Exploring Nonlocal Consciousness and Spiritual Healing

Adapted from Russell Targ and Jane Katra, Ph.D., Miracles of Mind: Exploring Nonlocal Consciousness and Spiritual Healing, Novato, CA: New World Library, 1999, Chapter Six.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could move mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
— 1 Corinthians I 3:2


As we learn exercise our psychic abilities, ethical issues arise that are outside the understanding of modern science. Are psychic abilities sacred? Is it appropriate to think about using them for mundane purposes, such as making money in the stock market? Is healed sacred, and what does it have to do with our psychic capabilities?

Our psychic abilities allow us to experience mind-to-mind connections with each other, and many people regard these experiences as profoundly spiritual. There is no doubt that psi gives us a unique window on our nonlocal reality. It allows us to have contact with a kind of omniscience that none of our other senses makes available to us. Buddhist teachings would have us believe that psychic powers do, indeed, exist, and can be used for beneficial purposes. However, if a person shows an interest in developing these powers, then he or she is not yet ready to use them. In this tradition, ESP in all its forms is widely regarded as a stumbling block to be overcome on the path to enlightenment. One might well consider that using these abilities to spy on the Russians or to make money in the commodities market is a trivialization of a sacred gift. (…)

We often hear that psi is a weak and unreliable faculty. Arthur Koestler, in his pioneering book of 1956, Roots of Coincidence, spoke of the ‘ink fish phenomenon,’ wherein psi disappears in a murky cloud whenever you try to get too close to it.

— Arthur Koestler, The Roots of Coincidence, New York: Random House, 1972.

This may have been true of available evidence in the 1950s and ‘60s, but current laboratory data, especially for remote viewing, show that psychic perception is about to take its place alongside other perceptual modalities we know and trust. Now that the U.S. government has declassified some of its highest-quality ESP data, these results should begin to find their way into mainstream scientific inquiry, rather than hovering at the edges of credibility in the tabloid newspapers.

The new perceptual data of remote viewing has aspects in common with recent double-blind clinical studies of remote healing. We now know that although some individuals have a special talent for remote viewing, anyone can learn to do it. Similarly, although shamans and medicine men are given special training to develop their gifts for healing, it appears that all people have the capacity to be healers, to a greater or lesser degree. For example, a mother’s cuddling of her sick child lets loose a rush of endorphins and endocrines that can case the infant’s suffering and promote its healing. While we don’t consider this to be ‘paranormal,’ we believe it is on a continuum of what a healer is able to do remotely. The remote-viewing data shows unequivocally that information can be accessed across distances of space and time. We believe that a healer makes healing information available from a distance. The information becomes available through a channel created by the healer’s focused attention, healing intent, and surrender of separateness. Thus, a healer sends a healing message, rather than healing rays, to the patient.

Most healers believe that there is a special aspect to what they do. This raises the important question as to whether all psi functioning could be considered sacred. Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, medical director of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program in California, has written about the discrepancy between our ‘level of technology and the level of moral and ethical wisdom appropriate to the use of that technology.’

— Rachel Naomi Remen, ‘Is Psi Sacred?’ Noetic Sciences Review, Vol. 35, Autumn 1995, p. 36

She recently wrote about the issue of this discrepancy as it relates to the sacredness of psychic abilities, as compared with our other senses. She says:

Our intuition informs us of the intangible, and may offer a glimpse of the great laws that govern the workings of the world. Yet, is the particular capacity by which we may experience an aspect of sacred reality necessarily sacred in and of itself? Is the eye which perceives holiness necessarily holy? In fact, can’t any of our senses become a doorway to sacred experience?

Anyone who has seen the light pour through the great stained glass window at Chartres knows that vision can lead to sacred experience. Anyone who has heard the Messiah or the Allegri Miserere knows that hearing can evoke a powerful experience of the sacred, and anyone who has had really good sex knows the power of touch as a bridge to sacred experience. Yet seeing, hearing, and touch are simple human functions. Is psi a simple human function as well?

— Ibid., p. 34

Remen suggests that we consider psi as an expanded, rather than an exalted, human function. As such, it is subject to individual discretion, as well as to human frailty. A sacrament can be any procedure or ritual that we use to contact our spiritual aspect. We believe that all of our senses can be thought of as sacred in this regard, and psi does not necessarily have a privileged position. It is how, and in what context, we choose to use any human capacity that seems important. For what purpose? Serving which values?

Why does this applied science, which saves work and makes life easier, bring us so little happiness? The simple answer runs: Because we have not yet learnt to make sensible use of it.
— Albert Einstein

The scientific study of psychic abilities is relatively new, but the knowledge of their existence has been described in the historic spiritual teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and in the Bible. According to all of these paths of wisdom, we are ‘spiritual beings’ temporarily residing in bodies and learning how to be human. We believe that the study of psi offers us insight into our spiritual nature as well as the nonlocal dimension of consciousness uniting us all. It also offers us the opportunity to evaluate the same issues of integrity and responsibility that we confront in other aspects of our lives.

I maintain that cosmic religiousness is the strongest and most noble driving force of scientific research.
— Albert Einstein

The emergence and exercise of our psychic capacities offer us opportunities to consciously join minds with others for purposes of learning, helping, healing, or even having fun. However, our capacity for psychic activity also presents us with additional temptations of power and greed, which serve to enhance our illusion of separateness. Kenneth Wapnick has written extensively on this subject in his commentary on A Course in Miracles:

What renders a thought spiritual is its purpose … Abilities of the mind can be powerfully used on behalf of truth. This is especially so when these abilities demonstrate to others and oneself that the material universe is not what it seems.

— Kenneth Wapnick, Forgiveness and Jesus, Farmingdale, NY: Coleman Publishing, 1983, p. 136.

According to Rabbi David Cooper, in the Jewish tradition, ‘prophecy is considered to be one of the highest levels of attainment in Jewish contemplative teaching.’

— Rabbi David A. Cooper, in Eliezer Sobel, ‘Contemplative Judaism,’ The Quest, Winter 1995, p. 68

The Christian apostle Paul wrote that prophecy was a gift ‘given by the Spirit,’ and available to all for the benefit of all, whether or not a person was Christian. (I Corinthians 12:8–13)

There are frequent references to psychic abilities throughout yoga literature, but they are not treated as something to be sought after or prized.

— Dean Brown, Direct from Sanskrit: New Translations of Seven Upanishads, the Aphorisms of Patanjali, and Other Microcosmic Texts of Ancient India, Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, 1996, Swami Prabhavananda, How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, translated by Christopher Isherwood, Hollywood, CA: Vedanta Press, 1953, 1981, J.K. Taimni, The Science of Yoga, Wheaton, IL: Quest/Theosophical Publishing House, 1961, pp. 307–309, Ernest Wood, Yoga, Baltimore, MD: Penguin, 1962, pp. 76–79, Ernest Wood, The Glorious Presence, Wheaton, IL: Quest/Theosophical Publishing House, 1951, p. 215.

Nor are they seen as miraculous, but rather, they are considered as being governed by natural laws as yet unknown to modern science.

The word Siddhis is used generally for the extraordinary powers acquired through the practice of Yoga, but its real meaning is best expressed by the words ‘attainments’ or ‘accomplishments’ … concerned with the attainment of the highest states of consciousness.

— Taimni, Science of Yoga, p. 108.

Some Serious Considerations

The Indian sage Patanjali in the fourth century B.C. instructed that ‘These [psychic] powers of the spreading or outgoing mind are injurious to contemplation’ for an aspirant seeking enlightenment.

— Patanjali, Yoga Sutras, iii: 36, in Wood, Yoga, pp. 78–79.

This is not because they are evil or even bad — it is because they are distracting for a person seeking unitive consciousness and ‘the experience of inward illumination beyond all sensation.’ He believed that our psychic abilities could potentially intensify a person’s fascination with sensations, objects, or the illusion of the separate self in daily life.

— Patanjali, Yoga Sutras, iv: 1, in Wood, Yoga, p. 78; and Patanjali, Yoga Sutras, iii: 16–48, in Wood, Yoga, p. 78.

Patanjali mentioned that psychic abilities may arise from causes other than the practice of yoga meditation. They are sometimes present at the time of birth, and they may also be produced by taking certain drugs, chanting mantras, or practicing austerities. Among the examples of siddhis or psychic powers that Patanjali said could be produced by diligent meditation practices are:

… knowledge of past and future; understanding of the sounds made by all creatures; knowledge of past lives; knowing what others are thinking; prior knowledge of one’s death; the attainment of various kinds of strength; perception of the small, concealed, and the distant; knowledge of other inhabited regions; knowledge about the stars and their motions; knowledge of the interior of the body; control of hunger and thirst; steadiness; seeing the adepts in one’s own interior light; general intuition; understanding of the mind; entering the bodies of others; lightness and levitation; brightness; control of the material elements; control of the senses; perfection of the body; quickness of the body …

— Patanjali, Yoga Sutras, iv.

Most ancient sacred teachings emphasize the seductive distraction of psychic abilities; they entice us to stray off the spiritual path with thoughts of using them to enhance our individual power or prestige. However, one of Patanjali’s goals of meditation was to bring a person out of normal, everyday sensory awareness, and into a nonlocal awareness of unity consciousness. We believe that for those of us who are actively involved with working, thinking, playing, and moving in the physical world, our psychic abilities have much to teach us about the illusion of our separate selves. The acceptance of the reality of our mind-to-mind connections can inspire others as it has done for the authors, to seek our highest potentials as human beings.

Our psychic abilities become accessible when we are open-minded, and share commonality of purpose and mutual trust with one another. Indeed, the revered seventh-century Hindu teacher Shankara referred to psychic abilities as ‘powers of the unobstructed life.’

— Shankara, Ode to the South-Facing Form, in Wood, Glorious Presence, pp. 214–216.

We find the processes of achieving the consensus and rapport with others to be worthwhile activities in themselves, in line with what Shankara called ‘the joy of harmony with the intent of our being.’

— Shankara, in Wood, Glorious Presence, p. 122.

What else might we discover as we remove the psychic barriers to our awareness of our connected natures? Exploring these states of nonlocal consciousness together with friends has given us many richly rewarding experiences. The emergence of our psychic capabilities is a natural occurrence as we learn to focus our attention with mindfulness. As we discover more and more ways to apply our psychic abilities to real-world tasks, we will all have many opportunities to choose which applications of psi are ethical and appropriate for us.

Using Psychic Abilities in Our Lives

No discussion about applying psychic abilities in daily life would be complete without mentioning the term ‘intuition.’ For us, intuition is a nonanalytic awareness that can come from either internal subconscious processes, or psychic sources such as mind-to-mind connections, or direct clairvoyant perception of the outside world. Medical intuitive Caroline Myss believes that ‘intuition is a natural by-product of the flowering of mature self-esteem and sense of empowerment — not power over, but power to be.’

— C. Norman Shealy and Caroline Myss, The Creation of Health, Walpole, NH: Stillpoint Publishing, 1988; and Caroline Myss, in Larry Dossey, Meaning & Medicine, New York: Bantam, 1991, p. 188.

Myss also believes, as we do, that intuition and psychic abilities are our birthright, and are trainable, rather than being capabilities possessed only by a few special people. (…)

Four different types of applications of intuition in the real world have been suggested to us by Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove, author of the informative and engaging book The Roots of Consciousness.

— Jeffrey Mishlove, The Roots of Consciousness, Tulsa, OK: Council of Oaks Books, 1993.

Mishlove is also the director of the Intuition Network, an organization devoted to developing and incorporating greater use of intuitive processes in the workplace as well as in other venues of daily life.

— The Intuition Network, 369-B Third Street, #161, San Rafael, CA, 94901–3581.

From Mishlove’s business perspective, evaluation is one of the key psi application opportunities. Evaluating design and construction alternatives, investment choices, research strategies, and technology alternatives are all applications with significant business potential. For these applications, the distinction between intuition and psi is somewhat murky. Some would say that intuition involves access to and associations with subconscious material buried in one’s memory. Others use intuition interchangeably with a psychic sense that accesses material coming in from beyond one’s actual life experience. We are aware that once we are dealing with a world that includes psi data, there is no firm boundary between internal and external information. But we can be quite clear about what has actually been experienced during the course of our life’s activities.

Mishlove’s second category of workplace applications for psi is that of location. Locating oil, mineral deposits, and buried or hidden treasure has held a fascination for people as long as they have tried to span space with their thoughts. The ancient Chinese, for example, at least as far back as the time of Christ, used a meditative process called feng shui to determine everything from the best location for a new village to the most propitious site for a new house, and even the placement of objects within the home. These decisions would be made by a village shaman sitting by himself in the dark, and visualizing the answer. In their cosmology, all power came from the north, and they oriented their maps by the North Star. However, they had also found that if they carved a Chinese soup spoon to look like the Big Dipper in the sky, this magic spoon would swing around and point to the north all by itself. (This was, of course, because they had learned to carve the so-called magic spoons out of lodestone — later used to make the first compasses.

Another application of this approach to location has been pioneered by Stephan Schwartz, former president of the Mobius Group, an international association of archeological scientists and psychics based in Los Angeles, which is now disbanded. Schwartz has had a lifelong interest in pursuing psychic archeology, and he has written two books about his spectacular discoveries, The Secret Vaults of Time and The Alexandra Project.

— Stephan A. Schwartz, The Secret Vaults of Time, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1978; and Stephan A. Schwartz, The Alexandria Project, New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1983.

In one of his many adventures, Schwartz was looking for a buried Egyptian temple in a desert region called Marea, outside Cairo. Our indefatigable friend Hella Hammid was with him in the desert, along with psychic archeologist George McMullen, to do the actual psi locating.

Schwartz’s research had led him to believe that the temple was somewhere near their encampment in the trackless sand. Although the Egyptian authorities kept assuring him that there was nothing to be found, Hella sensed otherwise. She made a promenade back and forth in the 105 degree temperature, over a quarter-mile area. She dropped the tent pegs onto the sand to mark the locations where she sensed that the temple walls would be found. By the time Hella was finished, she had marked out a long rectangle, and had described a specific location inside the building where she predicted they would find green tiles. After the tent pegs had been driven into the ground to mark the perimeter, and the backhoes had cleared away the sand, the building shell was found to be just where she had marked it. So, too, were the green tiles set in what is thought to have been a ceremonial bath in the temple.

A third application of intuition or psychic abilities in the business world is in the area of diagnosis. Diagnosis of medical problems, mechanical problems, safety hazards, sources of human error, and health and environmental hazards are all possible applications for psychic and intuitive practitioners.

One example of such a mechanical diagnosis occurred on a recent sea voyage in search of underwater treasure in the Indian Ocean. When the ship’s engine would not start in the Port of Mauritius, psychic Alan Vaughan offered a diagnosis of the problem. He said that he saw some kind of ‘gunk’ clogging the filters in the fuel pump. The ship’s owner said that was an interesting suggestion, but the filters had already been cleaned. Alan said, ‘That’s all right. You’re just going to have to clean them again.’ An, in fact, they were not able to get under way until the filters had been taken ashore and cleaned ultrasonically. Alan’s diagnosis was exactly correct.

The diagnosis of disease by psychic means has been described in many cultures throughout history. Psychic diagnosis is an application of our extended abilities that is attracting more attention as people seek to become more involved in healing. One of the best contemporary examples of controlled research in this area is described in the book The Creation of Health by C. Norman Shealy, M.D., and Caroline M. Myss, op.cit., which is about merging medicine with intuitive diagnosis.

The process of psychically diagnosing illness is similar to remote viewing in that the distance separating the patient and the person doing the psychic diagnosis does not affect the accuracy of the diagnosis. Such distance may even be beneficial, because it prevents the intuitive practitioner from being bombarded with the analytical noise that accompanies sensory input. Myss believes that a physical separation between her and the person she is diagnosing is desirable, because it permits her to ‘receive information that a more personal connection would otherwise tend to block.’

An earlier lengthy study of psychic diagnosis was carried out by Dr. Shafica Karagulla who investigated and reported many cases of this remarkable ability in her book Breakthrough to Creativity.

— Shafica Karagulla, Breakthrough to Creativity, Marine del Rey, CA: DeVorss & Co., 1967.

In addition, Jane, with her many years of experience as a healer, has found that it is common for her and other healers to feel the same physical symptoms as their patients are experiencing, before the patients have described or given any other evident clues about their condition. (…)

Forecasting is the fourth area of application of psychic faculties that Mishlove describes. Forecasting earthquakes and volcanic activity, political conditions, technological developments, weather conditions, and interest rates and investment opportunities, as well as prices of commodities and currencies, have all been approached psychically. It is the latter applications that have always attracted the greatest attention. One reason for its appeal to researchers is that it lends itself so easily to the study of precognitive remote viewing. Whether or not any money is actually traded, the process of conducting the research is always stimulating and entertaining.

Psychic and Spiritual Healing

In healing, as well as remote viewing, the willful participant invokes information and acts as a messenger. In remote viewing, the viewer translates impressions of the information into drawings and language. In psychic healing, the healer transposes intuitive impressions into thoughts and specific healing actions to remedy a perceived problem in a patient’s body. In spiritual healing, no translation of the accessed information is done by the healer at all. The spiritual healer maintains his or her awareness in a nonlocal state of unity-consciousness throughout the healing session. All judgments are absent during the practice of spiritual healing, as spiritual harmony is not necessarily in accordance with a healer’s, any other person’s, opinions. A spiritual healer’s job is to maintain his or her state of awareness in a timeless everpresent now, allowing an infinite consciousness, intelligence, and love (known as God, or nonlocal mind) to express Itself through the healer’s awareness.

When minds are merged, and one has the focused intention of surrendering individuality and being used as an instrument of help or healing, that condition allows nonlocal healing to occur. The joining of minds between healer and patient is made possible by trust, and by the absence of fear or guilt. A spiritual healer’s focused intent is that his or her consciousness be used as an expression of nonlocal Infinite Mind, which some know as God. No thoughts of personal profit or failure on the part of the healer, and caring intent with nonattachment to the outcome, are the essential components in spiritual healing. It is as though the healer’s receptivity acts as a conduit of information, or makes available a template of healing information, that enables and activates the patient’s own self-healing ability. A spiritual healer’s intention is to be helpful, and this impersonal mind state of merged consciousness, wherein nonlocal mind is acknowledged and hsared, could be called ‘loving one’s neighbor as oneself.’