Sol Luckman on Looking at DNA

Three Perspectives on DNA

Sol Luckman

[The following article is adapted from the author’s newest book, Potentiate Your DNA: A Practical Guide to Healing & Transformation with the Regenetics Method.]

In Reinventing Medicine: Beyond Mind-body to a New Era of Healing, Larry Dossey, the former chief of staff at a major Dallas hospital, examines allopathic medicine in light of the principle of “nonlocality” often studied by quantum physicists.

Putting today’s medicine in quantum perspective, Dr. Dossey asserts that we “are facing a ‘constitutional crisis’ in medicine—a crisis over our own constitution, the nature of our mind and its relationship to our physical body.”

To help elucidate this “constitutional crisis,” and to assist humanity in moving beyond it, Dossey outlines three main Eras in the history of Western medicine.

In practical terms, these Eras necessarily overlap to some degree. Conceptually, however, each possesses a defining, exclusive focus (Figure 1).

While these three Eras are associated with specific historical time frames for reference, the characteristic thinking behind each Era appears transhistorical.

In other words, the Eras function almost like archetypes by tapping into distinctive evolutionary thought modes universally embedded in the human psyche. This can, and does, mean that outdated thinking from an earlier Era can be very much present during a later Era.

In Dossey’s model, the first medical Era initiated with Cartesian thinking in the 17th Century and was characterized by a mechanical view of the body. Era I medicine views the human body as a machine that can be manipulated.

In this rather primitive medical approach, which remains firmly entrenched at the center of contemporary allopathic medicine, there is no place for mind or consciousness. Surgery, drugs and vaccines are applications of Era I medicine.

Properly speaking, many often beneficial forms of so-called alternative medicine—ranging from herbs to bodywork to chiropractic—also are based on an Era I perception of the human body as an essentially mechanistic phenomenon.

The 19th Century, according to Dossey, saw the birth of Era II medicine with the acknowledgement of the placebo effect. Characterized by mind-body approaches, Era II thinking fostered the emergence of psychoanalysis and psychiatry.

Era II medicine is based on the fact that your mind and body are interconnected such that your consciousness can benefit your physiology in provable ways.

This is the “power of positive thinking,” to borrow an iconic phrase from Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Alongside Era I, Era II thinking is established solidly in today’s medical paradigm.

The new kid on the block, which is expanding medical parameters at an exponential rate, is Era III medicine, also referred to as nonlocal.

The cornerstone of Era III thinking is that human consciousness, being nonlocal at its base, is capable of operating outside the confines of the physical body—and even outside the individualized mind—in order to facilitate healing in the self or others.

Some Observations

Having sketched the basic historical outline of Eras I-III, we now can make a handful of important observations that will serve us well as we explore three complementary perspectives on DNA in the following sections.

As shown in Figure 1, we can conceptualize Era I medicine as impersonal; Era II medicine as personal; and Era III medicine as transpersonal.

In other words, Era I medicine, which treats the body as a mindless machine, seeks to heal without regard to individual identity.

Swinging to the opposite polarity, Era II medicine’s therapeutic efforts, as developed primarily through psychology, center almost exclusively on the individualized mind.

A parallel framework sees Era I as a function of the subconscious mind; Era II as a reflection of the conscious mind; and Era III as emerging from the super conscious mind responsible for all creation (Figure 1).

Going above and beyond Eras I and II, Era III medicine is based on a novel understanding of three related truths:

1. Giving rise to the body as well as the egoic mind is a blueprint of consciousness;

2. By working with the consciousness blueprint, it is possible to transcend curing—the goal of Eras I and II—and embrace a new paradigm of permanent healing and radical transformation; and

3. Such healing and transformation ultimately are transpersonal, occurring nonlocally by way of the super conscious mind, or “consciousness field,” which connects us all because we all derive from it.

Era III medicine differs from Era I in that the former encourages healing and transformation on a level that is beyond and yet gives rise to our animalistic physical nature.

Similarly, Era III departs from Era II by grasping the fundamental unity behind all individuality as the domain where genuine healing and transformation must be initiated.

In fact, many Era III techniques do not even require that facilitators know anything about recipients’ conditions or diagnoses in order to be of profound and lasting benefit.

This is because, viewed through the lens of Era III medicine, what is responsible for assisting the recipient to heal is not our individual, egoic mind, but the transpersonal, spiritual Mind—i.e., the consciousness field of our collective beingness where all is one, all is known, and all can be made well.

For this reason, it must be acknowledged that Era III healing occurs through, yet is not of, individual healers. Central to any genuine Era III modality is to allow oneself to be a vessel for hyperdimensional consciousness to flow through in order to assist the self or another on the evolutionary journey.

Figure 1: Three Eras of Medicine. The chart above outlines the evolution of the field of medicine through three Eras that correspond to the development of genetics, epigenetics, and meta-genetics.Figure 1: Three Eras of Medicine. The chart above outlines the evolution of the field of medicine through three Eras that correspond to the development of genetics, epigenetics, and meta-genetics.As also shown in Figure 1, it can be useful to conceptualize:

1. Era I medicine as concerned with the domain of matter;

2. Era II medicine as focused on bioenergy in the light domain (space-time); and

3. Era III medicine as respecting the primacy of bioenergetic consciousness in the sound domain (time-space) in healing and transformation.

Stated otherwise, Era I ignores bioenergy altogether in its naïve belief that the material world is all that is worth considering for medical purposes. By contrast, Era II displays an appreciation of the role consciousness plays in maintaining or improving wellbeing.

Era II medicine, however, stops short of being able to activate our extraordinary self-healing potential to the extent that it restricts its operation to localized, individualized, light-based, predominantly mental techniques.

Here, I am coming from a shamanic perspective that views light and thought as equivalent energies. The new physics, as well, explains that the act of thinking produces electrical currents that generate hyperdimensional, or “torsion,” waves of light—much as audible sound waves produce torsion waves of sound.

Era II modalities function through light within the light domain and, thus, are restricted in their ability to reset and modify our consciousness blueprint without using sound to access and modify the sound domain.

The above observations relative to Era II therapeutic avenues illuminate why psychotherapy and counseling seem to go in circles; allergy elimination treatments never seem to end; and many forms of energy medicine seem to do so little.

From Light to Sound

Today’s Era III movement from perception centered in the domains of matter and light, to a more holistic understanding of reality rooted in the sound domain, is beautifully expressed by Joachim-Ernst Berendt in his masterful exploration of music and consciousness, The World Is Sound.

“Many outstanding scholars, scientists, psychologists, philosophers and writers have described and circumscribed the New Consciousness,” writes Berendt. “But one aspect has not been pointed out: that it will be the consciousness of hearing people.”

To be clear: the “New Man will be Listening Man—or will never be at all. He will be able to perceive sounds in a way we cannot even imagine today.”

Berendt explains that modern humans “with their disproportionate emphasis on seeing have brought on the excess of rationality, of analysis and abstraction, whose breakdown we are now witnessing […] Living almost exclusively through the eyes has led us to almost not living at all.”

In contrast, historically speaking, wherever “God revealed Himself to human beings, He was heard. He may have appeared as a light, but in order to be understood, His voice had to be heard. ‘And God spoke’ is a standard sentence in all holy scriptures. The ears are the gateway.”

Emphasizing that humanity’s collective Shift in consciousness will be realized only “when we have learned to use our sense of hearing fully,” Berendt quotes from Isaiah: “Hear, and your soul shall live.”

This line of reasoning is echoed by Dennis Holtje in a wonderful little book entitled From Light to Sound: The Spiritual Progression.

“The stunning simplicity of the Sound energy confounds the mind,” explains Holtje. “We are conditioned to use the mind to solve all of life’s dilemmas, unaware that the … energy of Sound … provides the permanent solution of awakened spiritual living.”

Now, to avoid confusion, allow me to emphasize once again that the transformational sound energy being referenced is hyperdimensional in nature.

It is absolutely true that we can produce audible sounds here in space-time to stimulate repatterning—via DNA—of our sonic templates in time-space.

But please understand that much in the way thought creates torsion light waves, the sounds we make here generate subtle, torsion sounds that technically are inaudible to most people and must be “heard,” ener-genetically, with the “inner ear.”

The intimate relationship that unites sound, language and DNA is a truly fascinating subject that must be left for another time. But here, let us outline three perspectives on DNA that correspond to the historical development of Eras I-III in the field of medicine.

Era I: Genetics

In this and the following sections, as we examine three distinct yet complementary ways of viewing DNA, it can be helpful to reference Figure 1.

So, what is DNA? The simplest answer is that in its typical form, DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, is a two-stranded molecule shaped like a double helix and composed of various combinations of four protein bases called nucleotides.

The double helix of DNA is stabilized by hydrogen bonds between the bases attached to the twin strands like the rungs of a ladder. The four bases of DNA are named adenine (abbreviated A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T).

The discovery of DNA in 1953 by James Watson and Francis Crick engendered an elaborate genetic science devoted to studying the biochemical properties of the molecule of life.

Although there is much more that might be stated about DNA, for present purposes it is most important to recognize that genetic science understands DNA as merely a molecular, biochemical phenomenon with no relation to bioenergy, or consciousness.

Let us appreciate that DNA definitely is a molecule, or pairing of molecules. When you initially look at it, that is probably the first thing that stands out.

But let us acknowledge as well that such an understanding, being quintessentially Era I in its conception of DNA as a material matter, constitutes a superficial, Newtonian grasp of DNA—one that completely ignores the latter’s nonlocal, quantum aspects.

Disregarding the energetic qualities of DNA has allowed mainstream genetic science, in true Era I fashion, to focus exclusively on DNA as a self-replicating machine for building proteins, cells, tissues, organs and, eventually, bodies.

This way of defining DNA, in turn, has led to crudely mechanistic, Era I attempts to manipulate DNA such as gene splicing and gene therapy.

Additionally, defining DNA solely in terms of biochemistry has fostered the problematic belief that DNA is the cell’s “brain” and controls gene expression in a robotic, predetermined way.

In due course, this belief has spawned a widespread genetic fatalism, whose dubious assertion that most diseases are hereditary—and thus beyond our individual control—is used to peddle unnecessary pharmaceuticals and surgical interventions to the gullible masses.

In a nutshell, mainstream genetics views DNA as, and only as, a physical molecule whose activity is primary. If this were indeed the case, it would mean that “nature” is more directly responsible for our experience of reality than “nurture.”

Fortunately, in recent years a second perspective has emerged that challenges the “Primacy of DNA” and the idea that nurture is less important to our health and wellbeing than nature.

Era II: Epigenetics

Enter the pioneering work of biologist Bruce Lipton, one of the developers of the science of epigenetics.

From the perspective of traditional genetics, epigenetics represents a radical departure that undermines the long-held assumption that DNA and nature are primary.

The following passage from Lipton’s The Biology of Belief neatly summarizes the basic tenets of mainstream genetics. The “Central Dogma,”

also referred to as the Primacy of DNA, defines the flow of information in biological organisms … only in one direction, from DNA to RNA and then to Protein … DNA represents the cell’s long-term memory, passed from generation to generation. RNA, an unstable copy of the DNA molecule, is the active memory that is used by the cell as a physical template in synthesizing proteins. Proteins are the molecular building blocks that provide for the cell’s structure and behavior. DNA is implicated as the “source” that controls that character of the cell’s proteins, hence the concept of DNA’s primacy that literally means “first cause.”

Lipton’s theory of epigenetics, which grew out of his longtime study of the effect of our individual thoughts and beliefs on our genetic function and overall health, effectively demonstrates that this “Central Dogma” is just that.

In contrast to the materialistic, mechanistic mindset of genetic science’s Central Dogma, it is clear from the research cited by Lipton that our own consciousness always and inevitably impacts the function of our genetic and cellular expression—at least in limited ways.

Such is the case because, according to epigenetics, the cell membrane (not the DNA within the cell) is the cell’s brain. DNA is merely the cell’s reproductive system.

Lipton cites the fact that enucleated cells (i.e., cells whose nucleus and DNA have been removed) die as evidence that the “nucleus is not the brain of the cell—the nucleus is the cell’s gonad!” Moreover, “[g]enes-as-destiny theorists have obviously ignored hundred-year-old science about enucleated cells.”

According to the epigenetic model, genes in DNA simply store instructions for propagating a given species. In other words, the primary function of DNA is not to “think” or interact with the environment, but to pass on—automatically and brainlessly—the basic genetic coding that creates a human being or a chimpanzee.

In Lipton’s words, “epigenetics, which literally means ‘control above genetics,’ profoundly changes our understanding of how life is controlled.” Epigenetic research establishes that “DNA blueprints passed down through genes are not set in concrete at birth.”

What is responsible for “thinking,” epigenetically speaking, is the cell membrane—specifically, the various types of interlocking regulatory proteins in the membrane. These have been documented to reconfigure in response to environmental stimuli—including toxins, traumas, energies, thoughts, and beliefs.

Emphasizing that “[g]enes are not destiny,” Lipton points out that “[e]nvironmental influences, including nutrition, stress and emotion, can modify … genes, without changing their basic blueprint. And these modifications … can be passed on to future generations as surely as DNA blueprints are passed on via the Double Helix.”

Epigenetics explains how environmental signaling instructs chromosomal proteins to change shape, thus determining which parts of DNA are “read” and allowed to express themselves.

This theory contends that the activity of genes ultimately is regulated “by the presence or absence of … proteins, which are in turn controlled by environmental signals.”

“The story of epigenetic control is the story of how environmental signals control the activity of genes,” writes Lipton. “It is now clear that the Primacy of DNA … is outmoded.” An updated understanding, in Lipton’s view, should be called the “Primacy of Environment.”

As opposed to the old top-down genetic model that enshrined DNA and nature at the apex of the pecking order, the Primacy of Environment explains that “the flow of information in biology starts with an environmental signal, then goes to a regulatory protein,” and then, and only then, passes to “DNA, RNA, and the end result, a protein.”

From the brief overview above, we are in a position to make three critical observations about epigenetics.

First, it should be readily apparent that while genetics is invested in the power of nature, epigenetics sees nurture as even more central to life. Thus epigenetics provides a much-needed counterpoint to the formerly one-sided study of biology (Figure 2).

A second observation is that in providing greater balance to the biological sciences, epigenetics empowers people to move beyond genetic fatalism by embracing the fact that our own thoughts and beliefs play an important role in creating health or illness.

“Rather than being ‘programmed’ by our genes,” writes Lipton, “our lives are controlled by our perceptions of life experiences!”

The third observation is that for all its impressive background science, in the final analysis epigenetics represents essentially a mind-body approach to understanding and interacting with our biological functioning.

The basic concept behind this “new paradigm” is anything but new, having been summed up decades ago by Norman Vincent Peale when he wrote, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

One important corollary to this third observation is that, at its core, epigenetics grows directly out of Era II thinking.

In the final analysis, epigenetics is light-based and, therefore, limited in its ability to explain or promote thoroughgoing healing and transformation.

Before we introduce Era III’s approach to the biosciences, “meta-genetics,” let us take a brief moment to touch on some problems associated with epigenetics.

Download sample chapters or order your copy today at with the Epigenetic Model

I am a big fan of Bruce Lipton and applaud his successes and efforts in elaborating a valuable avenue of inquiry in the biological sciences.

In pointing out that epigenetics is an Era II approach with some significant shortcomings, it is in no way my intention to belittle this helpful, necessary model.

Rather, by calling attention to the “gaps” in epigenetics, I wish to segue into an even more revolutionary approach to genetic science and healing that corresponds to the evolutionary current of Era III medicine.

If the power of positive thinking were the end-all be-all; if affirmations and visualizations were the final key to healing; if transforming our reality simply involved adopting a mental attitude of “don’t worry, be happy,” why have such Era II approaches failed to work for so many people—myself included?

I spent the better part of a decade unsuccessfully trying to heal myself from a mysterious autoimmune illness through a combination of Era I and Era II techniques ranging from raw food diets to the Rife Machine to Process Oriented Psychology. But it was only when I embraced the transpersonal, transformational potential of Era III that my health was restored.

There are several problems with the epigenetic model that deserve mentioning.

For starters, as previously pointed out, epigenetics is restricted to the light domain, which curtails its ability to effect thorough healing and transformation to the extent that it cannot access or modify our consciousness blueprint in the sound domain (Figures 1 and 2).

Secondly, epigenetics is concerned with space-time and thus constitutes a “local” model that largely ignores the nonlocal basis for our being in time-space (Figures 1 and 2).

Here in particular, epigenetic theory can be misleading. While our own thoughts and beliefs do affect our space-time reality, they do not, in the strictest sense, create it.

Lipton has admitted as much, writing that “soul or spirit” represents “the creative force behind the consciousness that shapes our physical reality.” Indeed, the “structure of the universe is made in the image of its underlying field.”

Practically, however, epigenetics turns a blind eye to the consciousness field. While acknowledging that humans are “Earth Landers” in constant dialogue with our “controller/Spirit,” Lipton’s model fails to probe the profound “meta-genetic” ramifications of this concept.

Instead, Lipton zeroes in on epigenetic “control” over our lives. But here in space-time, we actually control very little.

Although we have free will to interpret and respond to events and situations however we like, our greater spiritual identity in the consciousness field—which can be conceptualized as our Higher Self—ultimately controls our life experiences.

Compared to the reality-engendering Consciousness in the sound domain that gives rise to our intuition, imagination and inspired thoughts, any so-called thinking rooted in the light domain is a variety of egoic, bodily consciousness whose ability to alter reality is quite circumscribed.

Rather than using the language of control to characterize the impact of our individual perceptions on our experiences, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that our own perceptions of events and situations help us epigenetically “manage” them.

Thirdly, a related point. In characteristic Era II fashion, epigenetics is largely individualistic, centered for the most part on the individual’s thoughts and beliefs (Figures 1 and 2).

While this approach laudably encourages people to take responsibility for their lives, it can have the unintended effect of discouraging people from seeing themselves as spiritual beings on a human journey with a more collective, unified origin outside their immediate physical environment.

Just as critically, the idea that there might be functional applications, ones that could be understood and proven by way of the biosciences, to focusing outside our localized space-time to our spiritual templates in the nonlocalized realm of time-space is left hanging in the balance.

In other words, in the epigenetic model as elaborated by Lipton, the spiritual “creative force” that operates in the sound domain remains a nebulous, basically unusable concept that is—effectively if not entirely—dismissed.

Yet from the perspective of Era III medicine, this very creative force—which we have called torsion energy, bioenergy, and consciousness—is the key to healing and transformation.

Two additional problems with epigenetics, which are best understood in retrospect as we discuss some of the implications of meta-genetic theory in the following section, need only stating here:

1. In discounting the role DNA plays in terms of consciousness and our conscious experience of reality, epigenetics does so while ignoring ninety-seven percent of the DNA molecule; and

2. Because it ignores the vast majority of DNA, where our meta-genetic interface with the consciousness field occurs, epigenetics cannot account for the origin and evolution of species any more than genetics can. Only meta-genetics can explain these two interrelated phenomena.

Era III: Meta-genetics

In order to grasp the basics of meta-genetics, how this revolutionary science goes above and beyond both genetics and epigenetics, it is necessary to be absolutely clear as to the manner in which Eras I and II view DNA.

According to the genetic model that grew out of Era I thinking, only three percent of DNA is worth studying. There was no misprint in the previous sentence. Decades ago mainstream genetics dismissed ninety-seven percent of the DNA molecule!

The three percent of DNA observed “doing something”—i.e., building proteins—is referred to as “exons” or “coding DNA.” The rest—which from a materialistic perspective, appears to “do nothing”—is called “introns,” “noncoding DNA,” or simply “junk.”

Various theories have been proposed to account for “junk” DNA. According to some geneticists, these chromosomal regions could be the remains of ancient “pseudogenes” that have been discarded and fragmented during evolution.

Another idea is that “junk” DNA represents the accumulated DNA of retroviruses. Alternatively, “junk” DNA might constitute a data bank of sequences from which new genes emerge.

Happily, more and more scientists who have asked how nature could be so mind-numbingly inefficient are beginning to rethink “junk” DNA.

When DNA is mentioned in the epigenetic theory of Era II, what virtually always is being referenced is the three percent of coding DNA whose activity has been studied by traditional genetics.

In this regard at least, epigenetics is basically no different from genetics: both theories discount the vast majority of the genetic apparatus. In fact, you will not find “junk” DNA mentioned anywhere in The Biology of Belief.

Nevertheless, recent findings have indicated that “junk” DNA has a number of vitally important functions. The very conservation of noncoding DNA over eons of evolution, rather than signifying genetic detritus, provides tantalizing evidence of such functions.

More to the point, a wealth of Era III research in wave-genetics has shed light on extraordinary meta-genetic activity in “junk” DNA.

This ninety-seven percent of the DNA molecule, which I call potential DNA, appears to have much more to do with creating a specific species than previously acknowledged.

For instance, if we only examine the tiny portion of DNA made up of exons, there is practically no difference, in terms of genetics, between a human being and a rodent. There is also precious little at the level of exons that differentiates one human being from another!

Others who have studied the mystery of “junk,” or potential, DNA have concluded that the three percent of the human genome directly responsible for building proteins simply does not contain enough information to build any kind of body.

Faced with this puzzle, many scientists have started paying attention to fascinating structures called “jumping DNA,” or “transposons,” found in the supposedly worthless ninety-seven percent of DNA.

In 1983 Barbara McClintock was awarded the Nobel prize for discovering transposons. She and fellow biologists coined the term jumping DNA for good reason, David Wilcock has noted, as “these one million different proteins can break loose from one area, move to another area, and thereby rewrite the DNA code.”

This mysterious, malleable majority of DNA that, based on reasonable observation alone, must carry out significant functions for the organism, is the focus of meta-genetics.

This emerging science, famously substantiated and applied through the work of Peter Gariaev in wave-genetics, understands that potential DNA constitutes the biological organism’s interface with a hyperdimensional “life-wave.”

The life-wave, originating in time-space, is responsible for giving rise to a particular physical species or individual identity in space-time by nonlocally directing the activity of the three percent of coding DNA to build species-specific, individualized bodies.

Figure 2: Primacy of Consciousness. This figure demonstrates that genetics and epigenetics are not mutually exclusive, but are subsumed and reconciled by meta-genetics, which understands that both nature and nurture are functions of consciousness.Figure 2: Primacy of Consciousness. This figure demonstrates that genetics and epigenetics are not mutually exclusive, but are subsumed and reconciled by meta-genetics, which understands that both nature and nurture are functions of consciousness.While epigenetics allows us to manage gene expression and cellular function to a limited extent from our local position in space-time, what more directly controls our collective and individual genetic blueprints is the meta-genetic consciousness field in time-space.

Because consciousness dictates our biological reality, not the other way around, I coined the term meta-genetics to highlight the ultimately metaphysical nature of genetic functioning.

We now are in a position to replace both the Primacy of DNA and the Primacy of Environment with that which subsumes both nature and nurture and resolves their apparent contradiction within the unified field:  the Primacy of Consciousness.

The Primacy of Consciousness makes it easy to see that the real Brain behind the majority of our biological functioning resides neither in DNA nor in the cell membrane, but in the sound domain of time-space.

In the meta-genetic model of Era III, the primary role of the vast majority of DNA is to mediate ener-genetically between our collective Mind in the consciousness field and our individual bodies (Era I) and brains (Era II) that exist as expressions of this bioenergy field in space-time.

Copyright © 2013 by Sol Luckman. All Rights Reserved.


Consciousness & The Brain by Dr. Dossey

Why Consciousness Is Not the Brain

Larry Dossey

Physicist Freeman Dyson believes the cosmos is suffused with consciousness, from the grandest level to the most minute dimensions. If it is, why aren’t we aware of it?

“We don’t know who first discovered water, but we can be sure that it wasn’t a fish,” the old saw reminds us. Continual exposure to something reduces our awareness of its presence. Over time, we become blind to the obvious. We swim in a sea of consciousness, like a fish swims in water. And like a fish that has become oblivious to his aqueous environment, we have become dulled to the ubiquity of consciousness.

In science, we have largely ignored how consciousness manifests in our existence. We’ve done this by assuming that the brain produces consciousness, although how it might do so has never been explained and can hardly be imagined.

The polite term for this trick is “emergence.” At a certain stage of biological complexity, evolutionary biologists claim, consciousness pops out of the brain like a rabbit from a magician’s hat. Yet this claim rests on no direct evidence whatsoever. As Rutgers University philosopher Jerry A. Fodo flatly states, “Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. So much for our philosophy of consciousness.”

In spite of the complete absence of evidence, the belief that the brain produces consciousness endures and has ossified into dogma. Many scientists realize the limitations of this belief. One way of getting around the lack of evidence is simply to declare that what we call consciousness is the brain itself. That way, nothing is produced, and the magic of “emergence” is avoided.

As astronomer Carl Sagan expressed his position, “My fundamental premise about the brain is that its workings—what we sometimes call mind—are a consequence of anatomy and physiology, and nothing more.” Nobelist Francis Crick agreed, saying a “person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behavior of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make up and influence them.”

This “identity theory”—mind equals brain—has led legions of scientists and philosophers to regard consciousness as an unnecessary, superfluous concept. Some go out of their way to deny the existence of consciousness altogether, almost as if they bear a grudge against it. Tufts University cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett says, “We’re all zombies. Nobody is conscious.” Dennett includes himself in this extraordinary claim, and he seems proud of it.

Others suggest that there are no mental states at all, such as love, courage, or patriotism, but only electrochemical brain fluxes that should not be described with such inflated language. They dismiss thoughts and beliefs for the same reasons.

This led Nobel neurophysiologist Sir John Eccles to remark that “professional philosophers and psychologists think up the notion that there are no thoughts, come to believe that there are no beliefs, and feel strongly that there are no feelings.”

Eccles was emphasizing the absurdities that have crept into the debates about consciousness. They are not hard to spot. Some of the oddest experiences I recall are attending conferences where one speaker after another employs his consciousness to denounce the existence of consciousness, ignoring the fact that he consciously chose to register for the meeting, make travel plans, prepare his talks, and so on.

Many scientists concede that there are huge gaps in their knowledge of how the brain makes consciousness, but they are certain they will be filled in as science progresses. Eccles and philosopher of science Karl Popper branded this attitude “promissory materialism.”

“Promissary materialism is a superstition without a rational foundation,” Eccles says. “It is simply a religious belief held by dogmatic materialists … who confuse their religion with their science. It has all the features of a messianic prophecy.”

The arguments about the origins and nature of consciousness are central to premonitions. For if the promissory materialists are correct—if consciousness is indeed identical with the brain—the curtain closes on premonitions.

The reason is that the brain is a local phenomenon—i.e., it is localized to the brain and body, and to the present. This prohibits premonitions in principle, because accordingly the brain cannot operate outside the body and the here-and-now. But consciousness can operate beyond the brain, body, and the present, as hundreds of experiments and millions of testimonials affirm. Consciousness cannot, therefore, be identical with the brain.

These assertions are not hyperbolic, but conservative. They are consistent with the entire span of human history, throughout which all cultures of which we have record believed that human perception extends beyond the reach of the senses. This belief might be dismissed as superstition but for the fact that modern research has established its validity beyond reasonable doubt to anyone whose reasoning has not clotted into hardened skepticism.

To reiterate a single example—the evidence supporting foreknowledge—psi researchers Charles Honorton and Diane Ferrari examined 309 precognition experiments carried out by sixty-two investigators involving 50,000 participants in more than two million trials. Thirty percent of these studies were significant in showing that people can describe future events, when only five percent would be expected to demonstrate such results by chance. The odds that these results were not due to chance was greater than 10 to the twentieth power to one.

One of the first modern thinkers to endorse an outside-the-brain view of consciousness was William James, who is considered the father of American psychology. In his 1898 Ingersoll Lecture at Harvard University, James took a courageous stand against what he called “the fangs of cerebralism and the idea that consciousness is produced by the brain.”

He acknowledged that arrested brain development in childhood can lead to mental retardation, that strokes or blows to the head can abolish memory or consciousness, and that certain chemicals can change the quality of thought. But to consider this as proof that the brain actually makes consciousness, James said, is irrational.

Why irrational? Consider a radio, an invention that was introduced during James’s lifetime, and which he used to illustrate the mind-brain relationship. If one bangs a radio with a hammer, it ceases to function. But that does not mean that the origin of the sounds was the radio itself; the sound originated from outside it in the form of an electromagnetic signal. The radio received, modified, and amplified the external signal into something recognizable as sound.

Just so, the brain can be damaged in various ways that distort the quality of consciousness—trauma, stroke, nutritional deficiencies, dementia, etc. But this does not necessarily mean the brain “made” the consciousness that is now disturbed, or that consciousness is identical to the brain.

British philosopher Chris Carter endorses this analogy. Equating mind and brain is as irrational, he says, as listening to music on a radio, smashing the radio’s receiver, and thereby concluding that the radio was producing the music.

To update the analogy, consider a television set. We can damage a television set so severely that we lose the image on the screen, but this doesn’t prove that the TV actually produced the image. We know that David Letterman does not live behind the TV screen on which he appears; yet the contention that brain equals consciousness is as absurd as if he did.

The radio and TV analogies can be misleading, however, because consciousness does not behave like an electromagnetic signal. Electromagnetic (EM) signals display certain characteristics. The farther away they get from their source, the weaker they become.

Not so with consciousness; its effects do not attenuate with increasing distance. For example, in the hundreds of healing experiments that have been done in both humans and animals, healing intentions work equally well from the other side of the earth as at the bedside of the sick individual. Moreover, EM signals can be blocked partially or completely, but the effects of conscious intention cannot be blocked by any known substance.

For instance, sea water is known to block EM signals completely at certain depths, yet experiments in remote viewing have been successfully carried out beyond such depths, demonstrating that the long-distance communication between the involved individuals cannot depend on EM-type signals.

In addition, EM signals require travel time from their source to a receiver, yet thoughts can be perceived simultaneously between individuals across global distances. Thoughts can be displaced in time, operating into both past and future.

In precognitive remote viewing experiments—for example, the hundreds of such experiments by the PEAR Lab at Princeton University—the receiver gets a future thought before it is ever sent. Furthermore, consciousness can operate into the past, as in the experiments involving retroactive intentions. Electromagnetic signals are not capable of these feats. From these differences, we can conclude that consciousness is not an electric signal.

Then what is it? My conclusion is that consciousness is not a thing or substance, but is a nonlocal phenomenon. Nonlocal is merely a fancy word for infinite. If something is nonlocal, it is not localized to specific points in space, such as brains or bodies, or to specific points in time, such as the present.

Nonlocal events are immediate; they require no travel time. They are unmediated; they require no energetic signal to “carry” them. They are unmitigated; they do not become weaker with increasing distance. Nonlocal phenomena are omnipresent, everywhere at once. This means there is no necessity for them to go anywhere; they are already there. They are infinite in time as well, present at all moments, past present and future, meaning they are eternal.

Researcher Dean Radin, whose presentiment experiments provide profound evidence for future knowing, believes that the nonlocal events in the subatomic, quantum domain underlie the nonlocal events we experience at the human level. He invokes the concept of entanglement as a bridging hypothesis uniting the small- and large-scale happenings. Quantum entanglement and quantum nonlocality are indeed potent possibilities that may eventually explain our nonlocal experiences, but only further research will tell.

Meanwhile, there is a gathering tide of opinion favoring these approaches. As physicist Chris Clarke, of the University of Southampton, says, “On one hand, Mind is inherently non-local. On the other, the world is governed by a quantum physics that is inherently non-local. This is no accident, but a precise correspondence … [Mind and the world are] aspects of the same thing … The way ahead, I believe, has to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe … We have to start exploring how we can talk about mind in terms of a quantum picture … Only then will we be able to make a genuine bridge between physics and physiology.”

Whatever their explanation proves to be, the experiments documenting premonitions are real. They must be reckoned with. And when scientists muster the courage to face this evidence unflinchingly, the greatest superstition of our age—the notion that the brain generates consciousness or is identical with it—will topple.

In its place will arise a nonlocal picture of the mind. This view will affirm that consciousness is fundamental, omnipresent and eternal—a model that is as cordial to premonitions as the materialistic, brain-based view is hostile.

Copyright © 2013 by Larry Dossey. All Right Reserved.


Larry Dossey on Human Interconnection

Unbroken Wholeness: The Emerging View of Human Interconnection


The notion of a separate organism is clearly an abstraction, as is also its boundary. Underlying all this is unbroken wholeness even though our civilization has developed in such a way as to strongly emphasize the separation into parts. –David Bohm and Basil J. Hile, The Undivided Universe.1

“I suddenly developed a severe headache in the back of my head,” the nurse said tearfully. “It was so painful I could not function and had to leave work. This was strange, because I never have headaches. When I reached home and was lying in bed, the phone rang. I learned that my beloved brother had been killed from a gunshot wound to the back of his head, the same place my terrible headache was located. My headache began at the same time the shooting occurred.”

The woman was a prominent nurse leader at a major hospital in northern California. The occasion was a Q and A session after an address I had given to senior staff of the hospital consortium to which her hospital belonged. My topic was the importance of empathy, compassion, and caring in healing and healthcare. I had reviewed empirical evidence suggesting that empathy and compassion are more than vaporous emotions that float in our bodies somewhere above our clavicles. They are part of our biological makeup, I suggested. Although empathy and compassion arise when we are in the presence of another person, as when a nurse or physician is at the bedside of a patient, evidence suggests their effects are also felt between individuals at a distance, beyond the reach of the senses. Distant individuals often share feelings, sensations, and thoughts, particularly if they are emotionally close. These experiences, I explained, are called telesomatic events. Hundreds of such cases have been reported over the years but have been largely ignored.

This discussion had prompted the nurse to reveal her experience to several hundred of her colleagues in the audience. “Now I have a name for what happened between my brother and me,” she said. “Now I can talk about it.” Her story riveted the audience. When she finished, she was not the only person in the room in tears.

Levels of Connectedness

Neuron to Neuron

In 2009, a team of Italian researchers led by neuroscientist Rita Pizzi demonstrated that when one batch of human neurons was stimulated by a laser beam, a distant batch of neurons registered similar changes, although the two were completely shielded from each other.2 See Table 1.


Brain to Brain

In 1965, researchers T. D. Duane and Thomas Behrendt decided to test anecdotal reports that identical twins share feelings and physical sensations even when far apart. In two of 15 pairs of twins tested, eye closure in one twin produced not only an immediate alpha rhythm in his own brain, but also in the brain of the other twin, even though he kept his eyes open and sat in a lighted room.3

The publication of this study in the prestigious journal Science evoked enormous interest. Ten attempted replications soon followed by eight different research groups around the world. Of the 10 studies, eight reported positive findings, published in mainstream journals such as Nature and Behavioral Neuroscience.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

In the late 1980s and 1990s, a team headed by psychophysiologist Jacobo Grinberg-Zylberbaum at the University of Mexico published experiments that, like most of the previous studies, demonstrated correlations in the electroencephalograms (EEGs) of separated pairs of individuals who had no sensory contact with each other.14, 15, 16

Two of the studies were published in the prominent journals Physics Essays and the International Journal of Neuroscience, drawing further attention to this area.17, 18, 19

Experiments in this field became increasingly sophisticated. In 2003, Jiri Wackerman, an EEG expert from Germany’s University of Freiburg, attempted to eliminate all possible weaknesses in earlier studies and applied a refined method of analysis. After his successful experiment he concluded, “We are facing a phenomenon which is neither easy to dismiss as a methodological failure or a technical artifact nor understood as to its nature. No biophysical mechanism is presently known that could be responsible for the observed correlations between EEGs of two separated subjects.”20

As functional magnetic resonance imaging brain-scanning techniques matured, these began to be used, with intriguing results. Psychologist Leanna Standish at Seattle’s Bastyr University found that when one individual in one room was visually stimulated by a flickering light, there was a significant increase in brain activity in a person in a distant room.19

In 2004, three new independent replications were reported, all successful — from Standish’s group at Bastyr University,18 from the University of Edinburgh,21 and from researcher Dean Radin and his team at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.22

Person to Person

Strong evidence that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors may influence someone remotely has surfaced in recent analyses of social networks. James H. Fowler, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego, and Nicholas A. Christakis, a physician and social scientist at Harvard Medical School, published a provocative article in 2008 in the British Medical Journal, titled “Dynamic Spread of Happiness in a Large Social Network.”23

Christakis states, “[H]appiness is more contagious than previously thought… Your happiness depends not just on your choices and actions, but also on the choices and actions of people you don’t even know who are one, two and three degrees removed from you. … Emotions have a collective existence — they are not just an individual phenomenon.”24

From 1983 to 2003, Fowler and Christakis collected information from 4,739 people enrolled in the well-known Framingham Heart Study and from several thousand other individuals with whom they were connected — spouses, relatives, close friends, neighbors, and coworkers. They found, says Fowler, that, “[I]f your friend’s friend’s friend becomes happy, that has a bigger impact on you being happy than putting an extra $5,000 in your pocket.” The idea that the emotional state of your friend’s friend’s friend could profoundly affect your psyche created a sensation in the popular media. As a Washington Post journalist put it, “[E]motion can ripple through clusters of people who may not even know each other.”25

It’s not just happiness that gets around. The team also found that depression, sadness, obesity, drinking and smoking habits, ill-health, the inclination to turn out and vote in elections, a taste for certain music or food, a preference for online privacy, and the tendency to think about suicide are also contagious.26, 27

Christakis and Fowler published their findings about the spread of obesity in large social networks in the New England Journal of Medicine, widely considered the most influential medical journal in the world. They showed that obesity in people you don’t know and have never heard of could ricochet through you. They attributed the contagiousness of obesity to a “social network phenomenon” without proposing any specific physiological or psychological mechanism.28

To label something, however, is not to explain it, and to merely call this sort of thing a “social network phenomenon” has all the explanatory value of saying “what happens happens.” In the commentary that accompanied the article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the experts who weighed in took the same tack. They discussed the genetic factors that influence obesity and the connections within and between cells in an individual that may contribute to overweight, but they too were mute about how distant humans might influence one another when they are beyond sensory contact.

Some suggest that the ripples work through the action of mirror neurons, which are brain cells believed to fire both when we perform an action ourselves and when we watch someone else doing it. But when people are remote from each other, there is no one to watch, and therefore no stimulus for the mirror neurons to fire. Others suggest that the spread is through mimicry, as when people unconsciously copy the facial expressions, body language, posture, and speech of those around them. There is a hint of desperation in these attempts to find some sneaky physical factor that mediates changes between distant individuals. However, when all is said and done, Fowler and Christakis 29 say they don’t really know how happiness, obesity, etc. spread. The fact that your friend’s friend’s friend, someone you’ve neither seen nor heard of, is affecting your health has begun to rattle many of the gatekeepers in medicine.

This field may be a bomb with a delayed fuse that is getting ready to explode in the very heart of materialistic medicine. A few medical insiders are raising the possibility that something heretofore unthinkable may be going on, such as a nonlocal, collective aspect of consciousness that links distant individuals. Among them is Dr Robert S. Bobrow, a courageous clinical associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at New York’s Stony Brook University. In discussing the spread of obesity in his article “Evidence for a Communal Consciousness” in Explore in 2011, he says, “Frankly, obesity that develops from social connection, without face-to-face interaction, suggests emotional telepathy.”30

If these experiments don’t take your breath away, they should. They suggest that human isolation is a myth, and that human consciousness can manifest in the world beyond the brain. We are linked, united, entangled.

Telesomatic Events

Almost forgotten amid this flurry of research are hundreds of case reports, such as the experience of the aforementioned nurse, which have been accumulating for more than a century. In them, individuals experience similar sensations or actual physical changes, even though they may be separated by great distances. Berthold E. Schwarz, an American neuropsychiatrist, documented many of these instances. In the 1960s he coined the term telesomatic to describe these events, from Greek words meaning “distant body.”31 The term is apt, because these events suggest that a shared mind is bridging two bodies. Most cases go unreported, however, because there is no accepted explanatory mechanism for them, and because of the social stigma that can result from discussing them publicly.

A typical example was described by the English social critic John Ruskin (1819-1900). It involved Arthur Severn, a famous landscape painter who was married to Ruskin’s cousin Joan. Severn awoke early one morning and went to a nearby lake for a sail while Joan remained in bed. She was suddenly awakened by the sensation of a severe, painful blow to the mouth, of no apparent cause. Shortly thereafter her husband Arthur returned, holding a cloth to his bleeding mouth. He reported that the wind had freshened abruptly and caused the boom to hit him in the mouth, almost knocking him from the boat, at the estimated time his wife felt the blow.32

A similar instance was reported in 2002 by mathematician-statistician Douglas Stokes. When he was teaching at the University of Michigan, one of his students reported that his father was knocked off a bench one day by an “invisible blow to the jaw.” Five minutes later his dad received a call from a local gymnasium where his wife was exercising, informing him that she had broken her jaw on a piece of fitness equipment.

Another example that also involved the Severn clan was more unfortunate. One day, while Joan Severn was sitting quietly with her mother and aunt, the mother suddenly screamed, collapsed back onto the sofa, covered her ears with both hands, and exclaimed, “Oh, there’s water rushing fast into my ears, and I’m sure either my brother, or son James, must be drowning, or both of them.” Then, Joan looked out the window and saw people hurrying toward the nearby bathing place. Shortly thereafter her uncle came to the house, looking pale and distressed, and reported that James had indeed drowned.33

David Lorimer, a shrewd analyst of consciousness and a leader of the Scientific and Medical Network, an international organization based in the United Kingdom, has collected many telesomatic cases in his very wise book Whole in One.34 Lorimer is struck by the fact that these events occur mainly between people who are emotionally close. He makes a strong case for what he calls “empathic resonance,” which he believes links individuals across space and time.

The late psychiatrist lan Stevenson (1918-2007), of the University of Virginia, investigated scores of instances in which distant individuals experience similar physical symptoms. Most involve parents and children, spouses, siblings, twins, lovers, and very close friends.35 Again, the common thread is the emotional closeness and empathy experienced by the separated persons.

In a typical example reported by Stevenson, a mother was writing a letter to her daughter, who had recently gone away to college. For no obvious reason her right hand began to burn so severely she had to put down her pen. She received a phone call less than an hour later informing her that her daughter’s right hand had been severely burned by acid in a laboratory accident at the same time that she, the mother, had felt the burning pain.36

In a case reported by researcher Louisa E. Rhine, a woman suddenly doubled over, clutching her chest in severe pain, saying, “Something has happened to Nell, she has been hurt.” Two hours later the sheriff arrived to inform her that her daughter Nell had been involved in an auto accident, and that a piece of the steering wheel had penetrated her chest.37

Twin Connections

But if you stop clinging to coincidence and try explaining this trumpery affair, you might shatter one kind of world. –J. B. Priestley, Man & Time 38

Guy Lyon Playfair is one of the best-known consciousness researchers in Great Britain and is the author of the important book Twin Telepathy.39 He has collected a variety of documented telesomatic cases involving twins and nontwin siblings.

One case involved the identical twins Ross and Norris McWhirter, who were well known in Britain as co-editors of the Guinness Book of Records. On November 27, 1975, Ross was fatally shot in the head and chest by two gunmen on the doorstep of his north London home. According to an individual who was with his twin brother Norris, Norris reacted in a dramatic way at the time of the shooting, almost as if he had been shot by an invisible bullet.40

Skeptics invariably dismiss cases such as these as coincidence, but many are hard to squeeze into this category. An example reported by Playfair concerns four year old identical twins Silvia and Marta Landa, who lived in the village of Murillo de Río Leza in northern Spain. The Landa twins became celebrities in 1976 after being featured in the local newspaper after a bizarre event. Marta had burned her hand on a hot clothes iron. As a large red blister was forming, an identical one developed on the hand of Silvia, who was away visiting her grandparents at the time. Silvia was taken to the doctor, unaware of what had happened to her sister Marta. When the two little girls were united, their parents saw that the blisters were the same size and on the same part of the hand.

It wasn’t the first time this sort of thing had happened. If one twin had an accident, the other twin seemed to know about it, even though they were nowhere near each other. Once, when they arrived home in their car, Marta hopped out and ran inside the house, but suddenly complained that she could not move her foot. While this was happening, Silvia had got tangled up with the seat belt and her foot was stuck in it. On another occasion when one of them had misbehaved and was given a smack, the other one, out of sight, immediately burst into tears.

Members of the Madrid office of the Spanish Parapsychological Society got wind of the burned-hand incident and decided to investigate. Their team of nine psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicians descended on the Landa house, with the full cooperation and approval of the twins’ parents. They had hardly arrived when a typical trade-off incident happened to the little twins. When Marta accidentally banged her head on something, it was her sister Silvia who began to cry. The researchers got to work with a series of tests disguised as fun games for the twins. This meant the little girls had no idea they were involved in an experiment.

While Marta stayed on the ground floor with her mother and some of the researchers, Silvia went with her father and the rest of the team to the second floor. Everything that happened on both floors was filmed and tape-recorded. One of the psychologists played a game with Marta, using a glove puppet. Silvia was given an identical puppet, but no game was played. Downstairs, Marta grabbed the puppet and threw it at the investigator. Upstairs, at the same time, Silvia did the same.

One of the team’s physicians next shined a bright light into Marta’s left eye, as part of a simple physical check-up. When she did this four times, Silvia began to blink rapidly as if trying to avoid a bright light. Then, the doctor did a knee jerk reflex test by tapping her left knee tendon three times. At the same time, Silvia began to jerk her leg so dramatically that her father, unaware the test was going on downstairs on Marta, had to hold it still. Then, Marta was given some very aromatic perfume to smell. As she did so, Silvia shook her head and put her hand over her nose. Next, still in different rooms, the twins were given seven colored disks and were asked to arrange them in any order they liked. They arranged them in exactly the same order.

There were other tests as well. The team rated all but one of them as “highly positive” or “positive.”

The Landa tests confirmed what most researchers have found — that children are more prone than adults to this sort of thing, and that results are more likely to be positive when experiments are done not in sterile, impersonal laboratories but in the natural habitat of the subjects and in a relaxed, supportive environment. This latter lesson often has been flagrantly ignored in consciousness research by experimenters who should know better. Researchers have had to learn repeatedly the importance of ecological validity — the principle that what is being tested should be allowed to unfold as it does in real life.

Telesomatic events often are viewed as little more than cute coincidences or weird curiosities, like the simultaneous burn on the hands of the Landa twins. However, there are many instances in which telesomatic happenings are of life-and-death significance. These cases are important because they show that the telesomatic link has survival value, which is probably why it appears to be inherent in humans.

One such case reported to Playfair involved identical twin boys, Ricky and Damien, only three days old. Anna, their mother, would feed them during the night in her bed, propping herself up with pillows. On this particular occasion she had one twin, Ricky, in front of her, while her other son, Damien, lay on a pillow to her left. As she was changing Ricky’s diaper, he suddenly began screaming. This was surprising, for even though only three days old, “he was a really good baby,” Anna said, as was his brother. She could not figure out what was wrong, as he had been cleaned and fed. Then, still screaming, Ricky’s body began to shake, as if he were having a convulsion. Anna reports that the thought suddenly popped into her head that “twins relay messages to each other.” She looked down to check on Damien and, to her horror, saw that he wasn’t there, but was face down in the pillows behind her. She immediately grabbed him and saw that he was blue in the face with his mouth clamped shut. Damien was suffocating. She and her older daughter began artificial respiration and called an ambulance. The terrifying event had a happy ending. Anna concluded, “Without a doubt, Ricky saved his brother’s life. Had it not been for him screaming and shaking, I never would have looked for Damien until I had finished with Ricky, and by then it would have been too late.”41

The theme of shared pain between twins and emotionally close siblings recurs in cases reported by Playfair. In one example, a five month old identical twin awakens as the clock strikes ten, and suddenly begins crying. After 15 minutes he stops, as if a switch was turned. At a hospital several miles away, his brother is having a painful injection. His mother notes the time as 10 pm. In a similar report, the mother of another pair of five month old identical twins reports that when one of them is having an inoculation he takes it calmly, but the other one “yells his head off.”42

Adult identical twins have similar experiences. An example involved socialite Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt (1904-1965) and her identical twin sister, Lady Thelma Morgan Furness (1904-1970). In Double Exposure: A Twin Autobiography, they relate that when Lady Furness was expecting her baby in Europe, Gloria was in New York City. Gloria was planning to travel to Europe to be with her sister in May when the baby was due. But in late March, when she was preparing to go out to lunch, Gloria developed such severe abdominal pains she had to cancel her engagements and go to bed. She said, “I remember saying… that if I didn’t know such a thing was out of the question, I would think I was having a baby.” Gloria managed to sleep for a while, and on awakening she felt normal-and saw on the bedside table a cable from Lord Furness announcing the premature birth of Thelma’s son.43

Sometimes the pain that is shared is emotional and not physical, as in another case reported to Playfair. It involved an American academic while she was an undergraduate at Stony Brook University in New York. She awoke from a deep sleep at six am New York time and cried out, knowing without doubt that her twin sister in Arizona was in trouble. She told her roommate what had happened, and called her mother as well. Her mother informed her that at three am Arizona time a car bomb had exploded just outside her twin sister’s apartment, shattering a window. Fortunately, her twin sister and her husband were unharmed. The time of the bomb blast in Arizona coincided with her terrified awakening in New York.

Although telesomatic exchanges are by no means limited to twins, they are undeniably frequent among them. As Playfair states, in twins we see “the telepathic signal at full volume, as it were, at which not only information is transmitted at a distance but so are emotions, physical sensations and even symptoms such as burns and bruises.”44

Even so, he has found that only around 30% of identical twins have these experiences, but in those who do the phenomena can be mind-boggling.45 Emotional closeness is an essential factor in the twin connection. Also, having an extraverted, outgoing personality has been shown to facilitate the link. And, as we see in the above examples, what twins seem to communicate best is bad news — depression, illness, accidents, or death.

Intuitive Obstetrics

Exceptions to the twin connection can be seen in physicians who emotionally and physically sense when their patients need their attention. A remarkable case is that of Larry Kincheloe, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Oklahoma City.46

After completing his training in obstetrics and gynecology, Kincheloe joined a very traditional medical group and practiced for about four years without any unusual events. Then, one Saturday afternoon he received a call from the hospital that a patient of his was in early labor. He gave routine orders, and since this was her first baby, he assumed that delivery would be hours away. While raking leaves, he experienced an overwhelming feeling that he should go to the hospital. He immediately called labor and delivery and was told by the nurse that everything was going fine; his patient was only five centimeters dilated, and delivery was not expected for several more hours.

Even with this reassurance, the feeling became stronger and Kincheloe began to feel an aching pain in the center of his chest. He described it as similar to the feeling one has when they are 16 years old and lose their first love — an achingly sad, melancholy sense. The more he tried to ignore the sensation the stronger it grew, until it reached the point where he felt he was drowning. By this time he was desperate to get to the hospital. He jumped into his car and sped away. As he neared the hospital he began to feel better. When he walked onto the labor unit, he had an enormous sense of relief.

When he reached the nurses’ desk, his patient’s nurse was just walking out of the patient’s labor room. When she asked why he was there, Kincheloe honestly admitted that he did not know, only that he felt he was needed and that his place was here. She gave him a strange look and told him that she had just checked the patient and that she was only seven centimeters dilated. At that moment a cry came from the labor room. Anyone who has ever worked in labor and delivery knows that there is a certain tone in a woman’s cry when the baby is nearing delivery. He rushed to the patient’s room just in time to deliver a healthy infant. Afterward, when the nurse asked how he had known to come to the hospital after being told that delivery was hours away, he had no answer.

After that day, Kincheloe started paying attention to these feelings. He’s learned to trust them. Having experienced these intuitive feelings hundreds of times, he routinely acts on them. Usually by the time he gets a call from labor and delivery, he is already getting dressed or is in his car on the way to the hospital. He often answers the phone by saying, “I know. I am on my way,” knowing that it is labor and delivery calling him to come in. This is now such a common occurrence among the labor and delivery staff that they tell the new nurses, “If you want Dr. Kincheloe, just think it and he will show up.”

Recently he had the old feeing, called in, and talked to a new nurse who was taking care of a patient of his who was in active labor. He asked her how things were going and she reported that the patient was resting comfortably with an epidural and that she had a reassuring fetal heart rate pattern. He again asked her if she was sure that nothing was happening that required his attention. Exasperated, she said, “I told you I just checked her and everything is fine.” In the background Kincheloe heard another nurse say, “Ask him if he is having chest pains.” Confused, the new nurse asked him. He replied yes. He heard the new nurse relay his response to the older nurse, who said, “Since he’s having chest pains you had better go check the patient again.”

“Just a minute,” the new nurse said to Kincheloe, as she put down the phone and went to check the patient. Then, he heard the hurried sound of her footsteps returning. She related that the baby was nearing delivery, and that he needed to hurry.

Dr Kincheloe’s experiences show how physical sensations can function as an early-warning system alerting us that something important is about to happen. These telesomatic phenomena are like psychic cell phones uniting distant individuals. The wireless service provider is not Verizon or AT&T, however, but a collective dimension of consciousness that unites individuals at a distance.

Witches in the Waiting Room

Dr Kincheloe may seem unique, but it’s more likely that there are a lot of physicians and other healthcare workers who share his views and simply aren’t talking. In his fascinating book The Witch in the Waiting Room, Robert S. Bobrow, MD, mentioned previously, describes how he discovered that many of his patients, nurses, and colleagues privately believe in powers of the mind that are not officially recognized in medicine. Some are practicing Wiccans. They keep their beliefs to themselves because of the negative reactions these views might evoke if they were made public. Dr Bobrow says, “Who knew? … I go to work as a physician every day, and I’m surrounded by witches. I just never knew it.”47

Colleen Rae is a spiritually oriented counselor who, unlike the closet Wiccans and psychics surrounding Dr Bobrow, went public with her abilities. She considers herself a “reluctant psychic.” Rae grew up with a psychic grandmother and was reared in a family that considered these phenomena perfectly normal. She eventually learned that she was an “empath,” someone who has a profound ability to sense the feelings or thoughts of another person. In a typical experience, for several days Rae had felt excruciating pain in her neck and shoulders for no apparent reason. She could barely roll her neck or tip her head side to side. She wrote in her journal the following:

Yesterday, same thing. Again I was in the shower trying to loosen it up with the hot water. Then I called Mom to find out about her doctor’s appointment. In the course of the conversation, she talked of her tension in her neck and shoulders that her doctor agreed is due… to this horrible anti-cancer drug she’s taking. I asked her to describe her symptoms — the first I’d heard of them from my ever-stoic mother. She described exactly what I’d been feeling. “Excruciating?” I asked. “Yes,” she said.

On another occasion, Rae suddenly developed a toothache for no obvious reason. It suddenly stopped the instant her mother had her own bad tooth pulled.

“Being an empath can be hard on the body,” says Rae in her book Tales of a Reluctant Psychic.48 “But I long ago accepted that without the ‘infection,’ I wouldn’t be able to do one of the more interesting parts of my psychospiritual counseling practice.”

Widespread Interest

What is seen cannot be un-seen. –Folk saying

Many physicians want to unburden themselves of this secret part of their lives and go public with their experiences and beliefs. Bobrow cites a 1980 survey published in the American Journal of Psychiatry that asked psychiatry professors, residents in training, other medical faculty, and deans of medical schools the question: “Should psychic studies be included in psychiatric education?” More than half said yes. The authors of the survey concluded, “Our results indicate a high incidence of conviction among deans of medical schools and psychiatric educators that many psychic phenomena may be a reality, psychic powers are present in most or all of us, nonmedical factors play an important part in the healing process, and, above all, studies of psychic phenomena should be included in psychiatric education. …”49

Many skeptics have done their best to deny and obfuscate these trends. One often hears from skeptics that only a tiny percentage of practicing physicians and medical educators believe in beyond-the-body happenings. These skeptics imply that physicians who believe these things are out of step with the scientific tradition and are trying to take medicine back to the Dark Ages. But as the aforementioned survey shows, belief in these matters is held not by a few renegades, but is extensive in both clinical and academic medicine. Another national survey in 2004 examined the beliefs of 1,100 U.S. physicians in various specialties.

The surveyors found that 74% believe that so-called miracles occurred in the past and that 73% believe they can occur today. (I suspect that for most physicians “miracle” does not mean a violation, suspension, or breach of natural law but an event that is not well understood. Most physicians would likely agree with St Augustine that so-called miracles do not contradict nature, but they contradict what we know about nature. This is my view as well.) Fifty-nine percent of the physicians said they pray for their patients as individuals, and 51% said they pray for them as a group.50 In a review of these trends, author Stephan A. Schwartz concluded, “[T]here is a growing understanding that ineffable considerations, most subsumed under the concept of nonlocal mind, hold considerable sway in the thinking of both the general population and the medical community.”51

Scientists in general hold similar beliefs. A 1973 survey of readers of the British journal New Scientist asked them to state their feelings about extrasensory perception, or ESP. New Scientist defines its readers as being mainstream working scientists, or as science oriented. Of the 1,500 respondents, 67% considered ESP to be an established fact or at least a strong probability. Eighty-eight percent considered psychic research to be a legitimate area for scientific inquiry.52

In another survey of more than 1,100 college professors in the United States, 55% of natural scientists, 66% of social scientists (psychologists excluded), and 77% of academics in the arts, humanities, and education said they believed that ESP is either an established fact or a likely possibility.53

Therefore, the contention that belief in beyond-the-body phenomena is rare among paid-up physicians, scientists, and academics may be dismissed as nonsense. In general, this notion is perpetrated by skeptics who are woefully informed about the depth of research in this field, and oppose it for ideological reasons.54, 55, 56

Mold on a Shower Curtain?

The neuron-to-neuron, brain-to-brain, and person-to-person events we’ve examined are more than quirky, oddball happenings. They are communication channels between distant individuals, one of whom is often in need. They are reminders that beyond our apparent separateness there are filaments connecting us in ways that are not limited by space, time, or physical barriers. The fact that these linkages often involve emotional bonds suggests a more empathic, kinder side of existence than we have recently supposed.

Many great thinkers have valued the unbroken wholeness that exists between people. Plato, for example, in his Symposium, has Aristophanes saying, “This becoming one instead of two was the very expression of humanity’s need. And the reason is that human nature was originally One and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.”57

The experience of oneness, mediated through empathy and love, is an antidote to the deadening effects of the unyielding materialism embraced by many current scientists. An example of this view is that of astrophysicist and author David Lindley: “We humans are just crumbs of organic matter clinging to the surface of one tiny rock. Cosmically, we are no more significant than mold on a shower curtain.”58 Or as Nobel physicist Steven Weinberg famously said, “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”59

These positions can be kept in place only by ignoring the abundance of empirical findings such as we’ve examined. They often involve the deliberate exclusion of crucial evidence, which is scientific malpractice. Moreover, these dismal views have been regularly disputed by some of the greatest scientists. Max Planck, for instance, the leading founder of quantum physics, stated, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. We cannot get behind consciousness.”60 And the eminent physicist Gerald Feinberg said, “If such [nonlocal mental] phenomena indeed occur, no change in the fundamental equations of physics would be needed to describe them.”61 In other words, modern physics does not prohibit the events we’ve examined, but it permits them.

If love does not show up in the equations of physics, and it doesn’t, that is not the fault of love but a limitation of physics. Love nevertheless makes its presence known in scientifically demonstrable ways, as in experiments that demonstrate nonlocal manifestations of consciousness, as we’ve seen. This fact should be cause for celebration in a world worn weary by scientific materialism. It should be good news especially for anyone who likes to compare humans to mold on shower curtains.

Unbroken Wholeness

Love is a gateway to nonlocal connectivity because love tempers the forces of isolation, separateness, and individuality. Although individuality is a valuable complement to connectedness and unity, when it is excessive it can lead to a hypertrophied ego and sense of self, obstructing the felt realization that we are united with one another and all things. As D. H. Lawrence trenchantly put it, “Hate is not the opposite of love, the opposite of love is individuality.”62

This is not just pretty talk. Overcoming separateness results in effects that can be measured in the lab. In three decades of experimental research at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory, Robert G. Jahn, the former dean of engineering at Princeton, and his colleagues have demonstrated that emotionally bonded couples are uniquely gifted in their mental ability to impart order to strings of random ones and zeros produced by random number generators. Moreover, pairs of emotionally close individuals can mentally exchange information remotely, even when separated at continental or global distances. Summing up how it happens, Jahn says, “[The] successful strategy… involves some blurring of identities between operator and machine, or between percipient and agent [receiver and sender]. And, of course, this is also the recipe for any form of love: the surrender of self-centered interests of the partners in favor of the pair.”63 Put simply, love can change the state of the physical world.

The fact that nonlocal, distant communication has been demonstrated at many levels of complexity, from neurons to organs to whole persons, suggests we are dealing with an intrinsic, embedded principle of nature. This consistency across disparate domains is a highly valued feature in science. It suggests that we are on the right track and are not fooling ourselves.

Our connections are real, and they are life-affirming. As Albert Schweitzer put it, “Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being.”64

Our connections are not optional; they are obligatory and intrinsic. This implies that we cannot secede from the web of life, even if we try. On this realization our future may depend.

for footnotes, etc., go to: