This is part of Mindstream’s editorial package on Parapsychology Research, highlighting findings and discussion from the Parapsychological Association’s 2023 convention.
By Liza Horan
Joy, hope, calm, and a sense of connection with others are among the positive effects of psi* experiences, the research says. Developing our intuitive abilities brings greater self-awareness and knowledge, and opens us for more information toward better decision-making.
Researchers at the Parapsychological Association 2023 convention found that:
- Hope, guidance and healing from grief were among the positive feelings reported by people whose mediumship ability appeared suddenly while they were grieving, Dr. Lenore Matthew’s work shows. They also had a profound switch in priorities based on what their sense of “reality” had been and what it was after they realised physical death is not the end. Her work presents a new paradigm for grief and healing than the clinical mental health world promotes, and “suggests a promising, tangible way forward in transformative healing through grief,” she said.
- Empathy, love/altruism, appreciation/gratitude and fearlessness were reported by people who experienced a Near-Death Experience (NDE), whether they felt it was a positive or negative event. And the overwhelming majority of them gained positive meaning from it – particularly in regard to existence and spirituality — and said they came back to physical life for/with a purpose, according to Erika Annabelle Pratte of Anomalies Research, Counselling & Consultation in London.
- Exposure to death and dying reduces fear of it happening to others, according to research of death-facing professionals like first responders, hospice workers and military personnel. These workers’ fear about their own deaths lessened with exposure to others going through these steps, yet fear of their own personal dying process did not improve, according to research by Kelly A. Curtis at Manchester Metropolitan University (U.K.). Curtis’ research continues with an exploration of how exposure to death and dying affects paranormal beliefs and experiences, and religiosity.
- Wellbeing, clarity, connection and more intense awareness come with “Wakefulness,” which is an ongoing state of being that is marked by expansive awareness and intensified perception. Wakefulness can be measured on a continuum, and it can happen outside of a spiritual context, Dr. Steve Taylor of Leeds Beckett University shared. This is significant, he said, because awakenings previously have been considered spiritual or mystical — and clinical psychology doesn’t account for spirituality. For example, an awakening can result from extreme psychological turmoil. His most recent paper (October 2023) posits that spiritual and mystical awakenings can also happen outside of a religious or spiritual context.
*Psi is a process of sensing information and knowing, and is correlated to altered states of consciousness and attention (like day-dreaming). ESP, psychokinesis (mind affecting matter), Near-Death Experiences, mediumship, premonitions, and other “paranormal,” “anomalous” and “exceptional” experiences.
View the Parapsychology Research package main page