What is the IAC?
The International Academy of Consciousness conducts research and research-based education programs on the development of consciousness (i.e., soul, spirit, ego, intelligent principle, atman, or individuated personal essence).
How do you study the soul, and why would someone want to? It seems a bit esoteric and impractical.
The word consciousness is preferred over soul because of the connotations that soul has. The consciousness is not esoteric or impractical at all, as the only consciousness we have direct access to is our own, and we are living with and experience ourselves (or our consciousness or our soul) all the time, no matter what. So, studying and understanding yourself (i.e., who you really are, what fulfills you at your deepest level, the activities and goals that give you a sense of meaning) is important. With that said, you can’t really know what your potential is (where you can go) unless you understand what your essence is (what you really are). If you think you’re just a physical body who grows up, gets a job, raises a family, gets old, plants a tree, and dies – your concept of your potential would be different than if you felt deep inside that you were a consciousness that was on a multi-lifetime evolutionary journey.
What is the consciousness?
This is similar to asking “what is electricity?” The consciousness is much more complex than electricity, and even more complex than the human brain, and we don’t know, definitively, what it really is. With that said, the consciousness or personal essence itself seems to be a formless, genderless, individuated intelligent principle that exists beyond space and time, in multiple dimensions (physical and nonphysical), and accumulates experience through various lifetimes in physical bodies. The consciousness grows along three primary vectors – cognition or intelligence, affection or sentiment, and volition or will. It also seems to have four primary vehicles of manifestation, or levels of energetic expression (in Hindu philosophy: koshas, or sheaths of the mind). They consist of a physical vehicle, an energetic vehicle, an emotional vehicle, and a mental vehicle (of which the latter 3 are nonphysical and are responsible for all types of psychic and transcendental experiences). These vehicles correspond to different levels of reality (i.e., dimensions, planes) that are just as real as the physical (and can be experienced as such).
How do I experience myself as a consciousness?
The IAC holds courses and workshops that offer experiential tools and techniques for knowing oneself on a deeper level. For example, many people who have had out-of-body experiences find that they are some of the most life-changing experiences that exist, having more evolutionary impact than many other types of spiritual experiences.
Out-of-body experiences sound dangerous and otherworldly.
Out-of-body experiences are not other-worldly or dangerous. They are merely a way of having a temporary experience of immortality during the time you would normally be sleeping or dreaming. For many people this experience is beneficial and has a lasting impact on their self-concept, and the literature on near-death experiences is full of these types of transformative accounts (although an OBE can happen anytime, and in a safe way, not only through traumatic or close-to-death experiences). OBEs are especially safe because people have them every night during sleep, but are just unconscious of them due to conditioned habit and lack of lucidity.
Does the IAC only study OBEs?
No. The IAC’s body of knowledge is accumulated through a new science called conscientiology, which simply means “consciousness-ology,” or the science that studies the consciousness. The focus in conscientiology is on the multidimensional (spiritual) aspects of awareness and personal growth, and this is why it teaches people how to have out-of-body and other psychic experiences – for their transformative value and ability to help others’ self-understanding.
Does this mean you teach people how to use crystal balls and see the future?
Sometimes people are off-put by the word psychic because it tends to have connotations of a person gazing into a crystal ball and reading your future. However, psychic capacities are completely natural and everyone has them to some degree. In the same way that the brain has a particular way of processing information, the consciousness per se has a more “psychic” way of receiving and processing information. For example, if you sense “vibes” about people before you get to know them (and you’re often right), this type of sensation can be a type of psychic perception. The IAC aims to help people to develop their psychic capacities in a very technical manner so they can be more sensitive to the world around them and develop a higher level of discernment as a result of this. Psychic capacities also help greatly in one’s ability to empathize and sense the needs of others.
How do psychic abilities work and why are they important?
When people are “psychic” or have a talent for receiving information in a way that transcends normal physical means, they are just picking up on a frequency of energy that other people don’t usually access. This energy has often been referred to as chi, prana, or subtle energy, or sometimes psi. The IAC prefers the term bioenergy (literally life-energy). There are many varieties and levels of psychic phenomena from getting “vibes” to seeing auras, to having deep-felt intuitions about life, to having out-of-body experiences or even cosmic consciousness or enlightenment types of experiences. A good analogy for explaining this would be that of the nervous system – everyone has a “psychic” nervous system in addition to a physical one that can pick up on certain types of information and energy. The psychic “nervous system” can be sensitized through bioenergetic techniques that employ mental concentration and the control of one’s focus. Once a person becomes more sensitive, the “sixth sense” becomes like a muscle that becomes a normal part of one’s experience.
Does conscientiology have a guru or master?
There is no guru or central authority figure in conscientiology. The IAC maintains that personal responsibility is non-transferable and unique to every person, and that evolution is the result of good will, discernment, persistence, and personal effort, and not the surrendering of one’s will or energies to a guru or master.
Does conscientiology come from any other wisdom tradition?
Conscientiology finds its basis in human experience, and does not come from any other spiritual tradition that has existed in the past. The conscientiological approach is one of rationality and empiricism (cross-validation of different experiences). Another aspect of the conscientiological approach is to “keep the best and improve the rest” of what is already out there in all lines of human knowledge relating to consciousness. So, in the study of consciousness, it may be of tremendous evolutionary benefit to use a particular bioenergetic technique from yoga, although other aspects of said yogic tradition may be outdated and no longer of use (guru-based structure). Conscientiology is a type of philosophy and method that is completely adaptable to any finding that already exists in science or other area of human knowledge. One thing that distinguishes conscientientiology from other traditions per se is the focus on research. For example, some studies in parapsychology might indicate that prayer, reiki, or other types of energy healing are effective on the recipients of the senders’ intentions and energies. However, since many traditions focus on a specific set of transformative techniques and do not expand beyond that, they would not ask a question like “which techniques are the most effective?” Conscientiology opens the playing field and encourages these types of questions.
How can you have a science of consciousness?
In the same way that science operates with uniformity of nature, conscientiology assumes that there is uniformity in human experience and how it is structured. For example, language is possible because humans are able to share meanings, which are completely internal and subjective. Science operates on shared meanings as well. Conscientiology anatomizes the study of consciousness to the point where there is a very specialized vocabulary for all sorts of subtle internal phenomena and experiences, and people who study conscientiology can (and do) use this technical language to describe and compare and study their experiences.
How is the IAC different from other organizations that study consciousness or OBEs or personal development?
Even as an organization that studies and teaches techniques to develop psychic capacities, the IAC advocates a sense of healthy skepticism. There is a sign on the wall of every conscientiological organization that says the following: Be lucid. Question everything and everyone. Experiment. Ponder. The IAC is not affiliated with any religious, political, or government organizations, and does not engage in or encourage activities such as psychic espionage, mind control, or other invasive uses of energy or psychic ability.
If people have to have their own experiences, this means that you couldn’t really prove to them that psychic experiences exist. Don’t you want to prove this to people?
No. The IAC has no interest in changing people’s opinions. Some groups try to do this through persuasion and manipulation, and the IAC considers this to be a form of brainwashing. The IAC does not wish to install new beliefs in people, because if the beliefs have no basis in personal experience, they are equally empty and of no more value than the old beliefs. Also, since psychic phenomena often cause strong, polarizing reactions, there is less of an incentive to try to convince people, even with the wealth of data from parapsychology and other fields of research. The IAC does conduct research on people’s experiences (through surveys, personal reports, and other methods), and encourages the use of all faculties of the mind (reasoning, intuition, other psychic abilities), to create an increasingly better, more complete, more accurate view of consciousness and the universe. However, the goal is not to persuade people, but only to inform and teach techniques that will help them to experiences multidimensionality reality for themselves.