Stephen Dinan: I want to welcome everyone to the Shift In Action program. This is Stephen Dinan and we are interviewing our founder, Edgar Mitchell, today, which is a very exciting day for us. Edgar is not only the founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences but an Apollo astronaut. He has a Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics and he’s the author of several books related to the frontiers of psi and psychic exploration implications for our world. So thank you so much for joining us today, Edgar.
Edgar Mitchell: I’m glad to be with you Stephen. Thank you.
SD: Great. So, as you know, the series that we’re doing is really focused on the power of intention, which has become very popularized right now and we want to take a more rigorous look at it from a scientific and practical angle. But what we’d like to do is first start with some personal anecdotes or stories, and just wondering if you could share with us any stories that you might have of the power of intention and how that’s played out in your own life?
EM: Well certainly. The most powerful has been around healing phenomena and the unusual phenomenon called psychokinesis, which I have watched very powerful individuals gifted in these areas perform and sometimes under laboratory conditions. So it’s not only anecdotal – in many cases it has good science and good experimental protocol behind it. My own experience with healing of various diseases like prostate cancer, for example, and kidney cancer, and observing this in family and associates where there has been science and medical observation – I consider very powerful applications of intentionality.
SD: I wonder if you could share a bit more about that personal story with the healing of the cancers and how the science and understanding you’ve developed from years of working with this kind of material might have helped inform how you even approach that?
EM: Okay. The beginning work was stimulated by watching my mother be healed of glaucoma by a Tibetan healer, quite a few years ago after my space ride. That spurred my interest and caused me to really devote a great deal of time to this science and to recognize, in the rubric of intentionality, that we have to intend these things - they have to be intended before they happen and that is a part of what has come to be called intentionality. And my own personal experience, then, was with the Board of Directors of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, several of whom had been to the mystery school that has descended from the Socrates mystery school and the others of that era. Teaching people how to use these inner abilities and that particular experience was very, very powerful for me personally since I was on the receiving end, having studied the phenomenon for a number of years. In this case I was on the receiving end for prostate cancer and the staff at the Noetics knew about this, and I was asked if I would like a healing at a board meeting. I said “of course, I’ll take all help I can get” and so we did that with quite a number of the board members and participants in the amphitheatre at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma. I guess there were 50 people or so in the room and probably a dozen or more, quite likely half of them – a couple of dozen, participated. I, myself, was in a meditative state on a pallet in the amphitheater, while groups of 6 or 7 or 8 grouped around me and it was a laying on of hands while the Om chant, quite well known from eastern meditation traditions, was being performed. After about 20 minutes of this, while I went into a meditation state and had the feeling personally of waves lapping over me – it was like energy waves – and after about 20 minutes, everyone was complete. I made way back here to Florida from California and frankly, I was rather unbalanced and out-of-it – kind of floating for several days. And by about 4 or 5 days later, I felt grounded and then just went ahead to get some scientific verification of what had happened. I went to New York to have a high-definition Doppler sonogram of the prostate area and taking along with me the sonogram records from previous and the biopsy report which confirmed the cancer. I went to New York, had the sonogram record and the new Doppler sonogram, very high definition, came back that I was totally clear. That was in early 2002 and this is over 5 1/2 years later and we have no reoccurrence.
That was one incident and a subsequent similar incident, but with the young healer Adam in Canada, with whom I have been working, [occurred when] an MRI showed an irregularity on one of my kidneys that was, the technician said, consistent with renal carcinoma. We did not have a biopsy on this but I did report it to Adam Dreamhealer and we did a remote healing from Vancouver to my home in Florida over a period of a month. And after the first month, went back to the sonogram in New York, had that run again, and took the record with me. The radiologist who was looking at it said “the irregularities are disappearing – whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” And so we went back in June (that was in February), did it again, and this time the sonogram said everything was perfectly normal. We had an MRI to confirm that; that was a year later. So it’s been 4 years on that one. Now I’m convinced at this point that I did most of that, allowed myself to have these conditions, just so I could prove how this worked.
Anyhow, so those are the powerful personal anecdotal experiences that I have had, as well as studying members of my family, like my mother and others, and nearby associates who have worked with various healers at different times under very powerful conditions and laboratory conditions, at times. And the other part of that is simply the mind-over-matter phenomenon, of psychokinesis, in which I participated in the very early days 37 years ago with the Israeli psychic Uri Geller, who is very, very gifted and one of the more gifted that I have seen (and I’ve seen several), and watched him under the laboratory conditions at SRI (Stanford Research Institute, in those days) perform psychokinesis and do mind-over-matter type experiments in the laboratory. Again, powerful stuff, and I want to point out in this time we have available that intentionality that we’re talking about is an active, projective state of mind where you’re projecting an idea out of the mind body or brain body local ensemble. Dr. Radin, Dean Radin there at Noetics, has done some similar work in demonstrating that both intention and attention create changes in random number generators, and has done some very similar work in seeing the effect of mind state on random number generators. And the conclusion at this point is that attention and intention cause very similar responses in the physical output of random number generators. So here we are getting into some fairly tedious science here, and I’m very convinced from my own work that we’re working at the quantum level of nature. Of course, Dean Radin’s most recent book, Entangled Minds, reflects much of what many of us think at this point as to how these phenomenons of mind are very basic to our own functioning. I for one have, for a long, long time, as a kind of metaphor to help people grasp this, suggested that, whereas we call our intuition our sixth sense, it should really be called our first sense because it’s quantum-based, non-local, and been around long before we evolved on this planet.
SD: I like that reframing because instead of making it seem like the aberration or something out there, that it‘s more foundational than what we typically perceive ourselves to be.
EM: Exactly. That has been my whole thesis since the very beginning of my work with the Institute of Noetic Sciences: was that we live in a natural, knowable universe, as opposed to the Cartesian universe where body-mind physicality/spirituality are separate realms of reality. I said, I think more likely as we proceed and learn more about ourselves and this unbelievably wonderful and complex universe that we’re in we’ll find, quite differently, that we’re dealing with not two separate things but two faces of the same thing – that mind/body are two faces of what I call a dyad, not a dualism, in nature.
SD: I’m wondering if you could go a little deeper into the quantum aspect of this. I know that you and Adam have done a lot of explorations and that you’ve been studying some of his methodology of how he can do healings on individuals and even groups and how that might be connected to these quantum effects.
EM: Okay. Well then the first thing we need to talk about is one of the more recent discoveries, which is less than 15 years old, in quantum physics. It’s one that a colleague of ours in Europe, Dr. Walter Schempp, discovered while studying MRI machines. He discovered what we now call a “quantum hologram” which really it’s been around all along, but it’s looking at the quantum world in quite a different way. Let me try to explain this quite simply: is that we have known since the end of the 19th century that light and, subsequently, matter, comes in small degree, discreet packets called quanta. At the bottom of quantum mechanics is called a wave-particle duality – that is, at that level of nature, depending upon the experiment you do, matter displays itself as either a particle or a wave. But that’s not what we’re interested in right now. To go a little further than that, for about 70 years or 80 years physicists have been more concerned with discovering how particles split into waves and how matter splits into particles and looking at the particle level. But what Dr. Schempp looked at was: at the patterning or information level – and let me use a metaphor to get that idea across: he was simply studying the mathematics of group theory. Let me point out that when you look at your fingertip and you look at the little swirl on your finger, it doesn’t tell you much about you. But if you look at the swirls on the tips of all ten fingers, that’s your fingerprint pattern and it uniquely defines and identifies each one of us – and that’s what Dr. Schempp was doing with the emissions of photons from matter, and that’s what Max Planck discovered at the end of the 19th century. But it’s taken us almost a hundred years to realize to study this as a group pattern of emissions and lo and behold Schempp discovered that it uniquely carries information about that physical object to look at the holographic pattern. Now, you asked me about healers and Adam, particularly when I described this phenomena to him and he said: “Oh my heavens, that is exactly what I see when I look at people: I see an image, a pattern, and a holographic pattern describes perfectly what I think I see: when I see diseased tissue or diseased organs it looks different than healthy organs…” and he’s been using that metaphor, the quantum holographic metaphor, to try to explain how he sees to diagnose. When he is healing, he is sending an intention of restoring the tissue and the organ to its healthy state and then the body itself takes over and does that. In other words, it’s the relationship of information. The quantum hologram is an informational construct at the quantum level and it has these properties of the quantum world which are called entanglement, coherence, non-locality, and resonance, which is how it works at that level. And non-locality and entanglement are the two fundamental issues here, meaning that if particles are ever in a process together and entangled, even though they subsequently go across the universe from one another they maintain a certain correlation and a relationship to each other. Frankly, I postulate that that correlation, that quantum relationship of entanglement, represents the most basic fundamental act of awareness that we could measure in the physical world. In other words, one particle, if you do something to it, its partner will respond. In other words, they are “aware of each other.” So let’s formalize that and call that a fundamental act of awareness, and that consciousness in which we are all interested – and intentionality and intention and thinking and awareness – are all part of this process we call consciousness. I believe at this basic quantum level of quantum entanglement, we are seeing the very fundamental act of consciousness at that level of nature.
SD: So in a way, just to kind of summarize that, what a healer is doing is [to] somehow learn to work with their own informational holographic body in a way that when they shift that and their intention in that, it’s shifting the fabric of someone else’s hologram which then filters up into a changed physical structure.
EM: Yeah. If we call information, and this is fundamental: if we call information simply patterns of energy and recognize (and this is what I call a dyadic model) that energy is the basis of everything and in its compressed form or dense form we call it matter, but in its more ephemeral form that we can recognize as patterns we call it information, so matter and information are the processes by which existence and knowing takes place. We have to have information in order to know, so matter and information form a dyad from energy. And we humans are all living substance as a dyad in that we exist because of our matter and we know because we are able to process information. So that’s a very basic way to look at how the universe is put together, from the point of view of bio systems like ourselves.
SD: This leads into the next question that we’ve been asking folks, which has to do with what the practice is for helping us to cultivate intention at the higher levels. And obviously when you have someone like an Adam, who is doing healings on whole groups and having remarkable results off it, he’s cultivated a very high level of this ability and some of the mystery school graduates likely were more skilled than your average public members at working with your own bout with cancer. So I wonder if you could say more about what you see as key practices that allow us to access more of these abilities which are more latent in most of us.
EM: Well I think that the key practices – and we can develop some newer ones along the line and we have – the key practices go back in time to the ancient mystical and metaphysical practices of meditation, of communing with nature, of getting in resonance. I would call that “quantum resonance with all that is” with the basic levels of nature, and we would call that basic level, these days, the “zero point energy field,” which is, let’s call it, the Plymouth from which all matter arises. And so when we’re in our deepest state of meditation and we start to get coherent with nature, it appears that these types of properties start to come forth. Throughout all of our history, the cloistered groups like the mystery schools and many of the religious cloister groups honor their meditation practices and their ability to commune with nature: now many of them, since each one of them may have a little different concept about what God is, let’s just say Nature (with a capital N) in this case. And that has been my experience, too. It was my experience on my flight back from the moon as I looked at Earth from deep space, was to get into this type of state. In the ancient literature it’s called samadhi state: a state of mind in which you are at one, at one with the deepest levels of nature, and that seems to be a fairly universal, uniform state in which all sorts of wonderful transformation and transcendent thinking emerges. And I think all our so-called psychic or intuitive abilities at least originate somewhere in that state. Now we don’t have all the answers to how all that happens, but certainly we’re looking in the right direction when we’re talking this way of the quantum world, the zero point energy field, and the techniques of mind and meditation – and even some of the newer breathing techniques like Stan Grof’s holotropic breathing are very instrumental in helping us get into these states of mind.
SD: So once we shift our minds then our consciousness is able to expand into these deeper realms, and we can begin to affect them more deeply.
EM: Right, the rest of it takes place naturally.
SD: Well the final thing we’ve been asking folks flows naturally from this work that’s more individual-focused intention, is really: as we begin to change the paradigm of how we see our consciousness and how it can impact the world, the doorway opens on doing more collective kinds of experiments or of channeling our energy collectively towards healing, toward change, towards transformation. I’m wondering if you could just reflect a bit about some of those potentials you could see with harnessing collective intention.
EM: The reason why this is effective, why its important, goes right back to this property of quantum entanglement and resonance, because it shows in the big picture sense: we’re all one, we’re cut from the same cloth, we come from the same source, and when we’re entangled or in resonance with each other then we’re more powerful than ever. In other words, it’s like singing with the choir instead of singing solo and when we all put our minds to the same focus or to the same intention essentially we can move mountains, as it were. This has been tried and we have done it in Noetic-type groups quite regularly and routinely along the way to create effect and like healing, for example, or any number of other effects. Of course, the indigenous people used to use prayer dance and collective thought for rain dance or to change the weather, to do things in the natural state, and that’s been going on for centuries as the indigenous ancient cultures learned how to use these collective mind states for a specific human purpose.
SD: What are some things that you would love to see open up as practical applications as, if you project out 10-20 years, when some of the rigorous science has really been validated, how might we be able to harness some of this work on another level?
EM: Well the most important work that we could possibly do here, in my opinion, is to help move our civilization towards sustainability. Because the evidence suggests at this point that, because of our numbers, our consumption, our greed, and all of these shadow sides of our personalities: that we’re not on a sustainable path. How one can say that in a metaphor most succinctly is that it doesn’t matter which measure of human activity you look at, it’s on an exponential growth curve. And it doesn’t take great genius to understand that if something is growing exponentially it can’t be contained within a finite space. Certainly all measures of human activity are on exponential growth and the earth that we live in is a finite space, so something’s got to give. And one of the most important things that has to give is our willingness to kill each other and go to war to and to resolve our differences through conflict, violence, and warfare: and we’ve been doing that forever. But if we’re to have a sustainable, peaceful civilization, one of the first things we must learn to do is to eliminate our tendency toward violence and conquest and particularly since in the 20th century we did learn how to harness nuclear energy. One of the things, of course, that we immediately developed was how to kill more effectively with nuclear weaponry, and we’re faced with the challenge at this point in human history in the late 20th/early 21st century of how to control, manage, and even do away with nuclear weaponry to be used to kill each other, because if we don’t, sooner or later we’ll use it to destroy ourselves completely.
SD: So unless we’re able to make this deeper shift of consciousness, it’s unlikely that we’re going to be motivated to actually disarm…
EM: That’s right. The shift in consciousness, learning to see each other as connected, learning to see each other from the eyes of love and peace and coherence is utterly vital if we’re going to survive with our modern science and technologies and power into the end of the 21st century.
SD: That’s really a poignant and beautiful way to end, just the bringing back home the importance of that shift for the future of human kind, really.
EM: To me, that’s the end game – it’s the only game in town.
SD: Well Edgar, I want to thank you so much for giving us this time, and sharing the depth of your insight and the depth of your care as well for our planet. I always find my horizons expanded listening to you intellectually as well as my sense of compassion for the whole deepened, so I just really want to honor you for that and for all you’ve done for this institute in bringing forward a new paradigm.
EM: Thank you, Stephen, look forward to seeing you back out there next.
SD: Thank you, bye-bye, then.