the company) and they make them available for public viewing on YouTube. The lectures are not strictly technical and encompass a wide variety of topics with guest speakers.
The below video is of a lecture describing the basics of Oriental medicine practices, especially acupuncture and acupressure. There’s also specific attention to stress in traditional western medicine and in eastern.
In the second part, after the description, an eastern medicine doctor applies short acupunture treratment to some of the listeners and guides through a short relaxation meditation.
I’ll start with going over the structure of the book, chapter by chapter, and will conclude with my impressions of it.
In the preface Thomas tells that he started this project back in 1995 and worked on the manuscript for seven years. Several years later, in 2008 his son Clint was dying of cancer. Before he passed away Clint had promised his father to “keep in touch”. And he kept his promise. According to Walker, numerous anomalous and highly improbably events have happened later that year, described in the preface.
The book has 10 Chapters, each touching different aspect of parapsychology, spirituality or research.
The first chapter, titled “The Force – From Ch’i to Cosmological Constant and Beyond”, Walker starts with the Chinese concept of Ch’i (also spelled Qi), which is what chinese call the Life-force. Ch’i is believe to flow in the body, mainly through a system called meridians, which are highly relevant into Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). He refers to 1960s research of Professor Kim Bong Han in which he identified a series of unknown ducts in the bodies of animals and people that followed the paths of acupuncture meridians. He later discovered 2 more networks of such ducts bring to greater interconnection of cells in the body. Later follows a story about how the knowledge of Qi was brought to the west in the 20th century and how it was tested in medical tests to be helpful. Following with some research that was done on Qi, he finishes with the research of Professor William Tiller of Stanford University in which he develops a new theory build upon Einstein’s cosmological constant.
Chapter 2 – New Dimensions: Perceptions beyond the Body – talks about Near Death Experiences (NDE), Out of Body Experiences (OBE), explains what psi and parapsychology is. Explains the main areas of psi research from its early history in late 19th century through the 20th, including detailed history of Stanford Research Institute (SRI) research into remote viewing, backed by CIA.
Chapter 3 – More Dimensions: The Body beyond the Body – tells about the more esoteric subject of human bodies beyond the physical, such as etherial, astral and further, based on Theosophy. Detailed history of Kirlian photography and its research is described.
Chapter 4 – Where Do We Go? Arguments for an Afterlife – delves deeper into the research of NDEs, reincarnation research by late Dr. Ian Stevenson. Wakers covers the subject of mediumship, both in history and in research, such as Gary Schwartz’s research. Ending the chapter a detailed story of the great magician Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Chapter 5 – Paranormal Panache: Superstars of Psychokinesis – tells about the rarer macro-psychokinesis events, starting with 19th century Daniel David Home , who even performed for emperor Napoleon III and Tsar Alexander II, researched, and never found cheating. He was most known for his ability to levitate objects and even himself. Following is the story of Nina Kulagina, heavily researched Russian woman with strong psychokinetic abilities. Later follows the story of most controversial Uri Geller. The chapters ends with an overview of micro-PK research by PEAR, Dr. Dean Radin and others.
Chapter 6 – Magnetically Magnificent: Exploring the Human Energy Field – starts with Mesmer and his research into fluidum (the force) and animal magnetism. The story continues with Baron Karl von Reichenbach, a promising chemist, discoverer of paraffin who changed his career path to research magnetism in humans, which brought him conclusion similar to that of Mesmer that it’s not regular magnetism but other force, which he called the odic force. Next is the story of English physician Walter Kilner, who on the turn of 20th century, found that he could see energy field around living organisms with special equipment. The chapter ends with more recent research by William Tiller and Chinese Dr. Zheng.
Chapter 7 – Orgasmic Outcast: Was Wilhelm Reich Right? – tells the famous story of Austria-born Wilhelm Reich, physician, whose writings were burned thrice – by German Nazis, by Soviets and by US government. Follower and of Freud and even the director of his clinic in Vienna, Reich linked many health issues with the flow of psychic energy, which he called Orgone energy. He decided to research orgone theory. Thomas Walter tells in detail about the history of his research and his life, which ended in US Prison in 1957.
Chapter 8 – Healing the Rift: Alternative Medicine Arrives – gets into the details of many studies done in the 20th century, following the introduction of Chinese medicine and other alternative medicine practices in the west. Numerous studies showed the intent of healers, such a prayer or applications of the force, whatever it’s called, can greatly and positively affect organisms, including humans. Special attention is paid to Therapeutic Touch and to Chiropractic.
Chapter 9 – Schlock Science: Who Makes the Call? – tells about the difficulties that scientists who challenge the status-quo encounter on their way. Starting with Thomas Edison and his electric bulb invention, following the discovery of cold fusion by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons. Then Walter talks about non-psi subject of Mars exploration and the Cydonia region research by Richard Hoagland and the lies of NASA regarding issues related to Mars research. The second half of the chapter leaves the “science” and goes on to describe the history of CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of Paranormal), established in 1976 and now called Committee of Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), started by Ray Hyman, James Randi, Marcello Truzzi and others. CSI is claiming to be an investigating organization but it appears to be a dogmatic Skeptical organization which denies any possibility of psi, without a deep look into things.
Chapter 10 – A Path with Heart: The Way Back Home – argues that the heart plays a more central role in the humans than just pumping the blood. Thomas describes various studies that suggest that not everything is controlled by the brain and that some neurological functions are scattered through the body.
Overall, I liked the book very much for several reasons. First, it is easy and fun to read. I simply enjoyed reading it, the text flowed smoothly. Secondly, I learned a lot of new stuff. Even though I thought I knew a lot about psi research, after reading such books as the Entangled Minds
by Dr. Dean Radin, I found a lot of subjects that I didn’t know about.
The book starts with the subject of Ch’i. Being a Qigong (Chi Kung) student myself for almost 3 years now, I tend to believe that there is something to it. I can relate to the fact that martial artists and Qigong masters can feel and “utilize” it.
The book goes over lots of subjects but has points where it goes deeper, telling about a specific person for several pages. So, even if I read about someone in short previously, I still found lots of new information.
Some might argue that the book is not scientific or that it doesn’t present the opposite point of view, i.e. criticisms of the studies. But having a chapter devoted to showing how science refuses to accept views that drastically differ from the status-quo and about the organized pseudo-skeptics, he clearly chose a side. I think it’s OK to write a book which shows what the author believes to be true. After all, there’s enough totally baseless criticism as well. And I also believe that the media and other establishments will much easier accept and transmit any skeptical argument, however vague, over a study proposing any psi effect.
In conclusion, I highly recommend the book to anyone who’s interesting in these areas of the paranormal or parapsychology which are presented in it. If you are a highly scientific person you’ll have 2 choices. Either skip the book or better yet, follow the studies present in the book (there is bibliography and notes) and try to read them yourself before deciding what’s right or wrong.
Does your head feel heavy sometimes? Maybe you are tired after driving or staring at TV or computermonitors?
Several years ago I’ve learned quite a simple technique that helps to alleviate the heaviness in head. It’s not a cure for any illness but it doesn’t require anything except a little time and healthy imagination. No drugs, even “alternative”, so, it won’t hurt you in anyway.
Like my advice on how to get rid of stuffy nose, which has helped hundreds or thousands of people, this will not work for everyone at all times but it’s sure worth to try. So let’s get started, because something is pushing on your head, right?
You can do it seated or standing up, but it’s better not to lie down. You’ll see why shortly.
Close your eyes and concentrate on the feeling in your head.
Try to imagine that the heaviness that pushes on your head is like a concrete block or like a manhole lid lying on your head and that’s why it feels so heavy – it is pushing on you with its weight.
Now, visualize a construction crane and imagine it lifting the lid off your head up and away. At this moment you should feel a little alleviation of the heaviness. The head should feel a little lighter for a moment. Don’t open your eyes and don’t loose concentration.
Most probably all or some of the “weight” will return very fast. So just repeat the lifting. Imagine pushing it away with your hands maybe or imagine the crane lifting it again.
If it works well, after some repetitions the weight should feel lighter. You may continue with this as long as you helps, probably a couple of minutes.
Be warned though that since this is a visualization based technique it won’t help you in cases where a real physical problem such as sinusitis causes your pain in the head. It’s not a cure for any illness. The technique is just a tool that can help you deal with the feeling of a heavy head, usually because of some fatigue, physical or mental.
Of course, you should complement the technique with other things like rest, drinking water etc, which will address the underlying source of the heaviness.
A prolonged article in the Daily Mail tells the story of James Leininger, now 11, who from the age of 2 years had nightmares. His nightmares were about crashing airplane.
Investigation done by his father, Bruce Leininger, led him to believe that his son recounted a crash of a WWII pilot, James Huston, who died in 1945 after his plane took a direct hit and plunged into the water.
The story has lots of detail, in which it turns out that the boy knew the model of the plane – the Corsair, that he took off from a ship named “Natoma”, names of the pals of the pilot etc.
The nightmares began 9 years ago, when James merely turned 2 years old. Luckily for him they faded off and complete stopped at age 8. During this time the boy showed knowledge of airplanes of WWII era, the location of his death, names etc.
The story, if true and not overly exaggerated by his parents, is extremely remarkable and provides a strong case for the possibility of reincarnation or at least the ability of knowledge of one person to be passed to another.
I urge you to read this article fully, it’s captivating. I’d like to know what you think about this case. Post in comments or on the Mind-Energy forum.
I often get emails (through the Contact form) where people tell me some unusual things that happen to them and then ask for some help, reassurance or advice about how to deal with this. And although over the years I’ve become somewhat more skeptical and don’t tend to believe that many claims of paranormal (not that I ever did), I can not ignore the fact that simple people report these things all the time. And I don’t even ask them to. They are really looking for help and support.
The following message is repost with permission, but I omit the name and email of the woman, for obvious reasons:
I guess it has always bothered me that when my Father was diagnosed with Lung Cancer a number of years ago, that he had no symptoms. He was apparently given 6 weeks to live, (although he lived for 2 GOOD years) and instead my Mother was the one suffering from the illness as far as the symptoms go.
The night my father was taken to the Hospital (2 hours before he passed on) my Mom was the one throwing up blood. She had every symptom that you would expect from my Dad, but he had none. When I took him for his last x-ray (2 weeks prior to passing) they made him repeat his test. They thought they had got it wrong, as his lungs showed that they basically were non existent. He definitely was having troubles breathing, and was weakening… however was up on his feet (as he was 2 hours before passing) while my Mom was sitting at home resting while Dad and I were at the Doctor.
My Mom definitely was special, and was actually removed from her family as a toddler due to “other” family members feeling her parents entertained the “wrong” type of people. They actually had a huge beautiful old home in Britain where they had other folk with similar “extra senses” come and stay. My Mom’s Auntie didn’t think this was an appropriate environment to raise a child. My mother was ashamed of her inherited gifts and protected my sister and I from them as we grew up. Still, I know that I have had many different situations that I can only attribute to some of Mom rubbing off on me!
I have SEEN, the deceased Mother of someone I didn’t even know. She appeared as a light beside her daughter at a counter. She gave me a message for her daughter, and as reluctant as I was to pass it on ..that Mom wasn’t about to let me off!!!
I did eventually pass it on, and BINGO the daughter knew and confirmed it was her Mom. The Mother had provided me with ONE word to let her daughter know that it was truly her, and that she was with her.
The one word was FLOWER, and that word meant a great deal to the daughter. The daughter went into great lengths explaining to me that when her Dad died she of course bought her Mom flowers. The week after her Dad had passed the Mother felt that she should buy the daughter flowers, and it became a weekly event. Flowers from daughter to Mom, the next week flowers from Mom to daughter. Well, when the Mother became ill and passed on, the daughter was lost! The flowers had become so much a part of her life that she couldn’t let it go. From that point she started buying herself flowers… every week. She was pretending they were from her Mom.
Believe me, I’m not the kind of person to ever approach a perfect stranger with such information but I felt I had too. I actually didn’t do it immediately, and had believed the girl had left the property. It was the Mother that announced in “silent” words that her daughter was returning, and I actually stood up from a desk to look out a window to see her coming into the driveway in a Van. Don’t know how it happens, but I can get quite good at it when I want to.
Normally I just try and avoid such things, but like I said…THAT Mom was not letting me off the hook. I don’t see that I could have been dreaming, and I had witnesses, including my husband and the young ladies friend. SO.. my question is 2 fold. How did my Mom take my Dad’s symptoms from him and give them to herself, and how come I can (many times) see things that apparently aren’t supposed to be there?
Another interesting comment I’ve got earlier was from the post about Telepathy experiments with twins. Here’s the comment:
I am not a twin, although the identical twins that I have known all agree that there have been times when they have responded to something that is happening to their twin when that twin was absent and they couldn’t have known what was happening to them.
As a mother, I have experienced this phenomenon myself. The first times were when my first son was born. He developed an infection and was in a special care baby unit for the first week of his life. The unit was three floors below my room and yet every time my baby randomly woke up during the day or night, I knew, and was sitting at the door ready to go down to breast feed him when the nurse called up for me. The urge to go to him was even strong enough to wake me from a deep sleep.
Knowing when he needed me continued very strongly and he was 5 or 6 before it began to lessen. On one occasion, when he was three, I was with some of the other mums in the kitchen at a birthday party when I suddenly couldn’t breathe. I rushed through to find him and a much older boy had sneaked him into a bedroom under a pretext and was trying to strangle him. My son was blue in the face and passing out.
Though not always so dramatic, this happened so often that it couldn’t have been coincidence, and although it did get less, I still know when things are going badly or well for him, even when I haven’t seen him for a while. It happened with my second son, too.
So, given that there are people who report such extraordinary stories is something that really keeps me interested in the psi. Although these are all stories, lives of many people are filled with stories like these and I don’t think all of them should be just dismissed since it can’t be or can’t be proven.
When a mother in a simple blog post comment tells about how she saved her child from strangling I don’t see any reason for her to tell lies. It’s not self promotion and she doesn’t offer any services. It looks simply like an experience that moved her so deeply that she remembers it all these years and not afraid to tell, at least not over the Internet.
How many similar stories have you heard in your personal life?
Robert Waggoner is the author of the recently released book, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self . An experienced lucid dreamer for more than thirty years, he has logged approximately one thousand lucid dreams. Waggoner is also President-elect of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.
Could you describe to the people not familiar with Lucid Dreaming what it means?
When you consciously realize you are dreaming, while in the dream state, you are lucid dreaming. So, lucid dreaming requires conscious awareness of dreaming while in the dream. Normally it occurs after a sudden insight like noticing an impossible event, and you realize, “This is a dream!”
Once you realize that you are dreaming, you can think about what you want to do, make deliberate choices and act on your decisions. It’s like your own magic kingdom – you can fly around the room, ask the dream figures to explain the dream symbols, make items appear or disappear, and other incredible things.
By contrast in a normal dream, you usually accept whatever happens. If you are riding a horse, which suddenly becomes a bicycle and then a skateboard, you just unthinkingly accept it.
Can anyone achieve the ability to have lucid dreams?
Almost anyone can learn to lucid dream. Scientific surveys of college students around the world have shown that 47% to 92% claim to have become consciously aware of dreaming while in the dream state at least once. So the lucid dreaming experience seems relatively widespread, especially among the college age population.
Source: The Incidence of Lucid Dreaming within a Japanese University Student Sample
Daniel Erlacher, et.al., International Journal of Dream Research, Vol 1, No 2 (October 2008)
In my book, I provide a number of simple tips and techniques to help people become consciously aware in their dreams. Often people will have a lucid dream after simply hearing about it for the first time. Some people have emailed me about their first lucid dream after reading the first fifty pages of my book.
Children, who suffer from recurring nightmares, sometimes naturally learn how to become consciously aware in their dreams. They realize that the bogeyman only appears in their dream, and so then the next time they see the bogeyman, they conclude, “Hey, this must be a dream” and become lucidly aware. Some of the most prolific lucid dreamers are those who learned it as a child.
What is your personal experience with lucid dreaming?
I taught myself how to lucid dream in the spring of 1975 after reading Carlos Castaneda’s book, Journey to Ixtlan. In the book, don Juan suggests to Carlos that he ‘find his hands’ in the dream state and become consciously aware. So each night before sleep, I sat there looking at the palm of my hands for a few minutes while mentally suggesting, “Tonight in my dreams, I will see my hands and realize I am dreaming.” After a few nights, I dreamt that I was walking through my high school, and suddenly my hands appeared right in front of my face. I thought, “My hands? This is a dream!”
In many respects, this technique reminds me of Ivan Pavlov’s operant conditioning of dogs. Whenever he would bring food, he would ring a bell. Soon the dogs associated the presentation of food with the ringing of a bell, and would salivate whenever they heard a bell ring. In much the same way, I taught myself to associate seeing my hands with the conscious thought, ‘this is a dream,’ and mentally conditioned a lucid response.
In your book you state that through the use of lucid dreaming techniques one can achieve "paranormal" abilities, such as telepathy, clairvoyance etc. This is a bold statement and I’d like to review this subject in more detail.
Actually in my book, I state that 1) experienced lucid dreamers have numerous reports of seeking out and receiving valid telepathic and precognitive information while consciously aware in the dream state, and 2) scientific experiments could be easily set up to test the validity of these claims.
In my book, I show many examples of experienced lucid dreamers (some with PhD’s), who have actively sought out unknown information in lucid dreams, awakened with it and later discovered its validity. In the case of precognitive information, they often had to wait for the information to appear before confirming it.
Lucid dreamers did this to disprove the idea that lucid dreaming involved merely expectation and mental models, while others wished to determine the limits of awareness, when conscious in the subconscious of dreams. In seeking unknown information, these experienced lucid dreamers learned that lucid dreaming provided access to a broader field of awareness. Though Carl Jung proposed the idea of a ‘collective unconscious’ with internalized, biologically based ideas, forms and archetypes, lucid dreaming may allow science to experiment with Jung’s idea and expand it to include much more.
Why do you think gaining such inner abilities in lucid dreaming state is better than in the waking or meditative states?
Since recorded history, much of mankind has experienced precognitive and telepathic dreams. Dreaming naturally seems to ignore ideas of linear time and space. In a dream, we may be in our childhood home with our present day friends, and then hear an odd comment, which someone repeats in the waking world tomorrow. Dreaming may be a natural state of consciousness for the receipt of precognitive and telepathic information. Moreover, when you are consciously aware in the dream state, you have the capacity to pursue telepathic and precognitive information, and actively seek out the Muse.
Not all lucid dreamers will attain the level of proficiency and conceptual openness needed to gather unknown information, however. In those capable, lucid dreaming provides another means to investigate inherent, exceptional human abilities and to do so scientifically. Lucid dreaming may not be ‘better’ than waking or meditative states; rather, lucid dreaming may be another natural state that gives access to extra sensory information and capabilities.
In my book, I recount a story of a lucid dreamer who had a number of painful plantar warts on her feet. For months, she had tried visualizing and suggesting them away, but to no effect. Finally, she became lucid in a dream, recalled her painful plantar warts, and then placed a ball of light on each foot in the lucid dream along with her healing intent. In the morning, her plantar warts had turned black. Within a week, they all fell off and never returned. I read that a Buddhist lama said that a suggestion made in the lucid dream state was nine times more powerful than one made in the waking state. Lucidly aware in our subconscious seems surprisingly amenable to suggestion.
How one would know that what he perceives is not a dream. As I understand this, lucid dreams are still dreams and the remarkable events that may happen during this time are still the results of dreaming.
If a person becomes consciously aware in a dream, seeks out unknown (but verifiable) information, wakes with it, hands it to a scientist or impartial observer, who discovers that the information has validity, then the dreamt information has validity in the realm of waking consensus reality.
A lucid dreamer realizes that he consciously exists in a dream. He or she knows it. The question revolves around the validity of dream information; can a lucid dreamer, knowing that he or she is dreaming, discover unknown but verifiable information about waking reality? In my book, I share numerous anecdotes from many experienced lucid dreamers that show the answer appears to be, ‘yes.’ Now on occasion, the information comes metaphorically, but more frequently it comes literally. Experiments could be devised to focus on non-metaphorical responses.
Is there any scientific proof for this? Many would say that existence of telepathy, precognition or other such phenomena still needs proof. It’s not a widely accepted fact, you know, and one would find it hard to prove these are real phenomena. Why go as far as to use lucid dreaming, which by itself a little known phenomena, to prove the existence of this abilities.
Scientific proof for lucid dreaming dates back to the late 1970’s. Keith Hearne at the University of Hull in England devised a sleep lab experiment in which a lucid dreamer would signal that he was consciously aware and dreaming by moving his eyes left to right eight times in a row.Hearne knew that in dreams, we have REM (rapid eye movement), so he deduced that the REM polygraph pad would capture any intentional eye movement signal. In April of 1975, his lucid dreaming associate, AlanWorsley, became lucid in the sleep lab and moved his eyes left to right to signal that he was consciously aware. Hearne, watching the REM polygraph in a nearby room, deemed the event scientifically and philosophically “mind-blowing.”
Unaware of Hearne’s work, Stephen LaBerge at Stanford, performed a very similar experiment a few years later by lucidly signaling his conscious awareness from the dream state through eye movements.LaBerge published his results in a widely read scientific journal in 1981, and has done much research on lucid dreaming since that time.
In my case, I taught myself how to lucid dream in 1975 before this scientific proof was published. Later I discovered that Buddhists have been teaching lucid dreaming, or dream yoga, for more than a thousand years.
Why use lucid dreaming? Again, the dream state seems naturally conducive for telepathic and precognitive information. Scientific studies of dream telepathy were conducted at the Maimonides Hospital sleep lab by Montague Ullman, M.D. and Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., in the 1960’s and ‘70’s with very significant, positive results. Using lucid dreaming, you can directly seek out the information as part of a scientific experiment, wake with it and provide it to the scientist. Lucid dreaming may be the revolutionary tool that provides the convincing evidence for these abilities.
Could you shortly tell the most compelling evidence you have to back your claims regarding these psychic abilities being gained while in lucid dreaming state?
In researching various books and articles and in talking with a wide range of experienced lucid dreamers, I discovered assorted evidence for lucid dreaming as a means to obtain unknown information that later proved to be valid. Some lucid dreamers would get information, then write it down, date it, seal it in an envelope and show it to others, once the event occurred. They felt convinced in advance that they had lucidly discovered future information.
Because the scientific proof of lucid dreaming only goes back thirty years, and most of the research has focused on the neuro-physiological experience, the ‘compelling evidence’ to date involves personal experiments by talented lucid dreamers.
For example, a college student wrote me to ask if I truly felt a person could discover unknown information in the lucid dream state. I encouraged him to conduct his own experiment and find out for himself. So he and a young woman in his dorm devised an experiment. She told him that she had a “bizarre freckle” on her back, and he should become lucidly aware in a dream to discover where it was. In his next lucid dream, he remembered the goal, and headed off to her dorm room to discover the bizarre freckle. Oddly, acquaintances (that did not believe in lucid dreaming) appeared and told him this was crazy, and he suddenly found it hard to move forward, and woke up. Apparently, these ‘distracters’ represented his own lingering doubts made manifest.
So he tried again in another lucid dream. This time he lucidly intended for the young woman to come to him. Suddenly, she was at the door, and he asked her to show him the bizarre freckle. She turned around and he could see it right above her rump. He felt shocked, since he believed that she had hinted it was on the side of her back – but he saw it right above her rump. He decided to wake and recall the unexpected information. Later, he went down to her room, knocked on the door, and announced that he lucidly dreamt the location of her bizarre freckle. When she turns around, he puts his finger on the spot. She pulls up her shirt, and ta-da, the bizarre freckle is directly under his finger.
Obviously this is not a scientifically devised experiment, but it does show some of the challenges, e.g., overcoming doubts, and some of the promise of lucid dreaming as a revolutionary tool to investigate time, space and unknown non-local information.
Back to your book, who’s the target audience for your book? Whom would you recommend to read it?
Though my publisher would exclaim, “Everyone! The answer is everyone!”, this book is for those interested in the nature of mind and consciousness, serious lucid dreamers who want to become better at lucid dreaming and conduct their own experiments into the far reaches of lucid awareness, and those involved in Buddhism and dream yoga.
Besides the chapters on getting unknown information, I also have chapters on lucid dreamers who have apparently healed themselves in lucid dreams, sought out conceptual information from the ‘awareness behind the dream’ and seemingly encountered other dreamers in the dream state. Most importantly though, I recount what happened when I decided to go beyond lucid dreaming. Years later, I discovered how that experience apparently connected to the Buddhist tradition’s ultimate goal in dream yoga.
Lucid dreaming is a revolutionary tool to explore the nature of the unconscious mind, which Freud called, “the true reality of the psyche.”
My thanks to Robert Waggoner for this interesting interview
Richard Wiseman, a known British psychology professor, is going to perform an ESP (Extra Sensual Perception) experiment using Twitter as the tool. The experiment will be performed in conjunction with the "New Scientist" magazine. The experiment "protocol" is described by Wiseman:
"At 3 PM (GMT) each day, I will travel to a randomly selected
location. Once there, I will send a Tweet, asking everyone to Tweet
about their thoughts concerning the nature of my location. Thirty
minutes later, I will send another Tweet linking to a Web site that
will allow everyone to view photographs of five locations (the actual
location and four decoys), think about the thoughts and images that
came to them in the 30 minutes before, and vote on which of the five
they believe to be the actual target location. If the majority of
people select the correct target, then the trial will count as a hit."
The trials will be held Tuesday to Friday this week (1st trial already ran).
My personal opinion is that this is a far cry from being any kind of a scientific experiment. To me it’s more like a publicity stunt by Richard Wiseman (granted, he’s a known person and might not want more publicity). I have run my own Psi Experiments a couple of years ago (site’s still alive). Experiment also presented an image with a choice of 1 of 5, where only one was correct. The skeptics (rightfully) criticized the experiment because it was so unscientific and the results of my first psi experiment showed that people are much more biased to answer options 2 or 4 out of 5 options present.
I must say that I’ve never heard of Lawrence LeShan earlier although, based on the book, he was researching paranormal for several decades. He was born in 1920, he’s trained and published psychotherapist, and is the author of the best selling book How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery.
“A New Science of the Paranormal” consists of seven chapters and an appendix. Each chapter also includes one or two “case histories” – a paranormal case from Lawrence’s career or another famous case. The chapters in the book are:
Psychic Research and the Consistency of the Universe.
What Do We Know About Psychic Phenomena
Normal and Paranormal Communication
Designing a Science of Psychical Research
Psi and Altered States of Consciousness
The Next Step: Implications of the New Science
What Dare I Hope
The Appendix in titled: “When is Uvani”.
Chapter 1 tells some history of psi research, the concepts, why is it difficult, including psychological factors. One tidbit is his current disapproval of connecting psi and quantum physics which has become so popular lately.
Chapter 2 describes the 4 things that were proven about paranormal research and 9 which are almost certain to be true.
Chapter 3 tries to compare normal and paranormal types of communication. He gets away from the “paranormal” terminology into cleaner one in order to better understand the differences and similarities between regular and “paranormal” communication types.
Chapter 4 begins what I think was the main goal in writing the book in the first place. Lawrence explains how science approaches different subjects and argues which approaches would be best for psychical research. He writes that he now believes that psi research should be approached not with more laboratory testing, like exact sciences, but like social sciences which employ other methods of research and deduction.
In Chapter 5 Lawrence describes how theories about “reality” shape the worldview and how the conflicts between observed phenomena and what we think about reality should be handled, in science. It is quite a philosophical chapter, in the good sense of the word.
Chapter 6 starts with some more psychological effects of psi events. How people reject them after they happen. This chapter also has a call to scientist to bring psi research into the mainstream science and also explains how to do this.
In Chapter 7 LeShan hopes that the acceptance of the existence of psi by the public will bring change to the way people think of the world and how they behave, to the better.
The Appendix is like a chapter by itself. In it LeShan tries to continue his design of the new science of the paranormal. He explains how we might try to overcome some difficulties with psi research by asking the right questions and thinking of it all in more abstract way, like in mathematics, for example.
The case histories after each chapter are very interesting and diverse. I’ve never heard of any of them although they all seem very compelling. They are all what a skeptic of psi would call “anecdotal” but again, one of the main points that Lawrence LeShan tries to pass in the book is that psi research should be taken out of the laboratory and the focus should be on these unique and very strong cases, which he calls “need-determined”. These are the cases where something “paranormal” happens because of a great need of some other person.
If you’re serious about psi research, consciousness and want to get a wider point of view on the various difficulties of this research and how to approach it, you should read “A New Science of the Paranormal”. It is quite different from many other books which are either too unscientific on one hand, or those which are heavy on statistics on another.
I think Leshan could also be a good guest for the Skeptiko podcast.