Eileen J. Garrett on Consciousness

Lisette Coly, President of the Parapsychology Foundation

Just recently the Society for Psychical Research within their Facebook page displayed  the cover of Eileen J. Garrett’s Awareness for those interested in Mediumship. First published in 1943, PF brought it back into print in 2007 along with a foreword by Rhea White with a prologue I penned. Rhea, a long term  colleague, grantee, conference participant as well  as  dear friend to the  Foundation and its administrators coined the term Exceptional Human Experience and felt that Awareness could be viewed as one long EHE. It is with gratitude and pride that at Rhea’s passing she bequeathed her website—to be updated—and writings to PF. Thanks to the SPR for reminding me of the riches contained within its volume still available for purchase along with the Awareness DVD audio book read by me with an accompanying  free form display inviting the listener to consider the workings of Awareness  personally within the field of human consciousness  I was prompted to herewith share some of my grandmother’s thoughts on consciousness.


Rhea White at the 1985 Parapsychology, Philosophy and Religious Concepts Conference in Rome, Italy.

She covered a lot of ground in chapters entitled to name just a few: “Consciousness,” “Sleep and Dreams,” “Healing,” “The Way Inward,” “Trance and the Controls.” As Rhea opined in her Forward:

“Mrs. Garrett has written some of the best books available about what it feels like to be a psychic and a medium and the far-reaching implications of both. Awareness is one of the best. In rereading this book after fifty years, I was not only greatly impressed all over again after all those years in the field, but I saw more clearly then when I was a newcomer the great value it has for persons who have had any kind of exceptional experience, not only psychic ones…I am confident that those who read this and others of her several books will agree. Her overmastering personality is matched by her wisdom concerning the “inside” of being psychic because she was so highly aware and conscious of the process involved from her own personal experience. It didn’t hurt that she was such a good writer that she was able to convey the details of her life and experiences such that the reader feels “inside her head.” Awareness should open inner doors for anyone who reads it, whether it is the first or a subsequent reading.”

Parapsychology Foundation’s Founder Eileen J. Garrett

High praise for sure from a colleague known to be discerning and overwhelmingly well versed in the literature of psychical research.  Perhaps we can open some of those “inner doors” with quotations taken from the chapter on Consciousness.

“The subconscious is related to the past—the inherited and experienced past of the individual. The conscious operates  always in the present—in each ‘here’ and ‘now’ of the individual in the constantly shifting relativities of time and space. The superconscious is the field of the future and the individually unknown, the entire field of the universal that lies outside of the individual’s subconscious and conscious fields, no matter whether the data of this superconscious field exist in the past, the present, or the future areas of our divided conception of time. This is the supersensory field, a field in which perception does not depend on the five senses. Into this super-sensory field the abstract consciousness  of the human being is capable of expanding…It is generally supposed that man’s five senses  are the messenger and agents of the human consciousness in the relations with the world that lies outside itself…But science has held that the senses are the only means by which the human consciousness can become aware of the objective world.  Yet the human mind, by virtue of its innate capacities, has discovered a world that is vastly different from and immensely greater than the world which we know by way of the five senses…We must also consider the peculiar nature of awareness…What happens to us at times is that, as we withdraw from the environing world, we relegate  the activities of the five senses to the field of the subconscious  and seek to focus on awareness in the field of the superconscious—the timeless, spaceless field of the as yet unknown.  Awareness is the searchlight of consciousness.

…In my opinion consciousness is continuous, a continuum which corresponds to the space-time continuum. The space-time continuum is the very field in which the human consciousness moves and perceives.   In both of these phases of infinitude, individual man is immersed. The space-time continuum represents our conception of eternity and we are living in eternity now.  Thus immersed in the universal, man is a part of the whole, but only a fragment of the inseparable energy, substance, consciousness, and life that fill the universe;  and his finite capacities make such contacts as they may in an environment which is always more or less limited for him individually, but which is itself everlasting and infinite, and infinitely varied in its manifestations…And strange, as it may seem, one moves outward in this direction by turning inward upon oneself…The supersensory experiences of clairvoyance, trance, telepathy, and so on depend upon a fundamental shift of one’s awareness.  The organism now responds to stimuli that arise in the environmental conditions which awareness discovers in the non-physical areas of the space-time continuum.

…What we are seeking, in our attempts to analyze telepathy, clairvoyance, and other supersensory activities, is an understanding of the human consciousness as a whole. All of the psychic phenomena occurring in the world—so far as man is aware of them at all—occur simply as expansions or extensions of the human consciousness beyond the commonly accepted fields. I believe that some phases of this expansion occur to most people very commonly.”

I could go on quoting chapter and verse but invite you to read Awareness for yourself—its even in Kindle format. I am very fond of Garrett’s statement in the preface to the first edition:

“Science, with all its undeniable splendors of achievement, is restricted by its self-imposed limitations to the field of after-the fact. It deals with the ‘given,’ but excludes the source of the gift…Humanity is itself the laboratory and testing ground of all possible events in the  universe. In this book I invite your attention beyond the field of the ‘given,’ into areas where the giving occurs; and I have endeavored to indicate, without dogmatism, some aspects of my own experience in the subtle perceptive testing of that sphere…I am not suggesting that large numbers of people shall attempt to become ‘psychic’ but I am suggesting—even recommending—that they take some steps toward an awareness of the supersensory areas of the human being.”

So there you have a mere soupcon of the contents of Awareness—and only touching on the topic of consciousness. I will close  now with her plea for increased knowledge of our inner potentialities which  I think remains as valid now as when she was writing, when  she reminds us that  as in the ancient legend, the golden key to man’s destiny is hidden within himself.

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