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

Exploring the Phenomena of Intuition from Multiple Perspectives


Elisabet Sahtouris PhD, Evolutionary biologist, futurist, author and consultant on Living Systems Design. Our Human Relationship to the Earth, Planetary Level

Dean Radin PhD, Senior Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences. Experiments on Intuitive Knowing, Quantum Level

Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg MD, PhD, Professor of Physiology Karolinska Institute, Stockholm Sweden. Oxytocin—the Hormone of Connection, Biochemical Level

This panel looks at 3 different Big Picture aspects of intuition and possible explanations.

  • Elisabet Sahtouris reflects on the relationship between the science and the natural to date; particularly how Western science has suppressed inner knowing, thus losing ½ of our capacity to know. Dr. Sahtouris identifies signs of greater integration today.
  • Dean Radin [quantum physics] reports non-local information exchange at the quantum level, the role of consciousness, and the boundaries between physics and the psyche. Show how at individual level we may not have super powers, but maybe we do at the collective level.
  • Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg [biochemistry] addresses the chemistry of the body focusing primarily on oxytocin, mirror neurons, and other means the body has of establishing relationship and communication.
Dean Radin PhD, Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg MD, PhD, and Elisabet Sahtouris PhD

Dean Radin PhD, Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg MD, PhD, and Elisabet Sahtouris PhD


Dean RadinExperiments on Intuitive Knowing

Dean Radin PhD, Senior Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences

Dean Radin discussed non-local exchange of information at the quantum level, the role of consciousness, and the boundary between physics and the psyche. He reported in depth on the Global Consciousness Project.

Dean began by explaining the basic experimental design used for many of these studies, which entails the longitudinal measuring of skin conductance. Subjects initially view a blank screen, then press a button, and three seconds later receive a randomly-generated affective or neutral picture. The results of the skin conductance (EDA) measurements demonstrate a consistent “presentiment effect” with subjects responding emotionally prior to actually seeing an emotional (versus a neutral) picture. These studies have been replicated with similar visual stimuli, as well as with flashing lights and auditory stimuli. Examination with functional MRI and with Heart Rate Variability have also demonstrated this effect. These studies clearly demonstrate that we have the capability of getting information in ways that use more than our physical senses.

Another group of studies examined the effects of compassionate intention at a distance. Meditatively trained senders were able to impact the skin conductance of subjects with cancer, and a presentiment effect was seen here as well.

Dean places intuition along the continuum of the Noetic spectrum, ranging from the mundane to the profound, and from the commonplace to the rare. Ironically the common experiences, which are amenable to scientific study, are highly controversial; while the rare, mystical experiences are beyond the reach of science, but are well accepted by the public.

Dean reviewed the work done by Dr. Emoto on intention and water crystal formation, and was able to replicate Dr. Emoto’s subjective findings in controlled and blinded experimental designs. Positive intentions did increase the beauty of the water crystals significantly (p=0.001.) Similar studies on the impact of positive intention on the mood elevating effects of chocolate were also significant. That finding was increased 10-fold in those who rarely eat chocolate! The impact of “good intentions” was carried in the physical structure of the chocolate.

Studies of light have long demonstrated that it behaves as both a wave and as a particle, depending upon observation. Dean was able to demonstrate that non-local observation by trained meditators could change the quantum behavior of light, while non-mediators could not maintain the necessary focus to have an impact.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind 
is a faithful servant. We have created a society that
honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Dean’s closing thoughts addresses quantum consciousness and the theory of Entanglement, which causes linkages outside of space and time, and instantaneous correlations at a distance. Such entanglement is theorized to occur at levels ranging from the atomic to the social. Within a holistic medium–that is, one which recognizes the validity of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels of existence–this leads to relative relationships between space, time, matter, and energy. Objects are apparently different and have acausal connections which transcend space/time. Dean theorizes that if the universe were fully entangled so that humans were living in a holistic medium, then:

  • We might occasionally feel connected to others, at a distance;
  • We might know things without the use of the ordinary senses;

Our intentions might reverberate throughout such entangled medium!



Elisabet Sahtouris PhDOur Human Relationship to the Earth

Elisabet Sahtouris PhD, Evolutionary biologist, futurist, author, consultant on Living Systems Design

 Elisabet Sahtouris became an evolutionary biologist to understand the past, to be able to become a futurist. She became a scientist to be able to know: “What is the big picture of the universe?” “What is the role of our planet in it?” and “What is our role on the planet?” She notes that every human culture has been rooted in a story, which explained creation and people’s lives. In the past few centuries however, there has been a shift away from religion toward a more secular view, and it has become the role of science to create this story for humankind, which is now dominated by western culture. Unfortunately, science has rejected the inner ways of knowing until recently, even though intuition has led to the greatest scientific breakthroughs of modern times.

Elisabet draws from Ken’s Wilbur’s newest book The Marriage of Soul and Sense to give us a framework for the deep empiricism of western science, which comes in three stages:

  1. The injunction to do something.
  2. The knowledge gained by doing it.
  3. The validation of that knowledge afterward.

This same triplet can be applied to the inner ways of knowing. Each of us builds our own worldview using both our inner and outer ways of knowing. No two people have the same belief system, or therefore, the same reality. How do we allow for all this diversity, and yet come together as a global family? We can look at our belief systems as a garden, continually weeding, trimming and introducing new plants as we desire them.

Physics now describes a universe of self-organizing energy. The keyboard can be a metaphor for the universe; with slow vibrations in the field of matter, medium vibrations in the electromagnetic realm, the zero point energy* at the upper end of the keyboard. Science began at the low end of the keyboard; spirituality and religion began at the upper end.

Elisabet’s view of evolution is of an improvisational but intelligent dance created by all aspects of nature. The debate between creationism and evolution is simply a paradox, which she solves by being a creationist evolutionary biologist. Living systems self-organize in creative ways and are too intelligent to proceed by accident.

Elisabet feels the greatest and most relevant story in earth’s history is the story of evolution from hostility to cooperation. The first half of Earth’s life was devoted to the evolution of bacterial life, and the second half has been dedicated to the evolution of all other life, which are made up of cells that are simply a cooperative of bacteria: e.g. the bacterial ancestors became the mitochondria of the cell. Bacteria have discovered after millions of years that it is more economically efficient to feed their hosts than to bump them off—a lesson humans desperately need to learn. The last one fourth of Earth evolution has seen the evolution of multi-celled creatures from cooperation between single giant cells. This includes the formation of human life.

Ecologists identify that Type I ecosystem species take all the resources they can get, hogging territory, multiplying as fast as possible, and being very competitive. They are called pioneer species. On the other hand, type III species form climax ecosystems. Dr. Sahtouris calls these types young and mature respectively, because Type III is cooperative, sharing the resources and territory, helping to ensure the survival of other species. This is simply a process of maturation—not of two different “species” of ecosystems.

Even after all this time, Sun never once says to the Earth,
“Earth, you own me.”
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights up the whole sky. — Rumi

Will humans too learn to mature and cooperate? How do we get to a gifting economy? Is it possible to change things in time? We teach our children to not steal, to not hit, to play well with others. Why do we not behave this way ourselves? In our body, if one part doesn’t work well, the whole is impacted; yet we don’t seem to understand the body of Earth works the same way. This is the concept of holarchy—the embeddedness of nature. She calls this Glocalization—the local economies and ecologies must be self serving first, to then support the world economy and ecology. Our current way of living is killing other living things, which is not sustainable. Arnold Toynbee analyzed 23 civilizations that collapsed and the common factors were 1) the extreme concentration of wealth in the few; and 2) inflexibility when change was called for. We need to regain our respect and care for the community of life. Sustainable global economics is a world mandate at this time, and it is a natural evolutionary process. We are ready for a leap of maturation! We need a world that works for everyone.

*In physics the zero-point energy is the lowest possible energy, and is the energy of the ground state of the system. All quantum mechanical systems have a zero point energy. In quantum field theory, it is a synonym for the amount of energy associated with the vacuum of empty space.


Kerstin Uvas-MobergOxytocin—the Hormone of Connection

Kerstin Uvas-Moberg MD, PhD, Prof. Physiology, Karolinska Inst., Sweden

Kerstin Uvas-Moberg is a world authority on the biochemistry of the body, focusing on oxytocin and other means the body uses to establish relationship and communication. Kerstin reviewed for the audience the fight/flight reaction and its physiology, in contrast to the state of calm compassion seen in a nursing mother. During nursing, the hormone oxytocin goes to all parts of the brain and adapts a mother for nursing. Nursing mothers often experience calm and relaxation, with feelings of drowsiness. Oxytocin has many effects. It:

  • Stimulates the maternal instincts and bonding
  • Reduces blood pressure, pulse, and the stress response
  • Lowers cortisol
  • Diminishes pain
  • Increases weight gain in females
  • Improves wound healing
  • Facilitates learning

This hormone, usually thought of exclusively in nursing mothers, is actually present in all humans, including males and non-lactating females.

Oxytocin impacts the body through blood-borne, or hormonal, action; as well as directly impacting the brain as a neurotransmitter. It is broader in scope of impact than maternal/child bonding. In addition to decreasing the stress response (or facilitating the Relaxation response), it increases all positive social behaviors, such as friendliness and desire to connect.

Kerstin also believes that it has an impact on intuition by fostering openness. For example, nursing mothers often intuitively know what their babies want, without the child being able to verbally communicate. This effect could also be present in other social settings.

Oxytocin’s release is triggered by warmth and by light, pleasurable touch or massage, especially on the front of the body (as in hugs.) Interestingly, those giving the massage or hug receive at least as much benefit as those receiving it. Walking, swimming in warm water, and other physical exercise are also helpful. A perception of safety also seems to be important in its release. Oxytocin is also released during sex, intimate interaction, and intense eye contact. When people pet animals, the oxytocin level rises in both the pet and the human.

In a rat model, slow massage yields benefits, and repeated massage provides long lasting benefits, even without a continued restimulation causing release of oxytocin (e.g. 1 dose a day for 5 days yields increased calm for 3 weeks.) This suggests that oxytocin can help grow or develop people’s relaxation and restoration capacity.

Kerstin’s research has supported “Peaceful Touch” programs in the Swedish public schools. In this program, children are taught how to touch each other in peaceful ways. These programs have:

  • Reduced the level of aggression in the classroom
  • Increased the length of time students can sit still
  • Enhanced students ability to listen
  • Improved children’s ability to take in information

Thought the research has not yet been done, Kerstin believes that Peaceful Touch between parent and child would be very beneficial. Autistic children could gain special benefit from increased oxytocin. She also recommends research on the relationship between spirituality and oxytocin (e.g. does prayer or meditation activate oxytocin?)

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