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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 .
Adi Da Samraj (1991. and the will. but a work of extraordinary value for both science and spirituality. and fully explicated by David Loy (1998). even the nondual reality that serves as its ultimate ground and final denouement. Perhaps nowhere in transpersonal psychology has nondualism received a more thoughtful treatment than in Wilber’s (1995. either do not include or else misrepresent the revelation of a contemporary spiritual master crucial to the understanding of nondualism. Nondualism and the Divine Domain 1 . Nonetheless. These stages progress through a potential sequence of human maturation. which has been perhaps most prolifically advocated by Ken Wilber (1995. lucidly. 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. for all its scope and remarkable cogency. However. but also a dimension of nondualism not found in any previous spiritual revelation. which is frequently confused in transpersonal psychology: nondualism. Fifth Stage: Spiritual or Yogi ascent of attention into psychic dimensions of the being and mystical experience of the higher brain. Humanity has benefited immeasurably from his work. and beautifully about nondual reality. Third Stage: integration of the psycho-physical personality and development of the verbal mind. lucidly. 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. 2000a) spectrum/quadrant theory.Nondualism and the Divine Domain Burton Daniels This paper claims that the ultimate issue confronting transpersonal theory is that of nondualism. 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. spiritual growth. Wilber has written extensively. His body of work covers a sprawling expanse of spiritual literature and can be deemed not only a mammoth undertaking. and beautifully about nondual reality. pp. organizing the vast expanse of existence into four fundamental dimensions: interior and exterior. these scholarly accounts of nondual reality. 2000b) has also written extensively. 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. His quadrant theory goes on to elaborate on this depiction of consciousness. His passages on God and Spirit are carefully crafted and offered lovingly. Avatar Adi Da not only offers a greater differentiation of nondual reality than can be found in contemporary scholarly texts. philosophical. 2000b. 385-390): First Stage: individuation and adaptation to the physical body. as well as individual and collective. Wilber initially posited a spectrum theory of consciousness. not only because of their prodigious scope. Second Stage: socialization and adaptation to the emotional-sexual (or feeling) dimension of being. The revelation of this spiritual reality has a long history in the spiritual traditions. but also because of the sub- tle and profound realizations inherent within them. 2000a). His synthesis of spiritual revelation from the various traditions of humanity’s great saints and sages is remarkable. discriminative intelligence. Fourth Stage: ego-surrendering devotion to the Divine Person and purification of body-based point of view through reception of Divine Spirit-Force. in which he integrates all psychological. and Divine Enlightenment in any given individual’s life (see Adi Da. it is not unprecedented. T he purpose of this paper is to clarify the fundamental nature of reality. 103-131. The Ruchira Avatar.
as well as Mahayana Buddhism (Suzuki. Sartre’s non-positional consciousness (1957). however. to be separate from all conditional phenomena). Husserl’s transcendental ego (1960). 20). 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. 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. p.. it manifests in different degrees of awareness and self-realization. the nonbeing of ‘I. 1990). considerable correlation exists between Wilber’s spectrum theory and Avatar Adi Da’s seven stages of life. Upon examination. However. 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. a unity transcending any sense of duality. the “big mind” of Zen Buddhism (Muzuka. The reflection appears to be selfexistent but has. virtually mirroring that of Avatar Adi Da. in reality. Although nondualism is frequently used to refer to the relationship between Self and self. In fact. Assogioli described the S/self this way: “There are not really two selves. p. human beings can be most fundamentally described as consisting of two aspects: lower self and deeper Self. This set of circumstances might tend to confuse 2 the reader who is not well-informed about the seventh stage of life. 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. not a new and different light but a projection of its luminous source” (1965. in other words. Indeed. By this. or the “buddhi” of yoga psychology (Rama. other descriptions of the Self in Western philosophy typically fare no better—for example.’ So complete is this union that it may be called ‘nondual’. 1962). Better descriptions can be found in the tenets of Eastern spirituality— for example. This passage indicates the kind of confusion obscuring a true understanding of nondualism. It is. Even so. Not recognizing this difference has serious consequences for any understanding of nondualism. 45). However. it would be useful to consider these differences more closely. Unfortunately. S/self and the Divine Domain Relative to spiritual reality. Consequently. 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). 2005. the Great Path of Return only ends up obscuring a true understanding of nondual Enlightenment— precisely because its essential dynamic happens elsewhere. aspects of one’s being—what Jung (1919. it is meant that psychic structure involves a concomitant interface between two entirely different. and Hegel’s soul (1993). In fact. 1969). They are so fundamentally related that a true break in that relationship would mean personal annihilation. this depiction gives only a limited and inadequate account of unmanifest.2 Further. 1964) referred to as the Self and the ego. et al. Yet. 1997. this relationship cannot be so simply stated. this amalgam of lower self and deeper Self can be best indicated by the following nomenclature: the S/self. out of which manifest existence arises. Further. Wilber’s meticulous and detailed account of these stages of life is probably unsurpassed in the history of human ideas. Jung’s description of the Self is frequently vague and inexact. yet intimately connected. it most accurately—and most auspiciously—refers to the rela- The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. or separation” (Firman & Gila. isolation. for the essential dynamic of this process happens elsewhere. Wilber and Avatar Adi Da are essentially in accord relative to the first six stages of life. this depiction of S/self has significant implications for the understanding of nondualism. 1999). to use the term in this way is misleading. The Self is one. Because Wilber’s account of nondual reality exists within an impressive overall theory of consciousness. the Great Path of Return of the spiritual traditions can be seen as not only inadequate to account for true nondual Enlightenment. two independent and separate entities. and his prominence within the transpersonal community has been established thereby. Although his quadrant theory has certain difficulties (Daniels. nondual reality. his spectrum theory is a superlative treatment of the first six stages of life. Conze. but actually incidental to that purpose.Sixth Stage: Identification with ConsciousnessItself (presumed. Volume 24 . 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. no autonomous substantiality. 1998).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. 1968.
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. philosophy. In this orientation. it represents the least of what could be called “lesser” enlightenments.. what has been called the identity of phenomena and Absolute. including not only Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. pp.) usually expands to encompass all conceptual thinking. Yet. you’re dead. or the Mahayana equation of samsara and nirvana. Overall. impure. Platonic Forms).e. the New Age movement has sought to usher in what amounts Nondualism and the Divine Domain 3 . dualistic thinking separates the nonseparate unity of reality into component parts or categories (i. the subtle and essentially spiritual domains of human development. The Divine Reality of ultimate nondualism is not realized by virtue of the self more accurately approximating the Self. the nonplurality of the world. and so on. although the passage by Loy suggests that different “types” of nondualism are possible.tionship between S/self and God. and. 1991). Rather. Typically. pure vs.… This leads to the third sense of nonduality. However. perception. indeed. 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. Nondual reality has been expressed in numerous texts from various spiritual traditions. this depiction is a startling misnomer. In other words. pp. there actually are different kinds of nondualism. 178) In other words. nonbeing. for such thinking acts as a superimposition which distorts our immediate experience. the denial that subject and object are truly distinguishable…which is…the root delusion that needs to be overcome. Avatar Adi Da (2000b. Dharmakaya. even going beyond that mentioned by Loy. in the process. Consequently.” These orientations to reality summarize all of the possible perspectives of the various traditions of psychology. God is paired with either the world or the psyche (e. the possibility of a mystical unity between God and man.” This point of view accounts for all the bodilybased and mortal beliefs about existence. the defining principle could perhaps be put like this: “What you see is what you get”—or else perhaps this: “When you’re dead.” “Conventional Dualism. the period in which this faculty of mind first most fully emerged in the West was dubbed the “Age of Enlightenment” (Tarnas. 17.” the world or domain of nature is all that exists.. According to the point of view of “Conventional Monism. Indeed. As a result. what is actually referred to by this passage is a single account of nondualism. etc. the One Mind. Consequently. “Conventional Dualism” interjects an awareness and appreciation of spiritual reality into that which is merely physical. which is God-realization (Griffiths.” “Primary Dualism. but certain texts of Taoism. the individual traverses an immense hierarchy of existence until they finally ascend to the pinnacle of salvation. especially as it culminates in the third stage of life and the development of the rational mind. ultimately.. 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. behavior. applicable to the different aspects of any individual: cognition. Following upon this stage. According to this point of view. being absorbed into God. That is why we experience the world dualistically in the second sense. 1991). which. second. ultimately. Reality is a material unity of natural laws and processes. Recently. or else actualizing the self. It actual fact. their very Being.” “Secondary Non-Dualism. includes God. However. It motivates the individual to struggle and search for fulfillment in the context of the first three stages of life. the “goal” of each lesser (or dependent) half is to submit (and eventually ascend) to the greater (or higher) half. Divine Reality is realized by eliminating the S/self—and. variously called Brahman. 1998.” and “Ultimate NonDualism. The critique of thinking that employs dualistic categories (being vs.g. These orientations can be described according to several features typically attributed to nondualism. the “Good”). as a collection of discrete objects (including me) interacting causally in space and time. and spirituality. reversing the process. which can also be expressed as “the nonduality of duality and nonduality”. and the non-difference of subject and object…although there [are] two other nondualities which are also closely related: first.e. the world is made up of a number of principal pairs. (Loy. by eliminating this separation. This process takes place within the fourth and fifth stages of life. 144-153) indicates that there are five possible orientations to reality: “Conventional Monism. dualistic perception). Tao. the obligation is for the psyche (or even all of existence) to submit and eventually ascend to “God” (i.
the point of view of “Ultimate Non-Dualism” is actually somewhat more complex than this. They can afford to be humorous and amused by all that arises—none of it means anything. conditionally appearing as a beginningless and endless continuum of causes and effects (Satorakashananda.. Volume 24 . which. p.e. whether as an eternal and nonconditional. no separate and independent “objective energy” (i. Self-Existing and SelfRadiant Consciousness Itself ). Rather. The Love-Bliss characterizing this state exists in the Awareness. usually by willful ascetic disciplines. no inherently independent or separate Purusha exists. Following upon this stage. and. nothing is ever threatened or at risk for the sixth stage sage. In other words.3 Following upon this stage. In “Ultimate Non-Dualism” (or “Primary Absolute Monism”). and all objects or others. especially within the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. However. by the process of observation. The spiritual practice associated with this point of view requires the individual to separate from Prakriti. or with less directness. (2000b. Consciousness is happy to participate in them—why not? It is a play of life.e. Rather. individual Self or. not in the arising. the tables are turned for the preceding position. The spiritual practice associated with this point of view indicates that Prakriti appears only as an ephemeral and observable sequence of changes until. Yet. this point of view and Process (of “Ultimate Non-Dualism.. and infinitely amusing. Only the existence of Consciousness matters. 1977. the totality of existence is only Prakriti. 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. the point of view and Process of “Secondary Non-Dualism. but has only actually succeeded in emulating one or another of the “lesser” enlightenments (see Wilber.. and also. Purusha is traditionally understood to be nonconditional and inherently perfect Being and Consciousness. within the schools of some varieties of Buddhism. This orientation begins the process that takes place within the sixth stage of life. the first form of a truly nondual position appears. indicating its immediate and direct association with the Divine Condition Itself. This position ushers in the sixth stage of life. Avatar Adi Da also refers to seventh stage “Ultimate Non-Dualism” as “Radical” Non-Dualism. Prakriti is traditionally understood to be objective energy. 147) The essential realization is that only Consciousness exists. If “things” do arise. 1993). 1999b). or be “Uncovered” by. or object at all. et al. the inherent and original (or nirvanic) state of Prakriti is realized. Prakriti) exists.. 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. Consequently. Avatar Adi Da speaks of this orientation to nondualism as follows: This point of view and Process (which may follow upon. insight. 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. within some of the schools of Taoism). 1995. the highest transcendental position begins to emerge. This orientation is superseded by the ultimately nondual position. whether “things” arise or not. the point of view and Process of “Primary Dualism”) is the third (and final. mind. In “Secondary NonDualism” (or “Secondary Absolute Monism”). Avatar Adi Da describes this orientation to nondualism as follows: Most ultimately. acting as a bridge between them. Everything else pales in comparison. 1987). a difficulty exists with this point of view. the totality of existence is a combination of only two primary realities: Purusha and Prakriti. “Ultimate Non-Dualism” can be thought of as straddling the sixth and seventh stages. so that the individual might participate exclusively as Purusha. Verma. or any separate and independent body. the totality of existence is only the One and Absolute Purusha (i.to a new Age of Enlightenment. So to speak. starting with the point of view of “Primary Dualism”— for example. but it can also lead to or culminate in the seventh stage of life. or be “Uncovered” by. when modified. as some traditions would have it. mind. According to the point of view of this position. and self-pacification. 2005.” or “Primary The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. exclusive attachment to Consciousness Itself is released and all of existence is seen as the manifestation of this One Reality. This position of nondualism not only originates in the sixth stage of life.” and which may even immediately follow upon. the causal and ultimate spiritual domain of human development. secondarily. In such a case. for in this existence is a direct realization of Divine Love. but with even less directness. an absolute Being or Consciousness Itself. appears as the body. Jainism and Samkhaya Yoga (Larson.
They misrepresent the actual mechanics whereby God manifests into human beings. pp. and Perfectly Subjective. mind. They suggest that God is the goal of development. 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. Whereas involution Nondualism and the Divine Domain 5 .Absolute Monism”) is (if it is. 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. and Divine Indifference). they can be distinguished from the revelation of Avatar Adi Da in three significant respects:4 1. 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. 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. or Reality. Although this kind of language might sound similar to revelations made throughout the spiritual traditions (e.g.. No historical text mentions all aspects of the seventh stage realization. all phenomena become immediately and directly recognized as nothing other than the Divine Condition Itself. climbing up the ladder of ascent—itself resulting from a prior. and 3. by Means Of My Avatarically Self-Transmitted Divine Grace. No historical text mentions only the realization of the seventh stage of life. Divine Transformation. and 2. Therefore. or Perfectly Non-Exclusive) Real God.” In this state. and (thus) somehow foreshadow (rather than directly reflect. 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). the development of evolution. or Truth. Avadhoota Gita. p. 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 ). 707-708). or directly express) the truly Most Ultimate (or Transcendental. 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. 2. and NonSeparate (or Inherently All-Inclusive. The seventh stage of life is the Divinely Self-Radiant process by which all of conditional existence is “outshined” (see Adidam. holarchy) involving several levels of being. Inherently Spiritual. Wilber’s spectrum theory offers an account of precisely these misrepresented mechanics. is twofold: 1. body. and Most Perfectly Divine) “Point of View”. The difficulty for most accounts of nondualism. the Ecstatic Recognition of all arising phenomena (by the Divine Self. Absolute. whether in the spiritual traditions or transpersonal psychology. sixth stage “Ultimate Non-Dualism”). In other words.e. as a modification of Itself ) has become so intense that the “Bright. vertical deployment of involution. And. Love-Bliss-Energy Itself )…indicating (in each case) the One.. Tripura Rahasya). In his spectrum theory. Rather.e. Certain aspects of the seventh stage realization appear in no historical texts at all. sliding down the ladder— can be traced through a hierarchy (i. (in press) The Illusion of Relatedness The absence of the seventh stage point of view has significant implications for any understanding of nondualism. Lankavatara Sutra. 1991. 148) Avatar Adi Da frequently refers to this condition as “Open Eyes. Therefore. and world are no longer noticed— but not because the Divine Consciousness has withdrawn or dissociated from manifest phenomena (i. (Ibid..” Love-Blissful Radiance of Consciousness now Outshines all phenomena.… [N]one of the traditional texts communicate the full developmental and Yogic details of the progressive seventh stage Demonstration (of Divine Transfiguration.. to Complete the Great Tradition of mankind.
which condenses into matter. The entire range of the human individual’s various levels of being are nothing but a diminution of the fundamental Reality that is God. and tends to persist. the densest form of all. respectively—the latter tussling with the former in a struggle over the sovereignty of its assumed identity. In so doing. This tension of separation goes both ways. From here. the mechanics of human manifestation actually occur as follows: There is only God. Itself. However. related to Itself. pp. true state of Consciousness—as God. releasing the Illusion of Relatedness into what is its own. Yet. the presumption of a separate self… (Adi Da. for embarking upon this process immediately embroils one in a perplexing paradox: nirvana and samsara are the same. involution). The process of “Radical” Non-Dual Enlightenment is far from easy. but each is a reduced or “stepped down” version of Spirit. with Spirit transcending and including absolutely everything. meanwhile. tend to dwell on them with fascination. across the non-existent gulf of this (apparent) separateness. although involution and evolution are intrinsic processes of human life. each evolutionary unfolding transcends but includes its predecessor(s). Consequently. 10) However. The causal Self comes into being as an utterly spontaneous contraction occurring in the pure state of 6 Consciousness that Is God. the duality of this simultaneous paradox (God/Self and Self/Other) further extends itself through all the levels of being (i. p. Volume 24 . say. the paradox can be resolved in this way: There is only God—even if spread upon the illusory levels of mind (or samsara).… However. mind is illusion. In other words. It will regard Itself to be other than. Whereas God is Reality. or else to be repeated. It arises spontaneously. there is still only prior Reality (which the Self continues to actually Be). engaged in an intense paradox of God and Self. simultaneously pulled both toward and away. this paradox exists only on the samsara side of the equation. 1999a. which condenses into body. Whereas the one Is God. the Self can only feel its own.… All of this arising is (in itself—or separately) an illusion—the principal signs of which are the presumption of relatedness (and of “difference”). therefore. Consequently. they do not truly indicate the mechanics whereby God manifests into human beings. moving from matter to living bodies to symbolic minds to luminous souls to pure Spirit itself. Therefore. This diminution takes The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. therefore.indicates preexisting states of deeper consciousness. an imposter) of what Is Real: God. continues to merely exist in a Blissful state of Awareness of all that is arising. 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. It’s an imitation (and. inherent feeling of Love-Bliss when it relaxes this contracted state. they tend to persist (or to demand repetition)—and Consciousness may. nonetheless. If Consciousness identifies with this selfcontraction. The two aspects of the paradox originally defined as God and Self are simultaneously delineated further into that of Self and Other. this dynamic tension surrounds a further process arising within its midst.e. which condenses into mind. That very defining feature is precisely how they can both be— and not be—one and the same. And once the material world blows into existence (with. 2001a. (Wilber. not that which is God. 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. all of the higher dimensions are enfolded. as potential. Yet. like a rubber band stretched taut. the other is merely arising in (and as) God. The two exist as a duality—within nondualism. the latter compensating the former for its comprised identity. or separate from. simply existing as this very activity of painful self-contraction. 2005. an illusion of Itself. Each of those levels is still a level of Spirit. Although it is true that the illusion exists. it’s not real. once objects (or conditions) arise. the Big Bang). instead. two aspects of reality come to exist. At the end of that process of involution. then the reverse process—or evolution—can occur. It will falsely presume that It is no longer Itself but. evolution initiates states of higher consciousness coming into being. without cause or reason.. It will also tend to resolve the discomfort of this separate state of being through attention and falsely presume that It is. Realizing God involves one in a different dynamic than that of involution and evolution entirely. laboring against Itself and what is Its own True and Real state. therefore.… Each level is a whole that is also part of a larger whole (each level or structure is a whole/part or holon). 346-347) Consequently. Indeed. in the lowest material realm.
lived out in its various levels and diminutions. precisely because they attempt to resolve the paradox from the side that is the ego-“I”—but not that which is God. involution is not something that merely or even especially occurred prior to birth or in some distant cosmological past. In other words. Contrary to the biblical account. this is ultimately just an illusion. 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. turns against itself. 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. Consequently. a futile effort. Indeed. However. certainly. which is. which is not other than the illusions of S/self that comprise it. For moment to moment.… Such is the Disposition of the only-by-me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life. Indeed. with the worm in its seed. Consciousness is usually thought of as a state of awareness. the ego-“I” consists essentially of lack and is empty. (Ibid. 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. However.5 This confusion probably manifests itself most commonly in a concept typically attributed to JudeoChristian religion: the Fall of Man. If the separate “I” and its separate “other” are Most Perfectly Relinquished (or Most Perfectly transcended). it is an activity that every individual is presently doing. However. 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. the S/self is an alternative to God. now Falls through the involuted levels of being. which is continually lived out in the suffering of every life. we involve. Instead. this fundamental separation is still present. this process could be thought of as a “vertical” Fall. taking place at every level of being equally. 125). prior to its formation. pp. reversing the Fall that is the Illusion of Relatedness occurs irrespective of growth and evolution. Only in this sense does the idea of growing and evolving so as to reverse the Fall makes any sense. precisely because it derives its meaning as an alternative to unconsciousness. In other words. as we separate or alienate ourselves from Ground and Source. Involution arises as a consequence of the Illusion of Relatedness. lateral) process. we descend. radiating Ecstatically to Infinity. This “sequence” of simultaneous paradox ultimately traces out the agony of humanity’s suffering.… There are no separate waters in the seas. p. “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. Therefore. even as the causal Self emerges into awareness. the Fall could be understood very differently—as the Illusion of Relatedness. in turning away.e. while the other. In this sense. However. the two operate upon very different principles. having thus Fallen in this sense. in this moment. The usual definition of consciousness (as opposed to unconsciousness) does not mean Consciousness Itself—indeed. like the hard and brusque case of a nut. It could all be understood differently. However. tracing out its trajectory based on this more fundamental gesture within God and Reality— and does so at every level of its descent. that is to say. 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). There is a price to be paid for this error. God can be understood only on the other side of the paradox. Clearly. like steps ever diminishing—one turning away. 344-345) Most accounts of spirituality and nondualism are problematic. Wilber speaks of the “Fall” this way: “Thus. Put somewhat differently. the Fall could be thought of as a “horizontal” (i. we move away from Spirit. Each is writhing upon the pillars of its own end of the dichotomy. The two unfold in their turn. Involution is actually said to be occurring right now.. and thus we must return to Source and Self—we must grow and evolve to reverse the Fall” (1990. Consciousness Nondualism and the Divine Domain 7 . imploded inward upon itself. The causal Self Falls away from God and then. 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. one within the other. whereas God is full and effulgent—indeed. like the JudeoChristian account. they try to make sense of the paradox from within the parameters of the paradox. Even now.. Further. The two are self-contained. the ability to “notice” things.place within mind. even in facing itself. this passage suggests that the “Fall” operates according to dynamics similar to gravity. but every wave or motion folds in one another on the Deep.
However.… Thus. or the soul). However. But Consciousness Itself is more primal than that. 2000b. Yet. 223). by any other name. dreamless sleep arises—and is ultimately Awakened and Resolved—in the Ultimate Source of Being that is Consciousness Itself. Wilber also suggests that an even more profound dimension of being exists beyond this: the nondual reality out of which all manifest existence arises. pp. if we want to realize our supreme identity with Spirit. we will have to plug ourselves into this current of constant consciousness. Here..g. Volume 24 . p. nonetheless.Itself is not aware of things. This is the beginning of the ultimate stages of life. attention itself. more is at stake in Wilber’s point of view than this. But.… Ultimate reality (or Spirit). subconscious and self-conscious) aspects of S/self are made conscious. such a position represents the point of view of the sixth stage of life (e. and 2) allow us to recognize and identify with that which is constant— or timeless—through all of those states.6 Even deep. Although this state represents an extraordinary level of being. To be aware of something is to attend to it—and is. sleeping. the “Radical” Non-Dual state of Enlightenment actually represents the transcendence of each level of being—whether waking. In this sense.” merely observing all that exists—even while they perhaps continue to participate in the events of life. this passage is an excellent example of what could be called the “lesser” enlightenment associated with sixth stage “Ultimate NonDualism”. Rather. “Consciousness as Such”) with one or another of the various modes of possible awareness: waking. dreaming. Wilber only reduces the seventh stage to the sixth stage. therefore. in so doing. dreaming. (2000b. or Most Perfectly Resolved In Its Perfect Source…The Most Ultimate and Inherently Most Perfect Awakening Of Perfectly Subjective Transcendental. it does not indicate “Radical” Non-Dual consciousness. a curious quality is associated with it. 1995). with each higher dimension being more inclusive and therefore “closer” to the absolute totality of Godhead or Spirit. Wilber has both manifest and unmanifest existence refer to the same level of being. identified with the very consciousness that is observing all that arises. “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. In other words. dreaming. and follow it through all changes of state—waking. Spiritual. Perhaps one way to clarify this distinction is by comparing it to the principal therapeutic imperative of psychoanalysis: making the unconscious conscious (Pulver. the individual no longer perceives and understands experience from the point of view of the lower self or even the subtle Self. The epistemological position of simple awareness is typically referred to in the spiritual traditions as “witness” consciousness. timeless Spirit. which is a version of what Avatar Adi Da calls the sixth stage error. the result is to confuse them both. However. However. which is associated with Divine Being and the seventh stage of life. or sleeping. the mind. Conventional notions of consciousness associate it with an object.… That is a shocking statement. 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. Wilber put it this way: [This] brings us to the most notorious paradox in the perennial philosophy. it is not “Radical” Non-Dual Being. the essence of the Illusion of Relatedness. then there is only Consciousness Itself.. because basically there is nothing—literally nothing— in the deep dreamless state. In trying to have it both ways. 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”.e. In that state. and Divine Consciousness Itself ) (Adi Da. the ego. 2005. It simply is Awareness. one takes the position of the “witness. the individual participates in experience as the causal Self. This will: 1) strip us of an exclusive identification with any of those states (such as the body. When all unconscious (not to say. Although this latter comment might sound like “Radical” Non-Dualism. Shankara. 1979). The confusion Wilber makes is in attributing Consciousness Itself (i. and anything that is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not ultimate reality. the highest rung on the 8 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Ramana said…must also be fully present in deep dreamless sleep. or sleeping. 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. Spirit is the summit of being. namely Consciousness as Such. over against which that consciousness can be said to be aware. We have seen that the wisdom traditions subscribe to the notion that reality manifests in levels or dimensions.
no phenomenon whatsoever is closer to Spirit than another. The very desire to seek enlightenment is in fact nothing but the grasping tendency of the ego itself. Wilber has correctly identified the ultimate significance of this difference. The second aspect. the real significance of the sixth stage error is this: confusing the causal Self for Real God. Consequently. but not other to this world. 287). is the transcendental nature of Spirit—it far surpasses any “worldly” or creaturely or finite things. further.e. according to the traditions. for it is precisely the act of setting God up as a goal that inserts seeking into the equation—and eliminates God thereby.ladder of evolution. 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. (1997. suggesting that “you always already are enlightened Spirit.… Thus. as well. claiming that nondual reality is essentially comprised of two aspects: goal and ground. is Spirit itself. But such is not the case for “Radical” Non-Dualism. for all are equally “made of ” Spirit. the traditions maintain. 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. Spirit is the suchness.… [T]hus seeking Spirit is exactly that which prevents realization. p. getting in touch with Spirit or God…is your own simple witnessing awareness” (Ibid. the wood aspect. dissolved in the True and “Radically” Non-Dual Enlightenment of Real God. In another context. Simply put. The forms of dualism are not resolved until the entire S/self structure is eliminated. and therefore to seek Spirit is simply to deny Spirit. p. Wilber makes a different sort of error in his comments. pp. and the ground of the entire sequence. Thus Spirit is both the highest goal of all development and evolution. 26) Yet. nondualism is typically thought to result whenever the self/other distinction is eliminated. only the latter applies to “Radical” Non-Dual Reality (i. is God itself. in terms of “Radical” Nondualism and the Divine Domain 9 . this confusion is easy to make and. failing to accurately represent God. You obviously seek in order to avoid the present.7 Wilber collapses the sixth and seventh stages together.. A subtle dualism yet remains: Self and God. in culture. Wilber has not applied this same understanding to his own theory. but merely a partial aspect of reality: the Self.” However. a significant problem exists with this: the spiritual traditions are in error. which is to say. and thus the very search for enlightenment prevents it. Further. is the enlightened mind itself. Yet. the isness. nothing is gained by being so aligned. Spirit is prior to this world. That is to say. What actually results for having eliminated the self/other distinction is not “Radical” Non-Dualism. apart from a handful of texts that are premonitory in nature. But it is also true that Spirit is the wood out of which the entire ladder and all its rungs are made. but an inquiry into why you want to attain enlightenment in the first place. in nature. sixth stage “Ultimate” Non-Dualism). The “perfect practice” is therefore not to search for enlightenment.. You can no more attain Spirit than you can attain your feet or acquire your lungs. 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 to inquire into the motive for seeking itself. The first aspect. From this angle. and yet the present alone holds the answer: to seek forever is to miss the point forever. The former applies to the causal Self alone (i. such is simply not the case. is the immanent nature of Spirit—Spirit is equally and totally present in all manifest things and events. certainly. You always already ARE enlightened Spirit. Only the other is dissolved in the elimination of the self/other distinction—not the causal Self. indeed. Nonetheless. and this is what makes all the difference. the highest-rung aspect. you are not always already Enlightened (at least. the essence of each and every thing that exists. the Illusion of Relatedness. is Buddha-nature itself. Virtually no precedence for the seventh stage revelation is present in the spiritual traditions.e. and Spirit would remain. However. in heaven and on earth. the error is not so much a mistaken notion—for it does accurately represent the casual Self—as an error of omission. the goal of the stages of life is attributed to both Self and God. with no partiality. However. in its entirety. the truth is this: even though you are always already God. (1997. as present fully at the beginning as at the end. Wilber sees his theory as an attempt to align with spiritual presentations made traditionally: “That simple witnessing awareness.. stems from the traditional understanding of nondualism. Real God). The entire earth (or even universe) could be destroyed.
(Wilber. 42. Consequently.… Eros. attaching to the next higher level of development. tenet 2d). Volume 24 . the seventh stage of life is the context of every stage. to everyone. Self-transcendence (or self-transformation)…is not just a communion. The seventh stage. 2001b) frequently speaks of “Radical” Non-Dual Reality as being a state of “Brightness”—which is a state of unfathomably Blissful Light. Wilber has the process go a step further.Non-Dualism). Although the Light has not yet transmuted into the spectrum. the forces are building by which it will do so. 2000a. The conundrum of Wilber’s spectrum theory could perhaps be put this way: although holons consist The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.… In self-adaptation or communion. nonetheless. or association. not just those in the higher stages of life. Therefore. Further. 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. it must be received as a Gift—and given in return. Transcendence. Although Wilber states that you can “no more attain Spirit than you can attain your feet or acquire your lungs. the seventh stage is present as much at the beginning as in the culmination of the holarchy. 1995. before its dreadful mechanics of incarnation even come to exist—and. more fragmentation (what we called the self-dissolution factor.” attaining Spirit is precisely what is meant by the Great Path of Return he is advocating. is essentially what we have been calling self-transcendence. Indeed. Unfortunately. is a matter of releasing one’s hold on life and its developmental trajectory. the choice is to either ascend—and develop into greater embrace and unity—or else descend—and disintegrate into greater fragmentation and regression. on the other hand. self-adaptation. it is accessed only through the spiritual process of worship and devotion—precisely because the Blessing of Bhava is Given as a Gift. this context can be accessed at every stage— directly and immediately. Ironically. as if another level of construction in the overall holarchy. pp. What he fails to appreciate. 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. Although this witnessing of reality exists prior to the Light’s transmutation into a spectrum. whether ascension or descension—or. Wilber’s concept of transcendence is at odds with this revelation. This Bhava is available to every individual at any time. p. 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 sixth stage is still captivated by the mechanics of the prism—even as the “Brightness” exists within it.” on the other side of the prism. is a third option: transcend—into direct and immediate communion with God. God is your true state—but the Illusion of Relatedness is also true of you. the very motor of Ascent or development or evolution: the finding of ever-higher self-identity with ever-wider embrace of others. 2005. Avatar Adi Da (1997. However. conceiving of consciousness as if a “spectrum” only ends up undermining the nondual reality it is intended to advocate. 325). as Socrates (Plato) uses the term. “Radical” NonDualism has nothing to do with progression of any kind. which has its own new forms of agency (relative autonomy) and communion. 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 self-transformation one becomes a new whole. however. in the event that they do. one finds oneself to be part of a larger whole. indeed. exists as the absolute purity of “Brightness. unconditional love-feeling of Me. indeed. the only right asana is utter ‘in-love’ of Me. It is by way of the Illusion of Relatedness that this “Brightness” is corrupted and transmuted into a spectrum—as if by a prism. without form or function or any referents to dilute it. 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. And to do so captivates one in a swoon and rapture of God’s Love-Bliss: “Therefore. remains even after the fact. Unfortunately. including the sixth. and what requires elimination in the process of “Radical” NonDual Enlightenment. even an integration of the two. all levels of being). a move downward to less unity. Rather. Indeed. Wilber simply has no account of the Illusion of Relatedness in his theory. Although Wilber includes a “Unity Consciousness” in his formulations of the ultimate ground of existence. in this sense. it does not exist prior to the Light’s entering the prism. In other words. 335) For Wilber. 10 the asana of ‘Ruchira Avatara Bhava’ (or the love‘Intoxication’ of true devotion to Me) is a devotional. In fact. Yogic gesture in heart-Communion with Me” (Adi Da. it is precisely the fact that you are suffering a “veil of ignorance” that indicates your need to be Enlightened. And the opposite of that was regression or dissolution. Fundamentally.
and Indivisible. this causal rung is not God. out of the original sixth wave.e. Wilber states that the ladder gives a good description of manifest existence because the highest rung of the ladder and. therefore. “Secondary Non-Dualism”) view in which the mere aggregate of component parts represents God and Reality—whereas. and True. causal Self ) originally emerges. However. 295) Wilber likens the situation relative to nondualism to that of a ladder (if not..of God. Further. as involution proceeds. 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. indeed. The One. or Real God. That is to say. Wilber is correct in asserting that there is a ladder of existence—it is just that the ladder is floating in the ocean! And. the collapse of the Self/God distinction. imagine that these waves are all somehow connected together. The Illusion of Relatedness yet separates the two. “stretching” out into ever diminished forms until it finally reaches bottom. Truth. At this causal point of “origin. this statement is based on an illusion. (2000b. 250. No real difference or separation between them—at least on the level of the ocean. that is all the ladder there is. the ladder itself arises within God. and Indestructibly Non-Objective SourceCondition and Self-Condition of All and all. and Perfectly Subjective. its rungs are not actually comprised of wood—they’re comprised of water. “throw itself out” into further levels—each one of which simply a continuation of the causal rung. 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. level upon level. addiction) to manifest existence and submit to God. the entire ocean. In other words.… 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. to do so involves a concomitant—and Ecstatic— activity: submit to being absorbed back into the ocean.e. 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. the dynamic underlying them is entirely different. For the sake of sorting out the essential difference between these two metaphors. 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. or descended. Avatar Adi Da makes use of a different metaphor entirely to speak of “Radical” Non-Dual Reality: the waves of the ocean. To release one’s hold on manifest exisNondualism and the Divine Domain 11 . As can be seen. a river). assembled by the very fact that they inhere in one another. But this is exactly what the ego-“I” loathes to do (Vitz. only then to divide into its corresponding rungs. aligned together and arising. which can be sorted out in the following way: when the highest rung of the ladder (i. the very same thing: Spirit. and Really) Divine. imagine that five of these waves have all emerged. Each apparently separate entity or being is nothing but a wave—comprised of the same water as every other wave and. and Utterly Indivisible. God and Reality are other than the ladder.. However. Although the language sounds similar. into an ascending hierarchy.” it is easy to see how the wood and the rung are identical— they are all there is.. imagine there are only six waves in the ocean. indeed. Still. indeed. in reality. there is more to existence than merely this ladder. 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. the very wood of which it is made are. this is something of a pantheistic (i.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. they do not actually comprise God. Always Already. or separate and separative point of view) itself. It is the causal stage that is the origin of each subsequent rung of the ladder. and Inherently egoless Case) Is (Self-Evidently. in essence. it seems that there is no end to the difference and separation. But on the level of the waves. It arises in God.e. Indeed. However. In fact. in truth. However. Yet. One must release their attachment (i. no assembly or arrangement of holons—even ones that integrate into higher levels of the holarchy—will ever result in God. indeed. I Say Only Reality Itself (Which Is. and Truth (or Real God) Itself. and Indestructible. 1994)—and for good reason. this arrangement is exactly that of a ladder. this rung does. That is to say. All the waves of the ocean can be thought of as an immense matrix (or else spectrum). holons are nothing but the effect of the Illusion of Relatedness having taken place. pp. as they appear to spread out in all directions.
Although Wilber claims you must first climb the ladder. more to the point. so as to position yourself to discard it.… At last. 276) Put somewhat differently. Pervasive In the The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Volume 24 . 2005. the error of the Great Tradition is this: in having climbed the ladder. And. this one. It is at this point that you discard the ladder—when you understand that it is unnecessary. or Real God) is not to go gradually “higher and higher” (and. on the other hand. yield an entirely different participation in Reality: In the only-by-Me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life.” or total body-mind. sixth stage sage—no matter how truly illustrious and profound—is simply perched upon their final plank of wood. “Radical” Non-Dualism and the seventh stage of life. this Realization Shines in the world and Plays “Bright” Demonstrations on the waves. The “Brightness” Is Indifferent (Beyond “difference”) In the Deep—There. or Real God In Place (or As That Which Is Always Already The Case. all conditions (or all motions. (Adi Da. you don’t need to experience the ladder first to discard it (at any or all of its rungs). Indeed. sixth stage sage. That Is the Only Real God). 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. for even the sixth stage of life has its own sense of ego-“I” to overcome.tence is to die. In a manner of speaking. even that of the causal. in place) to directly enter into heartCommunion with Me (the Avataric SelfRevelation of the Reality. for Enlightenment actually occurs based upon an entirely different dynamic. so close to the ocean that they are everything except immersed within it. 45). It is all around them. Where Primitive relatedness Is Freely Drowned. each rung simply enfolding within the others until only one is left. including the sixth stage (however subtle its presence at that point). and more). Wilber speaks of the ladder metaphor in this manner: “But according to the traditions. 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. or patterns. You need only to understand it. Where and As you Are. it collapses. a ladder discarded only after having served its extraordinary purpose” (1997. a painful denial of Ecstasy). p. therefore. Deep (Inherently egoless. final piece of wood keeps them buoyed. to Me—just as it is. the Play of motions Is Translated In Love-Bliss. thus. In other words. p. or Truth. nevermind your apparent unpreparedness to do so. Consequently. but (by surrendering your “self. and 2) realize that this is something you are doing—even right now. Perhaps nowhere is the contrast between the Great Tradition and “Radical” NonDualism more evident than in this passage. 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.” which act is the prismatic fault that Breaks the Light. And the same is true at every stage of life—indeed. It is the ego-“I” that stands between S/self and God— and it does so at every stage of life. The causal. Truth. The S/self in its entirety must accept and submit to being absorbed into God. mistakenly thinking that God-Realization involves “climbing” out of samsara only ends up obscuring the real process of God-Realization. yet. However. 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. more and more “away”). At first. one 12 only reaches the top rung. at the point of one’s “highest climb. it is exactly (and only) by understanding the hierarchical nature of samsara that we can in fact climb out of it. 2000a. When “Bright” SelfRecognition Rests Most Deeply In Its Fathomless Shine. [T]he “radical” approach to Realization of Reality (or Truth. the true means to God-Realization is simple: stop doing it! No amount of development will ever ease or replace this obligation.… Therefore. Rather. There is nowhere else to go in scaling the ladder but the top rung. And. To think that no more ladder exists simply because only one rung is left is an illusion. and (in this Manner) to Realize Reality. or envisions It as seeming two. there is really only one means to God-Realization: you must take the “plunge”! Any other understanding only confuses the issue. something like a telescope. Most Perfectly Beyond and Prior to ego-“I.” or the act of self-contraction. contrary to Wilber’s account. the truth is you must discard the ladder right now. or of “differentiation.” a surprising development could be said to occur: the ladder is not actually discarded.
The Dawn Horse Testament. Middletown. & Cowan. Living enlightenment. In The Five Books of the Adidam Revelation (Book Five). I: The abundant ego). (1966). CA: Dawn Horse Press. E. Adidam (Eds. & Wilber. Assagioli. (Adi Da. it does not exist prior to the Illusion of Relatedness— nor. nevermind how spontaneous and without reason. Real God Is the Indivisible Oneness of Unbroken Light. (1999). Advaita Vedanta. Lincoln. Nondualism and the Divine Domain 13 . CA: Dawn Horse Press. as Real God. 2001a. Eleutherios. However. In The Five Books of the Adidam Revelation (Book Four). But it is the latter that makes the difference. Adi Da (2001a). B.” To see how this reference could be made is understandable. therefore. K. (1996). Beck. The seven stages of life. Oxford. Firman. D. Clearly. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Albany. Middletown. Cohen.Water-Stand—and. Vedanta and Christian faith. Middletown. CA: Dawn Horse Press. like a Sea of Blankets. CA: Dawn Horse Press. 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. (1962). Daniels. Drifted in the deeper land. MA: Moksha Press. Ultimately. Notes.e. as is the case with Avatar Adi Da. Adi Da (in press). Conze. In The Basket of Tolerance. London: Allen and Unwin. A. II: The aberrant ego). this difference is of ultimate significance. prior to being “born” as the various levels of being). All the Deep Unfolds To Waken In the Once Neglected (Now Un-Covered) Light of SelfIlluminated and Eternal Day. The primal wound. & Gila. Adi Da (2001b).) (1991). (2003a). Psychosynthesis. Hridaya Rosary (Four Thorns of HeartInstruction). Adi Da (1997). 346) Conclusion God both is and is not the S/self. (1991). (2002). NE: Writer’s Showcase. (1965). One cannot Realize God by pretending the difference between them does not exist. Middletown. Daniels. only intuited the seventh stage of life. Chopra. for the difference between them is extremely subtle. God-Realization is a matter of being absorbed into that which is truly Unmanifest. A. Lincoln. The guru and the pandit: Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber in dialogue. HI: EastWest Center Press. One can Realize God only by eliminating that difference— which is only one’s own doing. NE: Writer’s Showcase. E. B. for the causal Self does exist prior to involution (i. Adi Da (2000b). Spiral dynamics. Middletown. Adi Da (2000a). of New York Press. CA: Amber-Allen Publishing. 345. Yet. its realization is predicated upon the development—rather than the dissolution—of manifest being. J. Although the “Unborn” is an utterly profound state of reality. The “Apex” Paradox: The role of the ego in psychology and spirituality and its implications for clinical practice (Vol.. San Rafael. C. In The Dawn Horse Testament. 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. (2002). What is Enlightenment? 22. References Adi Da (1991). 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. R. Lenox.C. (1997). A. (2003b). They have not fully Embodied it. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Internet: BurtonDaniels. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Cohen. 39-49. Middletown. for the S/self is also not God. In The Seventeen Companions of the True Dawn Horse (Book One). B. B. Wilber (2000b) refers to this state as the “Unborn. In appreciation of Wilber’s spectrum/quadrant theory. (1995). The “Apex” Paradox: The role of the ego in psychology and spirituality and its implications for clinical practice (Vol. Merely considering the S/self to be God— indeed. confusing the sixth and seventh stages is easy to do. CA: Dawn Horse Press. D. Daniels. In The Seventeen Companions of the True Dawn Horse (Book Ten). The traditions have. Honolulu. pp. Griffiths. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Clearlake. The unique sixth stage foreshadowings of the Only-By-Me revealed and demonstrated and given seventh stage of life. at most. Middletown. UK: Blackwell Publishers. Buddhist thought in India. The seven spiritual laws of success.E. New York: Viking. Middletown. Deutsche. NY: State Univ. and understanding this fundamental paradox is the only means by which one can understand their true relationship to God.com.
Footnotes 1This sequence of S/self structure is summarized in Wilber (1995. As a way of clarifying what Wilber means by his nomenclature. (1998). 59-74.. Indeed. E. matter. The goal and the way. (1960). (1919/1971). 5These may be easily confused for one another.. soul and spirit). subtle. K. etheric level) are omitted in Wilber’s model. Buddhist phenomenology. J. see Daniels (2003a. Psychology as religion (2nd ed. Cohen (2002). R. Integral psychology. (2000a).). body. Chopra (1995). Indeed. a somewhat simplistic correlation can be drawn between these levels of being and certain domains of science: matter represents physics and geology. & Ajaya. Rama. Columbia.” the states of spiritual attainment emulated here are profound and exhalted levels of being and should not be dismissed or taken lightly. Lee. C. at this time science has no correlates for the subtle and causal levels of being (i. Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra. Trans. D. Although they fall short of the most profound level of Enlightenment—“Radical” Non-Dualism and the seventh stage of life—they. (1994). represent extraordinary states of awareness. One taste. G. (1957). Avatar Adi Da (2001a) agrees with this five-tier structure overall. nonetheless. Buddhism. (1999a). Journal of Humanistic Psychology. Louis.). Princeton. 2005. R. NJ: Princeton Press.D. Jung.G. 8). Verma. Weiss. Boston & London: Shambhala. Volume 24 .e. Ed.. Yoga and psychotherapy. and mind represents psychology and sociology. the fifth stage of life conforms to the higher mind of the subtle level. P. Object relations theory.. The marriage of sense and soul. Wilber. Encyclopedia of Indian philosophy (Vol. S. ecology. there is a significant difference in the two schemas. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. Avatar Adi Da indicates that there are three basic tiers overall. (1968). Nonduality. Grand Rapids. Unfortunately. CT: Yale Univ. Trans. Eerdmans Publishing Co. R. Cohen and Wilber give this example: “You really.G. (1990). J. 2001a). NJ: Princeton Univ. Larson. G. (2000b). for the emotions (i. note that even in being “lesser. Boston & London: Shambhala. New Haven.). and the sixth stage of life conforms to the primal Self of the causal level. there is a significant difference between the two schemas. (1990).W.). Williams & R. New York: Ballantine Books. However. Vitz. A thousand teachings (M. Husserl. And the problem is that therapists…want to hold onto the egoic 14 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Cartesian meditations (D. Princeton. In B. In The Collected Works of C. (1997).T. S. Amherst. Wilber. the fourth stage of life is a transitional state between the lower and higher levels. (1991). Boston & London: Shambhala. St. Wilber. 2000) as follows: spirit. The technique of psychoanalysis proper. Psychoanalysis: The Major Concepts. The eye of spirit. spirituality. 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. as the subtle actually subsumes the mental and etheric within it. These levels of “lesser” enlightenment are advocated in the recent works of numerous authors— for example. Two patterns of transcendence: A reply to Washburn. Muzuka.E. far exceeding those attained by the vast majority of humanity at this time. MO: Vedanta Society. really need to let go of self and egoic self-esteem altogether. see Adi Da (2000b.E. Loy. (1995). K. (1999b). Wilber. & Bhattacharya. New York: Noonday Press. Moore & B. London: Routledge and Kegan-Paul. K. Middletown. Sengaku. K. while the levels of “body” and “matter” are differentiated into the two lowest levels instead. New York: Broadway Books. Adi Da: The promised God-Man is here. Suzuki. PA : Himalayan Pubs. (1964). Satorakashananda (1977). (Eds.Hegel. Potter. soul. Tarnas. 2). 3However. 30(3). He depicts this sequence as consisting of the following levels of being: causal. New York: Dell. especially as it relates to the ego. (1993). S. Sartre. International Philosophical Quarterly. NY: Humanity Books. (1998). and the self: Synthesis of Eastern and Western approaches. S. Pulver. 30(1). H. MO: South Asia Books. Man and his symbols.. The seventh stage of life subsumes them all as the inherent Substance and SourceCondition of Existence. K. Sex. Indeed.G. Ballentine. Press. Kirkpatrick. MI: William B. D. K. the remarkable few capable of attaining these stages of life represent an enormous boon to humanity. Honesdale. K. P. b). respectively. The transcendence of the ego (F. etheric.). 4). etheric. Introduction. Structurally. Jung (Vol. and Beck & Cowan (1996). mind. Instinct and the unconscious. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Wilber. The Essential Writings (F. (2003). Tokyo: Univ. (1993).) (1987). mental. 4For a fuller treatment of these aspects of the seventh stage of life. (1995). body represents chemistry and biology. Wilber. Shankara (1979). of Tokyo Press. C. Fine (Eds. 2For a fuller account of the S/self. C. In The Collected Works (Vol. Press. Boston & London: Shambhala. really. New York: HarperCollins. and gross. and lower mental levels. Jung. which is so critical at this stage of evolution. C. K. Wilber. The passion of the western mind. E.). Trans. 113-136. Cairns.e. Boston & London: Shambhala. G.
Avatar Adi Da has Incarnated precisely for the fulfillment of this purpose (see Lee. they are not actually situated in the context of the seventh stage of life. This approach to Enlightenment is what Avatar Adi Da calls either Emanationism or Transcendentalism. 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”. The metaphor of the river is employed to suggest the “flux” and “fluidity” of development—over against that of a rigidly linear course. pp. Wilber’s use of the river is in no way the same.” If the rungs of the ladder could be conceived of as being in flux or fluid. Although this more “watery” metaphor may appear to have some similarity to that of the ocean. and what a poison narcissism is” (2002. For a fuller treatment of these different approaches to spiritual awareness and awakening. they advocate the evolution of Enlightenment. present relationship of worship and devotion. 2001a) schema of development. then it would serve the exact same purpose as that of the river—and the situation would remain essentially the same: a ladder (i.. However.self-contraction and make it feel good about itself. which only ends up making God into a goal of spiritual practice—rather than an ongoing. 4546). 2003). precisely because they do not take into account the Illusion of Relatedness. all-inclusive revelation. Consequently. 7To this point.e. all spiritual masters have necessarily worked within the cultural constraints imposed by their particular time and place. it gradually becomes clear what a daunting foe the ego really is. Only in the last half of the twentieth century has technology and affluence allowed for the creation of a true world community.… [Yet] as one goes deeper and deeper into the process of transformation.org Nondualism and the Divine Domain 15 . although these precepts sound similar to the revelation of Avatar Adi Da. “river”) floating in the ocean. 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. Rather. see Adi Da (2000b) and Daniels (2002). 6According to Avatar Adi Da’s (2000b. 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. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at Daniel_Sleeth@adidam. 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.
1993. 1998). Glass. Goldfried. the founder of psychosynthesis. 1976). integration of both types of experience by drawing on the experiential nature of this concept and fostering good research. 1996). 1977) competing for priority. 1989. 1995. 1979b. with inner experience relegated to the private and mystical realm. This history is sketched and the meaning of the term illustrated. & Norcross. Laudan. with many different research paradigms in Kuhn’s sense (Kuhn. Volume 24 . 1979a. Beitman. a similiar concept has been developed which became known as the spark of the soul. 1987. While this might be acceptable for some branches of psychology. 1955. 1998). 1969. 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 radicalized by the Carthusian writer Hugh of Balma. where many rivalling theories exist. It is mostly within the context of clinical psychology. 1985." It is argued that the split introduced into history between outer and inner experience has lain dormant ever since the 13th century. where even the consensus on what methods to base scientific evidence on is debated (Chambless. Wachter & Messer. is comparatively young with a history of roughly 150 years. 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. 1994. transpersonal psychology reconnects with this tradition and has to be aware of the legacy: to achieve the theoretical. Messer & Woodfolk. 1987). Oeser. The impulse to found yet another movement 16 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. which not only suggest different modes of action contradictory to those of competing theories. into transpersonal psychology. 1977. like in experimental or applied psychology. Seligman. and if possible scientific. It is understandable.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. Collingwood. but that this progress is achieved by both working within given frameworks of accepted presuppositions and by discussing and debating the very foundations (Kuhn. Castonguay & Goldfried. Sanderson. Victor. coming from antiquity and specifically from the neo-Platonic tradition. Weinberger. 2005. as a scientific discipline. 1980. but also rest on theoretical presuppostions excluding each other. It is only in some disciplines within psychology. Toulmin. this suggestion does not seem to depict the whole situation. 1997. Oeser. et al. therefore. This notion is explained and linked up with the Western mystical tradition. 1998). 1995. Shoham. 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. Bunge & Ardila. Fleck. Fensterheim & Raw. 1995. 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. and certainly not within clinical psychology. By introducing this concept. popularized by Bonaventure. 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. Clinical psychology seems to be very much in a preparadigmatic stage. which called itself “Transpersonal Psychology” (Sutich. Here. & Arnkoff. that a comparatively unitary canon of methods and accepted standards of problem solving seems to have been accepted by the whole community. Psychology. Spark of the soul signifies an "organ of the mystical experience. or summit of the mind. 1980. During the middle ages it was developed into a psychology of mysticism by Thomas Gallus. and most notably through its humanistic psychological expressions.
1988). 1984. 1976. Turner. Rusting. Thalbourne. usually associated with repeated experiences or social roles. 1991). Lundh. Some emphasize the esoteric and theosophic heritage (Schuller. from Eastern sources as well (Besmer. Therefore. 1972. 1974. Stein & Markus. 1975. 1979. One could even say that the higher unconscious was something like an Aristotelian final cause or entelechy for human development. 1984. 1985a. Lukoff. Armstrong. Lu. neo-Platonic and mystical traditions. 1985d). While these traditions have lost their importance within sciHigher Self 17 . 1995. 1988). for an outsider. 1973. It would be very interesting to study this concept in relation to modern schema-theoretic approaches (Ciompi. 1991. Robinson. 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. 1975. 1975). & Lu. which both acts as the inner guideline and impulse—as well as a regulating and attracting goal. and also a kind of repository of future developmental possibilities. 1985c. he called Higher Self. however. because very likely the concept of a schema would cover what Assagioli meant by subpersonalities. and thereby. 1974). 1976. & Turner.within the already widely disparate field of clinical psychology. Barnhouse. Schuller. 1992. 1996. 1911). 1974. 1969.1972. 1999). such as: the experience that individual purpose is always an act of transcending the individual self and relating with a “transpersonal” value (Frankl. incidentally. 1986. 1988. 1995. It is wrong. Assagioli pointed towards the importance of the human will as a resource for integration and development. 1985. was a notion to differentiate “higher” impulses from the lower unconscious and to describe them: esthetic values. The higher unconscious. 1991. While many theoreticians and practitioners of transpersonal psychology have heavily relied on impulses from Eastern philosophies and traditions. Engler. 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.” without clear definitions of these terms (Lukoff. Lukoff. who developed a psychological model of personality and clinical change which he called “psychosynthesis” (Assagioli. Sutich. 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). therefore. 1998). supervised or even fostered by something like a transpersonal attractor. drives and impulses. as it were. his psychology looks as if he had invented all the concepts himself. foreshadowed an important modern movement within self-regulation theory (Kuhl. 1978. 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. he quickly developed a psychological concept of his own. 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. 1973. 1934. 1998). 1996. Originally one of the early advocates of psychoanalysis in Italy (Assagioli. he used the depth-psychological terminology introduced by Freud and developed by Jung and differentiated it. 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. to suppose that Transpersonal Psychology is a unitary school. 1998). psychosynthesis is one of the “Western” types of transpersonal psychologies. Atwood & Maltin. Thalbourne. 1991. 1998. 1971. motivational and action oriented quasi-independent part of the personality. 1984. but one which seems to be mediated. Thalbourne & Delin. 1994. to use a modern metaphoric language. “higher” drives like altruistic impulses or artistic inspiration. This is a notion akin to Jung’s concept of “complex. 1977. Thalbourne & Delin. 1969. 1973). But most important of all is his concept of Higher Self. Thereby. The lower unconscious can roughly be compared to what Freud intended with this notion: past and unconscious experiences. 1991.” “mystical. 1980. inspiration and intuition. seems to have been the realization that there were realities and experiences pointing beyond the personal self (Maslow. Assagioli underlined that the process of integration and synthesis which human development represents is neither a random nor a simple cumulative process. Assagioli usually was very scant with bibliographic details of his sources.” or “religious. 1985b. although Assagioli seems to have derived many of his concepts and strategies also from theosophy and. Tart. 1986. 1970. 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).” meaning an emotional. Fadiman & Frager. Washburn. our bio-psychological past. in contrast. Bergin. Complexes of experiences he called sub-personalities. This centre.
an immortal part within the soul. which reads: ETHOS ANTHROPO DAIMON. Roots in Antiquity The first written trace of the idea that there is 18 some higher. Heidegger.” confirms that he experiences an inner voice that is sometimes warning him against doing things.” which literally reads as “from outside through the door. cosmic seed. spiritual nature within man we can see in the fragment B119 (around 500 BC) of Heraklitos (Weber. in his famous “letter on humanism” has pointed toward this fragment in this sense (Heidegger. The fragment. 1976). 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. 2005. All those direct sources of Assagioli’s will not be the topic of this paper. William James. 1964). holding man. 301ff ). “The Apology of Socrates” (Plato. he pointed to this super. be understood in different ways and needs interpretation. I want to sketch out this tradition and therebey connect the seemingly unconnected modern practice and terminology with the tradition.” “hearth. Plato developed a model of the soul in which one part of the soul was striving towards the good. central to his innermost personality there is something godly. I will only point out the more important turns and steps. which tried to understand and outline the natural workings of the soul. 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.” Although his “de anima” was a work rather of natural philosophy. who otherwise was more inclined towards biology and natural philosophy and tried to eschew some of the pitfalls of Platonic thinking.” “the innermost of the house”. the active part of the intellect. Volume 24 . 1983) explicitly said that the highest part of the soul. of course. Endre von Ivanka (1964). p. but never advises him in the positive to do something. Even Aristotle.ence. 1967. has pointed out that apart from the Platonic and neo-Platonic traditions of the concept of Spark of the Soul. and Jewish Kabbalist sources. 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. meaning surrounding. then. Since this history is extremely complicated and complex. The Greek word “ETHOS” signifies “home. which later was merged with Stoic and other ideas. but also in the centre of man.or trans-natural part of the soul.on the soul” (Aristoteles. Likely sources will have to include the writings of Blavatsky and Bailey. Assagioli’s Personality Model. with his teaching that the soul stems from the realm of ideas from where it comes into the body. namely the Stoic teaching of the universal fire as the source of everything and the trace of this fire in everything as a fiery. there also is a Stoic root to it. which is The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. can be understood in the sense: The god(ly) is home to man. * Higher Self (organizing principle) higher unconscious field of consciousness collective unconscious Me middle unconscious subpersonalities lower unconscious Figure 1. But one possible and probably sensible reading and translation would be: “home for man is the god(ly)”. who first seemed to have mentioned a concept like “spiritual self ” in the modern scientific tradition. 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. laid the foundation for the later teaching of an immortal soul or rather. who because of that in the end is sentenced to death for “introducing new gods. who has traced the history of this concept. came from “outside-THYRATHEN. and thus point to its importance and possible explanatory power. This can. the agent intellect. Socrates. in his “De anima . as most texts by Heraklitos. We next explicitly meet the idea of some inner God or godlike inner voice in the famous Platonic dialogue. Since one other work of Aristotle. bringing a trace of the ideal worlds of immutable ideas and of the Beauty and Good with it into the human being. Yoga psychology. Plato.
and we are each one of us an intelligible universe. is lost. It is the impulse within the soul to return. 4. (Enn IV 8.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. a higher and lower part. in the Acts of the Apostles. beyond every limitation. seek reunion with the One (Beierwaltes. This. a divine life. In his “Ten doubts on providence” (Proklos. and in which the soul.1f ) These quotes illustrate Plotinos’ psychology pretty clearly: He saw the soul as “containing” two parts. I have actually lived the best life and come to identity with the divine. as far as is possible for this to be accomplished by her. perfecting and establishing herself. The founder of this neo-Platonist movement was Plotinos (204-270 AD) (Plotin.21 ff ). and lives. The next step was made within the neo-Platonic tradition of those Platonists. but by its ultimate fringe we are tied to the world below. and very likely was inspired by contacts between the Greek culture and the East (O’Meara. which to him seemed like a hindrance. 3. However. (1953. which was experienced by the individual as a desire to reunite with the One. a consequent idealist ontology which starts from the insight or experience that pure consciousness is primary. in mystical contemplation.. 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. this anonymous monk of the 5th century could secure himself highest Higher Self 19 . but seems to derive from the neo-Platonist tradition. incidentally.” which he conceived to be all and everything in one.23) Often I have woken up out of the body to my self and have entered into myself. but with the intelligible world by its powers above. This was one of the main sources of the contemplative traditions in the West. Saint Paul. very much akin to Eastern practices of meditation like Yoga or Zen. This model. which is printed in the first volume of the Loeb edition of Plotinos’ works). as well as his Islamic interpreters. Plotinos called the principal source of everything “the One. he thought. interpreted him in the sense that this active part of the intellect was a spiritual and immortal part of the soul (Merlan. becomes divine. both the things above and the things below down to the limits of all life. is akin to Eastern cosmologies. in modern terminology. which is more divine than our intellect. 8. Using this alias name. Plotinos taught. 1974). 1963). 1966). and set firm in it I have come to that supreme actuality. the “active intellect” comes from outside. I have seen a beauty wonderfully great and felt assurance that then most of all I belonged to the better part. at last. out of which everything emanates in four stages: first the NOUS. so his biographer Porphyrios tells us and as Plotinos testified himself.-Dionysios). 1953. turn round to the One again and. The hallmark of his teaching is. a philosopher from the Areopague. a trace of the One which is at the same time mark of and spurn to the One. emanates the material world. From the intellect emanates the world soul which gives life to everything. and we remain with all the rest of our intelligible part above. was like a mark of the divine. 8. and its life is comfortable (Enn IV 8. 1965). & Haas. making contact with this lowerworld by the powers of the soul below. a trace of the One.. of course... and is. Plotinos. one of Plotinos’ followers and the systematizer of Plotinos’ ideas (Beierwaltes. this divine part of the soul reunites with the One. (Enn III. he says: For in us also there is inherent a certain occult vestige of the One. This was possible. 1982). as it were. 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 intellect. of course. . going out from all other things. we can only speculate what he really meant by the saying. is said to have preached to the Athenians and to have converted one Dionysios. by contemplation.. had quite a few experiences like that which left in him the desire to be totally gone from this world and reunited. A few quotes from Plotinos may illustrate his ideas: For the soul is many things. which is attributed to Christianity. Balthasar. the Areopagite. p. The idea of a special part of the soul was finally introduced by Proclos. Therefore he was ashamed of his body.thought to have contained the more esoteric aspect of his psychology. which is pure intelligibility and reservoir of the world of ideas in the Platonic sense. there is an imprint of the divine One in every single soul. by receding the faculties and powers of the soul from the outside world and turning inwards until. 1977). The higher part. is the source for much of later aversions against the body.. and all things. in total stillness. And from this. who revived the Academy and its teaching after nearly 500 years.
” the spark of the synderesis. 1948). It was Thomas Gallus or Thomas of St. It signalled a part of Figure 2. the “Liber de spiritu et anima .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 main theme of his book “Mystical Theology. have been highly influential in the middle ages. 1942. that he always could convert himself and turn to God. 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. quoted Ps.” beyond rational thinking and knowing. of course. Philosophers of the 12th century. the “synderesis. but without naming this power (Pseudo-Augustinus & Alcher von Clairveaux. In this teaching the neo-Platonic One is identified as God. Scheme of Thomas Gallus’ psychology. 797). 2005.-Dionysius takes up the teachings of Proclos and also speaks of a higher part of the soul. Synderesis is a complicated term. which is the faculty of union of man with God.” a place free of sin even in the sinner.-Dionysios the Areopagite (Ps. as it were. The main psychological text of the middle ages. since there was a place within him which remained untouched by all the evil he brought on himself by his sins (Lottin. but was known in the middle ages as a text of St.bonitas sua propria cognoscere The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. and thus granting freedom of conversion at any time.” was centred around the immense greatness of God. 1957. or God as he is conceived in the Judaic-Christian tradition is identified with the neo-Platonic One. also known as Thomas of Vercelli or Commentator Vercellensis. and that there is an “occult power” within the soul. 1996. Ps. and it is still unclear.” which is attributed to the Cistercian author. XXIV. like Phillip the Chancelor. For the philosophers of the middle ages it primarily was a moral concept.The book of the spirit and the soul. 1987). The teachings of Ps. which was untouched and untouchable by human sin. neo-Platonism baptized.1247) is mentioned as a canon of St. Saint Thomas Aquinas.-Dionysios more often than Saint Augustine. Alcher of Clairvaux. Cap. But in parallel to this moral usage another one turned up out of the slumber of the dark ages in the mystical tradition. even by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. what it really meant and what its true ethymology is. for example. who reintroduced the concept of the “scintilla synderesis” as a mystical notion. 1949. And man’s endeavour. seems to have melted together with the Stoic teaching of the “seeds of the eternal fire” to form what became known as “scintilla synderesis. In this moral sense this term seems to have been used for quite a long time. or the image of God in Christian terminology. his absolute otherness and difference and the impossibility to know him. p. “in ignorance. endowed with Apostolic authority.authority since his writings were long thought to have been inspired by the Apostle himself. mentions the fact that in the contemplative-mystical experience the soul is taken out of its normal state. Augustine’s. must be to seek reunion with God. this neo-Platonic tradition made its way into the Christian middle ages. Volume 24 . Thomas Gallus (1219 .Victor. Thus. used the term “synderesis” to signify the fact that even the worst of sinners always had a door open towards the good. This was the place where God spoke through the true voice of consciousness.-Dionysius Areopagita.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 . the human soul. or later on Adam de la Hale.
summit of the mind”. only the very highest. a faculty or organ for the mystical experience. These are the compartments 7-9 so to speak. At some stage he was transferred to the abbey of Vercelli in Piemont. sensual apprehensions (naturales apprehensiones). His work. commenting and interpreting the works of Ps.. the synderesis. Here the “spark of the soul” has made its entry into the teaching of the West. 1934. as it were. whence his title of honour “commentator Vercellensis . when there is another power that exceeds the intellect no less than the intellect exceeds reason and the reason exceeds imagination. He was well regarded by posteriority and widely read. at a higher level with propositional and intellectual truth. or “principalis affectio . and thereby is concerned with the highest good of the soul. this free will would have been a part of the synderesis. the neo-Platonic teaching of a trace of the One has combined with various strands of Christian teaching. which is beyond any operation of the mind. and affect (affectus). They work naturally. subconsciously in modern parlance (natura).thought the highest cognitive power was found in the intellect. Thus it is understandHigher Self 21 . we find a whole compartment above the rational powers of the soul which he calls synderesis. Pagan philosophers. And he developed a psychology which could incorporate these teachings. is activated by the will and by effort of energy (industria). he says: In this book he (i. There are two major faculties: intellect (intellectus). and is the central power of the mind (robur mentis).-Dionysios’ teaching of the celestial hierarchies. Germany) of Ps. But he wrote a summary himself in one of his commentaries which has survived and has been edited (Thomas Gallus. which he outlined in his commentary on Isiah.spark of the synderesis”. which is the spark of the synderesis and which alone can be united to the Holy Spirit.-Dionysius the Areopagite (Thomas Gallus.e. unitive experience of ecstatic oneness of the soul with God. Note that in former psychologies some 50 or 100 years earlier. This second level.” The middle ages only tributed such nicknames and titles of honour to wellknown and important writers. compartments 4-6. 14). There we find the natural. This is activated by grace only. This power is the principal affectio. 1990). suo propria cognoscere)— at a lower level with the subjective and sensual goodness. by the way. to form an explicit psychological notion of the “scintilla synderesis.1219. into the Western. gains experiential. a more profound way of knowing God.” This is the “organ” of the contemplative. and experiences a desire for the divine (appetitus divinorum). The first level of the soul. or at other places “scintilla synderesis . While the intellect is concerned with the outside world and truth (veritas.the commentator from Vercelli. is extremely rare. compartments 1-3 as it were. where he lived and studied (Barbet. It is schematically reconstructed in Figure 2. according to the 3*3 hierarchies of angels. and in it the highest faculties of the human soul are perfected (consummatio intellectus). as it were. the affect is concerned with goodness and the soul’s own states (bonitas. he achieved two things. Of this upper triad of the soul. denoted as the rational faculty (ratio).. This scintilla synderesis belongs solely to the affect. the Seraphim.. and posits 3*3 faculties of the soul. which corresponds to the highest hierarchy of angels. and by doing this. 1936). Here in Thomas Gallus. mainly consisted in reading. Dionysius) hands down. One could also interpret this as the conscious level of our human rational faculties. In that summary he aligns the inner structure of the soul with Ps. it is beyond human nature and active effort (supra naturam et industriam). Thomas Gallus was not a minor writer. p. By doing this.. whose sole purpose and aim is the unification with God. is called the “apex mentis . Augustian terminology and made this strain of contemplative tradition more accessible to the West. a copy is obtainable by interlibrary loan from the university library in Mainz.-Dionysios the Areopagite. The highest part of the affect here are the commands of the free will (imperia liberi arbitrii). This is the first explicit mentioning of a specific faculty of the soul. In his commentary on the “Mystic Theology” (which.” spark of the soul or principal affection. at a higher level with the intellectually and morally good. is lost. with God alone. In this specific place in the soul a human being is divine. and is able to unite with God him/herself. mystical knowledge of God. apart from his monastic and ecclesiastic duties. But at the border toward the next level. With Thomas Gallus.principal affection.. which is the highest part of the soul. and the simple discernment of basic truths and falsity (vera an falsa). as it were. aliena cognoscere)—at the lower level with sensory truth. The main part of this psychology. the affect already comes out of its natural slumber. neo-Platonic tradition. with the moral concept of consciousness. which made him important for posteriority: He translated the meaning of the Greek terms which were close to the pagan. consist of the natural faculties of the soul (vires naturales).
Opinions about the author. And every faculty of the soul has a certain role to fulfill in this. and which is the only aim and bliss of the soul. It was Hugh of Balma who radicalized this teaching. and only in concentrating all the soul’s powers into the affect. (Bonaventura. 59f. summit of the affect.. “The Cloud of Unknowing” (Anonymous. such that he can really be called one of the fathers of Western mysticism. . In his book “Itinerarium mentis in Deum . His basic message is simple: Only in the total withdrawal of the soul from every outward orientation. which is concerned with the soul’s own inner states. And the apex of the affect is totally taken over and transformed into God. that the mystical experience takes place: In this step. Walach. which also is inspired by Carthusian spirituality. which is concerned with the outer world. In parallel. which leads to a unification with God in the scintilla synderesis. his motives and the basic thrust of his teachings vary widely. He says: These six steps of the ascent to God are according to six hierarchically ordered faculties of the soul. Bonaventure has taken up the notion introduced by Thomas Gallus of a summit or spark of the soul.6. 1929). I. His teaching was highly influential. 1995). the understanding. “Viae Sion lugent . if it is to be perfect. which can be dated round about the years of 12601270. He very likely was the main source for the contemplative text. only in radical extinction of thinking. his biography. 4. outer and inner experience were one. Hugh of Balma (Walach. true knowledge of many other things. 1994. except in old and rare prints until very recently. (Bonaventura. is mystical and most secret. all intellectual activities have to be given up. thus aiming only at the mystical union with all desire and all power and in ardent love. however. 1961. as taught by Ps. the rational faculties. 1996).The ways to Zion mourn”. Volume 24 . but the fact that Eckhart was in Paris in 1276/7 and in 1312 makes a connection a possibility. popularized it. There is now available a recent English (Martin. do not concern the main impact of his teaching. One can make a point that. which in fact is inner experience. This is also evidenced by Thomas Gallus’ psychology. 1997b) and German translation (Walach. 1994).) It is within this latter spark of the soul. p. pre-modern science and mystical speculation. can true knowledge of God. general. Bonaventure and who had to retreat into the charterhouse for personal safety and ecclesiastical peace. This process. and the summit of the soul or the spark of the synderesis (apex mentis seu synderesis scintilla). Noboby understands it. and professor of theology was one of them (Gilson. up to Hugh of Balma. the Franciscan friar. are still together. as a kind of side effect. This ascent is conceived according to his— more Augustinian—psychology. another author was possibly even more influential than St. where the faculty of intellect. unless he receives it. Here is a textual example from Hugh’s lengthy tract.able that his teachings were taken up by others and handed down. He severely attacks all school teaching and academic wisdom. p. Walach (1994) has argued that he probably was a Franciscan friar opposing St. and he does not receive it. VII. While the official. 1961). the mystical path. and he does not desire it. the senses. the so called devotio moderna. and the faculty of affect. mystical and classical theology. His influence on Meister Eckhart remains to be traced. unless the fire of the holy spirit ignites him in his very centre. Saint Bonaventure. Hugh of Balma is usually known only to specialists due to missing editions and literally missing access to his writings. his work was translated into many languages. 1961. as well as a criti22 cal edition of his text (Hugo de Balma. and printed in many editions.The mind’s itinerary to God” he described the mystical ascent (Bonaventura. which was also known as “Mystical Theology” or as The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.-Dionysios and Thomas Gallus. 150) Thus. unless he desires it. Bonaventure in familiarizing the spiritual readership with the concept of a higher part of the soul: the Carthusian author. and being one of the major authors of the Franciscan community and a widely read theological teacher. and. These details. 2005. university teachers and theologians for having relinquished the true path towards insight and knowledge. the intellect. true peace and freedom be gained.. This was taken up extensively about 100 years after his presumed active period. accepted version is that he was a Carthusian prior. which he also calls apex affectus. however. 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. 1981). the imagination. and thereby was seminal for the later contemplative or mystical tradition. He influenced the 14th and 15th century movement of lay devotion.
like Theresa of Avila. without any mediating agent. which would certainly be possible. which has henceforth remained present in the West: the notion of a higher part of the soul. as nature. 265) This text.” “spark of the synderesis. of the mind and of the understanding. however. variably named summit of the mind. which looks at everything from the outside. in the present moment. there is a part which is like a “better” part of a divine nature. 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. Assagioli assigns more mundane tasks to the Higher Self. the founder of the Jesuit order and of the meditative-experiential tradition of the spiritual exercises (Beyer. 1994. Its influence is still not completely traced and established. by virtue of the unification of the glowing. of the rational faculty. especially within psychosynthesis. for which experience is eminently experience of oneself. this was identical to Higher Self 23 . principal affect. 1956). or into the circles of lay people (Ruh. then.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. who likely tried to influence academic opinion. failed. 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. and was more or less driven out of universities and schools. what the mind is incapable of grasping. but certainly goes as far as the Spanish mystics (Pablo Maroto. mostly to Dominican sisters. activating and thereby pulling the individual toward his or her development. (Walach. an enormous number. is one of the major manifestos. for which experience is experience of something (else). Since the latter half of the 13th century. This type of knowledge was handed down in the “Mystical Theology” (of Ps. Whitehead’s beautiful metaphor of “God luring” entities towards him. Meister Eckhart. In his psychology–which. 1993). A concept was born. It certainly would be interesting to sketch further this history in the West and in later times. spark of the soul. spark of the syndere- sis. the mystical tradition has drifted away from orthodox teaching. by the way. By letting go of any activity of imagination. of mystical thought in the West. It rises up in the summit of the affective power. More than 100 text witnesses are extant. and Ignatius of Loyola. which in reality makes the spirit able. be it nature. testifying to its wide distribution. the Dominican friar and preacher has taken this notion up and popularized it in the vernacular in his sermons. It is in Hugh of Balma that the academic tradition of the West branches into an “exoteric.” While the mystical tradition used the term more in the context of the mystical experience of union with God.” “summit of the mind. and spiritual development of the psyche.Dionysius). It seems to be an interesting fact that.” academic. p. within the human mind. This concept has mainly disappeared from the academic agenda ever since Hugh of Balma. Inner experience or mystical experience has been delegated to lay piety and private worship. we are able to feel already now.“De triplici via ad sapientiam . to rise ardently and glowingly with surging strivings to his beloved. like Tauler or Seuse. The Higher Self of Assagioli has a psychological function: unification. These hints may suffice for a first approach. God within. During the middle ages. world or God. which were written down and copied widely. And from there it made its way into the teaching of other mystics. and in an “esoteric. albeit mainly outside academical traditions. Experience has started to become experience of outer things. comes to mind here. but is outside the scope of this paper. mystical branch. It has since lived and survived in the circles of pious groups. this concept returns. as world. as we saw. John of the Cross. Here he also calls this central part of the soul spark of the soul. And it would be even more interesting to draw the parallels with and underline differences to Eastern traditions. or rather by not-knowing. as God. if not the most important one. It was ascribed to Bonaventure and thereby became widely known and eminently important. 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. 1965) of the 16th and 17th century.” counter-academic. little fortress of the soul. which signifies that. within transpersonal psychology. It is conceived as the very centre or summit of the soul. has culminated in a notion. in monasteries and in the writings and teachings of mystical writers. and therefore can be the place and the means of the mystical experience of union with God. theological and scientific branch. ardent love that. About this rising it is said that it happens without knowledge. The psychology of these mystical writers.
it describes the same basic experience. Then. sound and available as a resource. in imagination. We feel reminded of Viktor E. We need data on the effectiveness of interventions like that. in other words to reintroduce the topics of transpersonal psychology within academic main-stream psychology and research. which is thought to be an imaginative counterpart of contacting one’s Higher Self. healing. 2005. it seems. it is by no means enough nor is it good enough. there would be the reductive argument which is difficult to counter apart by selfevidence. Christ-nature or Buddha-nature.deification: becoming God-like or union with God. Both traditions see the experience of this innermost part. our godlike nature. to let oneself be drawn by the call of God. Frankl’s dictum that the spirit is never ill. Therefore. to which everyone is drawn. or coping skills. there is no clear advantage for such a concept to everyday research and theorizing. or even more effective than conventional treatment. of course. interventions tapping the spiritual resources should be researched and documented well. There are several strands of empirical and theoretical research which recommend itself in that way. quite natural and a health resource rather than hazard. as the most important and most fulfilling experience. the old concept of “spark of the soul” makes its reappearance. In the Zen-tradition The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. If it is true that within transpersonal psychology some of the legacies of the mystical tradition are present. then one task would obviously be to reconnect this strand of thinking and experiencing with the main stream of the scientific endeavour. in modern parlance. As I have tried to show. only the soul. Granted that a modern psychological stance has something to add and to offer to the purely mystical or spiritual position. We acknowledge that sometimes psychological problems have to be solved before or after spiritual experiences. 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.The best known of these is probably the inner journey to the wise man. proving to the scientific community and the public that therapies using transpersonal resources. basically untouched by psychological suffering. this is a kind of ever present synthesizing and motivating activity. or rather in this or similar concepts of Transpersonal Psychology. Apart from the different and clerical language this is couched in. If this is so. for the mystical writers of the middle ages this was the innate spurn to embark on the spiritual quest. and on the effectiveness of therapies which base their concept more on a spiritual understanding of man. like selfesteem. this has some important ramifications. Volume 24 . 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. Only if presented in the widely read mainstream journals with high impact and rigorous review will such material be taken seriously. since history is not simply a rehearsal of the same piece of music all over again. and that the power of such a mystical experience can be severely hampered by psychological malfunctioning of the rest of the person. While for Assagioli. 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. Both attribute to this part an active role in the unification of the personality. I venture to say that in the Higher Self of psychosynthesis. The historical distance from the middle ages can be traced in the fact that nowadays we also recognize psychological needs more readily. utilizing this as a resource. Historical and theoretical research should establish firm links between concepts of different cultures and times. 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. which is not very convincing to sceptics and critics: What is the criterion that in any experience of Higher Self. and there are some tasks which come with it. 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. the mystical tradition has pulled away from the official academic strand of research and teaching. which forbids entities beyond necessity. prayer or whatever other type. It should be shown beyond doubt that spiritual experiences are quite common. Although there is some research into that direction. of Higher Nature. At present. Transpersonal therapies should take up the burden of empirical research and evaluation. Specifically. can be effective. Assagioli has suggested some imagination exercises for helping the individual growth process. or Spark of the Soul. we know virtually nothing. 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. and it probably would be cut away by Ockham’s razor.
. Von der Dichtkunst. Il Subcosciente. are not public knowledge. both empirically by EEG. 16. One way would be to promote research into meditation. 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. transl. (1911). if integration is to happen at all. by J. Transpersonal experience in childhood. motor performance. Frankfurt: Klostermann. R. not only as inner experience and not only as outer experience. W. Plotinos reportedly had quite a few spiritual experiences himself. Von der Seele. D. L. Psychoanalysis and psychosynthesis. Assagioli. (1981). (1965). school aptitude). Assagioli. 800-816). Freiburg. Transpersonal development. Author Note This paper is based on a talk held at the 3rd World Congress of Psychotherapy in Vienna. experiences. subjective in the first place. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. facts and theories remain unrecognized unless they can be combined with. American Journal of Psychotherapy. In that sense. Beierwaltes. R. & hrsg. Nendeln: Kraus. but linked up with philosophical and traditional terminology. The knowledge of the spiritual traditions can be helpful in this. 45. We need something similar today. Assagioli. Higher Self 25 . As yet. as probably did the other writers. Methoden der psychotherapie und der selbsttherapie. Germany. Symbols of transpersonal experiences. (1969). Maybe they never will be. as well as the methodology that comes with it. (1983). In such a notion of science and experience there would be a place for a concept derived from inner experience like the Higher Self. (1934). 3345. Maybe some simple surrogate tests could be devised. Atwood. or the spark of the soul. likely exists. Psychosynthese. References Anonymous. 207-230. In Anonymous. T. introd. Die schulung des willens. good theory and good empirical theory testing should be mandatory also for transpersonal psychology. how to really integrate what is “new” with what is there. R. Grundzüge seiner metaphysik. München: DTV. which alone can yield an argument against reductive reasoning. Putting eastern philosophies into western psychotherapies. (1974). neuroimaging and the concepts derived from there. New York: Paulist Press. Jung and psychosynthesis. but as what it originally was: inner and outer exprience combined into one mode with two faces. Aristoteles. and to combine this with existing models as far as possible. (1990). nor should be. integrated into and linked up with existing knowledge and paradigms. fMRI. Paderborn: Junfermann. it seems. (1991). In dictionnaire de spiritualité. Thomas Gallus. Vom Himmel.. as well as phenomenologically by studying qualitative reports. methoden und techniken. R. Atti del IV Congresso Internationale di Filosofia. (1988). Hibbert Journal. R. It was supported by the Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene. Armstrong. but eventually will have to undergo empirical tests as well. 606-624). J. A successful new paradigm is not a paradigm which suggests: Throw away the old stuff. Barbet. We need experience in the full sense of the word. Gigon. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. (pp. In that sense voices coming from the transpersonal camp and demanding a “new” science are not all that helpful. 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. The Higher Self or Spark of the Soul initially was a concept derived from experience. (pp. Adliswil/Zürich: Verlag Astrologisch-Psychologisches Institut. 184-201. Assagioli. R. 368-382. Bologna. (1984). The cloud of unknowing: The classics of Western spirituality. and thus intersubjective in result. Something like that would be necessary for a science of spiritual experiences. History shows that phenomena. Assagioli. to introduce the topics of transpersonal psychology into mainstream research. (1991). I’ll give you something completely new. these types of validation of experiences. Assagioli.. It would probably be wise to utilize the modern trend towards neuroscience. Walsh. Proklos. if they cannot at the same time point out. 14. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. O. 35-55. but because it could integrate what was there into a new framework. Ed. Prinzipien. 33. Übers. The dimension beyond psychosynthesis. J. Quantum mechanics was successful not because it was new. Assagioli. 1. July 1999.there is something like that in the testing for the understanding of a Koan. (1986). It was inner experience. R. London: Harper Collins. & Maltin. v. and quantitative self-report. The rationale is not much different from that of common tests: What can be tested for (intelligence.
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Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik der Universität Salzburg. Transpersonale Psychologie. Washburn. Bern: Scherz. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Vaughan (Eds.L. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. Exceptional Human Experience. M.). (1969). stages and types of pathology. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Vol 5. and worlds of experience.. In J. A common thread underlying belief in the paranormal. (1985). A.. Auge in Auge: Wissenschaft und Transpersonale Psychologie. 2. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Barnhouse. altered states. Cohen & M. Fax +44-1604-722067. M. M. In R. F. Wilber. (1996). K. and psychopathology. Thalbourne. 5. Vaughan (Eds. Zwei Weisen des Erkennens. Walsh & F. (1976). 31. Sutich. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology.A.Uk The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Wilber. & Delin. 58. (1976). 6. Wilber. Religious or spiritual problem. 349-384.S.). (1985c). R. Observations relevant to a unified theory of meditation. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. K. Thalbourne. P. Ed. K. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 16. 45-66).Versuch einer Rekonstruktion. 435444. Grand Commentaire sur la theologie mystique. (1985a).P. Vie Spirituelle. creative personality. K. Paris: Editions historiques et philosophiques R. Origins Psychotherapy. Paderborn: Schöningh. J. 10. A culturally sensitive diagnostic category in the DSM-IV. 11-20. & Delin. Wartofsky (Eds. Vaughan (Eds. (Ed. 16. Sutich.J.). Journal of Altered States of Consciousness. The ultimate state of consciousness. 168-183. Vaughan (Eds. K. 146-162. 1-21. R. P. K. In R. Ein Entwicklungsmodell des Bewutseins. Wilber. The Mystical Tradition and The Carthusians. 1. 18. W. (1978). Northampton NN2 7AL UK. Main Currents. J.Ac. & S. (1936). 45-64. Hogg (Ed.A. 83-99) Bern: Scherz. (1974). (1994). S. Boughton Green Road. A. Turner. (1994). K. (1973). Explanatio in mysticam theologiam. Transpersonal therapy. Wilber. 183. 159-170.walach@northhampton. & Lu. G. 117-135). Conceptual revolutions in science. Dordrecht: Reidel. Notitia experimentalis Dei Erfahrungserkenntnis Gotte. K. Email Harald. 2005. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. 2. The psychology of mystical experience. 8. Phone +441604-89 2952.Was 28 heisst das? . The basic nature of altered states of consciousness: A systems approach. The emergence of the transpersonal orientation: a personal account. 9. Walsh & F.). par G. K. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. (1986).T.Hugo de Balmas Begriff der Erfahrungserkenntnis Gottes . T. H. Notitia experimentalis Dei . 45-69. H. 1-6. mystical experience.self in behavioral change. Wilber. 8. Messer (Eds. Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. Walach. Wachtel. Transliminality: Its relation to dream-life. Ed. Weber. A. 267-275) Bern: Scherz. Toulmin. (pp. Walsh & F. Theories of and Evolution.J. (1934). Lukoff. The developmental spectrum and psychopathology: Part I. The developmental spectrum and psychopathology: Part II.A. Common factors aren’t so common: The common factors dilemma. (1985d). Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at University College Northampton School of Social Sciences and Samueli Institute for Information Biology. religiosity and mystical experience. Consciousness. P. Transpersonale Psychologie. A Portrait of Twenty-Five Years: Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science 1960-1985 (pp. In R.) (1997). Haloua. Volume 24 . Wilber. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. M. Some considerations regarding transpersonal psychology. Tart. 5-19. 5874).) (1976). (pp. 3-38.. T. Studien zu Hugo de Balmas Text “Viae Sion lugent” und deutsche übersetzung. Tart. Théry. Thomas Gallus.S. (1985b). Walach. (pp.J. Transpersonale Psychologie. (1979).B. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice. A developmental view of consciousness. (1984a). Text und Kommentar. Journal of Parapsychology. (pp. Wilber. Weinberger. Philosophia perennis und das Spektrum des Bewusstseins. Thomas Gallus. Commentaire sur Isaie. Sutich. S. (1995).).). (1984b). D. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. Walsh & F. 47. Transpersonale Psychologie. Thalbourne. (1975).. F. Washington: American Psychological Association. In R. 3.. Bern: Scherz. (1991). C. C. 247-253). Wilber. Théry. 2. (pp.G. The spectrum of consciousness. 1. 11. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik der Universität Salzburg. Treatment modalities. (1995). 137-166. (1998). Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. 75118. In R.
within Mother Earth. our morality above all— depends on the historical resonance of its foundationThe Nature of Myth 29 . being neither this nor that. 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. in the way we both disabuse and pollute.107) The mythologist Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell. And both are showing signs of permanent exhaustion. Beginning with a brief overview of some of the major tenets of Campbell’s guiding force of the “monomyth. The “life of a mythology. As long as I am this or that. In his incisive study on the importance of our ancestors. 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). By doing so. in The Dominion of the Dead (2003). I am not all things and I have not all things. In addition. though not divorced from matter but actually inhering within it. 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. and now. 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.” offer new ways to reimagine our relation to the earth. Become pure till you neither are nor have either this or that. What we do to words mirrors with exacting frequency what we do to the world. especially his “Ode to a Nightingale.” Campbell refers to such a divorce as “mythic dissociation” (1972/1993. then you are omnipresent and. For even our morality—indeed. diagnose the accelerating rapacity of the earth’s resources as yet another consequence of an earlier malady wherein “matter and spirit begin to separate. The Perennial Philosophy (1970. Meister Eckhart.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. p. to the dead and to language’s continued vitality. of words themselves. and towards the transcendent in the other. whose 100th birthday we celebrate this year (1904-2004). perhaps even to the transcendent Other that is in fact—tat tvam asi—thou art the other. Language and landscape are intimate first cousins.” he asserts in Flight of the Wild Gander (1951/2002) “derives from the vitality of its symbols as metaphors” (p. the essay then moves into a discussion of Keats’ poem in order to reveal the power of poetic utterance in reconfiguring a vital mythology. If there is to be a renewed mythos. psychic and spiritual energy. 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. xx). words lose their moral memory. Campbell would. or have this or that. are all things. seems to be one of Campbell’s perennial and abiding concerns.” which gathers all the various world mythologies as inflections of one universal story. 74). as well as the poetry of John Keats. The purpose of yoking mythology to poetry is to realign consciousness along a mytho-poetic axis of insight and understanding. I detect his impulses moving in two directions: into the body and into the natural order in one direction. Robert Pogue Harrison observed that “in the age of the new barbarism. p. For today we would be wise to place the earth’s journey at the forefront of any pilgrimage towards revitalizing the planet. I believe. for it guides us to the proposition that in the active life of the imagination of a culture. in Huxley. or nurture and elevate the status. revealed in many of his 28 books and journals the intimate connection of mythology to the earth’s foundational soil. language too is crucial. of an entire planet.
But Spirit. 191). p. let us link for a moment both Hegel and Campbell to one more crucial historical figure. wealth the highest good” (1963/1989. is our substantial object. which Carl Jung observes in Mysterium Coniunctionis in a section entitled “An Alchemical Allegory. In this vein. compassion. James Joyce who gave him the term “monomyth. The function of the poet. 193). 10). we see that they are symptoms of the unconscious. nature. Jung believed. which I take as the expression of the everyday shorn of its transcendent reverberations. following the Irish writer. 257). xvi). 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 the phenomenon we investigate—Universal History— belongs to the realm of Spirit. deploying similar words to delineate an analogous idea.xix). p. and the course of its development. in this last book which he completed in his eightieth year. in self-expression. Perhaps in entertaining the hero’s journey.You would like to make gold because poverty is the greatest plague. Volume 24 . ((1990/2003.” none of which brooks “the false eloquence of the times” (p. This ode recollects and records a transcendent pilgrimage into the imaginal realm. Hegel (17701831) believed was the nugget resting deep in the heart of the earth. more blissful and enduring repetition of physical desire and satisfaction” (p. p. more needs to be cultivated regarding the intimate connections in thought between these two titans.” includes both physical and psychical Nature…. 2005. Campbell. 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. in his Introduction to the revised The Hero’s Journey. to provide images that relate the everyday to the eternal” (2004.al words: liberty. 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. 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. who writes in his thoughtful responses to a young poet that “Spiritual creativity originates from the physical. Campbell underscores Rilke’s insight when he coins the phrase “mythic identification” (1951/2002.” that all the varieties of world mythologies are inflections of one story. substance and energy. indeed. 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. as it were. The Philosophy of History (1834/1991): It must be observed at the outset. include a brief exploration of “Ode to a Nightingale” by the 19th century English poet. John Keats. This languid soul has indeed heard and heeded the call and entered the vocational woods of poetic creation. 38). which implies that psyche. and in writing is directly yoked to a disrespect and indifference to the matter and.F. p. believed.38). 86). par. Phil Cousineau. Ranier Maria Rilke. we have read it too literally. 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. duty. The symptoms of literalism’s malady include an arresting or blockage of psychic energy’s flow. the fountain of your soul…. writes that “the monomyth is in effect a metamyth. a philosophical reading of the unity of mankind’s spiritual history. is “to see the life value of the facts round about. 1929/1992 p. a kind of constant attention or ‘religio.…unfolds this its one nature in the phenomena of the World’s existence” (1834/1991.” “is the source of your fantasy. 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. but also controlled and intended statements of spiritual principles which are as constant in history as the human nervous system” (1948/1968. Here is Hegel early in his epic work.’ which might also be called devotion” (par. What Keats’ ode exposes is an essential and exhausting poverty inherent in literalism. The term “World. and to deify them. (p. The latter part of this essay must. Campbell asserts. the world spirit that the philosopher Georg W. Joseph Campbell’s entire work contains a Hegelian impulse. 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. to transmit to a receptive audience. 160) to capture the sense of a hidden transcendent unity of truth. sacrifice. they are of the same essence” (Rilke. equality. then. p. I believe that carelessness in speech. that the image of “the everflowing fountain expresses a continual flow of interest toward the unconscious.
decreased. the life force that permeates all matter. Archetypes are biologically grounded… (p. p. a common source. and they center us in the connotative dimensions of a world that is essentially and furiously denotative (2001. pp. it is the interior of flesh. matter. and to reveal the underlying unity of human embodiment and the cosmos. The first group are the atheists and the second are “religious. Perhaps analogies are birthed right here. one opens oneself to the mythic impulse which is to make us “transparent to transcendence” (2003.3-4)). they are interpretive. this metaphorical quality lying vibrantly at the heart of myths and myth-making. 51). for that too is a category of thought…”(p. 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.” However. xvi). Only metaphor has this exclusively powerful quality of allowing us to enter domains not readily accessible to the rational mind. Given this metaphorical quality that points to and exposes a mystery beyond contradiction and duality. strict denotation. 48). 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 Nature of Myth 31 . p. they carry a religious function: to awaken and maintain in the person an experience of awe. an efficient and very economic delivery system of sorts. 39). serve four functions: 1. according to Campbell. 3. 2. p. increased. therefore. empty words. diluted. 40). “There seem to be only two kinds of people: Those who think that metaphors are facts. p. to allow us “transparence” to the latter. Within this field of metaphor. the death of language—its cadavers are strewn around us everywhere: in clichés. 6). its physicality. are the “texts of rites of passage” (p. 34) having their origins in the energies of the organs of the body. in its energetic language. Campbell reveals in his writing how both the world’s material. Finally. 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. an identification with the life process” (2003. to know and respect that ultimate mystery that transcends all forms (2001. which is another way of asserting that myths promote our “learning to live the divine life within you” (p. worn out phrases. he writes earlier in the same volume that “The divine is transcendent even of the category of transcendence. p. for the psyche. Metaphors carry us from one place to another.8). A new mythos must therefore be diligent and dedicated to preserving speech as well as preserving species. end-stopped. but which finally shares a universal origin. the universe as it is. mediated by the social customs that comprise a specific historical time and place. space. begins in the body. Myths. In allowing the energy of the world soul to permeate one’s own body. physical world at the same time that it clears a space for accommodating the transcendent. is from two Greek words: meta=to pass over. and phorein=to move or carry. even a partnership between energy flows through shared matter. they help carry the individual through various stages and crises of life.itself that flows. they also transport us past time. sound-bytes and a general lack of vitality in selfexpression. p. where the outer and the inner worlds meet” (2002. 4. 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. is offered more than once by Campbell when he quotes the 19th century poet Novalis: “The seat of the soul is there. The word “metaphor.” he explains. slogans. 41). they allow us to cross boundaries otherwise impossible. vulgarity and profanity. and those who know that they are not facts” (2001. Thus. The hero may be imagined as energy itself. p. 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. he affirms that “myth is a constant regeneration. 40). What for Campbell is the life process comprises for Hegel the World Spirit that animates and informs the World soul. both in conflict and in complement to one another. as he writes in Flight of the Wild Gander. A key to this web of relationships. 40). they align consciousness to the mysterium tremendum. body and earth in a constant but benevolent dialogic tension between the body’s interiority and the world’s matter. The death throes of the soul reveal themselves in. and its metaphorical or symbolic resonances. p. among other venues. For Campbell. A renewed or revisioned mythos might then include an ability to reimagine the relation of spirit. the two breaths being the same” (2002. one’s own psyche. myths. 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. even as it connects us to the natural. becomes sidetracked. newspeak. or polluted. which is a mode of transportation. even a mythic heritage.5). to go from one place to another. providing a consistent image of the order of the cosmos.
Given such a connection. 6) Stanislav Grof ’s own work. Early in the beginning of volume 4. (p. Campbell writes in Flight of the Wild Gander (1990/2002) that “myths and rites constellate a mesocosm. or an entire people. A new mythos would exchange hubris for humus. for Campbell. may assist us in reclaiming the ancestral imagination to allow for a fuller vision of our place in historical time. which my colleague Robert Romanyshyn has eloquently described as “a gestural body. which Robert Pogue Harrison tells us. citing the work of Gimbatisto Vico. He argues convincingly against the preoccupation with the “historical ego. The human imagination is moved by the conflicting urgencies of the organs—including the brain. yet now discovered order of the pageant of the spheres” (p. gravitational. then. most critical function of a mythology. Campbell intuited something profound about the body’s relation to myth and meaning but chose not to pursue it in depth. destructive” (p. 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. Volume 24 . grasp in a sensate way an intuition of place and of belonging to something beyond themselves. in accord with d) himself (the microcosm). horrifying. Creative Mythology (1968). x). life on earth “is to mirror in the human body the almost hidden. b) the universe (the macrocosm). burying” (2003. is to foster the centering and unfolding of the individual in integrity. would seek to reclaim the wisdom of the dead. This is not a new myth but a reclaimed one. a mediating middle cosmos through which the microcosm of the individual is brought into relation with the macrocosm of the universe” (p. 93).” whose organizing impulse is to remember 32 and reflect unconsciously “the history which formed it and which its continuity would uphold…” (p. and the images who walk in on us are our ancestors…. global order is necessary and must take precedence over the rights and appetites of the seemingly autonomous self. like mythology generally. but when unbridled become terrific. and we can here highlight the indispensable place of a historical imagination in retrieving the humanity of our species. reveals that the word “humanitas in Latin comes first and properly from humando. “to be born”. xiv). a second womb of sorts. and a) that awesome ultimate mystery which is both beyond and within himself and all things. the place of society where the human body breathes itself into the social matrix. of our particular spirit informing it with ancestral culture” (p. whose mythos is surcharged with planned obsolescence. writes in Healing Fiction (1983) of the central importance of history’s qualitative hold on psyche. The human is bound up with the humus and is why burial figures as the generative institution of human nature. By contrast. the body. Human embodiment. xi)…. c) his culture (the mesocosm). has its own organizing structures. to which I have only The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. such an observation rests on a fundamental premise in all of Campbell’s musings on world mythologies: “the highest concern of all myths. each of us is influenced by “history’s hundred channels” which “show culture at work in the channels of the soul. p. p. The fourth point is the only one I wish to access here: The fourth and most vital. 2005. 130). p. So. is to get people to identify with something outside of themselves” (1990/2002. 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. goals and purposes of a people’s mythology. in an organic and animal way. undoubtedly influenced by Vico. 60). They are the historical progenitors. taking the word nature in its full etymological sense (from nasci. James Hillman. 60). He observed that “mythos and dream are motivated from a single psycho-physical source. erotic field…“ (2002. Human history may then be understood as a biography of an entire species. for the quality of being connected to ancestry has been muted considerably in today’s future-obsessed consciousness. p. and more on the nature of a historical sensibility imaginally kindled that arouses one’s soul within a larger fabric of meaning and intentions. xix). His most cogent and sustained opus. 130). 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. of the human body” (2002. By the same token. p. etc. He called these “bioenergies. I offer the following wobbly neologism to capture something of such a partnership: mythophysiology—a mythos of flesh. Campbell reiterates and in truth. The land of the dead is the country of ancestors. redesigns his list of four qualities. or archetypes.in that “marsupial pouch” that for Campbell characterizes. which is the essence of life itself. 123). as well as a record of the pilgrimage of humanitas. that shapes it and is contoured by it. ceremonies. A new or revitalized mythos. the four volume The Masks of God. [which is ] a magnetic. perhaps less an emphasis on historical events and facts at this juncture. then.
even drydocked. For Campbell. that Aristotle discovered in the 5th century BCE in Greece. 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. 711). nature becomes transformed into narrative. They are the figures in the culture to whom we turn. two southern poets of the last century. Instead of “the image of the cosmos as a mechanical system” that assumes it can then be understand by “dissection” and explanation (p. its praxis is to create by analogy a mimetic representation of some vision. 92). study poetry. or at least some indication of the message” (p. poiesis is a making or a shaping of something that has been apprehended. they could have been etched yesterday or even tomorrow. such that they find it impossible to leave their safe harbors and sail towards the transcendent. 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. 202-03) Let me turn in the last part of this excursus to the realm of poetry. 299). showing that our individual psyches are. 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. (pp. properly. or imitation of a psychic action. a full and authentic mimesis. the nature of myth. 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. the poet is a partner in the hero’s journey who. some insight that has particularly powerful mythic resonances. Any The Nature of Myth 33 . 318). p. In other words. 100). The Odes of John Keats (1795-1821) are among the most famous and finely wrought in literature by such a young poet. p. for. As such. There the nature and structure of the narratives we tell. are in a sense homologous—and perhaps even holotropic?—of the structure of the world we inhabit.G. On Stories (2001). Such a shift would. cultural forces shifted the inflection to one of the image of the cosmos as a mythical or series of overlapping mythical tonalities. As I stated in the title of this paper. I would say. You need not have the experience to get the message. to the process of poiesis that only the human being is fully equipped to create. in writing of Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom. that unveils and makes more transparent. And from that penetration through the boundaries that might inhibit or resist the rest of us in our tracks. as both Stan Grof and Joseph Campbell rightly insist on. poetry is capable of producing an organic mythology. “the poets’ sensibilities have large orbits” (1997. Jung. returns with a boon that is worth contemplating as we tend to the right measure of our own voyage. there exists an intimacy between the myth of nature. having suffered through the concrete world in a unique way. are fertilized by the same principles that organize and order the cosmic as well as social and individual orders. resonates a similar holistic view. For the Greeks. In such a relationship. for poets do not eschew the world so much as they enter it more fully than the rest of us may be capable. We never completely lost contact with this cosmic consciousness because we are never fully separated from it. Poets are the antithesis of those souls caught in hell. as the poet Wallace Stevens observes. In such a paradigm. 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. and drew this conclusion: “How does the ordinary person come to the transcendent? For a start. 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. organisms and the interfaces of both divine and human orders commingling and mutually influencing one another. While written in the early part of the 19th century. When asked about the experience of the transcendent and how one might achieve its status. Campbell reflected on it in a “Discussion” transcribed at the back of Thou Art That. a mythology of organs and origins. Nature and narrative grow like seedlings from the same plot of ground. would finally reach its fullest expression. in order to shatter those boundaries that Stan Grof believes keep us arrested within limits that are more arbitrary than absolute (2000. “Hell. perhaps a mytho-poiesis of nature. 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. these souls are landlocked. I believe.recently come. Learn how to read a poem. in the last analysis. p. a manifestation of cosmic consciousness and intelligence that flows through all of existence. 298). as Richard Kearney develops this idea in a powerful little book.
715). Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme To take into the air my quiet breath. could have been musing on Keats’ Ode when he wrote: “There is always an analogy between nature and the imagination. “where palsy shakes a few. re-animated by the feminine light of the moon and the dark vegetation. 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. “a draught of vintage” that has been cooled a long time “in the deep-delved earth/Tasting of Flora and the country green. and perhaps by poetry’s innate wisdom. between soul and matter. a living testimony of the future. His world darkens as he reflects on his attraction. His ode is like a remembrance./Dance. as he intervenes and interposes the appearances of that sense. p./Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains”( 1819. Thus poetry becomes and is a transcendent analogue composed of the particulars of reality. 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. our response must be both mythic and poetic. Campbell insists the heroic journey must originate in pathlessness and in isolation. In “Ode to a Nightingale” he renders an experience that is no less epiphanic. for an élan vital. 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…. (p. some elixir of life that would revive and restore a connection to the natural order. In short. Now. through the invisible bird’s song as guide. yet is anchored securely in the voice of the bird—an image. 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. The narrator’s desire seems motivated. suddenly. 206). 2005. to easeful Death. His soul is. where he moves slowly “Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways” (p. What this voice seeks is some vitality in his own life. Volume 24 . In an earlier poem. xvii). Bliss eventuates out of personal blisters. p. (1997. begins in lethargy: “My heart aches. sad./ [and] the murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves” (p. and possibly poetry is merely the strange rhetoric of that parallel” (1997. and a drowsy numbness pains/My sense. its narrator. 206). namely. He hears at the same time. for disinterring a relation that has been truncated and buried./And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne. where no one had cut a path before. 205). for it returns to conscious awareness the absolutely essential role of the imagination as an instrument for reclaiming of the dead. otherwise one is following another’s path (2001. the poet’s task is not just concerned with the world’s body. The response he feels—for odes convey as much feeling as thought or action—is moved by desire for a life of depth.’ that is./Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays” (p. in part. one of our toughest and most elegant voices of the poet and the critic. Said another way.”Ode to Psyche” (1819). by the oppressive sense of life’s decay and death. The almost instantaneous transformation into the mysterious realm of nature through an imaginal leap instills in him what I would call a natural imagination. one which is attuned not just to the foliage but to the smells of “the coming musk-rose. “entering the forest at its darkest part. The poet’s task.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. his attitude. 206) The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. that is to say. from the dead. created by the poet’s sense of the world. I suspect—of the animal mundi herself—not seen. pp. by the poetic impulse of the psyche. The voice of the figure in the poem. 205) as he (in fact it could be a man or a woman) falls Lethe-wards into the ennui of forgetfulness. Now more than ever it seems rich to die. Such will be his catalyst to heed the sound of the call and venture out. spawned by imagination. to reclaim from the past. 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. as Keats reveals it in that ode. p. in a moment of eternal time. only heard: “Already with thee! tender is the night. 206). and Provencal song” (p. as though of hemlock I had 34 drunk. the languid soul is immediately transported into another level of consciousness which transcends the boundaries of time and space. the song of an invisible nightingale singing in the dark shadows of the forest’s trees. and in fact is inspirited by. 206). and spectre-thin. full of dewy wine. last gray hairs/Where youth grows pale. Wallace Stevens. and dies” (p. 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.
” a line Keats crafts in “Ode On a Grecian Urn” (p. which at the same instant has married this sole soul to history. The Nature of Myth 35 . 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. If we are able to slow down sufficiently to hear Keats’ call. the heroic figure must return to the ground from which one originated to complete the cycle of departure. or a waking dream? /Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?” (p. But as suggested in the archetypal pattern of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. he or she must not rest content with the new experience or challenge. to history. to make public in a larger venue what one has discovered. and archetypes that confound the law of obsolescence” (2003. to a mythical experience. By the same token. Within such a sacred posture. it seems to me. two losses most in need of retrieval grow from the soil of lament in the poem’s voice: the dead. a form of death of the self as it enters through the shining corridor of reverie. xi). He further asserts that any salvific impulse in humanity to preserve itself must be based on a humic foundation. But now the nightingale’s song fades “over the still stream. reflection. and return—with some gift of remembrance. 207) for the particular bird whose song led him into his initial reverie now swells its orbit. the permanence of flux and the flux of permanence itself. to a deeper connection to one’s “sole” self. 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. and a return to share. the same patterns of responses will remain stubbornly in place. his imagination has uncovered the transcendent quality alive in the song’s immanence. remembrance. 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. in its mythopoetic veracity: “Thou wast not born for death. Harrison offers a dramatic image of this observation: “Our psyches are the graveyards of impressions.” he continues to hear the fading echoic resonances of the bird’s song. but that voice is also led to it by a kind of poesy. A temporal event has been transformed. with the past./Up the hill-side. with an awareness of mythic time and space which situates us between flux and permanence. when. however. sick for home. p. the song of the bird. 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. and with a clever oral pun on the word “sole. or the “transcendent” realm cited earlier by Wallace Stevens and given several currency values in Campbell’s work. 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. the thinly-bordered imagined realm “of silence and slow time. 207) On his return. As priest. and now ‘tis buried deep/In the next valley-glades” (p. he consecrates the mundane into the transcendent. traumas.This call by Death is both crucial and necessary. 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. 207). x). a waking and sleeping experience. for unless the dead are now acknowledged as the central core of our legacy of the living. 207). and renewal: “Was it a vision. Indeed. desires. then we could suggest that a revitalized mythology must then include a poetic and imaginal response to the matter of the world. to move into the natural order. to the vast community of the dead. or perhaps more accurately. it includes as well a shift from a strictly solar to a lunar consciousness. One possible answer is “yes” to both. 207) This passage bears witness to an entry in one of Wallace Stevens’ notebooks: “The poet is the priest of the invisible” (1997. a connection to the natural and transcendent orders of being. Or. p. 908). via the mystery of language. It has found its earth home once again. In the metaxis of dream and perceptual waking is the space of contemplation. 207). “one whose contents have been buried so that they may be reclaimed by the future” (p. the voice of Keats’ poem not only retrieves the numinous quality inherent in the natural order. if not increases its volume. immortal Bird!/ No hungry generations tread thee down” (p. She stood in tears amid the alien corn. initiation. as the voice of the poem does. in a language that is clean and freshly strewn with original analogies to wake the imagination from its dreary and often habituated slumbers. with a historical sensibility. to voice. to a renewed relationship with the dead. which has now achieved in his imagination mythical status. both cadaverous and calcified. (p. is to simultaneously enter by analogy into the world of the dead and the unborn at the same stroke.
C. New York: Penguin Publishing. The holotropic mind: The three levels of human consciousness and how they shape our lives. New York: Viking Press. Novato. D. R. Original work published 1948. PA: Trivium Books. J. Buffalo. CA: New World Library. Creative mythology. The dominion of the dead. New York: NRDC Publications. Harrison. Original work published 1986. (1988). S. but in a more imaginal and reasoned response. Romanyshyn. Kearney. Jung. J. Rilke. Letters to a young poet.). J. 4.Only by taking this last step in the journey—making public.Hull. The masks of God. Grof. Stevens: Collected poetry and prose.). W. N. (1968). 2005. vol.). CA: New World Library. (2004). The philosophy of history. Natural resources defense council pamphlet on the environment. Marie Louise von Franz. (1970). (2004). Stevens. Author Note This paper is based upon a presentation at the Sixteenth International Transpersonal Conference in Palm Spring. Campbell. 36 Campbell. J. (2002). (2003). Hillman. Ways of the heart: Essays toward an imaginal psychology. Novato. Original work published 1951. 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.edu The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Campbell. The Classic Wisdom Collection.J: Princeton University Press. (1959). Hegel. James Hillman. Burnham. Thou art that: Transforming religious metaphor. Editor. On stories. CA: New World Library. (Ed. Volume 24 . (B. founded on a fertile loam of intuition. Campbell. Flight of the wild gander: Explorations in the mythological dimension. Christine Downing. Trans. CA: New World Library. Huxley. Original work published 1822. Carl Jung. References Bush. Selected poems and letters by John Keats. CA: New World Library. S. Bollingen Series XVII. Ginette Paris and others. Barrytown. Psychology of the future: Lessons from modern consciousness research. to my mind. (R. Grof. will there by any hope. R. J.F. John Keats. Novato. J. (2001). Pittsburgh. numbs their souls and provokes increased consumption. Trans. R. 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. Novato. The perennial philosophy. (2000). Novato. Campbell.G. NY: Prometheus Press. Albany. Redford. Marion Woodman. xi-xii). J. The inner reaches of outer space: Metaphor as myth and as religion. Novato. R. Original work published 1990. (1983). Campbell. R. The hero with a thousand faces. Surely the pioneering work of Joseph Campbell. Original work published 1944. NY: SUNY Press. (J. (1997). California: 13-18 June 2004. S. San Francisco: Harper. New York: Houghton Mifflin. Pathways to bliss: Mythology and personal transformation. (1973). (1990). New York: The Library of America.M. (1989). Mysterium coniunctionis. J. not in shrill outcries of literal laments.). Original work published 1944. Sibree.P. J. (Joan M. Bollingen Series XX. Flowers. (1991). 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. A. Stan Grof. The hero’s journey: Joseph Campbell on his life and work. New York: Routledge Press. each with his or her uniquely beveled and honed eloquent language. Campbell. Healing fiction. NY: Station Hill Publishing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Campbell. (1993).) New York: Doubleday. Rick Tarnas. (2001). Great Books in Philosophy Series. Campbell. The power of myth.C. New York: Harper and Row Publishers. J. (2002). CA: New World Library. Original work published 1929. Princeton: NJ: Princeton University Press. (1972). Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at dslattery@pacifica. Trans. Myths to live by. (2003). G. Princeton.
so I should also add that I am referring to how David was teaching it ten years ago. I am acknowledging that there is a broad tradition but specifically referring to the neutral mask work as I learned it from David Latham. 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. are discriminated and discussed. and to my own interpretation and development of that work. archetype and journey. 1993). Artists tend. and while there are many similarities and common or recurring elements in these different approaches. provides an excellent orienting vehicle for the unique combination of creative work and personal transfor- mation that this work represents. theology or folklore. Both are discussed. whether works of philosophy. When I write of “the mask work” in this context.Myth. xx). he placed together under the umbrella of “myth”—have been put to use in fields as varied as screenwriting and organisational learning. I n his preface to The Masks of God. Joseph Campbell’s vision of myth has come to be a part of the mask work through my teacher. David Latham. besides. The following account of the neutral mask. 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. and the larger vision put forth in his writings. Australia and North America. 1991a. however. and their influence. Points of correspondence with the vision of Campbell and Grof. and the use of the neutral mask as an approach to the study of myth and archetype. In the years since the publication of The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Campbell. 1985. not to stay the same for too long. 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. on actor training using the neutral mask. Campbell’s insights into this symphony—the artefacts of which. These correspondences open up two areas of inquiry: the transformative effect of the mask work when conducted in a transpersonally-oriented set. 1987). 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. Joseph Campbell writes that within its four volumes are given all the motifs contained in the unified symphony of humanity’s spiritual heritage. In this paper. including the mythological perspective of Joseph Campbell and the holotropic perspective of Stanislav Grof. because it is amazingly congruent with mask work. 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. I will offer an account of how those clues. there are also important differences. Personal background and mask training There are many different approaches to the neutral mask. particularly in work with the neutral mask. based on my own Neutral Mask 37 . “with many clues. 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. psychology. focusing on the approach of David Latham. and what it has revealed regarding these in my own research. as experienced by the author in his own training. a powerful contemporary mask widely-used in actor training in Europe. p. have served poetic ends in actor training and performance. when I trained with him. An outline of training in the neutral mask is given.
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. often without. such as being in a desert. into a performance space and an audience space. It has no differentiated attitude. It is what it sees. It has been argued that the mask is the most ubiquitous of human artifacts. observer and teacher. Volume 24 . 55). It is unnecessary. The students are not told what they should experience. simply telling the story of our imagination to a single witness as it unfolded. lying on the floor. 2000. impulses. writes that “To enter into a mask means to feel what gave birth to it. freedom. It teaches an actor to be simple. These inner journeys and the movement improvisations might begin with personal themes but they soon move through violence. solar plexus). It does not do one thing on the inside and another on the outside. up her spine and down the front of her body. others say that they felt “possessed. It has no plans. those who are not performing are always in the audience. it lives in a state of inner calm. it is possible to make some general remarks about its nature. Alexander (Alexander. The neutral mask is not a particular character. religious places. Too many concepts associated with other realms of endeavour and modes of discourse can become a serious obstacle. a Frenchman. and by observing it as an audience member (SaintDenis & Saint-Denis. of doing. and specific exercises to prepare us for the mask. In acting. Australia.” One student reported that she felt “her breath” moving through her in a circle. imagining the breath moving down the front of the spine into the centres.” Various elements come together to create a sacred space and the impression of an initia38 tion: the way the teacher handles the masks. and they are told very little about the nature of the mask. Masks. no problems. have long been an important part tool of initiation and transformation. p. 1982). Jacques Lecoq. We worked to make the spine responsive. First. it is done quite formally. groin. flexible and present to awareness. In acting we did a great deal of work to become aware of impulses. sexual places. It has no psychology. the immediate experience and one’s capacity to communicate it is the important thing—the actual energetic freedom and creative mastery of the actor. by acting in it. 2001). It is totally transparent. stretching. The student-actors often report experiencing a sense of peace. the division of the room. and then moving from these energies. David Latham never used the word “chakra. For the actor understanding is a matter of action. another spoke of an intoxicating and seductive power like he had never experienced before (Holloway. students are asked simply to wear the mask in front of the group. which for novice actors carries associations with the new age or Hinduism. will trace the broad outlines of the work.” however. plain clothing.experience as an actor. It’s a definite moment: “Today we begin work with The Mask. and to be present. It does not hold to a fixed point of view. 1996). and imagination. It it is up to the students to discover what it is through their own curiosity. I trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. sometimes in conjunction with an image. It was discovered in the theatre of Jacques Copeau. This simple exercise yields a range of often powerful experiences. a few thousand miles away. Some pull the mask off quickly. no past. 2005. The story of the birth of this mask is very illuminating. to begin training. the founder of The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. we spent six weeks lying on the floor sensing our breath. or terror. the late. ideokinesis. renowned teacher of neutral mask. the presentation of definite taboos. When the mask is introduced. Preparation for the mask also involves work with the various centres in the body (chest. After this it will be possible to play it from within” (Lecoq. based on their own experience. It has no inner conflict. In voice. 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. of course. breath. When I arrived from my hometown of Perth. no agendas. exercises to evoke movement that is inspired by breath and infused with image. David Latham always affirmed wherever we went. lengthening our spines. and many other exercises. exercises that loosen and awaken the body and imagination and connect these with the breath. attending the images and energies that emerged there. which demonstrate the extraordinary capacity of the mask to induce shifts in consciousness. In movement we practised Feldenkrais work (Feldenkrais. 1980). It is found in nearly every culture and its association with ritual and with non-ordinary states of consciousness is well-known (Eldredge. There is never any clapping. it is action. or just plain weird places. and releasing all kinds of tiny muscles. I had just finished a degree in philosophy and politics and I was intellectually-oriented—not very aware of my body or my feelings. to rediscover the basis of the mask and to find what makes it vibrate in yourself. While it is important to allow the performer to make their own sense of the work. like a theatre. the fact that students are only permitted to wear black. 1984).
so that any person. prior to conditioning. These identifications often begin with an invitation to the students to contact an image. felt within) while in contact with an audience—makes up the crux of the actors work. Air and Earth). p. throwing a stone. with archetypes (e. we wait. It is always interestingly. what invisible thing or being will come through. p. an outdoor world. and so release what Reich would call their character armour. 2000. she said goodbye. The mask covers the face. one approach to understanding a mask is to ask. and even onto colours. intimately connected to nature. a body without conflict. Unlike many spiritual practices. 71). anguish” such as “the families of sailors. they must pare back unnecessary gesture and action. pp. embodying the invisible presence (which is. wrote about how this became “the discovery of a mysterious world. it lives outside time. 1985. however hard she tried. it is what we practice again and again. 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. the eternal archetypes. discovery. not mime of form. 1994. resonance. the late. mask. They discover that for the mask to work. It shares with ritual and spiritual practice an interest in a normally invisible reality. on the surface. it must be the body of the mask. Rudlin. Olive Oil. fear. at the beginning. would be able to understand: “ah.” The actor must adapt their body and action to the mask. the persona. The use of a particular mask determines. in the mask. The Seven Deadly Sins.” It is a world of essences. 78). the “daily mask. freedom and elemental aliveness.. This is what Lecoq calls mime but it is mime de fond.” They “would make up very simple exercises with various themes: waiting. There’s a roughly equivalent duality in Stan Grof ’s work in which he distinguishes “holotropic” and “hylotropic” states or realities (Grof. To everyone’s amazement. If masks reveal the invisible. 40).” Completing the image—entering into it. 80). The Innocent. This invisible inner reality could be a realm of spirits. 1990). of course. she was then able to play the scene freely and truthfully. what a mask does is make the invisible visible. in which everything is done “for the first time. we realize the sailors will not return. music and words. he discovered something. they must shed their idiosyncrasies. p. The actor’s transformation into the mask character could be seen as the holotropic reality emerging into the hylotropic..g. the imagination of a playwright or the psychological world of a character.” Somehow these simple themes and simple actions brought forth. and so on). Copeau took his handkerchief and covered the actress’ face. The same process is applied even for identifications with elements that do not. He explains it like this: “Take for example. mime of depth. Its actions must be prior to culture. great emotion and a power that astonished their audience: “the characters possessed a greater reality and a greater vitality” (Copeau et al. theatre and often ritual are concerned with making this invisible reality visible on this plane1. of elemental beginnings. Copeau’s son-in-law Jean Daste. Rubber. p. with substances (Plastic. & Paul. an actress found herself blocked. He calls it “the mask of masks” and says. simply to cover their faces. p. 237-238).” The work moves on to identifications. The mask improvisation involves “completing the image. 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. voice and speech of the performer or shaman. from any culture. great French acting teacher says that it “allows one to find the essential…the word of all words” (Wylie. with the elements (Water. “What of the invisible world does it make visible?” Because the neutral mask has no past. The Warrior. In the simplest terms. Jacques Lecoq. the last goodbye to the beloved. ah. “Beneath every mask…there is a neutral mask” (Lecoq. unable to play it. Fire. 1990. In desperation. It has been shipwrecked. watching from the shore for the arrival of a boat. “for the first time. Glass. 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. The important thing is that some facet of this unmanifest world is made manifest through the body. and the personal feelings it arouses. appear to have movement. 38). which seek to touch this reality inwardly. After this Copeau asked his students to make themselves simple “neutral” masks. We ask: what is the living gesture of a certain colour? How does yellow move? Mime de fond Neutral Mask 39 . without attitude. Aluminium Foil.” We are searching for simplicity and universality. like colours. the observation of a tree: in going beyond the ideas which surround it. 1988. 1994. in a world that is “prior” to culture. to have life. One day in the rehearsal of a difficult emotional scene. the Major Arcana of the Tarot).the Vieux-Colombier theatre and its school (Copeau. The actors begin to discover this through performing simple human actions—waking up for the first time.
You cross a sandy beach and then you enter the forest.” The forms arise from the deeper physical and imaginative connection with the structure itself. and I knew too. You receive the call to set out on a journey. He said “that’s your gift. Sometimes it occurs in pairs or groups. you come out of the forest and find yourself facing a mountain. I said “no. He asked if I had been given a gift. is to really do it. The point is that. 22). You ‘absorb’ the image of this mountain. Once you reach the summit. they have impact. a vast panorama opens up: a river runs through a The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. from the first gentle slopes to the rocks and the vertical cliff face which tests your climbing skills. When he said “You Wake Up. so that one can feel memories waking up inside.” Then I got up and took off the mask. you are the image. You move through trees and vegetation which grow ever more densely as you search for a way out. A powerful element of this experience was the sense of necessity which imbued my actions. 2000. where I was torn apart by fish. killed a giant snake. with no planning or guidance about the specific content this structure brings forth. I lay there for a long time. 1993). without warning. “what happens. You see the image.“involves an identification with things in order to make them live…mime is a way of rediscovering a thing with freshness” (Lecoq. By way of contrast. was extraordinary. to find it truthfully and become it completely so that the invisible is made visible and palpable. Many students will ask for the structure to be repeated. not wanting to leave. in an archaic place inside myself. When you pass this test you are given a gift. This work frees and connects the imagination and the body and expands the actors’ range of expression and feeling. it is not about “acting it out. until I understood that my journey was into the ocean. the mythic metaphors and the actual physical actions in all their rhythms. You cross a threshold and enter a new world. My first journey was spread out over two classes: I rode a dragon. ending up in the arms of a great Silence I knew was God. The impact of hearing this for the first time. You travel along a road of trials where you meet forces that help you and forces that hinder you. in the distance you can see a forest and you set out towards it. David talks about this work as nourishing the roots of one’s talent. and it can come out. They must improvise this with complete physical and imaginal commitment. The point is to go through the personal associations to the mythic resonance. 2005. because I had lain there so still for so long. Volume 24 . is in the actor. but they are told. according to a precise inner logic that was at once my own and beyond me. like the elements and archetypes. Of course. until He told me to “Do it with love. David Latham has a way of talking so that the words resonate in the body. p. At the end of the road of trials you face a great test. you return with this gift to the world you came from. as if there was only one way the story could unfold.” The point is not to tick the boxes: that would be a travesty of the work. and this first experience remains for me a touchstone. The point. happens. in which many possible identifications are integrated into an unfolding story of transformation. You will remember what you remember.” it was clear that it was no ordinary waking up—that “You Wake Up” was an action of intensity and scope. He will tell students: At daybreak you emerge from the sea. sometimes very simply. In experience they seem to arise from the body. There was a sense of remembering. it is not about making something up. as a student before any contact with 40 Campbell’s work. All the personal associations. were one harmonious and necessary unfoldment. The actor will be told something like: You wake up. This represents one major influence of Campbell on my teacher David Latham.” but he kept digging until I mentioned what I had been told just before the end. and you answer the call. I tried to explain that I had and there was some confusion until I realised that he thought I had actually died. The details of the journey are changed all the time.” After that I understood how being an actor. Lecoq’s journey relies for its structure on the natural world. Journey & the Monomyth Beyond these simple identifications there are Journeys based on the monomyth (Campbell. then you begin to climb. an artist. You share the gift and you sleep. The mask knew what had to happen. and one which has proved both unexpectedly rich and difficult to live out fully. with very specific content. could be a truly profound journey. sometimes it is given in great detail. as if I was touching something archaic within myself. Afterwards David Latham told me he thought I had died. and got stuck on a beach-wasteland facing the ocean. Suddenly. because we are actors. the image is in you and you are in it. one at the roots of both my artistic life and personal being.
facilitating vision. violent. p. In David Latham’s work. p. Finally you reach the desert. but also a holy atmosphere. This distinguishes him very clearly from the Lecoq tradition. p. for example. At the end. 14). 1992. The founda- tion of the craft thus reaches into the deepest source of our being. he had been absorbing Joseph Campbell’s work for nearly twenty years. where a sandstorm is blowing up. sexual. and finally the sun sets. walk through the plain. for acting. 1992). 20). communally and culturally.” Neutral Mask 41 . The power of the images is deeply respected. sometimes in terrifyingly powerful ways. To use Campbell’s phrase. p. We can experience how. making connections that have psychological connotations and universal connotations. David writes that his work is not about invention. we can go to the universal through the personal. developed over long years of personal struggle and innovation. The image is in the actor and the actor is in the image. he says “‘yea’ to it all” (Campbell. individually. it is what it sees. a desert. the profoundly personal. Once you are on the mountain there is an earthquake followed by avalanches. Later. the essence of our humanness. perverse. You manage by grabbing hold of the trees. By the time I met David Latham and began working with him. (Latham. 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. as the “set” (Grof. In this way. and you slide down towards the river. 4) Although it might be simplistic to try to analyse. p. Firstly. 41) It’s important to remember that as the mask moves through these environments it becomes them. but even the most powerful identification is regarded as a symbol: it lives in and through the body of the actor. 2000. Even the physical exercises serve as metaphors. to maintain it honestly requires great personal trust. For David. I once asked him what he began with when he started teaching. it is about revealing. 28). for inner states. More than this. You come down the mountain. and this is where the neutral mask is very effective. cross the stream. not by negating it. he affirmed it. p. 1991c. Part of doing this is uncovering the “roots” and nurturing these roots. The second element of Campbell’s vision that David brought to the work was a profound and intensely lived understanding of metaphor. 2). Underlying it is a sense of trust that wherever you go will be OK. the most intimate places. “a highly played game of ‘as if ’” (Campbell. and the philosophical basis of his work had become the triangle of myth. an understanding that the depths of the individual are universal and that these depths will eventually emerge. the actor takes off the mask. in non-ordinary states of consciousness work. 1992. I remember David’s appreciation of all the places we went—not just allowing but appreciation of the powerful. He was interested in all of you—whatever you wanted to bring out. The sand is being swept by a rainstorm. as Campbell would say. and this points to the second significant way that Campbell’s work has influenced it: it serves as the cornerstone of an overarching. 2000. 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. (Lecoq. 1976. the universal depths. I would like to point to two elements that seem important. He told me that he just knew that he wanted people—his students and actors—“to bring out what was in them. but allowing them to be the driving force of the work in its content and its form. then into the desert. beneath our surface characteristics. it is. something as profoundly integrated and organic as an individual teacher’s art. which uses the via negativa. however. Although it seems simple. and not only bringing those to the work.” Something deep within responds to this attitude. the work occurs within an atmosphere of play. revealing at a deeper and deeper level. which is in flood. are universal. the actors rerun the journey in extreme conditions: There is a raging sea and the wave throws you up onto the beach. The forest is on fire. such an attitude has depth and richness. 1991b. emotional. it is not about methods. metaphor is central. The only thing David said more than “yes” was “let it go. the mask is a metaphor. p. art and psychology. a kind of meta-framework—what Grof would refer to. David Latham affirms wherever his students journey to in their imagination and their improvisation. myth is a metaphor and theatre is a metaphor (Latham. but nevertheless it is still theatre. (Lecoq.valley and then there is a plain and finally in the distance. heart and openness and its effect on the working atmosphere are profound and significant. in the space available.
Finally. p. From my description above. 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. when both are present in awareness. It is. 1998. The transformation of the actor-person builds the actor-instrument. 2001. 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 the use of non-ordinary states of consciousness. 1993. in Primitive Mythology (Campbell. The practice of “completing the image” brings actors up to and through their physical limitations again and again. In Campbell’s terms. and all are playful: between the stillness at the centre and the dynamism of the world’s and the mask’s movements. Campbell’s whole conception can be seen to turn on the metaphor of masking: he writes about the “Masks of God. and yet mask remains the same. it is made of papier mache. it becomes permeable to essences. the principle of play and transformation. In LSD Psychotherapy. p. as well as the acting out of the monomyth.” Neutral is “a fulcrum point which doesn’t exist” (Eldredge & Huston. “Myth is the revelation of a plenum of silence within and around every atom of existence” (Campbell. David Latham would say. In other words. 196). 1993. transform them into a stream of unusual experiences. it is the World Axis. The journey awakens the chan- The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. and “Myth is a directing of the mind and heart. pp. and to convert the stationary balance of this energy into a stream of experience” (Grof. In it. as he eloquently demonstrates at the outset of his four-volume masterwork.” calling it “that territory of experiential ambiguity which seems optimal for thera42 peutic work” (Grof. the principle of masking itself.3 Behind all the masks. a trust in the overall trajectory of the psyche. 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. it should be clear that there is a similar process going on in the mask. 1987. The essence of the neutral mask is silence and stillness. given these similarities. which Campbell explicitly associated with the spiritual journey (Campbell. to unblock the energy bound in emotional and psychosomatic symptoms. It is the still point and the silence that makes movement and speech possible. 1988). 267). there comes the sense of play. a whole other set of common elements and parallels became apparent. the movement of the process from personal to universal or transpersonal. The forms that arise in the mask are nothing if not “profound informed configurations. p. I would add. p. 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. but in a sense saturated with imagination. by “menu-eating. to that ultimate mystery which fills and surrounds all existence” (Campbell. The craft of actors is in large part to do with the development of their instrument.” Once I came across Stanislav Grof ’s writings.” Latham’s approach to the mask also shares with Grof ’s work a willingness to affirm whatever comes up. some of which his model shares with Campbell.”2 Like myth. and so clears the channels of expression and feeling in the body. a powerful crucible for deep personal transformation. the body becomes not just a vehicle for the imagination. Grof writes that “The main objective of the techniques of experiential psychotherapy is to activate the unconscious. 21-26). 1991b. realms of the unconscious are like movies the creative principle is screening on different channels (Grof. there is the neutral mask. 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 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. the mask is prior to time. one can get stuck by literalizing one’s experience. Finally. The affinity is even more acute when we consider the neutral mask specifically. 166) and “The NOSC tends to change the dynamic equilibrium underlying the symptoms. themselves. the centre of “the turning wheel of terror-joy. p. and consume them in the process” (Grof. 167). with archetypes. 1987. 1995. p.” the costumes of that transcendent Source from which words (and.There are many connections and correspondences between Campbell’s vision of myth and metaphor and masking generally. with The Tree. the actor transforms into the elemental forms of reality and lives through the movements of the world. 2005. 73)— another version of the masks of God metaphor. by means of profound informed figurations. Campbell says. p. particular forms) turn back. Volume 24 . “the mask is theatre. more simply. and I will now discuss the kinds of changes actors report in this work. with different kinds of matter. 123). 267). Grof writes about the importance of the “as-if framework.
I had forgotten that life could feel like this. the monomyth and myth generally. it opens up inner experience.an inside heat. One actor wrote. reported that she felt what she called. During the mask work. Her description suggests more than an emotion. emotionally. bright. the world and myself. He writes that “For everyone. new rhythms and feelings. and it wasn’t stopping. slippery characters). p.” Other students give reports that suggest something similar. Many actors also report energetic effects not specifically related to the specific identifications. actions—that evoke particular connections. a whole universe of body memories. weights. I’ll talk about two things that emerged from this research: what the participants reported about changes in themselves. 1).4 This offers an actor an incredible range of physical expression he or she probably has not imagined up until this point. For this student the mask was one catalyst for a powerful spiritual emergency that continued for months afterwards. This makes sense if we consider that once you have identiNeutral Mask 43 . 2001. 2004).” Another after becoming fire talked about “the fire in [her] belly consuming and burning through [her] resentments” in the days after her Fire identification. the one who carries across the meaning of the invisible. For myself. each time making discoveries about theatre. seeing in a different way. for characters (fiery revolutionaries. nobody could work with the neutral mask. imaginatively and energetically. One research intensive I conducted involved actors working with the monomyth on a daily basis for two weeks. an enormous upsurge of elemental energies. One actor. without discovering. I would experience. which were chosen specifically to support the development of their journey work. as Lecoq says. These become sources for the actor. It is quite common for the energy of the elements to keep flowing for some time. the neutral mask becomes a point of reference” (Lecoq. 2000. She describes “sifting through the thoughts. Changes in perception of the world Participants often report a change in their perceptions: thinking new thoughts.. One student reported that she “noticed quite a lot of heat in [her] life. sensations of greater weight or sublime lightness. sudden. who had done some work with the Diamond Approach (Almaas. 1995). For myself. “qualities opening up inside” and “intimate movements that are more than physical.. and I have kept returning to it. which are more than merely physical. and what we learned about archetype. I couldn’t even sit down. after a powerful experience of Water: “I couldn’t sit still. While the main trajectory of discovery in the neutral mask is toward the theatre. if it seemed appropriate. it became a reference point not only for acting but. 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. clean energy and it wasn’t stopping. on the effects of the mask work on them beyond the studio. like another reality overlaying this one. the body remembers the forms—the rhythms. the emotions. in the Grofs’ terms (Grof & Grof. The following accounts are based on the experiences reported by the actors during this intensive. huge waves of emotion. and powerful dreams that would continue after I woke up. often when she thought of the work. that it also points toward life. it was as if the mask work opened the inner floodgates. I am convinced. the world becoming new and different. by which I mean that the work provokes a transformational process that continues explicitly and strongly outside of the class. At various times. In my own research I wanted to include this second trajectory. who brings the invisible into forms that point back to the silence. but they would also occur outside of the studio. like [she was] burning up. air-heads. on the reports of other actors I have trained or observed and on my own experiences with the mask. outside of the class.” An increase in their sense of presence and the presence of their fellow actors is also a common observation. “little poofs of magic cloud” in her chest. for the world. 38). The actor becomes the metaphor. it has become like a pendulum that swings between theatre and life. Spiritual Emergence(y) Perhaps not surprisingly. perhaps even more so. one of the rare effects is something like a spiritual emergence(y). The experiences and insights of the mask point both ways.nels of energy in the body and after the training. More importantly. Awakening of Energy and Essence Various energetic experiences frequently occur. the ratty commendations and condemnations to get close to the POOFS. and is more reminiscent of the lataif level as Almaas describes it—a level between energy and the substance of essence (Almaas. in conjunction with many other exercises. these “happenings” would sometimes be the source of her mask work. and actors were invited to comment. and which can include powerful experiences likely to be pathologized by mainstream psychiatry. 1998). or for whole theatrical creations. from deep inside of me was flowing a stream of clear. para. gestures.
and toward knowledge by identity. p. I feel enveloped by the world. I feel I have surrendered to the world and have an immense trust of it . This means that. The process of research then is guided. The following observations and discussion grows out of this process. 1994. metaphorical dimension. 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. toward knowing as if for the first time. It is utterly beautiful. like a shaman.of the light. “The action of miming becomes a form of knowledge” (Lecoq. Volume 24 . to identify himself with the world by re-enacting it with his entire being” (Wylie. and each movement . aesthetic. how it is related to inspiration. as if it is guiding me. Afterwards he said “I was disturbed by how far I went. if The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. indescribable sense. Becoming Earth can reveal the beautiful unity of suffering. its extraordinary leaps and lunges. I remember one actor who touched something very deep. metaphorical presence. however. It loses its mythic quality. 2000. what releases and blocks these qualities. by the mask and our aesthetic responses. The best form comes out of nothing. by seeing an actor become it: how it consumes.” David Latham said to him: “When you’re out of control. p. rarely has the richness and resonance in performance of one that comes from that state of deep stillness and mystery. is there anything beyond that?” Even though we speak of working with images. 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. or a movingly intimate understanding of ashes to ashes. you will never look at trees the same way again. Lecoq is very explicit about this: “Mime is pre-eminently a research art” (Wylie. One part of his school in Paris was a Laboratory for the Exploration of Movement. I am released from all burden and control. to enter the essence of a thing. literally held by it. 2001. in its depth. I am basic and simple—PURE—and everything makes wonderful. toward identification with essences. “Man understands that which moves by his ability to ‘mimic’ it. in my environs. 80). compassion and wisdom.fied with a tree. usually accompanied by intuitive insights and visions in both the performer and observer. An archetype that they think they know. which began to infuse her personal life more as the work went on: For a short while after each session. teach about courage. but it seemed to come out a bit messy. I am of the world and its greatness. 2005. a dualistic way of putting it. more mundane observations about the qualities of presence that the mask manifests. and so partly build out of concepts. I experience a type of bliss—a re-experiencing of myself in the world. One participant in the two-week intensive reported quite a remarkable change. For the performer it is not enough to simply have the inner experience. 22). I felt out of control. 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. and the resulting bruises. not-knowing.” 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. the numinosity of the archetype fades. archetype and the monomyth generally. and within my own movement. and so on. Over time these insights accumulate and integrate with other. gradually building a body of knowledge about the world in its inner. the performer can then use their craft as a kind of research. you have to find the form—etymologically.is so astounding. The performer’s craft distinguishes the mask work from therapy and mysticism. 75). p. but it also points to what it can contribute to these areas. p. cars and so on . people. and yet I feel my own profound stillness within its flow. where architects would mime the spaces they designed. trees.” She found that this intelligent guidance “came out of the clearness of the space. it ceases to have that mythic. 663). which is a direct experience of the inner nature of the subject of the identification. An actor becoming toothpaste can reveal its banality. which leads us to move beyond our conditioned responses. An actor can understand a lot about Fire by becoming it. This is.there is no fear. 1994. “per-form” is “by means of ” or “in accordance with” the form (Soanes. for example. it gleams brilliant intelligence—and I am part of that. Archetype One thing I have observed about archetypes is that if the actor loses touch with the timelessness and stillness of the mask. the poignant and even beautiful humanness of the death and decay of our bodies. that is.
In a sense. condense and reach their limit of intensity. no thirst for transformation. 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. to gradually find the impulses and the movement. The breaking open that happens with the gathering expression of all Neutral Mask 45 . and the form seems to emerge out of the body itself. the fundamental transition at which the momentum—the energy and the rhythms—of the journey thus far. calling on the actor to find the limits of their strength in pushing. the journey is about the intensity of the experiences. p. Most often the actor finds the useful sources in childhood or adolescence. Hence to study. to seek or to live with intensity through new and profound experiences are all modes of travelling..” says Campbell (1988. in the quality of their presence. in the beginning.. this also appears to be the case. not only in the outward expression. The body seems to shape itself. the drama was lost because. it can go to a depth where he no longer sees any image at all. their bodies became more open to the archetype.. Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan writes of the train wheel being turned from off-centre (Inayat Khan. 164). the archetype of the journey can become a mere phrase. to find the forms independently as the actor observes it. we work to shake the concept loose of its easy associations. and actually the neutral mask is not really neutral: there is a deliberate imperfection. organic spontaneity and power that is often present when the actor draws on the memory of a bushfire tearing through their hometown. He is being the stillness. “ (Cirlot. What I’m saying here is that the mask teaches us that an archetype divorced from the physical loses its grandeur. For the sense of a mythic journey to emerge. I would say this is true for the world too: the journey isn’t a journey unless you are actually changed by it.. when the energies took the actors beyond themselves. of their release in falling and so on. not about ticking the boxes of a pregiven structure.. Something a little off-centre has to be turning the wheel. there is something important about going to the physical limit and just beyond it. As teachers of mask. We chose the most powerful and dramatic identifications from the training and we worked. Symmetrical masks have no life. The Great Test is the apex of the journey. but more fundamentally in the centre. Cirlot writes that “From the spiritual point of view. as the students rehearsed. Theatrically. 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. and this seems to apply to the actor as well. We work physically to do this. This experience of the quality or archetype coming out of the body. they expanded to meet it. p. I once tried to make a performance that would capture and express the magnificent theatre of mask class. centred in it. it does not work unless we see the actor transformed by the environments and events they are experiencing. pushed them to their limits was now something they could encompass. 1993. p. it has no movement. 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. and the relevant archetypes came to life. hackneyed and trite. and was perhaps a more “perfect” embodiment of the archetypal form than the original improvisations. to wake up the actors’ imaginations to the profound reality of the universal dimension.. When a thing is perfect. using a very detailed process. however imperfect the form may have been. so that the performance had a repeatable form. to inquire. We often need to use a series of physical tasks to help the actor lift their energy to level of a true trial. 1994). unless you are receptive to the terrain through which you move. or.an actor finds a deep personal connection with the image. spiritual and symbolic equivalents of the journey. The structure is useless if the actor has no passion for adventure. If it was symmetrical it would be dead. to put it another way. 126). it is dead. You don’t know what will happen in the next moment. the journey is never merely a passage through space but rather an expression of the urgent desire for discovery and change. In the mask. 1971. 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. 428). “The trials are designed to see to it that the intending hero should really be a hero. and although the work was fascinating and rich. The muscles must remember. Journey In the case of the journey. it didn’t live in the same way as it did in mask. and while the performance was interesting. What had. Observing fire between classes does not usually bring the same numinosity.
p. In fact the true mythic quality requires them. this is when the journey really opens to a sacred dimension. Palm Springs. We observe that the moment of The Gift is almost always a transition into greater subtlety. 2Because the mask has no character. the mask tunes us into the mythic depths to actions that have universal resonance. There is no interest. usually given by the call. the “feeling of the whole” which he 46 views as essential to all art and a crucial element of the actor’s art (Chekhov. as you might find in an actor trained in Strasberg’s method. of presence. p. it can come without a huge physical struggle. The presence of the mask is more than time. It has a mythic. according to Michael Chekhov. and indeed we find that the urge to go on the journey. must be stronger. We might also say that it is to do with the end in the beginning and the stillness within the movement. so to say. it is bad theatre. It provides an opening into which—speaking in terms of energy not action—The Gift can descend. and yet this often the point at which rhythm and quality of the actor’s movement will become most clearly numinous. but attempted by creating a kind of honey quality in the movement. not a domestic resonance. when it is pared down to the essential. often seems to be a shedding of a coarser way of moving. 1993. p. art and psychology. the soul and the spirit. (The stream of life is articulated in images.” Campbell writes (1988. or performs an action like the last good bye. Without a strong need to complete the journey. 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.5 Author Note This paper is based on a presentation to the 16th International Transpersonal Association Conference: Mythic Imagination and Modern Society. expressing the movement toward wholeness. I would say that the journey becomes mythic when there is a true and specific call that is stronger than death. Volume 24 . the directness of the mask.” The chest lifts a little too high. shed her idiosyncrasies. These correspondences point to the integrity of David Latham’s triangle of myth. in fact. the actor must. and this means that the primary images are not usually personal associations. holotropic—oriented toward the whole. if they are good metaphors. of the beginning in the end” (Campbell. when there is nothing that is added to the action. California. no drama or epic energy in the journey unless there is a powerful forward movement. A strong call is connected to the principle of the end being present at the beginning. The neutral mask actor may be aware. as if trying to expand the movement beyond itself. 2005. 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. Without this. so the end is implicit in its presence at the beginning. The metaphor is therefore the bridge. in that all three might be called. and it is also one of the invisible worlds within us. The mythic quality doesn’t exclude the lightness and simplicity.) The witnesses then enter into states of intensity because. All of these elements together comprise. 1996. Interestingly. but timeless or mythic associations. If it isn’t the work can attain a puffed-up. 1991. the hero very easily becomes transformed into the surrounding environment. it is boring. As Joseph Campbell says “The basic principle of all mythology is this. and carry new life across from that source into the manifest world. which I call the “fake mythic. Because the mask has no past. June 2004 Footnotes mask is “engaged in making present a presence and making present an absence” (Eldredge. they feel presence. toward the reality of the inner. And this is thanks to Performer. than death. p. point to. 15). and metaphor means “to carry across. who is a bridge 1The The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. the body becomes more rigid. they point beyond themselves to the source of life. facing enormously powerful obstacles. rather than toward matter. in Grof ’s terms. 122). and forms. and usually is aware. 3The crucial thing though is that words. in the face of a raging river the mask becomes the river.the hero’s resources (catharsis). Significance is not given by the focused and specific intensity of the performer’s presence as they face a specific trial. Unless the call is strong and specific (but not necessarily “known”) at the beginning. On many occasions. but the mask is innately universal. the pull of the call. They have to find a neutral body. xl). 269). sticky-significant quality. We also find that an insipid call draws forth only a trickling stream.” 4Compare Grotowski: “Performer knows how to link body images to the song. If we find the right body and behaviour. of all kinds of personal connections. That’s the invisible world of the mask. the mythic dimension of our own depth. as she moves through a mythic landscape. the actors cannot carry their baggage in their body-armour. in order to embody it. less permeable.
1996. Reflections on the art of living: A Joseph Campbell companion. (1994). Campbell. In R. (1976). J. H. R.au or 11 Prospect Grove. M. The masks of God: Primitive mythology (Revised ed.C. S. Copeau. London: Methuen. Grotowski. (1998). (1998). 5In Wilber’s model. S. The stormy search for the self: Understanding and living with spiritual emergency. The actor and the journey. New York. Burlingame. A. Acting (re)considered. S. (2000). N. Dutton. 17th July). N.between the witness and this something. NY: SUNY Press. New York: State University of New York Press. CA: Redwood Press. & Paul. Jefferson. J. he deems the validity claims for knowledge in the interior-subjective domain of reality (the “I” quadrant) to be “aesthetic” (Wilber. (2001).). S. S. death and transcendence in psychotherapy. New York: Arkana. New York: Ballantine. (2001). (1993). In P. Rudlin.. (1982). (1984). Woolford (Eds. Eldredge. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications. J. Performer. Feldenkrais. J. (1991a). A dictionary of symbols. Beyond the brain: Birth. CA: Centreline Press. The moving body (D.). N. C.). On the technique of acting. New York: Doubleday. J. (1992. Bradby. Wilber. C. Cirlot. New York: Penguin. S.P. J. Australia: Penguin Arkana. Holloway. (1980). M. (1991). S. A brief history of everything. FL: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Soanes. Albany. (2004). A. Oxford dictionary of current English (Third ed. & Saint-Denis. Heinemann.. & Grof. 376-380). Unpublished manuscript. (1994). References Alexander. 377). Oxford. Inayat Khan. The use of the self. London: Thorsons. Samuel Weiser. Melbourne. & Huston. (1987). Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at ashwain@alphalink. NY: Omega Publications. V. New York: The State University of New York Press. A. Mask improvisation for actor training and performance: The compelling image. Grof. Boston: Shambhala. Campbell. Ringwood. The hero with a thousand faces. M. Saint-Denis. (1995). New York: Harper Collins. S. Wylie. Grof. The passion of the Western mind. Sarasota. Training for the theatre: Premises & promises. Evanston. E. 2001. (1995). IL: Northwestern University Press. D. Grof. Chekhov.). Almaas. J. (1991c). maker of bridges” (Grotowski. The potent self. 122). P. Tarnas. The masks of God: Creative mythology. J. (1996). Lecoq. National Institute of Dramatic Art. Satyric and heroic mimes: Attitude as the way of the mime in ritual and beyond.). S. London. B. M. The inner journey home: Soul’s realization of the unity of reality. F. New York: E. London: Theatre Arts Books. Anglesea. In this sense.com.. Zarrilli (Ed. (Ed. K. Australia: Hill of Content. H. (1971). Actor training in the neutral mask. Trans. That which transpires behind that which appears: The experience of Sufism. (1996). Campbell. New York: Routledge.: McFarland & Company. Campbell. Downey. (1985). Neutral Mask 47 . Almaas. Vol. Australia. 1). The adventure of self-discovery: Dimensions of consciousness and new perspectives in psychotherapy and inner exploration. H. New Lebanon. (1988). K.. J. Schechner & L. London: Fontana Press. p. Copeau—texts on theatre. Campbell. Grof.. Grof. H. p. New York: Routledge. (1990). Northcote VIC 3070. The cosmic game: Explorations of the frontiers of human consciousness. (2001). A. York Beach: ME. (2001). LSD psychotherapy. (1993). Grof. J. The power of myth. Performer is pontifex. UK: Oxford University Press. Essence. Realms of the human unconscious: Observations from LSD research. The Grotowski sourcebook (pp. Latham. Melbourne. Eldredge. (1991b). New York: Harper Collins. Paper presented at the Theatre Training Conference.
. The author investigates examples of both types of experience. of course. claiming that meditative experiences of serenity may stem from a high level of activity in the parasympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system. prayer. 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. 160). but does not seek to explain the cause of the experiences.. T he question of why and how higher states of consciousness occur has never received a clear answer. (4) by decreasing alertness or relaxing the critical faculties. But as Wilber (e. but has some similarities with the explanation I am going to suggest. and even claimed to induce such experiences with a “helmet” which produces weak complex magnetic fields. 2005. which is responsible for our awareness of boundaries. Persinger (1987) has linked mystical/religious experiences to stimulation of the temporal lobes. (2) by increasing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity and/or emotion. 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. rather than the experience itself.g. (These are termed HD and ICE states). music. we can just as easily see these brain states as results of higher states of consciousness rather than causes of them. Volume 24 .g. These researchers may only be investigating the “footprints” of mystical and spiritual experience. while ecstatic high-arousal states may be induced by increased activity in the sympathetic half. Ludwig’s model (1966) is also helpful.g. and compares and contrasts them. This view applies to altered states of consciousness rather than to higher states in particular. and quiet reflection.. and (5) by changes in the body chemistry or neurophysiological functioning. He suggested that there are five basic ways of producing alterations of consciousness: (1) by reducing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity. while they may sometimes seem purely to be a matter of chance–or “grace”–there are many potential triggers of spiritual/mystical experiences. 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 include nature. At the same time there is the difficulty of explaining subjective experience in purely objective terms. 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. There are. emotions–and that if any one process is altered sufficiently (e. They have also linked mystical experiences with the autonomic nervous system. Alexander’s extensive research (e. (3) by increasing alertness or mental involvement. This research establishes an important link. if we concentrate our attention to an intense degree or if we experience intense emotion). an overall consciousness shift may result. cognition. 1996) has pointed out. perception. This again applies to altered states rather than solely to higher states. Tart’s “systems model” of consciousness (1983) provides a useful–if tentative–view of the problem. 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. 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. attempts to explain mystical experiences in neurological (or neuropsychological) terms. and also has 48 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.The Sources of Higher States of Consciousness Steve Taylor In this paper. 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. despair or depression. 1990) has shown a clear link between the regular practice of transcendental meditation and such experiences. Alister Hardy’s research (1979) showed that.
we are liable to illness and even death. 1902/85. with visual hallucinations and acute paranoia. as we will see. particularly a more intense perception of reality. not all of these features are common to both types of higher states of consciousness from both sources. 1911/60. I will suggest. I walked past a tree and each leaf seemed to be coming out at me. Disrupting the Equilibrium Fischer (1971) made an important distinction between “ergotropic” higher states of consciousness–that is. Sleep deprivation can certainly cause altered states of consciousness. Scholars–and mystics and spiritual seekers themselves–generally agree that there are certain fundamental features of mystical/spiritual experience. even though there is no certainty that they will occur. When we do not manage to do this for some reason and suffer an internal imbalance. Each leaf seemed to be pulsating and growing. To a large extent our bodies maintain homeostasis automatically. glowing.. the basis of the longstanding connection between fasting and both altered and higher states of consciousness. We will see later that asceticism achieves this partly through a long term process of taming physical desires (thereby conserving “consciousness-energy”). Underhill. participants who went without sleep for five days displayed symptoms identical to schizophrenia. digesting food. since these two types of mystical experience follow from the two distinct sources I intend to identify. as also did the initiates of the Roman and Greek mystery cults as a preparation for rituals (Krippner. This distinction is valid. sweating and shivering. However. But we are also obliged to consciously aid the process by performing physical functions like eating. never sheltered from the cold in the winter or Higher States 49 . by breathing. A prolonged lack of food–which disrupts homeostasis by causing a lower level of blood glucose. the conscious effort to mortify their physical desires made by many–particularly Christian–saints and mystics. Maintaining homeostasis is both involuntary and voluntary. Our bodies continually strive to maintain a state of homeostasis. The shamans of native cultures often use fasting and sleep deprivation as preparation for soul flights and vision quests. He never had a bath in 25 years. for example. Throughout history human beings have made a conscious effort to produce ergotropic high arousal states. whereas low arousal states are associated with triggers such as meditation and relaxation. They were all vivid. The 14th century German mystic. James. salt concentration. Disrupting homeostasis can be used as what Andresen and Forman (2000) refer to as a “technology of spiritual experience. Asceticism is sometimes seen as a morbid and neurotic expression of the antiphysical dualistic ideology of monotheistic religions such as Christianity. an awareness of what Becker (1973) called the “raw experience” of the world. 2000. spent years wearing a hair shirt and an iron chain. 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. Burkhert. and I felt a feeling of ecstasy. as well as a leather belt containing 150 inwardfacing sharp brass nails. fasting and breath-control. a sense of oneness with the manifest world (or a sense of transcending boundaries). Henry de Suso. 1987). This includes such factors as body temperature. higher levels of insulin and a lower body temperature–appears to make the hold which ordinary consciousness has over us much looser. 1987).similarities with my model. “high arousal” active or ecstatic states–and “trophotropic” higher states–that is. especially if the imbalance continues for a long period (Green. But there is also a possibility that we will experience higher states of consciousness. and a sense of becoming a deeper and truer Self (e. the optimum condition of our biological functioning. This is actually fairly easy to do. I’ve never seen anything as beautiful ever again. But higher states of consciousness can result too. High arousal states are associated with triggers such as drugs. shining. 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. and so on. The following report was given me by a nurse who had been working night shifts without sleeping properly during the day. for example. drinking and sleeping. but it is probable that ascetics also used pain and discomfort in a more short term way. a sense of inner peace and wholeness. for example. and this is certainly true to some degree. which must remain at–or quickly return to–an optimum level. These include: an intensified perception of the phenomenal world. In Oswald’s experiments (1970). blood sugar. “low arousal” passive and serene experiences. dancing.g. 2000b). Wilber. This connection between physical deprivation and higher states of consciousness may partly explain the tradition of asceticism.” This may be. as a means of inducing temporary higher states of consciousness.
000 years ago. 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. Normally we inhale and exhale at the same rate. At the end of the day he would dash his hands and feet against the wall (Attar. They were all separate on one level but on another they were all just one thing. p. But if we inhale faster and more deeply than usual we build up a higher than usual concentration of oxygen. generate higher states of consciousness. in physiology and neurology. By far the most direct way of disrupting the equilibrium.” 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. 1977. while adepts of the Greek Eleusinian mysteries ingested kykeon (Rudgley. p. not all drug experiences are transcendental experiences. and therefore disrupt homeostasis.1993. 1993. an experience of oneness with the cosmos. McKenna. with which he would beat himself whenever he found his attention wandering from contemplation of Allah. There are other methods of inducing higher states of consciousness through disrupting homeostasis. At the same time they were all interconnected. 1990). the aspiring mystic should turn for technical help to the specialists–in pharmacology. however. Of course. 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. I’m a blade of grass!” kind of way. Even our one socially-sanctioned drug. 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. 387). who burned down the house in order to roast a pig. The Neolithic peoples of Europe smoked opium and cannabis for apparent religious or ritualistic purposes 5. and an awareness of the oneness of all phenomena. hunger or sleep deprivation when it is possible to disrupt homeostasis more directly simply by ingesting certain chemicals? Of course. the early Indo-European conquerors of India worshipped their drink Soma (probably made from “magic” mushrooms). 1989). 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. seemed to have a powerful presence. 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. Smith. the Native Americans ingested sacred plants such as fly-agaric mushrooms and peyote. All drugs alter the normal chemical balance of the human organism. took a bundle of sticks with him into his cellar every day. 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. has transcendental properties. it seems. are psychedelic drugs. usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour” (1902/1985. trees and stones and blades of grass. in that drug experiences are likely to be much more powerful. 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. 1902/1985).touched or scratched any part of his body apart from his hands and feet (James. The Sufi mystic. As Huxley pointed out: For an aspiring mystic to revert. such as altering our normal breathing patterns. an identity and being. but because there wasn’t this distinction between “me” and “it. in the present state of knowledge.and hyperventilation as a means of inducing higher states of consciousness (Jilek. 121). as a means of intensifying or altering consciousness. al-Shebli. is by using drugs. They seemed to have personalities or souls. Or as we might rephrase it: why bother with pain. the Algonquians and Kiowa–used both hypo. they were able to free themselves from ordinary consciousness. Certain kinds of chanting The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. in psychology and psychiatry and parapsychology (Huxley. but all drugs undoubtedly can generate them in the right circumstances. if he so desires) what are the chemical conditions of transcendental experience. alcohol. however. By far the most powerful in terms of their transcendental effects. Knowing as he does (or at least can know. Volume 24 . 1964). human beings have always used drugs for transcendental and ritualistic purposes. Many Native American groups–such as the Salish. One acquaintance who experimented with magic mushrooms gave me the following report: Everything I looked at. 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. Not in an “Oh my god. 2005.
But the important point may be rather that ordinary consciousness is strictly chemically moderated. 60). dehydration and exhaustion. it is clear that a breath control technique such as kevali-kumbhaka. and later developed by Naranjo and Ornstein (1971) suggests. Higher (and altered) states of consciousness occur when the chemical conditions that regulate ordinary consciousness are relaxed. it’s important to point out that disrupting homeostasis certainly does not always result in a higher state of consciousness. 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. Psychedelic drugs appear to most reliable way of inducing higher states through non-homeostasis. it is widely accepted that this active mode of ordinary consciousness is adaptive and functional and serves to enhance the survival of the species. As a result. We can put forward similar cases for other ritualistic and religious practices such as drumming (which may also. also appear to involve a rapid rhythmic hyperventilation which produces altered and higher states (Metzner. 1987). at least to some extent. it seems. in which the aim is simply to hold the breath for as long as possible. Any disruption to homeostasis can. and experience divine possession” (in Spenser. And at the same time it conserves energy. with paranoia and hallucinations. the Dervish orders of Islam used dancing as a means of inducing the state of consciousness which they called “passing away. In view of this it seems justifiable to say that. This may also be the root of the connection between dancing and higher states of consciousness. hormonal and metabolic changes and increased heart rate and blood pressure. or in the case of pain.and interpersonal actions (1994. like chanting. however. For example. All of these are examples of the fifth category in Ludwig’s model: changes in the body chemistry or neurophysiological functioning. rather than merely being chemically produced themselves. that ordinary consciousness and homeostasis are closely interlinked. trigger altered states of consciousness (including higher states). It almost always results in altered states of consciousness. “filled with divine awe…assimilate themselves to the holy symbols. Although the essential purpose of pranayama is long-term regulation of prana–and inseparable from the physical exercises of hatha yoga. Or as Floyd W. p. but only infrequently in higher states. Part of the purpose of the pranayama exercises of yoga is to induce temporary higher states of consciousness. This suggests that. leave their own identity. such as the “throat music” of the Inuit. involve a meditative concentrative aspect) and painful ordeals. but even they can frequently produce psychotic symptoms. Similarly. It screens out reality so that we can concentrate properly on the business of day to day survival. would potentially induce a higher state of consciousness (Feuerstein. It simplifies and actively processes information and guides and monitors our intra. 157). ordinary consciousness is our optimum mode of consciousness. when we disrupt homeostasis we also disrupt ordinary consciousness1. or the chemical changes produced directly by drugs–does not seem to be so significant. as the “filter theory” of higher states of consciousness put forward by Huxley (after Bergson). as with the increasing motor activity of frenzied dancing. become at home with the gods. blood pressure. The exact chemical nature of the disruption to homeostasis–in the case of sleep deprivation. The question of why disrupting homeostasis can result in higher states of consciousness is difficult to answer exactly. 1990). higher states of conHigher States 51 . a depressed immune system and hormonal and metabolic changes. 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. the “shadowy” vision of reality which ordinary consciousness gives us evolved as a kind of survival mech- anism. p. This might suggest that I am attempting to reduce higher states of consciousness to chemical causes. The optimum physical state of homeostasis equates with the optimum psychological state (from the point of view of survival) of ordinary consciousness.practised by tribal peoples. His second category–increasing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity and/or emotion–can also be seen as related to disrupting homeostasis. Rudmin wrote: In line with evolutionary theory. extreme tiredness may often result in psychotic and delusional states. It may be that. However. since in most cases the increasing level of these factors is likely to produce an internal imbalance. homeostasis works to regulate and maintain ordinary consciousness. It seems clear. in the words of a contemporary observer. From the point of view of survival.” Here we can probably assume that prolonged energetic dancing produces an internal imbalance because of a high body temperature. as it were. Any change in any one of these conditions is enough to dismantle the whole structure. 1950.
they begin to weaken and fade away. If we have been concentrating hard. the purpose of which is to conserve attentional energy so that we can focus our minds elsewhere (Norman & Challice. when a person meditates. which “frees up” the energy that they normally monopolise. when. Consciousness-energy is clearly distinct from energy as we normally think of it. since there is always a witnessing “I” which is apart from the flow of energy. 1992. Marchetti. As a result. Consciousness as a witness may be fun52 damentally independent.g. be classified as the second major source of higher states of consciousness. 1981. but at a certain point there is a switch to fully automatic processing. if there is a surplus of consciousness-energy. leaving none available for us to devote to what he calls the “open. for some reason. but consciousness as awareness and as consciousness as cognition are bound up with psychic energy. books or the internet). we usually feel cheerful and optimistic. 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.sciousness are ontologically more fundamental and authentic. in the acts of perceiving the phenomenal world. receptive and present-centred awareness. the pragmatic systems of automatic selection are set aside or break down. Others talk more obliquely of mental effort (e. we accept its existence almost as a given. Gross... 259). 1973). and also through the effort we make to process the various forms of information (e. 2004a.. 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.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. in favour of alternate modes of consciousness (Deikman. As Marchetti (2004) puts it. 2005. They can also occur when there is an intensification of what I term consciousness-energy. and verbal information from the media.. Consciousness-energy is the active principle of consciousness.g. seeming to assume the existence of some form of mental energy without actually using the term. including the effort to communicate with other human beings. attending to our experience and thinking logically and discursively. We also conserve this energy through the phenomenon of automatization. This is roughly equivalent to the term “psychic energy”–I prefer consciousness-energy because it emphasises the interrelationship between this energy and consciousness. Deikman. p.g. I believe. 2003) or attentional energy (e. 1996) or “pool of attentional resources” (Kahneman. On an everyday level. with a high level of consciousnessenergy. we feel alert and vibrant. 1980). Csikszentmihalyi. we might feel lethargic or run down. As a result. Csikszentmihalyi.g. Novak claimed that energy bound in defences and fantasies can be released in present-centeredness. Activities such as driving. the energy which we use in being conscious. and that ordinary consciousness may be thought of as–at least to some extent–a more artificial. and we certainly feel subjectively that it exists. Consciousness-Energy and Higher States of Consciousness In a discussion on the psychological effects of meditation. and build up a high concentration within our The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. He notes that the “endless associational chatter” of our minds monopolises our psychic energy. paying attention towards an object spends attentional energy on it. chemically-generated construct. Novak (1996) makes an important connection between our normal shadowy vision of the world and psychic energy.” However. 2004) without making it clear exactly what this energy is. We have the sense that our level of consciousness-energy continually fluctuates. 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. which are part of our lives. 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. However. Volume 24 . Psychologists often assume the existence of psychic energy (e. Both these views hint at what can. according to how much we have expended through concentrating or attending to stimuli. typing or playing a musical instrument are initially painstaking conscious processes. 1995. Our moods seem to be affected by our level of consciousness-energy too–when we feel mentally drained we often feel depressed. we halt this constant outflow of consciousnessenergy. whereas when we feel mentally buoyant. such as in acute psychosis or in LSD states. Novak. she or he deprives the automatized structures of consciousness (which produce “thought-chatter”) of attention. perceptual stimuli such as sights and sounds.
italics added). p. literal experience of the stillness and purity of consciousness in these moments. There is always a sense of inner stillness. The terms “powers” and “powers of the soul” here are equivalent to the term consciousness-energy. otherwise consciousness-energy would not be concentrated enough to produce a spiritual state. and the terms “drawing in.own being. 223). Usually if a person is. the constant thought-chatter. likely to experience this bliss when the energy of our being is intensely concentrated. which means that perception no longer needs to be automatic. Similarly. 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. for instance. and attains a state of samadhi (Feuerstein. so when we focus our attention elsewhere. Meditation is. he states that to achieve union with God. for example. which may lead to a permanent alteration of the structures of consciousness. as a direct. there are situations in which ICE states may occur more accidentally. In spiritual states caused by an ICE this storm fades away. As a result we perceive our surroundings with first-time vision. both in the short and long term. this is one interpretation of what may happen in meditation practice. creates a constant psychic disturbance. We are. it fades away. 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. Many mystics and spiritual teachers have spoken of mystical experience in similar terms to these.” “collecting. whereas homeostasis disruption (HD) states are centred around a different mode of experiencing the phenomenal world. In Meister Eckhart’s (1996) phrase. Or again. reported great senses of peace. and relief (Hardy. (In the long term it is an attempt to permanently halt the associational chatter of the mind. the rays of the sun–or the whirls of consciousness–are gathered up and focused inwardly. 1986. we are liable to experience higher states of consciousness. ICE states have a powerful affective dimension that HD states lack. Examples of these were given by many participants of Deikman’s experimental meditation sessions (Deikman. and notes that through the process of concentration (dharana). As Novak suggests. “a man must collect all his powers as if into a corner of his soul” (1979. therefore. 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. bliss is the nature of being or consciousness–being-consciousness-bliss (Sat Chit Ananda) is the essence of reality. the yogin experiences the intense radiance of the Self. As well as an intensification. 1979). a conscious attempt to intensify and still our consciousness-energy. and a sense of purity–and this is not so much an affective state.) However. 20). St. That is. 1990). As a result. if a point is reached where the chattering ego becomes so weakened that it disappears as a psychic habit. It has to. there is a constant inward storm of thought. and are awake to the is-ness and animacy of natural phenomena. p.” 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. As the Indian mystical traditions make clear. This is probably. and so largely closing two of the main chanHigher States 53 . and the only task we have to concentrate on is focusing our attention. since there is no need for energy to be conserved. and give rise to higher states of consciousness. p. We process very little information from our environment. we might say. In addition. This sense of inner peace appears to be generally absent from HD experiences. 2004b). And this contributes to the sense of bliss which spiritual ICE states feature. One of the main differences between ICE states (as I will term them from now on. Meditators have. Our automatized perception means that we usually give very little consciousnessenergy to the act of perceiving our surroundings. for example. The thought chatter of the ego is fed by attention. wholeness. However. which is logical when we consider that it is probably directly caused by the high concentration of consciousness-energy which meditation can generate. The Hindu text the Moksha-Dharma compares the transcendental Self to a sun.7. ICE states also often involve a profound sense of inner peace and contentment. At the same time as monopolising a large portion of our consciousness-energy. ICE states feature a stilling of consciousness-energy. 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. or even bliss. In the Christian mystical tradition. during meditation we largely close the other main channels through which we expend energy. There is another cause of this sense of inner peace that requires explanation. walking alone in the countryside she is absorbing and processing comparatively little information and being relatively inactive. which runs through our minds. the reason why spiritual or mystical experiences often occur in natural surroundings.
feeling calm and at peace with the world. “I think the same process occurs in the repetitive rhythm of long-distance running. drugs” (p. For example. 72) The high incidence of spiritual experiences amongst athletes and sportspeople (e.nels through which consciousness-energy drains away. Eventually. Taylor. meditation. (p. 2005. p. and while I was there…the setting sun blazed out turning the whole world crimson and gold. This may also be part of the reason why sex can be a powerful trigger of spiritual states. 120). and believes that he acquired this ability through fishing.. (p. Some of these may be due to homeostasis disruption. Then an intense feeling of ‘light’ and ‘love’ uplifted and enfolded me (Hardy. after discussing the universal use of mantras to induce different states of consciousness. However. resulting in a sense of inner peace and wholeness and a familiarity-free perception of is-ness and all-pervading spirit. too. 72). and seemed to be beyond the boundary of my physical self. but not drowsily. very alert” (1967. which may generate ICE states. and I was pervaded by a feeling of great peace and joy. 1979. However. for I became aware of a feeling of ‘expansion’. As a result. listening to a Brahms symphony. when walking on Hampstead Heath alone. such as literature. soothing flood of peace which goes with true sex” (1973.H. you enter one of the orders of bliss. 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. quietening the chattering of the ego-self. Your whole being rests lightly on your float. such as long distance running or swimming. that there was no such things as death. since the exertions of some sports can easily create internal imbalances. 1995. reducing the outflow further. after sex we may experience what D. As a consequence the chattering might fade away. which may fall silent. and I must have become completely relaxed. 103). Lawrence described as “the strange. the contemplation of art and creative work (Hardy. 1961) might be explained in these terms. Similarly. He notes how poetry depends upon the ability to focus the mind. is a prominent trigger of spiritual states. 2002) can be explained in similar terms. and we can assume that the music acted as a concentrative device. 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. Volume 24 . as Jenny Wade comments. taken over by something outside myself if which I was yet a part. we should give some attention to other aspects of higher states of consciousness. for similar reasons. at somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes. p. suddenly I became aware that there was no separateness between myself and other people. 62) In my early twenties…in Wales. and quietens the chattering ego. therefore. directing it away from the chattering of the ego. until an ICE state is generated. 54). Other significant triggers of spiritual experience. And at the same time the beauty of nature may have a similar effect to a mantra in meditation. p. The following example–again from Hardy–is a good example of an ICE state induced by music: I was sitting one evening. I went out for walk one evening alone. Murphy & Whyte. The fact that the person was inactive and had closed his eyes had already reduced his or her outflow of consciousness-energy. The path led up to a narrow precipice walk along the hill’s edge. 85). 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. the poet Ted Hughes described a meditative state he often experienced while fishing. My eyes were closed. Sex can. In theory. sports also often involve an intense degree of concentration. The activity itself serves as a focusing device. 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. how can we explain the sense of one-ness that comes with spiritual experiences in these terms? Unlike the sense of inner peace. 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. the conscious mind gets exhausted and other areas of consciousness are activated” (p. As the psychiatrist Thaddeus Kostrulaba (1976) wrote. It becomes a focus for the attention. Music. this sense of one- The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Laski. “take people to the same realms as trance. This is particularly the case with sports that involve long periods of monotonous rhythmic activity.
Traditionally. to rid themselves of all possessions or to relinquish ambitions or interests of their own. which insist that there is no distinction between the spiritual and the mundane and that every aspect of our lives–including business. Hardy.. The energy is our Self. However. This kind of radical spirituality is opposed to many contemporary spiritual teachings (e. The experience may be primarily related to ego-dissolution.. Yet my awareness has been drawn out of the narrow confines of separate personality. Like asceticism. to take vows of silence or celibacy. Something that is far superior to the unimportant personality which was I. the “restriction of the whirls of consciousness” allows the transcendental Self to appear (in Feuerstein. spiritual aspirants have forced themselves to extremes of renunciation and detachment in an effort to permanently transform their state of being. pp. the sense that we have made contact with a deeper and truer part of our own being. our true identity. I believe this to be the case. radiant self. They might choose to live alone in the forest or desert. 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. Therefore when the chatter becomes silent the separate self-system may fade away. we are one with the cosmos. Huxley. as it does in deep sleep. We tap into the ocean of Spirit that pervades all reality. Cope. 304-5) The important point here may be that our true sense of self is embedded in consciousness-energy. This suggests that the experience is not strictly related to ICE states. The consciousness-energy that constitutes our being is one and the same as the consciousness-energy which pervades the cosmos. I believe. especially once the superficial thought-maintained self of the ego has faded away. by permanently reducing or restricting its outflow. 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. p. food and relationships–offers the opportunity for spiritual growth.g.171. we also effectively experience the essence of the whole universe. some deeper diviner being. it has turned into something sublimely all-embracing. arises into consciousness and becomes me. “entheogens” (e. 1999). (1972.. and others suggests. generally feature this sense of becoming one with a truer and deeper self. But the spiritual life involves more than meditation. atman is one with brahman. Ouspensky. Therefore. Self still exists. 1977. at the essence of our being. As mentioned previously. a transcendence or dismantling of the separate-self system which creates the illusion of separateness and duality. According to the Yoga philosophy of Patanjali. when we experience a powerful intensification of consciousness-energy. There is an identity shift from the ego-self to the True Self. 1979. which can occur temporarily in higher states of consciousness or as a gradually evolving feature of long-term spiritual development. Reports of HD-induced higher states of consciousness do not.) Since HD states do not depend on an intensification of consciousness-energy.g. McKenna. ICE states in particular may provide another source of this experience of oneness. revealers of the god within–is misleading. In this respect the term that is sometimes used for psychedelic drugs. Walsh. they should be termed “extheogens. the practice of meditation does this by teaching the chattering ego the habit of quietness. And based on my own examination of reports of HD states (e. Another important aspect of spiritual experiences is the sense of becoming who we really are. focusing our energies exclusively upon spiritual development is likely to cause an imbalance and a neglect of Higher States 55 . It’s certainly true that. we would not expect this aspect to feature in them. As the Vedanta tradition tells us. As many spiritual traditions hold. detachment has been seen as part of the ascending world-rejecting tradition which posits an artificial and dangerous duality between matter and spirit. I remain perfectly calm and fully aware of who I am and what is occurring. Michael Murphy. 1990.” Long Term Spiritual Development Long-term spiritual development can also be interpreted in terms of an intensifying and stilling of consciousness-energy.g. If anything. Our sense of ego appears to be largely maintained by this chatter. 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. so that an ICE state equates with a sense of connection to a truer self.ness is–as we have seen–also a feature of spiritual experiences resulting from homeostasis disruption. as the Integral Philosophy recently developed by Ken Wilber. 1993) and my own personal experiences of them3. yet there is not the slightest loss of consciousness. 2003)–literally. but it is a changed.
at which point they often relinquished their lives of detachment and became extremely active. ‘The mortifying process is necessary…because those senses have usurped a place beyond their station. These are the people who direct all their aims and intelligence towards transient possessions’ (1990. 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. ‘There are men who completely dissipate the powers of the soul in the outward man. 204). for example. Volume 24 . 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. we can see the practice of celibacy as. As Swami Prabhavananda (1952) wrote: “Sexual activity. This frees up psychospiritual energy. Underhill actually refers to a wrong distribution of this energy. The purpose of detachment and mortification is to produce a transformation of being. in order to do 56 this. when he attempts to “harmonize his relationship to life at large and to the transcendental reality” (p. as Feuerstein (1990) puts it. Tapas usually involves chastity (brahmacarya) and the subjugation of the senses (indirya-jaya) and is believed to generate an intense form of energy. Theresa. use up a great portion of our vital force. The practice of voluntary poverty. 1960). which equates with a permanently higher state of consciousness. 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. And similarly. we must control our physical appetites and passions” (p. 117). 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. Underhill (1960) noted that possessions “are a drain upon the energy of the self. “to check the powerful survival instinct and rechannel it to serve a higher purpose” (p. we must exercise self-discipline. hedonistic impulses. 72). This underlying purpose of detachment was noted by Underhill (1960). converting non-Christians and serving the poor and sick (Underhill. a permanent redistribution of consciousnessenergy. it becomes subliminated as spiritual energy” (p. or implying that everyday life is opposed to spirituality. preventing her from attaining that intenser life for which she was made” (p. p. 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. 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. We should not see asceticism purely as a matter of punishing the body for its sinful desires. The practices should be seen purely as a matter of economy. 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. making a determined effort to permanently close down the channels through which consciousness-energy drains away. of permanently taming our desires so that they no longer monopolise our consciousness energy. on the one hand. or ascendance to the higher transpersonal realms. Silence and solitude are clearly two other ways of concentrating or intensifying consciousness-energy. At the same time as serving as a means of inducing temporary spiritual states through homeostasis-disruption. Catherine of Sinea. and also a means of–hopefully.other important areas of our lives. 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. In a similar way. The same is true of other mystics such as St. And similarly. and St. and the thoughts and fantasies of sex. spent three years living as a hermit and an ascetic until she attained a state of deification. 212). who describes it as a process of “stripping or purging away of those superfluous. We should note that both detachment and mortification (or asceticism) are not –at least ideally–ongoing or permanent processes. ojas. which the adept can use at the niyama (discipline) stage. 186). 220). This is another aspect of asceticism. 2005. John of the Cross. teaching. 186). I should make it clear that I am certainly not advocating a retreat from the world. The purpose of yama (often translated as restraint) is. As Meister Eckhart noted.102). and of reducing The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. a method of freeing the monk or mystic from the responsibility of having to care and provide for a family. and harmful things which dissipate the precious energies of the self ” (p. which is sometimes experienced as heat (the literal meaning of the word tapas). However. St. Francis of Assisi. become the focus of energy. for example. unreal. steadily drained the vitality of the self ” (p. As Underhill notes again. can be seen as a method of stopping our thoughts being occupied and our energies being drained away by possessions. St. Many mystics strove for years to attain this freedom. When that force is conserved through abstinence. At that point she abandoned her solitude and was frenetically active for the rest of her life.
On the other hand. This may not always be the case though. they are always extrovertive.2). 1964. pp. they might come as a bolt out of the blue. These can be useful. or extrovertive experiences of perceiving is-ness. they are likely to generate other altered states of consciousness besides higher states. Whether ICE states are introvertive or extrovertive depends simply upon the circumstances in which they occur. on the other hand. rupturing the familiar. under some circumstances” (2003. 1964/1988. HD states can also be dangerous. 1961). As I mentioned above. 2000). 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. half way between hedonism and asceticism. one of the differences between ICE and HD states is that while the former feature all four of these. the latter do not. This can only come from ICE states. 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. But the spiritual experiences they generate are of a different character. have a very low risk of negative or psychotic states. “Drugs appear to induce religious experiences: it is less evident that they can produce religious lives” (1964. p. A major problem with HD states is their unreliability. ICE states versus HD states This is not the place for an extended discussion and comparison of HD and ICE mystical states. 528-9).. An ICE state that occurs in the countryside. only they can create permanent. taken-for-granted world and making the individual aware that higher realms of reality do exist. and reliably generate transpersonal or mystical states. The individual may not actually be ontologically ready to process the Higher States 57 . but only sometimes. enduring structures of consciousness. or while long-distance running or listening to music. but they do not appear to feature the affective characteristics of (b) and (d). is that only the latter can build towards a permanently transformed consciousness. simple because the individual is already in open communication with the external world. wonder and oneness. in some people. Huston Smith. 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. HD states certainly feature (a) and (c). An ICE state which is consciously induced by meditation will be introvertive.. will be extrovertive. “[they] can induce genuine mystical experiences. Zaehner.g. simply because the meditator has closed her senses to the external world. ICE states. In Wilber’s terms (e. 1991). however. there is a Timothy Leary. HD states can never give rise to the low arousal void experience of what Robert Forman (2000) describes as the Pure Consciousness Event. and even when they do. Tart. ICE states can be both introvertive and extrovertive. Probably the most important difference between HD and ICE states. They may be intro- vertive void experiences of pure consciousness. and a reluctance to make the long term disciplined effort which permanent spiritual transformation requires. sitting in quietness and focusing her attention on a mantra (or another object of concentration). There is some evidence that drug-induced higher states of consciousness encourage individuals to investigate methods of gradual long-term consciousness transformation (e. 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. HD states are primarily sensory or perceptual experiences. there are a few salient points that I would like to mention.its outflow by keeping ourselves apart from the demands and the hectic activity of normal life. or a sense of transcending boundaries and (d) a sense of becoming a deeper and truer Self. For every Ram Dass.. in which we avoid excessive desires and excessive activity. by shutting her eyes. HD states can only give “peek” experiences into the transpersonal domains. As Walsh noted of psychedelic drugs in particular. since these actually involve a purification and intensification of consciousness.g. They always involve the phenomenal world. 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). such as hallucinatory experiences or psychotic episodes. we can say that HD states are never–in Stace’s terminology (1964/1988)–introvertive. HD and ICE states correspond to Fischer’s (1971) ergotropic high arousal and trophotropic low arousal experiences. However.g. Similarly. HD and ICE states are two different technologies of spiritual experience. Stace. and have been used as such throughout human history. Or as Smith puts it. Being given these experiences for free may create a passive attitude towards them. but do not go the extreme of punishing the body or neglecting other areas of our development besides the spiritual.
causal and non-dual)? (My suggestion would be. This might not apply so much to children. they gradually tame the chattering ego and produce a permanent intensification of consciousness-energy. and that they would be therefore more open to spiritual states than us. Following Newberg and D’Aqulli’s research. In Wilber’s model of transpersonal development (e. there would also appear to be a correlate with increased activity in the sympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system. if properly instructed. and gradually create a new psychic structure–HD states are essentially destructive: they produce a powerful blast which immobilises the ego. when the limbic system is denied its normal input. why is it that disrupting homeostasis does generate higher states of consciousness in some instances but not in others? Or. 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. drug use and self-mutilation have been traditionally been used to induce mystical or spiritual states. and links this to arousal of the brain’s limbic system. which suggests that the brain itself doesn’t produce consciousness. and lead to schizophrenia or psychosis. and guided. William Johnston argued that “meditation is safer than drugs because the meditation. In fact this is the only long-term psychic change which the regular inducement of higher states of consciousness through HD can lead to. very briefly. in that they can only be extrovertive. Volume 24 . the psychic.. This strongly suggests that ICE states are superior to HDs. meaningful. We might say that they are one-dimensional. Rhawn Joseph (2000) recognises that practices such as food and water deprivation. 2000) this is impossible. Endnotes 1 Neurologically. instead of the radiant. 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. However. 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). As well creating a sense of “otherness” between us and the world. of course. As he sees it. The important point is that. can integrate the new knowledge and preserve his equilibrium” (1988. they monopolise our consciousness-energy. that the greater the intensification and purification of consciousness-energy. and their psychic equilibrium may be disturbed as a result. HD mystical experiences are clearly genuine.experience. Spirit-charged cosmos that it really is. but deficient in that they do not feature aspects of higher states of consciousness common to ICE states.g. 2003 for a related discussion). to the point where it is no longer able to re-form itself. Whereas meditative ICE states are constructive–that is.. and if this blast is regularly repeated the ego-structure will be eroded away. so that we see the world as one-dimensional and inanimate place. but rather The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. subtle. how do ICE states correlate with the different levels of mystical or transpersonal experiences (e. However. there is the danger that the separate self-system may collapse altogether. then children and native peoples clearly do have access to the transpersonal realms. For example. and lack an affective dimension. This essay leaves some questions unanswered. as so many spiritual teachers have stated. 124). but could easily be true for native peoples (see Taylor.g. since the intensity of their instinctive desires and heightened emotionality would itself produce a large outflow of consciousness-energy. in Wilber’s model. 2 The existence of this energy makes sense in terms of the theory of consciousness put forward by Robert Forman and others. higher states of consciousness associated with homeostasis disruption appear to correlate with hyperactivity of the limbic system. 2005. Particularly with intense use of psychedelic drugs. again. benevolent. However. pain.) 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. our over-active and overseparate egos–although not the ego in itself–are an enemy. In fact. we might assume that there would be a reduced outflow of consciousness-energy in their case. resulting in intensified perceptual awareness. the higher the level of consciousness. p. at least HD states have the apparent advantage–which is part of their appeal–of requiring no effort. and appears to produce less associational chatter. if we see an intensification of consciousness-energy as the source of spiritual states. and between ourselves and our own bodies. it becomes hyperactive and can no longer efficiently delete and filter out stimuli. since in both cases their sense of ego is less developed and less active than ours. whereas ICE states usually involve some form of mental concentration and a degree of self-discipline.
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Bordering Peru and Bolivia. Acre is still very much raw frontier. which light up at night like phosphorescent jellyfish floating in a dark. I first arrive in Alto Santo. the Brazilian frontier state of Acre. It also portrays the extraordinary variation and vitality of the communities there. 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. Acre hosts a landscape dotted with the churches of Daime. who use ayahuasca as a sacrament. arising and co-evolving out of their seamless communion with the forest: the womb and gift of Pachamama. but this is wondrous strange! And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. Among the Indians bio-piracy by Westerners. tropical sea. Darly Alves da Silva. which claims to hold most truly to the original form transmitted by the Mestre. the doors of most churches remain open. or will no longer donate bottles of ayahuasca to hipsters who smuggle them into the U. In spite of these abuses. Then a vision leaps electric out of the night. I get out of the car and hear music and singing—a sound like a polka Fear No Spirits 61 . And there A are the native traditions underlying the lineage of Mestre Irineu. and the slat-board pioneer houses we pass are dark. and the pilgrim is welcome to join in the work. a powerful presence of evangelical Christianity. A gigantic cross with two crossbeams (the Caravaca Cross adopted from Northern Spain—the second crossbeam represents the second coming of Christ). and serious rural poverty. I see two lines of men and women dancing. and the Barquinha. Through all the communities. in the night.” whose work. was initiated by a disciple of Irineu. a neighborhood thirty minutes outside of Rio Branco. who. Daniel Pereira de Mattos (known as Frei Daniel).173-74. or Santo Daime. open air structure. Within the movement originating with Mestre Irineu. has so alienated the healers of the forest that they have begun keeping their medicines to themselves. stands illuminated in the front yard. seeds of distrust toward foreigners have been sown. Sean.S. cre is the holy land for work with Daime in Brazil. Horatio: Hamlet: Oh day and night. both indigenous and Catholic/Afro-Brazilian. As well. Beneath blazing fluorescent lights. and sell the sacrament at a huge profit. traveling dirt roads through area recently carved out of the jungle. The extent of this tragedy is not easily imagined until the degree of knowledge of these peoples is fathomed. 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). two main streams developed: The Church of the Universal Flowing Light. My botanist friend. in resistance to the massive land theft and senseless deforestation being practiced by the wealthy newcomers to Acre in the 1980’s.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. facing one another beneath a huge. or “little boat. in which the author weaves together accounts of his own healing experience.5. It is warm. and still possesses 90% of its original forest. it is the westernmost state of the Amazon rain basin. It was also the home state of Chico Mendez. the stars are bright. with marked Afro-Brazilian elements. 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. Shakespeare Hamlet 1. as practiced for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin. certain Daime communities have closed their doors to participation by Westerners after getting what they perceived as bad press. hosting some of the heaviest cocaine trafficking in South America.
The women are wearing silver crowns. The altar is covered with bottles of ayahuasca. I realize. too. a member of a Barquinha church. I enter into conversation with Henrique. I make my bows. Then Henrique begins to ask me penetrating questions about the United States. is the new frontier for humanity. or Xango. as a blazing figurehead on the prow of the ship of my soul. the power of the forest and native healing wisdom. moving back and forth in a tightly disciplined line. My language acquisition abilities have suddenly been radically enhanced. or spirits. Someone sitting next to me hands me a hymnal. I see the women wear white dresses with green sashes. a new people without artifice. indicating they are fardados. electric guitar. jams away in the space between the two lines. I decided. emptiness. The music has stopped. I see that the men also wear a silver brooch in the shape of a Star of David with a crescent moon resting within. And he spoke an English he had learned from his mother. cutting through the darkness with his omniscience. It appears to be happening right here. They are right to do so. It gave me some pause. as well as his opinions about the communities we had come to visit.band riding in the back of a flatbed truck on their way to heaven. a world of exquisite possibilities. bright white with epaulettes and a white cap like a fez with a braid wound around it. dazzled by the lights and colors and already buzzing from a shot of ayahuasca I had drunk earlier at the Barquinha church. the power of justice. The men wear white suits with a green pinstripe descending their pant legs. He was small of stature. I sit and try to follow the hymns of the dancers. I cannot speak for grief. This. composed of accordion. He looks as if he were wearing a Noh mask. A band. I see a new frontier. relentless and happy. They are doing a four-step dance. I look within and see an altar with a candle burning before a photo taken during the 1930s of a stocky forest worker. I scrambled to take notes. which instead of provoking my usual liberal self-righteousness stir an immense 62 well of sadness within me. open and immeasurably happy. The usual rivalries among groups existed in Rio Branco. clean cut and alert. 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. He offered his assistance. the Yoruba spiritual practices brought over by the slaves from Africa. beating out their steps with maracas they hold in their right hands. The Barquinhas wear sailor’s suits when they make a major journey. a professor of mathematics and physics at the University of Acre. I drink and a seat is set out for me. bass and classical guitar. As I draw closer. such as Oxossi. Oxum. 2005. the one for representing vision into other worlds. the masculine father spirit. Some days later he met us at our hotel and oriented us to the work of the Barquinhas. and I realize the carven prows of those old Viking ships were no mere decorations. the Holy Mother. but then I close my eyes and listen and angelic mists and swirling mandalas begin to draw me on. explaining that the church of the little boat is a synthesis of Catholic Christianity with Umbanda and Candomble. and we proceed to discuss the Buddhist doctrine of sunyata. As the music commences again. and I can understand the Portuguese being spoken around me. related to Mary. As I enter. as waves of agony rise and break within me. and seemed to engage the world around him with a boundless optimism. The man smiles at me and pours. getting down the four-step but give up trying to sing from the hymnal at the same time. Later I am taken to the altar and introduced to the figure in the photo: it is Mestre Raimundo Irineu Serra. Volume 24 . isn’t it?” he asks. “The daime is working on you. I open my eyes. I study him. feminine power. and its relation to work with entheogens. which helps some. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Yemanja. Henrique looks at me with comprehension. my guiding spirit. to waterfalls. conga drum. through the night. related to Christ. and other Orixas. I take a maraca and join the line. A proto-fascist ruling clique has seized power in my beloved homeland. but the Portuguese is very fast. It turned out he was a Daimista. where a dignified man with a bushy moustache waits like an amiable bartender. Sean and I encountered Luis. related to stones and through his spouse. tambourine. The high pitch of the women’s voices gives me the image of a psychedelic subway train charging. and elucidated a very complicated system of correspondences between deities: Oxala. (Fardado is sometimes translated as “star-person”–giving a New Age airiness to a fundamentally military conception: farda in Portuguese describes a “military uniform”). During the ceremony I see my guardian angel. a young lawyer from São Paulo who had recently transplanted himself in Rio Branco to work on environmental issues and indigenous rights. multi-colored trailers descending from their shoulders. waiting for my signal to stop. May the humble inherit the earth. gazing into another world. I am led in a numinous daze across the concrete floor to a booth at the far end of the structure.
a stupefaction. spread out on a surface of sand. capable of walking a hundred miles at a stretch through arid ground. “We’re moving on into the Umbanda portion of the work now. As the ayahuasca begins to take hold. “I think I may actually have had enough already. Their skin is deeply black. and enter. the patriarch. But the lines to drink are forming again outside.despairing of distinguishing mantra from yantra and tantra. are given the sacrament. a cycle of worship of São Sebastião in which they drank ayahuasca every night. unlike in the Santo Daime church in Alto Santo. a cross lit up at the entryway. most of which I don’t understand. Mary. In the center. and drink. we pass through a wooden gate and enter an open structure like the one where people danced in Alto Santo. and Sean and I sit quietly in the pews. The mantric cycle of praise commences. my long journey filled with wounds and bewilderment. “Time to drink again.” Sean and I look at each other in astonishment. the old blacks. and they are spread out in a tableau of village life. But no matter. respecting its presence there. Fear no spirits. and he reappears dressed in white and gestures for us to come. Arriving the following evening. and the community vanishes to doff their sailor suits. make the sign of the cross with the cup. Within we cross a clean floor of white tile and face an altar covered with images of saints. “The evening is just beginning. have come and the group possessed by the old African spirits files out. In fact. very erect. is the European Holy Family. two fingers of their right hand raised at the level of their faces like antennae. I wander off and sit on the wrong side. one fellow playing the banjo. We go back in and take our seats. Then Luis reappears beside us. the white-haired. a dirty little scamp of a dog curled up right on the threshold. I start to say. to finding the perfect woman. men on the other. standing beside her. I now have an opportunity to study the figures arranged in the sand in the center. The spirits of the preto velhos. I notice miniature figures arranged in a village scene. and then the ayahuasca strikes like a blinding cloud of light.” he explains. We and everyone else step over the dog. Musicians accompany the prayer. I look out and sure enough. I look around and note that most of the faces are African in descent. The community was in the midst of a twenty-day long romería. the Yorimba. the line is forming anew. We were going to get to experience Umbanda soon. and the names of Jesus. I think. We reach the head of the line. the Holy Ancestors. with its little bell tower and niches for saints. a vanishing. Rows of seats line the back and side of the church. It all seems a blaze of light. A curtain has been drawn over the altar. red earth. Okay. one of women and the other of men. smiling. Something very powerful begins moving.” he says. The ayahuasca is very bitter and strong. as if on the other side of the world. Then the curtains slowly close. covering the entire front of the church. the guitar and Catholic liturgy weaving fresh neural pathways through my mind. How can we take any more? We already feel irradiated by spirit. I don’t fear spirits. A massive banquet table with a white tablecloth surrounded by chairs sits in the middle of the room. The core of the community takes their places around the banquet table. I feel completely comfortable with them. We continue down a flight of stairs and enter the patio of the church. I notice the curtains are slowly parting in front of the altar. and see the shell of my former self in California and feel deep compassion for the man I have been.” but then I shrug and go out and drink. in imitation of the opening of the heavenly realm. and São Sebastião. sounds I cannot imagine the human vocal apparatus being capable of making. Luis leaves us. Finally a bell rings. a statue of São Sebastião. upon the table. like a spiritual storm front. the Heavenly Father. its exterior a muted orange painted over smooth adobe. chained to a tree and pierced by arrows. Luis comes up to us and announces. Piercing whistling tears through the air. their garments and eyes pearly white. At their backs. I feel his hand on my forehead as I relinquish my addictions: to coffee. I hear a voice say to me. except the floor is of hard packed. and there was to be a major work soon. except I can recognize the Credo being repeated over and over. A musician tuning his guitar gestures me back. Luis explains they are the Holy Family. We go out and see two lines have formed. little white-skinned baby Fear No Spirits 63 . We drink again and go out to the structure with the floor of packed red earth. 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. or rather. Women on one side. to hyper-vigilance. The curtain is parting more rapidly now. through the church. who are filing forward to drink ayahuasca. I see people rising from their seats and standing. thin and tall like a reed. Then in the middle of a song I come to Christ and lay my burden down before him. ample matriarch enthroned in the center. It could be any Catholic church in Latin America.
A smell of burning plastic wafts through the marketplace. his arms folded behind his back. awkwardly. The earth becomes wet with spit. “Whatever you do. then are dreamt of in your philosophy. angels guarding the way to his cradle. The band commences. has had all its fundamental premises blown this evening. I realize. comes ranting through the station. and Sean has been pretty much shut up in his hotel room since the night at the Barquinha. which I had imagined as being fairly open. 2005. I have a deep feeling of gratitude for my experience of it. Luis turns to me and says. The truth is. Horatio.” I look back and realize he is right. Sean has taken a seat and I walk over and clap him on the back. Somehow he makes me think of a young Abe Lincoln. He’s been checking us out.. After a time I see Luis. stooped forward in a posture of aged dignity close to the altar. The only useful shred of the Western Intellectual Tradition I can think of is. drinking ayahuasca and dancing with the spirits. He breaks into a huge grin and nods back at us. North Americans. playing guitar and watching Brazilian television. This evening is solely a work of mantra. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth. Changing the subject. I’m out and about. liminal. Fierce defense in preservation of the world is one thing. I am grateful that I am allowed to dance on the periphery and not drawn in. ayahusaca working through the body. The drums beat. It is dark. I’ve been sick. Power of old Africans. then a step forward. A four step inside a square. the votive pit in Hades in which Odysseus spilled the blood of the ewe and ram. The dance concludes in the dark of the early morning. he explains to me that when the preto velhos come that The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Rather it absorbs our energy. and candles are lit. a young man. He 64 turns to me from the front seat and says. stringy from a life of hard work. and I hesitate the opinion that sometimes anger can help set things straight. of praise. Sean and I ride back together in a taxi. In the center. Are we not all equal in this? Are we not all dreaming? The bus comes and we board. “Yep.Jesus in cradle. Then the power goes out. In fact. Luis turns and looks me in the eyes. “Man. or mediumship. many women and a few men are smoking pipes. the sick and simple are brought forward.” My own life in California is so inconceivably distant and inapplicable. using the tobacco for purification and to send messages to the divinity. hunched over close to the earth. a dance to draw energy and life out of the earth. I am not ready to experience atuação. Young women are led around and in by their elders. dirt poor. blazing. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. The Brazilians don’t seem to do anything halfway in this land of spirits. Volume 24 .” Luis and I are supposed to meet in the center of Rio Branco. and while I still don’t know what to make of tantra. We talk about the situations in Brazil especially designed to push a North American’s buttons. a mulatto. a terminal where the spirits negotiate their transit to other worlds. What voice speaks through him? I wonder. conga drums prominent.” It’s a slow dance. I fall silent. “There is never any reason to get angry. Luis appears and while we wait for a local bus to take us to the Barquinha church. don’t stop dancing. but eventually get the hang of it. My Western intellect.” “I want to be an old man like him. I do fear these spirits. We move in a circle around the center. It’s a couple days later. We’re both smiling in rapture. spitting and bowing. 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 must love us too. I begin. An old man is dancing out there in the crowd. with the spirits of Umbanda. but I smile and give him the thumbs-up sign. I can only nod in agreement. He pretends not to be observing us. The old man comes around in the circle of dancers again and we watch him. but bars selling pitchers of juice made to order from the cornucopia of fruit growing in the Amazon compensate for the stench.. and I begin to understand the dance. a voice crying from the wilderness. Ever. pulse rising from the earth. A bardo space. “See that old man?” Sean asks me. and poured libations to summon the unnumbered dead. men and women moving in two circles. we even accept anger as a kind of social lubricant.” We decide we love this old man. tipping his head in the old forest worker’s direction. but the center does not radiate out. have an illusion of a right to elbow room that Brazilians know doesn’t exist. I don’t know how I am going to return to my life in California after this. his hair and beard gone wild. Anger at a person or situation is another. inchoate. scintillating around the forms of the dancers in white. Joseph and Mary and Donkey in attendance. widdershins. 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. pipe in mouth. and a sign of the strength of the evangelical movement in Acre.
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
even as we attempt to praise it with our barbaric Indo-European tongues and instruments. from which a rich symphony of sound is now emerging. 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. The young men of the tribe wear headdresses and crowns of feathers. M. and then to an apprenticeship with the master healer Juan Flores Salazar at his Mayantuyacu center in the jungle outside of Pucallpa. The image of a people gathering to sing for one another. but as a vaguely oppressive fixture of belief—and the casting of the entire movement into a New Testament mold. messengers. 3135). E. how to work an ATM and a cellular phone. We wear red stripes on our faces. Ayahuasca reader (pp. a very gentle visitation which. thereby 68 opening and creating a dreaming way through the forest. the weary repetition of the word Jesus—not as a mantra to enter the divine. not daime. that ayahuasca really is just a sort of Prozac. feathers of flight spring from their upper arms. makes me lament anew the cold mechanisms of my own culture with its straight-cut roads lined with advertisements—the culture responsible for. References Lagrou. Santa Fe. a lean aerodynamic ascetic. End Note 1 The Kaxinawa ayahuasca myth is adopted from “Two Ayahuasca Myths from the Cashinahua of Northwestern Brazil” by Elsje Maria Lagrou (2000). Walking through the compound we encounter classrooms with chalkboards and ancestral figures.to the center to learn Portuguese. Author Note “Fear no Spirits” is excerpted from a forthcoming book. White (Eds.). temporarily lifting the mind up. At the end of one. Volume 24 . when it comes. The Kaxinawa sit patient and vigilant. while non-natives such as ourselves come to be educated in the ways of the Kaxinawa. like the forest sings to itself. In L. honed to transparency by his habitat. And so the natives rock us into the night with invocations and sounds such as we have never encountered before. Peru. rough-hewn and primitive to uneducated European eyes. our ground. even the guitar itself. “The Jaguar that Roams the Mind. to bring me home again. As we leave a huge white bird cuts the early morning sky. 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. Fabiano. I watch him with awe as he sails over the forest. a center for the treatment of addiction. explains to us that the entire tribe gathers to sing that piece whenever someone is leaving the village for a long journey. seems a rude imposition upon this world. When the evangelical portion of the evening subsides. Then a young guitarist who accompanied us turns out to be a strange bird: a daime evangelist. ending each song with bursts of child-like giggling. fresh. the earth. Correspondence regarding this paper should be directed to Robert Tindall at tigrillo@gmail. F. Luna and S. After the Brazilian section. happily joining in with the songs about our precious savior Jesus. but not going to the root of our being’s dilemma. in its native tongue. accompanying themselves with flute and maracas. The doctrine. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Two ayahuasca myths from the Cashinahua of Northwestern Brazil. NM: Synergetic Press. But the Kaxinawa work with ayahuasca. (2000). all stomach and bill. That I am fooling myself and will return to California with some good stories but the same old self. how to ride a bicycle. who turns out to be an apprentice shaman. salvadores. E. particular things. I and the forest and the albatross all caught up in the same dream of Pachamama. they sing into the night like an animal sings into it. to wish them happiness and good-fortune on their way. makes me put my hands on the earth: things. Portuguese and English. as of this date. the killing of 85% of the Kaxinawa people. I am weary too of the fundamentalism of Daime.” a narrative pilgrimage into the medicines of the Amazon rainforest. The brew they chose is a light one. dear. and I saw that evening that daime is only a brief portion of the territory of grandmother ayahuasca.com. 2005. the pilgrim continues on his way to Takiwasi.
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?
at the time of dissolution. He sent forth these worlds’” (Vasu. there was nothing else blinking whatsoever. the period of the sustenance of the Universe. this is the first miracle. there is no seen. Drishti-srishti vada asserts that the cause of the seer’s sense of beingness and hence the universe is Brahman4. 1979.. It generates them at the time of utpatti. Then in a flash I observed this enormous manifest world and also my body. or a finger that cannot touch its own tip. Ajata vada argues that “nothing exists except the one reality [Brahman]” which is eternal and unchanging (Maharshi. rather than there being a gradual process of creation (i. This is what is meant in the Brihadaranyaka-Upanishad when it is stated that. and mind (manas) is generated (Chapple. 1992. the origin of the Universe. 331).e. 352). an eye that cannot see itself. 3. the “big bang” theory). p. Apart from the seer. Later. a tongue that cannot taste itself. 1990. The Theory of Non-Causality (Ajata Vada)5 Whereas drishti-shrishti vada is considered a relative truth (i. air (that through which we hear and feel).” This sloka is an example of the doctrine of “simultaneous creation” (Drishti-srishti vada). 138)... ajata vada represents a denial of the orthodox view that the universe has a cause. Nisargadatta Maharaj (1987b) delivers the following affirmation: “It is a non-attentive state. i. 202). it is true from the standpoint that we are human beings attempting to achieve liberation from maya). Although drishti-srishti vada postulates a metaphysical entity referred to as Brahman as the cause of the universe. the cessation of buddhi. the nature of this cause is held to be unknowable for two reasons. This argument is reiterated in Baladeva’s commentary to the Vedanta-sutras of Badarayana in which he wrote. because the intellect subsides at that precise location” (p.e. 56). The Vedanta-sutras of Badarayana echo the sentiments of Sankaracharaya: “From the Self (Brahman) sprang ether (Akasa. He could also perceive Himself. 37) The salient point contained in the preceding quotation is Nisargadatta Maharaj’s (1987a) reference to Brahman as a “non-knowing state” (p. 1985a. 1979.. just as a rope gives rise to an illusory snake” (Sastry. 184) stated that. 1979. Statements attesting to this thesis abound in the advaitic literature. 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. that through which we hear). p. “If the Self could perceive His own properties. and manas also takes place. This statement requires further explanation. fire (that through which we hear. p. from air. you cannot know the knower of the known” (Swami & Yeats. Crudely put. you cannot think the thinker of the thought. First. 1970. 38).e.… The borderline between Being and NonBeingness is intellect boggling. If the “initial conditions” (i. for then it would cease to be the subject. For example. In a similar vein. “In the beginning all this was self. “All that you see depends on the seer. p. the Aitareya-Upanishad holds that. p.The Theory of Simultaneous Creation (Drishti-srishti vada) Sri Ramana Maharshi (1985a. one only. I conceived that the entire universe has manifested in the speck of my Beingness only. Hence. But all of a sudden that Beingness was felt spontaneously. As Absolute subjectivity Brahman cannot directly experience itself as a perceptible object. So where is the question of remembering? With Beingness attention starts later. 1987a. through Beingness the “inner organ” (antahkarana) comprised of intelligence (buddhi). 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. 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. sense impressions relating to space-time. ahamkara. p. advaita regards the theory of non-causality (ajata vada) as the ultimate truth. 202). ego or sense of self (ahamkara). causality and discrete objects are all regarded as nonveridical perceptions that take place in the mind of the The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. which is absurd. p. He thought ‘shall I send forth worlds. 184). 58). Volume 24 . p. and It devours them at pralaya. you cannot hear the hearer of sound. and see)” (Vasu. It is suggesting that the universe comes into existence simultaneously with the emergence of the “I” thought (the seer’s sense of beingness). feel. 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. When the dissolution of Beingness into Brahman occurs during ASCs such as samadhi. Wilber (1993) illustrated this point by comparing the situation to a sword that cannot cut itself.e. 38). (p. “You cannot see the seer of sight. 2005. p. from ether. since one and the same thing cannot be both the agent and the object of an action” (Vasu.
Wilber (1996) explicated three modes of knowing: “the eye of flesh. the eye of reason.” Wilber (1996) argued that if one attempts to translate nondual Reality into dualistic reason. Finally. the universe in the orthodox sense of “all space. by which we attain a knowledge of philosophy. regard the substance of the universe as being identical to Brahman (Maharshi. if the universe is an emanation of the eternal Brahman. Furthermore. if Brahman is non-experiential. It is noteworthy. If Brahman is attributeless. Brahman) then one should be unable to experience a delusory perception of the universe as “all space. there would be nothing to recall because. then. Modes of Knowing and Category Errors Extrapolating from St. To quote Wittgenstein (1981/ 1922. p. Yet. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. and bliss (ananda)? Second. 631) does not exist. and therefore each of these opposites can Why Does the Universe Exist? 73 . p. it is an example of confusing two different modes of knowing: the eye of reason with the eye of contemplation. b is also imperceptible. 1995)—on the grounds that space-time and. “if p follows from q. if one accepts that the universe cannot be a candidate for causal explanation by virtue of being an uncaused appearance in Brahman. 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. past states and prior past states are considered delusory perceptions from an ajata vada perspective. p. does this not place restrictions on a metaphysical entity which is supposedly unrestricted? Furthermore. as drishti-srishti vada contends. existing in a state of latency. logical problems associated with advaita vedanta are also based on a category error. As Wilber (1996) stated. First. One may further enquire as to why a delusory perception of the universe as “all space. it generates only dualistic incompatibilities” (p. consciousness (chit). surprisingly. thus. Consequently. one is precluded from invoking an internal causal explanation of the universe—that is. by which we arise to a knowledge of transcendent realities” (p. and objects. time. and the eye of contemplation. one is unable to address the question. One may recall that the term “advaita” translates as “nondual. “Why does the veridically perceived universe exist?” with reference to an external causal explanation. This raises a further question. asserting that the causes of the universe’s past states are prior past states (Smith. if the subject is unable to experience itself as a perceptible object and if from an advaitic standpoint everything is the subject (i. logic. one’s long-term memory system was still functioning during this state. Consequently. that ajata vada does affirm the reality of the universe but only when veridically perceived as an uncaused appearance in Brahman. practitioners have provided phenomenological reports of this altered state in various advaitic texts. the sense of ‘p’ is contained in that of ‘q’. if the cessation of one’s long-term memory system (a cognitive function) occurs during this state. 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. “Why does the universe exist?” is clearly unanswerable provided that one takes the question to mean. 19).e.. Furthermore. Bonaventure. “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. one would be unable to recall the experience. on what grounds are proponents of advaita justified in asserting that the characteristics of Brahman are existence (sat). 3). and the universe is subject to space-time. then how does one come to know that such a state exists? Furthermore. p. and a is imperceptible. Even if. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. by which we perceive the external world of space. and when it tries. 1985a). 1991. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. 107).ignorant (ajani). however. thus. 1991. Consequently. if Brahman is atemporal and therefore unable to ‘step’ down into time and space as the ajata vada doctrine argues. obviously. Proponents of this theory. it must be phenomenologically contentless and therefore attributeless. 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. 1991. “Why does the universe exist?” To utilise Wilber’s (1996) terminology. 631) exists? However. then the question. then you will create two opposites where there are in fact none.” where p is the universe and q is Brahman. for the sake of argument. logic dictates that space-time must also be enfolded in Brahman. 631) for it too must ultimately be Brahman. 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. “Reason cannot grasp the essence of absolute reality. and the mind itself.
along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. Consequently. 19). the question. Consequently. during the various grades of samadhi. 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. If a question can be put at all. Volume 24 . “Why does the universe exist?” The present author suggests that. One may also experience Brahman as the eternal and unchanging reality (Maharshi. Consequently. together with certain singular statements. Author Note The author would like to thank Stanley Krippner and Peter Baynes for valuable suggestions and comments.We have thus two different The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. the ontology outlined in the doctrine of advaita vedanta was purportedly constructed a posteriori using metaphysical knowledge acquired through ASCs (e. 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. the nature of personal identity. but not during ordinary or normal waking conscious—and is thus “state specific” (Tart. The question “Why does the universe exist?” may be differentiated from the question “How did the universe come into being?” on the grounds that. ego or sense of self (ahamkara). a complete causal explanation of the universe cannot be formulated on the grounds that the “initial conditions” (i. 1985).g. Jnana. and mind (manas) and also one’s bodily awareness that may provide insight into the mindbody problem. one experiences alterations in the “inner organ” (antahkarana) comprised of intelligence (buddhi).. 1972.e. 1998) or “state dependent” (Fischer. employing the human intellect for the purpose of reasoning about a metaphysical entity constitutes a category error. the initial conditions..” time). “Why does the universe exist?” It was argued that. that is. in contrast to modern logicians. samadhi).. Extrapolating from the theory of ajata vada. For instance. kevala nirvikalpa samadhi). Brahman) are unknowable..g. to return to Kant.. Karma. 2. the theory of simultaneous creation and the theory of non-causality) were subsequently applied to the question. the injunctions used by practitioners of advaita vedanta (e. Popper (1959) asserted that: To give a causal explanation of an event means to deduce a statement which describes it. 2005.g. p. shows why reason only generates paradox when it tries to grasp God or the Absolute (p. 187) 3. methods of self-inquiry (Maharshi. 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. whilst the former is a metaphysical question. Clearly the a posteriori perspective used in the present paper may be applied to other metaphysical “problems” (e. 631) is held to be a delusory perception. 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).. Furthermore. personal identity. the mind-body “problem. “Why does the universe exist?” may not be addressed via a causal explanation because: (1) the universe in the orthodox sense of “all space. End Notes 1.be rationally argued with equal plausibility-and that. (2) As Absolute Subject-ivity. Conclusion It was argued there exists a lacuna in the literature with regards to an application of theories constructed a posteriori to the question.” (p. then it can also be answered. Wittgenstein (1981/ 1922) wrote that “for an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannot be expressed.g. Brahman cannot be rendered an object of conscious awareness and thus experienced.g. and (2) 74 when veridically perceived the universe is an uncaused appearance in Brahman. The riddle does not exist. 1991. in essence. for example. 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). Two a posteriori derived creation theories associated with advaita vedanta (e. using as premises of the deduction one or more universal laws. 1980). the latter is a scientific cosmological question.. 1988) that are held to provide experiential knowledge regarding. Bhakti and Rajas yogas) are.. from the standpoint of drishti-srishti vada. “Why does the universe exist?” in particular.
Huxley. The bhagavad gita and its message. UK: Oxford University Press. Mahayana Buddhism postulates a Transcendental Reality.K. New York: Yale University Press. 4. For example. S. Edwards. (1988). J.kinds of statement. & Heide. E. 1988. Idel. (1981). 1961. London: Athlone. 306-11). Franklin. hypotheses of the character of natural laws. New York: W. Matt. 2. 47-65. p. Brahman and En-sof are qualitatively distinct. Freeman and Company. (1994).’’ Therefore my comments in this section shall be necessarily brief.” the “Great Reality. 1980. New Haven: Yale University Press. (1973). 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. They are (1) universal statements. In R. Be as you are: The teachings of Ramana Maharshi (pp. 33-47. M. New York: The Free Press.” the “Indifferent Unity. UK: Oxford University Press. R. 9.e. Maharshi. Idel. P. R. An important question is whether all of these various mystical philosophies are referring to the same metaphysical entity or whether. An introduction to metaphysics. B. i. Gilson. The Oxford dictionary of philosophy (2nd ed. Perennial philosophy. Understanding mysticism (pp. 59-60). UK: Oxford University Press. For an excellent discussion of this ontological issue.K. E. London: Arkana. (1990). Journal of Humanistic Psychology.” In R.C. (1985a).). (1962). Forman (Ed. A. London: Arkana. S. The unseen seer and the field: Consciousness in Samkhya and Yoga. which is the “Outbreather and Inbreather of infinite universes throughout the endlessness of duration” (Evan-Wentz. Heidegger. 5. Katz. Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry. ‘This thread will break’.T. J. but it must have been good. New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. S.). (1990). p. Chapple.C. see Katz (1978) and Franklin (1990). 1954. p. Guenon.” En-Sof (Scholem. 1985. Language. E. London: Triad Grafton Books. Y. 383-398. 20. Mysticism and philosophical analysis (pp. Huxley.). Interestingly. R. God and philosophy.).T. Twin Lakes.’ It is from universal statements in conjunction with initial conditions that we deduce the singular statement. 53-70).). which apply to the specific event in question and which I call ‘initial conditions. R. Woods (Ed. Blackburn. (1991). (1995). In R. R. References Aurobindo. C. CT: Yale University Press. 44). 181-192). 1). Bombay: Chetana. P. Easwaran. W. UK: Oxford University Press. 1969). The bhagavad gita. 796-810). (1982). (1980).The initial conditions describe what is usually called the ‘cause’ of the event in question (pp. Similarly.H. (1996). The problem of pure consciousness (pp. Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj. (1964). both of which are necessary ingredients of a complete causal explanation. Oxford. Scholem. Universe (3rd ed. Many aspects of the ajata-vada doctrine have already been alluded to in a previous section of this essay entitled “Avaita Vedanta: An Overview. Gender differences in serial murder: A preliminary analysis. in the writings of the Kabbalah in regard to the mystical philosophy of Jerusalem. S. 12) from which emanate the ten seifrot (literally rays) which constitute the physical universe (Hoffman. 1961. T.)... The problem of pure consciousness (pp. (1978). for example. 22-74). WI: Lotus Light Publications. London: Chatto & Windus. In D. Oxford. Fischer. 288-304). K. M.). (1985). epistemology. Man and his becoming: According to the vedanta. Balsekar. Oxford. Experience and interpretation in mysticism. The Kabbalah: Its implications for humanistic psychology. Keeney. Edwards & A.. it is held that in the beginning there is only the “Root of all Roots. The Tibetan book of the great liberation. Evans-Wentz. (1954). Why Does the Universe Exist? 75 . the vast majority of mystical philosophies assert that a metaphysical entity of some kind is the cause of the universe. Kabbalah: New perspectives.) (pp. the One-Mind. 1996. Pap (Eds. Godman (Ed.). State-bound knowledge: “I can’t remember what I said last night. and (2) singular statements. M. In S. Oxford. The sense of subjectivity. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. (1986). Creation theories and the reality of the world. New Haven. A modern introduction to philosophy (3rd ed. (1959). W. (1941). Katz (Ed. New York: Oxford University Press Kaufmann. Essays of a humanist. Forman (Ed. (1980). and mysticism. Hoffman. Koestenbaum. Why? In P.
R. Internal and external causal explanations of the universe. Beyond the Upanishads. San Diego. Prabhavananda. R. (1969). & Isherwood. In R. & Copelston.). Rowe. Vasu. C. 4165). Tart. P. (1997a). 103-116. New York: Schocken Books. (1970). In A. Scholem.). In D. Maharshi. (1989). (1979).. Edwards & A. Maharaj.). Maharshi. 50. Maine: Samuel Weiser. (1959).). 155-162).). London: Faber & Faber. Oxford. Moore (Ed. How to know God: The yoga aphorisms of Patanjali. New York: The Free Press.). even Beingness has to be transcended. Hollywood. (1969). B.). C. (1996). Email: rock@deakin. C. AUSTRALIA. G. 473-490)..). Osborne (Ed.). Wittgenstein. Madras.au The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. (1996). A. Godman (Ed. (1978). In P. (1995). Wilber. Self-enquiry. 2005. Longmead. (pp. The bhagavad gita: With the commentary of Sri Sankaracharya (7th ed. & Yeats W. 17-38). The ten principle upanishads (2nd ed. Sastry. Russell. Maharshi. H. S.. New York: Schocken Books. (1979).).Maharshi. 79. D. M. (1998). Inc. The collected works of Ramana Maharshi (2nd ed. N. Matt. & Isherwood.). (1972). Metaphysical theories in Indian philosophy. The vedanta-sutras of Badarayana.).). States of consciousness and statespecific sciences. S. K. T. A modern introduction to philosophy (3rd ed. The existence of God—A debate. London: Routledge. Philosophical Studies. New York: HarperSanFrancisco. York Beach.) (pp. York Beach. To realize the Absolute. India: Samata Books. London: Hutchinson. CA: Vedanta Press. G. (1988). S. (1961). Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii. Smith. Shankara’s crest-jewel of discrimination (viveka chudamani) (3rd ed. 76 Shastri. N. In R. New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. Address correspondences to the author at: School of Psychology Deakin University 221 Burwood Hwy Burwood VIC 3125. The nectar of the Lord’s feet: Final teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (pp. Swami. Tractatus logico-philosophicus. (pp. Raju. The logic of scientific discovery. W. London: Shanti Sadan. Volume 24 . in W. Rowe and W. (1997b). B. The collected works of Ramana Maharshi (2nd ed. Science. The Indian mind: Essentials of Indian philosophy and culture.). Popper. CA: Vedanta Press. (1959). Major trends in Jewish mysticism. Hollywood. Osborne (Ed. On the Kabbalah and its symbolism. World within the mind (yogavasishtha) (4th ed. 39-47). The Existence of God. R. B. (1992/ 1897). (1981/1922). (1973).). Pap (Eds. Who am I? In A. P. Swinburne. The essential Kabbalah: The heart of Jewish mysticism. The nectar of the Lord’s feet: Final teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (pp. (1993). (1987b). Q. Maharaj. Scholem. (1985b). Powell (Ed. UK: Element Books. The spectrum of consciousness (2nd ed. In C. (1981). Boston: Shambhala. Phone: +613 9244 6357 Fax: +613 9244 6858. Direct experience of reality (Aparokshanubhuti). 1203-1210. C. 37-44). Journal of the Brazilian Association for the Advancement of Science. T. C. L. P. P. Tart. 51-58). K. R.edu. Wainwright (eds. London: Arkana. S. Wheaton. (pp. Powell (Ed. UK: Element Books. 176. Maine: Samuel Weiser. (1967). Longmead. Investigating altered states of consciousness on their own terms: A proposal for the creation of state-specific sciences. Philosophy of Religion. Boston: Shambhala. Be as you are: The teachings of Ramana Maharshi (pp. R. ‘Two Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument”. 283-310. R.). London: Shanti Sadan. F. (1987a). Prabhavananda. IL: Quest Books. Wilber. Shastri. Samadhi. UK: Clarendon Press. Eye to eye: The quest for the new paradigm (3rd ed. CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers. The spiritual teaching of Ramana Maharshi. T.A.. C. C. R. K. H.
He spoke from a uniquelyinformed vantage point. Correspondence regarding this introduction. Gennady Brevde. Vladimir Maykov. graciously hosted over 200 participants from more than 20 countries. with the support of several other organizations. He began with a fascinating clinical story that shows the practical value of an esoteric approach. offering a series of six presentations drawn from the 70-some offerings on the program. He made an insightful distinction between idealist and materialist approaches to spirituality.” The Russian Association of Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. 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.com Special Topic: Russian Soul 77 . The following pages constitute a small tour of the conference. 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. as one of the most accomplished members of the Russian transpersonal community and part of the underground transpersonal movement in the late Soviet era. or the EUROTAS conference can be directed to the author at payattention1@mac.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. Vitor Rodriguez (Portugal) offered a glimpse into his clinical experience with the diagnosis and treatment of psychic attack. Tanna Jakubowicz (Poland) rounded out this special topics section with an inspiring call to direct action. and a team of volunteers guided us through four days of presentations (June 23-26). Rupert Tower (UK) used an enchanting Russian fairy tale to lead us into the shadow. 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. translating tirelessly between English and Russian. 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.” Jason’s work reaches deep into theoretical and scientific realms to understand experiences of transformation he witnesses with his clients.
M. Even though the transpersonal vision is new in the West. and Russian Orthodox Church. the theosophy of E. George lancing the dragon. Rather. This rich tapestry underlies Russian thinkers and writers of recent centuries who embody within their works the principles and spirit of transpersonalism. the body is born and. K. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at www. A. the Fourth Way of G.V. Then there is a more modern layer. it is traditional in Russia.F. There is an archetypal wounding of the Russian soul. space holds a 78 special place in Russian consciousness. In the 1970s and 80s a broader transpersonal underground developed. democracy. the Russian soul must spend its life striving to become a personality—trying to become functional in society. But there is almost a full absence of personality in the Western sense of the word. We can see three distinct layers underlying the Russian transpersonal tradition.The Transpersonal Tradition in Russian Culture Vladimir Maykov T he transpersonal tradition is deeply rooted in Russian culture. Dostoevsky. yielding a community in which intensive searches are conducted in many directions.S. Fyodorov. the existentialist writings of authors such as L. Together these inform the modern transpersonal project in Russia. A. there is an ancient layer of shamanism—a practice that continues in Russia to this day. In Russia. shortly after Perestroika. Tsilokovsky. Second is a layer of Russian paganism: Celtic paganism held sway over western Russia for centuries and left its imprint. 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. In the West. Berdyaev and L. Russia. Losev. with its correlatives of civil society.K. and then it spends its life striving to become a spiritual being. there is no strict adherence to any one epistemology or theoretical framework. there is the Russian religious philosophy of N. Lihachev. First. the anthroposophy of R. 2005. Nalimov. a country with centuries-old transpersonal roots. Contemporary shamans live and work in places such as Buryat. M. and academician V. It has been said that excavating the Russian soul is like peeling an onion: the more you penetrate its layers. typified by the image of St.transpersonal.P.N. and Khakassiya. This symbol has been central to Russian national imagery for five hundred years. In May of 2002 we took a further step toward professional development with the founding of the Russian Association of Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. Volume 24 . The Russian transpersonal project of today is more highly professional and many-sided than ever before. as the pure potentiality of life that pulls you out of bondage. In addition. Yet it is not easy to explain our inner being. which includes the mystical doctrine of hesychasm. The first of these is the Russian Orthodox Church. Although there are many aspects to hesychasm. the soul behind Russian transpersonalism.N. Russian Orthodox mysticism invokes altered states of consciousness. I identify seven different roots of Russian transpersonalism. Yakutiya. the Near East and Europe.I. laying the groundwork for the founding of the Russian Association of Humanistic Psychology in 1990. Gurdjieff. it becomes a spiritual being. through wounding. In addition to Russian Christianity. Tuvinia. The continuous historical development of this transpersonal urge was interrupted early in the 20th century. you are left with empty nothingness. and the tradition of Russian cosmism of such visionaries as S. Mihejkin. Unlike any other country in the world. In fact. and a contemplative phenomenon in which one’s chest begins to vibrate and shake. as noted by the academician D. Transpersonalism is thus inherent in the Russian soul. Many academic scientists have been drawn to this perspective. Celtic pagan tradition. it becomes a personality. Tolstoy and F. the body is born. Pyatigorsky and V. covering the last thousand years. lawful state. Mamardashvili. Bakhtin. In the end. the more you cry. Russia has its own shamanic culture.M. Russia is geographically connected to Asia. market economy and declaration of human rights.E. Blavatsky. Steiner. Russians experience space as open sky. which establish its origins in distant antiquity.ru The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Altai. M. Schestov. Vertnadsky. Clearly. In the modern layer. is poised to speak with the entire world in the common language of the transpersonal. it includes both a practice in which the saying of prayers is synchronized with the breath. How does this wounding manifest itself? Personal development is different in Russia than in the West.
In its raw form this basic question is an insoluble and often torturous dilemma: Should I live. Rather. The focus moves away from the artifact of this process (i. with the whole project held as a community.coretrust. Following Pickering’s argument. There are six stages in Lancaster’s model of this process: 1.e. and as imagery that helps me describe the work I have done over the last 12 years treating people who are struggling with addiction. which occurred whilst on a lonely holiday to Turkey in 1997. how we might think about redefining those narratives. in the “continual creative advance of nature. the personal self ) and into the process itself. Here then we return to the inspirational images that open this short paper. Lancaster recognizes the link between cognitive neuroscience approaches and mystical approaches. it seems to me. What is this self that I experience? Following from the imagery above and my multidisciplinary work at the CORE Trust (note. Approaches to Consciousness (2004). Here I am thinking about process as does Pickering (1999) in terms of Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy. this self is an illusion. In the process of seeing an object.” or “I-tagging. For example. 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.uk). However this is not a self as thing but as a process that alters with the ever-changing tides of inner and outer narrative. For the purposes of understanding consciousness.” If the self is also such a process. structures of activity. a process that can radically change the self-experience of the client. and the evolution of those structures to be inherent in the character of reality. inadequate parenting and dysfunction. in a semiotic and narrative context. In therapy this question can and often does transform into the more useful question. and the cultural milieu from which they arise. or not? Here.co. From a Buddhist perspective. As I lay beside my hotel pool exhausted from looking at rocks piled up by the ancients. Access to this process would then mean access to the possibility of more effective and more useful narratives. 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. Whitehead (1933) considers transitional processes. I became fascinated with this as process. We are the medium of ideas—they live. and how its organization might be made secure enough to be sustained over time. However.Synthesis and Plurality: Stories of the Self Jason Wright T his essay was inspired by an epiphany. onticly and diachronically secure). this is not simply the end of the matter. Rather. 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. I work at the CORE Trust.” comes late in this sequence of six events that make up the perceptual process. a set of neurons fire Special Topic: Russian Soul 79 . breed. I was unable to sustain my image of self as a “thing” (i. This self-image is identified as me. composed of culturally-meaningful signs—and negotiated through narrative. Lancaster identifies the fact that the process of identifying a “self. I shall use his ideas here to think about how we might generate and sustain the process of self.e. it occurred to me that ideas live in us as we live in the world. and die in us. Here we meet James Hillman’s (1983) idea that you need to heal the story. readers interested in learning more about CORE are encouraged to visit www. of course. it piques us with the question. From here it becomes possible to explore how the self-image of the client is organized. Les Lancaster brings together cognitive neuroscience and mysticism to explore the nature of consciousness. What self am I.. How do we approach this? What might be the mechanism of this self-process? In his book. that I might want to live? Although narcissistic. the assumptions about the nature and qualities of the self that are at stake remain unexamined. a London-based center that uses a holistic multi-disciplinary approach to addiction involving complementary therapies and psychotherapy (individually and in groups). this question opens the door to useful inquiry. I would view these processes as being essentially semiotic in nature — that is. not the person. 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.
image within “me” in order to imagine differing possibilities. it becomes possible to develop more effective and more useful narratives. Under mundane conditions the nature of I-tagging is powerful. 6. B attended well during her time at CORE. She had been treated violently by both parents throughout her childhood. The sense of self is continually reinforced by registering new I-tagged perceptions into the individual-meaning narrative. and then not in a self-disclosing manner. including the narrative interpretation. 5. examined her difficulties with shame. be that in a classical psychoanalytic frame such as a Winnicott’s (1951) model of transitional space or a Hillman’s (1983. It was not possible for her to determine the safest way to meet the needs of the CORE project as caregiver. 1996) view of narrative reconstruction or soul making from a case history to teleological soul history. 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. Lancaster suggests that such deconstruction. B was beginning to recognize that she had agency in relationship and was not simply the victim of The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Identity of an “object” is established separate from the background information. There is no literal translation for the word javana. Toward the end of the fifth month. through meditation or other mystical processes. In individual therapy she identified her violent and abusive experiences in childhood as causing problems. but experienced initial ambivalence toward the community. 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. 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. The important feature to grasp is that this activity goes on outside of normal awareness. speaking rarely. death. Here the CORE narrative and her personal narrative came into conflict. particularly with respect to difficulties in relating to people. The memory process responds to the input. Her father had been deceased for 10 years. Various schemata are activated through neural resonance. Here is the experience of shared narrative ideas that is essential to developing the therapeutic work. The advantage of studying this process from a mystical perspective such as Abhidhamma is that it points out this deconstruction of the perceptual process. 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. 2. Finally. The sense of I-ness is added prior to the normal waking experience of consciousness. In Abhidhamma this is known as javana. 3. a tendency to isolate herself. She left home and school at age 15. if there is one. and she had one sister. The client presented to CORE with alcohol. is to develop an overarching narrative with the client.and are analyzed through the visual cortex. Here then we are back to the key for transformational process in psychotherapy: moving beyond the personal self-image to the process behind it. and action in the world. 2005. 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 had gone on to work in demanding and prestigious jobs. with significant defining features such as violence. to the thoughts of the world. polydrug habits and difficulties with eating. and thereby allows the possibility for a greater number of associative schemata to reach consciousness. the kernel of the story is here. 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. For Lancaster. but it conveys an active role in the perceptual process—there is a clear transition from perceptual mechanism to narrative. Perhaps the best way to illustrate it is with a brief clinical example: B was 41 at the time of presentation. so she attempted to control the situation by evoking her familiar narrative cycle of non-compliance and the violence it historically evoked. Volume 24 . memory is updated by relaying back the current perception. The goal. and would lay down on the floor hiding her face. or the mind of God. but late in the perceptual process. offers the opportunity to decrease the reinforcing nature of the I-tag. Here we are immediately into the ground of psychotherapeutic work. These are the bare bones of the personal narrative. 4. The perceived object is incorporated in the individual’s ongoing meaning narrative. Through altering the relationship between the narrative of self and the narratives of experience. Within the analytic frame of repetition compulsion. the client and her therapist explored issues of trust and relationship. Concurrently in her individual therapy. and her linkage of violence and intimacy. her mother was still alive.
J. In response she wrote: It’s very strange. Most significantly. D. That the myriad things advance and confirm the self is enlightenment. this new and more useful selfimage better contains her narrative and her experiences. New York: Stanton Hill Press. UT: Peregrine Smith Books. We are back to the main idea for defining self: a set of confluent narratives woven into a master narrative. she was able to bear the memory of her father’s sexual abuse. However. Hillman. and I am fortunate that support is available through CORE’s weekly after-care treatment that I attend.W. Another strange thing is how completely different I feel for the vast majority of the time. 229-242). (1983).). to read a case history of yourself. Hillman. historic experiences that had previously been unbearable began to emerge into consciousness. Firstly of course it isn’t long enough.) Exeter. Here we evidence a fundamental alteration of the client’s narratives in relation to herself. “Gandhi. Transitional objects and transitional phenomena. particularly with members of her immediate family. Substance free. Her personal narrative was being negotiated within the containing narrative framework of CORE. just fragmentary memories of agues. Winnicott. A. N. which through time and the process of the psyche develop into the image or icon called “self. J (1996). I self-harmed: burning myself. Through CORE I have repaired myself enough to attempt a fulfilling. the client’s non-compliant behavior in group was still at issue. in this context. Special Topic: Russian Soul 81 . contained her and. Transpersonal psychotherapy is not just about the content of our being. R. as later did heroin. London: Institute of PsychoAnalysis and Karnac Books. CORE. tranquilizers. cocaine and speed made me not care whether I felt pain or not. The semiotic self. I’d used alcohol for 29 years and drugs for 26…. whilst developing a new overarching narrative in which she was no longer trapped in her circumstances as a victim. Alcohol made me not feel pain. As part of this process. Before alcohol. Ultimately the newfound story. In Through paediatrics to psychoanalysis (pp. Shear (Eds. That is true liberation. She is continuing in higher education. UK: Polity Press. Healing fiction. In S. (2004). Whitehead.” In B. N. Lancaster. and new self-image. It is through the interaction of differing narratives that such changes in the client’s narrative stream were possible.Models of the Self (pp.com References Aitken. it became apparent that there wasn’t a time without the feelings that made me want to self-destruct…. (1985). and Deep Ecology.). L. J. Dogen. (Aitkin. 1985. Devall & G. I still have bad days when I plummet to the depths of despair and self-hatred instantaneously. bouncing my head off walls. (1999). stitching my fingers together. New York: Random House. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. The self as semiotic process.circumstance. (1933). p. she read her own case history. (1951). B. and perhaps to a normative narrative. The souls code. the client is still in psychotherapy and has remained clean for 15 months since leaving CORE. and cannabis. Salt Lake City. UK: Imprint Academic. Approaches to consciousness. Cambridge. She considered that she might be able to pull the parts of her self together to feel more whole. Over the next few months the client explored many of her intimate relationship. clean and sober life. She was able both to contain and reveal difficult feelings and the story behind them. Science and the modern world. but I can contain my feelings without using. trying to find a way I could cause myself more pain than what I already felt. 62-83. Pickering. UK: Cambridge University Press. someone else’s version of your narrative. Wiley. Deep Ecology: Living As If Nature Mattered (pp. When I got to CORE. My linear narrative didn’t start until I was nine. it doesn’t begin to explain the circumstances or the level of distress that I felt to start using when I was 12. That the self advances and confirms the myriad things is called delusion. (1994). 232). and a deeper sense of self slowly emerged. 232–35). and enlightening. She became capable of tolerating her experiences and re-envisioning herself. As of this moment. Gallagher & J. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at jasonwright@mac. Cambridge. Sessions (Eds. but couldn’t understand. 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. but also learning to be aware of the context within which we experience being itself.
Dalton. I say. parapsychology research suggests it is not only possible to influence thoughts at a distance (Radin. She tells me that he had had sort of a crush on her. This is a man who had recently died. However. Volume 24 . You have your moments of light. even in waist-deep water. Perhaps we should take seriously the possibility that these occurrences are on some level real. Medical tests detect no problem. I help her approach a state where she can access information about her condition. But all religious traditions talk about outer demons as well. the father of a friend. Here we have a scientific problem: there is no proof of an afterlife. Then I ask her to tell me what is happening. Bem & Honorton. But if the folktales speak truly. In the end. From my adolescence onward. Schlitz & Braud. She describes that she sees a man. Picture an independent young woman who suddenly begins to have fainting spells. 1997. she is likely to faint and end up floating facedown in the water. I speak to this man that she is experiencing. Dunne. it may happen that you end up in some trouble. In the end.” “But you are harming her. She sees that at times he suddenly pulls her out of her physical body.” After some further conversation. but then you hit anxiety. If you follow this advice. Jahn. If you follow their advice.The Psychic Defense Vitor Rodrigues I want to introduce my subject by telling you about the case of a client who came to me. Dobyns & Bradish. “Do you know you are dead?” The young woman reports that he says. causing her to faint. but also possible to influence biological systems at a distance (Nelson. 2005. Ostrander & Schroeder. “Do you know you are harming this woman?” “No I am not! I just love her. 1997. 1997). it will be necessary The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. it is necessary to understand such attacks. using particular techniques. there is at least some chance that you may experience a serious breakdown. she cannot work or drive. threatening her life. by causing her to faint. 1994). 1997. In any case. I underwent many of them over a period of 20 years. she cannot swim. she is not epileptic. Her EEG and EKG are normal. Nelson. You go to the teacher for help. Within a few days the fainting spells cease. I believe they are right—even if you do not speak about “demons. Many teachers picture the wonders of conscious expansion. Jahn & Dunne 1994.” For the psychologist who encounters these phenomena. These dangers include more than the souls of the deceased.” but only about aggressive “entities. Then I ask. but a therapeutic strategy that involves the soul of a dead person is effective in relieving a condition that standard treatments cannot resolve. 1997. meditate more. the glories of penetrating other realms. Some teachers naively tell you that you should meditate a lot. 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. to have meaning in your life. On the other hand. then there are some dangers in these realms—even for those who are not on a path. They are a real feature of the spiritual dimension of human life. As a result. I bring this young woman into deep relaxation and. After giving the woman some instructions for creating a psychic defense against his unwanted presence. This is all true: it is nice to learn a spiritual path. and 3) living persons. Until we have more scientific-sounding words to talk about this dynamic. they would be damaging to the subjects). I myself had to learn a lot about psychic attacks. Bradish. Gradually I came to understand how these episodes were constructed and how to deal with them. Although she is an excellent swimmer. 2) other entities. the man agrees to leave the young woman and goes “across” with a being of light. he is apparently able to recall his death. 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. and the young woman is able to resume her life. to expand. and those who suffer from them need and deserve skilled assistance. “What do you mean? I am alive!” I ask him to remember when he died. many religions and traditions describe the phenomenon of psychic attack. 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. as illustrated by the previous story. After a few moments. What such teachers say is partially true: you are dealing with your inner demons.
or as if some specters or demons are present—-sometimes the dream experience is one of being encaged or otherwise imprisoned). 2001). 1930. 8. all of these symptoms may arise from causes other than psychic attack. 12. 2. blood. Left unchecked. a girlfriend of mine was combing her hair in front of the mirror. Some classical experiments seem to produce interesting effects. 13. it is believed that what the practitioner does to the doll will happen to the victim at a distance. Nightmares (most are from indigestion. some will try to project their own negative energy onto you. Panic attacks (while most such attacks result from stress and worry. If we assume there is some kind of real phenomenon behind such reports. connects it to the victim in the same manner as a dajida. sperm. Strange pains that do not respond to painkillers. intense. Part of the effect is through suggestion. Some will try to perform interesting rituals. though it is difficult to do such experiments ethically. is a probable sign of schizophrenia. 4. or back of head. Pressure on the back of the neck. 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. A persistent stinging in parts of the body. the sorcerer gets a cat or rat. worry. or a piece of clothing that has been worn for some time. are our own unfinished business—unwholesome fears. such as a dead cat. reinforced by the folkloric beliefs of the victim. feeling a burdensome weight. such as a bit of that person’s hair.. Symptoms of psychic attack include the following: 1. Unexplained fainting. it is possible that the symptom may result from such an attack. to a psychologist. 10. But in some ways the doll also helps the practitioner project his or her own energy and intention. Unfortunately I have found very few authors dealing with the matter of psychic attacks in a somewhat realistic way (Bailey. a few related experiments have been done under laboratory conditions (for some hints at a modern version. Fortunately. mostly if several symptoms like the ones above are showing up together. and “normal explanations” have Special Topic: Russian Soul 83 . or the sensing of a threat that may occur with nausea). Repulsive odors. that are suspended in a precise location. this is not so easy to accomplish. and personal problems. nails. 3. One way to understand outer demons is as subtle presences that connect with us through these inner flaws and who cultivate those flaws. but other incidents have a quality of vividness and may feel as if an octopus or some other threatening thing is grabbing the person. when more conventional causes or cures do not work. Paranoia—the feeling that someone or something is after you. and some will ask for help from demonic entities. or a bedcover has seemed to become a python). weakness. then puts it some place to rot. Fortune. saliva. Another variation is a cursed stabbing knife that is placed where the victim will find it. spine. Naturally.to use traditional terms—at the risk of speaking in language associated with medieval superstition. occurring as a sudden feeling of intense anguish or fear. which of course. see Ostrander & Schroeder. Psychic attacks can also come from humans. Direct visions (e. 5. Waking up and feeling as if movement is impossible. A sense of constriction and despair. A dajida is a witchcraft doll prepared by the practitioner of dark arts and sympathetically connected to the victim by means of a sample. and 17. 7. as if someone is pressing with a finger. However. Hearing threatening voices. 15. Sudden. such as rottenness. The rotting process is intended to have repercussions on the victim. A charge is an object filled with bad feelings and bad intentions. and saw black serpents in her hair. producing a specific pain. 9. some are different in origin and come on when everything in life is OK. 6. 11. Typically. but no one is there. stress. uncontrollable emotion. 16. but in my experience many people who hear voices clearly are not schizophrenic—that is. 14. they are living normal productive lives and some small percentage of these may result from psychic attacks).” of course.g. However. A sound of bells that comes from nowhere. 1997). these unwholesomenesses lead to evil actions. greeds and ambitions. what kind of a model can we use to understand outer “demons?” “Inner demons. Fatigue. Once the connection is established. A feeling that someone is blowing on the back of your neck. photograph. a feeling of oppressive darkness that is darker than the absence of light. while other clients have seen a vampire at the door. The intended outcome is that the negative qualities in the knife will induce the victim to use the blade to kill himself. Two of the main procedures of classic witchcraft are the dajida and the charge. Unexplained illness that cannot be diagnosed by medicine.
If not. C.. M. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at psicosophos@mail.. FieldREG II: Consciousness field effects: Replications and explorations. D. J. 12(3). A. D. New York: Marlowe & Company. Psychic self-defense.. & Dunne. H. L. 425-454. Nelson. B.. Exploring the links: Creativity and psi in the Ganzfeld. Journal of Scientific Exploration. J. eventually it will amount to black magic: the manipulation of psychic energies for your own purposes. & Schroeder. Vulnerability to such attacks can also be decreased by the development of personal and spiritual power. 8(4). D. J. Radin. she will have power—but she must use that power with love. she must deal with her inner demons. Distant intentionality and healing: Assessing the evidence. (1930/2001). justice. As power develops. If a person such as my client wants to develop her power. (1994). Does psi exist? Replicable evidence for an anomalous process of information transfer. J.. G. Letters on occult meditation. Jahn. G.. & Braud. Dobyns. K. (1997). 471-489. J. New York: HarperEdge. which is really our soul. R.first been ruled out. Bradish. Bem. R. Nelson. According to the spiritual traditions of the world this different thing. 3(6). W. will start moving in harmony with God’s plan for the purposes of love. A linear pendulum experiment: Effects of operator intention on damping rate. so God’s plan is your plan. Volume 24 . New York: Lucis. Schlitz. Alternative Therapies. Dalton. (1930). G. The conscious universe. Journal of Scientific Exploration. R. & Honorton. Fortune. 62-73. D. S. (1997). 2005. Y. (1997).. Dunne. Cary.telepac. Proceedings of presented papers at the Parapsychological Association 40th Annual Convention held in Conjunction with The Society for Psychical Research. ME: Samuel Weiser. & Bradish. (1994). and beauty. Jahn. If done properly. Psychic discoveries. York Beach. Ostrander. which are omitted from this review. (1997). (1997). B.pt 84 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. North Carolina: Parapsychological Association. Psychological Bulletin. 4-18. This is a coincidence: moving in unity with everything. References Bailey. R. There are specific protocols for treatment of such conditions. we learn to let go of our own personalities so something different can happen spontaneously inside of us. 115(1). D.
Self-Actualization (Maslow). This approach is more of an idealistic relationship to a transcendent spirituality. For example. emitting spirit. Yarotsky named his classical book. creative inspiration. but also those with a more idealistic nature. For such a person. Yet the state of creative inspiration can be felt in different ways according to the nature of the particular soul. 2002. Special Topic: Russian Soul 85 . it includes not only what is sent to us from Above. In this way. This is realistic pictorial art on a religious theme. a physician with a materialistic worldview. 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. This session is called “Polenov and Rublev. in accordance with one’s own nature. or it may take the natural-scientific form of creative self-expression. but without an idealistic. In Western tradition.” It begins by viewing a painting by the Russian artist Vasiliy Polenov entitled “Christ and the Sinner. an individual with a more idealistic nature will experience spirituality and creative inspiration quite differently than one with a more materialist bent. Burno T herapy by means of spiritual culture is a psychotherapeutic approach in which the leading psychotherapeutic mechanism is that of creative self-expression. to find their own psychotherapy. As such. natural history. This image of Christ is the glance of the transcendental world. This same distinction can be seen in psychotherapy. realistically depicted. In order to live naturally. for it is the origin of Spirit. She says. we would not see the stream of Spirit flowing from his eyes. Alexander Yarotsky (1908. there are more people of a materialistic nature of soul than in the West or the Far East. religious worldview. they are more in the natural-scientific stream. Logos (Frankl). as to a receiver. This method helps not only people of a materialistic outlook. we have one image of spirit for idealists and another for materialists. “The angels open the windows of their houses. Idealism as a Physiologic Factor (1908). Psychosynthesis (Assagioli). For the idealist it must be this way: the face of Christ should not be full-blooded and alive. Personal Growth (Rogers). we can say that Pushkin and Chekov are spiritual writers. is one of the fathers of Russian clinical psychotherapy in the natural-scientific approach. 2005). and psychotherapy in order to learn to express themselves creatively in harmony with their natural characterological peculiarities. these then become real orienting points for following one’s own spiritual nature: one’s own nature. this state is called Freedom (Fromm). the famous Russian artist and monk of the 15th century. the Russian notion of spirituality is broader. characterology. Transpersonal State (Grof ). Spirit is no less important to the materialist. So. It reminds us of how the girl in Gogol’s story speaks of the stars in the sky. The essence of the method is as follows: The patients with painful feelings of inferiority study elements of clinical psychiatry.On Therapy by Means of Spiritual Culture Mark E. and the hair is just an inarticulate mass. With the help of many others.” So. I have worked out this psychotherapeutic method over more than 30 years (see Burno. his or her own body is the source of spirit. In Russia. Then we view an icon by Anton Roublev. and so forth. 1917). The approach is different for differing patients. If the face were lifelike. but it is secondary: body (matter) emits spirit.” In Polenov’s picture. Jesus is a young but wise man: wholly human. He understood idealism as a state of captivity to altruistic ideals. therapy by means of spiritual culture may be creative inspiration that takes a more religious. In Russia. The nose looks rather like a duck’s bill. of God. that is. but is also Something emitted by ourselves. Because of this. one must study one’s own natural features. idealistic form. Such people feel the state of creative inspiration as an emission of their own bodies. Here we see the face of Jesus. but we do not know whether the neck is male or female. the state of creative inspiration is often understood as something sent from Above. there are many intellectuals with this materialistic understanding of spirituality.
(1908). Russky Vrach . I. Native psychotherapy in Russia. E. O psykoterapii pri hronicheskih vnutrenih boleznyah. Therapy by means of creative self expression. I. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. 3(25-28). 49-53. (2002). 2005. Yuruev: Yuryevsky Universitet. 433-444. Idealizm kak fiziologichesky factor. M. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. 7(1). Volume 24 . M. E. A. A. Burno. 4(2). (1917). (2005). Yarotsky.References Burno. 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. 71-76. Yarotsky.
and sent his servants to find him and bring him before him. I will also draw upon six informal qualitative interviews that I conducted with senior. your head must come off!” The bold young man went off to hide. 335) cut off the youth’s head (and found great pleasure in his evil game). Inside her room he turned himself back into a young man and had a nice private dinner with the czar’s daughter. 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 once again the czar consulted his magic book. shape-changing into several animals. Tomorrow I will hunt for you and if you don’t succeed in hiding yourself. “All right. a pike.” And the czar answered. The youth changed himself into a fly. In the discussion that follows. but only on the third attempt. Flying over mountains and cliff. This tale. And he himself. He went out of the city and shape-changed into a weasel. The youth departed once more.K. They had a nice feast and spent the night together and tried to plan a way to escape the czar. However. the czar. Based in large part on their experiences of encountering the Shadow during difficult transitions and periods of conflict within their organisations. and after my death he can rule over my whole empire. but the youth said “No. but by making the darkness conscious. took a sharp sword and 87 . however.” as he still had another chance to hide.” Everybody who sat there remained silent and turned pale. but when she came back and saw the bold youth sitting there. But a very bold young man got up and said. is disagreeable and therefore not popular.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. I will examine how power and leadership are held. she said. The next day he went to open fields and turned himself into a blade of grass. She saw him and opened the window and he flew in. “So. and then a falcon and flew in front of the czar’s daughter’s window. The Black Magician Czar There was a czar who was a black magician and a very powerful ruler. Council for Psychotherapy. found the youth and demanded that his head must come off his shoulders. “Czar. and the czar let him go. the czar again consulted his magic book and discerned the youth’s hiding place. Then he turned himself into a ring she put on her finger. The latter procedure. hide yourself. I can hide from you and escape. a drill. pp. and then a falcon. and was again admitted to the czar’s daughter’s room where he turned into his own form. but the czar read his book of magic and found out where the youth had gone. called “The Black Magician Czar. Finally I wish to suggest innovative forms of holding authority and leadership for the 21st century. The bird was not there at the time. across the blue sea and put him on the magician czar’s window.” describes an encounter with the Shadow and how to cope with it. The next day the czar issued the same challenge and again a bold young man suffered the same fate. 1967. On the third day there was another dinner party and the czar made the same offer. the last one. There was a third bold young man who said he could escape him. 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. bold young man. 236-9). and shape-changed into a grey wolf. “What impertinence!” She seized him by the collar and flew with him out of the nest. 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 the czar agreed. par.” (Jung. The youth left the palace. 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.” he said. “now your head must come off your shoulders!” But the youth replied that it had been arranged that he should have three tries.
The interviews also showed that when an organization goes through the demise or departure of a founder. a firestone. since he had not found the youth. and lay down by the fireplace. Now I should have half the kingdom and your daughter as my wife!” The czar could do nothing. The czar is a diabolical “negative shadow” figure whose primary drive is to dominate and retain power. 10). An organisation is an ongoing drama enacted by fallible players. which contained many inherent strengths. bold young man. 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. was likely to be cut down in czar-like fashion. So they went back to the empire. immediacy. the failure to recognize faults within themselves and to discern the fantasy nature of the organisational ideal. The czar looked in his book and thought that he must be there. the stone flew out of her hand and there stood the youth. a shameful. misuses power. Typically. any perceived challenge to the leaders’ authority. and his primary 88 motivation to possess power. Any possibility of dialogue is prevented through an atmosphere of terror and dehumanisation (Biran. and he knows a way to approach the feminine principle so that he is helped three times. One morning the maid got up and started to lay the fire. mighty czar. where it felt safe enough to question. The second and third day passed. I have now come voluntarily. Those young men who also attempt to adopt a power attitude are swiftly beheaded. individually and collectively. She took the flint stone and rubbed it on some steel. The youth became the czar’s son-in-law and got half the empire. The black czar’s magical book seems to represent a closed system of magic. where the idea of the organisation as a unity (the ego ideal) contrasts radically with reality. and an instinctual living basic nature of the psyche. which cannot be misused by evil forces. 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. Meanwhile the black magician began to read and search his magic book. and to acknowledge limitation–and a degree of trust in staying with the mess and chaos of a creative. that caused a rot to gain hold from within. He represents openness to a wider. It was the denial of this reality. which told him the youth was in the Magovei bird’s nest. 2005. debate. so the two were married and had a wonderful wedding feast. secret underside to organisational life” (Schwartz. or anyone who dared to hold a different vision to the status quo would be isolated. Alongside this.” “No.” the youth said. “you have sought me for three days and had given up the search. a distinct transitional stage showed itself The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. competitiveness. 1990. “Good morning. but his servants found the nest but no youth. “Good morning. processing space of not knowing. eventually in some cases leading to organisational decay and breakdown. What seemed increasingly to be held in the Shadow in these instances were the qualities of ordinary humanness–the permission to express fallibility.of flint. and on the death of the czar he was to ascend the throne. fragility. p. 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. They hunted and hunted. he could no longer be alive on the earth. to be unsure or unclear sometimes about where the project was going. and seeks possession through personal will alone. connects us with our spontaneity. 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. and these shadow qualities would be projected onto the imagined perpetrators. nastiness and destructiveness. where the character of organisational life more viscerally resembles a “snakepit” in which “there must be for each of us. Volume 24 . or vulnerability. The czar himself joined in the hunt. 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. 2003). The hero in this tale succeeds because he is able to receive knowledge directly from its natural source. He is unable to recognise the limits of reality or the existence of the other. 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. deeper consciousness that utilises wit and emotional intelligence. Now your head must come off your shoulders. mighty czar”. he said. The czar’s willingness to kill the bold freshness of ardent youth reflects a drama prevalent with an omnipotent fantasy of omniscience. disagree and voice criticism. which misinterprets the way of the feminine. The czar thought that.
W. N. Greenleaf. 13. (1990). R. Dallas. References Biran. The shadow of the object. strengths and personal attributes. 490-502. p. 2003). Princeton. Hobson.). The difficulty of transforming terror into dialogue. The Jungian analyst Robert Hobson calls this the “therapeutic community disease” (Hobson. However. where difference. C. (1991). R. Eds. G. & L. messiness and diverse ideas remain and flourish but are held. C. 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. 1979. The nature of leadership is no longer that of a spiritual parent to a child. C. and the Shadow goes underground. individual differences and anxieties are denied. (GordonLawrence. (1979).). Hold it too loosely. H. Creative methods such as these may help us to own. death.” London: Continuum. M-L.amidst the vacuum and chaos. C. Trans. Perry. and it may break. allowing leadership to shift. rage and mourning for what was lost with the original founder has to be faced. & McCormick. p. (1987). London: SPCK Publishing. 232). 98). Buddhism and living life. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at rupert. R. Jung. 1991). Hinshelwood & N. unassuming acts of determination to bear difference. G. Gordon. It is in the holding of the tensions of these polarities that the “unthought known” (Bollas. H. It is within the oft unspoken. Therapeutic Communities (pp. Initially a period of intellectual stimulation follows. Wellings. (1987). The Messianic community. Von Franz. Listen to the voice within: A Jungian approach to pastoral care.tower@btopenworld. and disillusionment. New York: New York University Press. and be shared by individuals that are able to provide many differing qualities of leadership in differing circumstances according to their particular style. there seems to be inner cohesion. 2005). but of peer to peer. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. “Social Dreaming” is increasingly used within analytical training institutes and mainstream organisations to build a communal relationship with the Shadow and unconscious processes. breakdown and usually unnamed destructive components of the process force themselves into consciousness (Perry. Schwartz. a potential Saviour Hero who will bring revitalizing purpose to the organization. hold it too tightly. 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. J.com Special Topic: Russian Soul 89 . Shadow and evil in fairytales. 1987) of the transcendent function can reveal itself. (2005). Nothing to lose: Psychotherapy. In R. L. He outlines three phases: (1) The coming of the Messiah. TX: Spring Publications. but outer groups are constellated. Bollas. and in open-hearted gestures of kindness and the courage of forgiveness. Beggs. F.J. (2003). The Servant-leader within: A transformative path (H. Introduction to social dreaming: Transforming thinking. Beazley. The collected works of C. (2) the Enlightenment. London: Karnac. There is an African proverb that holding power is like holding an egg. C. E. (Eds. and it may drop and fall. and (3) the Catastrophe. London: Free Association Books. Spears. (2003). 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. New York: Paulist Press. prior to finding a reframed identity. unnoticed. (1967). There are several methods for mediating with shadow influences that can aid such a process of internal self-examination. Jung: Vol. inevitably the pain. 2005.: Princeton University Press.). N. Hull. 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. The saviour fantasy must be relinquished. Manning. Alchemical studies (Bollingen Series 20. 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. 36(4). devolve. 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. 103-112). (2005). Group Analysis. Collective leadership is yet another paradigm in which mutual interconnection configures the presence of collective leadership.
Holy Spirit.” A saying attributed to the Hopi Indians says. to conquer other territories and exploit natural resources. anger. compassion. In this state of mind we can embrace and respect all diversities as a manifestation of the One. “The hopelessness that comes from a situation that keeps getting worse. I have followed many paths. 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. speaking at Harvard University. equally important work is to learn how to transform and reconcile inner conflict so we do not cast our shadow on the world. thirsty. battling for spheres of influence and control over territories and human minds. if not all. “We are the ones we have been waiting for. love.” Even if spiritual emptiness is a phenomenon particular to the West. thereby stripping of natural dignity and spirituality the inhabitants. I might confess that I practice the religion of love. we feel relieved and happy. Promoting the renaissance of holistic culture. It takes new moral energy to create new political will. As Eyad 90 el Sarraj (2002) observed. both rich and poor nations are left spiritually bereft. Ain Sof. Deep down in the ground there are the same seeds of truth. We need to establish direct connection between our spiritual practice and service for the world. perceives the world as one organism based on the shared ground underlying all spiritual traditions. We have an ongoing history of genocide and holocausts—a long chain of cruel wars between oppressors and victims. There are no spectators in this struggle. [is] a despair where living becomes no different than dying.We Were Made for These Times Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount H aving Jewish roots. fear. These “developed” societies pump natural resources out of the soil of the Third World and dump back their junk and toxic waste. This is the cause of deep despair. because re+ligare means reconnecting and love has the greatest bonding power. said. studying mysical Judaism. “The future is brought into the present by people who conspire together—that is. Czech president Vaclav Havel. 2005. We can all see that transpersonal and holistic awareness is becoming more popular. “I am persuaded again and again that. uprooted from the earth. A second. it has great impact on the entire human civilization. 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. I imagine this work to be one of supporting already-existing trends in our culture such as: 1. In this way. and victims who become oppressors. oppression and wars—the emptiness inside us that leads us to reach for everything outside us. Earth is being devoured because most people are disconnected from the Source of Life. finally arriving at this place with no name. lying dormant in the deepest roots of most. cultivating the real nature of man as a manifestation of the The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. In practical terms. drawing from old spiritual traditions. unsated. We need politics of awareness based on morality and a new morality based on love for all living beings. peace and justice. It is the spiritual starvation of the so-called developed world that causes physical poverty and starvation in underdeveloped nations. 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). breathe together. Great Spirit are among the many names for this one ground from which all life springs. set by unitive consciousness.” In my vision I saw that the most urgent and beautiful task is helping people to tap into a deep source of spiritual abundance. But if you ask me what I believe in. wisdom. The new order. we see two struggling forces. Buddhism and shamanism. When we look at the world from an eagle’s eye view. Volume 24 . spiritually homeless. Why? Because this is the right answer to the burning problems of the world and the painful dilemma of being human. When we are deeply connected to the whole. cultures there is an essential similarity. who are left naked like slaves and beggars of a “better” world. 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. The old order is a fragmented world based on the illusion of separateness. transformation and reconciliation. willing to contribute to common goodness. My concern is how to make this world a better place to live.
European Transpersonal Association. fostering a new sense of planetary consciousness that is interfaith and multicultural.html. (2003). 4. and find their way home. References Brown.co.true nature of all creation. 2005 Estes.html.pl/eurodialog/ed/0/havel.x. E.” http://www. 5. The guardians of the old order are very well armed and organized. so more people can gain access to spiritual experiences. Journal of Palestine Studies. Supporting culture and communication without violence. and the need for hope. The holistic human is able to raise awareness to the heart and the crown chakra level. London. The tribal human is preoccupied mostly with the tribal drives of the first three chakras—basically having to do with territory and survival. (1995). http://peaceuk. We need to encourage each other to intensify our activities and make them more effective. Co-creating a new code of co-existence based on the values that underlie the great spiritual traditions. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at email@example.com/ archive /modules. 2. retrieved July 30. retrieved July 31. 31(4). el Sarraj. Brochure of the third conference. Suicide bombers: Dignity. In the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes. and embrace the entire Earth community. My idea is to create INDRA-net. 2005. Address delivered at Harvard University.znak. V. “we were made for these times” (2003). standing for International Direct Radiant Action Network. “Letter to a young activist during troubled times. C. and to bring in more love and respect for the Earth and all living beings. Inspiring new women’s movements to reclaim feminine power and wisdom. We need to think about what kind of actions we can develop.com. and exist in a boundless network of reflections and relationships. I. reclaiming the sacredness of life and death. http://www. 3. and 6.mdl-net.en. despair. Developing the politics of awareness. Enhancing the evolution of humankind from homo tribus to homo holos. 2005 Havel.com/estes.mavenproductions. P. This is our opportunity to trigger the tipping point. 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. G.php?name =News&file=print&sid=193. I believe we have a special responsibility in this time in history.co. (2002).pl Special Topic: Russian Soul 91 . (1994). retrieved July 30. Indra’s diamond net is an ancient vision of the world in which all beings have the nature of a diamond.uk. to transform a minority perception into a majority embrace.
Ah. a heap smart. distorts. and get it all dribbling right on top of you. would turn the sweet free flow of flirt into an embarrassed stain. Who will really play with him. to engage her? So I wrote this love letter. sweetheart. you allow a move from the other side. Volume 24 . repairing all my kinks and crevices. to tell safe from sex. And in that absence she is as present as ever. there is still ordinary life and ordinary desire. the ball as it hits the gut strings. only nothing happened. pretty much that’s what happens. and do tell me your name again. I read The Myth of Freedom autobiographically. It was flirt. . and it tries to be all so exalted. Sure. 2005. pp. Already perfect. So I wrote some codas. who will stay with us all the way through? Elsewhere he writes: Do not trust. . Here is the first. right? Grand elusion’s game. is that a psychiatrist’s evaluation?). If you trust you are in Others’ hands. Remaining in solitude You can never be defeated. (Trungpa. change minds forty times by tiffin. owned only in the sense that her smile seemed once to belong to her. Dear Kat. But here’s the thing: her whole mode of interaction with the world is seduction. sanding down the dance floor so that our dear feet wouldn’t get scuffed as we fox-trot up and back the hall. all delight and horror on the spot: nothing implies nothing. that of the romantic. no floor at all. Flirt is just joydreadful. it’s as if you give it all away every second. have been wondering and wondering how you and I might truly meet. Kidder Sounds like an ideal solution. exceptionally sensual. betrays. as Trungpa’s own love story. or never. here enough? Who else could drop dyadic partnership (ugh. Yet after all. gone enough. and slam your breakfast clear against the wall? Much love. which is learning to dance with the situation. then. Surface and depth closer even than skin and flesh. So she hides. . No means to measure sweet or slimy. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 88-89) So I fell for Kathleen. She’s even a tantric. Elusive. meet in a jiffy. you do not extend your eye and hand automatically: you just admire. Short: no time for “pure” or “need” or “fear” before it all moves off away.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…. she’s a beauty queen. 1976. It is like the single yak That defeats the wolves. someone’s blood suddenly all sticky between your fingers. an earnest young man. Who else is pink enough. 92 This is unrelationship. let’s hope I’m a good dancer. But then it struck me that there might be something else: dancing in space. does anything ever land? And how. seduces. When you want something very badly. I. Instead of impulsively making a move from your side. so anybody’s promising would wreck the scene. The above comes from a great loneliness. In preparation I have cleansed myself so staunchly. But maybe it wouldn’t be that much fun. So do not trust. And who will flirt with me? Maybe only Kat. fabricates.
Kathleen writes: Is there anyone who will ensure that your corpse will be taken off the hook on the wall behind Ereshkigal’s throne. Trungpa. 13-14). genderless. hard for humans to hear. fed the food and water of rebirth. he’s twenty-two. That’s a progression. Boston: Shambhala Publications. he is the emptiness aspect of her forms. kindness. swaying. dissolving at touch. calling. and surely beyond telling. I cannot say. in my love. deep trust. look out for the tiny razors. playflirt. with full breasts and hips. And in the end Kathleen didn’t want to play. Timely rain—Selected poetry of Chogyam Trungpa. The myth of freedom and the way of meditation. is her intense refinement into pure love. trust your hairs. Trungpa. Kathleen. Kat? Ever in the big truth. whose water. reuniting from within. but if you spill the materials. C. is primal That. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at kidder@bowdoin. But Kidder is also dakini. in and out of key. turning her head to giggle when you are there admiring her loud HARKING neck. he is utter stillness. transshaping. But what if Kali’s cutting isn’t the only play? What if Kat and I were both the goddess. all at once. holding all warm forms. When she is silent. If the goddess is love. If the goddess is form. It is still so serious. the sea that never breaks. he dances her love songs. no. so sharpened. He wants it all: unrelationship’s brutal beauty. who is who is who? Which rain falls. and maybe in a human partner. May I have this dance. yes. always is: the sex of the ocean with the ocean. moving outward toward the human realm. And the goddess can make love with the goddess. yes. in her red turtleneck and jeans. 1998. that of the goddess and dakini. no. I must ask her at some point. let that sway of your hairs dissolve into her body. it is more compelling to her insides. such a flirt! What does Kathleen want? To be the single yakini. And. churning. I hold you. * * * A friend of mine read this letter. drop your arm. giving and receiving. Drop the tools more. holding Kathleen’s warm hand. so fine. * * * So Jesus wins this hand. invocation of trust. never trust. That’s the point. break open the huge churning barrel of the truck. his clear radiance and gentle voice. and brought to the surface again? Yes. pp. If the goddess is all places at once. swirl and swirl and swirl. side by side. where is up or down? What wind. Ah. there it will splash for so long she will BATHE in it. Boston: Shambhala Publications. If the goddess glows her fullness. * * * There is one more coda. yes. nor can there be a resolution in this. The goddess is his first manifestation.edu Reader’s Commentry 93 . And when they sex. don’t use your skin. that’s all. It is a very deep passion. with your well-sharpened. In the goddess that she is. he’s blushing. he emails me: It is so fine. Jesus. T. bringing life as well as death. maybe. When the goddess is seductive. yes. C.For trust is surrendering oneself. You don’t see the giggle. whispers Jesus. your tools. that of Jesus. almost ancient tools. Never. When she has urgent play. dakini comes up behind and tweaks her boo. She can run from the truck’s interior designs. References Trungpa. What does Kidder want? Ah. the large truck of almost-flying concoctions. to trust. So here is the second coda. * * * Perhaps a bit demanding. I will come for you over and over and over until your immortal soul no longer needs me. * * * The Last Word There is no last word. where bliss is pain is bliss. has no necessity of further opening. he dwells in the secret interstices of her womb. (1998). For Kali is ultimate love. earth. (Trungpa. Kat flutters there in her constant pure aversion. The flirtdreadjoy is a place of shaking invisible sheets. (1976). and so is Kidder’s tender joy. all the faces of love. he shows up in all places. a sky-goer. Yes. sisterhood. Jesus emerges from her. the goddess. his speech splashes like light warm June drops of rain. and in the love that she is. such romantic longing. such an invitation.
In addition to authoring several books. 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). and philosophical problems associated with psychology. He received a master’s degrees in psychology from Sonoma State University and Argosy University. He has a particular interest in developing critical methodologies for the felt sense. Adam Rock (Australia) received a Ph. in psychology from Charles Sturt University in 2005. He is completing a Ph. is author of over 225 articles. (Russia) is a leader of transpersonal studies in Russia. She holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Warsaw University and completed postgraduate studies in the U. since 1990. She is president of the Polish Transpersonal Forum and. He has taught for 37 years. human embodiment. he founded an international project to publish transpersonal psychology texts in Russian. He has 234 published works in English. Ph. His research interests include altered states of consciousness. He also founded the Transpersonal Institute in 1994 and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in 1997. 94 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. He was one of the first Soviet teachers of transpersonal psychology and. has developed and taught more than 20 training programs in transpersonal therapy. He regularly lectures and conducts workshops and journalistic interviews on transpersonal subjects. Avatar Adi Da Samraj. French. and is currently working as a family therapist.S. Volume 24 . and poetry.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). clinician and teacher. and the University of Algarve Faculty of Medicine. Vladimir Maykov. in East-West psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. the Nursing School of Evora. the ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery. Burton Daniels (United States) has been a counselor since 1987. He is the author of eight books and has taught at the University of Lisbon. literature. 2005. Dennis Patrick Slattery (United States) is Core Faculty in the Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology Programs at Pacifica Graduate Institute. through which he has edited approximately 50 books.D. He has had a wide range of training from psychodynamic to transpersonal psychotherapy. Glenn Hartelius (United States) is a mind/body theorist. Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount (Poland) is a psychotherapist specializing in transpersonal therapy. Russian and other Slavic languages. as former vice-president of the European Transpersonal Association. she organized the fourth European Transpersonal Conference in Warsaw in 1997. in Gestalt Therapy and Bioenergetics. and serves as president of the Russian Association for Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. reviews and popular culture essays for newspapers and magazines.D. He has been a practitioner of Adidam since 1983 and currently lives in the ashram of his spiritual master.D. Vitor Rodrigues (Portugal) has a private psychology/ psychotherapy practice and is president of both the European Transpersonal Association and the Portuguese-Brazilian Transpersonal Association. as well as author or editor of eight books on psychology.
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. Out of Time (Paupers' Press. M. California. The Fall: the Evidence for a Golden Age. His essay Primal Spirituality and the Onto/Phylo Fallacy appeared in IJTS vol. Ashley Wain (Australia) is a Ph.D. was recently published by O books. Germany. (United States) is a long-time Zen student in the tradition of the Diamond Sangha and now practices at Ring of Bone Zendo. He is married with a 2 year old son. About the Contributors 95 . He is cofounder and vice president of the German Association of Transpersonal Psychology. Harald Walach (Germany/United Kingdom) is a research professor in psychology with the University of Northampton. Robert Tindall. and is on the editorial board of a number of journals in the area of complementary medicine. Recently his research interests have covered mindfulness meditation and spirituality. He is also the director of the Section for the Evaluation of Complementary Medicine at Freiburg University Hospital. the Journal of DH Lawrence Studies and New Renaissance. where he has conducted work in the evaluation and conceptual foundations of complementary medicine (mainly homeopathy.Kidder Smith (United States) is Professor of History and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College where he teaches courses on East Asian cultures and religions. Jason Wright (United Kingdom) is a transpersonal and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. He is the author of a study of time perception. Research in Complementary Medicine/Forschende Komplementärmedizin. He trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts and has appeared in leading roles at various theatres. He holds a Ph. and has a private practice in central London. 6000 Years of Insanity and the Dawning of a New Era. His book. This may be the last paper he writes for some time. England. where he is researching numinous and essential experience in actor training and performance. focusing on leadership and organizational/group dynamics. he has led process groups with addicts. He is currently Chair for The Centre of Transpersonal Psychology and Clinical Director for the CORE Trust. acupuncture and spiritual healing). As a UK Council for Psychotherapy registered psychotherapist. 22. 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). UK). published in Radical Spirit: Spiritual Writings from the Voices of Tomorrow. It was a Book of the Year in the Independent (UK) newspaper. he has held the office of Chair of the Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic section. and director of the European office of the Samueli Institute. and the British Journal of Social Psychology. He holds positions as a board member for both the European Transpersonal Association and The College of Psychoanalysts. More recently. he trained in Holotropic Breathwork with Stanislav Grof and Tav Sparks and is the author of an article on this experience. He has worked in management roles over the last 20 years in the arts and qualitative marketing. in clinical psychology and a Ph.D. and a new baby boy. He has also worked extensively on the medieval genres of the chivalric quest and has investigated Amazonian medicines in Peru. editor of the journal. candidate in social ecology at the School of Contemporary Arts at the University of Western Sydney. the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research.A. as well as devised and directed performances. His essays and articles have appeared in a variety of publications. with a foreword by Stanley Krippner. He lives and teaches in Oakland. He has also taught at various schools and companies for nearly a decade. In addition. He has presented and published research papers for the UK Market Research Society. Steve Taylor (United Kingdom) Steve Taylor teaches at the University of Manchester and Salford College.D. including The Journal of Consciousness Studies. in theory and history of science.
Denmark Elias Capriles. Israel Jacek Brewczynski. India Charles Laughlin. Canada John Welwood. Professor Emeritus Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center Douglas A. Australia Sean Kelly. Great Britain John Davis. USA Axel Randrup. Denmark Mario Simões. Associate Professor University of Detroit Mercy BOARD OF EDITORS Manuel Almendro. Australia Wlodzislaw Duch. Venezuela Michael Daniels. USA S. USA Rosanna Vitale. MacDonald. Canada Olga Louchakova. Kiran Kumar. Germany Laura Boggio Gilot. Poland James Fadiman. USA Søren Brier. Volume 24 .BOARD OF EDITORS Harris Friedman. 2005. USA Don Diespecker. USA 96 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Ph.D. Portugal Charles Tart. Norway Daniel Holland. Ph. Spain Liora Birnbaum. K. USA David Fontana. USA Bruno Just.D. Canada/USA Jeffrey Kuentzel. Great Britain Joachim Galuska. Italy Loyd Henriksen.
responses. methodological.g. also included are reviews of notable recently published books. and music). practice-oriented. articles from other journals. and practices while embracing theoretical. Though there is no restriction on who may publish in the IJTS. ecstatic experience. and special events (e. health care. research. Ideally.g. and comments to articles published in IJTS. The IJTS publishes original theoretical. related to global sustainability. However. Articles published in this section embody eclectic topics of study and/or approaches to inquiry and expression. and human potential.. analytic. entheogenic/psychedelic research. psychology. research. biology. Examples of potential themes/topics include the following: Qualitative and quantitative methodologies in transpersonal studies. that is. 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. spirituality. and psychotherapy). 97 . Transpersonal studies may be generally described as a multidisciplinary movement concerned with the exploration of higher consciousness. Reader Comments: A third section of the journal is dedicated primarily to reader reactions. practice. 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. and artistic articles which focus upon topics falling within the domain of transpersonal studies.g. organizational systems.. and practice/application will find representation in each edition of the journal. IJTS is committed to ensure that the fullest possible range of approaches to inquiry and expression are represented in the articles published. art. a diversity of articles on theory. sociology. issues important to the development of transpersonal studies (e. applications of transpersonal theory and/or practice (e. ecology. conceptions of consciousness. professional conferences).EDITORIAL POLICY AND MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION GUIDELINES The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies (IJTS) is dedicated to theory. Special Topics: The second section contains several articles dedicated to a specific theme or topic germane to transpersonal studies. and discourse in the area of transpersonal studies. empirical (both qualitative and quantitative). expanded self/identity. transpersonal studies in designated geographically or politically bounded areas such as in Europe or China). concepts. transpersonal approaches in anthropology. contributions of specific disciplines to transpersonal studies (e. emphasis is given to the publication of articles from a spectrum of international contributors. methodological. The Journal is committed to maintaining a focus on transpersonal experience. history of transpersonal studies. systems of knowing. medicine..g. and postmodern perspectives on transpersonal studies. and cross-disciplinary pluralism..
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