voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new vistas but in having new
Over, Western Science and Religion. Enter [by whatever name and
languaging]: Exceptional Human
If you are
wondering if what is sometimes referred to here as "all things EHE" /
Exceptional Human Experience
is another of those new-age religions or if it is supposed to be a
product of [perhaps even tongue-in-cheek] 'real science', you are not alone.
Within the widely accustomed context of the very best religion and
also Western science have to offer -- so integral to our especially
Western consensus view of reality and of progress, there is a third and
considerably overlapping alternative for significant and
increasing numbers of people,
today. The most all-embracing and effective perspective I have
found for exploring this is Rhea A. White's Exceptional
Human Experience conception [she also
calls it the (EHE or) Experiential
Paradigm], including all possible types of consciousness and in particular
addressing those exceptional [consciousness] experiences that cannot be
explained by the current materialistic Western-science perspective. White
In science everyone is looking for a new paradigm (or worldview) to
account for everything.
Physicists are trying to account for the mind-matter interface.
Psychologists and philosophers call it the mind-body relationship. ...
[EHEs] seem to herald a new paradigm, or at the least, they fly in the
face of the one with which we now live. So each one really
offers the experiencer (and to some extent, those who read or hear
about a given experience) a window with a new view....
experiences catapult us into the new paradigm. We become a part
of it and we discover it is a part of us. When we enter the
Experiential Paradigm, we are no longer apart from it. The scientific
method cannot take us there.
once we ourselves are there, and when we are willing to take the
further leap of sharing our experiences with others, we will not only
be inside the new view that is needed to join physical and spiritual,
mind and matter, body and mind, but
will also be playing a significant part in transforming it into
consensus reality. Once
in ages past, the story of each human will be the story of humankind,
and vice versa. We and our times will be in step and able to move
forward as one. Science can do nothing but follow, as it is right that
In other words, like old skin sloughing off of a snake, the customary outer-sourced
authoritarianism and knowledge is being shunted aside in deference to the presence of
a source of deep inner experience and knowing. These Experiences
have been with us since Time was a youngster, but the point is they have
been occurring in increasing and unprecedented numbers for the last half
century in at least hundreds of recognized ways [or types of experience]
to people all over the world. A
collective New Voice is slowly emerging and finding expression among those who have had powerfully
transformative experiences of this nature [EHEs]. This worldwide
phenomenon being experienced and acknowledged through
who-knows-how-many [at least] hundreds of millions of people is becoming
the heart of a new consensus among us -- literally, of a whole other order
of knowing and being . . . Human.
This third way merges the
best of both worlds, the so-called spiritual and the so-called
secular, and is based on the
premise these are one and
By "the same," I mean, they are perceived and known directly
through these exceptional
[potentially "humanizing"] experiences as one seamless
whole. This is beyond
intellectual knowing, and in fact sometimes these so fly in the face of
our accustomed ways of thinking, we may deny and repress and refuse to
believe our own internal and bodily experiences! I say physical,
because they invariably leave a physical imprint, meaning, a felt
component, just as all
Oneness is the
word you hear most from Experiencers. As they have discovered
again and again through eyes-wide-open, so to speak, there are no discontinuities between the presumed
two worlds; there is only a present
lack of awareness and shared understanding about the nature of the assumed abyss
between the apparent-seeming 'two'.
Goodbye "Mind-Body Problem"; Hello Consciousness Studies ...
and the Experiential Grassroots Movement
Interestingly, this was the subject of physicist David
theory of "wholeness and the implicate order." In 1980
he published a small book with this title in an attempt to explain and
redress this important issue. Pointing openly [at last!!] to the
ever-present great and glorious "white elephant" Western science insisted
we were all to pretend not to notice -- consciousness -- Bohm's fundamental question was,
"How are we to think coherently of a single, unbroken, flowing
actuality of existence as a whole, containing both thought
(consciousness) and external reality as we experience it?"
The entire field of physics has never been the same since. I can't
help but wonder how much his ideas have influenced the creation of the
now sprawlingly successful field of consciousness studies that seemed to
explode into being in the late 80s / early 90s.
Other outstanding examples of inroads
steadily being made in the direction of merging our conception of
consciousness and physical reality / the infamous "mind-body
problem" / the spiritual and the secular come from a number of
different disciplines, more often the product of a highly creative, even provocative
crossing or merging of a plentitude of fields of inquiry, some you never
even heard of less than 20 years ago. This topic -- the critical need for a
holistic cosmology capable of healing the psychic rift between
consciousness and materiality that has so damagingly influenced
especially the Western world -- is more thoroughly addressed, by the
way, on the New
pages. But for our immediate purposes, here are a few of these
Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers'
experience-based conception of Presence
that is having a profound impact within the highest
echelons of the global corporate world and across a growing
spectrum of academic and scientific disciplines. What
particularly stands out about their work to my mind are two things: first is a sensitively-derived, neutral
languaging that has grown out of their work as life-long world
travelers, business consultants, educators, natural diplomats
and meta-collaborators -- and: as Experiencers. They have a
natural and heartfelt regard and appreciation for every person's
right to their own beliefs and self-validating experience, and
doubtless, this has in no small part nurtured their many and esteemed
friendships and alliances all over the globe.
the way they choose to live deeply with a question so that it
draws from within the inspiration and from without the
meaning-filled synchronicities and other experiences, in
their willingness to let the answers find them,
rather than their presuming to create the answers themselves in
the more usual ego-derived sense. They recognize the
singular importance of meaningful, heart-sourced conversation
and relationship in this process of the transformation of human
consciousness as it outgrows its immature destructive tendencies
to become a vessel for sustainable evolution upon our sacred Earth.
This is how Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski, and Flowers
approached their mutual concerns about the plight of our
world. They agreed upon certain questions with which
they initiated a year-long dialogue together that culminated in
their book Presence. The authors realized
that asking the right questions can be as important, if not more
so, than coming up with a right answer. The questions they
began their fructifying conversation with were, Why don't we
change? and, What would it take to shift the whole?
They were speaking of the entire world -- a global shift toward
exactly the kinds of values and understanding exemplified in the
Aftereffects of EHEs.
love the feeling this evokes, and this seems
a perfect place to share it, in honor of
in all life which evokes and is evoked by Presence
those who midwife our collective consciousness
Spiritual Science. [Late 19th-early 20th centuries]. This
very humble man was an accomplished genius in several fields,
including but not limited to education, medicine, social sciences, architecture, the
arts, and even high finance. But he is best
known for his giftedness as a seer and as the founder of a school of
esoteric thought, Anthroposophy. He gave over 6,000 lectures
in his rather short lifetime and wrote numerous books. His
talks have been collected into approximately 170 volumes! One
of his stellar books is How to Know Higher Worlds, a Western
initiatory pathwork that requires a rigorous personal discipline and
observational acumen one would associate with the most exacting of
the Western sciences.
Science / Co-operative Inquiry model. One of the most vitalizing
features of his work, also the view you find here, is that the Experiencers
are the experts, not per se, the academicians, the scientists, the religious
leadership, the medical professionals. It is the collective
wisdom of those who have had direct experiences of this
Heron is a founding member in the field of
transpersonal psychology. He was also instrumental in the
creation of what is today called Re-evaluation Counseling, a strong,
international grassroots therapy movement initiated in the 1970s.
This is another area where Heron has striven successfully to give
the power of capability to people in general to heal and to care for the
larger part of their own psychological needs without the
"necessary," intervention of professionals within the
often-enough counter-productive, power-over, money-making
machine as it has largely become today in many countries.
This does not mean, by the way, there is no place for scholarly
or medical expertise. We do, however -- we must -- come to
realize together that we have access to hardly imagined wisdom,
knowings, knacks or innate abilities, such as natural capacities
to heal ourselves and each other, that are available to every
human being who is enabled to be open to and to discover
them. The old system [e.g., our failed healthcare system]
is disabling. We need a fresh globally acknowledged and
encouraged enabler consciousness, which appears to be
literally what's evolving from within us as naturally as flowers
opening in profusion in the spring. As
a social scientist and as an Experiencer
[EHEer], John Heron has been one of our clear-seeing
pioneers in this regard.
Human Experience Paradigm,"
which is extensively described on a number of pages on this website,
beginning with a
four-part biographical article.
After retiring from an active and accomplished life within the
field of parapsychology, White established the EHE Network to study "exceptional human
her own collaborative research terms,
Experiencers being her co-researchers, similar to John Heron's
pioneering ideas. Remarkably, it became apparent just a few years
before her passing that she was not even aware of his own fecund
work, and he was just barely apprised of hers -- he primarily in
Europe, Australia, New Zealand, she in the USA. [For some of
her formative thoughts about science and religion and how the
EHE model is equivalent but different,
here are some suggestions: Do a 'find' for "relig" on
FAQ for two
notations. See as well, Transpersonal Psychology and Feminist Science,
just a little way down the page.]
illustrated through the complimentarity of "presencing"
as well as another of his living metaphors, "centered on
the edge" [which you can read more about here
In contrast to transcendent experiences that seem to take us out of
our immediate awareness of this world, Spangler's emphasis is that
we can be powerfully present to the Sacred in the most ordinary moments and
tasks of our everyday world, and we ourselves can bring the sacred
into every moment and situation of our workaday lives.
is a modern-day mystic/seer, writer,
teacher, and the most extraordinary Human Being I have ever been
privileged to meet. He lives fully wherefrom he speaks from
within the heart of love and Presence.
Berry and Brian Swimme
wrote The Universe Story toward this purpose, inspired in
large part by the
works of the seer/priest and paleontologist, Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin.
This is a tour de force collaboration between, respectively,
an ecologist priest and a numbers-crunching astrophysicist,
considered an "instant classic" in its visioning and
practical applications toward the healing of our very real
challenges on this beleaguered planet.
John Heron succinctly expresses this idea of merging the best of Western
and spirituality, through open, disciplined, and focused attention on our experiencing of
the spiritual and the subtle. Person-to-person
research is his approach, which eschews the hierarchical, power-over way
of inflating the knowledge of a few, with and without the basis of
direct experience. It evens the playing field to give back the
power of authority and authenticity to all of us as natural
Experiencers and nurtures a universal mutual regard that will ultimately
heal our Humanity and our Earth. In the introduction to his book, Sacred
Science: Person-centred Inquiry into the Spiritual and the Subtle,
is so far unknown is a form of sacred science in which human beings
co-operate together to inquire in a rigorous manner into the nature of
their own spiritual and subtle experience, without prior allegiance to
any existing school.
Thanks to the passionate commitment of pathfinders / Experiencers such
as these, I see this "Third Way" as a great, unstoppable
Sacred Presence emerging as a grassroots
about to become fully conscious of itself as such. Just as
happened during the time when the I-consciousness of humanhood evolved
into a totally new phenomenon those many ages ago, so today are we
realizing 'the next leap', the next evolutionary turning of the spiral,
as we are individually awakening to the collective "I-that-is-We."
Spontaneously and naturally, this new consciousness shift is being born directly out of the 'unusual, nonordinary, anomalous, supernatural, transpersonal, metanormal, transcendent
[and incarnational or presencing] experiences'*
that have been happening to unprecedented numbers of people in the
last 50± years all over the world.
I was astonished and delighted to run across this comment quite recently by
Rudolf Steiner. After some discussion about first religion and
then science in an hirstorical context,
this incomparable seer said,
"And now from the twentieth century onward a third source begins. It arises because an ever-increasing number of persons will experience an extension, an enhancement of the forces of cognition which is not brought about through meditation, concentration, and other exercises ... connected with the evolution of humanity ... in the twentieth century, in a more enhanced manner than has so far been the case."
Steiner passed away in
1925, roughly 40 years before
the emergence of these phenomena along the lines he had foreseen.
EHE Background Papers I
Part 2: The
Third Way -- Examining the Spiritual and the Subtle:
... New 'Fingers and Toes'??!
for the original
of the star image above.