Amplifying Global Consciousness with VR and Psychedelics
UNIFY founder Adil Kassam discusses how technology coupled with global group meditation can facilitate synchronized transformational experiences among…
Adil Kassam is a film, media, and tech entrepreneur who brings a loving heart to unifying humanity and elevating consciousness at scale. As founder of UNIFY.org, he has hosted hundreds of Global Meditations with thousands of organizations and millions of participants over the last 10 years. In 2014, UNIFY set its first Guinness World Record with the Chopra Center for the largest Global Meditation in human history. UNIFY has an engaged influencer network and reaches an audience of over 100 million people per month on Facebook. UNIFY conducts global meditations on World Water Day, Earth Day, Yoga Day, Peace Day and World Spirit Day.
Kassam and I became fast friends after meeting at his Vancouver Island sanctuary this past summer. The breadth of his vision for global peace is equally matched by his work ethic and clear understanding of what’s possible, and how we can get there.
A mentor of mine once said, “We do not need any more thought leaders, we need action leaders.” In this conversation, Kassam shares how he puts that into practice.
Your work with UNIFY is about the power of the collective and the Maharishi Effect. Can you explain what that is, and how technology has allowed you to facilitate that?
There’s been thousands of doubleblind, peer reviewed tests of the Maharishi experiment. It extends from Rupert Sheldrake’s work with morphic resonance. What he postulated is that when there’s a school of fish moving, they aren’t all communicating with each other. So how are they moving together? They’re actually connected by some field of intelligence.
Birds who are not all chirping together, but moving together as one body – is there something that connects them? He felt there was. Then he said, if that’s true for birds and fishes, it may be true for humans. Testing proved that we clearly work connected by a field of intelligence called the Unified Field.
To a degree, we know this when we have a psychedelic experience. People describe moving outside the boundaries of their skin and experiencing a oneness with nature or humanity. This field of intelligence is underlying their own experience. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi understood that. All the great mystics understood this.
He believed that if the square root of one percent of a city’s population meditates consistently with the intention to lower crime and violence rates, crimes and violence rates will decrease. Studies have found that crime and violences rates consistently decrease when this percentage of a population meditates. This is the Maharishi Effect.
If you’ve ever been to a hostile region, like Israel or other contested regions, you feel an underlying current of conflict. At the same time, if you’ve been to an ashram, temple, or sanctuary, you feel a field of peace. My sense is that we can move the soul of an environment toward the unified field.
So, if the experiments were done with the square root of one percent of the city’s population meditating, it creates a tangible field of peace that the other humans in the city, whether they’re meditating or not, can feel. They feel less conflict, more happiness and contentment. A group meditating in a city is a form of peace activism.
I came up with the first global synchronized meditation on December 21, 2012. If the Maharishi Effect is true, then what happens if you have 2000 cities doing it at the same time? Could you affect the field of peace that human beings are feeding into and drawing from at a global level?
It’s really hard to prove. But there’s been a few times where we did a major global meditation during international conflict, and the next day a ceasefire was announced. A lot of it had to do with the press that it created, but maybe that’s all part of our awareness. It’s all part of it. Human beings are aware that they can choose peace, and that choosing that together, synchronized, perhaps creates a field of peace that can lower violence at a global level.
The real question is, if you can do it for one day, can you do it for a week? A month? A year? Can you have a sustained meditation vigil by hundreds of millions of people 24 hours a day? That is a form of sacred activism that people can participate in.
Perhaps with the advent of technology, we can even measure that. That’s what’s happening with the Global Consciousness Project, the Global Coherence Initiative, HeartMath Institute, and Resonance Science Foundation .
It’s measured in various ways. Humans have heart rate variability, the fluctuation in time between heartbeats. Our heart rates synchronize with other people’s heart beats, another shared experience. We know that with shared emotional experiences, like a soccer game where we’re cheering together, we have an expanded feeling of happiness at the same time. We’re intuitively aware of that.
HeartMath was able to measure this with heart rate variability monitors on people in large, social experiences. We’re like musical instruments – you pluck a C chord and we all experience the C. It’s fascinating how our heartbeats sync up. It’s like women who live together: their circadian rhythms begin to resonate, and they start having their periods at the same time.
The fluctuations in the magnetic field of the Earth as it hurtles through space are being measured in people’s heart rate variability on mass. That’s a radical concept, that somehow our heart rate variability is this fundamental rhythm, that all beings are somehow related to the fundamental rule of the earth. So HeartMath was able to begin to measure it and start the Global Coherence Initiative and within that a Tree Monitoring Network, where they carefully monitor magnetic fields through trees.
They have sensors all over the planet measuring the magnetic field. At the same time, they’ve got all this heart rate variability data. And they’re starting to interpolate all that data and realizing it’s totally syncopated.
When we got involved with HeartMath, I asked them to pay attention during the global meditation. They’re like, look at this, it’s spiking right now, millions or hundreds of millions people are meditating at the same time. We showed that it’s measurable.
Psychedelics and new exponential technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are hitting the mainstream. What do you think is the potential as these two movements collide?
The ancients described the initiated versus the initiates. Like your homies that have been to Burning Man or have had a psychedelic experience, and your friends that haven’t but think they know what it’s about. I bet you there’s a way to measure the change in someone’s neurology after they have a true psychedelic experience. The question is, what’s the psychedelic experience? Is it different if you consume peyote versus ayahuasca versus iboga versus having an AR or VR experience?
I have had really profound experiences through immersive technology. I had a full blown psychedelic experience without medicine. It was transformative.
My sense is that the great awakening of the human race has to do with the great transformation of the human race, whether we can measure it or not. And this transformation has everything to do with a simultaneous initiation or transformative experience. Now, how the eff are you going to do that? This is what I’m fascinated with. I’m interested in the potential of a synchronized global transformation at scale.
People have biases about psychedelic medicines and their association with drugs. It’s a big barrier to entry for most people on planet Earth. That’ll change when they have their first psychedelic experience, go to Burning Man for the first time, or have a spontaneous transformational experience in meditation or breathwork. Once you experience it, you can recognize when it’s happened in another person. We look for that ability to relate to each other.
A genuine experience of transformation is coming to a massive convergence point. It will become a regular ritual of the initiated, and perhaps even the uninitiated that will want to share a simultaneous psychedelic experience, or the feeling of oneness at scale regularly. I believe that will grow in our future. Like everybody tuning into the World Cup. That’s when you’ll know we’ve arrived as a spiritual society. It’ll be different with each culture, but perhaps the psychedelic experience is the same regardless of race, religion, culture, or access point – whether you experience it through breathwork, meditation, or psychedelic substances.
Most psychonauts are mixing all of it – breathwork, medicine, VR experiences. It’s a biological imperative. People need it for their mental health. I know I do. It’s part of my life now. Most people who’ve tasted it are not just in for a one off experience. It becomes a central focus of their lives. If given to as many people as possible on planet earth, it could perhaps cause a global transformation.
What other epic projects are you working on?
Kenobi and the Resonance Science Foundation. We’re seeing that access to the psychedelic experience is being mirrored in physics, engineering, and science. You can research it at resonancescience.org or kenobi.io. There are about 57 high level engineers developing technology resonant with the unified field: medical, water, energy, food production and environmental technologies. It’s all birthed out of the psychedelic experience.
I think what’s coming about will be tantamount to the industrial revolution, the printing press, or the shift from analog to digital. There’s another revolution coming, a validation of these technologies and the existence of the unified field as a measurable physical reality.
I’m excited about the science of the unified field and our ability to access it, whether through our own consciousness or through certain technologies becoming mainstream. It creates the potential for there not to be a gap between the initiated and the uninitiated. It becomes destigmatized and normalized. We want that for our mother or father or friends that haven’t experienced it. I’m excited about the work we’re doing in all these respective fields. They’re becoming unified and accessible to the mainstream. Kids are dealing with the highest rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide in recorded history. We’re experiencing a mental health epidemic which we know can be resolved.
There are really incredible solutions happening that people are unaware of. It’s interesting to think about how global mental health would shift if they knew about projects outside of Elon Musks that are helping people. No one really knows.
What is the ultimate vision for UNIFY and the power of trans media to facilitate non ordinary states of consciousness?
At a baseline level, what I’m interested in is a society that’s been initiated to have a repeatable transformational experience with immersive VR at the same time. Imagine having 100 million people showing up with the goal of meditation, and 10% of that population having a digital VR therapeutic on. We can synchronize the experience for them at the same time.
Using the consciousness amplification technologies during a global meditation could interrupt the pattern of some of the noise on the planet, and increase the signal. Or increase human coherence to the unified field simultaneously. That would do good things, I bet. I’m curious if we could get to that place where it’s embedded in a global ritual, like the World Cup or the Olympics. A stadium level experience simultaneously would count down to a shared transformational experience, perhaps even rapture. Imagine if you could synchronize that with every single ashram and monastery of advanced meditators meditating at the same time. To have people enter not just global synchronized transformation, but global, synchronized enlightenment. A precursor to world peace.
Collective spiritual experiences are happening at a smaller scale all over the world, at psychedelic retreats and clinics. What can people currently do to enhance their group experiences?
For me, it was playing with the unification of a lot of systems and technologies, and the idea of simultaneity. Almost all of the experiences we have are asynchronous. I have my transformation experience when I have it; I do my medicine when I do it; I watch this movie when I watch it. Things are partially fragmented because of time.
What fascinates me is the idea of simultaneity, or synchronous experiences. One of the most profound experiences I ever had was my first time doing LSD. Me and about 200 friends of mine were at a little transformational festival in the woods – just us. Everybody dropped at the same time, and we entered a psychedelic experience simultaneously. We felt we entered another dimension together, at the same kind of saturation and experience. We could play in a different reality. It was transformative and memorable for us all. We all point back to that day, and try to recreate it. The medicine hit at the same time, like music. Our heartbeats and breathing probably synced.
I recommend intentional journey, where you dose at the same time, coupled with a way to monitor heart rate variability, your resonance, and optimizing for that together. It becomes like a video game. The practice of unification.
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