I regard consciousness as fundamental, matter is derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness. There is no matter as such; it exists only by virtue of a force bringing the particle to vibration and holding it together in a minute solar system; we must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. The mind is the matrix of all matter. Max Planck
Beyond the Brain 2018
Beyond the Brain is the world’s premier conference series exploring new research on whether and how consciousness and mind extend beyond the physical brain and body. This year’s event covers the power of intention, transpersonal psychology, consciousness in relation to the brain and the universe, lucid dreaming and out-of-body experiences.
Consciousness is one of the hottest topics in science, which is why we established the interdisciplinary Beyond the Brain conference series with Willis Harman and Edgar Mitchell of the Institute of Noetic Sciences at St John’s College, Cambridge in 1995. This will be the thirteenth in the series. The conferences all explore the frontiers of consciousness research beyond the limits of scientific materialism.
We are hosting this year’s event in partnership with two other organisations active in the field: The Alef Trust, with whom we collaborate on on MSc in Transpersonal Psychology and Consciousness Studies, and The Monroe Institute, who develop consciousness technologies and run consciousness—development retreats.
Our speakers are all at the cutting edges of their fields and will be discussing innovative research strategies to probe the nature of consciousness. You will gain a vital overview and a deeper understanding of how consciousness research is expanding the horizons of science.
You will have your minds stretched and your hearts warmed at this exciting event and will enjoy networking with like-minded people. This landmark conference is not to be missed, so we greatly look forward to your participation!
We are also hosting a one-day workshop on Sacred Acoustics – Journey into the Heart of Consciousness – with Dr. Eben Alexander and Karen Newell on Monday November 5. You can book this at a special early bird rate when combined with the conference.
CentrEd is London’s state-of-the art conference and meeting centre, based at Excel in East London. It is right in the heart of London’s historic Royal Docks, just ten minutes from Canary Wharf and twenty minutes from the City and five from City Airport with connections through the DLR. http://centred.london/
Speakers and Programme
Saturday 3rd November
Session 1 – The Power of Intention
Chair and Introduction, David Lorimer
Lynne McTaggart: The Power of Eight
After ten years of experimenting with the power of intention in small and large groups, Lynne McTaggart reveals her remarkable findings about the extraordinary collective dynamic of group intention to heal our lives. What she has discovered turns everything we think about the power of intention on its head. The most powerful effect of group intention – an effect overlooked by virtually every popular book on the subject – is on the intenders themselves.
The greatest untold truth of all about this subject is that intention has a mirror effect. The group-intention experience appears to cause changes in individual consciousness, breaking down time and space, removing a sense of separation and individuality, and placing members of the group in what can only be described as a state of ecstatic union.
Drawing on hundreds of case studies, the latest brain research, and dozens of McTaggart’s own university studies, this state proves so powerful and life-transforming that it enables individual miracles – healings, healed relationships, major life transformations – to take place.
As she will demonstrate, the Power of Eight – sending thoughts of healing in a group – is a fast track to the miraculous.
Lynne McTaggart, Dr David Luke in round table discussion
Session 2 – Transpersonal Psychology: Past, present and future
Chair and Introduction, Dr Oliver Robinson
Challenges for the Future of Transpersonal Psychology: Education and Research
Transpersonal psychology is celebrating its jubilee this year—50 years since pioneers including Abraham Maslow, Anthony Sutich, and Stan Grof inaugurated this sub-discipline of psychology. Much has changed over this half century, and the challenges we face in moving transpersonal psychology forward now are significantly different to those in what may be termed the first phase of the movement. In particular, the anathema with which psychology viewed research into consciousness, spirituality or mysticism has largely evaporated. In many ways, the goal of the pioneers—that academic psychology would open its eyes to the “further reaches of human experience”—has been achieved. The future of transpersonal psychology depends on recognising and responding to new challenges that emerge within the multifaceted, global contexts of the 21st century, as we increasingly recognise not only our need to evolve as individuals but as an interconnected whole, encompassing the wider world beyond the human sphere.
Transpersonal psychology can contribute to the continued evolution of our consciousness and culture, for example, by establishing explanatory frameworks that are post-material; honouring the role of the sacred in research; building effective educational programmes that are transformative, nourish the soul-dimension, and instil sound skills of scholarship and research.
Over some seven years, the SMN has built a partnership with the Alef Trust, a non-profit company whose mission addresses such challenges, focusing primarily on education. In this session, Les Lancaster, and Jessica Bockler, Founding Directors of the Alef Trust, will convey the Trust’s vision and explore how it contributes to the second phase of transpersonal psychology. Les and Jessica will be joined by MSc students of the Alef Trust who will share their experience of transformative education and the directions in which their own research is leading.
Dr. Rosalind Pearmain :Heartfulness Meditation
Heartfulness meditation is a modern form of Raja Yoga which also has roots within Sufi traditions. It offers a very simple universal practice based on the idea of divine presence within the heart. The unique feature of this dynamic system is the connection with a profound source, a divine essence – pranahuti or yogic transmission which is infused within the meditation. This often enables the meditator to experience depths of consciousness. There is also a purifying aspect which helps dissolve impressions (samskaras) and patterns. During the session, participants will be invited to explore a preliminary guided relaxation and then the heart based meditation with transmission and to observe any discoveries or experiences.
Prof Stanislav Grof (by Skype)
Stanislav Grof, M.D., is a psychiatrist with more than sixty years of experience in research of non-ordinary states of consciousness. In the past, he was Principal Investigator in a psychedelic research program at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, Czechoslovakia, Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, and Scholar-in-Residence at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA.
Sunday 4th November
Session 3: Consciousness and the Brain
Chair, Dr Peter Fenwick
Introduction – Peter Fenwick
Living in a Mindful Universe
While in coma with his brain shut down, Dr. Eben Alexander experienced a spectacular odyssey to realms beyond our known physical universe—an ultra-real journey that ran counter to all conventional neuroscientific views about brain, mind and consciousness. He recounted his extraordinary spiritual experience in the #1 NYT bestseller Proof of Heaven. In his third book, Living in a Mindful Universe, the true sequel to Proof of Heaven, he develops a scientific framework to better comprehend his inexplicable experience. Remarkably, his ongoing personal journey reflects a revolutionary shift now underway within our modern scientific understanding of the nature of reality.
Dr Pim van Lommel, cardiologist: On the Continuity of our Consciousness: a concept based on scientific studies on Near-Death Experience
‘To study the abnormal is the best way of understanding the normal.’ William James
According to our current medical concepts, it is not possible to experience consciousness during a cardiac arrest, when circulation and breathing have ceased. But during the period of unconsciousness due to a life-threatening crisis like cardiac arrest involving a transient loss of all functions of the cortex and of the brainstem, patients may report the paradoxical occurrence of enhanced consciousness experienced in a dimension without our conventional concept of time and space, with cognitive functions, with emotions, with self-identity, with memories from early childhood and sometimes with (non-sensory) perception out and above their lifeless body.
Scientific study of the NDE pushes us to the limits of our medical and neurophysiological ideas about the range of human consciousness and mind-brain relation, because we have to admit that it is not possible to reduce consciousness to neural processes as conceived by contemporary neuroscience: the current materialistic view of the relationship between the brain and consciousness held by most physicians, philosophers and psychologists is too restricted for a proper understanding of this phenomenon. I have come to the unavoidable conclusion that it is most likely that the brain has a facilitating and not a producing function in terms of our experience of consciousness.
Session 4: Lucid Dreaming and Out-of-Body Experiences
Chair – Dr David Luke
Karen Newell & Dr Eben Alexander
Join Dr. Eben Alexander and Karen Newell, co-authors of Living in a Mindful Universe, for a multi-sensory experience at the edges of consciousness.
There is much more to our so-called reality than what we can see, hear, smell, touch and taste. Conventional science argues that we must perceive something with our senses in order for it to be real. Profound experiences reported throughout the world teach us that the spiritual realm is right here and available to us and is a fundamental part of our collective truth that can no longer be simply dismissed.
Consciousness is primary to all of existence and fortunately, we can all access this fountain of information and gain firsthand knowledge of it by going within. Cultivate firsthand experience using the support of Sacred Acoustics audio technology. We live in a mindful universe, we are each an intimate part of the whole and together we contribute to our collective unfolding reality.
Charlie Morley: The Science and Spirituality of Lucid Dreaming
We sleep for a third of our lives. For millennia the Tibetan Buddhists, Toltec-Mexhicas and Sufi mystics have used that lost third for waking up to their highest potential.
In this talk, lucid dreaming teacher Charlie Morley will explore how this ancient art is now being studied by modern day neuroscience and how these studies have been as insightful for the mystics as they have been for the scientists.The talk will include an overview of the history, science and practice of lucid dreaming from both the Western science and the mystic traditions as well as explorations on how to engage the wider holistic benefits of lucid dreaming and conscious sleeping which these practices offer.
Luigi Sciambarella: Cultivating Free-Will Through the Exploration of Consciousness: the Work of the Monroe Institute
Since the early 1970s, The Monroe Institute has been creating and using non-invasive audio-guidance technology within their world-renowned consciousness exploration programs. Luigi is a trainer of such programs and will be discussing his evolving experiences and understanding of deep meditative states, lucid dreams, out of body experiences, and spiritual awakening. He will discuss how the realisations within those states and experiences beyond our physical senses can better inform our physical life experience through the dissolution of limiting fears, belief and ego states, and the cultivation of free will.
The Scientific and Medical Network was founded in 1973 by George Blaker, Dr. Patrick Shackleton, Dr. Peter Leggett and Sir Kelvin Spencer. The founders believed that neither orthodox religion nor conventional science was sufficient to answer pressing questions about human existence and the cosmos, and that new ways of thinking were needed.
The Network provides interdisciplinary education exploring the frontiers of science, consciousness and spirituality. It draws on a worldwide community of scientists, doctors, psychologists, engineers, philosophers and theologians to provide events, publications, and courses that link insights from the spiritual traditions and the arts, with the study and application of science and medicine.
The Network assumes that there are many ways of knowing the world and ourselves, of which science is just one, albeit one highly effective and reliable, way of gaining knowledge. In order to do justice to the full spectrum of human experience and the complexity of the cosmos, it encourages dialogue and interaction between the spiritual, the scientific, the philosophical and the arts in open-minded enquiry.
The Alef Trust
The Alef Trust is a global leader in transformative education and training in the areas consciousness, transpersonal and spiritual psychology. We provide postgraduate education programmes and community programmes, which promote holistic psychological frameworks and perspectives, nurturing the development of human consciousness and culture. In all our work we aim to foster wellbeing & health, cultural self-expression & inclusivity, ecological sustainability, and compassionate service to the world. Whilst being rooted in academic excellence, all our programmes in consciousness, spirituality and transpersonal psychology encourage personal and professional growth through multiple ways of knowing, embracing creative, spiritual and somatic practices alongside intellectual study.
The Monroe Institute
The Monroe Institute (TMI) is a nonprofit education and research organization, and a preeminent leader in human consciousness exploration. TMI is devoted to the premise that focused consciousness contains the answers to humankind’s questions. Through the use of specific binaural beat technology, education, research, and development, TMI has been advancing the experience of individuals in the exploration of targeted and expanded states of awareness for more than 40 years. TMI program participants learn experientially through a specially designed binaural beat audio-guidance system at our 300-acre residential retreat nestled in Virginia’s scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, 30 miles south of Charlottesville. The centerpiece of TMI learning is the guided use of Hemi-Sync® and Spatial Angle Modulation™ (SAM), Monroe binaural beats audio technologies. www.monroeinstitute.org
What people said about Beyond the Brain 2017:
- The whole weekend was life changing and inspirational!
- World-leading researchers who push the frontiers of science, and all in a friendly atmosphere.
- Wonderful opportunity to listen to inspiring people, learn about the latest experiments and hypotheses and discuss ideas on consciousness and psi phenomena with others.
- Beyond the Brain 2017 was my first SMN conference. It not only expanded my knowledge and understanding, but gave me the opportunity to meet some very interesting people with views that opened my mind even further. Let me put all this into two words: Brilliant and Exciting!