- Learn about world view transformation and how it is a profound shift in consciousness resulting in long lasting changes in the way we experience and relate to our self, others, and the world.
- Understand the barriers to integrating experiences and transforming our realities.
- Learn the steps for cultivating positive transformation and nurturing a world view awareness.
I want to talk with you a little bit about, um, my own personal story and how I came to be here and then I'm going to weave together about three decades worth of research. So just a little bit about my own personal story. Um, I really was called to this work before I can even remember. I was 18 months old and a precocious and inquisitive, 18 year old being the good empiricists that we are. And I, um, stumbled upon a can of lighter fluid that my father had carelessly left on the table and as little kids will do, it went straight into the mouth. And for three months I was in and out of intensive care, really battling for my life.
And I think there was something in that that called me to healing and called me to a profound and deep appreciation for those of you who are the, the hospice workers for a dying paradigm and also the midwives for something new that's waiting to be discovered. And so I come with a great sense of appreciation for the work of healers and for the the tremendous need there is for healing in this world. When I was 16 I was with somebody I shouldn't have been with someplace I shouldn't have been on the back of a motorcycle and we were hit by a drunk driver. And in that experience of being hit and then watching my body tumbling through the air, seeing it from another vantage point, and that was one of the real first ahas I had, that perhaps consciousness is something more than just this encapsulated thing in our, in our heads. It's something more than just our brains, but potentially has this capacity to reach out and interact with the physical world. When I got to the emergency room, there was tremendous concern that my leg would need to be amputated and they went ahead and stitched it up and said, we'll check back in a week. And I remember laying on the couch in my family's home and somehow I had this insight and I don't know how really because my father was a tool and die maker.
My mother was a housemaker, we didn't have any medical background, but for some reason I realized that perhaps if I could harness my mind to impact my immune system, that I could heal the wound in my leg. And so I would lay there and visualize my immune system healing me and I could actually feel the tingles in my leg. And when I went back a week later to have the cast removed, I was on the beginnings of a healing journey. And so both of those experiences, these painful experiences that came early in my life I think really led me to understanding the powers and of consciousness and the importance that consciousness plays in all of our lives. So that's kind of the background of my story and then we can jump to the present time of complexity and really seeing that this is a moment of convergence where different worldviews, belief systems, ways of engaging reality or coming into contact.
So here we have a group of people who are describing intuition, describing this kind of gut feeling they have of how to proceed with their patients, combined with then references to an evidence based perspective. How do we bring science in these healing traditions together and how is it that we can reconcile the enormous complexities that come when these two worldviews meet? How do we, how do we promote a kind of healing reconciliation between these worlds? And at the same time we're living in this moment of acceleration. We are bombarded by these weapons of mass distraction and how is it that we can manage amidst all of this confusion, what is it that is being called within us in order to help us facilitate our own growth, our own healing and our own transformation? And then what are the implications of that for society more generally?
Love this cartoon. Remember when everything used to be nice and solid. Now we're in the quantum world and dealing with uncertainty as the scientific principle and you know, it becomes confusing. It becomes complicated. And I think that's true for all of us. People are experiencing a kind of acceleration that we never have experienced before. So what are the questions that we can ask at this moment? And one of them is how do we manage all of this complexity?
How do we learn to navigate and keep ourselves centered in the midst of it? And I would venture to say [inaudible] is an important way to do that. What are the skills and capacities needed for 21st century life? How do we find the strength, the inner resilience, to help us find our way through all of this confusion and all of the times and further, how do we move from just coping with this overload of information with all of the various demands from the snail mail to the voicemail, to the Twitter, to the Facebook, to the, you know, managing of kids if you have them. It's just a complicated life. And in that process, many people are just trying to keep up, just trying to cope with all of this.
And yet there's also this call within us to flourish, to Excel, to promote something that is greater than ourselves. So Carol mentioned the work of the Institute of Noetic sciences. I'm going to speak a little bit about some of the work that's been going on there. Ions is just this year celebrating its 40th anniversary and as she mentioned, it was founded by Edgar Mitchell, one of the Apollo 14 astronauts. And Edgar had the job of Manning the little lunar capsule that went from the Apollo spacecraft to the moon and back.
And so when that part of the Apollo mission was over, he describes having the window seat on the way home and he was looking out this portal at the vastness of space. And they did this, what they call the BBQ rotation as they were reentering the Earth's atmosphere to keep it from burning up. And so as the Apollo capsule was rotating, he had this experience of watching the moon and the earth and the sun rising and setting, rising and setting all within a few minutes. And it was a powerful experience for him. And many of us today have gotten kind of habituated to the image of planet earth in its wholeness from the vantage point of deep space. But in that moment it was new. And as he looked out that window and he saw planet earth in all its pristine glory, he had two responses.
The first was a kind of deep pain. It was a deep suffering. As he realized that looking at planet earth from space, there were no divisions, there were no separations, there were no class boundaries or race boundaries or national boundaries or state boundaries. None of that existed. And that gave him the insight that perhaps the major cause of suffering on planet earth wasn't something out there, but something in here. And that in that moment he began to see that the great frontier wasn't outer space but inner space. And it was our worldviews and our belief systems and our capacity to re define who we are and what we're capable of becoming.
And so that was the first piece. And the second piece was this profound sense of interconnectedness that the molecules of his body were connected to the molecules and the bodies of his coworkers. They're on the Apollo craft, but also to the founding of the solar system. And that there was no separation. And when you think, here's a guy who was trained at MIT as an electrical engineer, he trusted the Newtonian paradigm that there is an objective world out there and that causality is like billiard balls, one thing leading to another. And yet this moment of entanglement led him to think that there's a different model and that rather than seeing ourselves as separate from the world, that we are fundamentally interconnected. And this was an experience that he defined as a kind of Sumati experience, a kind of regulatory experience that he had no understanding of, and that ultimately led to a profound transformation in his worldview.
So in that experience that Edgar described in his Epiphanes, it was really a fundamental shift in his worldview. So what is worldview transformation? It's a profound shift in consciousness resulting in long lasting changes in the way we experience and relate to ourselves, to others and to the world. It can be thought of as an individual shift in our awareness, but it can also be a collective shift in our awareness. And that's one of the things that I want to get to as we move along in this presentation. Transformation can be painful.
It comes from a pain place oftentimes, and it can also be unexpected and it can be something that lies below the threshold of our conscious awareness. Rachel Ramin is a powerful healer. She describes transformation and healing as suffering loss, the unexpected encounter with the unknown. All of these have the potential to initiate a shift in our perspective, a new way of seeing the familiar with new eyes, ways of shifting the self in a completely new way. It shuffles the person's values, like a deck of cards and a value that's been on the bottom of the deck for many years. It turns out to be at the top. So transformation is a powerful thing that often comes to us when we least expect it.
I love this cartoon you've been fooling around with alternative medicines, haven't you? Transformation is also something that can be met with tremendous resistance. It can be met with resistance within us, but also within the community at large. So in my work at the Institute of Noetic sciences for about 20 years, I've been very interested in this idea of transformation and how is it that we can begin to embrace change and not negative change, not transformation as we think about it epitomized in Nazi Germany or in, uh, a concentration camp, Ori testing ground or training camp for terrorists. It's not that, it's how do we bring these positive qualities of transformation into our life? The ways in which we can invite in love and gratefulness, compassion, some of the qualities we've been talking about over the last couple of days here. And so over these years, we began a research project.
It started when I had a gentleman come to my office and he had had a powerful transformation in his consciousness. It turns out he was a very successful businessman and as a result of this unit of consciousness experience, he completely changed his relationships with his family, his friends, his colleagues. As I said, he was a very successful businessman. He became a very powerful philanthropist. And what he wanted to understand is, was there something weird about him or had other people had these kinds of transformations in worldview and if they had, was there something we could learn from all of this through our science that could help us to turn other people onto it. And so that started us on a, on a journey. And it was interesting as we looked in the scientific and medical literature that almost always these kinds of transformations in worldview were considered to be pathological. They were delusional, they were psychotic, they were something that you wanted to stay away from, you know, don't embrace this. And yet what we heard from Richard Gunther, this businessman was a very positive story with a very positive outcome. So that led us to begin to interview masters of transformational practices to convene focus groups.
We talked with 60 masters in a very concentrated focused way looking for patterns and qualities across their experiences that summarized in the living deeply book that we published. And then also to begin to think about what are the, um, the relationships between these masters experience, these people who really did drop out. And live in caves for 10 years and the average householder. So we conducted surveys with 2000 people to begin to calibrate what we could understand about transformation and then ultimately began to do longitudinal studies with different transformational practices to look at whether it led to changes in psychological and physical health. So out of all of that work over decades, we began to articulate a model and a model of consciousness transformation that I'm going to call Noetic. And so this little squiggle on the, on the screen really defines all those primers, all those early experiences people have had that maybe made them a little more open, maybe led them to a moment when a transformation in consciousness could occur.
We define it as no wedding transformation because these experiences really come from deep States of insight. This is my favorite quote about defining Noetic. This comes from William James States of insight into depths of truth. Unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations revelations full of significance and importance.
All in articulate though they remain and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority. So these Noetic experiences, maybe it's an out of body experience in your death experience, maybe it's some death of a loved one. The loss of a job, something that triggers us to say, Hmm, something's not quite right. And out of that Noetic experience can come the capacity and the potential to make change. Really, I'm fine. It was just a fleeting sense purpose. I'm sure it will pass. So this is true of transformation, that we can have these kinds of powerful potentially life changing experiences and then dismiss them. Surely it will pass. So in this transformational model, we look at pitfalls. What are the ways in which people respond to these Noetic catalysts, these seeds of change. And it's very common for people to deny the experience, to simply reject it. And in fact, what we see in the social psychology literature is that people can become more entrenched in the dysfunctional lifestyle and the worldview that they were occupying more resistant to making the change than they were before.
But not everybody. So what are the some of these barriers that cause people to reject the openings that can lead to a kind of shift in their lifestyle, a shift in their worldview that promote their sense of wellbeing? What keeps us from getting there? What are the barriers to integrating these perspectives from cook Cooter? Ego represents striving of human beings to understand themselves in the world they live in by fitting new experiences into their current meaning system.
Overall ego labors mightily to create and maintain coherence and vigorously defense against dissident stimuli. In other words, we don't like change. We resist it. We will do almost anything in our capacity to to maintain the steady state even when it's not working. If information confirms our values, we're often more open minded and if not we can reject it. Some interesting studies that have been done looking at what causes these barriers to transformation. The fascinating studies have been done with scientists and science students that allows us to look at the brains of these people when they're exposed to new information and the new information can either refute their hypothesis or confirm their hypothesis. And what we find is that the, if the information is something we already believe, that we intuitively know is true, that the learning centers of the brain light up and we agree with that information, we incorporate it. But if we don't agree with the information, the warning centers of the brain light up.
And not only do we not take in the information, we simply don't even remember having gotten it. It's so far removed from our experience that our defense mechanisms absolutely prohibit our capacity to integrate that into our worldview. So these are fascinating scientific observations that help us to understand a little bit about why it is so hard for us to make the changes we want to make in our lives. So this just reiterates when people receive information that is inconsistent with their preferred theory, learning does not easily occur. So you think about the study was done with scientists who are supposed to be in the Vanguard of the cutting edge of the new discoveries about the nature of reality.
And yet there is this internal resistance to making these kinds of changes. So just a very quick personal experiment. If you want to try it, um, you could hold your finger up and look at it in the air. Okay. And then rotate it counter or I'm sorry, rotate it clockwise. Okay, so just rotate it clockwise and then very slowly, very slowly keep it rotating clockwise. Bring it down to your chest, continuing to rotate it. You may have to shift your hand a little bit. What direction is it going?
So anybody, it's going counterclockwise. Nothing has changed in the direction that you're moving your finger. What has changed is your perspective, your point of view. And if you have problems with this exercise, I'll be outside doing book signings right after and we can, we can do the remedial worldview transformation experiment. I think it just shows how simple it is. All right, so back to the change model.
Then we can have these experiences. Perhaps we deny them or perhaps we continue to move forward. I see people are still trying. We will have a workshop on this later. Can we get a room? We can practice together. So the next piece of this change model is really the seeking.
You've had a Eureka moment, you've had some kind of opening that begins to facilitate questions and you want to understand it. So when I talked about Edgar Mitchell's experience of going to the moon and him having this Sumati experience, he then came back and didn't know what to do with that, didn't understand it. It did not fit for him. And so he went and talked to spiritual masters and scientists and people who were, you know, adapt in the Eastern traditions. And he began to understand and he began to feel this kind of recognition he was seeking. He was looking for answers and he was looking for reliable information.
And that's what can happen for people. And I think it's an impetus for why we come together in these conferences we're seeking. We're exploring and we're attempting to understand things that when we're isolated by ourselves, have a much more difficult time at. But the pitfall here is that we're continually seeking and we're not really able to integrate or synthesize the new information into our lives, into our worlds, into our families, into our daily practice. And so that can become a problem for people as they begin to feel righteous about the exploration. But don't ever bring it home.
Don't really have the capacity to ground it. So we're all scientists, we're all empiricists, we're all attempting to understand the world as we understand as we know it. And yet sometimes it's surprising what we learn
And I think all of you here who are involved so deeply in practices will understand that it's important for helping to ground our experience and helping to calibrate what's working and what's not. So I want to talk a little bit about these transformative practices and what were some of the qualities that we discovered across them. One is the power of intention that we can bring our intention, our will, our sense of purpose toward changing our lives towards integrating these Noetic experiences toward helping us to understand what the information was that we were learning along the way and yet we know that the road to hell is paved with good intention. We know that intention alone is not enough and in fact it can be a distraction at times. A second quality that we found across these 60 different traditions was the power of attention.
Most of the transformative practices involve some way of calibrating our attention. Is the glass half empty or is the glass half full? We know from cognitive neuroscience and we know from social psychology that there's something called inattentional blindness, inattentional blindness, and that is the idea that through our cultural filters we are primed to see certain things and at the same time we don't see a whole lot of other things. And it goes back to Dunbar's experiments about the scientists who only were able to see the things they expected to see. This inattentional blindness is really profound. Some of you have may maybe seen the basketball experiment where people are playing basketball and the audiences instructed to focus on the team that has the white shirts.
And so your job as an audience is to count the number of times the team with the white shirts holds the ball. Meanwhile, in the middle of the basketball game, a big gorilla comes out and he beats his chest and then he walks off and then you asked the audience, well, what did you see? How many balls were passed? And the vast majority of people was less so now because more people have been exposed to the experiment, the vast majority of people don't see the gorilla because they're so focused on counting the number of ball passes. So this is an example of how when our expectations and our intentions are directed toward a particular outcome, we often miss everything else. I like to think about this in the context of Noetic sciences where because our dominant materialist worldview says the only valid form of reality is that what you can taste, touch, measure, manipulate in some way, objectify that. All the other aspects of our inner experience, the qualities of intuition or the sense of love and that palpable sense of compassion or empathy are really something that is been taboo in most of mainstream science. And it's really only recently with the advent of brain mapping that we begin to see that scientists are more willing to accept some of these qualities of inner experience. So these qualities of setting an intention, I bring my intention, I will shift my attention. And then the repetition, and again, I've heard people talk about this over the last couple of days, the need to build new muscle groups. If you want to shape your life, if you want to retrain yourself. I heard Carol talking about this today.
I think Cheryl mentioned it this morning, that we need to really create new grooves in our brain so we know that there are these neural pathways that get laid down. They get laid down as we practice things. If we practice dysfunctional things, they become the habitual groove that we stay in. But we know also now that we have this neuroplasticity, we have this capacity to begin to shift our patterns and our habits. And so by developing new patterns in the form of practice, with able guidance, we can build new ways. We can transform our lives and our work.
And this guidance issue is a little tricky because we assume that there is a hallowed master up there who has all the answers and they are going to help direct us. And in fact, the vast majority of the teachers we interviewed did have a master. Did he have a teacher? Or they discovered something by reading a book or watching a movie that really helped them to understand and integrate some of these experiences. But we also know that trusting outer authority takes away the personal power. And so how do we begin to develop our own inner authority such that the guidance can come from us and it can come from those tried and true experiences we may have had or that little voice inside us that says, you can do it differently. You can be happy, you can be whole.
These are possible. And then I like to think of these four qualities as wrapped in the arms of surrender because ultimately we're not through these consciousness transformations changing the world out there necessarily. And we'll come to that in a little bit. But the truth is we're changing our reaction to it. And so yielding to the world as it is and knowing that we can create a different navigational system within ourselves can be immensely powerful.
And again, trusting those Noetic experiences and the inner guidance can lead us to a different way of being. This is Jeremy Geffen's, quote, focused intention wrapped in the arms of surrender is how he defines healing. I just love cartoons. Let the healing begin. So this begins to suggest that there is some kind of transformation that may be happening. And I want to talk a little bit about that towards the end of my talk. So this power of intention, it's something that I've worked on for many years and as I said, I'm weaving a couple areas of work together.
So intention has been something very important in my work and in particular looking at how intention plays a role in healing. So there is that sense of self healing. I bring the intention for my own wellness, for my own transformation. There's the relational healing that you as practitioners who are involved in [inaudible] or body work or whatever the practices that you bring here have the capacity to be the instrument of the healing. And it is that inner subjective space between us that offers the opportunity to heal. And then there's this idea of transpersonal healing, which I'm going to just touch on very briefly.
I have really for way too long been doing work on this idea that intention is something that we can bring into the laboratory and measure and begin to understand more fully. So we know that healers from different world traditions, for example, believe that they can harness their intention, their prayers, their wills to effect positive change in a distant person. But we also know from the literature that placebo or suggestion is a powerful tool. And in fact it should be invited in more in the healing encounter because it's a great mystery what happens in the placebo. But in these experiments we were interested in, is there something more beyond the placebo effect? And so we designed an empirical protocol that would allow us to measure changes in human physiology, looking at different parameters of the autonomic and central nervous system.
So we've measured different aspects of electrodermal activity, gut responses in brain activity. So this idea that we can harness our intention for the benefit of another person even if they don't know it, even under conditions that preclude a conventional sensory communication is something that's very well accepted. And this was a study that was published through the national institutes of health that found that the top of the top five, well certainly the top two you'll see here, healing modalities that people make use of involves some kind of prayer and it's prayer for the self, that self intention, it's prayer for others involved in relational prayer and it involves prayer groups. So there is this sense that somehow we can harness our own ability to be healers for ourselves and ultimately to be in relationship with others. 73% of adults believe praying for someone else can help cure their illness.
So there's widespread belief that there are ways in which we can harness our intention or our, our ability to be a channel for some divine intention that can help to promote healing. And that we want this from our practitioners. 50% of patients, these are the patients that answered the question, want their physicians to pray with them. I can tell you this isn't something that the average practitioner really wants to do. I actually did a survey of this through Kaiser Permanente and you know, people are interested, they have a belief, but they don't really want it integrated and messing up their clinical practice. And they're a very good group of people.
So this is an experiment that we designed to look at this idea of intention. All right. So the way the experiments are designed is that we invite a person to come into the lab and we monitor their physiology. And then we have another person in another room who at random times throughout the sessions attempts to influence the distant physiology. So what you see here is a electrodermal activity chart record.
Okay? So what we're asking the healers to do is intend to stimulate the distant person sometimes, but not other times. So this diagram here shows you that in some of the cases we're sending the intention and the non sending, non sending, sending. So it's in a counterbalanced randomized protocol so that if somebody's having a natural habituation in their autonomic system, this design should rule that out. And so what we find is that we can actually do statistics on the difference between the average amount of autonomic nervous system activity during these intervention periods and the control periods.
And then we can measure that difference using statistics. So this is just an example of how we would look at the distinction between the physiological activity during those two sets of conditions. So the investigators introduce a complex psychosocial interaction into these experiments. These complexities can influence experimental outcomes. We have found that experiment or effects actually come into this. I did a series of experiments with a colleague of mine who, he's a PhD psychologist. He's a skeptic card carrying member of the skeptical community and also a magician.
And I was doing a series of these experiments when I was at Stanford and he was doing these same experiments. He's at the university of Hertfordshire in England and he was getting no significant results and I was getting significant results and so he invited me over to his lab with the hope, I'm sure to show that I was cheating or I had had some serious methodological flaw. We ended up becoming fast friends in the process, but we designed these experiments where we ran two identical studies and everything was the same. The subject population, the equipment, the procedure, the laboratory, the only differences that I worked with half the people and he worked with the other half. And what we found is that we both replicated our original findings, and that shouldn't happen if there was some kind of systematic error in the protocol. We should both have the same kind of results, but we didn't. We then brought it over to my lab in California. Again, replicated our original findings. I'm batting four for not, he's batting four for not but in different directions. We then did a further replication of that, did a very fancy crossover design. We didn't have an overall effect in that study, but we once again found that there were experiment or by not biases, but outcomes that couldn't be explained.
If this is an objective randomized double blind protocol, I'm now engaged in another meta study where we're inviting experimenters. So if anybody here is a researcher and has students that we might engage in this process, we're inviting a lot of experimenters to do an identical protocol and then looking to see if the belief system of the experiment or actually affects the outcome of the experiment. So this is just a chart that shows you that overall the results of these experiments in the form of a meta analysis that was published in the British journal of psychology have produced a statistically significant outcome and the, the magnitude of the effect is fairly small, but if any of you know about the aspirin study, the use of aspirin to prevent second heart attacks, how many of you are familiar with that study? It's pretty widespread that that in fact is a valuable intervention for people to prevent second heart attacks. The magnitude of that effect is actually smaller than the magnitude of the effect in these studies and yet they called off that clinical trial because they didn't want to deprive the control group of the intervention.
So that suggests that this idea of intention and intention at a distance may actually be profound in have a significant impact on clinical outcomes. And then if you combine that with the intention you're bringing as you're doing hands on healing, it can be extraordinary. This was a little study that we did just as an example where we recruited people, one of whom had cancer and then took the healthy patient, the healthy partner of the cancer patient through a compassionate intention training program and we use Tonglen meditation practices. We used a Christian science, we use some insights from the Barbara Brennan school of energy medicine and we took through an eight hour training and then sent them home for weeks to continue practicing. We then brought them into our laboratory, wired both of them up and look to see if in fact there were correlations between the physiology of the one person, the intention of the other when the healthy partner with sending compassionate, loving intention and what we found were significant results on everything that we looked at. So when we were looking at their EEG, their psychophysiology, we saw that it, it showed up in both datasets, the sender and the receiver heart rate, skin conductance, respiration. It was a very interesting and strong magnitude of effects.
So actually the, the results of this experiment were stronger than the results that we see in a lot of the other experiments that we've done. And we think that's due to a couple of things. One is the training and the ability to cultivate this kind of compassionate intention and one is need that this was a high motivation study. The partners of the cancer patients often felt very impotent and not able to really effect change and here was an opportunity for them to do something that could be very helpful to their loved one. This is another study we completed recently looking at expectancy effects in distant healing. The study was designed that we had three groups, one got distant healing, one got just in healing and didn't know about it and one didn't get the treatment. So you see that there is a blinded healing non healing group.
And then there's the unblinded intention or expectation group. We worked with a surgeon who was undergoing procedures for plastic surgery. Part of the population were breast cancer patients and part of them were elective surgery. I'll skip over that one cause it's gross. Um, but this is the little outcome measure we used. It's a little polyurethane tube that measures collagen and collagen is part of the tissue regeneration when we're healing from wounds. And so this provided a little collection tube for measuring and collecting the collagen.
So the NIH like this because it was a very solid objective measure. This is one of our healers. So overall in this experiment, which wasn't really powered, it was a very complex study in doing clinical trials is very difficult. I'm not sure I'll ever do it again. I shouldn't say that on tape cause I've just watched next week I'll be doing one, but I'm never doing it again. You know? Um, so no overall difference in the groups. But we did find that something very curious happened in this study and something that I think needs to be addressed.
And if we had a lot more time we could talk about it, which is that those people whose prior belief in the efficacy of the distant healing negatively correlated with the mental health. So, in other words, the stronger the participant believed that the outcome was going to be successful, the worst it got. And we also found that that was true for the healers, that the healers who believed that they were sending healing intention at a distance actually found a negative correlation with the collagen deposition. However, when we looked at, again the need of the populations, we found that those people who were breast cancer patients found a positive outcome and significantly so compared to the elective surgery patients. So I think there are a number of things we can learn from this and other studies in the literature, which suggests that need is important, that the intention and expectation of the investigators needs to be addressed and looked at in a systematic way. And that also, I think that there's something about the rapport and relationship between healer and Healy that ultimately will speak to what happens in these kinds of experiments. So I'm going to skip over some of those and just say if you're interested in some of these data, um, you can go to the Noetic sciences website and there is a resource section there that lists a lot of the publications and some little videos of healers.
So going back to the change model then practice intention, attention, repetition, guidance, surrender. And yet we know that the pitfall of practice is that that can become the end in itself and that people can become very virtuous in that sense that I have a practice and I've done all these practices and therefore I'm enlightened or I'm privileged and we know that that's not it. And in fact the masters told us over and over again, you have to get off the pillow and get out into the world. You can't simply feel that by doing these practices and then going out and having unpleasant experiences with our colleagues or the lady at the ticket taking booth, you know, makes us transformed. In fact, Roger Walsh, who's a professor at the university of California, Irvine, he, when we were asking him, what are great measures to look at when you're talking about consciousness transformation? He said, well, I'd asked their spouse because we can all say, Oh yeah, I've transformed and I'm good, but it's really helpful to see how we bring it home. So we know that one of the things that's very important as we experienced these transformations in worldview is to begin to take it into our lives and that it isn't about these practices on a very circumcised, circumscribed level, but really it's every day.
It's really the kindness that we bring to somebody who has challenged us, or I'd like to talk about road rage as a spiritual practice that we can experience the sense of our own anger or reactiveness, and yet it's an opportunity for us to pause and to explore what's happening with another person. When I was doing this study and collecting all these data from these masters, I had the experience of taking my son one day to his music lesson and there was this woman walking across the street blocking all the traffic and she had a dog in one hand and a dog carry and the other, and she was just wreaking havoc. And I was like, Oh, what is wrong with this woman? And then all of a sudden I remembered what I had been learning and I realized something's wrong with this woman. And as soon as I shifted from reactivity to compassion, I couldn't hold the other emotion anymore.
And I think that's the way in which we can begin to integrate these things into our lives. It's also true that it's easy to forget. We can forget in a minute what we were certain about the minute before. And so we have this sense of equanimity. We have the sense of gratitude, compassion, altruism. And then we get out there and we see it. Brother David Standal RAs talks about, he is a practitioner of gratefulness, meditation. And he went to Africa and he had the experience of really appreciating clean drinking water.
And so he came home to his place and the Hermitage and he experienced turning on the tap and having clean drinking water. He was so grateful. It was such a great exercise and opportunity for him to live the experience that he held us important. But then he discovered it within a couple of days. He forgot about that and he was drinking the water and never taking the moment to reflect on it. So he put these little yellow sticky notes all over his house and when he started to habituate to the yellow, yellow sticky notes, he'd move them around. Or you think about those little bobble headed Buddhas that people put on their dashboard. Is that just some kind of kitsch, you know, um, accoutrement for our consumer culture baby.
But it could also be a reminder to us, you know, to think and to reflect and to stay aware of what it is we want to be aware of. And I ultimately think that in these transformational practices, the most important thing for us to know is that we aren't aware of everything. Going back to the idea of inattentional blindness, we're not aware. So how do we become aware of what we're not aware of and how do we make peace with the fact that we're never going to be aware of all the things going on around us? So life becomes the practice. It becomes the opportunity to explore, um, Sharon Salzberg if we remember that our spiritual life is not just for ourselves alone and our own private satisfaction of having had a great experience, but it is about how we live every day, how we relate to our children, how we relate to our parents, how we earn a living, how we speak to one another.
This is the grounding. This is the way in which we bring it home. But then it can become all about me, my life, my pureness, the opportunity that I have to show my supremacy over others. And so that can become a pitfall. We need to remember that it isn't all about me and that life as practice becomes about the weed and it becomes something that involves every moment of every day. So it's this move from the I, my practice, my ability, my intention, my awareness to a we, how do we begin to see that this proc process of transformation isn't just about the first person, but really an inter subjective experience between us.
It's that space between set relationship and yet the pitfall here is that we can all find that we forget about the we in the MI or we can forget about the me in the weed and we know this stuff about our, you know, compassion fatigue. You know, we find it a lot in caregivers that we want to give, give, give, and we haven't taken the time to take care of ourselves. And so as we look at the transformational process, I think it's very important to find that balance and that it is the me who's healthy enough to individually but also healthy enough to come into communion with a greater whole. So ultimately then how do we begin to bring these capacities, these skills, these insights into everyday life? How do we live more deeply and how do we begin to bring awareness to all the ways in which there are pathological challenges in our lives?
So here's where I want to say that as we begin to recognize the importance of these Noetic experiences, as we begin to seek and make an effort to learn and to integrate into our lives, some of these insights as we go deeply into our practice or our practices as we hold them lightly, while also being deep in our inquiry as we begin to bring these insights into our life, as we look at how we're part of a community, as we support one another. Because as we find it so easy to forget one of the best things we have as each other and how can we through these kinds of associations, through these conferences, through the internet, through the various ways we have of being in community, act as witnesses for one another and help one another because it's really easy to trip up. So bringing it into community I think is really important because I think we need to move from our own individual transformation to the idea that we are here to help facilitate a transformation in our society and so how do we do that? We can do that in the context of healing and healthcare. We can do it in the context of education and beginning to really facilitate changes in the way our youth are learning.
And where are the priorities in terms of our educational system? Is it only about reading and writing or is it something about these qualities of social and emotional intelligence? We've created a program called worldview explorations to speak to that advancing scientific paradigms, advancing changes in business. I think this change model where we look at the individual, the individual's growth and flourishing, and then how that can ripple out in the context of our dominant institutions in our cultures, in our communities is really the way to go. And Willis Herman, who had been the president of the Institute of Noetic sciences for many years, wrote no economic, political or military power can compare with the power of a change of mind by deliberately changing their images of reality. People are changing the world.
And that's a beautiful principle because we all have the power to do that. So now I want to say a caveat about the change model, which is as a scientist, we love theory, we love models, we love order. And yet I am on a sabbatical right now and I spent a lot of time in my garden and you begin to see this whole spiral of transformation everywhere. And so this is a pumpkin plant and you can see the, see if the baby pumpkin there. Maybe it's in the next slide. Yeah, well you can see there's a little baby coming up on the side anyway, the beauty of it, the symmetry of it, the order of it, the transformational capacities of it, and yet it can start to go haywire and you get all this crazy stuff. So anytime we look at these models, we have to be aware that they're kind of a fractal and that that process of transformation can take off in any direction at any point.
And that each of these steps is something that can be iterative. And so I like to think about the my garden as a a cauldron of transformation. And here it is. This was yesterday. So these pumpkin plants have really taken off. And if we had more time, I'd tell you about the pumpkin's. But so the goal's upon positive transformation to increase the inner capacities to match these outer complexities of our time and to use our practices to move us beyond coping to flourishing.
So we're developing inner authority, we're questioning assumptions, we're cultivating curiosity, we're examining multiple perspectives, seeing things from different points of view, developing life practices that will help us living with supportive communities, whether they're virtual or proximal, and engaging in service ultimately, so that we can help to facilitate that kind of tipping point, the tipping point that we're all calling for. So here we are as a collective advancing scientific paradigms, nurturing worldview in kids in adults. This is a program I just came out of a training two days ago with educators. We've developed a 22 lesson curriculum for kids based on the transformational program. Really helping them to learn to question their assumptions, to engage one another, a sense of respect and reverence.
These are some of the kids that were in one of our trainings and we asked them to create these glasses to think about what is the worldview that they have and what are they aspiring to. And so we do a lot with art and creativity. I just had an article accepted in the Permanente journal. It's called 12 practices for whole person healing, and so this is going out not only to the entire professional audience of Kaiser Permanente, but is on Medline abstracted, so it'll go out to the world. I think this is a great opportunity to help facilitate change within the bastion of the healthcare situation. So I guess I pause and say we shouldn't forget to stop and smell the roses.
It's a beautiful thing for all of us. This is my contact information for anybody. My website has a lot of the scientific articles that I mentioned in this presentation. And also I love people to follow me on Twitter. I'm a big tweak person. Um, and then I want to stop with a little presentation, a little video. So as I have been doing this work on transformation, um, there is one thing that we kind of skirted around as we were writing the book, living deeply, and that is the topic of death and our birthright for each of us.
The opportunity to address our own mortality. So this is a project I've been doing in partnership with Deepak Chopra and a team of people. We just signed on Skywalker ranch to do the sound edit for a feature film.
I don't want to become a different person. I just want to stay who I am.
If we think that it's all over and that's the end and that we're separate, then it doesn't give us that sense of responsibility.
That's more of a spiritual belief right now. We're going to scientific belief, but I trust my intuition more than anything and my intuition says, yes, this is, this is probably the case, the body ends, but something that seems to me continues. What I was experiencing in the state of pure consciousness was actually inside the lowest level that's measured of coma, which is called a Glasgow coma scale. Three was a constant voyage of vistas that kept opening one after the next, after the next. I don't think consciousness begins origins. I think it's a continuum.
A summons has come and then ready for my journey.
Contemplating deaths can literally bring us peace without even permanency. So there's no change. There's no change. There is no