A group of us were working on what was to become the Collective Wisdom Initiative, and we were staying by invitation at the Institute of Noetic Sciences’ new campus in Petaluma, California. They had not officially opened yet, and we were there during the same period that the Institute’s board of directors was also meeting — including its founder, Edgar Mitchell. This was in 2000, four years before Laszlo would publish his work on the Akashic field. In the evening, Mitchell wandered over to the dormitory where we were staying, curious about what we were up to. We in turn were interested in him and specifically how going to the moon influenced his decision to begin the Institute.
Without being overly dramatic, this experience had for me elements of mythic time, meaning that the chronological time we spent together had little relationship to the impact of our encounter. He told us how he had originally been slated to be part of the Apollo 13 mission, but events unfolded that changed those plans. Of course, the Apollo 13 lunar mission was aborted when an oxygen tank exploded during the flight and the crew had to return to Earth. In the wake of that near-disaster, Apollo 14 was a closely watched global event.
Mitchell was the Lunar Module pilot, and he and Commander Alan Shepard spent over 33 hours on the moon’s surface. On the return to Earth, Mitchell recounted how he had fewer responsibilities and fell into a meditative state, gazing out of the cockpit window at Earth and then the cosmos. It was under these conditions that he described having an epiphany — an ecstasy. He realized that the molecules of his own body and the molecules of his fellow crew and the molecules of the spacecraft and the molecules of space around him had all been born from a common origin, the workings of an ancient furnace. And as he told this story, tears welled up in his eyes. I had the distinct impression standing next to him that he was re-experiencing this extraordinary moment. Looking back, I imagine that his was an embodied experience of what Laszlo was postulating. In fact, Mitchell told us that after returning to Earth, he searched for a word that came closest to his experience and finally found it in the Sanskrit term samadhi.
Samadhi has come to mean a meditative absorption, a state of being wholly in the present moment, but its etymological roots lie in referencing a merging into oneness and the ability to acquire integration, wholeness, and truth. Samadhi might be understood as the meditative consciousness of the Akashic field. From this state of awareness, we tap into an infinite potential of possibilities.
And to put an exclamation point on my memory, Mitchell then referenced European researchers who were working on a holographic explanation of the universe (Laszlo is Hungarian). Tapping on the wooden wall behind him, Mitchell put forward a hypothesis that there remained a memory of the forest where the wood was harvested. I can’t say I understood any of this, but I was not alone in our group feeling that we had received a transmission regarding a wholly different way of observing and knowing. And I will never forget the emotional memory of my experience — that on the far side of this distant shore of understanding lay an ecstasy and a deep sense of connectedness to others and all things.
Mitchell told us that the inspiration for starting the Institute of Noetic Sciences was a direct result of his epiphany. When we see the world differently, it allows us to act in the world differently. Each person’s perception of wholeness is unique, but the inspiration that arises shares a common source and follows a predictable direction. Mitchell would later write about how it is possible, under certain circumstances, to develop an “instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it.”
Edgar Mitchell’s words and example live on through many individuals and networks now operating around the world who are seeking to join a state of global consciousness with service to the world.
To Be Continued …
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