Dr. Schlitz and her colleagues have been studying the foundations for transforming consciousness for more than ten years, and their research is available at Living Deeply. At the 2010 Toward a Science of Consciousness Conference here in Tucson, they gave an excellent summary of their work.
By Kent Bye
Dr. Marilyn Mandala Schlitz is the President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which does research into extended human capacities, consciousness & healing as well as consciousness transformation.
Consciousness transformation is a shift in the way that you see the world, and IONS wanted to see what the common ingredients of transformation were were across many different religious practices and spiritual paths. Dr. Schlitz was involved conducting a 10-year study in order to discover what facilitates and sustains consciousness transformation, what the benefits of it are, and how it happens. They interviewed spiritual teachers and conducted a survey of over 2000 people who have experienced some type of transformative event in their lives. This helped them to create a set of hypotheses of the common elements across all of the different transformative practices that they then tested over time.
The four elements that they found to be common to all transformative spiritual practices were:
Schlitz says that these four elements wrapped in the arms of surrender framework can give us an understanding of what a transformative practice looks like. She talks about how the primary catalyst for transformation is typically some type of crisis, but it's also possible for people can transform through insight. Finally, she talks about the process of cultural paradigm shift and the importance of expanding your identity from an egocentric perspective to a more global and cosmic perspective.
- Intention to change
- Attention to a broader set of possibilities
- Repetition to build new muscle groups
- Guidance from a teacher, book or internal guidance
For more information into this 10-year study in consciousness transformation, then be sure to check out their Living Deeply website and book of the same name.
Music by scottaltham, courtesy of Creative Commons license.