Final Passages – Preparation the day before

3 May


The above pictures give an idea of the building in which the forum was held.

The day prior to the conference, Penny Patterson (Communications Officer at Promega) took me to lunch along with Stan and Christina Grof which was a huge honour for me. To spend such quality time with people I had looked up to and whose work has been a great influence on my own work and my way of understanding consciousness was a true gift.

Stan Grof, M.D., Ph.D. is a psychiatrist with more than fifty years experience researching the healing and transformative potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness. His groundbreaking theories influenced the integration of Western science with his brilliant mapping of the transpersonal dimension. He is one of the founders and chief theoreticians of Transpersonal Psychology and received an Honorary Award for major contributions to and development of the field of Transpersonal Psychology from the Association for Transpersonal Psychology in 1993. Dr. Grof is also the founder of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) and its past and current president.

 Check out Stan’s website:

 Stan and Christina Grof and myself during the conference

After lunch we visited Promega – the venue for the conference. It was an amazing setting with a great auditorium. I’ve added some pictures to give an idea of what it was like the day before the conference commenced.

 This is Karin Borgh and Penny Patterson who worked very hard with the organisation and all of the behind the scenes aspects of the forum. Many thanks to them both (as well as many others) for looking after us all so well.






  This is Amy Prevost setting up my  presentation on the computer. Karin and Christina are checking out the auditorium – and me feeling very nervous at the thought of speaking in front of all those people the next day!!!










Keep following the blog for a description of the presentations. This was a very fascinating and very powerful conference and the proceedings have the potential to benefit all who engage with it. I encourage everyone to watch the videos that will soon be available to view on line free of charge thanks to the organisers.






9 Responses to “Final Passages – Preparation the day before”

  1. Anona Blackwell May 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    Congratulations Penny..Its so good to hear your journey. The Grofs have also been two of my Guru’s though I have never met them..what a buzz it must have been!!!!. You look like their spiritual daughter in the pic… Glad that you have taken pics to share …it will also be good for you in your dotage to reminisce on these powerful salad days. Lots of love . Anona & Fido

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

      Thank you Anona, it was a real privilege to be a part of the conference and to meet all of the other presenters. I learned so much from everyone. Keep following the blog for more posts.

  2. Tony May 3, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    I wish I could have been there! Looking forward to the videos.

  3. Howard May 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    What did you learn from Eben Alexander at this meeting?

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 4, 2012 at 6:33 am #

      Hi Howard,
      There was a lot to learn from Dr Eben Alexander. I think the most apparent thing was how he was not afraid to discuss his NDE in a public way. This is hard for many people to do and, as Dr Alexander himself said, it took him a long time to make sense of what had happened to him.

      Having worked with hundreds of doctors / physicians over the 21 years of my nursing career, it is highly unusual for them to consider these experiences let alone speak about them publicly. Occasionally, (when they were aware of my research) some doctors confided some anomalous experiences they may have had on a personal level or come across during the course of their career but they would never mention it to anyone else.

      For such a respected neurosurgeon as Dr Alexander to speak about this really does highlight what an overwhelming and profound effect the NDE had on him. By speaking about this publicly he risked ridicule from his peers and damage to his reputation – which is why many others in his position do not speak about these experiences. Further to that his whole world view has changed and the way he now treats and understands his patients is very different as a result. This man is walking his talk.

      I highly recommend watching Dr Alexander’s interview with Steve Paulson which was conducted on day 1 of the conference. It is now available on line at

      Of particular interest was Dr Alexander’s reply to Dr Raymond Moody’s question ‘Did you recognise the angel in your NDE?’ (or words to that effect). This was at the end of the interview in the question and answer session.

  4. Tony May 4, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Penny was there discussion on the future of research in nde’s or at least those currently going on in the field? Anything noteworthy to mention? Also did the aware study come up and can you share any information pertaining to it?

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

      There was a discussion of NDE research that has been conducted so far. I think the most notable thing was how much in agreeance everyone was that our current science is too limited. Our science has served us well to this point but it’s time for it to be revised, updated and expanded to have a greater understanding of consciousness. To say that consciousness can be reduced to mere neurological process is simply not adequate to explain consciousness in light of ongoing research in this area.

      There were really interesting discussions and the videos are certainly worth viewing. To me it was a very powerful and thought provoking forum.

      There was no discussion of the AWARE project as Dr Sam Parnia was not present. I’m not sure of how much data there is but it is still in the process of being collected and analysed as far as I am aware.

      There were some very interesting presentations on Day 2 by people currently involved in the use of entheogens in cancer patients. I’ll post another comment about this on the blog tomorrow. This is a very valuable area of research which is of great benefit to patients.

      • tim May 6, 2012 at 10:51 am #

        Hi, Penny,
        Stanislov Grof is now open to survival or mind brain separation. Am I correct in thinking that wasn’t the case in the earlier part of his career. If I remember correctly his experiments with LSD etc had originally convinced him that everything was brain based .

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 6, 2012 at 11:58 am #

        Hi Tim,

        Yes, Stanislav Grof began his career, like the majority of doctors, with the belief that consciousness is a by-product of brain function and that when a person (and therefore their brain) dies so consciousness ceases. In his presentation he describes how he had the opportunity to administer a small dose of a psychedelic drug, under controlled medical conditions and in the presence of a guide. After that he was a different person and his views of consciousness changed drastically.

        Over breakfast on the first morning of the conference he said to me (and this will always stick in my mind) that he had to unlearn everything he was taught in medical school in order to understand consciousness.

        The work that he has done and continues to do in this field is extremely valuable and important. It is great that other people in the field are realising the therapeutic value and that this work is being replicated by others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: