Inspirations from the IONS Conference by Mary Montgomery
Column: CyberWeave:Spirituality and the Internet
For years I have been a loyal member of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (noetic.org). So, you know I was pumped when IONS announced that its 16th International Conference, The Science of Being/The Spirit of Community, would be in Oak Brook, Illinois, July 22-26. I’ve traveled to IONS conferences in Palm Springs, San Francisco, and Tucson. Now, the event was right in my backyard; I could attend and even save a few dollars by not staying at the hotel.
In case you’re not familiar with IONS, let me give you the thumbnail. When you visit the IONS website, the first thing that strikes you is the magnificent graphic header. A shadowed figure sits cross-legged with arms stretched to the sky before a backdrop of the Milky Way. The figure’s central core is a brilliantly colored spiral, a cross between the DNA Double Helix and the chakra system. The tag line: The Science of What Connects Us.
The illustration gives a visual definition of IONS. Click on About Us and you get the overview via a short video and text. Here’s that information:
The Institute of Noetic Sciences™, founded in 1973 by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research, education, and membership organization whose mission is supporting individual and collective transformation through consciousness research, educational outreach, and engaging a global learning community in the realization of our human potential. “Noetic” comes from the Greek word nous, which means “intuitive mind” or “inner knowing.” IONS™ conducts, sponsors, and collaborates on leading-edge research into the potentials and powers of consciousness, exploring phenomena that do not necessarily fit conventional scientific models while maintaining a commitment to scientific rigor.
When we checked in for the conference, we were all given one “You Inspire Me” card that we were supposed to hand out to someone who inspired us during the event. Only one card? Impossible! I was inspired by so many folks during the conference that I decided to send out my own “You Inspire Me!” message to all the folks who moved me with the depth of their ideas and commitment to the transformation of consciousness.
Hmm … the folks at Conscious Community Magazine and all the people who are featured in their pages also inspire me—so let me share that message with you too:
YOU INSPIRED ME!
So to each of you, this is a “You Inspire Me” Card – sent from my heart to yours.
"Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects."
This is a beautiful quote by The Dalai Lama. Each of you is like one of The Dalai Lama’s pebbles. Your inspiration continues to ripple throughout my heart, my mind, and my soul.
Surely if all our ripples join together we can become a wave of transformation.
Of course, in this short column, I will not be able to share all of the inspirations that I encountered at the IONS Conference. Here are just of few of them:
The General Sessions
Most of the conference was devoted to the General Sessions, allowing us all to hear pearls of wisdom and information from a veritable pantheon of speakers. Here are some of those pearls:
Embody Your Transformation NOW! Qigong Master Mingtong Gu from The Chi Center: Wisdom Healing Qigong (chicenter.com) led us through some simple exercises, and shared some mighty interesting information:
- The importance of practice was emphasized. Research shows that it takes 90 repetitions for the neurons to set a pattern in our brain.
- Research also shows that 90% of our happiness is determined by internal factors. The breakdown is: Circumstances-10%; Intentional attitude and activities-40%; Internal conditioning or set point-50%.
Death Makes Life Possible: Noetic Perspectives on Life, Death, and Beyond: Marilyn Schlitz, PhD, is the producer and author of the Death Makes Life Possible film and book (deathmakeslifepossible.com). Her pearls:
- A Silver Tsunami is taking place throughout the world (Hey, I’m part of that!). Just one example are the statistics for the United States. In 2009, 12.3% in the U.S. were seniors. By 2030, that percentage will be 19%.
- It is important for all of us, senior or not, to get in touch with our feelings about death. Unconscious fear and anxiety about death leads to pathological behaviors.
- In Death Make Life Possible, Marilyn collaborated with Deepak Chopra and other thought leaders to provide a treasury of guidance that can help us transform our lives.
Being Your True Story, the Pathway to Happiness: Don Miguel Ruiz (miguelruiz.com), author of The Four Agreements shared these pearls:
- Your world, the story of your life, is only true for you. It’s just a story. It’s not true, but you believe it.
- If you don’t like the story, you are the only one who can change it.
- The main character is you. Many try to change the story by changing the secondary characters. You can only change the story by changing the main character—you.
A Cosmology of Connection: Poet Drew Dellinger, PhD, (drewdellinger.org), author of love letter to the milky way: a book of poems, read a moving excerpt from one of his poems. Drew is also the founder of Planetize the Movement. His pearls included:
- We are in a crisis of worldview. We need a New Story because the old one doesn’t work anymore.
- We can look at Martin Luther King Jr. as a cosmological thinker. In his last sermon, King gave us a model for making these connections by stressing that we are all interrelated, a network of mutuality. (Check out Drew’s website for his paper on this).
The Promise and Perils of Psychic Technologies: IONS Senior Scientist Dean Radin, PhD, presented a wonderful PowerPoint program filled with the latest developments in the science of consciousness. Some of his pearls:
- The U.S. government is way behind the curve when it comes to paying attention to consciousness research. Dean has been invited to speak at government conferences and meetings in every developed country throughout the world—except the United States. Recently for example, he attended an Australian Leadership Retreat with 130 top leaders from the government, the military, etc. The topic was “Thinking the Unthinkable.” It was pretty depressing to hear about all the things that could suddenly plague the world, especially if there is what is being called threat multiplication. These include uncontrolled population, climate change, terrorism, and mutated viruses. Dean was invited to provide the rays of hope, the science of what is possible through transformation of consciousness.
- One of the things that Dean pointed out was that in 1900 the big threat was considered to be Luminous Ether, which scientists of the time thought could lead to an ultraviolet catastrophe. Instead, that threat led to today’s information age. Dean and other cutting edge researchers believe that consciousness research can be one of the world’s salvations.
Well, there I go again! I’m running out of space! So let me close by telling you that the IONS Conference also included a galaxy of fascinating workshops. Unfortunately we each could only attend two of them. Fortunately, DVDs and MP3s of both the general sessions and the workshops were available for purchase. I can’t wait for my treasure trove of MP3s to arrive!
The two workshops that I attended were The Science of What’s Next: The Future of Consciousness Research, and Conscious Aging. Two quick pearls from those:
- Coming soon to your Smart Phone: IONS Scientist Adam M. Curry is working on a Random Number Generator (RNG) smart phone app. It is called The Collective Consciousness App (consciousness-app.com). Adam pointed out that for several decades, labs like Princeton University’s PEAR lab, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences have been exploring how human minds can have an unexplained influence on chaotic systems, such as devices called physical random number generators (RNGs). Now, because of brilliant scientists like Adam, ordinary Jills and Joes like you and me can be part of the grand experiment.
- This could be a bumper sticker: The Conscious Aging workshop is based on a program and workbook developed at IONS. Part of the process was breaking up into small groups of four. I was so proud of my group. For one exercise on transformative experiences, we had to summarize our take-away in one sentence. Our sentence, “Each of us was presented with different circumstances, but we made decisions and took control, becoming thrivers, not just survivors. We received kudos from the crowd. I can see it now on my bumper: “I am a THRIVER, not just a survivor.”
My Advice: Continue the exploration by checking out the websites mentioned in this column. I wish I could tell you that you, too, could get a set of those conference MP3s, but I couldn’t find a link for that on the IONS website (If I find out how to do that, I will share it with you). The next IONS Conference will be in two years. I plan to be there and so should you.
Mary Montgomery’s company, Montgomery Media Enterprises, specializes in public relations, writing projects, and social media development, especially in the non-profit sector. Ms. Montgomery has a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS). She has completed the coursework in doctoral studies with a focus on Altruism and Unconditional Love. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use CyberWeave in the subject line. You can also visit her at her new blog, SpiritualTravelerGuides.com.