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The Noetic Change Model — Living a Life of Meaning

by Lee Lipsenthal

We all have experience of a noetic nature: things we know to be true even without external “proof.” We often refer to these “knowings” as intuitions or synchronicities, yet they are common. Sometimes, for many of us, in workshops, retreats, or deep meditations, these events can be large and even shake us up.

Science is just beginning to understand the nature of such spiritual moments. There are two areas of the brain, the right angular gyrus and posterior right temporal region, that when triggered electrically gives us spiritual experiences: out of body adventures, the sense of something bigger than ourselves. It can also be triggered or stimulated by drugs, meditation, prayer, shamanic journeying, guided imagery, or sleep.

But what is the “meaning” of these events? We may never know, but the Noetic Sciences Change Model developed at IONS suggests a way of finding purpose from these events. Instead of asking “What doe this mean?” or “Am I being given a message?” ask yourself, “How does this inform my life and how can I bring this out to the world in a way that has meaning?” After all, our actions are what matters in the world.

There are traps in bringing our experience, our meaning, our action, to the world; such effort can swallow us up, distract us, or even diminish our power. We can believe we are special and act as if special was real, likening ourselves to a guru or wise one; this is the trap of ego. We can get so engrossed in our experience that we want to study, read, and learn anything that can be known about it; this is the trap of intellect. We can seduce ourselves into believing that it’s all about “me” and forget to bring our actions into a spirit of service. We can forget that there are many paths, and that we have only been shown one, and that our path may not be for others.

Or…we can sit and practice, go deeper and ask ourselves, How does this noetic moment inform my life and my ability to serve others in a way that they wish to be served? How can I live it fully? It’s a choice.

Living Fully

Living fully is having an ongoing transcendent experience.

It is not studying and analyzing the experience.
It is not wanting more of the experience.
It is not buying the right clothing to remind you of the experience.
It is not telling the world that you are the experience.

It is being within the experience.
It is asking “How does this experience inform my life?”
It is asking “How does this experience help me to serve others?”
It is doing the work of love without being seen.

If you are drawn to this kind of inner exploration, join me and IONS Director of Research Cassandra Vieten for “Noetic Sciences: Practices for Personal and Collective Transformation,” a continuing education workshop from September 12–16, 2011, in Lucca, Italy.

  • Anonymous Icon

    jeggert May 14, 2011

    Ah, yes. The trap of the intellect - thanks for pointing it out!

  • Anonymous Icon

    Patjomo Jul 07, 2011

    I kind of like the "trap of buying the right clothing" fun to have a meditation "outfit" (Just kidding, of course!)

  • Anonymous Icon

    peterf Jul 15, 2011

    can you recommend a good book for a beginning student of noetic science please?

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