Infinite Awareness: The Awakening of a Scientific Mind

At the beginning of her professional career, neuroscientist, Marjorie Woollacott had no doubt that the brain was solely a physical entity and was controlled by chemical reactions and electrical impulses. The first time she meditated, however, she had a glimpse of another possibility—an undeniable experience of unlikely and uncharted energy. Through the next thirty years as a professor of neuroscience (on the one hand) and teacher of meditation (on the other), Woollacott led a compartmentalized life as she struggled with these opposing views on the nature of human consciousness. Then a few years ago this neuroscientist/meditator was inspired to investigate scientific research on consciousness to see if she could uncover an approach that encompassed what she knew from both of these arenas in her own life. In this talk, Woollacott presents evidence from both meditators and scientists regarding the—astonishing!—possibilities of human consciousness. She discusses scientific studies suggesting that consciousness does not require a functioning brain—some that validate the presence of clear awareness during near-death experiences (when there is no brain activity) and others that show terminal lucidity in dementia patients in their final hours of life. She also presents scientific research on the efficacy of energy healing, such as Reiki, noting similarities between the energy of healing and that of meditation. Through her integration of data from objective science and subjective spirituality, Woollacott breaks open the issue of human consciousness and investigates the existence of the non-physical and infinitely powerful human mind.