Within the boundaries of science, the mind is thought to have emerged from the brain. However, the interrelationship between the brain and the mind has indeed been intriguing for scientists and philosophers in various cultures. In India, the great sage Patanjali developed the yoga discipline. It is a technique meant to directly influence the brain from the mind and thus bring peace and happiness to the mind; by considering the body and mind an integral whole, a spiritual element is added too. In India, instead of the Western dualistic concept of brain-mind dichotomy, the term used is consciousness, which indeed transcends the said dualism, synthesizing the body, mind and soul into an inextricable continuum. However, how the consciousness influences the body and how the body influences the consciousness are still eluding science and remain inexplicable. In the US and in many other cultures, the original inhabitants had various rituals through which they could interact with their consciousness using various methods which are gradually attracting the interest of researchers.
During the Enlightenment period in the West, more theoretical bases were developed and Descartes divided the body and mind and proposed that they were connected through the homunculus, presently called the pituitary gland. Advanced research has shown that the brain functions both analytically and holistically. McGovern Brain Centre at MIT, Centre for Brain and Cognition, UC San Diego; Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle; The Brain Science Institute, John Hopkins University; Centre for Mind and Brain Research, UC, Davis; Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, UC, San Diego; Neuropsychological Studies of Brain and Mind, UC, Berkley are some of the leading Institutes doing phenomenal research in understanding the brain and its functions.
Research emphasis has gradually shifted to understanding the effects of various normal and abnormal physical conditions of the brain on its functional capabilities. The neuro-cognitive basis has become the most widely accepted and applied theoretical frame of reference for understanding brain functions. However, it is well established that induced mental conditions do have significant effects on the neuro-physiological functioning of the brain and these changes in turn affect the neuropsychological status and responses of the brain, affecting behaviour.
Karl Pribram, in collaboration with David Bohm, a Quantum Physicist, investigated the brain-mind interrelationship, and then developed the holographic model of the brain for studying the interrelationship. Bohm's quantum interpretation about which I have done my doctoral research, paves some revolutionary new way of understanding the dynamics of mind and brain (Chandrankunnel, Philosophy of Physics, 2000). Bohm's quantum mechanical interpretation is known as the ontological interpretation since he proposed that a quantum potential guides the particle and thus transcends the wave-particle duality of the Copenhagen interpretation. The quantum potential is merely a mathematical property in classical mechanics while in the quantum realm it has physical significance, which is being explicitly exhibited by the Aharonov-Bohm effect. Bohm further extended this interpretation to examine how the brain and mind are mutually interacting and influencing each other through the implicate order and the soma significance of the interrelationship (Chandrankunnel, Quantum Holism to Cosmic Holism, 2008). However, Bohm had proposed only a general perspective on the brain-mind interaction, which could not be developed into a testable theory. Prof. Dr. Elio Conte, a theoretical physicist, applies quantum mechanics to the cognitive functions of the brain and stretches Quantum Mechanics to biology and medicine. He and his associates propose that the Clifford Algebra can represent mental variables and they have done a large number of research publications (Conte Elio: Testing Quantum Consciousness. NeuroQuantology (2008); 6 (2): 126-139; Alpha-rhythm stimulation using brain entrainment enhances heart rate variability in subjects with reduced HRV. Francesco Casciaro1, Vincenza Laterza, Sergio Conte, Maria Pieralice, Antonio Federici, Orlando Todarello, Franco Orsucci, Elio Conte.
These articles and many others reveal the recent developments in applying the quantum mechanical concepts to the framing of the brain-mind relationship. However, in this context, due to the lack of a significant theory to explain the interactive dynamics of consciousness and body or brain and mind, the Global Institute has decided to pool the resources into research in order to develop an inter-phase theory integrating science and religion, the quantum mechanics, psychology, neuroscience, computer science, philosophy of mind, so that the possible theory on consciousness that can go beyond the usual dualistic dichotomized paradigm of brain-mind and come up with a comprehensive and dynamic theory applicable to the transformation of the individual and collective consciousness altogether.
How to effectively influence the brain/mind? During the initial development of humanity, religion later psychology and lately consciousness studies which are a bundle of interdisciplinary studies joined together developed methods to influence and transform brain/mind or consciousness. Religion through mysticism and psychology through different psychological tools influenced consciousness and people achieved to have higher consciousness. Through an integration of science and religion, now consciousness studies try to develop tools of transformation. Neuroscience, assisted by surgical removal of brain parts eliminates problems and through implantation of artificial instruments and micro chips in the brain enhancement of the consciousness has also already achieved. Through the admittance of pharmacological chemicals altered states of consciousness has also been achieved. Through improved versions of suggestions, elimination and enhancement of consciousness seems to be the easiest and cheapest way of transformation without much side effects.
The Scottish Surgeon James Braid studied systematically and scientifically researched hypnosis and its role in resolving many mental disorders. In the twentieth century Milton Erickson had applied hypnosis in a very significant way through conceptualizing the unconscious as highly separate from the conscious mind, with its own awareness, interests, responses, and learning (Beyond Erickson: a Fresh Look at the Emperor of Hypnosis, Alex Tsander, 2006). He taught that the unconscious mind was creative, solution-generating, and often positive. With a clinical effectiveness through a paradigm shift of context, internal meaning and preferred representational systems, Erickson was capable of making behavioural changes and healing mental disorders and thus made hypnotherapy popular and scientific. Dr. Ernest and Dr. Kathryn Rossi have done epochal research in developing hypnotherapy in the way practiced by Erickson and further developing it into a transformational tool and even theorizing how malignant cells’ growth could be stunted by hypnotherapy (Collected Works of Milton H. Erickson (2008-2010), MHE Press Edited by Ernest L. Rossi, Ph.D., Roxanna Erickson-Klein, Ph.D. & Kathryn Lane Rossi, Ph.D. In the European Frontier, Prof. Dr. Dirk Revenstorf, Eriskson Society, University of Tubingen has contributed, further extended the research and communicated the results on the influence of Hypnotherapy in the transformation process. (MEG Academy, Milton Erickson Gesellschaft fur Klinische Hypnose, University of Tubingen, http://meg-tuebingen.de.)
In India hypnotherapy was popularized and practised by the doctor couple Dr. Bhaskar Vyas, a plastic surgeon and Dr. Rajani Vyas, a gynecologist. They are instrumental in organizing conferences and seminars and thus employing hypnotherapy as a means for healing mental disorders and effectively imply behavioural changes ( Space Time and Consciousness: The Fifth Dimension, Bhaskar Vyas & Rajni Vyas, 2004; Indian Handbook of Hypnotherapy: Foundations and Strategies, Bhaskar Vyas and Rajni Vyas, 2009).
In Kerala, a state of India, through a lifetime of active hypnotherapy popularization and healing thousands of multiple personality disorder cases, Fr. Geo Kappalumackal well established the utility of hypnotherapy as a tool in transforming consciousness (Fr. Geo Kappalumackal, Mental Sickness and Healing, 2010). Such a healing mechanism of mental phenomena and transformation technique need scientific explanation. Though there are various research centres related to Universities and Medical College Hospitals studying scientifically the power and ability of these tools like hypnotherapy, Cognitive Behaviour therapy, Neuro Linguistic Programme and the like bringing about behavioural changes, healing mental disorders and further developing such tools as transformation techniques, there is indeed a lack of coordinated vision and instrument. That is the rationale behind the proposal of an International Journal for Transformation of Consciousness, by the Global Institute for Transformation (Gift) as well as to initiate further research into the meaning of consciousness and how it affects the body, so that a suitable theory could be developed and tools could be furnished for transforming consciousness.
Problems with respected to the Research:
A great deal is already understood about neuroplasticity of the brain, its functions and spatial localizations of the functions, and the presence of several complex neural networks contributing to functional organization of the brain. Paul and Patricia Churchlands propose that traditional notions of mental functioning are to be replaced by new notions based on a neurocomputational perspective (Patricia Churchland, Neurophilosophy, 1986), like classical physics was replaced by the Aristotelian physics. When I was doing his doctoral research at the University of Leuven, Belgium, he had interactions with Paul Churchland and one of his papers was on Neurophilosophy. Paul and Patricia based their theory on the reductionist approach, eliminating altogether the concept of mind from the vocabulary and replacing it with brain states and neurochemical transmitters. What Dr. Mathew found was that it was restricted, one sided and denying the powerful concept of mind, which is an everyday experience of every one, whether ordinary or well educated. On the other hand, Dr. Mukundan (Mukundan 2007) has explained mind as an emerging functional state of the brain, which is not limited by the brain’s physical limits. According to the theoretical model developed by him, one can mentally create concepts and relationships, higher than what exist in reality, a mental attribute, which makes the human mind a sublime and physically unattainable functional state. He demonstrated that through hypnotic suggestions, recognition of physical stimuli can be blocked or enhanced, though suggestions do not affect the process of sensory registration (Mukundan et al. 1999, 2012). This was demonstrated by event related potential (ERP) experiments, which showed that ERPs are excellent neurocognitive processing measures that can be influenced by hypnotic suggestions. His experiments show that experiencing is an essential subjective reality testing method needed for establishing contact with reality, which can be influenced by several factors (Mukundan 2011a, 2011b, 2010, 2009, Mukundan, Ajayan 2011) employed by the experiencing person, though the same may not be verified by reductionist methods. This appears to be a testable reference frame for verifying the mental states, and for determining how these states influence the physical status of the brain and its neurogenic processing’
The purpose of the International Journal for the Transformation of Consciousness is to communicate with and develop a group of interested researchers globally thereby providing a theoretical framework for conducting further experiments using hypnotic suggestions and observing and its effects on brain processing in detail. The experiments proposed are primarily based on cognitive electrophysiological methods, which allow an adequate time window and flexibility of differentiation of mental/cognitive processes: and the theory that may evolve will help in understanding the inner dynamics of consciousness and will pave the way for a transformation of consciousness that may lead to a more peaceful and harmonious humanity. Through this journal a culture of interactive researchers could be developed so that the theoretical framework as well as practical application can be achieved via a global interaction!
The Journal will be published from Geothirbhavan Pala, Kerala, India which was run by the well known Fr. Geo Kappalumackal a psychologist and hypnotherapist who has donated it to the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, Kottayam St. Joseph’s Province through Dr. Mathew Chandrankunnel CMI, his nephew, with the sole intention of researching further into mental phenomena, and consciousness and developing transformational techniques. The centre is called the Global Institute for Transformation of Consciousness and its official publication will be the International Journal for Transformation of Consciousness. The Institute will incorporate likeminded researchers and benefactors interested in the transformation of consciousness. Therefore the Institute may have branches in other countries. Ulf Sandstroem, Gunilla Hamne, Fredrick Praesto initiated the European Branch in Stockholm, Sweden. The Patrons of this International Journal will be Dr. Bhaskar Vyas and Dr. Ernest Rossi who have contributed yeomen service in popularizing hypnotherapy in India and US and for developing transformation tools. I thank Dr. Vyas for conducting the first Fr. Geo Kappalumackal Memorial Lecture at Palai in March 10, 2010 and lifting this centre of healing and transformation to a national level. Through the introduction of Dr. Kathryn and Ernest Rossi to me, Dr. Vyas, has immensely helped the centre to achieve international height. It was Dr. Erik Mansagar, an Adler Psychologist who gave the second Fr. Geo Kappalumakal Memorial Lecture at Pala in 2012 and an internationally known author on how to improve your health by taking vitamins for the mind.(Body, Mind and Spirit: Vitamins for Your Whole Health) He is also serving as the adjunct faculty at Webster University, Geneva. Through his erudite lecture, Dr. Mansagar connected the centre with internationally known other centres of excellence caring for the mind and presented as gift, a good stock of excellent books, inaugurating the Library. Dr. C.R Mukundan, the Director of the Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Gujarat Forensic University, Gandhinagar is the leading researcher in framing the concept of this research. Dr. Klaus Itta, Basel Switzerland with whom I have discussed the idea of the Journal has whole heartedly supported its vision with his experience and expertise as a scholar and activist. Bestowing his erudition and benevolence behind this Journal, Dr. Mukundan has empowered us to venture into such an adventure. Jini. K. Gopinath, Fr. Thomas Mathilakath are the two other staunch supporters for this project. There are many others whom I wanted to personally thank for their creative contribution and empowering support in this creative endeavour. A host of well established researchers in the field of psychology, medicine, science, psychiatry, and religious leaders involved in consciousness research are blessing this endeavour with their expertise and good wishes. The objective of the Journal will be to link the researchers and activists so that new theoretical frames could be developed and communicated through the Journal and experimentalists could verify/falsify them and the knowledge on the interrelationship between body/mind or consciousness could be understood and transforming tools could be developed.
It is a great joy for all of us to launch this International Journal for Transformation of Consciousness during the inaugural session of the 9th National Conference and Free Workshop of Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, at Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi. This would be an erudite ambience to witness the birth of the Journal that intends to connect researchers, scientists, medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, administrators so that new theoretical frames could be developed and thereby transformational tools can be created, communicated and trainers could de effectively formed to influence and improve individuals and society. The first copies of the Journal was given to the erudite scholar Prof. Dr. Shridhar Sharma MD, FRC Psy (Lond) the inaugural speaker of the Conference at JNU by Dr. Bhaskar Vyas who in turn officially released the Journal by giving a copy to Prof. Dr. Mukundan who was chairing the session. After receiving a copy, Dr. Mukundan spoke on the relevance of the Journal and congratulated Dr. Mathew Chandrankunnel and the team that would link the theoreticians, experimenters and the activists involved in the transformation of consciousness. Along with Prof. Sharma, Prof. Dr. Sudhir Shah MD, an eminent Neurophysician, from Gujarat, India, Prof. Dr. Enrico Facco MD specialist in Neurology and Clinical Hypnologist from Padua, Italy also supported the Journal by accepting to become its advisory board members.
In this humble attempt of ours, many internationally reputed institutions and individuals whole heartedly cooperated and contributed. Some extended the support of their institutions for a collaborative effort with the Global Institute of transformation. Some sent their valuable contributions as articles. There are many others who extended their good will for this transformation process. So I thank all those who supported and encouraged us in this noble attempt of transformation.
Let me introduce the articles in the first issue of this International Journal. The first article is contributed by Dr. Ernest Rossi who worked continuously for the past four decades in the transformational process and interacted with Dr. Milton Erickson and edited his works. Through this article Dr. Rossi introduces the revolutionary concept of how to influence the matter through mind. According to Rossi, the division of cancer cells could be arrested and patients could be cured of cancer through hypnotic suggestion. This therapeutic proposal is put to rigorous scientific test by Dr. Bhaskar Vyas and the experimental data is described in the second article by Dr. Vyas and his team. Dr. C.R Mukundan who is associated with the illustrious National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, (NIMHANS) and at present Director of the Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar along with Dr. Priyanka Kochar on the concept of Consciousness in both philosophy and Neuroscience. Dr. Elio Conte, a well known quantum physicist working in the area of how quantum models influence mind has summarized his research in the article Cognition could be understood in terms of a quantum model of Consciousness. Dr. Klaus Itta a researcher in both psychology and psychiatry delves deep into the dynamics of consciousness and spirituality. Dr. Nitin Shukla, a medical doctor cum psychiatrist compares and contras and makes a critical study on different tools of transformation. Shitika Chowdhary and Jini K Gopinath compares and contrasts between the altered stages of consciousness in both hypnotism and yoga. Dr. Ashok Malhotra, a philosopher and a proponent of yoga, explains through the article the components of yoga and how it is a transformational tool. At last we also place, how transformation could be achieved in action. Astragali Teatro, a well known theatre company in Europe, Italy, directed by Fabio Tolledi through the dramatization of the tragedy of Sophocles describes the evil of war and how individual and society are catharsized by the tragedy of war and armed conflicts. They have performed in war torn countries like Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Cyprus and all over Europe and influenced individual and collective consciousness the evil of war and the negativities spilling over from it. This well known group of artists were connected with the Journal by the good efforts of Dr. Benedetta Zaccarello, philosopher and philologist, an Italian born searcher, member of Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (LIRE, UMR 5611, Lyon, France) and associate professor at Charles University Prague (Czech Republic).
I request all of your whole hearted support and blessings for this nascent Journal in its endeavour to maximize human potential, eliminate stress and frustration and thus create a better and more hospitable world for human and all forms of life and the universe.
Editor in Chief