Beyond the Brain: Pre-conference Workshops

Prof Marjorie Woollacott – Consciousness and Healing: Can We Reconcile Scientific and Experiential Perspectives?

In this workshop, Marjorie Woollacott will lead participants in an in-depth exploration of the nature of consciousness from both the scientific perspective and that of direct experience, discussing how each contributes to a complete understanding of the topic. We will explore together studies on near-death experiences, which validate the presence of clear awareness when there is no brain activity. She will also lead you in discussions regarding the processes that underlie both meditation and healing modalities. In the workshop, you will have the opportunity to explore in small groups your own experiences as well as the implications of this research for our understanding of consciousness and its implications for healing.

Marjorie Woollacott, PhD, is a neuroscience professor emeritus at the University of Oregon and has been a meditator for 40+ years. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health in the US, and she is research director of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) and the President of the Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences (AAPS), which explores consciousness as a fundamental component of reality. Her most recent book is Infinite Awareness: The Awakening of a Scientific Mind, in which she shares her own experience of her meditation awakening and her own and other scientific studies on such phenomena as near-death experiences, supporting the premise that consciousness functions beyond the mind. She has also co-authored a popular textbook for health professionals and has written 200+ research articles, several of which were on meditation.

Prof Betty Kovacs – Retrieving Soul from the Pathology of Western Culture

In the afternoon workshop, Betty Kovács will discuss why the Roman Church waged a centuries-long campaign to destroy Classical culture and all previous spiritual traditions and how this massive destruction of the blueprint for our evolution has resulted in the pervasive pathology of Western culture.  What were these spiritual/scientific secrets so feared by the Church and State but so needed today for the healing of ourselves and the planet?  Betty will present the twentieth-century recovery of these lost shaman-mystic-scientist cultures and show how these traditions 1) discovered and nurtured the blueprint for Christ/Cosmic Consciousness; 2) saw no separation between the mystic and the scientist or the spiritual and the material worlds; 3) saw the individual as the mediator between these worlds; and 4) nurtured techniques for direct experience of this unified reality.  She will show how these underground traditions were the source of each period of Awakening in Western history, including today.  There will be questions/answers and discussion after the talk and Betty will end with an ancient technique for balancing body, mind, and heart with the earth and the cosmos.

Betty J. Kovács received her PhD from the University of California, Irvine, in Comparative Literature and Theory of Symbolic/Mythic Language. She has studied and taught in Europe and the United States. She taught Literature, Writing, and Symbolic/Mythic Language for twenty-five years. She served many years as Chair and Program Chair on the Board of Directors of the Jung Society of Claremont in California and sits on the Academic Advisory Board of Forever Family Foundation. She is author of The Miracle of Death: There is Nothing But Life and Merchants of Light: The Consciousness That is Changing the World.


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