During a recent trip to the San Francisco area, I met with 87-year-old Bill Gough, founder of the Foundation for Mind-Being Research, which has 100 members, learning monthly from a diverse collection of experts about topics that have ranged from lucid dreaming to healing energies, psychokinesis to afterlife communication, out-of-body experiences to psychic abilities.
Two days prior, in the Linden Hills cafe I frequent, I had a conversation with a 79-year-old member of my similar Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) group, who was enjoying revelations in a book about the military’s use of remote viewing that a high school friend of hers published. She remarked: “I’m always surprised at how much we think we know someone, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. All the interesting stuff we usually never get to is in that other seven-eighths under the surface.”
That seven-eighths experience is why I was in California, learning what others had been absorbing for decades. The interesting stories we often leave unspoken are, indeed, the best part.
Curiosity about how the universe confuses us
A distinction I’m seeing in those I have been sitting down with over the past few years, to discuss “woo-woo” topics, is that there is a willingness to look into the box, not close the lid. Gough is one of those curious, active minds.
After his postgraduate work in electrical engineering at Princeton — where he saw Albert Einstein walking around without socks and learned what Robert Oppenheimer was doing on hydrogen research — he worked in nuclear fusion power.
Gough’s last position was at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in high-energy physics and synchrotron radiation research. He began to meet others — two quantum physicists, a mathematician — who were independently coming to the conclusion that science was only grasping a piece of the whole. They came together to begin exploring anything that didn’t make logical sense.
After a lifetime of exploration, Gough says he has no answers. He does not pretend to know, for example, how people he’s come to trust have communicated with the Challenger astronauts since their death in water after the spaceship exploded. During our five-hour conversation it became clear to me that he has no agenda. His personal drive has been to study “things I don’t want to believe” and actively wonder “what the hell is going on?”
He’s been around long enough to know that there are many classical scientific concepts we once dismissed as poppycock that are now accepted as true, such as when “we believed the brain was a non-changeable system” or thought the benefits of meditation were made up.
Coming out of the closet
I myself became interested in “what we don’t know yet” after several precognition events, such as when I drove under the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis and was hit by the thought about how terrible it would be if a bridge collapsed.
Three days later, I was massively spooked when it did. Similar to when I woke up in New York City on 9/11 from a nightmare about men seeking to kill. I cannot explain it — but I now believe there is more dimension to the one we perceive with our brains.
I gave a talk recently at the IONS conference in Oakland about why I think we’re at a time when receptivity to the long-simmering consciousness conversation is opening up — and how and why we might begin to “come out of the closet” about formerly taboo topics.
I had a half-hour conversation there with Cambridge-taught biologist Rupert Sheldrake. After long, controversial battles, he believes a transformation in the sciences around consciousness is coming, partly because the numbers of those who dismiss it as poppycock are becoming outnumbered. [A two-minute clip of our conversation is on my ConnectedintheDeep.com website.]
When taboos begin to be lifted, and research grants begin to be awarded to explore mysteries about consciousness, Sheldrake and the thousands of people who attend conferences hosted by IONS, Science and Non-Duality, and others are optimistic that meditation isn’t the only way we’ll begin to benefit.
Activism vs. energy
Gough knows that there are sham artists and believes it might not yet be time for collective energy to be tapped responsibly. But he also believes, “If you can bend metal, change is possible. We can change the pH of something. The field around us changes; HeartMath shows that. Mob mentality is one manifestation of negative energy.”
Entanglement is proven scientifically, he said — Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance.” We cannot explain it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Similarly, “most physicists haven’t accepted there is a human consciousness effect” on the way the universe operates, yet he believes “we are not just observers, but participants with our thoughts and emotions — which affect the physical world.”
As he put it, “You can’t hold onto any belief system. All science is malleable, learned beliefs. For me, I was always curious. And knowing you can do and experience something is a big part of belief change.”