Ways of Knowing™ Symposium: Exploring the Role of Intuition in Health & Healing

History of Partnership: Inner Connections

Charlson Meadows and Center for Spirituality and Healing

Mary Jo Kreitzer,

Mary Jo Kreitzer, director of the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota: “This is a transition time in the evolution of medicine.”

As Nancy Nelson turned the pages of her October 1998 Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, she was struck by the quote next to a woman’s picture and the article entitled, Body and Soul. “This is someone and something our organization might be interested in someday,” she said to herself as she clipped the article to place it in her ‘Ideas’ folder at work. Seven years later Nancy’s insight guided Charlson Meadows in Excelsior, MN to partner with the organization lead by the woman behind that face.

Dynamic and determined, Mary Jo Kreitzer continued to pursue the vision. 
In 1995 her hard work and that of others culminated in the founding of the Center for Spirituality and Healing in the University of Minnesota’s East Campus Mayo Building. Designed to provide complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) education for the University’s health care students and the public, The Center’s programs had expanded in 1997 and by 1998 Mary Jo was looking for allies. Faculty member Dr. Robert Patterson, a biomedical engineer, recognized the need and suggested she contact Buck Charlson, a man he’d heard was interested in and curious about different forms of healing. Mary Jo made several attempts to find Mr. Charlson, but didn’t have any luck. “Over the years I thought about Buck Charlson many times,” she reports, “and wondered if he knew about the Center and our common interests.”

Buck Charlson is the founder of Charlson Meadows. 
In 1998 both women, Nancy Nelson of CM and Mary Jo Kreitzer of CSH, were wondering about each other and intuiting that a relationship between their organizations would be beneficial for everyone. In January 2005, seven years later, Nancy suggested that Sharon Franquemont, CM’s Education Director, visit CSH. This visit lead to a dialogue between the two organizations within months. The fulfillment of Nancy and Mary Jo’s inner connection was begun.

In the intervening seven years both organizations engaged in activities which were to lay the ground work for collaboration on The Taking Charge web site (www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu) and the Ways of Knowing Symposium Series (www.charlsonmeadows.org).
For example, Charlson Meadows identified the importance of CAM and related fields to its interest in expanded ways of knowing, the science of consciousness, and spirituality. While CM was doing that, The Center for Spirituality and Healing developed a CAM on-line learning web site for health care professionals and had begun hosting a similar on-line site for the public. When the project’s future was in question due to funding constraints, the two organizations explored becoming partners in the site’s CAM module development. The Taking Charge web site received national recognition in an October 2007 CNN report on Complementary Alternative Medicine and a national award for Health Care Standard of Excellence from the Web Marketing Association The award, part of the 2007 Web Awards competition, recognized the site for “outstanding achievement in website development.” Other winners included Walt Disney Internet Group, UPS Whiteboard, and Biggs/Gilmore Agency.­­

In addition, during those seven years, CSH continued to explore how consciousness impacts health and healing and held many events for the public. 
One event, The 2003 Otto Schmitt Symposium on Consciousness Research, was to provide a model for the 2007 Ways of Knowing gathering. Some of the themes and presenters at the former showed up in the latter.

Charlson Meadows also sponsored a relevant series – Conversations About Intuition
and Elizabeth Lake, Development Director of CSH, was among the Minnesota leaders invited to attend. A final activity of the 2005 series was a World Café in which the participants envisioned an upcoming conference focused on intuition. They held that such a conference should:

  • Draw international participation
  • Demonstrate both academic and personal experiences
  • Address the connection of consciousness to knowledge at spiritual, emotional, physiological, and cellular levels
  • Reference What the Bleep Do We Know? as an exploration of what is going on between reality and consciousness.
  • Create an atmosphere where people’s intuition is acknowledged and enhanced

This 2005 blue print vision, the Center’s CAM expertise and contacts, and CM’s long history with these topics combined to create the 2007 Ways of Knowing Symposium.
These envisioned goals were achieved and What The Bleep II star, Dean Radin, was a featured speaker. Approximately, one hundred physicians, nurses, researchers, CAM providers, and health care administrators attended the invitation-only event. At the Symposium’s conclusion, the participants asked that CM and CSH create a 2008 Ways of Knowing Symposium. Planning for 2008 has begun.

Inner threads of relationship and connection are part of a large-scale intuitive process. 
Krishnamurti, a philosopher, maintained that intuition was the highest form of intellect. Intuition operates at the macro or universal level as well as the micro or individual level. Intuitive threads do not exist apart from the actions taken based on logic, but are part of the web of life.

  • Ways of Knowing™: Exploring the Role of Intuition in Health & Healing Symposium