by Larry Dossey
As an internal medicine physician, I was taught in my university, medical school, and post-graduate training that human consciousness is a mysterious product of the physical brain. This was considered so axiomatic that alternative views of the mind-brain relationship were simply never discussed. Entire specialty areas such as neurology, neurosurgery, and neuroscience affirmed this “obvious” but unexplained fact.
However, this materialistic view — consciousness as a result of brain function that is limited to local, sensory-based exchanges of information — was not obvious to J. B. Rhine. In his lifetime he did more than any other individual to establish the new science of parapsychology and the nonlocal role of mind in nature.
It was predictable that Rhine’s discoveries would face formidable challenges. I am evidence. In almost a quarter century of formal education, I never once encountered a lecture that featured Rhine’s research, parapsychology in general, or the nonlocal expressions of consciousness.
That boycott did not last. Early in my private practice of internal medicine, I experienced a precognitive dream in which the details were played out the following day. It involved the young son of a colleague of mine. At the time I felt it was the most vivid dream I had ever experienced. As the dream unfolded in real life, I was astonished. I knew that my concepts of space, time, and consciousness would never again be the same. I realized that much of my learning had to be unlearned — and that, quite simply, the universe worked differently than I was taught.
My patients were my teachers. Sensing my openness, they occasionally related dreams of impending illness in the total absence of symptoms. Their dreamed pathology would later be confirmed by sophisticated medical tests. Nurses in the coronary care unit divulged to me that they somehow knew which patients would suffer cardiac arrest on their shift, without any pre-arrest warning signs such as heart rhythm disturbances or changes in vital signs. On one occasion a secretary on a busy medical ward, who had no medical training or responsibility for actual medical care, described how she “just knew” when a patient on her ward was going to “crash.” Her solution was to make friends with a particular nurse who took her intuitions seriously and who was ready when the emergency happened, as it usually did. These events exist alongside near-death experiences or NDEs, which roughly fifteen million Americans currently describe, which commonly occur in hospital wards, critical care units, and emergency rooms.
As a consequence of these happening, I have come to regard modern hospitals as fertile ground for the paranormal events that J. B. Rhine managed to bring under the umbrella of science. But Rhine ranged far beyond healthcare facilities, of course. He brought parapsychology into the normal daily existence of everyone, as the following letters reveal.
My experiences with the paranormal that occurred in my medical practice led to a close relationship with the Rhine Research Center, Sally Rhine Feather, and many of the brilliant researchers that have been associated with the Center.
From my vantage point, there is overwhelming evidence that the view of human consciousness that J. B. Rhine explored plays a decisive role in human health and longevity….one of the most gifted consciousness researchers the world has produced. We are in his debt. In his letters, you will see why.
Larry Dossey, M.D., is a physician and the author of numerous books, including The Power of Premonitions and One Mind. He is executive editor of Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.