Last night I had the pleasure to visit the historical Royal Institution of Great Britain to attend a lecture by Dr. Daniel Siegel, a Harvard Medical Doctor who is now a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine. The topic: The Human Mind – New Insights from Neuroscience.
The Royal Institution was founded in 1799 by leading British scientists of the age in an effort to build an organisation devoted to scientific education and research. I was sitting in the same space were in 1856, Michael Faraday postulated to the scientific community this “crazy” idea of harnessing the power of invisible electromagnetic fields for use in technology.
If you are reading this post via a wireless connection and/or if you have recently received a text message from a loved one, Michael Faraday is to thank for. He came up with the basic principle to enable communications through the airwaves 160 years ago…
The Royal Institution was therefore a fitting venue for what I was about to hear in relation to the new scientific insights of the human mind. Let me summarise two of the many key points Dr. Siegel presented during the course of the evening:
1. In the scientific community, specifically amongst healthcare professionals devoted to the mental health field (i.e. psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, mental health counsellors, etc.) there is not a consensus as to what the human mind actually is. This is the equivalent of lawyers not knowing how to define the concept of “law”.
2. Given the advances in the field of quantum physics, a definition of the mind is now more at reach. The mind is an emergent, self-organising process of energy and information flow within bodies and within relationships. This means my friends, that our minds are not confined to our brain, skull or even our skin. Our personal minds extend beyond our physical body.
The scientific validation of the mind being an expansive field/process is massive. This implies, among other things, that our personal minds are entangled with everyone else’s, meaning that we have the potential to influence one another even without being in physical contact with each other.
This understanding of the construct of the mind explains the findings of a 30-year long Harvard study that looked at the social dynamics of 12,000 people who were all part of one interconnected network. The study revealed something really odd: Our indirect or second hand associations (friend of a friend) influence our wellbeing, even if we don’t know them or have direct contact with them.
This new understanding of the omnipresence of the mind as well as its potential for omniscience, will serve us to gain a better understanding of premonition, telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis, remote healing and most of these psychic phenomena that reside in us in potential form.
Let me leave you with this thought: How you live your life will influence how your loved ones, friends and the rest of the world lives theirs. Mahatma Gandhi was spot on when he urged people to “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
So if you want people to be kind and compassionate, influence the collective mind by performing random acts of kindness yourself. If you want to see more love in the world, permeate the collective consciousness by giving people what they really want: affection, attention and appreciation.
After the lecture, I spent some time with Dr. Siegel and shared with him how excited I was that, in my lifetime, science has caught up with what the wisdom traditions have been saying all along. Summarised in the eloquent words of John Lennon “I am he, as you are he, as you are me and we are all together.”