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Message from the Executive Dean


March 29 to April 1, CIHS was honored to host collaboratively the 37th annual conference of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness. A section of the American Anthropological Association, SAC is a vibrant forefront academic society exploring topics with much overlap to CIHS’ programs and research. As president Bryan Rill says, “SAC is grounded in the anthropological research of consciousness while simultaneously extending the boundaries of academia by integrating multiple disciplines and forms of experience.”

Titled Transforming Energy into Action, the conference theme focused on “subtle energy” as fundamental to many of the esoteric principles and spiritual beliefs that have been part of our world’s cultures since time immemorial, and the diverse ways in which these subtle energies can be manipulated or transformed and the significance of these practices to the world today (Program Chair, Brian A. Bartelt).

A few of the many highlights include the following:

An experiential keynote presentation by Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, explored research he is doing at Chapman University, the Fish Interfaith Center, and the Institute of Quantum Studies, advancing theoretical physics as it relates to actual lived experience and psychospiritual growth. Founder of the Kundalini Research Institute, Gurucharan has worked as a transformational consultant in academic, business and spiritual spaces, extensively. Gurucharan has agreed to also present at our CIHS Summer Symposium, July 8,9.

A vibrant opening ceremony by native American spirit-guided musician Gentle Thunder, who will also do opening and closing ceremonies for the CIHS Summer Symposium.

Nurse and academician Eric Bottleberghe presented on the clinical use of entheogens to reduce suffering and promote a peaceful process in hospice care.

L.A. City College professor Gabriel Selassie presented Transforming Black Political Consciousness Through The Varieties of Religious Experience: New Thought & the Garvey Movement.

In the “Caves, Cosmos & Consciousness” session I chaired, Ryan Hurd & Beth Duncan presented original research on The Sonic Dreamworld of Paleolithic Painted Caves of Southern France.

Experimental neuropsychologist David Miller presented on Syzygy: the great pilgrimage of 2017, anticipating the experience of the solar eclipse that will transect the United States August 21 this summer.

And I presented on Archaeoastronomy of Nabta Playa and Ancient Man’s Connection to Cosmic Cycles.

El-Sayed El-Aswad, professor and research director at United Arab Emirates University travelled all the way from Dubai to present on Cosmic and Psychic Energies in Islamic Tradition: The soul (ruh) and the Self (nafs).

Bryan Rill presented on The Power of Wheels and subtle energetic aspects in leadership development training contexts. Anatomist and Rolfer Russ Pfeiffer presented Mindfulness, Perception & Embodiement, on the psychology of anatomy and subtle energetic function in the fascia.

Gabriel Crane gave an Experiential Workshop: Deeper Understandings of Qi and Its Implications for Individual and Social Change.

Gaetan Chevalier, of PsyTek and CIHS, presented a well received live demonstration and description of the AMI device.

Generally, CIHS faculty and students were very well represented among the presenters.

  • CRP Director Ji Hyang Padma presented Mahayana Buddhism: rituals and subtle energy.

  • Faculty Mary Clark & Gaetan Chevalier presented The Effects of Pranic Healing on Subjects in a Community Free Healing Clinic.

  • PhD student Chiara Marrapodi presented Integrative Support for PTSD in Equines.

  • Faculty Roger Cavnaugh presented and experiential workshop: The Shaman as an Agent of Transformation.

  • Faculty Nandini Katre presented Vedic Science & the Alchemy of Transformation.

  • MA student John St. Claire presented an experiential musical healing workshop: The Nature of Sound & Meaning.

  • Faculty Sharon Mijares (who connected the SAC with CIHS) presented Breath: The Atmosphere of Transformation.

  • PhD graduate Arthur Sun presented The Transformative Effects of Ancient Cambodian Healling Practices for Cambodian Refugees.

Tamiko Voros, Hideki Baba and Albert Rivera were instrumental in helping with organization. The SAC members expressed being very pleased to have their conference on CIHS campus, and excited about many good connections being made.

President Bryan Rill supported the idea of bringing the SAC back to CIHS in future years, if not next year. We are in discussions with Bryan Rill and Gurucharan, about the possibility of more substantial collaborations with SAC, them and CIHS.

Well done, all CIHS presenters and participants and SAC!

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