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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Next Up: 6/12/2019

We are shifting from a lengthy series about mysteries to a series about how to use our consciousness as action.

  • On 2/13 we each talked about books that have captured our attention, leading to a smorgasbord of interests. See a list of these compiled lower on this page.
  • On 3/13 we dived into the questions related to individual and collective consciousness. If we are essentially the universe waking up to itself — a manifestation of the energy of the universe — how do we become conscious of our interconnectedness?
  • On 4/10 we discussed what our individual and collective responsibilities are for co-creating an evolution in thought about consciousness, awareness, and interconnectedness of the universe. As Dave put it, today’s society is “undoing creation.” Holly added this quote from Aldo Leopold: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
  • On 5/8 we discussed: How do we dismantle “isms,” reduce man’s propensity for dominance — which goes against the impulse of the universe? The Universe, the Earth, is not ours to destroy or own. How do we urge others toward thinking outside our small bubbles? Is it part of our moral imperative, rather than only talking with like-minded who already see it? Is it our role to live our purpose — and does that purpose now require more from us than despair and/or self-enlightenment?
  • On 6/12 we will continue the conversation, with the unique contributions of whomever joins us.

Gandhi explained that though ahimsa is technically defined as “non-injury” or “nonviolence,” it is not a negative force, rather it is a force “more positive than electricity and more powerful than even ether.”— from an article about Howard Thurman, who brought non-violence to Martin Luther King after a three-hour conversation with Gandhi, a story about putting consciousness into action

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”

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
  • Shamanism
  • Partial viewing and discussion of the documentary “The Spirit Molecule,” which is based on this book.

— Mikki Morrissette, IONS MN communications coordinator


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

  • 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