Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
September 26,   2011
The Heart of Higher Mind *

 

 

The Heart of Higher Mind *

by

Henry Reed, PhD, Atlantic University

(Note: Dr. Reed will be offering his Intuitive Heart Group Facilitator Training and Certification this August, 2012)

  

            The essential mystery of intuition is, How can we learn about the external world by looking within ourselves? There must be some connection between our consciousness and the manifested universe.

            Dreams, for example, have a long history of providing intuitive insights for scientific discoveries, intellectual achievements, and social movements, to name a few (Van de Castle, 1994; Moss, 2009). Dreams will be our starting point in this story of my investigations into the operation of intuition. I'll begin by describing a social dreamwork experiment. As an educational tool, this experiment has shown its value in that it guarantees that most every participant will not only remember a dream, but also discover intended, desired, valid, and valuable intuitive information about a matter that was not previously conscious. It also demonstrates that groups of laypeople can make effective use of their dreams to guide them in dealing with challenges.

 

The Dream Helper Ceremony (DHC)

            To conduct this experiment, assemble seven to ten people who want to learn something about dreams. Ask for at least two people to volunteer to be a focus person, someone who voluntarily steps forward because of a pressing personal issue, something for which they would like the group's consultative assistance. The issue is to remain undisclosed for now. The volunteers put their names into a hat for a drawing. The "luck of the draw" is dedicated to that volunteer who could best be helped by this group of dreamers. The person whose name is drawn becomes the focus person and receives a verbal promise from each group member, "I promise, [name of focus person] to remember a dream for you tonight." Before everyone departs for bed instructions are provided on how to recall dreams. The focus person receives instructions to write out, before going to bed, a brief statement about the issue and the help hoped for, and to bring that back when returning to hear the group's dreams. It will be read aloud to the group once they have finished processing their dreams for the focus person.

            When the group reassembles, the members report their dreams. During the telling and discussion of the dreams, the focus person, who does not speak nor provide feedback to the group (sometimes turning their chair around to face away from the group) takes notes on the group's dreams and discussion. The dreamers search for patterns in the dreams, looking for commonalities in the dream that may reflect the hidden issue. As an example, consider one dream in which someone who, during a TV commercial , is about to pour cream in his coffee when he notices in the nick of time that the cream has soured, so a new carton is opened. In another dream, someone about to resume traveling as the traffic light turns green notices that a car to the right is running the red light and waits for this obstacle to clear. Here we can see the commonalities of normal, anticipated interruptions or pauses (traffic lights, TV commercials) and of unexpected, undesirable consequences of making habitual responses (drinking spoiled cream; getting hit by car), and being watchful to be able to make quick adjustments.

            On the basis of the common patterns, the group begins a "profiling" analysis: What kind of life situation would stimulate dream patterns such as those observed? Is it, for example, a medical issue, a relationship conflict, or financial matter? What do the dream patterns suggest about why the person has not been able to resolve this issue? And finally, what counsel or advice seems indicated?

            After the group has finished with their "diagnosis" and "prescription," the focus person then reads aloud the statement of concern that was written the night before and proceeds to give some feedback to each dreamer. Now that the group is aware of the focus person's concern, the dreams can be examined for what they might say about that focus.

            The process concludes by the dreamers "taking back their dreams," to see what the dreams reflect about themselves. The usual method is for each dreamer to compose a title for their dream, to meditate on what the title reflects about them personally, and then to share in the group their answer to this question, "What am I learning about myself from my dream that may be helpful to the focus person's issue?" At the end of this sharing, it is usually clear that the focus person, by humbly asking for help, has turned into the group's leader, initiating the dreamers into an adventure that showed them, not only their dream skills, but also an element of shared human nature. Research on the DHC (Dossey, 1992; Reed & Van de Castle, 1990;. Van de Castle, 1994) has demonstrated its value along many dimensions.

            Thurston (1978) conducted a cross country experiment with the DHC. More than a hundred people volunteered to dream for one of two unidentified people. They kept dream journals for one week, then for one week attempted to dream for the person whose name was sealed within an envelope. Thurston presented each focus person with the entire collection of dreams with instructions to sort them into three piles: dreams that spoke to the issue, dreams that spoke to something in the focus person's life, and dreams that appeared to have no connection.. One focus person was able to correctly sort the dreams intended for her to a statistically significant degree, and the suggestions culled from these dreams resolved her issue.

            In another study, Randall (1978) showed that in an ongoing group, the DHC significantly increased dream recall. In yet another study, Walsh (1996) investigated the perceptions of group members and found that both the dreamers and the focus person perceived that the dreams were meaningful and helpful.

            Most recently, researchers (Smith, DeCicco, & Moran, 2009) conducted a double-blind study in which they asked volunteers individually to dream about an undisclosed issue involving a person shown in a photo. Judges independently examined the dreams for evidence of information concerning that focus person. The results indicated that there were significantly more correlations between the dream content and the focus person's issue than in the control dreams of these volunteers. Unfortunately, as I have found to be the case, these researchers reported that the individual dreamers could not recognize the implications of their dreams. In my group method, laypeople can effectively use the correlation among the group's dreams (the common patterns) to correctly identify the focus person's issue and its remedy on their own. Many informal lay gatherings of folks interested in dreaming have replicated these basic results innumerable times (e.g., Barasch, 2000; Brockman, 2001; Campbell, 1978; Emery, 2000; Krippner, Bogzaran, & de Carvalho, 2002; Ramos, 2009; Rishel, 1998; Van de Castle, 2004; Watts, 2002; Webb, 2000). The DHC is thus uniquely suitable for self-help groups without the assistance of dream professionals.

            The DHC raises many questions for research, such as its effectiveness as a change agent, as a team building device, or as a way of introducing dream inspirations into a group or community (e.g., Brockman, 2001). My own research has pursued how one person can dream for another, and its implications for our interconnectedness.

The Dream Helper Ceremony by Day (drawing by Henry Reed)

Origins of the Dream Helper Ceremony

            The DHC has an interesting history that adds to its credibility beyond the simple matter of its effectiveness as a group effect. It is both a personal story and a history of my professional research activities into the matter of intuitive communication between people. A reader might recognize elements of my story that conform to the archetype of shamanic initiation, including a healing crisis and a series of transformational experiences that also led to having gifts to share with others through applied research (McGuire, 1989, pp. 22.23; Robertson, 2000, pp. 15-20).

            I was a psychology graduate student at UCLA in the late 1960's (Carlos Castaneda was an anthropology graduate student there at that time), when I ran across a classmate from my undergraduate years at Pomona College--James Turrell, our senior class president. He told me some of his dreams. In one, his deceased father showed him where he could get an art studio rent free. Another dream alerted him to a distant friend who was in trouble. He had many dreams of light, which was inspiring his artistic explorations (Turrell, 2007) and later led to his receiving a MacArthur Foundation "genius award." I asked James where he learned to have these wonderful dreams. I asked, because in my graduate education at that time, dreams were viewed as a "medical sample," something you take to a doctor in private to have yourself diagnosed. James was using his dreams for personal and professional guidance. He mentioned Edgar Cayce, the "sleeping prophet" (Stearn, 1989), who claimed that everyone could learn to "dream true" (Thurston, 1989). In response to this brief remark, I intuitively envisioned a compass, and felt immediately drawn to connecting with my dreams as a way to guide me in my confused life. James offered to help me create a dream journal and begin to remember my dreams. It took me several months before I finally did remember a dream, but it changed my life (Reed, 1984). The dream suggested that my "drinking problem" was a gift to me, to help me grow. I soon was on a path of spiritual recovery from alcoholism. The dream also presaged, without my knowing it at the time, the unique method I would help others to connect with dreams.

            After graduating from UCLA, I became an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Princeton University. Based upon my own experiences attempting to develop my memory for dreams (Reed, 1976a), I taught an experimental class on learning to remember dreams (Reed, 1973). I also began a program of research to see if students could direct their dreams toward particular content. At that time, research psychologists routinely used deception as a normal part of their methodology, and the Princeton students were thus a suspicious subject population. I found the laboratory setting not conducive to the type of inspirational dreaming I'd experienced and wished to nurture in others. During a sabbatical leave, I consulted at the C.G. Jung Sleep and Dream Laboratory, in Zurich, Switzerland. The lab's director, Carl A. Meier, M.D., had recently published a book about the legends of the "dream cures" that took place in the Greek temples of Asclepius, such as at Epidaurus (Meier, 1967; Tick, 2001). In the historical accounts of these temple healings (Edelstein & Edelstein, 1945), the patient would sleep in the temple and awaken in the morning recalling having had a "visitation" in the temple. Such visionary dreams typically involved a visit by either Asclepius himself, or one of his animal helpers (a dog or snake). During the nocturnal visitation, some kind of "treatment" would occur, and the person would awaken cured. Some of the testimonies of these treatments seem bizarre or symbolic, such as being bitten by Asclepius' snake. Meier noted that Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, claimed that all his remedies originated in the recorded healings of Asclepius, which is perhaps why today the symbol for medicine is Asclepius' staff and snake. I wanted to replicate the phenomenon of these visionary temple dreams. Meier, however, was conducting experiments of a more mechanistic bent, such as having a person sleep in a cold room to see if the person would have dreams involving more physical activity, as a means of compensating for the cold environment. I fulfilled my consultation obligations by designing for the lab a set of alternative, more humanistic methods of exploring dreams, and then returned to Princeton to follow my own course of research into temple-incubated dreams.

            I had become acquainted with Edgar Cayce's organization in Virginia Beach, the Association for Research and Enlightenment, and I received an invitation to conduct dream research with young people at A.R.E.'s summer camp in the Blue Ridge mountains. Taking a cue from my own initiatory dream, I used a tent as my outdoor dream temple and began my attempt to revive the ancient phenomenon of dream incubation. I employed a combination of isolation, meditation, psychodrama (involving the two archetypal themes of the sacred place and visitation of the divine benefactor), and pre-sleep suggestion in an attempt to recreate in the mind of the incubant something similar to what might have occurred to an ancient one preparing to sleep in one of Asclepius' temples (Reed, 1976b). Many folks did have inspiring dreams that subsequently shaped their future. One young lad drowning in drug problems had a classic heroic dream of carving his own path through the forest with a sword. Some even had the type of visionary visitation dream recorded from ancient testimonies. For example, one lady dreamed that she awakened in the middle of the night to find herself sleeping in the open, as a strong wind had blown the tent away! A little woman hopped out of the bushes, took her by the hand, and flew her way up into the sky where the lady showed the dreamer several stone tablets outlining her past, present and future lives. She then awoke again to find herself tucked in her sleeping back safely inside the tent.

            Julian Jaynes (who was a drinking buddy of mine at Princeton) called visitation dreams such as this one "bicameral," (Jaynes, 1976). His research suggested that in Biblical times and before, brain function was different than it is today. He attributed ancient accounts of hearing voices and visionary dreams (meaning that these dreams seem to occur right where the person was sleeping) to the effect of one cerebral hemisphere communicating with the other. He speculated that as the brain developed, the left hemisphere became dominant, and the right became silent, ushering in a more rational consciousness as we know it today. My research, however, showed that such bi-cameral dreams were still possible today, given the correct circumstances. Given that such dreams represent a different form of brain functioning, it is not unreasonable to assume that biophysical effects related to healing, such as changes in DNA, might occur in such dreams (Rossi, 2000, 2004). Two researchers followed up on my work by using dream incubation to treat sinusitis (Kwako, 1978) and poor eyesight (West, 1979).

            When I submitted my report on the dream tent to the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, the editor, Tom Greening, Ph.D., accepted it without revision (Reed, 1976b). A psychiatrist writing about the religious potential in dreams (Gunter, 1983) wrote of my work that it shows "…there is in our psyche a religious energy available to our consciousness as religious images and symbols in dreams" (p. 425 ).The psychology faculty at Princeton had a different opinion of my work: they expelled me for demonstrating, by my introducing something akin to "prayer" in the incubation ceremony, that I had no intention of pursuing research in a "scientific" manner. Thus ended my career in traditional academia, leaving me free to follow other dreams.

            Upon my first visit to the A.R.E. in Virginia Beach, for example, I had a dream where a group of people were exploring how to "conduct research into enlightenment." The dream concluded with the group dancing to create a fountain of sparks that lit their space. Each dancer displayed a personal symbol that contributed to the enlightenment (Reed, 1976b). The dream proved valuable in my research. I devised a home-study dream research project (Reed, 1978, Reed, 2005) to see if laypeople could make constructive use of their dreams by following this intriguing proposal from the Edgar Cayce material: If you will apply any insights you believe you are perceiving in your dream by taking action on them, you will have subsequent dreams that will correct your experimental action, and dream by dream, application by application, your dreams will teach you how to interpret them to reach a constructive goal (Thurston, 1989). The results of this home-study project supported this principle (Reed, 1978). Moreover, the feedback from the hundreds of participants evidenced their great enthusiasm for doing dreamwork on their own. Many participants had uplifting and instructive stories to tell (Albright, 2008; Bailey, 2007; Dwyer, 2000; Gravallese, 2000; King, 2008; Roberts, 2007; van Vliet, 2000; Wessling, 2000).

            During this time, I had a dream where a letter arrived in my Princeton University faculty mailbox (although I was no longer on the faculty), addressed to me as "To Henry Reed, c/o Sundance College." I researched the meaning of Sundance, to learn that it was a Native American spiritual ceremony, involving a circle of dancers, seeking visions for the good of the community with an archetypal theme similar to the Celtic May Pole dance (Reed, 1987). From that dream, I was led to create Sundance: The Community Dream Journal (see Reed, 1976c), publishing stories of dreamwork successes by lay people. Years later, when the International Association for the Study of Dreams was formed, their official history mentioned the Sundance journals as one of the impetuses for creating the organization. When McGuire (1989, p. 22) wrote, "By common agreement, the father of the modern dreamwork movement is Henry Reed," it was because the success of the Sundance journals showed that there was a large lay population that were using their dreams for personal insight, growth, and life planning, which led to the creation of the International Association for the Study of Dream (McGuire, 1989; Ossana, 2009). The dream of the research dance had yet further to offer.

            At A.R.E. camp, I made a serendipitous discovery. Young people not sleeping in the "dream tent" would tell me their dreams from time to time and I noticed that several of these dreams contained veiled, symbolic references to the focus issue of the person who had slept in the dream tent that night. In this supportive atmosphere, emphasizing cooperation and interpersonal goodwill, these young folks seemed to be vicariously participating in an incubant's dream tent experience. Partly out of curiosity, partly out of a sense of camaraderie, and partly from an unconscious sense of identification with the incubant's issues, these folks were having "bystander dreams." Here was a case of apparent spontaneous "psychic" dreaming arising from some kind of Good Samaritan spirit. But could this phenomenon be re-created intentionally?

            In consultation with Robert Van de Castle, who at the time was on the medical faculty of the University of Virginia, and who had served successfully many times as a telepathic perceiver in the famous Maimonides dream ESP experiments (Ullman, Krippner, & Vaughan, 1973), I learned from Bob that he often had dreams in the ESP lab that did not concern the target picture the agent was studying all night, but concerned instead personal problems the agent was experiencing. Bob was encouraging that the A.R.E. camp youth would respond positively to a dream ESP task that would involve connecting with an undisclosed problem of a fellow camper. I used my dream of the research dance to structure the experiment. Bob and I conducted the first dream helper ceremonies at camp, to great effect (Reed & Van de Castle, 1990; Van de Castle, 1994). Together with the implications of the Sundance journals, the DHC provided a new avenue for groups or communities to find inspirations for their shared ventures (Brockman, 2001, Reed, 1977, 1987).

            As my confidence grew in the repeatability and usefulness of the DHC process, I began to question how someone actually dreams for another person. I intuited that the process went something like this: A dreamer would make an empathic connection with the focus person. Doing so, the dreamer would then be experiencing some of the same dilemma feelings of the focus person. These feelings, acting somewhat like an inoculant, would then stimulate the dreamer to have a dream to resolve those feelings. It was as if the dreamer were saying, "When I imagine being in your predicament, what it brings up for me is thus and so, and how I see to deal with that is by this and that."

The Intimacy of Intuitive Listening

            A serendipitous event one day in my counseling practice led me to begin to create waking analogies to the DHC. One afternoon a client and I stumbled onto an important lesson. It was after lunch and I was feeling sleepy. The client began the session, per usual, with a recount of the week's injustices, etc., while I relaxed and floated along the sound of his voice. Suddenly, I felt myself jerk, and I realized I had lost consciousness momentarily (therapists never actually fall asleep on the job!). I reflected that I had been absorbed in a personal memory of locating a baby bird who had fallen out of its nest in my back yard. My attempts to feed it were thwarted by its constant, fearful chirping. To regain a connection with my client's disclosures, I asked him how he felt about the week's soap opera, and he replied that it hurt that folks did not listen to him, or pay him much attention, and it reminded him of when he was a young child with his mom at a department store. He had become separated from her and was wandering lost in the store. A saleswoman noticed him, and taking him into the back room to find help, she said, "here's a baby bird fallen out of his nest." When I heard him say that, I realized that somehow during my reverie, we had made an important connection. We discussed both my feelings and his, our memories, and discussed how his own cries for help sometimes prevented his getting help. Later I reflected that what had transpired was similar to the DHC, as I had, as the "dreamer," come up with something from my past that connected with the client. I felt that our experience was similar to that described in the literature of hypnosis experiments in the nineteenth century (Dingwall, 1967), called "rapport," in which the hypnotist's induction made the client somewhat psychic for the hypnotist's unconscious. It was through such a process at that time that "medical clairvoyants" were popular and also led to the laboratory investigations into ESP.

            On the basis of a voice generated rapport, I developed a waking analogy to the DHC (Reed, 1994). In this experimental interaction, a group of seven to eight people sit close together in a circle. One person takes a turn to be the "focus" person, and voices a tone, such as "Ahhhh…." while the others in the group intone the same sound, as if they are using the focus person's sound as a basis for intuitive listening. Then the focus person begins to count aloud, backwards, from 99 to 1, while the group members close their eyes and allow the sound of the person's voice to wash over them and to induce daydreams. After the countdown, the group members share their experiences, look for commonalities, and then receive feedback from the focus person as to how these daydreams related to the focus person. We called it the "Getting to Know You Game" when the intuitive listeners were simply attempting to gain some impressions about the speaker. We called it the "Psychic Detective Game" if we asked the focus person to set a secret intention of hoping to get insight into a personal dilemma from the group's daydreams, as in DHC. Although when first learning the process, listeners found it awkward and a bit nervously amusing, by the time they had finished exploring the process with everyone having a turn at being a focus person, they were generally amazed at the meaningfulness of the results—"uncanny" being a common remark (Reed, 1994). When I submitted my report to the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, some reviewers felt that no face-to-face interactions could be called "psychic," but the journal's editor, Rhea White, Ph.D. said the study stood as a "dark star in parapsychology" (White, )

            Two important insights into intuition came about in this study. First of all, we observed that the "listeners" experienced two distinct yet overlapping states of consciousness during their reveries. In one state, the listener would hear the focus person's counting, and might experiences thoughts about the focus person. In the other state, the listener would be absorbed in a reverie and be less conscious of the focus person's counting. In the first state, there was a clear sense of separation between listener and speaker, while in the second state, it was as if the listener had become merged with the speaker. During the induction produced by the focus person's vocalization, listeners would vacillate between these two states, one a conscious, sensory awareness, and the other something akin to a semi-hypnotized, pre-sleep state with the imagination more active than the senses. Experiences occurring in the conscious state were more like observations or judgments ("the focus person sounded nervous when she counted"), whereas the experiences in the subconscious state were more like subjective, often symbolic, reflections of the listener's response to the voice ("I was sliding down some stairs…").

            There has been sufficient research into the fear of ESP (Tart, 1984, 1986a, 1986b) to know that one concern is about the loss of boundaries and unwanted intimacy. On the other hand, research has shown that spontaneous ESP occurs more often among intimates than among strangers (Rhine, 1981; Stevenson, 1970). In my experiments, strangers find themselves in a situation that invites immediate intimacy. Reports from many participants revealed that the intimacy inherent in the listening process presented challenges. Some participants would privately tell me that when they began to listen to the person's voice, they got some bad feelings, and so withdrew from the process. Others reported having emotions or physical sensations that persisted afterwards. These reports gave clear examples of what has been called "emotional contagion," (Hatfield, et.al., 1994), where one person can "pick up" the emotions of another person and be affected by them, usually as a result of unconscious mimicry. It would seem that this experimental process set up emotional resonance between participants. The effect of the resonance, just as in my spontaneous experience in my counseling session, was that the listener would be "reminded" of personal stuff that was resonant with the speaker.

            It seemed as if interpersonal intuition, of which I observed a lot in these experiments of intuitive listening, was an immediate potentiality, and that personal feelings about intimacy played a role in allowing these connections to be experienced. I realized that the use of the voice was probably sufficient but not necessary to instigate these connections. The essential element was the implicit mimicry of the focus person by the listeners.

The Dream Helper Ceremony by Night (Drawing by Henry Reed)

 

Experiencing Presence of Another Mind

            In my next investigation, I explored the experience of simply being in "mental contact" with another person, to see if the experience of mental contact itself is intuitively given and whether it provides a channel for intuitive communication. I called this next experimental interaction, the "Close to You" process (Reed, 1996a; Reed, 1996b). I had participants in pairs, sitting facing each other. I gave instructions for them to take turns making faces and moving their hands about while the other person pretended to be the first person's reflection in the mirror. Thus they took turns mimicking the other person's facial expressions and hand movements. Folks generally laughed and played happily at this non-verbal activity. After a couple of minutes, I would ask them to close their eyes and put their hands in their laps. I then would give this instruction: "Gradually and gently allow yourself to become aware of the feeling of the presence of your partner. Imagine that you can reach out psychically and make mental contact with your partner. As you experience making mental contact with your partner, notice what you experience. Just allow your experience to happen by itself without your trying to experience anything in particular, just observe the spontaneous stream of your consciousness" (see Reed, 1996a, or Reed, 1996c for texts of inductions used). At the end of a three minute of silence, I would ask them to open their eyes and share with their partner what they experienced.

            It is such a simple exercise, but the results are quite enlightening. First of all, most every participant agreed that the experience of "mental contact" felt real! This phenomenological reality will prove, I believe, to be one of the most important results of this experiment. The participants also agreed that the short period of imagined mental contact felt intimate, and they responded to the experience of intimacy in ways recognizable to those familiar with intimacy issues: they often felt shy about entering into the "mental contact" experience, but once they felt comfortable, they liked it and were reluctant to let it go. They often changed their feelings about their partner, going from the judgments of first impressions, to a more heartfelt acceptance and empathy for the other person. Some formed longer term attachments to their partner, friendships, correspondence, etc, based upon this brief encounter. Past research has shown that when two people "tune into" each other, there is a correlation among their EEG responses (Grinberg-Zylberbaum, & Ramos, J., 1987; Grinberg-Zylberbaum, et.al., 1993) and in their heart response (McCraty, 2004). As much as these external phenomena are suggestive, the participants' own reports of their mutual, interlocking, or correlated experiences gave them experiential evidence that their shared experience was more than "just imagination." In variations of the method, where one partner would play the role of a focus person dwelling on an undisclosed problem, the other partner experienced reveries that proved helpful to the focus person (see Reed, 1996b for details of these correspondences).

            During the three minute period of silent "mental contact" there was evidence from their reports of the kind of vacillation between two states of mind we observed in the intuitive listening experiments. In one state, the person would experience "energy" going between the two partners. Here we have the clear sense of separation of the two participants. In the other state, the person would experience daydreaming or reveries, with or without the inclusion of the partner in the imagery, but without the sense of spatial separation from the partner. As in the previous experiments, the participants didn't usually recognize the meaningfulness of their reverie until they compared notes with their partner. Thus these daydreams often evidenced what therapists call an "inter-subjective" reality (Stolorow, Atwood, & Brandchaft, 1994), in which the two partners were processing the same reality but from their individual, subjective point of view. The "objective" knowledge was hidden within subjective expression. They came to know something of the other person by looking within themselves, yet the knowledge was not evident to them, because it seemed so totally subjective and "imaginary."

            When the participants in our research withdrew from the "mental contact" with their partner, they felt separate again, until I would ask them, "are you and your partner still joined, or separated?" The answer would depend upon whether they looked at their partner, three feet away, or "felt" their partner, at which they realized that with their "feeling-imagination," they could still perceive the connection. It would seem that whether or not we experience ourselves as separate from one another or connected with each other depends upon which system of awareness we use: our sense perceptions or our feeling/imagination. As Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "Our separation from each other is an optical illusion of consciousness" (Powell, 2009, p. 46). The mystery of how we become aware of the presence of other minds seems solved: we do so intuitively, from within.

            My "Close to You" experiments replicated much in the clinical literature that reframes "counter-transference" as an intuitive, unconscious communicative response to the client that contains objective information about the client in the form of a subjective manifestation of empathy. Researchers describe an "imaginal realm," where images from daydreams are somehow a reflection of a "subtle energy" interaction between two persons, calling the space in between the "interactive field" (Spiegelman & Mansfield, 1996; Stein, 1995). Helping me with extensive rewriting, the editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology, John Beebe, M.D., called the paper I submitted a "minor classic" (Beebe, 1994), and a reviewer (Schwartz-Salant, 1998, p. 25) called it "seminal," because it showed that these clinical phenomena could be quickly induced between strangers. Many of my respondants reported imagery that corresponds to what researchers describe concerning these kinds of subtle energy interactions (Collinge, 1998).

The Intuitive Heart Discovery Process

            Many of the participants in my research have mentioned that making a "heart connection" with their partners erased the illusion of separateness. Indeed, our language has many examples of the use of the word heart as a metaphor for intuition, as in "I know in my heart," and for intuitive connections, such as "My heart reached out to him" (Reed & English, 2000). There is a long tradition that attributes to the heart, as a synonym for the intuitive imagination, to perceive "subtle energy" or similar phenomena that are not visible to the senses (Corbin, 1972; Schwartz-Salant, 1998). In my "Close to You" experiment, I created a quick, artificial relationship by having them mimic each other in a fun, spontaneous manner, followed by a period in which all sensory contact was removed. Yet these participants experienced, under the guise of imagined mental contact, that their interaction with their partner continued at some other level, and it was something that they could monitor and to which they responded. Their mental contact felt real--real enough to make a difference to them. It seems natural for folks to be able to create an intuitive, empathic connection with another person when they care to do so. To test this idea, I developed my most recent experiment, the "Intuitive Heart Discovery Process."

            I first developed a brief meditative induction to create an "open heart." The induction begins with the use of an affirmation from Autogenic Therapy, "it breathes me," which shifts the person from an ego state of self-control, to a more passive, spontaneous state of trusting "inspiration" (Luthe & Schultz, 1969). The second stage asks the person to give thanks for each incoming breath, in order to induce a state of gratitude, which then creates a "heart coherence," (Childre & Martin, 1999; McArthur, & McArthur, 1997). Together, these steps deconstruct the ego to becoming a state of transparent, passive, and grateful witnessing of the spontaneously flow of experience (see Reed, 1996c, pp. 28-29 for text of induction; audio recording at Reed, 2007). The Intuitive Heart Discovery Process begins with this induction, followed by instructions to allow a memory to spontaneously come to mind. The memory will be used as a metaphor to understand the intended target. In this experiment, involving pairs of participants, each partner takes a turn at being the "seeker," who intends to receive intuitive guidance on an undisclosed issue, and at being the "intuitive consultant," who intends to look within for a seed of wisdom that can provide the guidance. The essence of this experiment, however, is that the consultant will retrieve a personal memory of a specific incident from the past, and use it as a metaphorical teaching story. Here is an example of the type of exchange that ensues:

            Pepe served as the intuitive while Jorge secretly intended a focus for Pepe's assistance. After the induction, Pepe recalled a time when he was a young boy and his father, who worked and lived so far away he came home only once a year, made a surprise visit. Pepe was without a father most of the time and got used to playing by himself. He was playing with his toys when his father unexpectedly arrived. "My father walked over to see my toys on the floor and he was pleased with what I was making with them. We played together and it was really fun!" He reflected upon the memory and told Pepe that it was good that he could play alone and make himself feel contented. When his father came, it was very special, but he had to learn to help himself and that was very good. Jorge's question was, "Should I start up my new business with selling greeting cards?" He explained, "I asked you this question because I prayed to God about this new business but God didn't answer. Your story makes me realize something very important. Always I am praying to God about something, about this or that problem, getting angry with God that I don't get an answer when I need it. I need to learn, like you did, the value of doing for myself. Then when God appears, it will be like a gift!" Jorge reported a week later that he had started up his business and was really happy about it. "Our talk was not just words," Pepe said, "but made a difference in my friend's life" (Reed, 1998).

Reflections

 

            One of the recurring themes in these experiments is that a person may receive intuitive information in a subjective form, often without recognizing it as such. Stephen Harrod Buhner (2004) noted a similar process in his experiments attempting to learn from plants about their potential medicinal value. He found that while meditating on the plant, he would have reveries that he could interpret to give him the needed information. It is a process that I have replicated (Reed, 2008). As this intuitive, subjective form of information gathering and processing has gained more attention in recent years it has acquired the term, "enchantment," (Moore, 1996). The term has pertinent connotations, as the intuitive induction is subliminal (the person is unaware that it is transpiring) and it stimulates and shapes the perceiver's own daydreaming and memory processes, so that the person unwittingly becomes under the "spell" of the source. What is significant to our investigations is that during such communication, there is no sense of separation between perceiver and perceived, unlike "objective" intuition which involves a separation between subject and object ("I know this about you!").

            A second theme is that all my experiments involve two or more people being intuitive together. If it is true that we are all naturally intuitive, that capacity needs less training than does our socialization regarding sharing intuitions. In my experiments, the perceiver(s) have been unaware of the specifics of the target focus, and when the intuitive "impressions" are shared, both perceiver(s) and the focus person work together to see "the patterns that connect," to use a description of intuition provided by Gregory Bateson (2002). These experiments have led to a manual for a self-help group wishing to study intuition (Reed, 1996c). Scores of groups have independently used this manual to successfully replicate the basic findings I've described here. A consistent topic of feedback from these folks is that they formerly considered intuitions as a private matter with "no credentials," but have learned that in a supportive social environment, where altruism motivates the exercises, they can share and validate their intuitions while they provide inspiration and guidance to one another. Edgar Cayce suggested there was great value in the small group for exploring intuition (Cayce, 1996; Schwartz, 2008) and these experiments provide such a context in which his favored method, the correlating of impressions, provides a method for social consensus regarding intuitive information.

            Most parapsychological experiments ask a participants to attempts a task merely to see if they can succeed at it, their being no other motivation involved. The procedures also typically avoid or eliminate any interpersonal link between the focus person and the perceiver. Edgar Cayce stressed the importance of maintaining the emotional link between the participants and developing the motivation to communicate across the unconscious psychic connection (Reed, 1996d). In the experiments reported here, perceivers may have had some ego concerns about recalling any dreams or experiencing any impressions, but their core focus was on making an effort to be helpful. Altruism is practical spirituality and is a wonderful way to help people stretch beyond ego to express the abilities of a greater self. Finally, in contrast to most cases of employing paid research subjects, the participants in my experiments were all paying participants in workshops devoted to helping people explore their intuition—the participants funded the research. It was Sydney Jourard (1971) who inspired me to adopt this collaborative approach, emphasizing dialogue between researcher and participant co-researchers.

            Finally, what have I learned about how we can understand the external world by turning within? (Goldberg, 1983) surveyed intuitive practices to find that a common strategy is to "become one with" the target of one's intuition. Experiencing intuitions about a target through grateful heart awareness suggests that when hopes, fears and thinking are abandoned, being in harmony with the truth and beauty of "what is," including the target, fulfills the intent. Musical metaphors are common for this effect, such as "resonance," (Metzner, 1987). Engineering provides the metaphor of "entrainment." (McCraty, 2004). Chaos theory provides the metaphor of "strange attractor" (Robertson, 2009). I prefer to think in terms of the phenomenology of human experience, namely meaning (de Quincey, 2009). Somehow our participants were able to achieve moments of shared meaning. Jung's concept of synchronicity (Jung, 1973; Mansfield, 1995, 2002) may apply to such meaningful correspondences, but the correlations in our experiments were intentional and employed no external tools. Yet divination is the closest existing model concerning intended synchronicities. Divination assumes that the diviner becomes one with "divine order," and through this alignment, provides intuitive guidance consistent with it; thus divination is also based upon a harmony/resonance metaphor. The phrase, "when hearts are joined, no words are needed," perhaps anticipates those theorists who claim that there is but one root consciousness shared by all creation (Goswami, 1993), such that a heart-directed intention to empathize with another seems sufficient to provide the desired information. What gives intentionality such seemingly magical powers? We must continue to search within ourselves for answers to such questions and share our impressions with one another.

(Note: Dr. Reed will be offering his Intuitive Heart Group Facilitator Training and Certification this August, 2012)


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(Note: Dr. Reed will be offering his Intuitive Heart Group Facilitator Training and Certification this August, 2012)

 

*This article originally appeared as "When Hearts are Joined: My Story of Exploring Our Interconnectedness through Intuition," ReVision: A Journal of Consciousness and Transformation, 2010, 31(2), 3-13.

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