Twin Cities Conversation Circle

Join the Twin Cities chapter of the Institute for Noetic Sciences (IONS). Our mission: To explore a wide range of topics related to consciousness and the science of what connects us.

Thanks to the generosity of the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community in Linden Hills (44th and Upton), we tend to have a standing conversation on second Wednesdays at 7-8:30pm. Thanks to LHSC for making their space available each month! NOTE: Whenever available we meet in the Earth Room on lower level, rather than the larger Sanctuary space on main floor, which makes it easier for everyone to hear.

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Because of the conversation moderator’s health, Barbara Vaile’s absence (for a topic she has a special interest in), and the death of Mikki’s father last week … we have decided that tonight’s discussion about Synchronicity will be postponed until next month, when we hope the Coronavirus is feeling less pressing.

In the February conversation, we circled around the concept of synchronicity. On April 8, 2020, we will pick up on the thread of underlying connectedness. We should all come prepared to contribute anything we have read, experienced, or viewed on the topic. Member Judy Bell will help us shape what we can share about synchronicity.

Synchronicity is an experience of two or more events which occur in a meaningful manner, but which are causally un-related. These ‘uncanny coincidences’ can consist of an unlikely sequence of events that occur at ‘just the right time.’

What comes to mind for you as an example of synchronicity that opened a positive or negative doorway? Consider reading the article “A Wink From the Cosmos,” by Meg Lundstrom for inspiration. For example: Have you ever thought of someone for the first time in years, and run into them a few hours later? Has an unusual phrase jumped out at you three times in the same day? Have you bumped into a college roommate in a remote location? Has a book leapt out at you as something to pick up that turns out to be exactly what you need?

On the spiritual path, a synchronicity has been described as that “moment in the fabric of time when we suddenly and briefly become consciously aware that we have made a deeper connection with the universe or that which is greater than our individual self.” The theory was offered by Carl Jung, whose favorite quote on synchronicity was from “Through the Looking-Glass,” by Lewis Carroll, when the White Queen says to Alice: “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.”

Judy will share passages from the Victor Mansfield book “Synchronicity, Science, and Soul-Making: Understanding Synchronicity Through Physics, Buddhism, and Philosophy,” which has been recommended from Jim Klein at the local Jung Association as the best book on the subject. She would like all of us to come with our own stories and passages to share.

Potential Upcoming Topics 

If you would like to add to our discussions with insights about mystery from someone you’ve been studying/reading/watching on YouTube, and feel comfortable sharing what you’ve learned for roughly half hour before we open into group discussion, let us know. If you sign up to the monthly e-news above, you’ll have all the contact info (and more) that you need to join in. (No previous participation or preparation required.)

  • Book highlights: “Catching the Light,” by Arthur Zajonc
  • How the body keeps the score: trauma and mindful treatments
  • Remote viewing
  • The afterlife
  • Theosophy
  • Partial viewing and discussion of the documentary “The Spirit Molecule,” which is based on this book.

— Mikki Morrissette, IONS MN communications coordinator

I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent.

— from Lisel Mueller’s “Monet Refuses the Operation”


Mystery — giving light to questions, not answers

Ever splitting the light! How often do they strive to divide that which, despite everything, would always remain single and whole.”  — Goethe

  • Tapping Into Dreams, led by Sheila Asato. This was a great December 2019 discussion about how to use the power of dreams to better understand ourselves, unleash our creative potential, and unravel the mysteries of life and science.
  • Shamanism: What Is It?, led by Judy Steele, who has studied with Serge Kahili King (Hawaiian Huna tradition) and Oscar Miro-Quesada (Peruvian indigenous traditions and cross-cultural shamanism), and has a Master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology.
  • Holotropic Breathwork, led by Catherine Fay, who was a student of Dr. Stanislav Grof. Since then, Mikki was introduced to a simple at-home option by Amy Kuretsky. 
  • Multiple Aliens: Or, the Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe, led by Dave Perry
  • Forest Bathing, led by Judy Bell
  • The connection of Jung and Native myth and symbolism, led by Darrell
  • Psychedelics: 30 people attended to hear guest speaker Jessica Nielson, a psychiatry faculty member at the University of Minnesota, who recently founded the Psychedelic Society of Minneapolis, talk about the risks and benefits of ayahuasca for trauma survivors. Her colleague Dennis McKenna, brother of Terence McKenna, offered insights as an audience member. Two IONS members discussed recent experiences with a shaman and DMT from the Sonoran toad, aka “the spirit molecule.” We also discussed the related Michael Pollan book, “How to Change Your Mind.”
  • Spirit Guides: A well-attended discussion led by member Marian Bayer, MBA, MPA, former Harvard Teaching Fellow, and founder of Institute of Spirits. Marian is creator of the Spirit to Spirit Communication Program, a seven-step program that dismantles the delusion of death.
  • Talking Circle: “What convinced you that the world was something different from what most people believe it to be?” Come prepared to share what your experience/awareness/awakening was that changed the way you see the world and caused you to question the normal explanations of how things work. A great time to get more deeply acquainted about our experiences with mystery, transcendence, wonder and simple “what the hell is going on?” openness, led by Lynda Austin.
  • “In the Beginning There Was Light.”Watch this movie clip about Breatharians for a glimpse at a DVD we’ll watch together, led by Dave Perry. The movie is 1.5 hours long, so we are likely to go until 9pm in order to allow some discussion.
  • Spiral dynamics. An introduction to the concepts, with some fleshing out of the details by a few IONS members, followed by group discussion of what it might mean. Southwest Journal column based on Dave Perry’s past conversation with us about spiral dynamics.
  • “The Structure That Does Not Bind Us,” a discussion led by Mikki Morrissette. Cells are transforming all the time. We share our bacteria with others. Pheromones, sweat, breath all extend the boundaries of self. We eat and breathe that which largely comes from plants. Nothing about the make-up of our foundation is permanently “us.” At our most fundamental level, human beings are not separated from each other, no matter where our skin structure ends. Even our personal identity morphs over time as we interact continually with others. How do we share the story of our interconnectedness?

“A human being … experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us.” — Albert Einstein

RELATED: Thoughts at 2016 SAND conference from Zen pathologist Neil Theise (see 6:30-14:30).

  • “The HeartMath Model: The Heart in Action,” facilitated by Tezikiah Gabriel, Certified HeartMath Coach and Trainer.
  • “Everyone is Psychic,” a guided exercise led by Barbara Vaile, March 8, 2017. Fun gathering where we discovered what happens when we take our ego brain out of the equation and simply sense.
  • Last in a four-part series, January 11, 2017: group video and discussion about Peter Russell. What is the universe made of? What is the biological foundation for consciousness? We watched this video clip from and had a conversation about it. The insights of Peter Russell.

“Nothing in Western science predicts that any living creature should be conscious. It is easier to explain how hydrogen evolved into other elements, how they combined to form molecules and then simple living cells, and how these evolved into complex begins such as ourselves than it is to explain why we should ever have a single inner experience.” – Peter Russell

  • The Bohm Balm: A post-election discussion, by Mikki Morrissette (November 9, 2016). Quantum physicist David Bohm, who left the U.S. after being impacted by McCarthyism, believed mankind could bridge gaps by recognizing the universe as interconnected. He said it is our “intellect” — a fixed idea about the categorizations our brain trusts as truth — that traps us. An essay inspired by the conversation here.

“The attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that are confronting us today.”
— David Bohm, “Wholeness and the Implicate Order”

  • Integration of the Whole: An Exploration of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, by Endel Kallas (October 26, 2016). Like an Escher painting, Teilhard felt the universe was conscious of itself, and our Earthly circle was capable of bridging community in a sphere that connects us in purpose. Find a synopsis of our conversation here.

“An interpretation of the universe remains unsatisfying unless it covers the interior as well as the exterior of things; mind as well as matter.” — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

  • Dark Matter/Dark Energy and Consciousness, by Patrick King (September 14, 2016). A summary of research and conversation about the dark matter and dark energy that makes up 95% of the universe, and where human consciousness and visible matter falls as the rare material on the pyramid. Find a synopsis of the conversation here.

  • The Journey of Psychedelics — we had a very interesting talk from visitor Dr. Walter Weisenburger, who explored with us the history and current news about LSD and synthetics. He is a member of the IONS Community Group Leadership Council and a community group leader for the Flathead Valley IONS group in Montana. He is a retired scientist from the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Eric Christophersonpast life regression and hynotherapy
  • “I Am” documentary screening and discussion
  • Group channeling session led by member Lynda Austin
  • The power of healing energies, led by member Pauline Kaplan
  • The science of transformation — how Darwin, Thomas Kuhn and Bruce Lipton are steering us to a revolution of change, led by Mikki Morrissette, as a variation on her 40-minute talk at Lake Harriet Spiritual Center (12-minute excerpt:
  • “Spiritual Telepathy” author Colleen Mauro, former editor of Intuition: A Magazine for the Higher Potential of the Mind magazine, led us on a discussion of how intuition is part of the sixth sense of perception and how our mind can help us peer into something beyond the five senses of this world.
  • Viewing of “The Power of the Heart”
  • Conversation with Patty Perell about abundance and gratitude
  • Animal communication with Lena Swanson
  • Numerology with Susan Shopek
  • “Finding Joe” screening. Joseph Campbell discovered the “heroes journey” pattern in every story, while studying world mythology. This film explores our own heroes journey into self discovery.

What Are We Inspired By?

At our February 13, 2019 meeting, we shared these titles as those particularly seeking our attention right now:

  • Hands of Light, Barbara Brennan (suggested by Barbara V.)
  • Climate, by Charles Eisenstein (suggested by Barbara V.)
  • Jack Kruse, the cellular energy we are neglecting, i.e. dueterium (Joe)
  • Storybook about God’s Harvest (not yet available to public) by Gerard Laselle about the joining and the tearing involved in cosmology (connection and pain), the polarity of birthing a universe (Dave P)
  • Theses by Owen Barfield, J.G. Bennett, Pierre Teilhard du Chardin as incubators to something he will deliver about the evolution of consciousness (Endel)
  • Night Sky, by Richard Grossinger, related to oneness (Peter) (also Dark Pool of Light)
  • Reality Unveiled, by Ziad Masri about hidden keys of existence from quantum to spiritual and radical forgiveness (Laura)
  • Conscious Capitalism, Raj Sisodia and John Mackey (Laura)
  • Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity, by Daniel Reid (David), how do we maximize health
  • Jesus Christ, Son of God: Ancient Cosmology (David), divine enlightenment
  • The Overstory, novel by Richard Powers (Holly), also, how do we maximize nurturing and minimize toxic
  • The Gene Keys, Richard Rudd, love inherent in human design (Vicki)
  • The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben (Allison, with Terry, why think humans are only sentient beings?)
At our introductory meeting on May 21, 2014, some of us shared information about the resources that have inspired us. Here are some of the resources we’ve shared with each other:



Personal Interest Topics

  • Akashic field (Mikki)
  • Robert Lanza’s biocentrism consciousness (Vivian)
  • Gaiam TV (Anne)
  • Connectedness to nature
  • Dreams as communication
  • Our role in universe
  • Mystical experience
  • Science & Spirituality
  • Parapsychology
  • Yoga sutras
  • Reclaiming consciousness
  • Christian mystics
  • Synchronicity
  • Quantum physics
  • Taking time to see spiritual in daily living