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T H E I N T E R N AT I O N A L J O U R N A L O F Volume 24, 2005
Table of Contents
Editors’ Introduction Harris Friedman and Douglas A. MacDonald Nondualism and the Divine Domain Burton Daniels Higher Self—Spark of the Mind—Summit of the Soul: Early History of an Important Concept of Transpersonal Psychology in the West Harald Walach The Myth of Nature and the Nature of Myth: Becoming Transparent to Transcendence Dennis Patrick Slattery Myth, Archetype and the Neutral Mask: Actor Training and Transformation in Light of the Work of Joseph Campbell and Stanislav Grof Ashley Wain The Sources of Higher States of Consciousness Steve Taylor Fear No Spirits: A Pilgrim’s Journey through the Brazilian Churches of Ayahuasca Robert Tindall Why Does the Universe Exist? An Advaita Vedantic Perspective Adam J. Rock SPECIAL TOPIC: RUSSIAN SOUL: A REPORT FROM THE EUROPEAN TRANSPERSONAL ASSOCIATION 2005 CONFERENCE IN MOSCOW Russian Soul: Introduction Glenn Hartelius The Transpersonal Tradition in Russian Culture Vladimir Maykov Synthesis and Plurality: Stories of the Self Jason Wright The Psychic Defense Vitor Rodrigues On Therapy by Means of Spiritual Culture Mark E. Burno Creativity Lies at the Edge of Disintegration: Addressing the Shadow of Power and Leadership within Psychotherapy Training Organisations Rupert Kinglake Tower We Were Made for These Times Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount READER’S COMMENTARY A Love Letter Kidder Smith About Our Contributors Board of Editors Editorial Policy and Manuscript Submission Guidelines Back Issues ii 1
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his volume of the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies includes an eclectic group of writings from a variety of areas within transpersonal studies. The issue’s first article is “Nondualism and the Divine Domain” by Burton Daniels. Ken Wilber’s theory of nondualism is compared and contrasted with an alternative perspective as taught by Adi Da. When explicated this way, serious differences between the two accounts become strikingly clear, providing a thought-provoking journey addressing what is perhaps both the most important and esoteric aspect of transpersonal studies, namely what can be said about ultimate nondual enlightenment. Next, Harald Walach writes in “Higher Self–Spark of the Mind–Summit of the Soul: Early History of an Important Concept of Transpersonal Psychology in the West” about the historical origins of the notion of the higher Self as introduced by Roberto Assagioli in psychosynthesis. This notion has origins stemming from antiquity, especially through the neo-Platonic tradition. The importance of transpersonal psychologists understanding the traditional roots for many of the field’s core concepts is emphasized, as well as is the need for achieving theoretical and scientific integration based on such concepts. In “The Myth of Nature and the Nature of Myth: Becoming Transparent to Transcendence,” Dennis Patrick Slattery compares Joseph Campbell’s writings on mythology with the poetry of John Keats. He discusses the power of language, especially poetry, to access the transcendent, arguing that mythology and poetry can realign consciousness toward greater transpersonal insight and understanding. In “Myth, Archetype and the Neutral Mask: Actor Training and Transformation in Light of the Work of Joseph Campbell and Stanislav Grof,” Ashley Wain ii
explores actor training using the “neutral mask” from a transpersonal perspective based on the works of Joseph Campbell and Stanislav Grof. The mask is discussed as a transformative vehicle and as a way to study myths and archetypes. Steve Taylor, in the “The Sources of Higher States of Consciousness,” argues that higher states of consciousness can result from either disruption of normal homeostasis or intensification of consciousness-energy. He concludes that only the second type can lead to long-term changes in positively integrating higher states of consciousness. Next is “Fear No Spirits: A Pilgrim’s Journey through the Brazilian Churches of Ayahuasca,” by Robert Tindall. His delightful telling of experiences within various religious traditions using ayahausca in Brazil brings these experiences near to the reader’s imagination. Following this, Adam J. Rock explores one of the most fundamental of metaphysical debates in his paper, “Why Does the Universe Exist? An Advaita Vedantic Perspective.” He distinguishes between a priori and a posteriori propositions in addressing this question, the latter approach being supported experientially through altered states of consciousness. The insights derived are quite different from those usually debated. Transpersonal psychology remains a vibrant force in the world, as exemplified by the 2005 European Transpersonal Association conference on “Human Consciousness and Human Values in an Interconnected World.” This volume’s special topics section highlights six of the approximately 70 offerings at that conference. Glenn Hartelius has selected, compiled, and edited presentations from Vladimir Maykov on Russian transpersonalism, Jason Wright on the narrative approach to self-image, Vitor Rodriguez on psy-
The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24
chic attack, Mark Burno on spiritual culture, Rupert Tower on the shadow in organizations, and Tanna Jakubowicz on the transpersonal basis of taking action in the world. Together, these present an array of innovative transpersonal work happening within the European community on transpersonal themes. Finally, we are pleased to offer a reader’s comment in the form of a poem-story from Kidder Smith, titled “A Love Letter.” The interface between the spiritual and the carnal is playfully celebrated in questioning the amalgam of two during love-making, as “who is who is who?” As the third volume of the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies under our editorship goes to press, we want to thank Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center for its sponsorship, our reviewers who have worked diligently in providing guidance in the selection of articles, as well as our board members for their continuing support. Harris Friedman, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center Douglas A. MacDonald, Ph.D. Associate Professor University of Detroit Mercy
iv The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 2005. Volume 24 .
The revelation of this spiritual reality has a long history in the spiritual traditions. Fourth Stage: ego-surrendering devotion to the Divine Person and purification of body-based point of view through reception of Divine Spirit-Force. pp. but also a dimension of nondualism not found in any previous spiritual revelation. 2000b) has also written extensively. Fifth Stage: Spiritual or Yogi ascent of attention into psychic dimensions of the being and mystical experience of the higher brain. but also because of the sub- tle and profound realizations inherent within them. These stages progress through a potential sequence of human maturation. 2000a) spectrum/quadrant theory. His passages on God and Spirit are carefully crafted and offered lovingly. His body of work covers a sprawling expanse of spiritual literature and can be deemed not only a mammoth undertaking.Nondualism and the Divine Domain Burton Daniels This paper claims that the ultimate issue confronting transpersonal theory is that of nondualism. and the will. 385-390): First Stage: individuation and adaptation to the physical body. and beautifully about nondual reality. The Ruchira Avatar. Wilber has written extensively. Humanity has benefited immeasurably from his work. but a work of extraordinary value for both science and spirituality. Perhaps nowhere in transpersonal psychology has nondualism received a more thoughtful treatment than in Wilber’s (1995. 2000b. Adi Da Samraj (1991. not only because of their prodigious scope. Avatar Adi Da not only offers a greater differentiation of nondual reality than can be found in contemporary scholarly texts. spiritual growth. for all its scope and remarkable cogency. Wilber initially posited a spectrum theory of consciousness. Every aspect of existence is thought to be subsumed within the general structure of an allinclusive consciousness—indeed. and the spiritual traditions upon which they are based. in which he integrates all psychological. lucidly. 103-131. discriminative intelligence. His quadrant theory goes on to elaborate on this depiction of consciousness. organizing the vast expanse of existence into four fundamental dimensions: interior and exterior. which is frequently confused in transpersonal psychology: nondualism. 2000a). it is not unprecedented. even the nondual reality that serves as its ultimate ground and final denouement. lucidly. and Divine Enlightenment in any given individual’s life (see Adi Da. However. these scholarly accounts of nondual reality. Nondualism and the Divine Domain 1 . Nonetheless. which has been perhaps most prolifically advocated by Ken Wilber (1995. and fully explicated by David Loy (1998). as well as individual and collective. Perhaps no one since Jung (1964) has done more to authenticate spiritual reality within the professional community of psychology and make its lofty precepts accessible to the lay reader. Third Stage: integration of the psycho-physical personality and development of the verbal mind. Avatar Adi Da’s revelation of nondual reality takes place as part of an overall schema that accounts for all aspects of human development and incarnate being: the seven stages of life. and spiritual treatises on the development of human beings—from the inception of one’s Very Being into an incarnated birth to their attainment of Divine Enlightenment and immersion in nondual reality. T he purpose of this paper is to clarify the fundamental nature of reality. either do not include or else misrepresent the revelation of a contemporary spiritual master crucial to the understanding of nondualism. Second Stage: socialization and adaptation to the emotional-sexual (or feeling) dimension of being. His synthesis of spiritual revelation from the various traditions of humanity’s great saints and sages is remarkable. philosophical. and beautifully about nondual reality.
this relationship cannot be so simply stated. 45). aspects of one’s being—what Jung (1919. 1969). to use the term in this way is misleading. Husserl’s transcendental ego (1960). Seventh Stage: Realization of the Divine Self and Inherently Perfect Freedom and realization of Divine Love-Bliss—no “difference” experienced between Divine Consciousness and psycho-physical states and conditions. a unity transcending any sense of duality. p. Jung’s description of the Self is frequently vague and inexact.Sixth Stage: Identification with ConsciousnessItself (presumed. virtually mirroring that of Avatar Adi Da. The difference between the accounts of nondualism by Wilber and Avatar Adi Da can be summed up this way: Wilber does not clearly differentiate between the sixth and seventh stages of life. Wilber and Avatar Adi Da are essentially in accord relative to the first six stages of life. 1962). out of which manifest existence arises. Assogioli described the S/self this way: “There are not really two selves. The relationship between the lower self and the deeper Self could be put this way: “This abiding dependence of ‘I’ upon Self amounts to an ontological union of ‘I’ and Self. other descriptions of the Self in Western philosophy typically fare no better—for example. isolation. Sartre’s non-positional consciousness (1957). Conze. this amalgam of lower self and deeper Self can be best indicated by the following nomenclature: the S/self. Both represent the individual as consisting most fundamentally of five levels of being— each of which correlating to one or another stage of life—following in the spiritual tradition of Advaita Vedanta (Deutsche. and his prominence within the transpersonal community has been established thereby. yet intimately connected. nondual reality. p. 1997. Volume 24 . However. and Hegel’s soul (1993). his spectrum theory is a superlative treatment of the first six stages of life. this depiction of S/self has significant implications for the understanding of nondualism. it most accurately—and most auspiciously—refers to the rela- The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Upon examination.’ So complete is this union that it may be called ‘nondual’. 1999). In fact. The reflection appears to be selfexistent but has. This passage indicates the kind of confusion obscuring a true understanding of nondualism. human beings can be most fundamentally described as consisting of two aspects: lower self and deeper Self. Even so. By this. et al. considerable correlation exists between Wilber’s spectrum theory and Avatar Adi Da’s seven stages of life. Because Wilber’s account of nondual reality exists within an impressive overall theory of consciousness. the Great Path of Return only ends up obscuring a true understanding of nondual Enlightenment— precisely because its essential dynamic happens elsewhere. two independent and separate entities. the nonbeing of ‘I. at the point of the seventh stage of life—the Divine Domain of “Radical” Non-Dual Reality—striking differences between their accounts can be discerned. It is. The Self is one. 20). for the essential dynamic of this process happens elsewhere. but actually incidental to that purpose. to be separate from all conditional phenomena). it manifests in different degrees of awareness and self-realization. Although nondualism is frequently used to refer to the relationship between Self and self. as well as Mahayana Buddhism (Suzuki. it would be useful to consider these differences more closely. Unfortunately. in other words. no autonomous substantiality. Better descriptions can be found in the tenets of Eastern spirituality— for example. 1968. or separation” (Firman & Gila. Wilber’s meticulous and detailed account of these stages of life is probably unsurpassed in the history of human ideas. S/self and the Divine Domain Relative to spiritual reality. This set of circumstances might tend to confuse 2 the reader who is not well-informed about the seventh stage of life.. They are so fundamentally related that a true break in that relationship would mean personal annihilation. not a new and different light but a projection of its luminous source” (1965. 2005. Yet. The two often appear intermixed and conflated in his writings—as is frequently the case in the great sixth stage literatures of the Great Tradition (where accounts of the seventh stage appear at all). or the “buddhi” of yoga psychology (Rama. In fact. Although his quadrant theory has certain difficulties (Daniels.1 Avatar Adi Da refers to the spiritual process of these traditions as the “Great Path of Return” and acknowledges that it represents a generally accurate depiction of the first six stages of life. Further. the Great Path of Return of the spiritual traditions can be seen as not only inadequate to account for true nondual Enlightenment. in reality. Not recognizing this difference has serious consequences for any understanding of nondualism. it is meant that psychic structure involves a concomitant interface between two entirely different. Consequently. this depiction gives only a limited and inadequate account of unmanifest. the “big mind” of Zen Buddhism (Muzuka. However. Indeed. 1964) referred to as the Self and the ego. 1998). 1990). however.2 Further.
or else actualizing the self. Dharmakaya. applicable to the different aspects of any individual: cognition. what is actually referred to by this passage is a single account of nondualism. Recently.. even going beyond that mentioned by Loy. including not only Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. second. This process takes place within the fourth and fifth stages of life. it represents the least of what could be called “lesser” enlightenments. the “Good”). ultimately. (Loy. Following upon this stage. there actually are different kinds of nondualism. Typically. As a result. Divine Reality is realized by eliminating the S/self—and. Platonic Forms). etc.e. God is paired with either the world or the psyche (e. this depiction is a startling misnomer.g.e. the “goal” of each lesser (or dependent) half is to submit (and eventually ascend) to the greater (or higher) half. 178) In other words. 17. by eliminating this separation. Rather. includes God. Nondual reality has been expressed in numerous texts from various spiritual traditions. or the Mahayana equation of samsara and nirvana. what has been called the identity of phenomena and Absolute. 1991). ultimately. being absorbed into God. The critique of thinking that employs dualistic categories (being vs. reversing the process. Yet. Overall. perception. and spirituality.) usually expands to encompass all conceptual thinking. pp. the individual traverses an immense hierarchy of existence until they finally ascend to the pinnacle of salvation. which. Reality is a material unity of natural laws and processes. pp.” “Secondary Non-Dualism. According to the point of view of “Conventional Monism. pure vs. 144-153) indicates that there are five possible orientations to reality: “Conventional Monism. However. It actual fact.” and “Ultimate NonDualism. philosophy. the nonplurality of the world. nonbeing.” These orientations to reality summarize all of the possible perspectives of the various traditions of psychology.… This leads to the third sense of nonduality. indeed. In other words. Consequently. Consequently. Avatar Adi Da (2000b.” the world or domain of nature is all that exists. the One Mind. impure. Tao. you’re dead. dualistic thinking separates the nonseparate unity of reality into component parts or categories (i.. although the passage by Loy suggests that different “types” of nondualism are possible. behavior. The Divine Reality of ultimate nondualism is not realized by virtue of the self more accurately approximating the Self.tionship between S/self and God. especially as it culminates in the third stage of life and the development of the rational mind.” This point of view accounts for all the bodilybased and mortal beliefs about existence. the obligation is for the psyche (or even all of existence) to submit and eventually ascend to “God” (i. 1991). the denial that subject and object are truly distinguishable…which is…the root delusion that needs to be overcome. the period in which this faculty of mind first most fully emerged in the West was dubbed the “Age of Enlightenment” (Tarnas. Indeed. variously called Brahman. in the process. reverses the self/other dichotomy and returns the multitude of discrete objects to their pristine state—the original unity of reality—which was always already the case to begin with.. the New Age movement has sought to usher in what amounts Nondualism and the Divine Domain 3 . but certain texts of Taoism. A good account of these features has been put this way: The following types of nonduality are discussed here: the negation of dualistic thinking. Negating dualistic thinking leads to experiencing the world as a unity. Each half is related to and even interrelated with the other—but each half is also paradoxically conceived to be utterly different than or inherently separate from the other. and so on. the world is made up of a number of principal pairs. as a collection of discrete objects (including me) interacting causally in space and time. In this orientation. and. 1998. which can also be expressed as “the nonduality of duality and nonduality”. “Conventional Dualism” interjects an awareness and appreciation of spiritual reality into that which is merely physical. the subtle and essentially spiritual domains of human development. for such thinking acts as a superimposition which distorts our immediate experience. These orientations can be described according to several features typically attributed to nondualism. their very Being.” “Conventional Dualism. It motivates the individual to struggle and search for fulfillment in the context of the first three stages of life. the possibility of a mystical unity between God and man. However. That is why we experience the world dualistically in the second sense. dualistic perception). which is God-realization (Griffiths. the defining principle could perhaps be put like this: “What you see is what you get”—or else perhaps this: “When you’re dead. and the non-difference of subject and object…although there [are] two other nondualities which are also closely related: first. According to this point of view.” “Primary Dualism.
within the schools of some varieties of Buddhism. et al. In “Secondary NonDualism” (or “Secondary Absolute Monism”). or with less directness. but it can also lead to or culminate in the seventh stage of life. 1977. Consequently. In such a case. In “Ultimate Non-Dualism” (or “Primary Absolute Monism”). as some traditions would have it. 1987). Avatar Adi Da also refers to seventh stage “Ultimate Non-Dualism” as “Radical” Non-Dualism. Prakriti) exists. However. So to speak. for it seeks to accomplish incompatible purposes: to be released from both the illusory need to eternalize the conditional self and the equally illusory need to annihilate the conditional self. Volume 24 . the totality of existence is only the One and Absolute Purusha (i. whether as an eternal and nonconditional. Avatar Adi Da speaks of this orientation to nondualism as follows: This point of view and Process (which may follow upon. usually by willful ascetic disciplines. and infinitely amusing. In other words. Consciousness is happy to participate in them—why not? It is a play of life. indicating its immediate and direct association with the Divine Condition Itself. Prakriti is traditionally understood to be objective energy. They can afford to be humorous and amused by all that arises—none of it means anything. The Love-Bliss characterizing this state exists in the Awareness.. Jainism and Samkhaya Yoga (Larson. for in this existence is a direct realization of Divine Love. conditionally appearing as a beginningless and endless continuum of causes and effects (Satorakashananda. and also. Verma. or object at all. insight. the tables are turned for the preceding position. but with even less directness.to a new Age of Enlightenment. not in the arising. the highest transcendental position begins to emerge. The spiritual practice associated with this point of view requires the individual to separate from Prakriti. p. This position of nondualism not only originates in the sixth stage of life. The spiritual practice associated with this orientation involves Its Very 4 Presence being understood and directly intuited to be actual (or really so)—and then perfectly or utterly affirmed by direct identification with Consciousness Itself. This orientation is superseded by the ultimately nondual position. the totality of existence is a combination of only two primary realities: Purusha and Prakriti. Purusha is traditionally understood to be nonconditional and inherently perfect Being and Consciousness. and. acting as a bridge between them. Rather.. whether “things” arise or not. Rather. and self-pacification. the causal and ultimate spiritual domain of human development. Self-Existing and SelfRadiant Consciousness Itself ). This orientation begins the process that takes place within the sixth stage of life. mind. Yet. especially within the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. the point of view of “Ultimate Non-Dualism” is actually somewhat more complex than this. or any separate and independent body.e.. an absolute Being or Consciousness Itself. the first form of a truly nondual position appears. this point of view and Process (of “Ultimate Non-Dualism. secondarily. and Principal) possible point of view and Process traditionally (and inherently) associated with the sixth stage of life (and such great sixth stage schools as have appeared in the form of the traditions of Advaitism. 1993). 1995. Following upon this stage. 2005. Avatar Adi Da describes this orientation to nondualism as follows: Most ultimately. the totality of existence is only Prakriti. starting with the point of view of “Primary Dualism”— for example. but has only actually succeeded in emulating one or another of the “lesser” enlightenments (see Wilber. the point of view and Process of “Primary Dualism”) is the third (and final. which. or be “Uncovered” by. mind. no inherently independent or separate Purusha exists. and all objects or others. “Ultimate Non-Dualism” can be thought of as straddling the sixth and seventh stages.” and which may even immediately follow upon. appears as the body. Everything else pales in comparison. This position ushers in the sixth stage of life. According to the point of view of this position.. no separate and independent “objective energy” (i. nothing is ever threatened or at risk for the sixth stage sage. If “things” do arise. individual Self or. or be “Uncovered” by. so that the individual might participate exclusively as Purusha. within some of the schools of Taoism). 1999b).3 Following upon this stage. 147) The essential realization is that only Consciousness exists. the point of view and Process of “Secondary Non-Dualism.e. exclusive attachment to Consciousness Itself is released and all of existence is seen as the manifestation of this One Reality. the inherent and original (or nirvanic) state of Prakriti is realized. (2000b. The spiritual practice associated with this point of view indicates that Prakriti appears only as an ephemeral and observable sequence of changes until. when modified. Only the existence of Consciousness matters.” or “Primary The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. a difficulty exists with this point of view. by the process of observation.
” Love-Blissful Radiance of Consciousness now Outshines all phenomena. the Ecstatic Recognition of all arising phenomena (by the Divine Self.” In this state.g. Inherently Spiritual. by Means Of My Avatarically Self-Transmitted Divine Grace.… [N]one of the traditional texts communicate the full developmental and Yogic details of the progressive seventh stage Demonstration (of Divine Transfiguration. p. sliding down the ladder— can be traced through a hierarchy (i. pp. the development of evolution. And. as a modification of Itself ) has become so intense that the “Bright. No historical text mentions only the realization of the seventh stage of life. whether in the spiritual traditions or transpersonal psychology. and NonSeparate (or Inherently All-Inclusive. Absolute.. all conditionally manifested events and objects are spontaneously and inherently recognized to be illusory or merely apparent modifications of the Divine Fullness of Being Itself. and (thus) somehow foreshadow (rather than directly reflect. Wilber’s spectrum theory offers an account of precisely these misrepresented mechanics. or directly express) the truly Most Ultimate (or Transcendental. Therefore. Love-Bliss-Energy Itself )…indicating (in each case) the One. they can be distinguished from the revelation of Avatar Adi Da in three significant respects:4 1. vertical deployment of involution. climbing up the ladder of ascent—itself resulting from a prior. or Perfectly Non-Exclusive) Real God. sixth stage “Ultimate Non-Dualism”). Certain aspects of the seventh stage realization appear in no historical texts at all. 2. and 3. Even the texts mentioned previously (among only a handful of others) represent primarily the sixth stage point of view of “Ultimate Non-Dualism”—with only certain passages within them suggestive of the more profound and all-pervasive Realization of “Radical” Non-Dualism. Lankavatara Sutra. (in press) The Illusion of Relatedness The absence of the seventh stage point of view has significant implications for any understanding of nondualism. Nor do they ever indicate (nor has any traditional Realizer ever Demonstrated) the Most Ultimate (or Final) Demonstration of the seventh stage of life (Which End-Sign Is Divine Translation). Avadhoota Gita.. mind. it is only by Means of My own Avataric Divine Work and Avataric Divine Word that the truly seventh stage Revelation and Demonstration has Appeared.e. and Divine Indifference). is twofold: 1. Tripura Rahasya). all phenomena become immediately and directly recognized as nothing other than the Divine Condition Itself. Divine Transformation.e.. 148) Avatar Adi Da frequently refers to this condition as “Open Eyes. Most Perfectly Realized) the “Point of View” (and the Most Perfect Process) that (by all the Graceful Means I have Revealed and Given for the sake of all who will be My devotees) establishes and characterizes the seventh stage of life. to Complete the Great Tradition of mankind. In other words. body. because (from the thoroughly NonDualistic “Point of View” that necessarily characterizes the seventh stage of life) the “Ultimate Absolute” Is both Self-Existing (As Absolute Being Itself and Absolute Consciousness Itself ) and Self-Radiant (As Absolute. They suggest that God is the goal of development. or Truth. 707-708). and world are no longer noticed— but not because the Divine Consciousness has withdrawn or dissociated from manifest phenomena (i.. The seventh stage of life is the Divinely Self-Radiant process by which all of conditional existence is “outshined” (see Adidam. (Ibid. No historical text mentions all aspects of the seventh stage realization. They misrepresent the actual mechanics whereby God manifests into human beings. Rather.Absolute Monism”) is (if it is. In his spectrum theory. Avatar Adi Da explains the difference between His unique revelation of the seventh stage of life and the seventh stage intuitions of these premonitory texts as follows: The traditional premonitorily “seventh stage” texts are advanced sixth stage literatures that express a few philosophical conceptions (or yet limited and incomplete intuitions) that sympathetically resemble the characteristic seventh stage Disposition (in and of itself ). and Perfectly Subjective. or Reality. Therefore. holarchy) involving several levels of being. 1991. Although this kind of language might sound similar to revelations made throughout the spiritual traditions (e. and Most Perfectly Divine) “Point of View”. and 2. Whereas involution Nondualism and the Divine Domain 5 . The difficulty for most accounts of nondualism.
1999a. instead. It arises spontaneously. All that appears to be not-Consciousness (or an object of Consciousness) is an apparition produced by apparent modification (or spontaneous contraction and perturbation) of the inherent Radiance (or Native Love-Bliss) of Consciousness Itself. once objects (or conditions) arise. they do not truly indicate the mechanics whereby God manifests into human beings. therefore. In so doing. the Self can only feel its own. the latter compensating the former for its comprised identity. or else to be repeated. And once the material world blows into existence (with. or separate from. The entire range of the human individual’s various levels of being are nothing but a diminution of the fundamental Reality that is God. laboring against Itself and what is Its own True and Real state. The two aspects of the paradox originally defined as God and Self are simultaneously delineated further into that of Self and Other. mind is illusion. say. pp. the Big Bang). Whereas the one Is God. From here.indicates preexisting states of deeper consciousness. It will falsely presume that It is no longer Itself but. Although it is true that the illusion exists. The two exist as a duality—within nondualism. Itself. across the non-existent gulf of this (apparent) separateness. although involution and evolution are intrinsic processes of human life. but each is a reduced or “stepped down” version of Spirit. 2001a. 2005. respectively—the latter tussling with the former in a struggle over the sovereignty of its assumed identity. without cause or reason. 346-347) Consequently. all of the higher dimensions are enfolded. as potential. Each of those levels is still a level of Spirit. It will regard Itself to be other than. Yet. At the end of that process of involution. simply existing as this very activity of painful self-contraction. evolution initiates states of higher consciousness coming into being. for embarking upon this process immediately embroils one in a perplexing paradox: nirvana and samsara are the same. According to the perennial philosophy—or the common core of the world’s great wisdom traditions—Spirit manifests a universe by “throwing itself out” or “emptying itself ” to create soul. the paradox can be resolved in this way: There is only God—even if spread upon the illusory levels of mind (or samsara). two aspects of reality come to exist. and tends to persist. they tend to persist (or to demand repetition)—and Consciousness may. simultaneously pulled both toward and away.. not that which is God. nonetheless. The causal Self comes into being as an utterly spontaneous contraction occurring in the pure state of 6 Consciousness that Is God. 10) However. this dynamic tension surrounds a further process arising within its midst.… All of this arising is (in itself—or separately) an illusion—the principal signs of which are the presumption of relatedness (and of “difference”). it’s not real. true state of Consciousness—as God.… However. If Consciousness identifies with this selfcontraction. therefore. p. the densest form of all. (Wilber. the other is merely arising in (and as) God. this paradox exists only on the samsara side of the equation. engaged in an intense paradox of God and Self. Consequently. However. which condenses into matter. related to Itself. The process of “Radical” Non-Dual Enlightenment is far from easy. tend to dwell on them with fascination. like a rubber band stretched taut. releasing the Illusion of Relatedness into what is its own. in the lowest material realm. involution). the duality of this simultaneous paradox (God/Self and Self/Other) further extends itself through all the levels of being (i. That very defining feature is precisely how they can both be— and not be—one and the same. In other words.… Each level is a whole that is also part of a larger whole (each level or structure is a whole/part or holon). Volume 24 . the presumption of a separate self… (Adi Da. each evolutionary unfolding transcends but includes its predecessor(s). which condenses into body. then the reverse process—or evolution—can occur. continues to merely exist in a Blissful state of Awareness of all that is arising. It will also tend to resolve the discomfort of this separate state of being through attention and falsely presume that It is. meanwhile. It’s an imitation (and. moving from matter to living bodies to symbolic minds to luminous souls to pure Spirit itself. This tension of separation goes both ways. Yet. an imposter) of what Is Real: God. therefore. Realizing God involves one in a different dynamic than that of involution and evolution entirely. which condenses into mind. inherent feeling of Love-Bliss when it relaxes this contracted state. Whereas God is Reality. Therefore. Consequently.e. an illusion of Itself. the mechanics of human manifestation actually occur as follows: There is only God. with Spirit transcending and including absolutely everything. This diminution takes The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Indeed. there is still only prior Reality (which the Self continues to actually Be).
the ability to “notice” things. a futile effort. It could all be understood differently. This “sequence” of simultaneous paradox ultimately traces out the agony of humanity’s suffering. the S/self is an alternative to God. now Falls through the involuted levels of being. this process could be thought of as a “vertical” Fall. Each is writhing upon the pillars of its own end of the dichotomy.. having thus Fallen in this sense. The causal Self Falls away from God and then. However.place within mind. Even now. turns against itself. Only in this sense does the idea of growing and evolving so as to reverse the Fall makes any sense. Consequently. In this sense.e. this fundamental separation is still present. Indeed. Therefore. it is a matter of not Falling in the first place—which requires no additional effort or process to reverse it—precisely because one has not Fallen. like steps ever diminishing—one turning away. Wilber speaks of the “Fall” this way: “Thus. There is a price to be paid for this error. this passage suggests that the “Fall” operates according to dynamics similar to gravity. The usual definition of consciousness (as opposed to unconsciousness) does not mean Consciousness Itself—indeed. like the hard and brusque case of a nut. for the activity of contraction in the midst of the Living Love-Bliss that is God is painful— resulting in nothing but the loss of the Love and Happiness of True Being. In other words. such that the complex presumption of separate “I” and separate “other” (or of the feeling of relatedness itself ) is transcended (and is not superimposed on what otherwise arises. which is not other than the illusions of S/self that comprise it. the ego-“I” consists essentially of lack and is empty. Involution is actually said to be occurring right now. we move away from Spirit. we descend. imploded inward upon itself. certainly. as we separate or alienate ourselves from Ground and Source. in this moment. the Fall could be thought of as a “horizontal” (i. like the JudeoChristian account.. Indeed. Put somewhat differently. pp. we involve. lived out in its various levels and diminutions. tracing out its trajectory based on this more fundamental gesture within God and Reality— and does so at every level of its descent. Contrary to the biblical account. 344-345) Most accounts of spirituality and nondualism are problematic. even as the causal Self emerges into awareness. whereas God is full and effulgent—indeed. p. this is ultimately just an illusion. taking place at every level of being equally. it is an activity that every individual is presently doing. Consciousness Nondualism and the Divine Domain 7 . in turning away. such that the individual plummets through the levels of being on their way to birth—as if Falling from the sky of heaven en route to an impact with the Earth. the Fall could be understood very differently—as the Illusion of Relatedness. involution is not something that merely or even especially occurred prior to birth or in some distant cosmological past. even in facing itself. that is to say. precisely because it derives its meaning as an alternative to unconsciousness. If the separate “I” and its separate “other” are Most Perfectly Relinquished (or Most Perfectly transcended). However. Clearly. the two operate upon very different principles. The two are self-contained. For moment to moment. Consciousness is usually thought of as a state of awareness. which is. In other words. radiating Ecstatically to Infinity. one within the other.… Such is the Disposition of the only-by-me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life. God can be understood only on the other side of the paradox. lateral) process. Further. precisely because they attempt to resolve the paradox from the side that is the ego-“I”—but not that which is God. However. and thus we must return to Source and Self—we must grow and evolve to reverse the Fall” (1990.5 This confusion probably manifests itself most commonly in a concept typically attributed to JudeoChristian religion: the Fall of Man. the Fall that is involution actually falls through the Fall that is the Illusion of Relatedness—which precedes it and pervades it all along its descending path. Involution arises as a consequence of the Illusion of Relatedness. Instead. they try to make sense of the paradox from within the parameters of the paradox. “Radical” Non-Dualism Much of the confusion surrounding nondualism can be cleared up by considering an ambiguity in the principal term of the discussion: consciousness. 125). The two unfold in their turn. (Ibid. which is continually lived out in the suffering of every life. while the other. However.… There are no separate waters in the seas. reversing the Fall that is the Illusion of Relatedness occurs irrespective of growth and evolution. but every wave or motion folds in one another on the Deep. prior to its formation. However. with the worm in its seed. or on what is otherwise perceived conditionally)—then what arises? This Unique and Original Freedom may be likened to the perception of waves from the point of view of the ocean (as compared to the perception of waves from the point of view of any single wave).
1979). and Divine Consciousness Itself ) (Adi Da. The confusion Wilber makes is in attributing Consciousness Itself (i. the “Radical” Non-Dual state of Enlightenment actually represents the transcendence of each level of being—whether waking.… Ultimate reality (or Spirit).” merely observing all that exists—even while they perhaps continue to participate in the events of life. which is associated with Divine Being and the seventh stage of life. the individual no longer perceives and understands experience from the point of view of the lower self or even the subtle Self. nonetheless. and anything that is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not ultimate reality. or sleeping. Wilber conceives of this state of consciousness as follows: I became extremely serious about meditation practice when I read the following line from the illustrious Sri Ramana Maharshi: “That which is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not real”. Perhaps one way to clarify this distinction is by comparing it to the principal therapeutic imperative of psychoanalysis: making the unconscious conscious (Pulver.… That is a shocking statement. Spiritual. identified with the very consciousness that is observing all that arises. a curious quality is associated with it.g. “Consciousness as Such”) with one or another of the various modes of possible awareness: waking. This will: 1) strip us of an exclusive identification with any of those states (such as the body. if we want to realize our supreme identity with Spirit. for he also makes the fundamental error associated with the sixth stage of life: regarding the sixth stage to be the culminating denouement of existence. namely Consciousness as Such. such a position represents the point of view of the sixth stage of life (e. and follow it through all changes of state—waking. 1995). the result is to confuse them both. Shankara. In that state. which is a version of what Avatar Adi Da calls the sixth stage error. dreamless sleep arises—and is ultimately Awakened and Resolved—in the Ultimate Source of Being that is Consciousness Itself. “The Right Side Of The Heart Is The Base Of the state of deep sleep…(And The Right Side Of The Heart…Is Fully Awakened. Ramana said…must also be fully present in deep dreamless sleep. in so doing. therefore. Wilber only reduces the seventh stage to the sixth stage.e. In this sense. the individual participates in experience as the causal Self. Conventional notions of consciousness associate it with an object. However. we will have to plug ourselves into this current of constant consciousness. 223). We have seen that the wisdom traditions subscribe to the notion that reality manifests in levels or dimensions. Wilber also suggests that an even more profound dimension of being exists beyond this: the nondual reality out of which all manifest existence arises. The epistemological position of simple awareness is typically referred to in the spiritual traditions as “witness” consciousness. Here. sleeping. Wilber put it this way: [This] brings us to the most notorious paradox in the perennial philosophy. dreaming. However. subconscious and self-conscious) aspects of S/self are made conscious. the highest rung on the 8 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Yet. it does not indicate “Radical” Non-Dual consciousness. it is not “Radical” Non-Dual Being. Wilber has both manifest and unmanifest existence refer to the same level of being. 2005. Although this latter comment might sound like “Radical” Non-Dualism.. dreaming. or Most Perfectly Resolved In Its Perfect Source…The Most Ultimate and Inherently Most Perfect Awakening Of Perfectly Subjective Transcendental. attention itself. one takes the position of the “witness. When all unconscious (not to say.… Thus. However. p. or sleeping. In other words. timeless Spirit. the essence of the Illusion of Relatedness. the mind. But. because basically there is nothing—literally nothing— in the deep dreamless state. 2000b. and 2) allow us to recognize and identify with that which is constant— or timeless—through all of those states. pp. However. Rather. then there is only Consciousness Itself. over against which that consciousness can be said to be aware. or the soul).6 Even deep. Spirit is the summit of being. this passage is an excellent example of what could be called the “lesser” enlightenment associated with sixth stage “Ultimate NonDualism”. In trying to have it both ways. (2000b.Itself is not aware of things. dreaming. with each higher dimension being more inclusive and therefore “closer” to the absolute totality of Godhead or Spirit. by any other name. the ego.. It simply is Awareness. Volume 24 . To be aware of something is to attend to it—and is. more is at stake in Wilber’s point of view than this. This is the beginning of the ultimate stages of life. Although this state represents an extraordinary level of being. 64-65) This passage is notable for it presents an excellent example of the “witness” consciousness associated with the causal Self and the sixth stage of life. But Consciousness Itself is more primal than that.
nondualism is typically thought to result whenever the self/other distinction is eliminated. the error is not so much a mistaken notion—for it does accurately represent the casual Self—as an error of omission.. as present fully at the beginning as at the end. Nonetheless. (1997. Spirit is prior to this world. pp. indeed. nothing is gained by being so aligned. only the latter applies to “Radical” Non-Dual Reality (i.ladder of evolution. for it is precisely the act of setting God up as a goal that inserts seeking into the equation—and eliminates God thereby. Yet. (1997. Real God). p. further. this confusion is easy to make and. in heaven and on earth. In another context.e. Wilber has not applied this same understanding to his own theory. the wood aspect. That is to say. sixth stage “Ultimate” Non-Dualism). according to the traditions. The very desire to seek enlightenment is in fact nothing but the grasping tendency of the ego itself. 26) Yet. a significant problem exists with this: the spiritual traditions are in error. the real significance of the sixth stage error is this: confusing the causal Self for Real God. But it is also true that Spirit is the wood out of which the entire ladder and all its rungs are made. failing to accurately represent God. which is to say. Simply put. getting in touch with Spirit or God…is your own simple witnessing awareness” (Ibid. The second aspect. in terms of “Radical” Nondualism and the Divine Domain 9 . dissolved in the True and “Radically” Non-Dual Enlightenment of Real God. suggesting that “you always already are enlightened Spirit. for all are equally “made of ” Spirit. Thus Spirit is both the highest goal of all development and evolution. is the immanent nature of Spirit—Spirit is equally and totally present in all manifest things and events.” However.. in nature. is Buddha-nature itself. and thus the very search for enlightenment prevents it.e. the goal of the stages of life is attributed to both Self and God. Wilber has correctly identified the ultimate significance of this difference. is Spirit itself. Consequently. You can no more attain Spirit than you can attain your feet or acquire your lungs. but to inquire into the motive for seeking itself. the traditions maintain. and yet the present alone holds the answer: to seek forever is to miss the point forever. is God itself. and the ground of the entire sequence. the highest-rung aspect. What actually results for having eliminated the self/other distinction is not “Radical” Non-Dualism.7 Wilber collapses the sixth and seventh stages together. is the enlightened mind itself. The first aspect. is the transcendental nature of Spirit—it far surpasses any “worldly” or creaturely or finite things.… [T]hus seeking Spirit is exactly that which prevents realization. in its entirety. Virtually no precedence for the seventh stage revelation is present in the spiritual traditions. p. and this is what makes all the difference. and therefore to seek Spirit is simply to deny Spirit. Wilber makes a different sort of error in his comments. but an inquiry into why you want to attain enlightenment in the first place. The forms of dualism are not resolved until the entire S/self structure is eliminated. Wilber sees his theory as an attempt to align with spiritual presentations made traditionally: “That simple witnessing awareness. in culture. Spirit is the suchness.. and Spirit would remain. Further. 43-44) (emphasis in the original) The sixth stage error is most clearly indicated by this passage and can be seen as comprised of two parts: the term “spirit” is used ambiguously—to indicate both Self and God—and. apart from a handful of texts that are premonitory in nature. such is simply not the case. with no partiality.… Thus. You always already ARE enlightened Spirit. the truth is this: even though you are always already God. the essence of each and every thing that exists. From this angle. certainly. but not other to this world. The entire earth (or even universe) could be destroyed. stems from the traditional understanding of nondualism. The former applies to the causal Self alone (i. The “perfect practice” is therefore not to search for enlightenment. no phenomenon whatsoever is closer to Spirit than another. the isness. However. claiming that nondual reality is essentially comprised of two aspects: goal and ground. 287). as well. You obviously seek in order to avoid the present. you are not always already Enlightened (at least. But such is not the case for “Radical” Non-Dualism. However. the Illusion of Relatedness. Only the other is dissolved in the elimination of the self/other distinction—not the causal Self. by paraphrasing Avatar Adi Da’s own revelation about it: Adi Da…originally taught nothing but “the path of understanding”: not a way to attain enlightenment. but merely a partial aspect of reality: the Self. Although the elimination of the self/other distinction has been traditionally associated with the emergence of what might be thought to be “Radical” Non-Dualism. A subtle dualism yet remains: Self and God.
Ironically. (Wilber. more fragmentation (what we called the self-dissolution factor. This Bhava is available to every individual at any time. Indeed. Transcendence. and what requires elimination in the process of “Radical” NonDual Enlightenment. What he fails to appreciate. Yogic gesture in heart-Communion with Me” (Adi Da. In fact. It is by way of the Illusion of Relatedness that this “Brightness” is corrupted and transmuted into a spectrum—as if by a prism. 10 the asana of ‘Ruchira Avatara Bhava’ (or the love‘Intoxication’ of true devotion to Me) is a devotional. Unfortunately. Avatar Adi Da (1997. Therefore. conceiving of consciousness as if a “spectrum” only ends up undermining the nondual reality it is intended to advocate. And to do so captivates one in a swoon and rapture of God’s Love-Bliss: “Therefore.” attaining Spirit is precisely what is meant by the Great Path of Return he is advocating. 325). However. Although the Light has not yet transmuted into the spectrum.… In self-adaptation or communion. But the whole point of transcendence is the release—disengaging one’s affiliation and identification with their particular level of being (that is to say. or association. p. even an integration of the two. pp. remains even after the fact. S/self-Transcendence and Real-God-Realization Perhaps the most difficult part of understanding the seventh stage of life is that it does not “follow” the sixth stage. in the event that they do. a move downward to less unity. unconditional love-feeling of Me. exists as the absolute purity of “Brightness. it is accessed only through the spiritual process of worship and devotion—precisely because the Blessing of Bhava is Given as a Gift. The difference between the seventh stage account of this process and the sixth stage is that the sixth stage sees the prior unity of Light while within the prism. including the sixth. the choice is to either ascend—and develop into greater embrace and unity—or else descend—and disintegrate into greater fragmentation and regression. the seventh stage of life is the context of every stage. is essentially what we have been calling self-transcendence. the only right asana is utter ‘in-love’ of Me. attaching to the next higher level of development. which has its own new forms of agency (relative autonomy) and communion. one finds oneself to be part of a larger whole. Wilber simply has no account of the Illusion of Relatedness in his theory. whether ascension or descension—or. not just those in the higher stages of life. however. before its dreadful mechanics of incarnation even come to exist—and.Non-Dualism). it is precisely the fact that you are suffering a “veil of ignorance” that indicates your need to be Enlightened. is a matter of releasing one’s hold on life and its developmental trajectory. And the opposite of that was regression or dissolution. Self-transcendence (or self-transformation)…is not just a communion. The seventh stage. all levels of being). 42. indeed. nonetheless. Rather. as Socrates (Plato) uses the term. Unfortunately. 2005. Wilber’s concept of transcendence is at odds with this revelation. Although Wilber states that you can “no more attain Spirit than you can attain your feet or acquire your lungs. Further. on the other hand. it must be received as a Gift—and given in return. without form or function or any referents to dilute it. Indeed. Although Wilber includes a “Unity Consciousness” in his formulations of the ultimate ground of existence. 2000a. as if another level of construction in the overall holarchy. this context can be accessed at every stage— directly and immediately. Fundamentally. 335) For Wilber. his emphasis and orientation all point toward the moving from one level of consciousness to another—rather than the immediate and direct immersion into Consciousness Itself. the seventh stage is present as much at the beginning as in the culmination of the holarchy. 1995. is a third option: transcend—into direct and immediate communion with God. In other words. God is your true state—but the Illusion of Relatedness is also true of you. Although this witnessing of reality exists prior to the Light’s transmutation into a spectrum. Wilber has the process go a step further. the forces are building by which it will do so. the sixth stage is still captivated by the mechanics of the prism—even as the “Brightness” exists within it. Volume 24 . indeed. it does not exist prior to the Light’s entering the prism. The conundrum of Wilber’s spectrum theory could perhaps be put this way: although holons consist The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Consequently. to everyone. tenet 2d). 2001b) frequently speaks of “Radical” Non-Dual Reality as being a state of “Brightness”—which is a state of unfathomably Blissful Light. self-adaptation. the metaphor of a spectrum is really only useful in conceiving of the involuted/evoluted levels of being on this side of the Illusion of Relatedness.” on the other side of the prism. in self-transformation one becomes a new whole. the very motor of Ascent or development or evolution: the finding of ever-higher self-identity with ever-wider embrace of others.… Eros. “Radical” NonDualism has nothing to do with progression of any kind. in this sense.
But this is exactly what the ego-“I” loathes to do (Vitz. 295) Wilber likens the situation relative to nondualism to that of a ladder (if not. indeed. and Indivisible. or separate and separative point of view) itself. and Inherently egoless Case) Is (Self-Evidently. 1994)—and for good reason.e. the very wood of which it is made are. this rung does. the dynamic underlying them is entirely different. 250. no assembly or arrangement of holons—even ones that integrate into higher levels of the holarchy—will ever result in God. As can be seen. assembled by the very fact that they inhere in one another. and Truth (or Real God) Itself. it seems that there is no end to the difference and separation. indeed. which can be sorted out in the following way: when the highest rung of the ladder (i. Still. or Real God. in essence. To release one’s hold on manifest exisNondualism and the Divine Domain 11 .” it is easy to see how the wood and the rung are identical— they are all there is. That is to say. One must release their attachment (i. they do not actually comprise God. not any one (or even the collective of all) of the first six stages of life directly (and Most Perfectly) Realizes (or Is the Inherently egoless and Inherently Most Perfect Realization and the Inherently egoless and Inherently Most Perfect Demonstration of ) Reality. However. Each apparently separate entity or being is nothing but a wave—comprised of the same water as every other wave and.e. pp. there is more to existence than merely this ladder. aligned together and arising.e. That is to say. However. this causal rung is not God. Always Already. It arises in God. Although the language sounds similar. therefore. However. imagine that these waves are all somehow connected together. The One. the entire ocean. holons are nothing but the effect of the Illusion of Relatedness having taken place. causal Self ) originally emerges. a river).. Truth. All the waves of the ocean can be thought of as an immense matrix (or else spectrum). this arrangement is exactly that of a ladder. this is something of a pantheistic (i. At this causal point of “origin. To suggest that the “ladder” is the origin of “each rung” is misleading—at least in the same sense that God Is the Source and Substance of all existence. Wilber is correct in asserting that there is a ladder of existence—it is just that the ladder is floating in the ocean! And. Avatar Adi Da puts it this way: Because each and all of the first six stages of life are based on (and identical to) egoity (or self-contraction. In other words. In fact. this statement is based on an illusion. and Perfectly Subjective. and Indestructibly Non-Objective SourceCondition and Self-Condition of All and all. Wilber states that the ladder gives a good description of manifest existence because the highest rung of the ladder and. the ladder itself arises within God. that is all the ladder there is. and True. the very same thing: Spirit. as involution proceeds.of God. But on the level of the waves. to do so involves a concomitant—and Ecstatic— activity: submit to being absorbed back into the ocean. “throw itself out” into further levels—each one of which simply a continuation of the causal rung. and Utterly Indivisible. imagine there are only six waves in the ocean. It is the causal stage that is the origin of each subsequent rung of the ladder. Further. in truth. No real difference or separation between them—at least on the level of the ocean. the collapse of the Self/God distinction. level upon level. (2000b. The Illusion of Relatedness yet separates the two. out of the original sixth wave. “stretching” out into ever diminished forms until it finally reaches bottom. and Really) Divine. It is in this manner that it makes sense to speak of an “origin” and a “goal” to existence—for the whole developmental sequence is really nothing more than the causal rung expanding and contracting upon itself. Yet. God and Reality are other than the ladder. addiction) to manifest existence and submit to God. into an ascending hierarchy. the difficulty for Wilber’s theory is this: seventh stage “Ultimate Non-Dualism” is mistaken for the collapse of the self/other distinction—when seventh stage “Ultimate Non-Dualism” is. its rungs are not actually comprised of wood—they’re comprised of water. For the sake of sorting out the essential difference between these two metaphors.. as they appear to spread out in all directions. “Secondary Non-Dualism”) view in which the mere aggregate of component parts represents God and Reality—whereas. indeed. only then to divide into its corresponding rungs.8 The true significance of this arrangement suggests that there is only one way to Realize God or “Radical” Non-Dual Enlightenment: one must leave the ladder. However. or descended. in reality. I Say Only Reality Itself (Which Is. Indeed. and Indestructible. imagine that five of these waves have all emerged. Avatar Adi Da makes use of a different metaphor entirely to speak of “Radical” Non-Dual Reality: the waves of the ocean.. indeed.… I Say the only Real God (or Truth Itself ) Is the One and Only and Inherently Non-Dual Reality (Itself )— Which Is the Inherently egoless.
in place) to directly enter into heartCommunion with Me (the Avataric SelfRevelation of the Reality. And. When “Bright” SelfRecognition Rests Most Deeply In Its Fathomless Shine.… At last. there is really only one means to God-Realization: you must take the “plunge”! Any other understanding only confuses the issue. Perhaps nowhere is the contrast between the Great Tradition and “Radical” NonDualism more evident than in this passage. including the sixth stage (however subtle its presence at that point). Pervasive In the The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Most Perfectly Beyond and Prior to ego-“I. Deep (Inherently egoless. “Radical” Non-Dualism and the seventh stage of life. or patterns. However. yield an entirely different participation in Reality: In the only-by-Me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life. it is exactly (and only) by understanding the hierarchical nature of samsara that we can in fact climb out of it. yet. on the other hand. or Truth. or envisions It as seeming two. mistakenly thinking that God-Realization involves “climbing” out of samsara only ends up obscuring the real process of God-Realization. (Adi Da. or Real God In Place (or As That Which Is Always Already The Case. all conditions (or all motions. sixth stage sage—no matter how truly illustrious and profound—is simply perched upon their final plank of wood. At first. the difference between this spiritual realization and the misguided judgment of so many unfortunate souls who have made headlines in recent years requires an understanding of exactly what it is that must die: the ego-“I”—not the human body. The causal. nevermind your apparent unpreparedness to do so. 276) Put somewhat differently. Rather. the error of the Great Tradition is this: in having climbed the ladder.tence is to die. Where and As you Are. Indeed. something like a telescope. and Self-Evidently Divine) Self-Recognition Realizes Only SelfExisting and Self-Radiant Love-Bliss where the conditional patterns of merely apparent modification rise and fall in their folds. The S/self in its entirety must accept and submit to being absorbed into God. to Me—just as it is. It is all around them. Although Wilber claims you must first climb the ladder. Consequently.… Therefore. a painful denial of Ecstasy). this Realization Shines in the world and Plays “Bright” Demonstrations on the waves. It is the ego-“I” that stands between S/self and God— and it does so at every stage of life. a ladder discarded only after having served its extraordinary purpose” (1997. for even the sixth stage of life has its own sense of ego-“I” to overcome. or of “differentiation. 2005. Wilber speaks of the ladder metaphor in this manner: “But according to the traditions. at the point of one’s “highest climb.” a surprising development could be said to occur: the ladder is not actually discarded. but (by surrendering your “self. contrary to Wilber’s account. sixth stage sage. p.” which act is the prismatic fault that Breaks the Light. it collapses. Where Primitive relatedness Is Freely Drowned.” or the act of self-contraction. It is at this point that you discard the ladder—when you understand that it is unnecessary. the truth is you must discard the ladder right now. To think that no more ladder exists simply because only one rung is left is an illusion. for Enlightenment actually occurs based upon an entirely different dynamic. To overcome the Illusion of Relatedness one must come to a dual understanding: 1) realize that the ego-“I” is actually an obstruction to God (and. more and more “away”). one 12 only reaches the top rung. In a manner of speaking. 45). the true means to God-Realization is simple: stop doing it! No amount of development will ever ease or replace this obligation. And the same is true at every stage of life—indeed. In other words. or Real God) is not to go gradually “higher and higher” (and. That Is the Only Real God). therefore. the Play of motions Is Translated In Love-Bliss. p. You need only to understand it. Volume 24 .” or total body-mind. and more). you don’t need to experience the ladder first to discard it (at any or all of its rungs). so close to the ocean that they are everything except immersed within it. this one. final piece of wood keeps them buoyed. more to the point. so as to position yourself to discard it. each rung simply enfolding within the others until only one is left. 2000a. [T]he “radical” approach to Realization of Reality (or Truth. and 2) realize that this is something you are doing—even right now. thus. Truth. There is nowhere else to go in scaling the ladder but the top rung. even that of the causal. and (in this Manner) to Realize Reality. And. or waves of My Avatarically SelfTransmitted Divine Spirit-Energy) Are (each in its moment) Divinely Self-Recognized On and In and As the Deep (or Self-Existing and SelfRadiant Consciousness Itself. The “Brightness” Is Indifferent (Beyond “difference”) In the Deep—There.
Buddhist thought in India. pp. CA: Dawn Horse Press. even as it exists at the truly profound level of the causal Self—only trivializes the very real dynamic of separation that exists in its midst. Spiral dynamics. In The Five Books of the Adidam Revelation (Book Five). like a Sea of Blankets. Oxford. Firman.com. (1965). prior to being “born” as the various levels of being). Middletown. Griffiths. Adi Da (2000a). The “Apex” Paradox: The role of the ego in psychology and spirituality and its implications for clinical practice (Vol. In The Seventeen Companions of the True Dawn Horse (Book One). Honolulu. (1997). Middletown. The state that Wilber advocates as nondual is really nothing more than the causal Self emerging in the midst of the collapse of the self/other duality. Merely considering the S/self to be God— indeed. One can Realize God only by eliminating that difference— which is only one’s own doing. 39-49. One cannot Realize God by pretending the difference between them does not exist.. (2003b). 345. (1962). Cohen. only intuited the seventh stage of life. this difference is of ultimate significance.” To see how this reference could be made is understandable. Beck. The “Apex” Paradox: The role of the ego in psychology and spirituality and its implications for clinical practice (Vol.C. A. Adi Da (2001a). The Dawn Horse Testament. In The Dawn Horse Testament. NY: State Univ. Clearlake. Adi Da (1997). Ultimately. Adi Da (2000b). at most. The primal wound. for the causal Self does exist prior to involution (i. (1995). All the Deep Unfolds To Waken In the Once Neglected (Now Un-Covered) Light of SelfIlluminated and Eternal Day. and understanding this fundamental paradox is the only means by which one can understand their true relationship to God. Albany. (1999). B. NE: Writer’s Showcase. Clearly. K. God-Realization is a matter of being absorbed into that which is truly Unmanifest. I: The abundant ego). The unique sixth stage foreshadowings of the Only-By-Me revealed and demonstrated and given seventh stage of life. Chopra. The traditions have. What is Enlightenment? 22. Middletown. Psychosynthesis. Middletown. But it is the latter that makes the difference. Advaita Vedanta. nevermind how spontaneous and without reason. Internet: BurtonDaniels. for the S/self is also not God. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Vedanta and Christian faith. Lincoln. therefore. In The Seventeen Companions of the True Dawn Horse (Book Ten). Although the “Unborn” is an utterly profound state of reality. The seven spiritual laws of success. (2002). CA: Dawn Horse Press. D. Daniels. MA: Moksha Press. Assagioli. B. Middletown. The seven stages of life. In The Five Books of the Adidam Revelation (Book Four). A. (2003a). Notes. it does not exist prior to the Illusion of Relatedness— nor. This is precisely why Avatar Adi Da is the unique and only means to seventh stage God-Realization—for He Is That Very Reality which is to be Realized. New York: Viking. Lenox. B.e. as Real God. They have not fully Embodied it. E. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Adi Da (2001b). & Wilber. CA: Dawn Horse Press. However. confusing the sixth and seventh stages is easy to do. Eleutherios. In The Basket of Tolerance. Middletown. J. C. (1966). Living enlightenment. Adidam (Eds. Daniels. (2002). CA: Dawn Horse Press. NE: Writer’s Showcase. Wilber (2000b) refers to this state as the “Unborn. D. Conze. CA: Dawn Horse Press. A. In appreciation of Wilber’s spectrum/quadrant theory. The guru and the pandit: Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber in dialogue. Hridaya Rosary (Four Thorns of HeartInstruction). R. Yet.E. B. its realization is predicated upon the development—rather than the dissolution—of manifest being.) (1991). CA: Dawn Horse Press. San Rafael. Nondualism and the Divine Domain 13 . (1996). & Gila. for the difference between them is extremely subtle. Adi Da (in press). 2001a. II: The aberrant ego). as is the case with Avatar Adi Da. & Cowan. E. of New York Press. Real God Is the Indivisible Oneness of Unbroken Light. CA: Amber-Allen Publishing. 346) Conclusion God both is and is not the S/self. References Adi Da (1991). Lincoln. Daniels. UK: Blackwell Publishers. (Adi Da. CA: Dawn Horse Press. HI: EastWest Center Press. (1991). Middletown. Drifted in the deeper land. London: Allen and Unwin. Cohen. Middletown. Deutsche.Water-Stand—and.
). These levels of “lesser” enlightenment are advocated in the recent works of numerous authors— for example. The transcendence of the ego (F. St. K. Lee. Press. E. S. (1999a). which is so critical at this stage of evolution. (1991). MI: William B. Unfortunately. Weiss. Man and his symbols. soul and spirit). and Beck & Cowan (1996). the fifth stage of life conforms to the higher mind of the subtle level. really need to let go of self and egoic self-esteem altogether. NY: Humanity Books. R. G.). Encyclopedia of Indian philosophy (Vol. 2001a). H. MO: South Asia Books. K. Although they fall short of the most profound level of Enlightenment—“Radical” Non-Dualism and the seventh stage of life—they. matter. However. Wilber. Ballentine. 4). Yoga and psychotherapy. Cohen (2002). far exceeding those attained by the vast majority of humanity at this time. Boston & London: Shambhala. etheric level) are omitted in Wilber’s model. Potter. (1995).e. Two patterns of transcendence: A reply to Washburn. Fine (Eds. P. The eye of spirit. Tokyo: Univ. Trans. body represents chemistry and biology. (1919/1971). 113-136. New York: HarperCollins. (1990). 30(1). represent extraordinary states of awareness. Introduction. International Philosophical Quarterly. He depicts this sequence as consisting of the following levels of being: causal. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. (1960). Buddhist phenomenology. Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra. One taste. London: Routledge and Kegan-Paul. In The Collected Works of C. C. and the self: Synthesis of Eastern and Western approaches.T. G. (1999b). Structurally. K. (1998). (Eds. 2). Instinct and the unconscious. K. Boston & London: Shambhala. at this time science has no correlates for the subtle and causal levels of being (i. as the subtle actually subsumes the mental and etheric within it.D.). Cairns. (1994). Integral psychology. Press. Boston & London: Shambhala. Sex.G. mental.) (1987). Wilber. Eerdmans Publishing Co. S. etheric.. And the problem is that therapists…want to hold onto the egoic 14 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. while the levels of “body” and “matter” are differentiated into the two lowest levels instead. 30(3). there is a significant difference between the two schemas. Wilber. nonetheless. there is a significant difference in the two schemas. A thousand teachings (M. P. the remarkable few capable of attaining these stages of life represent an enormous boon to humanity.G. Footnotes 1This sequence of S/self structure is summarized in Wilber (1995.W. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. spirituality.E. Williams & R. D. K. & Bhattacharya. 2000) as follows: spirit. Husserl. Jung. Psychoanalysis: The Major Concepts. Moore & B... Trans. the fourth stage of life is a transitional state between the lower and higher levels. C.). J. In The Collected Works (Vol. CT: Yale Univ. 3However. 2005. note that even in being “lesser. Tarnas. 4For a fuller treatment of these aspects of the seventh stage of life. Louis. PA : Himalayan Pubs. Wilber. Nonduality. Avatar Adi Da (2001a) agrees with this five-tier structure overall. The technique of psychoanalysis proper. Grand Rapids. Cartesian meditations (D. Adi Da: The promised God-Man is here. NJ: Princeton Univ. Wilber. S. see Daniels (2003a. Satorakashananda (1977). MO: Vedanta Society. soul. respectively. see Adi Da (2000b. Indeed. New Haven. Jung (Vol. K. ecology. Indeed. D. Kirkpatrick. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Loy. New York: Noonday Press. & Ajaya. The marriage of sense and soul. body. Wilber. Jung. of Tokyo Press. (1998). especially as it relates to the ego. Ed. Psychology as religion (2nd ed. G. Trans. etheric. The goal and the way. (1993). (2003). R. In B. K. The passion of the western mind. Verma. (2000a). S. Suzuki. mind. Vitz. J. and lower mental levels. Muzuka. 8). (1957). (1993). Buddhism.Hegel. Volume 24 . The schema of these levels of being relates to Avatar Adi Da’s revelation of the seven stages of life as follows: the first three stages of life conform to the gross. Princeton. 59-74. (1997).G. Shankara (1979). New York: Broadway Books. E.). a somewhat simplistic correlation can be drawn between these levels of being and certain domains of science: matter represents physics and geology. (1968). Cohen and Wilber give this example: “You really. Indeed. K. Pulver. Wilber. Sartre. Boston & London: Shambhala. New York: Ballantine Books.. for the emotions (i. subtle. Amherst. C. Princeton. (1995). New York: Dell. (2000b). Rama. The Essential Writings (F. b).. (1964). 2For a fuller account of the S/self. As a way of clarifying what Wilber means by his nomenclature. Object relations theory. C. really. Avatar Adi Da indicates that there are three basic tiers overall. Middletown.E. R. Honesdale. 5These may be easily confused for one another. and mind represents psychology and sociology. Larson.).” the states of spiritual attainment emulated here are profound and exhalted levels of being and should not be dismissed or taken lightly. The seventh stage of life subsumes them all as the inherent Substance and SourceCondition of Existence. Boston & London: Shambhala. Chopra (1995). Columbia.e. and the sixth stage of life conforms to the primal Self of the causal level. Sengaku. and gross. NJ: Princeton Press. (1990).
then it would serve the exact same purpose as that of the river—and the situation would remain essentially the same: a ladder (i. Wilber’s use of the river is in no way the same. although these precepts sound similar to the revelation of Avatar Adi Da. Rather. Avatar Adi Da has Incarnated precisely for the fulfillment of this purpose (see Lee. the right side of the heart is the anatomical reference point for both the sixth stage of life and the causal Self—which are ultimately subsumed within the anatomical reference point of the seventh stage of life: amrita nadi. they advocate the evolution of Enlightenment. it gradually becomes clear what a daunting foe the ego really is. “river”) floating in the ocean. 2001a) schema of development.… [Yet] as one goes deeper and deeper into the process of transformation. The metaphor of the river is employed to suggest the “flux” and “fluidity” of development—over against that of a rigidly linear course. Although this more “watery” metaphor may appear to have some similarity to that of the ocean. 4546).org Nondualism and the Divine Domain 15 . all-inclusive revelation. Consequently. 7To this point. they are not actually situated in the context of the seventh stage of life. For a fuller treatment of these different approaches to spiritual awareness and awakening. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at Daniel_Sleeth@adidam. which only ends up making God into a goal of spiritual practice—rather than an ongoing. present relationship of worship and devotion. Wilber has chosen the river to suggest the “flow” of development (that it courses through many eddies and cross currents)—not its “Source” or “Substance. see Adi Da (2000b) and Daniels (2002)..” If the rungs of the ladder could be conceived of as being in flux or fluid. 6According to Avatar Adi Da’s (2000b. all spiritual masters have necessarily worked within the cultural constraints imposed by their particular time and place. and what a poison narcissism is” (2002. the conditions have only recently occurred whereby the provincialism of local customs and loyalties could be overcome and the Great Tradition consummated in a single. precisely because they do not take into account the Illusion of Relatedness. Only in the last half of the twentieth century has technology and affluence allowed for the creation of a true world community. This approach to Enlightenment is what Avatar Adi Da calls either Emanationism or Transcendentalism. However.self-contraction and make it feel good about itself. 8Note that Wilber has sought to distance himself from the criticism that his theory is linear by employing the imagery of a “river” to replace that of the “ladder”. pp.e. 2003).
Goldfried. a similiar concept has been developed which became known as the spark of the soul. that a comparatively unitary canon of methods and accepted standards of problem solving seems to have been accepted by the whole community. Volume 24 . It is understandable. 1955. Sanderson. Psychology. 1976). which not only suggest different modes of action contradictory to those of competing theories. this suggestion does not seem to depict the whole situation. as a scientific discipline. is comparatively young with a history of roughly 150 years. and most notably through its humanistic psychological expressions. where many rivalling theories exist. integration of both types of experience by drawing on the experiential nature of this concept and fostering good research. Wachter & Messer. and radicalized by the Carthusian writer Hugh of Balma. Laudan. Collingwood. 1977. that a new movement arose at the end of the 60s. that insiders and outsiders alike deplore a kind of “preparadigmatic” state of psychology as a whole. and certainly not within clinical psychology. Clinical psychology seems to be very much in a preparadigmatic stage. 1995. Oeser. 1985. 1987). 1979a. While this might be acceptable for some branches of psychology. 1995. 1998). Beitman. like in experimental or applied psychology. 1980. the first blinded psychological experiment dating back to Peirce’s and Jastrow’s attempt to find out about the smallest perceptible sense difference in 1883 (Kaptchuk. 1979b. into transpersonal psychology. Glass. 1996). which called itself “Transpersonal Psychology” (Sutich. where even the consensus on what methods to base scientific evidence on is debated (Chambless. the founder of psychosynthesis. One could make a case that a systems theoretical perspective with an associated emergentist type of ontology is the most useful paradigm for psy- chological research nowadays (Bunge. and if possible scientific. 1995.Higher Self – Spark of the Mind – Summit of the Soul: Early History of an Important Concept of Transpersonal Psychology in the West Harald Walach The Higher Self is a concept introduced by Roberto Assagioli. 1993. It is only in some disciplines within psychology. 1997. 1980. Weinberger. Fleck. & Norcross. Seligman. 1998). 1977) competing for priority. This history is sketched and the meaning of the term illustrated. coming from antiquity and specifically from the neo-Platonic tradition. 1969. transpersonal psychology reconnects with this tradition and has to be aware of the legacy: to achieve the theoretical. 1989. Oeser. And yet they seem to be effective to some degree independent of their theoretical underpinnings and irrespective of the fact that they are using seemingly opposite interventions (Goldfried. with inner experience relegated to the private and mystical realm. Bunge & Ardila. or summit of the mind. et al. 1998). 1994. Castonguay & Goldfried. but that this progress is achieved by both working within given frameworks of accepted presuppositions and by discussing and debating the very foundations (Kuhn. Spark of the soul signifies an "organ of the mystical experience. with many different research paradigms in Kuhn’s sense (Kuhn. Toulmin. It is mostly within the context of clinical psychology. Messer & Woodfolk. & Arnkoff. This notion is explained and linked up with the Western mystical tradition. By introducing this concept. therefore. Fensterheim & Raw. During the middle ages it was developed into a psychology of mysticism by Thomas Gallus. popularized by Bonaventure. The impulse to found yet another movement 16 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Shoham. 1987. Victor. 2005. but also rest on theoretical presuppostions excluding each other." It is argued that the split introduced into history between outer and inner experience has lain dormant ever since the 13th century. H istorians and theoreticians of science have repeatedly noted that the progress of a scientific discipline is not simply a cumulative process of increasing knowledge along the lines of accepted methology. Here.
who developed a psychological model of personality and clinical change which he called “psychosynthesis” (Assagioli. although Assagioli seems to have derived many of his concepts and strategies also from theosophy and. and also a kind of repository of future developmental possibilities. however. 1911). 1998). drives and impulses. 1988. Thalbourne & Delin. 1934. Assagioli pointed towards the importance of the human will as a resource for integration and development. 1996. The higher unconscious. the historical awareness that religious and spiritual needs have always been and likely will remain part of human life and therefore should be part and parcel of any scientific endeavour to understand human psychology (Wilber. 1994. Barnhouse. 1996. Atwood & Maltin. 1995.” or “religious. Assagioli underlined that the process of integration and synthesis which human development represents is neither a random nor a simple cumulative process. incidentally. from Eastern sources as well (Besmer. therefore. because very likely the concept of a schema would cover what Assagioli meant by subpersonalities. Lu. 1975). his psychology looks as if he had invented all the concepts himself. It is wrong. 1991. and thereby. Turner. Tart. In that Assagioli tried to differentiate the Jungian notion of collective unconscious into the part which comprises the impulses towards development and wholeness from that which stands for disintegrative forces (Assagioli. His main thrust was to discriminate between what he called lower and higher unconscious and to introduce the concept of the Higher Self (Figure 1). usually associated with repeated experiences or social roles. But most important of all is his concept of Higher Self. Engler. 1991.within the already widely disparate field of clinical psychology. Thereby. 1985a. & Turner. he used the depth-psychological terminology introduced by Freud and developed by Jung and differentiated it. 1979. he quickly developed a psychological concept of his own. 1985d). 1978. 1985c. in contrast. 1986. 1974). was a notion to differentiate “higher” impulses from the lower unconscious and to describe them: esthetic values. This is a notion akin to Jung’s concept of “complex. 1975. seems to have been the realization that there were realities and experiences pointing beyond the personal self (Maslow. 1973). 1986. 1992. 1969. 1998). which both acts as the inner guideline and impulse—as well as a regulating and attracting goal. 1976. While many theoreticians and practitioners of transpersonal psychology have heavily relied on impulses from Eastern philosophies and traditions.” meaning an emotional. to suppose that Transpersonal Psychology is a unitary school. 1985b. 1991. Therefore. 1971. 1984. 1973. Armstrong. Complexes of experiences he called sub-personalities. 1972. 1973. 1969. 1985. 1984. Lukoff. Rusting. Lundh. to use a modern metaphoric language. Bergin. Schuller. It would be very interesting to study this concept in relation to modern schema-theoretic approaches (Ciompi. 1977. Washburn. 1988). Robinson. One could even say that the higher unconscious was something like an Aristotelian final cause or entelechy for human development. 1999). 1974. for an outsider. 1991. supervised or even fostered by something like a transpersonal attractor. Thalbourne & Delin. 1980. 1976. Stein & Markus. 1998). 1988). neo-Platonic and mystical traditions. 1974. inspiration and intuition. It is my aim here to show that the notion of Higher Self has a long tradition in the West which can be located mainly within the Platonic. Some emphasize the esoteric and theosophic heritage (Schuller. Thalbourne.” “mystical. The lower unconscious can roughly be compared to what Freud intended with this notion: past and unconscious experiences. 1984. 1970. our bio-psychological past. and last but not least the realization that spiritual expriences within the framework of spiritual traditions are both important and possibly irreducible elements of human experience (Goleman. Thalbourne. It is rather a loose connection of many movements and groups whose common denominator probably is the emphasis on and interest in experiences which are termed “spiritual. Originally one of the early advocates of psychoanalysis in Italy (Assagioli. 1975. & Lu. as it were. 1991). Fadiman & Frager. foreshadowed an important modern movement within self-regulation theory (Kuhl. psychosynthesis is one of the “Western” types of transpersonal psychologies. but one which seems to be mediated. Lukoff. 1998. Assagioli usually was very scant with bibliographic details of his sources. motivational and action oriented quasi-independent part of the personality. “higher” drives like altruistic impulses or artistic inspiration.1972. Psychosynthesis One of the early members of the transpersonal movement and original coeditor of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology was the Italian psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974). Sutich. This centre.” without clear definitions of these terms (Lukoff. While these traditions have lost their importance within sciHigher Self 17 . such as: the experience that individual purpose is always an act of transcending the individual self and relating with a “transpersonal” value (Frankl. 1995. he called Higher Self.
Assagioli’s Personality Model. “The Apology of Socrates” (Plato. Yoga psychology. which tried to understand and outline the natural workings of the soul. an immortal part within the soul. with his teaching that the soul stems from the realm of ideas from where it comes into the body. who otherwise was more inclined towards biology and natural philosophy and tried to eschew some of the pitfalls of Platonic thinking. Even Aristotle. which reads: ETHOS ANTHROPO DAIMON. it is now within transpersonal psychology and by the mediation of Assagioli’s psychosynthesis that one of the most interesting concepts of this tradition starts to surface again. Socrates. has pointed out that apart from the Platonic and neo-Platonic traditions of the concept of Spark of the Soul. central to his innermost personality there is something godly. But one possible and probably sensible reading and translation would be: “home for man is the god(ly)”. 1976). Since one other work of Aristotle. It will remain a task on its own to be accomplished in a separate paper to follow the history of Assagioli’s sources through modern psychology and from the theosophical tradition.” Although his “de anima” was a work rather of natural philosophy.” which literally reads as “from outside through the door. who has traced the history of this concept. spiritual nature within man we can see in the fragment B119 (around 500 BC) of Heraklitos (Weber. Roots in Antiquity The first written trace of the idea that there is 18 some higher. Likely sources will have to include the writings of Blavatsky and Bailey. The fragment. William James. Rather I wish to draw the attention of readers to the mystical tradition and its likely influence on the modern shape of the concept of Higher Self as expressed by Assagioli and other writers. I will only point out the more important turns and steps. then. All those direct sources of Assagioli’s will not be the topic of this paper. 1964).on the soul” (Aristoteles.” “the innermost of the house”. in his “De anima .ence. but never advises him in the positive to do something. p. and thus point to its importance and possible explanatory power. This can. bringing a trace of the ideal worlds of immutable ideas and of the Beauty and Good with it into the human being. which is The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.or trans-natural part of the soul.” confirms that he experiences an inner voice that is sometimes warning him against doing things. can be understood in the sense: The god(ly) is home to man. Since this history is extremely complicated and complex. holding man. who because of that in the end is sentenced to death for “introducing new gods. * Higher Self (organizing principle) higher unconscious field of consciousness collective unconscious Me middle unconscious subpersonalities lower unconscious Figure 1. the agent intellect. he pointed to this super. 301ff ). be understood in different ways and needs interpretation. Endre von Ivanka (1964). The journey will lead us from the predecessors of the notion in antiquity to the first formulation of a transpersonal type of psychology by mystical writers of the middle ages to the modern concept. and Jewish Kabbalist sources. The Greek word “ETHOS” signifies “home. Heidegger. 2005. laid the foundation for the later teaching of an immortal soul or rather. Plato. namely the Stoic teaching of the universal fire as the source of everything and the trace of this fire in everything as a fiery.” “hearth. who first seemed to have mentioned a concept like “spiritual self ” in the modern scientific tradition. meaning surrounding. of course. Volume 24 . the active part of the intellect. as most texts by Heraklitos. there also is a Stoic root to it. which later was merged with Stoic and other ideas. 1983) explicitly said that the highest part of the soul. but also in the centre of man. came from “outside-THYRATHEN. I want to sketch out this tradition and therebey connect the seemingly unconnected modern practice and terminology with the tradition. cosmic seed. 1967. in his famous “letter on humanism” has pointed toward this fragment in this sense (Heidegger. We next explicitly meet the idea of some inner God or godlike inner voice in the famous Platonic dialogue. Plato developed a model of the soul in which one part of the soul was striving towards the good.
as far as is possible for this to be accomplished by her. 4. but with the intelligible world by its powers above. p. in the Acts of the Apostles. so his biographer Porphyrios tells us and as Plotinos testified himself. The founder of this neo-Platonist movement was Plotinos (204-270 AD) (Plotin. one of Plotinos’ followers and the systematizer of Plotinos’ ideas (Beierwaltes. seek reunion with the One (Beierwaltes. and very likely was inspired by contacts between the Greek culture and the East (O’Meara. he says: For in us also there is inherent a certain occult vestige of the One. both the things above and the things below down to the limits of all life.thought to have contained the more esoteric aspect of his psychology.. was like a mark of the divine. by contemplation. A few quotes from Plotinos may illustrate his ideas: For the soul is many things. in mystical contemplation. is said to have preached to the Athenians and to have converted one Dionysios. incidentally. which to him seemed like a hindrance. the intellect. 1974). and in which the soul. 1965). (1953. 1953. out of which everything emanates in four stages: first the NOUS. Plotinos called the principal source of everything “the One. From the intellect emanates the world soul which gives life to everything. This model. and set firm in it I have come to that supreme actuality. In his “Ten doubts on providence” (Proklos. beyond every limitation. at last. a trace of the One which is at the same time mark of and spurn to the One. by receding the faculties and powers of the soul from the outside world and turning inwards until. emanates the material world. which was experienced by the individual as a desire to reunite with the One. a divine life. of course.23) Often I have woken up out of the body to my self and have entered into myself. and lives. the Areopagite. Using this alias name.” which he conceived to be all and everything in one. which is attributed to Christianity. Plotinos taught. 1982). which is more divine than our intellect. interpreted him in the sense that this active part of the intellect was a spiritual and immortal part of the soul (Merlan. but by its ultimate fringe we are tied to the world below. is akin to Eastern cosmologies. I have actually lived the best life and come to identity with the divine. going out from all other things. The next step was made within the neo-Platonic tradition of those Platonists. a trace of the One. (Enn IV 8.. this anonymous monk of the 5th century could secure himself highest Higher Self 19 . . in modern terminology. Therefore he was ashamed of his body. in total stillness. Plotinos.. Saint Paul. However. and is. 1977). perfecting and establishing herself. & Haas. the “active intellect” comes from outside. It is the impulse within the soul to return. and we are each one of us an intelligible universe. becomes divine. and all things. which is printed in the first volume of the Loeb edition of Plotinos’ works). turn round to the One again and. which is pure intelligibility and reservoir of the world of ideas in the Platonic sense. making contact with this lowerworld by the powers of the soul below. The higher part. is lost. we can only speculate what he really meant by the saying.21 ff )... there is an imprint of the divine One in every single soul. and its life is comfortable (Enn IV 8. This was one of the main sources of the contemplative traditions in the West. Balthasar. 1966). of course. a philosopher from the Areopague. had quite a few experiences like that which left in him the desire to be totally gone from this world and reunited. as well as his Islamic interpreters.but there is a higher part (of the soul) which the transitory pleasures do not please. But it is a well accepted fact meanwhile that the followers of Aristotle and those who still had access to the rest of his works. This. he thought. who revived the Academy and its teaching after nearly 500 years. very much akin to Eastern practices of meditation like Yoga or Zen. this divine part of the soul reunites with the One. and we remain with all the rest of our intelligible part above. The idea of a special part of the soul was finally introduced by Proclos.1f ) These quotes illustrate Plotinos’ psychology pretty clearly: He saw the soul as “containing” two parts. but seems to derive from the neo-Platonist tradition. a higher and lower part. And from this. I have seen a beauty wonderfully great and felt assurance that then most of all I belonged to the better part. This was possible. a consequent idealist ontology which starts from the insight or experience that pure consciousness is primary. 1963). 8. (Enn III. 70) Proclos was important insofar as he probably was the teacher of a Syrian monk who was known in later centuries as Pseudo-Dionysios (Ps. The hallmark of his teaching is. Plotinos himself is said to have had contacts with Eastern sages while traveling in Egypt (see the Biography of Plotinos by his disciple and follower Porphyrios. is the source for much of later aversions against the body.. 8. as it were.-Dionysios). 3.
” a place free of sin even in the sinner.-Dionysios more often than Saint Augustine. since there was a place within him which remained untouched by all the evil he brought on himself by his sins (Lottin. For the philosophers of the middle ages it primarily was a moral concept. quoted Ps. which is the faculty of union of man with God. “in ignorance. Philosophers of the 12th century. or the image of God in Christian terminology.” which is attributed to the Cistercian author. must be to seek reunion with God. In this teaching the neo-Platonic One is identified as God. this neo-Platonic tradition made its way into the Christian middle ages. what it really meant and what its true ethymology is. and thus granting freedom of conversion at any time. Volume 24 .Victor in Paris and university teacher in consummatio intellectus apex mentis synderesis supra naturam et industriam robur mentis industria vera an falsa natura intellectus . the “Liber de spiritu et anima . Saint Thomas Aquinas. the “synderesis. XXIV. 2005. The main psychological text of the middle ages. Development During the Middle Ages Somewhere along the line during the Dark Ages this neo-Platonic idea of a special part of the soul as the trace of the One. 1957. Thomas Gallus (1219 . who reintroduced the concept of the “scintilla synderesis” as a mystical notion. Thus. of course. also known as Thomas of Vercelli or Commentator Vercellensis. 797). And man’s endeavour. Ps. This was the place where God spoke through the true voice of consciousness.” was centred around the immense greatness of God. have been highly influential in the middle ages.-Dionysius takes up the teachings of Proclos and also speaks of a higher part of the soul.Victor.-Dionysios the Areopagite (Ps. his absolute otherness and difference and the impossibility to know him. Alcher of Clairvaux. or later on Adam de la Hale. neo-Platonism baptized. even by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. as it were.authority since his writings were long thought to have been inspired by the Apostle himself. used the term “synderesis” to signify the fact that even the worst of sinners always had a door open towards the good. 1987). p. and it is still unclear. like Phillip the Chancelor. that he always could convert himself and turn to God. and that there is an “occult power” within the soul. Scheme of Thomas Gallus’ psychology. The teachings of Ps.” the spark of the synderesis. 1948). 1996. but was known in the middle ages as a text of St. Synderesis is a complicated term. It signalled a part of Figure 2. the human soul.-Dionysius Areopagita. which was untouched and untouchable by human sin.The book of the spirit and the soul. endowed with Apostolic authority. But in parallel to this moral usage another one turned up out of the slumber of the dark ages in the mystical tradition. 1949. Cap.veritas aliena cognoscere 20 experitur affectus unicionem ad Deum nec potest comprehendre intellectus imperia liberi arbitrii motus voluntarii appetitus divinorum ratio vires naturales naturales apprehensiones affectus . 1942. or God as he is conceived in the Judaic-Christian tradition is identified with the neo-Platonic One. but without naming this power (Pseudo-Augustinus & Alcher von Clairveaux.” beyond rational thinking and knowing. seems to have melted together with the Stoic teaching of the “seeds of the eternal fire” to form what became known as “scintilla synderesis. It was Thomas Gallus or Thomas of St. Augustine’s. for example.bonitas sua propria cognoscere The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. The main theme of his book “Mystical Theology. In this moral sense this term seems to have been used for quite a long time. mentions the fact that in the contemplative-mystical experience the soul is taken out of its normal state.1247) is mentioned as a canon of St.
Here in Thomas Gallus.. and the simple discernment of basic truths and falsity (vera an falsa). with the moral concept of consciousness. to form an explicit psychological notion of the “scintilla synderesis. In this specific place in the soul a human being is divine. compartments 4-6. With Thomas Gallus. Here the “spark of the soul” has made its entry into the teaching of the West. according to the 3*3 hierarchies of angels. whence his title of honour “commentator Vercellensis . p. which is the spark of the synderesis and which alone can be united to the Holy Spirit. we find a whole compartment above the rational powers of the soul which he calls synderesis.. It is schematically reconstructed in Figure 2. In his commentary on the “Mystic Theology” (which. the affect already comes out of its natural slumber. only the very highest. which is beyond any operation of the mind. a faculty or organ for the mystical experience. apart from his monastic and ecclesiastic duties. 14).summit of the mind”.” The middle ages only tributed such nicknames and titles of honour to wellknown and important writers. compartments 1-3 as it were. which is the highest part of the soul. or at other places “scintilla synderesis . The highest part of the affect here are the commands of the free will (imperia liberi arbitrii). the neo-Platonic teaching of a trace of the One has combined with various strands of Christian teaching. But at the border toward the next level.-Dionysios the Areopagite. suo propria cognoscere)— at a lower level with the subjective and sensual goodness. and thereby is concerned with the highest good of the soul. with God alone. Thus it is understandHigher Self 21 . But he wrote a summary himself in one of his commentaries which has survived and has been edited (Thomas Gallus. commenting and interpreting the works of Ps.thought the highest cognitive power was found in the intellect. which he outlined in his commentary on Isiah. as it were. Of this upper triad of the soul. and posits 3*3 faculties of the soul.-Dionysius the Areopagite (Thomas Gallus. unitive experience of ecstatic oneness of the soul with God. neo-Platonic tradition. By doing this. Note that in former psychologies some 50 or 100 years earlier. The main part of this psychology. They work naturally. Dionysius) hands down. aliena cognoscere)—at the lower level with sensory truth. whose sole purpose and aim is the unification with God. This is activated by grace only. and experiences a desire for the divine (appetitus divinorum). There are two major faculties: intellect (intellectus). he says: In this book he (i. And he developed a psychology which could incorporate these teachings. at a higher level with propositional and intellectual truth. mystical knowledge of God. These are the compartments 7-9 so to speak. is extremely rare. denoted as the rational faculty (ratio).the commentator from Vercelli. the synderesis. and is the central power of the mind (robur mentis). This is the first explicit mentioning of a specific faculty of the soul. and is able to unite with God him/herself. as it were. it is beyond human nature and active effort (supra naturam et industriam).1219. 1934. This scintilla synderesis belongs solely to the affect. or “principalis affectio . and by doing this. he achieved two things. is lost.” This is the “organ” of the contemplative. sensual apprehensions (naturales apprehensiones).. In that summary he aligns the inner structure of the soul with Ps. at a higher level with the intellectually and morally good. subconsciously in modern parlance (natura).principal affection. Germany) of Ps. The first level of the soul. mainly consisted in reading. is called the “apex mentis . consist of the natural faculties of the soul (vires naturales). is activated by the will and by effort of energy (industria). into the Western. a copy is obtainable by interlibrary loan from the university library in Mainz.e. as it were. His work.” spark of the soul or principal affection. While the intellect is concerned with the outside world and truth (veritas. 1936). by the way. This power is the principal affectio. the affect is concerned with goodness and the soul’s own states (bonitas. One could also interpret this as the conscious level of our human rational faculties. There we find the natural. Pagan philosophers. At some stage he was transferred to the abbey of Vercelli in Piemont. a more profound way of knowing God.spark of the synderesis”. and affect (affectus).. gains experiential. where he lived and studied (Barbet. the Seraphim. He was well regarded by posteriority and widely read. Augustian terminology and made this strain of contemplative tradition more accessible to the West. when there is another power that exceeds the intellect no less than the intellect exceeds reason and the reason exceeds imagination. Thomas Gallus was not a minor writer. This second level. 1990). which corresponds to the highest hierarchy of angels. which made him important for posteriority: He translated the meaning of the Greek terms which were close to the pagan.-Dionysios’ teaching of the celestial hierarchies.. and in it the highest faculties of the human soul are perfected (consummatio intellectus). this free will would have been a part of the synderesis.
outer and inner experience were one. but the fact that Eckhart was in Paris in 1276/7 and in 1312 makes a connection a possibility. His influence on Meister Eckhart remains to be traced. Bonaventure and who had to retreat into the charterhouse for personal safety and ecclesiastical peace. He says: These six steps of the ascent to God are according to six hierarchically ordered faculties of the soul. true peace and freedom be gained. 2005. are still together. and thereby was seminal for the later contemplative or mystical tradition. only in radical extinction of thinking. 1995). up to Hugh of Balma. and only in concentrating all the soul’s powers into the affect. 59f. His teaching was highly influential. One can make a point that. mystical and classical theology. Volume 24 . 1994). In his book “Itinerarium mentis in Deum . . 4. however. the mystical path. where the faculty of intellect.able that his teachings were taken up by others and handed down. the understanding. and professor of theology was one of them (Gilson. His basic message is simple: Only in the total withdrawal of the soul from every outward orientation. VII. and he does not receive it. as well as a criti22 cal edition of his text (Hugo de Balma. Walach (1994) has argued that he probably was a Franciscan friar opposing St.The mind’s itinerary to God” he described the mystical ascent (Bonaventura. 1996). Here is a textual example from Hugh’s lengthy tract. Hugh of Balma is usually known only to specialists due to missing editions and literally missing access to his writings. and being one of the major authors of the Franciscan community and a widely read theological teacher. which can be dated round about the years of 12601270. his motives and the basic thrust of his teachings vary widely. This ascent is conceived according to his— more Augustinian—psychology. as a kind of side effect. the senses. unless the fire of the holy spirit ignites him in his very centre. all intellectual activities have to be given up. that the mystical experience takes place: In this step. do not concern the main impact of his teaching. 1961. And every faculty of the soul has a certain role to fulfill in this. university teachers and theologians for having relinquished the true path towards insight and knowledge. 1981). And the apex of the affect is totally taken over and transformed into God.6. “Viae Sion lugent . accepted version is that he was a Carthusian prior. 1961.-Dionysios and Thomas Gallus. such that he can really be called one of the fathers of Western mysticism. This is also evidenced by Thomas Gallus’ psychology. the intellect. pre-modern science and mystical speculation. Opinions about the author. This was taken up extensively about 100 years after his presumed active period. true knowledge of many other things. p. 150) Thus. the imagination. and printed in many editions. general. which is concerned with the soul’s own inner states. Bonaventure in familiarizing the spiritual readership with the concept of a higher part of the soul: the Carthusian author. Bonaventure has taken up the notion introduced by Thomas Gallus of a summit or spark of the soul.. 1994. In parallel. except in old and rare prints until very recently. which leads to a unification with God in the scintilla synderesis.The ways to Zion mourn”. his biography. “The Cloud of Unknowing” (Anonymous. This process. in Bonaventure the neo-Platonic-Dionysian theme of an imprint of the One or an organ for the mystical experience has been combined with the more traditional Augustinian psychology familiar at the schools of theology and has been firmly established in what became one of the key texts of the Western Christian mystical traditions. the so called devotio moderna. I. unless he desires it. 1961). Walach. the rational faculties.) It is within this latter spark of the soul. popularized it. which he also calls apex affectus. and which is the only aim and bliss of the soul. He very likely was the main source for the contemplative text. Saint Bonaventure. thus aiming only at the mystical union with all desire and all power and in ardent love. which is concerned with the outer world. his work was translated into many languages.. Hugh of Balma (Walach. (Bonaventura. as taught by Ps. if it is to be perfect. however. He severely attacks all school teaching and academic wisdom. (Bonaventura. Noboby understands it. is mystical and most secret. which was also known as “Mystical Theology” or as The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. While the official. and the summit of the soul or the spark of the synderesis (apex mentis seu synderesis scintilla). It was Hugh of Balma who radicalized this teaching. and the faculty of affect. These details. another author was possibly even more influential than St. There is now available a recent English (Martin. and he does not desire it. summit of the affect. can true knowledge of God. the Franciscan friar. and. He influenced the 14th and 15th century movement of lay devotion. unless he receives it. 1929). p. 1997b) and German translation (Walach. which also is inspired by Carthusian spirituality. which in fact is inner experience.
p. world or God. as world. Assagioli assigns more mundane tasks to the Higher Self. variably named summit of the mind. (Walach. has culminated in a notion. and in an “esoteric. 1956).” counter-academic. as we saw. Here he also calls this central part of the soul spark of the soul. like Theresa of Avila. This concept has mainly disappeared from the academic agenda ever since Hugh of Balma. of the mind and of the understanding. by virtue of the unification of the glowing. Whitehead’s beautiful metaphor of “God luring” entities towards him. And from there it made its way into the teaching of other mystics. 265) This text. John of the Cross. and Ignatius of Loyola. of the rational faculty. he did not see as a fixed system but as a suggestion open to and in demand of further exploration—the Higher Self is an active centre. especially within psychosynthesis. and spiritual development of the psyche. failed. spark of the syndere- sis. and was more or less driven out of universities and schools. within the human mind. however. activating and thereby pulling the individual toward his or her development. then. Higher Self: The Heritage and the Future Agenda It is within psychosynthesis as described by Assogioli that the concept of a Higher Self makes it quasi-official reappearance on the agenda of modern psychology. the mystical tradition has drifted away from orthodox teaching. by the way. or rather by not-knowing. we are able to feel already now. God within. which looks at everything from the outside. It has since lived and survived in the circles of pious groups. in monasteries and in the writings and teachings of mystical writers. which would certainly be possible. During the middle ages. albeit mainly outside academical traditions. of mystical thought in the West. but certainly goes as far as the Spanish mystics (Pablo Maroto. the Dominican friar and preacher has taken this notion up and popularized it in the vernacular in his sermons. an enormous number.” academic. principal affect. And it would be even more interesting to draw the parallels with and underline differences to Eastern traditions.Dionysius). The psychology of these mystical writers. without any mediating agent. mystical branch. this was identical to Higher Self 23 . or into the circles of lay people (Ruh. It is conceived as the very centre or summit of the soul. mostly to Dominican sisters. is one of the major manifestos. By letting go of any activity of imagination.The Threefold Way to Wisdom”: The other type of knowing is more eminent than the other two: it consists in the most ardent unifying love. but is outside the scope of this paper. little fortress of the soul. ardent love that. testifying to its wide distribution. This type of knowledge was handed down in the “Mystical Theology” (of Ps. It seems to be an interesting fact that. to rise ardently and glowingly with surging strivings to his beloved. The Higher Self of Assagioli has a psychological function: unification. be it nature. there is a part which is like a “better” part of a divine nature. A concept was born. 1965) of the 16th and 17th century. which has henceforth remained present in the West: the notion of a higher part of the soul. for which experience is eminently experience of oneself. as nature. for which experience is experience of something (else). which were written down and copied widely. Since the latter half of the 13th century. Experience has started to become experience of outer things. It is in Hugh of Balma that the academic tradition of the West branches into an “exoteric. Meister Eckhart. It rises up in the summit of the affective power. the founder of the Jesuit order and of the meditative-experiential tradition of the spiritual exercises (Beyer. which signifies that. 1994. this concept returns. Its influence is still not completely traced and established. Inner experience or mystical experience has been delegated to lay piety and private worship. More than 100 text witnesses are extant. It was ascribed to Bonaventure and thereby became widely known and eminently important.” While the mystical tradition used the term more in the context of the mystical experience of union with God. in the present moment. if not the most important one. who likely tried to influence academic opinion. 1993). In his psychology–which. like Tauler or Seuse. spark of the soul. It certainly would be interesting to sketch further this history in the West and in later times.” “summit of the mind. These hints may suffice for a first approach. It seems evident that what Assagioli had in mind by this notion is probably very similar to what was expressed in the tradition by the terms “spark of the soul. what the mind is incapable of grasping. and therefore can be the place and the means of the mystical experience of union with God. within transpersonal psychology.” “spark of the synderesis.“De triplici via ad sapientiam . as God. About this rising it is said that it happens without knowledge. which in reality makes the spirit able. comes to mind here. theological and scientific branch.
sound and available as a resource. in modern parlance. of Higher Nature. Volume 24 . Granted that a modern psychological stance has something to add and to offer to the purely mystical or spiritual position. Both traditions see the experience of this innermost part. interventions tapping the spiritual resources should be researched and documented well. to let oneself be drawn by the call of God. to which everyone is drawn. and that the power of such a mystical experience can be severely hampered by psychological malfunctioning of the rest of the person. quite natural and a health resource rather than hazard. Although there is some research into that direction. there would be the reductive argument which is difficult to counter apart by selfevidence. as the most important and most fulfilling experience. in other words to reintroduce the topics of transpersonal psychology within academic main-stream psychology and research. Then. Apart from the different and clerical language this is couched in. healing. If it is true that within transpersonal psychology some of the legacies of the mystical tradition are present. the old concept of “spark of the soul” makes its reappearance.The best known of these is probably the inner journey to the wise man. One guiding principle would be the possibility that basic human experiences and conditions are universal but interpreted differently according to different historical and cultural backgrounds. which is thought to be an imaginative counterpart of contacting one’s Higher Self. and there are some tasks which come with it. this has some important ramifications. it describes the same basic experience. basically untouched by psychological suffering. Christ-nature or Buddha-nature. there is no clear advantage for such a concept to everyday research and theorizing. Assagioli has suggested some imagination exercises for helping the individual growth process. of course. Both attribute to this part an active role in the unification of the personality. As I have tried to show.deification: becoming God-like or union with God. While for Assagioli. Specifically. In the Zen-tradition The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. or rather in this or similar concepts of Transpersonal Psychology. There are several strands of empirical and theoretical research which recommend itself in that way. in imagination. Only if presented in the widely read mainstream journals with high impact and rigorous review will such material be taken seriously. At present. only the soul. for the mystical writers of the middle ages this was the innate spurn to embark on the spiritual quest. which forbids entities beyond necessity. The historical distance from the middle ages can be traced in the fact that nowadays we also recognize psychological needs more readily. I venture to say that in the Higher Self of psychosynthesis. and it probably would be cut away by Ockham’s razor. Therefore. Transpersonal therapies should take up the burden of empirical research and evaluation. If this is so. it seems. We need data on the effectiveness of interventions like that. this is a kind of ever present synthesizing and motivating activity. or Spark of the Soul. which is not very convincing to sceptics and critics: What is the criterion that in any experience of Higher Self. can be effective. or even more effective than conventional treatment. since history is not simply a rehearsal of the same piece of music all over again. our godlike nature. or salutogenetic resources? Traditions usually have a pragmatic answer: True experiences transform people and leave them changed such that they are able to do things or perform tasks which they previously were unable to. or coping skills. Historical and theoretical research should establish firm links between concepts of different cultures and times. We acknowledge that sometimes psychological problems have to be solved before or after spiritual experiences. and on the effectiveness of therapies which base their concept more on a spiritual understanding of man. To be quite sure: By the rules and standards of academic psychology a concept like that of the Higher 24 Self is at the first glance utterly unscientific: there is no way of verifying or falsifying it. the mystical tradition has pulled away from the official academic strand of research and teaching. like selfesteem. utilizing this as a resource. It should be shown beyond doubt that spiritual experiences are quite common. Frankl’s dictum that the spirit is never ill. prayer or whatever other type. One way would be to point out phenomena which cannot be explained well by the ruling paradigms of academic psychology and which will suggest a concept like the Higher Self as an explanatory construct. then one task would obviously be to reconnect this strand of thinking and experiencing with the main stream of the scientific endeavour. proving to the scientific community and the public that therapies using transpersonal resources. one has indeed made contact with a spiritual or transpersonal realm? Why has it to be “trans-” and is not simply something like a strong resource. it is by no means enough nor is it good enough. we know virtually nothing. 2005. the essence of what is meant by the Higher Self or the spark of the soul in the middle ages seems to be the same: Both signify the highest part of the soul. We feel reminded of Viktor E.
Higher Self 25 . (1934). Grundzüge seiner metaphysik. (1974). Il Subcosciente. as well as the methodology that comes with it. W. as well as phenomenologically by studying qualitative reports. 606-624). it seems. Atti del IV Congresso Internationale di Filosofia. but linked up with philosophical and traditional terminology. Vom Himmel. J. these types of validation of experiences. 800-816). In that sense voices coming from the transpersonal camp and demanding a “new” science are not all that helpful. Beierwaltes. (1988). The dimension beyond psychosynthesis. It would probably be wise to utilize the modern trend towards neuroscience. In such a notion of science and experience there would be a place for a concept derived from inner experience like the Higher Self. fMRI. R. (pp. It was inner experience. One way would be to promote research into meditation. Atwood. (1911). Assagioli. Something like that would be necessary for a science of spiritual experiences. Adliswil/Zürich: Verlag Astrologisch-Psychologisches Institut. Jung and psychosynthesis. & Maltin. R. J. I’ll give you something completely new. but eventually will have to undergo empirical tests as well. As yet. 14. 3345. New York: Paulist Press. R. Assagioli. which alone can yield an argument against reductive reasoning. Übers. July 1999. Paderborn: Junfermann. Transpersonal development. Symbols of transpersonal experiences. experiences. D. T.. We need something similar today. how to really integrate what is “new” with what is there. subjective in the first place. Assagioli. likely exists. Transpersonal experience in childhood. Hibbert Journal. v. (1981). are not public knowledge. Author Note This paper is based on a talk held at the 3rd World Congress of Psychotherapy in Vienna. R. O. neuroimaging and the concepts derived from there. The knowledge of the spiritual traditions can be helpful in this. facts and theories remain unrecognized unless they can be combined with. 207-230. (1965). but because it could integrate what was there into a new framework. Assagioli. not only as inner experience and not only as outer experience. In that sense. (1969). (1991). In Anonymous.. Bologna. Walsh. The rationale is not much different from that of common tests: What can be tested for (intelligence. Von der Dichtkunst. and thus intersubjective in result. good theory and good empirical theory testing should be mandatory also for transpersonal psychology. Germany. motor performance. Frankfurt: Klostermann. 35-55. but as what it originally was: inner and outer exprience combined into one mode with two faces. R.. (1986). L. if integration is to happen at all. Aristoteles. methoden und techniken. R. nor should be. to introduce the topics of transpersonal psychology into mainstream research. Die schulung des willens. (1991). Psychoanalysis and psychosynthesis. Proklos. 16. The Higher Self or Spark of the Soul initially was a concept derived from experience. Putting eastern philosophies into western psychotherapies. Assagioli. Barbet. 33. which explained the same phenomena as well as the old theories plus could make testable predictions and integrate some odd phenomena left unexplained by Newtonian mechanics. Maybe they never will be. Quantum mechanics was successful not because it was new. transl. introd. Methoden der psychotherapie und der selbsttherapie. In dictionnaire de spiritualité. American Journal of Psychotherapy. both empirically by EEG. Nendeln: Kraus. by J.there is something like that in the testing for the understanding of a Koan. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. & hrsg. Ed. Assagioli. München: DTV. A catalogue of “traces” which should be detectable in the psychological make-up or in the daily lives or achievements of people with true “experiences” of their higher nature should be worked out. integrated into and linked up with existing knowledge and paradigms. Gigon. References Anonymous. Maybe some simple surrogate tests could be devised. Psychosynthese. It was supported by the Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene. Von der Seele. Assagioli. Freiburg. 45. 184-201. and to combine this with existing models as far as possible. The cloud of unknowing: The classics of Western spirituality. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. (pp. Thomas Gallus. (1990). (1983). Plotinos reportedly had quite a few spiritual experiences himself. if they cannot at the same time point out. R. or the spark of the soul. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. London: Harper Collins. A successful new paradigm is not a paradigm which suggests: Throw away the old stuff. as probably did the other writers. History shows that phenomena. 368-382. (1984). Armstrong. Prinzipien. 1. and quantitative self-report. school aptitude). We need experience in the full sense of the word.
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whose 100th birthday we celebrate this year (1904-2004). For today we would be wise to place the earth’s journey at the forefront of any pilgrimage towards revitalizing the planet. And both are showing signs of permanent exhaustion. xx). p. Campbell would. then you are omnipresent and. Joseph Campbell. perhaps even to the transcendent Other that is in fact—tat tvam asi—thou art the other. words lose their moral memory. revealed in many of his 28 books and journals the intimate connection of mythology to the earth’s foundational soil. language too is crucial. I detect his impulses moving in two directions: into the body and into the natural order in one direction. or nurture and elevate the status. in The Dominion of the Dead (2003). What we do to words mirrors with exacting frequency what we do to the world. By doing so. In addition. as well as the poetry of John Keats.The Myth of Nature and the Nature of Myth: Becoming Transparent to Transcendence Dennis Patrick Slattery Pacifica Graduate Institute The works by the American mythologist. within Mother Earth. and towards the transcendent in the other. he antedated the ecology movement as well as a fuller consciousness of the earth’s terminal illnesses if not diagnosed and treated with some careful prescription policies available for continued refills. 74). Meister Eckhart. and now. of an entire planet. The purpose of yoking mythology to poetry is to realign consciousness along a mytho-poetic axis of insight and understanding. of words themselves. This essay will explore these regions rather than move to the topic that put him on the world map: that of the hero’s journey (1948/2004). In his incisive study on the importance of our ancestors. This quality of vitality of the symbolic and metaphoric realms of knowing is at the heart of Campbell’s teachings and one we would do well to retrieve. psychic and spiritual energy. I am not all things and I have not all things. though not divorced from matter but actually inhering within it. diagnose the accelerating rapacity of the earth’s resources as yet another consequence of an earlier malady wherein “matter and spirit begin to separate. our morality above all— depends on the historical resonance of its foundationThe Nature of Myth 29 . especially his “Ode to a Nightingale. The Perennial Philosophy (1970.” which gathers all the various world mythologies as inflections of one universal story. Become pure till you neither are nor have either this or that. it may come out of a revisioned care of language itself as a transport vehicle towards the transcendent or invisible realms of being that poetry exposes us to through its aesthetic and linguistic corridors.” offer new ways to reimagine our relation to the earth. to the dead and to language’s continued vitality.107) The mythologist Joseph Campbell. the essay then moves into a discussion of Keats’ poem in order to reveal the power of poetic utterance in reconfiguring a vital mythology. Beginning with a brief overview of some of the major tenets of Campbell’s guiding force of the “monomyth. For even our morality—indeed. in Huxley.” Campbell refers to such a divorce as “mythic dissociation” (1972/1993. As I continue to read and absorb his elegant insights into the essential place of a shared and coherent mythos in the life of the individual and of an entire people. As long as I am this or that. in the way we both disabuse and pollute. for it guides us to the proposition that in the active life of the imagination of a culture. Language and landscape are intimate first cousins. p. are all things.” he asserts in Flight of the Wild Gander (1951/2002) “derives from the vitality of its symbols as metaphors” (p. The “life of a mythology. being neither this nor that. or have this or that. seems to be one of Campbell’s perennial and abiding concerns. Robert Pogue Harrison observed that “in the age of the new barbarism. I believe. If there is to be a renewed mythos.
which Carl Jung observes in Mysterium Coniunctionis in a section entitled “An Alchemical Allegory. following the Irish writer.…unfolds this its one nature in the phenomena of the World’s existence” (1834/1991. 10). 1929/1992 p. in self-expression. The latter part of this essay must. and in writing is directly yoked to a disrespect and indifference to the matter and. nature. p. Joseph Campbell’s entire work contains a Hegelian impulse. compassion.You would like to make gold because poverty is the greatest plague. to provide images that relate the everyday to the eternal” (2004.xix). that the phenomenon we investigate—Universal History— belongs to the realm of Spirit. Jung believed. then. they are of the same essence” (Rilke. which I take as the expression of the everyday shorn of its transcendent reverberations.” “is the source of your fantasy. writes that “the monomyth is in effect a metamyth. p. Here is Hegel early in his epic work. The symptoms of literalism’s malady include an arresting or blockage of psychic energy’s flow. but also controlled and intended statements of spiritual principles which are as constant in history as the human nervous system” (1948/1968. we have read it too literally. The Philosophy of History (1834/1991): It must be observed at the outset. 191). more needs to be cultivated regarding the intimate connections in thought between these two titans. Hegel (17701831) believed was the nugget resting deep in the heart of the earth. Campbell asserts. let us link for a moment both Hegel and Campbell to one more crucial historical figure. ((1990/2003.” includes both physical and psychical Nature…. He furthers this revelation at the heart of The Hero With a Thousand Faces in writing that “to grasp the full power of mythological figures. is “to see the life value of the facts round about. 160) to capture the sense of a hidden transcendent unity of truth. 2005. John Keats. xvi). Ranier Maria Rilke. 257). p. and the course of its development. a kind of constant attention or ‘religio. Campbell. in his Introduction to the revised The Hero’s Journey. This ode recollects and records a transcendent pilgrimage into the imaginal realm.38). He further links 30 these two impulses that allow for some new creation to enter the world when he reflects that “spiritual creativity is a gentler. 86). Perhaps in entertaining the hero’s journey. I say this because there is implicit in the metaphor of this journey the possibility that the hero is an encompassing metaphor for the life energy The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. p. substance and energy. who writes in his thoughtful responses to a young poet that “Spiritual creativity originates from the physical. to transmit to a receptive audience. duty. deploying similar words to delineate an analogous idea. the world spirit that the philosopher Georg W. guided by the song of an invisible bird that turns an ordinary event in the life of an exhausted soul into a mythical journey that revitalizes and shifts his vision towards the mysteries of a transcendent realm. This languid soul has indeed heard and heeded the call and entered the vocational woods of poetic creation. I believe that carelessness in speech. more blissful and enduring repetition of physical desire and satisfaction” (p. p. believed. par. 16) Hegel’s insight comes seductively close to a key tenet of Campbell’s reflections on world mythologies as he continues: “the rational necessary course of the World-Spirit—that Spirit whose nature is always one and the same. include a brief exploration of “Ode to a Nightingale” by the 19th century English poet. What Keats’ ode exposes is an essential and exhausting poverty inherent in literalism. sacrifice. The term “World. who in his short but gifted life created some of the most remarkable poetry on the themes that Campbell and others believed were at the heart of any pulsating desire to restore the mythic impulse to the heartbeat of the common citizen. and spirit are more aligned than alien to some fundamental hidden unity that perhaps the metaphors of poetry are best equipped with a greater alacrity than other forms of expression.” that all the varieties of world mythologies are inflections of one story. indeed. as it were. (p. James Joyce who gave him the term “monomyth. the Story beyond the story that everlasting reiteration of unchanging principles and events inflected in particular and unique ways” what Joyce called a universal monomyth that imbeds itself in the various localities of a specific culture in time. The function of the poet. which implies that psyche. that the image of “the everflowing fountain expresses a continual flow of interest toward the unconscious. Phil Cousineau.F. equality. in this last book which he completed in his eightieth year. a philosophical reading of the unity of mankind’s spiritual history. we see that they are symptoms of the unconscious. the fountain of your soul…. In this vein. Campbell underscores Rilke’s insight when he coins the phrase “mythic identification” (1951/2002.” none of which brooks “the false eloquence of the times” (p.al words: liberty. and to deify them. Volume 24 . 38). is our substantial object. 193).But Spirit.’ which might also be called devotion” (par. wealth the highest good” (1963/1989.
but which finally shares a universal origin. strict denotation. and to reveal the underlying unity of human embodiment and the cosmos. decreased. increased. the life force that permeates all matter. as he writes in Flight of the Wild Gander. Given this metaphorical quality that points to and exposes a mystery beyond contradiction and duality. What for Campbell is the life process comprises for Hegel the World Spirit that animates and informs the World soul. which is another way of asserting that myths promote our “learning to live the divine life within you” (p. even as it connects us to the natural. serve four functions: 1. an identification with the life process” (2003. 4. they allow us to cross boundaries otherwise impossible. A new mythos must therefore be diligent and dedicated to preserving speech as well as preserving species. p. 51). the two breaths being the same” (2002. and those who know that they are not facts” (2001. and its metaphorical or symbolic resonances. p. 6). the death of language—its cadavers are strewn around us everywhere: in clichés. body and earth in a constant but benevolent dialogic tension between the body’s interiority and the world’s matter. to allow us “transparence” to the latter. p. to go from one place to another. slogans. A renewed or revisioned mythos might then include an ability to reimagine the relation of spirit. for that too is a category of thought…”(p. begins in the body. or polluted. p. they are interpretive. A new mythos would gain much energy if it planted Campbell’s observation in the forefront of its assertion as a central tenet of its development.8). and phorein=to move or carry.” However. is from two Greek words: meta=to pass over. the universe as it is. Perhaps analogies are birthed right here. 41). they align consciousness to the mysterium tremendum. end-stopped. Within this field of metaphor. The death throes of the soul reveal themselves in. p. among other venues. mediated by the social customs that comprise a specific historical time and place. Myths. physical world at the same time that it clears a space for accommodating the transcendent. matter. according to Campbell. empty words. this metaphorical quality lying vibrantly at the heart of myths and myth-making. He furthers this idea in The Power of Myth (1988): “the archetypes of the unconscious are manifestations of the organs of the body and their powers. the vitality and energy of the metaphors and symbols we create to describe the ineffable bear directly on what intensity of value the divine lives within and among us. The hero may be imagined as energy itself. one opens oneself to the mythic impulse which is to make us “transparent to transcendence” (2003.itself that flows. sound-bytes and a general lack of vitality in selfexpression. they also transport us past time.” he explains. its physicality. 48). p. newspeak. space. one’s own psyche. For Campbell. Thus. diluted. “There seem to be only two kinds of people: Those who think that metaphors are facts.3-4)). he affirms that “myth is a constant regeneration. to know and respect that ultimate mystery that transcends all forms (2001. xvi). The first group are the atheists and the second are “religious. The Nature of Myth 31 . worn out phrases.5). 39). 40). in its energetic language. vulgarity and profanity. The word “metaphor. a common source. they carry a religious function: to awaken and maintain in the person an experience of awe. In allowing the energy of the world soul to permeate one’s own body. 3. it is the interior of flesh. A key to this web of relationships. Finally. is offered more than once by Campbell when he quotes the 19th century poet Novalis: “The seat of the soul is there. an efficient and very economic delivery system of sorts. At the heart of the hero’s journey is this proposal: “The effect of the successful adventure of the hero is the unlocking and release again of the flow of life into the body of the world” (1948/2004. even a mythic heritage. for the psyche. both in conflict and in complement to one another. where the outer and the inner worlds meet” (2002. he writes earlier in the same volume that “The divine is transcendent even of the category of transcendence. pp. myths. are the “texts of rites of passage” (p. Campbell reveals in his writing how both the world’s material. Campbell insists that “the life of a mythology springs from and depends on the metaphoric vigor of its symbols…which can convey some realization of the infinite” (2001. 2. he asserts in The Inner Reaches of Outer Space that “the energy by which the body is pervaded is the same as that which illuminates the world and maintains alive all beings. therefore. becomes sidetracked. they help carry the individual through various stages and crises of life. Only metaphor has this exclusively powerful quality of allowing us to enter domains not readily accessible to the rational mind. providing a consistent image of the order of the cosmos. 40). even a partnership between energy flows through shared matter. 40). p. Archetypes are biologically grounded… (p. Metaphors carry us from one place to another. and they center us in the connotative dimensions of a world that is essentially and furiously denotative (2001. which is a mode of transportation. p. 34) having their origins in the energies of the organs of the body.
the place of society where the human body breathes itself into the social matrix. James Hillman. writes in Healing Fiction (1983) of the central importance of history’s qualitative hold on psyche. the four volume The Masks of God. 130). So. p. 6) Stanislav Grof ’s own work. 123). (p. as well as a record of the pilgrimage of humanitas. life on earth “is to mirror in the human body the almost hidden. in accord with d) himself (the microcosm). which is the essence of life itself. His most cogent and sustained opus. of our particular spirit informing it with ancestral culture” (p. most critical function of a mythology. grasp in a sensate way an intuition of place and of belonging to something beyond themselves. goals and purposes of a people’s mythology. or an entire people. This is not a new myth but a reclaimed one. Campbell intuited something profound about the body’s relation to myth and meaning but chose not to pursue it in depth. whose mythos is surcharged with planned obsolescence.” whose organizing impulse is to remember 32 and reflect unconsciously “the history which formed it and which its continuity would uphold…” (p. in an organic and animal way. to which I have only The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. x). is to foster the centering and unfolding of the individual in integrity. The human is bound up with the humus and is why burial figures as the generative institution of human nature. for the quality of being connected to ancestry has been muted considerably in today’s future-obsessed consciousness. gravitational. and we can here highlight the indispensable place of a historical imagination in retrieving the humanity of our species. 60). Human history may then be understood as a biography of an entire species. which Robert Pogue Harrison tells us. 130). Human embodiment. learning to read the body as metaphorical of something beyond and within itself constitutes an angle of seeing in the construction of a revitalized myth in order that an individual. xix). The human imagination is moved by the conflicting urgencies of the organs—including the brain. “to be born”. perhaps less an emphasis on historical events and facts at this juncture. Campbell writes in Flight of the Wild Gander (1990/2002) that “myths and rites constellate a mesocosm. [which is ] a magnetic. for Campbell. He called these “bioenergies. 93). Given such a connection. then. erotic field…“ (2002. but when unbridled become terrific. of the human body” (2002. like mythology generally. such an observation rests on a fundamental premise in all of Campbell’s musings on world mythologies: “the highest concern of all myths. the body. p. taking the word nature in its full etymological sense (from nasci. undoubtedly influenced by Vico. 2005. etc. and more on the nature of a historical sensibility imaginally kindled that arouses one’s soul within a larger fabric of meaning and intentions. global order is necessary and must take precedence over the rights and appetites of the seemingly autonomous self. a mediating middle cosmos through which the microcosm of the individual is brought into relation with the macrocosm of the universe” (p. a second womb of sorts. p. A new mythos would exchange hubris for humus. serves as a compendium of his thought on the matrix of mythic consciousness that anticipates or is in tandem with Stan Grof ’s vision of a wholistic order. The land of the dead is the country of ancestors. or archetypes. destructive” (p. has its own organizing structures. Creative Mythology (1968). xi)…. xiv). each of us is influenced by “history’s hundred channels” which “show culture at work in the channels of the soul. horrifying. and a) that awesome ultimate mystery which is both beyond and within himself and all things. Campbell reiterates and in truth. would seek to reclaim the wisdom of the dead. burying” (2003. redesigns his list of four qualities. 60). citing the work of Gimbatisto Vico. He observed that “mythos and dream are motivated from a single psycho-physical source. Volume 24 . I offer the following wobbly neologism to capture something of such a partnership: mythophysiology—a mythos of flesh.in that “marsupial pouch” that for Campbell characterizes. The fourth point is the only one I wish to access here: The fourth and most vital. may assist us in reclaiming the ancestral imagination to allow for a fuller vision of our place in historical time. p. p. He argues convincingly against the preoccupation with the “historical ego. yet now discovered order of the pageant of the spheres” (p. which my colleague Robert Romanyshyn has eloquently described as “a gestural body. that shapes it and is contoured by it. a new or renewed mythos would also ideally push against the blind obsession with the individual in order to allow one to see that a myth of a communal. By contrast. c) his culture (the mesocosm). is to get people to identify with something outside of themselves” (1990/2002. then. and the images who walk in on us are our ancestors…. A new or revitalized mythos. By the same token. Early in the beginning of volume 4. They are the historical progenitors. b) the universe (the macrocosm). ceremonies. reveals that the word “humanitas in Latin comes first and properly from humando.
p. these souls are landlocked. They are the figures in the culture to whom we turn. a full and authentic mimesis. In other words. 711). as Richard Kearney develops this idea in a powerful little book. for poets do not eschew the world so much as they enter it more fully than the rest of us may be capable. for. is the condition of people who are so bound to their ego lives and selfish values that they cannot open out to a transpersonal grace” (2001. For Campbell. as the poet Wallace Stevens observes. in writing of Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom. are fertilized by the same principles that organize and order the cosmic as well as social and individual orders. As such. Such a shift would. 318). While written in the early part of the 19th century. Jung. and drew this conclusion: “How does the ordinary person come to the transcendent? For a start.G. nature becomes transformed into narrative. Both Joseph Campbell and Stan Grof would find a strong partnership in the observation expressed by the latter writer in The Holotropic Mind (1990): New scientific findings are beginning to support beliefs of cultures thousands of years old. properly. that unveils and makes more transparent. 298). its praxis is to create by analogy a mimetic representation of some vision. a mythology of organs and origins. In such a paradigm. (pp. a manifestation of cosmic consciousness and intelligence that flows through all of existence. poiesis is a making or a shaping of something that has been apprehended. In such a relationship. the nature of myth. “the poets’ sensibilities have large orbits” (1997. Learn how to read a poem. Poets are the antithesis of those souls caught in hell. 100). to the process of poiesis that only the human being is fully equipped to create. Campbell reflected on it in a “Discussion” transcribed at the back of Thou Art That. I believe. two southern poets of the last century. study poetry. that Aristotle discovered in the 5th century BCE in Greece. returns with a boon that is worth contemplating as we tend to the right measure of our own voyage. When asked about the experience of the transcendent and how one might achieve its status. as both Stan Grof and Joseph Campbell rightly insist on. You need not have the experience to get the message. 92). are in a sense homologous—and perhaps even holotropic?—of the structure of the world we inhabit. Instead of “the image of the cosmos as a mechanical system” that assumes it can then be understand by “dissection” and explanation (p. I would say. We never completely lost contact with this cosmic consciousness because we are never fully separated from it. “Hell. Nature and narrative grow like seedlings from the same plot of ground. showing that our individual psyches are. some insight that has particularly powerful mythic resonances. in the last analysis. in order to shatter those boundaries that Stan Grof believes keep us arrested within limits that are more arbitrary than absolute (2000. Any The Nature of Myth 33 . perhaps a mytho-poiesis of nature. I want to lean on his words a bit to complete this essay by briefly exploring one of the finest poets in our tradition who successfully and securely wedded the imagination to the mundane. And from that penetration through the boundaries that might inhibit or resist the rest of us in our tracks. The Odes of John Keats (1795-1821) are among the most famous and finely wrought in literature by such a young poet. p. there exists an intimacy between the myth of nature. having suffered through the concrete world in a unique way. There the nature and structure of the narratives we tell. poetry is capable of producing an organic mythology. be in line and in the spirit of both Grof ’s life’s work and Joseph Campbell’s sustained project of uncovering the “elementary ideas” of Adolf Bastian and the archetypal principles at the bedrock level of the psyche ordained and given authentic currency by C. or at least some indication of the message” (p. For the Greeks. 202-03) Let me turn in the last part of this excursus to the realm of poetry.recently come. On Stories (2001). resonates a similar holistic view. Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale” (1819) renders that dual awareness in dramatic form as he implicitly outlines the lineaments of a mythological sensibility we must retrieve. 299). Such a shift of capacity—a key and critical word here—rests on the ability to recognize the myth of mechanism that has dominated a vision of nature and her structure for hundreds of years. p. such that they find it impossible to leave their safe harbors and sail towards the transcendent. even drydocked. especially in Psychology of the Future (2000): “Spiritual intelligence is the capacity to conduct our life in such a way that it reflects [a] deep philosophical and metaphysical understanding of reality and of ourselves” (p. they could have been etched yesterday or even tomorrow. would finally reach its fullest expression. the poet is a partner in the hero’s journey who. As I stated in the title of this paper. cultural forces shifted the inflection to one of the image of the cosmos as a mythical or series of overlapping mythical tonalities. or imitation of a psychic action. organisms and the interfaces of both divine and human orders commingling and mutually influencing one another.
His soul is. Bliss eventuates out of personal blisters. as he intervenes and interposes the appearances of that sense. Campbell insists the heroic journey must originate in pathlessness and in isolation./And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne. “where palsy shakes a few. The narrator’s desire seems motivated. Wallace Stevens. p. What this voice seeks is some vitality in his own life. 206). The almost instantaneous transformation into the mysterious realm of nature through an imaginal leap instills in him what I would call a natural imagination. His ode is like a remembrance. 206).”Ode to Psyche” (1819). the languid soul is immediately transported into another level of consciousness which transcends the boundaries of time and space. Said another way. 2005. for an élan vital. full of dewy wine. and in fact is inspirited by. Thus poetry becomes and is a transcendent analogue composed of the particulars of reality. re-animated by the feminine light of the moon and the dark vegetation. In “Ode to a Nightingale” he renders an experience that is no less epiphanic. namely. I suspect—of the animal mundi herself—not seen. as Keats reveals it in that ode. 206). from the dead. by the oppressive sense of life’s decay and death./Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays” (p. 205). for it returns to conscious awareness the absolutely essential role of the imagination as an instrument for reclaiming of the dead. The poet’s task. The voice of the figure in the poem. Stevens completes his brilliant reflections on the nature and effects of analogy regarding poetry by stating what seems so appropriate to Keats’ poem: their words [the poets’] have made a world that transcends the world and a life livable in that transcendence…. Volume 24 . between soul and matter. Now. his attitude. Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme To take into the air my quiet breath. for disinterring a relation that has been truncated and buried. He hears at the same time. (1997. created by the poet’s sense of the world. 206) The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. In an earlier poem. spawned by imagination. one which is attuned not just to the foliage but to the smells of “the coming musk-rose. 206).hope for a viable future of the planet and the politics that outline and contour its habitation must include the dual tasks of retrieval of the past and the renewal of the future. Keats lamented the loss of psyche’s place in the natural order through the “strange rhetoric” that Stevens confirms is the poetic response to the ordinary. (p. as though of hemlock I had 34 drunk. p. Keats envisioned already the growing pulse in the Western psyche in the 19th century to denude matter of its mystery through a stranger metaphysic that also felt the need to confirm the loss of divinity from the created order. The response he feels—for odes convey as much feeling as thought or action—is moved by desire for a life of depth. our response must be both mythic and poetic. xvii). p. In short. yet is anchored securely in the voice of the bird—an image. pp./ [and] the murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves” (p. His world darkens as he reflects on his attraction./Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains”( 1819.’ that is. Such will be his catalyst to heed the sound of the call and venture out. its narrator. a living testimony of the future. otherwise one is following another’s path (2001. through the invisible bird’s song as guide. to easeful Death. where he moves slowly “Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways” (p. “a draught of vintage” that has been cooled a long time “in the deep-delved earth/Tasting of Flora and the country green. the poet’s task is not just concerned with the world’s body. suddenly. 205) as he (in fact it could be a man or a woman) falls Lethe-wards into the ennui of forgetfulness. by the poetic impulse of the psyche. to reclaim from the past. but with words’ bodies themselves—the power of words’ organic vitality to form a world and to transcend the ordinary world of sense by such a conveyance. in a moment of eternal time. and possibly poetry is merely the strange rhetoric of that parallel” (1997. is to become a priest of the imagination who utters psyche’s presence back into the world as both a sacramental mission and as a sacred imperative. and perhaps by poetry’s innate wisdom. 715). one of our toughest and most elegant voices of the poet and the critic. some elixir of life that would revive and restore a connection to the natural order. Now more than ever it seems rich to die. 722-23) Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale” testifies to such a transcendent possibility as well as our capacity to nest imaginally in just that brooding domain. the song of an invisible nightingale singing in the dark shadows of the forest’s trees. and spectre-thin. sad. and dies” (p. “entering the forest at its darkest part. and Provencal song” (p. only heard: “Already with thee! tender is the night. that is to say. begins in lethargy: “My heart aches. in part. and a drowsy numbness pains/My sense. last gray hairs/Where youth grows pale. where no one had cut a path before. could have been musing on Keats’ Ode when he wrote: “There is always an analogy between nature and the imagination./Dance.
to the vast community of the dead. p. as the voice of the poem does. then we could suggest that a revitalized mythology must then include a poetic and imaginal response to the matter of the world. As priest. however. to voice. But as suggested in the archetypal pattern of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. if not increases its volume. xi). reflection. initiation. 207) for the particular bird whose song led him into his initial reverie now swells its orbit. the same patterns of responses will remain stubbornly in place. and a return to share. The Nature of Myth 35 . It has found its earth home once again. immortal Bird!/ No hungry generations tread thee down” (p. a waking and sleeping experience. a connection to the natural and transcendent orders of being. x).This call by Death is both crucial and necessary. the permanence of flux and the flux of permanence itself. or perhaps more accurately. to a mythical experience. The heroic is never completely unmoored from its humic and humble foundations: Forlorn! The very word is like a bell To toll me back from thee to my sole self! (p. In the metaxis of dream and perceptual waking is the space of contemplation. the song of the bird. he consecrates the mundane into the transcendent. the solitary and lifeless voice of the narrator at the beginning has been revitalized by this seemingly ordinary connection to nature that has gestated in the poetic imagination and now leafs into a mythological experience. to history. sick for home. to a renewed relationship with the dead.” a line Keats crafts in “Ode On a Grecian Urn” (p. with an awareness of mythic time and space which situates us between flux and permanence. and archetypes that confound the law of obsolescence” (2003. or a waking dream? /Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?” (p. it seems to me. She stood in tears amid the alien corn. with the past. it includes as well a shift from a strictly solar to a lunar consciousness. A temporal event has been transformed. is to simultaneously enter by analogy into the world of the dead and the unborn at the same stroke. By the same token. desires. in the construction of a new mythos for the world. to become the sound that has echoed through the corridors of history from time immemorial. 207) This passage bears witness to an entry in one of Wallace Stevens’ notebooks: “The poet is the priest of the invisible” (1997. when. He further asserts that any salvific impulse in humanity to preserve itself must be based on a humic foundation. 207). for unless the dead are now acknowledged as the central core of our legacy of the living. p. to a deeper connection to one’s “sole” self. traumas. Harrison offers a dramatic image of this observation: “Our psyches are the graveyards of impressions. in a language that is clean and freshly strewn with original analogies to wake the imagination from its dreary and often habituated slumbers. or the “transcendent” realm cited earlier by Wallace Stevens and given several currency values in Campbell’s work. 207) On his return. both cadaverous and calcified. One possible answer is “yes” to both. 207). in its mythopoetic veracity: “Thou wast not born for death. his imagination has uncovered the transcendent quality alive in the song’s immanence. But now the nightingale’s song fades “over the still stream. and with a clever oral pun on the word “sole. as well as a sense of the historical connection that binds us all as one into a common humanity: what we all share each in our separate ways is a relation to the past and to the dead. Within such a sacred posture. a form of death of the self as it enters through the shining corridor of reverie. two losses most in need of retrieval grow from the soil of lament in the poem’s voice: the dead.” he continues to hear the fading echoic resonances of the bird’s song. 908). which has now achieved in his imagination mythical status. But with a reverent bow to the dead emerges a recognition of history’s legacy: The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth. the voice of Keats’ poem not only retrieves the numinous quality inherent in the natural order. and return—with some gift of remembrance. the heroic figure must return to the ground from which one originated to complete the cycle of departure. “one whose contents have been buried so that they may be reclaimed by the future” (p. and now ‘tis buried deep/In the next valley-glades” (p. Or. the thinly-bordered imagined realm “of silence and slow time. to make public in a larger venue what one has discovered. via the mystery of language. 207). (p. and renewal: “Was it a vision. remembrance. to move into the natural order. If we are able to slow down sufficiently to hear Keats’ call. a catalyst or a transport vehicle that led him from the isolated and solitary regime of the personal into the more communal and historically imbedded transpersonal. which at the same instant has married this sole soul to history. he or she must not rest content with the new experience or challenge. with a historical sensibility. Indeed. but that voice is also led to it by a kind of poesy./Up the hill-side.
J. D. Carl Jung. The perennial philosophy. Great Books in Philosophy Series. Romanyshyn. Novato. John Keats. Christine Downing. Novato. (2004). R. Grof. S. Bollingen Series XVII. Rilke. San Francisco: Harper. xi-xii). Marion Woodman. NY: Station Hill Publishing. Princeton: NJ: Princeton University Press. Stan Grof. (1989). W. New York: Houghton Mifflin.edu The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Mysterium coniunctionis. CA: New World Library. The power of myth. The philosophy of history.).) New York: Doubleday. Original work published 1822. Natural resources defense council pamphlet on the environment. A.C. Selected poems and letters by John Keats. Barrytown.). Hegel. to my mind. Original work published 1986. (1990). J. (1983). G. have all exercised just such a profound liberation of the past so that it can don and wear the shimmering and shadowy new wardrobes of a revitalized and freshly languaged future. Campbell. J. (2000). each with his or her uniquely beveled and honed eloquent language. (J.M. Redford. New York: Harper and Row Publishers. The inner reaches of outer space: Metaphor as myth and as religion. (R. New York: The Library of America. 2005. J. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at dslattery@pacifica. J. (1972). CA: New World Library.P. The holotropic mind: The three levels of human consciousness and how they shape our lives. Pittsburgh. New York: Penguin Publishing. Original work published 1944. Original work published 1948. Marie Louise von Franz. Bollingen Series XX. R. PA: Trivium Books. J. (1991). New York: NRDC Publications. R. Albany. NY: Prometheus Press. Jung. Rick Tarnas. References Bush. R. Creative mythology. S. Myths to live by. (2002). Thou art that: Transforming religious metaphor. Sibree. J. James Hillman. Psychology of the future: Lessons from modern consciousness research. (1973). CA: New World Library. (2004). (1968). Campbell. California: 13-18 June 2004. (Ed. (1959). Surely the pioneering work of Joseph Campbell. Kearney. Novato. Harrison. Ginette Paris and others. not in shrill outcries of literal laments. Princeton. Volume 24 . Campbell. Pathways to bliss: Mythology and personal transformation. numbs their souls and provokes increased consumption.Only by taking this last step in the journey—making public. Flowers. (2002). Original work published 1929. On stories. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Original work published 1944. Campbell. J.J: Princeton University Press. (1970). J. Hillman.F. New York: Routledge Press. (B. NY: SUNY Press. Campbell. CA: New World Library. R. Novato. Ways of the heart: Essays toward an imaginal psychology. Letters to a young poet. 36 Campbell. Original work published 1951. Stevens: Collected poetry and prose. S. CA: New World Library. Author Note This paper is based upon a presentation at the Sixteenth International Transpersonal Conference in Palm Spring. founded on a fertile loam of intuition. The masks of God. vol.Hull.). 4. The hero’s journey: Joseph Campbell on his life and work. N. (2003). CA: New World Library. Trans. (2001). but in a more imaginal and reasoned response. (2001). Trans. Novato. Burnham. Stevens. Campbell. (1993). for the vitality of the magic of metaphorical and symbolic realities to be heard by those suffering from “a drowsy numbness” which pains their senses. (1997). (Joan M. Campbell.G. The dominion of the dead. New York: Viking Press. Campbell.). Editor. Huxley. C. Original work published 1990. Healing fiction. Trans. The hero with a thousand faces. (2003). J. Novato. Buffalo. Grof. Harrison ends his Preface to The Dominion of the Dead (2003) with this observation: “sometimes the best way to retrieve a legacy is by freeing it from its original framework and reinscribing it in new ones” (pp. will there by any hope. The Classic Wisdom Collection. (1988). Flight of the wild gander: Explorations in the mythological dimension.
and some preliminary conclusions drawn based on experiences reported by student-actors and the author’s observations during his own research and his practice as actor and teacher. on actor training using the neutral mask. The following account of the neutral mask. The nature of this transformational environment will be further illuminated by setting it alongside Stanislav Grof ’s model of healing in non-ordinary states of consciousness (Grof. Points of correspondence with the vision of Campbell and Grof. whether works of philosophy. particularly in work with the neutral mask. Artists tend. When I write of “the mask work” in this context. and to my own interpretation and development of that work. Campbell’s insights into this symphony—the artefacts of which. The influence of Campbell on this area of the arts can be seen to have two major elements: his monomyth is used as a guiding structure for improvisations in the training process and his vision. as experienced by the author in his own training. I n his preface to The Masks of God. I am acknowledging that there is a broad tradition but specifically referring to the neutral mask work as I learned it from David Latham. 1993). 1987). a powerful contemporary mask widely-used in actor training in Europe. are discriminated and discussed. Archetype and the Neutral Mask: Actor Training and Transformation in Light of the Work of Joseph Campbell and Stanislav Grof Ashley Wain University of Western Sydney This paper explores the influence of transpersonal thinking. “with many clues. including the mythological perspective of Joseph Campbell and the holotropic perspective of Stanislav Grof. he placed together under the umbrella of “myth”—have been put to use in fields as varied as screenwriting and organisational learning. because it is amazingly congruent with mask work. and the use of the neutral mask as an approach to the study of myth and archetype. based on my own Neutral Mask 37 . and what it has revealed regarding these in my own research. An outline of training in the neutral mask is given. These correspondences open up two areas of inquiry: the transformative effect of the mask work when conducted in a transpersonally-oriented set. Australia and North America. 1985. not to stay the same for too long. Both are discussed. Joseph Campbell’s vision of myth has come to be a part of the mask work through my teacher. there are also important differences. theology or folklore. have served poetic ends in actor training and performance. I will offer an account of how those clues. focusing on the approach of David Latham. psychology.Myth. besides. so I should also add that I am referring to how David was teaching it ten years ago. archetype and journey. In the years since the publication of The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Campbell. and their influence. Personal background and mask training There are many different approaches to the neutral mask. David Latham. and the larger vision put forth in his writings. and while there are many similarities and common or recurring elements in these different approaches. Joseph Campbell writes that within its four volumes are given all the motifs contained in the unified symphony of humanity’s spiritual heritage. 1991a. The second part of the paper will describe the experience of actors who do this work— the transformations they report—and how the mask can be a way of research into the myth. suggesting ways in which they might be put to use by reasonable men to reasonable ends—or by poets to poetic ends—or by madmen to nonsense and disaster” (Campbell. provides an excellent orienting vehicle for the unique combination of creative work and personal transfor- mation that this work represents. In this paper. xx). however. p. when I trained with him.
While it is important to allow the performer to make their own sense of the work. p. 2001). It has no differentiated attitude. sexual places. based on their own experience. It has no plans. It is unnecessary. exercises that loosen and awaken the body and imagination and connect these with the breath. It does not hold to a fixed point of view. It teaches an actor to be simple. to begin training. It it is up to the students to discover what it is through their own curiosity. It is what it sees. it lives in a state of inner calm. writes that “To enter into a mask means to feel what gave birth to it. no past. freedom. Some pull the mask off quickly. others say that they felt “possessed. we spent six weeks lying on the floor sensing our breath. by acting in it. David Latham always affirmed wherever we went. and then moving from these energies. It does not do one thing on the inside and another on the outside. Preparation for the mask also involves work with the various centres in the body (chest. When the mask is introduced. In voice. such as being in a desert. the late. and to be present. First.” One student reported that she felt “her breath” moving through her in a circle. or just plain weird places. have long been an important part tool of initiation and transformation. like a theatre. sometimes in conjunction with an image.experience as an actor. the division of the room. stretching. Volume 24 . Masks. The student-actors often report experiencing a sense of peace. imagining the breath moving down the front of the spine into the centres. the fact that students are only permitted to wear black. solar plexus). Australia. It has no psychology. After this it will be possible to play it from within” (Lecoq. simply telling the story of our imagination to a single witness as it unfolded. These inner journeys and the movement improvisations might begin with personal themes but they soon move through violence. the presentation of definite taboos. no agendas. which for novice actors carries associations with the new age or Hinduism. and many other exercises. 1984). The students are not told what they should experience. of doing. In acting. impulses. groin. This simple exercise yields a range of often powerful experiences.” Various elements come together to create a sacred space and the impression of an initia38 tion: the way the teacher handles the masks. it is possible to make some general remarks about its nature. often without. We worked to make the spine responsive. Alexander (Alexander. 1996). It is found in nearly every culture and its association with ritual and with non-ordinary states of consciousness is well-known (Eldredge. plain clothing. the immediate experience and one’s capacity to communicate it is the important thing—the actual energetic freedom and creative mastery of the actor. There is never any clapping. 2000. no problems. of course. Too many concepts associated with other realms of endeavour and modes of discourse can become a serious obstacle. which demonstrate the extraordinary capacity of the mask to induce shifts in consciousness. It was discovered in the theatre of Jacques Copeau. a few thousand miles away. David Latham never used the word “chakra. flexible and present to awareness. Jacques Lecoq. into a performance space and an audience space. up her spine and down the front of her body. When I arrived from my hometown of Perth. will trace the broad outlines of the work. I trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. attending the images and energies that emerged there. another spoke of an intoxicating and seductive power like he had never experienced before (Holloway. 1980). and specific exercises to prepare us for the mask. or terror. I had just finished a degree in philosophy and politics and I was intellectually-oriented—not very aware of my body or my feelings. a Frenchman. it is done quite formally. and imagination. and by observing it as an audience member (SaintDenis & Saint-Denis. It has no inner conflict. Our training was three years full-time—a very intense three years— and in the first six weeks we were completely immersed in exercises to increase our awareness of body. exercises to evoke movement that is inspired by breath and infused with image. ideokinesis. the founder of The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. In movement we practised Feldenkrais work (Feldenkrais. 55). The neutral mask is not a particular character. lengthening our spines. The story of the birth of this mask is very illuminating.” however. renowned teacher of neutral mask. We also began to journey inwardly. Using concepts like chakra in an acting class causes some people to become resistant and others to become over-excited. In acting we did a great deal of work to become aware of impulses. 1982). It’s a definite moment: “Today we begin work with The Mask. students are asked simply to wear the mask in front of the group. lying on the floor. to rediscover the basis of the mask and to find what makes it vibrate in yourself. and they are told very little about the nature of the mask. observer and teacher. 2005. breath. For the actor understanding is a matter of action. those who are not performing are always in the audience. it is action. and releasing all kinds of tiny muscles. religious places. It is totally transparent. It has been argued that the mask is the most ubiquitous of human artifacts.
p. in the mask. It shares with ritual and spiritual practice an interest in a normally invisible reality. Unlike many spiritual practices. The Warrior. p. simply to cover their faces. 71). from any culture. Copeau took his handkerchief and covered the actress’ face. without attitude. voice and speech of the performer or shaman. It is always interestingly. what a mask does is make the invisible visible. what invisible thing or being will come through. and so release what Reich would call their character armour. He explains it like this: “Take for example. she said goodbye. There’s a roughly equivalent duality in Stan Grof ’s work in which he distinguishes “holotropic” and “hylotropic” states or realities (Grof. & Paul. and even onto colours. p. great French acting teacher says that it “allows one to find the essential…the word of all words” (Wylie. they must shed their idiosyncrasies. It has been shipwrecked. and so on). This invisible inner reality could be a realm of spirits. 38).” They “would make up very simple exercises with various themes: waiting.” The actor must adapt their body and action to the mask. Copeau was disillusioned with the superficiality and clutter of the French theatre before World War 1 and with the Vieux-Colombier he attempted to create performances that had simplicity. 2000. The use of a particular mask determines. an actress found herself blocked. ah. The actors begin to discover this through performing simple human actions—waking up for the first time. a body without conflict. with archetypes (e. The actor’s transformation into the mask character could be seen as the holotropic reality emerging into the hylotropic. embodying the invisible presence (which is. The important thing is that some facet of this unmanifest world is made manifest through the body. which seek to touch this reality inwardly. This is what Lecoq calls mime but it is mime de fond. Glass. pp. Jacques Lecoq.. an outdoor world. of elemental beginnings. not mime of form. fear. mime of depth. In the simplest terms. 237-238). felt within) while in contact with an audience—makes up the crux of the actors work. in which everything is done “for the first time. Rubber. p. it lives outside time.g. The same process is applied even for identifications with elements that do not. wrote about how this became “the discovery of a mysterious world.the Vieux-Colombier theatre and its school (Copeau. with substances (Plastic. The Innocent. the eternal archetypes. discovery. These identifications often begin with an invitation to the students to contact an image. the late. the “daily mask.” We are searching for simplicity and universality. we realize the sailors will not return. music and words. “for the first time. and the personal feelings it arouses. intimately connected to nature. the persona. 1990). 1994. In desperation. Aluminium Foil.. one encounters a physical sensation which reveals the dynamism of the life of this tree… It is as if the body had a skin for touching the space within and another for touching the space without” (Wylie. we wait. If masks reveal the invisible. 80). 40). so that any person. unable to play it. great emotion and a power that astonished their audience: “the characters possessed a greater reality and a greater vitality” (Copeau et al. mask. 1988. Copeau’s son-in-law Jean Daste. 1985. Fire. 1994. We ask: what is the living gesture of a certain colour? How does yellow move? Mime de fond Neutral Mask 39 . resonance. Rudlin. Air and Earth). in a world that is “prior” to culture. Its actions must be prior to culture. anguish” such as “the families of sailors. prior to conditioning. freedom and elemental aliveness.” Completing the image—entering into it. 1990. they must pare back unnecessary gesture and action. Olive Oil. the last goodbye to the beloved. The mask covers the face. it must be the body of the mask. on the surface. the observation of a tree: in going beyond the ideas which surround it. throwing a stone. at the beginning. it is what we practice again and again. “Beneath every mask…there is a neutral mask” (Lecoq.” The work moves on to identifications. like colours. to have life. the imagination of a playwright or the psychological world of a character. with the elements (Water. however hard she tried. 78). of course. she was then able to play the scene freely and truthfully. watching from the shore for the arrival of a boat. We can begin to see the affinity between mask and Campbell’s vision of myth when he suggests that “the basic theme of all mythology—that there is an invisible plane supporting the visible one” (Campbell. One day in the rehearsal of a difficult emotional scene. would be able to understand: “ah. p. theatre and often ritual are concerned with making this invisible reality visible on this plane1. “What of the invisible world does it make visible?” Because the neutral mask has no past. appear to have movement. After this Copeau asked his students to make themselves simple “neutral” masks. the Major Arcana of the Tarot). They discover that for the mask to work. The Seven Deadly Sins.” Somehow these simple themes and simple actions brought forth. he discovered something. The mask improvisation involves “completing the image. He calls it “the mask of masks” and says. one approach to understanding a mask is to ask.” It is a world of essences. To everyone’s amazement.
not wanting to leave.” After that I understood how being an actor. and got stuck on a beach-wasteland facing the ocean. like the elements and archetypes. He asked if I had been given a gift. Sometimes it occurs in pairs or groups. Of course. He will tell students: At daybreak you emerge from the sea. When he said “You Wake Up. He said “that’s your gift. A powerful element of this experience was the sense of necessity which imbued my actions. “what happens. Lecoq’s journey relies for its structure on the natural world. sometimes it is given in great detail. The impact of hearing this for the first time. The mask knew what had to happen. When you pass this test you are given a gift. with very specific content. they have impact. as a student before any contact with 40 Campbell’s work. with no planning or guidance about the specific content this structure brings forth. then you begin to climb. you come out of the forest and find yourself facing a mountain. but they are told. By way of contrast. p. All the personal associations. in which many possible identifications are integrated into an unfolding story of transformation. You cross a sandy beach and then you enter the forest. a vast panorama opens up: a river runs through a The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 1993).” it was clear that it was no ordinary waking up—that “You Wake Up” was an action of intensity and scope. This represents one major influence of Campbell on my teacher David Latham. and I knew too. The point is that. David Latham has a way of talking so that the words resonate in the body. in an archaic place inside myself. sometimes very simply. You ‘absorb’ the image of this mountain. 2005. killed a giant snake. it is not about making something up. the mythic metaphors and the actual physical actions in all their rhythms. You receive the call to set out on a journey. You share the gift and you sleep. to find it truthfully and become it completely so that the invisible is made visible and palpable. The point is to go through the personal associations to the mythic resonance. At the end of the road of trials you face a great test.” The point is not to tick the boxes: that would be a travesty of the work. You cross a threshold and enter a new world. from the first gentle slopes to the rocks and the vertical cliff face which tests your climbing skills. where I was torn apart by fish. because I had lain there so still for so long. 2000. I tried to explain that I had and there was some confusion until I realised that he thought I had actually died. happens.“involves an identification with things in order to make them live…mime is a way of rediscovering a thing with freshness” (Lecoq. it is not about “acting it out. You see the image. could be a truly profound journey. David talks about this work as nourishing the roots of one’s talent. so that one can feel memories waking up inside. you are the image. The point. an artist. one at the roots of both my artistic life and personal being. You will remember what you remember. the image is in you and you are in it. Many students will ask for the structure to be repeated. is to really do it. Suddenly. ending up in the arms of a great Silence I knew was God. as if there was only one way the story could unfold. The actor will be told something like: You wake up. in the distance you can see a forest and you set out towards it. Once you reach the summit. I lay there for a long time. In experience they seem to arise from the body. because we are actors. Afterwards David Latham told me he thought I had died. until He told me to “Do it with love.” but he kept digging until I mentioned what I had been told just before the end. until I understood that my journey was into the ocean. you return with this gift to the world you came from. and you answer the call. and one which has proved both unexpectedly rich and difficult to live out fully. I said “no. The details of the journey are changed all the time. Volume 24 . were one harmonious and necessary unfoldment. was extraordinary. You travel along a road of trials where you meet forces that help you and forces that hinder you. according to a precise inner logic that was at once my own and beyond me. and it can come out. You move through trees and vegetation which grow ever more densely as you search for a way out. My first journey was spread out over two classes: I rode a dragon. 22). There was a sense of remembering. without warning. They must improvise this with complete physical and imaginal commitment. as if I was touching something archaic within myself. is in the actor. This work frees and connects the imagination and the body and expands the actors’ range of expression and feeling. Journey & the Monomyth Beyond these simple identifications there are Journeys based on the monomyth (Campbell.” The forms arise from the deeper physical and imaginative connection with the structure itself. and this first experience remains for me a touchstone.” Then I got up and took off the mask.
he says “‘yea’ to it all” (Campbell. At the end. the actor takes off the mask. and the philosophical basis of his work had become the triangle of myth. developed over long years of personal struggle and innovation. The forest is on fire. The image is in the actor and the actor is in the image. In this way. facilitating vision. as Campbell would say. 2000. cross the stream. 1992. art and psychology. but allowing them to be the driving force of the work in its content and its form. David Latham affirms wherever his students journey to in their imagination and their improvisation. emotional. 20). He was interested in “training an actor in such a way that the actor’s work exists in the duality of that which is psychological and that which is universal” (Latham. This distinguishes him very clearly from the Lecoq tradition. p. Firstly. as the “set” (Grof. (Lecoq. 41) It’s important to remember that as the mask moves through these environments it becomes them. it is not about methods. such an attitude has depth and richness. which is in flood. a desert. violent. sometimes in terrifyingly powerful ways. the essence of our humanness. and this is where the neutral mask is very effective. are universal. revealing at a deeper and deeper level. it is. You manage by grabbing hold of the trees. for acting. a kind of meta-framework—what Grof would refer to. but nevertheless it is still theatre. p. He told me that he just knew that he wanted people—his students and actors—“to bring out what was in them. The only thing David said more than “yes” was “let it go. I once asked him what he began with when he started teaching. the most intimate places. beneath our surface characteristics. perverse. the profoundly personal. Later. He was interested in all of you—whatever you wanted to bring out. The founda- tion of the craft thus reaches into the deepest source of our being. (Latham. sexual. (Lecoq. p. You come down the mountain. The second element of Campbell’s vision that David brought to the work was a profound and intensely lived understanding of metaphor. I remember David’s appreciation of all the places we went—not just allowing but appreciation of the powerful. 42) Campbell’s orientation as a facilitating vision or “set” Lecoq encourages his students to be aware of the “symbolic overtones” of the natural environments they move through—crossing the river can be a metaphor for adolescence. I would like to point to two elements that seem important. he affirmed it. and you slide down towards the river. and not only bringing those to the work. Even the physical exercises serve as metaphors. Although it seems simple. p. it is about revealing. but also a holy atmosphere. the mask is a metaphor. making connections that have psychological connotations and universal connotations. The power of the images is deeply respected. an understanding that the depths of the individual are universal and that these depths will eventually emerge. p. In David Latham’s work. 1976. the actors rerun the journey in extreme conditions: There is a raging sea and the wave throws you up onto the beach.valley and then there is a plain and finally in the distance. individually.” Neutral Mask 41 . 1991c. the universal depths.” Something deep within responds to this attitude. the work occurs within an atmosphere of play. and finally the sun sets. and this points to the second significant way that Campbell’s work has influenced it: it serves as the cornerstone of an overarching. p. The sand is being swept by a rainstorm. metaphor is central. he had been absorbing Joseph Campbell’s work for nearly twenty years. myth is a metaphor and theatre is a metaphor (Latham. Part of doing this is uncovering the “roots” and nurturing these roots. which uses the via negativa. 4) Although it might be simplistic to try to analyse. We can experience how. in non-ordinary states of consciousness work. heart and openness and its effect on the working atmosphere are profound and significant. Finally you reach the desert. To use Campbell’s phrase. 1992). not by negating it. David writes that his work is not about invention. but even the most powerful identification is regarded as a symbol: it lives in and through the body of the actor. something as profoundly integrated and organic as an individual teacher’s art. 2000. it is what it sees. Once you are on the mountain there is an earthquake followed by avalanches. to maintain it honestly requires great personal trust. for example. More than this. in the space available. however. then into the desert. 14). Underlying it is a sense of trust that wherever you go will be OK. p. we can go to the universal through the personal. 1992. 1991b. 2). where a sandstorm is blowing up. “a highly played game of ‘as if ’” (Campbell. By the time I met David Latham and began working with him. For David. for inner states. 28). walk through the plain. communally and culturally.
a trust in the overall trajectory of the psyche. Campbell’s whole conception can be seen to turn on the metaphor of masking: he writes about the “Masks of God. The craft of actors is in large part to do with the development of their instrument. it becomes permeable to essences. 196). Campbell says. and to convert the stationary balance of this energy into a stream of experience” (Grof. I would add. and so clears the channels of expression and feeling in the body.” calling it “that territory of experiential ambiguity which seems optimal for thera42 peutic work” (Grof. transform them into a stream of unusual experiences. which Campbell explicitly associated with the spiritual journey (Campbell. realms of the unconscious are like movies the creative principle is screening on different channels (Grof. the journey of the student through the mask training looks like a journey through the transpersonal level of Grof ’s cartography: identifying with Fire. the centre of “the turning wheel of terror-joy. to unblock the energy bound in emotional and psychosomatic symptoms. the body becomes not just a vehicle for the imagination. and consume them in the process” (Grof. some of which his model shares with Campbell. the mask is prior to time. p.” Latham’s approach to the mask also shares with Grof ’s work a willingness to affirm whatever comes up. 1993. The structure of the mask training therefore parallels the transformative path that the soul can take spontaneously in other kinds of non-ordinary states of consciousness work. p. when both are present in awareness. “the mask is theatre. 1998. the actor transforms into the elemental forms of reality and lives through the movements of the world. The affinity is even more acute when we consider the neutral mask specifically. p. 267).3 Behind all the masks. p. The first of these is the ‘as-if ’ framework and the idea of the cosmos as a play of the divine: in Grof ’s cosmology. The seeming paradox within these images is literal with the mask: it doesn’t move. David Latham would say. the movement of the process from personal to universal or transpersonal. the principle of play and transformation. It is the still point and the silence that makes movement and speech possible. by means of profound informed figurations. themselves. In it. in Primitive Mythology (Campbell. Grof writes about the importance of the “as-if framework. and I will now discuss the kinds of changes actors report in this work. In other words. The transformation of the actor-person builds the actor-instrument. particular forms) turn back. it is the World Axis. The journey awakens the chan- The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 1988). and “Myth is a directing of the mind and heart. to that ultimate mystery which fills and surrounds all existence” (Campbell. but in a sense saturated with imagination. more simply. The forms that arise in the mask are nothing if not “profound informed configurations. Effects of Journey Work The transformation mediated by the mask training is not aiming at therapy or at some version of enlightenment: it is a transformation of the talented beginner into an artist-craftsman in the service of theatre. one can get stuck by literalizing one’s experience. it should be clear that there is a similar process going on in the mask. pp. 73)— another version of the masks of God metaphor.” the costumes of that transcendent Source from which words (and. 167). 123). Finally. the principle of masking itself. Volume 24 . p. “Myth is the revelation of a plenum of silence within and around every atom of existence” (Campbell. In Campbell’s terms. From my description above. 1987. by “menu-eating. 1991b. Grof writes that “The main objective of the techniques of experiential psychotherapy is to activate the unconscious. 2005. 1987.” Once I came across Stanislav Grof ’s writings. given these similarities.There are many connections and correspondences between Campbell’s vision of myth and metaphor and masking generally. there is the neutral mask. there comes the sense of play. 2001.”2 Like myth. a powerful crucible for deep personal transformation. These are important because they bridge Campbell’s vision with the process of personal and transpersonal transformation that is so much a part of such in-depth performance training. and yet mask remains the same. p. p. 1995. The point is to support the actors in discovering in themselves deep sources for their work while at the same time developing their capacity to express those sources in performance. with The Tree. 21-26). with different kinds of matter. The practice of “completing the image” brings actors up to and through their physical limitations again and again. Finally. In LSD Psychotherapy. 267). The essence of the neutral mask is silence and stillness. a whole other set of common elements and parallels became apparent. and the use of non-ordinary states of consciousness. it is made of papier mache. 166) and “The NOSC tends to change the dynamic equilibrium underlying the symptoms. with archetypes.” Neutral is “a fulcrum point which doesn’t exist” (Eldredge & Huston. as he eloquently demonstrates at the outset of his four-volume masterwork. and all are playful: between the stillness at the centre and the dynamism of the world’s and the mask’s movements. 1993. It is. as well as the acting out of the monomyth.
slippery characters). and which can include powerful experiences likely to be pathologized by mainstream psychiatry. the monomyth and myth generally. Her description suggests more than an emotion. sudden. each time making discoveries about theatre. who had done some work with the Diamond Approach (Almaas. nobody could work with the neutral mask. This makes sense if we consider that once you have identiNeutral Mask 43 . I’ll talk about two things that emerged from this research: what the participants reported about changes in themselves. a whole universe of body memories. and is more reminiscent of the lataif level as Almaas describes it—a level between energy and the substance of essence (Almaas. The following accounts are based on the experiences reported by the actors during this intensive. perhaps even more so.an inside heat. sensations of greater weight or sublime lightness. At various times. One actor. For this student the mask was one catalyst for a powerful spiritual emergency that continued for months afterwards. in the Grofs’ terms (Grof & Grof.4 This offers an actor an incredible range of physical expression he or she probably has not imagined up until this point. para. and what we learned about archetype. For myself. The actor becomes the metaphor. These become sources for the actor. these “happenings” would sometimes be the source of her mask work. from deep inside of me was flowing a stream of clear. More importantly. the one who carries across the meaning of the invisible. on the reports of other actors I have trained or observed and on my own experiences with the mask. if it seemed appropriate. For myself. an enormous upsurge of elemental energies. 2000. He writes that “For everyone. 38). or for whole theatrical creations. which were chosen specifically to support the development of their journey work. “little poofs of magic cloud” in her chest. outside of the class. the world and myself. gestures. after a powerful experience of Water: “I couldn’t sit still. Awakening of Energy and Essence Various energetic experiences frequently occur. emotionally. She describes “sifting through the thoughts. 1998). like [she was] burning up. “qualities opening up inside” and “intimate movements that are more than physical. without discovering. and actors were invited to comment. 2001. bright. I am convinced. weights. that it also points toward life.” Other students give reports that suggest something similar. for the world. the world becoming new and different. new rhythms and feelings. p. seeing in a different way. and powerful dreams that would continue after I woke up. who brings the invisible into forms that point back to the silence. it became a reference point not only for acting but. In my own research I wanted to include this second trajectory. the neutral mask becomes a point of reference” (Lecoq. as Lecoq says. one of the rare effects is something like a spiritual emergence(y). During the mask work. I would experience. 1). and it wasn’t stopping. One actor wrote. One student reported that she “noticed quite a lot of heat in [her] life. the emotions. 1995). clean energy and it wasn’t stopping.. huge waves of emotion.” Another after becoming fire talked about “the fire in [her] belly consuming and burning through [her] resentments” in the days after her Fire identification. it has become like a pendulum that swings between theatre and life. on the effects of the mask work on them beyond the studio.. the body remembers the forms—the rhythms.” An increase in their sense of presence and the presence of their fellow actors is also a common observation. Changes in perception of the world Participants often report a change in their perceptions: thinking new thoughts. by which I mean that the work provokes a transformational process that continues explicitly and strongly outside of the class. imaginatively and energetically. the ratty commendations and condemnations to get close to the POOFS. The experiences and insights of the mask point both ways. One research intensive I conducted involved actors working with the monomyth on a daily basis for two weeks. often when she thought of the work. and I have kept returning to it. for characters (fiery revolutionaries. It is quite common for the energy of the elements to keep flowing for some time. it was as if the mask work opened the inner floodgates. Spiritual Emergence(y) Perhaps not surprisingly. in conjunction with many other exercises. it opens up inner experience.nels of energy in the body and after the training. While the main trajectory of discovery in the neutral mask is toward the theatre. 2004). Many actors also report energetic effects not specifically related to the specific identifications. I had forgotten that life could feel like this. air-heads. which are more than merely physical. actions—that evoke particular connections. I couldn’t even sit down. I kept jumping up on my feet and even that wasn’t enough… it was another day and night before it began to subside” (Holloway. but they would also occur outside of the studio. reported that she felt what she called. like another reality overlaying this one.
but it seemed to come out a bit messy. It loses its mythic quality.of the light. I felt out of control. indescribable sense. which began to infuse her personal life more as the work went on: For a short while after each session. compassion and wisdom.” David Latham said to him: “When you’re out of control. Archetype One thing I have observed about archetypes is that if the actor loses touch with the timelessness and stillness of the mask. archetype and the monomyth generally. its extraordinary leaps and lunges. The following observations and discussion grows out of this process. that is. the performer can then use their craft as a kind of research. Discovery of intrinsic intelligence/non-mental knowing The same student talked about contacting a guiding intelligence through the work: “beyond our own intellectual knowing or constructs… lodged in our body’s instinct. what releases and blocks these qualities. is there anything beyond that?” Even though we speak of working with images. by the mask and our aesthetic responses. I am released from all burden and control. not-knowing. I experience a type of bliss—a re-experiencing of myself in the world. more mundane observations about the qualities of presence that the mask manifests. An archetype that they think they know. p. the poignant and even beautiful humanness of the death and decay of our bodies. For the performer it is not enough to simply have the inner experience. An actor can understand a lot about Fire by becoming it. it gleams brilliant intelligence—and I am part of that. Becoming Earth can reveal the beautiful unity of suffering. 2005. aesthetic. An actor becoming toothpaste can reveal its banality. usually accompanied by intuitive insights and visions in both the performer and observer. people. It is utterly beautiful. “The action of miming becomes a form of knowledge” (Lecoq. One participant in the two-week intensive reported quite a remarkable change. or a movingly intimate understanding of ashes to ashes. Lecoq is very explicit about this: “Mime is pre-eminently a research art” (Wylie. like a shaman. which leads us to move beyond our conditioned responses. 663). metaphorical dimension. Volume 24 . 22). I am basic and simple—PURE—and everything makes wonderful. and so on. if The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. the numinosity of the archetype fades. Over time these insights accumulate and integrate with other.” Mask and Mime as Research into the Mythic Dimension The second line of inquiry in the research intensive was to study what the mask work can teach us— about myth. 75). Afterwards he said “I was disturbed by how far I went. but it also points to what it can contribute to these areas. The performer’s craft distinguishes the mask work from therapy and mysticism. I am of the world and its greatness. gradually building a body of knowledge about the world in its inner. and yet I feel my own profound stillness within its flow. which is a direct experience of the inner nature of the subject of the identification. toward identification with essences. a dualistic way of putting it.there is no fear. how it is related to inspiration. teach about courage. 2000. This is. 1994. rarely has the richness and resonance in performance of one that comes from that state of deep stillness and mystery. as if it is guiding me. in my environs. The best form comes out of nothing. I feel enveloped by the world. you will never look at trees the same way again. to identify himself with the world by re-enacting it with his entire being” (Wylie. trees. p. p. and each movement .is so astounding. in its depth. 2001. A connected phenomenon is that the clarity and precision in the outward form seems connected strongly to the degree of openness and not-knowing that the actor feels. you have to find the form—etymologically. “Man understands that which moves by his ability to ‘mimic’ it. and the resulting bruises. This means that. The neutral mask adds to the clarity of this 44 research by mime because any personal idiosyncrasies are starkly illuminated by it and create a sense of dissonance in the observers and often the performer. metaphorical presence. toward knowing as if for the first time. I remember one actor who touched something very deep. for example. by seeing an actor become it: how it consumes. and within my own movement. and toward knowledge by identity. I feel I have surrendered to the world and have an immense trust of it . to enter the essence of a thing. 1994. “per-form” is “by means of ” or “in accordance with” the form (Soanes. One part of his school in Paris was a Laboratory for the Exploration of Movement. The process of research then is guided. where architects would mime the spaces they designed. it ceases to have that mythic. however. p. literally held by it.” She found that this intelligent guidance “came out of the clearness of the space.fied with a tree. 80). cars and so on . and so partly build out of concepts.
unless you are receptive to the terrain through which you move. condense and reach their limit of intensity. or.. their associations? Everquest? Outward Bound? How many of us have felt the long passage through different territories on a journey that we did not know we would return from? How many of us have come back from long years away and faced our place of origin and only then discovered that we were not at all the same? How many of us have absorbed the loss and the maturity of that adventure? Divorced from its physical dimension. To live with intensity through new and profound experiences—how many of the young actors that we see have really journeyed? What are their frames of reference.. Most often the actor finds the useful sources in childhood or adolescence. “The trials are designed to see to it that the intending hero should really be a hero.an actor finds a deep personal connection with the image. Journey In the case of the journey. pushed them to their limits was now something they could encompass.. p. it does not work unless we see the actor transformed by the environments and events they are experiencing. I would say this is true for the world too: the journey isn’t a journey unless you are actually changed by it. Symmetrical masks have no life. and while the performance was interesting. but more fundamentally in the centre. and the form seems to emerge out of the body itself. to inquire. What had. and the relevant archetypes came to life. their bodies became more open to the archetype. in the beginning. organic spontaneity and power that is often present when the actor draws on the memory of a bushfire tearing through their hometown. 1994). As teachers of mask. 1993. When a thing is perfect. calling on the actor to find the limits of their strength in pushing. to find the forms independently as the actor observes it.” says Campbell (1988. there is something important about going to the physical limit and just beyond it. hackneyed and trite. to seek or to live with intensity through new and profound experiences are all modes of travelling. not about ticking the boxes of a pregiven structure. Hence to study. p.. For the sense of a mythic journey to emerge. the fundamental transition at which the momentum—the energy and the rhythms—of the journey thus far. to wake up the actors’ imaginations to the profound reality of the universal dimension. Observing fire between classes does not usually bring the same numinosity. no thirst for transformation. they expanded to meet it. The structure is useless if the actor has no passion for adventure. 1971.. Another observation is that any archetype proves easier to contact when we have encountered its expressions in the natural world deeply and concretely on many levels. it didn’t live in the same way as it did in mask. we work to shake the concept loose of its easy associations. The Great Test is the apex of the journey. spiritual and symbolic equivalents of the journey. He is being the stillness. it can go to a depth where he no longer sees any image at all. when the energies took the actors beyond themselves. 126). the archetype of the journey can become a mere phrase. 428). p. and although the work was fascinating and rich. The breaking open that happens with the gathering expression of all Neutral Mask 45 . it is dead. You don’t know what will happen in the next moment. the drama was lost because. centred in it. and actually the neutral mask is not really neutral: there is a deliberate imperfection. in the quality of their presence. We often need to use a series of physical tasks to help the actor lift their energy to level of a true trial. This experience of the quality or archetype coming out of the body. however imperfect the form may have been. the journey is never merely a passage through space but rather an expression of the urgent desire for discovery and change. to put it another way. The body seems to shape itself. so that the performance had a repeatable form. this also appears to be the case. The muscles must remember. We work physically to do this. and this seems to apply to the actor as well. to gradually find the impulses and the movement. “ (Cirlot. not only in the outward expression. What I’m saying here is that the mask teaches us that an archetype divorced from the physical loses its grandeur. We chose the most powerful and dramatic identifications from the training and we worked. Something a little off-centre has to be turning the wheel. as the students rehearsed. Theatrically. If it was symmetrical it would be dead. of their release in falling and so on. Cirlot writes that “From the spiritual point of view. and was perhaps a more “perfect” embodiment of the archetypal form than the original improvisations. In a sense. or the intelligence of the body is something that Tarnas points to in Grof ’s work: participants often have the insight that the body is “the repository and vessel of the archetypal” (Tarnas. using a very detailed process.. Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan writes of the train wheel being turned from off-centre (Inayat Khan. I once tried to make a performance that would capture and express the magnificent theatre of mask class. it has no movement. 164). In the mask. the journey is about the intensity of the experiences.
often seems to be a shedding of a coarser way of moving. p. it is bad theatre. the soul and the spirit. of presence. the actor must. as she moves through a mythic landscape. in that all three might be called. they feel presence. and usually is aware. Interestingly. 269). Unless the call is strong and specific (but not necessarily “known”) at the beginning. less permeable. toward the reality of the inner. 2Because the mask has no character. p. the directness of the mask. 3The crucial thing though is that words. And this is thanks to Performer. We might also say that it is to do with the end in the beginning and the stillness within the movement. sticky-significant quality. the actors cannot carry their baggage in their body-armour. according to Michael Chekhov. There is no interest. who is a bridge 1The The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. in the face of a raging river the mask becomes the river. no drama or epic energy in the journey unless there is a powerful forward movement. Without this. but attempted by creating a kind of honey quality in the movement. 2005. when there is nothing that is added to the action. rather than toward matter. not a domestic resonance. I would say that the journey becomes mythic when there is a true and specific call that is stronger than death. it is boring. as if trying to expand the movement beyond itself. 1996. The mythic quality doesn’t exclude the lightness and simplicity. it can come without a huge physical struggle. when it is pared down to the essential. Significance is not given by the focused and specific intensity of the performer’s presence as they face a specific trial.5 Author Note This paper is based on a presentation to the 16th International Transpersonal Association Conference: Mythic Imagination and Modern Society. holotropic—oriented toward the whole.” Campbell writes (1988. and metaphor means “to carry across. the “feeling of the whole” which he 46 views as essential to all art and a crucial element of the actor’s art (Chekhov. art and psychology. We also find that an insipid call draws forth only a trickling stream. June 2004 Footnotes mask is “engaged in making present a presence and making present an absence” (Eldredge. and this means that the primary images are not usually personal associations. in fact. The metaphor is therefore the bridge. On many occasions. the mask tunes us into the mythic depths to actions that have universal resonance. in order to embody it.) The witnesses then enter into states of intensity because. We observe that the moment of The Gift is almost always a transition into greater subtlety. In fact the true mythic quality requires them. and indeed we find that the urge to go on the journey. the pull of the call. as you might find in an actor trained in Strasberg’s method. The neutral mask actor may be aware. If it isn’t the work can attain a puffed-up. point to. California. The use of mask and mime as a means of research also points to the importance of aesthetics to the processes of knowledge in this domain. which I call the “fake mythic. Volume 24 . or performs an action like the last good bye. facing enormously powerful obstacles. Without a strong need to complete the journey. If we find the right body and behaviour.” The chest lifts a little too high. The question for the actor is “What is the quality of your adventure?” “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. they point beyond themselves to the source of life. so to say.the hero’s resources (catharsis). the body becomes more rigid. shed her idiosyncrasies. As Joseph Campbell says “The basic principle of all mythology is this. this is when the journey really opens to a sacred dimension. It has a mythic. of all kinds of personal connections. but the mask is innately universal. expressing the movement toward wholeness. 122). (The stream of life is articulated in images. All of these elements together comprise. so the end is implicit in its presence at the beginning. A strong call is connected to the principle of the end being present at the beginning. These correspondences point to the integrity of David Latham’s triangle of myth. of the beginning in the end” (Campbell. but timeless or mythic associations.” 4Compare Grotowski: “Performer knows how to link body images to the song. and yet this often the point at which rhythm and quality of the actor’s movement will become most clearly numinous. p. p. That’s the invisible world of the mask. in Grof ’s terms. usually given by the call. must be stronger. 1993. and forms. It provides an opening into which—speaking in terms of energy not action—The Gift can descend. if they are good metaphors. Palm Springs. They have to find a neutral body. xl). 1991. and carry new life across from that source into the manifest world. 15). the mythic dimension of our own depth. than death. The presence of the mask is more than time. the hero very easily becomes transformed into the surrounding environment. Because the mask has no past. and it is also one of the invisible worlds within us.
(2000).). A. (1991c). M. (1984). Oxford. J. (1996). New York: Routledge. (2001).C. Grof. 1996. R. The adventure of self-discovery: Dimensions of consciousness and new perspectives in psychotherapy and inner exploration. 17th July). Wilber. A. S. C. Chekhov. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at ashwain@alphalink. S. Eldredge. Vol. New York: The State University of New York Press. & Paul. Almaas. D. On the technique of acting. Soanes. H. maker of bridges” (Grotowski. New York: Harper Collins. Wylie. Paper presented at the Theatre Training Conference. Campbell. Northcote VIC 3070. Holloway. In P. (1992. Saint-Denis. In this sense. New York: Ballantine. F. The hero with a thousand faces. (2001). New York: Penguin. N. J. J. 5In Wilber’s model. Grof. London: Thorsons. (2004). (Ed. York Beach: ME. IL: Northwestern University Press. Campbell. FL: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Training for the theatre: Premises & promises. E. Ringwood. London: Theatre Arts Books. (1995). K. Acting (re)considered. p. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications.). The use of the self. Feldenkrais. Latham. Woolford (Eds. A dictionary of symbols. Satyric and heroic mimes: Attitude as the way of the mime in ritual and beyond. Burlingame. Anglesea. (1990). P. S. Grof. Eldredge. (1985). (1980). Heinemann. UK: Oxford University Press. J. M. (1991a). London. Australia: Hill of Content. (1996). (1971). S. Essence. S. Realms of the human unconscious: Observations from LSD research.. London: Fontana Press. Unpublished manuscript. C. (1993). Almaas. J. Campbell. Sarasota. Trans. Beyond the brain: Birth. Boston: Shambhala. New York: Doubleday. Tarnas. S. Copeau—texts on theatre. J. Zarrilli (Ed. & Huston. Grof. Melbourne. Australia: Penguin Arkana. NY: Omega Publications. Grof. Melbourne. National Institute of Dramatic Art. That which transpires behind that which appears: The experience of Sufism. The potent self. Evanston.. Mask improvisation for actor training and performance: The compelling image. S. (1991b). Campbell. New York: Arkana. The Grotowski sourcebook (pp. (2001). CA: Centreline Press. S.). In R. Neutral Mask 47 . H. H. A brief history of everything. Albany. 376-380). NY: SUNY Press. New York: E. H. New York.: McFarland & Company. Grotowski. (1976). New York: Harper Collins. J. (2001). CA: Redwood Press. Samuel Weiser. (1994). The cosmic game: Explorations of the frontiers of human consciousness. New Lebanon. V. Performer. Actor training in the neutral mask. References Alexander. (1988). K. Bradby. Downey. N. The stormy search for the self: Understanding and living with spiritual emergency. J.). (1987). A. (1982). Reflections on the art of living: A Joseph Campbell companion. A. The passion of the Western mind. London: Methuen. 122). Lecoq. (1991). LSD psychotherapy. Schechner & L.between the witness and this something. Australia.). Performer is pontifex. The masks of God: Creative mythology. (1994). Grof. Rudlin. M. S. Copeau. he deems the validity claims for knowledge in the interior-subjective domain of reality (the “I” quadrant) to be “aesthetic” (Wilber. (1998). (1998). J. Inayat Khan. J. The moving body (D. New York: Routledge. B. (1993). N.au or 11 Prospect Grove.. The inner journey home: Soul’s realization of the unity of reality. Dutton. (1995). 2001.. M.P. New York: State University of New York Press. & Saint-Denis. The power of myth. 1). The masks of God: Primitive mythology (Revised ed.. death and transcendence in psychotherapy. Cirlot.com. Oxford dictionary of current English (Third ed. p. & Grof. Jefferson. 377). Campbell. The actor and the journey.
but does not seek to explain the cause of the experiences.. Alexander’s extensive research (e. while ecstatic high-arousal states may be induced by increased activity in the sympathetic half. The author investigates examples of both types of experience. music. These include nature.g. 1990) has shown a clear link between the regular practice of transcendental meditation and such experiences. emotions–and that if any one process is altered sufficiently (e. This view applies to altered states of consciousness rather than to higher states in particular. And we can say the same for the suggestion that increased or decreased activity in different parts of this soggy clump of matter might produce higher states of consciousness. perception. of course. (2) by increasing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity and/or emotion. They have also linked mystical experiences with the autonomic nervous system.. attempts to explain mystical experiences in neurological (or neuropsychological) terms. cognition. which is responsible for our awareness of boundaries. It is concluded that the second type of experience is the only one which is truly positive and which can become a fully integrated and permanent higher state of consciousness. There are. while they may sometimes seem purely to be a matter of chance–or “grace”–there are many potential triggers of spiritual/mystical experiences. Ludwig’s model (1966) is also helpful. 160). Tart’s “systems model” of consciousness (1983) provides a useful–if tentative–view of the problem. prayer. D’Aquili and Newberg (2000) have suggested that mystical experiences of “oneness” correlate with decreased activity in the posterior superior parietal lobe of the brain. music. The philosopher Colin McGinn (1993) has written that “You might as well assert that numbers emerge from biscuits or ethics from rhubarb” as suggest that the “soggy clump of matter” which is the brain produces consciousness (p. This again applies to altered states rather than solely to higher states. T he question of why and how higher states of consciousness occur has never received a clear answer. He suggested that there are five basic ways of producing alterations of consciousness: (1) by reducing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity. if we concentrate our attention to an intense degree or if we experience intense emotion). Physicalist theories of higher states of consciousness are subject to the same “explanatory gap” as theories which suggest how the brain might produce consciousness itself. This research establishes an important link. He suggested that states of consciousness are the result of the interaction of a large number of neurological and psychological processes–such as attention.. These researchers may only be investigating the “footprints” of mystical and spiritual experience. (3) by increasing alertness or mental involvement. Volume 24 . claiming that meditative experiences of serenity may stem from a high level of activity in the parasympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system. (4) by decreasing alertness or relaxing the critical faculties. and (5) by changes in the body chemistry or neurophysiological functioning. and compares and contrasts them. an overall consciousness shift may result. At the same time there is the difficulty of explaining subjective experience in purely objective terms. 2005. and quiet reflection. despair or depression. (These are termed HD and ICE states). it is argued that “higher states of consciousness”–or mystical experiences–have two main sources: they can be caused by a disruption of the normal homeostasis of the human organism and also by an intensification of the “consciousness-energy” that constitutes our being. but has some similarities with the explanation I am going to suggest. Persinger (1987) has linked mystical/religious experiences to stimulation of the temporal lobes. and even claimed to induce such experiences with a “helmet” which produces weak complex magnetic fields. Alister Hardy’s research (1979) showed that.g. we can just as easily see these brain states as results of higher states of consciousness rather than causes of them. But as Wilber (e. and also has 48 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. rather than the experience itself.g.The Sources of Higher States of Consciousness Steve Taylor In this paper. 1996) has pointed out.
In Oswald’s experiments (1970). a sense of inner peace and wholeness. by breathing. shining. 2000b). digesting food. “high arousal” active or ecstatic states–and “trophotropic” higher states–that is. since these two types of mystical experience follow from the two distinct sources I intend to identify. Asceticism is sometimes seen as a morbid and neurotic expression of the antiphysical dualistic ideology of monotheistic religions such as Christianity. On the last morning she was “so tired that I was absolutely loaded with energy” and decided to walk home instead of getting the bus: I was walking down a lane which had fields on either side of it. High arousal states are associated with triggers such as drugs. The following report was given me by a nurse who had been working night shifts without sleeping properly during the day. A prolonged lack of food–which disrupts homeostasis by causing a lower level of blood glucose. as a means of inducing temporary higher states of consciousness. and I felt a feeling of ecstasy. This is actually fairly easy to do. for example. the basis of the longstanding connection between fasting and both altered and higher states of consciousness. To a large extent our bodies maintain homeostasis automatically. This distinction is valid. Wilber. This connection between physical deprivation and higher states of consciousness may partly explain the tradition of asceticism. He never had a bath in 25 years. The shamans of native cultures often use fasting and sleep deprivation as preparation for soul flights and vision quests. “low arousal” passive and serene experiences. However. I’ve never seen anything as beautiful ever again. The 14th century German mystic. Disrupting homeostasis can be used as what Andresen and Forman (2000) refer to as a “technology of spiritual experience. drinking and sleeping. Throughout history human beings have made a conscious effort to produce ergotropic high arousal states. We will see later that asceticism achieves this partly through a long term process of taming physical desires (thereby conserving “consciousness-energy”). particularly a more intense perception of reality. as we will see. and this is certainly true to some degree.. 1987). whereas low arousal states are associated with triggers such as meditation and relaxation. spent years wearing a hair shirt and an iron chain. Maintaining homeostasis is both involuntary and voluntary. I walked past a tree and each leaf seemed to be coming out at me. a sense of oneness with the manifest world (or a sense of transcending boundaries). with visual hallucinations and acute paranoia. fasting and breath-control. glowing. even though there is no certainty that they will occur. never sheltered from the cold in the winter or Higher States 49 . When we do not manage to do this for some reason and suffer an internal imbalance.similarities with my model. dancing. Each leaf seemed to be pulsating and growing. blood sugar. and so on. But there is also a possibility that we will experience higher states of consciousness. we are liable to illness and even death. Disrupting the Equilibrium Fischer (1971) made an important distinction between “ergotropic” higher states of consciousness–that is. for example. 1987). participants who went without sleep for five days displayed symptoms identical to schizophrenia. They were all vivid. These include: an intensified perception of the phenomenal world. Henry de Suso. the optimum condition of our biological functioning. But some ascetics were motivated by a desire to transcend ordinary consciousness and reach a higher state in which they experienced the presence of God (or Spirit) in the world and felt themselves one with the radiance of his being. an awareness of what Becker (1973) called the “raw experience” of the world. higher levels of insulin and a lower body temperature–appears to make the hold which ordinary consciousness has over us much looser. But higher states of consciousness can result too.” This may be. 2000. 1902/85. salt concentration. I will suggest. Scholars–and mystics and spiritual seekers themselves–generally agree that there are certain fundamental features of mystical/spiritual experience. James. Sleep deprivation can certainly cause altered states of consciousness. but it is probable that ascetics also used pain and discomfort in a more short term way. 1911/60. not all of these features are common to both types of higher states of consciousness from both sources. Our bodies continually strive to maintain a state of homeostasis. Underhill. and a sense of becoming a deeper and truer Self (e. Burkhert. sweating and shivering.g. especially if the imbalance continues for a long period (Green. This includes such factors as body temperature. which must remain at–or quickly return to–an optimum level. as also did the initiates of the Roman and Greek mystery cults as a preparation for rituals (Krippner. the conscious effort to mortify their physical desires made by many–particularly Christian–saints and mystics. But we are also obliged to consciously aid the process by performing physical functions like eating. as well as a leather belt containing 150 inwardfacing sharp brass nails. for example.
they were able to free themselves from ordinary consciousness. At the end of the day he would dash his hands and feet against the wall (Attar. and if we exhale faster and more deeply than usual we build up a higher than usual concentration of carbon dioxide–and both of these non-homeostatic states can. Of course. 121). I lay down on the grass and looked around and when I sat up I felt like I was one of the blades of grass. It might seem controversial to suggest that drug-induced spiritual experiences are essentially the same in kind as the above experiences of sleep-deprivation and lack of food. But if we inhale faster and more deeply than usual we build up a higher than usual concentration of oxygen. but because there wasn’t this distinction between “me” and “it. Normally we inhale and exhale at the same rate. however. in physiology and neurology. al-Shebli. while adepts of the Greek Eleusinian mysteries ingested kykeon (Rudgley. By far the most powerful in terms of their transcendental effects. are psychedelic drugs. Many Native American groups–such as the Salish.1993. seemed to have a powerful presence. I’m a blade of grass!” kind of way. Not in an “Oh my god. All drugs alter the normal chemical balance of the human organism. 2005. and an awareness of the oneness of all phenomena. if he so desires) what are the chemical conditions of transcendental experience. generate higher states of consciousness. Knowing as he does (or at least can know. 1993. Volume 24 . the aspiring mystic should turn for technical help to the specialists–in pharmacology. however. usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour” (1902/1985. an experience of oneness with the cosmos. trees and stones and blades of grass. 387). an identity and being. Certain kinds of chanting The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. p. in the present state of knowledge. As Huxley pointed out: For an aspiring mystic to revert.” This experience features many of the characteristics of higher states of consciousness I mentioned previously: a heightened perception of the reality of the phenomenal world. in that drug experiences are likely to be much more powerful. They seemed to have personalities or souls. 1990). has transcendental properties. is by using drugs. The Sufi mystic. It is likely that part of the motivation for these appalling practices was a discovery that by contravening their physical needs and thereby disrupting homeostasis. p. 1964). and preserve a balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen levels. I looked at a meadow which was full of wild plants and bushes and weeds and in some way–which I can’t really describe–everything in it was one. such as altering our normal breathing patterns. By far the most direct way of disrupting the equilibrium.and hyperventilation as a means of inducing higher states of consciousness (Jilek. hunger or sleep deprivation when it is possible to disrupt homeostasis more directly simply by ingesting certain chemicals? Of course. but I would maintain that the root of both types of experience is the same internal imbalance and that the only real difference is one of degree. who burned down the house in order to roast a pig. 1902/1985). took a bundle of sticks with him into his cellar every day. Even our one socially-sanctioned drug. They were all separate on one level but on another they were all just one thing. in psychology and psychiatry and parapsychology (Huxley. not all drug experiences are transcendental experiences. Smith. and therefore disrupt homeostasis. it seems. as a means of intensifying or altering consciousness. Or as we might rephrase it: why bother with pain. McKenna. with which he would beat himself whenever he found his attention wandering from contemplation of Allah. the Native Americans ingested sacred plants such as fly-agaric mushrooms and peyote. but all drugs undoubtedly can generate them in the right circumstances. 1989).000 years ago. the early Indo-European conquerors of India worshipped their drink Soma (probably made from “magic” mushrooms). At the same time they were all interconnected. One acquaintance who experimented with magic mushrooms gave me the following report: Everything I looked at. alcohol. to prolonged fasting and violent self-flagellation would be as senseless as it would be for an aspiring cook to behave like Charles Lamb’s Chinaman. 1977.touched or scratched any part of his body apart from his hands and feet (James. human beings have always used drugs for transcendental and ritualistic purposes. the Algonquians and Kiowa–used both hypo. There are other methods of inducing higher states of consciousness through disrupting homeostasis. William James maintained that ‘The sway of alcohol over mankind is 50 unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature. The Neolithic peoples of Europe smoked opium and cannabis for apparent religious or ritualistic purposes 5.
a depressed immune system and hormonal and metabolic changes. but even they can frequently produce psychotic symptoms. This suggests that. leave their own identity. but only infrequently in higher states. involve a meditative concentrative aspect) and painful ordeals. rather than merely being chemically produced themselves. The optimum physical state of homeostasis equates with the optimum psychological state (from the point of view of survival) of ordinary consciousness. that ordinary consciousness and homeostasis are closely interlinked. Any disruption to homeostasis can. In view of this it seems justifiable to say that. blood pressure. As a result. however. dehydration and exhaustion. it seems. 157). would potentially induce a higher state of consciousness (Feuerstein. It simplifies and actively processes information and guides and monitors our intra. Although the essential purpose of pranayama is long-term regulation of prana–and inseparable from the physical exercises of hatha yoga. For example. higher states of conHigher States 51 . The initiates of the Greek and Roman mystery cults used frenzied dancing–as well as self-flagellation and drugs–as a means of disrupting homeostasis so that they could be. as it were. ordinary consciousness is our optimum mode of consciousness. in the words of a contemporary observer. This may also be the root of the connection between dancing and higher states of consciousness.” Here we can probably assume that prolonged energetic dancing produces an internal imbalance because of a high body temperature.and interpersonal actions (1994. with paranoia and hallucinations. 1987). Rudmin wrote: In line with evolutionary theory. when we disrupt homeostasis we also disrupt ordinary consciousness1. From the point of view of survival. This might suggest that I am attempting to reduce higher states of consciousness to chemical causes. hormonal and metabolic changes and increased heart rate and blood pressure. Psychedelic drugs appear to most reliable way of inducing higher states through non-homeostasis. And at the same time it conserves energy. Or as Floyd W. it is widely accepted that this active mode of ordinary consciousness is adaptive and functional and serves to enhance the survival of the species.practised by tribal peoples. extreme tiredness may often result in psychotic and delusional states. or in the case of pain. as with the increasing motor activity of frenzied dancing. The question of why disrupting homeostasis can result in higher states of consciousness is difficult to answer exactly. it’s important to point out that disrupting homeostasis certainly does not always result in a higher state of consciousness. 1950. Our perception becomes automatized so that we can transfer energy that would normally be channelled into the act of perception into the business of practical survival. as the “filter theory” of higher states of consciousness put forward by Huxley (after Bergson). It may be that. It seems clear. Part of the purpose of the pranayama exercises of yoga is to induce temporary higher states of consciousness. Similarly. it is clear that a breath control technique such as kevali-kumbhaka. We can put forward similar cases for other ritualistic and religious practices such as drumming (which may also. homeostasis works to regulate and maintain ordinary consciousness. since in most cases the increasing level of these factors is likely to produce an internal imbalance. Any change in any one of these conditions is enough to dismantle the whole structure. at least to some extent. the Dervish orders of Islam used dancing as a means of inducing the state of consciousness which they called “passing away. “filled with divine awe…assimilate themselves to the holy symbols. in which the aim is simply to hold the breath for as long as possible. p. 1990). p. and experience divine possession” (in Spenser. The exact chemical nature of the disruption to homeostasis–in the case of sleep deprivation. However. such as the “throat music” of the Inuit. like chanting. It almost always results in altered states of consciousness. His second category–increasing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity and/or emotion–can also be seen as related to disrupting homeostasis. or the chemical changes produced directly by drugs–does not seem to be so significant. become at home with the gods. All of these are examples of the fifth category in Ludwig’s model: changes in the body chemistry or neurophysiological functioning. and later developed by Naranjo and Ornstein (1971) suggests. also appear to involve a rapid rhythmic hyperventilation which produces altered and higher states (Metzner. trigger altered states of consciousness (including higher states). 60). But the important point may be rather that ordinary consciousness is strictly chemically moderated. the “shadowy” vision of reality which ordinary consciousness gives us evolved as a kind of survival mech- anism. Higher (and altered) states of consciousness occur when the chemical conditions that regulate ordinary consciousness are relaxed. It screens out reality so that we can concentrate properly on the business of day to day survival.
We also conserve this energy through the phenomenon of automatization. Csikszentmihalyi.sciousness are ontologically more fundamental and authentic. since there is always a witnessing “I” which is apart from the flow of energy. according to how much we have expended through concentrating or attending to stimuli. receptive and present-centred awareness.. However. in the acts of perceiving the phenomenal world. Consciousness-Energy and Higher States of Consciousness In a discussion on the psychological effects of meditation. Novak. As Marchetti (2004) puts it. This is not to say that consciousness is in its essence a form of energy–De Quincey (2002) has argued that this cannot be the case. we might feel lethargic or run down. 1996) or “pool of attentional resources” (Kahneman. I believe.g. 1981. Volume 24 . Csikszentmihalyi.. Others talk more obliquely of mental effort (e. and build up a high concentration within our The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 2004a.. 1995. and we certainly feel subjectively that it exists. we halt this constant outflow of consciousnessenergy. which “frees up” the energy that they normally monopolise. As a result. As a result. Novak (1996) makes an important connection between our normal shadowy vision of the world and psychic energy. but consciousness as awareness and as consciousness as cognition are bound up with psychic energy. Novak claimed that energy bound in defences and fantasies can be released in present-centeredness. If we have been concentrating hard. such as in acute psychosis or in LSD states. she or he deprives the automatized structures of consciousness (which produce “thought-chatter”) of attention. On an everyday level. they begin to weaken and fade away. 2003) or attentional energy (e. or under special goal conditions such as exists in religious mystics. through the concentrative effort we make to deal with the tasks and chores which fill our lives. the pragmatic systems of automatic selection are set aside or break down.g. we usually feel cheerful and optimistic. 2005. we feel alert and vibrant. books or the internet).. for some reason. but at a certain point there is a switch to fully automatic processing. the purpose of which is to conserve attentional energy so that we can focus our minds elsewhere (Norman & Challice. Both these views hint at what can. 2004) without making it clear exactly what this energy is. whereas when we feel mentally buoyant. This is roughly equivalent to the term “psychic energy”–I prefer consciousness-energy because it emphasises the interrelationship between this energy and consciousness.g. perceptual stimuli such as sights and sounds.g. 1973). and also through the effort we make to process the various forms of information (e. Gross. when a person meditates.” However. Marchetti. Consciousness-energy is the active principle of consciousness. be classified as the second major source of higher states of consciousness. typing or playing a musical instrument are initially painstaking conscious processes. Deikman also makes a connection between mystical experiences and energy when he suggests that they are brought about by a deautomatization of hierarchically ordered structures that ordinarily conserve attentional energy for maximum efficiency in achieving the basic goods of survival…Under special conditions of dysfunction. Activities such as driving. Consciousness as a witness may be fun52 damentally independent. and independent (at least to a large extent) to the chemical energy which we absorb from food and which fuels the functioning of our bodies. They can also occur when there is an intensification of what I term consciousness-energy. He notes that the “endless associational chatter” of our minds monopolises our psychic energy. seeming to assume the existence of some form of mental energy without actually using the term. Psychologists often assume the existence of psychic energy (e. which are part of our lives. when. p. Deikman. including the effort to communicate with other human beings. We have the sense that our level of consciousness-energy continually fluctuates. 259). and verbal information from the media. and that ordinary consciousness may be thought of as–at least to some extent–a more artificial. attending to our experience and thinking logically and discursively. if there is a surplus of consciousness-energy. in favour of alternate modes of consciousness (Deikman.2 It might be said that we normally expend our consciousness-energy in three main ways: through what Novak identifies as the “endless associational chatter” of our egos. Our moods seem to be affected by our level of consciousness-energy too–when we feel mentally drained we often feel depressed. with a high level of consciousnessenergy. leaving none available for us to devote to what he calls the “open. 1992. chemically-generated construct. 1980). Consciousness-energy is clearly distinct from energy as we normally think of it. paying attention towards an object spends attentional energy on it. we accept its existence almost as a given. the energy which we use in being conscious.
ICE states feature a stilling of consciousness-energy. This sense of inner peace appears to be generally absent from HD experiences.own being. That is. There is always a sense of inner stillness. As well as an intensification. likely to experience this bliss when the energy of our being is intensely concentrated. since there is no need for energy to be conserved. there are situations in which ICE states may occur more accidentally. (In the long term it is an attempt to permanently halt the associational chatter of the mind. both in the short and long term. 1979). The thought chatter of the ego is fed by attention. which may lead to a permanent alteration of the structures of consciousness. We are. as a direct. p. bliss is the nature of being or consciousness–being-consciousness-bliss (Sat Chit Ananda) is the essence of reality. we might say. for example. “a man must collect all his powers as if into a corner of his soul” (1979. Meditators have. ICE states also often involve a profound sense of inner peace and contentment.7. it fades away. Similarly. otherwise consciousness-energy would not be concentrated enough to produce a spiritual state. 1990). 20). creates a constant psychic disturbance. and a sense of purity–and this is not so much an affective state. and notes that through the process of concentration (dharana). there is a constant inward storm of thought. or even bliss. 2004b). which is logical when we consider that it is probably directly caused by the high concentration of consciousness-energy which meditation can generate. There is another cause of this sense of inner peace that requires explanation. Many mystics and spiritual teachers have spoken of mystical experience in similar terms to these. And this contributes to the sense of bliss which spiritual ICE states feature. As a result we perceive our surroundings with first-time vision. Meister Eckhart described how mystical experience occurs when “you are able to draw in your [intellectual and sensory] powers to a unity and forget all those things and their images which you have absorbed” (1979. and the only task we have to concentrate on is focusing our attention. In addition. and so largely closing two of the main chanHigher States 53 . reported great senses of peace. therefore. ICE states have a powerful affective dimension that HD states lack. Usually if a person is. for example. if a point is reached where the chattering ego becomes so weakened that it disappears as a psychic habit. The Hindu text the Moksha-Dharma compares the transcendental Self to a sun. Our automatized perception means that we usually give very little consciousnessenergy to the act of perceiving our surroundings. when the chatter of our minds fades away–and when we conserve energy in the other ways I mentioned–there is a surplus of consciousness-energy. literal experience of the stillness and purity of consciousness in these moments. Meditation is. It has to. which means that perception no longer needs to be automatic. In spiritual states caused by an ICE this storm fades away. St. walking alone in the countryside she is absorbing and processing comparatively little information and being relatively inactive. and relief (Hardy. during meditation we largely close the other main channels through which we expend energy. p. We process very little information from our environment. we are liable to experience higher states of consciousness. Gregory of Sinai described spiritual experience as “the total lifting of the powers of the soul to what may be discerned of the entire majesty of glory” (in Happold. As Novak suggests. One of the main differences between ICE states (as I will term them from now on. the rays of the sun–or the whirls of consciousness–are gathered up and focused inwardly. standing for 'intensification of consciousness-energy') and higher states of consciousness resulting from homeostasis disruption is that the former are–in Stace’s terminology (1964/88)–more introvertive. and give rise to higher states of consciousness. italics added). the reason why spiritual or mystical experiences often occur in natural surroundings. This is probably.” “collecting. p. he states that to achieve union with God. As a result.) However. The terms “powers” and “powers of the soul” here are equivalent to the term consciousness-energy. wholeness. At the same time as monopolising a large portion of our consciousness-energy. 1986.” and “lifting”–and also the “gathering up” of the whirls of consciousness described in the Moksha-Dharma–refer to what I describe as generating a high concentration of consciousness-energy. a conscious attempt to intensify and still our consciousness-energy. In the Christian mystical tradition. for instance. which runs through our minds. the constant thought-chatter. the yogin experiences the intense radiance of the Self. 223). whereas homeostasis disruption (HD) states are centred around a different mode of experiencing the phenomenal world. this is one interpretation of what may happen in meditation practice. In Meister Eckhart’s (1996) phrase. and are awake to the is-ness and animacy of natural phenomena. Examples of these were given by many participants of Deikman’s experimental meditation sessions (Deikman. so when we focus our attention elsewhere. Or again. and attains a state of samadhi (Feuerstein. As the Indian mystical traditions make clear. and the terms “drawing in. However.
Music. This is particularly the case with sports that involve long periods of monotonous rhythmic activity. As a result. p. 72) The high incidence of spiritual experiences amongst athletes and sportspeople (e. until an ICE state is generated. and I must have become completely relaxed. Murphy & Whyte. Your whole being rests lightly on your float. the poet Ted Hughes described a meditative state he often experienced while fishing. suddenly I became aware that there was no separateness between myself and other people. since the exertions of some sports can easily create internal imbalances. which may generate ICE states. 72). such as literature. 1961) might be explained in these terms. I went out for walk one evening alone. 62) In my early twenties…in Wales. Laski. This may also be part of the reason why sex can be a powerful trigger of spiritual states. Eventually. He describes the effect of staring at a float for long 54 periods: “All the nagging impulses that are normally distracting your mind dissolve…once they have dissolved.H. Then an intense feeling of ‘light’ and ‘love’ uplifted and enfolded me (Hardy. Similarly. “I think the same process occurs in the repetitive rhythm of long-distance running. “take people to the same realms as trance. sports also often involve an intense degree of concentration. And at the same time the beauty of nature may have a similar effect to a mantra in meditation. As the psychiatrist Thaddeus Kostrulaba (1976) wrote. how can we explain the sense of one-ness that comes with spiritual experiences in these terms? Unlike the sense of inner peace. after sex we may experience what D. He notes how poetry depends upon the ability to focus the mind. Volume 24 . and believes that he acquired this ability through fishing. this sense of one- The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. reducing the outflow further. The fact that the person was inactive and had closed his eyes had already reduced his or her outflow of consciousness-energy. therefore. 103). My eyes were closed. such as long distance running or swimming. p. and seemed to be beyond the boundary of my physical self. but not drowsily. for I became aware of a feeling of ‘expansion’. However. The sheer pleasure of sex can shift our attention away from the egomind. there was a gust of wind and felt as if I had been swept into the very heart of all that glory and colour. the conscious mind gets exhausted and other areas of consciousness are activated” (p. (p. However. and I was pervaded by a feeling of great peace and joy. and we can assume that the music acted as a concentrative device. and quietens the chattering ego. for similar reasons. as Jenny Wade comments. and while I was there…the setting sun blazed out turning the whole world crimson and gold. soothing flood of peace which goes with true sex” (1973. listening to a Brahms symphony. feeling calm and at peace with the world. drugs” (p. very alert” (1967. 54). which may fall silent. taken over by something outside myself if which I was yet a part. 120). almost any activity which involves a degree of concentration and which takes place in a quiet and still setting–and which can therefore result in an intensification and stilling of life-energy–could give rise to a spiritual experience.g.. For example. The following example–again from Hardy–is a good example of an ICE state induced by music: I was sitting one evening. that there was no such things as death. at somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes. Other significant triggers of spiritual experience. quietening the chattering of the ego-self. resulting in a sense of inner peace and wholeness and a familiarity-free perception of is-ness and all-pervading spirit. In theory. 1979. 85). 2002) can be explained in similar terms. Sex can. Lawrence described as “the strange. Other Aspects of ICE states So far I have discussed two different aspects of higher states of consciousness in relation to ICE states: an intensified perception of the phenomenal world (perhaps including an awareness of the presence of brahman in the world) and a sense of inner peace. 2005. the contemplation of art and creative work (Hardy. meditation.nels through which consciousness-energy drains away. It becomes a focus for the attention. (p. after discussing the universal use of mantras to induce different states of consciousness. p. too. The following are good examples of higher states of consciousness (presumably) induced by nature from Hardy’s The Spiritual Nature of Man (1979): Last summer. you enter one of the orders of bliss. The path led up to a narrow precipice walk along the hill’s edge. Some of these may be due to homeostasis disruption. directing it away from the chattering of the ego. As a consequence the chattering might fade away. when walking on Hampstead Heath alone. we should give some attention to other aspects of higher states of consciousness. Taylor. 1995. The activity itself serves as a focusing device. is a prominent trigger of spiritual states.
The energy is our Self. when we experience a powerful intensification of consciousness-energy. (1972. 1999). In this respect the term that is sometimes used for psychedelic drugs. by permanently reducing or restricting its outflow. Reports of HD-induced higher states of consciousness do not. food and relationships–offers the opportunity for spiritual growth.) Since HD states do not depend on an intensification of consciousness-energy. yet there is not the slightest loss of consciousness. as it does in deep sleep. Hardy. we would not expect this aspect to feature in them. 1993) and my own personal experiences of them3. generally feature this sense of becoming one with a truer and deeper self. 304-5) The important point here may be that our true sense of self is embedded in consciousness-energy. some deeper diviner being. which can occur temporarily in higher states of consciousness or as a gradually evolving feature of long-term spiritual development. I believe. radiant self. to take vows of silence or celibacy. It’s certainly true that. focusing our energies exclusively upon spiritual development is likely to cause an imbalance and a neglect of Higher States 55 . ICE states in particular may provide another source of this experience of oneness. they should be termed “extheogens. Michael Murphy. our true identity. especially once the superficial thought-maintained self of the ego has faded away. The consciousness-energy that constitutes our being is one and the same as the consciousness-energy which pervades the cosmos.g. so that an ICE state equates with a sense of connection to a truer self. Huxley. Walsh. As many spiritual traditions hold. Another important aspect of spiritual experiences is the sense of becoming who we really are. This can be achieved through disrupting homeostasis–since the separate self-system is an integral part of our ordinary optimum survival consciousness which homeostasis partly serves to maintain–or through a silencing of associational chatter. “entheogens” (e. we also effectively experience the essence of the whole universe. If anything. the practice of meditation does this by teaching the chattering ego the habit of quietness. However. and others suggests. I remain perfectly calm and fully aware of who I am and what is occurring. detachment has been seen as part of the ascending world-rejecting tradition which posits an artificial and dangerous duality between matter and spirit. as the Integral Philosophy recently developed by Ken Wilber. As the Vedanta tradition tells us.. According to the Yoga philosophy of Patanjali. There is an identity shift from the ego-self to the True Self. Traditionally. the “restriction of the whirls of consciousness” allows the transcendental Self to appear (in Feuerstein.g. p.ness is–as we have seen–also a feature of spiritual experiences resulting from homeostasis disruption. Cope.. This new sense of self is vividly evoked in Paul Brunton’s famous description of meditating in the presence of Ramana Maharishi: The brain has passed into a state of complete suspension. arises into consciousness and becomes me.171. Therefore. the sense that we have made contact with a deeper and truer part of our own being.” Long Term Spiritual Development Long-term spiritual development can also be interpreted in terms of an intensifying and stilling of consciousness-energy. As mentioned previously. atman is one with brahman. Yet my awareness has been drawn out of the narrow confines of separate personality. a transcendence or dismantling of the separate-self system which creates the illusion of separateness and duality. Therefore when the chatter becomes silent the separate self-system may fade away. And based on my own examination of reports of HD states (e. at the essence of our being. pp. revealers of the god within–is misleading. Something that is far superior to the unimportant personality which was I. But the spiritual life involves more than meditation. 1977. to rid themselves of all possessions or to relinquish ambitions or interests of their own. 1979. We tap into the ocean of Spirit that pervades all reality. I believe this to be the case.. This kind of radical spirituality is opposed to many contemporary spiritual teachings (e. This suggests that the experience is not strictly related to ICE states. The experience may be primarily related to ego-dissolution. They might choose to live alone in the forest or desert. spiritual aspirants have forced themselves to extremes of renunciation and detachment in an effort to permanently transform their state of being. 1990. Our sense of ego appears to be largely maintained by this chatter. Ouspensky.g. but it is a changed. 2003)–literally. One way of looking at regular spiritual practice–whether it is daily meditation practice or mindfulness exercises or a monastic life of renunciation–is as a concerted effort to generate a permanently high concentration of consciousness-energy (and to permanently still consciousness-energy to some degree). 1984. which insist that there is no distinction between the spiritual and the mundane and that every aspect of our lives–including business. Self still exists. we are one with the cosmos. McKenna. it has turned into something sublimely all-embracing. Like asceticism.
As Underhill notes again. a method of freeing the monk or mystic from the responsibility of having to care and provide for a family. we must exercise self-discipline. When that force is conserved through abstinence. I should make it clear that I am certainly not advocating a retreat from the world.102). I personally hold the non-dualist view that there is no distinction between spirit and the world and that in principle every act of our lives–from eating to washing the dishes and sex and socialising–is sacred and spiritual. 204). Volume 24 . Underhill actually refers to a wrong distribution of this energy. At the same time as serving as a means of inducing temporary spiritual states through homeostasis-disruption. 117). These are the people who direct all their aims and intelligence towards transient possessions’ (1990. Many mystics strove for years to attain this freedom.other important areas of our lives. which is sometimes experienced as heat (the literal meaning of the word tapas). St. This is another aspect of asceticism. use up a great portion of our vital force. 1960). Tapas usually involves chastity (brahmacarya) and the subjugation of the senses (indirya-jaya) and is believed to generate an intense form of energy. it becomes subliminated as spiritual energy” (p. we can see the practice of celibacy as. As Swami Prabhavananda (1952) wrote: “Sexual activity. can be seen as a method of stopping our thoughts being occupied and our energies being drained away by possessions. p. This underlying purpose of detachment was noted by Underhill (1960). ‘The mortifying process is necessary…because those senses have usurped a place beyond their station. 186). making a determined effort to permanently close down the channels through which consciousness-energy drains away. in order to do 56 this. the purpose of the life of a renunciate is clear: he or she is attempting to drastically limit the outflow of consciousness-energy–or more specifically. of permanently taming our desires so that they no longer monopolise our consciousness energy. for example. The purpose of detachment and mortification is to produce a transformation of being. as Feuerstein (1990) puts it. However. we must control our physical appetites and passions” (p. “to check the powerful survival instinct and rechannel it to serve a higher purpose” (p. a permanent redistribution of consciousnessenergy. unreal. St. The practices should be seen purely as a matter of economy. hedonistic impulses. converting non-Christians and serving the poor and sick (Underhill. which the adept can use at the niyama (discipline) stage. We should not see asceticism purely as a matter of punishing the body for its sinful desires. The effort to tame physical appetites does not necessarily–and should not–entail a mind/body duality or a sense of disgust towards the body. and the thoughts and fantasies of sex. The same is true of other mystics such as St. Underhill (1960) noted that possessions “are a drain upon the energy of the self. Catherine of Sinea. This frees up psychospiritual energy. it should be seen as a question of taming or controlling what ascetics called “the body of desire” in order to conserve–and redirect–the consciousness-energy which it normally monopolises. when he attempts to “harmonize his relationship to life at large and to the transcendental reality” (p. At that point she abandoned her solitude and was frenetically active for the rest of her life. who describes it as a process of “stripping or purging away of those superfluous. or ascendance to the higher transpersonal realms. John of the Cross. The practice of voluntary poverty. 220). We should note that both detachment and mortification (or asceticism) are not –at least ideally–ongoing or permanent processes. for example. And similarly. Theresa. As Meister Eckhart noted. and of reducing The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. and harmful things which dissipate the precious energies of the self ” (p. They are processes directed to a particular end: a release from what Underhill calls the selfhood’s tyranny and from the dominance (and energy-monopolisation) of our lower. and St. since there is always the danger that the sexual energy may simply be repressed–freeing the consciousness-energy which is normally devoted to sexual desires and activity. And similarly. 212). In a similar way. The first two stages of Patanjali’s eight-limbed path of yoga also involve rigorous selfcontrol and an effort to tame the body of desire. Silence and solitude are clearly two other ways of concentrating or intensifying consciousness-energy. and also a means of–hopefully. 2005. steadily drained the vitality of the self ” (p. ojas. teaching. ‘There are men who completely dissipate the powers of the soul in the outward man. at which point they often relinquished their lives of detachment and became extremely active. the yogic ascetisicm of tapas was defined by Swami Prabhavananda (1969) as “the practice of conserving energy and directing it toward the goal of yoga…obviously. or implying that everyday life is opposed to spirituality. The purpose of yama (often translated as restraint) is. Francis of Assisi. preventing her from attaining that intenser life for which she was made” (p. on the one hand. which equates with a permanently higher state of consciousness. 72). 186). spent three years living as a hermit and an ascetic until she attained a state of deification. become the focus of energy.
ICE states versus HD states This is not the place for an extended discussion and comparison of HD and ICE mystical states. sitting in quietness and focusing her attention on a mantra (or another object of concentration). there is a Timothy Leary. they are always extrovertive. but only sometimes. we can say that HD states are never–in Stace’s terminology (1964/1988)–introvertive. ICE states. HD states can only give “peek” experiences into the transpersonal domains. Probably the most important difference between HD and ICE states. under some circumstances” (2003. HD states can never give rise to the low arousal void experience of what Robert Forman (2000) describes as the Pure Consciousness Event. Often they will not generate any discernable change in consciousness (this is especially the case with forms of physical deprivation such as sleep and hunger). 1964/1988. Huston Smith. there are a few salient points that I would like to mention. one of the differences between ICE and HD states is that while the former feature all four of these. They always involve the phenomenal world. but they do not appear to feature the affective characteristics of (b) and (d). HD and ICE states are two different technologies of spiritual experience. since these actually involve a purification and intensification of consciousness. pp. Whether ICE states are introvertive or extrovertive depends simply upon the circumstances in which they occur. enduring structures of consciousness. or extrovertive experiences of perceiving is-ness. will be extrovertive. This can only come from ICE states. half way between hedonism and asceticism. rupturing the familiar. such as hallucinatory experiences or psychotic episodes.its outflow by keeping ourselves apart from the demands and the hectic activity of normal life. As Walsh noted of psychedelic drugs in particular. in which we avoid excessive desires and excessive activity. or a sense of transcending boundaries and (d) a sense of becoming a deeper and truer Self. An ICE state that occurs in the countryside. Stace. This does not mean going to the extremes of the ascetics— in my view it is probably only necessary to follow the “middle way” that Buddhism recommends. simple because the individual is already in open communication with the external world. Tart. HD states certainly feature (a) and (c). by shutting her eyes. HD states can also be dangerous. simply because the meditator has closed her senses to the external world. But the spiritual experiences they generate are of a different character. On the other hand. For every Ram Dass. however.. Or as Smith puts it.g. on the other hand. p. wonder and oneness. The individual may not actually be ontologically ready to process the Higher States 57 . and even when they do. As I mentioned above.2).. 528-9). HD states are primarily sensory or perceptual experiences. but do not go the extreme of punishing the body or neglecting other areas of our development besides the spiritual. and reliably generate transpersonal or mystical states. and a reluctance to make the long term disciplined effort which permanent spiritual transformation requires. They may be intro- vertive void experiences of pure consciousness. Zaehner. 1964.g. 1961). 1991).. “Drugs appear to induce religious experiences: it is less evident that they can produce religious lives” (1964. I also pointed out that in ICE states the characteristic (c) is likely to be more powerful than in HD states because of the essential oneness of consciousness-energy with the consciousness-force of the cosmos. or while long-distance running or listening to music. taken-for-granted world and making the individual aware that higher realms of reality do exist. 2000). This may not always be the case though. Many scholars have written at length on the question of whether drug-induced higher states of consciousness are comparable with those induced by or related to long term spiritual practices or seemingly proffered by the grace of God (e. they are likely to generate other altered states of consciousness besides higher states.g. A major problem with HD states is their unreliability. However. only they can create permanent. “[they] can induce genuine mystical experiences. Similarly. Above I have dealt with four different aspects of higher states of consciousness: (a) an intensified perception of the phenomenal world (b) a sense of inner peace and wholeness (c) a sense of oneness with the manifest world. is that only the latter can build towards a permanently transformed consciousness. These can be useful. There is some evidence that drug-induced higher states of consciousness encourage individuals to investigate methods of gradual long-term consciousness transformation (e. HD and ICE states correspond to Fischer’s (1971) ergotropic high arousal and trophotropic low arousal experiences. the latter do not. and have been used as such throughout human history. In Wilber’s terms (e. have a very low risk of negative or psychotic states. ICE states can be both introvertive and extrovertive. they might come as a bolt out of the blue. An ICE state which is consciously induced by meditation will be introvertive. Being given these experiences for free may create a passive attitude towards them. in some people.
if we see an intensification of consciousness-energy as the source of spiritual states. 2003 for a related discussion). Volume 24 . there is the danger that the separate self-system may collapse altogether. Endnotes 1 Neurologically. so that we see the world as one-dimensional and inanimate place. However.. 124). We might say that they are one-dimensional. The important point is that. but could easily be true for native peoples (see Taylor. and links this to arousal of the brain’s limbic system. and that they would be therefore more open to spiritual states than us. the psychic. we can equally see the hyperactivity of the limbic system as a correlate–or an effect–of the mystical or spiritual state that is produced when homeostasis disruption means that ordinary consciousness can no longer be regulated and maintained. Spirit-charged cosmos that it really is. However. William Johnston argued that “meditation is safer than drugs because the meditation.experience. in Wilber’s model. there would also appear to be a correlate with increased activity in the sympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system.g. subtle. how do ICE states correlate with the different levels of mystical or transpersonal experiences (e. and guided. pain. and gradually create a new psychic structure–HD states are essentially destructive: they produce a powerful blast which immobilises the ego. in that they can only be extrovertive. However. again. Rhawn Joseph (2000) recognises that practices such as food and water deprivation.. and their psychic equilibrium may be disturbed as a result. since in both cases their sense of ego is less developed and less active than ours. why is it that disrupting homeostasis does generate higher states of consciousness in some instances but not in others? Or. p. they monopolise our consciousness-energy. can integrate the new knowledge and preserve his equilibrium” (1988. and appears to produce less associational chatter. 2000) this is impossible. drug use and self-mutilation have been traditionally been used to induce mystical or spiritual states. 2005. In Wilber’s model of transpersonal development (e. and lead to schizophrenia or psychosis. that the greater the intensification and purification of consciousness-energy. Whereas meditative ICE states are constructive–that is. the higher the level of consciousness. our over-active and overseparate egos–although not the ego in itself–are an enemy. instead of the radiant. As well creating a sense of “otherness” between us and the world. HD mystical experiences are clearly genuine. and if this blast is regularly repeated the ego-structure will be eroded away. For example. This essay leaves some questions unanswered. when the limbic system is denied its normal input. very briefly. they gradually tame the chattering ego and produce a permanent intensification of consciousness-energy. of course. And I would certainly not degrade HD mystical experiences to the extent that scholars such as Zaehner (1961) and Masters and Houston (1966) have done by claiming that psychedelic experiences may be analogous to mystical experiences but are not the same thing—or else that they only superficially resemble them. resulting in intensified perceptual awareness. This strongly suggests that ICE states are superior to HDs. at least HD states have the apparent advantage–which is part of their appeal–of requiring no effort. This might not apply so much to children. causal and non-dual)? (My suggestion would be. whereas ICE states usually involve some form of mental concentration and a degree of self-discipline. In fact this is the only long-term psychic change which the regular inducement of higher states of consciousness through HD can lead to. Following Newberg and D’Aqulli’s research. since individuals first have to move through the egoic and for58 mal-operational levels before they can stabilise themselves at the transpersonal realms (although Wilber admits that they may have brief peek or peak experiences). which suggests that the brain itself doesn’t produce consciousness. As he sees it. it becomes hyperactive and can no longer efficiently delete and filter out stimuli. if properly instructed. higher states of consciousness associated with homeostasis disruption appear to correlate with hyperactivity of the limbic system.) This model of higher states of consciousness suggests a new view of the issue of whether children and native or tribal peoples might be more spiritual than adult Westerners. since the intensity of their instinctive desires and heightened emotionality would itself produce a large outflow of consciousness-energy. meaningful. and lack an affective dimension. we might assume that there would be a reduced outflow of consciousness-energy in their case. but deficient in that they do not feature aspects of higher states of consciousness common to ICE states. then children and native peoples clearly do have access to the transpersonal realms. and between ourselves and our own bodies. to the point where it is no longer able to re-form itself. as so many spiritual teachers have stated. Particularly with intense use of psychedelic drugs. benevolent. In fact. 2 The existence of this energy makes sense in terms of the theory of consciousness put forward by Robert Forman and others. but rather The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.g.
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certain Daime communities have closed their doors to participation by Westerners after getting what they perceived as bad press. open air structure. Daniel Pereira de Mattos (known as Frei Daniel). I see two lines of men and women dancing. was initiated by a disciple of Irineu. and still possesses 90% of its original forest. It is warm. who ingratiate themselves into local tribes and smuggle out their healing plants only to patent them and reap profits for themselves (sending back baseball caps and t-shirts by way of compensation). Acre is still very much raw frontier. Horatio: Hamlet: Oh day and night. arising and co-evolving out of their seamless communion with the forest: the womb and gift of Pachamama. Within the movement originating with Mestre Irineu. In spite of these abuses. who. or will no longer donate bottles of ayahuasca to hipsters who smuggle them into the U. a neighborhood thirty minutes outside of Rio Branco.5. Beneath blazing fluorescent lights. or “little boat. it is the westernmost state of the Amazon rain basin. traveling dirt roads through area recently carved out of the jungle. which claims to hold most truly to the original form transmitted by the Mestre. A gigantic cross with two crossbeams (the Caravaca Cross adopted from Northern Spain—the second crossbeam represents the second coming of Christ). but this is wondrous strange! And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. facing one another beneath a huge. cre is the holy land for work with Daime in Brazil. in resistance to the massive land theft and senseless deforestation being practiced by the wealthy newcomers to Acre in the 1980’s. My botanist friend. and the pilgrim is welcome to join in the work. both indigenous and Catholic/Afro-Brazilian. Sean.173-74. and the slat-board pioneer houses we pass are dark. And there A are the native traditions underlying the lineage of Mestre Irineu. Acre hosts a landscape dotted with the churches of Daime. and sell the sacrament at a huge profit. Through all the communities. the doors of most churches remain open. I first arrive in Alto Santo. has so alienated the healers of the forest that they have begun keeping their medicines to themselves. with marked Afro-Brazilian elements. which light up at night like phosphorescent jellyfish floating in a dark. hosting some of the heaviest cocaine trafficking in South America. a powerful presence of evangelical Christianity. Darly Alves da Silva. The extent of this tragedy is not easily imagined until the degree of knowledge of these peoples is fathomed. Then a vision leaps electric out of the night. Among the Indians bio-piracy by Westerners. in which the author weaves together accounts of his own healing experience. two main streams developed: The Church of the Universal Flowing Light. the Brazilian frontier state of Acre. and I had come in our pilgrimage through the churches of ayahuasca to the small city of Rio Branco to experience the roots of the movement in Brazil. Bordering Peru and Bolivia.Fear No Spirits: A Pilgrim’s Journey through the Brazilian Churches of Ayahuasca Robert Tindall This is an intimate account of a pilgrimage through the “Holy Land” of Daime. the stars are bright. as practiced for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin. who use ayahuasca as a sacrament. stands illuminated in the front yard. and serious rural poverty. organized and imbued with an environmental vision the forest workers of the Amazon–a fight he continued up to the day of his assassination by a local rancher and strongman. It also portrays the extraordinary variation and vitality of the communities there.” whose work. It was also the home state of Chico Mendez.S. I get out of the car and hear music and singing—a sound like a polka Fear No Spirits 61 . Shakespeare Hamlet 1. seeds of distrust toward foreigners have been sown. in the night. or Santo Daime. and the Barquinha. As well. tropical sea.
As the music commences again. I realize. dazzled by the lights and colors and already buzzing from a shot of ayahuasca I had drunk earlier at the Barquinha church. which instead of provoking my usual liberal self-righteousness stir an immense 62 well of sadness within me. indicating they are fardados. emptiness. getting down the four-step but give up trying to sing from the hymnal at the same time. “The daime is working on you. to waterfalls. I drink and a seat is set out for me. moving back and forth in a tightly disciplined line. The women are wearing silver crowns. the masculine father spirit. where a dignified man with a bushy moustache waits like an amiable bartender. The usual rivalries among groups existed in Rio Branco. electric guitar. I decided. and we proceed to discuss the Buddhist doctrine of sunyata. beating out their steps with maracas they hold in their right hands. but the Portuguese is very fast. multi-colored trailers descending from their shoulders. and I can understand the Portuguese being spoken around me. related to Mary. is the new frontier for humanity. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. a member of a Barquinha church. and I realize the carven prows of those old Viking ships were no mere decorations. his expression truly transported. Struggling with our bags and attempting to orient ourselves after the three-day bus ride from Rio de Janeiro to Rio Branco. I cannot speak for grief. clean cut and alert. A proto-fascist ruling clique has seized power in my beloved homeland. A band. through the night. They are doing a four-step dance. or spirits. composed of accordion. isn’t it?” he asks. related to stones and through his spouse. open and immeasurably happy.band riding in the back of a flatbed truck on their way to heaven. I enter into conversation with Henrique. which helps some. and other Orixas. relentless and happy. During the ceremony I see my guardian angel. The music has stopped. I study him. It appears to be happening right here. They are right to do so. He looks as if he were wearing a Noh mask. the power of the forest and native healing wisdom. The Barquinhas wear sailor’s suits when they make a major journey. the one for representing vision into other worlds. or Xango. and elucidated a very complicated system of correspondences between deities: Oxala. bright white with epaulettes and a white cap like a fez with a braid wound around it. tambourine. such as Oxossi. and its relation to work with entheogens. related to Christ. I scrambled to take notes. and seemed to engage the world around him with a boundless optimism. a young lawyer from São Paulo who had recently transplanted himself in Rio Branco to work on environmental issues and indigenous rights. a professor of mathematics and physics at the University of Acre. Volume 24 . I make my bows. I take a maraca and join the line. Then Henrique begins to ask me penetrating questions about the United States. As I draw closer. Yemanja. The man smiles at me and pours. He offered his assistance. May the humble inherit the earth. too. jams away in the space between the two lines. explaining that the church of the little boat is a synthesis of Catholic Christianity with Umbanda and Candomble. And he spoke an English he had learned from his mother. the power of justice. Sean and I encountered Luis. Some days later he met us at our hotel and oriented us to the work of the Barquinhas. Henrique looks at me with comprehension. feminine power. I see a new frontier. It gave me some pause. I look within and see an altar with a candle burning before a photo taken during the 1930s of a stocky forest worker. a new people without artifice. This. Oxum. gazing into another world. the Yoruba spiritual practices brought over by the slaves from Africa. the Holy Mother. (Fardado is sometimes translated as “star-person”–giving a New Age airiness to a fundamentally military conception: farda in Portuguese describes a “military uniform”). a world of exquisite possibilities. The altar is covered with bottles of ayahuasca. I am led in a numinous daze across the concrete floor to a booth at the far end of the structure. as waves of agony rise and break within me. as well as his opinions about the communities we had come to visit. bass and classical guitar. waiting for my signal to stop. The men wear white suits with a green pinstripe descending their pant legs. As I enter. cutting through the darkness with his omniscience. I see that the men also wear a silver brooch in the shape of a Star of David with a crescent moon resting within. I open my eyes. 2005. my guiding spirit. The high pitch of the women’s voices gives me the image of a psychedelic subway train charging. Someone sitting next to me hands me a hymnal. I sit and try to follow the hymns of the dancers. It turned out he was a Daimista. Later I am taken to the altar and introduced to the figure in the photo: it is Mestre Raimundo Irineu Serra. but then I close my eyes and listen and angelic mists and swirling mandalas begin to draw me on. conga drum. He was small of stature. as a blazing figurehead on the prow of the ship of my soul. I see the women wear white dresses with green sashes. My language acquisition abilities have suddenly been radically enhanced.
” he says. Luis explains they are the Holy Family. and he reappears dressed in white and gestures for us to come. In fact. At their backs. Fear no spirits. as if on the other side of the world. a dirty little scamp of a dog curled up right on the threshold. We were going to get to experience Umbanda soon. The spirits of the preto velhos. and Sean and I sit quietly in the pews. standing beside her. Their skin is deeply black. and drink. except the floor is of hard packed. the line is forming anew. It all seems a blaze of light. its exterior a muted orange painted over smooth adobe. Mary. As the ayahuasca begins to take hold. sounds I cannot imagine the human vocal apparatus being capable of making. and São Sebastião. Something very powerful begins moving. smiling. very erect. But the lines to drink are forming again outside. thin and tall like a reed. We reach the head of the line. In the center. Women on one side. the patriarch. A massive banquet table with a white tablecloth surrounded by chairs sits in the middle of the room. The ayahuasca is very bitter and strong.” but then I shrug and go out and drink. a stupefaction. Luis leaves us. except I can recognize the Credo being repeated over and over. the Yorimba. little white-skinned baby Fear No Spirits 63 . men on the other. with its little bell tower and niches for saints. and see the shell of my former self in California and feel deep compassion for the man I have been. I feel completely comfortable with them. the white-haired. is the European Holy Family. A musician tuning his guitar gestures me back.” Sean and I look at each other in astonishment. Luis comes up to us and announces. the old blacks. a cross lit up at the entryway. who are filing forward to drink ayahuasca. covering the entire front of the church. make the sign of the cross with the cup. my long journey filled with wounds and bewilderment. I hear a voice say to me. and the names of Jesus. Seated in profound miração I behold the blazing guardian of my spirit boat as an intricate ritual of prostration is carried out by men and women in sailor’s suits facing the altar before me. “Time to drink again. red earth. Arriving the following evening. “We’re moving on into the Umbanda portion of the work now. But no matter. The curtain is parting more rapidly now. Musicians accompany the prayer. upon the table. Then in the middle of a song I come to Christ and lay my burden down before him. a cycle of worship of São Sebastião in which they drank ayahuasca every night. A curtain has been drawn over the altar. Then Luis reappears beside us. We go out and see two lines have formed. ample matriarch enthroned in the center. We continue down a flight of stairs and enter the patio of the church. one of women and the other of men. I feel his hand on my forehead as I relinquish my addictions: to coffee. I wander off and sit on the wrong side. The core of the community takes their places around the banquet table. The mantric cycle of praise commences. and there was to be a major work soon. to hyper-vigilance. I now have an opportunity to study the figures arranged in the sand in the center. to finding the perfect woman. or rather. and they are spread out in a tableau of village life. have come and the group possessed by the old African spirits files out. one fellow playing the banjo. I start to say. I think. Rows of seats line the back and side of the church. are given the sacrament. two fingers of their right hand raised at the level of their faces like antennae. a vanishing. a statue of São Sebastião. we pass through a wooden gate and enter an open structure like the one where people danced in Alto Santo. through the church. Then the curtains slowly close. their garments and eyes pearly white. and enter. the Heavenly Father. The community was in the midst of a twenty-day long romería. the guitar and Catholic liturgy weaving fresh neural pathways through my mind. I look out and sure enough. We drink again and go out to the structure with the floor of packed red earth. I notice miniature figures arranged in a village scene. unlike in the Santo Daime church in Alto Santo. most of which I don’t understand. capable of walking a hundred miles at a stretch through arid ground. spread out on a surface of sand. Okay. I see people rising from their seats and standing. How can we take any more? We already feel irradiated by spirit. like a spiritual storm front. chained to a tree and pierced by arrows. “I think I may actually have had enough already. the Holy Ancestors. and then the ayahuasca strikes like a blinding cloud of light. and the community vanishes to doff their sailor suits. Within we cross a clean floor of white tile and face an altar covered with images of saints. It could be any Catholic church in Latin America. I notice the curtains are slowly parting in front of the altar. “The evening is just beginning. Piercing whistling tears through the air. respecting its presence there. We and everyone else step over the dog. Finally a bell rings. We go back in and take our seats. I look around and note that most of the faces are African in descent.” he explains. in imitation of the opening of the heavenly realm.despairing of distinguishing mantra from yantra and tantra. I don’t fear spirits.
I have a deep feeling of gratitude for my experience of it. comes ranting through the station. 2005.Jesus in cradle. don’t stop dancing. I am grateful that I am allowed to dance on the periphery and not drawn in. It’s a couple days later. “Whatever you do. Somehow he makes me think of a young Abe Lincoln. hunched over close to the earth. has had all its fundamental premises blown this evening. I can only nod in agreement. Sean has taken a seat and I walk over and clap him on the back. but have the same problem as he: What does one do with one’s life after having gone to the heavenly realms? The world seems dull and grey in comparison. He 64 turns to me from the front seat and says. An old man is dancing out there in the crowd. tipping his head in the old forest worker’s direction. It is dark. angels guarding the way to his cradle. his hair and beard gone wild. “See that old man?” Sean asks me. the sick and simple are brought forward. Fierce defense in preservation of the world is one thing. A smell of burning plastic wafts through the marketplace.” I look back and realize he is right. I begin. ayahusaca working through the body. We’re both smiling in rapture. we even accept anger as a kind of social lubricant. and poured libations to summon the unnumbered dead. scintillating around the forms of the dancers in white. Are we not all equal in this? Are we not all dreaming? The bus comes and we board. inchoate. I realize. drinking ayahuasca and dancing with the spirits. My Western intellect. I fall silent. a terminal where the spirits negotiate their transit to other worlds. Luis appears and while we wait for a local bus to take us to the Barquinha church. liminal. The Brazilians don’t seem to do anything halfway in this land of spirits. and candles are lit. I am not ready to experience atuação. but the center does not radiate out. In the center. I don’t know how I am going to return to my life in California after this. The only useful shred of the Western Intellectual Tradition I can think of is. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. North Americans. Then the power goes out. which I had imagined as being fairly open. I do fear these spirits. but eventually get the hang of it. pipe in mouth. have an illusion of a right to elbow room that Brazilians know doesn’t exist. not far from where I stood earlier in the day watching children leap from the girders of the bridge into the brown swirling waters of the river fifty feet below. he explains to me that when the preto velhos come that The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Volume 24 . spitting and bowing. Rather it absorbs our energy. playing guitar and watching Brazilian television. with the spirits of Umbanda. What voice speaks through him? I wonder. men and women moving in two circles. Ever. He’s been checking us out. Horatio. and I begin to understand the dance. and a sign of the strength of the evangelical movement in Acre. This evening is solely a work of mantra. In fact.” It’s a slow dance. stringy from a life of hard work. We talk about the situations in Brazil especially designed to push a North American’s buttons. “Yep. Young women are led around and in by their elders. widdershins. then are dreamt of in your philosophy. the votive pit in Hades in which Odysseus spilled the blood of the ewe and ram. pulse rising from the earth. Anger at a person or situation is another. conga drums prominent.. The band commences.. After a time I see Luis. The truth is. A four step inside a square. awkwardly. and I hesitate the opinion that sometimes anger can help set things straight. Luis turns to me and says.” My own life in California is so inconceivably distant and inapplicable. but bars selling pitchers of juice made to order from the cornucopia of fruit growing in the Amazon compensate for the stench. “Man. then a step forward. but I smile and give him the thumbs-up sign. a voice crying from the wilderness. We move in a circle around the center. Power of old Africans. “There is never any reason to get angry. I’m out and about.” We decide we love this old man. dirt poor. The earth becomes wet with spit. many women and a few men are smoking pipes.” Luis and I are supposed to meet in the center of Rio Branco. of praise. A bardo space. or mediumship. The drums beat. a mulatto. and while I still don’t know what to make of tantra. stooped forward in a posture of aged dignity close to the altar. his arms folded behind his back. blazing.” “I want to be an old man like him. Luis turns and looks me in the eyes. The old man comes around in the circle of dancers again and we watch him. using the tobacco for purification and to send messages to the divinity. a dance to draw energy and life out of the earth. Changing the subject. He must love us too. Joseph and Mary and Donkey in attendance. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth. He pretends not to be observing us. He breaks into a huge grin and nods back at us. and Sean has been pretty much shut up in his hotel room since the night at the Barquinha. a young man. I’ve been sick. The dance concludes in the dark of the early morning. Sean and I ride back together in a taxi.
evening and atuar in the bodies and minds of the mediums of the church, I can go for an interview with one of them. He will translate for me. I will need him especially because the old Africans speak with very thick, archaic accents. Later that evening a little girl comes and taps my thigh while I sit in the church, gesturing for me to follow. I enter a back room with another floor of hard packed red earth. Those who had been possessed by the preto velhos earlier in the evening have taken up their places within, lined up against the walls in their consultories, altars of African and Christian figures by their sides, pipes smoking. It’s a scene transported straight from Africa. Luis meets me at the door and leads me up to small black woman with a grave but pleasant expression, sitting close to the earth on a stool, a pipe in her hand. She is not old, but somehow she gives the impression of being wizened. I take another stool and sit before her. I’m told I can ask her any question, if I have an illness she can work on it, anything I want. I ask a question and the answer she gives is simple and clear—grandmotherly wisdom. She adds it would help if I light a candle to my guardian spirit and take a shower with certain herbs. I relax. Whoever these old Africans may be, they’re thoroughly down to earth. “Open your hands,” she tells me. She stands and puts her palms on mine, and then lightly feathers my forehead, saying prayers over me. She sits back down and regards me shrewdly. I thank her. I tell her I am very happy to be here. “You are very welcome to our church,” she replies. Luis, who has been translating, adds, “I think they like you.” I make a short bow and go out. The romería finishes for the evening, but the daime is not done with me. Standing outside trying to speak I find my eyes closing and my consciousness drifting off. My interlocutor, Laura, realizes I am beginning another miração and she finds me a chair and puts me at the foot of the cross in the garden. The daime is coming on very strong indeed, and I suddenly feel nauseous with fear and adrift in a dark cloud. I take out my prayer beads and struggling to seize the tiller of my consciousness, begin my abbreviated form of the rosary. Soon my head is tilted back and a warm light is pouring down from above—am I imagining this? Is this really a hand I feel on my forehead? Margerie from São Paulo appears out of the night, delighted, and pulls up a seat beside me as I am swept into warm colors and light in profound adoration of
Maria. I open my eyes and it is as if they have finally focused: I am in a garden of eternity. The colored lights on the cross that had drawn me upward go out, and a little girl runs up and leaves a candle burning before us. Through the miração, I see a woman in white kneeling across the way. As Maria speaks to me waves of gentleness reach recesses of my heart I had despaired of touching. I am crying with joy. Laura joins us. The women are delighted, stroking my back and laughing with me, and first Laura sings a hymn to Maria, and then Margerie gets excited and leafs through a book in the darkness and finds one of her own. I feel left out because I don’t know a song to Maria. But then I remember The Beatles’ “Let it Be.” I sing. Cheesy as it sounds, it is exquisite, like breathing diamonds and stars out into the universe. The last time we see Luis he takes us to his home. We cross the Rio Branco and enter the park named after Chico Mendez, pass the scored rubber trees and enter a small compound of slat-board houses raised upon stilts. A family is washing themselves at the community water trough as we file by upon the wooden planks that provided a walkway through the mud. A simple padlock hangs at his door. We enter the tiny space, dominated by a refrigerator, fan, and an ironing board. A few books sit on his shelf. The room bespeaks his voluntary, disciplined frugality. We sit on his bed and he pours us glasses of guarana, the ubiquitous Brazilian soft drink. Luis’ work is going well. He tells us how his plans to set up collectives and train forest workers, allowing them to reap the wealth of the forest while sustaining it for future generations, are meeting acceptance in the new socialist-minded government of Lula. As well, the power to enforce these new environmental and indigenous rights laws is being given, without which they would be meaningless in Brazil. In my last image of Luis he is standing with a hymnal in his hand, singing for us about the stars guiding us on, about the caboclos–helping spirits of the Umbanda spiritual tradition related to the spirit of the natives of the forest—and about Santa Maria, the sacred use of cannibas sativa, more commonly known as marijuana, to worship the Virgin Mary. The songs have the simplicity and melodic beauty of medieval plainchant, as well as the depth of religious feeling. His high, clear voice competes with the television that his neighbors, right on the other side of the thin slatboard wall separating their domiciles, have turned on and set blasting. Luis shows no impatience at all. A buffalo emerges out of the darkness with a slow,
Fear No Spirits
stately gait, an apparition of gentle strength in the thick jungle surrounding the Forteleza. It is two weeks after my visit to the Santo Daime community in Alto Santo, weeks filled with ceremonies that seem to have anointed my eyes with spirit: the buffalo moves as symbol, both part of and transcendent to the world. As we had searched down roads of thick mud, pulling up to fazendeiro’s shacks to ask directions, the sun set over the vast, open landscape dotted by cattle and gigantic palm trees and I wondered if we would ever find this elusive “fortress” out there in the jungle. But we did, and as we ascend a winding path I can see on the horizon above another brilliantly lit open-air structure like the church at Alto Santo. The sound of singing reaches our ears, accompanied by the hum of a generator. Beneath the Caravaca Cross, I attempt to scrape the mud off my shoes. The feeling out here is raw frontier, only the most basic essentials, the church floating on its little concrete slab like a postage stamp on a verdant sea. The scenario is similar to the one at Alto Santo. Men and women are dancing opposite one another with the maracas, the band jamming away in the center. But there are differences. Here the men wear business suits; blue slacks and jacket, white shirt and blue tie. It gives me pause. While the guys in the suits at Alto Santo meant business, the fact the suits were white with a green pinstripe gave them the aspect of a chorus line in a cabaret, taking the edge off of my own Pavlovian reactions to the uniform. This seems almost evangelical. A little alarm goes off in my mind. Suits spell danger, the world of narrow-minded authority I have never learned to fully trust. I am taken to drink. A very ample cup is poured for me. I toss it down and go and sit, feeling some resistance in myself and wondering what it could be. I watch the little children of the Forteleza, who dance in their own sections, singing the hymns from memory, and then running off to play together. I attempt to follow the music, to surrender myself to the experience, but the reverse is happening. The monotony of the singing, the concrete, the florescent lights, are becoming unendurable. Why can’t they use natural lights? I complain. It is impossible to travel through florescent lights. They’re a brick wall into the world of spirit. I stare at the concrete pad, feeling absolutely cut off from the earth. Suddenly my body launches me out of the structure, across the lawn, past someone vomiting in the darkness to the outer perimeter of the compound, where I lean upon a post and look off into the jungle. I’m feeling torn between worlds. The jungle is out there calling while I am stuck with my obligations within the compound. The human world against the 66
natural world. As I have done so many times in my life, I lean against the fence and gaze with yearning into the freedom outside. My head drops onto the post. A miração washes over me, and I hear the voice of grandmother ayahuasca speaking to me. She says, “You have the ability to transform into an animal. It’s a precious gift you have been given, but not everyone can understand it. You can live in both worlds, the human and the animal, and move back and forth without impedance.” I am deep in this dream when I hear the sound of approaching footsteps behind me. I turn around and see that two men in suits, fardadoes, have come out for me. Ah yes, the Brazilian imperative to incorporate into the group. “Yes, I am fine. Quite well, actually. Thank you so much for coming to check on me. I will return momentarily....” I dissemble, but to no avail. I realize they are concerned that in my state a spirit might attack me or I will be led off by a will-o’-thewisp into the forest. I surrender and return to the safety of the church. I know I am radiating foreignness at the moment, but I cannot sit with the others, and I find a seat on the outskirts and clutch my prayer beads, holding on for the rest that is to come. It comes hard, waves of repressed material bubbling up and bursting in my mind. It is the apuração, the stage of purification, the emptying out of the storehouses of consciousness. Working my prayer beads, struggling toward the light, I find myself gesticulating and grimacing and can imagine what I must look like to the watchful fardadoes. But there is nothing for it. I am holding on for dear life. Then a spirit flashes into my consciousness. An Apollonian face, a superhero in green with eternal, beautiful young man’s vitality. Hermes, messenger of the gods. His piercing eyes meet mine and I know him and his hand flashes out and he slaps a jewel into my forehead and is gone. “A spirit just came and put a jewel in my forehead,” I say to myself in the rich silence he leaves in his wake. “Cool.” Jewels, of course, have medicinal properties. As the miração unfolds further, I see how my masculine life was being subtly warped by my adversarial relationship to my father, how my resisting of his conservative perspectives was preventing the growth of aspects of my own masculinity. I see the only possible stance toward my father is veneration, and to allow all superfluous material to fall away. After all, he is the father that gave me life, and through him is one avenue to the Father. Only through complete acceptance of my own father could I develop as a fully real-
The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24
ized male in my own right, I realize. I can stand again, and I go in to join the congregation. As soon as I pick up a maraca to enter the line the music stops. Standing there like the guy who missed the train, someone approaches me and takes me to meet the padrinho, Luis Mendez do Nascimento, who had been a disciple of Mestre Irineu. He is a small, thin old man, a forest worker with a beaming face who when I am introduced asks me if the Forteleza had been difficult to find. I answer it was “well-hidden,” and we both burst into delighted laughter. People are taking seats in preparation for something. I find myself seated smack in the middle of the congregation, fully integrated back into the human world listening to an impassioned, learned disquisition on the economic history of Acre. The speaker, a university professor, orates before us without notes, focusing his story around the figure of the seringueiro, the rubber-tapper whose impoverished, solitary existence, as well as his heartless exploitation by the capitalists and landowners, is remembered and honored at the Forteleza. It was, I realized, a Marxist analysis—or a Christian one—where the poor worker, the least of men, is the fundament of the entire economic superstructure, and as the gospels repeatedly stress, the very person of Christ. The padrinho sits, his legs crossed like a gentleman, listening with rapt attention, as does the rest of the congregation. As the narrative takes up the story of Chico Mendez, given with great veneration and a specificity of detail that reflects the depth of grief still existing within the elders of the community, I realize that the man has been speaking for over two hours and there is still no sign of restlessness in the group. Nor is his energy flagging, unlike my own. The discourse concludes with a vision of humanity’s collaboration with the forest, of the salvific power now emerging from it, and of economic justice for all people of Acre. I am again struck by wonder for this frontier of humanity. Where in the United States, I think, would people sit and attend to a discourse of such depth and vision about their own community and its future, as we once had done in the founding and early days of our own country? The speechifying continues far into the morning. I realize through my exhausted haze that the padrinho is welcoming me to the church. Then to my astonishment, in the ultimate gesture of acceptance of me as a visitor, he cries out, “Viva os Estados Unidos!” “Long Live the United States!” There are few places indeed upon this earth where the common people will still cry
out for the long life of the United States of America. But now I understand. Venerate the father, and by so doing awake him to his true nature. The Kaxinawa Indians are sitting in plain view the entire time, but it takes me two weeks to notice them. Finally, browsing through the brilliant seed necklaces and bows and arrows in a little trading post in the center of the park in Rio Branco, I take a good look at the Indian behind the counter: small indeed in stature, high cheekbones, jet black hair, a sing-song accent to his Portuguese, and a deep sense of self-possession in his brown eyes. Suddenly inspired, I reach into my backpack and pull out my journal, flipping hastily to the back pages where I have my list of contacts. “You wouldn’t happen to know Fabiano Kaxinawa?” I asked in my clumsy Portuguese. “Yes. I am him,” he responds with amusement. According to the Kaxinawa1, knowledge of ayahuasca was received by their ancestor from a village of anacondas. A hunter named Yube, seeing an anaconda emerge from a lake and transform into a beautiful woman, made love to her and returning to her village, married her. After a year his snake wife told him there would be a ceremony with nixi pai, ayahuasca, and warned him not to drink: “You will become scared and will call out the name of my people and they will kill you.” But the hunter drank anyways and cried out in terror, “The snakes are swallowing me!” When the hunter cried out, his wife coiled herself lovingly around him and began singing sweetly in his right ear. Then his mother-in-law did the same thing, singing in his left ear. Finally, his father-in-law coiled himself around all three of them and placing his face upon the hunter’s forehead, accompanied the song as well. But still, the anacondas were offended and he only managed to escape from the lake with the help of a little bods fish who returned him to his human wife and home. But his anaconda family got him in the end, crushing all the bones in his body. He remained alive only long enough to instruct the people in the making of the brew and the songs he had learned in the snake world. He died and where he was buried four kinds of ayahuasca grew from his limbs, each of which when drunk show a different part of his life. The work is held far outside of Rio Branco, at a center the Kaxinawa have created as a bridge between cultures. Recognizing that isolation is no longer an option for them, but also clear they do not wish to lose themselves into the maelstrom of dislocation and economic anonymity of Brazilian culture, they have opted to become bicultural. The Kaxinawa themselves come
Fear No Spirits
how to ride a bicycle. to bring me home again. makes me put my hands on the earth: things. We wear red stripes on our faces. End Note 1 The Kaxinawa ayahuasca myth is adopted from “Two Ayahuasca Myths from the Cashinahua of Northwestern Brazil” by Elsje Maria Lagrou (2000). Correspondence regarding this paper should be directed to Robert Tindall at tigrillo@gmail. NM: Synergetic Press. But the Kaxinawa work with ayahuasca. I and the forest and the albatross all caught up in the same dream of Pachamama. The brew they chose is a light one. like the forest sings to itself. Author Note “Fear no Spirits” is excerpted from a forthcoming book. And so the natives rock us into the night with invocations and sounds such as we have never encountered before. Then a young guitarist who accompanied us turns out to be a strange bird: a daime evangelist. how to work an ATM and a cellular phone. but as a vaguely oppressive fixture of belief—and the casting of the entire movement into a New Testament mold. (2000). and I saw that evening that daime is only a brief portion of the territory of grandmother ayahuasca. Luna and S.com. but not going to the root of our being’s dilemma. thereby 68 opening and creating a dreaming way through the forest. while non-natives such as ourselves come to be educated in the ways of the Kaxinawa. After the Brazilian section.” a narrative pilgrimage into the medicines of the Amazon rainforest. temporarily lifting the mind up. not daime. in its native tongue. 2005. messengers. His attempts to dominate the group go on until I begin grumbling that if I don’t have to hear the word “Jesus” again for a year I won’t be at all displeased. rough-hewn and primitive to uneducated European eyes. happily joining in with the songs about our precious savior Jesus. the weary repetition of the word Jesus—not as a mantra to enter the divine. M. even the guitar itself. feathers of flight spring from their upper arms.). That I am fooling myself and will return to California with some good stories but the same old self. At the end of one. a center for the treatment of addiction. a lean aerodynamic ascetic. salvadores. a very gentle visitation which. In L. when it comes. I watch him with awe as he sails over the forest. Volume 24 . References Lagrou. the earth. to wish them happiness and good-fortune on their way. the pilgrim continues on his way to Takiwasi. When the evangelical portion of the evening subsides. E. from which a rich symphony of sound is now emerging. ending each song with bursts of child-like giggling. our ground. Peru. honed to transparency by his habitat.to the center to learn Portuguese. the killing of 85% of the Kaxinawa people. makes me lament anew the cold mechanisms of my own culture with its straight-cut roads lined with advertisements—the culture responsible for. “The Jaguar that Roams the Mind. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. A fear is eating at me as we take our places for the ceremony in an elegant wooden structure with a high sloped roof of woven palm fronds. even as we attempt to praise it with our barbaric Indo-European tongues and instruments. that ayahuasca really is just a sort of Prozac. The image of a people gathering to sing for one another. Santa Fe. and then to an apprenticeship with the master healer Juan Flores Salazar at his Mayantuyacu center in the jungle outside of Pucallpa. Portuguese and English. explains to us that the entire tribe gathers to sing that piece whenever someone is leaving the village for a long journey. 3135). Walking through the compound we encounter classrooms with chalkboards and ancestral figures. who turns out to be an apprentice shaman. The Kaxinawa sit patient and vigilant. F. they sing into the night like an animal sings into it. accompanying themselves with flute and maracas. The doctrine. dear. as of this date. Fabiano. Two ayahuasca myths from the Cashinahua of Northwestern Brazil. I am weary too of the fundamentalism of Daime. particular things. White (Eds. seems a rude imposition upon this world. fresh. As we leave a huge white bird cuts the early morning sky. E. The young men of the tribe wear headdresses and crowns of feathers. all stomach and bill. Ayahuasca reader (pp.
Why Does the Universe Exist? An Advaita Vedantic Perspective
Adam J. Rock, Ph.D.
The University of New South Wales Wagga Wagga, NSW Australia
Debates concerning causal explanations of the universe tend to be based on a priori propositions (e.g., Edwards, 1973; Smith, 1995; Swinburne, 1978). The present paper, however, addresses the metaphysical question, “Why does the universe exist?” from the perspective of a school of Hindu philosophy referred to as advaita vedanta and two of its a posteriori derived creation theories: the theory of simultaneous creation (drishti-srishti vada) and the theory of non-causality (ajata vada). Objections to advaita vedanta are also discussed. It is concluded that advaita vedanta has the potential to make a significant contribution to contemporary metaphysical debate in general and our understanding of the question, “Why does the universe exist?” in particular.
The Problem Heidegger (1959) considered the question, “Why does the universe exist?”1 to be the “fundamental problem of metaphysics” (p. 61). A number of scholars suggested that such a question can be answered. For example, Gilson (1941, p. 139) asserted that the cause of the universe is a “pure Act of existence” that is absolute and hence self-sufficient. In contrast, the question is frequently deemed an insoluble riddle and, thus, inherently meaningless2 or simply ill-conceived. For instance, Huxley (1964, p. 108) suggested that one must learn to accept that the universe is an “irreducible mystery,” while Russell (Russell & Copelston, 1973) contended that there is no ground whatsoever for the assumption that the universe as a whole must have a cause. One particularly noteworthy argument for the meaninglessness of the question, “Why does the universe exist?” is derived from the modern logic of Wittgenstein (1981/1922) and elucidated by Koestenbaum (1962), Waisman (1967; cited in Edwards, 1973, p. 806) and others. Essentially, the argument is that “the question of why there is something and not nothing is either ill-formed or profitless, since any intelligible answer will merely invite the same question” (Blackburn, 1996, p. 40). This argu-
ment was advanced in Edwards’ (1973) influential essay “Why?”: In any of its familiar senses, when we ask anything of x, why it happens or why it is what it is- whether x is the collapse of an army, a case of lung cancer, the theft of a jewel, or the stalling of a car - we assume that there is some set of conditions, other than x, in terms of which it can be explained. We do not know what this other thing is that is suitably related to x, but unless it is in principle possible to go beyond x, and find such another thing, the question does not make any sense. Now, if by “the universe” we mean the totality of things, then our x in “Why does the universe exist?” is so all-inclusive that it is logically impossible to find anything which could be suitably related to that whose explanations we appear to be seeking. (p. 809) Edwards’ (1973) thesis may be summarised by Wittgenstein’s (1981/1922, p. 183) statement that, “the sense of the world must lie outside the world.” It seems rather obvious that an explanation as to why someone, for example, engages in serial murder can
Why Does the Universe Exist?
only be provided by a set of conditions that exist “outside” and, thus, temporally prior to the act of serial murder (e.g., the cognitive rehearsal of violent sexual fantasies, damage to the limbic system of the brain). The explanation clearly does not exist within the definitional boundaries of serial murder as “the premeditated murder of three or more victims committed over time, in separate incidents, in a civilian context, with the murder activity being chosen by the offender” (Keeney, 1992; cited in Keeney & Heide, 1994, p. 384). It is perhaps noteworthy that Edwards’ (1973) thesis is illustrative of an anti-metaphysical position that arguably pre-empts the answer by ruling out—on a priori grounds-–the possibility of a transcendent entity that may function as a causal agent. Edwards’ (1973) argument is sound provided that his a priori definition of the universe and assumptions about knowledge are correct. Edwards’ (1973) acknowledges that if it can be convincingly argued that there exists a metaphysical entity that transcends and includes the universe, then it is possible that the question “Why does the universe exist?” can be answered, and is therefore meaningful. More recently, philosophers have been engaged in intricate debate over internal and external causal explanations of the universe. Swinburne (1979), for example, argued that, “if the only causes of its past states are prior states, the set of past states as a whole will have no cause and so no explanation” (p. 78). Swinburne (1979) maintained, however, that if it were such that God causes the set of past states, then an external causal explanation would be possible. In contrast, Rowe (1989) contended that whilst each past state of the universe may be causally explained by prior past states, there is no causal reason for the set of states of the universe because a set is an abstract object and is thereby precluded from entering into causal relations. Similarly, Smith (1995) concluded that “it is nomologically necessary that a beginningless universe has an internal causal explanation (be it deterministic or probabilistic) but no external causal explanation” (p. 310). The present author suggests that a commonality exemplified by the preceding arguments pertaining to causal explanations of the universe (e.g., Edwards, 1973; Rowe, 1989; Swinburne, 1979; Smith, 1995) is that they were all formulated a priori. Consequently, there exists a lacuna in the literature with regards to an application of theories constructed a posteriori to the question, “Why does the universe exist?” Psychological research suggests that some experiential—and concep70
tual—knowledge is “state-specific” (Tart, 1972; 1998) or “state-dependent” (Fischer, 1980); that is, certain knowledge may be obtained in altered states of consciousness (ASCs) that is inaccessible during one’s ordinary or normal waking conscious. Indeed some ASCs (e.g., kevala nirvikalpa samadhi) purportedly involve experiences of, for example, the manifestation and dissolution of the universe (e.g., Maharaj, 1987a). It is arguable that such experiences may provide valuable insights into the external and internal causal mechanisms of the universe that are unobtainable a priori. The purpose of this essay is to apply the school of Hindu philosophy referred to as advaita vedanta to the question “Why does the universe exist?” The present author will take the question, “Why does the universe exist?” to mean, “What is the causal explanation of the universe?”3 Advaita vedanta is being consulted because it consists—in part—of two creation theories that directly impinge on the preceding question. Furthermore, in contrast to modern logicians, the ontology outlined in the doctrine of advaita vedanta was purportedly constructed a posteriori using metaphysical knowledge acquired through ASCs (e.g., samadhi). In the advaita system, mystical experience is facilitated by the aspirant practicing one of four main yogas: Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, or Rajas (Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1978). For these reasons, it is arguable that advaita vedanta is well-positioned to address the question, “Why does the universe exist?” The present paper will commence with a brief summary of the advaita doctrine. Second, discussion will revolve around two creation theories associated with advaita: the theory of simultaneous creation (drishti-shrishti-vada) and the theory of non-causality (ajata vada). Finally, objections to the advaita theory will be considered. Before proceeding, a number of qualifying statements need to be made. First, the present paper is not concerned with the epistemological status of knowledge claims made by practitioners of advaita. For the purpose of this essay it will be assumed that the yogi’s perceptions are veridical as opposed to delusory. Second, throughout this essay Kaufmann’s (1991) definition of the universe as “all space, along with all the matter and radiation in space” (p. 631) will be adopted as opposed to Edwards’ (1973) definition of the universe as “the totality of things” (p. 809). Kaufmann’s (1991) definition is being used on the grounds that it constitutes the orthodox view of the term “universe.” Finally, this essay does not attempt to provide a definitive answer to the question, “Why does
The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24
the universe exist?” But rather, it sets itself the far more modest task of analysing the preceding question from an advaitic perspective. Advaita Vedanta: An overview Advaita (literally non-dualism) as articulated by Sankaracharya is a doctrine of the vedantic school of Hindu philosophy (Blackburn, 1996). Vedanta refers to the philosophy of the Vedas (Shastri, 1959). Veda (from vid “to know”) may be defined as “knowledge.” It is the “name of the most ancient Sanskrit scriptures, considered to be a direct revelation from God to the mystics of the past” (Easwaran, 1986, p. 236). As previously stated, the doctrine of advaita vedanta was purportedly constructed a posteriori using metaphysical knowledge acquired through various ASCs facilitated by the aspirant practising one of four main yogas: Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, or Rajas (Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1978). These four Yogas represent different methods aimed at erasing the ego (ahamkara) through selfless work, the discriminative power of the intellect (buddhi), devotion to a Personal God or spiritual teacher (guru), and meditation, respectively. Such techniques facilitate ASCs referred to as samadhi in which one has a direct experience of Absolute Reality (Brahman). Sri Ramana Maharshi (1985b) delineates three different grades of samadhi: (1) Savikalpa samadhi. The lowest level of samadhi in which one is required to maintain constant effort otherwise the obscuration of Brahman will occur. (2) Kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. The stage prior to liberation (moksha) characterised by effortless awareness of one’s true identity as Brahman and the temporary cessation of ahamkara. It further entails the absence of bodily awareness and an inability to perceive the sensory world. However, this state is transitory. Its conclusion is signified by the reemergence of bodily awareness and subsequently ahamkara. (3) Sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. The final attainment of moksha in which ahamkara is irrevocably annihilated. In this state the cessation of all subjectobject duality occurs as one perceives that all is Brahman. (Maharshi, 1985b) As previously stated, advaita postulates an Absolute principle, an Ultimate Reality referred to as Brahman (Aurobino, 1995; Guenon, 1981; Maharshi, 1997a). The three characteristics of Brahman are existence (sat), consciousness (chit) and bliss (ananda; Balsekar, 1982; Maharshi, 1997b). In the advaita doc-
trine the individual soul (jiva) is held to be identical with Brahman. This phase of Brahman is referred to as Atman (Maharshi, 1988; Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1981; Raju, 1967; Shastri, 1959). In the Yoga-Vasishtha it is held that because Brahman is infinite it can produce no thing other than itself (Shastri, 1969). Therefore the entire universe including mind (manas), intellect (buddhi), and intelligence (chit) must be regarded as Brahman (Shastri, 1969). In the Viveka-Chudamani, for instance, it is stated that: “It [Brahman] is that one Reality which appears to our ignorance as the manifold universe of names and forms and changes” (Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1978, p. 76). This thesis is echoed in the three-fold logic of Sankaracharya in which it is contended that: (a) Brahman is real, (b) The universe is unreal, and (c) The universe is Brahman (Maharshi, 1985a, p. 187). It seems a logical absurdity that the universe can be simultaneously unreal and yet identical to an entity that is real. Ramana Maharshi (1985a) clarifies this apparent contradiction, however, by suggesting that when veridically perceived as Brahman the universe is real, however when perceived as distinct from Brahman (i.e., as a collection of discrete objects experienced through the various sensory modalities in space and time) the universe is considered an illusion (maya). This point may be further elucidated by what is referred to as the “rope and snake” analogy. A subject enters a dimly light room and sees a coiled up piece of rope [Brahman] and mistakenly perceives it as a snake [the universe]. At that moment the snake appears as wholly existent to the subject whereas the rope is considered non-existent. In reality, however, the snake is an illusory substratum that has been projected onto the rope by the subject’s ignorance (Maharshi, 1985a). It has been suggested that the universe in the orthodox sense of “all space, along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann, 1991, p. 631) is not absolutely real. However, the universe is not absolutely non-existent either for the simple reason that it is present as a delusory perception in normal waking consciousness (Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1978). Insofar as a delusion is experienced it must be accredited some degree of ontological status. An examination of the question “Why does the universe exist?” will now be undertaken with reference to two creation theories associated with the advaita doctrine: the theory of simultaneous creation (drishti-srishti vada) and the theory of non-causality (ajata vada).
Why Does the Universe Exist?
This statement requires further explanation. you cannot know the knower of the known” (Swami & Yeats. the period of the sustenance of the Universe. So where is the question of remembering? With Beingness attention starts later.e. which is absurd. 1985a. 202). just as a rope gives rise to an illusory snake” (Sastry. p. The Vedanta-sutras of Badarayana echo the sentiments of Sankaracharaya: “From the Self (Brahman) sprang ether (Akasa. For example. 38). “In the beginning all this was self. p. you cannot hear the hearer of sound. But all of a sudden that Beingness was felt spontaneously. p. The Theory of Non-Causality (Ajata Vada)5 Whereas drishti-shrishti vada is considered a relative truth (i. 1979. Apart from the seer. through Beingness the “inner organ” (antahkarana) comprised of intelligence (buddhi). “You cannot see the seer of sight. at the time of dissolution. causality and discrete objects are all regarded as nonveridical perceptions that take place in the mind of the The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. because the intellect subsides at that precise location” (p. Then in a flash I observed this enormous manifest world and also my body. Drishti-srishti vada asserts that the cause of the seer’s sense of beingness and hence the universe is Brahman4.e. Wilber (1993) illustrated this point by comparing the situation to a sword that cannot cut itself. advaita regards the theory of non-causality (ajata vada) as the ultimate truth. 202). there is no seen. ego or sense of self (ahamkara). Statements attesting to this thesis abound in the advaitic literature. for then it would cease to be the subject. 138). p. 1987a. rather than there being a gradual process of creation (i. the origin of the Universe. Crudely put. an eye that cannot see itself. p. p. fire (that through which we hear. 56). from ether. Although drishti-srishti vada postulates a metaphysical entity referred to as Brahman as the cause of the universe. since one and the same thing cannot be both the agent and the object of an action” (Vasu. there was nothing else blinking whatsoever. the nature of this cause is held to be unknowable for two reasons. Brahman) are non-experiential and hence unknowable then it is logically impossible to formulate a complete causal explanation of the universe if one accepts Popper’s (1959) assertion that the conjunction of universal statements with initial conditions is required for a complete causal explanation. When the dissolution of Beingness into Brahman occurs during ASCs such as samadhi. First. or a finger that cannot touch its own tip. from air.e. He thought ‘shall I send forth worlds. It is suggesting that the universe comes into existence simultaneously with the emergence of the “I” thought (the seer’s sense of beingness). 2005. air (that through which we hear and feel). As Absolute subjectivity Brahman cannot directly experience itself as a perceptible object. 3. “All that you see depends on the seer. (p. I conceived that the entire universe has manifested in the speck of my Beingness only. 38). Volume 24 . and manas also takes place. 1979. 352). Later. i. This is what is meant in the Brihadaranyaka-Upanishad when it is stated that. p.. and mind (manas) is generated (Chapple. 1992. Nisargadatta Maharaj (1987b) delivers the following affirmation: “It is a non-attentive state. you cannot think the thinker of the thought. a tongue that cannot taste itself. In a similar vein. 1979.The Theory of Simultaneous Creation (Drishti-srishti vada) Sri Ramana Maharshi (1985a. that through which we hear). the cessation of buddhi. p. p.” This sloka is an example of the doctrine of “simultaneous creation” (Drishti-srishti vada). This argument is reiterated in Baladeva’s commentary to the Vedanta-sutras of Badarayana in which he wrote. 184) stated that. 331).e. one only. this is the first miracle. and see)” (Vasu.. sense impressions relating to space-time..… The borderline between Being and NonBeingness is intellect boggling. He could also perceive Himself. it is true from the standpoint that we are human beings attempting to achieve liberation from maya).. and It devours them at pralaya. in Sri Sankaracharya’s commentary of the Bhagavad Gita it is explicitly stated that Brahman is the cause of the universe: “The Knowable supports beings during sthiti. 184). the Aitareya-Upanishad holds that. Ajata vada argues that “nothing exists except the one reality [Brahman]” which is eternal and unchanging (Maharshi. If the “initial conditions” (i. ahamkara. feel. It generates them at the time of utpatti. It follows that if one’s previously existent cognitions and mental processes are rendered non-existent at the borderline of Beingness and Brahman then Brahman is a “non-experiential state” (Maharaj. He sent forth these worlds’” (Vasu. “If the Self could perceive His own properties. the “big bang” theory). Hence. ajata vada represents a denial of the orthodox view that the universe has a cause. 37) The salient point contained in the preceding quotation is Nisargadatta Maharaj’s (1987a) reference to Brahman as a “non-knowing state” (p. 58). 1970. 72 The second reason is contained in Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’s (1987a) personal account of his experience of drishti-srishti vada: In my original non-knowing state I did not know my sense of Being. 1990.
the eye of reason. that ajata vada does affirm the reality of the universe but only when veridically perceived as an uncaused appearance in Brahman. it is an example of confusing two different modes of knowing: the eye of reason with the eye of contemplation. 1991.” Wilber (1996) argued that if one attempts to translate nondual Reality into dualistic reason.e. if the universe is an emanation of the eternal Brahman. it generates only dualistic incompatibilities” (p. by which we attain a knowledge of philosophy. on what grounds are proponents of advaita justified in asserting that the characteristics of Brahman are existence (sat). Finally. It is arguable that the expression of atemporality as the manifest content of Brahman does not necessarily preclude the existence of latencies such as temporality. 1985a). “Reason cannot grasp the essence of absolute reality. p. Furthermore. and the mind itself. p. one would be unable to recall the experience. however. and a is imperceptible. Consequently. 107). logic dictates that space-time must also be enfolded in Brahman. asserting that the causes of the universe’s past states are prior past states (Smith. “if p follows from q. One may recall that the term “advaita” translates as “nondual. b is also imperceptible. then the question. 631) does not exist. Even if. then you will create two opposites where there are in fact none. Brahman) then one should be unable to experience a delusory perception of the universe as “all space. Furthermore. by which we perceive the external world of space. and therefore each of these opposites can Why Does the Universe Exist? 73 . Wilber (1996) explicated three modes of knowing: “the eye of flesh. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. there would be nothing to recall because. thus. obviously. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. the sense of ‘p’ is contained in that of ‘q’. thus. “What is the causal explanation of the universe?” Objections to Advaita Vedanta In the present author’s view there seem to be certain logical problems with various components of the advaita doctrine. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. Consequently. logic. consciousness (chit). p. First. if one accepts that the universe cannot be a candidate for causal explanation by virtue of being an uncaused appearance in Brahman. 1995)—on the grounds that space-time and. and the universe is subject to space-time. 1991. 3). Consequently. does this not place restrictions on a metaphysical entity which is supposedly unrestricted? Furthermore. by which we arise to a knowledge of transcendent realities” (p. time. one’s long-term memory system was still functioning during this state. logical problems associated with advaita vedanta are also based on a category error. “Why does the veridically perceived universe exist?” with reference to an external causal explanation. the universe in the orthodox sense of “all space. practitioners have provided phenomenological reports of this altered state in various advaitic texts.” where p is the universe and q is Brahman. surprisingly. one is unable to address the question. This raises a further question. If a = b. if delusory perceptions are constituents of the universe—and the universe is an uncaused appearance in Brahman—then delusory perceptions are also uncaused appearances in Brahman. One may further enquire as to why a delusory perception of the universe as “all space. it must be phenomenologically contentless and therefore attributeless. one is precluded from invoking an internal causal explanation of the universe—that is. as drishti-srishti vada contends. and the eye of contemplation. Bonaventure. To quote Wittgenstein (1981/ 1922. and objects. 631) for it too must ultimately be Brahman.. 19). As Wilber (1996) stated. if as drishti-srishti vada suggests Brahman is a non-knowing state in which one’s sense of Beingness and cognitive functioning have been extinguished. 1991. then how does one come to know that such a state exists? Furthermore. regard the substance of the universe as being identical to Brahman (Maharshi. p. for the sake of argument. “Why does the universe exist?” To utilise Wilber’s (1996) terminology. then. existing in a state of latency.ignorant (ajani). Modes of Knowing and Category Errors Extrapolating from St. “Why does the universe exist?” is clearly unanswerable provided that one takes the question to mean. if Brahman is non-experiential. If Brahman is attributeless. Proponents of this theory. It is noteworthy. and bliss (ananda)? Second. Yet. 631) exists? However. if the cessation of one’s long-term memory system (a cognitive function) occurs during this state. past states and prior past states are considered delusory perceptions from an ajata vada perspective. It is arguable that modern logicians commit a category error by using rationalism rather than a posteriori knowledge of transcendent realities to address the metaphysical question. and when it tries. if Brahman is atemporal and therefore unable to ‘step’ down into time and space as the ajata vada doctrine argues. if the subject is unable to experience itself as a perceptible object and if from an advaitic standpoint everything is the subject (i.
The riddle does not exist. Extrapolating from the theory of ajata vada. Author Note The author would like to thank Stanley Krippner and Peter Baynes for valuable suggestions and comments. the initial conditions. whilst the former is a metaphysical question.g. Furthermore. thereby facilitating the recognition that sensory impressions relating to time and causality are nonveridical perceptions that take place in the mind of the ignorant (ajani). the question. Consequently. 2. Popper (1959) asserted that: To give a causal explanation of an event means to deduce a statement which describes it.. in contrast to modern logicians. “Why does the universe exist?” may not be addressed via a causal explanation because: (1) the universe in the orthodox sense of “all space. 1972. ego or sense of self (ahamkara). a complete causal explanation of the universe cannot be formulated on the grounds that the “initial conditions” (i. 187) 3. the present author suggests that a posteriori derived philosophical systems such as advaita vedanta have the potential to make a significant contribution to contemporary metaphysical debate in general and our understanding of the question. shows why reason only generates paradox when it tries to grasp God or the Absolute (p. 1998) or “state dependent” (Fischer. Volume 24 . together with certain singular statements. Conclusion It was argued there exists a lacuna in the literature with regards to an application of theories constructed a posteriori to the question.. Wittgenstein (1981/ 1922) wrote that “for an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannot be expressed. The question “Why does the universe exist?” may be differentiated from the question “How did the universe come into being?” on the grounds that. Brahman cannot be rendered an object of conscious awareness and thus experienced. that is. For instance. but not during ordinary or normal waking conscious—and is thus “state specific” (Tart. p. methods of self-inquiry (Maharshi. personal identity. 2005.” (p.g.. Bhakti and Rajas yogas) are. 1988) that are held to provide experiential knowledge regarding.g. Brahman) are unknowable. It was further contended that experiential knowledge of the manifestation and dissolution of the universe is accessible during certain ASCs associated with advaita vedanta (e. the question “Why does the universe exist?” is unanswerable because: (1) The human intellect is annihilated at the precise location at which the universe dissolves into its purported cause (a metaphysical entity referred to as Brahman).. during the various grades of samadhi. employing the human intellect for the purpose of reasoning about a metaphysical entity constitutes a category error. End Notes 1. then it can also be answered. 1991. from the standpoint of drishti-srishti vada. (2) As Absolute Subject-ivity. “Why does the universe exist?” in particular. an advocate of the advaita doctrine may argue that the aforementioned logical problems are the result of a misguided attempt to use mind to transcend mind. one experiences alterations in the “inner organ” (antahkarana) comprised of intelligence (buddhi). Karma. using as premises of the deduction one or more universal laws. “Why does the universe exist?” It was argued that.e.. Consequently. the theory of simultaneous creation and the theory of non-causality) were subsequently applied to the question. the ontology outlined in the doctrine of advaita vedanta was purportedly constructed a posteriori using metaphysical knowledge acquired through ASCs (e. “Why does the universe exist?” The present author suggests that. in essence.We have thus two different The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. It was suggested that such experiences might provide valuable insights into the external and internal causal mechanisms of the universe that are unobtainable a priori.. Two a posteriori derived creation theories associated with advaita vedanta (e.. and (2) 74 when veridically perceived the universe is an uncaused appearance in Brahman. samadhi).be rationally argued with equal plausibility-and that. the latter is a scientific cosmological question. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. If a question can be put at all.. the injunctions used by practitioners of advaita vedanta (e.g. Jnana. the nature of personal identity. Clearly the a posteriori perspective used in the present paper may be applied to other metaphysical “problems” (e. and mind (manas) and also one’s bodily awareness that may provide insight into the mindbody problem. to return to Kant. for example. One may also experience Brahman as the eternal and unchanging reality (Maharshi.g. 19). kevala nirvikalpa samadhi). 1980). 631) is held to be a delusory perception. Consequently.” time). the mind-body “problem. 1985).
1961. Guenon. (1990). Why Does the Universe Exist? 75 . Twin Lakes. (1988). (1990). Huxley. 1). (1980). Fischer. (1978).). A.). Edwards & A. New York: Oxford University Press Kaufmann.). In R. London: Arkana. 1988. Blackburn. For example. E. Easwaran. S. p.H. 796-810). p. Freeman and Company. but it must have been good. London: Chatto & Windus.). W. Hoffman. References Aurobindo.). S. 5.’ It is from universal statements in conjunction with initial conditions that we deduce the singular statement. London: Athlone. Mahayana Buddhism postulates a Transcendental Reality. 22-74). 1961. (1982). 33-47. Forman (Ed. E. which apply to the specific event in question and which I call ‘initial conditions. UK: Oxford University Press. Kabbalah: New perspectives. The Tibetan book of the great liberation. Experience and interpretation in mysticism. S. Katz. Godman (Ed. for example. Pap (Eds. UK: Oxford University Press. Chapple. 47-65.” En-Sof (Scholem. London: Arkana. P. New Haven: Yale University Press. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. Understanding mysticism (pp. Huxley. Oxford. One may also find in the literature pertaining to Taoism (Chinese mysticism) the assertion that universe was created by a Nameless principle sometimes referred to as the tao: “It was from the Nameless that Heaven and Earth sprang” (Huxley. Heidegger. ‘This thread will break’. R. 1969). (1980). The unseen seer and the field: Consciousness in Samkhya and Yoga. and mysticism. (1986).” the “Great Reality. New York: Yale University Press.C. A modern introduction to philosophy (3rd ed. P. J. Katz (Ed. see Katz (1978) and Franklin (1990). Mysticism and philosophical analysis (pp. (1981). For an excellent discussion of this ontological issue. J. An introduction to metaphysics. M. Universe (3rd ed. T. In D. (1994). The sense of subjectivity. Idel. (1996). (1995). They are (1) universal statements. The problem of pure consciousness (pp. Perennial philosophy. (1985). 383-398. The bhagavad gita. 1954. Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj. K.The initial conditions describe what is usually called the ‘cause’ of the event in question (pp. which is the “Outbreather and Inbreather of infinite universes throughout the endlessness of duration” (Evan-Wentz. UK: Oxford University Press. CT: Yale University Press. 59-60). Oxford..kinds of statement. R. Oxford. 1996. p. R. epistemology. London: Triad Grafton Books. in the writings of the Kabbalah in regard to the mystical philosophy of Jerusalem. R. 4.K. (1964). An important question is whether all of these various mystical philosophies are referring to the same metaphysical entity or whether. Bombay: Chetana.’’ Therefore my comments in this section shall be necessarily brief. Koestenbaum. and (2) singular statements. State-bound knowledge: “I can’t remember what I said last night. (1959). 12) from which emanate the ten seifrot (literally rays) which constitute the physical universe (Hoffman. Matt. Oxford. Maharshi. Y. Edwards. The bhagavad gita and its message.” the “Indifferent Unity. In S.. Forman (Ed. S.e. M.” In R. M. the One-Mind. hypotheses of the character of natural laws.). Woods (Ed. Gilson. it is held that in the beginning there is only the “Root of all Roots.). The Kabbalah: Its implications for humanistic psychology. New York: W.T. (1973). New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. (1991). Keeney. Interestingly. both of which are necessary ingredients of a complete causal explanation. 1985. Creation theories and the reality of the world. Gender differences in serial murder: A preliminary analysis.C.) (pp.T. Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry. 1980. Evans-Wentz. Scholem. 181-192). & Heide. WI: Lotus Light Publications. Many aspects of the ajata-vada doctrine have already been alluded to in a previous section of this essay entitled “Avaita Vedanta: An Overview. Idel. New Haven. 288-304). i. The problem of pure consciousness (pp. Essays of a humanist. Balsekar.).. the vast majority of mystical philosophies assert that a metaphysical entity of some kind is the cause of the universe. Man and his becoming: According to the vedanta. (1954). 44). 20.K. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. God and philosophy. C. 53-70). (1941). 9. W. Similarly. UK: Oxford University Press. New York: The Free Press. In R. Franklin. (1985a). Language. Brahman and En-sof are qualitatively distinct. R. The Oxford dictionary of philosophy (2nd ed. Why? In P. Be as you are: The teachings of Ramana Maharshi (pp. 306-11). E. B. 2. (1962).
(1993). In R.edu. Inc. York Beach. G.). P. Journal of the Brazilian Association for the Advancement of Science. UK: Element Books.). Longmead. Scholem..). 473-490). R. (pp. On the Kabbalah and its symbolism. Oxford.). In C. The spectrum of consciousness (2nd ed. & Isherwood.). ‘Two Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument”. Hollywood. Science. 17-38). Wilber. Wheaton. (1989). The nectar of the Lord’s feet: Final teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (pp. N.). The logic of scientific discovery. 4165). (1992/ 1897). Sastry. (pp. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii. (1996). Wittgenstein. in W. & Isherwood. B. 1203-1210. London: Faber & Faber. Edwards & A..au The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. (pp. The collected works of Ramana Maharshi (2nd ed. R. Shankara’s crest-jewel of discrimination (viveka chudamani) (3rd ed. Rowe. (1969). Shastri. (1969). (1979). Longmead.). (1988). Self-enquiry. In A. (1970). AUSTRALIA. L. Osborne (Ed. F. 176. India: Samata Books. 39-47).). A. P. G. IL: Quest Books. (1959). 155-162).). N. Maharshi. Eye to eye: The quest for the new paradigm (3rd ed. Philosophy of Religion. C. Vasu.). Maharaj. Beyond the Upanishads. Maharshi. C. Who am I? In A.Maharshi. (1972). R. Russell. Wainwright (eds. The nectar of the Lord’s feet: Final teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (pp. Wilber. B. B. CA: Vedanta Press. (1981). S.. (1981/1922). States of consciousness and statespecific sciences. (1979). (1985b). (1961). New York: Schocken Books. Major trends in Jewish mysticism. The existence of God—A debate. UK: Clarendon Press.). T. How to know God: The yoga aphorisms of Patanjali. In P. R. The spiritual teaching of Ramana Maharshi. Boston: Shambhala. Powell (Ed. Investigating altered states of consciousness on their own terms: A proposal for the creation of state-specific sciences. In D. New York: The Free Press. S. R. Address correspondences to the author at: School of Psychology Deakin University 221 Burwood Hwy Burwood VIC 3125. T. Tractatus logico-philosophicus. C. S. Internal and external causal explanations of the universe.) (pp. London: Hutchinson. H. Powell (Ed. (1996). York Beach. To realize the Absolute. The bhagavad gita: With the commentary of Sri Sankaracharya (7th ed. San Diego. Swinburne. K. D.). Swami. Samadhi. Email: rock@deakin. Boston: Shambhala. W.).). (1978). Direct experience of reality (Aparokshanubhuti). C. K. UK: Element Books. CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers. Prabhavananda. R. New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. C. (1995). P. H. M. Godman (Ed. 51-58). (1967). Volume 24 . The Existence of God. T. Raju. Rowe and W. 76 Shastri. (1997a). 79. The vedanta-sutras of Badarayana. & Yeats W. Maine: Samuel Weiser. S. Be as you are: The teachings of Ramana Maharshi (pp. A modern introduction to philosophy (3rd ed. K. Philosophical Studies. Phone: +613 9244 6357 Fax: +613 9244 6858.A. C. Smith. 103-116. The Indian mind: Essentials of Indian philosophy and culture. Maharshi. C. (1998). P. The ten principle upanishads (2nd ed. Scholem. CA: Vedanta Press. New York: Schocken Books. Maharaj. London: Shanti Sadan. Hollywood. 2005. Moore (Ed. & Copelston. Popper. New York: HarperSanFrancisco. (1973). Tart.). (1997b). (1959). Prabhavananda. (1987b). Maine: Samuel Weiser. 50. London: Shanti Sadan. In R.. Osborne (Ed. Matt. Madras. 37-44). London: Arkana. R. Pap (Eds. The collected works of Ramana Maharshi (2nd ed. World within the mind (yogavasishtha) (4th ed. Q. 283-310. Tart.). (1987a). The essential Kabbalah: The heart of Jewish mysticism. Metaphysical theories in Indian philosophy. London: Routledge. even Beingness has to be transcended.
offering a series of six presentations drawn from the 70-some offerings on the program. Tanna Jakubowicz (Poland) rounded out this special topics section with an inspiring call to direct action. Gennady Brevde. Vitor Rodriguez (Portugal) offered a glimpse into his clinical experience with the diagnosis and treatment of psychic attack. Vladimir Maykov. as one of the most accomplished members of the Russian transpersonal community and part of the underground transpersonal movement in the late Soviet era. These were selected for their ability to reflect the flavor of the conference and for highlighting topics that were more original in character or less widely known. Mark Burno (Russia) shared fruits from 30 years of practice using “spiritual culture” as an avenue to therapy. frankly broaching issues of power and leadership in psychotherapy training organizations.SPECIAL TOPIC: RUSSIAN SOUL: A REPORT FROM THE EUROPEAN TRANSPERSONAL ASSOCIATION Russian Soul: A Report from the European Transpersonal Association 2005 Conference in Moscow Glenn Hartelius T he 2005 European Transpersonal Association (EUROTAS) conference exemplified its theme of “Human Consciousness and Human Values in an Interconnected World. translating tirelessly between English and Russian.” The Russian Association of Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. Rupert Tower (UK) used an enchanting Russian fairy tale to lead us into the shadow. Vladimir Maykov (Russia) opened the conference by situating it in the context of a Russian transpersonal project that reaches back to antiquity. any articles in this special topic section. The following pages constitute a small tour of the conference.com Special Topic: Russian Soul 77 . with the support of several other organizations. or the EUROTAS conference can be directed to the author at payattention1@mac. He began with a fascinating clinical story that shows the practical value of an esoteric approach. and a team of volunteers guided us through four days of presentations (June 23-26). Correspondence regarding this introduction. He spoke from a uniquelyinformed vantage point. He made an insightful distinction between idealist and materialist approaches to spirituality. graciously hosted over 200 participants from more than 20 countries. Jason Wright (UK) drew on his work with addicts to weave a story of how psychological healing can grow out of rebuilding narratives that are the very fabric of “self.” Jason’s work reaches deep into theoretical and scientific realms to understand experiences of transformation he witnesses with his clients.
the more you cry. A. it becomes a spiritual being. Lihachev. which establish its origins in distant antiquity. The gap between that time and ours was bridged by a small cohort of thinkers and practitioners who escaped from Stalin’s terror and raised Russian transpersonalism from the ashes: men such as V. Gurdjieff. This symbol has been central to Russian national imagery for five hundred years.E. the Russian soul must spend its life striving to become a personality—trying to become functional in society. the theosophy of E. yielding a community in which intensive searches are conducted in many directions. In fact. and then it spends its life striving to become a spiritual being. Clearly. This rich tapestry underlies Russian thinkers and writers of recent centuries who embody within their works the principles and spirit of transpersonalism. Russian Orthodox mysticism invokes altered states of consciousness. and a contemplative phenomenon in which one’s chest begins to vibrate and shake. laying the groundwork for the founding of the Russian Association of Humanistic Psychology in 1990. it includes both a practice in which the saying of prayers is synchronized with the breath. Tuvinia. the Near East and Europe. In the end. Dostoevsky. typified by the image of St. shortly after Perestroika. In the West.M. Rather. you are left with empty nothingness.F.K. Second is a layer of Russian paganism: Celtic paganism held sway over western Russia for centuries and left its imprint. Mamardashvili. M. Blavatsky. Even though the transpersonal vision is new in the West. The continuous historical development of this transpersonal urge was interrupted early in the 20th century.N. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at www. Vertnadsky. democracy. Mihejkin.V. In May of 2002 we took a further step toward professional development with the founding of the Russian Association of Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. Many academic scientists have been drawn to this perspective. Pyatigorsky and V. there is the Russian religious philosophy of N.S. Russia has its own shamanic culture. In the modern layer. Yet it is not easy to explain our inner being. Altai. and the tradition of Russian cosmism of such visionaries as S. Transpersonalism is thus inherent in the Russian soul. Although there are many aspects to hesychasm. K. How does this wounding manifest itself? Personal development is different in Russia than in the West. there is an ancient layer of shamanism—a practice that continues in Russia to this day. the body is born. In addition. In the 1970s and 80s a broader transpersonal underground developed. Bakhtin. George lancing the dragon. The first of these is the Russian Orthodox Church. Berdyaev and L. Then there is a more modern layer.N.The Transpersonal Tradition in Russian Culture Vladimir Maykov T he transpersonal tradition is deeply rooted in Russian culture. Losev. Russia is geographically connected to Asia. 2005. I identify seven different roots of Russian transpersonalism. Volume 24 . space holds a 78 special place in Russian consciousness. The Russian transpersonal project of today is more highly professional and many-sided than ever before. market economy and declaration of human rights. In addition to Russian Christianity. it becomes a personality. lawful state. Russia. which includes the mystical doctrine of hesychasm. is poised to speak with the entire world in the common language of the transpersonal. M. Nalimov. Steiner. Together these inform the modern transpersonal project in Russia.I. Celtic pagan tradition. and Russian Orthodox Church. Tolstoy and F. Tsilokovsky. Fyodorov. But there is almost a full absence of personality in the Western sense of the word. Unlike any other country in the world. the body is born and. it is traditional in Russia.M. the anthroposophy of R. a country with centuries-old transpersonal roots. the soul behind Russian transpersonalism. with its correlatives of civil society. as the pure potentiality of life that pulls you out of bondage. as noted by the academician D. A. the existentialist writings of authors such as L. covering the last thousand years. and academician V. the Fourth Way of G. There is an archetypal wounding of the Russian soul. We can see three distinct layers underlying the Russian transpersonal tradition. First. It has been said that excavating the Russian soul is like peeling an onion: the more you penetrate its layers. there is no strict adherence to any one epistemology or theoretical framework. Yakutiya. Schestov.transpersonal. Russians experience space as open sky.P.ru The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. and Khakassiya. In Russia. Contemporary shamans live and work in places such as Buryat. through wounding.
then the key to transformation in psychotherapy is moving beyond the personal self to the process behind it: transcending the fixed ideas of self and encountering the self as an ongoing process.e. Here we meet James Hillman’s (1983) idea that you need to heal the story. a set of neurons fire Special Topic: Russian Soul 79 . I became fascinated with this as process. Les Lancaster brings together cognitive neuroscience and mysticism to explore the nature of consciousness. As I lay beside my hotel pool exhausted from looking at rocks piled up by the ancients. the assumptions about the nature and qualities of the self that are at stake remain unexamined. which occurred whilst on a lonely holiday to Turkey in 1997. From here it becomes possible to explore how the self-image of the client is organized.coretrust. and the cultural milieu from which they arise. this question opens the door to useful inquiry. and how its organization might be made secure enough to be sustained over time. and the evolution of those structures to be inherent in the character of reality. Here then we return to the inspirational images that open this short paper. What is this self that I experience? Following from the imagery above and my multidisciplinary work at the CORE Trust (note. a process that can radically change the self-experience of the client. In its raw form this basic question is an insoluble and often torturous dilemma: Should I live.co. I would view these processes as being essentially semiotic in nature — that is. Here I am thinking about process as does Pickering (1999) in terms of Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy.uk).” If the self is also such a process.” comes late in this sequence of six events that make up the perceptual process. and as imagery that helps me describe the work I have done over the last 12 years treating people who are struggling with addiction. For example. structures of activity. with the whole project held as a community. that I might want to live? Although narcissistic. onticly and diachronically secure). in the “continual creative advance of nature. not the person. it piques us with the question. The focus moves away from the artifact of this process (i. In the process of seeing an object. Lancaster identifies the fact that the process of identifying a “self. Rather. I shall use his ideas here to think about how we might generate and sustain the process of self. it occurred to me that ideas live in us as we live in the world.e. this self is an illusion. For the purposes of understanding consciousness. inadequate parenting and dysfunction. How do we approach this? What might be the mechanism of this self-process? In his book.Synthesis and Plurality: Stories of the Self Jason Wright T his essay was inspired by an epiphany. the personal self ) and into the process itself. it seems to me. Approaches to Consciousness (2004). Rather. Following Pickering’s argument. in a semiotic and narrative context.” or “I-tagging. that an image of self exists at the point where a person’s inner conscious and unconscious stories and outer stories of community and culture meet. This self-image is identified as me. or not? Here. We are the medium of ideas—they live. readers interested in learning more about CORE are encouraged to visit www. and die in us. There are six stages in Lancaster’s model of this process: 1. a London-based center that uses a holistic multi-disciplinary approach to addiction involving complementary therapies and psychotherapy (individually and in groups). From a Buddhist perspective. Lancaster recognizes the link between cognitive neuroscience approaches and mystical approaches. composed of culturally-meaningful signs—and negotiated through narrative.. how we might think about redefining those narratives. breed. In therapy this question can and often does transform into the more useful question. of course. However. What self am I. consider the following elucidation of the perceptual process as understood by Abhidhamma practice seen in conjunction with processes of consciousness as defined by cognitive neuroscience. Whitehead (1933) considers transitional processes. In this context we understand the unifying intention to all the therapies is a spiritual one: we work within a transpersonal metaphor and see the fundamental issue facing the addicted person is the choice of whether or not to live: to live even in the face of devastating early-life trauma and alienation. I was unable to sustain my image of self as a “thing” (i. However this is not a self as thing but as a process that alters with the ever-changing tides of inner and outer narrative. I work at the CORE Trust. Access to this process would then mean access to the possibility of more effective and more useful narratives. this is not simply the end of the matter.
3. She had been treated violently by both parents throughout her childhood. is to develop an overarching narrative with the client. 6. and then not in a self-disclosing manner. 4. The perceived object is incorporated in the individual’s ongoing meaning narrative. Working with a client in this way requires some skill and art at perceiving the individual content streams within the client’s narrative and then helping the client to re-weave them. The memory process responds to the input. Here we are immediately into the ground of psychotherapeutic work. offers the opportunity to decrease the reinforcing nature of the I-tag. but late in the perceptual process. the kernel of the story is here. It was not possible for her to determine the safest way to meet the needs of the CORE project as caregiver. to the thoughts of the world. The important feature to grasp is that this activity goes on outside of normal awareness. death. The goal. or the mind of God. Volume 24 . and her linkage of violence and intimacy. These are the bare bones of the personal narrative. The client presented to CORE with alcohol. memory is updated by relaying back the current perception. so she attempted to control the situation by evoking her familiar narrative cycle of non-compliance and the violence it historically evoked. B attended well during her time at CORE. and she had one sister. Concurrently in her individual therapy. including the narrative interpretation. speaking rarely. her mother was still alive. particularly with respect to difficulties in relating to people. She left home and school at age 15. chronic low self-esteem and habitual self-destructiveness. She found it difficult to talk in group. this is the moment when the I-narrative and the perceptual process come together. the client and her therapist explored issues of trust and relationship. a tendency to isolate herself. There is no literal translation for the word javana. be that in a classical psychoanalytic frame such as a Winnicott’s (1951) model of transitional space or a Hillman’s (1983. polydrug habits and difficulties with eating. 2. Finally. through meditation or other mystical processes. Identity of an “object” is established separate from the background information. Various schemata are activated through neural resonance. if there is one. Sometimes I feel as if I lend an alternate self to the client—both as a stop-gap tool for coping and as an example of the narrative reconstruction process— until such time as the client grasps the process enough to do his or her own reconstruction. and would lay down on the floor hiding her face.and are analyzed through the visual cortex.image within “me” in order to imagine differing possibilities. The sense of self is continually reinforced by registering new I-tagged perceptions into the individual-meaning narrative. The sense of I-ness is added prior to the normal waking experience of consciousness. 2005. 1996) view of narrative reconstruction or soul making from a case history to teleological soul history. Here then we are back to the key for transformational process in psychotherapy: moving beyond the personal self-image to the process behind it. In Abhidhamma this is known as javana. but it conveys an active role in the perceptual process—there is a clear transition from perceptual mechanism to narrative. with significant defining features such as violence. Through altering the relationship between the narrative of self and the narratives of experience. The advantage of studying this process from a mystical perspective such as Abhidhamma is that it points out this deconstruction of the perceptual process. Here is the experience of shared narrative ideas that is essential to developing the therapeutic work. one that 80 enables the client to cope with his or her experience creatively rather than destructively—a narrative that is open and containing rather than destructive and constraining. How does this operate in my practice as a transpersonal psychotherapist working with addicted people? The essential frame is to effect a de-identification with the self. but experienced initial ambivalence toward the community. it becomes possible to develop more effective and more useful narratives. Under mundane conditions the nature of I-tagging is powerful. In individual therapy she identified her violent and abusive experiences in childhood as causing problems. Toward the end of the fifth month. examined her difficulties with shame. B was beginning to recognize that she had agency in relationship and was not simply the victim of The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Here the CORE narrative and her personal narrative came into conflict. For Lancaster. The client’s narrative of these symptoms as drivers of her addictive behavior indicated a compatibility between her ideas and those held by CORE as an institution. and action in the world. but had gone on to work in demanding and prestigious jobs. Lancaster suggests that such deconstruction. Within the analytic frame of repetition compulsion. Her father had been deceased for 10 years. and thereby allows the possibility for a greater number of associative schemata to reach consciousness. 5. Perhaps the best way to illustrate it is with a brief clinical example: B was 41 at the time of presentation.
B. Transitional objects and transitional phenomena. Winnicott. historic experiences that had previously been unbearable began to emerge into consciousness. Wiley. In Through paediatrics to psychoanalysis (pp.). contained her and.” In B. I still have bad days when I plummet to the depths of despair and self-hatred instantaneously. (1933). Before alcohol. Shear (Eds.W. UK: Polity Press. Dogen. J. I self-harmed: burning myself. New York: Stanton Hill Press. J (1996). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. We are back to the main idea for defining self: a set of confluent narratives woven into a master narrative.). which through time and the process of the psyche develop into the image or icon called “self. She considered that she might be able to pull the parts of her self together to feel more whole. but couldn’t understand. Lancaster. Approaches to consciousness. 232–35). Firstly of course it isn’t long enough. D. Most significantly. Devall & G. Science and the modern world. someone else’s version of your narrative. Her personal narrative was being negotiated within the containing narrative framework of CORE. 232). as later did heroin. Alcohol made me not feel pain. In response she wrote: It’s very strange. 1985. She is continuing in higher education. J. Gallagher & J. 229-242). and new self-image. to read a case history of yourself.) Exeter. Over the next few months the client explored many of her intimate relationship. Cambridge.circumstance. particularly with members of her immediate family. Salt Lake City. That the myriad things advance and confirm the self is enlightenment. UT: Peregrine Smith Books. (1983). As of this moment. She was able both to contain and reveal difficult feelings and the story behind them. (Aitkin. The conflict between the two narrative streams became unbearable and she relapsed into addictive behavior.” Through deconstruction of the narrative stream it is possible to engage the underlying process and avoid over-identification with the images it throws up. The self as semiotic process. (1994). It is through the interaction of differing narratives that such changes in the client’s narrative stream were possible. cocaine and speed made me not care whether I felt pain or not. N. the client is still in psychotherapy and has remained clean for 15 months since leaving CORE. That is true liberation. As part of this process. (1985). and Deep Ecology. N. she read her own case history. trying to find a way I could cause myself more pain than what I already felt. Whitehead. stitching my fingers together. (2004). A.com References Aitken. Hillman. Deep Ecology: Living As If Nature Mattered (pp. Here we evidence a fundamental alteration of the client’s narratives in relation to herself. and cannabis. New York: Random House. I’d used alcohol for 29 years and drugs for 26…. and a deeper sense of self slowly emerged. Healing fiction. Substance free. and I am fortunate that support is available through CORE’s weekly after-care treatment that I attend. CORE. 62-83. She became capable of tolerating her experiences and re-envisioning herself. it became apparent that there wasn’t a time without the feelings that made me want to self-destruct…. she was able to bear the memory of her father’s sexual abuse. Pickering. Ultimately the newfound story. Sessions (Eds. p. London: Institute of PsychoAnalysis and Karnac Books. Another strange thing is how completely different I feel for the vast majority of the time. (1999). UK: Cambridge University Press. clean and sober life. Hillman. and perhaps to a normative narrative. “Gandhi. The souls code. However. this new and more useful selfimage better contains her narrative and her experiences. but I can contain my feelings without using. in this context. The semiotic self. Transpersonal psychotherapy is not just about the content of our being. UK: Imprint Academic. L. (1951). whilst developing a new overarching narrative in which she was no longer trapped in her circumstances as a victim. but also learning to be aware of the context within which we experience being itself. When I got to CORE. Special Topic: Russian Soul 81 . it doesn’t begin to explain the circumstances or the level of distress that I felt to start using when I was 12.Models of the Self (pp. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at jasonwright@mac. R. tranquilizers. In S. and enlightening. Through CORE I have repaired myself enough to attempt a fulfilling. bouncing my head off walls. My linear narrative didn’t start until I was nine. just fragmentary memories of agues. That the self advances and confirms the myriad things is called delusion. the client’s non-compliant behavior in group was still at issue. Cambridge.
1997). the father of a friend. You go to the teacher for help. but also possible to influence biological systems at a distance (Nelson. she cannot swim. These dangers include more than the souls of the deceased.The Psychic Defense Vitor Rodrigues I want to introduce my subject by telling you about the case of a client who came to me. then there are some dangers in these realms—even for those who are not on a path. Gradually I came to understand how these episodes were constructed and how to deal with them. parapsychology research suggests it is not only possible to influence thoughts at a distance (Radin. Within a few days the fainting spells cease. She describes that she sees a man. she is not epileptic. it will be necessary The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. They are a real feature of the spiritual dimension of human life. by causing her to faint. and 3) living persons. Some teachers naively tell you that you should meditate a lot. to expand. I speak to this man that she is experiencing. but a therapeutic strategy that involves the soul of a dead person is effective in relieving a condition that standard treatments cannot resolve. but then you hit anxiety. Dunne. the glories of penetrating other realms. and those who suffer from them need and deserve skilled assistance. Perhaps we should take seriously the possibility that these occurrences are on some level real. Jahn & Dunne 1994. However. Bradish. Dobyns & Bradish. Dalton. Then I ask. there is at least some chance that you may experience a serious breakdown.” After some further conversation. causing her to faint. 1997. I bring this young woman into deep relaxation and. it is not as important to argue about what kind of reality is represented by such processes as it is to find ways to assist those who suffer them. After giving the woman some instructions for creating a psychic defense against his unwanted presence. Although she is an excellent swimmer. to have meaning in your life. 1997. I say. She sees that at times he suddenly pulls her out of her physical body. they would be damaging to the subjects). 1997. I believe they are right—even if you do not speak about “demons. Until we have more scientific-sounding words to talk about this dynamic. From my adolescence onward. 2) other entities. many religions and traditions describe the phenomenon of psychic attack. Volume 24 . In the end. I myself had to learn a lot about psychic attacks. In any case. Here we have a scientific problem: there is no proof of an afterlife. as illustrated by the previous story. You have your moments of light. meditate more. If you follow this advice. Jahn. threatening her life. If you follow their advice. the possibil82 ity of psychic attack is something we cannot directly test for empirically due to ethical constraints (we would have to consider the fact that if the attacks were effective. he is apparently able to recall his death. 1994). Many teachers picture the wonders of conscious expansion. Her EEG and EKG are normal. she is likely to faint and end up floating facedown in the water. Medical tests detect no problem. This is all true: it is nice to learn a spiritual path. I underwent many of them over a period of 20 years. But if the folktales speak truly. even in waist-deep water. On the other hand. 1997. she cannot work or drive.” For the psychologist who encounters these phenomena.” but only about aggressive “entities. it is necessary to understand such attacks. it may happen that you end up in some trouble. Bem & Honorton. “Do you know you are dead?” The young woman reports that he says. and the young woman is able to resume her life. What such teachers say is partially true: you are dealing with your inner demons. As a result. Nelson. After a few moments. I help her approach a state where she can access information about her condition. “What do you mean? I am alive!” I ask him to remember when he died. Ostrander & Schroeder. She tells me that he had had sort of a crush on her. Then I ask her to tell me what is happening. 2005. Schlitz & Braud. In the end. In my experience there are three sources of such attacks: 1) the presences of those who have died. and he or she tells you it is only coming from inside you—so. But all religious traditions talk about outer demons as well.” “But you are harming her. using particular techniques. the man agrees to leave the young woman and goes “across” with a being of light. This is a man who had recently died. Picture an independent young woman who suddenly begins to have fainting spells. “Do you know you are harming this woman?” “No I am not! I just love her.
or a piece of clothing that has been worn for some time. that are suspended in a precise location. 2. 1997). 13. as if someone is pressing with a finger. reinforced by the folkloric beliefs of the victim. see Ostrander & Schroeder. such as a dead cat. weakness. A persistent stinging in parts of the body. 15. Unexplained illness that cannot be diagnosed by medicine. Paranoia—the feeling that someone or something is after you. blood. Left unchecked. feeling a burdensome weight. But in some ways the doll also helps the practitioner project his or her own energy and intention.g. saliva. such as rottenness. Some will try to perform interesting rituals. Part of the effect is through suggestion. some will try to project their own negative energy onto you. but no one is there. Strange pains that do not respond to painkillers. However. sperm. Another variation is a cursed stabbing knife that is placed where the victim will find it. while other clients have seen a vampire at the door. 11. what kind of a model can we use to understand outer “demons?” “Inner demons. Hearing threatening voices. 5. and “normal explanations” have Special Topic: Russian Soul 83 . However. a feeling of oppressive darkness that is darker than the absence of light. 1930. or as if some specters or demons are present—-sometimes the dream experience is one of being encaged or otherwise imprisoned). Unexplained fainting. all of these symptoms may arise from causes other than psychic attack. as if a force is preventing full return to the body that can be felt as total paralysis lasting for some minutes or even hours. but other incidents have a quality of vividness and may feel as if an octopus or some other threatening thing is grabbing the person. producing a specific pain. such as a bit of that person’s hair. are our own unfinished business—unwholesome fears. Panic attacks (while most such attacks result from stress and worry. or back of head. worry. uncontrollable emotion. it is believed that what the practitioner does to the doll will happen to the victim at a distance. it is possible that the symptom may result from such an attack. Waking up and feeling as if movement is impossible. photograph. A sound of bells that comes from nowhere. or the sensing of a threat that may occur with nausea). 16. but in my experience many people who hear voices clearly are not schizophrenic—that is. connects it to the victim in the same manner as a dajida. The intended outcome is that the negative qualities in the knife will induce the victim to use the blade to kill himself. 9. Pressure on the back of the neck.to use traditional terms—at the risk of speaking in language associated with medieval superstition. this is not so easy to accomplish. 6.. and some will ask for help from demonic entities. Fatigue. One way to understand outer demons is as subtle presences that connect with us through these inner flaws and who cultivate those flaws. 14.” of course. they are living normal productive lives and some small percentage of these may result from psychic attacks). Psychic attacks can also come from humans. Direct visions (e. these unwholesomenesses lead to evil actions. 10. Fortune. is a probable sign of schizophrenia. or a bedcover has seemed to become a python). greeds and ambitions. occurring as a sudden feeling of intense anguish or fear. a girlfriend of mine was combing her hair in front of the mirror. A dajida is a witchcraft doll prepared by the practitioner of dark arts and sympathetically connected to the victim by means of a sample. Nightmares (most are from indigestion. some are different in origin and come on when everything in life is OK. and saw black serpents in her hair. Once the connection is established. and personal problems. mostly if several symptoms like the ones above are showing up together. A sense of constriction and despair. 7. Repulsive odors. and 17. A feeling that someone is blowing on the back of your neck. 8. Sudden. then puts it some place to rot. though it is difficult to do such experiments ethically. Unfortunately I have found very few authors dealing with the matter of psychic attacks in a somewhat realistic way (Bailey. 12. 3. 4. A charge is an object filled with bad feelings and bad intentions. The rotting process is intended to have repercussions on the victim. when more conventional causes or cures do not work. Fortunately. a few related experiments have been done under laboratory conditions (for some hints at a modern version. Two of the main procedures of classic witchcraft are the dajida and the charge. Some classical experiments seem to produce interesting effects. to a psychologist. If we assume there is some kind of real phenomenon behind such reports. Naturally. Typically. Symptoms of psychic attack include the following: 1. 2001). intense. spine. nails. which of course. the sorcerer gets a cat or rat. stress.
H. 4-18.telepac. Nelson. Nelson. Cary.pt 84 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. B. Jahn. Dunne. Distant intentionality and healing: Assessing the evidence. 2005. 8(4). (1930). & Honorton. Y. This is a coincidence: moving in unity with everything. Bem. (1994). D. A. D. 471-489. Jahn. If a person such as my client wants to develop her power. J. D. New York: Lucis. (1997). J. Vulnerability to such attacks can also be decreased by the development of personal and spiritual power. (1997). Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at psicosophos@mail. W. According to the spiritual traditions of the world this different thing. York Beach. and beauty. we learn to let go of our own personalities so something different can happen spontaneously inside of us. justice. D.. which is really our soul. References Bailey. (1930/2001). M. R. & Schroeder.. Radin. G. she will have power—but she must use that power with love. G. 12(3). G. & Bradish. 62-73. B. L. Fortune. 425-454. C. J... so God’s plan is your plan. Journal of Scientific Exploration. As power develops. she must deal with her inner demons. R. (1997). 3(6). A linear pendulum experiment: Effects of operator intention on damping rate. which are omitted from this review. Schlitz. D. (1997). North Carolina: Parapsychological Association. Journal of Scientific Exploration. R. Does psi exist? Replicable evidence for an anomalous process of information transfer. Psychic self-defense. FieldREG II: Consciousness field effects: Replications and explorations. If not. New York: HarperEdge. Volume 24 . (1997). The conscious universe. Exploring the links: Creativity and psi in the Ganzfeld. Alternative Therapies. S. 115(1). Psychological Bulletin.first been ruled out. Proceedings of presented papers at the Parapsychological Association 40th Annual Convention held in Conjunction with The Society for Psychical Research. eventually it will amount to black magic: the manipulation of psychic energies for your own purposes.. ME: Samuel Weiser. Letters on occult meditation. J. Psychic discoveries. Dobyns. Bradish. If done properly. K. J.. There are specific protocols for treatment of such conditions. (1994). & Braud. & Dunne. Dalton. Ostrander.. R. New York: Marlowe & Company. will start moving in harmony with God’s plan for the purposes of love.
Such people feel the state of creative inspiration as an emission of their own bodies. Transpersonal State (Grof ). but we do not know whether the neck is male or female. there are more people of a materialistic nature of soul than in the West or the Far East. 1917). Spirit is no less important to the materialist. that is. a physician with a materialistic worldview. In Western tradition. He understood idealism as a state of captivity to altruistic ideals. Jesus is a young but wise man: wholly human. “The angels open the windows of their houses. emitting spirit. Burno T herapy by means of spiritual culture is a psychotherapeutic approach in which the leading psychotherapeutic mechanism is that of creative self-expression. This is realistic pictorial art on a religious theme. creative inspiration. an individual with a more idealistic nature will experience spirituality and creative inspiration quite differently than one with a more materialist bent. as to a receiver. therapy by means of spiritual culture may be creative inspiration that takes a more religious.On Therapy by Means of Spiritual Culture Mark E. for it is the origin of Spirit. If the face were lifelike. in accordance with one’s own nature. This session is called “Polenov and Rublev. In this way. For the idealist it must be this way: the face of Christ should not be full-blooded and alive. and psychotherapy in order to learn to express themselves creatively in harmony with their natural characterological peculiarities. Then we view an icon by Anton Roublev. In Russia. we have one image of spirit for idealists and another for materialists. to find their own psychotherapy. religious worldview. So. these then become real orienting points for following one’s own spiritual nature: one’s own nature. Self-Actualization (Maslow). This same distinction can be seen in psychotherapy. Special Topic: Russian Soul 85 . but also those with a more idealistic nature. Personal Growth (Rogers). Because of this. The nose looks rather like a duck’s bill. She says. Here is an excerpt from a group session on creative self-expression that helps individuals to feel their own outlook and understand whether they are more idealistic and religious or natural-scientific in their own nature. but is also Something emitted by ourselves.” It begins by viewing a painting by the Russian artist Vasiliy Polenov entitled “Christ and the Sinner. the famous Russian artist and monk of the 15th century. 2005). is one of the fathers of Russian clinical psychotherapy in the natural-scientific approach. With the help of many others. Idealism as a Physiologic Factor (1908). Here we see the face of Jesus. Yet the state of creative inspiration can be felt in different ways according to the nature of the particular soul. It reminds us of how the girl in Gogol’s story speaks of the stars in the sky. As such. characterology. and so forth. realistically depicted. but it is secondary: body (matter) emits spirit.” In Polenov’s picture. Alexander Yarotsky (1908. there are many intellectuals with this materialistic understanding of spirituality. For such a person. and the hair is just an inarticulate mass. the Russian notion of spirituality is broader. idealistic form. This method helps not only people of a materialistic outlook. This image of Christ is the glance of the transcendental world. 2002. In Russia. In order to live naturally. one must study one’s own natural features. Yarotsky named his classical book. Logos (Frankl). The essence of the method is as follows: The patients with painful feelings of inferiority study elements of clinical psychiatry. it includes not only what is sent to us from Above. For example. they are more in the natural-scientific stream. or it may take the natural-scientific form of creative self-expression.” So. This approach is more of an idealistic relationship to a transcendent spirituality. his or her own body is the source of spirit. The approach is different for differing patients. this state is called Freedom (Fromm). natural history. but without an idealistic. the state of creative inspiration is often understood as something sent from Above. of God. we can say that Pushkin and Chekov are spiritual writers. we would not see the stream of Spirit flowing from his eyes. Psychosynthesis (Assagioli). I have worked out this psychotherapeutic method over more than 30 years (see Burno.
Burno. 71-76. 2005. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. (2005). Volume 24 . Russky Vrach . Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. Idealizm kak fiziologichesky factor. 49-53. O psykoterapii pri hronicheskih vnutrenih boleznyah. 4(2). E. Native psychotherapy in Russia. 3(25-28). Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at Weshniakowskaja Street 4-1-101 Moscow 111402 Russia 86 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Yarotsky. M. 433-444. I. Yuruev: Yuryevsky Universitet. (1917). Therapy by means of creative self expression.References Burno. 7(1). M. A. A. Yarotsky. (1908). E. (2002). I.
bold young man. In the discussion that follows. I will examine how power and leadership are held. “now your head must come off your shoulders!” But the youth replied that it had been arranged that he should have three tries. There was a third bold young man who said he could escape him. The youth changed himself into a fly. the last one. The next day the czar issued the same challenge and again a bold young man suffered the same fate. found the youth and demanded that his head must come off his shoulders. They had a nice feast and spent the night together and tried to plan a way to escape the czar. however. shape-changing into several animals. The Black Magician Czar There was a czar who was a black magician and a very powerful ruler.” (Jung. par. but only on the third attempt. your head must come off!” The bold young man went off to hide. and then a falcon. The latter procedure. One day he gave a dinner party for all his subjects and said to them: ”Whoever can run away and hide himself from me shall have half my kingdom and my daughter as his wife. and how later generations may unconsciously carry the Shadow for the founders. and shape-changed into a grey wolf. I will also draw upon six informal qualitative interviews that I conducted with senior. the czar.” as he still had another chance to hide. the czar again consulted his magic book and discerned the youth’s hiding place. but the czar read his book of magic and found out where the youth had gone. is disagreeable and therefore not popular. hide yourself.” describes an encounter with the Shadow and how to cope with it. and then a falcon and flew in front of the czar’s daughter’s window.” Everybody who sat there remained silent and turned pale. a drill. but when she came back and saw the bold youth sitting there. The next day he went to open fields and turned himself into a blade of grass. But once again the czar consulted his magic book.K. called “The Black Magician Czar. 236-9).Creativity lies at the Edge of Disintegration: Addressing the Shadow of Power and Leadership within Psychotherapy Training Organisations Rupert Kinglake Tower “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light. flew into the palace and then became a piece Special Topic: Russian Soul I want to begin by telling you a Russian fairytale loosely taken from Marie-Louise Von Franz (1987. but by making the darkness conscious. Then he turned himself into a ring she put on her finger. He went out of the city and shape-changed into a weasel. and after my death he can rule over my whole empire. On the third day there was another dinner party and the czar made the same offer. “So. she said. and sent his servants to find him and bring him before him. The bird was not there at the time. The youth left the palace. but the youth said “No. he saw the nest of the Magovei bird (a magic bird in Russian fairy tales) on a green oak tree and dropped down into her nest. Based in large part on their experiences of encountering the Shadow during difficult transitions and periods of conflict within their organisations. and the czar let him go. across the blue sea and put him on the magician czar’s window. Flying over mountains and cliff. But a very bold young man got up and said. 335) cut off the youth’s head (and found great pleasure in his evil game). The youth departed once more. Council for Psychotherapy. took a sharp sword and 87 . “Czar. I can hide from you and escape. “All right. This tale. experienced psychotherapy colleagues outside of the Centre for Transpersonal Psychology who act as representatives for their training organisations within the Humanistic and Integrative Section of the U.” And the czar answered. a pike. Inside her room he turned himself back into a young man and had a nice private dinner with the czar’s daughter. However. Finally I wish to suggest innovative forms of holding authority and leadership for the 21st century. Tomorrow I will hunt for you and if you don’t succeed in hiding yourself. pp. 1967. and was again admitted to the czar’s daughter’s room where he turned into his own form. And he himself. She saw him and opened the window and he flew in.” he said. and the czar agreed. “What impertinence!” She seized him by the collar and flew with him out of the nest.
competitiveness. The “Black Magician Czar” describes a kind of incestuous situation between the father and the daughter where the feminine principle is a captive of the masculine principle. Now I should have half the kingdom and your daughter as my wife!” The czar could do nothing. he said. the stone flew out of her hand and there stood the youth. Meanwhile the black magician began to read and search his magic book. “Good morning. that caused a rot to gain hold from within. or anyone who dared to hold a different vision to the status quo would be isolated. which told him the youth was in the Magovei bird’s nest.” the youth said. 1990. and these shadow qualities would be projected onto the imagined perpetrators. He represents openness to a wider. but over time this gradually tipped over into a narrow form of perfectionism and inflated “magnificence” with an exaggerated focus on an organisational ideal that denied and became rapidly out of step with reality. and to acknowledge limitation–and a degree of trust in staying with the mess and chaos of a creative. Typically. Anyone that metaphorically speaking wished to “grow up” and assume responsibility for new ideas and new input that deviated from or appeared to threaten the organizational norm. One morning the maid got up and started to lay the fire. Those young men who also attempt to adopt a power attitude are swiftly beheaded. The czar himself joined in the hunt. deeper consciousness that utilises wit and emotional intelligence. p. to be unsure or unclear sometimes about where the project was going. a distinct transitional stage showed itself The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. mighty czar”. but his servants found the nest but no youth. connects us with our spontaneity. the failure to recognize faults within themselves and to discern the fantasy nature of the organisational ideal. he could no longer be alive on the earth. individually and collectively. 2005. misuses power. and on the death of the czar he was to ascend the throne. and his primary 88 motivation to possess power. They hunted and hunted. which cannot be misused by evil forces. 10). Now your head must come off your shoulders. where it felt safe enough to question. Alongside this. Any possibility of dialogue is prevented through an atmosphere of terror and dehumanisation (Biran. An organisation is an ongoing drama enacted by fallible players. Volume 24 . He is unable to recognise the limits of reality or the existence of the other. was likely to be cut down in czar-like fashion. a shameful. The interviews also showed that when an organization goes through the demise or departure of a founder. The black czar’s magical book seems to represent a closed system of magic. and lay down by the fireplace. secret underside to organisational life” (Schwartz. The czar is a diabolical “negative shadow” figure whose primary drive is to dominate and retain power. since he had not found the youth. The czar looked in his book and thought that he must be there. nastiness and destructiveness. The Abuse of Power and Authoritarian Leadership The tale of “the Black Magician Czar” expresses the debilitating effects of the ruthless drive and desire for power. Experience of power dynamics within psychotherapy organisations seemed to indicate that more often than not leaders promoted initially a visionary drive towards personal and professional excellence and integration. What seemed increasingly to be held in the Shadow in these instances were the qualities of ordinary humanness–the permission to express fallibility. The second and third day passed. and seeks possession through personal will alone. and an instinctual living basic nature of the psyche. or vulnerability. fragility. and he knows a way to approach the feminine principle so that he is helped three times. The hero in this tale succeeds because he is able to receive knowledge directly from its natural source. bold young man. “Good morning. The czar’s willingness to kill the bold freshness of ardent youth reflects a drama prevalent with an omnipotent fantasy of omniscience. processing space of not knowing. a firestone. mighty czar. there was a loss of recognition that a necessary part of being human was the acknowledgement and ownership of one’s own capacity for envy. so the two were married and had a wonderful wedding feast. The czar thought that. which contained many inherent strengths. “you have sought me for three days and had given up the search. 2003). any perceived challenge to the leaders’ authority. I have now come voluntarily. where the character of organisational life more viscerally resembles a “snakepit” in which “there must be for each of us. where the idea of the organisation as a unity (the ego ideal) contrasts radically with reality. It was the denial of this reality. immediacy. The youth became the czar’s son-in-law and got half the empire. debate. So they went back to the empire. which misinterprets the way of the feminine.” “No. She took the flint stone and rubbed it on some steel. eventually in some cases leading to organisational decay and breakdown. disagree and voice criticism.of flint.
and in open-hearted gestures of kindness and the courage of forgiveness. Buddhism and living life. 98). Jung.com Special Topic: Russian Soul 89 . The nature of leadership is no longer that of a spiritual parent to a child. devolve. There are several methods for mediating with shadow influences that can aid such a process of internal self-examination. L. However. Trans. (1987). It is within the oft unspoken. Collective leadership is yet another paradigm in which mutual interconnection configures the presence of collective leadership. N. and only then can the organization begin to remain present with what Nigel Wellings and Elizabeth McCormick refer to as “Fallow Chaos” by facing the unpalatable but unavoidable journey that “to do or be something new we must first let go of something or some part of ourselves that is old” (Wellings & McCormick. Nothing to lose: Psychotherapy. The shadow of the object. p. W. strengths and personal attributes. “Social Dreaming” is increasingly used within analytical training institutes and mainstream organisations to build a communal relationship with the Shadow and unconscious processes. Hobson. (1987). London: Free Association Books. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at rupert. (2005). 1979. Schwartz. (1967). name and respect the destructive and creative forces of the personal and archetypal Shadow that will always be present in some form or another within our organisational life. Narcissistic process and corporate decay: The theory of the organisational ideal.). Hull. The Servant-leader within: A transformative path (H. Eds. In R.amidst the vacuum and chaos.). 2005). 36(4). The collected works of C.tower@btopenworld. (GordonLawrence. (2) the Enlightenment. E. Greenleaf. The Jungian analyst Robert Hobson calls this the “therapeutic community disease” (Hobson. J. that possibility lies to co-habit more fruitfully with our Shadow sides and remain open to our unruly complexity amidst all its savagery and beauty. (2003). Spears. 2005. but outer groups are constellated. New York: Paulist Press. New York: New York University Press. 1987) of the transcendent function can reveal itself. there seems to be inner cohesion. Shadow and evil in fairytales. London: SPCK Publishing. and the Shadow goes underground. Von Franz. 13.J. Princeton. TX: Spring Publications. References Biran. H. rage and mourning for what was lost with the original founder has to be faced. Introduction to social dreaming: Transforming thinking. inevitably the pain. R.). The saviour fantasy must be relinquished. N. and disillusionment. p. Dallas. H. G. Therapeutic Communities (pp. Group Analysis. and (3) the Catastrophe. & McCormick. transformational philosophy to life and work – in essence a way of being – that is committed to an individual’s personal growth within organisations and promotes a sense of community (Greenleaf. Alchemical studies (Bollingen Series 20. (1991). prior to finding a reframed identity. It is in the holding of the tensions of these polarities that the “unthought known” (Bollas. (1979). There is an African proverb that holding power is like holding an egg. R. M-L. C. 2003). and it may break. death.: Princeton University Press. 1991). where difference. The Messianic community. individual differences and anxieties are denied. G. Hinshelwood & N. allowing leadership to shift. Beazley. 232).” London: Continuum. R. Another emerging approach to leadership and service is “servant-leadership” which emphasises an ethical awareness and appropriate use of power by the encouragement of a long-term. hold it too tightly. London: Karnac. Wellings. messiness and diverse ideas remain and flourish but are held. Gordon. Perry. a potential Saviour Hero who will bring revitalizing purpose to the organization. (2005). Hold it too loosely. but of peer to peer. unassuming acts of determination to bear difference. (1990). C. Jung: Vol. (2003). Beggs. Bollas. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Manning. C. (Eds. breakdown and usually unnamed destructive components of the process force themselves into consciousness (Perry. 490-502. C. Initially a period of intellectual stimulation follows. A gifted individual steps forward within the vacuum with revolutionary ideas opposed to the original Vision and is experienced by self and others as magical. The difficulty of transforming terror into dialogue. He outlines three phases: (1) The coming of the Messiah. F. unnoticed. C. 103-112). & L. Listen to the voice within: A Jungian approach to pastoral care. and be shared by individuals that are able to provide many differing qualities of leadership in differing circumstances according to their particular style. and it may drop and fall. Creative methods such as these may help us to own.
both rich and poor nations are left spiritually bereft. We need politics of awareness based on morality and a new morality based on love for all living beings. My concern is how to make this world a better place to live. oppression and wars—the emptiness inside us that leads us to reach for everything outside us. Volume 24 . In this way. breathe together.” In my vision I saw that the most urgent and beautiful task is helping people to tap into a deep source of spiritual abundance. speaking at Harvard University. Ain Sof. finally arriving at this place with no name. cultures there is an essential similarity. We can all see that transpersonal and holistic awareness is becoming more popular. “We are the ones we have been waiting for. battling for spheres of influence and control over territories and human minds. Deep down in the ground there are the same seeds of truth. I might confess that I practice the religion of love. There are no spectators in this struggle. “The future is brought into the present by people who conspire together—that is. anger. As Eyad 90 el Sarraj (2002) observed. The old order is a fragmented world based on the illusion of separateness. if not all. How can we respond to this situation? How do we heal and seal the hole in the soul of our society? As Ian Gordon Brown (1994) used to say. Why? Because this is the right answer to the burning problems of the world and the painful dilemma of being human. We have an ongoing history of genocide and holocausts—a long chain of cruel wars between oppressors and victims. set by unitive consciousness. 2005. The new order. Czech president Vaclav Havel.We Were Made for These Times Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount H aving Jewish roots. peace and justice. who are left naked like slaves and beggars of a “better” world. It takes new moral energy to create new political will. something that could be made—if the will to do so existed—a genuinely unifying starting point for that new code of human coexistence that would be firmly anchored in the great diversity of human traditions” (1995). we feel relieved and happy. we see two struggling forces. The real pain in the lives of most people may not be about starvation as much as about lacking trust—a deprivation of higher purpose and meaning. wisdom. fear. I have followed many paths. Earth is being devoured because most people are disconnected from the Source of Life. “The hopelessness that comes from a situation that keeps getting worse. lying dormant in the deepest roots of most. I imagine this work to be one of supporting already-existing trends in our culture such as: 1. it has great impact on the entire human civilization. drawing from old spiritual traditions. When we look at the world from an eagle’s eye view.” Even if spiritual emptiness is a phenomenon particular to the West. to conquer other territories and exploit natural resources. This is the cause of deep despair. thirsty. said. It is the spiritual starvation of the so-called developed world that causes physical poverty and starvation in underdeveloped nations. uprooted from the earth. We need to establish direct connection between our spiritual practice and service for the world. transformation and reconciliation. Holy Spirit. [is] a despair where living becomes no different than dying. unsated. In this state of mind we can embrace and respect all diversities as a manifestation of the One. willing to contribute to common goodness. compassion. Promoting the renaissance of holistic culture. cultivating the real nature of man as a manifestation of the The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. thereby stripping of natural dignity and spirituality the inhabitants. because re+ligare means reconnecting and love has the greatest bonding power. In practical terms. studying mysical Judaism. spiritually homeless. equally important work is to learn how to transform and reconcile inner conflict so we do not cast our shadow on the world. These “developed” societies pump natural resources out of the soil of the Third World and dump back their junk and toxic waste. love. But if you ask me what I believe in.” A saying attributed to the Hopi Indians says. Great Spirit are among the many names for this one ground from which all life springs. My intention is to join all people who are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now and who are awake enough to contribute to the process of healing. perceives the world as one organism based on the shared ground underlying all spiritual traditions. “I am persuaded again and again that. and victims who become oppressors. A second. When we are deeply connected to the whole. Buddhism and shamanism.
(1994). Suicide bombers: Dignity. 2005.php?name =News&file=print&sid=193. Indra’s diamond net is an ancient vision of the world in which all beings have the nature of a diamond. Journal of Palestine Studies. The tribal human is preoccupied mostly with the tribal drives of the first three chakras—basically having to do with territory and survival. (1995). 2005 Havel. and the need for hope. Brochure of the third conference. and to bring in more love and respect for the Earth and all living beings. and 6. In the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Co-creating a new code of co-existence based on the values that underlie the great spiritual traditions.true nature of all creation.en.html. The guardians of the old order are very well armed and organized. http://peaceuk. reclaiming the sacredness of life and death.co. http://www. “we were made for these times” (2003). (2003).co. My idea is to create INDRA-net. We need to think about what kind of actions we can develop. My personal vision is to set up a network of international action so we can inspire each other to do this most urgent work with the people who are within our reach. References Brown. “Letter to a young activist during troubled times. I. C.” http://www. so more people can gain access to spiritual experiences.uk.com. London. retrieved July 31. el Sarraj. standing for International Direct Radiant Action Network. Enhancing the evolution of humankind from homo tribus to homo holos. 5.html.com/estes. retrieved July 30. and exist in a boundless network of reflections and relationships.znak. Address delivered at Harvard University. 3. Inspiring new women’s movements to reclaim feminine power and wisdom. P. We need to encourage each other to intensify our activities and make them more effective. 2. retrieved July 30. and embrace the entire Earth community.pl Special Topic: Russian Soul 91 . V. G. This is our opportunity to trigger the tipping point. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at mandala@mandala. I believe we have a special responsibility in this time in history. despair.uk/ archive /modules. Supporting culture and communication without violence. 4.mdl-net. Developing the politics of awareness. 31(4).pl/eurodialog/ed/0/havel. 2005 Estes. European Transpersonal Association.x.mavenproductions. (2002). E. fostering a new sense of planetary consciousness that is interfaith and multicultural. to transform a minority perception into a majority embrace. The holistic human is able to raise awareness to the heart and the crown chakra level. and find their way home.
Surface and depth closer even than skin and flesh. and get it all dribbling right on top of you. But here’s the thing: her whole mode of interaction with the world is seduction. no floor at all. She’s even a tantric. 1976. meet in a jiffy. So do not trust. 92 This is unrelationship. Kidder Sounds like an ideal solution. repairing all my kinks and crevices. here enough? Who else could drop dyadic partnership (ugh. to engage her? So I wrote this love letter. then. Ah. or never. In preparation I have cleansed myself so staunchly. to tell safe from sex. right? Grand elusion’s game. Flirt is just joydreadful. an earnest young man. pretty much that’s what happens. the ball as it hits the gut strings. Volume 24 . (Trungpa. But maybe it wouldn’t be that much fun. Instead of impulsively making a move from your side. and do tell me your name again. If you trust you are in Others’ hands. let’s hope I’m a good dancer. she’s a beauty queen. betrays. No means to measure sweet or slimy. seduces. . Elusive. exceptionally sensual. only nothing happened. It is like the single yak That defeats the wolves. Short: no time for “pure” or “need” or “fear” before it all moves off away. have been wondering and wondering how you and I might truly meet. would turn the sweet free flow of flirt into an embarrassed stain. there is still ordinary life and ordinary desire. So she hides. distorts. as Trungpa’s own love story. Already perfect. who will stay with us all the way through? Elsewhere he writes: Do not trust. . is that a psychiatrist’s evaluation?). It was flirt. I. someone’s blood suddenly all sticky between your fingers. And who will flirt with me? Maybe only Kat. it’s as if you give it all away every second. Dear Kat. change minds forty times by tiffin. But then it struck me that there might be something else: dancing in space. . And in that absence she is as present as ever. Who else is pink enough. does anything ever land? And how. sanding down the dance floor so that our dear feet wouldn’t get scuffed as we fox-trot up and back the hall. which is learning to dance with the situation. so anybody’s promising would wreck the scene. a heap smart.READERS’ COMMENTARY A Love Letter Kidder Smith Bowdoin College Suppose you see right through someone and that person does not want you to see right through and becomes horrified and runs away…. The above comes from a great loneliness. Here is the first. Yet after all. sweetheart. 2005. When you want something very badly. I read The Myth of Freedom autobiographically. fabricates. and it tries to be all so exalted. pp. 88-89) So I fell for Kathleen. that of the romantic. Sure. owned only in the sense that her smile seemed once to belong to her. you do not extend your eye and hand automatically: you just admire. Who will really play with him. and slam your breakfast clear against the wall? Much love. you allow a move from the other side. all delight and horror on the spot: nothing implies nothing. So I wrote some codas. gone enough. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Remaining in solitude You can never be defeated.
pp. don’t use your skin. Timely rain—Selected poetry of Chogyam Trungpa. When the goddess is seductive. And the goddess can make love with the goddess. deep trust. and so is Kidder’s tender joy. Jesus emerges from her. And. * * * A friend of mine read this letter. dakini comes up behind and tweaks her boo. 1998. is her intense refinement into pure love. in her red turtleneck and jeans. earth. all the faces of love. that of Jesus. I must ask her at some point. whose water. a sky-goer. reuniting from within. such a flirt! What does Kathleen want? To be the single yakini. the goddess. giving and receiving. References Trungpa. For Kali is ultimate love. drop your arm. Kathleen writes: Is there anyone who will ensure that your corpse will be taken off the hook on the wall behind Ereshkigal’s throne. What does Kidder want? Ah. holding all warm forms. he dwells in the secret interstices of her womb. * * * There is one more coda. swaying. with full breasts and hips. And in the end Kathleen didn’t want to play. He wants it all: unrelationship’s brutal beauty. sisterhood. he is the emptiness aspect of her forms. Boston: Shambhala Publications. (Trungpa. * * * So Jesus wins this hand.edu Reader’s Commentry 93 . * * * Perhaps a bit demanding. so sharpened. And when they sex. Boston: Shambhala Publications. I hold you. May I have this dance. * * * The Last Word There is no last word. Yes. If the goddess is love. yes. and brought to the surface again? Yes. In the goddess that she is. C. playflirt. She can run from the truck’s interior designs. where is up or down? What wind. Jesus. 13-14). You don’t see the giggle. break open the huge churning barrel of the truck. where bliss is pain is bliss. nor can there be a resolution in this. Drop the tools more. yes. no. invocation of trust. (1976). in my love. When she has urgent play. dissolving at touch. That’s a progression. and surely beyond telling. transshaping. hard for humans to hear. swirl and swirl and swirl. calling. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at kidder@bowdoin. such romantic longing. he’s twenty-two. his clear radiance and gentle voice. It is still so serious. kindness. T. all at once. Trungpa. Ah. such an invitation. genderless. in and out of key. Kathleen. the large truck of almost-flying concoctions. Never. he shows up in all places. who is who is who? Which rain falls. Kat? Ever in the big truth. holding Kathleen’s warm hand. The flirtdreadjoy is a place of shaking invisible sheets. If the goddess glows her fullness. That’s the point. side by side. It is a very deep passion. is primal That. whispers Jesus. it is more compelling to her insides. always is: the sex of the ocean with the ocean. fed the food and water of rebirth. let that sway of your hairs dissolve into her body. When she is silent. he’s blushing. has no necessity of further opening. to trust. C. The goddess is his first manifestation. I will come for you over and over and over until your immortal soul no longer needs me. Kat flutters there in her constant pure aversion. If the goddess is all places at once. So here is the second coda. that of the goddess and dakini. so fine. and in the love that she is. moving outward toward the human realm. look out for the tiny razors. there it will splash for so long she will BATHE in it. your tools. yes. his speech splashes like light warm June drops of rain. no. trust your hairs. the sea that never breaks. I cannot say. but if you spill the materials. If the goddess is form. he emails me: It is so fine. never trust. almost ancient tools. The myth of freedom and the way of meditation. with your well-sharpened. yes. churning. (1998). that’s all. But Kidder is also dakini.For trust is surrendering oneself. But what if Kali’s cutting isn’t the only play? What if Kat and I were both the goddess. bringing life as well as death. he is utter stillness. he dances her love songs. turning her head to giggle when you are there admiring her loud HARKING neck. and maybe in a human partner. maybe. Trungpa.
Glenn Hartelius (United States) is a mind/body theorist. Burton Daniels (United States) has been a counselor since 1987. Volume 24 . Russian and other Slavic languages. the Nursing School of Evora. he founded an international project to publish transpersonal psychology texts in Russian. reviews and popular culture essays for newspapers and magazines.ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS Mark Burno (Russia) holds a Doctor of Medical Science degree and is professor in the Department of Psychotherapy of the Russian Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education in Moscow and president of the Professional Psychotherapeutic League (national umbrella organization of the psychotherapists of Russia). literature.S. in Gestalt Therapy and Bioenergetics. His most recent books are: Grace in the Desert: Awakening to the Gifts of Monastic Life (2004) and Just Below the Water Line: Selected Poems (2004). human embodiment.D. His research interests include altered states of consciousness. Avatar Adi Da Samraj. as former vice-president of the European Transpersonal Association. (Russia) is a leader of transpersonal studies in Russia. He received a master’s degrees in psychology from Sonoma State University and Argosy University. Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount (Poland) is a psychotherapist specializing in transpersonal therapy. 2005. the ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery. He has been a practitioner of Adidam since 1983 and currently lives in the ashram of his spiritual master. He is the author of eight books and has taught at the University of Lisbon.D. and the University of Algarve Faculty of Medicine. through which he has edited approximately 50 books. Vitor Rodrigues (Portugal) has a private psychology/ psychotherapy practice and is president of both the European Transpersonal Association and the Portuguese-Brazilian Transpersonal Association. Dennis Patrick Slattery (United States) is Core Faculty in the Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology Programs at Pacifica Graduate Institute. French. clinician and teacher. has developed and taught more than 20 training programs in transpersonal therapy. 94 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Adam Rock (Australia) received a Ph. in East-West psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She is president of the Polish Transpersonal Forum and. He has 234 published works in English. in psychology from Charles Sturt University in 2005. as well as author or editor of eight books on psychology. He also founded the Transpersonal Institute in 1994 and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in 1997. He regularly lectures and conducts workshops and journalistic interviews on transpersonal subjects. and philosophical problems associated with psychology. He was one of the first Soviet teachers of transpersonal psychology and. Vladimir Maykov. she organized the fourth European Transpersonal Conference in Warsaw in 1997.D. In addition to authoring several books. He has taught for 37 years. Ph. and serves as president of the Russian Association for Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. and is currently working as a family therapist. and poetry. She holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Warsaw University and completed postgraduate studies in the U. He has had a wide range of training from psychodynamic to transpersonal psychotherapy. He has a particular interest in developing critical methodologies for the felt sense. is author of over 225 articles. He is completing a Ph. since 1990.
He has also taught at various schools and companies for nearly a decade. It was a Book of the Year in the Independent (UK) newspaper.D. He is married with a 2 year old son. Steve Taylor (United Kingdom) Steve Taylor teaches at the University of Manchester and Salford College. (United States) is a long-time Zen student in the tradition of the Diamond Sangha and now practices at Ring of Bone Zendo. he has led process groups with addicts. 22. acupuncture and spiritual healing). and the British Journal of Social Psychology. with a foreword by Stanley Krippner. including The Journal of Consciousness Studies. He is also the director of the Section for the Evaluation of Complementary Medicine at Freiburg University Hospital.D. As a UK Council for Psychotherapy registered psychotherapist. Rupert Tower (United Kingdom) is a UK Council for Psychotherapy Registered Transpersonal Psychotherapist working in private practice and Director of the Centre for Transpersonal Psychology based in London. His essay Primal Spirituality and the Onto/Phylo Fallacy appeared in IJTS vol. and director of the European office of the Samueli Institute. the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research. the Journal of DH Lawrence Studies and New Renaissance. He lives and teaches in Oakland. where he is researching numinous and essential experience in actor training and performance. The Fall: the Evidence for a Golden Age. He is the author of a study of time perception. He has also worked extensively on the medieval genres of the chivalric quest and has investigated Amazonian medicines in Peru. editor of the journal. Harald Walach (Germany/United Kingdom) is a research professor in psychology with the University of Northampton. In addition. He is currently Chair for The Centre of Transpersonal Psychology and Clinical Director for the CORE Trust.D. Jason Wright (United Kingdom) is a transpersonal and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Germany. He holds positions as a board member for both the European Transpersonal Association and The College of Psychoanalysts. England. He trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts and has appeared in leading roles at various theatres. published in Radical Spirit: Spiritual Writings from the Voices of Tomorrow. This may be the last paper he writes for some time. M. in clinical psychology and a Ph. He has worked in management roles over the last 20 years in the arts and qualitative marketing. in theory and history of science. His essays and articles have appeared in a variety of publications. where he has conducted work in the evaluation and conceptual foundations of complementary medicine (mainly homeopathy. he trained in Holotropic Breathwork with Stanislav Grof and Tav Sparks and is the author of an article on this experience. was recently published by O books. Recently his research interests have covered mindfulness meditation and spirituality. His book. Research in Complementary Medicine/Forschende Komplementärmedizin. 6000 Years of Insanity and the Dawning of a New Era. He has presented and published research papers for the UK Market Research Society. focusing on leadership and organizational/group dynamics. Ashley Wain (Australia) is a Ph. he has held the office of Chair of the Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic section. About the Contributors 95 . and is on the editorial board of a number of journals in the area of complementary medicine. He is cofounder and vice president of the German Association of Transpersonal Psychology. He holds a Ph. and has a private practice in central London. Out of Time (Paupers' Press. and a new baby boy. as well as devised and directed performances. and has been called "an astonishing work" (Colin Wilson) and "one of the most notable works of the first years of our century which I am convinced will become one of the most important books of the whole century" (Elias Capriles). More recently. California.Kidder Smith (United States) is Professor of History and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College where he teaches courses on East Asian cultures and religions. UK).A. Robert Tindall. candidate in social ecology at the School of Contemporary Arts at the University of Western Sydney.
USA S. Associate Professor University of Detroit Mercy BOARD OF EDITORS Manuel Almendro.D. Canada John Welwood. 2005. USA David Fontana. USA Søren Brier. USA Rosanna Vitale. Germany Laura Boggio Gilot. Poland James Fadiman. K. MacDonald. Spain Liora Birnbaum. Denmark Mario Simões.BOARD OF EDITORS Harris Friedman. USA 96 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. USA Bruno Just. Australia Sean Kelly. Canada Olga Louchakova. Great Britain John Davis. Venezuela Michael Daniels.D. Norway Daniel Holland. Professor Emeritus Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center Douglas A. Ph. Volume 24 . Canada/USA Jeffrey Kuentzel. Denmark Elias Capriles. USA Axel Randrup. Australia Wlodzislaw Duch. USA Don Diespecker. Portugal Charles Tart. India Charles Laughlin. Ph. Israel Jacek Brewczynski. Great Britain Joachim Galuska. Kiran Kumar. Italy Loyd Henriksen.
The Journal is committed to maintaining a focus on transpersonal experience. responses. Articles published in this section embody eclectic topics of study and/or approaches to inquiry and expression. research. history of transpersonal studies. methodological. emphasis is given to the publication of articles from a spectrum of international contributors.. health care. issues important to the development of transpersonal studies (e. Ideally. However. medicine. methodological. psychology. expanded self/identity.. The IJTS publishes original theoretical. concepts. and artistic articles which focus upon topics falling within the domain of transpersonal studies. that is. and postmodern perspectives on transpersonal studies. IJTS is committed to ensure that the fullest possible range of approaches to inquiry and expression are represented in the articles published. and music). organizational systems. ecology. and practice/application will find representation in each edition of the journal. Examples of potential themes/topics include the following: Qualitative and quantitative methodologies in transpersonal studies. applications of transpersonal theory and/or practice (e. practice. 97 . Though there is no restriction on who may publish in the IJTS. related to global sustainability. and cross-disciplinary pluralism. ecstatic experience. contributions of specific disciplines to transpersonal studies (e. Each edition of the IJTS consists of three sections: General: The General section is dedicated to original articles of high quality which are judged to be of potential interest to a wide audience of readers. also included are reviews of notable recently published books. and human potential.g. practice-oriented. and psychotherapy). and comments to articles published in IJTS. sociology. articles from other journals. and discourse in the area of transpersonal studies. a diversity of articles on theory. Transpersonal studies may be generally described as a multidisciplinary movement concerned with the exploration of higher consciousness.g. research. systems of knowing. art. transpersonal approaches in anthropology. analytic.g. entheogenic/psychedelic research. biology. conceptions of consciousness. Emphasis is given to reader comments that are scholarly in nature and which clarify and/or extend concepts and/or ideas discussed in published articles.g.EDITORIAL POLICY AND MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION GUIDELINES The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies (IJTS) is dedicated to theory. empirical (both qualitative and quantitative). Special Topics: The second section contains several articles dedicated to a specific theme or topic germane to transpersonal studies. and practices while embracing theoretical.. spirituality. Reader Comments: A third section of the journal is dedicated primarily to reader reactions. professional conferences). transpersonal studies in designated geographically or politically bounded areas such as in Europe or China). and special events (e..
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