Abstracts/ Upcoming Presentations


Simon Senzon

Intellectual Fields of Consciousness and the Chiropractic Term Innate Intelligence in the Literature 

Simon Senzon, MA, DC PhD candidate at the School of Health and Human Sciences at Southern Cross University Director of The Institute Chiropractic Research Fellow at the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation 

Abstract: Transmission of consciousness through culture may be tracked as a clash of worldviews, which becomes evident within peer-reviewed literature. One way to examine this phenomenon is to choose a specific concept as it is debated within a distinct profession. The chiropractic term Innate Intelligence is ideal for such an analysis because it has evoked controversy and misinformation based on clashing worldviews at least since 1915. The more recent chiropractic literature could be analyzed to understand how this classic chiropractic lexicon is a focal point between those advocating for a materialist, rational, biomedical paradigm, and those pushing for a non-materialist, post-rational, chiropractic paradigm. By examining the literature for quality, citation patterns, and influence on the intellectual field, we may learn a great deal about how complexity of consciousness emerges in culture even when confronted by misinformation and attempts at domination by other worldviews. 


Heather Lutz

Integral Scientific Method: Evolving the Scientific Method to Meet the Demands of the Postmodern World

Science is being called upon to transcend the bounds of the status quo in order to meet the needs of postmodern society. Using AQAL Integral Theory, this presentation will offer a possible answer to this call. In doing so, it will define a new role for scientists. Using AQAL quadrants, it will propose an evolved model for using the scientific method. It will propose the necessity of the transpersonal and transrational development of the researcher, the development of inner technologies, and the value of an integral-aperspectival lens. In addition, it will clarify the relationship between the scientist and the scientific method highlighting how the integral scientist is a necessary prerequisite for an integral scientific method. Finally, it will examine scientific knowledge production through an integral lens.  


Katherine Stone

Title: Nature, the evolution of consciousness, and the right to mystical experience 

For  millennia, human societies have incorporated the use of psychoactive  sacraments into their lives and cultures, arguably shaping and  catalyzing evolutions in the human mind and consciousness. But what of  our collective consciousness, or the planetary consciousness?  For many members of psychedelic using subcultures in the United States,  psychoactive sacraments offer a means by which to connect with the  sentience of nature. Recent research suggests that psychedelics can  occasion mystical experiences, and that lifetime  users of some psychedelics are more likely to engage in  pro-environmental behaviors. However, these narratives are not  adequately described in literature, policy, or in the media. Using my  own experience and community as a case study, my presentation will  explore the impacts of collective mystical experiences, and consider  the implications of drug policy reform as it pertains to the evolution  of human and planetary consciousness. 


Christine C. Keating, Anna Maria College, Worcester, MA 01612

Strength of the Double Helix: Doris Lessing’s Quest to Unite the Personal with the Collective from Metafiction to Mythopoeia  

Abstract: From realism to fantasy to mythology, Doris Lessing’s novels encompass varying narrative styles, settings, and conflicts; however, they all revolve around a single quest -- surviving culture’s unending imprisonment of the individual conscience while remaining active in the evolution of society. In the introduction of her autobiography Under My Skin, Lessing uses the metaphor of the double helix to illustrate the strength she gains as a writer and a human being in the duality of maintaining a self-identify that escapes the reigns of cultural ideologies, while simultaneously contributing to the progression and advancement of society. Tracing her narrative methods from her early works of realism, represented by Martha Quest, to her psychological novel The Golden Notebook, to her movement to fantasy and mythology represented by Memoirs of a Survivor and Cleft, respectively, it is evident that Lessing invites her readers into her authorial mind in her earlier works to replicate how she achieves her dual self through metafiction. In her later works, she creates dialogic spaces where the dual sides of self co-exit, moving away from metafiction to mythopoesis using two processes: transcending the established symbolic order by creating new semiotic relationships and using established myths to subvert a male-centered reality. In different settings and various genres, in fictions written over six decades, Lessing is clear in her message: Look inward. The truth lies in our imaginations, in our ability to evolve, to maintain the world within us, while we change the world around us. 


James Clement van Pelt


Rediscovering the Heart:
Beyond the Mind-Body Dialectic

This  presentation describes a model of the dynamics of consciousness as it  relates to three kinds of experience: physical (sensations), affective  (emotions, feelings), and mental (ideation). In doing so, the usefulness of the traditional idea of the heart, as in  mind-heart-body in place of the conventional “mind-body” formulation,  seems descriptive of the central location of the affective center to  consciousness.

Each  kind of consciousness has a specific position in perception,  comprehension, and intention, such that experience follows a  systolic-diastolic dynamic. Sensations must be processed into affectations before they can be experienced in the mind. Mental  forms must be processed into affective forms before they can become  intentional actions carried out by the physical body. This is the  invariable order from physical sensations to affective feelings to mental comprehension, and from mental to  intentional/affective to physical actions. To reach the mind, sensations  must first become affective forms; to reach the physical body, ideation  must produce affective intentions, which then can become actions carried out by the body. 

In  the traditional account of the functionality between body and mind. the  affective center is known as the heart, and is conflated with the  cardiac organ at the center of the cardiac system. While that conflation is apparently false, it does provide an  evocative analogy to the in-out indwelling of the world via the  mind-heart-body in its meaning-making contribution to the living world.


Nancy Ellen Abrams

How a new understanding of “cosmic consciousness” could save the world (Friday)

In many countries smart, dedicated people have already figured out effective things we could do today to drastically slow or even halt climate change, yet collectively we’re not doing them. Instead we’re barreling down traditional paths toward self-destruction. Why? Cynics answer that humanity is doomed because we evolved only to respond to short term problems; however, consciousness is not limited by evolutionary characteristics but by ignorance and political and social pressures. I propose that the reason follows from Einstein’s insight that no fundamental problem can ever be solved on the same level at which it arose. The new picture of the universe emerging from modern cosmology, which I will explain, presents an enormous opportunity to expand our consciousnesses to see Earth and its problems from a cosmic perspective and meet Einstein’s criterion for discovering fundamental solutions. Consciousness that is accurately cosmic in scale reveals what is truly at stake and what it means to be human at this pivotal moment in history.

Astonishing implications of the new cosmology for both consciousness and spirit (Saturday)

A new picture of the universe based on dark matter and dark energy is now accepted by almost all astronomers worldwide, yet few people have thought through or even recognize the potential implications for our lives of expanding our consciousness to encompass this newly discovered reality. I will suggest three: it changes our understanding of what it means to be human, changes our approach to wealth inequality, and even changes the meaning of the concept of “God”.


Megwyn White

Exploring Consciousness through the Orgasmic Current of the Vagus Nerve 

A science-based approach toward understanding the significance of  embodiment in relationship to orgasmic experience as a portal for  reaching higher states of consciousness. Through embodied breath, facial expression, and vocal resonance, we unlock the vagus  nerve - intimately connected from the brain stem to organs in the neck,  chest, and abdomen - and integral for experiencing orgasmic energy on a  deep somatic level. Bridging modern science, somatic awareness, natural based tools, and simple methods to stimulate  awareness and curiosity - supported with anatomically accurate diagrams  and 3D models - this presentation will demonstrate the body's  integrative layers, and how we can effectively arouse and move orgasmic energy to help foster connections and expand  consciousness. A paradigm shift is possible when the experience of fully  embodied language and expression, along with deep meditative states  leads to a genuine inquiry: How can we use orgasmic energy to help understand ourselves, each other, and the delicate nature of our  expressions as portals into consciousness? 


Stephan A. Schwartz


Abstract. This presentation presents an anthropological assessment of religions and spiritual practices stripped of their sectarian dogmas. It discusses them not on the basis of faith, but as systems of empirical observational science developed over generations for the purpose of allowing followers the opportunity to open to nonlocal consciousness. The paper describes how religions begin as the result of a single individual having a nonlocal, or a series of nonlocal, consciousness experiences, laying out the steps by which that single personal experience becomes a religion, and then examines and explains why the spiritual rituals and practices common to religions across time, geography, and culture grow from the experiences of the founder. It describes all of this using scientific experimental research from many different disciplines to show how the empirical sciences of religions , and the spiritual practices they engender are, in fact, supported by a myriad of studies, showing in the process: why water and wine are so often a part of religious rituals ; why healing is so common across religions; why sacred spaces are significant, and how they are created; and why scriptures, and even the manner in which they are written, matter in these empirical systems.


Ed Sarath

Abstract. Central to my work as artist, pedagogue, scholar and integral change  visionary is the idea of an arts-driven revolution in creativity and  consciousness that takes hold in education and society. Within the arts,  moreover, I view the improvised musical art form  of jazz as a particularly robust integral transformative catalyst. This  talk probes a range of considerations by which jazz and improvisatory  creativity are coherent with a non dual vision of consciousness. From  the long legacy of jazz innovators who have  been involved in meditation and related disciplines, including Alice  Coltrane’s extensive engagement in Vedanta, to studies involving  intersubjective dimensions of consciousness (which I argue are  primordial to individual consciousness) that are enlivened in  collective improvisation and meditation, to art-based insights into the  socio-political dynamics of consciousness research; I lay groundwork  for what I suggest is a new wave in consciousness research. In intersperse my commentary with jazz flugelhorn interludes.   


Sandra Christensen

Plant Consciousness: 

In conversation with the land

With  increasing synchronistic experiences, and emerging empathic  communication with plants, my presentation will offer a personal story  of deep conversation with the land I am now living on, in the heart of a  private urban park sanctuary which is being turned  over to the care and stewardship of a local indigenous organization.  Bridging the gap between traditional and holistic medicine, I am  participating in reconciliation by decolonizing relationships with land  and plants, in support of guided healing practices.  My presentation will be an exploration of a personal and conscious  journey to work with the guardians of this land, a community of trees. 


Rick Barrett

Abstract. Chinese internal martial arts develop body-mind-spirit integration to access supernormal abilities and superconscious states of awareness 

Transformation is achieved through gongfu (diligent practice over time) and understanding the inner energy alchemy that feeds the transformation process. Much of this information is veiled by arcane symbology and poetic descriptions, making it inaccessible to the uninitiated. 

In this presentation, I will discuss and demonstrate nervous system correlates (Combs-Wilber Matrix: Upper Right) to the experiential aspect of the practice (Upper Left). This will include mindfulness and distinction of Afferent and Efferent Nervous System activity, Hemispheric Synchronization of the brain, and whole-brain coherence through deliberate consciousness of pre-conscious somatic activity. 

The presentation will include a short guided meditation using techniques developed from these ideas.


Asoka Bandarage


Ecological Consciousness and the Middle Path

Linking consciousness and social change. 


Jacqueline Kurio

I have been working with beach labyrinths for planetary and personal healing since experiencing the Tohoku earthquake in Japan in 2011. As expressions of sacred geometry that are fractal in nature, my investigations are revealing the many ways in which labyrinths exist as consciousness-expanding invitations that take us deeper into both Self and cosmos, while simultaneously revealing the purpose that binds one to the other.  My presentation will discuss the role of the crystalline structure of water and the power of intentions in this healing work and will consider how developments in neuroscience, quantum physics and quantum computing might continue to inform and deepen our appreciation of these living, ancient forms which seem to have made a resurgence at this time to assist with the evolution of human consciousness.


Anngwyn St. Just

Trauma: Time,Space and Fractals : With unresolved trauma the past is always present and the experience of overwhelming life events can alter our perception of both time and space 

A fractal vision of trauma views our individual human experiences, relationships, and families as an integral part of a much larger whole which includes Nature, culture and historical context. It seems that we live in a fractal universe and time itself may be a fractal phenomenon. This presentation will explore the role of linear and non-linear time, as well as perception of time in understanding the causes of replicating traumas in the experience and healing of individual, family and collective trauma. 


Tobi Zausner


As reality molds consciousness, so does consciousness mold reality. An investigation of the subjective nature of reality reveals a fractal basis for consciousness. While fractals are recognized as size invariant mathematically repeating patterns, this paper investigates an extension of the definition to include metaphorical models of fractals characterized by an equivalency of meaning. Rather than being defined by visual similarity, these fractals share an ontology of meaning. We see this type of fractal clinically in psychological patterns that include repetition compulsions, transference, counter transference, and habitual behaviors, where repeated thoughts and actions create self-similar patterns... Because we never see the actual world but only its recreation in our mind from continuous stimuli impinging upon our senses, it is possible that instead of perceiving what we think is a solid reality, our consciousness is decoding the inverse Fourier transforms of a holographic projection into the illusion of an environment. If this is true, we are not only ephemeral iterations organized by consciousness, but our world also becomes a repeating holographic fractal through time.


Beth Torpey

Global Sustainability, the Evolution of Consciousness and the Role of Water 

Abstract: This presentation addresses the question, “Does water have properties which can assist in the development of consciousness evolution”. The subjects of global sustainability, the evolution of consciousness and the role of water are explored. The need for global sustainability and the current importance of such awareness are established as well as an examination of worldviews and a discussion of paradigm shifting. Examples of worldview shifts through college coursework are also provided. The importance of intention is explored as well as an examination of intention and water experiments. Explanations of the possible operating mechanisms of the intention and water experiments are provided. The next question addressed is whether intention-infused substance can improve mood, which leads to the overall question of whether intention infused water can have a positive effect on awareness and consciousness. The Orch-OR theory of consciousness, the Fourth Phase of Water and the Quantum Soul theory are explained and explored for potential mechanisms. 


Melanie Vallee

Beta Burnout

Depression is a highly charged term and carries with it much shame, confusion, stigma, and embarrassment. These  all contribute to suppressing rather than opening communication for the  people suffering from it. Much of depression is seen as a disease within an individual, rather than a disease within a society. Beta Burnout takes depression out of the individual and places a better  balance on societal contributors to depression. Understanding this can  help restore us to our natural balance.  

What is Beta Burnout? When asked, most people understand that humans require 7-8 hours of sleep for optimal health. However, when asked how many hours a day we are meant to spend in the other 4 brainwaves, most people have no idea. Beta Burnout is the result of spending too much time in the beta brainwave and not enough time in the more restorative ones. This presentation is meant to offer education, inspiration, and  transformation by describing simple steps we all can take immediately to  reduce Beta Burnout.  Accessing more of the restorative brainwaves will facilitate improved health and wellbeing. 


Zoran Josipovic

Abstract.  I will introduce arguments toward a non-representational reflexivity theory of nondual awareness. An expanded map of consciousness will be outlined, which includes, in addition to the well-known contents of awareness and levels of arousal, the indeterminate substrate and the nondual awareness or consciousness-as-such. Our previous hypothesis on the precuneus network for nondual awareness will be further discussed in relation to non-representational reflexivity, and in the light of current theories on the neural correlates of consciousness.  


Nick Bustos

There is substantial phenomenological evidence positing a domain of human experience outside the constraints of dualistic, physicalist frameworks. Coupled with progressive advances in contemporary consciousness studies suggesting – contrary to the Newtonian/Cartesian materialist/physicalist worldview – that consciousness rather than matter is primary, this leads to a radical redefinition of the apparent subject/object dualism which appears to govern our day to day experience. This has necessary and profound implications for the practice of psychotherapy, whose essential basis assumes and reifies a strict dichotomy between therapist (self) and client (other). This presentation will focus on the experience of ‘ego-negation’ (EN) in the psychotherapy encounter, which serves as the practical, experiential corollary relative to ontological models suggesting an observer-dependent, non-dual reality. Ego-negation in psychotherapy, which denotes a dropping of the sense of ‘I’, and where the sense of individual separation falls away, has important implications for treatment provision, as therapists report immersion in and identification with a numinous inner dimension, resulting in therapeutic interventions delivered from an intuitive, holistic grasp of the patient, rather than surface-level analysis. Thus the question: what does this mean for psychotherapy as a healing modality and further, as a profession? I will present findings from phenomenological research and recent publications, which includes personal and public case examples, in the exploration of this topic, to convey that ego-negation is an experientially-real phenomenon, and one that appears to have potent healing consequences for both therapist and client, and importantly, provides further evidence for a worldview which transcends the explanatory limitations inherent within current physicalist/materialist models.  


Robert “Bob” Wright

Psychoneuroimmunological and Psychophysiological Correlates of Attention, Anxiety and Chronic Pain

A Presentation at the Consciousness Society Conference

Recent surveys reveal that many Americans regularly suffer with anxiety or chronic pain. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 40 million adult Americans and more than 10 million children have a serious anxiety disorder. Likewise, the Institute of Medicine reports that over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Western medicine approaches for handling anxiety disorders and chronic pain typically provide sufferers with pharmacological solutions which sometimes relieve symptoms but rarely address causation. This presentation will cover how when anxiety and pain are viewed through an attentional lens, Complimentary and Holistic alternative non-pharmaceutical approaches not only can provide symptom relief, but also begin to address underlying causation. Part 1 of the presentation will cover the psychoneuroimmmunolgy and psychophysiology of anxiety and chronic pain, and how and why attentional foci can work to lessen symptoms and begin addressing underlying dis-ease causation by generating shifts in conscious and non-conscious awareness. Part 2 will utilize a custom Open Focus exercise designed to give attendees an opportunity to become aware of and begin dissolving their own anxiety and chronic pain. The release of bodily feltsense fear, worry and pain allows participants to experience an ontological shift or firsthand “knowingness” of what it feels like to dissolve anxiety and chronic pain. Qualitative researchers may also glean insight into how bodily feltsense phenomena can be used as a valid qualitative 1st and 2nd person research inquiry method.


John Weeks

The Sun Is Gone, But I Have A Light

Toward A Symbolic Mastery of the Formal Cause of Story 

This presentation suggests there is a formal cause of story in the Aristotelian sense: a form; a pattern that all stories must play with to be recognizable as stories. It further suggests that symbolic mastery — explicit knowledge of the underlying, implicit, immanent rules — of the formal cause of story is possible.

Screenwriters, novelists, short story writers, and musicians consistently arrange their material within a recognizable pattern. They reproduce this pattern even when they are not consciously aware of it and even when they voice opposition to the use of story structure models. How can this be? 

A close reading of popular Hollywood story structure guides which are explicitly influenced by Joseph Campbell’s archetypal criticism demonstrates that the most popular stories are created as if a formal cause of story exists. Expanding our reading to other prominent practitioners of archetypal criticism, reviewing actual material stories, and informing all of this reading with the work of Dr. Allan Combs (and other members of the consciousness community) will allow us to outline a vision of story as such.  

The presentation will argue that Hollywood seeks symbolic mastery, but falls short due to its inability to distinguish properly between theory and practice, as well as a fixation on the material cause of story. Still, its attempts at theory (when read in the light of Dr. Allan Combs’ consciousness work) will help us develop a more refined search for such mastery.  


Chiara Marrapodi

An Integrated Approach to Trauma and how it Informs Consciousness in Animals

Consciousness is a phenomenon experienced by the human collective, yet it is the proverbial elephant in the room. Many scientific studies attempt to show evidence for it’s

existence with little statistical validity. The field is fraught with anecdotal evidence, most specifically, in animal studies. According to the web dictionary there are a number of contrasting definitions of consciousness; 1) “The state of being characterized by sensation, emotion, volition and thought” or 2) “The state or fact of being conscious of an external object, state or fact.” However, the scientific model has failed to provide a universal definition of consciousness. Despite this, in 2012, The Cambridge Declaration of Animal Consciousness stated that animals have sentience and are able to think and feel. Nonetheless, the belief propagated by Huxley and Descartes suggesting animals are merely automata still prevails. This traditional approach places animals as unintentional and void of consciousness. This conditioning alone has created countless traumatic experiences for domesticated and wild animal populations. This presentation establishes an integrated approach in understanding trauma and its potential to inform the idea of animal consciousness. This is examined with examples of animal emotional experience using an integrated model - Integral Theory. Integral Theory, as proposed by Ken Wilbur, suggests that all organisms have interiority. This presentation carefully considers this idea and explores the potential of interiority from an epistemological (knowing) methodological (doing) and ontological perspective (being). Preliminary research investigating whether biophotons measure subjectivity is discussed along  with the potential for a new species-specific PTS based criterion in equines.


Christopher Zdenek

Title: Trans-logical Post-Formal Consciousness. A model for multi-modal way of being and understanding human history and as a means for optimal global, national, corporate and individual behavior. 


Herbert Demmin

Title: The Practice on Perceptual Forms


Thomas Brophy

 Integral Yoga roots of Consciousness-Based Integral Education at CIHS   

Integral education is poised to become a unifying principle for global higher education systems that are suffering from fragmentation and disconnection from the essence of human being and progress. Integral education does everything conventional education does, and also categorically more by integrating multiple additional domains of learning and growth. Integral education can identify its roots with Integral Yoga and integral philosophy developed contemporaneously by Sivananda and Aurobindo as a grand synthesis of all psychospiritual development paths and theories Eastern and Western. These common roots can be traced in a direct line to two institutions founded specifically for integral education in the U.S. – not only to the founding by Haridas Chaudhuri of California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), but also to the founding by Hiroshi Motoyama of California Institute for Human Science (CIHS). Although each founder uniquely and independently developed their integral education philosophies, they also identify their roots in the Aurobindo-Sivananda Integral Yoga synthesis. This presentation traces the roots of the founding of CIHS as an institution for integral education and scientific research into the consciousness aspect of human being. 



Magdalena  Ph.D., Filmmaker, Researcher and Educator on Transformation of Human  Consciousness, will present and discuss a collection of short videos  from her new web series – Shambhala  Warriors: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things to Make this World a Better Place 



Knowing Oneself as Fundamental Consciousness: An experiential workshop with Judith Blackstone

This workshop introduces the main practices of the Realization Process. In this approach, the radical openness of nondual awakening is found through inward contact with the internal space of one’s body and with the “wisdom channel” that runs through the subtle core of the body.  We uncover the ground of our being as the luminous transparency of fundamental consciousness, pervading our body and environment as a unity. 

Knowing ourselves as fundamental consciousness deepens and refines all of our human capacities: for physical sensation, emotional responsiveness, understanding, and perception.  We reach an authentic, quality-rich experience of ourselves as individuals at the same time as we transcend our individuality.

Judith Blackstone, PhD, developed the Realization Process, a direct path to embodied nondual awakening, and teaches it worldwide.  Her books include The Empathic Ground, The Enlightenment Process, The Intimate Life, Belonging Here, and Trauma and the Unbound Body.  For more information, please visit www.realizationprocess.org.


Richard A. Buck

Consciousness, Spirit and Liberating Relationships 

This paper explores the idea that human relationships can be transformed into liberating relationships, relationships offering freedom to pursue personal goals and at the same time freedom from oppression, through certain transformations of consciousness and spirit. The starting point in this exploration are ideal Christian relationships modeled on the relationship of the Persons of the Trinity as spelled out in the social doctrine of the Trinity, espoused by Jürgen Moltmann and others. These ideal Christian relationships, endowed by the Holy Spirit, are characterized by the relational qualities of diversity, equality, harmony, inclusivity, and freedom. This inquiry then reformulates concepts of the five relational qualities beyond the Christian context by grounding them in principles independent of specific religions, employing the arguments of G.W.F. Hegel and others in the philosophical tradition. It is proposed that the five relational qualities facilitate liberating relationships by satisfying the desire for recognition posited by Hegel as fundamental to transformation of consciousness and emergence of spirit. Through the integration of relational qualities of cognitive diversity, power equality, harmony, inclusivity and freedom, new structures of consciousness and forms of spirit emerge—giving birth to liberating relationships. 


Elizabeth W. Krasnoff

Sound Medicine Workshop: Sound, Healing, Consciousness. Vibration is the language of consciousness (Laszlo, 2017)

Sound Medicine is the science of using audible vibration to release stored energy with conscious intent towards healing. Sound Medicine can be used for the reduction of stress and illness through its properties of unity, synchronization, regulation of our emotional and physical body, and the expansion of consciousness.    

Come learn how sound affects your nervous system and how to use sound in order to bring about a state of peace and calm, reducing the stress in your life and easing your journey. We will use a technology that measures your heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), to guide us. After a brief overview of the science of vibration, in this workshop you will experience how to  measure your nervous systems response to sound using your heart rate and to select sounds to achieve a state of uplifting calm and expanded consciousness. We will explore sound techniques such as Crystal Bowls, Toning, Tuning, Chanting, Singing and Drumming. 


Jennifer Lyke

Sometimes Students Do Good Work: Two Examples of Experiential Projects in an Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Class on States of Consciousness 

This presentation discusses experiential projects completed by undergraduate students enrolled in an interdisciplinary course on “States of Consciousness” with an emphasis on two particularly well-done examples. The assignment directs students to alter their consciousness, without danger or drugs, over the course of approximately eight weeks of the semester. Students are specifically asked to reflect on their experience while doing the project from start to finish, and to include those reflections in their final reports and presentations. Often students choose simple or easy projects and their papers demonstrate little to no self-reflection. However, occasionally students describe substantive metamorphoses during the process of completing the project. Two such examples are summarized: a student who sought psychotherapy for the first time, and a student who attempted to contact a spiritual guide using witchcraft. Philosophical and conceptual issues related to consciousness and illustrated by these projects will be discussed along with pedagogical issues relevant to undergraduates. 


Diana Ali

American Spiritualism is an American religion that was born in 1848 in Hydesville, New York. Its central principles state that there is life after death and that mediums have the capability to communicate with discarnate beings. Mediums are persons who claim they can communicate with the dead. Today, Lily Dale, New York is the largest surviving community of American Spiritualism, with a population of mediums that host an annual festival that draws large crowds from around the world upwards of 20,000-30,000 visitors. The author of the present interdisciplinary study conducted empirical research with twelve medium participants in Lily Dale, for qualitative and quantitative purposes. The purpose of the study was to better understand why American Spiritualist mediums believe they are communicating with discarnate beings and to explore how they experience alterations of consciousness. There was a total of 10 women and 2 men (N=12). The mean age of participants was 62.58 (SD=13.53; age range: 36-76 years; N=12). Participants were tested on the Big Five personality measures, a Communication with Discarnate Beings Interview Questionnaire devised by the researcher and on the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory to test altered states of consciousness. Significant differences were found between the medium sample when compared to other populations. 


John St. Claire

Sound, water, sacred geometry, and crystals: revealing the mystery of consciousness 

Human bodies are 60% to 70% water by volume but are 99% water by number of molecules. Luc Montagnier, who won the Noble Prize for discovering the AIDs virus, has demonstrated that information can be stored in structured water, and this information can inform our DNA. For over 10 years I’ve used sound, crystals, and sacred geometry in my practice to transform a wide variety of human conditions. The incredible success of these methods led me to the California Institute for Human Science where I have been studying the mechanism underlying these results. I propose that information may be stored electromagnetically in the hexagonal rings of the atomic lattice of both quartz crystals and the hexagonal rings of structured water, which exists in every living cell. I’ll present the results of my studies, demonstrate how it relates to Professor Montagnier’s work, and how this guides my practice. Using a standard magnetic tape erasing process, I erased Tibetan bowls. Spectral analysis of recordings after using the bowls on 40 clients showed that information was stored in the bowls, which changed the sound in specific, measurable ways. That information could be erased, which created a more harmoniously pleasing quality to the sound, that was objectively measured. Based on my studies with Marcel Vogel, I developed a unique protocol for storing information in quartz crystals and have made statistically significant measurements of various methods to erase that information. I propose a new theory on how information may be stored in the atomic crystalline structure. The hexagonal rings of both crystals and cellular water are analogous to self similar fractal antennas. This structure may point to a mechanism for the transmission and reception of subtle energy information. Could the structure of the water in our cells be a fractal antenna to cosmic consciousness? I believe I have developed a method to delete information stored in the water comprising 99% of our molecules, restoring them to their natural state. In this natural state, we feel deep inner peace and connected with our life purpose. As a side effect, people often look 10 years younger and persistent uncomfortable physical conditions may change significantly or disappear entirely. 


Mel Schwartz

Change A Word-Change Your Consciousness 

I've often wondered why the broader worldview shift away from mechanism has taken so long. I've come to believe the answer lies in large part in our use of language. Our continued reliance upon the "to be" verbs keep us rooted in constructs of permanence, objectivity and victimhood. These verbs have in common a core insistence on inert states. This presentation will elucidate the advantages of E-prime language, the absence of to be verbs.  


Paul Mills

Nondual Awareness, Wellbeing, and Integrative Health

This presentation discusses the importance for the Integrative Health  movement to advance an understanding of the role of nondual awareness in health and wellbeing.


Tiffany Barsotti

The Physiology of Presence and Spiritual Transcendence: The Reticular Activating System, Vagus Nerve, and Alta Major Chakra Axis

Drawing  extensively on existing neuroscience and human anatomy literature, as  well as teachings of esoteric traditions, this presentation discusses  the Reticular Activating System (RAS) - Vagus Nerve - Alta Major Chakra Axis as the nexus of communication from higher  consciousness to the physical and subtle energy bodies of the human  being.


Miloslava Kozmova

Title: Volition: Does it Exist in Non-Lucid Dreams? 


Ji Hyang Padma

Consciousness and Healing: Perspectives from the Mahayana Tradition 

The role of consciousness and intentionality in healing represents a key component of Mahayana Buddhist worldview-- and presents a significant challenge to Western ontology. Ritual (embodied narrative) mediates between consciousness and the body, so that positive change can happen. The rituals of Mahayana Buddhism create the ground for experiences of radical empathy between client and healer, support psycho-spiritual integration of the healing crisis and also contact deep archetypal realms of the psyche. In reclaiming the power of ritual within healing, we have access to a deeper well than object-materialism provides. Through this exploration of ritual we will rediscover healing as catalyst for spiritual transformatio


David C. Borsos

The Esoteric Philosophy of Alice A. Bailey and Relevant Applications to Consciousness Studies 

Bailey’s 1,300 page A Treatise on Cosmic Fire is arguably one of the most important books written on consciousness in the past one hundred years but it is virtually unknown within academia. Eighteen of her published volumes are claimed to have been transmitted to her telepathically by the Tibetan teacher Djwhal Khul. They constitute a modern presentation of the Ageless Wisdom tradition and integrate ideas from Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity to meet the needs of the modern, scientific mind. They contribute to the “fusion philosophy” or “comparative philosophy” called for by Buddhist scholars Mark Siderits and Jay Garfield but they have an advantage over the many important Buddhist perspectives offered in recent decades to topics in philosophy and cognitive science in that they are not restricted to the interpretation of ancient texts. They are of great value, therefore, in that they provide a complete, modern model of cosmology, ontology, and epistemology for contemporary research in consciousness studies, philosophy of mind, transpersonal psychology, and other areas. In particular, these writings provide the “conceptual framework” sought for by the authors of Beyond Physicalism, including Edward F. Kelly, Adam Crabtree, Paul Marshall, and Henry Stapp, a framework that is needed to support the evidence for post-mortem survival. These authors address one of the greatest limitations of modern thinking, shared even among transpersonal theorists: the rigid adherence to the assumption that human development is restricted to a single life experience. Mainstream scholars are so fearful of alternative views that some, including Rocco Gennaro, Jaegwon Kim, David Papineau, and Susan Blackmore, have contributed to a volume entitled, “The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case Against Life After Death.” My presentation will therefore emphasize Bailey’s various understandings of the soul concept, which do not contradict the anātman doctrine, and explicate the process of reincarnation. One of the reasons Bailey’s writings have been excluded from transpersonal studies is that they are erroneously believed to be unscientific. In fact, Bailey was writing about microtubules (the nadis), plasma cosmology, and biofield science, and providing coherent explanations for telepathy, clairvoyance, near-death and out-of-body experiences as early as 1919. Another reason Bailey’s writings have been ignored is that they are very challenging. Arthur Hastings, the only scholar in transpersonal studies who has written on Bailey, admitted that he found her book, A Treatise on White Magic, “quite difficult to understand,” yet this volume pales in complexity compared to her magnum opus, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire. Notably, Dean Radin recently published a book, Real Magic, that brings some attention to the topic and briefly notes Bailey, and Pim van Lommel references Bailey in his book, Consciousness Beyond Life. Several other academics have mentioned Bailey in recent years but no one seems to be studying her work. The presentation will close by directing interested researchers to a new website dedicated to building a bridge between Bailey’s writings and academia. The core of the website will be a suggested six-semester study program which will help prepare students to approach her masterwork, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire. 


Jeffrey Quackenbush

The Reification of Consciousness 

Scientific work on the physical morphology and behavior of the nervous system has produced an impressive heap of information about the functions of the organ and how these functions relate to human and animal cognition and various subjective states, particularly in consciousness. However, there are two related problems concerning the connection between the observed physical brain and cognitive experience, for which there is no accepted account. First, the representations of cognition appear to mediate and reproduce physical form in objects across arbitrary spans of space and time. For instance, a triangle drawn on a piece of paper and perceived in one moment can be generated at some other arbitrary place and occasion in the imagination or to be drawn on another piece of paper. We have no theory which explains how this is possible in physical terms. Second, the hard sciences lack a conceptual framework for reconciling our understanding of the objective physical world with the experience of the subject that is common to all human beings. This presentation will contend that these twin problems have produced a reification of consciousness in scientific epistemology, and, in focusing on the second problem, will seek to propose a physical definition of subject and object in terms of perspective. Specifically, it will argue that perspective is an aspect of physical world, rather than a function of perception, and formal concepts of subject and object follow from this alignment and can therewith bear broad utility. Examples drawn from everyday life will be discussed as illustration.


Jonathan Bricklin

James’s Filmiest of Screens as a Reverse Veil of Maya

“…even  in this world of the mystic One there is something wrong. The rest, the  peace, is broken by the Maya….This means that time is real.” —William  James

The “filmiest of screens” is one of James’s most quoted metaphors. Introduced in The Varieties of Religious Experience,  this thinnest partition imaginable separates “normal,” “waking,”  “rational” consciousness from “forms of consciousness entirely  different.”  The specific “entirely different” form of consciousness  that prompted James’s screen was a variety of his own  religious experience, with nitrous oxide, in which “the mind sees all  logical relations of being with an apparent subtlety and instantaneity  to which its normal consciousness offers no parallel.” Called the  “anaesthetic revelation” by James’s mystic adviser Benjamin Paul Blood,  it was, for James, plausible support for the “mystic One” of both  Eastern religion and Western Absolute Idealism. But especially when  linked, as James did, with an etherized patient’s experience of  precognition, this support posed a problem for him. Since James found a  “static, timeless, perfect absolute” to be a “monstrous” belief,  “foreign to all that is human,” he needed his screen to function as a  substantial border wall, fortifying our “being in time” as an  “untranscendable truth.”  And for most consciousness explorers who are  likewise open to precognition but closed to its implications this border  wall remains intact, preventing consideration of what James himself  considered a possible “veridical revelation”. But a full appreciation of  the “metaphysically significant” anaesthetic revelation—a significance  James acknowledged and accessed throughout his writings—can help tear  down this wall, transforming the filmiest of screens into a reverse veil  of Maya.  To gaze through that veil is to still identify ourselves as  robust centers of a narrative gravity (though not authors of that  narrative) while experiencing, in Blood’s words, “the comfort of  serenity and ancient peace” to all who “have felt sadly the instability  of temporal things.”


Syamala Hari

Having  defined time by means of the procedure adopted to measure it, Einstein  remarked, “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the  distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly  persistent illusion”. According to relativity theory, time only appears to ‘flow’ but the ‘now’ and the ‘time flow’ do not  actually reflect the reality because the perception of a ‘now’ that  moves along in time arises as a result of human consciousness and the  way our brains are wired. But, is human consciousness an illusion? After all, brains with cognitive abilities are also real!  They exist! Rauscher and Targ (researchers of extrasensory perception  (ESP) phenomena) suggest that the speed of thought may be transcendent  of any finite velocity because in remote-viewing and precognition phenomena, both mind-to-mind and mind-to-target  awareness behave as if space-time distances are non-existent by  accessing the complex Minkowski space as though it is contiguous. In  this presentation, we use superluminal Lorentz transformations in Extended Relativity theories to show that the assumption of infinite  speed of thought also explains why every observation of ours occurs only  ‘now’. 


Charles Chip McNeal

Re-storying Conscious Identity Through Narrative Engagement

In  my presentation, I share the preliminary research data from a pilot  study in Narrative Inquiry. The data infers the possibility of  developing a positive, more resilient and strengthened self-identity  through narrative engagement outside the clinical setting. It seems the conscious mind may aid in healing past psychic trauma  through intentional re-telling of the experience to/with a thoughtful  and compassionate co-conspirator acting as inquirer. The investigation  of this phenomenon enriches a new path of narrative analysis that reaches beyond the landscape of consciousness to reveal  the landscape of identity. Intentionally manipulating the landscape of  identity may offer new understanding about the restorative nature of  community dialogue, narrative inquiry and the development of personal narratives. As an education equity researcher, I find the  implications relevant, and timely for educational curricular reform that  focuses on student empowerment, and social justice principles.


Ashanti Monts-Tréviska

Deafhood [of color] Consciousness: The Re-Emerging Transformative Approach to Humxn Experience.

What  would the world look when it embraces the embodiment of an authentic  balance of meaningful humxn experience through the integration of  Deafhood [of color] consciousness within our current paradigm? An exploration of the emergent thought process of  reframing monocultural narratives from the perspective of Deaf  consciousness thorough intersectional lens. 


John K. Grandy

DNA Autopoiesis, Cognition, and Neurogenetic Connections to Human Consciousness: 2019

The  concept of DNA consciousness has been objectified and reified, by  identifying and categorizing genetic action cycles that represent  molecular cognition and autopoiesis. These genetic action cycles, and  the gene families that drive them, evolve into neurogenetic correlates that are expressed at the level of the neuron, which are also  seen on larger scales, e.g., the evolution of the primate brain. In  this presentation I will review and summarize publications that explain  the underlying genetics of DNA autopoiesis and cognition, and propose how this system of genetic action cycles can  evolve into neurogenetic correlates of human consciousness. 


Bernie Baars; Natalie Geld

Cortex is proposed to be the organ of mind” (Penfield & Roberts, 1959) - for conscious and unconscious functions. (Baars et al, 2013) 

Is it true? This debate has lasted because cortex is the most adaptable organ in the body. Its development can vary enormously at any choice point in its trajectory. Cortex is a kind of “species.” In waking cortex, adaptive neuronal signaling is also constantly changing, using moments of conscious “integration and ignition” as the major adaptive event. (Dehaene, 2014) 

The term “mind” was brought back in the 1950s, after a long behavioristic exile circa 1900. But the new psychology missed crucial aspects of mind: the role of conscious cognition (Cs) and at least three kinds of unconscious (Ucs) brain computations: we can call them cognitive, Freudian and Jungian. Each brain process can emerge derivatively in fleeting consciousness, in a long dialogue between Cs and Ucs processes - or sometimes in fringe experiences (James, 1890; Mangan, 2000). In the face of greater challenges, fleeting, serial, and limited capacity Cs/Ucs streams emerge in recurrences over time. (Baars, 1988; Baars et al, 2013). 

Penfield thought that “cortex is the organ of mind” based on 1,200 surgeries in conscious, intractable epileptics. Waking surgeries have been revived, with over 2,000 new articles. This vast wellspring of evidence began to be better understood in the last half century.

Cortex adapts to psycho-physiological injury. The earlier that anomalous deviations occur in development, the more healing adaptations can intervene. (Edelman and Tononi, 2000). 

In rare cases of altered early developmental disorder, as in anencephaly, the visible cortex seems to visibly disappear from its normal cranial space - which is taken over by cerebrospinal fluid. This makes it seem as if the newborn (and later) brain can be conscious without a cortex. (Bjorn Merker, 2007) 

This important discovery - in the light of G. M. Edelman’s Neural Darwinism - has a plausible explanation: the “missing cortex” comes from an unusual, functional, developmental trajectory.

Today’s “neuroscopes” show that many Cs/Ucs functions are performed by the cortex - our first brain region for learning.

Izhikevich and Edelman (2008) made a 3D animation based on all available neuronal evidence from many species. This model is viable due to cross-species similarities. Active neuronal signaling in cortex includes both neural spiking and mass action waves. These findings suggest a new understanding of Cs/Ucs cortex. 

Much evidence shows that cortex is the “organ of mind” - as Penfield found over 30 years of waking surgeries. These ideas have been presented by Baars et al. Global Workspace Theory (GWT) has grown into Global Workspace Dynamics (GWD) to incorporate decades of new insights, particularly about the waking cortex. 

Penfield surgeries gave the best early evidence that Csns crucially involves cerebral cortex. 

Cortex is the most hyper-adaptable region of the brain, and reflects evolutionary, ontogenetic, epigenetic, and Cs-mediated learning and adaptation. The story of Cs cognition is the story of cortex - in dialogue with Ucs cortico-thalamic and extra-cortical functions. 


James Clement van Pelt; Robert Wright

Resistance Is Futile:

Star Trek and the Trajectory of Human Consciousness.
The evolution of consciousness has been accelerating. One way to  track that trajectory is through the development of the Star Trek  generations from origins to the present.This panel is not a Star Trek  fan meeting; it is about using the evolution of Star Trek since the 1960s as a convenient shorthand for charting the  evolution of consciousness over its modern, postmodern, and contemporary  stages. From the often cartoonish space opera of the original series to  the emergence of the latest barely comprehensible iteration of the Star Trek universe and its alien denizens, milestones  of depth and sophistication can be noted in the portrayals of science,  technology, economics, war, peace, and vision of what is to come:  matters of the spirit and what makes an entity "human" beyond genetics--values, compassion, respect for diversity, and how  reality itself is perceived. Through the changing characteristics of  Star Trek's shifting universe, we can discern an underlying trajectory  in our own consciousness, ever more rapidly in ever more profound ways--a challenging yet hopeful corrective to the  Borg-like, zombie-filled, apocalyptic consciousness that visions of the  future more and more offer. Presentations by Robert Wright, James  Clement van Pelt, and TBA.

Bernie Baars, Natalie Geld, David Edelman, Neil Theise, and Mark Mitton (not pictured)

"Bernie Baars Natalie Geld David Edelman Neil Theise on Neural Darwinism"

How do biological systems confront, survive, and propagate in an ever-changing world? 

This is the central question that defined Charles Darwin’s scientific journey. 160 years after On the Origin of Species, Natural Selection provides a framework for understanding adaptation at many different scales of biological organization, from protein translation (e.g., ribosomes acting as mRNA message ‘filters’ which determine final protein products), to the immune response (i.e., ‘recognition’ of foreign agents or pathogens by antibodies), to organismal development (e.g., morphogenesis; embryogenesis, etc.), to the origin of species and dynamics of vast ecologies (e.g., rainforest canopies, grasslands, island biogeography, etc.). 

Neural Darwinism and Waking Consciousness: A Natural History of the Brain in Real Time.

At nearly every observable scale, biological systems are shaped by processes analogous to those guiding the character of species over the course of evolution. In any given biological system, certain elements (i.e., cells, cell populations, organisms) of the vast heterogeneous repertoire which constitutes that system are favored over others by environmental circumstances. Elements selected are then propagated over time (through either differential reproduction or amplification) while others disappear or fall silent, and the character of the entire system is shaped accordingly. 

Here, we argue that the very same selectionist principles that shape complex adaptive systems as diverse as the immune response, speciation, and rain forest ecology can be extended to the generation and function of complex nervous systems. More than forty years ago, the Theory of Neuronal Group Selection (TNGS), or Neural Darwinism, was proposed by the neuroscientist Gerald Edelman to account for the development and function of the human brain. TNGS holds that the functional circuitry of the brain is determined by selective forces operating during development and throughout the life of an organism. 

First, genetically specified populations of neurons and their synaptic connections are generated during embryogenesis. The cellular events which comprise the functional milieu of the developing organism (e.g., division, differentiation, movement, death) act on these populations, favoring some synaptic connections while pruning others. This gives rise to a ‘primary repertoire’ of synaptic connections (e.g., neuronal groups) which is then shaped by salient external stimuli over a lifetime. The synaptic connections that respond most robustly to salient stimuli encountered during experience are selectively strengthened, while those that don’t are weakened. The resultant ‘secondary repertoire’ constitutes the familiar functional circuitry that characterizes different regions of the adult brain, particularly cerebral cortex. 

Finally, richly interconnected groups of neurons in different parts of the brain that are temporally correlated during experience within the same narrow temporal window eventually become causally linked to one another. Such dynamic reentrant neural mappings within cortex and between cortex and thalamus are the basis of bound, unitary percepts, i.e., conscious states. 

Neural Darwinism provides a biological framework for understanding higher brain function and consciousness. It explains these processes at different levels of organization, from molecular to cortical and behavioral. Here, we unpack TNGS and make the case that this theory lays out tractable biological ‘first principles’ for building a brain that learns, remembers, and experiences.