I have had the privilege of participating in a “Consciousness Circle” this year — a group of 12 to 20 of us, formed partly through the database of local members of the international Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) organization.
I have long appreciated the effort to gather people together to talk about Real Things in a semi-structured circle. Whether a writer’s group … a church small group… civic and ethical dialogue circles… I appreciate the commitment and intent to gather on a regular basis, sharing personal stories and digging deeper into topics than we tend to do at isolated social gatherings.
Here are snapshots of the Conscious Circle I participate in…
Our first topic as a collective group was “Transformational Moments.” The 18 of us gathered spoke about any pivotal moment that might have sparked our interest in the mysteries of science and spirituality.
A few people reported intense mystical experiences (at age 6, age 14, age 22) that gave them a passionate and unusual perspective about how the reality of the world might be different than we generally expect it to be.
Several people indicated they had strong dream worlds that seemed to communicate and, while hard to interpret the interplay of time and space, it opened them to awareness that the universe has more mystery to it than we understand.
Several said they grew up with evangelical or scientific family backgrounds, and grew up looking for a spirituality that begged for an outlet.
In general, the people who gathered together in my Uptown living room were there because they wanted to share with like-minded individuals the questions we are exploring, the curiosities we are making time for, and the neuroscience and quantum levels of scientific understanding we might find intertwined with consciousness, transformation and interconnectedness of the universe. Many indicated they had been reading and pondering for a long time, with no one to discuss and learn alongside.
We are in the process of sharing the wide variety of subject areas, resources and individuals that inspired us — an evolution of discussion for future gatherings — but a few topics have been cited by several thus far. Including: modern theology/Christian mystics, parapsychology, quantum physics, interconnectness of nature, living in fullness (the grays/colors of life, rather than black-and-white). Several relayed their interest in exploring how ‘body is nothing’ and we are here to learn and help others see consciousness as not the product of our individual beings, but as a collective field.
One man relayed he had a Part 1 dream of disillusion — cocoon and chrysalis and imago — dissolving and liquifying with slight structure that held together just enough to form into something else — a Part 2 dream of deep sleep turning into flashes of dancing light, like sunlit ripples on a lake — growing energy — as spirit converged into matter. He believes all that he is learning now affirms something that had been growing all along… that his journey is a circle that is leading to the space of non-rigidity: Life as a gift, articulated and imagined by people such as Bill Plotkin, Richard Tarnas, Jung Society, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
We finished the three-month process of having members in our new group get better acquainted. We have had several poignant moments as people have shared experiences that they have not shared with anyone — or sometimes not talked about for decades.
In the last session, one of those lovely stories came from a man who has been at all three sessions thus far. This is the first time we learned one of the pivotal experiences that has led him to believe that there is a transpersonal interconnectedness in the universe that — whether we like to believe it or not — ties everything together as One: living and non-living, animal, human, plant.
His story was about the death of his wife, a few decades ago, at age 36. A single leaf that fell into his hand at her favorite park. Two deer. And a Leo Buscaglia book — about a leaf and the life/death cycle — that he received in the mail when he got home that evening. His wife had ordered it for a Sunday school class before she knew about her terminal illness.
Like so many of us in this group who have had the privilege of experiencing something remarkable, we don’t need to convince others — we simply know in our hearts that the universe is much more Conscious than we tend to think.
I am very grateful for my local circle — the sharing and resources we offer each other. It is through the strength of that connection that I finally decided it was time for me to create this website.
It is my intent to eventually compile a directory here of some of the consciousness circles that exist, in case you’d like to join one. Use the comments field to suggest a group you participate in, where located, how often it tends to meet, and how to make contact for details.
— Mikki Morrissette, founder, (Non-) Hippy Dippy Guides