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THE SEARCH FOR EXPANDED CONSCIOUSNESS With the person-centered approach - page 4 / 14





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There were often paranormal experiences which all members shared, but none could


During the second year, I did a qualitative study of the program to see if I could

discover more about the power, intensity, and collective intelligence that occur in these

groups. I conducted non-directed, indepth interviews at the beginning and the end of the

year-long program with twelve learners chosen for diversity in age, educational

background, and professional experience—psychologists, educators, retirees, medical

professionals, homemakers. The interviews went on for several hours, and I began each

one by asking “Can you describe the nature of learning/knowing that has occurred here

for you?”

There were two kinds of learning that participants described. The first and most

intense, I call tacit, wholistic, pre-reflective or, organismic learning/knowing. Recurrent

themes about this learning/knowing emerged consistently from interviewees: 1) it

arrived when the learner was relaxed and in a receptive state; 2) it was self-appropriated;

3) it involved the whole person with intellect, emotions, physiological shifts; 4) it was

concerned with deep, pervasive, personal meaning rather than facts, concepts or

information; 5) it strongly affected behavior, values, attitudes, and the self-esteem of the

learner; 6) it involved an actual change in consciousness and subsequent behavior.

Learners had great difficulty in articulating these learnings. They said things like

“I could paint it but don’t know how to talk about it.” ”I have no words that can

communicate what I know.” “See that beautiful butterfly? That expresses what it was

more than anything I can say.” They consistently pointed to the climate and the absence

of authority, the deep, non-interruptive quality of listening, the safety and trust within the


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