Quantum Meditation: A Working Hypothesis
“Doug [Cottrell] is considered to be like Edgar Cayce-a medical intuitive who also tells you about your past lives and helps guide you through current life issues. To do this he goes into a trance and accesses what they call the Akashic records-a collection of knowledge supposedly stored in the astral plane. Mom often invited him to come down to stay with them for a week, and he’d do sessions there [for celebrities]. Dad, ever the seeker, was open-minded about such things, and would have sessions with Doug, as would I. Over the years he’s helped me put my life in perspective. My mom had even witnessed him give people uncannily accurate medical diagnoses.”
- Kelly Carlin (daughter of comedian George Carlin)
If you are over 50, you remember when every book store and drug store in the Western world had an exclusive “Edgar Cayce” section. These were based on the approximately 12,000 transcribed “health readings” performed for individuals that Cayce himself had never met, in places he had never been, delivered while he was in a 100% meditative state; in fact, to all intents and purposes, asleep.
Almost a century later, Googling “Edgar Cayce” yields almost a million hits. Dubbed “the father of holistic medicine,” Cayce’s diagnoses and treatments took a uniquely integrated approach, something made possible, he claimed, because he was accessing the information from the Collective Unconscious or “Quantum Field” that all living things are connected to.
That was then. This is now. For many who may have wished that the legacy left by Cayce might be updated and made current, Canadian Douglas James Cottrell, Ph.D, is more than ready to take up the gauntlet.
In 1974, Douglas discovered that he possessed the very same talent Edgar Cayce had; that is, the ability to access the so-called “Akashic Records” or “intelligent field” that connects all matter at the Quantum Level, and discussed in iconic works such as Lynne Mactaggart’s The Field. Douglas has since provided thousands of individuals all over the world with individual health readings, precisely as Cayce did a century earlier.
But is there any “capital S” science to explain the Cayce/Cottrell phenomenon?
The simplest–but clearly incomplete–explanation is to classify it merely as an exponent of the Mind-Reach phenomenon, named after the book of the self-same name by Doctors Targ and Puthoff. This seminal work, published in 1977, established via respected, double-blind testing protocols, that it is possible to “send” the mind of one person to a given geographical location, and have that person report on what he or she “sees” there. In its own way, it is probably the strongest single argument for E.S.P. advanced within the last century. Ironically, it received little press coverage when first published, and even less interest from the public at large.
[Note: the experiments in the original Mind-Reach series used map co-ordinates almost exclusively to provide a “scent” for their psychics. Later iterations of these protocols, however, were much looser–using names, dates, historical events, etc. Douglas–as did Edgar Cayce–relies almost exclusively on the individual’s name, but with a street address to “boost” the signal, or amplify the name, if you like.]
In fact, it would be almost a decade later before the implications of what Drs. Tang and Puthoff had achieved reached the mass (media) mind. In 1989, the top-rated U.S. drama T.V. series “Columbo” devoted an entire episode to a murderer who “fooled” the U.S. government into hiring him by falsely replicating the Mind-Reach phenomenon.
So, as to the question of whether life imitates art, or vice versa, the answer may possibly be found in the mid-1990s, when no less than Time magazine did a surprise cover story “exposing” the U.S. government’s top-secret 10-year-old research program into deploying the Mind-Reach protocol for miltary purposes. [The headline read “The Vision Thing – Ten Years And $20 Million Later, The Pentagon Discovers That Psychics Are Unreliable Spies.”] Students of conspiracy theory were delighted to note that, simultaneous to the Time “exposé,” was the news that the U.S. government had determined there was, seemingly, no real value in the protocol, and was promptly disbanding its programs.
Coincidence? Disinformation? True or not, it was clear, nonetheless, that the U.S. was in fact disbanding something, as, over the following years, a plethora of hereto unknown writers began to come forward, each claiming they had been within the “inner circle” of the U.S. government’s Remote Viewing Project (one of its many names) and, via their books, proceeded to share their top-secret experiences with millions of readers (such as the popular Psychic Warrior, and its sequel, both written by ex-remote viewer and self-proclaimed spy, David Morehouse).
Of course, to simply label Douglas’s talent an extension of Mind-Reach ultimately begs the question. It tells us how he gets to where he is going, but not how he finds the information with which to answer questions about what he has found. For that, we can perhaps benefit from several hints that Cayce himself left in his own trance sessions. Many times, replying to the suggestion that he was “channeling” (something that Douglas has been accused of as well), Cayce would reply with the information that, in fact, it was his own “superconscious” that questioners were in contact with. The Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) itself, the research organization founded by the Cayce family after Edgar Cayce’s death in 1945, says of their founder:
His own higher self—or his superconscious mind—was the source of the information. So it was not a non-physical being speaking through Edgar Cayce, but his own superconscious mind that generally obtained the information from the individual getting the reading, or from what he called the Akhashic Records. These records can be briefly described as a history of every soul since the dawn of creation.
Unfortunately, other than the above-quoted synopsis, the A.R.E. has not expounded further on what precisely this ability might be, or why the hypnotic trance is the “key” to unlocking it. To solve that riddle, we must dig a bit deeper.
The “superconscious” as a concept is as old as Man, and appears to have been a valid precept of some of the oldest religions on the planet—including that of Tibet, India and Egypt—where it is identified with the following names: High Self, Overself, High Conscious, and Superconscious, among others. Abstractly, it represents a specific portion of the construct of a living being. Not just any portion, mind you, but the most important portion—the “soul” portion, if you like—the part that is immortal, the part that transcends time and space, the part that is in touch with the corresponding “ourselves” of all other beings, living or dead, that have ever existed, or will ever exist.
All fine and dandy, of course, but our era is, first and foremost, an “I’m from Missouri, show me!” era. So, the question has to be asked, what “practical” or “tangible” evidence do we have that this energy exists, or, more importantly, that it can provide the basis to explain the Cayce/Cottrell phenomenon? First, let’s look at the collected works of Max Freedom Long, originally published in the mid-20th Century, and recently reprinted, who spent his entire life in Hawaii studying Huna.
What is Huna? Huna is believed to be one of the oldest—if not the oldest—practicing religions on the planet. Its roots are as unknown as the origins of the Hawaiian people themselves. Hawaiian legends not only speak of a time when their islands were a single land mass—a postulate that staggers the imagination, and is beyond the scope of this article—but also, according to Long, when the natives shared common beliefs and rituals with the ancient Egyptians. With the advent of aggressive Christianity in the late 19th and early 20th Century, Huna was banned by local government and went underground. That, however, did not prevent Long, during his lifetime, from contacting the living Huna masters—“kahunas”—and attempting to preserve their beliefs in his books.
Convinced that Huna was not only the oldest surviving religion, but also the most practical, Long revealed how, centuries before Freud took his first breath, Huna broke down the human condition into three distinct parts: the Conscious, the Subsonscious, and the Superconscious. The Conscious is what we use from the moment we wake up each morning to the moment we go to sleep at night. It is functional and logical but lacking in two characteristics otherwise essential to our survival—memory and emotion. For those, we need access to the Subconscious, which is the root of both these attributes. Unfortunately, lacking in logic, the Subconscious is far too easily influenced, and much too quick to lose perspective. Were it not controlled by the Conscious, Long suggests, we as a race mightn’t last until Tuesday!
[When one can't recall a thing or a name, and it "pops" into awareness minutes or hours later, even when we have "consciously" lost interest in the original question, that, according to Long, is an example of the Conscious accessing data from the Subconscious. This is a semi-mechanical process, he suggests, which takes some time to complete. Long wrote long before the invention of the computer, but had he been aware of the technology, it is likely he would have readily espoused the metaphor of "database access" to describe this process.]
The Superconscious was another kettle of fish. In language eerily reminiscent of Cayce readings (done early in the 20th Century, but almost certainly unavailable to Long, whose research represents a completely independent “thread”), Huna masters talked about a “common point” of awareness at which not only did all minds, living and dead, past and future, “merge,” but at which all information from all sources was available as pure stream of consciousness.
If, therefore, there was any portion of an individual’s life-energy that survived death (a topic, which, it seems, has somehow reached the mainstream in recent years!) then that portion would have to be mated in some way to the Superconscious, the pure-soul portion [which, of course, opens the doorway to a further discussion of reincarnation, or "the continual and sequential use of the soul of human identities to achieve specific goals"].
Back to our search for a “connection” between the deep trance process and access to the Higher Self.
Turns out there is one! And a big one indeed! All of Long’s lengthy works on Huna emphasize his conclusion that the “most sacred secret” of Huna was also, by no mere coincidence, the most well-kept secret of the mystical and psychic societies of earlier eras—namely, that to access the Superconscious, you first had to go through the Subconscious; as, for example, by an altered state induced by drugs, ceremony, prayer, ritual, or—of course—hypnosis. [You could never reach the Superconscious from the Conscious waking state. On this, Long was adamant.]
Interestingly—if this hypothesis is correct—then, in theory, this phenomenon is much greater than the Cayce/Cottrell iteration of it, and there should be some evidence of Quantum Meditation™-like manifestations outside the areas of pseudoscience and intuitive medical readings. And there is!
The Master Mind
For many years, among practicing psychologists and psychiatrists, there were anecdotal stories circulating about attempts to “integrate” patients with Multiple Personality Disorder (M.P.D.) going “peculiarly” awry. The gossip was that, every now and again, during personality reintegration, a dominant or master personality would emerge under hypnosis, which seemed to not only be fully aware of all the other personality fragments—itself unusual—but also seemed to be aware of the doctor, the doctor’s own family, the doctor’s personal friends, and, generally, a veritable encyclopedia of information it should not have had access to in the first place, under any conditions.
Sound familiar? Practising physician Dr. Ralph B. Allison, M.D., even gave a name to this phenomeon—“the Inner Self Helper,” or, alternatively, the “Multiple Mind” or the “Master Mind”—and wrote a book about it [Minds in Many Pieces, 1998]. Surely, even to the casual reader, what Dr. Allison found sounds suspiciously like a precursor to the Quantum Meditation™ phenomena of Edgar Cayce and Douglas Cottrell!
And finally—the most difficult thesis of them all—and the one almost completely lacking in objective proof—there is the notion of “cellular intelligence” (i.e. an awareness and push toward capital-L “life” within each of our cells). Douglas the person, not the trance reader, has said of his own work on more than one occasion, “It’s as though the body really wants to get rid of [the disease] and all it needs is a little push.” In the opinion of this writer, cellular intelligence, notwithstanding that we have no proof here—totally anyway—may well turn out to be the “missing link” in all this. Science gives little credit to the so-called “autonomic” nervous system, other than to suggest that it can keep your heart beating and your lungs breathing without conscious effort. But could there be more?
The metaphysical literature is rife with anecdotal stories of people who were “warned” of potential health problems in dreams, and thereby given the opportunity to prepare for the coming crisis. Warned by whom? Where did the messages originate? In 1991, Irish-born electrical engineer Michael Sheridan had a series of peculiar experiences which caused him to devote the rest of his life to exploring purely spiritual themes. He founded the Aisling Dream Institute in Dublin, and continues, to this day; his mission to show people how understanding their dreams can change their lives. On the subject of warnings in dreams, Sheridan is very clear, “When we ignore aspects of our functioning, our dreams will redress the balance by giving “symbolic” expression to these aspects, while at the same time attempting to give healing for the “conditions” which cause us to ignore these aspects in the first place.”
Pursuing this premise to its logical conclusion, we can envision an invisible intelligence within each of us that monitors various conditions and attempts to repair them. Sometimes, it simply can’t – and asks us for our help – usually in a dream, a sudden insight, or perhaps a “hunch.” But, compared to what Douglas does in the Quantum Meditation™ reading, that is a flawed communication. When Douglas “reads” someone in a Quantum Meditation™, it is more than possible he is plugging directly into that invisible and benevolent intelligence, and working with it to solve the problem.
And there is even more evidence, albeit equally circumstantial. Today, one of the hottest new “holistic” practices is known as Kinesiology. Kinesiology was originally developed by Dr George Goodheart, a chiropractor, in the early 1960s. He discovered the relationship between Chinese meridians (also used by practitioners of Chinese medicine, including acupuncturists) and muscle groups, glands, and organs in the body. By testing the resistance of a muscle, when a small amount of pressure is applied to it, weaknesses and imbalances in its corresponding meridian could be discerned. To say that this technique is “popular” would be an understatement. There are currently practitioners in every corner of the globe serving millions of patients. Even MDs are involved. The science of Kinesiology is currently taught as a full-credit course in dozens of North American universities. However, the term “Kinesiology” is not standardized from practitioner to practitioner. While some practice the more mundane forms, many are experimenting with a more esoteric practice, whereby potentially inhibiting foods, gems, metals, or other items are placed in the hand of the patient to determine if muscle groups weaken on contact. If they do, patients are advised to avoid the item, or foodstuff, in the future. Nowhere, however, in the literature on the topic, is there much of an explanation for this aspect of the doctrine. If pressed, practitioners suggest that the “subconscious” of the patient has made contact with the item and has reacted to it. Sound familiar?
This is, of course, a significantly cruder version of what Douglas does, and is most obviously comparable to Douglas’s ability to give chapter and verse on the good/bad effects of a vitamin or medicine when held in the hand of a person being “read.”
[The late Brenda Carlin, wife of the famous comedian George Carlin, once flew to Canada for a private session with Douglas. In the course of her reading, she held in her hand a new and experimental drug she had recently been prescribed, and asked Douglas to, first, "locate" it, and then to list the positive and negative effects it was having on her body. After listing the positive effects, Douglas said one of the negatives was that it was constricting small arteries, reducing blood flow to the limbs, and making Brenda feel cold. At this point in the session, Brenda jumped out of her chair and said that, on the plane from Los Angeles, she had asked for a blanket for the first time ever, and had been feeling cold since she had started to take the medication!]
And the explanation in both instances has to be—must be—the same. A distinct and present intelligence at the cell level of the host, capable of being “contacted.” There is simply no other answer that will pass muster. Where does all this lead? And can we form a working hypothesis on the functioning of Quantum Meditation™ from all this? We can.
For one who is prepared to work hard at achieving deeper and deeper levels of dissociation, to truly abandon the ego in the search for a larger consciousness, hypnotic induction may indeed be the “gateway” to not only higher powers of mind (such as remote viewing, ESP, empathy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc.) but also to that “merge-point” at which all consciousness and knowledge is shared—but at which, ironically, time and space themselves would have very little meaning. This “merging of minds” in the absence of time/space constraints is, exactly as Edgar Cayce said, the key.
Of course, as with all great riddles, sometimes finding the answer only ends up raising new questions. If “merging minds” provide the answer, then whose minds, which minds, minds from where? Both Douglas Cottrell and Edgar Cayce are fully in agreement on this point also – the answer is “all minds,” independent of the cycle of birth and death as we know it.
Which brings us back, full circle, to the issue of the Superconscious or Overself—the only metaphysical “launch pad” from which these sorts of contacts are believed to be possible, according, at least, to the most ancient texts on the planet. Interestingly, in the classic Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Second Century BC) the Superconscious is specifically referred to, literally, as the “rain cloud of all knowable things.”
But let us not fool ourselves—these topics can never be proved conclusively, any more than one can prove, in a laboratory setting, the existence of the soul, or life after death. What we can do, however, is create a working postulate and then see if the evidence supports it.
Working with the Quantum Meditation™ phenomenon, we must resist the urge to allow the strangeness of it to put us off what is really important. We must, at the same time, expand our cosmology not only to include the Superconscious, and those so-called Akashic Records—a cosmic chalk board, if you like, that records everything we do and think—but we must, at the same time, learn to give up our fear of death, for in Douglas’s world, ideas and the souls that created them never die.
At one level—a level arguably outside the scope of this article—Cayce and Cottrell are clearly demonstrating, via their unique abilities, the immortality of the soul, beyond our parochial notions of time and space, to a degree that leaves even those intuitives who “talk to the dead” standing in the cosmic dust, so to speak.
Article by Robert Appel, B.A., B.C.L., L.L.B., a retired lawyer, author and broadcaster who has followed the work of Douglas for over three decades.