An Epiphany in Space | Edgar Mitchell
In this one minute video, Apollo astronaut Capt. Edgar Mitchell shares the extraordinary story of his mystical experience in space while returning from the moon, an experience that led him to shift his whole vision of reality. Yogis call such an experience “samadhi,” and it led Edgar to create the Institute of Noetic Sciences to explore the meeting of science and spirituality, as well as the creation of a new worldview.
After his safe return "home," Edgar Mitchell sought out others who likewise felt the need for an expanded, more inclusive view of reality. They resolved to explore the inner world of human experience with the same rigor and critical thinking that made it possible for Apollo 14 to journey to the moon and back. In 1973, this small group of explorers founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences—derived from the Greek word nous, meaning something close to "intuitive ways of knowing." (Dr Mitchell’s story is told in the book The Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronaut’s Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds).
The mission of these noetic scientists was, and has been, to expand our understanding of human possibility by investigating aspects of reality—mind, consciousness, and spirit—that include but go beyond physical phenomena. They seek to seek to understand the inner world as thoroughly as we have the outer world—based on the premise that what finds expression in the world at large is a reflection of our interior landscape. Today, three decades later, the institute carries out its mission as a worldwide research, education, and membership-based organization in Petaluma, California.
Over the years, we have sponsored hundreds of projects, including a comprehensive bibliography on the physical and psychological effects of meditation, an extensive spontaneous remission bibliography, and studies on the efficacy of compassionate intention on healing in AIDS patients (see our Research section for detailed information on our scientific endeavors). Since 1987, the institute has published a magazine (now called Shift: At the Frontiers of Consciousness) that highlights the broad field of noetic sciences also played a key role in the development of the popular Heart of Healing television series and book (shown by Turner Broadcasting in 1993).
In the year 2000, the institute expanded its scope by purchasing 200 acres of land in Northern California for our offices, scientific laboratory, and retreat center. Today we have nearly 30,000 members and close to 300 community groups worldwide. We invite you to join our organization and get involved as we continue to actualize Dr Mitchell’s vision of deep exploration of consciousness, self, and society.