Exploring Consciousness and Healing: Q&A with Marilyn Schlitz
We are always honored to welcome Marilyn Schlitz as a guest presenter to the ashram. Marilyn is President Emeritus and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individual and collective transformation through consciousness research, transformative learning, and engaging a global community in the realization of our human potential.
When Marilyn visited in January 2019, we sat down to ask her a few questions about her work, what inspires her, and her experience of the ashram.
How would you describe what you do?
I explore consciousness and healing through research and education. I’m particularly interested in how world views change. I think that we all live in a world view, each person has their own, informed by culture, religion, family. Often they are unconscious and they influence everything we do. If we can become more flexible about alternate world views, then we can invite healing into the world.
What motivates you to do this work?
This is my karma yoga. It is something I feel is fundamental to helping heal people at the individual level and society at a broader level.
What currently fascinates you in your work?
I’m really into the connection between mind and body, and minds and bodies, how relationships are fundamental to all of it. Right now, I’m interested in reverse aging and society’s expectations. If we can prime people for a different impact, will they shift their world view? I’m also interested in communication with Artificial Intelligence and looking at these new types of relationships, with avatars, holograms and androids. And I’m looking at transpersonal experiences to help resolve grief, in a sensory deprivation scenario. People who haven’t had a chance to process grief can project into the space, complete a conversation.
How did you come to your path? Any aha moments or key influencers?
I grew up in Detroit, and the world was so dysfunctional, as a kid I felt I had no power to affect change. I wanted to make change and in college I discovered two books: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, who talked about how we live in paradigms and that we can shift out of them, and a book of essays, Psychic Explorations, looking at expanded potential of human experience. Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, to be on the cutting edge of a paradigm shift about hidden capacities. That’s how I got started.
What reading, music, or ideas have influenced you this past year?
I read constantly, mostly fiction. And I have been watching two shows on TV, Man in the High Tower and Homeland. Both are about the multiplicities in all of us.We are composites of good and bad; we are potential.
What surprises you when you come to the ashram?
The openness here, the curiosity about alternative perspectives. Instead of being caught in one world view, the community has curiosity, grounded in a particular path but open to many alternatives.