Miracles of Mind: Exploring Nonlocal Consciousness and Spiritual Healingby Russell Targ, Jane Katra
In this remarkable scientific exploration of the mind's powers, pioneering physicist Russell Targ and renowned spiritual healer Jane Katra present an extraordinary synthesis of how spiritual healing and non-local mind--the mind's ability to transcend space and time--are integrally linked. Photos & illustrations. 272 pp. 6-city author tour. Targeted print ads. Radio publicity. 20,000 print.
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Miracles of Mind
Exploring Nonlocal Consciousness and Spiritual Healing
By Russell Targ, Jane Katra
New World LibraryCopyright © 1998 Russell Targ and Jane Katra, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
What I SeeWhen I Close My Eyes
How does a physicist happen to co-write a book about healing and the nonlocal mind? As a graduate student at Columbia, I (Russell) was greatly influenced by philosopher Alfred J. Ayer, who said if a thing can't be measured or verified, it can't be sensibly discussed. Ayer made a great contribution to logical thinking by giving us the tools to determine which kinds of arguments could be resolved, and which kinds would go on endlessly. Although he might be appalled by our current view that we have mind-to-mind connections, and are one with a community of spirit, the data we present here meet all of his criteria for independent verifiability by a fair witness. The idea of nonlocal mind is a contemporary metaphor from quantum physics. It is a congenial match for the phenomena examined through many decades of laboratory parapsychology, as well as the related examples of spiritual healing occurring in hospitals, churches, and clinics.
Ayer also said that if a claim cannot be verified by one's senses, then it should rightly be considered a "non-sense" proposition. In this book, the authors tell you things about which they have direct, personal sensory experience, or firsthand information. We don't, for example, write about the seventeenth-century levitations of St. Joseph of Copertino, or the nineteenth-century seances of D.D. Hume, as much as we might like to. Many said that D.D. Hume was a conjurer. Our opinion is that if he were a magician, he used sleight of hand only to augment his already extraordinary psychokinetic feats. In the same vein, charismatic healers throughout history have likely used combinations of hypnosis and stagecraft to augment their genuine healing gifts. Stage magicians doing mental magic, on the other hand, have a much easier tasks to perform.
Perhaps I should admit here that I am an amateur magician. In fact, my initial interest in psi came from my college days, when I was a performing amateur magician. Almost every magician has had the experience of standing on the stage, doing mental "magic", and suddenly realizing that he knows more about a person in the audience than his trick should have told him. For example, I was often on stage doing an effect (a trick) called billet reading: I held an envelope up to my forehead and tried to answer a question that someone in the audience had written on a slip of paper and sealed inside. In reality, I managed to get a surreptitious peek at the question earlier in the trick, and would just recite it from memory. But standing there with my eyes closed, "mind-reading" the question from a lady who wanted to know where to find her lost dog, for example, I may also have received a sudden mental picture of a large brick house with a line of trees in the front yard. Trusting the quality of this mental picture, after reciting her question I astonished her even more by describing her house. Every magician I have talked with who does mental magic on the stage has received this kind of ESP gift while performing their tricks. After I had several such experiences both on stage and in front of small groups, I became interested in the work of J.B. Rhine at Duke University, who seemed to be doing real magic without any sleight of hand.
One of the paradoxes of psychical research pertains to the difference between a psychic and a magician. When a stage magician enters an ESP laboratory, he is very likely to try using trickery to supplement whatever psychic ability he has. Conversely, it often happens that a magician on the stage will supplement his tricks with whatever ESP might come his way.
I am a good visualizer. When I close my eyes I usually see reasonably sharp and clear pictures — often clearer than I see with my eyes open. My corrected vision with glasses is only about ten percent of normal. Let me share some of my thoughts about psi perception, from the unique point of view of a legally blind researcher.
A person with poor visual resolution like my own regularly experiences the world in a similar way to a participant in a remote-viewing experiment. The images I see are not out of focus, but are simply projected onto a film — my retina — that is of too coarse a grain to resolve the fine details. I believe that a number of misconceptions have been formed about psi functioning from the expectation that psi should work like vision. A normal eye can resolve down to one milliradian, the width of a single hand at the distance of a football field.
When I am looking out over an audience, I can see well enough to be absolutely confident that I am talking to people, rather than stuffed animals. But from the stage I cannot identify anyone by sight unless they have unusually distinctive properties of size, shape, or hair. The people are not out of focus, they are just too far away for me to see them clearly. This is an important distinction, because it pertains to the way most people perceive psi images or experimental targets. My personal visual experience coincides with the fragmentary images perceived initially by remote viewers in the SRI data. This fact is consistent with the ideas presented by authors René Warcollier in Mind to Mind and Upton Sinclair in Mental Radio.5
The initial fleeting and fragmentary images experienced during remote viewing are also similar to the process called "graphic ideation", described by Robert McKim in his book, Experiences in Visual Thinking. McKim explains how solutions to mechanical engineering problems are extracted from the unconscious through the process of sketching meaningless doodles, with the expectation that the answers will gradually appear in the drawings. Even though it may not be recognizable in early sketches, something will eventually appear that can be identified as the solution to the problem. McKim's book makes it clear why artists are often the best psychic subjects. It is not that they are necessarily more psychic than the rest of us, but that they have much greater control over their visual imagery processes. Psychic data in visual form may well be mediated by these same processes. Artists are also experienced in stabilizing and examining their visual images. Those of us involved in psi should probably learn and then teach mental imagery skills as part of our parapsychological research.
The process of remote viewing is often similar to the results we have seen from hospital patients who have had their cerebral hemispheres surgically disconnected from each other. These patients are asked to draw a picture of something that they are reading about with one eye open, while holding their pencil in the hand on the opposite side of the body. The drawings they produce are accurate, but the subject's mind is unable to identify the object after they have drawn it. This task illustrates the disconnection that can exist between the knowing and the doing parts of the brain.
Fragmentation appears to be a natural method for extracting information from the unconscious. One should not necessarily expect an object to have the same projection on the psychic plane as when seen by the eyes. I am not using the term "psychic plane" here in a metaphysical sense. I use it as a reminder that, although every day we learn more about the elements of the psychological processes that facilitate psi, we still know nothing about the physics of the interactions between distant and/or future targets and our awareness of them.
Although the production of fragmentary images is a frequent phenomenon in psi, especially with people who are new to it, there is no reason to believe that it is an absolutely necessary characteristic. More experienced viewers are often able to consolidate these fragments mentally, allowing them to produce a single, surprisingly coherent image. Perfect examples of this are the amazing sketches made during a remote viewing by Joe McMoneagle, shown in Figures 10 and 11 in Chapter 2.
My own clearest psi experiences have been spontaneous. My first clear psi perception came to me in 1956, when I was riding in a car with my employer, who was driving me home from the Long Island laboratory where we both worked. The sun was shining brightly in my eyes. When I closed my eyes to avoid the glare, I suddenly had a vivid mental picture of a page of Hebrew writing. (I don't read Hebrew.) I saw white characters written on a black background, with little red flowers with green leaves near the edge of the page. Associated with this was an oval table with candles on it. I related this image to my employer, who knew of my interest in psi. He said that it sounded to him as though I were describing the library of his friend, Professor Schriber, a Hebrew scholar in Brooklyn. He called Schriber that night and obtained a copy of the manuscript that Schriber had been working on at that time. It was a white-on-black photostat of a Hebrew book, which Schriber had annotated by marking the correct parts with green checks, and putting red balls next to the parts that he thought should be changed. There were no actual red and green flowers, but the correspondence to what I had seen in my mind was remarkable when I finally saw the pages a few days later. That is probably the sharpest image of text that I have ever perceived. I will never know if I could have read it, if it had been in English, but it was so clear that I feel I could have.
An even more complete image came to me in a dream while attending a scientific conference several years later, where I was to present a technical paper. I dreamt that the person who was going to speak just before me was dressed in a tuxedo with a red carnation in his lapel, and that he was going to sing his paper! This dream, unlike many that people have, certainly did not reflect any wish fulfillment or residue of the previous day's experience, and it had the unique clarity and bizarre nature that I have come to associate with precognitive dreams.
On my way to breakfast the next morning, I went to the conference room to see what it looked like, and there, at the lectern, stood a man in a tuxedo wearing a red carnation in his lapel. I went right up to him and asked him if he was going to sing. "Yes", he said, "but not until later". He turned out to be a band leader, and he would be conducting in our conference room later in the day for a banquet!
I can think of only one psi event in which I clearly recognized a particular person. About fifteen years ago, I decided to do a practice precognition experiment. I bought a racing form, and I am mildly embarrassed to say that I proceeded to do my meditation on the eighth race at Bay Meadows the next day. I didn't look at the names of the horses at all before the meditation. I just sat down with my candle, and after a few deep breaths, the head and shoulders of Michael Murphy, the founder of Esalen, appeared to me. Mike's face was so close to me that I could easily recognize him (a situation that doesn't occur very often in my everyday life). He said nothing, but just looked at me. About twenty minutes later, I finished my meditation and looked at the paper, eager to see if I could find any correspondence between Mike Murphy and the eight horses running in the eighth race. It turned out that one of the horses was named "Friend Murph". My son Nicholas went to the track the next day and bet five dollars for me on Friend Murph. He came in first at five to one, winning twenty-five dollars!
These three personal experiences are examples of spontaneous psi. The conditions under which each occurred would all be considered psi conducive: The one with the sun in my eyes was a hypnagogic state. Another was while dreaming, and the last was meditative. I am sorry to say that these experiences, like most of my other precognitive dreams, have not taught me any deep lessons. Usually, even the highest quality precognitive events in my life have been more humorous than meaningful. Nonetheless, they have had a great impact on me by serving as constant reminders that psi is in my life, and that this is the area I should be working in. They have also been important to me because of the firsthand knowledge they have offered regarding the form and substance of psychic perception. I don't have to rely only upon other people's descriptions of their mental experiences, because I have my own personal data to work with.
For the past several years, I have been attempting to bring psi under conscious control, so it could be used with confidence. It is important that experimenters share trust, love, and grace in order to achieve reliability in psi functioning. Accuracy will come from time to time without these conditions, but not with consistent reliability. We all have an idea of what is meant by trust and love. What I mean by grace is a feeling of harmony, and even more importantly, unequivocal gratitude, and the acceptance of the gift of psi among the group doing the experiment. Ken Wilber describes this kind of transparent relationship in his remarkable book, No Boundary.
Until we have a significantly better description of the interaction of psi targets with our perception of them, I will continue to view psi experiences as miracles masquerading as data. The gestalt is the patterning force that holds the psychic image together and provides meaning to the viewer. One day I hope we will get beyond the holistic and gestalt types of psi data, in which only forms, feelings, and icons are perceived. Analytical data, such as the names and uses of objects and locations, are not yet generally available in psychic research. We know that analysis, imagination, and intrusive memory are the enemies of psi, but we must learn to make use of them constructively if psi is to be brought to consciousness and volitional use.
With this goal in mind, several of us in California formed an informal group of experienced researchers who are willing to share their own introspections about personal psi in experimental situations. Although these exercises are carefully conducted, they are not all double-blind, and we are exquisitely aware of the potential problems of unintentional cues. In our experimental situations, the only comment an interviewer is permitted to make is either, "Tell me more about what you are seeing", or "What are you experiencing that makes you say 'such and such'". This is all process-oriented research, free from the analytic requirements of sponsoring corporations to achieve statistically significant "P values," variations from standard probability curves. These informal sessions later led us into highly successful, formal, double-blind experiments.
Under this friendly telepathic protocol, I have described many objects in boxes and mental pictures thought up by one of our g roup. Trying to psychically create visual pictures associated with a psi target is often like searching for a memory. You try to remember a forgotten name; you struggle and struggle. The more you struggle, the farther away the name recedes. Finally you give up Soon after, with the release of your effort, the name will spontaneously appear.
In the case of searching for psi images, one looks for incongruous and surprising pictures so that they can be separated from old pictures residing in one's memory. However, the process feels the same. In one case you are trying to remember something you have known before, while in psi you are trying to "remember" something for the first time. Physicist Gerald Feinberg thought that precognition was a case of "remembering" one's own future mind.
Larry Dossey, in his book Recovering the Soul, says that we do this by reaching into the vast inner space of our eternal, nonlocal mind. We know from our own parapsychological research that this mind exists, and that it transcends both space and time. Nonlocality has come to the forefront recently in quantum physics, with credible laboratory experiments to demonstrate its existence. For example, in these experiments, when one measures the polarization of a pair of photons born in the same interaction, but traveling in opposite directions, the polarization of one photon appears to be altered by the mere act of observing the other. Since the two photons are traveling away from each other at the speed of light, this startling correlation appears to be a strong violation of Einstein's special theory of relativity. Einstein correctly recognized this effect, and thirty years before the experiments were performed, he wrote (mistakenly, it turned out) that this violation of special relativity was a demonstration of a weakness in quantum mechanics. David Bohm calls this demonstrated nonlocal interaction quantum "interconnectedness."
Excerpted from Miracles of Mind by Russell Targ, Jane Katra. Copyright © 1998 Russell Targ and Jane Katra, Ph.D.. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
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