Rupert Sheldrake – Science & Spiritual Practices

Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, the biologist and author of more than 85 scientific papers, and ten books, who has been ranked as one of the top 100 Global Thought Leaders, as ranked by the Duttweiler Institute, Zurich, Switzerland’s leading think tank. He studied natural sciences at Cambridge University, where he was a Scholar of Clare College, took a double first class honours degree and was awarded the University Botany Prize (1963). He then studied philosophy and history of science at Harvard University, where he was a Frank Knox Fellow (1963-64), before returning to Cambridge, where he took a Ph.D. in biochemistry (1967). He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge (1967-73), where he was Director of Studies in biochemistry and cell biology.

As the Rosenheim Research Fellow of the Royal Society (1970-73), he carried out research on the development of plants and the ageing of cells in the Department of Biochemistry at Cambridge University. While at Cambridge, together with Philip Rubery, he discovered the mechanism of polar auxin transport, the process by which the plant hormone auxin is carried from the shoots towards the roots.

From 1968 to 1969, as a Royal Society Leverhulme Scholar, based in the Botany Department of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, he studied rain forest plants. From 1974 to 1985 he was Principal Plant Physiologist and Consultant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, where he helped develop new cropping systems now widely used by farmers. While in India, he also lived for a year and a half at the ashram of Fr Bede Griffiths in Tamil Nadu, where he wrote his first book, A New Science of Life, published in 1981 (new edition 2009).

Since 1981, he has continued research on developmental and cell biology. He has also investigated unexplained aspects of animal behaviour, including how pigeons find their way home, the telepathic abilities of dogs, cats and other animals, and the apparent abilities of animals to anticipate earthquakes and tsunamis. He subsequently studied similar phenomena in people, including the sense of being stared at, telepathy between mothers and babies, telepathy in connection with telephone calls, and premonitions. Although some of these areas overlap the field of parapsychology, he approaches them as a biologist, and bases his research on natural history and experiments under natural conditions, as opposed to laboratory studies. His research on these subjects is summarised in his books Seven Experiments That Could Change the World (1994, second edition 2002), Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home (1999, new edition 2011) and The Sense of Being Stared At(2003, new edition 2012).

He received the 2014 Bridgebuilder Award at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, a prize established by the Doshi family “to honour an individual or organisation dedicated to fostering understanding between cultures, peoples and disciplines.” In 2015, in Venice, Italy, he was awarded the first Lucia Torri Cianci prize for innovative thinking.

00:00 Trailer.
01:49 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
03:58 Brian’s introduction.
04:40 Why Rupert loves to go to the Heath.
06:24 Paradigm shift concept moves Rupert’s biological research away from mechanistic theory of life.
10:56 Richard Dawkins has made science into a religion.
11:32 Shiva experience in India opens his mind to possibilities of a higher level of consciousness.
16:03 Death and re-birth experience leads to transcendental meditation.
19:11 Experience of Asian and middle eastern religions, prompts exploration of Christianity.
24:41 What makes an arm an arm and a leg a leg both with same DNA? Idea of morphic resonance.
27:03 Rupert experienced no conflict between science and religion or spirituality in India.
30:25 Materialism philosophy and being materialistic conflict with existence of consciousness.
33:43 Theory of consciousness is a big science problem, where Rupert’s in conflict with atheist Sam Harris.
40:03 Rupert considers why people reject religion and argues that Atheism doesn’t have a good track record.
43:43 In new book he suggests people try these spiritual practises and their life will probably improve.
49:16 How to connect with each of the practices: Meditation;
53:41 …Gratitude.
58:15 …Connecting with nature.
1:03:03 …Relating to plants.
1:12:41 …Rituals.
1:16:17 …Singing and dancing.
1:23:53 …Pilgrimages.
1:29:36 Rupert’s final thoughts about the message from the book and encouragement to try practices.
1:32:15 Rupert remembers trialogues he had with Terence McKenna and Ralph Abraham.
1:37:16 What Terence McKenna was like.
1:39:01 The importance for Rupert of taking psychedelics.
1:44:36 Rupert’s projects for the next five years.
1:48:56 Rupert thinks he has been very blessed to have had the opportunities he has had.
1:50:49 Success secrets.
1:51:22 How he parented his sons.
1:53:19 Phone call to the twenty year old Rupert Sheldrake.
1:54:00 Advice to the young person listening.
1:55:40 Best advice ever received.
1:56:10 Brian’s summing up.

Science and Spiritual Practices: Transformative experiences and their effects on our bodies, brains and health
The Science Delusion
Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals.
The Physics of Angels: Exploring the Realm where Science and Spirit Meet.
A New Science of Life
The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature.
More books by Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert Sheldrake website
Rupert Sheldrake on YouTube
Rupert Sheldrake on Twitter
Rupert Sheldrake on Instagram
Rupert Sheldrake on Wikipedia
Rupert Sheldrake on Rationalwiki

Topics discussed:
Hampstead Heath
Morphic Resonance
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
Transcendental Meditation
Sufi meditation

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Dominic Jones

Outstanding service as usual. Thank you for sharing.


Rupert Sheldrake’s time has come.
What an inspirational and humble truth seeker.
Now the Scientific community needs to take his research seriously, it is inevitable.


Great interview – Sheldrake is a wealth of knowledge – truly a wise gifted intellectual that I admire very much!


Dr. Jordan Peterson will be speaking in the UK for his book tour. It would be wonderful if Brian could interview Peterson AND introduce him to Dr. Rupert Sheldrake. A wonderful meeting of minds. Peterson/Sheldrake is a dynamo-combo. I’m sure Brian can make it happen.


I am loving this one ! Thx Rupert , Brian and LR. I’d like to add that the real connection between us and Forest ,Woods and Plants realms is : we are all the same , in reality. If you felt how fast our skin absorb a drop of water ,you’ll understand . Nevertheless ,seen from an other view , the connection happens from Elements and “Ether” which is an Element which is not taken in consideration not even from Chinese tradicional Medicine ( somebody associate Metal element with Ether . I understand why!).Moreover , Ether is Chi or Orgonic… Read more »


Man Rupert hit an amazing point that most don’t saying to find a sit spot outside and observe nature vice always meditating. Great insight!


LOVED the chant between Brian and Rupert. Clear connection between them!

Enrico Dell'olio

Listen to Rupert is always nice, his trialoques with Terence and Abrahams are one of the masterpiece on logic and visionary reasoning in Internet.


It is so affirming to witness Rupert Sheldrake ,this modern Renaissance Man, just being himself, so comfortable and integrated as intellectual / spiritual / physical being. No apologies but no macho bravado either. Science has gotten us far, but I too have found that of my friends, the most narrow-minded are actually the hardcore rationalists. Just because science has not yet developed the tools and equations to measure the metaphysical doesn’t mean it’s not there. I chant regularly and make at least one pilgrimage a year. I am also drawn to the Heath and whenever I’m in London I get… Read more »


I wanna do psychadelics but im still scared!!!

Andrew Highland

He makes a great point at around the 46 minute mark – once you stop going to church/practicing your religion, you lose all the great community-building aspects which go along with it. If atheists want people to give up their religions, they ought to do a better job of providing a sense of community for people who don’t believe in a God.


I disagree, and agree with Rupert Sheldrake on several points. What I disagree with, is his beLIEf that there is something/someone ‘greater’ than us, outside of us. No, no and No! We are all, collectively, infinite consciousness (God incarnated into physical dense form) and equal in every way with everything / everyone in existence. We need not look up to other gurus or ‘holy’ men/women, etc. Sure we can be thankful and show gratitude, but we need not thank anyone outside of ourselves! What humanity needs most is to simply grow up, on a collective level, and become fully conscious… Read more »


One of my favorite scientists, always happy to listen what Rupert has to say!

PS. You should interview Nassim Haramein as well!


I am grateful for Rupert Sheldrake. Loved the chanting! LR should organise a pilgrimage 🙂


THANK YOU, brilliant video Brian, keep up the good work and keep it Real x


I love Rupert too. So authentic. Thanks for the video.