Since I posted notice of my new writing on psychology and the aura on the listserv for APA Division 36: Psychology and Religion, many questions arose about whether there's valid science here. In response, I wrote a similar post to this, which is minimally edited for the readers of this blog. Here's how the scientific research will be included and where I'm coming from with all of this.
Part 5 of this new series will survey the literature of those who claim to detect and measure the human biofield, its conventional and subtle energies. I will do my best to do a thorough job on that aspect. But before anyone jumps in asking for a detailed discussion of that material, know that this will take awhile.
This project doesn't start off with detailing the physics, neuroscience and so on but rather with proposing a model that will act as a lens for reviewing the science. However, please know that I'm open to the science (or lack of scientific findings) changing or disproving my model. I started developing my model during the creative process of writing my doctoral dissertation on Jung's Kundalini Seminar. The model has also been emerging as I see apparent connections between many psychological phenomena and what I've read and sense about the aura. As posted earlier, I'm influenced by my own mystical experiences and an ability to intuit the aura as a meditation discipline for more than 30 years. I train with advanced practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism and Kundalini Yoga, and will be discussing this project later this month with an expert in the latter, Joan Harrigan, Ph.D., who was my dissertation reader.
So far I've come across interesting research by Hiroshi Motoyama (1981 and much more), Valerie Hunt (1996), Konstantin Korotkov (1999) and others who claim to detect and measure subtle energies. Motoyama, for instance, has developed a device for detecting and measuring changes in the acupuncture meridians. And my dissertation research revealed that the major chakras correspond directly with certain acupoints (Raheem, 1984). Motoyama also measures photon emissions from chakras. He has an active lab and his research is ongoing although he's now in his 80s.
Korotkov has invented a different kind of device for sensing the subtle field and Beverly Rubik, Ph.D., a Berkeley trained biophysicist, works with that device. She hosted a visit by Korotkov to the U.S. a few years back. I've known Dr. Rubik for many years and plan to interview her.
I'll also look at research and theories about subtle energy and psi. During my dissertation research about 10 years ago I came across a very fine book by Dean Radin (1997) summarizing the findings of 100 years of parapsychology, including the results of his statistical meta-analysis. His book also has a chapter I really like about rigid skepticism. There's a subsequent book by Dean Radin (2006) called Entangled Minds that I will also review.
I'll also read the new book by Charles Tart (2009) on the conflict between materialism and parapsychology. A book by John Arden (1998 ) entitled Science, Theology and Consciousness looks worthwhile, and I'm in contact with him.
I've found an extensive web site by William Tiller, professor emeritus of Stanford University, who proposes a theory of subtle energy and has been running some interesting distant influence experiments. See www.TillerFoundation.com. I've been in contact with William Braud, the recently retired transpersonal psychologist and researcher who has had his own mystical experiences. He has posted many papers on an extensive web site here: www.Integral-Inquiry.com.
But I won't just be exploring those who agree with my current view. I look forward to reading a new book by Gibbs Williams (2009), who employs contextual analysis to refute Jung's theory of synchronicity. I've come across some writing by George Hogenson (2001, 2008 and more) that offers alternate explanations to Jung's mystical ones about archetypes and synchronicity. He's very interested in mirror neurons.
And of course I want to research the writings of skeptics. I invite any skeptics reading this post to suggest sources for me to review.
Arden, J. B. (1998). Science, theology and consciousness: The search for unity. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
Hogenson, G. B. (2001). “The Baldwin effect: a neglected influence on C. G. Jung’s evolutionary thinking.” In Journal of analytical psychology. 2001, 46, 591-611.
Hogenson, G. B. (200). “Synchronicity and moments of meeting.” In Journal of analytical psychology. 2008, 54, Number 2, 183-197.
Hunt, V. V. (1996). Infinite mind: Science of the human vibrations of consciousness. Malibu, CA: Malibu Publishing Company.
Korotkov, K. (1999). Aura and consciousness: New stage of scientific understanding. St. Petersburg, Russia: St. Petersburg Division of Russian Ministry of Culture, State Editing & Publishing Unit "Kultura.”
Motoyama, H. (1981). Theories of the chakras: Bridge to higher consciousness. Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House.
Radin, D. S. (1997). The conscious universe: The scientific truth of psychic phenomena. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Radin, D. S. (2006). Entangled minds: Extrasensory experiences in a quantum reality. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Raheem, A. (1984). A transpersonal integration of the whole person through the meridian and chakra energy systems. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Menlo Park, California.
Seeman, G. (2001). Individuation and subtle body: A commentary on Jung’s Kundalini Seminar. Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA.
Tart, C. T. (2009). The end of materialism: How evidence of the paranormal is bringing science and spirit together. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications. A copublication of New Harbinger Publications and Noetic Books.
Williams, G. (2009). Demystifying meaningful coincidences (synchronicities): The evolving self, the personal unconscious, and the creative process. New York: Jason Aronson.