The Heart of the Mind
Using Our Mind To Transform Our Consciousness
or, How to Experience God Without Belief
by Jane Katra, Ph.D. and Russell Targ
Foreword by Marianne Williamson
In this wide-ranging survey of spiritual insight, healer Jane Katra and scientist Russell Targ demystify mysticism by showing how centuries of wisdom teachings — from the ancient Indian Vedas and Christian Gnosticism to modern quantum physics — all point to a common experience available to everyone. Whether we call it God, satori, or unity consciousness, the authors, describe it as a process of self-transformation by stabilizing one’s attention while surrendering thoughts and ego to a quiet mind.
Building on these ancient teachings, Katra and Targ explore how modern scientific exploration of parapsychological phenomena — from laboratory evidence of mind-to-mind and mind-to-universe connections to hospital studies of distant healing and fascinating evidence of verified past-life memories — all indicate that consciousness extends beyond the individual self.
As in their previous groundbreaking exploration of nonlocal mind and spiritual healing, Miracles of Mind, Targ and Katra team up here to describe and expand the realm of mystical experience. At the core of The Heart of the Mind is the idea that through quieting the mind, the experience of God — without dogma, ritual, or religious belief — is always available. By beginning with the concrete steps of forgiveness and gratitude, they show that finding meaning, love, and peace of mind requires only that we calm our minds and open our hearts.
ISBN: 1-57731-041-1 : Hardcover: 194 pages. Paperback available.
Publisher: New World Library; First Edition, First Printing edition (May 1, 1999)
A second edition with the subtitle Using Our Mind To Transform Our Consciousness
has ISBN: 9781907661044, 200 pages. Publisher: White Crow Productions Ltd 12 August 2011
For ages there has been an esoteric prophecy: that in a great historical climax to come, science and religion would unite in exaltation of one great Truth.
As we approach the millennium, in every area of human endeavor, there is indeed interest in a very general concern. Whether the conversation turns to relationships, medicine, spirituality, business, science, or anything else, there is at least a faint hint of an eternal message making it’s way into consciousness: underlying oneness, spirit, and love.
Jane Katra and Russell Targ have looked at two specific areas—science and spirituality—with the cold eye of the scientist and the warm heart of the mystic. They have applied tough-minded scientific observation to the ralms of spirit, laying out for the most rationalistic thinker some profound musings on issues of faith. In this exciting new book, Katra and Targ posit spirituality as a new scientific frontier. Applying the most disciplined investigative techniques, scientist throughout the world have now made clear that we need no longer treat faith as blind; it has revealed itself, at least, to the regions of the mind formerly unable to grasp its implications. Katra and Targ have helped to unlock the long-locked door between the rooms of science and the rooms of God.
Like a great pyramyid as it reaches toward its single-pointed capstone, all seperate issues in life are resolved in one great higher truth. Whether our movement is through the spiritual rigor of prayer or the mental rigor of science, the uppermost end of the journey is the love of God. So say some already: after reading this book, many more will agree. Join them.
One doesn’t have to believe in any religion or buy into any dogma. Scientifically minded, rational eyes will do, for Katra and Targ have made sure of it. They hold a candle up for everyone, and in its light is revealed a much expanded, more unified world within and without. Every road is a mountain road, and there turns out to be only one mountain.
The peak, as you shall see in this book, is spectacular—scientifically sound as well as absolutely miraculous. Katra and Targ provide a wonderful view.
— Marianne Williamson
Q&A: What it’s about
1. What is the heart of the mind?
The heart of the mind is the love, or the flow of loving awareness, that is at our core, and which allows us to have the experience of God. We are able to experience that love when we learn to quiet our mental chatter of thoughts, and rest our minds in present stillness. The purpose of experiencing the heart of the mind is not about self-improvement; it is about self-realization, or transformation. Improvement is always nice, but it undervalues what is available.
2. What does the heart of the mind have to do with organized religion?
Religions were inspired by such mystics as Jesus, Abraham, Buddha, and Muhammad, all of whom had a transcendent experience of being overcome with limitless love. Many religions describe the experience as a revelation of God. However, this experience does not require that one belong to any organized religion, do any specific ritual, or believe any dogma.
3. What is the difference between the experience of God and belief in God?
Organized religions often celebrate a path to God, rather than the experience of God, which is consciousness transforming. It is easier to recite prayers and sing songs, than it is to stop thinking and doing, and surrender to the silence, allowing your awareness to rest in its source. Worship services often engage peoples’ attention with prayers, recitations and inspiring messages, contributing to the endless distractions available that ensure that we never have to have an intimate moment with our own still mind again.
Experiencing God, the loving consciousness at our core, transforms fear and anger, and promotes peace in the world, rather than holy wars.
4. What do you mean by evolution of consciousness?
Repeated encounters of union with God, or unity consciousness, allows the out-flowing love — the pure unbounded consciousness which is at our core — to transform our perceptions. Attending to the heart of the mind is deeply relaxing, while it expands our capacity for awareness itself. Experiencing your own still mind’s unbounded awareness promotes energy and health of the body; it unveils the psychic abilities that are naturally available to quiet receptive minds; and reveals our enduring connection to all conscious beings. Wisdom teachers throughout the world have said these changes in our consciousness are purposeful and evolutionary.
5. How can a person experience God in their lives if they don’t believe in God?
Seeking an experience of God is a testable experiment, requiring only ones willingness to do nothing, remain silent, cease thinking, and direct ones attention within. Stabilizing your attention by “resting your mind in God” yields an experience of dynamic energy, light, and loving connection to all consciousness. This love is neither sexual nor sentimental, and it has no object or agenda except the expression of itself. Experiencing God is an experience of being a channel or conduit for unlimited love, and it is available to all, regardless of your beliefs.
6. What do you mean by the phrase, “We are hardwired for God?” Does it mean we are all mystics?
After more than 25 years as a stress-reduction researcher and physician, Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School concluded that belief in a limitless power is innate to all humanity. He found that people all over the world are physiologically geared to seek transpersonal experiences of prayer or meditation, though they may not use those terms. Benson coined the phrase “Wired for God” to describe the natural impulse that compels people from all cultures to direct their attention to this great power or energy source which feels near, and which promotes healing of the body and the mind. We all have the innate capacity to experience, and carry in our lives an awareness of the loving consciousness that is at our core, which seeks to extend itself through us.
7. Why couldn’t Carl Sagan find God?
In Sagan’s last book, The Demon Haunted World (1996), he examined flying saucers, crop circles, alien abductions, and God, and found them all incomprehensible. In order to experience God you have to have a still receptive mind. Sagan was so brilliant, he was inundated with his own thoughts. Although he obviously was looking for God, he failed in that quest, because God is revealed in a quiet mind, and is inaccessible by thought.
8. What do you mean by “separation is an illusion?”
The awareness which animates and informs our being is not limited to our brains or bodies. We are all connected to one another and all of life through our nonlocal consciousness. Nonlocality is a modern physics term relating to the idea that we live in a holographic universe where all the parts are inter-connected. Although the idea of separation as an illusion was first described by Buddha and other Indian philosophers over twenty-five hundred years ago, the concept has new currency as the quantum-interconnectedness described by physicist David Bohm, and demonstrated in many recent physics experiments. Christians might say that we are all one in God, while a physicist says that there is no separation, because that’s the way the universe is built.
9. What do mind-to-mind connections, ESP, and psychic spying have to do with spirituality?
Throughout twenty years of research in the 1970’s and 80’s at Stanford Research Institute, we found that most people have the mental ability to describe and experience activities at distant places which are blocked from ordinary perception. We called this clairvoyant or psychic ability “remote viewing,” although this expanded awareness is not limited to vision. ESP and remote perception are possible because of our connection in consciousness to each other, as well as to the source of awareness itself, which is God.
Our studies of ESP and expanded awareness at SRI were financed by the CIA and other US defense intelligence agencies, for the purpose of spying on the Russians during the Cold War.
10. Why would a scientist pray?
Many scientists would rather suffer a total crisis of pain and lack of meaning, than be caught believing something silly. If God is perceived as being an experience, or an activity in ones consciousness, rather than as some person or thing to believe in, prayer may be less of a threat. For a scientist, silliness is a fate worse than death. Prayer is a state in which we are receptive to Truth without conscious thought.
11. As a scientist, do you really believe there is life after death?
The contemporary evidence is now very strong that some aspect of our personality or memory survives. Psychiatrist Ian Stevenson at the University of Virginia has collected hundreds of case reports showing that some young children have verifiable memories of past lives, including the ability to identify wives, sweethearts, and even murderers from a previous life. At this time, a reasonable person could hold the opinion that some part of our mind-stuff does endure after the death of the body, but, nonetheless, we wouldn’t recommend putting off any present plans to be accomplished in your next lifetime.
12. What makes you think that spiritual healing is actually effective?
The research-based evidence for distant healing is now quite strong. It appears that a spiritual healer can focus her attention on the well-being of a distant person, and send that person loving prayers or a healing message, with the expectation that the person will experience improved health. Papers have been published in medical journals attesting to the success of distant healers in helping both cardiac and AIDS patients in formal, double-blind, hospital-based experiments. Distant healing provides more evidence for our mind-to-mind connections.
13. How do our dreams suggest that the future affects the past?
From Biblical times to the present, people have been aware that dreams can sometimes foretell events in the future. Formal experiments at Stanford Research Institute and Princeton have shown convincingly that people in the laboratory can describe pictures and places that they will see at a later time, even before these precognitive targets have been chosen by a random number generator. This shows that our consciousness is not limited by space or time.
We are most open to all psychic connections in our dreams. The elephant that you see in a parade today, may be the cause of your dream about an elephant last night.
14. Why are addictions called spiritual illnesses?
An addiction to sex, drugs, alcohol, or anything else indicates a search for an external solution to an internal pain. Mind-altering substances can definitely stop the internal chatter temporarily, but addictions are often a response to a person’s failure to contact the love that is at his or her own core. Addictions often stem from our innate yearning for transcendence, for connection to something greater than our separate selves, and for freedom from depressing thoughts of meaninglessness and isolation; and that’s why they are called spiritual illnesses.
15. Is it possible to find peace of mind in Silicon Valley?
You can be in peace; you can’t have peace. Peace and happiness ensue from peaceful moments in the present, rather than accomplishments. In Silicon Valley people are obsessed with accomplishments, because it is so easy in that stimulating environment. After you have all the money you need, then you can devote the rest of your life to remodeling. One goal of our book is to help people move their attention from all the busy doing, which leads to desperation and fear, to being in stillness, gratitude and peace. It is possible to be in peace in Silicon Valley, but you do have to give up the remodeling.
16. Does your book tell us how to find the meaning of life?
Through the ages, mystics of every religious persuasion have felt that the most meaningful thing a person could devote his or her life to, is learning to direct ones attention within, to make a conscious connection with some transforming spiritual experience – we could say, “to learn to know God” – and then to help other people to do the same. The Heart of the Mind is about our human opportunity to take control of our attention, and realize the power of consciousness.