Archives for posts with tag: Rupert Sheldrake


Ingo Swann, who died this year, was one of the most remarkable psychics of our times. Considered a pioneering figure in ESP related ‘remote viewing’, his remarkable feats so impressed the establishment that the prestigious Stanford Research Institute (SRI), Princeton, Mind Science Foundation, San Antonio and several others involved him in their ESP research programmes. The results were of such outstanding quality that the CIA ( concerned about the Russian Intelligence Organizations’ own research in the field) engaged him in what came to be known as the ‘Stargate Project’ for 25 years before abandoning it in 1995, with a change in command, on account of the results being vague and ambiguous for the purpose of intelligence gathering.

The range of ESP connected abilities attributed to him included first and foremost, ‘Remote Viewing’, then psychokinesis, mentally influencing growth of plants, influencing temperature in a controlled environment, ‘out of body Travel’ ( thereby detecting a ring of tiny asteroids around Jupiter, subsequently confirmed by scientists) and influencing stable magnetic fields of a super cooled  junction in a quark detector (considered an amazing feat by scientists).

ingo swann

Ingo Swann

In his book ”Natural ESP – A Layman’s Guide To Unlocking The Extra Sensory Power Of your Mind” ( Bantam Books 1987 ) he holds that potentially an ESP ability is present universally and is not unique to a psychic. In the book he seeks to show how anyone can develop this ability by employing his methodology for ‘remote viewing’ through drawing, sketching and doodling.

The parts of the book which interested me were not the exercises to teach ESP techniques to the common public but his deeply insightful metaphysical observations about the source and context of the phenomenon. Being an adept in the field and a gifted practitioner of the ‘art’ no one would be better qualified in providing a scientific and philosophical context for ESP

He opens by asserting that the study and practice of ESP has been stagnating for over a century since interest was first aroused in scientific circles, mainly on account of remaining in a traditional groove of enquiry fettered by labels which were not really relevant and the use of verbalization ( rather than the use of sketches and doodling) which restricted and inhibited the process rather than revealed the true nature and source of ESP.

In the course of the extensive experiments and demonstrations at the prestigious institutions he was associated with, he came to the realization that what was equally important was the mental processes as much as the results for providing a clue to the nature of the phenomenon. He therefore began to focus attention on his own mental activity to determine what was happening.

A particular experiment finally became the ‘clincher’ which opened the window to reveal the truth – Swann says ”as a result of it, my life was never to be the same”. In this experiment in ‘remote viewing’ two objects were placed in a container directly above his head which he was expected to view ‘remotely’ while he was strapped to a chair with electrodes. He then ‘remote sensed’ and sketched the following symbols which arose in his conscious mind;  (1) U T    (2)  dn-L  He wondered whether these were distorted letters from Arabic. The actual objects were  (1) a card with the figure 5 and (2) the words 7 U P . Those conducting the experiment however immediately realized what had happened. Swann’s remote sense had viewed the objects upside down – join u and T and the figure 5 appears – reverse dn – L and you get 7 UP.

In that instant Swann realized that there was a faculty within him which had observed the objects without the verbalization filters or internal editing in his conscious mind being activated. He arrived at the grand realization that the inner faculty had its own logic and rules of observation, working on a different mechanism of its own rather than a reliance on the physical senses. He named this faculty within us as the ‘ESP Core’, the psychic mind. He also realized that studies of ESP so far had concentrated on the notion that the mind ‘goes out’ and senses the target, whereas the truth was that the information is actually streaming into the mind from outside. The sensing mechanism plugs into a Universal Field of information which is beyond time and space in a ‘second reality’ beyond the physical plane. the information comes into the mind without the use of the physical senses.

He enumerates three broad categories of ESP:

(1) Sensing of physical objects ( as in the experiments of ‘remote viewing’

(2) Receiving a new idea as in inventions and creative acts

(3) Mystical insights, intuition, hunches etc.

He then postulates the concept of the Mind Mound which is ‘overgrown’ ( like in archaeological excavations) by presumptions, preconceptions inculcated by culture, education, beliefs, memory, imagination, ideas,and uncontrolled thoughts, impeding the passage of ESP signals into the conscious mind and acting as barriers. Within the mound lies hidden the ESP Core. The barriers are erected by the mind to maintain rationality and protect its own vital functions from getting overwhelmed by information streaming in from the Second Reality. This resistance can be identified as the ego which enables the physical entity to survive in its own material reality. Without the barriers the conscious mind would be inundated by more information than it could handle. Yet occasionally, vital ESP signals like strong intuition, creative ideas, foreboding, awareness of loved ones being in trouble or danger,etc are allowed through with barriers inactivated when vitally necessary.

Over the years, given his own abilities and experiences he concluded that our awareness of the physical world and our thinking experience of it is not the only form of consciousness we possess. There is a second consciousness, the ESP Core which integrates with both the physical world and with the Second Reality beyond it. By now I could guess what would be coming next.

The ESP Core he then calls the Deeper Self. The Second Reality, inevitably, he links ( as I expected him to) to concepts propounded by scientists and Quantum physicists and thinkers as the Quantum reality, the Implicate Order ( David Bohm), the Zero Point field ( Lynne Mc Taggart), the Cosmic Web ( Fritjof Capra). The Deeper Self or the psychic mind he states may not exist only in the brain but indeed extends beyond the physical body.

He then equates his idea of the Deeper Self with Rupert Sheldrake’s ‘Conscious Self’. Sheldrake, the renowned biochemist and plant physiologist, states that this is not merely derived from matter. As he puts it, while the Conscious Self interacts with the motor field of the body and the changes taking place in the brain through the body’s interaction with the environment and circumstances of life, yet it remains ‘over and above them’. The properties of the Conscious Self cannot be reduced to matter, energy and motor fields but derives from another reality beyond time and space. It has properties unlike a purely physical system and it is this that accounts for parapsychological phenomena we encounter on the physical plane.

It becomes obvious that Sheldrake’s Conscious Self and Swann’s Deeper Self, in traditional, theological terms is none other than the Soul, the Oversoul, the Superself, the divine Self and Cosmic consciousness. This begins to match the Hindu concept of the soul which I have laboured to explore and present throughout this blog. This soul according to the Gita is not the AGENT of action but the quiet unobtrusive motivator and witness. Swann’s conscious levels of the mind in the upper reaches of the Mind Mound constitutes our ego, which is the independent AGENT of action influenced but not controlled by the Deeper Self. His ESP Core is indeed the soul, situated both within us and extending beyond into the Universal Consciousness. The Second Reality beyond space and time that he speaks of , from which the ESP inputs arrive, are none other than the Universal Consciousness  (Brahman, Cosmic Web etc).

Swann’s researching the ESP phenomenon thus reveals valuable insights which parallel Eastern Metaphysics and provide an understanding from the psychological and scientific angle and the philosophical and metaphysical angle of the paranormal and ESP phenomena occurring in our daily lives.

The ESP Core ( the Pineal gland, the Third Eye, the Ajna Chakra ? ) is the seat of our soul aligned to our physical body and its ego component in the brain, seeking to reveal the paranormal and extra sensory truths derived from the cosmic Web, as intuition, creativity and the paranormal abilities of ESP, when we, the ego are willing and able to listen.





Our tour has covered such luminaries both intellectuals and scientists as Peter Russel, Fritjof  Kapra, Gary Zukav, James Redfield, Renee Weber, David Bohm, Rupert Sheldrake and  Jose De Silva. I now propose to review the writings of the eminent journalist Lynne Mc Taggart and her painstaking investigations in her tour de force of the subject. In what I consider her path breaking book ‘The Field’ (1999 Harper Collins, New York, copyright Lynne Mc Taggart ), Mc Taggart launched on what she described as her quest to ascertain the ‘Secret Force of the Universe’.

    Her research into different disciplines focussed on detecting an underlying Field that connects us all and everything. We have already seen ( Science and Metaphysics: Bohm) that the eminent physicist David Bohm conceptualized the existence of an ‘Implicate Order’ from which the material world unfolds and into which it enfolds again as ripples in a wave. We also saw the insightful biologist Rupert Sheldrake (   Biology and Metaphysics : Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic fileds) postulate ‘Morphogenetic Fields’ to explain diversity and evolution in a purposeful Nature.

Lynne Mc Taggart

Lynne Mc Taggart

Mc Taggart’s concern was to investigate the range of observations and research by scientists to highlight the crystalization of ideas about a unifying and underlying reality which has been gaining greater acceptance despite resistance from the conservative scientific mainstream.

She presented and traced for the lay man, much like Capra and Zukav had, the movement in scientific thought from the mechanistic Newtonian world view and Darwinian theory of random evolution to the interconnected world of Quantum Physics and the dissatisfaction of some scientists with the lack of scientific interest in applying these findings to our macro level of existence. She dwelt on their efforts to investigate our connection with this apparently intentional force in the universe. Through her investigative journalism she sought to find the scientific basis for this evolving ‘revolution’ in thinking. Her concerns were however not confined to academic conjecture but appeared to be driven by a need to tap into the ‘Field’ to search for a kind of alternative medicine of psychic and spiritual healing and miraculous cures.

 At the heart of the premise was a Zero Point Field, the vibrations between particles which themselves are knots of energy. A ceaseless exchange of energy takes place sourced from this Zero Point Field and in turn replenishing this inexhaustible reservoir of energy.

We need not here go into the mysteries and complexities of Quantum phenomena, which she explains, such as ‘non-locality’ and the startling effects that the act of observation have on particles, beyond noting briefly that in the former case an electron is seen to influence another particle instantaneously over any distance without exchange of energy, implying that a connection once established is retained even after they are separated over a great distance. In the latter case the act of observation effects the particles behaviour. These curious phenomena suggest the idea of an interconnected world in which  we as observers  are active participants which produce the reality we observe  through the act of observing. This is not unlike the mystical view of the ancients that the universe exists when we look at it but disappears when we look away.

Fritz Albert Popp

Fritz Albert Popp

Mc Taggart dwells at length on the findings of Fritz-Albert Popp a German theoretical biophysicist who studied ‘ biophoton emissions’ of living organisms and even developed a machine for the purpose. Here again it is indicative of a force from which these emissions emerge, showing that at the macro level too there is a relevance of the quantum activity which we find at the micro level.

Mc Taggart’s investigations then move through the magical portals of ESP, linking its incredible feats and as yet unrealized potential also to the Zero Point Field.

She goes on to investigate research carried out at Stanford University to show the power of the mind to influence random outcomes in a machine deviced to study such phenomena. The effects of sacred sites and global interest in events portrayed on the TV on the machines in the programmes  appeared to change random outcomes to higher degrees of order, all indicative of the phenomenon of quantum mechanics being applicable at a macro level. The experiments appear to show that an act of will can affect the outcome and that by thinking we can create greater order out of random patterns. The question then arises whether the will can be applied to heal organisms. Research had shown that the will could be applied to affect bacteria, plants and cells. The conjecture was that all this was only possible because the Field, repository of all memory was being tapped into through these processes.

Some scientists had proposed that the brain itself was communicating through quantum processes within and consciousness was a global phenomenon occuring throughout the body, not merely the brain. Biology itself was a quantum process and as in Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic Fields memory resided in the ZeroPoint Field with the brain merely retrieving the information from the Field. Creativity, insight and intuition were all representative of this phenomenon.

Intention could therefore affect the probability of events, pre-empt disease before it developed, change the course of our lives. The universe was instantly present, embracing all time and space at a point – a kind of continumm of presence. Precognition, distance viewing and the ability in some to look into the future were indicative of this (these conceptions appear to be in synch with the physicist David Bohm’s Implicate Order and and the biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic Fields).

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Mc Taggart also examined experiments carried out by the Indian mystic Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi through his Transcendental Meditation (TM), mass meditation exercises to show how these affected  the graph of crime in specified areas which were the focus of participating meditators. Other phenomena observed were the affects of mass will on the environment and weather. More experiments showed the healing effects of prayer on controlled groups of patients. All these phenomena were shown as examples of tapping into the Field of benign energy, a store house of universal memory. Mc Taggart concludes that with growing interest in the phenomenon a Zero Point Age was emerging  ( much like Peter Russel’s Consciousness Age in his book  The Awakening Earth).

Mc Taggart, encouraged by the universal response to her book launched into her next book ‘The Intention Experiment’ which sought to engage enthusiastic readers in active participation on the net to affect an experiment in biology.

Her writings became an inspiration for the production of a popular documentary on quantum physics and its relationship to paranormal phenomena – ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ with interviews with scientists which illustrated some of  the complex phenomena investigated by her. 

Again I sat back to absorb the immensity of ideas proposed and to realign my thinking of the nature of the reality that surrounds us, shaping us as we too shape it.



The blog began with a consideration of Upanishadic metaphysics culminating in Shankeracharya’s Advait philosophy of Transcendental Monism, – then moved to the metaphysics of science with David Bohm’s theory of an Implicate Order and we now reach metaphysics in biology with Rupert Sheldrake’s theory about Morphogenetic Fields and Morphic Resonance. While the first two were concerned with the cosmos ( and beyond) the last has more to do with manifest Nature.

 Sheldrake is an eminent biologist who had studied at Cambridge and Harvard, travelled widely attending conferences on holistic thought, science and mysticism, where Bohm and Capra represented physics and Sheldrake was the most prominent biologist. Renee Weber (see previous post) in her book ‘The Search for Unity’ extensively interviewed Sheldrake ( among others). Below I have sought to present the substance of her seminal dialogues with Sheldrake on his hypothesis on Morphogenetic Fields.

Like Bohm was dissatisfied with the lack of interpretations of quantum mechanics by scientists for us, being confined to math. and equations, so too Sheldrake was dissatisfied with the mechanistic – reductionist view of biology among

Credit: wikipedia

Rupert Sheldrake
Credit: wikipedia

physiologists, biochemists and biophysicists who he felt were more physicists and chemists than biologists. This he called a major internal crisis in biology. A dissident tradition was on the other hand looking for something going beyond such a view – this group consisted of developmental biologists and embryologist, according to him the true biologists with whom he identified. They dissented from the mechanist view that the DNA and chemicals in human organisms were the sole cause of their form and properties. Everything was attributed to DNA in the mechanistic model. He felt that this was grossly over-rated. DNA was attributed unexplained powers and properties which could not be specified in molecular terms at all. This he describes as the fantasies projected onto the DNA.

Like Bohm sought to make sense of quantum mechanics by proposing an Implicate Order (previous post), Sheldrake postulated Morphogenetic Fields to explain what the DNA clearly was not doing. All that the DNA did was to provide a code enabling cells to make certain proteins. How then the cells used the proteins, organized themselves into particular forms and grouped together in tissues of certain forms and shaped them into an organism of forms was still a mystery. He gave an example to explain. DNA gave us the bricks and mortar with which the organism is built but how these are assembled into patterns, shapes and structures remained beyond known capabilities of DNA.

Sheldrake said that primary forms are defined by two fields, gravity and electromagnetism. Gravity is a kind of formation field but at a lower level, creating forms like spheres. Electromagnetic fields are also simple in contributing form but neither can explain the complexity or multiplicity of forms of organisms. He explains that as animals and plants develop, the complexity of their structures becomes greater and greater – more form coming from less, defying physical explanations.

His theory of Morphogenetic Fields proposes that there is a field which is responsible for development of form (the things which the DNA evidently does not do ). The form pre-exists in the field which guides the developing organism and controls its form and development. Each organism has a field dedicated to it. The fields are derived from past organisms of the same species through ‘Morphic Resonance’. Past forms influence present ones through the field by a kind of resonance and present forms feed-back into the field in a two-way kind of on going evolution of the same form.

He explains ‘Morphic Resonance’ with the analogy of radio and TV. Wires and transistors receive transmissions from stations. The DNA of a chicken are the wires and transistors which receive the transmissions from the Morphogenetic field of Chickens. the present approach to biology is like looking at a picture on the TV screen and examining the transistors, wires and chemicals in the TV set without accounting for the fact that the transmissions are not coming from the box. Indeed he holds that Morphic Resonance can be tested. An example is that of rats learning a new trick in one place and the rats of the same breed then learning that trick more quickly all over the world (in a later post I propose to show numerous examples of scientifically tested cases of so-called Morphic Resonance).

Weber then asked Sheldrake about the nature and characteristics of Morphogenetic fields. He explained that the fields are invisible, and like gravity has spatial patterns. The spatial patterns of a magnetic field can be seen in the iron filings on the magnet. Therefore the fields are invisible but detectable only through their effects. Morphogenetic Fields are also invisible and undetectable directly but only through the Morphogenetic effects. However they are not ‘energetic’ like magnetic fields because they are outside space and time.



Forms are not mere archetypes in the mind of God unlike what Augustine would have said. Sheldrake proposes that they are evolutionary not fixed. While they are affected by past forms of the same type of organism through a kind of cumulative effect, the field is also affected by existing forms – a kind of two-way process through a feed-back. This is similar to Bohm’s idea of the Implicate Order ‘unfolding’ and then ‘enfolding’.

He agrees that there is a kind of persistence of memory on a cosmic scale. He then approaches the God thought. He believes that Nature itself has a source beyond the natural world. Creativity within the universe and the universe itself can only be explained through a kind of idea of transcendence – some non-physical, trans-physical reality, spiritual in nature.

Once again I sat back to allow the mind-blowing concepts to settle in. Yet another scientist, a biologist this time had opened his mind to speak of science and metaphysics seeking this time to explain development of form, their multiplicity and evolution. When the circuits had stopped whirring and the alignments had been made, once again a new mind-set had evolved. Nature was indeed alive, intelligent with memory, intent and transcendental influences. No less important the fact that we are not merely products of nature but active participants in its evolution. As Bohm’s Implicate Order was affected and transformed every time we ‘enfolded’ back into it, so too Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic Fields evolved through our individual ‘contributions’.

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