Sharon Hewitt Rawlette is a writer, philosopher, and consciousness researcher. She earned her PhD in philosophy from New York University, taught at Brandeis University, and currently serves on the board of the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies as well as being a supporting researcher for the International Centre for Reincarnation Research. She has published four books and was named a runner-up in the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies essay contest for her essay “Beyond Death,” on the best evidence for the survival of human consciousness after permanent bodily death.

Dr. Rawlette’s research and writing ranges over many different types of extraordinary human experience and explores what they have to tell us about consciousness and the deeper nature of the world we live in. Her research in this area began with the phenomenon of “coincidences”: those strange, enigmatic experiences that are so often personally meaningful but push the boundaries of what we consider scientifically possible. Her May 2019 book The Source and Significance of Coincidences presents a wealth of evidence concerning the statistical importance of coincidences, their range of probable causes, and how we can best interpret their implications for our lives.

In November 2021, Dr. Rawlette was named a runner-up in the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies essay contest for her essay “Beyond Death.” This essay, available for free on the BICS website as well as in paperback, on Kindle, and as an audiobook, summarizes and analyzes the best evidence for life after death collected over the last 150 years.

Dr. Rawlette has also written about coincidences as well as other topics on her Psychology Today blog, Mysteries of Consciousness, and has presented her research at the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and at the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory and Research.

Her current research is moving in a more theoretical direction, focusing on what survival research as well as parapsychological research in general tell us about the nature of the world in which we live. What she hopes to make clear is how insufficient the physicalist, mechanistic paradigm is and how vital it is to widen our conception of reality to include the wide variety of properties instantiated by consciousness, including causal efficacy and intrinsic value. This new research dovetails with some philosophical work she did at the beginning of her career, and which she published in her 2016 academic work The Feeling of Value: Moral Realism Grounded in Phenomenal Consciousness.

On a more personal note, in May 2020, Dr. Rawlette published a memoir–The Supreme Victory of the Heart–about her first encounters with meaningful coincidence, which happened in the difficult months after her French fiancé told her about an old flame who had come back into his life. She has also written several personal essays on the topics of relationships, spirituality, and the environment, which have appeared in Salon and Orion, among other places. While she now lives back in the rural area of eastern Virginia where she grew up, she spent almost all of her 20s elsewhere: getting a PhD in philosophy at New York University, falling in love in Paris, teaching philosophy at Brandeis University outside Boston, and living on a 200-year-old retired dairy farm in Brittany, France. All of these experiences have found their way into her writing, in one way or another.

If you’d like to contact Dr. Rawlette, please email her at sharon.rawlette[at]gmail[dot]com. You can also find her on Academia.edu. Or follow her through her Amazon author page.

69 responses to “About”

  1. Sharon, thanks for stopping by my daughter’s blog today (misstweenster.com) and supporting her. It means a lot to her as an aspiring writer putting herself out there – and to her dad as well. C’etait très gentil. Merci! Discovering your own site(s) was its own reward as well.

    • Bien sûr ! I think it’s wonderful for youngsters to have the chance to connect with the outside world in this way (with some parental supervision, which you are clearly providing). I know that, had the blog existed when I was young, I would have been all over it!

  2. Hi Sharon,

    Thanks so much for the like of my blog post, “If only . . .” It led me to your blog, which I am now following.

    You have led such an interesting life! I look forward to reading more of your blog posts.


    • Well, I really appreciated your post. It made me realize that there are a couple of people in my life right now that I need to give some special attention to. And that that’s way more important than writing the next essay or book.

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for liking my post.
    I hope you find representation for your memoir, but if not then self-publish! I was turned down so many times by agents who said my book, Heronfield, wouldn’t work. They need to see the Amazon reviews! Self-publishing is much easier than people think – and I can’t describe just how good it feels to see all of your hard work finally in print!
    Good luck!

  4. I’m so glad that you have found some peace and happiness and have found such a wonderful way to channel your hurt and disappointments of the past in your writing. I could really relate to your comment on my blog and I have replied. I know exactly what you mean!
    Looking forward to reading more from you. 🙂

  5. Hi Sharon, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Hope you enjoyed my piece and I am looking forward to reading lots more of your powerful work. Best regards!

  6. Imagine my surprise this morning to find that Styx Crossing had its first follower, and such an interesting one at that! We live in a small town in Virginia as well. Small world and all that. I’m following your blog and look forward to more of your writing.

    • Haha! We Virginians are quite the bloggers! I’m looking forward to following your exploration of death on your blog. I’m sure that sounds funny to some ears–looking forward to anything to do with death–but the more I learn about it, the more fascinating the subject becomes! Whatever death is, it certainly isn’t something to be afraid of talking about. 🙂

      • I agree. I look forward to hearing more from you. Like you I haven’t had an NDE, but I find myself somewhat different after a serious illness last year. Your transformative experience sounds interesting and perhaps you’ll write about sometime.

    • I’ve been working on writing about it for the last three years! It’s not as easy as I thought it would be, but I think I’m finally getting close to something I can put out there for people to read. 🙂

  7. Sharon, I read the preview for your memoir. It moves along well and leads the reader into your mind and the situation. I am an avid memoir reader and writer so this really hit home with me. I took the self-publishing route with mine, Therapeutic Misadventures and though it has yet to garner the following I hope for I also believe the final product is exactly what I wanted and am pleased with it.

    Your reviews are very well written and I look forward to reading more from you.

    • I’m so pleased you read the opening chapter and took the time to comment! I appreciate what you say about your own memoir, that, “the final product is exactly what [you] wanted and [you’re] pleased with it.” I enjoy having readers and will hopefully have many more, but the most important thing to me is to have produced a work that meets my own expectations, and while those expectations seem to perpetually rise, I do think that, for the moment, I’ve met them! Again, thank you for reading and commenting. All my best wishes to you!

  8. Sharon, thank you for visiting my site and leaving breadcrumbs to draw me back here. That encouragement is a small, but amazing thing. Much of what you wrote in you about section resonates with me, and I look forward to reading more. I’m following.

  9. Just before time runs out on my current visit and I move onto other things, I just wanted to share how much I enjoy your writing style on this blog. It manages to combine thoughtfulness with a clarity that does not tipple into unwarranted certainty – a rare skill, in my experience.

  10. Hi Sharon,

    I’ve just read your article from Salon and right now I can relate to it very well indeed. The situation you describe is very painful; I’m so glad you had the strength, the empathy, the faith and the love to help you cope with this emotional upheaval. As you say, moments like these reaffirm the need to find true happiness from within. That is very empowering indeed. We have more emotional resourcefulness than we realise and this often shines through in times of despair. I’m pleased you were able to channel your thoughts and feelings into a memoir. It is a generous and creative gift and will be of help to others going through similar experiences. We’re all human, and sometimes it’s nice to be reassured of that! I congratulate you on your achievement and for keeping a good sense of humour throughout. I’ll be looking forward to reading more of your work.

    • I have to say that I related very much to the experience YOU describe on the About page of your blog: the idea of a terrible moment that serves as a wake-up call, one that opens our eyes and frees us. That’s what my experience with my ex-fiancé was like. I knew when it was happening that it was one of the most important events of my life, and all the good that has come out of it is proof that that was true. It was tremendously difficult, but that difficulty took me to a new, powerful place in my relationship to my self and the rest of the world. I will always be grateful!

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing. 🙂

      • Thanks Sharon. I absolutely agree with what you say. It’s all experience that serves to heighten the gratitude we feel when we find authentic and sustainable happiness.

        Thank you 😉

  11. Wow, what an adventure you have had. No wonder you are so easily relatable. I look forward to reading more and more posts from you because your voice resonates so well in my head. Sad, but true, those tough experiences molded the fascinating woman you are. I look forward to reading your book too!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! And I agree with you about the tough experiences. They were hard, but they have also led to some of the most beautiful, rewarding things in my life.

  12. I want to say a belated thank you for following “A Way With Words.” I find great joy in writing and my joy is made more complete when someone reads what I’ve written. As you’ll see, I write mostly on faith and mental illness, but if there are topics you’d like to see me address or stories you’d like me to tell, I’d be open to suggestions.

    You seem to have followed quite a life journey yourself. I pray you are blessed in your homesteading and writing and I hope to read more of your work in the days ahead.

    Tony Roberts

  13. thank you for liking my about page. hope you send us some of your literary rejections for posting. cheers! 🙂 veronica

  14. Sharon, I SO enjoyed reading your Salon piece and your first chapter. You’ve got a great writing style, and you really know how to tell a story. Thank you for reaching out to my blog. I’m glad to have found you!

    • Thanks for taking the time to read–that means a lot to me! And so do your compliments, coming from someone whose own writing style I admire so much. Your piece in Memoir was, again, just lovely.

  15. I wanted to let my former blog (“Writing Through The Monsters of Our Childhood”) followers know that I have started a new blog and hope you will visit and follow it so we can stay in touch!

  16. Sharon, thank you for the positive feedback on my recent post, and also for following my blog. I do appreciate that. Your life sounds quite interesting! Good luck with finding an agent for your memoir. If you are interested in reading more of my poetry, I’ll be featured in The Wayfarer (A Journal of Contemplative Literature) this month, which you can view for free online.

  17. I just read your Salon piece, and I’m excited to see you’ve finished your memoir–please keep us posted! I’d love to read it when it comes out!

  18. “My spiritual life is no longer based on words written in a book or spoken from a pulpit but on the knowledge of my heart and my own experience. Not infallible, I know, but pretty good guides all the same.”

    That’s kind of where I am, too. I never went through the atheist stage, but I had to give up my fundamentalism when 9/11 happened. And I can relate to the sense that you’ve move ahead in your spiritual journey, rather than having returned to something. Only difference is, I’m infallible. Haha. 🙂


  19. Sharon, a Wonderful interview with Rick today on BatGap. Thank you for the deep work you are doing, it couldn’t be more important.

  20. Dear Dr. Rawlette, I enjoyed your interview on New Thinking Allowed. I have also experienced synchronicities and believe the Universe is conscious. The Universe has directed me to an odd life experience with Tarot. Please take a look at some of my Youtube posting on JohnsTarot Podcast. Dealing with Heavy Karma, Vicky White from beyond the grave, Brian Laundrie, and others. With Tarot we can force the Universe into a synchronicity. Thank you. John Misiewich RN

  21. Dr. Rawlette:

    I hope that you are well.

    I am interested in purchasing / licensing some of your work in connection with a new nonprofit organization that I am working on establishing. If you would like to discuss this partnership, please email me at my email attached to this comment, or reply here how I can best contact you.

    Thank you,


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