The Nonlocal Mind, by Larry Dossey, MD

Many scholars predicted that brain research would prove conclusively that consciousness is a product of the physical brain. It is ironic, however, that as we learn more about the brain, we discover that the local brain cannot account for the nonlocal ways in which consciousness manifests. Why isn’t a brain-based approach to consciousness sufficient? How does nonlocal consciousness manifest?

Human consciousness is fundamentally nonlocal—not localized or confined to specific points in space, such as brains and bodies, nor to specific points in time, such as the present. A mind that is nonlocal is unbounded in space and time, and cannot be separate from other minds, but must be united with all other minds. Unbounded minds would therefore form what I’ve called the One Mind. Our concept of mind has been expanding for some time. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we were introduced to several subdivisions of mind—the conscious, preconscious, subconscious, unconscious, the collective conscious, and collective unconscious. The One Mind is an additional perspective but it is not a subdivision. It is the overarching, inclusive dimension to which all the mental components of all individual minds belong.

Nonlocal mind is associated with nonlocal mental experiences. For instance, individuals may know things remotely, even at global distances. In studies testing this premise, the against-chance odds are millions to one. They may know future events, either consciously or unconsciously. They may successfully direct healing intentions to distant individuals who are in need, or mentally influence the healing rates of wounds in animals. Individuals may acquire detailed information about scenes and situations at global distances. These phenomena all reveal an aspect of consciousness that transcends physical confinement.

If all individual minds are part of a greater mind, do we then lose our identity? Psychologist Joseph Chilton Pearce says: “There are levels on which thoughts can, under very special conditions, interchange, and there are levels where they cannot.” There are rules governing these connections; otherwise, the world would be a mess. Because our minds don’t dissolve into sameness, specific and individualized one-Mind events are preserved. The One Mind is picky. A worried mother can connect with her child, not all children. Remote viewers can connect with specific scenes, not the entire planetary landscape. The One Mind manifests in our lives in unique ways; it awaits instructions and prompting based on the needs, wishes, desires, and intentions of individuals and situations. This is why information arising from it can be highly individualized, not random. Pattern, specificity, and individuality, therefore, typify the way the One Mind manifests in our lives.

A number of theories attempt to explain our One Mind connections, such as the concept of entanglement, drawn from quantum physics. Morphic fields, proposed by biologist Rupert Sheldrake also tries to explain the ways in which One Mind manifests in life. The hologram is another metaphor that helps illustrate the relationship between single, individual minds and the One Mind. However, at some level, all talk of mechanism — whether nonlocality, entanglement, holograms or any other process — becomes irrelevant. These concepts are watered-down versions of the Real Thing so as to be graspable by human brains. Sages who represent the esoteric side of the great wisdom traditions unanimously maintain that, as understanding grows, all descriptions of the Absolute are eventually transcended. Thus, Meister Eckhart, Germany’s great fourteenth-century Christian mystic, proclaimed, “Nothing is so like God as silence.” Silence means creating a place where a higher form of knowing can enter. The mystics consider this passage into silence a prerequisite for Divine Union — complete absorption into the One Mind, the All, the Absolute, the Source. At this stage, language is simply outgrown and is superseded by being.

Learning to think nonlocally is our most important challenge. Our response to all the problems we face as humans are subsumed by this single task. Our willingness to think and function as nonlocal creatures who are “infinite in faculty,” as Shakespeare said in Hamlet, linked inseparably to one another and all else, permits us to tap into the reservoir of wisdom that is the One Mind, unleashing a cascade of potent responses to the difficulties that confront us.

larry-dossey-headshotDr. Larry Dossey is an internationally influential advocate of the role of the mind in health and the role of spirituality in healthcare. He completed his medical training in internal medicine and also served as a battalion surgeon in Vietnam where he was decorated for valor. The author of twelve books and numerous articles, Dr. Dossey is the former Executive Editor of the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, and currently Executive Editor of the journal Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. In 2013, Dr. Dossey received the prestigious Visionary Award by the Integrative Healthcare Symposium, that honors a pioneer whose visionary ideas have shaped integrative healthcare and the medical profession. For more information: