Spiritist Medical Congress
I just returned from a fantastic conference: the 2nd International Spiritist Medical Congress, “The Dawn of a New Era in Medicine”, October 1-2, 2016, at George Washington University in Washington, DC. The roster of speakers was world class–almost all of them were MDs and PhDs with superb presentations. The event hall was modern, comfortable and centrally located in a highly regarded university auditorium. The weather was perfect–early Fall with bright blue skies. The conference was an extraordinarily well-organized, professional acknowledgement of the importance that spirituality plays in health and longevity…but the event was not well attended. I wondered, “why?”
One of the speakers, a prolific, published author and researcher, Etzel Cardena, PhD, spoke about “The New Psychology of Anomalous Extraordinary Experiences”. He cited statistics on how many people all over the world are having these non-ordinary states of consciousness (NOSC)–as the psychiatrist, Stanislav Grof, calls them. Cardena explained that 8-15% of people are having experiences that conventional psychiatry would classify as hallucinations (eg hearing voices, seeing things that others don’t perceive), and that these inner experiences can be very beneficial. They can expand a person’s self-awareness, enhance connection to other human beings, the natural world, and spiritual dimensions, and generate energy and enthusiasm for life. Curiously, he said, hallucinations only occur to .3-.7% of those who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Maybe the term “hallucinations” should not be used so freely to explore non-ordinary experiences as we immediately associate that word with something that is not real. Instead, Cardena’s term, anomalous experience (AE) is preferable. Rather than suggest something “abnormal” like a symptom of mental illness–it suggests something out of the ordinary with great positive potential. Amazing to think that 8-15% of people of all ages and socio-economic conditions are having these experiences that conventional psychiatry would term hallucinations and thus dub psychotic! Think of it: A person who is hypnotized who has an inner experience of a past life experience which dissolves a long-term phobia, a meditator in an intensive retreat who feels overcome with bliss in feeling one with the Creator and all life, aka Cosmic Consciousness, a child under 6 years old who can talk about the family she had in a most recent past life, a medical intuitive who can diagnose a patient at a distance and be fully accurate in labeling an illness without ever seeing or talking to the patient or his family and healthcare providers. These are experiences that expand our knowledge of human potential and benefit the person having them–they are not indicators of psychosis.
Cardena has being doing his best to forward the knowledge of anomalous experiences but has run into obstruction when it comes to other scientists accepting his research and publication. I want to recommend your reading an article he wrote, published in 2015 (see below) to see into the fear of anomalous experiences that is so prevalent in our world. Why is this important? A statement made at the conference:
“It will be mystical experience and the empathy for each other which it generates that saves us from planetary suicide.”
If so, we must stop crushing our exploration of anomalous experiences and non-ordinary states of consciousness. We must withdraw our fear and fully empower those brilliant souls who are bringing us closer to the territory we need to enter. It’s time the conference on spirituality and health be full to overflowing with students, healthcare providers and the general public so we can move to higher ground in our own wellbeing and collectively, together, with the planet.
The Unbearable Fear of Psi: On Scientific Suppression in the 21st Century Author: ETZEL CARDEÑA, PhD. The article was published online December 15, 2015 in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 29, No. 4, pp. 601–620, 2015, 0892-3310/15. Free Download: http://www.academia.edu/19814867/The_Unbearable_Fear_of_Psi_On_Scientific_Suppression_in_the_21st_Century
The paper describes various examples of blatant attempts to suppress and censor parapsychology research and those who are doing it. The examples include raising false accusations, barring access to journals, suppressing papers and data, and ostracizing and persecuting scientists interested in the topic. The intensity of fear and vituperation caused by parapsychology research is disproportionate even to the possibility that the psi hypothesis could be completely wrong, so I speculate on the psychological reasons that may give rise to it. There are very few circumstances in which censorship might be appropriate, and the actions by parapsychology censors put them at odds not only with the history of science but with the history of modern liberal societies. Appendix 1 is an Editorial censored by the then-editors of the Journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
More on the Spiritist Medical Congress in the USA and the Spiritist Medical Association
can be found here.
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I am curious also, about the statistic of .3 to .7 percent of people being diagnosed with schizophrenia having hallucinations. The 8-15% receiving sensory perceptions which are unique to their own biology, is unsurprising, and I expected that to be more. However, I guess many people who see, hear, or feel, things nobody else in their vicinity is seeing hearing or feeling, have enough capacity to figure out that it is only a time and location discrepancy causing their experience to be unique to their own mind. But if that was not the case for 98% of schizophrenics, then the diagnosis of schizophrenia might not be useful any more. But to know what is going on, we need more information. For example, we’d need to answer questions like: Are schizophrenics hallucinating more than .3-.7% if without medication; Are schizophrenics hallucinating but no longer openly able to tell psychiatrists about their hallucinating; If schizophrenics are still hallucinating, and not reporting hallucinations, was there a retained danger in their behavioral responses??? Answering questions like these, might not be entirely possible, but perhaps is necessary before more of mainstream academia can accept that enough psychological safety is in place for the mainstream study of non-ordinary states of consciousness. We can’t let such states of consciousness become inducted in anybody without a surety of safety that is not likely to be forthcoming.