Off the Deep End

Scott Virden Anderson Blog

I’ve fallen into a number of deep and as yet inconclusive considerations that have kept me busy these past six weeks, but it seems high time for at least a quick update:

My study of academic esotericism continues – for such a young field, there is already a rich literature that explores many methodological nuances that I feel bear directly on the Yoga Science project I’m exploring here.  A seminal article by Wouter Hanegraaff is his “Empirical Method” from 1995 in which he makes explicit what he’s been doing since to such good effect – striking a subtle balance between religionism and reductionism – a balance I will henceforth aim to emulate as best I can.  (You can download it from the page linked to here.)


An online discussion has begun in the name of “The ISSSEEM Task Force on Energy Medicine.”  The first significant outcome for me was to reconnect with Dean Radin – “The Dean of American Psi Research.”  Also enjoyed re-reading his appropriately popular Entangled Minds.  I’m looking forward to ongoing discussions with Dean as he moves out of his position as Chief Scientist at IONS and into an ambitious future project – tba.  In the meantime, take a look at a project in “applied Yoga Science” that Dean has been involved in: Intentional Chocolate.

Another Task Force participant is the new President of ISSSEEM, Bernard O. Williams PhD, busy “alternative academic,” and tireless historian of new technologies and new medical devices. Born the day after my 2nd birthday, we seem to have much in common.

A third Task Force participant is Beverly Rubik PhD another tireless warrior in the fields of alternative health and energy medicine.  I’m looking forward to spending more time reviewing her Biofield theory to see if I can find a way for it to mesh with the Yoga Science framework I’ve been exploring here.

Discovered, read, and marveled at B. Alan Wallace’s latest book, Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness, published last year by Columbia University Press, no less.  I see this book as a huge step in the direction of Yoga Science and earns a “must read” for my readers. Alan is calling for the creation of “contemplative observatories” where trained contemplatives will make the detailed observations necessary to build the foundation for what he calls “the first revolution in the mind sciences.”  Yogi-Scientist of the Year for 2008 awarded.

Got a delightful call from Cliff Saron, Principal Investigator for the Shamatha Project that I mentioned in my ’06 Recap entry 8/30/07.  He gave me a peek behind the scenes of this historic “science of yoga” project – nice summary article is here.  Putting Cliff’s report together with the article, what stands out is the image of a bunch of top-flight scientists working themselves round the clock in the shadow of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya in service to a group of serious yogis on meditative retreat — this is, imho, “science as it should be” — in service.  Thus I question the characterization in the article of the yogis as being “guinea pigs” — in some sense, perhaps, but these guinea pigs were relaxing into the Great Matter while the scientists were doing all the “running around.”

Kent Palmer and I have continued an extensive email dialog on many points related to the Yoga Science, most recently in relation to Hidden Dimensions looking to explore Alan’s proposal to use Ati Yoga as a “background theory” for his ambitious undertaking.  I expect this exploration to go on for years to come.

I’ve emailed John Whitney Pettit — author of a scholarly study of a most remarkable 19th Century Dzogchen scholar — Ju Mipham — to see if he might be able to send me section 5.2 from that book: “Theory, Practice, and Ultimate Reality” — a most astute analysis that I’d love to post here.  Turns out this was the original title of his 1998 PhD thesis at Columbia under Robert Thurman.

So, many irons in the fire, few ready to pull out.

I’m about to launch into preparing materials for my ISSSEEM presentations in June – the official “roll out” of Yoga Science.  Should keep me busy for the next couple of weeks.