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Exploring the Mind from Within
Susan Blackmore Ph.D.
The remote Welsh farmhouse where I learned to meditate 40 years ago, will have no more retreats. Saying goodbye was hard, but then much of what we learned was about letting go.
DMT has the strangest, most variable, psychedelic effects. We should combine personal experiences with neuroscience to understand how it upends our illusions of self and the world.
Are psychedelic experiences a fount of marvellous insights or nothing but the ramblings of a poisoned brain? I think they could be both.
Can psychedelics induce a classical out-of-body experience, or OBE? A new film and online debate from the psychedelic society suggest they can, but what does the evidence tell us?
Coming close to death can make people more loving and compassionate. Could Boris Johnson have been transformed?
After nearly dying from Covid-19, Boris Johnson is said to be a changed man. We know that close brushes with death can cause deep life changes, so could it be true?
The pandemic is changing our lives so fast that we can no longer rely on familiar assumptions. Writing down my predictions is fascinating — and teaching me a lot.
Do illusionist theories of consciousness find the same illusions as those discovered in Zen meditation? A new theory suggests they might.
Near-death experience researcher Ken Ring describes how an LSD trip changed his life and inspired his pioneering research.
Actor Stephen Graham describes doing a monologue on stage, with his parents watching, only to find himself looking down and watching himself performing.
Common sense psychology is false’ claims a new theory of consciousness. We have no hidden depths of thought, desire, or fantasy; the surface mind is all there is.
I return to my own out-of-body experience to show how every feature now makes sense. The whole experience was perfectly natural.
Classic accounts of astral projection all show signs of bodily distortions. So even these are best explained by neuroscience and not by something leaving the body.
A new review of a consciousness textbook is full of praise but still falls for many common assumptions about consciousness the authors try so hard to undermine.
Have you ever been sure there’s an invisible someone, or a scary entity, in the room with you. Was it a ghost, poltergeist, evil spirit or what?
You probably feel entirely sure you are inside your own body and move with it. But in the disturbing experience of heautoscopy people are unsure where they are.
Disturbing our body schema produces not only out-of-body experiences but other weird states including Doppelgängers, changes in size, and duplicated bodies.
As if parapsychology doesn’t have enough troubles, one of its famous proponents encouraged massaging data until one gets the ‘right’ answer.
At last out of body experiences make sense. The spot in the brain that induces them is responsible for maintaining our body schema.
Some of us have especially active brains and this affects which unusual experiences we are likely to have.
We now know which brain area induces OBEs and mystical experiences, but what does this tell us?
In 2002, a Swiss neurosurgeon accidentally discovered how to induce OBEs by stimulating a special spot in the brain. Does this solve the mystery?
Some psychics claim Kirlian photography proves the existence of the human aura. It does not. But seeing auras is linked to other human capacities, especially to having OBEs.
Psychics often claim to see a ghostly, coloured aura surrounding other people. After my OBE I saw and felt one too. What could this aura be?
I once thought the theory of astral projection was the obvious explanation for OBEs, but how can astral bodies see without eyes?
How could I explain my OBE, with its thrilling travels and wonderful visions? Astral projection seemed the obvious place to start, but can this theory really explain it?
In my previous post I described an unexpected OBE I had as a student. After two hours I tried to get back to reality but then some even stranger travels began.
As a young psychology student, I had a long and dramatic out-of-body experience that made me question my entire understanding of the world. How could I explain what happened?
Lucid dreaming seems far closer to waking than to deep sleep but what does this mean? Could we ever map states of consciousness and understand the relationships between them?
Do you know what music your baby likes best? Can you even find out? We invented a way to let our babies choose music for themselves and it even helped them sleep better.
Susan Blackmore, Ph.D., is a British psychologist, writer and broadcaster, and author of The Meme Machine and Conversations on Consciousness.