Businessman Robert Monroe established The Monroe Institute (TMI) in Faber, Virginia to foster education and research in consciousness exploration. Monroe is best known for his books (e.g., Journeys Out of the Body) exploring out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and his patents in Hemi-Synch audio technology which can induce altered states of consciousness. At TMI, he worked with a group of “explorers”, including Rosaline McKnight, who mapped the nonphysical fields (e.g., Focus 10, 21) within reach of human consciousness.
TMI currently offers a number of 5-day programs where students can achieve different states of consciousness through the use of Hemi-Synch audio technology in light-proof, individual booths, called “CHEC units”. The beginner-level course or “basic program” at TMI is Gateway Voyage. In 2009, I travelled to TMI to attend and measure magnetic field (MF) activity in one of the intermediate-level courses or “graduate programs”, namely the Guidelines program.
Sitting in a circle on the first day of Guidelines, sharing our stories and background, I, along with other students in this class, had an uncanny sense that we “knew” each other. The group synergy was palpable, like a cloud connecting and surrounding us. At one of the evening social hours, I set up a magnetometer in the kitchen/den area where people were talking. The MF activity at this ‘party’ was impressive, consisting of large-amplitude undulating waves (see figure below). Although this experiment was not controlled – I did not begin recording until the middle of the event – nevertheless, it suggests that group consciousness may be measurable with a magnetometer. The MF activity subsided as people left the kitchen/den area and returned to their rooms for the night. Some low-amplitude waves are apparent early in the morning (388 minutes) when the kitchen crew was fixing breakfast.
There have been many studies using random event generators (REGs) to measure group consciousness, for example, the Global Consciousness Project. In future experiments, I hope to measure both MF activity and REG output to determine if these methods are measuring the same phenomenon.
One of my goals at Guidelines was to measure MF activity during a Personal Resources Exploration Program, or PREP session. In a PREP session, students listen to Hemi-Synch in a special copper-shielded room with a waterbed and soundproofing. Electrodes are placed on the student’s fingers to measure skin temperature, galvanic skin response (GSR) and skin potential voltage. These physiological markers vary with emotional level, physical relaxation and mental activity. A microphone in the room allows for two-way communication between the student and a trainer. During the PREP session, the trainer adjusts the Hemi-Synch frequencies, guiding the student through different “Focus” levels of consciousness.
I recorded MF activity in both a CHEC unit and during 7 PREP sessions. The MF oscillations in a CHEC unit (A in figure below) were lower in amplitude than those in the PREP sessions (B in figure below), and the waveforms recorded in the two areas differed in the shape of the individual peaks.
Recording MF activity during the PREP sessions was more difficult than I imagined, as there were several confounding factors limiting my analysis of the data, with the two more important as follows: 1) The trainers led the students through about 5 different Focus levels (i.e., different audio frequencies) in less than one hour, which led to very complex responses in the physiological markers. In future experiments, I will need to limit the sessions to one or two identical Focus levels, creating comparable experience and content between sessions. 2) The copper-shielded PREP room acts as an electromagnetic “cavity resonator”, with MF standing waves around 500Hz present in the room at all times. Below is a spectral analysis (FFT) of the MF frequencies in the PREP room during a session with a student. My recordings are limited to 500Hz, so there may be other important frequencies above this level.
The low frequencies below 40Hz represent the MF oscillations which I typically observe in my experiments. Note the 60Hz spike representing noise from the electrical grid. The high frequencies above 400Hz are unique to the PREP room – these are the standing waves in the room, which are not related to any PREP session. In the natural environment, I never see the 450-500Hz frequency peak. The presence of these MF standing waves may help induce the “intense personal experiences”, such as OBEs and visions of departed loved ones, reported by participants in PREP sessions.
My preliminary results from the PREP sessions suggest that MF oscillations may be associated with changes in galvanic skin response (GSR), particular decreases in GSR. GSR, also known as skin conductance, is a marker for emotional valence (the intensity of emotional feeling). The physiological basis of GSR is a change in autonomic tone, largely sympathetic, occurring in the skin and subcutaneous tissue. Changes in emotion elicit changes in peripheral autonomic tone and hence the galvanic skin response. In future experiments, I will measure the GSR of clients while they receive Healing Touch – to test for a possible association between MF activity and GSR.