Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities (2013)
Dean Radin, PhD
In his recent book, Dr. Radin explores a fascinating question; what would we learn about the validity - or lack of same - of psychic phenomenon if we analyzed the anecdotal information we've recorded over the years with scientific rigor?
"Gaining a deeper understanding of consciousness will play an increasingly important role in twenty-first -century science. If the evolution of knowledge in this century exceeds that of the last, which seems likely, then we can look forward to a future that's likely to redefine our concepts of reality far beyond any of the strangest concepts we've encountered so far." --Dean Radin, 'Supernormal'After a nice walk-through of yoga's origins and its shorter history in the U.S., Radin focuses on the 'supernormal' abilities linked to the yogic siddhis (powers achieved by advanced meditatives) during his detailed analysis, using data from controlled experiments in peer-reviewed scientific journals. (I definitely picked up some tidbits about my newly reinvigorated yoga practice!) Radin also takes a quick look at some of the other methods people use to alter consciousness: extreme sports, psychedelics and shamanism, for example. And because there are so many methods, many people end up encountering the 'supernormal' at least once in their lives. It is for this reason, Radin argues, that a belief in spirit beyond form has persistently arisen in all human cultures. After further discussing the way in which beliefs color our perceptions, Dr. Radin dives into a thorough examination of the experimental data surrounding each of the siddhis; it gets pretty deep into math and statistical explanations but if you're up for it, the book makes an interesting case about the nature of 'supernormal' phenomenon.