voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new vistas but in having new
Third Way -- Examining the Spiritual and the Subtle: Exceptional
... New 'Fingers and Toes'??!
Those whose life, worldview
and values have been transformed by these experiences, typically
describe them as "realer than real" and "the most
important thing that ever happened to me" .. more real and
important than falling in love, birthing babies, raising whole and
healthy children, going for and
achieving one's greatest life goals, and including facing every conceivable BIG
up-and-down life can offer. To understand the
irresistible power of such moments, read this famous example
as told to physics professor, Sir William Barrett, by his wife,
Elisabeth Barrett, a
physician who specialized in obstetrics.
Exceptional human experiences are not the product of belief or a belief
system. I am often surprised that people still assume they are,
even with all that is quite available and out in the open these days
about, for example, near-death experiences as a widely accepted and
studied occurrence in medical facilities, major research
institutes and universities, as well as obviously gifted people like
John Edward, whose psychic abilities are so well known through his books
and TV program. One striking example of how our views of these
types of experience have been transformed is the fact that into the
1980s, events of this nature were noted in the Physician's Desk
Reference, no less, as the result of hallucination, psychotic episodes, delusion
[or intentional deceit]. After people like Dr. Raymond Moody, Jr.,
and Kenneth Ring began publishing their research, this mis-assumption
was corrected. Also, far and away too many people who are known and respected
in their communities are having these extraordinary experiences and
sometimes with third-party and other types of validation that cannot be
explained away, such as the example cited above in which the dying woman
was puzzled to see her sister already on the Other Side --
unbeknownst to her, having predeceased her by a few weeks. And
there were also several witnesses to this deathbed situation.
Much of the bordering-on-vast, multi-disciplinary field of consciousness studies,
including the full spectrum of religious / spiritual to secular and
scientific, is based
on a now taken-for-granted [and at last, even in academe! openly
expressed and studied] knowledge by various names and
contexts, such as altered states of consciousness, inquiries into "the
spiritual and the subtle," as well as exceptional human experience -- and with an
oceanic armament of excellent studies and documentation, not to mention
the thoroughly studied and observable aftereffects
associated with such events.
And yes -- anecdotes - anecdotes - anecdotes! The benign
virus effect suggested by Kenneth Ring comes to mind. The power of
many of these experiences can add quite a charge to the lives of those
privileged to hear or read them. They are indeed contagious;
people often catch their meaning and are themselves never quite the same
again as a result. I believe this has to do with a sensed
recognition of that something MORE that is the "spiritual and
subtle" DNA belonging to all of us as Human Beings. On some
level, whether we are fully conscious of it or not, we know, and a link
to that knowing is our intuition.
Such anecdotes seem to cast their own light,
they add up, they influence people and change lives much in the way of
the Experiences themselves. They bring us further validation for
our own exceptional experiences, and inspiration, food for the
Soul. They realign our lives with the Sacred and set our feet in a
direction that grows us into that Something
I can't speak as a
scientist; I can only speak as a human being, here. But, as you
can see from the Breadcrumb
my life certainly exemplifies the power of being influenced and changed
by others' EHE stories, and so many people I've known have expressed
this about their own lives. Sir Barrett, mentioned above, was
similarly so impressed with his wife's story, that he sought out other
such stories and eventually published the first book of its kind about
deathbed experiences. Storyteller and consultant Annette
describes the power
of story as the
"original tool of influence," harkening back to the friendly
campfires of the First Peoples.
A couple of apt quotes from Rhea White effectively address this
issue: " ... in developing the concept of exceptional human experiences I have taken an experiential rather than an evidential approach. I have chosen meaning instead of proof. I think they are like the waves and particles of quantum mechanics -- you can't have both at the same time."
Meaning comes out of people's experiences and the stories they tell
about them and the insights they have gained from them. And when
they share their stories, like pebbles tossed into a still pond, they
create reverberations, waves, affecting others as well.
On the other hand White has also said, "The reality we live is a phenomenological one, and within those terms, these experiences are real.
They can change lives. I don't know of any
p value [a sort of bottom-line statistical quantity] of the parapsychologists that has changed a life, not even one of their own."
There is an overwhelm of something most extraordinary in evidence here,
for those who choose to look. If we but
knew, I believe we are witnessing
a time not unlike the stupendous era when navigators, world travelers,
astronomers, and early scientists were in the throes of discovering sun
and moon and stars do not revolve around the Earth and that the world
flat, after all! What revelations these must have been! And
deaths and sometimes worse penalties of such revealers at the hands of
religionists demonstrate the volatility of revolutionary ideas, even
scientifically verified knowledge, can have on those unprepared to
understand and accept them.
Quite recently, I met a naturopath who was convinced the Apollo missions that put astronauts on the moon were
totally bogus. Since I had relatives who were among the ground
crew during that epical effort, I had a very other taken-for-granted
understanding. She was not happy to hear me tell her this,
and I would not be surprised if she still is skeptical.
editor of the important book, What Survives?
Contemporary Explorations of Life After Death, comments,
Most people assume that
belief in an afterlife is strictly a matter of faith. A few may have heard of scientific investigations of reported contacts with deceased persons made through "mediums" at spiritualistic
seances; if so, however, they have probably dismissed such reports as instances of fraud or self-delusion. Fewer still are familiar with the great mass of evidence that has been steadily accumulating since the first psychical researchers in England began their
investigations into spiritualistic phenomena at the turn of this [early
20th] century. [such
as these], all of which seem to point to the same conclusion, it
becomes very hard to feel so certain that they all amount to self-deception or willful mendacity." After presenting some of the most fascinating and compelling cases encountered in his own research for several books, Wilson observes that in his estimation the overall case for survival is so strong that "it would be rather perverse to go on thinking up objections."
Colin Wilson, the well-known British writer, is one of the few people who is thoroughly familiar with this evidence. An essay by Wilson ... describes his own introduction to the facts in the case for survival and how he was gradually converted from skepticism to belief by the sheer weight of the evidence. "A skeptic can usually find some loophole in the most well-authenticated accounts," writes Wilson. "Yet when we read perhaps a hundred
to be willing to take a careful, deeply thoughtful look at this
together, just as happened with the intellectual consciousness shift those few
centuries ago, when much of the Western world was readjusting to the
shock of a
very unflat Earth and to the equally offensive concern of not being the center of the
Universe, as well as other considerable psychological / philosophical earthquake marvels
during the birthing years of Western science. At that time, power
was, we could say, reclaimed by individuals that eventuated into a
movement that became the next generational power-over-based authority that
currently dominates our world. Just
as with religion, science is not "bad," but in both cases they
have reached a kind of profoundly disturbing, damaging rigidity that
requires a breaking up and/or breaking free in order for us to survive,
in this case, as a global society. This doesn't begin to
touch the depths but does infer the breadth of the kind of shift we have
been moving into the last several decades.
The power base is moving away from this
kind of authoritarianism, instead, toward all of us together as human beings.
The ogre of power-over is giving way to a growing, natural mutual
regard, respect and heart-sourced authenticity. More of us are
truly realizing "I am you in another body," and to harm
another or to damage the Earth is to wound one's very self. Our own
and collective inherent wisdom as Experiencers and potential
Experiencers taps us into [a collective breakthrough] the
MORE that we
are discovering together now, that it means to be Human. It is as
if, totally out of the blue, we have just discovered a whole new extant and thriving species among
That can be quite a shock for a long list of
reasons, and at first many people are going to reactively
deride and dismiss it. How challenging this must be for lots of
people not to feel threatened by such largely affecting ideas,
especially for those who have looked at such things as merely a matter
of belief or nonbelief. Then again, there are some who
see it in exactly these terms, as a "new species" of
human! Eventually, one by one, we
will all grow to accept
and respect that these phenomena -- exceptional exeriences -- are quite real, that they are integral
to our ever-expanding understanding of what it means to be Human -- and what that portends for
our potential and evolutionary trajectory as a species.
Here are some of the many significant inroads we together are making
into the full realization of this rEvolutionary Shift that is beginning
to be realized:
What will eventually grow to be the tipping point of us as a grassroots movement,
becoming a thoroughly
self-aware, self-organizing / functioning, unified being, based on this
connectivity to make a difference on behalf of our world and Humanity as
well, from the ground up. Through the awakening Heart, we are
discovering our oneness and our collective intelligence in a whole new
leadership pioneering work seeking to make a huge positive
difference in our global challenges by people like Peter Senge,
Joseph Jaworski, Otto Scharmer, Betty Sue Flowers, W. Brian
Arthurs, Joanna Macy, William Isaacs, Nicanor Perlas, Eleanor Rosch, including
striving beyond the limiting hierarchical leadership model.
want to touch on two individuals in particular as an
outstanding example. The deeply wise humanitarian from the
Philippines, Nicanor Perlas, virtually a revolution in and of
himself [!], has become instrumental in
reconfiguring how societies across the world look at what has
traditionally been top-down leadership that impacts vast
populations of people who otherwise likely have little or no say
in many of these decisions, such as the use of pesticides or the
labeling of ingredients for foods and how they are
processed. Dr. Perlas encourages what he calls "social
three-folding," suggesting it is essential that "global civil society networks and organizations"
be fully integrated into all dialogue and decision-making
processes that impact society. But he goes much further than
this, including advancing "profound societal transformation towards integral sustainable development on the basis of socially-engaged spirituality and deep substantive inner change."
This extraordinary person is one of the great Change Agents of all
recorded hirstory. See his website for more about him:
check out Dr. Mohammad Yunus of Bangladesh, who is like a twin
global dynamo to Dr. Perlas. He invented a process for
working with the profoundly poor, which he calls Microcredit, that
has been highly effective in raising the quality of life for
people. His objective, now, is to "half poverty by
2015" and appears to be well underway toward fulfilling this
plan with the enthusiastic support of many countries all over the
world. He too places emphasis on spirituality as needing to
be integrated into the reality of our openly acknowledged and
shared lives, saying, "Many of the problems in the world remain unresolved because we continue to interpret capitalism too narrowly. In this narrow interpretation we create a one-dimensional human being to play the role of entrepreneur. We insulate him from other dimensions of life, such as, religious, emotional, political dimensions."
growing new leadership perspective, coming alive through the
utilization of Presencing [see Peter
Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers],
Dialoguing [see William
and we might say “U-ing” [re:
"Theory U; see C.
Through such powerful work, even whole groups of people are
being enabled to experience this Shift together!
In and of themselves, these exceptional human[izing] experiences [EHEs],
triggering the EHE process that shifts people into this expanded
consciousness, often permanently, one person and one experience at a
Rhea A. White].
and contemporary Experiencers who actively bring their many
higher-sensory talents and wisdom to bear within our world.
And those who have long studied such Experiencers and their Experiences
and have contributed much to our greater collective understanding in the
Scientists and medical professionals who have courageously stretched the
outside of the intellectual envelope to finally include consciousness as
an essential and actual [owned] phenomenon of our consensus reality.
The intuitive and empathic, felt resonance of many
so-called nonexperiencers, who are deeply influenced and inspired by EHEers and
their Experiences, and whose lives are consequently similarly changed to
reflect the characteristics associated with the
Aftereffects of EHEs.
learnable skills, such as those of traditional religious and
spiritual paths, including those of the indigenous peoples of the
Those whose scholarship in the last roughly 20 years especially [re:
the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi find, and others] have
given us a fresh understanding of original documents from which many of
our religious texts were compiled, and therefore greater insight into
the lives of those extraordinary people chronicled in them, who were
inspired and directed by their own EHEs.
New technologies and tools [e.g., biofeedback, virtual reality,
sound-light entrainment, theater as therapy and a psychospiritual tool].
* * *
Funny, thinking of this fresh, seemingly miraculous revelatory Shift we
are all growing into, as if discovering ourselves, our Humanity in a
whole new light -- it's kind of like an infant, eyes large with wonder, when it first
becomes acutely aware of its totally amazing, fascinating, deliciously handy fingers
and toes! We are in a new phase of rebirth as a species and we are
as one albeit diffuse consciousness now discovering 'fingers and toes'
many of us just never, ever imagined existed, or at least not for us 'mere
humans'. So new is this very real Wonder to the most of us, as
Experiencers and nonExperiencers alike, that we hardly know what to do
with these unanticipated personal discoveries. Do we twist them,
bend them, put them in our mouths? What do they DO, what are they
FOR????!!! [ .. Hmmmmm .. OUCH! Okay, biting isn't the
answer.] We'll just stick with sucking and dancing digits
And then we learn to roll over [change our view] and sit up [elevate,
gain a little higher perspective]. OOOoooh, this is getting even
MORE exciting!! We can begin to look around the global Nursery
and notice what the other infant geniuses are doing with their personal
some are relishing this Wonder sooner and more comprehendingly than
others; a few even find their Experiences to be frightening or
disturbing -- as is the case with anything we experience as new.
In all cases, these are our precocious pathfinders. But their
universal insistence is that we all 'have them'! This
understanding and assertion alone is shifting our communal sense of
Reality and evolving expectations, like yeast kneaded into bread dough
and left to rise, galvanizing the Shift that is to become the Collective
Wow, don'tcha wonder, what's it going to be LIKE when this
Baby fully WAKES UP??!!
to www.hubblesite.org for the original of the star images above
and below ;
and to www.nasa.gov for earth image above