“There are no unnatural or supernatural

phenomena, only very large gaps in our

knowledge of what is natural.....

We should strive to fill

those gaps of ignorance.”

----Edgar Mitchell

Dear Fellow Explorer,

Have you ever had an intuitive feeling, an experience of inner knowing that you experienced just as concretely as logical thought? As an Apollo 14 astronaut, I had the tremendous privilege of being the sixth person to walk on the moon— and that journey changed both my outer and inner perspectives forever. Heading back to Earth, I had another life-altering experience for which nothing had prepar-ed me. As I approached the planet we know as home, I was filled with an inner conviction as certain as any mathematical equation I’d ever solved. I suddenly knew—a knowledge I believe you share—that the beautiful blue world to which we were returning is part of a living system, harmonious and whole; and that we all participate in a universe of consciousness.

Having been trained as an engineer and scientist, I was most comfortable in the world of rationality and physical precision. Yet the understanding that came to me as I journeyed back from space felt just as trustworthy—it represented another way of knowing. This experience radically altered my worldview: At what was then the peak of scientific achievement, I saw that—with our sole emphasis on reason and technology—we had barely begun to probe some of the most fundamental mysteries of the universe. I became convinced that the uncharted territory of human consciousness was the next frontier to explore, that it contained possibilities we had just hardly begun to imagine. Within two years of my expedition, in 1973, I founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences for this purpose----“noetic” coming from the Greek word nous, meaning “ways of knowing.” This is part of my story, but the Institute is for you and people like you to share your stories and together to create a new guiding story that will shape our future positively.


For 25 years, the Institute of Noetic Sciences has been at the forefront of research and education on consciousness and human potential. From the beginning, we have pursued this inquiry through rigorous science. We honor open-minded approaches and strive to bring discernment to our work. We are not a spiritual sect, political -action group, or single-cause institute. We are a nonprofit membership organization that both conducts and sponsors research into the workings and powers of the mind, including perception, beliefs, attention, intention, and intuition. We are bold enough to inquire about phenomena that don’t fit into the conventional scientific model. Our research covers such pioneering topics as:

          * the link between imagery, emotions, the brain and the immune system;

          * the effect of prayer and intentions on healing;

          * the meeting of modern science, insights from the world’s wisdom

                    traditions and indigenous cultures;

          * expanding the scope of consciousness through practices such as

                    meditation, lucid dreaming, biofeedback, and hypnosis;

          * the relationship of personal and social transformation.

We educate the public about the latest findings in these areas through our publications, conferences and website; and we support community-building by providing ways for members and colleagues to share their experiences and ideas with one another through community groups, online vehicles, and other networking opportunities.

Seeking to better understand the positive role of humanity in the world has guided our focus for the last quarter-century. As time passes, our sense of urgency grows. To enter the next century and begin to shape a world that is equitable, compassionate, and sustainable for all requires immediate action. We need to understand more deeply both the tremendous challenges and the vast opportunities we face. We need to more fully comprehend the range of our human potential and how to nurture it. And we need each other to envision, plan, and work together toward creating better lives—and a better world.



By exploring consciousness we discover what it means to be human. Consciousness includes our thoughts, dreams, feelings, the wisdom of our bodies, our spiritual knowing—and our capacities for self-awareness, joy, and purposeful action. We focus on consciousness because we are aware that what we think, believe, feel and value deeply affects how we live . By researching human abilities once thought improbable, by questioning existing social and scientific assumptions, and by discovering ways to live more consciously, we broaden the possibilities of what we might achieve with our lives. Exploring consciousness is a catalyst for expanding the boundaries of what is possible . And with possibility comes real, and realistic, hope.


The Institute of Noetic Sciences is our growing membership of 50,000 people from around the world—well-educated, thoughtful, and committed people Like you. Our strategic partners include the Fetzer Institute, New Dimensions Radio, California Pacific Medical Center, and others. Our colleagues include Herbert Benson, Dean Ornish, Deepak Chopra, Rachel Naomi Remen, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Angeles Arrien, Peter Russell, Jean Houston, Larry Dossey, Amit Goswami, Rupert Sheldrake and Joan Borysenko. Together we engage in a wide variety of forums to explore what it means to be human—and how we can elevate and expand our quality of life, our inner knowing, our powers of mind, and our hidden potential.


We believe that curiosity and creativity are natural capacities shared by all of us. An inner drive propels us to keep questioning, to keep learning, and to keep developing new options. Creative exploration is at the heart of everything we do at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. We challenge ourselves to engage in creative thought and inquiry, in creative problem-solving and projects. We publish two magazines for members, the Noetic Sciences Review and Connections; have an engaging website and plans for a radio program; offer stimulating conferences and lectures; and sponsor a travel program that enables journeyers to meet extraordinary people and explore out-of-the-ordinary topics in exotic locales.


When you join the Institute of Noetic Sciences, you join an international network of people who are excited about the possibilities of being human—people who are all devoted to creating a better world in their own individual ways. Our growing community is marked by commitment to the highest values, the willingness to face difficult truths, recognition of the power of spirit, and courage—the courage both to know and, as the poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, to “live the questions now.”

The Institute of Noetic Sciences is unique. We question the beliefs that all of us learned to take for granted, while we simultaneously hold an open-minded and optimistic vision of a greater whole. We support our members in exploring the special contributions each of us can make, and we provide leadership in suggesting ideas for how to do so. We contribute new knowledge through our research program and we share that knowledge through our education and communications activities. We, like you, want to live in a world that honors every individual and encourages creativity and compassion in our communities. We want to be full participants in a living cosmos, dedicated and loving people who realize the significance of the role we have to play every day that we’re alive. We want to live in a world full of passion for the possibilities—among people who celebrate the mysteries of life and the wonders of this jewel-like sphere called Earth that I was privileged enough to see suspended in a starlit black sky. We hope you’ll join us.

With thanks for your contribution to our collective exploration,

          (Signature affixed - -Edgar D. Mitchell)

Edgar D. Mitchell, ScD, Captain USN (Ret)

          Founder, Institute of Noetic Sciences

475 Gate Five Road, Suite 300,

                                                                                  Sausalito, California 94965

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