EMBODYING THE OTHER: TOWARDS A PHENOMENOLOGY OF PSI AND A THEORY OF PSI AS CONSCIOUSNESS
Updated: Sep 18, 2018
By Debra Lynne Katz (THIS IS STILL BE EDITED!)
Towards a theory of Psi: The Embodied Psi Principle
In this paper I shall propose that any theory of human perception, including that which operates within the domain of phenomenology, is incomplete if it fails to address what I shall refer to as “the embodied psi principle”. This principle posits that psi operates within every body and between all bodies at all times. It flows through all perceptual, cognitive, emotional and physical systems and structures of the body, operating on both unconscious and conscious level. If it makes its way to the conscious mind at all, it does only through the vehicle of the body first, where it motivates, restricts, enhances, influences, and informs. Like all forms of perception and sensation that lead to information gathering and integration, it can be strengthened and made use of through attention, awareness, application and disciplined practice. It can also be distorted and misapplied.
What is the standard definition of Psi and Psychic Phenomenon?
Dr. Mario Varvoglis provides what could be considered the standard definition of “Psi” on the Parapsychology Association website. “Psi is actually the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet and first letter of the word “psyche.” It is the term parapsychologists use to generically refer to all kinds of psychic phenomena, experiences, or events that seem to be related to the psyche, or mind, and which cannot be explained by established physical principles. To qualify as psychic, an experience must involve interactions that are qualitatively different from our normal ways of exchanging with the world (verbal and nonverbal communication, sensations, bodily movements). A genuine psi exchange cannot be based even upon subtle, subliminal forms of perception or action”.
What is my own definition and of Psi?
As I attempted to demonstrate in my first book, You are Psychic: The Art of Clairvoyant Reading and Healing (Katz, 2004) and continue to build on here with the help of phenomenology, Psi flows through the body of oneself and all others at all times. It quite often operates at a subconscious level although it can quite easily be brought into conscious awareness, not just through spontaneous dramatic or emotionally charged events as is traditionally thought, but through various practices involving intention and attention, rendering it useful.
Contrary to what others may or may not say about psi, as an identical twin, practitioner, educator, researcher and research subject who has spent 40 years intimately immersed in this subject matter, it is my thesis that psi is not an experience, nor a thing in itself, any more than our perception or awareness or personalities, emotional states and behaviors are things in and of themselves. Psi is an integral aspect of who we are and it is highly possible without it we wouldn’t function at all or for long on this earth, in the same way our “normal” modes of perception and their healthy functioning keeps us safe. This is true whether or not we are aware of the words themselves (“psi” or “perception”) or their definitions or how they operate.
Psi is not an experience, a skill, an ability or a phenomenon. It is everywhere. It can’t simply be contained any more than consciousness can be contained. That is because Psi is consciousness.
This is why it’s so difficult to isolate psi within carefully constructed scientific, mechanistic protocols. Let me be clear – It can be easily demonstrated, just not easily measured, or isolated. Psi shows up differently every time it is called up to do so, precisely because it’s showing up through the body and the body is always in a state of flux. It is unpredictable. Psi is like an embryo in its mother’s womb, it cannot exist or function on its own. It’s also like a newborn baby that has no sense of its own self apart from its caregivers while being shaped and formed by even the slightest smile or movement towards it or away from it. Perhaps a much better definition is Psi, in and of itself, is like the wind – yes the overall wind pattern can be forecast to some degree of reliability for very short time frames, but each individual gust of wind cannot be predicted as far as its direction or strength, as it interacts with countless other factors in the environment, and ultimately where does the gust of wind go when it stops blowing? It settles back into the rest of the atmosphere never to reform into the same gust. Meanwhile, the wind is present but not felt unless it has “a thing” to interact with that causes some degree of resistance. The wind is also never seen, except when interacting with physical things, such as a flag, a windmill or minute bits of dust. However, the wind has the power, through these interactions, to provide electricity to entire cities, or destroy them.
Psi in experimental settings
He who demonstrates psi is always doing so within the same space of he who perceives the demonstration. Likewise, the perceiver’s consciousness and perceptions in evaluating, judging, and rating the psi are as much a part of the psi as the one demonstrating it. These can never be separated out, not only because of the filters and biases held within the perceiver as experimenter, as he perceives the experimental subject perceiving through psi, but because the consciousness of the perceiver as experimenter actually can have an impact on the psi itself, which can freely move back and forth through time between both perceivers. He who has been invited into the lab to perceive through psi is not only perceiving the assigned task but the perceiver who is perceiving him, and this perceiving is happening always on multiple levels, conscious, semi-conscious and fully conscious. (So a research subject will know on some level whether the researcher is a friend or foe, and whether they are truly doing their job properly, even if the research thinks the subject is some dolt who is only there to perceive the hidden symbols on the back of a Zener card. Further, the research subject’s attention, the conduit of psi, can easily be hijacked by something the researcher is doing or not doing).
So the perceiver and the perceived are engaged in this dance with one another, with every aspect of each other, sending signals to the other (yes I know I’m supposed to be focused on the cards you are showing me but you clearly haven’t had sex in a while, at least good sex, but I’m not volunteering!)
If this wasn’t enough, there is the problem of the time factor. When it comes to psi, perception is not limited to the present, it flows back and forth, easily and abundantly – so if I’m about to encounter a furious stranger who is erroneously going to blame me for something I didn’t do, I may suddenly feel a surge of inexplicable anger, 5 minutes before, feeling intense pulsations within my lower back area (why that is I don’t know but that’s where I tend to feel angry people I’m about to meet). If a car is about to slam into the lane I’m in, hitting the car behind me and pushing it forward, I may feel a sudden compulsion to move out of that lane at all costs, just a minute or two before the accident, as the thoughts run through my mind. “I like my life, I’m so fortunate nothing too bad has ever happened to me, I want to be around for as long as I can”. This, in fact, has happened to me on two occasions, helping me to narrowly avoid what could have been life threatening accidents.
How does this flow of psi through time manifest in a laboratory setting? Well, if she whom is perceiving with psi (the research subject) is asked to describe a photo she’ll see in the future, but, then she whom is perceiving with psi will also be asked, in the future, to self-judge by choosing the correct photo she’ll see in the future from a set of photos that most closely matches her visions during the act of perceiving (this is the typical experimental design in experimental parapsychology research for the entire bodies of the Ganzfeld, Dream and remote studies), then she whom is perceiving through psi may simply perceive aspects of every photo in the judging set during the course of the experiment, even though the set is shown to her later. In fact, she may be more likely to perceive all those in the set instead of just the “correct one” because it is these she is to be shown first, before the correct one, and perhaps some of those are more interesting or appealing to her than the correct one. She might also perceive the photos that she will be shown for the next trial the day before. She may also inadvertently perceive the photo that he who perceives the perceiver (the experimenter), is hiding in his shirt pocket – let’s say a photo of his mistress – that has absolutely nothing to do with the experiment, but has everything to do with what is first and foremost present in his mind on the morning the experiment is being conducted. Or, she may perceive the future photo of her son’s canoe trip that lands in her inbox just minutes before she is to go back into the lab and receive her feedback photo for the experiment.
While I have arrived at these realizations through serving as both a subject and an experimenter, informally and formally, for years, many other parapsychologists are arriving at these same conclusions – independently and collectively, through highly controlled and carefully designed experiments and meta studies. Despite the above challenges, these studies continue to show statistically significant effects, but not anywhere close to the level well designed studies should, if they were truly reflecting the nature of psi which is prevalent and operating within us and between us at all times.
Dean Radin sums this up nicely in a meta study published 16 years ago: “One implication of the cumulative evidence is that time – reversed effects permeate all aspects of human behavior. Another is that experiments in all scientific disciplines may be vulnerable to time -reversed influences, including studies based on gold-standard techniques like double blind, randomized protocols” (Radin, 2000).
To summarize these researchers’ conclusions which match that of many of my own personal experiences outside a formal research setting:
Psi is impacted by the researcher as much as she or he whom is being researched.
Psi moves forwards and backwards without restraint.
Since Psi involves so many perceptual faculties, while these can be identified as being present, it’s impossible to definitively state only one was involved one (i.e. clairvoyance vs. precognition, telepathy vs. precognition
To ask “why explore psi?” is to ask “why explore perception and consciousness?” If psi is operating within us and through us at every moment as I propose, if we are open systems impacted by others, if our thoughts are not just our thoughts but belonging or touched upon by the thoughts of others, if our emotions and bodily sensations can originate in others or be passed to them, and psychologists are not aware of these facts, then psychology is at best misguided and at worst misleading those it purports to serve. To not understand these things means to have not only an incomplete and ill-informed science, but an incomplete and ill-informed practice. It’s my contention that this is exactly what we have within psychology and allopathic medicine and that this is precisely why countless people are erroneously diagnosed. The refusal to acknowledge that pain and suffering can be symptoms of a “shared felt sense”, or an “embodiment of the other” means so many appropriate causes and cures for so many people are never given consideration. It’s as if medical and mental health professionals are not only examining the wrong body part, rather they are examining the wrong individual.
Although the early Phenomenologists seem to have centered much of their discussion on conscious experience, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy nicely summarizes the relationship between conscious and unconscious experience and its placement in the Phenomenological tradition, offering a launching point for where a study of psi, as it manifests through conscious and unconscious experience, might begin:
“Conscious experience is the starting point of phenomenology, but experience shades off into less overtly conscious phenomena…. As Husserl and others stressed, we are only vaguely aware of things in the margin or periphery of attention, and we are only implicitly aware of the wider horizon of things in the world around us. Moreover, as Heidegger stressed, in practical activities like walking along, or hammering a nail, or speaking our native tongue, we are not explicitly conscious of our habitual patterns of action. Furthermore, as psychoanalysts have stressed, much of our intentional mental activity is not conscious at all, but may become conscious in the process of therapy or interrogation, as we come to realize how we feel or think about something. We should allow, then, that the domain of phenomenology — our own experience — spreads out from conscious experience into semi-conscious and even unconscious mental activity, along with relevant background conditions implicitly invoked in our experience.
It is my contention that psi operates through our perceptual faculties – but perhaps more often than not in the reverse direction from the process described above, so that rather than starting with conscious experience and moving towards lesser states of awareness, psi starts off in the unconscious domain first, occasionally moving onto semi-conscious awareness, and then on even rarer occasions, onward towards a perceived conscious experience. When the signal levels of psi increases, and the surrounding noise level of all other distractions in and around oneself decreases (as can be facilitated through various meditative practices), that’s when psi, whether as shared sensations or signals through one’s body sensations about what is to come, can be most easily perceived. That’s when we recognize we’ve had or are having a psychic experience and psi moves from the subliminal to the liminal. This movement towards greater awareness can be enhanced through further processes and techniques to be discussed later in this paper.
Felt Sense as a Shared Felt Sense
Phenomenology is the philosophy of phenomena, perception and consciousness as experienced in our “life” world. Phenomenology addresses the relational meaning between self and others and all things in our direct environment. In Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty expanded the ideas of other philosophers such Heidegger, Husserl and Sartre by placing an emphasis on the role of attention, and the experience of the body, which he refers to as a “felt sense”. I would purport that Psi is at the heart and core of what Maurice Merleau-Ponty called “embodied consciousness” although I doubt if Merleau-Ponty himself ever expected someone decades into the future to insert this contention into his theory, or to the degree I am doing here.
If Psi is an integral part of human perception and consciousness, then a phenomenology of psi would have to address the relational meaning between self and others and all things in between and surrounding. In fact, the psi principle may indicate or vindicate Merleau-Ponty’s theory of a “felt sense” more so than any of his expressed arguments towards this concept of embodied consciousness, particularly when we are addressing the psychic perception of clairsentience, which literally means “clear feeling” and refers to the specific ability to feel other’s emotions and bodily sensations within one’s own body.
The difference between felt sense and shared felt sense, or, from empathy to clairsentience.
If empathy is the process whereby one puts themselves, through imagination, in another person’s shoes to feel what they most likely feel, clairsentience allows the person to go a step further and literally be in their shoes, or better yet, to have the subject join them in their own shoes. This removes faulty conceptual projections and allows a truer visceral experience even when the shoes one finds themselves in turn out to be of an entirely different size or design than expected. Of course he who perceives even through clairsentience (psi related shared felt sense) can never fully remove themselves from the picture, and so distortions in interpreting and understanding the initial or ongoing shared felt sense are always a strong possibility.
I’d like you to meet my spouse, Danny, who is now quite used to being carelessly plucked from his real life world and splattered on the pages of my manuscripts to be used much like a crash test dummy by a luxury car company testing out a new product line. (I add in the luxury part just to lessen the blow a bit of being used in this way). Let’s place him in a purely hypothetical situation, but one that will highlight the way that psi often manifests for myself and so many of those that find their way into my intuitive development classes.
Let’s say at slightly past noon, on a cold, windy day, Danny has quietly entered the house, solemnly stated, “Do not interrupt me or ask me any questions” and without another word slips upstairs into the windowless attic, shutting the door behind him. “That’s very strange!” I exclaim as if to myself, but really to him, hoping he will respond. He does not. I follow him up the narrow staircase, putting my ear up against the door, it’s quiet. That’s even stranger. What’s going on? I try to put myself in his shoes to understand why he’s up there, alone in this dark, dank, attic? How does he feel being shut up in there by himself? What might be wrong? The problem with doing this is, I cannot easily or completely take myself out of the picture if I’m bringing my own body into his shoes, and given they were already a bit small on him to begin with, there is not truly room in there for both of us…meaning there is a strong possibility that I may not in fact ever even get close to his feelings, rather I may completely project my own into the scene.
I may therefore erroneously assume he’s lonely, or scared, which I would be there up in the sunless attic, so now I’m thinking there must be something really wrong. Still in empathy mode, I try to see life from his perspective – as a mechanic everyone is always coming over wanting him to help with their car or their equipment or deal with some emergency, but without wanting to pay him in return. How does that feel to him, as a man, as I know how important his manhood is to his own self-identity? As I’m trying so hard to understand these demands from a man’s perspective, something switches, I notice this wonderful feeling of relaxation spread through my whole body. I even start to giggle. The stress of my own day seems to magically melt away. That’s weird, what just happened? And then it dawns on me I might be ‘matching’ him. I run up the stairs, fling open the door, shine my flashlight app in his direction and see him sitting there in a yogi pose, meditating, with the most gleeful smile on his face I have only seen when he gets a question correct on Jeopardy.
OK, let’s switch this up as I’m obviously fantasizing here to even suggest I might find him meditating somewhere without a TV blaring within a 10-foot radius. Let’s rewind. Let’s go back to me a few minutes before obsessing about what he is doing upstairs alone. Perhaps instead of that peaceful easy feeling, I suddenly instead am overcome with the most-heavy feeling of exhaustion, so intense I fear I’m about to pass out…What the heck is wrong with me? I was fine a minute before (a tell-tale sign one is “matching” or embodying another is that there is a sudden switch in bodily perceived states like this). That’s it! I drag my now exhausted self up the stairs, falling against the heavy door, and there he is, passed out on the floor, snoring. As often happens, once I understand that my body sensations of feeling exhausted were simply a symptom of embodying another, they disappear. I am back to myself.
Ok, let’s rewind just one more time, and I’ll insert an experience that actually did happen to me – with another boyfriend many years ago so don’t tell Danny I’m sharing this one, he doesn’t like to hear about my past relationships…..you know – guys – the virgin thing….so let’s say as I’m wondering, what’s going on up there? Was he so stressed he needed to run away from everyone? How does it feel to be him? Suddenly sexual tingly feelings course through my lower body, wow, what’s that!? OK, well this is slightly embarrassing, don’t usually feel this in the middle of the day!!! Ok, maybe this would be a good time to go find him! He might even appreciate it. I run up the stairs, wildly flinging open the attic door with passionate abandon, expecting to find him perhaps fixing a light bulb or setting mouse traps – maybe that’s why he’s being so secretive, didn’t want to upset me that the rats are back. Instead, I see him sitting there with a pile of Playboy magazines, with a very rat like expression on his face.
What is important to note here in these fictional examples based on these real past incidents that are highly reflective of experiences with shared felt sense in my own life, is that the more my world view allows me to propose the question: “what is the reason I’m suddenly experiencing these feelings and sensations, is it just me or am I “matching”, “embodying”, “feeling” someone else? the more likely I am to: 1). Have more of these types of experiences 2). Have the feeling and sensation end quickly – as it usually does as soon as one asks this question; and 3). Find out the source more easily.
Therefore, when we think of someone, we are essentially, and I’d go as far as to say “literally”, reaching out with our minds and touching them. Furthermore, when we touch something with our own minds, not only do we feel a sensation in our own body, but there is an impact on that which we touch, including sometimes a very conscious shared felt sense, reaction and response by whom we touch. I’ll show evidence of this a bit later in this paper when I share real life examples of embodying the other.
Mentalists vs. Sensationalists
Although all humans operate on mental, physical and sensory levels, some tend to be more orientated towards one of these modes above others. This means that whatever aspect they dwell in so shall they activate and experience the qualities of that aspect. A person who is predominantly operating in a mental realm (such as a male philosopher with a PhD. or M.D.) will have to have a very active thought oriented mind, as is required to succeed in preparation and carrying out of his particular profession. The developed, thinking mind, to many philosophers and academics, is no doubt a prized possession where success is determined by the quality and number of ideas one can generate, sometimes while doing battle with other well-muscled and well armored minds.
A prized possession is something to be protected, is it not? And what is one more likely to turn to in times of turmoil, than the reasoning mind that thinks it can rescue itself and all others from the irrationality and chaos of emotions, whether one’s own, or everyone else’s? Therefore, this type of person, sometimes referred to as “an intellectual” tends to process even their own emotion through the mind in a habitual pattern of attempting to solve (understand) these emotions. In doing so, there is greater and greater disassociation from the body, feelings, from the felt sense of oneself and, I’d assert, from and of the shared felt sense of others.
Conversely, a person who is predisposed to focus on feelings and body sensations will be more likely to experience the felt sense as described by Merleau-Ponty, and the shared felt sense described herein by myself.
If those who naturally feel their bodies and feelings more will naturally feel other’s bodies and feelings more, (we can call these “empaths”), then it follows that those who are more focused on a mental level may very much be receiving or sharing their own thoughts as well. If some people operate more on a mental than a somatic level, it makes sense that psi then operates in some people more on a mental (i.e. telepathic) than somatic (clairsentient) level. Of course if a person’s life view, through upbringing and education, has never even given them cause to even consider this possibility for a moment, they would be entirely oblivious to this.
Even more problematic to the realization of the true nature of the state of the human mind than the disturbing, even terrifying idea that one’s mind can be penetrated by another, is the idea that this has been happening throughout one’s entire life, without awareness. Pair the value of the mind, with the predominant values in western society of individuality and independence, and it is no wonder that what I’m suggesting here, even if correct, is so completely unacceptable that it is simply and purely – unthinkable.
The shock of realizing that one has lived a lifetime without truly knowing the nature of what was happening behind one’s own eye lids is tempered only when accompanied with the realization of the creative and intellectual possibilities this may suggest.
With the risk of sounding gender biased, I’d suggest that the term “women’s intuition” arose from the fact that women are more aware of the psi factor than their male, heterosexual counterparts. There may be many reasons why women traditionally have been more connected in with feelings and grounded further into an embodied consciousness – this could be because their bodies were always in use by others, or on call to be used by others without notice or without much choice. It could also be because due to the menstruation process and carrying babies and having their offspring literally hanging on them, that they naturally are touched more frequently and in many different ways than their male counterparts who were often in less physical contact with others, or for whom touch was relegated to a narrow realm of behaviors related to sexuality.
Also, to be an effective caregiver, one must be tuned into the emotions and sensations of others. Of course there may be many other physiological, biological, and social factors that lead one group of people (i.e. women) to be more inclined to feel than their counterparts (i.e. men). Women for generations were told to focus on what was right before them in the physical world, while being denied access and cultivation of the mental, which can only happen when one reads, writes and has opportunities to think and interact with others who think critically.
However, it would be unfair and incorrect to suggest that only women are in tune with the physical – to the contrary – we know that many men have also been denied access to or shuffled away from educational opportunities, and at the same time, have as their main occupation physical work that puts their bodies in touch with the land and with machines. These men are therefore oriented to the physical which may anchor them into their bodies more, and a deeper sense of embodied consciousness. As to whether they would then experience more of a felt sense or shared felt sense is harder to say. We know that Native people, whether Native Americans or those in other parts of the world, have viewed psi as a natural and important part of their world. While some might suggest this is due to superstitious, less evolved thinking, I’d suggest it’s a natural response to being grounded in the physical. When one has to live off the land one doesn’t have time to be lost in abstract thought for too long. Abstract thought moves one away from experiencing a real “lived world” and all that it has to offer.
This brings us back to the one group of individuals that are predisposed, more so than any others, to disassociation from the physical world, from their own embodied consciousness, from their own felt sense, from the “lived world” and from the shared, felt sense of others -– the very same people who have molded the predominant theories and practice and education in the field of psychology today — philosophers, academics, and psychologists. It makes sense that they may therefore be more inclined to reject Merleau-Ponty’s theories and my own psi based shared felt sense theory, because in a way, these theories speak less to their real lived experiences, which are much more centered in abstract thought.
Mental Telepathy – from unconscious to conscious awareness
As discussed above, in Mentalists vs Sensationalists: “ If those who naturally feel their bodies and feelings more will naturally feel other’s bodies and feelings more, (we can call these “empaths”), then it follows that those who are more focused on a mental level may very much be receiving or sharing their own thoughts as well. …”.
According to Daryl Bem, who has conducted extensive research in the area of precognition, and is also a social activist and a highly esteemed developmental psychologist:
“Psi is a controversial subject, and most academic psychologists do not believe that psi phenomena are likely to exist. A survey of 1,100 college professors in the United States found that psychologists were much more skeptical about the existence of psi than their colleagues in the natural sciences, the other social sciences, or the humanities (Wagner & Monnet, 1979). In fact, 34% of the psychologists in the sample declared psi to be impossible, a view expressed by only 2% of all other respondents” (Bem, 2011).
Contrast this with a 2002 survey by the US National Science Foundation that found 60% of adult Americans agree that some individuals possess psychic powers.
Note the above wording “some individuals”. This idea that that only a few gifted individuals possess psychic powers, is one that reflects the enormous gulf that still exists within present day society in understanding the true nature of psi as operating in every individual.
5 common myths and fallacies about Psi and my suggestions for reframing how we conceptualize these so we can move towards a more accurate and productive approach to incorporating a phenomenology of psi into a psychological framework.
Fallacy #1: We are closed systems. Our thoughts are always isolated within our own minds and our emotions within our own bodies. Other people’s behavior can impact us, but we must be aware of that behavior, or perceive that behavior with our eyes in order to be impacted by it. Therefore, if we think we hear someone else’s thoughts or feel their body sensations, we must be mistaken, or insane.
REFRAME: We are open systems. So open that our lives can be enhanced or seriously harmed by this, particularly when we are unconscious to these facts. A huge part of our thoughts, our feelings, and our sensations are results of shared experiences with other beings we aren’t aware of.
CHALLENGE TO THE REFRAME:
Challenges to Developing a coherent Phenomenology of Psi – Unfortunately, within the Western world, there currently exists large factions of society who still rise up and take arms against any description or assertion that legitimizes psi. These factions consist of psychologists and scientists who have bought into a mechanistic, duelist view of reality not only because this is what they were taught, but because it helps them feel safer and greater in control. As indicated elsewhere, there is only one thing more disturbing than the idea that one’s own bodily sensations are not entirely one’s own and that is that one’s mind is not always one’s own, particularly to psychologists who have no problem questioning the stability of other’s minds but are terrified at the idea their own may be permeable and penetrable and impressionable than previously thought. Ironically, the other adversarial faction are leaders and their followers within Christianity who equate all psychic activities with the darker arts of the occult.
Ingo Swann who has been dubbed the father of remote viewing, is also the founder of coordinate remote viewing (which went onto be called Controlled remote viewing). This methodology focuses on the use of psi for extracting information about physical locations was born within the laboratories of Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and taught to military personnel as part of their clandestine remote viewing programs that spanned the course of 20 years until it was declassified in the 1990’s. It, along with its derivatives and central concepts continues to be taught today to thousands of people by a handful of instructors, including myself. Although it is beyond the scope to cover the complete methodology here, I will be sharing some vital components of it later in this paper as evidence of embodied consciousness being at the root of psychic perception.
Apart from Swann’s work with formal research think tanks and government agencies was a very different set of efforts and extensive writings that focused on subjects such as human bio-energy, biospheres, and humans as open systems engaged in continual energy exchanges.
In the now out of print book “Psychic Sexuality” Swann lamented: “Indeed, the modern West is highly deficient with respect to knowledge of sexual energies as really existing substantively. One obvious reason for this is that the topic of human energetics as a whole is either avoided or suppressed, and for reasons that are only partially explainable. Ancient Eastern texts, however, do not avoid the issue of human energetics, and many of them are in fact based on the real, virtual existence of such energies” (Swann, 1999).
Swann also wrote extensively about the nature of Power and Subjugation to Authority (Swann, 2000). He felt that our psychic abilities are a tremendous threat to all existing power structures as they allow us to get in touch with our true selves and to know the true thoughts of those in charge. Therefore, these abilities must be suppressed by all wishing to maintain this power. (Swann, 1998). I would agree that the easiest way to suppress other’s psychic abilities (whether those embodied at the unconscious level or those that operate at liminal levels) is to suppress knowledge of them. People do this to each other all the time from parents to teachers to researchers to those in the media to psychologists, without much awareness of what they are doing or the motivations for behaving in this manner.
Materialism and Dualism continue to operate as overarching pervasive ideologies taught within school systems from elementary school through college. There is the exception of a handful of psychology programs such as the one offered through the University of West Georgia. The problem is that most people don’t know that their beliefs are part of an ideology, they think their beliefs are part of a reality that honors science above all else, not realizing that science isn’t about a physical material world unless it’s restricted to the scientific method designed to test only a narrow parameter of physical phenomena, rather it’s about applying a careful system of observation to one’s life in a systematic fashion.
One of the greatest roadblocks to acknowledge how open we are to perceiving other’s sensations is that psychology for a century now has equated this type of assertion as a sign of madness. In a world and to a people who honor the mind above all else, and therefore fear losing it as worse than all else, many individuals will do everything possible to stay away from what can admittedly be a fine line, – is a person who hears voices psychic or are they crazy? Or perhaps a little of both?
Freud’s expression of this fear following an incident where Jung correctly predicted they were about to hear a loud rapping from the bookcase illustrates this roadblock nicely. His response was described by Carl Jung in his autobiography “Memories, Dreams, Reflections”:
“I can still recall vividly how Freud said to me, “My dear Jung, promise me never to abandon the sexual theory. That is the most essential thing of all. You see, we must make a dogma of it, an unshakable bulwark”. In some astonishment I asked him, “A bulwark-against what?” To which he replied, “Against the black tide of mud”—and here he hesitated for a moment, then added — of occultism.” (Jung, 1963).
Fallacy #2: Only PhDs with scientific credentials can be qualified to study or talk about psychic functioning. We can’t trust the average person, or even an educated, intelligent and stable person to provide an accurate personal account of their own experience, perceptions, sensations. This is because they are either lost in fantasy, undiscerning, or dishonest, not understanding the concept of many seemingly significant co-incidents can be attributed to chance.
Reframe: There are millions of highly educated, thoughtful, analytical people who understand the scientific method, and who do have the ability to make observations in the same way those possessing Ph.D.’s do. Many of these have Ph.D.’s in other fields, but that shouldn’t be a requirement to be able considered a reliable witness to one’s own experiences. Even people without a college education are capable of providing a truthful account of an experience. Also those possessing Ph.Ds. can have their own perceptual and philosophical biases, as has been aptly pointed out by Joseph Glazer (Glazer, 2013).
Challenge to Reframe: Those in power don’t easily want to give it up. Psychologists including parapsychologists often have condescending attitudes towards psychics or experiencers or research subjects without Ph.D.’s. In fact, I was at a conference and overheard a group of Ph.D. students who were discussing the idea that only those with Ph.D.’s be allowed to call themselves parapsychologists. I approached them and asked how many of them had ever had even a single direct psychic experience themselves? Only one of the group of 6 responded that he had several. Two more students said on one occasion only had they had a direct experience. Meanwhile these self-appointed representatives have less experience than much of the general population. Interestingly, those parapsychologists who have had more psi experiences during their lifetime, such as Stephen Braude, the editor for the Journal of Scientific Exploration, seems to be more open to exploring psi through a qualitative, phenomenological approach than those who have not (Glazier, 2013).
Fallacy #3: That Psi, if it exists at all, is a gift relegated to only a select few of blessed individuals.
Reframe: There are millions of people observing psi in themselves and in other people. In fact, I’d like to assert that a huge part of our thoughts, our feelings, our sensations, our ideas, are a result of shared experiences with other beings we aren’t aware of.
One psychotherapist who agrees with my contention that all individuals possess the potential for psi is Dr. James Carpenter. His comprehensive book, First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life (Carpenter, 2012) is drawing acclaim in the parapsychology community at least. This book came out almost a decade after my own You Are Psychic, carrying a similar message, but unlike my own, which has been popular with experiencers of psi but not so much with formal researchers of it, is the terminology he uses to describe psychic phenomenon. His discourse is that of an academic, while mine, at least in 2004, was of a spiritualist. Of course, being former president of the Parapsychology Association, a long time licensed psychotherapist, a man, and perhaps most importantly, in possession of a Ph.D. has helped legitimatize his writing. I mention these things because when it comes to this disenfranchised field in particular, it’s as much about who is discussing the information, as the information they are sharing. As Michael Foucault emphasizes in Psychiatric Power, sometimes the only discernable difference between he who is considered sane and she who is labeled mad is only that of two letters (M.D) or three (Ph.D.) – with the lettered individuals always faring better (Foucault, 2008),
Challenge to Reframe: The idea only a blessed few possess special spiritual gifts from God, bestowed upon only those who are most holy and pure, is a popular belief, going back centuries, and not easy to purge. The idea that anyone would hold this type of power, particularly when this power can be misused for unethical purposes or used against the ruling class or those in power is unthinkable and threatening (Swann, 1998).
Fallacy #4: Psi is some mysterious phenomena that cannot be taught or brought into conscious awareness.
Reframe: I personally spend about 15 hours a week directly teaching students how to develop their clairvoyant and remote viewing skills and have done so for approximately two decades. I am not the only one. Thousands of people are engaged in these endeavors.
Challenge to Reframe: Our educational institutions are failing us when it comes to properly informing the public about their natural perceptual and information processing abilities in relation to psi. Apart from an occasional parapsychology course that may not even include a single experiential exercise, there is no school in the United States where you can earn a degree of any kind in parapsychology. In today’s world where so many resources go into degrees and employment is dependent on whether a person has a degree from an accredited institution, there isn’t a lot left over, especially for young people, to invest in non-credentialed endeavors. Furthermore, if one has bought into Fallacy #3 then why would someone believe they could be trained if they are already an adult and have not demonstrated strengths in this area? Unfortunately, this is a position that even many parapsychologists still take, as there literally have been no formal studies done on the topic of formal psychic education with the exception of a couple reports issued in the 1970’s in relation to Ingo Swann’s CRV training with the U.S. military (Puthoff, 1984) and (Puthoff, Langford, & Swann, 1980).
Fallacy #5: Psi shows up only on conscious levels. If you don’t perceive it, it’s not there.
Reframe: Psi operates at a completely unconscious level that can still register on sensory equipment but not be perceived by the receiver (Radin, 2006) AND it can operate on a conscious level. It can be moved from conscious to unconscious and again. People can learn to do this.
Challenge to reframe: The obvious problem to all that operates at the unconscious level, is that people are unconscious. So unless they are already on high alert that information can be operating at this level, they often won’t notice it. If they are uncomfortable with the idea, they will suppress it even more.
From ordinary perception to psi dominated perception
To understand the many ways that we can bring what is unconscious to conscious awareness, it helps first to remind ourselves how we know things or learn through ordinary perception:
Let us use my significant other, Danny, again as our action figure, in yet another fictional scenario that speaks to phenomenon taking place in real life. Let’s place him where he can often be found, outside in the howling wind, on the far side of the yard, working on a large piece of mechanical equipment. Let’s assign him a job – tractor work (he likes tractors) and then let’s create a scenario that is all too familiar, one in which something on the tractor malfunctions, but we’ll amp up the drama by setting the engine on fire. Alright, we’ll be kind to him today, as he’s tired, and blame it on a faulty power tool rather than on something he did wrong.
So here’s the question: if I’m typing away in the house, nice and toasty by the wood burning stove, with my fuzzy socks and hot cocoa, how would I know that something had gone wrong outside and he was in trouble? How would I receive this information? And which traditionally accepted and sanctioned perceptual and cognitive senses might be involved?
Possible modes of “normal” communication:
I hear a noise outside when the engine explodes. My ears hear a noise. My mind then infers that there is an unusual noise. I will need to take further steps if I am to understand what is happening, but the loud and unusual noise is something I perceived directly, and it got my attention at least.
Or, I can see smoke with my physical eyes waffling past the window. I stand up and now can see flames emanating from the tractor’s engine. It is my visual perception that is giving me clues as to what is happening and my cognition that is allowing me to think back to other times I observed the tractor. No I don’t recall it ever smoking or being on fire. This tells me there may be a problem here. Now one might ask what is it that caused me to look up from my computer in time to see the smoke? Maybe the sound alerted me to look out the window, so two senses can be operating at once.
Or, perhaps I hear Danny shouting, “Hey the tractor broke, I need your help.” It’s direct perception from the source itself – but he is intentionally now directly communicating with me and I don’t need to make any inferences about the situation.
Or, perhaps, someone else comes to the door and steps inside. It’s Eva, my neighbor. “Hey Deb, sorry to bother you when you have a paper due, but I was driving by and saw Danny chasing after tractor rolling down the street. Looks like it’s on fire. Do you want to call the fire department?” So here we have a third party communicating information about the event. I’m hearing her and seeing her so I am directly perceiving with my eyes and ears and my brain is taking this all in trying to decide how to respond. I know she can exaggerate things sometimes so I wonder, is this information accurate? Information from third parties and second hand sources are often incorrect.
Or, perhaps I am watching the 5:00 news. Look at that silly character chasing a burning tractor down the street. He looks a lot like, what the heck….that’s Danny! The news anchor is bundled up in a parka, hair blowing every which way. My neighbor Eva is wildly gesturing in the background. The news anchor says that it’s been reported that the tractor owner’s wife may have gotten mad at him for forgetting her birthday and intentionally set the tractor on fire before putting it into neutral and sending it down the hill. I can’t believe what I’m hearing! How could they?! My eyes and ears are perceiving the information that is being fed to me from a very narrow perspective. The camera angles tell a particular story, the sequence of shots is out of sequence, and they are getting information from an unreliable source…Eva. This information is faulty because it is from their own embodied perspectives, not my own.
On top of that, I’m sitting a little too far from the TV, watching it from an angle, without my glasses on, so my own embodied perspective is having an impact on how much of the scene and events playing out I can see. It’s as if I’m several steps removed from what’s really happening right outside my house and those on TV are several steps removed from what really did happen.
So what can we discern from the above? Well, first, we can receive information from a thing itself asserting itself into our awareness, but it’s always colored by the perceiver’s perception of that thing. The two are always entangled. Also, we can retrieve information from observing the thing itself directly, whether or not it asked us to observe it. Also, we can receive information about a thing from another thing (or person). Furthermore, we can receive information from secondary sources about the original thing. These sources can be human (as in the neighbor) or from technology (TV news report) created by humans. All of the above is very intimately connected to each person’s embodied perspective.
Also, normal perception is ripe with errors but we have no choice to continue to rely on it for information. Whether we obtain information through direct observation, from a thing itself, or from a secondary source, the information is being filtered through the receiver’s embodied perspective, as well as the sender’s embodied perspective, which may be lacking or biased in many ways due to its positioning (on a physical, social, or symbolic level) and other perceptual or cognitive biases. Even the environment in which this is all playing out can have an impact on perception and communication. For example, it is dark, it is cold, it is windy – these elements could be obstructing clear-sight, drowning out sounds and words or distorting others. So we know that even when limiting our discussion to regular physical perception, there are different ways communication is shared, different ways it is perceived, and many ways that distortions and errors can take place in the communicating and the perceiving and the outside environment in which all of the above is taking place. Still, even with all the errors involved in perception and communication, no one would suggest that Danny or myself or the neighbors cannot see or hear or smell. They might suggest perhaps we need to get our eyes or ears checked, but they wouldn’t say that the perceptual errors or lack of communication therefore now prove that people in fact can’t see or hear or smell or perceive.
Now let’s repeat the above scenario with psi as the primary informant…
Danny’s been working outside for hours now and I’ve been typing away at my computer. I thought my paper was almost done but realize I haven’t adequately explained the concept of embodied consciousness and I decide in that moment to write Danny into one of the examples. I decide to stick him onto a tractor, as he’s always wanted a tractor of his own, and then not only do I break his tractor at the top of the first paragraph, but I then set it on fire. To make matters even more dire, I make him mad. He’s pissed, because now all the work he did today, yesterday and the day before have been wasted.
What I don’t know as I’m creating this lovely story is that in actuality, 30 minutes ago, Danny borrowed the neighbor’s tractor and 20 minutes ago, one of the gears jammed and he had to run and get the fire extinguisher when it started smoking. He’s pissed because now he’s going to have to do the yard work by hand and the neighbor is probably going to expect him to fix the tractor for him without pay. So while the story isn’t exactly 100 percent correct, it just so happens that I wrote about the main elements at the same time they were happening. I would never even have known there was a connection had he not told me later that evening what happened and at what time. This is an example of unconscious psi operating through embodied consciousness.
Or, I’m typing away when I suddenly think of Danny. I know he’s out there in the cold and hasn’t eaten in awhile. In fact, come to think about it, I don’t think he hasn’t eaten all day. I have the thought, “hmmmm, I’m not being a very good partner, I’m always inside typing. I should go outside and see if he needs anything”. I grab some cookies, walk outside, just in time to see him running around to put out the fire that is bursting from the burning tractor that I didn’t know he had borrowed. In this scenario psi is also operating at an unconscious level. I have a compulsion to go outside find Danny. A part of me is aware of Danny’s real needs; he does need attention and help, but this is very much filtered through my own pictures and preconceptions of what he usually needs from me (food, water, a hug) as well as my own ideas about what a good partner does (they make sure their partner is well fed).
Or, maybe I’m sitting there typing when my peaceful writing mode is interrupted by a sudden surge of anxiety and my heart starts palpitating, alerting me to the urgent situation unfolding in my backyard.
Or, perhaps I’m sitting there typing and suddenly I have a memory of the time Danny forgot to put oil in a car and the engine blew up. In this case, the present scenario is impressing itself into my imagination, conjuring up memories that are related to what is happening outside my conscious awareness. Given I’ve had memories come up like this numerous times both in everyday life but even more so in readings and remote viewing sessions that contained helpful information about another person or a remote target, I have learned to pay attention to memories that emerge suddenly, often accompanied with emotions, that seem to have no connection to my physical task at hand. Once again I’ve managed to bring what was unconscious to conscious awareness.
Another possibility however would be that I could be typing along on my computer when a thought intrudes into my awareness and I hear, “There is a fire!”. In this case my clear-cognizance, clairaudience and my telepathy and possibly mediumship could all be at play. I’d consider this type of psi response to be conscious, as it inserted itself into my mind and I was then able to recognize and articulate the words, “There is a fire”.
Or, perhaps I’m sitting there, dozing off when, suddenly, I’m awakened by a voice that sounds like Danny saying, “God damn it, I broke the tractor!”. This is pure telepathy, as in mind to mind communication. I know this because it sounds like it’s in his voice and he’s speaking in the first person with the word “I”. I have been relying on this type of direct communication during my readings with clients more and more lately as it tends to be quite accurate.
Or I can hear a voice but instead of it being Danny’s voice. It might sound like someone else I knew who passed on. The voice might say, “Danny’s in trouble, the tractor is on Fire”. In this case, mediumship, may or may not be involved, but definitely clairaudience (hearing information on an auditory level) is at play. I know it’s not Danny because he’s not talking in the first person, Danny’s being talked about. This is all happening on a conscious level, even though I only heard a few words and don’t understand a lot of it, I know I heard these words.
Another scenario is: I’m sitting at my computer, and I have a sudden visual flash of the car falling off the jack. This startles me, but I push it aside and keep typing. A minute later I get an image of an explosion. I ignore that. A minute later I see an image of Danny’s face, it’s a close up of his eyes. His face which is normally a shade above pale is almost black from soot. I’m aware I’m seeing images, although I don’t know what they mean at first, but the progression is alerting me to the fact something is up with Danny and most likely involving fire. So this is psi operating on a visual (clairvoyant) and conscious level, and it can become more and more conscious with the increasing images – kind of like when watching a movie unfold.
Again, through the above examples, you can see there are bits and pieces of information. They are operating at various levels of consciousness awareness.
We can also see that as in regular perception, there is plenty of room for incorrect perception and miscommunication. Unlike in regular perception however, there are those who would point to incomplete or partially incorrect perceptions or misinterpretations of correct perceptions as evidence that no psi is occurring. It’s a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, or maybe trying to drown the baby in the bath water simply because the water was not entirely clean.
Embodied Consciousness as Shared Psi Experiences: An Ethnographic Approach.
Over the past 25 years, my body and its relation to others has served as a lived world laboratory, allowing me to become ever more sensitive to what I would call “embodying the other”. The only way I was able to do this was to observe my own feelings, sensations and thoughts and compare these to the feelings, sensations and thoughts of those around me or to those at a distance, but nevertheless in close relation to me on a mental or emotional level.
Additionally, as part of my work as an instructor and practitioner in what I refer to as the intuitive and healing arts, I have observed these open source connections between and within others on literally hundreds of occasions. In fact, one of the biggest reason people come to me to learn how to develop their psychic abilities these days is because first and foremost they have become aware that they are “empaths” – they possess the ability to feel others emotions and experience their body sensations and often times they don’t know how to control this or stop it. At the same time, this sharing offers hope that they may possess other psychic faculties like thought transference, clairvoyance, etc.
The observations that myself and so many others have noticed (many whom are highly educated, stable, and credentialed individuals) has been confirmed by experimenters such as Bem (2011) and Spottiswoode and May (2003) though demonstrating that when a sender receives a physical stimulus (such as in a form of a surprise enacted on their physical body or when viewing photos on a monitor) and focuses on a receiver hooked up to skin conductance pre-stimulus response equipment miles away, the receiver’s body often produces a reaction a moment or two prior to the thought being sent (Radin, 2000). Research shows that when the sender has a close and established relationship with that person, as in the case of identical twins, results are strengthened (Brusewitz, 2012).
What these researchers haven’t done enough of, in my opinion, is to interview the senders and receivers to find out what was their direct experience during the experiment? It is possible that not only their physical bodies register a response from their diagnostic equipment but that they experience a sensation on a conscious level they can be aware of.
Earlier this year, myself and my twin sister, Amy were invited to serve as both sender and receiver in a telepathy experiment that was testing the skin response of the receiver when a stimulus in the form of a surprise would be applied to the sender in another room. As a receiver, I experienced heart palpitations which is very unusual for me. However, this was not part of what was being tested, and so when I shared this with the experimenters, they acted as if this was extra information they had no use for.
At the same time, what was most interesting to me, is not what was happening between the assigned sender and receiver (my sister and myself), but what seemed to be happening between the experimenter and myself as sender.
My sister first served as a sender with myself as a receiver. Then, when that trial was completed, we switched roles for a second trials. As senders we were told only that at different intervals, they would do something to surprise us. We were to just sit and relax and perhaps focus on the other twin who was sitting in a different room at another part of the hotel hooked up to the skin conductive response test equipment. The researchers assured us as senders that they were not trying to test us in any way, rather they were merely surprising us so that this would create a bodily response in us that would then hopefully send a signal or create a response in our twin that we were emotionally linked to.
However, when both myself and my sister were in the sender roles, we both experienced receiving clairvoyant images that seemed to float into our conscious awareness, alerting us to the fact that we were about to receive the intended stimulus. We estimated afterwards that this tended to happen between a minute to 10 seconds prior to having one of the researchers perform an action to create the surprise (i.e. the stimulus). Given we both spend hours most weeks of our lives, as we are both professional clairvoyant practitioners, it was not an extreme shock to receive these images, we just were not trying to have this happen as we were instructed to do nothing more than sit there and relax. The interesting things for myself, and as described to me later by my sister, is that these images seemed to float in or form slowly in our mind’s eye, assembling themselves into a discernable form, in a way that typically doesn’t happen with clairvoyant images, that seem to be much more static in nature.
Because what was being tested was the timing of the receiver’s skin conductance to the timing of the sender’s reaction of being surprised, when we alerted the researchers to the fact that our own clairvoyance was possibly rendering the sense or timing of the surprise-less effect, they stated they didn’t know what to do with this information as it wasn’t that which was being tested and there was no way to confirm we had in fact received these images. In other words, we could be lying!
This made no sense since my sister advised the researchers about her clairvoyant imagery upon completion her sender duties before interacting with me, and I, without discussing this with my sister, reported it to the researcher upon completion of my duties as sender, but their attitude was, we can test a skin response, we can’t know what you were experiencing in your own mind.
An example of these images are as follows:
My image: Running water
Actual stimulus – Bucket of Ice Water by female researcher.
Image – Oval shaped Eggs breaking
Actual stimulus – Oval Shaped Balloons popping by female researcher.
Image – Close up of a man’s eyes wearing glasses.
Actual Stimulus – Hairdryer blowing in my ear being held by the male researcher wearing glasses instead of the female who had applied the other two stimuluses’’.
It was no surprise to me therefore when researchers finally responded to our requests to know our results that the test showed when I was a sender and my sister was a receiver that there was the correct number of peaks in the chart showing skin responses (correlating with number of stimulus applied), however, these were not at the correct times
When I checked in recently with one of the above experimenters, in addition to asking him whether our own unanticipated clairvoyant prompts may have had an impact on the timing of the stimulus being applied or received, I reminded him that as a receiver, I had been positioned at a desk during the entire test where he had happened to set his computer. The graph depicting my skin responses was running the whole time, and I was often looking at this during the test itself, as I was curious to see what was happening on the graph. I had advised him of this afterwards, but he didn’t seem concerned about it.
His short email response to both of these were as follows: “I’m sorry we weren’t able to prove your telepathy. I hope you will have opportunities to do so in the future”.
My response back to him was, “I wasn’t writing to you because I’m concerned about proving my telepathy. My telepathy is intact. I was writing to you as a fellow researcher interested in exploring something that occurred during an experiment that may have had an effect on the experiment”.
He did not respond back. I’m starting to get the sense that having subjects that are also researchers and have put a tremendous amount of thought into a project, is not exactly a quality that is seen as desirable by researchers.
Ingo Swann also took note of this in his autobiography, To Kiss the Earth Goodbye. Interestingly, it was he who is credited with helping the researchers at SRI receive government contracts that allowed for continuation of their work (Swann,1977), it was he who helped initiate the U.S. government’s remote viewing programs, and he who is credited with creating the remote viewing protocols that an entire body of parapsychology research and applied practice continues to make use of now. He achieved these things through sharing of his phenomenal skills related to using his psychic perceptual abilities to receive and describe information at a target as well as his abilities to influence physical matter through PK (Targ & Puthoff, 1977 ) as well as his abilities to formulate methods for training and research purposes. If you read back over the letters and documents that make up her private collection of papers, you will see It’s clear how the researchers he worked with at the time were often at odds with him on many levels, and part of this had to do with the fact he was never truly seen as one of them (Katz, 2016) . Those that knew him also have suggested in private conversations that this also may very well have had to do with who he was as a person, being a gay artist, scientologist, and with a “strong” personality.
Unexpected Impact of being remote viewed demonstrates physical effect.
One of my friends, a clairvoyant and healer was assisting me during a weekend remote viewing workshop I was facilitating at a Hollywood hotel. I informed her I wanted to give my students an outbounder task with her acting as the outbounder – which means she would act like a beacon to draw their attention to the correct location. They would not be describing her, but her surroundings. I told her my problem was this exercise was to take place sometime after lunch and I wasn’t sure when we would get to the task itself, as I still needed to give the students further instruction, and I wasn’t sure how many questions they would have about it. She suggested that instead of accompanying me back to the room after lunch, that she go directly to the location, as she had a lot of writing to do and she would pick a comfortable spot so even if this took a couple hours she would keep herself occupied.
We parted ways and I returned to the classroom. The students were eager to jump right into a session and started only about 30 minutes after we returned to lunch. However, after only about 5 few minutes into the session Michele texted me, insisting that about 5 minutes before, she had started feeling intense tingling and vibrations running through her body. This was accompanied by a rush of heat and then an overwhelming sense of exhaustion. She knew right away she was being observed by the group and begged me to get them to stop, saying she thought she was going to pass out. Knowing she is a cancer survivor and quite sensitive I didn’t hesitate. I stopped the exercise, asked the students to pull their attention away from the outbounder, back to themselves in the room and to cease the exercise. She texted me again a couple minutes later to say her energy had returned and she was feeling better. We then took a walk over to where she was and studied the area she had been sitting in. Some of the students had very nice descriptions of the large stone fireplace she had been sitting next to.
Frequent occurrences of psi as shared embodied experience – what if psychologists lived with me?
If Danny were to suddenly get angry or hurt his hand outside while working on a car, it would be as natural and normal to feel that anger seethe through my own chest, or the pain flow through my own hand as if I had suddenly been insulted myself, or personally fell against a sharp nail. Both of these are experiences I’ve actually had and they are not uncommon. In fact, if I am talking to someone who has pain in their body and I am gesturing, I will suddenly feel pain in my own hand closest to the area where they have the pain, or I will feel the pain in a matching part of my own body. This is easily confirmed by asking them if they are in pain and what part of their own body they feel it in.
Interestingly, I’ve also felt someone else’s pain just a couple minutes before they hurt themselves in this exact part of their body. Let me be clear however, it’s not that the pain in my body feels different from my own so that I know it’s theirs and not mine. It’s only through repeated experiences and paying close attention to the dynamics involves that I can then pose the question, “is this mine or someone else’s” and then set about on a mode of inquiry to understand what’s happening. The mode of inquiry then results in confirmation or denial of this possibility and also of alleviation or continued feeling, even suffering on my part.
This is why I assert that embodied consciousness and shared felt sense operate on unconscious levels but can easily move into conscious awareness. There is nothing conscious about pain, only the experience of pain. In fact, when we feel our own pain as in the tightness of pain in our neck, it’s not that we are aware of it every second. When we get very busy and engaged with something like cooking pancakes or writing a paper, we may go for minutes or longer without feeling the pain, but the moment we put our attention on our neck or shoulders we become aware of the pain. So what happened to the pain when we got distracted? Where did it go? What is pain? Do psychologists even understand that question?! If not, how can they even begin to approach the question of shared pain? And yet here I am approaching it because it’s been a real part of my life for 44 years, since I was 4 years old.
Unfortunately, many psychologists might very well want to bring me in for a psychiatric evaluation, upon reading the above statements. If they gave me any number of psychological tests as currently constructed, I’d score high on several measures indicating psychosis! However, if a psychologist could live with me for a while in my own house, hang out with me in my office or better yet, peer into my own head, feel my own body and then do so with the same minds and bodies that I am in relationship to when these incidents occur, they would hold off on having me committed.
In the same way if this psychologist, or one of his colleagues, happened to be lying beside me one morning when I woke up in my bed in California and heard my friend’s mundane conversation with her daughter discussing their carpool situation as clearly if they were sitting right there next to me, he might become confused and start searching for my friend and her daughter. A quick look through the closet and under the bed would assure him they were nowhere in the room or in the house. When I assured him of course they aren’t – that they live several hundred miles away in Chicago, nor have I spoken to my friend in about a month, he might surely grow concerned as to my sanity. That is until I gave him my friend’s phone number and she advised him, yes, she had just been having a conversation with her daughter about their carpool situation at that very moment, something she continues to bring up years later.
In fact, this same psychologist might start to question his own view of reality if he was also lying next to me in my college dorm room when I woke up from a dream of an acquaintance who had left school six months ago to move back to Canada. Of course, initially he might suggest that this dream about a friend pulling up to a specific corner downtown, stepping out of an old blue Camaro, and wearing a bright green suit was a symbolic representation of unconscious desires or anxiety (it is true I had a minor crush on him that went unfulfilled). However, the psychologist might reconsider that interpretation if he then followed me as I went through my day, ending up unexpectedly downtown on that very same street corner at the very moment when that very same acquaintance pulled up in a blue Camaro, wearing a bright green suit, and apologized for not getting in touch for the last six months.
This psychologist, or one like him, might also find it curious if they had been by my side recently, when after spending 3 hours teaching an intuitive development class, and then another two hours with a client, I decided to catch the tail end of my son’s robotics competition at a local high school. If said psychologist was so kind as to accompany me to the school, he surely would have heard me start to complain of an increasing feeling of anxiety coupled with thoughts that I was soon to hear accounts of a teenager being tortured. If they followed me into that school, I surely would have advised them of my feelings of discombobulation as I attempted to discern whether these thoughts had to do with something happening at a distance, or within the room itself, as the one thing I knew for certain was these unusual thoughts of torture were not just symptoms of my own twisted imagination.
This psychologist, not so sure as I, would then have noticed that I was texting my identical twin sister with the words “Hey Amy what are you doing right now? Something weird is going on”. He would then perhaps have been by my side when Amy’s response arrived, which was something to the effect of “Really? I just spent the last hour with a classmate doing a therapeutic exchange. When she was a teenager she was in a cult that kidnapped her and tortured her for 6 months. It was really difficult for me to sit there and listen to her talk about it, but we talked about how important it is to put oneself in one’s shoes if they are going to help each other so I was doing that with her but it made me really anxious. I told her all about your books and she really wants to meet you”.
Wouldn’t that be wonderful to be able to invite any psychologist, any scientist, anyone who is driven to understand consciousness at its deepest levels, into the theater of our minds and bodies and heart in advance of all these goings on, and during and after, so when these experiences happen, whether they are simply spontaneous shared experiences or occur within intentionally created spaces (i.e. within a structured clairvoyant reading or remote viewing session), these observers could be there to see for themselves psi in its natural environment?
OK, since that’s not going to happen, how about this…imagine if every psychology major was required to take at least one comprehensive psychic abilities development practical course. Imagine at the end of the semester if they knew how to do use their intuitive abilities so they could help those clients who can’t articulate what is at the core of their issues, or perhaps can’t even communicate at all? What might happen to the entire field of psychology in just a decade or two? While this may seem farfetched, it is not. This is happening right now in the school that I have created. Aspects of what I have outlined here happen in other non-university but educational settings around the globe. The biggest hurdle we have is not in “how do we teach this?”, because I and some others know how to teach it. The biggest hurdle is in convincing those that run universities that this is a valid pursuit.
Psi Research vs. Direct Experiencing of Psi through Remote Viewing Methodologies.
Lyn Buchanan, a former U.S. military remote viewer (aka psychic, but I dare you to call him that to his face) explains that the methodology he utilized in the U.S. military, which was developed and taught to him directly by Ingo Swann and Hal Puthoff, can be easily replicated in the laboratory or at will. (Buchanan, 2003). This methodology was originally called Coordinate Remote Viewing and later changed to Controlled Remote Viewing. Buchanan and most other former military remote viewers have chosen since retiring from the military to keep their distance from such laboratories, due to the reductionist nature of both the quantitative methods of parapsychology and the narrow attitudes of the researchers that often employ them. Most laboratory studies only seek to prove the existence of psi, rather than understanding how it operates or how to strengthen it, which is always of concern to those who practice it.
As one myself who has unwittingly forayed into the rocky terrain of formal experimental parapsychological research, as both a research subject and researcher, I can speak to the resistance one encounters when attempting to build into research designs new methods of analysis related to remote viewing rating sessions, and extracting meaning from them. In fact, not only is departure from the traditional “matching game” met with resistance, (i.e., match the session with the correct photo, add up the number of correct matches and there you have your statistics and the gist of all that is learned from the experiment), but any introduction of any other method of analysis, even those that are still quantifiable in nature (such as one such as Lyn uses in his own practice, involving adding up all correct and incorrect perceptions) are met with comments such as “but that’s not how it’s traditionally been done”. Introduction of the use of multiple analysis methods (as I had in my latest study) is seen as so unorthodox that reviewers will reject a paper outright, or will insist that only one of these modes can be reported on within a single paper, even though each method produced a statistically significant result, pointing in a different direction.
Buchanan encourages his students to avoid practices such as simply describing photos as opposed to describing real locations. (Remote viewers have the ability to describe both – which sometimes happen spontaneously or can be done intentionally through various techniques involving purposeful, directed attention). Lyn contends and I would very much agree as a remote viewer and project manager myself, that directing oneself to “visit”, “move to” “extend awareness to” or bring oneself in physical proximity to” a 3D real location as opposed to the 2 dimensional flat single shot representation of it provide for immensely more enriching experiences.
When I do a session, if I know I will be shown a feedback photo later, I always send myself to the location if there is one, tasking myself with staying within the parameters of the photo so it can then be judged against the photo. There are pros and cons to this and quite often it’s clear to me that I’ve described a bit of both. It’s easy to tell if you are describing a photo because sometimes an object will appear at an angle, or to one part of the photo that wouldn’t appear that way from all perspectives at the location, only through the lens of the photo when the photographer was at that particular location. So if there is a set of steps in the lower right hand of the photo and I describe these being in the lower right hand part of the photo, I know I was tuned into the photo, even though in another part of the session I may be experiencing cold splashes of water on my face because the target location contains a waterfall. If I was only tuned into the photo itself, I wouldn’t be able to feel cold water splashing on my face or hear the screeches of seagulls circling above.
Despite the challenges, the practice of remote viewing lends itself to study within an experimental setting more than any other psychic related practice because it focuses on the physical as its objective, and utilizes a physical method of writing that stimulates and allows for expression of both unconscious and conscious related psychic information while recording it in a form that is possible to evaluate at any later date.
One of the main tenants of remote viewing, which tend to set it aside from all other psychic modalities, is the staunch requirements that it be done under blind conditions. Working “blind” means that the viewer has no knowledge of the target. The viewer is simply given a target number and told to do a session. If the viewer is told anything (which is referred to as “frontloading”) he is only told something to the effect of, “The target is a location, describe the location”, or “The target is a location where some activity is taking place. Describe both”.
Working “blind” allows the viewer to bypass the normal pitfalls of mental noise and pollution that other psychics may have to contend with, and it makes them feel their practice is more “scientific”.
The downside to working blind, is this often requires viewers to do a lot of extra work since they may not know what’s needed unless their manager finds a creative way to task them so they will focus on only what is needed. An example of this would be if detectives only need to know about a murder weapon. If the viewer is only given a target number, they may take hours to describe a location when the location is already known. Of course in that case it can still be helpful for investigators to see that the viewer is on target, thus giving them more confidence about the information the viewer provides that is not already known. Sometimes however, doing remote viewing sessions can be very exhausting, and then it’s rough when the manager comes back and says, “Please go back in, you were on target, but I need more information of a different nature”.
Working blind is the ideal at least in remote viewing theory. Occasionally, viewers have no choice but to work with more information, and in my experience they can still be very effective. There have been many times someone needed me to find something for them and I simply asked them to tell me what they were looking for. I’ve found many things for family members this way, even though I did then have to fight against what my conscious mind (or theirs) and would naturally assume about where or how it was lost. The problem with finding things with remote viewing or any psychic modality is referred to as the ‘search problem’. This refers to the fact that no matter how accurate a description is provided, if there is not a viable way to access the location, or if that which is missing happens to be in a location that has few distinguishable landmarks from the surrounding environment, it may be impossible to locate the item. This of course would make it impossible to determine whether or not the session was accurate to begin with.
Clairvoyant Training’s Founder refusal to work with researchers
There is a whole school of training that was founded by Lewis S, Bostwick, with an emphasis on clairvoyance, healing and spirituality. The core of his teachings is described in my first two books, You Are Psychic and Extraordinary Psychic, which are largely how to manuals coupled with an ethnographic accounting of my own experiences during training and as an instructor. (Katz, 2004; 2008). Bostwick rejected researchers and scientists who wanted to come to his school for the purpose of doing research. He had carefully designed a program that he considered to be “a psychic kindergarten” space, meaning this was a realm where students could play with their imagination and not have to worry about proving themselves. Bostwick recognized that many people coming into the institute were what he’s refer to as “sick psychics”, people who were suffering from a lack of psychic boundaries and experiencing everyone else’s energies without having the tools to do anything about it. He ran a series of lectures called, “You may be psychic, not crazy”. The story goes, he had some early run-ins with scientists and after that he refused to let them have access to his students.
Psychic disciplines such as clairvoyant reading and mediumship (which are largely ignored or even denigrated by some of those who call themselves remote viewers) are harder to study than remote viewing methodologies. Clairvoyant reading and mediumship involve more human interaction with people as their main focus. Remote viewers primarily focus on the physical, such as locations, photos, objects – they may tune into people as well, however these people would always be at a distance, not present with the viewer when he or she completed their session. In clairvoyant reading and mediumship methodologies, because, the information shared is quite often more conceptually and relationally based, it can be symbolic more often than literal, which is harder to evaluate. Also readings are usually conducted in real time, in front of the person receiving the reading, who may or may not be conscious to the information being communicated. Often, the subject is brought to a higher level of conscious awareness precisely because of the information being shared, but this greater awareness may occur at a later date, thus rendering formal feedback challenging, if not impossible, in the moment. Finally, information is shared on a verbal level rather than written, thus also leading to complexity by researchers to evaluate.
Although highly challenging and time consuming, personal reading methodologies can be evaluated in a formal and quantitative manner as has been demonstrated by Julie Beischel of the Windbridge Institute. Beischel first subjected potential mediums to a rigorous program of training, and then set about testing them. (Rock, Beischel, Boccuzzi, & Biuso 2014).
As noted above, methods such as clairvoyant reading and mediumship come with inherent challenges due to the nature of the content, and the manner in which information is communicated. That being said, clairvoyant reading has traditionally been done with a reader not knowing much, if any, information up front about a subject (which isn’t a requirement but is just often time the case). When I read or my students do, we close our eyes. We are over the phone and sometimes have had no contact with the person other than them saying hello and their name. Of course you can still usually ascertain things about a person such as their gender or age or region of the world when they simply say their name, and this “frontloading”, to borrow a remote viewing term here, can be distracting or misleading, but there is something comforting in having some frame of reference to start off with as compared to finding yourself in a remote viewing situation where you don’t know if you are going to find yourself on another planet, or looking into a petri dish, or describing a stuffed animal or a simple sketch on someone’s computer.
Unfortunately, many skeptics and even some parapsychologists are only familiar with one approach to mediumship – which is called the “cold readings”. This approach has been carried out by genuine mediums and by those pretending to be mediums, whether for entertainment purposes or fraudulent purposes. These are the types of readings often seen on TV or in stage performances. Mediums will have their eyes open, will make a statement and then ask whoever the statement applies to in the crowd to come forward. They will then provide more information, supposedly from a deceased love one, but then constantly ask the person to confirm or deny what they are getting. Real mediums will engage in this approach because it works in front of a camera or an audience and has become the tradition. Those faking mediumships will do it because it allows for easy extraction of information.
This couldn’t be farther from how most clairvoyants and many mediums work privately. When I do reading, I can often speak for an hour or two without asking my client to say a single word. In training, my students are not allowed to solicit feedback from clients during a session, meaning they can’t ask them questions or for confirmation, or converse until the session is over at which time feedback is greatly appreciated.
Despite my rules regarding avoidance of asking client’s questions, keeping one’s eyes closed at all time, and stating what one is visualizing in minute detail, instead of moving into logical interpretations or advice giving, I completely subscribe to Bostwick’s philosophy that new students must be allowed to be in a playful space when starting out on the path of clairvoyant development. Actually, once one develops more skill level, maintaining this attitude of childlike wonder and being able to recapture this in moments of stress is vital if one is going to avoid burn-out and stay in this field for any period of time. That being said, I also believe striving for quality control and operating at our highest potential, which requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline and focus, is also needed if one is going to be able to really provide ongoing, useful information
What can psychic methodologies teach us about embodied consciousness and how to move awareness from the subconscious to the conscious?
First a bit about the unconscious. What do we mean when we say something exists within the unconscious vs. the conscious? If being fully conscious means to be aware, being unconscious means to be unaware. But when we are unaware of something, or of specific information, where does this information reside exactly? The way it’s been described by Freud and others is as if it’s locked away in our minds to be pried out. But then one has to ask, what, if any, is the difference between simply not having access to information or having access but not awareness?
We can easily assume that I am less aware and thus less conscious of information contained within all of the universe, than I am aware of it. There are people living in India whom I have never met, or heard of, I do not know their names. There are parts contained within machinery all over the planet I’ve not seen or heard or wouldn’t know how to operate if my life depended on it. Is this information therefore, much of which has nothing to do with me, any different than let’s say information I may have had some exposure to directly at a past time, but am no longer now unaware of, such as are certain words and examples my teacher discussed in class that I wrote down in my notebook and now can no longer remember? Then what of time in terms of past, present and future? Perhaps there is a person in India I have not met but I will meet in the future. Is that person’s name and face more accessible to me in my unconscious because at some point it will be part of my conscious awareness compared to the names and faces of those I’ll never meet? Is the person I met 40 years ago that I cannot remember, stored in a different part of my mind than the person I didn’t meet 40 years ago, but lived next door to them in a place whose name I will never know?
While hypnotherapists may have a different take on the subject, what I can say from what we’ve learned through phenomenological observation of practices like remote viewing and clairvoyant reading is we don’t need to have known anything about anyone in order to describe them. However, it’s easier to describe that which we have language for on a level of familiarity then something that is so unusual and out of our realm of daily experience. This is why it’s easier for mechanics and engineers to describe mechanical equipment (which is one of several reasons why the military wanted existing personnel, rather than just psychics off the street, who were familiar with weapons systems and vehicles they could identify). It’s also easier quite often for someone with a knowledge in anatomy to use remote viewing or clairvoyant reading for the purpose of medical diagnosis.
So while I don’t have the answers, as to the above, within all of psychology, I can say that when those involved in remote viewing speak of the unconscious, they are including all information we are not consciously aware of, whether or not we ever had any exposure to it.
As a student of Lyn’s, as a practitioner, scholar and instructor of all forms of remote viewing myself, I can say that building on Ingo Swann’s work, Lyn has developed a vocabulary of consciousness that could contribute volumes to the field of psychology. Remote viewing offers a unique window into perception. In his CRV student manual, Lyn goes into great detail about the relationship between the ego, which he refers to as “the president”, and its relationship to the subconscious, and how to get these two to effectively work together to produce results. On his website, he offers insightful “analogies” that nicely explain this dance between the subconscious and conscious mind and where communication can break down, thus interrupting the perceptual flow of information during a session causing perceptual errors and misinterpretations to flourish during a remote viewing session. (Buchanan, 2003).
Although he may not officially call himself one, Lyn is clearly a phenomenologist at heart. Even prior to ever starting a remote viewing session, students are put through “ambiance training”, which encourages them pay greater attention to minute details within their environment, as well as the interaction between their own senses and environment. Paying close attention to subtle changes is key to this training. For example, most people don’t ever take time to run their finger across multiple surfaces, feeling the differences between each texture in terms of how does the surface feel, and how does the surface make their own finger feel? How does the temperature and atmosphere feel different as one moves from room to room of a building they have never been in before? What subtle changes can be sensed when one is sitting alone in a room and then different people walk in?
Remote Viewers have observed that the thing that draws our attention more than anything else is change to one’s environment. You might think a loud noise, such as blasting music would get one’s attention, but if you are already in a room with a very loud stimulus, such as a radio blasting, you aren’t going to necessary pay attention to it, however, if that loud noise suddenly is switched off, this could very much grab your attention. This is what happens in remote viewing sessions. We can make use of this concept of change, actually, by creating changes through constant movement and switching up of the various perceptual faculties that we pay attention to (such as our hearing, smelling, tasting) when we are projecting or extending ourselves to a location.
The relationship between the body and physical objects dictates which forms of psi will be expressed – or dictates how psi will manifest.
Bruno Latour developed his Actor Network Theory to be used as a descriptive model to and understand complex social structures. His theory consists of “actors”, which produce an effect through relationships on other actors. Actors can be people, but just as importantly they can be physical objects. (Latour, 2005) In remote viewing, the actors are as much the pen and paper and clay as they are the remote viewers. In clairvoyant reading, the actors are the chairs in the room that the clairvoyant uses to sit across from their client. For phone sessions, the actors are telephones, or the teleconferencing system that allows for easy recording, or the computer and Skype program that allows two people to speak to each other on opposite sides of the globe.
I practiced the verbal, non-written of clairvoyant reading and healing for over a decade before learning Controlled Remote Viewing techniques. Because of this I can give you intimate details and descriptions of words such as clairvoyance, clairsentience, and claircognizance. What I didn’t know about was what I’ve come to call body intelligence, which is perhaps more closely linked to embodied consciousness than any of the above mentioned abilities. The only way this ability can manifest itself is through use of the body itself, interacting with other objects within the physical world.
Body Intelligence (again a word I’ve created, you won’t find this word in other texts) in remote viewing simply involves allowing the hand to pick up a pen and freely express itself on a piece of paper. This can be a largely random gesture as when you have a target and say “I’m just going to let myself sketch something or write a word without thinking”. Or, this can be done through sketching something that has been perceived. For example, I’m tuning into a location and I’m getting an image of something rectangular (via conscious clairvoyance). However, when I sketch it on my paper I notice two things: I’ve drawn a small rectangular shape to the left of the paper and it’s not symmetrical – rather it leans uncomfortably to the right. Now when I was an inexperienced viewer I would have surely tried to erase this…hence my teacher’s insistence that I use a pen always, as opposed to a pencil – as the teacher is well aware of the novice’s tendency to want to subsequently correct what their subconscious has caused them to draw that doesn’t look right to the physical eyes evaluating it.
Ten years later, I’m in an entirely different position, trusting that there is a reason I drew the triangle on the left of my paper, very small and leaning uncomfortably to the right. In fact, at this point if I were to do this I’d go as far as to write in my summary “there is a structure that will appear in the left of the paper. It’s quite small and it’s leaning to the right”. If the past dictates the future, I will be correct, even though I never once saw this until my hand drew it on the paper.
My favorite example of this is when I was at a conference and we were all assigned a photo we would see 10 minutes in the future. I had an image of little hut-like structures scattered around a hill. I saw them in my mind’s eye as repeating rectangles. Therefore, I drew them this way, but then I added triangular tops to them, even though I didn’t see them. Now did I do this because I’m used to seeing triangular tops on buildings or did my subconscious know this was the correct thing to do and inspired me to draw them? I will never know the answer to that question. However, what happened next was quite interesting. As the facilitator came around to collect our papers, I suddenly had what I could only call a compulsion to grab my paper out of their hands, take it back and draw a squiggly line from the very top of the paper all across the paper down to the bottom. It almost seemed like I was crossing out what I had drawn. My friend sitting next to me who was also training with me looked at me like I was nuts. “What did you do that for?”, She asked. I told her “I have no idea, I just felt like it”. When the photo feedback was revealed, it showed a hillside area dotted with multiple repeating huts with triangular rooftops, and a road that went from the top of the hill in the picture to the bottom, winding around in exactly the shape I had drawn. This is a prime example of what for lack of a better word I’d referred to as body intelligence.
Subconscious providing visuals to prompt us to produce a sketch that can not be named.
Another interesting phenomenon I only discovered, again through using the tools of pen and paper was that there is some force or source that produces a visual that comes into my conscious awareness that seems to be there for the sole purpose of causing me to draw a certain shape on the paper.
This happened during another conference where the group was about to be shown a photo on a large screen. I was having a lot of trouble with getting a sense of the target when suddenly I received an image of a cartoonish guy picking his nose. (I use the word “received because it came to me – me being the part of my self who is sitting there waiting for the information to arrive). I was quite sure the target had nothing to do with a guy picking his nose quite simply because the guys running this conference would not logically give us such a silly and unprofessional target, and yet I decided since I had little more to go on I would draw this imagery without labeling it. I drew the circle for the head, the shoulder and arm as I had seen it going up to where the nose would be, although I was not inclined to draw a nose, but rather just position it in the center of the circle of the head. I drew the other hand on the man’s hip and his legs spread out with knees also bent in the curious position I had seen.
When we were shown the feedback photo on the large screen, there was clearly no man picking his nose, instead there was a very unusual odd shaped tent like structure. It had a lot of odd asymmetrical angles all over the place including many curved shapes I couldn’t name even when looking at it. Upon closer comparison between it and my sketch, it was clear I had drawn almost the exact shape of this complex structure. I guess what this suggests is that my own subconscious is both silly and highly unprofessional! Even more important though it that this demonstrated to me that there is something in me or working through me that will go to great lengths to communicate in any way it needs to in order to give me what I need, when I need it, namely clues as to the nature of the target. This was the first time that I fully appreciated what my instructors, both Lyn Buchanan and his protégée Lori Williams had been assuring me, that when you need help, your subconscious will always find a way to communicate an idea to you.
Another example of this was when I was assigned the target of a pictogram. Pictograms are simple hand drawings, that are fashioned after the early work of researchers like Rene Warcollier, author of “Mind to Mind” (Warcollier, 1963) and Upton Sinclair “Mental Radio” (Sinclair, 1930; 2011). In the days when they were initially conducting informal experiments, photography wasn’t easy to come by and so they used drawings in their telepathy experiments. One person would create a drawing in one room and act as a sender, and another would attempt to receive the image in another room and reproduce the drawing. I was serving as a viewer for one project headed by Jon Knowles who wasn’t sitting anywhere focusing on this (as researchers discovered later that telepathy wasn’t needed for a person to describe a picture placed at a distant location), but rather would email me the tasking from his home to do within a 24-hour period.
During one of these sessions, as I sat down to do the session, another cartoon guy formed itself in my mind’s eye, this one with a big round head. He was animated in his movement. This time however he was not picking his nose (thank God!). Rather he was throwing himself on the ground in a circular fashion, and rather violently it seemed. He kept doing this, repeatedly. It was if this little guy in my imagination was playing charades with me, and I was the excited audience member guessing what he was doing. “OK, he’s collapsing, he’s throwing himself on the ground, he’s hurting himself, no that’s not it, he’s not really landing on the ground, he’s moving past it, like in a circle”. As I continued to visualize this, it seemed as if he was making the motion of a circle with his body.
I was very confused! What was this telling me?! Was the sketch I was tuning into that of a cartoon guy with a big round head? Should I draw that? On my paper I decided to draw a circle. But that felt wrong. He wasn’t making a whole circle; he was making only a half circle. In the end I did decide to draw a guy with a round head and made a curved arrow around to indicate the movement of the half circle. I received the sketch via email the next day from Jon. It was not of a man, nor a circle, it was a half circle.
Now, why on earth would my subconscious or whatever part of me that was trying to communicate, have to have it show up as a cartoon guy using his entire body in a game of pantomime? Why couldn’t my clairvoyance show me the half circle? I know it’s shown me plenty of circles before when there was a circle. Is there something about a half circle it has trouble with? I don’t know. From this example you can see that the mind works in curious ways There is a lot of room for misinterpretation in the same way that we can easily play Charades or the game of Pictionary and never get what our partner is trying to pantomime or draw, or perhaps get aspects but not work out what the actual correct word or phrase is.
This reminds me of a time I was tasked with describing simple objects for a project I was working as a viewer for a project managed by James Spottiswoode. I had an image of an apple and so I sketched this on my page and wrote “fruit” and “apple”. I received the feedback photo the next day only to discover that the photo was of bunches of bananas at a fruit stand. This was very frustrating! If my mind could give me fruit, why did it have to give me apples, which isn’t entirely out of the ball park, but still, why couldn’t it give me bananas? The bananas were in circular bunches so maybe that was where the round aspect came in but still. Very frustrating!
I’ve had that happen before on another research project with Stanley Krippner, when there was a photo of a giant apple, the size of an entire room. Instead of getting a single apple, I drew an entire tree with apples on it. That being said, on one of the 25 trials I did for that project I had an image of a cartoon half man/half bug sketched on my little note pad. It turned out the feedback photo contained an image of a half man/half bug. Thank you subconscious!
The challenge with our psychic faculties is the same challenge of our normal perception, it’s open to errors and part of this may be because we are often making use of several perceptual faculties all at once. We don’t just see, and then a few minutes later hear, think and then feel, these are all happening all at once, while interacting with memories and fearful imaginings and anxieties, so when you put this all together there is a lot of room for misinterpretations whether you are using your physical eyes or your clairvoyant sight.
Kinesthetic Remote Viewing
Ingo Swann taught his military viewers to build clay models to get the 3-D aspect of things. They would work with the clay modeling only after having done a complete session of sketches, so they’d have some information already to start working with, but then allow the information to move through their subconscious through their hands to create a piece, a 3-D clay model, that could then be recognized by one’s conscious mind. I’ve been with groups of remote viewers who had access to colored cans of playdough and have seen on numerous occasions where the viewer’s chose the exact colors that matched their feedback photo. In some cases they had seen the colors already on a clairvoyant level and went in search of a matching color to their vision; quite often however this was not the case, rather they simply felt inclined to grab several colors that turned out to be excellent matches.
Today thanks to Glen Wheaton who originally used a whiteboard in his videos with the Hawaii Remote Viewers guild, followed by others such as Dick Aligre and Daz Smith in their later contractual work with Dr. Courtney Brown of the Farsight Institute, working on larger canvas placed on a wall is now in vogue. Not only does this allow viewers to demonstrate what they are doing in front of a camera or audience, which I believe was the original purpose for moving from the paper to a larger canvas, viewers such as Ed Riordan, or Jon Vivanco, are discovering that by standing up during a session and using a larger canvas, they are freeing up their bodies for a much wider range of expression, allowing them to incorporate more body movements into their sessions which can provide additional sources of information about the nature of the target.
There is a wonderful video of Ed Riordan, who has now done dozens of remote viewing sessions via his video blog which he posts to YouTube for free. We had talked at length about this session and experience when he appeared on an episode of my own video blog talk show, “The Other Side of the Curve (Katz, et. al., 2016). Unbeknownst to Ed, he had been assigned a target of a man in a factory doing a complex task with an unusual machine. You see him starting to talk about and sketch some complex actions, and then he starts doing this complex routine of making pumping motions by lifting his arms up and down, alternating with very different arm motions as if he were repeatedly squeezing an object with his forearms. He goes back and forth between the up and down pumping and the side to side squeezing, and his whole body is moving. After the session was over and the target was revealed, it is clear his body did a perfect rendition of pantomiming what turned out to be a man in a factory type setting operating this piece of equipment. He shows the man in the video juxtaposed with the video of himself during the session making identical motions. This could not have happened if he was stuck at his desk with a small piece of paper and pen.
In the year 2016, this emerging emphasis on kinesthetics is the most exciting new aspect of remote viewing to emerge. It’s not surprising that just like everything else, it’s merging precisely due to advancements in technology and to younger viewers who are allowing themselves to expand on the work of past generations of remote viewers.
Another change with remote viewers’ attitudes and practice in recent years that I have observed, was clearly and quite emphatically expressed by Ed Riordan and Daz Smith, during our above mentioned interview together. As long time viewers having literally done thousands of remote viewing or psi related sessions each, they no longer personally are concerned with what the target is or proving that they can show evidence of their psychic abilities, instead, they are now most interested in the experience of remote viewing, and witnessing their own internal processes as they move through a session. What I’ve found is that when I take this approach, and remind my own students to do so as well, is not only do we find the whole experience of doing a remote viewing session much more pleasurable, but the act of removing one’s focus from one’s own performance to enjoyment of the experiment actually ends up producing strong matches to the undisclosed target. This is because focus on or a demand by the viewer to know, “What is this I’ve been assigned?” or “What is this target?” often leads to the generation of false images and ideas more than anything else. The attitude of “let me go and play around here and experience all there is to experience without caring at all what this is” is what produces much more correct and helpful information. Lyn Buchanan once told me that genuine curiosity is the single most important quality for a remote viewer to have during a session and throughout one’s career. It is that which truly draws the viewer to information connected to the target.
Hmmmm, this sounds familiar, isn’t this what Lewis Bostwick was saying over 50 years ago when he started his spiritually based clairvoyant training school (which was also the sister organization of a church he founded called, “Church of Divine Man”) when he insisted on maintaining the sanctity of “psychic kindergarten?” through protecting his students against researchers and skeptics and even supposedly government officials whom he accused of snooping around the halls of his school?
Ideograms – training and practice in controlled remote viewing related methodologies
Ideograms are an important component within Ingo Swann’s Controlled Remote Viewing methodology. They serve as a communication device between a remote viewer’s conscious and unconscious and are done at the start of a session. They are a written form of language and communication that integrate the body’s auto response mechanisms. I’ve found them to be remarkably effective in providing clues about the target early on in a session. I received months of training in these before embarking on formal sessions.
An ideogram is defined as a subconscious mark or symbol one’s hand makes that contains information about one or more major gestalts of the target. The ideogram is thought of as a “signal line” that when touched or probed can automatically bring the viewer in greater connection with that which must be described and sketched (“the target”). There are various ways to work with ideograms, some are simple, such as merely probing it with the awareness it will give you, whatever information you need, to extremely complex ways which involve learning the subconscious’ vocabulary for the possible gestalts contained within a location that can each show up in subtle ways within the ideogram itself.
A gestalt is a major aspect of a target. Locations all contain a limited number of gestalts, these include: land, water, biologicals, natural, manmade, air, movement, mountains. Therefore, an ideogram, with psi in full force, can allow a viewer’s hand to make a mark on the page that will indicate the presence of these at the start of a session. To work with an ideogram in this way requires what is known as “ideogram training”. During this training phase the viewer practices making ideograms for the major gestalts until the same looking one appears on the paper whenever that gestalt is stated.
Some instructors tell their students what their ideograms should look like; others believe the ideogram should come from the student’s own subconscious. I subscribe to the latter approach, although after months of doing ideogram training using my own ideograms, I was surprised to discover these were identical to the ideograms other teachers gave their students.
The goal is for the remote viewer to integrate their gestalts and ideograms into their automatic response system, in the same way and according to the same processes involved for musicians, typists, athletes, who learn a skill, integrate it into their body, so their body can perform independent of conscious thought.
If someone were to say, “Draw your ideogram for water connected to manmade connected to land”, the viewer could do so without any thought, automatically, because the body has practiced this gesture so many times. That is when the remote viewer is ready to move onto trying out their ideograms with actual remote viewing targets. If this process is working right, and the viewer is assigned a target, which they are blind to, but let’s say is a photo of a mountain, then the viewer’s ideogram should indicate the gestalts of a mountain, land, nature. If the photo is that of a car in a desert, the ideograms should indicate gestalts for manmade and land. If the photo is of a submarine in the ocean it should indicate gestalts for manmade and water. By indicate I mean the viewer should be able to look at their ideogram and feel it through tracing it with finger or pen, and be able to then recognize conscious the patterns and shapes of the gestalts. They will have to wait until they receive their feedback to know if they were correct.
Over time a viewer can develop many more ideograms by simply comparing their ideograms to the target once it’s known, and noticing nuances and patterns that emerge. For example, after doing many sessions I noticed that when I had a target with children in it, my ideogram for biologicals, which is usually a loop would be smaller, for statutes, it would be a loop but contain more shape angles in the loop, which are similar to my manmade ideogram with sharp angles, for animals my loop appears both smaller, still roundish but leaning to one side.
Lyn Buchanan has told his students that over the past few decades, he has developed hundreds of ideograms as his are not only visual but contain feeling. So he could have two that look identical, but feel differently. Personally, I’d say I’ve only got about 15. Other remote viewing instructors believe there should only be 5 or 6 and these should be kept simple. In Ingo Swann’s method of Controlled Remote Viewing, the use of an ideogram is an essential component to getting the flow of information started, returning to the flow if one has lost the connection, and then continuing to work with said information. Ideograms can be useful in organize the rest of the remote viewing session on paper and in one’s overall approach from start to finish.
Movement commands are perhaps the important concept in remote viewing of locations, as they allow the viewer to access information from multiple vantage points.
Merleau-Ponty in Phenomenology of Perception points out that all perceptions are embodied, meaning it’s not possible to describe a location without being orientated to it in some way to a body’s perspective. I would say this is largely true in remote viewing where psychic perception so closely mirrors regular perception. What this means is if you are on the ground, not only will you have a different vantage point of a location on a visual level then if you are up in the air above the location and looking down as if in a bird eye view, but you will experience many different things. On the ground you will find dirt, or water, or a canyon. You may feel or hear or smell what’s on the ground as you encounter whatever is at ground level. You also will only be able to see what is right around you. However, when you are up above, not only may you find yourself in the clouds, or the stars, or flying with airplanes or kites or fireworks, but when you look down, if high enough, you may see an entire city, or town or neighborhood or property or body of water. Rooftops, treetops, flags, chimneys will also be apparent compared to being on the ground where you would be more inclined to see doorways and streets and cars.
In remote viewing, the nature of the target and what the project manager’s mind wants to know in assigning that particular target may dictate where the viewer starts off initially or ends up. This shows how one human mind, through intention, can direct another’s. The viewer hasn’t been told where they are supposed to go, however, the manager’s mind got them there. Once there, it’s up to the viewer to decide what to do next as far as exploring the target area. The viewer can make these decisions on their own, or they can say to themselves, “move to where my manager most needs me to go”. The implications for all of consciousness here are again quite interesting, possibly disturbing. If a person’s mind can be directed so easily in a remote viewing session as to allow them to be moved to an unknown location and retrieve whatever information is needed by the project manager, how might this be replicated, or be happening already on an unconscious level in everyday life between one person with an agenda and another person who has a desire to be helpful?
Out of Body or Bringing the Location to You
Researchers and practitioners still do not know what the actual mechanism is that enables a remote viewer to connect to whatever they or a project manager wants them to connect with. We just know remote viewing works through intention, attention and focus. The project manager pairs a random number with a statement directing the viewer’s attention to that which needs to be described, and the viewer is drawn to that which needs to be described. The viewer focuses on the target number and information flows. While it may be useful for a remote viewer to imagine they are leaving their bodies and traveling to the target location, it does not matter in the least whether this is truly happening. When a viewer moves to a target, or a specific area of a target, that viewer absolutely does not need to be having a full blown or even partial sense of having an out of body experience, although as discussed below, this does sometimes happen. Other ways to conceptualize moving to the target location would be for the viewer to imagine he is simply extending his body or field to the location. Another way to conceptualize it is that the location is moving over to where he is. Sometimes I like to think of it as if there is no such thing as space or time and therefore the target location can be accessed immediately, with no effort, which it clearly can be.
Physically interacting with a target.
A remote viewer can use their imagination to bring their body into greater contact with that location through use of all embodied senses. This involves consciously making an action and then waiting for a response. Anything can be touched. I personally like to hug things. If I’m way up above a location to start off with, as soon as I get even the slightest impression of something down below, say a reddish color, something moving, a shape, I direct myself to move down to it and hug it. I’ll put my arms around it. This is because I’ve learned that the more you allow yourself to imagine you are physically interacting with a target, the more details you’ll get. It’s about bringing yourself into as close a relation to that which you want to describe that allows you to become, to know it better, because that thing will respond.
There are many things we can do at a location by putting our body in relation to it. We can jump up and down, we can hit objects, we can yell out and see what happens. Or we can just be very quiet and listen. What do I hear? What do I smell? Taste? I had a student who complained that whenever she tried to listen she didn’t hear anything but she’d get a visual. I asked her why she was complaining about a visual that turned out to be correct when so many people would do anything for that. Others will hear a sound but some will feel things. So senses get all jumbled up – I think partially because sometimes there isn’t anything to hear when we listen.
Secondary probing of primary impressions
Essentially all psychic methodologies involve what I personally refer to as initial information collecting and then secondary probing. Some people can get initial visual impressions without much technique, but then they don’t know how to work with the impressions to get further details or correct the misperceptions that may or may not be part of the initial impressions. Others don’t know how to even get an initial impression.
Once the viewer has received a color or visual image such as a simple shape, this image can be used to extract more information through what I refer to as secondary probing. If there is an actual location involved, a remote viewer can take a 2-D approach to probing the shape where they sketch the shape, and then touch it or aspects of it and write down the information. Or the viewer can take a 3-D approach which would involve imagining himself at the location itself, moving to the object, perhaps touching the object or exploring it in some way in order to receive further impressions.
Example of a probing banana shaped object.
Let’s say I have moved myself to the location. When I am up above looking down, I see something off in the distance that reminds me of a giant banana, it’s in that shape. What do I do next? First, I have to remind myself to not analyze this or get locked into the idea that it’s a banana. If I get stuck on this one concept my entire session can be derailed.
Next, I can sketch this shape on my paper. Next, I can decide to probe various parts of it. This is called “mapping” in CRV language. This will not only give me further information about this object, but by honing in closely on various aspects of it, I’m more likely to move from symbolic, abstract thinking, where more errors can occur when it comes to physical things, to a place of closer connectedness and grounded-ness which is actually there.
To map out this shape, I might first put my finger on the far right point and direct myself to move through the paper in my imagination to that which corresponds to this part of the shape. At this point, as has happened during actual sessions, maybe I hear a motor sound and get a sense of a propeller. I write this down or create a new sketch, adding in the propeller.
Next I can move my finger to the far left point (or anywhere I desire on the sketch as a whole). Here I get a sense of a person, wearing a sun visor, holding onto what resembles a steering wheel. It seems as if they have no shirt on! When I probe the bottom of what I now am quite positive is not a banana, water splashes up on me and I smell salt. This is not a piece of fruit, it is a mechanical object that contains at least one person, has a steering wheel, motor, propeller and is located in water. It still may be premature to give it a name, like a boat, but at least I’m a lot closer to its correct identity.
Ascetic Impact – Unexpected embodied responses from remote viewing targets.
There is a term in Ingo Swann’s CRV protocol called Ascetic impact. This is something that often occurs during a remote viewing session where locations are involved. It has to do with the viewer finding and describing themselves in relation to the target location. So rather than merely seeing pictures or having words come into her mind or onto the paper, the viewer will have a sense and use language that speaks to this relationship. This can happen subconsciously, or consciously. In CRV methodology, viewers are encouraged to pay close attention to when they have this experience, which for myself often occurs about 10 minutes or so into a session. The reason it’s important to identify when this has happened is because quite often, the information that flows after this will be more dependable than the information before in terms of its accuracy.
CRV is stage based, and so the viewer is instructed to not even move on to the next stage of remote viewing until they have had an “AI’ ascetic impact experience. For myself, I found that if I’ve been in session for a while and am not having this experience, that I can force it. I refer to this practice of “forcing an AI”. All that is required is to write a command to do this on my paper. I will then put my pen or finger on the paper and imagine I’m moving to whatever is at the target location that will both be helpful to describe and that might be able to give me this experience.
Dimensionality is something that commonly emerges, such as having the sense that something at the target is “large and looming over me as if casting it’s shadow over me”; although luminosity can also be involved. For one target I had the sense that “very bright sunlight was glaring into my eyes, making it hard to see. It seemed to be reflecting off something glass like and at the same time seemed to be reflecting off water. The target turned out to be the Burj Khalifa hotel in Dubai, constructed of steel and glass and positioned on the edge of sea. For another target, I had a very strong ascetic impact experience where I had the uncanny sense of feeling like I was up high, inside “a human head”, looking out of the windows in the company of others. To suddenly find oneself standing inside a human head is a very bizarre feeling indeed. The target turned out to be The Statue of Liberty! The feedback photo showed tourists looking out the windows inside the head of the statue. I must say thought that in my session I didn’t know it was the Statue of liberty. I did identify it as a statue, and I did place it on land surrounded by water, however, I thought it was more of an Eastern type statue.
What I am referring to here as ascetic impact happens whether or not a viewer is aware of this word or expecting anything like this to happen. The exact practice of Controlled Remote Viewing is not a requirement either as I often experience this while operating out of CRV structure, through use of other methods. Also, ascetic impact often involves emotionality of the viewer in relation to the target.
For example, several years ago, I conducted an informal remote viewing experiment with a student, while working together over the phone. I told her she was going to tune into an object that I labeled “Object #1. She was “blind” to the fact that the target was a bowl of strawberries. The goal was for her to use her clairvoyance or other psychic abilities in order to provide an accurate description of the object.
She shared the words “roundish” and said she could make out a “number of small objects, all about the same but with slight variations”, and described the green basket the berries were sitting in, in great detail. Although her individual descriptors were spot on, as is often the case in remote viewing, she could not put the individual elements together to be able to identify the target as a whole. I suggested at one point that she interact more closely with the object by using her other senses such as touch, smell, and taste. Touching it gave her a red color. However, when we moved to smell, she began to get anxious. She got words such as “dangerous” and “harmful” and became convinced I was giving her something unsafe, even suggesting I might be acting irresponsibly to assign her such a dangerous target. Alright I thought, I don’t know what happened, but she is obviously getting off track as there was nothing ominous about a scrumptious basket of fresh strawberries, unless you include my desire to consume them before the exercise is done. The only responsible thing to do was to end the session promptly.
When I revealed to her what this target was and showed her a picture of the berries, she exclaimed that her reaction had made sense, since she had an extreme allergy to strawberries! This showed me that it is possible for a person to have an emotional fear-based reaction to a target, even when they don’t know what it is.
Having visceral reactions to undisclosed remote viewing targets is quite common. For example, several remote viewers sent to a jungle in Thailand describe feeling incredibly hot and sweaty; several viewers sent to the Antarctic becomes inconsolably cold, all without pre-knowledge of the nature of the target and all doing sessions from the privacy of their own homes.
For one project, as a remote viewer, I was assigned a target where I had a sense right away of a tall building in the middle of a city, that I felt contained an ominous and subversive group of people that were plotting to take over the world. This was the group’s headquarters and the ones at the very top of the building were running the covert operation to take over the world. They seemed very wealthy. I grew very concerned that these people had extremely ill intentions. I had an extreme repulsion to them and at the same time felt a great feeling of injustice like this is so not right! In my summary I suggested that this group in the building were broadcasting pure evil, which was emanating in all directions from the building. This reminded me of those on the dark side of movies like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. Much to my amusement, the target turned out to be a skyscraper owned by a life insurance company! (Very appropriate I thought!) My emotions during the session would qualify as ascetic impact experience because it was my own emotional response – anger, and repulsion – to the target, so it was relational even though it was emotional.
On another occasion soon after starting a remote viewing session I had a vision of my own body lying on the ground with numerous swords stabbed through it. I seemed to be wearing a suit of armor. I didn’t feel any pain, or any emotion, which seemed quite odd even at that very moment to be experiencing myself as a dead, stabbed person from a first person perspective and not feel the least disturbed by it. I sensed there was a large structure off to my left which I wasn’t going to have time to explore because I only had a few minutes to complete this entire session. However, given the armor and swords sticking into my body, I felt it was safe to logically deduce this target had something to do with the middle ages and a castle, even though I did not see the castle. The target turned out to be a castle constructed during the middle ages that had been the site of century long battles.
The difference between new viewers and experienced is that the newer viewers often gets caught up and distracted by the emotions and sensations produced by this relationality between themselves and whatever is happening at the target location, but they don’t realize this. They naturally attribute the source to what is happening to the vicinity of where their physical body is. Or, even if they are aware they are being impacted by the target, they react emotionally to the emotion and then either get waylaid, distracted, and quite often move into resistance to the instructor, project manager or whoever else is present. This is why it’s helpful for novice students to do sessions in a safe setting with an experienced instructor. Unfortunately, it is possible for remote viewers to become stuck in this emotionality of the experience if they don’t realize this is happening and to continue to experience it for hours, days or weeks after the session is over. While I can’t be sure, I suspect it’s not just the emotions they get stuck in, but their own inner subconscious core issues-pictures get stimulated in response to the emotion and that is what they are responding to or stuck in.
During one session that was part of the collection of targets found on Lyn Buchanan’s website, I described a group of men sitting at a computer console. I wrote that they “reminded me of guys sitting in mission control room at NASA headquarters”. I drew the three guys sitting there. I also began to feel a sense of excitement bordering on elation, which I didn’t necessarily relate to the people at the location, but thought maybe I was about to find out I had done a good job on this target. The target turned out to be the mission control room during the Apollo 11 mission to land on the Moon and return to Earth again. The feedback consisted of photos, one which consisted of three main figures sitting at a control station, and a written description of those hard at work in the Mission Control room with the wording, “At the end, the celebration of such a mission well accomplished is a reward that few humans ever get to experience. A mission well accomplished”.
When I saw that I had in fact correctly described the target, I was more than just happy with my own performance, I was ecstatic. Even the word ecstatic cannot come close to the extreme elation I was feeling – so extreme that I proceeded to write to every person I could think of to show them my “accomplishment”. I felt such a sense of gleeful success (even though I’d been doing psychic work for years with quite often good results, so this shouldn’t have been that big of deal) that I could barely stand it. I stayed in this elated state for about two weeks, at which point I realized that perhaps I had gotten stuck in the emotionality of the target. Yes, it was a good session, great correspondence to the target. However, really what had I done? I had sketched a few guys in at a console and written the words, “Reminds me of Control Room at NASA Headquarters”. However, I hadn’t actually landed the lunar module myself, even though you’d think I had done just that from my over the top reaction. At least these were positive feelings (although they did make me and act feel rather manic). I’ve heard of one viewer assigned a target that involved rock climbing on a ridge of a mountain. This triggered his fear of heights, and instead of working through this, he left the session (without ever knowing what the target was) and then remained in that state for weeks until he got back in touch with his instructor, found out what the target had been, and then was able to make what I’d call “proper separations” with the target.
I mention the above for two reasons. First, these stories exemplify Merleau-Ponty’s contentions that in everyday life our perceptions of things cannot be separated from the relationality of things. Second, I think it’s helpful for psychologists to understand the rich lessons that can be learned from engaging in remote viewing practice. Most importantly, is that a remote viewing session, while perhaps set up differently from other settings one might ordinarily find or put themselves in (as is a formal meditation session), it’s not that different. It’s a person sitting by themselves in a room at a desk with a piece of paper. This is obviously a normal act that millions of people young and old engage all over the world. The difference is merely in what they are focused on with their mind. Therefore we must assume that what happens in these sessions, in relation to the assigned target, is highly indicative of what happens at all other times. If I can tune into a target number, or project myself over to the location associated with the target number that unbeknownst to me has been paired with Auschwitz, and move into an intense state of hopelessness and anguish in a matter of seconds, then what is to stop me from doing this in my daily life when I think of any situation or any person, whether I am aware of the circumstances of that situation or person or not? What is to not stop me from becoming desperate, depressed and suicidal if I remain plugged into a situation or another person or people who have very real reasons to be in the states that they are, but has nothing to do with me?
In this sense, a remote viewing session, done in the privacy of one’s home, is really the truest and most representational of laboratories in which to study psi, in that it is most indicative of what occurs outside of it.
Therefore, if a remote viewer, whether brand spanking new or highly experienced, can get stuck on a thought form or an emotional state, from something they weren’t even conscious of within this “laboratory” called the remote viewing session, then what is happening to the rest of the human population on a daily basis, who unbeknownst to them possess the same perceptual faculties?
Ascetic impact can be the precursor to bilocation, although it is nowhere near as intense. While ascetic impact can and often does happen every time a viewer has a session, bilocation is a rare experience that many viewers never experience but all who know about it hope for. Bilocation can happen more often using Extended Remote Viewing techniques, which has the viewer doing a session with eyes closed, from a reclining position and a from a deeper brainwave state. The viewer therefore cannot write during the session and has to either rely on memory later or needs to talk to someone else or talk into a tape recorder to record his or her sessions.
Bilocation seems to be an extreme experience of dissociation. Bilocation is where a viewer’s consciousness seems more integrated and aware of the distant location than the location of where their physical body is. During these rare incidents, a viewer will find that they can look around themselves and see everything in extreme clarity. This can cause them to lose focus on whatever information they were supposed to be retrieving. It’s similar to having a lucid dream, where the dreamer gets excited when they realize they can now do anything.
I’ve only had short moments of being bi-located. These happened mostly when I was attempting to tune into a target while on the verge of falling asleep, although on a couple occasions I was sitting upright at a desk with paper and pen. Each of these experiences began with, or were accompanied by, a sense of extreme speed and movement, as if I was moving faster than I ever have in any vehicle. The visuals that came with these were crystal clear as if being able to see every blade of grass in extreme detail. For myself, I never gained control as I got too excited and then dropped out of the experience.
On one occasion, towards the end of a remote viewing session in which, once again I was blind to the target, I found myself in a narrow stairwell of a building, and had a sense of being trapped in between people above me and people below. Not only could I see the minute details of the metal stairs and railings spanning above me and below me, but I could feel the intense desire of at least one of the men on a nearby level to be helpful. Unfortunately, I lost complete consciousness at this point and woke up or came back (not sure if I fell asleep or what happened) several minutes later to discover I had lost consciousness, which seemed like a very inopportune time to do so. By this time, I already had a nice sketch of an airplane and other descriptors and decided to end my session there. I found out several weeks later that the assigned target was the moment when the airplanes hit the twin towers on 9/11.
What can Clairvoyant reading techniques teach us about embodied consciousness and bringing that which is subliminal into awareness?
As noted above, clairvoyant reading and healing is a very different modality from remote viewing, even though both are based on psi related perception. This discipline involves accessing information about clients who want to know something of themselves, their lives and their relationships. Included in their lives are various areas like careers, finances, goals, problems, solutions. Also people want to understand the past, make sense of their current state and have insights into the future. Sometimes mediumship aspects arise as when a person, or what seems to be a deceased person, appears around that person as well, but it’s very easy to spend hours with a person or several people without the subject of spirits entering into the picture.
Clairvoyant readings can be very therapeutic – the difference between these sessions and traditional psychotherapy is that instead of the client doing most of the talking, the client is mostly silent, and instead the clairvoyant speaks.
This practice is called clairvoyant reading because the psychic starts off focused on visual images and colors and pictures. In doing so this often frees up the other senses so information can flow in on a physical – body – sensation and also telepathic level. Often times this information is all flowing at once. Many complexities can arise which require a clairvoyant to be trained in how to recognize and release and stay centered when in the midst of rather intense states of emotions, allowing these to flow through them, and serve as information rather than distractions. Clairvoyants are constantly having to deal with navigating through distracting thoughts and judgments, whether their own, or of the clients that may be overtly expressed or sensed on an intuitive level, and that sometimes can broadcast more loudly than the desired information being sought.
If the client has just been to the dentist, the clairvoyant might feel a sensation of pain or discomfort in their own teeth. If the client has a headache, the clairvoyant may feel pain in their head. If the client is suffering from feelings of grief or anger the clairvoyant may experience these emotions. Emotional exchanges get tricky because they are not limited to the confines of the time of the appointment and they can be easily misinterpreted by the clairvoyant as their own. Often times a clairvoyant will start to experience a client’s emotional state a few minutes prior to the session but this can even start the morning the clairvoyant wakes up.
Is the clairvoyant simply channeling another’s emotions, or are their own pictures and issues resonating or being impacted by the client’s emotions to cause them to respond in a certain manner? If a typically confident clairvoyant reads or is about to read an insecure client with low self-esteem, the clairvoyant may hit these feelings big time prior to the session, causing her to want to cancel the session. If the client is already insecure and hit’s this “energy” from the client, it could result in the clairvoyant turning away from the work altogether.
Likewise, let’s say that a clairvoyant has some unresolved feelings of anger and abandonment related to a spouse that cheated on her a few years ago. She has an appointment scheduled with a new client that she knows nothing about as the client scheduled herself on her auto booking calendar, as often happens these days. What she doesn’t know an hour before the reading is that her client is having an affair and will be asking whether or not it looks like her lover will leave his spouse any time soon. In this case the clairvoyant, totally obvious to what is about to transpire, could still fly into a rage. The client herself is not angry so this is not a case of the clairvoyant matching the client, this is a case of the clairvoyant responding to the client’s behavior which she would very much disapprove of.
So is she subconsciously picking up the situation she’s about to encounter, or is she tuning into her own anger that will arise in about an hour when she hears the client’s question? Situations like this arise all the time for clairvoyant readers. This provides endless opportunity for the clairvoyant to become aware of her own judgments, biases, cognitive errors and limitations, etc., but again, it takes awareness, skill and finesse to be able to use the reading experience to gain insights into oneself and move past these blocks and limitations, rather than getting stuck or off track due to these issues when they arise.
Main Clairvoyant Technique – Encapsulating the conceptual into a symbol.
Unlike remote viewing technologies that focus on physical aspects within the physical environment mostly, Clairvoyants primarily deal with concepts. The exception to this is when they are tuning into a body to learn about the physical health of the body, or perhaps looking at a house or property to see if it’s in good condition for buying or selling purposes. If a client wants to know about a goal, or why they are blocked in their life, or whether a relationship is healthy for them, the clairvoyant will need to find a way to bring the conceptual into a workable form so it can be worked with.
Clairvoyant Reading is a combination of forced symbolism and I’d go as far as to say forced synthesis. It more-or-less works by creation of an object out of nothing – i.e. a concept. It’s taking pure thought, putting it into a visual picture that can be worked with.
Paving the way for clairvoyant information to flow – starting exercise.
While the emotionality of all that can rise, especially when working as a professional is challenging, the clairvoyant techniques themselves that call forth information are quite simple and effective.
One of the ways I’ve found to demonstrate to students just how easy it is to conjure up pictures they didn’t know they had is to do an exercise with them that I came up with myself when I was going through a tough spot with my own visualizations. It got me back on track right away as it reminded me how I already have a visual language operating and available to me all times.
I start out with words they hear on a daily basis and tell them they need to notice what visualization appears when I say the word. We start off with words like “yes” “no” “Success” “Failure”. Then move on to more emotionally charged words like love and hate, mother and father. Husband and wife and commitment and freedom are also very fun to play with. Most people will go through an entire lifetime without ever checking in to see what visual pictures accompany their words. As soon as they even attempt to do this, students are surprised to discover their mind will always give them a picture. Sometimes these pictures are very obvious and to be expected, a person says “Yes” and the picture is of a head nodding up and down, or a green light flashed or a hand gives a thumbs-up, but sometimes the images are very unusual and unexpected. It’s not that the student is making up the picture consciously, it’s that their unconscious is showing them their inner pictures they didn’t even know were there.
This immediately propels pictures into their conscious awareness that hold tremendous insights as they go about discovering their inner visual language. Often with the visuals, students realize there are emotions connected as well, as they will start to feel emotion and a reaction to their own pictures they are describing. With additional visualizations such as a grounding cord, the emotion can be drained from the pictures and the students will often feel a sudden shift and release, including a sense of relief.
This of course is an important element, I am always carefully monitoring the emotional states of my students (which I have learned how to do even when working in a group situation over the phone) and these techniques lend themselves to not only bringing awareness to the student of their visual pictures, but helping them to then transform their pictures for healing and emotional release purposes. While there could obviously be much to work with here from any therapeutic perspective, the point to this exercise is to allow the student to literally see for themselves all that is operating just beneath conscious awareness. A picture may not always be worth a 1000 words, but it can provide powerful insights.
Also pictures and visualizations naturally bring people into an intuitive realm where logical thought is harder to do. Words however, bring them into an analytic realm, which brings them out of direct experiencing into more a removed space of logic and judgment. The point isn’t to lead the person into analysis of their thought forms, but into direct experiencing of their own thought forms or “pictures”, so they can then make conscious choices about whether or not to keep or discard these.
One of the goals of this exercise is to help students get used to how visuals show up in their imagination. I’ve found the problem isn’t that they can’t visualize, but many have unrealistic expectations for how they think the visual pictures should show themselves. They have this idea they will be so strong or separate from their imagination rather than understanding clairvoyance works through the imagination. Once they are used to how their own unconscious visual pictures come in, it’s a natural progression to allow pictures to form from information they don’t consciously know anything about for others.
The Clairvoyant Method:
A popular symbol to use in clairvoyant methodology as originally introduced by Lewis Bostwick is that of a flower. Lewis always used a rose but that is way too limiting as far as I’m concerned. A client says their name and the clairvoyant invites a flower to appear that represents the client, or an aspect of the client, or a particular aspect of their life. So the flower can represent the client as a whole, or a general area like career, or a specific goal or a specific question. If the client wants to know about a relationship they are having with another person, the clairvoyant can conjure up two flowers, each representing the individual person. They can then invite the flowers to relate to each other to show the nature of their relationship and their true feelings for each other.
Flowers can be put on time lines and compared to each other in different points in time. Once the initial flower appears and is described, the various components of it can be probed to elicit more information as in the secondary probing technique I described earlier, when it comes to remote viewing. Whatever appears in the first round of probing can be further probed. By probing I mean simply to focus on whatever is most interesting or unusual or noticeable, and then to simply set an intention that says something like, “I want to see more about this, show me more”, and then just meditating on that particular feature. Usually what starts to happen is pictures and colors impress themselves into the clairvoyant’s mind that move away from the flower. These pictures then can be described, and then the picture as a whole can be probed or aspects of the picture can be. If the flow stops the clairvoyant can get rid of the pictures by “blowing them up” or moving them up, and then starting the process over. By then, again, emotions, thoughts, words, sensations are now all flowing so the clairvoyant has so much to work with, they can easily spend a couple hours with the client using this method. Meanwhile, if they are getting emotional, they can use techniques like grounding cords and running energy to clear these emotions and accompanying thoughts (i.e. insecurities and self judgements) and then refocus.
One can see that like in remote viewing methodologies, there are some themes emerging: All psychic modalities involve a combination of making decisions to employ certain techniques. Next one must be in a meditative, receptive state to wait for the information to come in, and then future decisions are needed to continue to guide one self. Fortunately, it gets to a point where even the decisions of what to do next are sometimes intuitively inspirited (i.e. do I look at the stem of the flower or that black shriveled petal to the right? This is similar to remote viewing a location as in, “Do I move 500 feet above the target location and look down, or do I move to ground level and jump up and down and see what happens next?”.
Also all psychic modalities require initial approaches to getting focused and tuned in, and then they require further steps (probing) to continue to get more information. Of course one approach is what I’d call the no technique approach for initially tuning in, as in just sitting there waiting for information to be there. This works just fine sometimes as well. It’s when it doesn’t, or a lot more information is needed, that having a large tool bag to work from is useful.
What does the clairvoyant technique tell us about conscious and unconscious processes?
As is clear from the above description of the clairvoyant technique, in visualizing a flower (a conscious act) and inviting the client’s “energy” to flow into it (also a conscious act), and then waiting to see what happens (conscious, but more receptive, instead of doing now what is required, is waiting, watching, being patient) suddenly some unexpected things are observed (the observing again is conscious but what is it that is making these things appear as they do?) For example, what if I start off with just a plain white rose. The client (who I know nothing about) says their name, and the rose changes into a bright red rose. One part of it looks healthy but another part, one of the petals, turns black and shrivels up. Also there is a thorn on the stem. Also the stem looks like it’s trying to plant itself but the dirt surrounding it is all dried up with some bugs walking around and muddy water.
Yikes! What’s up with that?! So I probe the dying petal and I see an image of an old man who looks like he has an oxygen mask on his face and he’s reaching out for my client as if to brace himself but then he falls over, taking her with him. It turns out my client’s father is currently in hospice, on oxygen and she’s completely exhausted, spending all her waking hours, except this one with him. Each aspect of the flower contains applicable information, although it sometimes takes longer to get clarity like this. So the information about the client’s dying father was contained, or in a sense hidden within the dark petal, but I was unconscious to this until I probed it more and then the image appeared, floating into my awareness. Once I see the flower it is conscious. However, what if while I’m looking at the flower, before I get the picture, I am overcome with a feeling of grief? What if tears begin pouring from me eyes? (which actually occasionally can happen even without the emotional feeling) well if I am aware of the feeling of grief this is psi operating on a conscious level. What if however I just feel a pain move through my head? Well I’m still aware of the pain, but I’m not aware of what it means. How do I handle this then?
Well I can ask myself, self, “what color is this pain?” Let’s see, I see a dark blue blob. Ok cool, now I can work with it. I can tell myself I’m removing the pain from my head, see it float out in front of me, and if I want I can stick it in a bubble or stick it into a flower and watch to see how it impacts the flower. As I look at it I’m getting separation from it, and it may no longer hurt me like it did before. I might actually then see an image of my client looking exhausted, drowning in paperwork, and holding her head in her hands, which can alert me to the fact that
she has been having or even has a headache right now as she’s overworked. In this case I’d find out later I was correct. Of course if I don’t get that feedback, and there are no other readers who can provide clues, I may just never know if I was correct.
Clairvoyants have traditionally looked at more esoteric things like energy, chakras and auras,
Just like I said about the subject of moving a person out of their body to go move around a location that needs describing in remote viewing – this technique will work, whether or not we can prove they are really, truly leaving their body.
The same could be said about concepts such as energy, chakras, and auras: I can’t prove any of these exist because they are not visible to most by the physical eye. What I can prove, by teaching you how to do this yourself, is if you pretend they exist, and direct your attention to these, whether they are real or not, useful information will flow from them that can be validated, that can be made use of. Furthermore, the person you are working with may be able to feel it when you are looking at these things that neither of you are sure exists.
Further, if you do another step: if you pretend that you can in fact change these through visualizations, such as you pretend that there is such a thing as a crown chakra that you then ask your imagination to show if there is any energy there, even if you don’t know if any of this is possible or real, again, the person you are doing this to may feel it (Even when they have no idea you are doing this or did this) and they may feel instantly better or better later. This feeling better may be in the form of having less or no pain, feeling a relief from stress, strong emotions, confusion, obsession, etc. So we don’t need to know for sure that these energetic aspects of a person are real to make use of them in order to extract information from them and also create healing in the body. Of course if we do get information and healing from these practices, we can then say this might point to some confirmation there is something to these things, these things that closely correspond with the physical body. Whether they are exactly as is thought traditionally in terms of auras or chakras remains to be seen…whether literally or symbolically.
In this paper I have outlined my theory of psi, which I would assert has a rightful place in any phenomenology of perception, and anchors Merleau-Ponty’s “felt sense” even deeper into the notion of shared space and embodiment of the other through my introduction of a “shared felt sense”, in which clairsentience and body intelligence are vital components. Furthermore, I have demonstrated that psi is not just a phenomenon, or an ability, or a figment of a deluded person’s imagination, but an essential aspect of consciousness. I’ve also made a case for how psi, and lack of acknowledgement of it, creates suffering for people who are experiencing each other’s emotions, sensations and thoughts without awareness, and how psychology and those who study it can no longer afford to continue to turn a blind eye to that which impacts the people it purports to serve. I have illustrated how there are in-depth practices already in place illuminating and mapping out pathways between various states of consciousness for easy travel back and forth. These practices include remote viewing, clairvoyant reading, and the phenomenological practice of psi by those who may not even know how to pronounce “phenomenology”, but intuitively understand and live by its main tenants. These practices currently lie outside the field of psychology and even parapsychology but are easily accessible to all who wish to explore them.
In conclusion I would assert that Psi may in fact be the missing piece of the entire consciousness puzzle. If this is the case, I would suggest that the first piece starts with acknowledging the possibility of its existence. The second piece is acknowledging psi’s existence within oneself and all others. The third piece is acknowledging the extent it works through the body before it arises into consciousness awareness to be recognized, processed and made use of by an inquisitive mind. The fourth piece is in acknowledging that is works through all senses, in all directions, along the time continuum and in all relationships. The fifth piece is in acknowledging that even though it can rise to conscious awareness without effort, that it can also be learned. The sixth piece is asking what is at stake for those who can’t change their world view, and being kind to them, while saying I’m sorry but I can’t play along any longer, just because I’m afraid you will call me names or refuse me tenure. The seventh piece of the consciousness puzzle is the one that will open the doors to brand new colorful psi-streaked horizons of discovery faster than anything else. This requires the decision to move from simple acknowledgment that psi exists, to allowing it to show up in one’s life. Uttering “I’m ready” when no one else is around, usually speeds up this process.
As far as all the other pieces – those are still in the box, waiting to be discovered.
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