Tomas Frymann is a second-year doctoral candidate in the clinical psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Originally from San Diego, Tomas completed his B.A. at UCLA with a double major in Psychobiology and Marine Biology. His research interests center on the study of consciousness, self-transcendence, personal identity, and positive psychology, with particular emphasis on how spiritual perspectives on the nature of consciousness can be derived from deeply internalized understandings of neuroscience and physics. Tomas’s research aims to build new bridges between spirituality and the life sciences, with the ultimate intent of helping forge pathways for the entrance of spirituality into public education. Outside of his academic work, Tomas competed as a professional skimboarder. He brings his love for the ocean and nature into applied curriculum development, leading retreats revolving around a group exploration of consciousness amidst natural settings.
The Interbeing Scale: Development and Application to Measurement of Core Shifts in Personal Identity through Psychedelic Experiences
There is a perspective which holds that all of life is not only ‘inter-connected’ but also ‘inter-experiencing’ each other. From this point of view consciousness is singular (one inter-connected whole) and arises through all first person experiences in a given moment simultaneously (inter-experiencing). This idea is captured by the term ‘Interbeing.’ Any individual self embracing this lens understands her existence as arising through all other selves as much as through her own – and as such holds the Golden Rule (treat others as you would treat yourself) inherently in her sense of identity. Psychedelics are known to produce just such a shift in the sense of self. This shift, however, can be both unpredictable, and under certain conditions, profoundly jarring. Our hope is that by creating a scale to measure this aspect of personal identity we will supplement efforts to better understand how identity shifts factor into both the potential benefits and costs of psychedelic experiences. The purpose of this preliminary pilot study was to formulate an Interbeing Scale (IS) and its sub-scales. This preliminary study helps to build internal and ecological validity of the overall scale and sub-scales.