Dr. Edgar Dean "Ed" Mitchell lived a full life which is an inspiration to us all; as an aviator, naval officer, aeronautical engineer and NASA astronaut, he was selected as the Lunar Pilot of Apollo 14, and spent nine hours on the lunar surface to become the sixth person to walk on the Moon. He later told reporters; "On the return trip home, gazing through 240,000 miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, harmonious.”
He served as Chief, Project Management Division of the Navy Field Office for Manned Orbiting Laboratory before attending Aerospace Research Pilot School in preparation for astronaut duties, and certification as a test pilot, graduating first in his class. As a graduate waiting for the call to work with NASA full time, he went on to serve as an instructor in advanced mathematics and navigation theory for astronaut candidates. And on 6 February 1971 his dream was recorded in the famous photo of him studying a map while Moonwalking.
He described his experience of seeing the Earth from the Lunar surface, “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it.
From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty.” He added, "Instead of an intellectual search, there was suddenly a very deep gut feeling that something was different. It occurred when looking at Earth and seeing this blue-and-white planet floating there, and knowing it was orbiting the Sun, seeing that Sun, seeing it set in the background of the very deep black and velvety cosmos, seeing - rather, knowing for sure - that there was a purposefulness of flow, of energy, of time, of space in the cosmos - that it was beyond man's rational ability to understand, that suddenly there was a nonrational way of understanding that had been beyond my previous experience.
There seems to be more to the universe than random, chaotic, purposeless movement of a collection of molecular particles.” Mitchell's interests also included consciousness studies and paranormal phenomena.
On his way back to Earth during the Apollo 14 flight he had a powerful savikalpa samādhi experience, during which he conducted private ESP experiments with his friends on Earth. His experience was so profound that he went on to found the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) for the purpose of consciousness research and other "related phenomena”.
Buzz Aldrin later confirmed the results of the psychic communication experiment that Mitchell conducted during the Apollo 14 flight.
If he had a thought to remember, it’s probably, “The desire to live life to its fullest, to acquire more knowledge, to abandon the economic treadmill, are all typical reactions to these experiences in altered states of consciousness. The previous fear of death is typically quelled. If the individual generally remains thereafter in the existential state of awareness, the deep internal feeling of eternity is quite profound and unshakable.”
Thanks to Contact in The Desert for this fine tribute.