Current Update as of September 19, 2004
Inspired by The Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies
Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
(An Entry in the Alexander Imich Essay Contest on the Question,
"How will the undisputed recognition and acceptance of paranormal phenomena ("Psi") transform present religious movements and accelerate the spiritual progress of Western Society?")
will the undisputed recognition and acceptance of paranormal phenomena
("Psi") transform present religious movements and accelerate the spiritual
progress of Western Society? Such recognition and acceptance will,
I believe, spark a disruption in Western Society, actually a spiritual
crisis somewhat akin to the apocalyptic "end of the world.". Religious
movements will be challenged to help people deal with the crisis.
crisis of boundaries, accelerating in recent times, is occurring on two
levels. First, boundaries are dissolving as our awareness grows of the
ways in which our lives are inter-connected. Boundaries separate us to
define and give individual entities autonomous and independent areas of
activity. Lines of interconnected influence breach this separation and
web of life has always been an inter-connected unity without boundaries.
The western world first acknowledged this interconnectedness in the study
of ecology. Rachel Carsonís book, The Silent Spring,1
is often credited with initiating the ecology movement by creating an
awareness of increasing pollution on the planet. Our awareness of pollution
has only slowly affected how we live, through a painful, confusing process.
Judging from the problem of pollution, to realize that we are inter-connected and that what one person does affects every one else brings more tribulation than celebration. The first stage of public response is the desire for personal protection. Next is the attempt at governmental regulation, only to encounter the reality that the problem is so interwoven with our way of life that it is hard to find an entry point to gain leverage on the problem. International disputes donít move toward resolution until the problem becomes so severe that cooperation becomes the last resort. Creative individuals invent new methodologies that respect both human nature and the sensitivity of the problem. A new world is slow to come.
or contamination comes in many forms. As our society evolves, new forms
appear. While diseases have never respected political boundaries, the
discovery of AIDS has alerted us that we can no longer take for granted
the continued existence of biological boundaries. As more people become
interconnected on the internet, there develops the problem of spreading
"computer viruses." The "Love Bug" catastrophe is one example that got
a lot of publicity, destroying the valuable data-bases of many individuals
Itís easy to use these examples to speculate about the impact upon the world of the recognition of Psi. Being telepathic for one another, one personís thoughts and feelings will find their way into the thought stream of others. Since telepathic influences are often silent, invisible, and undetectable except by extraordinary means2, how can we filter our minds so that we are not affected by other peopleís moods? How do we protect our own behaviors from influence from other peopleís motivations?
Research bears out the fact that people do have such fears of Psi because of a concern for the invasion of privacy, the loss of secrets, loss of the ability to deceive others, and the fear of losing oneís mind in the confusion of everyone elseí thoughts and feelings.3 The "co-dependency" movement, with its concern for "how can I be close to you without losing me?" and its attempt to help people who are "too sensitive" to other peopleís feelings suggests that humanity has already been struggling with how to cope with the problem of boundaries between minds in what might seem to be a chaotic sea of intermingling influence.4,5
Whereas we all might enjoy having our minds telepathically enlightened by the creative thoughts of others, no one wants to be influenced by evil. Perhaps Psi can be used to track down those with evil thoughts. Such an idea is the premise of the recent movie, Minority Report, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise, where a group of governmental "precogs" use their precognitive ability to detect who might commit a crime in the future and then arrest that person. Legal "due process" can not withstand the power of Psi.
are many other implications of the acceptance of Psi that would dissolve
the social and legal structure of life as we know it. When we view Psi
from the point of view of individual entities who are unwillingly interlocked
in a web of thoughts and desires that threaten their individual autonomy,
spontaneity--in essence the very sovereignty that defines them as individual
human beings--then there is a panic, a revolt, an attempt to deny this
inter-dependence by personal protection and persecution of others.6
Research has confirmed, for example, that denials in defense of the revelation
of a secret has been a significant motivation to suppress the evidence
Another historical development has threatened the consciousness of "things" and the boundaries that define them.8 The advent of atomic energy, for example, caused more than the fear of pollution by radiation. It has changed our awareness of the nature of materiality. Electrons, long assumed to be the basic building blocks of matter, proved to be as much an event as a thing. They can be in two places at once and communicate with each other instantaneously, affecting each other at a distance at a speed faster than light. And, to make matters even more ephemeral, what transpires with these electrons depends upon the consciousness of the observer who wants to know whatís happening! Reality is but a thought, as one physicist claimed.9
The nature of "non-local" reality has gradually leaked into our vocabulary, stretching our imagination beyond the boundaries of rational thought.10 It is affecting our thinking about, but not yet our experience, of reality. Except for science labs, it has not even begun to affect how we deal with our world. Yet it has provided the development of an underlying philosophical worldview that is ready to embrace our world as it dissolves from being a thing, to an event, and now to an idea.
shift has been paralleled by the transformation of the industrial world
into to a service oriented world. Making things is gradually being assigned
to robots and more people are employed in the service economy. The most
significant services being provided are not those dealing with material
things, but with information. Whereas we used to exchange things, we are
gradually making the shift to the exchange of information. We are beginning
to live in an age of information, with resulting challenges for boundaries.
For example, what is the true nature of a book?
we are living increasingly in a world of information, and consciousness
is gradually replacing matter as the medium in which we live, we are slow
to adjust to this change. We use physical metaphors to describe events
in consciousness. We strive to achieve "higher consciousness," but few
can explain why the word "higher" describes a desired improvement. Most
significantly, people use the word, "open" to describe events in consciousness,
such as "an open mind," or "opening to creative ideas" or "opening the
heart to love" or "opening to spirit."
"open oneís mind" doesnít mean to open some shutter, but to adopt a flexible
attitude, receptive to new ideas or experiences.11 Ford Motors
recently placed a full-page ad in USA Today, announcing, unwittingly,
the new paradigm of the information age, "A good idea has no boundaries."
Everyone wants to experience good ideas, but who is to experience the
bad ideas? What is to determine what a person is to experience?
Thus the solution to the dilemma of "psychic invasion" is to make the transition to a different definition, a different vision, a different experience of the individual self. How to come to know ourselves to be ourselves, yet one with the whole? Here is where religious movements can help, for in the common roots of their various traditions they have the Perennial Philosophy: "Thou art That."16 It means a certain oneness or mirrored identity between oneself and the perceived "world out there." Eastern religious philosophies have not emphasized a boundary between the world "out there" and the person "in here", but rather have placed the flow of consciousness to be the seat of identity.17
interconnectedness in consciousness is not new, it has always been there.
What is new is that developments in technology, in transportation and
communication, and in economics has made our behavioral world a unified
one. When everyone was thinking and acting locally, there was not the
necessary context for worldwide Psi. But with the growing behavioral and
experiential interdependence, in our developing global economy, where
there is no escaping the fact that one personís actions affects another
personís experience, we have the situation ripe for global Psi effects.
some people, the emergence of global consciousness will spell the rapture
that some religious groups have predicted. In the "Left Behind"
novel series,20 empty clothes are found in chairs, depicting
the people who were "raptured" and left their bodies. I can see this as
a symbol of those people who were no longer identified with their bodies,
with their material existence, and came to live their lives in consciousness,
singing the body electric in a virtual world of information.
Naturally, there will be an initial attempt to find ways of protecting people from psi contamination. Moving beyond tinfoil hats, to lead lined homes, to electronic force fields, people will resort to "positive thinking" and make "reminders of personal identity" a contast mantra. Even as government moves against mental polluters, it will become illegal for people to feel afraid, because their fear spreads. But peopleís emotions can not be controlled. So what can we do? The government will hire positive, loving people to pray, like a "Love Corps," dedicated to spreading the emotions of love and gratitude, as if love itself could eradicate the negativity in the world which so many people cling to in a self-defensive obsession.
movements will have to reposition their emphasis on a story about a deity,
to a more general Gaia approach, to "all that is" or "life" as the unifying,
intelligent dynamic. But more importantly, there will have to be a focus
on the individual, but not upon "saving" their interior, private selves,
but upon transforming their involvement in the worldís feeling.
can religious movements do to turn this crisis into a spiritual emergence?
We can look to indigenous cultures for ideas about how a society might
function when Psi is taken for granted. On the negative side, in cultures
where something akin to Santeria is widely practiced, fear predominates,
for in such cultures everyone perceives themselves susceptible to the
"evil eye" of others, and curses abound.
all we will have to focus healing efforts upon suffering, because it will
be seen as the worst pollutant of all. When one person suffers, we all
suffer. Each of us suffers from wounds to the sense of self, each of us
have aspects of our reality diminished, leaving some of ourselves in hiding,
in a personal purgatory of self-hatred, shame and guilt, emitting psi
signals intensifying the suffering of others.
claim that the past resistance to Psi is because there has been no scientific
theory with which to understand it. Non-local reality is providing the
theoretical basis23 and now the most probable reason for continued
resistance is because it spells a radically revised vision of what it
means to be human. It expells us out of our separate existences in a material
world and into a new world of shared consciousness.
1 Carsons, R., Silent Spring. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1962.
2 Rhine, L. E., The Invisible picture: A study of psychic experiences. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1981.
3 Tart, C. T., Attitudes toward strongly functioning psi: A preliminary survey. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1986, 80, 163-173.
4 Aron, E. A., The highly sensitive person: How to thrive when the world overwhelms you. New York: Broadway Books, 1996.
5. Whitfield, C. L., Boundaries and relationships: Knowing, protecting and enjoying the self. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, 1993.
6 Reed, H., Intimacy and Psi: An initial exploration. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, October, 1994, 88, 327-360.
7 Reed, H., The ESP factor: No secrets from loved ones. Venture Inward, 1991, 7(2), 18-21; 48-49,
8 Settegast, M., Mona Lisaís Moustache: Making sense of a dissolving world. Grand Rapids, MI: Phanes Press, 2001.
9 LeShan L., The medium, the mystic and the physicist. New York: Viking, 1974.
10 Dossey, L. Healing words: The power of prayer and the practice of medicine. San Francisco: HarpersSanFrancisco, 1993.
11 Csikszentmihalyi, M., Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.
12 Goswami, A. The self-aware universe: How consciousness creates the material world. New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1993.
Reed, H., Transpersonal counseling for intrusive psychic experiences http://www.creativespirit.net/
14 Eisenbud, J., Psi and psychoanalysis: Studies in the psychoanalysis of psi-conditioned behaviors. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1970.
15 Reed H. & Van de Castle, R., The dream helper ceremony: A small group paradigm for transcendent psi. Theta, 1990, 16(1), 12-20.
16 Huxley, A. The perennial philosophy. New York: HarperCollins, 1990.
17 Wilber, K. No boundary: Eastern and western approaches to personal growth. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications, 2000.
18 Aron, E. & Aron, A. The Maharishi effect: A revolution through meditation. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1986.
19 Nelson, Roger. Terrorist disaster, September 11, 2001. http://noosphere.princeton.edu, 2001.
20 LaHaye, T. F. & Jenkins, J. B. Left behind: A novel of the earthís last days. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishing ,1995.
21 Thurston, M. Millenium prophecies: Predictions for the coming century from Edgar Cayce. New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 1997.
22 Hastings, A. With the tongue of men and angels: A study of channeling. Fort Worth, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1991.
23 Radin, D. The conscious universe: The scientific truth of psychic phenomena. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997.
Web Design by HENRY REED and MARIO HADAM. All Rights Reserved.