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~~ Keynote and Plenary Speakers / Abstracts as of 8/25/2011 ~~

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Preliminary Program Listing is here

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Full list of speakers and abstracts is here

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The following speakers and topics are tentative and subject to change.

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Friday September 2, morning

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Raymond Moody - Shared Death Experiences: New horizons of rational study of the afterlife

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This lecture presents a phenomenology of shared death experiences demonstrating an uninterrupted continuum with near-death experiences. The identity in content between these two modes of experience poses a major difficulty for popular neurophysiological explanations. An entirely new means of rational investigation is briefly described that accesses the transcendent aspect of experiences related to death and dying.

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Theresa Yuschok - Diving Into Increasing Depths: Spirituality in Clinical Practice

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Rilke wrote, "It is not too late to dive into your increasing depths, where life calmly speaks to you its secret." When we invite others to explore their depths of spiritual experience, healthcare professionals must approach this with an open respect, in compliance with the guidelines of their professions, prepared with questions to start and continue the conversation, an awareness of interpersonal or intrapsychic blocks and appreciation for the significant symbols. Clinical examples and poetry will illustrate the value of spirituality in clinical practice.

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Saturday September 3, morning

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Bruce Greyson - IANDS at 30: Still Crazy After All Those Years

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The founders of IANDS three decades ago could not have imagined how the organization has evolved, nor how the public has come to embrace NDEs as normal experiences that occur under abnormal circumstances. Over those decades, the accumulated research findings have also changed the way the medical profession regards near-death experiencers. Research on NDEs and their aftereffects shows the degree to which near-death experiencers are in touch with reality, as well as the degree to which neuroscientific models of consciousness are in touch with reality.

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Christophor Coppes - Lives changed; the world changed

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NDEs don't only change the lives of those who have the NDE, but they also have, in principle, the potential to change the world at large. This is because they hold messages for everyone. From NDEs we understand that we are part of a Unity Universe, which surpasses our material four-dimensional world. In it we are thoroughly interconnected. Whatever we do, it has an effect on the rest of unity universe. All our actions, even the seemingly insignificant ones, ripple through universe. Through this we have a creative but also a potentially destructive power within us. For instance, the Great Recession, which still affects especially the US, Europe and Japan, can be seen as the consequence of the many negative ripples that we caused by focusing on our short-term self-interest. Therefore, it is best for us to change our focus towards a longer-term "our-interest". This is the most important message that can be derived from NDEs. The change of focus would really change the world. This would mean a next step in our human development. The way to do it is by becoming more aligned with The Light. These are extraordinary times and many NDErs are convinced that we will eventually succeed in realizing that change and that we are destined for a more wonderful world, materially as well as spiritually.

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Sunday September 4, morning

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Eben Alexander - Childhood's End

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Those who have been through Near-Death Experiences (NDEs), family members who have witnessed profound events during the passing of a loved one, and those who have sensed the soul of the departed communicating with them are all helping to deliver a miraculous gift to the world. So are those who study and analyze these experiences. An unprecedented gift! The treasure trove of these combined experiences is helping to elevate human conscious awareness to an unprecedented level, to send us beyond a tipping point, towards a global awakening to the profound nature of our shared human existence.
. We stand at a crossroads. These remarkable stories of individual experience, often directly contradicting accepted "common sense" and the world-view offered by a secular civilization and some elements of the scientific community, are reaching a critical mass that can no longer be summarily dismissed by rationale, thoughtful people at large. There are millions who have had first hand experience with these phenomena, and have kept it to themselves, out of fear of being labeled "mentally unstable". In fact, I suspect that a large proportion of people alive today know at some level that there really is something to all of this!
. The gift we bring is the birthright of every human being who has ever lived, or will live, on earth. It is a reawakening to the profound nature of our conscious existence. That reawakening is intimately entangled with realizing the eternity of our souls and the intimate, direct and eternal connection each and every one of us has with that creative primary omnipotent loving Source (God, by most definitions) at the core of the Universe. The gift is one of truth, and will come from probing the depths of our own conscious awareness, and from becoming one with the Divine. It is of knowing that we are one with each other, and with the eternal loving Creator of the universe. It is of feeling the bliss of that unconditional love, during our lives here on earth.

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Scott Olsen - NDEs and Self-transformation: Life-Changing Illumination as Humanity’s Ultimate Goal

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The Near-Death Experience often results in a powerful, life-changing transformation of consciousness. This metamorphosis of “Self” occurs as former notions of ego or self are dissolved into an integrated, wiser and more virtuous sense of Self. Such transformative after-effects are profound, long-lasting, and may well be a stage in the fulfillment of one’s ultimate destiny. I propose a philosophical framework in which NDEs and their transformative consequences are understood as special limiting cases of the ultimate human experience of Enlightenment, Samadhi, or Illumination. My primary concern is with the Knowledge aspect, or the limiting case of Omniscience. I will focus on the experiences of Tom Sawyer, Olaf Sunden, and others whose consciousness was forever transformed. The philosophical framework will stress three factors: (1) The underlying alchemical, transformative nature of all life and consciousness. (2) David Bohm’s view that “the entire Universe is enfolded into each part.” (3) The fractalized, self-similar patterns present at all levels and scales, allow for a resonance to occur, in which the individual can be in “attunement” with the “Wisdom of the All.” Together these three factors allow for a life-changing Transformation, Metamorphosis or Illumination of Consciousness, that well may be the ultimate goal of humanity.

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