Current Update as of December 19, 2005
Inspired by The Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies
Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
(New World Library)
Book Summary by Gabriela Drinovan
New perspectives are open for ESP researchers by studies performed in the last five decades in the world laboratories where thousands of experiments in perceptive capabilities of people have been conducted.
It seems that it is in anybody's power to benefit from an expanded consciousness beyond the limits of our usual functions and that becoming aware of facts that are distant in space or time is a matter of mind training.
The Stanford Research Institute (SRI), the place where Russell Targ started to work thirty years ago to prove the validity of this hypothesis, saw many such successful experiments. Just like with lasers, one does not need to see it to know that ESP exists.
As long as there is verifiable data obtained in replicated experiments, it is un-scientific to deny the phenomena that don't fall into established categories. It is paradoxical that, according to a 2001 Gallup poll, more than half the U.S. population have had psychic experiences, yet mainstream scientists are still skeptical.
Visionary philosophers and pioneers in many research fields during the centuries have been deliberately put down by established institutions for their revolutionary ideas only because, psychologically speaking, there is always fear involved when stepping into unknown territory.
The scientific progress itself is built on such examples. And the paradox doesn't end here. The more we realize who we really are, the less ego we need to understand and live in a universe unified by the same consciousness.-
With scientists in search for the essence, the equation, the principle that underlies everything, we are always reminded of the alchemists' obsession with the discovery of an universal cure to prolong life, and in this we recognize not as much of the humankind's intellectual capability of discovery but its innate desire to do the searching!
Russell Targ concludes simply that there is no end to science in sight.
A correlative assumption is made regarding mystical experiences versus ESP experiments: that they happen on the edge, at the limit of things, on the border of worlds. The two ESP processes taken into consideration here are remote viewing and distant healing, and these are based on opposite intentions: the first one brings in information, the latter directs the energy outward.
The basic condition to be able to ride on the edge in these experiences is simply to be able to settle yourself into the moment, into the now, into the stillness. Only the mental quietness is able to recreate an archetypal feeling of non-separation from the world.
It is this feeling of being a part of, and therefore participating to the whole that, once achieved, allows the experience to be successful. But how easy is it to achieve such a state?
Mystic experiences have always testified to the possibility of accessing unseen layers of reality beyond its measurable coordinates, and lately more and more scientific evidence is gathered about a different model of reality: a nonlocal one.
Non-locality is the concept used by Russell Targ to explain how it is possible for our awareness to access distant information in a space and time where everything is connected to everything else.
In the light of modern studies of psychic phenomena, even the search for God consecrated by all the spiritual traditions could successfully start from this moment of self-realization.
Anyone who is able to tap into this totality, the shared consciousness, the collective unconscious, the common awareness, can get to experience unknown dimensions of the universe, by starting to put to work their own non-locality.
Data from research by prominent philosophers or scientists gather to highlight findings about space and time as functions of human perception instead of qualities of the physical world, or about the quantum interconnectedness which is a fundamental notion in quantum theory proving the surprising coherence between distant entities and the capability of human awareness, as such an interconnected entity, to get information from anywhere in the universe. In other words, the ordering in macrocosm is reflected in microcosm.
The idea of the universe as a hologram promulgated by physicist David Bohm helps understanding the unity of the perceptive consciousness which, by focusing on one area, can actually reach the information contained by each point of the whole hologram.
Nobel prize winner Eugene Wigner formulated this idea in a way that justifies the connection between remote viewing and oneness of consciousness: "The laws of quantum mechanics cannot be formulated without recourse to the concept of consciousness." (p. 8)
Remote viewing is one way to expand awareness to such a degree as to be able to describe facts existing at distant locations. New models for reality are being built to explain the possibility opened by the existence of ESP. Minkowski space is a geometrical model where, besides the three spatial coordinates, there is a temporal one, all four of them projected in real and imaginary parts.
This eight-fold structure gives a coherent view of the type of space-time we live in, including the psi phenomena, and the way in which anyone can move along on a world line path. On this path, remote viewing occurs when awareness and target are not separate.
Similarly, in precognition, there is a continuum between awareness and future events and so on, this geometrical model can always provide a connecting path in the interplay awareness/space/time. Mr. Targ's conclusion is that, no matter how viable a theory, psi phenomena are not energetic transmissions, but an interaction between awareness and the non-local space-time in which we live.
Seen from a spiritual perspective, the universe makes sense only as a unified consciousness. Physical reality is but a separation and the aim of all spiritual traditions is to become one with the higher order.
Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism or Christianity give different names to the same concepts: individual consciousness versus universal consciousness, their separated condition in the universe and the drive of the former to get connected to the latter.
In the Vedic tradition, human attachments are consequences of such a way of judging things in contrast and this is the cause of all suffering. That separation is illusion and it is a main motive in every spiritual tradition.
The Hindu Atman, the fragmented consciousness, aims at being one with Brahman, the universal consciousness. Judaic and Christian teachings recognize the spiritual connection with a God who dwells in every individual and therefore the interconnectedness of everything that has life.
Mystical experiences lead often to self-realization, reaching the state of knowing who you are, which starts usually with a spiritual awakening. There are number of ways in which one can be awakened: transmission of grace from a teacher, meditation, but also other means to stimulate experiencing states of self-knowing or spaciousness.
Since old times philosophers have had the intuition of the unity of all things and union with the One in the infinite universe. From any point of view, there is consensus over the fact that there is a part of us that is shared, there is connectedness, and that it can only be known by experience.
Once experienced, the essence of all beings as a totality of being, the realization comes that the common substance is nothing else but love. The equation is simple: to become self-realized is to know God, and God is love The awakening does not aim at developing psychic abilities, but starting the process can take one to such an end.
Mystics from all spiritual traditions have been the first to notice that once learning how to quiet their minds, particular states are being infused in their being that allows them to see from a distance or in the future, recognizing illness and being able to heal it, and so on.
In the same time, to be able to achieve those states of mind is not equivalent to trying to escape the day-by-day life on earth, but exactly the opposite, to learn how to live in the present time and space day by day, with serenity and peacefulness. In living our life here, on earth, we tend to assign meaning only to what we experience here, biased how we are by accumulated fear and anxiety.
And this is where the paradox lies, the same life here and now can be either one of the two alternatives we choose for our consciousness: conditioned awareness or timeless existence. Throughout this book, Russell Targ invites us to experience the latter.
This guide to learning remote viewing offers a key, opens a door for us into how to discover our own non-local mind. Experiments conducted by Mr. Targ and his team since the 1970s with now well-known psychics and authors in their own right like Ingo Swann, Uri Geller, Joe McMoneagle and many others, led to conclusions regarding the usefulness of this unconventional method in many areas: evaluation, location, diagnosis, forecasting are but the main ones studied by them.
The team had had an active intervention in the police effort to solve the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst. Psychics like Edgar Cayce or Caroline Myss have made medical diagnosis by means of remote viewing famous. The ability to forecast earthquakes, political changes, weather events, financial developments etc. is probably one of its most important applications.
The landscape of psychic research is populated by all kinds of intentions. There are skeptical individuals, as well as established organizations, who don't refrain themselves from taking an active position in denigrating psychical research.
While the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) is subtler in their efforts to discourage psychical research, the National Security Agency (NSA) openly opposes it.
Nevertheless, plenty of other organizations conducted psi research. The Ganzfeld studies are just an example which investigated telepathic communication in a controlled environment using a sender and a receiver.
Charles Honorton and Dr. Marilyn Schlitz have successfully conducted such studies with students at the Julliard School in New York or with parents and their children.
It is as exciting to experience remote viewing as it is probably for a mystic to have a celestial vision. Any target, an object or a remote site, no matter how far, can be described. Geographical coordinates or the presence of a person at the location are helpful but not necessary hints.
Visual imagery is the preferred means to describe the target, but any other sense analogy is as able as vision to catch the information. Associated feelings, sounds, smells or even electrical fields, that can sometimes be hidden, can also be described. More fascinating yet is the fact that viewers can move easily in time with their remote viewing abilities.
Present, past or future seem to loose their linearity in such experiments and the viewer can acquire information as if all three time coordinates were just one time-pool. Researchers consider remote viewing the most reliable source of psi information.
The accuracy of the results can be very high and maintained or improved with practice. There is not physical limit to the possibility of seeing targets in remote viewing. In the early 1890s, on the occasion of a study at the English Theosophical Society, C.W. Leadbeater psychically described the nuclear structure of the three isotopes of hydrogen.
While distance from the target does not play any role in the accuracy of the remote viewing process, there is still debate over electrical and electromagnetic shielding. Russell Targ argues that there are no negative effects; on the contrary, electrical shielding seems to help performance.
Yet, all experienced remote viewers agree that there are inhibiting, as well as enhancing factors to this method. The most powerful inhibitor would be the mental analysis, being able to separate psychic information from other type of information stored in one's memory. Also, to have prior knowledge of the target or not getting feedback makes it more difficult to accurately see remotely.
Also, it seems that certain categories of targets, like numbers, are more difficult to perceive. On the other hand, to believe in the existence of ESP, to be serious in your intentions when practicing remote viewing, but also being able to focus their attention and getting feedback are most helpful but not necessary to the learning process.
Three of the most powerful remote viewers encountered by Mr. Targ, Pat Price, Joe McMoneagle and Hella Hammid had obtained amazingly accurate results from their first attempts due not only to their inborn abilities, but also to the good starting guidance provided at SRI.
By comparing results from workshops held all over the world by Russell Targ and Jane Katra, an interesting point is brought up: a better percentage of first time matches in remote viewing has been hit in Europe than in the United States. Mr. Targ's conclusion is that there is a greater fear of intimacy in our country, which affects the possibility of complete surrender to the task.
Taking a dynamic approach to perceiving the target is sometimes a more comfortable way in remote viewing. It helps mainly with geometrical images. With this approach, various types of distortions can happen: fragmentary images, emotional sensations, dimensional or functional descriptions are but analytical guesses in describing the target. It is what René Warcollier, in his book Mind-to-Mind, calls the lack of fusion effect, or parallelism between parts of the target.
As a receiver of information, a remote viewer's brain is most probably using a non-analytical cognitive style where holistic processing is predominant. It is therefore better to report first impressions and uninterpreted imagery or experience. Analysis, memory and imagination, like self-judgment or preconceptions, don't help the psychic functioning, on the contrary.
It is the interviewer's role to complement, in most cases, the process with analytical reasoning and to guide the remote viewer through the test.
According to insights offered by Ingo Swann, a remote viewer passes through phases in a session: first come initial fragmentary images and movements, then emotional and aesthetic sensations; structural descriptions usually come in stage three whereas analytical mental limits can appear in the form of guesses.
The functional descriptions come in the next stage, and combining these with the physical ones completes a final sketch that is meant to identify the target.
Practicing remote viewing starts with understanding that the only obstacle to a successful experiment is the mental noise created by memory, imagination and analysis. Anyone who can overcome these limits will experience a whole range of psychic experiences, from peaceful remote viewing to out-of-body experiences.
In teaching people how to become remote viewers, Mr. Targ and his colleagues actually provide a guide to reach an unused part of our awareness, one that is generally called psychic. It all starts with learning how to get rid of the conditioned awareness, the way we are used to name anything according to our training and indoctrination.
The aim is to reduce and overcome the sources of such environmental signals. One gains access to their psychic nature when they learn to see the world without any conditioning, when they use direct perception. Buddhist teachings call it naked awareness; in psi research it is called remote viewing.
The next methodic step into the remote viewing practice would be choosing good targets, not too small, not too big, visually interesting, not compact objects. To help the describing of targets the author suggests using small objects hidden in opaque containers.
Also, there are various styles of descriptions: elaborate or basic, and they can be used selectively to serve different purposes. It is also important for the viewer to completely put to work their full attention.
To be able to do that, a comfortable environment is required, to minimize the diversion of attention. During this activity, a remote viewer is bound to only describe and experience the mental images and not to analyze them.
At the analytical end of the remote viewing experience stands the interviewer, who is guiding the viewer with good questions about the target, with encouraging them to sketch and write down and then discriminating among target descriptions and finally with providing feedback.
It seems that the most successful remote viewing had been obtained with an interviewer, but it is not a necessary element in the process. The drawing can also be skipped.
In a mind-to-mind experiment, the interviewer's role is to try to establish a telepathic connection with the viewer, which offers to the latter more options to receive the information: by direct psychic connection to the target, by telepathic connection with the interviewer or by tapping into the precognitive connection with the future moment of visualizing the target. A double-blind trial is the next step to take, where both interviewer and viewer are ignorant of the target.
Having in mind all these theoretic considerations, anybody can follow the 9 steps described by Russell Targ and start practicing remote viewing: have somebody choose an object to be the target; relax and give the first impressions about the target; describe mental pictures by writing them down; do sketches; take a break; look again into your inner imagery about the target and give more of the picture; try to hold the target object, in your mind; summarize all things said; finally have the interviewer show you the object.
Having followed these steps, all of a sudden someone may find him/herself aware of the fact that they are interconnected with the larger environment, and that they can experience not only hidden aspects of this environment but also hidden aspects in the future.
Remote viewing in the future is nothing else but precognition. The state of peacefulness of mind once acquired, our awareness will learn that it can exist outside of the spatial and temporal limits. When we learn to intentionally make our awareness move on these coordinates, the realization that we are not just physical bodies, but awareness residing in a body comes.
And this is not a matter of believing that this is true, it is rather experimenting the truth of it by living it. Precognitive dreams are coming handy when we talk about examples of precognition experienced by anybody. It is an example of the future affecting the past in timeless awareness and it proves to be very useful in our lives.
Research studies of precognitive dreams show that they are recognizable if we eliminate the possibility of them being caused by mental residue from past days or by wishes or by anxieties. They also are very clear and contain strange or unfamiliar material.
The interesting question about precognitive dreams is: where is the information from the dream coming from if we use it to change the future? The answer is that the precognitive dream is not a prophecy, but only a forecast about a probability.
The author also mentions retro-causality (dreams about real happenings in which the subject does not take part but dramatizes them to include him/herself in) as the possible basis of most precognition, and retro-cognitive dreams (dreams about past events of which the subject is not aware). Precognition experiments have been conducted with statistical significant results showing that most people can describe future events.
This is another way of proving our contact with the future. In this light, the dimension of time needs to be reconsidered. Premonitions, as inner knowledge of a future event, and presentiments, as inner sensations about something that is going to happen, are useful hints in our lives. Measurements from many studies show, for example, that a person's nervous system knows three to five seconds in advance when a disagreeable stimulus is going to happen.
There have also been experiments that show that precognition is useful in healing, when healing intentions can reach a patient backward in time to affect critical moments of emergence of a sickness to favor an alternate development. This idea of backward causation is important in understanding the space and time as an intertwined net.
There is nothing that an experienced viewer cannot reach with his/her non-local awareness. It is only a matter of focusing one's attention. The interconnectedness is there, to be experienced, in any corner of the infinite that include everything, from isotopes to the Moon.
It is no exaggeration to say that, under favorable conditions, one can even experience God in a laboratory of psychic research. The percentage of successful psi experiments is 87.5 for those conducted under favorable conditions while none of the ones conducted under unfavorable conditions was significant.
Is precognition a perception of the actual future or the probable future? This is an important question to which, after thousands of experiments, Mr. Targ answers: from a psychic point of view, what you see is what you are going to get (p. 101), it is not the probable future.
Insofar as we understand that we are awareness and that this timeless awareness exists independent of our physical body, we also get an answer to one of the most important questions of all times: is there life after death?
The last two chapters of the book deal with intuitive medical diagnosis and distant healing. While intuitive medical diagnosis is still a type of remote viewing, where we deal with an inflow of energetic information, the distant healing, while more intuitive than the intuitive diagnosis, is actually an outflow of energy with the intention of restoring the health in an unbalanced organism.
An intuitive diagnostician must identify and name the body system that is dysfunctional, as well as the physiological causes that led to the problem. Even though it has been mentioned earlier in the book that analysis is an impediment to a successful psychic viewing, in this case it is a required technique.
Working with a living organism makes it easier to perceive its information, probably because its energy is much more powerful than the energy of an inanimate object or scenery. The most famous American psychic, Edgar Cayce, performed more than 9,400 such distant psychic diagnoses while in self-induced trance. Once given the name and address of the sufferer, he was able to describe the exact medical condition of that person and most often to prescribe natural remedies.
He considered himself to be a channel through which a higher consciousness could be reached, and the place where he was able to visualize the information was a deposit of universal information known in the Oriental religions and philosophies as the akashic record.
We can say that Cayce's higher sense of perception made it possible for him to expand his awareness to such a degree as to access information from anywhere in the non-local universe.
A contemporary intuitive healer and psychiatrist, Judith Orloff, is putting to good use her ability to sense vibrational energies in her patients. It is a way of exploring the body energy through the centers of energy known in Eastern philosophies as chakras.
A huge literature about the chakra system is available to anyone who wants to get more acquainted with it. Mr. Targ is explaining Judith Orloff's view of the energetic and emotional centers of the body, as well as her teachings about an introspective meditation meant to help people to get in touch with their energies, making also mention of the fact that she is an experienced remote viewer and a peaceful person in touch with God.
Opposed to her approach, Dr. Mona Lisa Schultz combines psychic and non-psychic information about the health of a person, which is not totally distant intuitive diagnosis, into a more risk-taking approach to intuitive diagnosis. Both Dr. Orloff and Dr. Schultz have published books in which they offer guidance to readers who want to experiment with intuitive diagnosis.
Russell Targ himself lays down a guide to developing intuitive diagnostic abilities, based on understanding the remote viewing method. It is to be practiced with a partner and it has three parts: feeling stage, visual stage, and gathering additional information.
Using target envelopes containing names of sick people, the intuitive diagnostician needs first to set the goal of giving a description of the person whose name is in the envelope, relax by anyone of the meditation techniques available, and talk out loud any perceived feelings and sensations while the partner is taking notes.
In the visual phase a scanning of that person's chakras is performed. It is good to have previously learned a list of bodily organs and systems energized by each chakra, in order to be able to psychically sense which one of them. The last thing to do would be to have your partner asking for more information about anything that was sensed.
While Russell Targ's approach to the intuitive diagnosis is more analytical, man-like method, others, like the two female psychiatrists, Dr. Orloff and Dr. Schultz, use a more holistic approach, non-analytical, where compassion plays also an important role.
From descriptions of Mr. Targ's own experiences with intuitive diagnosis, as well as of other important intuitive diagnosticians like Dora Kunz, Dolores Krieger, Barbara Brennan, Jane Katra, and of course the famous Caroline Myss, a conclusion can be definitely drawn about the huge change of direction that their methods will bring to medicine in the years to come.
Distant healing is a different topic, first, because this ability is not about obtaining information, but, on the contrary, about outflowing healing energy. Second, nobody can predict that medicine will anytime soon be changed by this psychic ability but distant healing methods are more and more considered as alternative therapies, and last, but not least, it seams to be the privilege of a few good Sons of God! Shamans and gurus, but mainly founders of great religions have been gifted with this talent, Jesus Christ being the most notorious of them.
There are some questions about distant healing that need to be answered: is there any evidence that somebody's thoughts can actually heal a sick person who is at a distance? What can the healed person expect from this? Which of layer of the being is acted upon in distant healing: body, mind, or spirit?
The answer to all of these could be that there are healers and healers... The way in which someone's mind, having healing intentions, can affect somebody else's health is what Russell Targ discusses in this chapter.
He starts with an overview of hypnosis, as a mind-to-mind therapeutic connection between doctor and patient, a healing method through the intentions of another that exists maybe since humankind, but first recognized and described by Mesmer, who also implied that psychological trauma can cause physical illness.
In the 1920s, the Soviet researcher Vasiliev worked on treating illness, but also on induction of sleep through hypnosis. His experiments involved inducing sleep and wakefulness from a greater and greater distance, then in more controlled laboratory environment.
Beside the fact that such early experiments with hypnosis are somehow shocking compared to modern research ethics, their observations regarding mind-to-mind connection not being influenced by distance or electromagnetic shielding are similar to more modern findings about the non-local interconnectedness.
In the 1960s chemist Douglas Dean demonstrated in highly repeatable experiments that the someone's thoughts can influence the physiology of a distant person. Dr. William Braud experimented with distant mental influence. His theory is that living systems that manifest some level of activity are easier to affect than systems at rest.
In all his experiments, the living system had a certain level consciousness that could have been affected by a distant person. His experiments showed that the mind of the healer was able to directly interact with a living system. In his own words: under certain conditions, it is possible to know and to influence the thoughts, images, feelings, behaviors, and physiological and physical activities of other persons and living organisms (p. 136).
The discussion on the mental influence on non-living systems revolves around magician-like psychics like Uri Geller and the validity of the paranormal metal-bending.
A good systematization of the distant healing types of methodology by Larry Dossey in his books is cited and explained by Russell Targ. There are three historical trends in distant healing, three eras: in Era I, therapies are only physical, only the body is taken into consideration.
Modern medical technologies and techniques are falling into this category. Some alternative approaches like acupuncture and nutrition are also included, but there is no place for the mind as a healing factor in this category. In Era II a causal psychosomatic effect of the mind, seen as a function of the brain, on one's body is acknowledged.
The therapies in this era include counseling, hypnosis, biofeedback and relaxation techniques, and also psychoneuroimmunology. The interesting stage comes in with entering Era III in the 1990s. The breakthrough intervened when it was recognized that the mind cannot be confined by space or time and that it can affect healing from a distance. Non-locality is put to good use in this type of healing.
Certainly, the therapies from all three eras complement each other. Laying on of hands, with its modern practice of Reiki, is the oldest type, yet non distant, of era III healing. Non-contact healing would be feeling, visualizing or experiencing energies.
There is psychic, distant healing through an act of will, and spiritual, through contact as channel and surrender to a higher power, healing. If we were to name things, this universal energy that these healers tap into and use for healing can very well be named God.
Many scientific studies in laboratory conditions have been performed on various living organisms to research distant healing possibilities. An impressive experiment on men with AIDS has been conducted and published by Fred Sicher, Elisabeth Targ and others in 1998.
Forty distant healers, with different backgrounds and formations, worked on this experiment with positive therapeutic effects. More and more clinical studies of prayer and distant healing are being published in medical journals and elsewhere.
The final chapter of the book draws some closing arguments in favor of the remote viewing as a path that may lead to spiritual development, but certainly helps the expansion of awareness. Through the practice of remote viewing people can get to quiet their minds.
There, on the edge of the world, between inflow and outflow of energy-information, one can find pure awareness, which is love, and hence, the meaning of life. Apparently, God cannot be found outside. As Joel Goldsmith puts it, "God may be experienced as an activity in consciousness." Gangaji, father Thomas Keating, Kenny Warner, the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita are cited as sources that convey the teaching that we already have the whole universe within our awareness.
Mr. Targ's personal account on how he managed to turn a rocket scientist into a "human being" is a good example of how the mind, our consciousness, can transcend space and time, and how one can move from a mentality of fear and desperation to a life focused on gratitude and love, the only kind that can lead to find the true love that exists at our core. He himself crossed over that point where he could suffer, as a scientist, because what he believes in is thought to be silly.
In saying that the teachings of A Course in Miracles changed his life, Mr. Targ recognizes the opportunity given to another scientist, Dr. Helen Schucman, a clinical psychology professor at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York, to live and to teach about how to live a life with no judgment or analysis but only with love.
A Course in Miracles also explains that miracles are but shifts in perception, and that these changes in perception will eventually alter our perception of space and time and therefore the way we live our life.
A huge impediment in the flow of love through our whole being, mental and physical, is to feed oneself from past grievances and resentments. Healing of any sort cannot come if the mind is not still, relaxed and open in the present moment.
Therefore, forgiveness is an essential step on the path to love and healing. It is important for anybody to recognize when they are making wrong decisions. If we don't like what we are experiencing, the peace will not come unless we choose again.
The final statement in the book is in favor of learning how to open our hearts, to be able to live in joy, love and compassion, as taught by Buddhism: to escape suffering and achieve liberation. This path passes through emptiness and compassion for the removal of the suffering, but there is a third path where we can experience the truth of the heart as well as the truth of the universe.
Russell Targ concludes by saying that timeless awareness and spaciousness is our ultimate goal, and that gratitude is everyone's salvation. To live our life to reach that goal is not to try to control it, but to experience the events of our life by being fully aware and free to choose where to direct our attention. Our choices will affect our own perceptions but also the experiences of others.
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