WHO WANTS TO BE NORMAL ANYWAY?

“The trembling in academic journals over how science must be falling apart because of positive evidence for psi is a desperate attempt to maintain a stable worldview where psi can’t exist.” Dean Radin, PhD

Welcome back old and new friends. It’s been a while and I wanted to share something I’m really enjoying. I’m reading Supernormal by Dean Radin. From the mystical side I’ve known that many (if not all) spiritual traditions hold that spiritual progress, especially through meditation practice, directly leads to the emergence of what we commonly call psychic ability (PSI). And these traditions also warn the seeker not to be distracted or side-lined when it happens because the spiritual path’s goal is Truth or union with the Universe (God, divine, Absolute, Reality, etc.). Leave it to scientist Dean Radin to put this to the test.

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About two thousand years ago, Pantanjali (The Yoga Sutras) wrote in rather cookbook terms that if you sit down and quiet the mind and dedicate yourself to this practice, you will eventually gain supernormal powers (siddhis). Elementary siddhis as outlined by the text include telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis. And to open your mind further, Pantanjali goes on to discuss the more advanced siddhis of invisibility, levitation, invulnerability, and superstrength (homage to comic book superheroes here). Are you still with me or are you rolling your eyes and scoffing? I sense a few of you are… smiling.

If you’ve read some of my previous work, you already know that science long ago established the existence of precognition with the Rhine experiments and the meta- analysis which followed (Honorton/Ferrari). There is statistically significant evidence for precognition although its effect is small in the general population. The point is that it’s there.

In the 1990s Radin went on to look at presentiment (prefeeling instead of preknowing). Radin used a random number generator and a stock of color photos which contained calming or emotional images that were flashed on a computer screen. He collected the subject’s reaction via skin conductance levels using electrodes attached to the palm. (Radin gives an exhaustive description in the book in case anyone wants to examine all the experimental protocols.) The results indicate that people react physiologically BEFORE they see the image on the screen. The experiment is strong evidence for presentiment even though the subject does not have conscious awareness of the image.

Back to Pantanjali. In a fairly complicated experiment, Radin looked at a group of meditators and non-meditators (sixteen individuals total). Meditators with a lot of experience in non-dual techniques often can achieve a deep state of absorption (Samadhi/Samyama) where time and space evaporate. The yogic perception is that an underlying deeper reality exists beyond time and space. In this reality, past and future influence the present. We are used to thinking about the past influencing the future, but it may also be that the future is at work as well. In this way of looking at things, presentiment/precognition can be viewed as the future influencing present awareness.

In the experiment, 32 channels of EEG were measured before, during, and after exposure to unpredictable light and sound stimuli. If meditation practice developed a way to extend consciousness through time, then we would expect the meditators to exhibit prestimulus differences in EEG responses over the control group (non-meditators). The research revealed that meditators did show brain activity that anticipated an audio signal. Non-meditators did not show any significant prestimulus differences between light v. sound.* The outcome supported the idea that the meditators were accessing the future in a way consistent with Pantanjali’s description.

A reversal of the cause-effect sequence is compatible with classical and quantum physics. Physicists already accept time reversal for the quantum world, but the evidence for precognition suggests it also takes place in the macro-world.

The evidence for precognition/presentiment may excite you or it may make you very nervous but either way, it should make you pause to consider how our worldview must change. Science has to take us to new places and challenge us to think and see in new ways. Scientific laws are not carved in stone and to reject all PSI research because it doesn’t fit a materialistic worldview only slows down the inevitable. We are starting to see the ground shift. Seventy-five years of scientific evidence from all over the world indicates that humans do possess one of the siddhis Pantanjali listed. We can glimpse the future.

More Summer Reading:
Emotional Freedom (Energy Psychology)- Judith Orloff, MD
The Biology of Belief- Bruce Lipton, PhD
The Way of the Explorer- Edgar Mitchell (astronaut)
The Genie in Your Genes- Dawson Church (epigenetics)

*Reasons why the non-mediators didn’t exhibit presentiment (in this small study) may be due to the stimulus not being emotionally charged and/or the choice of measuring physiological changes might not be the best one.

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67 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Books, PSI, Spiritual/Mysticism, Uncategorized

67 responses to “WHO WANTS TO BE NORMAL ANYWAY?

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  3. Fascinating! Well researched!

  4. downturnabyss

    Precognitive events are always treated sceptically, and perhaps that’s correct in the sense that sometimes they are not so much precognitive as just the imagination at work (although that opens up a whole other debate about what imagination must be). However, it has to be said that science does not help itself in attempting to understand these things – scientists (not all, but a fair few) are surprisingly close-minded: it’s like they feel ‘we deal in facts. facts are what is known. therefore that which we do not not know cannot be true and so a fact.’ Call me dumb, but I thought science was supposed to be about moving forward? I’ve seen enough to know that there’s something happening in the whole ‘paranormal’ sphere, but I have no idea what as yet. In truth, ‘paranormal’ is a terrible term as it has so many connotations. There is no ‘supernatural’, only natural that we don’t know enough to explain yet. And discovering is half the fun.

    • Made me think of this from Schopenauer:

      All truth passes through three stages:
      First it is ridiculed.
      Second, it is violently opposed.
      Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

      It will come, though.

  5. Many people are most comfortable in a failure-of-imagination state of being. Yes, I think the sciences will uncover the mechanisms that make presentiment possible. Whether or not they will be acknowledged remains to be seen.

  6. From my experiance the closer we get to nature the more we can see Gods wonderful hand in work. That is why it is always easy for me to meditate with Him in His wonderful creation.

    God bless you with love, joy and peace.

  7. Good post, made for an interesting read. I tried getting into meditation a few years back but didn’t quite manage it. Thanks for the like, by the way.

    • A lot of people struggle with meditation. That’s the point, really. To quiet the mind is no easy feat. You might try The Five Minute Meditation Technique (I think that’s the title). It offers short tools to watch the mind as it rebels. Meditation is like exercise because you are “building your meditation muscles.”

  8. Great post. In recent years, I have found myself pre cognizant of many things. I do try to meditate most days, but cannot quiet my mind. I always had some ability, but it increased dramatically after being heavily addicted to opioids for about two years, then successfully quit. Then there’s the empathic/telepathic abilities. My husband says daily: “get out of my head!” Have you ever heard of the phenomena where ability is repressed for a period of time, then returns stronger? You seem so knowledgeable about the subject. Perhaps you could shed some light, or point me in the right direction.

    • I’ve heard lots of personal stories of people repressing and then having it reemerge in bigger ways. The point mystical literature makes is that psychic ability that shows up now and then is frustrating and somewhat unreliable. Only abilities cultivated through years of systematic mediation (or other spiritual means) will lead to controllable, reliable ability. Most spiritual traditions warn against developing PSI without developing a strong spiritual practice. For meditation practice, I had a big breakthrough after using the Monroe system of CDs to entrain the brain. Google Bob Monroe and his work.

  9. Reblogged this on jeseniasanabia and commented:
    Great book review 🙂 Check it out 🙂

  10. Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been meditating for about 6 years and have experienced some of the phenomena you discussed, but so far it seems rudimentary and useful only at times. You have encouraged me to keep going and maybe even to stop squashing down the phenomena but instead making a more conscious effort to develop it. Can’t wait to read Hunt for Truth’s post mentioned above. I live in a community with lots of “entanglement”.

    • Luckily we live in a time when there are a lot of resources to help. Tibetan texts talk about the ten stages of the Bodhisattva which outlines the emergence (and order) of psychic dev. Also things about kundalini rising might help. Good luck with your spiritual development, Pam. Many of us are in the same boat.

  11. I’ve seen a few video presentations by Dean Radin. Science isn’t really an enemy in these issues of spiritual and “supernatural” debate — just some scientists like to make statements discarding what isn’t concrete and mathematically proven — that isn’t science — its closed minds.
    ~ Eric

  12. I’ve seen a few video presentations by Dean Radin. Science isn’t really an enemy I these issues of spiritual and “supernatural” debate — just some scientists like to make statements discarding what isn’t concrete and mathematically proven — that isn’t science — its closed minds.
    ~ Eric

  13. I love your measured approach to a subject that can so easily sound flaky, Ellis. I’m quite sure that the future interacts with the past. In times of trouble I have had dreams and intimations of my future self. As a result, I use this technique a lot with clients. And regular meditation over many years certainly helps expand our senses. There is so much wisdom in it.

    • Thanks, Suzanne. I was listening to a CD series by Caroline Myss where she talks about health. Speaking as a medical intuitive, she’s tired of hearing people blame an illness on a past life. In this new way of living where past, present, and future exist simultaneously, a future life may have just as much influence over your daily experience. Now that will challenge a lot of people! Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Thank you for visiting my blog and liking my post, Reiki Never Gave Up 🙂 I really enjoyed reading your blog WHO WANTS TO BE NORMAL ANYWAY?
    I have found over the years that normal is all about perception, anyway 😉
    Those who strive to find that “normal” state of being will be eternally searching.
    Blessings!
    ~Juniper aka Jennifer

  15. It’s like don Juan (of Carlos Castaneda books) taught. When you clear your mind of thoughts, and focus on silence (and it takes practice every day to find what silence means), then you find the hidden powers inside of you. When all you do is focus on the physical realm and listen to the nonstop thoughts passing in and out of your mind all day long, you won’t find those powers. You must separate yourself from that physical environment. Like Gurdjieff says, you must dis-identify. To not identify with your inner thoughts or the outer world around you, to find that silence, to observe….then you get there.

    For example, I did my own experimenting. I lay in bed before sleep for a few nights holding my consciousness in awareness, waiting for my body to relax to go to sleep. It took a few nights of practice before it happened. One night while I lay in bed silent in my mind, watching the process occur, I suddenly saw how I was squeezed through a thin part, like in an hour glass, from one bulb, through the little tunnel, into the other bulb. I saw the whole thing. I was on one side, then I went through a narrow tube-like area, and then I was on the other side, which is different from the one I just came, but not a whole lot different than. The problem was that I wasn’t sleeping, and it is difficult to do because you have to stay awake, so when you stay awake, you get tired and you need to catch up on your sleep. It’s tough to get there but worth the knowledge once you know what it is. We’re suppose to practice every night, but it’s a matter of focusing your whole mind on it, whereas I work a lot during the day and when I finally get to bed I’m too tired to keep my consciousness focused on passing through that state to the other. You really need energy. So when you go to discover something like this, you must go at it with a total desire to find out. It doesn’t take long to find out. But it does take long to hone the craft. And you have to really want to do it.

    • I agree that this kind of work takes a lot of practice, energy, and focus. I think many people try too hard at first and then give up quickly. Consistency is rewarded eventually. I’m at a stage when a fifteen or twenty minute meditation daily doesn’t give me the peace I’m looking for and a longer meditation once a week provides a better experience. Depends on what you want and what you’re looking for.

  16. I haven’t ‘consciously’ or is it ‘purposely’ meditated for years but I feel engagement in my art, music and even just walking on the beach is meditation (for me)?
    I might be wrong but I do have a sense of remembering the future and the past (reincarnate).
    My feeling is that indulging in creative pursuits enables me to go into a zone and perhaps that’s where meditation is?
    What is ‘normal’ anyway?
    I do notice things others don’t seem to and the jury is still out on whether that is a good thing or not.
    I personally dig science but realistically, it’s just a bunch of human opinions, theories (prejudices & egos) a lot of the time too. Science changes it’s mind all the time and so it should. As in music and art, the more you know – the more you realise there’s so much more to know…..
    Going to look for this book now, thanks eh? 🙂

    • There are schools of thought that see the whole of your life as a meditation. It’s probably an artificial constraint to look at things like now I’m meditating, now I’m not. There is something powerful that connects us “up” when we’re doing something that takes us out of our ego self and we feel timeless, joyful. I heard Caroline Myss talk about the pain of the mystic who has seen things others don’t and yet they are forced to live in a world where most others don’t see it. I feel that sometimes and I get it that the jury is still out.

  17. Thanks for the visit. I’m a great believer in the precognitive ability of cellular volition. Love, David

  18. A great post. I believe in the now for that’s what iss readly available; the past is a victim of selective memory and the future is mostly guessworrk, we haven’t been there yet.

  19. From one abnormal thinker to another, I like your post. Thanks for checking mine out as well. I totally believe that the future effects the present. I also know for a fact that the future also effects the past and beyond that, they also cancel each other out, contradict each other, and and expand on each other in infinite ways. But since we are playing in a linear playground and “The Present” is the fulcrum upon which the whole thing balances, why not just be in the Now since every dimension of time and space converges on the Eternal Now? Otherwise we are going to have to drop the whole “balancing act” and approach this whole thing in terms of juggling. Once we start the juggling time, it is really difficult to know which came first–the future or the past or one the infinite possibilities that each may lead to. You’d have to have more arms than Kali to keep up. It’s not until the balls drop that we can linearize them by making up a time story of order. “Once upon a time this happened and then that happened.” It’s our safety in the apparent chaos. I think those of us with psychic abilities (not me) just don’t tell ourselves a story about what is happening. They just see from the point of view of infinite space itself–the space within which the balls, the juggler, and everything else take place. From the still POV of Conscious Space (HaMakom-the Place) everything that is, was, will be, or could be and even what couldn’t be and never will be all are and are not–created and uncreated. PSI folk tap that me thinks.

  20. stevewthomas

    Thanks for stopping by “Walking the Cat”. . .This was an interesting read. . .As to the title. . .”Normal is an illusion. What’s normal for the spider is chaos to the fly” — Morticia Addams. . .Thanks, again, for the “Like”

  21. Look about you at what or who would be considered NORMAL. Are you sure that is something you want? 🙂

  22. Great post. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “There’s no such thing as a normal life, there’s just life…” There is so much we have left to discover, about ourselves and then the world. Cheers, and have a great weekend!

  23. A pleasure to see the topic being shared. Well done!

  24. Hello! Thanks for reading and liking my blog post. Your blog looks pretty interesting. As you can probably guess I’m very interested in the intersection between spirituality and other aspects of human experience, particularly philosophy and the natural sciences.

    I don’t know much about the scientific work you talk about in this post, but I definitely agree with you that assuming a materialistic worldview was not the right move for science. That’s a philosophical position, not a scientific one, and if you assume it uncritically your research will be flawed. I’m glad to see that more people are “getting it” in that area 🙂

  25. A topic that has enduring interest for me. People tend to “…vilify and condemn what they cannot comprehend…” (Johnson). When the scientific spirit means open inquiry, why not study ‘non-formal’ subjects dispassionately?
    Thanks for stopping by. I am inspired enough to open a category to write on this subject.

  26. I am just learning to meditate. Already I can see benefits in my general stress levels. My blood pressure and heart rate have been lower. I can even see the difference one meditative session makes!

  27. There is just not enough time in the day to be normal i would have to build a prison for myself and fill it full of normal ideas which would kill me like a roach and spray. Good to see you back Ellis, nice post.

  28. It’s true that no one can truly define “normal” and it’s also true that we have not yet discovered all that the brain is capable of.

    • True, psychology is very interested in trying to figure out what normal is and the human potential movement in the 70s attempted to look at exceptional ability/skills etc. There is growing attention being paid to outliers nowadays (savants, geniuses, synesthetes) to see if normal can be pushed to a new limit, so to speak.

  29. Reblogged this on tothetable and commented:
    I’ve read about some of this before and it’s very interesting…

  30. Opening to broader awareness really is becoming more accessible. Dean Radin is associated with IONs in Petaluma, where I’m going to a workshop at IONS/Earthrise this weekend, tying in with opening to and accessing some of these ideas or awarenesses. I’m really looking forward to it. http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1203410

  31. Cool! I’ve been reading Finding Your Way in a Wild New World by Martha Beck and would highly recommend it too. She similarly prescribes “in cookbook terms” how to do “magic.” It sounds flaky and New Agey, but it’s actually using ancient knowledge and wisdom.

    • Actually there is a lot of connection between the science of quantum physics and the manipulation of energy (magic). You might also like The Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda for the demonstrations of magic by Hindu masters. And, of course, my book also takes readers into the world of Tibetan magic.

  32. Nice to have you back.
    Supernormal sounds like an interesting book, but it only confirms what most folks with a spiritual practice already know. The desire for super powers is not the reason I began my spiritual practice. I did it for my emotional and spiritual health and joy. But I am hoping that all this evidence might indeed nudge a few more souls in that direction.

    • I think as the science becomes more accessible and more people accept it, we open the door to a new era of possibility. A new way to see problems and solutions. Science is just one more way to discover a connection to source and develop it.

  33. I think this is fascinating – when you consider how much of our brain capacity we don’t even use, who says it’s not possible? Great to see you back!

    • stevereble

      This is an interesting topic, but why are we so dependant on science to determine our truth? I feel inductive reasoning while effective, is limiting in its reliance on – as you suggest – the material world. If something is immaterial, than in the eyes of science I often feel it is ignored.

      • Precisely the point. Some people don’t need science to understand or experience reality (those who are spiritual or have a mystical bent) but since the Enlightenment, our model has shifted to rely more and more on science. Those who are unaware of their connection may find their entry point into unseen realms via science. The (relatively new) science of quantum physics points the way. People like Einstein and Bohr, who started as scientists and ended up mystics may point the way to us waking up as a people. So no longer do we have to choose because they are mirroring each other.

      • Science has been something of a double-edged sword. We’ve made tremendous progress in certain areas of life, but the worldview that has come with scientific thinking often encourages people to put on blinders and ignore anything that can’t be verified with our head organs.

        I think as more people who are spiritualists first and scientists second enter the field, we’ll see some of these problems start to dissipate. Our tools and methods for detecting the paranormal will become more sophisticated in time. Heck, plenty of people decried the existence of quantum mechanics, all while the evidence for it slowly mounted.

        I don’t think it will be long now.

      • I hope you’re right. Oddly enough, the science putting up the biggest fight is in the area of psychology (a so-called soft science). Physics is pointing the way but psychology is screaming “it’s impossible!!”

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