It has been over a week since the ISSSEEM meeting ended, but when we got to the airport in Denver we discovered that “dry lightening” strikes all over Northern California on Friday evening 6/20 had sparked hundreds of wildfires, including several within miles and upwind of our home near Ukiah.
Thus, we’ve been preoccupied with this crisis ever since – lots of intensive preparations are called for when a wildfire comes to visit your neighborhood!
So far, the weather has been cooperating, and despite a week of “two pack a day” air quality, we are not currently in any immediate danger and we’ve got fresh coastal air for the first time this morning.
Meanwhile, however, the experience of this 18th annual meeting has not been pushed out of my mind since I feel it marked a slew of transitions, both for me personally and for the ISSSEEM community as a whole.
In terms of the ISSSEEM community, I won’t try to enumerate all of the transitions but rather just focus on two that I feel are particularly germane: ISSSEEM is reaching out, and time keeps accelerating.
ISSSEEM has been a sort of mom and pop organization since its founding in 1989 by a small group of early fans of Elmer Green’s work. They felt the need for a new effort given the virtual takeover by more conventional academics and clinicians of Elmer’s previous effort to make subtle energy healing available via the Association for Psychophysiology and Biofeedback that he helped found in 1969.
Change was in the air at last year’s meeting and was quite palpable this year in the form of an almost complete change of leadership at both the board and executive levels.
The new board has held a number of visioning sessions and has expansive new plans for the future to grow the organization and make it even more truly “international” than it already is.
There was a focus at this year’s meeting on energy psychology including a fascinating discussion between leaders of ISSSEEM and the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology.
To me, one of the most striking things about energy psychology is the speed with which it can relieve symptoms that typically take weeks, or months, or even years to alleviate via either conventional medical or psychological interventions.
This often-seen increased speed of effectiveness is little short of unbelievable to an old medical doctor like myself, but I think it represents an important phenomenon that is also one of the key features of the Yoga Science – the acceleration of time.
How is that?
One of the most striking things about the history of Yoga is what we might call an acceleration of effectiveness:Prior to the revolution that took place in Vedic India around 600 BC, it appears to have been common belief that reincarnation was a fact, that a gradual refinement of the soul takes place over thousands of life times, and that there was little one can do about it in this life.
Both Mahavira and his contemporary Gautama claimed this was not the whole story and that various kinds of Yoga practice can in fact accelerate the progress of the soul.
Thomas McEvilley has documented how this notion made its way to pre-Socratic Greece via the Achaemenid imperial court of Persia – probably carried mainly by the Jain missionaries inspired by Mahavira.
Only a few hundred years later, however, the Greeks that followed Alexander into Central Asia and India appear to have returned the favor – they found Buddhism most attractive and helped give rise to a Greek-flavored Buddhism we now know as the Mahayana.
One of the distinctively new things about Mahayana was that it claimed to offer quicker spiritual progress for the soul compared to the older schools of Buddhism: with concerted practice, you might attain enlightenment in only a dozen or so lifetimes.
Some centuries further along, the Tantric Vajrayana schools of Buddhism offered an even further acceleration of spiritual progress: “enlightenment in this very life time.”
Thus the “acceleration of time” has been a key feature of the history of Yoga – at least as seen in its Buddhist branches (don’t forget, Buddha was Yogi).
My debut of Yoga Science took place in two steps: the brief technical report was given in a 20 minute paper session on Friday morning. This went well and prompted an excellent question about what kind of “science” was I referring to – was it more of the same materialistic reductionism? This helped me make some last-minute clarifications in the slides for the main event the following day – a ninety minute session after lunch on Saturday, June 21 – the day after the summer solstice (and just as the many hundreds of California wildfires were getting started).
The audience was small but attentive and included five individuals of particular interest to me: the President of ISSSEEM – Dr. Berney Williams, two of the founders of the organization – Patricia Norris (daughter of Elmer and Alyce Green) and her husband Steve Fahrion, Sufi teacher Puran Bair, and retired USAF officer, MIT aeronautics engineer, Reiki practitioner, and fellow subtle energy “theorist” Garvin McCurdy.
Also in attendance were two videographers: a local team hired by ISSSEEM, and my wife Susan.
My hope is to eventually work with this footage and post it here in perhaps various forms – video, MP3 audio, and perhaps an edited transcript. I think the first step will be to post the slides in pdf since I think they are largely self-explanatory, especially in light of the three “background papers” already posted here.
Pat Norris called yesterday to say that she is eager to publish “Putting Subtle Energies on the Scientific Map” – the first of these background papers – as is in the ISSSEEM journal, “Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine.”
The positive feedback and useful suggestions I received confirm that we “may be onto something here.” What exactly remains to be seen.
A few of the things that stand out to me as of this writing:
My hunch is growing that esotericism – which I define as “inner awareness, experience, knowledge, or activity” – has been the hidden source of “human culture” since it first appeared in “The Great Leap Forward” that marked the transition to the Upper Paleolithic ~50Kya. In other words, this “Great Leap Forward” was actually a “Great Leap Within.” This means that a complete re-write of human history is in the offing with esotericism – at least as I’ve defined it here – taking center stage.
As I worked on developing this slide presentation, I found that a clear distinction could be drawn between the SummaTime Scale as a strictly “scientific tool” – including any number of potential elaborations (such as the meta-levels of complexity and connections to timeless interpretations of quantum mechanics) and its interpretation as a “Yoga Science Map.” I think this will help to clarify what I believe is an important new way of looking at time altogether and how the Yoga and the Science parents of this hybrid relate to each other via the SummaTime Scale “zipper.”
Finally, the other presentations at the meeting reinforced my sense that I’m on the right track with Part 3 of my presentation in which I summarized some “trial applications” of the Yoga Science Map to areas of interest to ISSSEEM members.
Lots more work to be done here, for sure, and I have little idea how it will unfold, but I do feel the Yoga Science is off to a good start.
I’ll report on a few highlights from the meeting in my next post.