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Watch the best full presentation of our scientific data, from a keynote delivered for the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, a division of the American Anthropology Society, 2018 conference.
Just want to quickly scan through some of the data? You can download a PDF of the presentation by clicking here.
Watch an earlier presentation of the data from the Society for Consciousness Studies annual conference at Yale University in 2015.
Fundamental Wellbeing Continuum
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A Very Brief Look At Some Data:

The research project has generated a massive amount of data on Fundamental Wellbeing over the last 15 years. It seems appropriate to include a small taste of it for those of you who are interested in it. A great deal more is available on the center’s website (http://nonsymbolic.org). Fundamental Wellbeing is our public "catch-all" term for ways of experiencing the world such as: persistent awakening, nonduality, enlightenment, the peace that passeth understanding, unity consciousness, and hundreds of similar terms and descriptions.

Since 2014 the project has been running a first-of-its-kind experiment known as the Finders Course to collect psychological and physiological data on people before and after their transition to Fundamental Wellbeing. The data from eleven Finders Course experiments have been analyzed (2014-2018). Four hundred and fifty-five participants have successfully completed the program. Of these, three hundred and nineteen (or an incredible 70%) of those who completed it reported a transition to Fundamental Wellbeing. And, a majority of the remaining participants reported at least temporary glimpses of Fundamental Wellbeing during the program.

Of these, three hundred and nineteen (or an incredible 70%) of those who completed it reported a transition to Fundamental Wellbeing. And, a majority of the remaining participants reported at least temporary glimpses of Fundamental Wellbeing during the program.

At this point the program has included people from six continents and dozens of countries, including many who speak English as a second language. Ages have ranged from twenty-one to eighty-one. People came from a wide range of backgrounds and professions. A broad range of gold standard psychology measures was used to collect data from each cohort, including the following:

CES-D: Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale
PERMA: Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning Accomplishment
FEQ: Fordyce Emotions Questionnaire
PSS: Perceived Stress Scale
NEO-FFI: Neuroticism-Extraversion-Openness Five-Factor Inventory
CRQ: Close Relationships Questionnaire
STAI-Y2: State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Trait Anxiety)
SWLS: Satisfaction with Life Scale
GHS: General Happiness Scale

The table below shows the percentage change for participants who completed the program for several of the major measures. Some measures were rotated in and out over time, so not all measures were given to each participant. If you’re familiar with these measures from other research, the changes will seem huge to you. They are. Overall the program has a massive impact on participant wellbeing. Also note the large drop in the personality trait Neuroticism. Personality traits are supposed to be relatively durable over time, so a drop like this over a four-month program is remarkable. Importantly, all changes are highly statically significant (p < 0.00001).

Percentage of change for participants from beginning of Finder’s Course to completion.
Another way to look at the data is to ask if there is a difference between participants who reported a transition to Fundamental Wellbeing (Fundamental Wellbeing) or not by the end of the program. The no Fundamental Wellbeing, or no or temporary Fundamental Wellbeing, category includes both those who experienced temporary Fundamental Wellbeing as well as no glimpses of Fundamental Wellbeing at all. Recall that most people in this category would have experienced at least some glimpses of Fundamental Wellbeing.

Longitudinal research, including at least one project that spanned decades, have shown that glimpses of Fundamental Wellbeing are often regarded by people as among the most transformative and significant experiences of their lives. In fact, we do see quite remarkable improvements in the no or temporary Fundamental Wellbeing group. However, it is not nearly as profound as changes experienced by those reporting Fundamental Wellbeing.

If a glimpse was as transformative as a full transition to Fundamental Wellbeing, we’d expect to see the two groups being close together in their numbers. In fact, they are quite far apart. It’s very clear that the group that experiences Fundamental Wellbeing is in a very different place in terms of their experience of the world than the group that does not. Importantly, the difference between the groups on every measure is highly statically significant (p < 0.00001).

The “% Difference” column in the table below might seem confusing to you. It is calculated on the difference between the ending score for each group. So, for example, let’s say the total score for a happiness measure was between 0 (miserable) and 100 (gloriously happy). If the Fundamental Wellbeing group’s final score was 100, and the no or temporary Fundamental Wellbeing group’s final score was 50, the Fundamental Wellbeing group would be 100% happier than the no or temporary Fundamental Wellbeing group. You can see a lot more about these types of changes on our academic website, in some of my detailed presentations.

Percentage of change for participants from beginning of Finder’s Course to completion

In addition to using gold-standard psychology questionnaires, participants were also asked some general questions, such as if they had more inner peace after the program. The results from some of those questions are in the table below. These numbers are not the amount of increase, just the number of people that reported more or less of a given experience as a result of the course.
Top percentage categories for all participants who completed course
The two tables below compare the scores for participants who reported transitioning into Fundamental Wellbeing versus those who did not. Although most categories are the same, notice that the lowest score in the Fundamental Wellbeing list is well above the highest score in the no or temporary Fundamental Wellbeing list. Also notice the categories that are different. The Fundamental Wellbeing list includes two categories that the no or temporary Fundamental Wellbeing list does not: Emotional Balance and Contentedness. Conversely, the no or temporary Fundamental Wellbeing list also has two unique categories: Gratitude and Tolerance of Others.

Consider the difference between these four items. Two of them are nearly impossible to will yourself to control: Emotional Balance and Contentedness. Although many people try to force states like these to occur, ultimately these just happen. They really cannot be willed or forced to occur without causing their opposite.

Now consider the other two items from the no or temporary Fundamental Wellbeing list: Gratitude and Tolerance of Others. While wonderful attributes, these can be forced. You can make yourself feel gratitude, for instance. Of course, these can also naturally arise, but in many ways these two items highlight a key difference in Fundamental Wellbeing.

The traits that comprise the psychological experience of Fundamental Wellbeing often just arise with no additional action needed. It is literally a new norm that appears in one’s experience, not something that has to be actively maintained in each moment. It becomes as natural as breathing.

Another thing to note in the tables below is that, even for the highest category in the no or temporary Fundamental Wellbeing list, the Fundamental Wellbeing group has a higher reported percentage. In other words, participants reporting Fundamental Wellbeing at the end of the course also reported higher levels of both Gratitude and Tolerance of Others. Also, notice how rapidly the top scores for the no Fundamental Wellbeing group drop off compared to the participants who reported Fundamental Wellbeing.
Top 5 percentage categories where ‘more is better’ for participants who completed course that reported Fundamental Wellbeing (FW) vs. no Fundamental Wellbeing (nFW)
Top 5 percentage categories where ‘more is better’ for participants who completed course that reported no Fundamental Wellbeing (nFW) vs. Fundamental Wellbeing (FW)
What about items that are ideal to have go down, like negative thoughts and emotions? Here again we see key differences between the two groups, and our previous observations hold up. The lowest score for the Fundamental Wellbeing group is still above the highest score for those who didn’t report experiencing it, there are huge differences in the percentage reporting being in the various categories between the two groups, and so on.

All of the categories are shared between the groups, except for two. A large reduction is reported in internal mental chatter in the Fundamental Wellbeing group but not in the no Fundamental Wellbeing group. As outlined in this book and many of our other materials, the reduction of internal narrative is a key component of Fundamental Wellbeing. The other difference is a reduction in conflict that shows up as one of the categories for those who do not experience Fundamental Wellbeing, though at a far lower level than for those who do.
Top 5 percentage categories where ‘less is better’ for participants who completed course that reported Fundamental Wellbeing (FW) vs. no Fundamental Wellbeing (nFW)
Top 5 percentage categories where ‘less is better’ for participants who completed course that reported no Fundamental Wellbeing (nFW) vs. Fundamental Wellbeing (FW)
We were fortunate to have this project be the first in modern history that could reliably, safely and rapidly produce a transition in such a high percentage of people into Fundamental Wellbeing, and thus allow tracking the before and after changes. No matter how this data is examined, it is clear that these are two groups of people who are experiencing the world through very different internal lenses. Both groups improved significantly across major scientific measures of wellbeing, emotion, personality, and more. In fact, if the experimental protocol had only produced the changes seen in the group that did not report Fundamental Wellbeing, it would have been a smashing success.

As incredible as the changes for all participants were, the results reported by Finders across the entire spectrum were significantly and measurably higher. It’s completely clear which group you’d want to be in, given the opportunity. The good news is that you can be!

The 45 Day Protocol Challenge and Experiment

The Finders Course was truly a phenomenal experiment, and is no longer available. From a practical standpoint, there were a few problems with it. Namely, its length and cost, didn't allow most people to be able to take advantage of it.

However, offering the Finders Course revealed an interesting pattern in its data. It turned out that of the 70% of people who transitioned using it, about 60% transitioned by using only a small subset of its methods. For years we wanted to run another experiment with a modified protocol that focused on this to see how it would go, but we never had the time. 

Then the COVID virus hit, and the entire world shut down – including all of our laboratory experiments. Suddenly we found ourselves stuck at home, with plenty of time. It wasn’t long before we identified this as the perfect moment to run this experiment.

We settled on a protocol that compressed the first 10 weeks of the Finders Course protocol down to 6 weeks. Small groups and their meetings were eliminated, and replaced with a cohort wide Facebook group. A number of practices were made optional or eliminated altogether. What remained was an even simpler, 10 session protocol that we initially called the 45 Days to Awakening Challenge and Experiment. The latest and most powerful version of this protocol is the Next Level Challenge.

We sent out a very candid email to our mailing lists, unsure if anyone would even want to try it. Why would a bunch of people who could take the world’s most proven protocol (the Finders Course experimental protocol was still available at that time) want to give this one a try? 

Sure, we were subsidizing it so it cost 83% less, and it only took 6 weeks rather than 4 months, but compared to the Finders Course protocol it was unproven. 

To our surprise, hundreds of people replied and joined the waiting list to enroll. We were even more surprised at how many of them were former Finders Course participants who just wanted to give it a try, or existing Finders who were sitting at home because of the virus and thought it might be interesting to explore. 

About 65% of people who participated in the first few cohorts of the experiment transitioned to Fundamental Wellbeing. This is remarkable when you consider that about 70% of participants transitioned during the 4 month long Finders Course experiments.

The overall results from the 6 week experiment were clear, and in many ways as surprising as the original Finders Course results. They reveal that a 6 week, online, at home program can not only have a remarkable impact on someone’s wellbeing, but also be highly effective at persistently transitioning people to Fundamental Wellbeing.

Our full results from both studies have completed peer review and are forthcoming from the APA's Psychology of Consciousness journal. Academic good practices do not permit us to provide more detail on this website prior to publication, however you can read a pre-print of that paper on our research center's website here. 

We've since gone on to improve the protocol even more, with 70-80% of people in a given cohort transitioning within 12 weeks of when they began to use the protocol. In addition, over the past year and a half we've extensively examined what limited the others, and have created optional programs for them that bring the success rate as high as the upper 90%'s. In nearly all cases, there truly seems to be no reason for a seeker not to become a Finder using these research-based protocols.

What Others Say About the Research:

"Dr. Jeffery Martin and his colleagues have produced a landmark study, one not only relevant to transpersonal psychology but to psychology in general.  It is not often that rigorous research can be inspirational, but Dr. Martin has come through."
Stanley Krippner

Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Saybrook University; past-President of two and Fellow in five divisions of the American Psychological Association, and winner of its lifetime achievement award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology; 50+ year veteran researcher and pioneer in the scientific study of consciousness
"Dr. Jeffery Martin's work on non-symbolic states of awareness has helped create the most lucid map for understanding higher states of consciousness."

"I have personally gained a deeper understanding of the universality of human sacred experience from his research and have been able to replicate and publish it. For anyone who is interested in getting scientific knowledge of the range and evolution of human experience in the direction of expanded awareness and ultimately that which wisdom traditions call 'enlightenment' Jeffery's book and research are must reads."
Deepak Chopra

MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, author of over 85 books including dozens of best sellers

What Other Participants Say in Their Own Words:

We periodically do in-depth survey's of our program alumni for research purposes. The responses on this page are drawn from one of those surveys. They include alumni who have been in Fundamental Wellbeing for anywhere from 3 months to 4 years. They are the answers to several questions all put together, which is why they don't read like consistent narratives. They do, however, give you an unprecedented look into the change that took place in these individuals as a result of taking one or more of our programs, and into the moment-to-moment experience of Finders in general. We've also included each person's reported location, so that you can see both the consistency within locations and the fascinating differences across them.
“I have experienced a tremendous upswing of gratitude for my life and all the loving relationships I have cherished. My sense of self has changed from a "false self" to the Real Self. The benefit of O.N.E/PNSE is a dropping away of a small self and an awareness of a more transcendent true self. I consider myself in a state of Pure Awareness all the time. Since transitioning into PNSE my heart has opened into much more meaningful and fulfilling relationships and my life has more meaning and purpose. O.N.E./PNSE has become my "new normal" which occurred after a year. My prior emotional life is a distant memory. O.N.E./PNSE has been much more than I had expected it would be since thoughts and words cannot adequately describe the experience. The experience of unitive consciousness, non-duality, and pure awareness have been the most valuable lessons. I have become a 'better person" in so many ways as a result of O.N.E./PNSE. I have been able to integrate more completely my humanity with my spirituality. All my relationships have become more loving and meaningful as a result of PNSE. I wish I had know how positively my whole life would be affected during or by the end of FC and prior to PNSE. My experience of fear is almost gone. I have become more empathetic with those who want me to do something. I seem to see the request better from their perspective. I have deepened my loving relationship with my children and grandchildren since taking FC and EC. Please make the Finders Course available to everyone and continue to transform our world one person at a time.”

Location 4, Male
Research Program Alumnus, age 73 , Georgia, USA
“I am much less reactive, less depressed. I am not fooled by negative thoughts to nearly the same degree as before. I am less touchy, both in my personal relationships and at work. I am less fearful and anxious about outside events. I feel love much more strongly and consistently (a generalized, non-attached kind of love). I am less guarded around strangers in my daily interactions. I am also MUCH more connected to my physical body than I ever was before. To my astonishment, I go on average to 5 classes/week at the gym (mostly spinning and resistance training). If you had told me a year earlier that I'd go to a 2-hour spinning class at 8am on Thanksgiving morning, I would have looked at you crosseyed! I have a less rigid picture of who "I" am, and I'm less attached to my old ideas about how "I" act, dress, etc. I am not nearly as neurotic as I used to be. Much less negative self-talk. I am also much more physically active. I am more blunt and less circumspect in my speech. I don't worry quite as much about what people might think of me. I also feel more love towards others, particularly towards acquaintances and strangers. I am no longer uncertain about the path. I know that awakening is real and that I am only at the beginning of my progression into it. I am much less prone to follow critical/judgmental trains of thought. The words "I love you" spontaneously pop into my head dozens or even hundreds of times a day. Usually it's just the words, though, and not an abiding felt sense of love -- this is why I categorized myself as Location 1 rather than Location 3. I've only had very brief experiences of non-duality. These have at least convinced me of the truth of that state, but I am nowhere near stable in it. I therefore don't consider myself non-dual, but I know I'm headed in that direction. I have talked about PNSE with some family members, sometimes to discover that they've been in it for years without realizing it. For example, my father has been in Location 1 possibly since before I was born, and my brother-in-law has spontaneously experienced Location 2 on-and-off without context for years. I describe PNSE in terms of fundamental well-being and OK-ness. Sometimes I refer to a deep silence or inner peace. I describe feelings of contentment that had previously been out of reach. Before my transition, I sometimes found myself dreaming about nearly reaching some long-sought goal or sense of completeness, only to have it slip out of grasp as I awoke, leaving me an aching sense of near-miss. After my transition, I could finally experience and abide in that state I'd been longing for. Work is fine (in spite of my notable bluntness). My marriage to another Finder is doing well, and we are much less likely to take things personally when we disagree. My friendships are in good working order, and I'm still getting along with my old college friends (who are not interested in spirituality, etc.). I wish I had known more clearly that O.N.E. can fade pretty deeply into the background, to the point where you might even think you'd fallen out of it. I also wish I'd known going into the course what temporary NSE looks like. Before my transition, I worried that I wasn't "wired" for PNSE because I'd never (to my knowledge) experienced even temporary NSE. But, looking back, there was a period a year earlier where I was definitely in temporary NSE (Locations 1 and 3). If I had known that during the first part of the course, I would have saved myself a lot of grief and worry! To be specific, there was a period of a few weeks in 2015 where I felt like the mean voice in my head was really just an old recording and not some all-knowing oracle. I felt much lighter and happier during that period, as in Location 1. I also experienced waves of strong love and gratitude, like the time we drove past an ordinary self-storage facility (cinder block construction and corrugated metal roofs) and I felt overwhelmed by how much love and care went into its construction. Again, this was a year prior to taking the Finders Course, during which I believed I'd never once experienced even temporary NSE! I have less fear, but it is not completely eradicated. I have always received good reviews at work, but this year was my best review ever.”

Location 1, Female
Research Program Alumnus, age 48 , Vermont, USA

We have hundreds of case studies like this from research program participants over the years. Use the button below to see the rest.

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