Health As Expanding Consciousness, Margaret Newman

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EvolveThe evolution and expansion of consciousness is inevitable. With the expansion of consciousness comes new ways of seeing reality. Everything changes. You see things that you never could of conceived of before.

Old philosophies and religions suddenly appear naive and give way to a far more profound understanding. Most religions and philosophies will not last long, simply because it is inevitable that a profound transformation in our consciousness, in our way of understanding and interacting with reality, is going to soon take place. It is inevitable because that is the direction that consciousness is headed.

A few of us have chosen to make consciousness our ‘game’, in all of its forms and degrees of intensity, as well as its neural basis, modification, manipulation, and expansion. We observe our own experiences during various different states of consciousness as both a psychologist and cognitive scientist would. We note how different modalities are effected and enhanced, how space and time are altered, and how our sense of ‘self’ is effected (assuming the ego is still intact). In sum, we note both qualitatively and semi-quantitatively how the myriad different dimensions of consciousness are transformed during altered states of consciousness. It is from such experiences that the unfathomable potential for the enhancement and extension of consciousness in all of its forms reveals itself.

Ordinary consciousness is simply too mundane and limiting. It is necessary to understand the neural basis of altered/heightened states of consciousness and to control the neural system so as to bring about these desired states of consciousness. Neuroscience is just reaching into the realm of expanded states of consciousness, though the future consequences of such are simply amazing, and are utterly beyond the imaginative capabilities of the vast majority of people.

What is it like to Experience Expanded Consciousness?

In the following, some of the dimensions along which consciousness may be transformed and expanded will be described. These effects will not necessarily be experienced simultaneously, and are to some extent dependent on the individual. The following list is not meant to be exhaustive by any means, but rather highlights a few of the many interesting effects experienced during states of expanded consciousness.

Time Dilation

We’ve all experienced time dilation to some extent during ‘normal’ states of consciousness. In general, time dilation occurs when thought processes speed up while memory is left intact (if memory is not intact, you often sense something happened but you do not know what or how much subjective time has passed). It is interesting that time dilation occurs along a spectrum.

Normally, we may feel like an hour of subjective time has passed after only five minutes of objective time. However, there does not seem to be a limit concerning how much we can potentially dilate subjective time, and some mind enhancing/altering drugs have the property of taking time dilation to the extreme. What seems like entire lifetimes can be experienced in a few minutes.


Imagine the sense of ‘vastness’ you experience when you gaze into the clear night sky. Now imagine that sense of vastness magnified a million-fold or more and you may begin to appreciate the type of expansion of perceptual spaces that occurs during this experience so that they become extremely vast, beyond anything ‘normally’ conceivable.

Body Expansion

The experience of one’s ‘body consciousness’ extending outwards, usually far beyond one’s immediate body. This particular mode of consciousness falls under the category of ‘Cosmic Consciousness’. Normally, we have a ‘body-consciousness’, meaning we’re conscious of our arms and legs, as our own and not somebody elses.

‘Body Expansion’ occurs when your ‘body consciousness’ extends beyond, usually far beyond, your immediate physical body. It is as if your new body is your whole environment and that your ‘old’ body is simply a nexus or nodal point thru which your will exerts itself.

Even during ‘normal’ consciousness, it is possible to willfully enter into the proper mind-set for ‘Body Expansion’, though naturally, not everyone is currently capable of doing this.

Ego-Death and the Experience of the ‘Self’

The experience of the death of ones ego or ‘self’ can be frightening for some. Such experiences are often related to near-death experiences (NDEs), in the sense that the two often, but not always, occur hand-in-hand. Following ego-death, or the destruction of the individuals ‘self’, what remains is intense, non-reflective (or non-self-conscious) consciousness, the radiant ‘Self’ (presumably, this is the same ‘Self’ as revealed in ancient Eastern religious texts such as the Bhagavad-Gita and the Upanashads, the same as experienced during states of ‘Cosmic Consciousness’, and the same as experienced by religious mystics).

This is why such experiences are invariably mystical and religious. Through the death of ones ‘self’ and unveiling of the ‘Self’, one soon learns to identify oneself completely with the ‘Self’ thereafter. Even if and when the individual’s ego subsequently ‘re-crystallizes’, it is transparent and seen through for the illusion it is.


It is not possible to put this ineffable experience into words, other than to say that it involves a vivid consciousness of a strong, ubiquitous ‘presence’ which has some relation or similarity to the ‘presence’ that we can be normally aware of when others are watching us.

Higher-Dimensional Space and Time

Normally, we construct space and it is limited to 3 spatial dimensions. However, because 3-dimensional space as we perceive it is nothing more than a mental construct, it is perhaps not surprising that this limitation to 3 spatial dimensions can be transcended. This grants one, among other things, the ability to discern patterns and connections in perceptual and conceptual thought not visible during ‘normal’ consciousness.

Similarly, our mental representation of time is normally of a flowing, continuous, and unitary nature, but this may be modified as well, in a way that is analogous to the modifications of our mental representations of space discussed above.


This involves the experience of ecstasy and rapture far, far beyond what we are capable of experiencing normally. This experience has absolutely nothing to do with the ‘ecstasy’ experienced using the drug that goes by the same name, but rather involves an intensity and depth that far exceeds those produced by typical ‘recreational’ drugs.

Multi-Modal Integration

This experience involves integration across multiple modalities, such as visual, auditory, and proprioceptive, to yield new modalities that are greater than the sum of their parts.


God-Mode is a somewhat humorous name for an expanded state of consciousness that ‘simultaneously’ involves many of the above effects, including time dilation, body expansion, vastness, ecstasy, consciousness of the ‘Self‘, and presence. There are many degrees and many types of ‘Cosmic Consciousness‘. God-Mode is perhaps the highest and most profound type of Cosmic Consciousness that our species has yet experienced.

Solfeggio Harmonics – 741 HZ – Consciousness Expansion


In medicine, consciousness is assessed by observing a patient’s arousal and responsiveness, and can be seen as a continuum of states ranging from full alertness and comprehension, through disorientation, delirium, loss of meaningful communication, and finally loss of movement in response to painful stimuli.

Issues of practical concern include how the presence of consciousness can be assessed in severely ill, comatose, or anesthetized people, and how to treat conditions in which consciousness is impaired or disrupted.

Newman’s Theory of Expanding Consciousness


“The theory of health as expanding consciousness (HEC) was stimulated by concern for those for whom health as the absence of disease or disability is not possible. Nurses often relate to such people: people facing the uncertainty, debilitation, loss and eventual death associated with chronic illness. The theory has progressed to include the health of all persons regardless of the presence or absence of disease. The theory asserts that every person in every situation, no matter how disordered and hopeless it may seem, is part of the universal process of expanding consciousness – a process of becoming more of oneself, of finding greater meaning in life, and of reaching new dimensions of connectedness with other people and the world” (Newman, 2010).

  • Humans are open to the whole energy system of the universe and constantly interacting with the energy. With this process of interaction humans are evolving their individual pattern of whole.
  • According to Newman understanding the pattern is essential. The expanding consciousness is the pattern recognition.
  • The manifestation of disease depends on the pattern of individual so the pathology of the diseases exists before the symptoms appear so removal of disease symptoms does not change the individual structure.
  • Newman also redefines nursing according to her nursing is the process of recognizing the individual in relation to environment and it is the process of understanding of consciousness.
  • The nurse helps to understand people to use the power within to develop the higher level of consciousness.
  • Thus it helps to realize the disease process, its recovery and prevention.
  • Newman also explains the interrelatedness of time, space and movement.
  • Time and space are the temporal pattern of the individual, both have complementary relationship.
  • Humans are constantly changing through time and space and it shows unique pattern of reality.

Dr. Margaret Newman

Margaret Newman felt a call to nursing for a number of years prior to her decision to enter the field. During that time she became the primary caregiver for her mother, who became ill with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Upon entering nursing at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, Dr. Newman knew almost immediately that nursing was right for her. The phenomenon of the human being in the complexity of health and illness was challenging and demanding, as she has said, of the “best of my intellect as well as the utmost of my humanness” (Newman, 1986; 1994).

A year after receiving her baccalaureate degree in nursing she entered graduate study in medical-surgical nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, where she received her master’s degree in 1964. During the three-year interim before resuming graduate study, she served in a joint capacity as director of nursing of a clinical research center and assistant professor of nursing at the University of Tennessee in Memphis.

The next ten years were spent in graduate study (Ph.D., 1971) and teaching (1971-1977) at New York University. She began to develop her ideas and research about nursing theory as both a student and colleague of Martha Rogers. In the fall of 1977, she assumed the position of professor-in-charge of graduate study in nursing at Penn State. In response to an invitation to speak at a conference on nursing theory in New York in 1978, Dr. Newman pulled together her ideas on a theory of health and presented them for the first time.

At the same time she was pursuing research on the relationship of movement, time and consciousness, and was developing the theory of health as expanding consciousness. In 1984 she assumed a position as nurse theorist at the University of Minnesota, continuing the development of the theory and related research with the assistance of graduate students. She retired from teaching in 1996.

newmanDr. Newman is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and has been honored as an outstanding alumnus by both the University of Tennessee and New York University. She received the Distinguished Scholar in Nursing Award from New York University, the Founders Award for Excellence in Nursing Research from Sigma Theta Tau International, and the E. Louise Grant Award for Nursing Excellence from the University of Minnesota.

Zeta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International has established the Margaret Newman Scholar award to support doctoral students whose research extends Dr. Newman’s theory. Dr. Newman has been included in Who’s Who in American Women since 1983 and was appointed to Who’s Who in America in 1996.

In 2008, the American Academy of Nursing recognized Newman as a Living Legend, an honour which is awarded to a small group of nurses “in honour of their extraordinary contributions to the nursing profession, sustained over the course of their careers.


The origin of the modern concept of consciousness is often attributed to John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, published in 1690. Locke defined consciousness as “the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind“. His essay influenced the 18th-century view of consciousness, and his definition appeared in Samuel Johnson’s celebrated Dictionary (1755).

“Consciousness” (French: conscience) is also defined in the 1753 volume of Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie, as “the opinion or internal feeling that we ourselves have from what we do.”

Interesting Study Abstract – Midlife Women

This study is based on Newman’s theory of expanding consciousness; it expands Newman’s method to include creative movement as a mode of expression. The researcher engaged in two in-depth interviews and one creative movement group experience with each of 17 midlife women. Results demonstrate expanding consciousness at midlife, with patterns of meaning identified in relationships with others, self, and spirit as well as challenges of loss, illness, and threats to relationships. Activities of consciousness were choosing, balancing, accepting, and letting go. Concepts of flow, turbulence, and a movement dialectic were identified in study findings. Creative movement supported self-awareness.

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