Dr. Miller, Chairperson of the APRT’s Research Committee, is in the forefront of the field of Consciousness Studies and is developing new models of consciousness. Here he suggests a constantly changing, homeodynamic integration of energy, information, and memory (including past-life memories) that has survival value and that may work well or badly.
Definitions and Basic Dynamics
Reformulating our ideas about how information and energy contribute to the complex, dynamic activity of consciousness can help us to understand their relationship to current memory, past-life therapy and mind-body medicine. What follows may help to clarify how and why this three-legged stool — information, energy, and consciousness — fit so well together to explain the somewhat mysterious functioning of memories in one’s current and past lives, their recall in regression therapy, and their effectiveness in mind-body medicine.
Consciousness is a central part of this synthesis of concepts, and I want to distinguish it from mind because it is the faculty closer to the daily life of the person. While it may be receptive to information absorbed from the spiritual dimension (from the mind), consciousness is more involved with a person’s functioning in relation to reality, which ultimately impinges on survival. Consciousness is constructed out of the events in one’s life that also structure the self-concept. The self-concept becomes created and organized developmentally from current life events in response to positive and negative behavioral effects (and affects). The self-concept is therefore closely allied to the contents of consciousness while maintaining a strong feedback relationship to emotions and to the reality-survival axis.
What I mean by “the reality-survival axis” is the entire strand of events that have affected the course of a species’ evolution, but especially the evolution of an individual during his or her lifetime. Individual consciousness is composed of information gathered from present life and past evolutionary events together with their emotional underpinnings. Values (emotional and otherwise) accompanying information that travels through consciousness can be attributed, in good part, to the strong influence of feedback from the interactions between current life events and the reality-survival axis.
All of this, in turn, structures the contents of the Self-concept which, through its unconscious and conscious parts, moves its contents outward to the milieu to interact with reality. The events of past lives related in regression therapy are consequently also usually predominantly connected via the self-concept and its emotional substrate to existence on the reality-survival level in connection with events carrying information that occurred in the time period of the past life.
Mind and consciousness are words conventionally used interchangeably. In the usage preferred here, mind connotes a supervening higher level of organization that also acts through consciousness which is a conduit for information between the non-linear spiritual and the linear mundane levels. The information is sourced, or channeled, from the mind through consciousness (and/or the unconscious) where it can be sorted out in the information axis and a selective decision made to store it, reflect upon it, or put it to immediate use in mundane affairs. In the latter case, information from mind would be applied to affairs that deal with current reality. (Dynamics aside, practically speaking and in actual usage here, “mind” may alternate between conventional and specific higher faculties, and would best be regarded as context sensitive).
Events occur during past-life regression that are usually predominantly connected to existence on the reality-survival axis in connection with mundane events carrying information and feelings that occurred in the time period of the past-life, not on the higher level. Alternatively, this does not rule out feedback from events that include information from the higher level of mind during regression.
The experience of the reality-survival axis in a past life occurs around events surrounding the identity, the experiences within the milieu and the sense of Self of the person living in that time period. The higher level usually doesn’t enter directly unless the person’s past-life identity importantly includes such information. The major exception I would make to this observation comes from the fact that during the occurrence of death in almost all past lives the higher level of mind usually spontaneously manifests itself, with very much the same attributes as the NDE (near-death experience).
Reality, Consciousness and de Chardin
Teilhard de Chardin’s point of view is that the mentalistic structure of consciousness developed during organism/environment interactions throughout evolution, conjointly with the organism’s physical biological components (de Chardin, 1955). Therefore, we might add that the organism psychophysiologically stored these events as information within consciousness. Survival and the changing stresses of reality have been the source of the evolution of species. Consciousness, therefore, in this conceptualization, is considered legitimately in some way to reflect the incorporation of a mental counterpart within the reality-survival axis of those historical events that determined the evolution of a species. The reality-survival axis therefore includes both psychological and physical evolutionary influences upon the species up to the most recent individuals.
De Chardin believed that the ultimate adaptive tissue is the brain, and with its development has come the most recent stage of evolution. Responding to an accretion of shifts over the eons, the brain exploded into the consciousness of the “humanoid.” Out of awareness and consciousness have come intelligence, the active use of consciousness for problem solving manifested in the ability to be creative, to solve problems of daily as well as philosophical import, to sort out objective and subjective events for meaning, to plan for the future, and to learn from the past.
For de Chardin the evolution of consciousness has a spiritual aspect. He is not alone, especially among the greatest of scientists. Sir Fred Hoyle, the Nobel physicist, is quoted by Lyall Watson as saying: “a common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature” (Watson, 1988). The brain and consciousness are not random, accidental byproducts of evolution but must be built into what life is about. This could be the work of God or some metaphysical principle guiding the universe and its continuing evolution.
A point of view attributing responsibility to God was expressed by an unknown Oxford University wit in the following poem (Wheeler, 1972). (I’ve entitled it):
Poem by God to an Oxford Wit
There was a young man who said, “God
Must think it exceedingly odd
If he finds that this tree
Continues to be
When there’s no one about in the Quad.”
Your astonishment’s odd:
I am always about in the Quad.
And that’s why the tree
Will continue to be,
Since observed by,
Information and Energy
What is information, what is energy, what is consciousness, what are past lives, and what connects them? These are the questions I will focus on now.
After first having thought that the information in consciousness simply came from the events in one’s life, I realized that it was more complicated than that, and began asking the innumerable questions that punctuate this article. All kinds of stimulation turn into conscious information, from the most trivial to the most profound. Data like statistics also become information, but numbers again are only one of many varieties and many sources of data turned into information that affects consciousness. To complicate matters further, we also need to ask how numbers and words on a page, and the perceptions and feelings accompanying events, generally raw data, can become transformed into that special status in which the raw material of data becomes able to contribute as information within consciousness. That is a far more difficult, complex topic in its psychophysical details than a brief article can do justice to, so I will use large generalizations to join many different ideas arising from neuropsychological and related research.
Data entering consciousness has to be transmitted, then translated, like the letters that constitute these words you’re now reading, by some internal transformational means into a context that becomes meaningful and is capable of communicating a measure of value to you and other readers. The information’s meaning is aided and abetted by feedback from memory relevant to the new data. Letters become joined into words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and start to arouse thoughts, feelings, inner and outer somatic responses as functions of consciousness.
This complex process is the conjoint effort of the body-mind relationship. If there is a block or a defect in the flow of the process on either the physical or the psychological level it will take another turn, either be diverted into illness, or show up as a failure in the activity of consciousness itself.
The work of transporting and transforming data is carried out by interacting psychological and physiological energetic processes. Neuroscientific research has identified parts of the brain and their biochemistry that receive data and that have effects on data transport, but how the transformation of electrical and biochemical nerve impulses into the form used by consciousness occurs still cannot be labeled and identified. In brief, consciousness is a collaborative production of body-mind activity that carries and communicates information with the help of physical transport energy, but itself remains without an obvious empirical cause-effect relationship. (The Eastern mystics consider consciousness a primary cause of the material world, not an epiphenomenon of it as reductionists would have it).
Consciousness, in this unifunctional point of view, is not an epiphenomenon of the brain, but is its own self-sufficient and self-organizing partner in the individual’s effort to optimize survival. Unifunctional is a term that simply states the idea that body and mind are joined in the goal of maintaining and enhancing survival.
If we ask what energy is, or what it does, whether in this life or past lives, the answer is usually vague. It is sufficient for some to answer that energy is a spirit, or a spiritual energy field surrounding the somatic body, or some transpersonal agency like God within consciousness that doesn’t need to be explained further. However, if one eschews the “have faith” argument, but doesn’t wish to deny the world of spirit, it becomes necessary, or at least interesting, to know how such mysterious energy connects with the articulated, but non-material face of consciousness in the human being.
It seems to me that our conscious selves are certainly a part of our physical bodies through which we receive and communicate our experiences to one another. The opinion that there are walled off domains called mind and body has created the schism that has existed between science and consciousness for the last 300 years. Only recently has some organized attempt been made to change that situation, an effort that has resulted in the field of Consciousness Studies. It has resulted in many multi-disciplinary conferences and old and new journals becoming open to experimental as well as theoretical presentations about consciousness. It is still a field in which one can ask perturbing questions and safely speculate upon perturbing answers.
Returning to our theme, the psychophysiological activity around information that results in consciousness is in part the effect of work that is done by energy, human biological energy. Schwartz and Russek (1997) state: “In all systems, information and energy typically go hand in hand — energy contains information, and information is expressed through energy. Information without energy is “powerless,” energy without information is “purposeless.” This is why the concepts of information and energy need to be combined” (original authors’ italics).
That is not a statement I can disagree with in the fundamentals, but I can differ with the kind of relationship the authors envision. I see information as more of a passenger within the carrier vehicle which is energy. Information can be passive while it is unused in storage, at which point it may have little or no energy, and seems powerless, but like electricity it has a potential that becomes effective when it is powered by energy and put to use. To be able to use information, one needs to know how to turn on the switch that powers it up, sending the energy flowing, and we will see that the switching equipment has to be in good working condition.
To focus now on regression and recalling memories from past lives, if we assume that past lives reflect a variety of stored information with a potential for effectiveness in use when it is powered by bioenergy (in which one outcome is emotion with its attendant, specialized psychophysiological processes), then the following additional questions immediately present themselves.
The Past Life Questions
- How is a past-life memory stored?
- Where is it stored?
- What is the (energy) process by which a past-life memory might be transmitted within the human organism and translated into an experience that affects the consciousness of a person living in contemporary time?
- What purpose is served by storing it?
- What purpose is served by recalling it?
It seems to me that the central core of these past-life questions is number 3. The means of transmission and translation of past-life information can only be done in the context of an energetic process. It is noteworthy that this statement does not minimize either the importance or the difficulty of the closely related storage and purpose questions, but they would not exist without the central one — at least not on the level of human consciousness.
One popular answer to the storage question of “where” (question 2) currently is the metaphysical allusion to “the Akashic records,” which is not researchable in any way except through the potentials of consciousness. Again, we have to accept it on faith. One effort to provide a more scientifically oriented explanation is that past lives are stored somewhere in the DNA of the human genome. However physical the influence of DNA might be, no biophysical research has found, or has even attempted to find, whether such a thing as “the past-life gene” exists, so it too currently is an “on faith” type of reply. A third answer not uncommonly found is “in consciousness,” or “in the mind,” in which “consciousness” and “mind” are meant as phenomenological, generic terms that do not have to be defined precisely. It is simply accepted that they serve to guide human functioning by providing the person with knowledge and information.
The entire “where is it stored” question then develops into a matter of one’s belief system. If a person is satisfied, it remains at that level, and doesn’t require scientific kinds of evidence to support it. Indeed, I don’t have any better answer to the storage question than the three possibilities above, but my preference is for the DNA solution. The argument I have in favor of DNA is logical. It says:
a) Differences in personality traits exist on the level of the genes, according to current medical research, (even traits leading to mental illness such as schizophrenia, depression, and alcoholism, though this has also been seriously questioned). Personality traits may be lodged as information that appears in the unfolding of the physical and personal characteristics of genetic DNA that instigates the direction that developmental processes take; and since
b) storing, carrying and transmitting information is a fundamental and evolutionary characteristic of genes that maintain and carry forward the history of all organic life including the human race, then it may also be true that
c) such information as the personality traits of previous lives may also be included among the personality traits available in the genetic information that unfolds through DNA in the course of a person’s lifetime.
Of course, such logic glosses over the controversial issue of how inheritance of non-physiological alterations come to exist within the genes (question 1), to which the vague reply could be made that psychological alterations become physiological changes through neural, hormonal, and biochemical processes that affect the genes. That still doesn’t demonstrate how they are passed on to the genes, but I am continually intrigued by scientific people who have no intention of making statements that support past lives, who nevertheless affirm generalizations that directly support hypotheses such as those offered above. For example, consider this statement by Paolo Bellavite, professor of general pathology at the Verona University School of Medicine in Verona, Italy (1997): “Information is stored in the DNA regarding the entire evolutionary history of the species to which the individual belongs … Information is contained in every organized structure and in every spatiotemporal event that is not casual” (my italics).
Bellavite may not have intended to imply that such non-casual, spatiotemporal events may contain psychological as well as physiological information that can be stored in either a current or a past-life form in the amazingly organized structure of consciousness as well as in DNA, but it is logical to infer that next step.
Receiving and Storing Information
We are not dealing with scientifically verified facts here. Each mode of analysis was not intended to include the other, but we are looking for a means for their integration.
The answer to the first question above, how is a past life stored, could be inferred by a transposition from current neuropsychological research that describes how the brain, its neuronal functions, and its energy transmission processes operate. Since every physiological past life was at one time a time-associated, or spatiotemporal current psychological life, those individuals underwent the same psychophysiological processes as those that affect people today.
What do we know about how information is stored? Briefly, standard research into the storage of information into memory in a current life depends on two connected aspects. The first is a short-term registration of stimuli received through sensory-motor (visual, auditory, olfactory, etc.) processes; the second aspect depends on selectivity and transmission to long-term storage faculties, to that part of the brain and its neuronal connections that is appropriate for each specific type of information. To explain past lives, however, we would have to presume a third leg of the storage continuum that delegates information to the genes and DNA within an indefinite-term place for storage. This entails different physical events than long-term storage, but it is not necessary to go into their differences here.
A not altogether surprising discovery of neuroscience is that most receptivity of sensory motor events that may ultimately be remembered occurs within the unconscious, and specific neural pathways have been experimentally demonstrated by Joseph LeDoux (1996) in support of short and long-term storage within the unconscious that can bypass conscious levels of reception. This research can be interpreted to support the psychotherapeutic observations about defenses that can prevent information from reaching consciousness, or that can make consciousness unnecessary in some instances to receive and store information.
However close to the bone such research may be, despite many good efforts, there are no neuroscientific or consciousness findings that unify the parts into a unitary theory that completely explains consciousness, despite some dead-end rationalizations (Dennett 1995). Even further removed from reality are personality gene studies confirming genetic storage or transmission of past lives that can give empirical substance to my hypothesis of an indefinite-term genetic storage process. I am satisfied to hold these and other ideas as a belief, not as a matter supported by factual evidence, until such time as supporting evidence will be forthcoming.
The third of the past-life questions, regarding the process by which information is transmitted within the human organism, is the one that will occupy most of the remainder of this article. The transmission process also needs to be analyzed into two components: The bioenergetic process by means of which information is conveyed within the organism and the sources and kind of contents conveyed.
Consciousness: Transmission and Transformation of Data
Since the contents of consciousness depend heavily on past historical as well as on current life events for its sources and types of information, the functioning of consciousness depends equally heavily on an even unblocked flow of energy to carry it to its operational destination.
Consciousness, in one of its functions, can be viewed as a system that is subject to, as well as a partner in, processes regulating the flow of energy. Consciousness needs to be open to both internal and external stimuli in order to work effectively with feedback going to and from both body and mind in order to help regulate the bodymind’s energy flow. When the bioenergy process serving consciousness cannot operate properly, the potential of feedback of valuable information is lost to the unfortunate recipient. This is what happens in Alzheimer’s Disease, which I use to illustrate my points below.
Energy, the carrier vehicle, is like an automobile; information is its passenger. Alzheimer’s has been viewed as a problem of loss of content due to physiological dysfunctions such as amyloid plaque and genetic predisposition. That may well be, but an additional observation may be made using it as an example of a disease with a breakdown in the transmission of information. In Alzheimer’s it may be that the carrier vehicle breaks down, consequently the information is lost to consciousness.
If information can be lost to consciousness, then it needs to be asked, what kind of energy process operates the vehicle empowering it to do its work effectively? Is the entire vehicle disabled or just some crucial parts of it? Furthermore, is all consciousness afflicted by the vehicular breakdown or only some related aspects of it? And how badly damaged is the passenger, the information?
Such questions as these reflect the need for collaborative medical and psychological research since they pertain to both sides of the disease. Medical science already has some answers to the physiology of these questions, though in the case of Alzheimer’s, they are incomplete. Neuroscientific and psychological research overlap to some extent, but energy transportation has been most intensively examined in medical and neuroscientific research. But information carried in the vehicle as content in its own right has been predominantly a concern of the medically-neglected psychological domain.
From the example of Alzheimer’s it is apparent that one thing consciousness needs in order to function properly is to have a realistic orientation, which is organized by attention. Because orientation receives information from (unconscious) memory as well as from current sensory input and is dependent on healthy physiological brain activity such as attention, it is a truly psychophysiological faculty that involves cognition.
On the content level, to be oriented one needs to be able to recall events and/or object-oriented data from past memory and compare it by attending to current sensory stimulation — an action, a face, a span of time and place. The basis for comparison is the accumulated experience warehoused in the context of the reality-survival axis. The currently received information becomes compared for recognition and identification with data from the storehouse of past memories, acquired knowledge, and related cognitive, more or less “objective” information.
Another level of information needed for orientation is subjectively oriented data — the properly learned words for communication of feelings and ideas, strategies used for coping with problems that come with learning, and deciding who and what I am and knowing what I want to say and do — all of which has become developmentally organized into a sense of Self. The Self has powerful unconscious as well as conscious components that are unfortunately not of medical concern in disease processes.
Another part of subjective orientation is stored feelings and emotions associated with an event. These may frequently, though not necessarily, be brought into focus along with the subjective data. Losing the ability to recall normally accessible information from memory that organizes the conscious sense of Self helps create the psychological symptoms of Alzheimer’s (Miller 1993).
Equally vital dynamically is a loss of energy flow from one part of the consciousness system to another — from unconscious memory storage to conscious memory utilization. In that loss there are many unknowns, including the role that increased amyloid plaque, or other biochemical changes, might play in the brain; the role that personal psychological history has; and what relationship, if any, there might be between the two, that is, psychological energy and content in the functions of consciousness in health as well as in disease.
Specifically because of the dynamics attending the loss of current memory in Alzheimer’s, it would be particularly interesting to find out the degree to which historical current life and past-life memory remain intact despite the disastrous effect of the disease on short term memory. In this context, it may be possible to find out what the relation of these memories to the energy transport capability in Alzheimer’s patients consists of. If it turns out through research that Alzheimer’s patients can indeed recall past lives despite the loss of recent and contemporary memory it would provide evidence that the indefinite-term memory storage is not damaged and that past lives have their own storage faculties that are separate from short and long-term, current life storage faculties. However, In Alzheimer’s patients, though historical current life recall is present it may be very incomplete effectively. Long-term and past-life recall, if they were substantial, especially among severely damaged patients, might support differentiation between historical and short-term memory transport. This would indicate separate bioenergy transmission problems that may very well be at the root of the loss of memory that accompanies the disease.
This idea of the relationship between content and energy transmission also suggests a broadened view of other diseases. An examination of the research literature will show that most disease processes have not been investigated from the point of view of energy transmission processes in Western medicine. However, that may be the crux of what goes wrong in physiological disease as well as in psychological illnesses. Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine have been based on the mind-body energy connection for thousands of years. Dynamics in psychological energy blockages also have long been the concern of psychotherapy, and now alternative medicine has combined Eastern and Western approaches successfully to include “energy medicine” as a treatment for physical diseases.
Normal transport functions are important in determining whether diseases are able to progress or whether they will be fought and halted. For instance, in cases of physical disease such as cancer and AIDS, genes and viruses carry specific kinds of information that can overpower the normally effective functions of the psychoneuroimmunological system. How the disease information, in gene or virus, is received in the psychoneuroimmunological system and how well information is transmitted with the system’s bioenergy that will or won’t alert the proper disease-fighting components are crucial determinants of whether health, disease or healing will take place.
There is a combined, interactive mind and body information processing process that rebalances part-to-whole relationships for the sake of optimizing survival during normal and dysfunctional states. I will call this process homeodynamics, and will explain this term shortly. The homeodynamic processing of information has an outcome that appears in how effectively body and consciousness collaborate along the reality-survival axis to regain and maintain health. The use of this knowledge for healing by various methods by a highly experienced practitioner is what is meant in this article by mind-body medicine. In that sense, past-life therapy, it will be seen, and regression therapy generally, properly applied, can be included among the mind-body medicines.
Effective processing of contents by bioenergy within the bodymind system determines how physically and mentally healthy a person is at any point, but the effectiveness of the processing system can change due to different life circumstances. The changeableness and flexibility of processing are a factor in determining how well a person’s psychoneuroimmunological system can use health support systems such as support groups, or psychological and medical intervention to change the course of disease. The therapist who understands the vital connections between information, emotions, energy, the self-concept, and life events has a key into healing on the level of mind-body medicine.
Another vital source of information that can become lost in dysfunctional states other than Alzheimer’s (such as visual and hearing impairment) is sensory information received from light and sound. In addition, such stimulus-response interactions as smell, chemicals, electromagnetic fields, and position in relation to the sun, are all everyday bits of information likely to be used for survival purposes by animals and other living creatures down to the most primitive. This tells us that information has a context of sensory receptors specific to the organism within which it operates that takes on survival significance.
This leads to a critical point: Information is most likely to remain in the long-term and indefinite-term memory of both mind and body when and because it has survival value. With survival value, it becomes clear why information must maintain a method of accessibility to consciousness. However, survival value, as well as the method of access within consciousness, may be very differently defined interspecies, and interindividually as well as interculturally (despite such common bases as needs for physical nourishment, oxygen, water, etc.). The psychophysiological characteristics of the organism in the context of a specific environmental complexity finally determines what takes on survival value. The resolution of problems along the reality-survival axis becomes translated and transformed as information within consciousness (including unconscious storage of information) conjointly in mind and body. One needs to ask then — what constitutes information? How does data take that form and significance?
In the human environment, if the tree falls in the forest and no human being is there to hear it fall, it nevertheless is an event that will be information with survival value to all the animals and insects in the tree’s environment, and the tree’s fall may well change the way they behave in relation to that tree. But the fall won’t become human information until someone records it.
If a person entering the forest is blind and can’t see the fallen tree the person doesn’t have the visual information about its fallen state but may have heard and understood its crackling noises while falling (or may not if that was the first time the person heard such a sound). On the other hand, if a sighted deaf person watches it fall the person will receive the visual information about its state but not the sound it made during its fall and might wonder what it sounded like.
All sensory faculties, then, feed their data into a consciousness that puts the raw data received by the sensory equipment into a meaningful context that depends on factors already present and available from the memory store of a person’s consciousness. The mixing of data with recognition from memory turns it into information. The data of words in an unknown foreign language do not become information.
Past lives are already stored as reality/survival information or they would not be relevant to consciousness. They developed from their own mixture of data turned into information during that past lifetime by the homeodynamic energy that is employed to optimize the survival/reality axis. The information from a past life is brought into play by discomforts or even threats experienced on the survival/reality axis in current time whose content is related to that of the past life. The mixture, given the propensity to accept the memory of past lives, thus broadens the conventional view of what is potentially contained in mind-body information storage and ultimately what can be contained within consciousness.
The Value of Survival/Emotion: Being the Tree
It is commonly known, though not commonly accepted, that assigning meanings and information to data is guided by subtle and complex factors within consciousness. These factors include the means of transmission of raw data and sensory information, provided by the organism’s bioenergy system. Once data is beyond the raw factual and sensory realm of “a tree has fallen,” what it connotes psychologically depends on the special history, purposes, and sensory characteristics of the recipient of the data, such as whether he or she is a termite, works for a paper mill or an environmental group, or is simply someone on legs who loves trees — all of whom hold varying degrees and kinds of emotional values around the tree that pertain to survival.
Emotional values drive the energy that results in activity of all kinds, including the activity of consciousness. In fact, the closer a projected activity is to being perceived as potentially able to satisfy needs on the reality-survival axis, the more emotionally valent will be its implementation and its outcome. However, some do deny the impact of emotion and bioenergy as potent psychobiological forces that act upon consciousness.
How can we possibly deal with consciousness without understanding its relationship to information, emotion and to bioenergy? For its part, emotion can tilt information in one direction or another, so it is distrusted in “objective” reductionistic research. But reductionism then negates, by the omission of emotion, an important element in the totality of information gathered by consciousness. Even though emotion is admittedly a factor that can bias the sum total of information, in itself it provides information about how an object being examined is perceived.
However, emotional aspects of memory and consciousness are very real to some neuroscientists (LeDoux, 1996) and can be attached to or detached from events by motivational factors entering consciousness. (I note in passing that the detachment of emotions from consciousness still doesn’t mean that they can’t affect how information is perceived and acted upon. Discussing this point would take me off course into unconscious dynamics, and will be avoided, although this dynamic is very relevant for psychotherapy and past-life memories.)
The uptake of sensory as well as emotional processes on which the conductivity of information to consciousness depends so much is a function of the system of physiological bioenergy. Every cell of the body, from cells in the toes to the amygdala in the limbic system to the frontal cortex in the brain, are recipients and providers of information feedback. Bodily processes are rife with bioenergetic communication processes, from DNA to electrical and chemical synapses in the neural system. “Every biochemical or biophysical system endowed with a certain degree of order acts as a vehicle for information,” says Bellavite (1997). Such systems are determined and relatively easily measured by scientific research; however, bioenergetic conductivity between mind and body, whether internal or between communities of organisms and humans, is given less credence because it is much harder to measure.
There is a specific problem with determining proof in this area of the functioning of psychological bioenergy. Supposing there is no living human or animal observer to see or hear the tree falling; in that case, there is no way to know about it unless you are the tree. Comparably, the experiencer who garners the effects of psychobioenergetic sensations (particularly those arriving in the train of memories) is the only one with the information and the only one who knows for sure that it has occurred. Experiments have shown that psychobioenergy is just as real between the bodyminds of individuals as within individuals, but such evidence hardly satisfies skeptical scientists and magicians who act like scientific watchdog groups. What they can’t observe doesn’t exist. And no one but the experiencer can observe an experience such as a past-life memory, or even a current life memory. (Even in the “Poem by God to an Oxford Wit” above, God is the experiencer and the observer).
The difference between the determinations of reductionist and experiential orientations is attributable to the subtext of values that guide the way data is transformed within consciousness. It does not impugn the honesty or sincerity of the researcher to say that the pre-existing complex of her or his bodymind history and the unconscious purpose of the experimentation are already infiltrated by feelings and values that guide decisions and behavior. Can outcomes be “objective” under such conditions?
Internal psychobiological and personal historical predispositions are surrounded by survival values that unsuspectedly translate data into information that will ultimately determine the way new information is seen and used. Despite this, there is obviously reliable information available about how human beings and how the external environment around us works. This issue is an entire area of philosophic controversy at present.
The experiential process itself is a function of consciousness that is not objectifiable as yet into scientific data, but post-modernism is one school of philosophy that holds the point of view described above. The truth may be relative, qualified by the kind of data being examined and the orientation of the researcher. Whatever the orientation, some types of processes in consciousness research are not reducible by current scientific method to its own terms. Science, with its dependency on reductionism, can never learn how to be the tree. It can only fragment the object by reducing the question of what it is to the smallest quantity, thereby totally losing the full impact of what it really is.
The Homeodynamic Hypothesis
Given our subject, it is therefore all the more urgent that some explanation be offered as to how the interactive activities of energy, information, past lives and mindbody medicine can be integrated under the conceptual umbrella of consciousness. Perhaps another level of hypothesis-making is warranted here. The homeodynamic hypothesis is actually not a new idea as much as it is naming a process that everyone recognizes without having adequately integrated the meaning and significance of what the process does.
The homeodynamic hypothesis states that human consciousness has developed (not originated) out of evolutionary relationships to make a major reality-survival contribution. (I did not say originated because I don’t know where or how or even whether consciousness originated anywhere). How homeodynamics serves consciousness best is to gather, collate, and organize data from every part of the body and mind into information of a kind that optimizes the survival of the organism that it serves. It is a process in which there is a balancing of incoming energy streams from internal and external sources. Inputs are new information that create stresses and forces that can threaten the working collaboration of the system, therefore parts of the system need to be rebalanced in relation to one another. Needed feedback is transported between all the psychological and physiological components of the system, ultimately leading to adjustments in physiology, consciousness and genes according to the activated subsystem within the larger system. Conversion and selection of data is input in comprehensible form to the person in the context of unifunctional consciousness, resulting in new perceptions of reality having outcomes in survival. Alzheimer’s disease is one kind of answer to the question of what would happen if this system were not able to function effectively.
Consciousness not only receives but also disseminates collected information to appropriate organs and their relevant subsystems (like the psychoneuroimmunological system) through homeodynamic feedback operations. This is not simply a physical or a mental process but ultimately it is a true bodymind coordination of information within consciousness. It should be emphasized that the process of gathering and disseminating information is meaningless unless it enters a context that makes it useful to consciousness where it is seen as relevant to a perception of current reality and therefore to survival.
This systematic processing of information requires the kind of intelligence that will sort out the survival significance of information and then determine the kind of rebalancing that needs to be done to optimize survival. I named the way this happens a homeodynamic process, because that name simultaneously relates it to, and distinguishes it from, homeostasis, which is generally regarded as a balanced state of static energies. Homeodynamics is based on continual shifts in energies, pressures, and information on both physical and mental levels, finally coordinating their results within consciousness and in the body to transform data into internal and ultimately into social communications.
We are now prepared to deal with questions 3 and 4 regarding recall. Since the memories recalled in past lives are invariably reality-survival events, it is clearly important for these events to be recalled because they have special significance. They are usually imbued with powerful emotional values that may indeed give them the bioenergetic force initially to enter into the historical system of past-life memories. Their reality-survival value additionally gives them energy to come to the surface of consciousness when a person in psychotherapy is triggered by similarly fundamental, core issues contemporaneously.
Information that will assist the optimization of the person currently and further the maintenance of the reality-survival axis is most likely to make its way into consciousness. The homeodynamic process is organically dedicated to guiding the person in the direction of the next higher level of self-organization and does so by instinctively collaborating with the unifunctional bodymind to achieve that goal. Opening the door to the unconscious springs the switch that brings the dynamics of that vital collaboration into consciousness, and helps regression therapy become the powerful tool that it is in healing both physical and mental problems.
“Unifunctional” is simply a term that specifies the intimate, unified relationship that naturally exists between mind and body that is essential to maximize the integration of actions taking place within the human organism. It too serves the reality-survival axis when it is properly served by feedback within homeodynamics.
The homeodynamic process does not ordinarily split itself off to distinguish between the values of body and mind. That is not done unless a particular consciousness in its own history has made that distinction relevant to reality and survival. Until then, the natural psychobiological (and bioenergetic) operations of the body and mind are singular and unifunctional rather than dual.
The unifunctional operations of mind and body are most apparent within consciousness. Recent developments in alternative, mind-body medicine have begun to utilize naturally unifunctional bodymind operations in order to heal physical as well as mental problems. Mind-body medicine recognizes the value of the collaboration between mind and body as a specific unit of function serving the reality-survival axis rather than supporting a duality as conventional medicine does. (Another reason I prefer the term “unifunctional” to “holistic” is because the latter has become a garbled hodge-podge of meanings.)
I have presented above a hypothesis about how energy, information and consciousness are connected to past-life regression. Information is made up of inputs of raw bioenergetic data from current sensory receptors mixed with the unique experiences of a person’s history. The mixture of inputs is transported between mind and body via bioenergetic processes, powered by emotional and survival values, to become information within consciousness. We still don’t know how raw data is transmuted into a form in which consciousness can use, change and apply that data as new information so that a person can consciously regulate current behavior.
However, evolution shows us that organismic survival is powerfully at stake, and it has been wonderfully served by that transformational process on both physical and mental levels. Survival has been driven by the organismic need to maintain itself along the reality-survival axis throughout evolution as well as within the life of each individual organism. The effects of organismic survival are transmitted to genes in the form of DNA, which serves the species. In line with current biomedical research that has found evidence for personality characteristics in the DNA of genetic inheritance, I’ve inferred that genetic DNA may also store and carry information from past lives as an indefinite-term memory that reappears within consciousness when called upon in regression therapy. This happens most powerfully when reality-survival is being threatened.
The rebalancing of pressures, data, and inputs that serve to optimize survival and to maximize information is called a homeodynamic process. This process doesn’t distinguish between body and mind because optimizing survival, its ultimate goal, depends upon their unified interaction. The natural unity of their operations is employed in alternative mind-body medicine, compared to the reductionistic duality of conventional medicine. “Unifunctional” is a term specifically applied within the homeodynamic process to the unity of bodymind functioning.
The homeodynamic process, in sorting out information that is valuable for the reality-survival axis, assists recovery of past-life information from its indefinite-term memory storage. Making valuable, stored experiences, their energy, and their information available to consciousness makes healing of both body and mind possible through past-life therapy as an aspect of mind-body medicine.
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This article is a revised and much expanded version of one written as a commentary to the Editor of Advances about the Fall 1997 (V. 13 (41)) issue, Information, Energy and Mind-Body Medicine. The commentary is scheduled for publication in a forthcoming issue of Advances, probably January, 1999.