By Sarah Laskin, TMI Discovery program participant
I’ve often wondered what was happening in my brain during meditation, even before coming to TMI. When I saw colors, felt energy sensations, or visualized images, it felt real to me—something must be happening. But would someone watching my brain really see anything changing? Or was my ego so creative that it could fool me into believing nothing was something? And so, when I heard that the Discovery program, a week of research exercises—mapping subjects’ brains using the Mind Mirror EEG system—was being put together for December 2017, I jumped at the chance to participate. The experience was even more interesting than I had anticipated.
I've been to several weeklong TMI programs, but RV and OBE are not (yet) among them, so I was nervous.
The focus of research for the week I attended was on using remote viewing (RV) and out-of-body experience (OBE) exercises with the Spatial Angle Modulation™ (SAM) audio technology. I've been to several weeklong TMI programs, but RV and OBE are not (yet) among them, so I was nervous. Would everyone else be RV and OBE pros? Would my inexperience negatively impact the research? I was also relatively new to SAM. How would I find a full week of SAM?
It turned out that many other participants were new to these techniques and to SAM as well. Learning that certainly took the edge off for me. And we all shared the necessary element—excitement about participating in a real research study with the goal of increasing our understanding of the mind and consciousness.
From the first session, setting our individual brainwave baselines, the program was exciting. And it immediately answered the question we all had—yes something measurable was indeed happening in our brains during meditation.
Every morning we headed over to the conference room at David Francis Hall and took turns having sets of wires attached to our heads. Once we were all wired up, we sat and listened to two SAM exercises together. Our goal during each session was to use RV and OBE techniques to identify a series of targets. The research team recorded our brainwave data and noted moments of specific configurations that they saw in our brainwave patterns. We supplemented these objective data with our own subjective evaluation of the SAM meditation experience.
From the first session, setting our individual brainwave baselines, the program was exciting. And it immediately answered the question we all had—yes something measurable was indeed happening in our brains during meditation. It was right there for us to see on the computer screen—awakened mind, evolved mind, gamma synchrony, and other interesting patterns.
Each researcher monitored four of us subjects at the same time throughout the exercises. I was impressed to see how they tracked key moments in each of our brainwave patterns and helped us identify ways to go deeper in our meditations. And they (very smartly) decided to hold our RV/OBE target success results to the end of the week. We never knew how we were doing so it no longer mattered—each start was fresh and unencumbered by words like "success" or "failure."
We shared our subjective experiences and stories with each other throughout the week and came together as a group around the research goals. The big reveal of our RV/OBE results on the last night was the cherry on top, but I'd say the ice cream sundae was tasty all week long.
During the week I had some meditations unlike any I'd had before—one in which I was accessing and re-experiencing a memory from a recent trip like it was an Oculus-360 super hi-def video, and others where I experienced new portals to mind/higher self. Plus, I had some good success individually with several of the RV and OBE targets (really nailed one of them, to my surprise).
… to be able to [learn about myself] while contributing to our collective understanding of mind and consciousness, and to the research program at TMI, is a gift that keeps on giving.
But the most inspiring outcome was the total group result. At the end of the week, Ross Dunseath, TMI’s Research Coordinator, was able to share with us that he already knew that the collective result of the whole group on the RV/OBE targets was statistically significant and that we could expect a scientific paper from them.
Judith Pennington and the Mind Mirror team prepared individual reports for each of us on our brainwave pattern results. My report arrived yesterday. I'm excited to dive in. And I'm ready to attend another Discovery program.
There is always more to learn about myself, and to be able to do so while contributing to our collective understanding of mind and consciousness, and to the research program at TMI, is a gift that keeps on giving.