Science and Mysticism together
of the Scientific and Medical Network
A Record of the Seminar on
‘The Stephen Experience’ with Michael Cocks
Enquiry into the Nature of Mind and Being
Saturday, 15 May 2004, 9.30 am to
4.30 pm, Trinity at Waiake, 864 Beach Rd, Waiake, Torbay
Instead of our normal FSMN meeting in
May we held a seminar with Rev Michael Cocks
on The Stephen Experience. Michael, a retired Anglican priest,
was one of a small
Christchurch group who, between 1973 and 1980, were in communication
entity supposedly identified as St Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
Much of what
passed between ‘Stephen’ and the group, and an account of
on the subject, is recorded in his book, ‘The Stephen Experience’.
(See also http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~cocks).
The Stephen Experience
consisted largely of conversations with Stephen over a 7
year period characterized by metaphysical teachings and the
setting of numerous
puzzles. There were also many sychronicities for Michael both preceding
the events. A sense of the numinous was ever present.
The events of the Stephen Experience
must be quite a rare instance where trance
communicators establish with a reasonable likelihood that they are who
to be; or that at the very least the life record (memory?) of the
communicator is being accessed in some way. The central evidence is some
Greek supposedly spoken by St Stephen through the lips of a then
Jewish channel in a dialect of which none of the Christchurch
any knowledge. This example of a northern dialect of Koiné Greek
passed as genuine by two Greek scholars.
The Greek words “spoken” by the channel, Thomas Ashman, are an example
of Xenoglossy, that is, speaking or writing in a language never
learned or heard.
It is one of the most amazing psychic phenomena, which sceptics
and deliberately seem to ignore. But there are thousands of cases
many hundreds of which have been documented and rigorously
The aim of our seminar was to conduct a participatory enquiry into the
of mind and being, using the Stephen material provided by Michael and
also on other insights relevant to our study. Those of us
interested in studying
such accounts often feel frustration at our inability to question the
But through Michael’s presence we had the great privilege of
being able to
dialogue directly with one of the main players involved at the time. As
having a deep personal interest in the significance of those events,
who is a member of the UK Scientific and Medical Network, also brings a
scholarly rigour to his examination of them.
Participants (19 plus Michael Cocks) first had the opportunity to talk
Michael about the whole experience. After some initial responses to the
material provided a general discussion followed. Following lunch
continued the dialogue in small groups before a concluding session
Some of the points made by seminar
#Cherished beliefs are challenged;
#Childlike we find ourselves asking many questions;
# Many experiences can’t be explained by science—they lie in a
#There is a strengthened sense that we are one;
# Some answers are best found through experience rather than analysis;
# There may be a movement in human minds, an extension of tendrils as
towards establishing a better understanding of reality. There are
dogmas to be
rid on both sides of the science/religion divide. The incoming
tide erases the
patterns in the sand;
# We must beware in our responses to avoid purveying ‘snake oil’.
#We must test our ideas;
# During our own creating, the director in us can inhibit creativity.
We must seek not to interfere;
# Like children we need time to absorb new experience.
The mind has to let go before it can respond;
# There is a sense in which Stephen lies both in and beyond an imaginal
world between the conscious and the unconscious;
# Do young people and adolescents move into such a place?
# The apparent intervention of Jesus during conversations with Stephen,
for example concerning incorrect doctrine, was awe-inspiring for
# The Stephen experience was valid for that group. Others must make
their own journey;
# The Stephen phenomenon seems to be distinct from many of the
constructions which have been reported;
# One commentator has summarized the common theological ground suggested
by channelling as: human beings are inherently divine; we are
creating our own reality; our behaviour is strongly influenced by
previous lifetimes, the universe is a single inter-connected holistic
sacred places draw in spiritual energies from other parts of the
# Participation in the seminar gave some a sense of personal
a warm confirmation of other life experiences;
# There is a sense in which we are all now part of the Stephen
and should allow that to travel with us.
Michael has presented the events of The
Stephen Experience without the
wish to demonstrate any particular philosophy, theology, or scientific
of view. He believes that theology should be based on actual spiritual
and on science, rather than on doctrines, creeds, and Biblical or
inerrancies. He himself finds the most self consistent
understanding in terms
of contact in real time with the spirit of Stephen who was part
of The One
(the Source, Cosmic Consciousness) in which there is no separation.
Following David Bohm’s gnosis the synchronicities can be seen as arising
as a kind of projection from an underlying connectedness (Bohm’s
onto the physical sensory world.
These ideas and other implications for our understanding of mind and
were not explored in any depth by the seminar. While this was in some
degree disappointing it was perhaps too much to expect us to go far
this route in the time available, given the uniqueness of our
starting positions. We have however added to the awareness we need
to continue our enquiries at future meetings and individually.
‘There are more things in heaven and