Sunday, August 16, 2009

IONS: Ideas and Tools to Change the World (Part 1 of 2)

My guest for the next two posts in Janet Walden, a dear friend who does admirable work in the community helping people to come to collaborative, peaceful decisions in a number of important realms like schools and the workplace.

Besides being a member of my personal, spiritual support team: Janet ignited my interest in the Institute of Noetic Science or
IONS. Through her connection and commitment to IONS, Janet has brought an ongoing blast of fresh air to my mind. The IONS organization brings the world’s greatest thinkers on the leading edge of merging science and spirituality within our reach. It’s poignant to me that IONS was founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell. The first view of the Earth from the Moon was his—and our—real opportunity to “get” that we are each other, that we live in an ecosystem, and that every individual act influences the whole. Enjoy this inner and outer space odyssey!

What is IONS?

Joyce: Janet, thank you so much for visiting Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights and sharing an ongoing source of spiritual inspiration and spirited living with us. Tell us the basics about IONS.

Janet: The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) is a non-profit organization that grew out of the vision of the founder, astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the lunar module pilot of Apollo 14.

On his way back from the moon, Dr. Mitchell had a profound experience of the interconnectedness of all life.

Trained as a scientist and engineer, this “knowing” came to him completely beyond the traditional ways he was used to. He founded IONS to broaden our knowledge of the nature and potentials of mind and consciousness--to study how we “know” things. The word “Noetic” comes from the Greek word noetikos, which means inner/intuitive knowing.

Here’s a One Minute Shift video from IONS that recaps one of Dr. Mitchells epiphanies in space.

Today, IONS is a trail-blazing organization applying the scientific method to studying the phenomenon of consciousness. IONS encourages open-minded exploration of both science and spirit and is on the leading edge of helping to birth a new worldview that recognizes our basic interconnectedness and promotes the flourishing of all life. The IONS Mission is “to advance the science of consciousness and human experience to serve individual and collective transformation.”

How Can People Participate?

Joyce: I know there are many levels to participate in IONS, and since I have limited myself to a local connection, I hope you’ll expand on the realm of possibilities for our Hot Flashbacks readers to consider.

Janet: One of the most exciting ways to participate is to join IONS
Shift-in-Action membership program, which offers weekly teleseminars with leading thinkers, authors and other experts, and stores a host of interesting and inspiring interviews and other materials that are downloadable from the IONS website. It is a way to connect with a like-spirited community and learn the latest in cutting-edge science, consciousness and transformation.

Another wonderful way to participate is to attend IONS conferences and workshops. A third way is to join an IONS
Community Group in your local area. IONS has over 200 of these groups on every continent in the world.

How Do You Participate Yourself?

Joyce: Janet, I know that you have really brought IONS home to our Sacramento area community in a special way. I think hearing about what we do locally will give readers an idea of the possibilities once they connect with this great organization.

Janet: I am a member of the
IONS Sacramento Community Group (SacIONS) and am on their Leadership Team. We host regular monthly meetings that either bring in speakers on various topics of interest or engage participants in discussion of articles in IONS publications or other materials. For example, we have had speakers ranging from best-selling authors such as Hank Wesselman and Angeles Arrien, to local practitioners of various healing modalities. Discussion topics, when we don’t have a speaker, have included exploring peak experiences and the relationship between science and art.

I also attend IONS
biannual international conferences, which bring together so many inspiring speakers! (Through the conference link, you can purchase recordings and bring the conferences right into your living room.) And I am a Shift-in-Action member and participate in the weekly telephone interviews and conversations with leading thinkers as often as I can.

I also host a monthly SacIONS Video Discussion Circle. We meet in my home and screen a variety of fascinating videos. Members of the group recommend videos they think would be of interest, and the group then decides on our monthly viewing schedule. Types of films we have watched in the past include material from the
Earth Cinema Circle, PBS documentaries, the Spiritual Cinema Circle and videos published by popular authors. Another favorite source is keynote addresses from IONS conferences, which have included such speakers as Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Lynne McTaggart, Joan Borysenko, Andrew Harvey and Van Jones. I’ll be writing about some of my favorite films we’ve discovered through the Video Circle on Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights next week.

Ideas That Inspire

Joyce: Janet, what or whose ideas have been most influential to you from your IONS experience?

Janet: This is a tough question, because there are so many! I am inspired by
Lynne Twist’s work. Lynne is a Life Director of IONS and has recently formed the Pachamama Alliance – a group that draws together various cultures around the world working to bring about an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet. Bruce Lipton is another one. Bruce is a cellular biologist who has done groundbreaking work on the way the cells of our bodies really operate, which he explains in his book The Biology of Belief.

Fundamentally, I am attracted to the entire IONS community because it brings together and exposes us all to so many individuals who hold a vision of bringing about a better world, and who contribute so much to this effort.

IONS at Home and in Cyberspace

Joyce: Could you give us a final recap on where to find the IONS website and a starting point for readers to find a local chapter?

Janet: Everything can be found at On the home page, click on Community Network, and then on Visit the Shift in Action Community Groups Page, where all community groups are listed, including contact information.

Joyce: Janet, thanks so much for sharing your love of this organization with our spirited living community. You are the embodiment of the Age of Aquarius! (And, in case you didn’t guess, Janet is an Aquarius, in fact!)


Janet Walden is the President & CEO of the
Center for Collaborative Solutions , a non-profit organization with a mission and a passion for unleashing the power of people working together. Janet can be reached at

Up Next: Janet shares some of her favorite movies viewed at the SacIONS Video Circle. Prepare to discover a whole new genre of life-affirming, spirited living movies that you may have never heard of, but are easily accessible and affordable—perfect for shared viewing, as we do in Sacramento.

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