Back for More: Thoughts from 3 Regular Attendees on the International Forum on Consciousness

The International Forum on Consciousness offers a lively two days of information sharing and discussion regarding important—and often challenging—topics. Over the years, we have been guided through a range of topics, including creativity, near death, entheogens, intelligence in nature, business evolution and the effects of sensory inputs.  This year, we’re tackling Means and Metrics for Detecting and Measuring Consciousness.  You can find out more here: .

As we work on the final details for this year and registrations flow in, I took a moment to pause and reflect on the fact that several of the registrants have joined us for many, if not all, of our past events. It’s gratifying to see that they are taking time out of their normal routines to make their way to the Promega campus again this spring.  So, I asked a few of them to share their thoughts for this post and this is what they had to say:

I am honored that you have asked me to share feedback on the Consciousness Forum. I first heard about the Forum through a fellow member of IONS (Institute of Noetic Science) in 2010.  I took off work that first year to attend based on her recommendation (even thought it was then called the Bioethics Forum) and was absolutely blown away from the quality of the material and speakers. I had no idea about the history and alternative thinking of plant based medicines. I was also very impressed with the overall quality of the conference setting, approachability of the speakers with book signings and the food. I also appreciated the follow up DVDs provided of the presentations, which are now offered online.  The following years, the conference was just as informative by covering topics of Indigenous Cultures and Death and Dying that it motivated me to sign up to volunteer at Hospice. The year the topic was about consciousness and business, my employer actually allowed me to attend without taking time off and paid part of the registration fee.  It is hard to actually pick a favorite past event as each one has expanded my knowledge and compassion for life, but the Genius of Nature conference has been the one I have gone back and watched the most.

This conference is the most important event that I look forward to attending each year. As soon as the date is announced, I mark it on my calendar and plan around it. I also look forward to attend the dinner on Thursday night with the speakers.  The additional benefit of this conference is meeting opened minded professional people that truly care about expanding our awareness of broader topic about being human, nature and higher consciousness.  Thank you for the amazing work you do at the center as it has had a huge positive impact on my life.  The changes in me have also benefited my employer and small business customers.

—Diane Byler, Vice President and Loan Officer, Wisconsin Business Development, Madison, WI

I look forward to attending the Forum—along with scientists from our Center—each year. The Forum brings thought leaders from a wide range of disciplines that generate new ideas for human flourishing.  The Forum also creates a consistently inviting and generative learning experience in addition to the speakers through the opportunity to network and dinner dialogues.  This is all topped off with a beautiful setting, great food and flawless organization.  I always leave personally and professionally refreshed—and connected to some new and amazing people.

—Barb Mathison, Executive Director, Center for Healthy Minds, Executive Director and Assistant Secretary, Healthy Minds Innovations, University of Wisconsin-Madison

I belong to a group whose mission is to encourage the development of integrative complementary and alternative healing practices.  As a basis for the programming we support, we look to the principles of natural medicine and self-directed healing.  Among other initiatives, such healing encourages us to explore the integration of the individual and the natural environment, and the wisdom that can be found in the practices of other cultures.  Aligning one’s perspective to empower personal healing often requires a review of one’s core principles. What are the qualities and experiences we seek in life?  As part of the natural cycle, do we embrace death, or do we resist it by any means?  Does defining consciousness involve a re-definition of the self? Is the healing process and the cessation of suffering a question better answered by scientists or by spiritual teachers?

As a source of inspiration, the BTCI Forum on Consciousness is an unparalleled resource in exploring these issues.  The developers of the Forum have consistently shown they are willing to consider complex existential questions with not only an open-mind, but from a multitude of perspectives and with revolutionary approaches to the exploration of consciousness.  In the years I have attended this Forum, I have heard talks by many world class speakers from scientists to philosophers, and environmentalists to poets.  Their passion for understanding the universe and our relationship to it attracts a body of like-minded attendees who are the core of this Forum.

With each passing year, one of the highlights for me is the spring journey to Madison, where for a few transformative days one can exist in the worlds of some fascinating people who bring a shared curiosity about this phenomena called consciousness.  I am grateful for the time and effort undertaken to provide such a tremendous and enriching event.  My hope is to be a resource in sharing the insights generated by the BTCI Forum on Consciousness with the healers in our community.

—Dave Peterson, Executive Director, Compass Healing, Stillwater, MN

And yes, in case you’re wondering, all three will be joining us again this year.  If you are interested in these topics, please check out our web site ( and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.  Thanks!

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