I met Patricia Sun for the first time in August 1979 when she came to North Carolina to do a workshop in Greensboro and another at Black Mountain. I knew very little about her beforehand; she was another spiritual teacher on the lecture circuit, based in Berkeley, California, who appeared throughout the country by invitation only, with little advertising.

As it turned out, Patricia had been making considerable waves in the human potential movement, at universities, in spiritual communities like Scotland’s Findhorn, before medical professionals. Her message: that the upheavals prevalent on virtually every level of life — politically, economically, in the cancers of the body and the spirit — are not necessarily doomsday warnings but harbingers of change as we make a collective shift to a new vision of ourselves and the world. In Patricia’s words, “It is so massive and huge it is requiring us to shift our thinking down to our roots.” It’s what she calls “an evolutionary leap,” in which each of us will begin to acknowledge the connectedness of all life.

I came away from our first meeting awed not so much by her as by what she inspired in me: a renewed sense that no experience is wasted, personally or collectively; the idea that we experience pain in order to awaken; and the understanding that the intuitive mind can make sense of such seeming paradoxes.

In our culture, the intuitive, telepathic mind has been largely treated as a frightening appendage that “didn’t make sense,” a demented cousin best kept in the closet so as not to compromise our credibility.

Patricia Sun brings it out of the closet, and away from the sensationalistic dramas that have surrounded it. The fears fall away and what is left is the deep wisdom of feelings that validate life.

Intuition acknowledges the very connections that the rational mind dissects into randomness; it communicates the textures, the depths, the telepathic totality. As Patricia says, “The rational mind is the bones and the intuitive is the flesh.”

In the early 70’s, Patricia Sun was ready for an academic career, graduating in the top two percent of her class at the University of California in Berkeley, a Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in social science and another in conservation and natural resources. She’d been aware for some time that she was “intuitive” with healing abilities as well; she was able to do more than soothe the occasional friend who slammed a finger in a file drawer, or the injured animal that came her way. She knew what she was doing, but she also “didn’t want to get into this funny stuff” either. Eventually she took some tests administered to several hundred people at a parapsychology symposium in Berkeley, and was one of a handful that scored 100 percent correct.

When she visited a clairvoyant who insisted that she was a psychic healer, Patricia balked, but was impressed by the accuracy of the woman’s account of her childhood. Toward the end of the reading, the clairvoyant said, “Patricia, now is the time for you to really come into that which is yours.” As she said that, Patricia was struck by “a gold white light . . . that went through my whole body, through my feet, right down into the earth, and it filled my hands, and I drew in a deep breath because my hands were so thick and full of energy I couldn’t put them down . . . Tears came to my eyes and I heard, ‘I’ve come home.’ ”

Patricia’s work in the world quickly moved from academia to a home no longer hidden: a personal partnership with anyone who cared to work with her, piece by piece, on the expansion of private politics to a global realm and the exposure of the lie that we are powerless. She began to work with individuals, and then groups, on the possibilities of healing what has been painful for so long: the divisions that occur in the self when we relinquish authority and decision-making to the propaganda of the past or to the persuasive people who lead without love.

“Teaching only happens when the energy moves both ways,” says Patricia, and, as a result, she is a remarkable resource after almost a decade of workshops with thousands of people.

In the two workshops I attended, the self-consciousness among the participants rapidly evaporated as the group focus shifted from Patricia to the issues she introduced with a new light around them, minus the old evil, plus a new utility. The atmosphere could move swiftly from laughter to attentive tension as seemingly conflicting views became permissible.

Patricia’s response to each situation varied: she was alternately a mischievous child, a determined diplomat, an enlightened elder, or a comedienne of the school that knows the most inspiringly funny comics are people who know how to laugh at themselves. She could be sensuous and silly, or deftly challenge an assumption with the sure hand of a butcher who has found the knife’s cleanest cut. The arrogantly authoritative possibilities in her presentation vanished every time she said, “I don’t know,” not as an indictment against the self but as an intuitive allowance, an assurance that there’s more to come.

One way to do that, according to Patricia, is to familiarize ourselves with our brains. The physical corollaries for the intuitive and rational perspectives are the two hemispheres of the brain. Culturally and biologically, the left hemisphere which controls the right side of the body seems to dominate as the organizer, the analyzer, categorizer, verbalizer. The right hemisphere of the brain is equal in mass and size to the left, but is structurally different. Whereas the left hemisphere seems to “fit” information, the right hemisphere seems to “tune” it, seeing wholes instead of segments, perceiving patterns and the meaning behind them, giving emotional inflection to the speech which the left hemisphere articulates. For reasons not clearly understood, we have tended to overuse the left hemisphere and repress the right, and it is this imbalance that brain researchers are beginning to identify as a source of dysfunction, a source of perceptual error in the belief systems that create everything from personal ethics to societal structures.

As Patricia says, “I’m trying to get to a place where our minds will function differently, where they will be amplified. A gestalt is more than the sum of its parts. All the different separate parts are one thing, separate, but then when they come together, there is more, something else that’s entirely different. That’s what we’re going to be able to do with our thinking. Right now we’re jumping from one hemisphere to the other, very uneasy about what we get out of the intuitive mind, and going back to the logical, rational side. We have equated reality with logic. That is not so. Reality is discovered through the tool of logic; logic does not equate with reality. Because also included in reality is the mystical state, the divine knowing, the other whole hemisphere of your brain, which is called “the minor hemisphere” in our medical profession because we don’t know what it does, so we don’t value it. But it’s where Einstein got E=MC². Energy equals everything. It’s where Chopin got the music. It’s where you get divine revelation. It is the acausal thinking brain.

“Now for Western minds to consider the word ‘acausal’ is mind boggling if you really look at it. That means ‘without cause.’ That’s worse than infinity. It just does not compute.

“There is, in the act of creation, in the experience of God, a whole component that is: it just happens. And we’re getting ready to own that part, simultaneously with the rational, letting them both work together. And that is, in fact, centeredness, when you get both hemispheres working together.”

The transformation Patricia speaks of touches technology and nature, health and disease, men and women, politics and power. The collective unconscious is poking through our “common-sense” world as never before. It is an intrusion that can seem frightening, or liberating. Says Patricia, “The psychic buck stops here.”

At the end of each workshop, Patricia makes her “sounds,” cries or chants the nature of which not even she fully understands. She tells this story about them:

“One day a few years ago, when I was working on myself, I had a tremendous amount of grief in my pelvis, and I could feel it. Everything had sort of ripened, and gotten to the place where I was crying; the grief was really pouring out, and I thought, ‘Oh God, I think I want to scream.’ Then I thought, ‘Well, why not? Gone this far.’

“When those emotions line up and are going to come out of your body, there’s a part of you that goes, ‘Oh my God, control yourself, what are you doing?’ and then there’s another part that says, ‘Oh thank heavens, I can’t wait to get this out,’ and then there’s another part that says, ‘Isn’t that nice?’ I ended up tuning in with the part that says, ‘Isn’t this nice?’ and decided to scream, and as I took in a deep breath, to let out the scream, I felt like a soft bolt of lightning go up the soles of my feet, and it went up through my body, and it hit my throat, came out my mouth, out my eyes, and out the top of my head, and when it came out my mouth, the breath I had taken in came out making one of the sounds. It was like I got caught in it, and I made the sound for a long time.

“There was a woman there who had a slipped disc in her back, and the sound had gone up her back and hit the disc, and popped through, and her back was well. So I said, ‘Well, they seem to do good things, I guess I’ll keep doing them.’

“For about a year, I did them strictly in that sense, as healing, as something which moved energy in people’s bodies, helped things that were stuck, move. Not just physical things but emotional things. It’s almost like it put everything on another vibration level, letting the whole body, all the cells, everything, tune up. That was my perception of it.

“A year later, I was doing a workshop in California, with about eighty-five people, and afterwards and during it, people would ask me what the sounds were and I’d just say, I think they’re very primordial. They somehow remind us of something very ancient, in ourselves, and I always see it as a light connection, to ancientness.

“After that workshop, there was another one going on at the same center, and it was a recording of workshops done with Jane Roberts. She’s a trance medium and goes into a being called Seth.

“On this particular class tape, she went into a being called Seth Two, a being that has never been physical, never had a body. Her voice changed drastically, she spoke very monosyllabically; one syllable at a time was a word.

“The first two words were ‘perceive us’ and it was (in a flat nasal tone) ppeerr-ceeiiivvveee-uuusss, very strange sounding. What it said was, ‘Forgive the difficulty in communication. For untranslatable knowledge is difficult. We are not physical, yet have we seeded your God. Experiments begun in the past shall be re-initiated. Perceive us as you can.’ And ‘perceive us as you can’ came out, pppeeerrrCCCEEEIIIVVVEEEuuusss, and it started to get that sound in it.

“I went into a trance when I heard it; everything turned like a negative, like a black and white photograph. I was just stunned, and a lady next to me said, ‘Oh! It’s like your sounds!’ and she hit me on the arm, which felt like a great shock, and I just got up and walked out and sat in my car for three hours.

“For about three days, I was just really stunned. It was as if my personality had no way to digest that experience. Here I was making these nice sounds that made people feel better, and I knew they were good, and they made me feel terrific, but I really didn’t like them being any of ‘those other things,’ and I don’t know what those other things are. I’m really telling you as closely and accurately as I can what the experience was, and obviously, somehow it is related.”

At the Charlotte workshop, she lost her voice just as she began to make the sounds and they were barely audible. Her parting words after the sounds were, “I love you very much,” which she croaked with considerable effort.

Instead of embarrassment, I felt a wild burst of humor and gratitude that such things happen to undo the perfection we imagine must surround the transmission, the new beginning.

Patricia’s magic wasn’t the sounds, it was the power she says “is greater than any in the universe”: genuineness.

Patricia Sun will be at the Community Church in Chapel Hill, Sunday, February 1, at 3:30 p.m. to do a benefit workshop for THE SUN. The cost of the workshop is $25; tickets are available from THE SUN, 412 West Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514. Make checks payable to THE SUN.

— Ed.