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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. Volume 24 . 2005.
lucidly. The revelation of this spiritual reality has a long history in the spiritual traditions. which is frequently confused in transpersonal psychology: nondualism. pp. and Divine Enlightenment in any given individual’s life (see Adi Da. 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. Fifth Stage: Spiritual or Yogi ascent of attention into psychic dimensions of the being and mystical experience of the higher brain. and fully explicated by David Loy (1998). Wilber has written extensively. 103-131. T he purpose of this paper is to clarify the fundamental nature of reality. organizing the vast expanse of existence into four fundamental dimensions: interior and exterior. and the spiritual traditions upon which they are based. Adi Da Samraj (1991. Third Stage: integration of the psycho-physical personality and development of the verbal mind. not only because of their prodigious scope. Avatar Adi Da not only offers a greater differentiation of nondual reality than can be found in contemporary scholarly texts. His passages on God and Spirit are carefully crafted and offered lovingly. and the will. but also a dimension of nondualism not found in any previous spiritual revelation. discriminative intelligence. which has been perhaps most prolifically advocated by Ken Wilber (1995. but also because of the sub- tle and profound realizations inherent within them. 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. but a work of extraordinary value for both science and spirituality. 2000b) has also written extensively. Nonetheless. philosophical. His body of work covers a sprawling expanse of spiritual literature and can be deemed not only a mammoth undertaking. spiritual growth. These stages progress through a potential sequence of human maturation. Wilber initially posited a spectrum theory of consciousness. 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 synthesis of spiritual revelation from the various traditions of humanity’s great saints and sages is remarkable. these scholarly accounts of nondual reality. Humanity has benefited immeasurably from his work. either do not include or else misrepresent the revelation of a contemporary spiritual master crucial to the understanding of nondualism. The Ruchira Avatar. 2000a). His quadrant theory goes on to elaborate on this depiction of consciousness. 2000a) spectrum/quadrant theory. Second Stage: socialization and adaptation to the emotional-sexual (or feeling) dimension of being. and beautifully about nondual reality. Nondualism and the Divine Domain 1 . even the nondual reality that serves as its ultimate ground and final denouement.Nondualism and the Divine Domain Burton Daniels This paper claims that the ultimate issue confronting transpersonal theory is that of nondualism. Perhaps nowhere in transpersonal psychology has nondualism received a more thoughtful treatment than in Wilber’s (1995. 385-390): First Stage: individuation and adaptation to the physical body. for all its scope and remarkable cogency. and beautifully about nondual reality. Fourth Stage: ego-surrendering devotion to the Divine Person and purification of body-based point of view through reception of Divine Spirit-Force. Every aspect of existence is thought to be subsumed within the general structure of an allinclusive consciousness—indeed. However. lucidly. in which he integrates all psychological. 2000b. as well as individual and collective. it is not unprecedented.
other descriptions of the Self in Western philosophy typically fare no better—for example. Wilber’s meticulous and detailed account of these stages of life is probably unsurpassed in the history of human ideas. By this. aspects of one’s being—what Jung (1919. Although nondualism is frequently used to refer to the relationship between Self and self. Conze. p.. it would be useful to consider these differences more closely. S/self and the Divine Domain Relative to spiritual reality. Assogioli described the S/self this way: “There are not really two selves. Further. two independent and separate entities. human beings can be most fundamentally described as consisting of two aspects: lower self and deeper Self. 1998). 45). but actually incidental to that purpose. It is. Sartre’s non-positional consciousness (1957). The reflection appears to be selfexistent but has. 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. isolation. it manifests in different degrees of awareness and self-realization. considerable correlation exists between Wilber’s spectrum theory and Avatar Adi Da’s seven stages of life. 1999). this depiction of S/self has significant implications for the understanding of nondualism. as well as Mahayana Buddhism (Suzuki. or separation” (Firman & Gila. the Great Path of Return only ends up obscuring a true understanding of nondual Enlightenment— precisely because its essential dynamic happens elsewhere. Consequently. no autonomous substantiality. in reality. 1968. Wilber and Avatar Adi Da are essentially in accord relative to the first six stages of life.’ So complete is this union that it may be called ‘nondual’. and Hegel’s soul (1993). the Great Path of Return of the spiritual traditions can be seen as not only inadequate to account for true nondual Enlightenment. not a new and different light but a projection of its luminous source” (1965. The Self is one. Indeed. or the “buddhi” of yoga psychology (Rama. Yet. Unfortunately. 1962).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. Even so. Although his quadrant theory has certain difficulties (Daniels. the nonbeing of ‘I. and his prominence within the transpersonal community has been established thereby. This set of circumstances might tend to confuse 2 the reader who is not well-informed about the seventh stage of life. In fact. however. this depiction gives only a limited and inadequate account of unmanifest. it is meant that psychic structure involves a concomitant interface between two entirely different. in other words. 1997. 1990). 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). Husserl’s transcendental ego (1960).2 Further. a unity transcending any sense of duality. 20). to be separate from all conditional phenomena). 1969). 1964) referred to as the Self and the ego. the “big mind” of Zen Buddhism (Muzuka. his spectrum theory is a superlative treatment of the first six stages of life. p. However. In fact. virtually mirroring that of Avatar Adi Da. Better descriptions can be found in the tenets of Eastern spirituality— for example. out of which manifest existence arises. 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. 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. this relationship cannot be so simply stated.Sixth Stage: Identification with ConsciousnessItself (presumed. et al. this amalgam of lower self and deeper Self can be best indicated by the following nomenclature: the S/self. it most accurately—and most auspiciously—refers to the rela- The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. nondual reality. Volume 24 . 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. 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. Not recognizing this difference has serious consequences for any understanding of nondualism. 2005. to use the term in this way is misleading. However. for the essential dynamic of this process happens elsewhere. yet intimately connected. Jung’s description of the Self is frequently vague and inexact. Upon examination. They are so fundamentally related that a true break in that relationship would mean personal annihilation. Because Wilber’s account of nondual reality exists within an impressive overall theory of consciousness. This passage indicates the kind of confusion obscuring a true understanding of nondualism.
impure. the subtle and essentially spiritual domains of human development. That is why we experience the world dualistically in the second sense. which. pp. the denial that subject and object are truly distinguishable…which is…the root delusion that needs to be overcome. Overall. especially as it culminates in the third stage of life and the development of the rational mind. in the process. the possibility of a mystical unity between God and man. there actually are different kinds of nondualism. etc. According to this point of view. the “goal” of each lesser (or dependent) half is to submit (and eventually ascend) to the greater (or higher) half. this depiction is a startling misnomer.… This leads to the third sense of nonduality.. Indeed. Dharmakaya. the New Age movement has sought to usher in what amounts Nondualism and the Divine Domain 3 . what has been called the identity of phenomena and Absolute. nonbeing. 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. the individual traverses an immense hierarchy of existence until they finally ascend to the pinnacle of salvation. or else actualizing the self.. what is actually referred to by this passage is a single account of nondualism. In this orientation. 1991). includes God. second. However. God is paired with either the world or the psyche (e. and so on. 17. the “Good”). Nondual reality has been expressed in numerous texts from various spiritual traditions. the defining principle could perhaps be put like this: “What you see is what you get”—or else perhaps this: “When you’re dead.) usually expands to encompass all conceptual thinking. ultimately. which can also be expressed as “the nonduality of duality and nonduality”.” “Primary Dualism. According to the point of view of “Conventional Monism. or the Mahayana equation of samsara and nirvana. 1998. behavior. although the passage by Loy suggests that different “types” of nondualism are possible. Recently. (Loy. the One Mind. Consequently. Avatar Adi Da (2000b. Following upon this stage. perception.” the world or domain of nature is all that exists. As a result. applicable to the different aspects of any individual: cognition. Negating dualistic thinking leads to experiencing the world as a unity.e. and spirituality. being absorbed into God. 178) In other words. the obligation is for the psyche (or even all of existence) to submit and eventually ascend to “God” (i. variously called Brahman. it represents the least of what could be called “lesser” enlightenments. philosophy. A good account of these features has been put this way: The following types of nonduality are discussed here: the negation of dualistic thinking.” “Conventional Dualism. Typically. These orientations can be described according to several features typically attributed to nondualism.. including not only Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. Rather. pp. In other words. for such thinking acts as a superimposition which distorts our immediate experience. Tao. This process takes place within the fourth and fifth stages of life.tionship between S/self and God. the world is made up of a number of principal pairs. It motivates the individual to struggle and search for fulfillment in the context of the first three stages of life. 144-153) indicates that there are five possible orientations to reality: “Conventional Monism. their very Being. Yet. The critique of thinking that employs dualistic categories (being vs. which is God-realization (Griffiths. 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. Consequently. ultimately. the nonplurality of the world. the period in which this faculty of mind first most fully emerged in the West was dubbed the “Age of Enlightenment” (Tarnas. even going beyond that mentioned by Loy. 1991).g.” “Secondary Non-Dualism. dualistic thinking separates the nonseparate unity of reality into component parts or categories (i. by eliminating this separation. Reality is a material unity of natural laws and processes. reversing the process. However. but certain texts of Taoism.” This point of view accounts for all the bodilybased and mortal beliefs about existence.” and “Ultimate NonDualism. as a collection of discrete objects (including me) interacting causally in space and time. Platonic Forms). pure vs. indeed. It actual fact.e.” These orientations to reality summarize all of the possible perspectives of the various traditions of psychology. you’re dead. and the non-difference of subject and object…although there [are] two other nondualities which are also closely related: first. “Conventional Dualism” interjects an awareness and appreciation of spiritual reality into that which is merely physical. The Divine Reality of ultimate nondualism is not realized by virtue of the self more accurately approximating the Self. dualistic perception). Divine Reality is realized by eliminating the S/self—and. and.
“Ultimate Non-Dualism” can be thought of as straddling the sixth and seventh stages. individual Self or. Rather. Avatar Adi Da speaks of this orientation to nondualism as follows: This point of view and Process (which may follow upon.e. no inherently independent or separate Purusha exists. Prakriti is traditionally understood to be objective energy. starting with the point of view of “Primary Dualism”— for example. within some of the schools of Taoism). the causal and ultimate spiritual domain of human development. Everything else pales in comparison. but it can also lead to or culminate in the seventh stage of life. and self-pacification. appears as the body. 1995.e. Rather. an absolute Being or Consciousness Itself. secondarily. This orientation begins the process that takes place within the sixth stage of life. but has only actually succeeded in emulating one or another of the “lesser” enlightenments (see Wilber. The spiritual practice associated with this point of view requires the individual to separate from Prakriti. whether as an eternal and nonconditional. This position ushers in the sixth stage of life. especially within the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. (2000b. a difficulty exists with this point of view. or be “Uncovered” by. but with even less directness. acting as a bridge between them. as some traditions would have it. If “things” do arise. Prakriti) exists. Self-Existing and SelfRadiant Consciousness Itself ). The spiritual practice associated with this point of view indicates that Prakriti appears only as an ephemeral and observable sequence of changes until. This orientation is superseded by the ultimately nondual position. 1999b). the point of view and Process of “Secondary Non-Dualism. the totality of existence is a combination of only two primary realities: Purusha and Prakriti. The Love-Bliss characterizing this state exists in the Awareness. According to the point of view of this position. Consequently. mind. Avatar Adi Da also refers to seventh stage “Ultimate Non-Dualism” as “Radical” Non-Dualism. the first form of a truly nondual position appears. not in the arising. Yet. within the schools of some varieties of Buddhism. when modified. Avatar Adi Da describes this orientation to nondualism as follows: Most ultimately. 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. usually by willful ascetic disciplines. this point of view and Process (of “Ultimate Non-Dualism. 2005. whether “things” arise or not. indicating its immediate and direct association with the Divine Condition Itself. So to speak.. 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. In “Ultimate Non-Dualism” (or “Primary Absolute Monism”). and infinitely amusing. the highest transcendental position begins to emerge. conditionally appearing as a beginningless and endless continuum of causes and effects (Satorakashananda. 1977. 1993).” or “Primary The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. This position of nondualism not only originates in the sixth stage of life. the totality of existence is only the One and Absolute Purusha (i. insight. by the process of observation. for in this existence is a direct realization of Divine Love. the tables are turned for the preceding position. or any separate and independent body. Purusha is traditionally understood to be nonconditional and inherently perfect Being and Consciousness. and also. However. or with less directness. 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. mind. and all objects or others. Verma. the totality of existence is only Prakriti.. no separate and independent “objective energy” (i. They can afford to be humorous and amused by all that arises—none of it means anything... p. Only the existence of Consciousness matters. so that the individual might participate exclusively as Purusha. In other words. In such a case. Following upon this stage. which. 1987).3 Following upon this stage. nothing is ever threatened or at risk for the sixth stage sage. 147) The essential realization is that only Consciousness exists. In “Secondary NonDualism” (or “Secondary Absolute Monism”). or be “Uncovered” by.” and which may even immediately follow upon. the inherent and original (or nirvanic) state of Prakriti is realized. Consciousness is happy to participate in them—why not? It is a play of life. et al. exclusive attachment to Consciousness Itself is released and all of existence is seen as the manifestation of this One Reality. and.to a new Age of Enlightenment. the point of view of “Ultimate Non-Dualism” is actually somewhat more complex than this. Jainism and Samkhaya Yoga (Larson. or object at all. the point of view and Process of “Primary Dualism”) is the third (and final. Volume 24 .
Tripura Rahasya). mind. and 2. climbing up the ladder of ascent—itself resulting from a prior. p. No historical text mentions only the realization of the seventh stage of life. sliding down the ladder— can be traced through a hierarchy (i. and NonSeparate (or Inherently All-Inclusive. Therefore. and Divine Indifference). the development of evolution. 148) Avatar Adi Da frequently refers to this condition as “Open Eyes. whether in the spiritual traditions or transpersonal psychology.e. Avadhoota Gita. and Most Perfectly Divine) “Point of View”. No historical text mentions all aspects of the seventh stage realization. or Perfectly Non-Exclusive) Real God.” Love-Blissful Radiance of Consciousness now Outshines all phenomena. body. is twofold: 1. Inherently Spiritual. 707-708).e. They suggest that God is the goal of development. 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. Certain aspects of the seventh stage realization appear in no historical texts at all. or directly express) the truly Most Ultimate (or Transcendental. and world are no longer noticed— but not because the Divine Consciousness has withdrawn or dissociated from manifest phenomena (i. The difficulty for most accounts of nondualism. vertical deployment of involution. They misrepresent the actual mechanics whereby God manifests into human beings. Wilber’s spectrum theory offers an account of precisely these misrepresented mechanics. Absolute. In his spectrum theory. they can be distinguished from the revelation of Avatar Adi Da in three significant respects:4 1. 1991. 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. 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).” In this state. Love-Bliss-Energy Itself )…indicating (in each case) the One. Although this kind of language might sound similar to revelations made throughout the spiritual traditions (e. or Reality. 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. In other words. and Perfectly Subjective. (Ibid. sixth stage “Ultimate 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..Absolute Monism”) is (if it is. as a modification of Itself ) has become so intense that the “Bright. 2. and 3. Lankavatara Sutra. to Complete the Great Tradition of mankind. And.g. 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. Therefore.. the Ecstatic Recognition of all arising phenomena (by the Divine Self. and (thus) somehow foreshadow (rather than directly reflect. 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 ). Divine Transformation. (in press) The Illusion of Relatedness The absence of the seventh stage point of view has significant implications for any understanding of nondualism.… [N]one of the traditional texts communicate the full developmental and Yogic details of the progressive seventh stage Demonstration (of Divine Transfiguration. Whereas involution Nondualism and the Divine Domain 5 . 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. Rather.. pp. all phenomena become immediately and directly recognized as nothing other than the Divine Condition Itself. or Truth.. by Means Of My Avatarically Self-Transmitted Divine Grace.
related to Itself. although involution and evolution are intrinsic processes of human life.. but each is a reduced or “stepped down” version of Spirit. moving from matter to living bodies to symbolic minds to luminous souls to pure Spirit itself. In so doing. Therefore. simultaneously pulled both toward and away. Consequently. the Big Bang). like a rubber band stretched taut. releasing the Illusion of Relatedness into what is its own. Yet. or separate from. the latter compensating the former for its comprised identity. therefore. therefore. The causal Self comes into being as an utterly spontaneous contraction occurring in the pure state of 6 Consciousness that Is God. This diminution takes The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. If Consciousness identifies with this selfcontraction. The two exist as a duality—within nondualism. there is still only prior Reality (which the Self continues to actually Be). it’s not real. once objects (or conditions) arise. Although it is true that the illusion exists. as potential. this paradox exists only on the samsara side of the equation. respectively—the latter tussling with the former in a struggle over the sovereignty of its assumed identity.… However. they tend to persist (or to demand repetition)—and Consciousness may. 346-347) Consequently. not that which is God. Volume 24 . 1999a. Whereas the one Is God. the densest form of all. tend to dwell on them with fascination. or else to be repeated. they do not truly indicate the mechanics whereby God manifests into human beings. engaged in an intense paradox of God and Self. Consequently. mind is illusion. inherent feeling of Love-Bliss when it relaxes this contracted state. 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. without cause or reason. From here. That very defining feature is precisely how they can both be— and not be—one and the same. The entire range of the human individual’s various levels of being are nothing but a diminution of the fundamental Reality that is God. an illusion of Itself. It will regard Itself to be other than. the mechanics of human manifestation actually occur as follows: There is only God. It will also tend to resolve the discomfort of this separate state of being through attention and falsely presume that It is. pp. continues to merely exist in a Blissful state of Awareness of all that is arising. 10) However. laboring against Itself and what is Its own True and Real state.indicates preexisting states of deeper consciousness. with Spirit transcending and including absolutely everything. The two aspects of the paradox originally defined as God and Self are simultaneously delineated further into that of Self and Other. The process of “Radical” Non-Dual Enlightenment is far from easy. p. the duality of this simultaneous paradox (God/Self and Self/Other) further extends itself through all the levels of being (i. At the end of that process of involution. Yet. each evolutionary unfolding transcends but includes its predecessor(s). this dynamic tension surrounds a further process arising within its midst. which condenses into body. therefore. Indeed. then the reverse process—or evolution—can occur. evolution initiates states of higher consciousness coming into being. for embarking upon this process immediately embroils one in a perplexing paradox: nirvana and samsara are the same. simply existing as this very activity of painful self-contraction. It arises spontaneously. nonetheless. Itself. 2001a. say.… All of this arising is (in itself—or separately) an illusion—the principal signs of which are the presumption of relatedness (and of “difference”). involution). However. It’s an imitation (and. two aspects of reality come to exist. In other words. meanwhile. the paradox can be resolved in this way: There is only God—even if spread upon the illusory levels of mind (or samsara). all of the higher dimensions are enfolded. This tension of separation goes both ways. which condenses into mind. Realizing God involves one in a different dynamic than that of involution and evolution entirely. 2005. true state of Consciousness—as God. across the non-existent gulf of this (apparent) separateness. It will falsely presume that It is no longer Itself but. Whereas God is Reality. which condenses into matter. the Self can only feel its own.… Each level is a whole that is also part of a larger whole (each level or structure is a whole/part or holon). instead. the presumption of a separate self… (Adi Da.e. (Wilber. and tends to persist. And once the material world blows into existence (with. 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. Each of those levels is still a level of Spirit. the other is merely arising in (and as) God. in the lowest material realm. an imposter) of what Is Real: God.
Consequently. the two operate upon very different principles. like steps ever diminishing—one turning away. the Fall could be understood very differently—as the Illusion of Relatedness. It could all be understood differently. pp. a futile effort. Wilber speaks of the “Fall” this way: “Thus. we involve. Put somewhat differently. Instead.. lived out in its various levels and diminutions. p. tracing out its trajectory based on this more fundamental gesture within God and Reality— and does so at every level of its descent. In other words. the ability to “notice” things. 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. certainly. Each is writhing upon the pillars of its own end of the dichotomy. the ego-“I” consists essentially of lack and is empty. Involution arises as a consequence of the Illusion of Relatedness.… There are no separate waters in the seas. The causal Self Falls away from God and then.5 This confusion probably manifests itself most commonly in a concept typically attributed to JudeoChristian religion: the Fall of Man.… Such is the Disposition of the only-by-me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life.. we descend. reversing the Fall that is the Illusion of Relatedness occurs irrespective of growth and evolution. 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. (Ibid. Involution is actually said to be occurring right now. while the other. which is. If the separate “I” and its separate “other” are Most Perfectly Relinquished (or Most Perfectly transcended). now Falls through the involuted levels of being. Indeed. with the worm in its seed. 125). this process could be thought of as a “vertical” Fall. one within the other. 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). prior to its formation. For moment to moment. In this sense. Only in this sense does the idea of growing and evolving so as to reverse the Fall makes any sense. taking place at every level of being equally. which is not other than the illusions of S/self that comprise it. Indeed. However. but every wave or motion folds in one another on the Deep. like the hard and brusque case of a nut. whereas God is full and effulgent—indeed. Therefore. However.e. we move away from Spirit. Consciousness Nondualism and the Divine Domain 7 . lateral) process. “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. Further. and thus we must return to Source and Self—we must grow and evolve to reverse the Fall” (1990. it is a matter of not Falling in the first place—which requires no additional effort or process to reverse it—precisely because one has not Fallen. like the JudeoChristian account. Contrary to the biblical account. radiating Ecstatically to Infinity. imploded inward upon itself. having thus Fallen in this sense. Even now. precisely because they attempt to resolve the paradox from the side that is the ego-“I”—but not that which is God. The usual definition of consciousness (as opposed to unconsciousness) does not mean Consciousness Itself—indeed. precisely because it derives its meaning as an alternative to unconsciousness. as we separate or alienate ourselves from Ground and Source. In other words. turns against itself. in turning away. The two are self-contained. 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. even as the causal Self emerges into awareness. they try to make sense of the paradox from within the parameters of the paradox. However. this is ultimately just an illusion. 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. which is continually lived out in the suffering of every life. God can be understood only on the other side of the paradox. even in facing itself. the Fall could be thought of as a “horizontal” (i. this fundamental separation is still present. it is an activity that every individual is presently doing. involution is not something that merely or even especially occurred prior to birth or in some distant cosmological past. There is a price to be paid for this error. Clearly. that is to say. The two unfold in their turn. Consciousness is usually thought of as a state of awareness. this passage suggests that the “Fall” operates according to dynamics similar to gravity. 344-345) Most accounts of spirituality and nondualism are problematic. This “sequence” of simultaneous paradox ultimately traces out the agony of humanity’s suffering.place within mind. the S/self is an alternative to God. However. However. in this moment.
or Most Perfectly Resolved In Its Perfect Source…The Most Ultimate and Inherently Most Perfect Awakening Of Perfectly Subjective Transcendental.g. However. However. the ego. However. p.… Thus. and Divine Consciousness Itself ) (Adi Da. Yet. namely Consciousness as Such. identified with the very consciousness that is observing all that arises. more is at stake in Wilber’s point of view than this. dreaming. subconscious and self-conscious) aspects of S/self are made conscious. Wilber put it this way: [This] brings us to the most notorious paradox in the perennial philosophy. Volume 24 . or the soul). Perhaps one way to clarify this distinction is by comparing it to the principal therapeutic imperative of psychoanalysis: making the unconscious conscious (Pulver. The confusion Wilber makes is in attributing Consciousness Itself (i. 2000b. and 2) allow us to recognize and identify with that which is constant— or timeless—through all of those states. because basically there is nothing—literally nothing— in the deep dreamless state. dreaming. Shankara. by any other name. therefore. We have seen that the wisdom traditions subscribe to the notion that reality manifests in levels or dimensions.” merely observing all that exists—even while they perhaps continue to participate in the events of life. To be aware of something is to attend to it—and is. However. It simply is Awareness.… That is a shocking statement. “Consciousness as Such”) with one or another of the various modes of possible awareness: waking..Itself is not aware of things. the result is to confuse them both. 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”. Here. 2005. a curious quality is associated with it. Spiritual. in so doing. (2000b. Although this latter comment might sound like “Radical” Non-Dualism. such a position represents the point of view of the sixth stage of life (e. Conventional notions of consciousness associate it with an object. it is not “Radical” Non-Dual Being. or sleeping. the individual participates in experience as the causal Self. attention itself. sleeping. nonetheless. and anything that is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not ultimate reality. Ramana said…must also be fully present in deep dreamless sleep. But. The epistemological position of simple awareness is typically referred to in the spiritual traditions as “witness” consciousness.6 Even deep. dreamless sleep arises—and is ultimately Awakened and Resolved—in the Ultimate Source of Being that is Consciousness Itself. But Consciousness Itself is more primal than that. In that state. Rather. When all unconscious (not to say. pp. This is the beginning of the ultimate stages of life. “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. 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. which is associated with Divine Being and the seventh stage of life. Wilber also suggests that an even more profound dimension of being exists beyond this: the nondual reality out of which all manifest existence arises. In this sense. it does not indicate “Radical” Non-Dual consciousness. the mind. we will have to plug ourselves into this current of constant consciousness. dreaming.… Ultimate reality (or Spirit).e. Spirit is the summit of being. timeless Spirit. In other words. 1979). over against which that consciousness can be said to be aware. Although this state represents an extraordinary level of being. This will: 1) strip us of an exclusive identification with any of those states (such as the body. or sleeping.. one takes the position of the “witness. 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. then there is only Consciousness Itself. which is a version of what Avatar Adi Da calls the sixth stage error. and follow it through all changes of state—waking. this passage is an excellent example of what could be called the “lesser” enlightenment associated with sixth stage “Ultimate NonDualism”. Wilber only reduces the seventh stage to the sixth stage. if we want to realize our supreme identity with Spirit. the individual no longer perceives and understands experience from the point of view of the lower self or even the subtle Self. the “Radical” Non-Dual state of Enlightenment actually represents the transcendence of each level of being—whether waking. In trying to have it both ways. 1995). Wilber has both manifest and unmanifest existence refer to the same level of being. the highest rung on the 8 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 223). with each higher dimension being more inclusive and therefore “closer” to the absolute totality of Godhead or Spirit. the essence of the Illusion of Relatedness.
You can no more attain Spirit than you can attain your feet or acquire your lungs.7 Wilber collapses the sixth and seventh stages together. and this is what makes all the difference. stems from the traditional understanding of nondualism. in terms of “Radical” Nondualism and the Divine Domain 9 . for it is precisely the act of setting God up as a goal that inserts seeking into the equation—and eliminates God thereby. is God itself. Only the other is dissolved in the elimination of the self/other distinction—not the causal Self. dissolved in the True and “Radically” Non-Dual Enlightenment of Real God.e. nondualism is typically thought to result whenever the self/other distinction is eliminated. You obviously seek in order to avoid the present. The first aspect. But it is also true that Spirit is the wood out of which the entire ladder and all its rungs are made. the isness. the traditions maintain. The “perfect practice” is therefore not to search for enlightenment.. Further. Real God). is Buddha-nature itself. and the ground of the entire sequence. suggesting that “you always already are enlightened Spirit. Virtually no precedence for the seventh stage revelation is present in the spiritual traditions. The forms of dualism are not resolved until the entire S/self structure is eliminated. a significant problem exists with this: the spiritual traditions are in error. claiming that nondual reality is essentially comprised of two aspects: goal and ground. apart from a handful of texts that are premonitory in nature. p. pp. but not other to this world. 287). and therefore to seek Spirit is simply to deny Spirit. Spirit is prior to this world. (1997. Nonetheless. The entire earth (or even universe) could be destroyed. in heaven and on earth. What actually results for having eliminated the self/other distinction is not “Radical” Non-Dualism. Wilber sees his theory as an attempt to align with spiritual presentations made traditionally: “That simple witnessing awareness. is Spirit itself. But such is not the case for “Radical” Non-Dualism. Thus Spirit is both the highest goal of all development and evolution. However. The former applies to the causal Self alone (i. but merely a partial aspect of reality: the Self. The second aspect. in culture. (1997. Consequently.” However.e. Wilber makes a different sort of error in his comments.… Thus. 26) Yet.… [T]hus seeking Spirit is exactly that which prevents realization. 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. and Spirit would remain. failing to accurately represent God. the wood aspect. the error is not so much a mistaken notion—for it does accurately represent the casual Self—as an error of omission. the essence of each and every thing that exists.. which is to say. From this angle.. for all are equally “made of ” Spirit. 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. as well. no phenomenon whatsoever is closer to Spirit than another. A subtle dualism yet remains: Self and God. p.ladder of evolution. is the transcendental nature of Spirit—it far surpasses any “worldly” or creaturely or finite things. and thus the very search for enlightenment prevents it. sixth stage “Ultimate” Non-Dualism). as present fully at the beginning as at the end. certainly. In another context. but an inquiry into why you want to attain enlightenment in the first place. such is simply not the case. the highest-rung aspect. indeed. in its entirety. Simply put. is the immanent nature of Spirit—Spirit is equally and totally present in all manifest things and events. according to the traditions. The very desire to seek enlightenment is in fact nothing but the grasping tendency of the ego itself. nothing is gained by being so aligned. and yet the present alone holds the answer: to seek forever is to miss the point forever. You always already ARE enlightened Spirit. However. 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. this confusion is easy to make and. is the enlightened mind itself. Yet. further. you are not always already Enlightened (at least. only the latter applies to “Radical” Non-Dual Reality (i. Spirit is the suchness. the real significance of the sixth stage error is this: confusing the causal Self for Real God. the Illusion of Relatedness. getting in touch with Spirit or God…is your own simple witnessing awareness” (Ibid. with no partiality. the truth is this: even though you are always already God. the goal of the stages of life is attributed to both Self and God. That is to say. Wilber has not applied this same understanding to his own theory. Wilber has correctly identified the ultimate significance of this difference. in nature. but to inquire into the motive for seeking itself.
to everyone. as Socrates (Plato) uses the term. the seventh stage of life is the context of every stage. in this sense. the seventh stage is present as much at the beginning as in the culmination of the holarchy. without form or function or any referents to dilute it. Although Wilber states that you can “no more attain Spirit than you can attain your feet or acquire your lungs. Fundamentally. indeed. Therefore. 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. before its dreadful mechanics of incarnation even come to exist—and. 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. This Bhava is available to every individual at any time. whether ascension or descension—or. conceiving of consciousness as if a “spectrum” only ends up undermining the nondual reality it is intended to advocate. 42. In other words. Avatar Adi Da (1997. Wilber has the process go a step further. Consequently. as if another level of construction in the overall holarchy. one finds oneself to be part of a larger whole. the forces are building by which it will do so. is essentially what we have been calling self-transcendence. tenet 2d). What he fails to appreciate.” attaining Spirit is precisely what is meant by the Great Path of Return he is advocating. The conundrum of Wilber’s spectrum theory could perhaps be put this way: although holons consist The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. it does not exist prior to the Light’s entering the prism. including the sixth. nonetheless. unconditional love-feeling of Me. even an integration of the two. a move downward to less unity. attaching to the next higher level of development. however. 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. 335) For Wilber. And to do so captivates one in a swoon and rapture of God’s Love-Bliss: “Therefore. 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. 2001b) frequently speaks of “Radical” Non-Dual Reality as being a state of “Brightness”—which is a state of unfathomably Blissful Light.Non-Dualism). and what requires elimination in the process of “Radical” NonDual Enlightenment. It is by way of the Illusion of Relatedness that this “Brightness” is corrupted and transmuted into a spectrum—as if by a prism. self-adaptation. indeed. Unfortunately. the very motor of Ascent or development or evolution: the finding of ever-higher self-identity with ever-wider embrace of others. the only right asana is utter ‘in-love’ of Me. Self-transcendence (or self-transformation)…is not just a communion. However. 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. 2000a. is a matter of releasing one’s hold on life and its developmental trajectory. p. 2005. 325).… Eros. Unfortunately. “Radical” NonDualism has nothing to do with progression of any kind. Rather. Although the Light has not yet transmuted into the spectrum. in the event that they do. Indeed. more fragmentation (what we called the self-dissolution factor. it is accessed only through the spiritual process of worship and devotion—precisely because the Blessing of Bhava is Given as a Gift. The seventh stage. Transcendence. remains even after the fact. this context can be accessed at every stage— directly and immediately. Volume 24 . Wilber simply has no account of the Illusion of Relatedness in his theory. Yogic gesture in heart-Communion with Me” (Adi Da. all levels of being). the sixth stage is still captivated by the mechanics of the prism—even as the “Brightness” exists within it.… In self-adaptation or communion. God is your true state—but the Illusion of Relatedness is also true of you.” on the other side of the prism. Although this witnessing of reality exists prior to the Light’s transmutation into a spectrum. the choice is to either ascend—and develop into greater embrace and unity—or else descend—and disintegrate into greater fragmentation and regression. exists as the absolute purity of “Brightness. Indeed. Further. not just those in the higher stages of life. Ironically. And the opposite of that was regression or dissolution. Wilber’s concept of transcendence is at odds with this revelation. it must be received as a Gift—and given in return. 1995. In fact. in self-transformation one becomes a new whole. Although Wilber includes a “Unity Consciousness” in his formulations of the ultimate ground of existence. pp. is a third option: transcend—into direct and immediate communion with God. 10 the asana of ‘Ruchira Avatara Bhava’ (or the love‘Intoxication’ of true devotion to Me) is a devotional. it is precisely the fact that you are suffering a “veil of ignorance” that indicates your need to be Enlightened. (Wilber. or association. on the other hand. which has its own new forms of agency (relative autonomy) and communion.
Further. and Indivisible. In other words. That is to say. Avatar Adi Da makes use of a different metaphor entirely to speak of “Radical” Non-Dual Reality: the waves of the ocean.” it is easy to see how the wood and the rung are identical— they are all there is. 295) Wilber likens the situation relative to nondualism to that of a ladder (if not. However. in essence. 1994)—and for good reason. which can be sorted out in the following way: when the highest rung of the ladder (i. At this causal point of “origin. Truth. “Secondary Non-Dualism”) view in which the mere aggregate of component parts represents God and Reality—whereas. Indeed. The One. and Truth (or Real God) Itself. this statement is based on an illusion. Although the language sounds similar. It is the causal stage that is the origin of each subsequent rung of the ladder. this causal rung is not God. As can be seen. “throw itself out” into further levels—each one of which simply a continuation of the causal rung. It arises in God. 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 very same thing: Spirit. All the waves of the ocean can be thought of as an immense matrix (or else spectrum). it seems that there is no end to the difference and separation. Yet. Each apparently separate entity or being is nothing but a wave—comprised of the same water as every other wave and. this rung does. there is more to existence than merely this ladder. this arrangement is exactly that of a ladder. One must release their attachment (i. and Indestructible. the entire ocean. imagine that these waves are all somehow connected together. To release one’s hold on manifest exisNondualism and the Divine Domain 11 . and Indestructibly Non-Objective SourceCondition and Self-Condition of All and all.e. aligned together and arising. 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. in truth. 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. causal Self ) originally emerges. indeed. or descended. “stretching” out into ever diminished forms until it finally reaches bottom. and Inherently egoless Case) Is (Self-Evidently. the very wood of which it is made are. they do not actually comprise God.. not any one (or even the collective of all) of the first six stages of life directly (and Most Perfectly) Realizes (or Is the Inherently egoless and Inherently Most Perfect Realization and the Inherently egoless and Inherently Most Perfect Demonstration of ) Reality. that is all the ladder there is. 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. Wilber states that the ladder gives a good description of manifest existence because the highest rung of the ladder and. The Illusion of Relatedness yet separates the two. no assembly or arrangement of holons—even ones that integrate into higher levels of the holarchy—will ever result in God. as they appear to spread out in all directions. the ladder itself arises within God. No real difference or separation between them—at least on the level of the ocean.of God. God and Reality are other than the ladder. I Say Only Reality Itself (Which Is. addiction) to manifest existence and submit to God. the collapse of the Self/God distinction.. as involution proceeds. out of the original sixth wave. only then to divide into its corresponding rungs. That is to say. However. Always Already. 250. indeed. However.e. (2000b. In fact. in reality.. pp. holons are nothing but the effect of the Illusion of Relatedness having taken place. But on the level of the waves. However. But this is exactly what the ego-“I” loathes to do (Vitz. therefore. and Utterly Indivisible. this is something of a pantheistic (i.e.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. For the sake of sorting out the essential difference between these two metaphors. indeed. indeed. or separate and separative point of view) itself. into an ascending hierarchy. its rungs are not actually comprised of wood—they’re comprised of water. and True.… 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. level upon level. imagine there are only six waves in the ocean. and Perfectly Subjective. the dynamic underlying them is entirely different. 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. assembled by the very fact that they inhere in one another. and Really) Divine. to do so involves a concomitant—and Ecstatic— activity: submit to being absorbed back into the ocean. a river). or Real God. Still. imagine that five of these waves have all emerged.
the error of the Great Tradition is this: in having climbed the ladder. In other words. more and more “away”).… At last. you don’t need to experience the ladder first to discard it (at any or all of its rungs). 2000a. the Play of motions Is Translated In Love-Bliss. therefore. To think that no more ladder exists simply because only one rung is left is an illusion. Wilber speaks of the ladder metaphor in this manner: “But according to the traditions. contrary to Wilber’s account. At first. each rung simply enfolding within the others until only one is left. Most Perfectly Beyond and Prior to ego-“I. Perhaps nowhere is the contrast between the Great Tradition and “Radical” NonDualism more evident than in this passage. Consequently. yield an entirely different participation in Reality: In the only-by-Me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life. Although Wilber claims you must first climb the ladder. In a manner of speaking. Deep (Inherently egoless. but (by surrendering your “self. or Real God In Place (or As That Which Is Always Already The Case. the true means to God-Realization is simple: stop doing it! No amount of development will ever ease or replace this obligation. final piece of wood keeps them buoyed. yet. or envisions It as seeming two. (Adi Da. And. Indeed. to Me—just as it is. even that of the causal. When “Bright” SelfRecognition Rests Most Deeply In Its Fathomless Shine. sixth stage sage. for even the sixth stage of life has its own sense of ego-“I” to overcome. It is all around them. The “Brightness” Is Indifferent (Beyond “difference”) In the Deep—There. And the same is true at every stage of life—indeed. p. at the point of one’s “highest climb. more to the point.” which act is the prismatic fault that Breaks the Light. and 2) realize that this is something you are doing—even right now. nevermind your apparent unpreparedness to do so. it collapses.” a surprising development could be said to occur: the ladder is not actually discarded. this Realization Shines in the world and Plays “Bright” Demonstrations on the waves. It is the ego-“I” that stands between S/self and God— and it does so at every stage of life. Pervasive In the The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Truth. or Real God) is not to go gradually “higher and higher” (and. it is exactly (and only) by understanding the hierarchical nature of samsara that we can in fact climb out of it. [T]he “radical” approach to Realization of Reality (or Truth. There is nowhere else to go in scaling the ladder but the top rung. sixth stage sage—no matter how truly illustrious and profound—is simply perched upon their final plank of wood. the truth is you must discard the ladder right now. so as to position yourself to discard it. You need only to understand it. all conditions (or all motions. for Enlightenment actually occurs based upon an entirely different dynamic. The S/self in its entirety must accept and submit to being absorbed into God. and (in this Manner) to Realize Reality. including the sixth stage (however subtle its presence at that point). 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. 45). However. or of “differentiation. That Is the Only Real God). there is really only one means to God-Realization: you must take the “plunge”! Any other understanding only confuses the issue. Where and As you Are. so close to the ocean that they are everything except immersed within it.” or the act of self-contraction. Where Primitive relatedness Is Freely Drowned.tence is to die. And. “Radical” Non-Dualism and the seventh stage of life. It is at this point that you discard the ladder—when you understand that it is unnecessary. p. on the other hand. 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 Truth. 276) Put somewhat differently. this one. a ladder discarded only after having served its extraordinary purpose” (1997. mistakenly thinking that God-Realization involves “climbing” out of samsara only ends up obscuring the real process of God-Realization. The causal. in place) to directly enter into heartCommunion with Me (the Avataric SelfRevelation of the Reality. Volume 24 . or patterns.” or total body-mind. 2005. a painful denial of Ecstasy). Rather. something like a telescope. 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. 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. and more).… Therefore. one 12 only reaches the top rung. thus.
The traditions have. CA: Dawn Horse Press. therefore. The “Apex” Paradox: The role of the ego in psychology and spirituality and its implications for clinical practice (Vol. Eleutherios. CA: Dawn Horse Press. The Dawn Horse Testament. its realization is predicated upon the development—rather than the dissolution—of manifest being. Cohen. Vedanta and Christian faith. J. One can Realize God only by eliminating that difference— which is only one’s own doing. CA: Amber-Allen Publishing. Conze. 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. Middletown. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Although the “Unborn” is an utterly profound state of reality. The seven spiritual laws of success. Nondualism and the Divine Domain 13 . as is the case with Avatar Adi Da. Spiral dynamics. (1965). C. Adi Da (2001a). Albany. (1966). & Wilber. Adi Da (1997). The unique sixth stage foreshadowings of the Only-By-Me revealed and demonstrated and given seventh stage of life. D. CA: Dawn Horse Press. and understanding this fundamental paradox is the only means by which one can understand their true relationship to God. of New York Press. HI: EastWest Center Press. (1991). In The Five Books of the Adidam Revelation (Book Five). (1999). A. (2002). Drifted in the deeper land. E.” To see how this reference could be made is understandable. Advaita Vedanta. Clearly. as Real God. K. Real God Is the Indivisible Oneness of Unbroken Light. for the difference between them is extremely subtle. They have not fully Embodied it. Daniels. Middletown. B. 39-49. In The Basket of Tolerance. CA: Dawn Horse Press. NE: Writer’s Showcase. Firman. Middletown. CA: Dawn Horse Press. The seven stages of life. Merely considering the S/self to be God— indeed. (2002). CA: Dawn Horse Press. Oxford. Beck. Ultimately. Middletown. CA: Dawn Horse Press. NE: Writer’s Showcase.C. 2001a. confusing the sixth and seventh stages is easy to do. at most. God-Realization is a matter of being absorbed into that which is truly Unmanifest. B. like a Sea of Blankets. (1995). it does not exist prior to the Illusion of Relatedness— nor. NY: State Univ. Adi Da (in press). Daniels. 346) Conclusion God both is and is not the S/self. Notes. Lincoln. References Adi Da (1991).Water-Stand—and. pp. The “Apex” Paradox: The role of the ego in psychology and spirituality and its implications for clinical practice (Vol. Lenox. II: The aberrant ego). Middletown. In appreciation of Wilber’s spectrum/quadrant theory. But it is the latter that makes the difference. London: Allen and Unwin. CA: Dawn Horse Press. However.e. In The Five Books of the Adidam Revelation (Book Four). In The Seventeen Companions of the True Dawn Horse (Book Ten). Living enlightenment. Deutsche. Chopra.com. UK: Blackwell Publishers. Daniels. Psychosynthesis. & Gila. Yet. Adi Da (2000b). nevermind how spontaneous and without reason. A. (1997).E. for the S/self is also not God. 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. (2003b). All the Deep Unfolds To Waken In the Once Neglected (Now Un-Covered) Light of SelfIlluminated and Eternal Day. Middletown. this difference is of ultimate significance. Adidam (Eds. B. R. Wilber (2000b) refers to this state as the “Unborn. San Rafael. Assagioli. Adi Da (2000a). Cohen. Honolulu.. Buddhist thought in India. MA: Moksha Press. Internet: BurtonDaniels. Clearlake. D. (1962). New York: Viking. A. & Cowan. prior to being “born” as the various levels of being). The guru and the pandit: Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber in dialogue. Lincoln. 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. Adi Da (2001b). only intuited the seventh stage of life.) (1991). Middletown. (1996). The primal wound. B. One cannot Realize God by pretending the difference between them does not exist. (2003a). Hridaya Rosary (Four Thorns of HeartInstruction). What is Enlightenment? 22. In The Dawn Horse Testament. E. for the causal Self does exist prior to involution (i. Griffiths. I: The abundant ego). Middletown. In The Seventeen Companions of the True Dawn Horse (Book One). (Adi Da. 345.
5These may be easily confused for one another. subtle. (1998). Psychoanalysis: The Major Concepts. (1960). Avatar Adi Da (2001a) agrees with this five-tier structure overall. Although they fall short of the most profound level of Enlightenment—“Radical” Non-Dualism and the seventh stage of life—they. Structurally. H. Boston & London: Shambhala. Fine (Eds. body. Williams & R. K. Lee. Press. Psychology as religion (2nd ed. Trans. Avatar Adi Da indicates that there are three basic tiers overall. In The Collected Works of C.) (1987). Husserl. mental. J. S. really need to let go of self and egoic self-esteem altogether. Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra. S. (1999b). soul. 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. 2). far exceeding those attained by the vast majority of humanity at this time. NY: Humanity Books. Volume 24 . Indeed. In The Collected Works (Vol. MO: South Asia Books. (1993). while the levels of “body” and “matter” are differentiated into the two lowest levels instead.D. Wilber. New Haven. Object relations theory. Larson. K. and lower mental levels. (1919/1971). J. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. Introduction. and the self: Synthesis of Eastern and Western approaches. etheric level) are omitted in Wilber’s model. Middletown. Chopra (1995). A thousand teachings (M. PA : Himalayan Pubs. 2005. G.G. mind. C. a somewhat simplistic correlation can be drawn between these levels of being and certain domains of science: matter represents physics and geology. Wilber. Weiss. (1993). note that even in being “lesser. The seventh stage of life subsumes them all as the inherent Substance and SourceCondition of Existence. Encyclopedia of Indian philosophy (Vol. Amherst. 4). NJ: Princeton Univ. (1995). E. Shankara (1979). Buddhist phenomenology. Tarnas. P. represent extraordinary states of awareness.. especially as it relates to the ego. Wilber. (1995). and mind represents psychology and sociology. and the sixth stage of life conforms to the primal Self of the causal level. P. Integral psychology.e. (1990). K. see Daniels (2003a. (1994). etheric. 4For a fuller treatment of these aspects of the seventh stage of life. Louis. The eye of spirit. MO: Vedanta Society. And the problem is that therapists…want to hold onto the egoic 14 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Jung. & Bhattacharya. (1997). K. 3However.). (1964). the fifth stage of life conforms to the higher mind of the subtle level.E. (2000a). Cohen (2002). Princeton. and Beck & Cowan (1996). spirituality. Cartesian meditations (D. & Ajaya. 2000) as follows: spirit. Sengaku. Trans.). (1990).. Nonduality. The marriage of sense and soul. The goal and the way. (2000b). Vitz. New York: Broadway Books. Unfortunately. b). Wilber. the fourth stage of life is a transitional state between the lower and higher levels. 30(1).” the states of spiritual attainment emulated here are profound and exhalted levels of being and should not be dismissed or taken lightly. 8). Cohen and Wilber give this example: “You really. London: Routledge and Kegan-Paul. body represents chemistry and biology. as the subtle actually subsumes the mental and etheric within it. the remarkable few capable of attaining these stages of life represent an enormous boon to humanity. Columbia. Wilber. Tokyo: Univ. Yoga and psychotherapy. see Adi Da (2000b. New York: Dell.T. MI: William B. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Grand Rapids. St. One taste.E. The passion of the western mind.W.. Ed. Pulver. Loy. C.). Moore & B. (1991).Hegel. Cairns. of Tokyo Press. R. S. Wilber. C. R.G. ecology.e. The technique of psychoanalysis proper. (Eds. there is a significant difference in the two schemas. Wilber. 2For a fuller account of the S/self. NJ: Princeton Press. 2001a). Kirkpatrick. New York: HarperCollins. The transcendence of the ego (F. Ballentine.). Indeed. D. Muzuka. New York: Ballantine Books. soul and spirit). 30(3). really. Potter. Trans. Boston & London: Shambhala. and gross. E. for the emotions (i. Jung. Jung (Vol. Man and his symbols. (1999a). Suzuki. Boston & London: Shambhala. As a way of clarifying what Wilber means by his nomenclature. Eerdmans Publishing Co. The Essential Writings (F. there is a significant difference between the two schemas. Rama. K. K. Adi Da: The promised God-Man is here. In B. 59-74. Princeton. (1968). 113-136. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. respectively. Footnotes 1This sequence of S/self structure is summarized in Wilber (1995. R.). Honesdale. However. D. which is so critical at this stage of evolution. He depicts this sequence as consisting of the following levels of being: causal. CT: Yale Univ. Verma. International Philosophical Quarterly. G. Sartre. C. at this time science has no correlates for the subtle and causal levels of being (i. K. (1998). (2003). Satorakashananda (1977).. (1957). These levels of “lesser” enlightenment are advocated in the recent works of numerous authors— for example. matter.).G. Instinct and the unconscious. Sex. nonetheless. Press. G. K.. Boston & London: Shambhala. Two patterns of transcendence: A reply to Washburn. S. etheric. New York: Noonday Press. Indeed. Boston & London: Shambhala. Buddhism.
then it would serve the exact same purpose as that of the river—and the situation would remain essentially the same: a ladder (i. Avatar Adi Da has Incarnated precisely for the fulfillment of this purpose (see Lee. and what a poison narcissism is” (2002. although these precepts sound similar to the revelation of Avatar Adi Da.org Nondualism and the Divine Domain 15 .e. Only in the last half of the twentieth century has technology and affluence allowed for the creation of a true world community. which only ends up making God into a goal of spiritual practice—rather than an ongoing. 2003). 6According to Avatar Adi Da’s (2000b.… [Yet] as one goes deeper and deeper into the process of transformation. “river”) floating in the ocean. Wilber’s use of the river is in no way the same. 7To this point. The metaphor of the river is employed to suggest the “flux” and “fluidity” of development—over against that of a rigidly linear course. it gradually becomes clear what a daunting foe the ego really is. 2001a) schema of development. present relationship of worship and devotion. precisely because they do not take into account the Illusion of Relatedness.” If the rungs of the ladder could be conceived of as being in flux or fluid. However. Rather. 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”. 4546). This approach to Enlightenment is what Avatar Adi Da calls either Emanationism or Transcendentalism. For a fuller treatment of these different approaches to spiritual awareness and awakening.self-contraction and make it feel good about itself. Although this more “watery” metaphor may appear to have some similarity to that of the ocean. 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. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at Daniel_Sleeth@adidam. they are not actually situated in the context of the seventh stage of life. all spiritual masters have necessarily worked within the cultural constraints imposed by their particular time and place. the right side of the heart is the anatomical reference point for both the sixth stage of life and the causal Self—which are ultimately subsumed within the anatomical reference point of the seventh stage of life: amrita nadi. they advocate the evolution of Enlightenment.. pp. Consequently. see Adi Da (2000b) and Daniels (2002). all-inclusive revelation. 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.
1993. 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. Collingwood. This notion is explained and linked up with the Western mystical tradition. into transpersonal psychology. that a new movement arose at the end of the 60s. Psychology. 1977. 1969. the founder of psychosynthesis. with many different research paradigms in Kuhn’s sense (Kuhn. 1987). 1996). By introducing this concept. 1995. that insiders and outsiders alike deplore a kind of “preparadigmatic” state of psychology as a whole. 1985. Wachter & Messer. with inner experience relegated to the private and mystical realm. 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. & Arnkoff. that a comparatively unitary canon of methods and accepted standards of problem solving seems to have been accepted by the whole community. et al. Shoham. integration of both types of experience by drawing on the experiential nature of this concept and fostering good research. 1998). 1989. Messer & Woodfolk. Fensterheim & Raw. but that this progress is achieved by both working within given frameworks of accepted presuppositions and by discussing and debating the very foundations (Kuhn. 1976). Sanderson. or summit of the mind. and most notably through its humanistic psychological expressions. 1977) competing for priority. Beitman. a similiar concept has been developed which became known as the spark of the soul. 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. It is understandable. 1998). Toulmin. 1995. 2005. Volume 24 . 1998). is comparatively young with a history of roughly 150 years. where even the consensus on what methods to base scientific evidence on is debated (Chambless. Laudan. 1995. 1994. Victor. popularized by Bonaventure. 1955. Castonguay & Goldfried. Oeser. 1979b. 1987." It is argued that the split introduced into history between outer and inner experience has lain dormant ever since the 13th century. which not only suggest different modes of action contradictory to those of competing theories. & Norcross. Fleck. It is mostly within the context of clinical psychology.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. Weinberger. transpersonal psychology reconnects with this tradition and has to be aware of the legacy: to achieve the theoretical. Oeser. and radicalized by the Carthusian writer Hugh of Balma. Glass. like in experimental or applied psychology. Here. Bunge & Ardila. therefore. 1980. which called itself “Transpersonal Psychology” (Sutich. 1980. 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. where many rivalling theories exist. Spark of the soul signifies an "organ of the mystical experience. but also rest on theoretical presuppostions excluding each other. Clinical psychology seems to be very much in a preparadigmatic stage. This history is sketched and the meaning of the term illustrated. 1997. Goldfried. this suggestion does not seem to depict the whole situation. During the middle ages it was developed into a psychology of mysticism by Thomas Gallus. and certainly not within clinical psychology. The impulse to found yet another movement 16 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 1979a. as a scientific discipline. While this might be acceptable for some branches of psychology. coming from antiquity and specifically from the neo-Platonic tradition. and if possible scientific. It is only in some disciplines within psychology. Seligman.
1973. Lu. he called Higher Self. 1995. 1984. While these traditions have lost their importance within sciHigher Self 17 . to suppose that Transpersonal Psychology is a unitary school. Assagioli usually was very scant with bibliographic details of his sources. 1994. because very likely the concept of a schema would cover what Assagioli meant by subpersonalities. 1985a. which both acts as the inner guideline and impulse—as well as a regulating and attracting goal. 1979. neo-Platonic and mystical traditions. 1998). 1998). 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. motivational and action oriented quasi-independent part of the personality. Washburn. inspiration and intuition. 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. 1969. Tart. incidentally. 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.” meaning an emotional. as it were. “higher” drives like altruistic impulses or artistic inspiration. Thalbourne. supervised or even fostered by something like a transpersonal attractor. 1998). 1996. 1984. who developed a psychological model of personality and clinical change which he called “psychosynthesis” (Assagioli.” or “religious. 1991. 1991). 1977. 1975. 1974). 1988.” without clear definitions of these terms (Lukoff. This is a notion akin to Jung’s concept of “complex. 1996. usually associated with repeated experiences or social roles. Therefore. in contrast. 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). such as: the experience that individual purpose is always an act of transcending the individual self and relating with a “transpersonal” value (Frankl. & Lu. 1973. One could even say that the higher unconscious was something like an Aristotelian final cause or entelechy for human development. It would be very interesting to study this concept in relation to modern schema-theoretic approaches (Ciompi. Assagioli underlined that the process of integration and synthesis which human development represents is neither a random nor a simple cumulative process. 1974. and thereby. 1984. his psychology looks as if he had invented all the concepts himself. foreshadowed an important modern movement within self-regulation theory (Kuhl. The higher unconscious. Lukoff. But most important of all is his concept of Higher Self. seems to have been the realization that there were realities and experiences pointing beyond the personal self (Maslow. Assagioli pointed towards the importance of the human will as a resource for integration and development. Fadiman & Frager. Atwood & Maltin.within the already widely disparate field of clinical psychology. psychosynthesis is one of the “Western” types of transpersonal psychologies. 1991. 1991. was a notion to differentiate “higher” impulses from the lower unconscious and to describe them: esthetic values. 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. This centre. Barnhouse. Armstrong. 1974. Originally one of the early advocates of psychoanalysis in Italy (Assagioli. 1991. Thalbourne & Delin. & Turner. Stein & Markus. to use a modern metaphoric language. Bergin. 1980. 1976. 1911). 1988). and also a kind of repository of future developmental possibilities. 1999). 1973). from Eastern sources as well (Besmer. 1995. our bio-psychological past. Engler. 1998. 1992. Sutich. 1976. 1985c. Schuller. 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. therefore. drives and impulses. Complexes of experiences he called sub-personalities. 1985d). The lower unconscious can roughly be compared to what Freud intended with this notion: past and unconscious experiences. Robinson. Lukoff. for an outsider. While many theoreticians and practitioners of transpersonal psychology have heavily relied on impulses from Eastern philosophies and traditions. It is wrong. 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). he quickly developed a psychological concept of his own. but one which seems to be mediated. 1978. 1970. 1988). Thereby. although Assagioli seems to have derived many of his concepts and strategies also from theosophy and. Lundh. 1975). he used the depth-psychological terminology introduced by Freud and developed by Jung and differentiated it. Rusting. 1969. 1972. Thalbourne & Delin.” “mystical. 1985b. 1986. 1975. 1971. Turner. 1986. 1985. Thalbourne. however. Some emphasize the esoteric and theosophic heritage (Schuller. 1934.1972.
came from “outside-THYRATHEN. with his teaching that the soul stems from the realm of ideas from where it comes into the body.” “hearth. bringing a trace of the ideal worlds of immutable ideas and of the Beauty and Good with it into the human being. has pointed out that apart from the Platonic and neo-Platonic traditions of the concept of Spark of the Soul. “The Apology of Socrates” (Plato. meaning surrounding. spiritual nature within man we can see in the fragment B119 (around 500 BC) of Heraklitos (Weber. 2005. then. I want to sketch out this tradition and therebey connect the seemingly unconnected modern practice and terminology with the tradition. the agent intellect.” which literally reads as “from outside through the door. laid the foundation for the later teaching of an immortal soul or rather. The Greek word “ETHOS” signifies “home. and Jewish Kabbalist sources. who because of that in the end is sentenced to death for “introducing new gods.” Although his “de anima” was a work rather of natural philosophy. 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. But one possible and probably sensible reading and translation would be: “home for man is the god(ly)”.” “the innermost of the house”. which is The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 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. Assagioli’s Personality Model. namely the Stoic teaching of the universal fire as the source of everything and the trace of this fire in everything as a fiery. in his famous “letter on humanism” has pointed toward this fragment in this sense (Heidegger. be understood in different ways and needs interpretation. 1976).ence. The fragment.” confirms that he experiences an inner voice that is sometimes warning him against doing things. as most texts by Heraklitos. Endre von Ivanka (1964). The journey will lead us from the predecessors of the notion in antiquity to the first formulation of a transpersonal type of psychology by mystical writers of the middle ages to the modern concept. Even Aristotle. p. All those direct sources of Assagioli’s will not be the topic of this paper. We next explicitly meet the idea of some inner God or godlike inner voice in the famous Platonic dialogue. 1964). of course. This can. the active part of the intellect. * Higher Self (organizing principle) higher unconscious field of consciousness collective unconscious Me middle unconscious subpersonalities lower unconscious Figure 1. holding man. which later was merged with Stoic and other ideas. Since one other work of Aristotle. and thus point to its importance and possible explanatory power.or trans-natural part of the soul. 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. which tried to understand and outline the natural workings of the soul. he pointed to this super. 1983) explicitly said that the highest part of the soul. who otherwise was more inclined towards biology and natural philosophy and tried to eschew some of the pitfalls of Platonic thinking. Volume 24 . I will only point out the more important turns and steps. who first seemed to have mentioned a concept like “spiritual self ” in the modern scientific tradition. which reads: ETHOS ANTHROPO DAIMON.on the soul” (Aristoteles. Socrates. 1967. Likely sources will have to include the writings of Blavatsky and Bailey. in his “De anima . cosmic seed. Since this history is extremely complicated and complex. can be understood in the sense: The god(ly) is home to man. there also is a Stoic root to it. William James. but also in the centre of man. Yoga psychology. 301ff ). Roots in Antiquity The first written trace of the idea that there is 18 some higher. 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. an immortal part within the soul. but never advises him in the positive to do something. Heidegger. who has traced the history of this concept. Plato.
as far as is possible for this to be accomplished by her. This was possible.21 ff ). (Enn III. I have seen a beauty wonderfully great and felt assurance that then most of all I belonged to the better part. And from this. From the intellect emanates the world soul which gives life to everything. 1974). he thought. by contemplation.1f ) These quotes illustrate Plotinos’ psychology pretty clearly: He saw the soul as “containing” two parts. the “active intellect” comes from outside. The hallmark of his teaching is. The idea of a special part of the soul was finally introduced by Proclos. making contact with this lowerworld by the powers of the soul below. in total stillness. and we are each one of us an intelligible universe. . in modern terminology. so his biographer Porphyrios tells us and as Plotinos testified himself. emanates the material world. one of Plotinos’ followers and the systematizer of Plotinos’ ideas (Beierwaltes. a consequent idealist ontology which starts from the insight or experience that pure consciousness is primary. this divine part of the soul reunites with the One. which is more divine than our intellect.” which he conceived to be all and everything in one. 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. seek reunion with the One (Beierwaltes. going out from all other things. This. a divine life. a higher and lower part. is lost. which is printed in the first volume of the Loeb edition of Plotinos’ works). and very likely was inspired by contacts between the Greek culture and the East (O’Meara. p. Therefore he was ashamed of his body. at last. by receding the faculties and powers of the soul from the outside world and turning inwards until.-Dionysios). is the source for much of later aversions against the body. is said to have preached to the Athenians and to have converted one Dionysios. It is the impulse within the soul to return. Using this alias name. Balthasar. 4.. and we remain with all the rest of our intelligible part above.. perfecting and establishing herself. Saint Paul.thought to have contained the more esoteric aspect of his psychology. incidentally. a trace of the One which is at the same time mark of and spurn to the One... both the things above and the things below down to the limits of all life. in mystical contemplation. out of which everything emanates in four stages: first the NOUS. the Areopagite. of course. becomes divine. 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. he says: For in us also there is inherent a certain occult vestige of the One.23) Often I have woken up out of the body to my self and have entered into myself. 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. was like a mark of the divine. which to him seemed like a hindrance.. (1953. 1982). and its life is comfortable (Enn IV 8. there is an imprint of the divine One in every single soul. The higher part. turn round to the One again and. but with the intelligible world by its powers above. 8. of course. but by its ultimate fringe we are tied to the world below. I have actually lived the best life and come to identity with the divine. the intellect.. This model. 1965). as well as his Islamic interpreters. Plotinos called the principal source of everything “the One. but seems to derive from the neo-Platonist tradition. 1963). very much akin to Eastern practices of meditation like Yoga or Zen. 3. which is attributed to Christianity. interpreted him in the sense that this active part of the intellect was a spiritual and immortal part of the soul (Merlan. a trace of the One. Plotinos. 1953. & Haas. we can only speculate what he really meant by the saying. and lives. in the Acts of the Apostles. and is. this anonymous monk of the 5th century could secure himself highest Higher Self 19 . A few quotes from Plotinos may illustrate his ideas: For the soul is many things.but there is a higher part (of the soul) which the transitory pleasures do not please. However. which is pure intelligibility and reservoir of the world of ideas in the Platonic sense. as it were. The founder of this neo-Platonist movement was Plotinos (204-270 AD) (Plotin. The next step was made within the neo-Platonic tradition of those Platonists. had quite a few experiences like that which left in him the desire to be totally gone from this world and reunited. a philosopher from the Areopague. and all things. Plotinos taught. 8. 1966). This was one of the main sources of the contemplative traditions in the West. is akin to Eastern cosmologies. In his “Ten doubts on providence” (Proklos. who revived the Academy and its teaching after nearly 500 years. which was experienced by the individual as a desire to reunite with the One. beyond every limitation. and in which the soul. (Enn IV 8. and set firm in it I have come to that supreme actuality. 1977).
But in parallel to this moral usage another one turned up out of the slumber of the dark ages in the mystical tradition. 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. of course.” beyond rational thinking and knowing. his absolute otherness and difference and the impossibility to know him. used the term “synderesis” to signify the fact that even the worst of sinners always had a door open towards the good. The main theme of his book “Mystical Theology.bonitas sua propria cognoscere The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. but without naming this power (Pseudo-Augustinus & Alcher von Clairveaux.-Dionysios the Areopagite (Ps. must be to seek reunion with God. 797). 1948). This was the place where God spoke through the true voice of consciousness. 1957. endowed with Apostolic authority. Scheme of Thomas Gallus’ psychology. and it is still unclear. mentions the fact that in the contemplative-mystical experience the soul is taken out of its normal state. 1987). “in ignorance. p.Victor. who reintroduced the concept of the “scintilla synderesis” as a mystical notion. The teachings of Ps. this neo-Platonic tradition made its way into the Christian middle ages. 2005. neo-Platonism baptized. Ps.-Dionysios more often than Saint Augustine. or the image of God in Christian terminology. XXIV. 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. and that there is an “occult power” within the soul. the “Liber de spiritu et anima .” the spark of the synderesis. Philosophers of the 12th century.” was centred around the immense greatness of God. what it really meant and what its true ethymology is. Cap. but was known in the middle ages as a text of St. also known as Thomas of Vercelli or Commentator Vercellensis. as it were. even by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. which was untouched and untouchable by human sin. Thomas Gallus (1219 . For the philosophers of the middle ages it primarily was a moral concept. for example. or God as he is conceived in the Judaic-Christian tradition is identified with the neo-Platonic One. Synderesis is a complicated term.-Dionysius Areopagita. Thus. Volume 24 .The book of the spirit and the soul. And man’s endeavour. It signalled a part of Figure 2. like Phillip the Chancelor. Augustine’s. 1942. Saint Thomas Aquinas. or later on Adam de la Hale.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 . 1996.Victor in Paris and university teacher in consummatio intellectus apex mentis synderesis supra naturam et industriam robur mentis industria vera an falsa natura intellectus . Alcher of Clairvaux.1247) is mentioned as a canon of St. that he always could convert himself and turn to God. and thus granting freedom of conversion at any time. the human soul.” a place free of sin even in the sinner. In this teaching the neo-Platonic One is identified as God. have been highly influential in the middle ages.” which is attributed to the Cistercian author. quoted Ps.authority since his writings were long thought to have been inspired by the Apostle himself. which is the faculty of union of man with God. the “synderesis. 1949.-Dionysius takes up the teachings of Proclos and also speaks of a higher part of the soul. It was Thomas Gallus or Thomas of St. 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.
mainly consisted in reading. whose sole purpose and aim is the unification with God. sensual apprehensions (naturales apprehensiones). which is beyond any operation of the mind.. with the moral concept of consciousness. These are the compartments 7-9 so to speak. which made him important for posteriority: He translated the meaning of the Greek terms which were close to the pagan. subconsciously in modern parlance (natura). to form an explicit psychological notion of the “scintilla synderesis. and is the central power of the mind (robur mentis). Thus it is understandHigher Self 21 .spark of the synderesis”. commenting and interpreting the works of Ps. Pagan philosophers. In his commentary on the “Mystic Theology” (which. which is the spark of the synderesis and which alone can be united to the Holy Spirit.summit of the mind”. His work. This is the first explicit mentioning of a specific faculty of the soul. But at the border toward the next level. we find a whole compartment above the rational powers of the soul which he calls synderesis. Here the “spark of the soul” has made its entry into the teaching of the West. They work naturally. into the Western. this free will would have been a part of the synderesis.1219.-Dionysios the Areopagite. At some stage he was transferred to the abbey of Vercelli in Piemont. 1936). In that summary he aligns the inner structure of the soul with Ps. unitive experience of ecstatic oneness of the soul with God. While the intellect is concerned with the outside world and truth (veritas. at a higher level with the intellectually and morally good. This scintilla synderesis belongs solely to the affect. 14). he achieved two things. But he wrote a summary himself in one of his commentaries which has survived and has been edited (Thomas Gallus. neo-Platonic tradition. And he developed a psychology which could incorporate these teachings. and posits 3*3 faculties of the soul. and in it the highest faculties of the human soul are perfected (consummatio intellectus). which he outlined in his commentary on Isiah. 1934. aliena cognoscere)—at the lower level with sensory truth. the synderesis. apart from his monastic and ecclesiastic duties. whence his title of honour “commentator Vercellensis . and thereby is concerned with the highest good of the soul. With Thomas Gallus. and the simple discernment of basic truths and falsity (vera an falsa). the affect already comes out of its natural slumber. Of this upper triad of the soul. by the way.-Dionysius the Areopagite (Thomas Gallus. the neo-Platonic teaching of a trace of the One has combined with various strands of Christian teaching. and affect (affectus). mystical knowledge of God. and by doing this. suo propria cognoscere)— at a lower level with the subjective and sensual goodness. 1990). according to the 3*3 hierarchies of angels.the commentator from Vercelli. Note that in former psychologies some 50 or 100 years earlier. There we find the natural. Here in Thomas Gallus.principal affection.. a copy is obtainable by interlibrary loan from the university library in Mainz. or at other places “scintilla synderesis . The first level of the soul. By doing this.-Dionysios’ teaching of the celestial hierarchies.. Thomas Gallus was not a minor writer. and experiences a desire for the divine (appetitus divinorum). is lost. This power is the principal affectio. a faculty or organ for the mystical experience. This is activated by grace only. the Seraphim. is activated by the will and by effort of energy (industria). as it were. a more profound way of knowing God. and is able to unite with God him/herself. as it were. is called the “apex mentis . He was well regarded by posteriority and widely read. One could also interpret this as the conscious level of our human rational faculties. The main part of this psychology. it is beyond human nature and active effort (supra naturam et industriam). at a higher level with propositional and intellectual truth. as it were.e. p. with God alone. It is schematically reconstructed in Figure 2. compartments 4-6. only the very highest. when there is another power that exceeds the intellect no less than the intellect exceeds reason and the reason exceeds imagination.. which corresponds to the highest hierarchy of angels. compartments 1-3 as it were. The highest part of the affect here are the commands of the free will (imperia liberi arbitrii). which is the highest part of the soul.” spark of the soul or principal affection. In this specific place in the soul a human being is divine. This second level. Germany) of Ps. is extremely rare.” The middle ages only tributed such nicknames and titles of honour to wellknown and important writers.thought the highest cognitive power was found in the intellect. Dionysius) hands down. There are two major faculties: intellect (intellectus). Augustian terminology and made this strain of contemplative tradition more accessible to the West. denoted as the rational faculty (ratio). consist of the natural faculties of the soul (vires naturales). the affect is concerned with goodness and the soul’s own states (bonitas. gains experiential. or “principalis affectio . he says: In this book he (i.” This is the “organ” of the contemplative. where he lived and studied (Barbet..
He severely attacks all school teaching and academic wisdom. his motives and the basic thrust of his teachings vary widely. In his book “Itinerarium mentis in Deum . Saint Bonaventure. such that he can really be called one of the fathers of Western mysticism. 1961). 1997b) and German translation (Walach. which is concerned with the outer world. and the summit of the soul or the spark of the synderesis (apex mentis seu synderesis scintilla). and the faculty of affect. He influenced the 14th and 15th century movement of lay devotion. is mystical and most secret. Bonaventure has taken up the notion introduced by Thomas Gallus of a summit or spark of the soul. Hugh of Balma (Walach. 1995). Noboby understands it. the mystical path. his biography. which is concerned with the soul’s own inner states. I. He very likely was the main source for the contemplative text. which he also calls apex affectus. These details. up to Hugh of Balma.The mind’s itinerary to God” he described the mystical ascent (Bonaventura. the so called devotio moderna. the Franciscan friar. are still together. the imagination. accepted version is that he was a Carthusian prior. One can make a point that. unless the fire of the holy spirit ignites him in his very centre. VII.. university teachers and theologians for having relinquished the true path towards insight and knowledge. unless he desires it. do not concern the main impact of his teaching. and professor of theology was one of them (Gilson. Bonaventure in familiarizing the spiritual readership with the concept of a higher part of the soul: the Carthusian author. and. and being one of the major authors of the Franciscan community and a widely read theological teacher. Opinions about the author. which was also known as “Mystical Theology” or as The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 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. His influence on Meister Eckhart remains to be traced. the intellect. “The Cloud of Unknowing” (Anonymous. outer and inner experience were one. Walach (1994) has argued that he probably was a Franciscan friar opposing St. 1961. however. and he does not receive it. This ascent is conceived according to his— more Augustinian—psychology. and he does not desire it. In parallel. as a kind of side effect. 4.The ways to Zion mourn”. which also is inspired by Carthusian spirituality. where the faculty of intellect. and only in concentrating all the soul’s powers into the affect. 1929). 59f. (Bonaventura.able that his teachings were taken up by others and handed down. His basic message is simple: Only in the total withdrawal of the soul from every outward orientation. This is also evidenced by Thomas Gallus’ psychology. (Bonaventura. This process. p. It was Hugh of Balma who radicalized this teaching. the rational faculties. pre-modern science and mystical speculation. which can be dated round about the years of 12601270. 1994. Volume 24 . true knowledge of many other things. 1994).) It is within this latter spark of the soul. p. summit of the affect. the understanding. thus aiming only at the mystical union with all desire and all power and in ardent love. unless he receives it. the senses. and thereby was seminal for the later contemplative or mystical tradition. mystical and classical theology. He says: These six steps of the ascent to God are according to six hierarchically ordered faculties of the soul.-Dionysios and Thomas Gallus. only in radical extinction of thinking. can true knowledge of God. which in fact is inner experience.6. Here is a textual example from Hugh’s lengthy tract. however. 1961. his work was translated into many languages. another author was possibly even more influential than St. Hugh of Balma is usually known only to specialists due to missing editions and literally missing access to his writings.. and printed in many editions. 1981). 2005. His teaching was highly influential. “Viae Sion lugent . Bonaventure and who had to retreat into the charterhouse for personal safety and ecclesiastical peace. true peace and freedom be gained. And the apex of the affect is totally taken over and transformed into God. 150) Thus. except in old and rare prints until very recently. Walach. as taught by Ps. popularized it. that the mystical experience takes place: In this step. but the fact that Eckhart was in Paris in 1276/7 and in 1312 makes a connection a possibility. which leads to a unification with God in the scintilla synderesis. 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. 1996). There is now available a recent English (Martin. This was taken up extensively about 100 years after his presumed active period. all intellectual activities have to be given up. While the official. general. if it is to be perfect. . as well as a criti22 cal edition of his text (Hugo de Balma.
of mystical thought in the West. there is a part which is like a “better” part of a divine nature. albeit mainly outside academical traditions. spark of the soul. and in an “esoteric. an enormous number. About this rising it is said that it happens without knowledge. 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. Experience has started to become experience of outer things. 1994. (Walach. by virtue of the unification of the glowing. within transpersonal psychology. which looks at everything from the outside. the founder of the Jesuit order and of the meditative-experiential tradition of the spiritual exercises (Beyer.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. theological and scientific branch. and spiritual development of the psyche. John of the Cross. God within. variably named summit of the mind. 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. for which experience is eminently experience of oneself. in monasteries and in the writings and teachings of mystical writers. we are able to feel already now. the Dominican friar and preacher has taken this notion up and popularized it in the vernacular in his sermons. by the way.” While the mystical tradition used the term more in the context of the mystical experience of union with God. especially within psychosynthesis.Dionysius). And from there it made its way into the teaching of other mystics. principal affect. More than 100 text witnesses are extant.” academic. comes to mind here. like Tauler or Seuse. ardent love that. Here he also calls this central part of the soul spark of the soul. It is in Hugh of Balma that the academic tradition of the West branches into an “exoteric. Since the latter half of the 13th century. as world. which signifies that. 1993). This concept has mainly disappeared from the academic agenda ever since Hugh of Balma. 265) This text. what the mind is incapable of grasping. which has henceforth remained present in the West: the notion of a higher part of the soul. which were written down and copied widely. The psychology of these mystical writers. 1956). 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. It rises up in the summit of the affective power. Assagioli assigns more mundane tasks to the Higher Self. Its influence is still not completely traced and established. and Ignatius of Loyola. little fortress of the soul. be it nature. for which experience is experience of something (else). spark of the syndere- sis. if not the most important one. but is outside the scope of this paper. which would certainly be possible.“De triplici via ad sapientiam . It has since lived and survived in the circles of pious groups. Inner experience or mystical experience has been delegated to lay piety and private worship. A concept was born. as God. mostly to Dominican sisters. then. or rather by not-knowing. this concept returns. the mystical tradition has drifted away from orthodox teaching. and therefore can be the place and the means of the mystical experience of union with God. is one of the major manifestos. Whitehead’s beautiful metaphor of “God luring” entities towards him. of the rational faculty. failed. By letting go of any activity of imagination. And it would be even more interesting to draw the parallels with and underline differences to Eastern traditions. within the human mind. as nature. who likely tried to influence academic opinion. p. These hints may suffice for a first approach. which in reality makes the spirit able. It was ascribed to Bonaventure and thereby became widely known and eminently important. 1965) of the 16th and 17th century. of the mind and of the understanding.” “summit of the mind. has culminated in a notion.” “spark of the synderesis. like Theresa of Avila. This type of knowledge was handed down in the “Mystical Theology” (of Ps. It is conceived as the very centre or summit of the soul. In his psychology–which. however. and was more or less driven out of universities and schools. activating and thereby pulling the individual toward his or her development. world or God. During the middle ages. The Higher Self of Assagioli has a psychological function: unification. to rise ardently and glowingly with surging strivings to his beloved. or into the circles of lay people (Ruh. in the present moment. It seems to be an interesting fact that.” counter-academic. It certainly would be interesting to sketch further this history in the West and in later times. testifying to its wide distribution. this was identical to Higher Self 23 . but certainly goes as far as the Spanish mystics (Pablo Maroto. Meister Eckhart. as we saw. mystical branch. without any mediating agent.
Christ-nature or Buddha-nature. or rather in this or similar concepts of Transpersonal Psychology. prayer or whatever other type. basically untouched by psychological suffering. 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. At present. Historical and theoretical research should establish firm links between concepts of different cultures and times. it is by no means enough nor is it good enough. proving to the scientific community and the public that therapies using transpersonal resources. 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. of Higher Nature. Therefore. 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. as the most important and most fulfilling experience. and it probably would be cut away by Ockham’s razor. quite natural and a health resource rather than hazard. only the soul. and that the power of such a mystical experience can be severely hampered by psychological malfunctioning of the rest of the person. to which everyone is drawn. sound and available as a resource. There are several strands of empirical and theoretical research which recommend itself in that way. of course. Granted that a modern psychological stance has something to add and to offer to the purely mystical or spiritual position. which forbids entities beyond necessity. Only if presented in the widely read mainstream journals with high impact and rigorous review will such material be taken seriously. Volume 24 . in imagination. for the mystical writers of the middle ages this was the innate spurn to embark on the spiritual quest. Transpersonal therapies should take up the burden of empirical research and evaluation. which is not very convincing to sceptics and critics: What is the criterion that in any experience of Higher Self. If this is so. it seems. While for Assagioli. interventions tapping the spiritual resources should be researched and documented well. there would be the reductive argument which is difficult to counter apart by selfevidence. or even more effective than conventional treatment. 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. in modern parlance. Both traditions see the experience of this innermost part. since history is not simply a rehearsal of the same piece of music all over again. 2005. We feel reminded of Viktor E. We acknowledge that sometimes psychological problems have to be solved before or after spiritual experiences. this is a kind of ever present synthesizing and motivating activity. there is no clear advantage for such a concept to everyday research and theorizing. and on the effectiveness of therapies which base their concept more on a spiritual understanding of man. and there are some tasks which come with it. Assagioli has suggested some imagination exercises for helping the individual growth process.The best known of these is probably the inner journey to the wise man. in other words to reintroduce the topics of transpersonal psychology within academic main-stream psychology and research. Although there is some research into that direction. Both attribute to this part an active role in the unification of the personality. or Spark of the Soul. the old concept of “spark of the soul” makes its reappearance. One guiding principle would be the possibility that basic human experiences and conditions are universal but interpreted differently according to different historical and cultural backgrounds. which is thought to be an imaginative counterpart of contacting one’s Higher Self. 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. It should be shown beyond doubt that spiritual experiences are quite common. The historical distance from the middle ages can be traced in the fact that nowadays we also recognize psychological needs more readily. can be effective. Apart from the different and clerical language this is couched in. As I have tried to show. then one task would obviously be to reconnect this strand of thinking and experiencing with the main stream of the scientific endeavour. we know virtually nothing. Specifically. our godlike nature. We need data on the effectiveness of interventions like that.deification: becoming God-like or union with God. In the Zen-tradition The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. like selfesteem. Then. healing. to let oneself be drawn by the call of God. it describes the same basic experience. Frankl’s dictum that the spirit is never ill. If it is true that within transpersonal psychology some of the legacies of the mystical tradition are present. the mystical tradition has pulled away from the official academic strand of research and teaching. this has some important ramifications. I venture to say that in the Higher Self of psychosynthesis. utilizing this as a resource. or coping skills.
facts and theories remain unrecognized unless they can be combined with. it seems. (pp. (1986). motor performance. both empirically by EEG. Putting eastern philosophies into western psychotherapies. Prinzipien. Assagioli. not only as inner experience and not only as outer experience. Armstrong. good theory and good empirical theory testing should be mandatory also for transpersonal psychology. likely exists. (1965). Something like that would be necessary for a science of spiritual experiences. Assagioli. München: DTV. (1984). and thus intersubjective in result. to introduce the topics of transpersonal psychology into mainstream research. 207-230. school aptitude). by J. L. which alone can yield an argument against reductive reasoning. Hibbert Journal. (1969). O. Die schulung des willens. Maybe they never will be. but eventually will have to undergo empirical tests as well. (1981). & Maltin. The Higher Self or Spark of the Soul initially was a concept derived from experience. 35-55. Psychosynthese. (1990). 14. Maybe some simple surrogate tests could be devised. Thomas Gallus. 33. R. how to really integrate what is “new” with what is there. 45. American Journal of Psychotherapy. Assagioli. J. methoden und techniken. R. Transpersonal development. Assagioli. The knowledge of the spiritual traditions can be helpful in this. if they cannot at the same time point out.there is something like that in the testing for the understanding of a Koan. Higher Self 25 . In that sense. In that sense voices coming from the transpersonal camp and demanding a “new” science are not all that helpful. Barbet. As yet. or the spark of the soul. as well as the methodology that comes with it. R. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. Atwood. July 1999. these types of validation of experiences. W. 3345. fMRI. History shows that phenomena. Bologna. Assagioli. Von der Dichtkunst. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. In dictionnaire de spiritualité. It was inner experience. R. Von der Seele. Übers. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. T. (1991). The dimension beyond psychosynthesis. and quantitative self-report. In such a notion of science and experience there would be a place for a concept derived from inner experience like the Higher Self. 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. subjective in the first place. I’ll give you something completely new. It would probably be wise to utilize the modern trend towards neuroscience. Symbols of transpersonal experiences. Assagioli. (1934). We need experience in the full sense of the word. are not public knowledge.. 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. R. (1974). New York: Paulist Press. London: Harper Collins. (1983). Author Note This paper is based on a talk held at the 3rd World Congress of Psychotherapy in Vienna. Nendeln: Kraus. R. introd. The cloud of unknowing: The classics of Western spirituality. It was supported by the Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene. A successful new paradigm is not a paradigm which suggests: Throw away the old stuff. We need something similar today. Walsh. 16. (pp. 800-816). J. Quantum mechanics was successful not because it was new.. neuroimaging and the concepts derived from there. Jung and psychosynthesis. Gigon. R. as probably did the other writers. Psychoanalysis and psychosynthesis. Beierwaltes. (1988). but because it could integrate what was there into a new framework. if integration is to happen at all. and to combine this with existing models as far as possible. One way would be to promote research into meditation. Ed. 1. Adliswil/Zürich: Verlag Astrologisch-Psychologisches Institut. Freiburg. as well as phenomenologically by studying qualitative reports. D.. experiences. Germany. In Anonymous. Paderborn: Junfermann. but as what it originally was: inner and outer exprience combined into one mode with two faces. nor should be. integrated into and linked up with existing knowledge and paradigms. Plotinos reportedly had quite a few spiritual experiences himself. References Anonymous. (1991). (1911). Proklos. Aristoteles. Frankfurt: Klostermann. Transpersonal experience in childhood. v. Atti del IV Congresso Internationale di Filosofia. 606-624). 368-382. Methoden der psychotherapie und der selbsttherapie. Assagioli. Grundzüge seiner metaphysik. Il Subcosciente. The rationale is not much different from that of common tests: What can be tested for (intelligence. transl. 184-201. Vom Himmel. & hrsg. but linked up with philosophical and traditional terminology.
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R. Wilber. Barnhouse. Zwei Weisen des Erkennens. (1991). International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. (1995). 183. Wilber. The emergence of the transpersonal orientation: a personal account. Vaughan (Eds. 2. 11. A. (1974). (1985b). Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Northampton NN2 7AL UK. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice. K. 159-170. Treatment modalities. K. The spectrum of consciousness. Vaughan (Eds. Text und Kommentar. W. (1995). A common thread underlying belief in the paranormal. C. 6. par G. 10. (1934).P. (pp. Origins Psychotherapy. 2. Messer (Eds. Consciousness. Religious or spiritual problem.Hugo de Balmas Begriff der Erfahrungserkenntnis Gottes . Walsh & F. Turner. creative personality. (1973). 3. Thomas Gallus. Bern: Scherz. Exceptional Human Experience. H. K. (1984a).Uk The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Walsh & F.. 47. M. (1998). Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. Sutich. 5874). Thalbourne. In R.walach@northhampton.A. Some considerations regarding transpersonal psychology.) (1976).J. 1. Ein Entwicklungsmodell des Bewutseins. Main Currents. Observations relevant to a unified theory of meditation. (1976).).A. Cohen & M. T. C. 168-183. 247-253). In R. P. R. H. Weinberger.A. Wilber. (Ed. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology.S. Wachtel. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. 117-135). Sutich. 137-166. 75118. Paris: Editions historiques et philosophiques R. Common factors aren’t so common: The common factors dilemma. Bern: Scherz. Washburn. 2. Théry. religiosity and mystical experience. 16. & Delin.self in behavioral change. Vie Spirituelle. Boughton Green Road. Studien zu Hugo de Balmas Text “Viae Sion lugent” und deutsche übersetzung. altered states. (1994). Vol 5. G.). Sutich. Thalbourne. A. 45-64. Transliminality: Its relation to dream-life.Ac. 3-38. Wilber. 349-384. & Lu.). Grand Commentaire sur la theologie mystique. 8. 146-162. S. (1985).S. P. K. Journal of Altered States of Consciousness.). 45-69. T. and psychopathology. The psychology of mystical experience. 8. Haloua. (1984b). The developmental spectrum and psychopathology: Part I. Transpersonale Psychologie. (1985c). 83-99) Bern: Scherz.) (1997). In J. P. 31. 58. Wilber. Explanatio in mysticam theologiam. In R. (pp. Paderborn: Schöningh. Notitia experimentalis Dei Erfahrungserkenntnis Gotte. Wilber. (1969). Email Harald. Thalbourne. (pp. F. Walach. 18. M. (1978).. K..J.J. 435444. Washington: American Psychological Association. (1996). Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik der Universität Salzburg. Phone +441604-89 2952. Wilber. 45-66). S. Weber. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Ed. Conceptual revolutions in science. 11-20. Dordrecht: Reidel. Walsh & F. Tart. The basic nature of altered states of consciousness: A systems approach. stages and types of pathology. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. The Mystical Tradition and The Carthusians. Wilber.T. K. K. 1-21. The ultimate state of consciousness. M. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Fax +44-1604-722067. J. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. (pp. 5-19. 16.L. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. A Portrait of Twenty-Five Years: Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science 1960-1985 (pp. K..Was 28 heisst das? . Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Lukoff. A. Journal of Parapsychology. Ed. Hogg (Ed. Walach. (1976). Philosophia perennis und das Spektrum des Bewusstseins.B. J. (pp. and worlds of experience. (1994). K. Transpersonale Psychologie. (1985d). Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. In R. Theories of and Evolution. Auge in Auge: Wissenschaft und Transpersonale Psychologie. (1936). Wilber. A developmental view of consciousness. Vaughan (Eds. (1979). 9. D. & S. 1. 2005. (1975). & Delin.Versuch einer Rekonstruktion. Commentaire sur Isaie. M.. Théry. Notitia experimentalis Dei . 1-6.G. Thomas Gallus. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik der Universität Salzburg. F. Transpersonale Psychologie. Transpersonale Psychologie. In R. The developmental spectrum and psychopathology: Part II. 267-275) Bern: Scherz. mystical experience.). Walsh & F. (1985a). Tart. Wartofsky (Eds. Vaughan (Eds. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at University College Northampton School of Social Sciences and Samueli Institute for Information Biology.). 5. Volume 24 . (1986). A culturally sensitive diagnostic category in the DSM-IV. Transpersonal therapy. Toulmin.
of an entire planet. then you are omnipresent and. or nurture and elevate the status. whose 100th birthday we celebrate this year (1904-2004). to the dead and to language’s continued vitality. 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. being neither this nor that. as well as the poetry of John Keats. our morality above all— depends on the historical resonance of its foundationThe Nature of Myth 29 . Become pure till you neither are nor have either this or that. words lose their moral memory. The purpose of yoking mythology to poetry is to realign consciousness along a mytho-poetic axis of insight and understanding. xx). in the way we both disabuse and pollute. Beginning with a brief overview of some of the major tenets of Campbell’s guiding force of the “monomyth. Meister Eckhart. As long as I am this or that. p. p. 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. language too is crucial. or have this or that. The “life of a mythology. seems to be one of Campbell’s perennial and abiding concerns. What we do to words mirrors with exacting frequency what we do to the world. especially his “Ode to a Nightingale. and now. 74). 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.107) The mythologist Joseph Campbell. are all things. in The Dominion of the Dead (2003). 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).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.” offer new ways to reimagine our relation to the earth.” Campbell refers to such a divorce as “mythic dissociation” (1972/1993. though not divorced from matter but actually inhering within it. and towards the transcendent in the other. I am not all things and I have not all things. I detect his impulses moving in two directions: into the body and into the natural order in one direction. perhaps even to the transcendent Other that is in fact—tat tvam asi—thou art the other. Joseph Campbell. the essay then moves into a discussion of Keats’ poem in order to reveal the power of poetic utterance in reconfiguring a vital mythology.” which gathers all the various world mythologies as inflections of one universal story. For even our morality—indeed. In addition. By doing so. The Perennial Philosophy (1970. for it guides us to the proposition that in the active life of the imagination of a culture. Robert Pogue Harrison observed that “in the age of the new barbarism. of words themselves. psychic and spiritual energy. Language and landscape are intimate first cousins. 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. within Mother Earth. in Huxley. I believe. diagnose the accelerating rapacity of the earth’s resources as yet another consequence of an earlier malady wherein “matter and spirit begin to separate. In his incisive study on the importance of our ancestors. Campbell would. revealed in many of his 28 books and journals the intimate connection of mythology to the earth’s foundational soil. And both are showing signs of permanent exhaustion. For today we would be wise to place the earth’s journey at the forefront of any pilgrimage towards revitalizing the planet.” he asserts in Flight of the Wild Gander (1951/2002) “derives from the vitality of its symbols as metaphors” (p. If there is to be a renewed mythos.
((1990/2003. we see that they are symptoms of the unconscious. 10). 191). The function of the poet.xix). In this vein.’ which might also be called devotion” (par. Phil Cousineau. The Philosophy of History (1834/1991): It must be observed at the outset. let us link for a moment both Hegel and Campbell to one more crucial historical figure. 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. p. to transmit to a receptive audience. xvi). in self-expression. Here is Hegel early in his epic work.You would like to make gold because poverty is the greatest plague. duty. we have read it too literally. par. as it were. is our substantial object. a philosophical reading of the unity of mankind’s spiritual history. and in writing is directly yoked to a disrespect and indifference to the matter and.…unfolds this its one nature in the phenomena of the World’s existence” (1834/1991. and to deify them. is “to see the life value of the facts round about. more needs to be cultivated regarding the intimate connections in thought between these two titans. indeed. to provide images that relate the everyday to the eternal” (2004. James Joyce who gave him the term “monomyth. 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. Volume 24 . following the Irish writer. deploying similar words to delineate an analogous idea. which I take as the expression of the everyday shorn of its transcendent reverberations. substance and energy.F. that the phenomenon we investigate—Universal History— belongs to the realm of Spirit. and the course of its development. 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. which implies that psyche. John Keats. Perhaps in entertaining the hero’s journey. in this last book which he completed in his eightieth year. 38). 257). p.” “is the source of your fantasy. 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. who writes in his thoughtful responses to a young poet that “Spiritual creativity originates from the physical. believed. sacrifice. but also controlled and intended statements of spiritual principles which are as constant in history as the human nervous system” (1948/1968. 193). (p. writes that “the monomyth is in effect a metamyth. nature. Joseph Campbell’s entire work contains a Hegelian impulse. The term “World.” that all the varieties of world mythologies are inflections of one story. 1929/1992 p.But Spirit.38). What Keats’ ode exposes is an essential and exhausting poverty inherent in literalism. The latter part of this essay must. wealth the highest good” (1963/1989. This languid soul has indeed heard and heeded the call and entered the vocational woods of poetic creation. compassion. 86). 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. which Carl Jung observes in Mysterium Coniunctionis in a section entitled “An Alchemical Allegory. 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. p. include a brief exploration of “Ode to a Nightingale” by the 19th century English poet. 160) to capture the sense of a hidden transcendent unity of truth. The symptoms of literalism’s malady include an arresting or blockage of psychic energy’s flow. the world spirit that the philosopher Georg W. equality. Ranier Maria Rilke. a kind of constant attention or ‘religio. Hegel (17701831) believed was the nugget resting deep in the heart of the earth. 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. p.al words: liberty. 2005. I believe that carelessness in speech. This ode recollects and records a transcendent pilgrimage into the imaginal realm. Campbell asserts.” includes both physical and psychical Nature…. then. in his Introduction to the revised The Hero’s Journey. p. Campbell underscores Rilke’s insight when he coins the phrase “mythic identification” (1951/2002.” none of which brooks “the false eloquence of the times” (p. that the image of “the everflowing fountain expresses a continual flow of interest toward the unconscious. Campbell. Jung believed. 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. they are of the same essence” (Rilke. the fountain of your soul…. more blissful and enduring repetition of physical desire and satisfaction” (p.
the two breaths being the same” (2002. Only metaphor has this exclusively powerful quality of allowing us to enter domains not readily accessible to the rational mind. Finally. In allowing the energy of the world soul to permeate one’s own body. 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. they are interpretive. it is the interior of flesh. to know and respect that ultimate mystery that transcends all forms (2001. 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. 6).3-4)). slogans. empty words. for the psyche. the life force that permeates all matter. they carry a religious function: to awaken and maintain in the person an experience of awe. Myths. the universe as it is. 40). space. providing a consistent image of the order of the cosmos. p. one opens oneself to the mythic impulse which is to make us “transparent to transcendence” (2003. for that too is a category of thought…”(p. newspeak. which is another way of asserting that myths promote our “learning to live the divine life within you” (p. For Campbell. a common source. 3. they allow us to cross boundaries otherwise impossible. Perhaps analogies are birthed right here. they align consciousness to the mysterium tremendum. which is a mode of transportation. A new mythos must therefore be diligent and dedicated to preserving speech as well as preserving species. p. even as it connects us to the natural. p. 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. 34) having their origins in the energies of the organs of the body. diluted. p. Campbell reveals in his writing how both the world’s material. pp. 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. Within this field of metaphor. as he writes in Flight of the Wild Gander. What for Campbell is the life process comprises for Hegel the World Spirit that animates and informs the World soul.itself that flows. but which finally shares a universal origin. The hero may be imagined as energy itself.8).” However. 2. its physicality. the death of language—its cadavers are strewn around us everywhere: in clichés. 40). are the “texts of rites of passage” (p. they also transport us past time. p. to allow us “transparence” to the latter. 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. 48). 39). vulgarity and profanity. and its metaphorical or symbolic resonances. sound-bytes and a general lack of vitality in selfexpression. 41). to go from one place to another. A renewed or revisioned mythos might then include an ability to reimagine the relation of spirit. 51). increased. is from two Greek words: meta=to pass over. an efficient and very economic delivery system of sorts. this metaphorical quality lying vibrantly at the heart of myths and myth-making. The first group are the atheists and the second are “religious. end-stopped. an identification with the life process” (2003. therefore. 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. and phorein=to move or carry. decreased. “There seem to be only two kinds of people: Those who think that metaphors are facts. they help carry the individual through various stages and crises of life.5). A key to this web of relationships. mediated by the social customs that comprise a specific historical time and place. myths. both in conflict and in complement to one another. worn out phrases. 4. is offered more than once by Campbell when he quotes the 19th century poet Novalis: “The seat of the soul is there. becomes sidetracked. body and earth in a constant but benevolent dialogic tension between the body’s interiority and the world’s matter. and those who know that they are not facts” (2001. Metaphors carry us from one place to another. p. The death throes of the soul reveal themselves in. strict denotation. or polluted. The Nature of Myth 31 . serve four functions: 1. he affirms that “myth is a constant regeneration. even a mythic heritage. p. begins in the body. matter. among other venues. The word “metaphor. where the outer and the inner worlds meet” (2002. he writes earlier in the same volume that “The divine is transcendent even of the category of transcendence.” he explains. and to reveal the underlying unity of human embodiment and the cosmos. according to Campbell. xvi). p. one’s own psyche. physical world at the same time that it clears a space for accommodating the transcendent. even a partnership between energy flows through shared matter. 40). Thus. Given this metaphorical quality that points to and exposes a mystery beyond contradiction and duality. and they center us in the connotative dimensions of a world that is essentially and furiously denotative (2001. Archetypes are biologically grounded… (p. in its energetic language.
of the human body” (2002. a second womb of sorts. xi)…. The human imagination is moved by the conflicting urgencies of the organs—including the brain. Campbell writes in Flight of the Wild Gander (1990/2002) that “myths and rites constellate a mesocosm. destructive” (p. p. reveals that the word “humanitas in Latin comes first and properly from humando. has its own organizing structures. xiv). as well as a record of the pilgrimage of humanitas. redesigns his list of four qualities. taking the word nature in its full etymological sense (from nasci. Early in the beginning of volume 4. 130). then. The human is bound up with the humus and is why burial figures as the generative institution of human nature. in accord with d) himself (the microcosm). 130). James Hillman. p. which is the essence of life itself. to which I have only The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. A new or revitalized mythos. Human history may then be understood as a biography of an entire species. like mythology generally. p. 60). or an entire people. perhaps less an emphasis on historical events and facts at this juncture. So. and we can here highlight the indispensable place of a historical imagination in retrieving the humanity of our species. xix). gravitational. such an observation rests on a fundamental premise in all of Campbell’s musings on world mythologies: “the highest concern of all myths. or archetypes. and a) that awesome ultimate mystery which is both beyond and within himself and all things. may assist us in reclaiming the ancestral imagination to allow for a fuller vision of our place in historical time. ceremonies. This is not a new myth but a reclaimed one. By contrast. the body. Campbell reiterates and in truth. p. grasp in a sensate way an intuition of place and of belonging to something beyond themselves. and the images who walk in on us are our ancestors…. which my colleague Robert Romanyshyn has eloquently described as “a gestural body. Volume 24 . 2005. He observed that “mythos and dream are motivated from a single psycho-physical source. Creative Mythology (1968). The land of the dead is the country of ancestors. the place of society where the human body breathes itself into the social matrix. burying” (2003. “to be born”. c) his culture (the mesocosm). The fourth point is the only one I wish to access here: The fourth and most vital. a mediating middle cosmos through which the microcosm of the individual is brought into relation with the macrocosm of the universe” (p. b) the universe (the macrocosm). horrifying. They are the historical progenitors. He called these “bioenergies. His most cogent and sustained opus. Given such a connection. which Robert Pogue Harrison tells us. citing the work of Gimbatisto Vico. He argues convincingly against the preoccupation with the “historical ego. yet now discovered order of the pageant of the spheres” (p. life on earth “is to mirror in the human body the almost hidden. 6) Stanislav Grof ’s own work. for Campbell. erotic field…“ (2002. each of us is influenced by “history’s hundred channels” which “show culture at work in the channels of the soul. global order is necessary and must take precedence over the rights and appetites of the seemingly autonomous self. 123). 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. and more on the nature of a historical sensibility imaginally kindled that arouses one’s soul within a larger fabric of meaning and intentions. x). in an organic and animal way. Campbell intuited something profound about the body’s relation to myth and meaning but chose not to pursue it in depth. 93). would seek to reclaim the wisdom of the dead. p. the four volume The Masks of God. that shapes it and is contoured by it. is to get people to identify with something outside of themselves” (1990/2002. (p.in that “marsupial pouch” that for Campbell characterizes. 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 our particular spirit informing it with ancestral culture” (p. [which is ] a magnetic. 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. for the quality of being connected to ancestry has been muted considerably in today’s future-obsessed consciousness. 60). undoubtedly influenced by Vico. then. Human embodiment. etc. I offer the following wobbly neologism to capture something of such a partnership: mythophysiology—a mythos of flesh. goals and purposes of a people’s mythology. A new mythos would exchange hubris for humus. but when unbridled become terrific. is to foster the centering and unfolding of the individual in integrity. whose mythos is surcharged with planned obsolescence.” whose organizing impulse is to remember 32 and reflect unconsciously “the history which formed it and which its continuity would uphold…” (p. most critical function of a mythology. By the same token. writes in Healing Fiction (1983) of the central importance of history’s qualitative hold on psyche.
as Richard Kearney develops this idea in a powerful little book. or imitation of a psychic action. such that they find it impossible to leave their safe harbors and sail towards the transcendent. poiesis is a making or a shaping of something that has been apprehended. Poets are the antithesis of those souls caught in hell. 318). as both Stan Grof and Joseph Campbell rightly insist on.G. its praxis is to create by analogy a mimetic representation of some vision.recently come. a full and authentic mimesis. Instead of “the image of the cosmos as a mechanical system” that assumes it can then be understand by “dissection” and explanation (p. cultural forces shifted the inflection to one of the image of the cosmos as a mythical or series of overlapping mythical tonalities. returns with a boon that is worth contemplating as we tend to the right measure of our own voyage. p. Campbell reflected on it in a “Discussion” transcribed at the back of Thou Art That. p. a manifestation of cosmic consciousness and intelligence that flows through all of existence. 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. are in a sense homologous—and perhaps even holotropic?—of the structure of the world we inhabit. Such a shift would. For Campbell. that Aristotle discovered in the 5th century BCE in Greece. that unveils and makes more transparent. would finally reach its fullest expression. 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. “Hell. 100). Jung. for poets do not eschew the world so much as they enter it more fully than the rest of us may be capable. 92). even drydocked. to the process of poiesis that only the human being is fully equipped to create. As such. While written in the early part of the 19th century. I would say. the nature of myth. showing that our individual psyches are. On Stories (2001). properly. In such a paradigm. poetry is capable of producing an organic mythology. study poetry. for. there exists an intimacy between the myth of nature. nature becomes transformed into narrative. Learn how to read a poem. having suffered through the concrete world in a unique way. in writing of Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom. 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. they could have been etched yesterday or even tomorrow. When asked about the experience of the transcendent and how one might achieve its status. and drew this conclusion: “How does the ordinary person come to the transcendent? For a start. 711). For the Greeks. as the poet Wallace Stevens observes. Nature and narrative grow like seedlings from the same plot of ground. 299). are fertilized by the same principles that organize and order the cosmic as well as social and individual orders. the poet is a partner in the hero’s journey who. organisms and the interfaces of both divine and human orders commingling and mutually influencing one another. We never completely lost contact with this cosmic consciousness because we are never fully separated from it. these souls are landlocked. a mythology of organs and origins. 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. in order to shatter those boundaries that Stan Grof believes keep us arrested within limits that are more arbitrary than absolute (2000. 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. 202-03) Let me turn in the last part of this excursus to the realm of poetry. “the poets’ sensibilities have large orbits” (1997. some insight that has particularly powerful mythic resonances. 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. resonates a similar holistic view. in the last analysis. 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. You need not have the experience to get the message. As I stated in the title of this paper. Any The Nature of Myth 33 . In such a relationship. (pp. p. They are the figures in the culture to whom we turn. 298). And from that penetration through the boundaries that might inhibit or resist the rest of us in our tracks. perhaps a mytho-poiesis of nature. I believe. In other words. The Odes of John Keats (1795-1821) are among the most famous and finely wrought in literature by such a young poet. There the nature and structure of the narratives we tell. two southern poets of the last century. or at least some indication of the message” (p.
and dies” (p. by the poetic impulse of the psyche. and perhaps by poetry’s innate wisdom. Now more than ever it seems rich to die. 206). He hears at the same time./Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays” (p./And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne. In short. sad. begins in lethargy: “My heart aches. Such will be his catalyst to heed the sound of the call and venture out. and in fact is inspirited by. as though of hemlock I had 34 drunk.”Ode to Psyche” (1819). The poet’s task. p. In an earlier poem. between soul and matter. 715). through the invisible bird’s song as guide. otherwise one is following another’s path (2001. and Provencal song” (p. Said another way. 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. and spectre-thin. (1997./Dance. His world darkens as he reflects on his attraction. the song of an invisible nightingale singing in the dark shadows of the forest’s trees. by the oppressive sense of life’s decay and death. “a draught of vintage” that has been cooled a long time “in the deep-delved earth/Tasting of Flora and the country green. and a drowsy numbness pains/My sense. 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. I suspect—of the animal mundi herself—not seen. namely. 205)./Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains”( 1819. to reclaim from the past.’ that is. pp. His ode is like a remembrance. yet is anchored securely in the voice of the bird—an image. (p. The voice of the figure in the poem. Volume 24 . its narrator. as he intervenes and interposes the appearances of that sense. p. that is to say. Wallace Stevens. his attitude. The response he feels—for odes convey as much feeling as thought or action—is moved by desire for a life of depth. What this voice seeks is some vitality in his own life. The narrator’s desire seems motivated. last gray hairs/Where youth grows pale. His soul is. Bliss eventuates out of personal blisters.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. the poet’s task is not just concerned with the world’s body. where he moves slowly “Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways” (p. 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. Thus poetry becomes and is a transcendent analogue composed of the particulars of reality. 206). re-animated by the feminine light of the moon and the dark vegetation. as Keats reveals it in that ode. for it returns to conscious awareness the absolutely essential role of the imagination as an instrument for reclaiming of the dead. some elixir of life that would revive and restore a connection to the natural order. in a moment of eternal time. 205) as he (in fact it could be a man or a woman) falls Lethe-wards into the ennui of forgetfulness. spawned by imagination. in part. for disinterring a relation that has been truncated and buried. full of dewy wine. where no one had cut a path before. “entering the forest at its darkest part. 206). Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme To take into the air my quiet breath. 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. “where palsy shakes a few. from the dead./ [and] the murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves” (p. and possibly poetry is merely the strange rhetoric of that parallel” (1997. 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. The almost instantaneous transformation into the mysterious realm of nature through an imaginal leap instills in him what I would call a natural imagination. to easeful Death. created by the poet’s sense of the world. xvii). our response must be both mythic and poetic. one of our toughest and most elegant voices of the poet and the critic. 2005. 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…. could have been musing on Keats’ Ode when he wrote: “There is always an analogy between nature and the imagination. one which is attuned not just to the foliage but to the smells of “the coming musk-rose. 206) The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 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. 206). only heard: “Already with thee! tender is the night. the languid soul is immediately transported into another level of consciousness which transcends the boundaries of time and space. a living testimony of the future. p. suddenly. for an élan vital. Now.
In the metaxis of dream and perceptual waking is the space of contemplation. his imagination has uncovered the transcendent quality alive in the song’s immanence. A temporal event has been transformed. reflection. desires. 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. “one whose contents have been buried so that they may be reclaimed by the future” (p. If we are able to slow down sufficiently to hear Keats’ call. traumas. he consecrates the mundane into the transcendent. and with a clever oral pun on the word “sole. then we could suggest that a revitalized mythology must then include a poetic and imaginal response to the matter of the world. to the vast community of the dead. xi). if not increases its volume. two losses most in need of retrieval grow from the soil of lament in the poem’s voice: the dead. 207). to move into the natural order. with an awareness of mythic time and space which situates us between flux and permanence. 207). but that voice is also led to it by a kind of poesy. with the past. a connection to the natural and transcendent orders of being. to a mythical experience. the thinly-bordered imagined realm “of silence and slow time. with a historical sensibility. p. the permanence of flux and the flux of permanence itself. is to simultaneously enter by analogy into the world of the dead and the unborn at the same stroke.This call by Death is both crucial and necessary. Or. he or she must not rest content with the new experience or challenge. p. in a language that is clean and freshly strewn with original analogies to wake the imagination from its dreary and often habituated slumbers. 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. to become the sound that has echoed through the corridors of history from time immemorial. via the mystery of language. when. It has found its earth home once again.” a line Keats crafts in “Ode On a Grecian Urn” (p. which at the same instant has married this sole soul to history. the song of the bird. Harrison offers a dramatic image of this observation: “Our psyches are the graveyards of impressions. 908). 207). or a waking dream? /Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?” (p. and renewal: “Was it a vision. 207) This passage bears witness to an entry in one of Wallace Stevens’ notebooks: “The poet is the priest of the invisible” (1997. the heroic figure must return to the ground from which one originated to complete the cycle of departure. to make public in a larger venue what one has discovered. 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. and now ‘tis buried deep/In the next valley-glades” (p. a waking and sleeping experience. 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. the same patterns of responses will remain stubbornly in place. however. But now the nightingale’s song fades “over the still stream. the voice of Keats’ poem not only retrieves the numinous quality inherent in the natural order. in its mythopoetic veracity: “Thou wast not born for death. immortal Bird!/ No hungry generations tread thee down” (p. By the same token. Within such a sacred posture. to voice. She stood in tears amid the alien corn. But as suggested in the archetypal pattern of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey.” he continues to hear the fading echoic resonances of the bird’s song. it includes as well a shift from a strictly solar to a lunar consciousness. 207) for the particular bird whose song led him into his initial reverie now swells its orbit. and archetypes that confound the law of obsolescence” (2003. for unless the dead are now acknowledged as the central core of our legacy of the living. (p. in the construction of a new mythos for the world. 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./Up the hill-side. 207) On his return. Indeed. One possible answer is “yes” to both. initiation. sick for home. The Nature of Myth 35 . remembrance. and return—with some gift of remembrance. which has now achieved in his imagination mythical status. or the “transcendent” realm cited earlier by Wallace Stevens and given several currency values in Campbell’s work. to a renewed relationship with the dead. or perhaps more accurately. as the voice of the poem does. a form of death of the self as it enters through the shining corridor of reverie. and a return to share. both cadaverous and calcified. to a deeper connection to one’s “sole” self. x). to history. He further asserts that any salvific impulse in humanity to preserve itself must be based on a humic foundation. As priest. it seems to me.
Trans. J. Original work published 1951. The holotropic mind: The three levels of human consciousness and how they shape our lives. Mysterium coniunctionis. California: 13-18 June 2004. Original work published 1944. (1993). The perennial philosophy. Original work published 1944. New York: Routledge Press. Original work published 1929. Jung. G. Original work published 1986. Huxley. (2000). Novato. (1991). (2002). not in shrill outcries of literal laments.Hull. J. Surely the pioneering work of Joseph Campbell. Rick Tarnas. The masks of God. A. (Ed. CA: New World Library. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at dslattery@pacifica. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (2001).F.Only by taking this last step in the journey—making public. (1972). New York: Houghton Mifflin.). (1959).J: Princeton University Press. Ways of the heart: Essays toward an imaginal psychology. Campbell. San Francisco: Harper. NY: Station Hill Publishing. Novato. Bollingen Series XVII. The Classic Wisdom Collection. CA: New World Library. Grof. R. Rilke. (2003). John Keats. Creative mythology. R. 4. 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. Flowers.P. Original work published 1822. Stan Grof. Stevens: Collected poetry and prose. On stories. Trans. Original work published 1990.). Editor. CA: New World Library. R. PA: Trivium Books.) New York: Doubleday. Pathways to bliss: Mythology and personal transformation. Campbell. R. (R. Volume 24 .G. New York: Viking Press. The power of myth. J. (2004). numbs their souls and provokes increased consumption. 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. Carl Jung. Novato. to my mind. Hillman. (1997). Campbell. Christine Downing. J. Princeton. Stevens. Natural resources defense council pamphlet on the environment. New York: The Library of America. J. NY: SUNY Press. J. Bollingen Series XX. (1970). (J. each with his or her uniquely beveled and honed eloquent language. C. Albany. S.M. (2004). J. Princeton: NJ: Princeton University Press. vol. Sibree. Selected poems and letters by John Keats. Campbell.).C. Flight of the wild gander: Explorations in the mythological dimension. (1983). (2002). J. CA: New World Library. (Joan M. Kearney. The dominion of the dead. The inner reaches of outer space: Metaphor as myth and as religion. Burnham. CA: New World Library. Author Note This paper is based upon a presentation at the Sixteenth International Transpersonal Conference in Palm Spring.). Marion Woodman. (2003). (B. Marie Louise von Franz. (1968). Barrytown. Healing fiction. The hero with a thousand faces. 36 Campbell. (1989). New York: Harper and Row Publishers. (2001). 2005. J. Romanyshyn. The philosophy of history. Great Books in Philosophy Series. (1990). Myths to live by. NY: Prometheus Press. Campbell. References Bush. Campbell. New York: NRDC Publications. Hegel. Letters to a young poet. James Hillman. D. Redford. N. CA: New World Library. Novato. S. but in a more imaginal and reasoned response. (1973). Ginette Paris and others. R. Grof. Buffalo. New York: Penguin Publishing. xi-xii). will there by any hope. 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. Campbell. S. J. Original work published 1948. Pittsburgh. Psychology of the future: Lessons from modern consciousness research. Novato. Thou art that: Transforming religious metaphor. Trans. Novato. The hero’s journey: Joseph Campbell on his life and work. W.edu The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Harrison. founded on a fertile loam of intuition. Campbell. (1988).
The following account of the neutral mask. Joseph Campbell writes that within its four volumes are given all the motifs contained in the unified symphony of humanity’s spiritual heritage. 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. In the years since the publication of The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Campbell. Points of correspondence with the vision of Campbell and Grof. he placed together under the umbrella of “myth”—have been put to use in fields as varied as screenwriting and organisational learning. “with many clues. are discriminated and discussed. p. Campbell’s insights into this symphony—the artefacts of which. 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. These correspondences open up two areas of inquiry: the transformative effect of the mask work when conducted in a transpersonally-oriented set. 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. so I should also add that I am referring to how David was teaching it ten years ago. on actor training using the neutral mask. 1991a. 1985. Australia and North America. besides. Joseph Campbell’s vision of myth has come to be a part of the mask work through my teacher. whether works of philosophy. however. An outline of training in the neutral mask is given. and what it has revealed regarding these in my own research. theology or folklore. a powerful contemporary mask widely-used in actor training in Europe. particularly in work with the neutral mask. suggesting ways in which they might be put to use by reasonable men to reasonable ends—or by poets to poetic ends—or by madmen to nonsense and disaster” (Campbell. provides an excellent orienting vehicle for the unique combination of creative work and personal transfor- mation that this work represents. 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. as experienced by the author in his own training. not to stay the same for too long. xx). and to my own interpretation and development of that work. focusing on the approach of David Latham. Personal background and mask training There are many different approaches to the neutral mask. 1993). because it is amazingly congruent with mask work. psychology. Artists tend. and their influence. David Latham. When I write of “the mask work” in this context. have served poetic ends in actor training and performance. I am acknowledging that there is a broad tradition but specifically referring to the neutral mask work as I learned it from David Latham. In this paper. I n his preface to The Masks of God. archetype and journey.Myth. I will offer an account of how those clues. when I trained with him. 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. Both are discussed. and while there are many similarities and common or recurring elements in these different approaches. and the use of the neutral mask as an approach to the study of myth and archetype. there are also important differences. 1987). including the mythological perspective of Joseph Campbell and the holotropic perspective of Stanislav Grof. based on my own Neutral Mask 37 .
2001). lying on the floor. First. and imagination. into a performance space and an audience space.” One student reported that she felt “her breath” moving through her in a circle. students are asked simply to wear the mask in front of the group. It it is up to the students to discover what it is through their own curiosity. It was discovered in the theatre of Jacques Copeau. by acting in it. David Latham always affirmed wherever we went. In movement we practised Feldenkrais work (Feldenkrais. It’s a definite moment: “Today we begin work with The Mask. I trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. In acting we did a great deal of work to become aware of impulses. no problems. The students are not told what they should experience. of course. others say that they felt “possessed. In voice.” Various elements come together to create a sacred space and the impression of an initia38 tion: the way the teacher handles the masks. like a theatre. flexible and present to awareness. In acting. Too many concepts associated with other realms of endeavour and modes of discourse can become a serious obstacle. we spent six weeks lying on the floor sensing our breath. observer and teacher. the founder of The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. to rediscover the basis of the mask and to find what makes it vibrate in yourself. based on their own experience. the division of the room. We also began to journey inwardly. While it is important to allow the performer to make their own sense of the work. Jacques Lecoq. It is unnecessary. simply telling the story of our imagination to a single witness as it unfolded. After this it will be possible to play it from within” (Lecoq. There is never any clapping. stretching. and many other exercises. When the mask is introduced. Australia. Some pull the mask off quickly. It has no psychology. of doing.experience as an actor. and to be present. such as being in a desert. those who are not performing are always in the audience. p. imagining the breath moving down the front of the spine into the centres. and releasing all kinds of tiny muscles. It has no differentiated attitude. It is found in nearly every culture and its association with ritual and with non-ordinary states of consciousness is well-known (Eldredge. I had just finished a degree in philosophy and politics and I was intellectually-oriented—not very aware of my body or my feelings. 2005. attending the images and energies that emerged there. exercises to evoke movement that is inspired by breath and infused with image. Preparation for the mask also involves work with the various centres in the body (chest. freedom. it is done quite formally. have long been an important part tool of initiation and transformation. It does not hold to a fixed point of view. 1980). it is possible to make some general remarks about its nature. which demonstrate the extraordinary capacity of the mask to induce shifts in consciousness. 55). David Latham never used the word “chakra. breath. It is what it sees. a few thousand miles away. For the actor understanding is a matter of action. which for novice actors carries associations with the new age or Hinduism. to begin training. the late. plain clothing. It does not do one thing on the inside and another on the outside. 1996). exercises that loosen and awaken the body and imagination and connect these with the breath. religious places. lengthening our spines. and specific exercises to prepare us for the mask. It teaches an actor to be simple. no agendas. The neutral mask is not a particular character. impulses. the fact that students are only permitted to wear black. It has no inner conflict. The story of the birth of this mask is very illuminating. or terror. 1982). a Frenchman. up her spine and down the front of her body. Masks. it lives in a state of inner calm. Alexander (Alexander. When I arrived from my hometown of Perth. and they are told very little about the nature of the mask. This simple exercise yields a range of often powerful experiences. It has no plans. Using concepts like chakra in an acting class causes some people to become resistant and others to become over-excited. 1984). ideokinesis. it is action. the immediate experience and one’s capacity to communicate it is the important thing—the actual energetic freedom and creative mastery of the actor. and by observing it as an audience member (SaintDenis & Saint-Denis. and then moving from these energies. 2000. the presentation of definite taboos. writes that “To enter into a mask means to feel what gave birth to it. These inner journeys and the movement improvisations might begin with personal themes but they soon move through violence. solar plexus). The student-actors often report experiencing a sense of peace. will trace the broad outlines of the work. renowned teacher of neutral mask. groin. or just plain weird places. another spoke of an intoxicating and seductive power like he had never experienced before (Holloway. sometimes in conjunction with an image. no past. It is totally transparent. sexual places.” however. often without. It has been argued that the mask is the most ubiquitous of human artifacts. 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. We worked to make the spine responsive. Volume 24 .
1994. “Beneath every mask…there is a neutral mask” (Lecoq. The mask covers the face. There’s a roughly equivalent duality in Stan Grof ’s work in which he distinguishes “holotropic” and “hylotropic” states or realities (Grof. Aluminium Foil. 78). prior to conditioning. discovery. Fire. the Major Arcana of the Tarot). This invisible inner reality could be a realm of spirits. with the elements (Water. mask.” It is a world of essences.. 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. watching from the shore for the arrival of a boat.” The actor must adapt their body and action to the mask. pp. the imagination of a playwright or the psychological world of a character. the last goodbye to the beloved. The use of a particular mask determines. with archetypes (e. however hard she tried. The Seven Deadly Sins. throwing a stone. embodying the invisible presence (which is. p.” Somehow these simple themes and simple actions brought forth. what a mask does is make the invisible visible. Copeau took his handkerchief and covered the actress’ face. great emotion and a power that astonished their audience: “the characters possessed a greater reality and a greater vitality” (Copeau et al.the Vieux-Colombier theatre and its school (Copeau. The Warrior. In desperation. and so release what Reich would call their character armour. from any culture.g. It shares with ritual and spiritual practice an interest in a normally invisible reality. It has been shipwrecked. p.” They “would make up very simple exercises with various themes: waiting. If masks reveal the invisible. The same process is applied even for identifications with elements that do not. This is what Lecoq calls mime but it is mime de fond. The actor’s transformation into the mask character could be seen as the holotropic reality emerging into the hylotropic. p. 237-238). He calls it “the mask of masks” and says. and the personal feelings it arouses. the late. would be able to understand: “ah. “for the first time.” We are searching for simplicity and universality. unable to play it. what invisible thing or being will come through. so that any person. she was then able to play the scene freely and truthfully. we realize the sailors will not return. We ask: what is the living gesture of a certain colour? How does yellow move? Mime de fond Neutral Mask 39 . which seek to touch this reality inwardly. The mask improvisation involves “completing the image. The actors begin to discover this through performing simple human actions—waking up for the first time.” Completing the image—entering into it. resonance. He explains it like this: “Take for example. 1985. 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. In the simplest terms. felt within) while in contact with an audience—makes up the crux of the actors work. and even onto colours. in a world that is “prior” to culture. of elemental beginnings. we wait. they must pare back unnecessary gesture and action. They discover that for the mask to work. he discovered something. without attitude. an outdoor world. like colours. 1990. fear. theatre and often ritual are concerned with making this invisible reality visible on this plane1. Unlike many spiritual practices. she said goodbye. 1988. the eternal archetypes. with substances (Plastic. voice and speech of the performer or shaman. freedom and elemental aliveness. not mime of form. in the mask. an actress found herself blocked. p. Glass. p. intimately connected to nature. After this Copeau asked his students to make themselves simple “neutral” masks. “What of the invisible world does it make visible?” Because the neutral mask has no past. 40). Its actions must be prior to culture.. mime of depth. & Paul. 38). The important thing is that some facet of this unmanifest world is made manifest through the body. ah. it must be the body of the mask. simply to cover their faces.” The work moves on to identifications. Jacques Lecoq. One day in the rehearsal of a difficult emotional scene. The Innocent. 1990). Air and Earth). to have life. they must shed their idiosyncrasies. of course. Copeau’s son-in-law Jean Daste. it is what we practice again and again. the persona. 80). at the beginning. anguish” such as “the families of sailors. great French acting teacher says that it “allows one to find the essential…the word of all words” (Wylie. it lives outside time. 1994. the observation of a tree: in going beyond the ideas which surround it. appear to have movement. 71). a body without conflict. wrote about how this became “the discovery of a mysterious world. To everyone’s amazement. one approach to understanding a mask is to ask. and so on). Rubber. music and words. It is always interestingly. the “daily mask. These identifications often begin with an invitation to the students to contact an image. Olive Oil. in which everything is done “for the first time. Copeau was disillusioned with the superficiality and clutter of the French theatre before World War 1 and with the Vieux-Colombier he attempted to create performances that had simplicity. 2000. on the surface. Rudlin.
You travel along a road of trials where you meet forces that help you and forces that hinder you. to find it truthfully and become it completely so that the invisible is made visible and palpable. I said “no. You cross a threshold and enter a new world. 2005. the image is in you and you are in it.” The point is not to tick the boxes: that would be a travesty of the work. Volume 24 . You receive the call to set out on a journey. In experience they seem to arise from the body. in which many possible identifications are integrated into an unfolding story of transformation. you are the image. and I knew too. Many students will ask for the structure to be repeated. Afterwards David Latham told me he thought I had died. and it can come out. from the first gentle slopes to the rocks and the vertical cliff face which tests your climbing skills. He said “that’s your gift. You cross a sandy beach and then you enter the forest. p. it is not about “acting it out. The point. until I understood that my journey was into the ocean. David Latham has a way of talking so that the words resonate in the body.” Then I got up and took off the mask. according to a precise inner logic that was at once my own and beyond me. is in the actor. it is not about making something up. You share the gift and you sleep.“involves an identification with things in order to make them live…mime is a way of rediscovering a thing with freshness” (Lecoq. They must improvise this with complete physical and imaginal commitment.” The forms arise from the deeper physical and imaginative connection with the structure itself. A powerful element of this experience was the sense of necessity which imbued my actions. and got stuck on a beach-wasteland facing the ocean. you come out of the forest and find yourself facing a mountain. with very specific content. Of course. and this first experience remains for me a touchstone. could be a truly profound journey. You ‘absorb’ the image of this mountain. the mythic metaphors and the actual physical actions in all their rhythms. but they are told. You will remember what you remember. like the elements and archetypes. You move through trees and vegetation which grow ever more densely as you search for a way out. Sometimes it occurs in pairs or groups. as if there was only one way the story could unfold. David talks about this work as nourishing the roots of one’s talent.” but he kept digging until I mentioned what I had been told just before the end. The impact of hearing this for the first time. were one harmonious and necessary unfoldment. with no planning or guidance about the specific content this structure brings forth. killed a giant snake. He will tell students: At daybreak you emerge from the sea. one at the roots of both my artistic life and personal being. an artist. not wanting to leave. a vast panorama opens up: a river runs through a The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. is to really do it. When he said “You Wake Up. “what happens. When you pass this test you are given a gift. All the personal associations. you return with this gift to the world you came from. 22). He asked if I had been given a gift. and you answer the call. until He told me to “Do it with love. This represents one major influence of Campbell on my teacher David Latham. There was a sense of remembering. where I was torn apart by fish. The actor will be told something like: You wake up. Suddenly. Journey & the Monomyth Beyond these simple identifications there are Journeys based on the monomyth (Campbell. 1993). ending up in the arms of a great Silence I knew was God. My first journey was spread out over two classes: I rode a dragon. By way of contrast. in the distance you can see a forest and you set out towards it. Lecoq’s journey relies for its structure on the natural world. I tried to explain that I had and there was some confusion until I realised that he thought I had actually died. in an archaic place inside myself. then you begin to climb. and one which has proved both unexpectedly rich and difficult to live out fully. sometimes very simply. At the end of the road of trials you face a great test. The point is to go through the personal associations to the mythic resonance. This work frees and connects the imagination and the body and expands the actors’ range of expression and feeling. because we are actors. without warning.” After that I understood how being an actor. because I had lain there so still for so long. as if I was touching something archaic within myself. I lay there for a long time. The details of the journey are changed all the time. so that one can feel memories waking up inside. 2000. You see the image. they have impact. happens. as a student before any contact with 40 Campbell’s work. Once you reach the summit. The point is that. The mask knew what had to happen. was extraordinary. sometimes it is given in great detail.” it was clear that it was no ordinary waking up—that “You Wake Up” was an action of intensity and scope.
The forest is on fire. 1991b. then into the desert. cross the stream. the work occurs within an atmosphere of play. By the time I met David Latham and began working with him. The image is in the actor and the actor is in the image. as the “set” (Grof. 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. Once you are on the mountain there is an earthquake followed by avalanches. it is what it sees. but even the most powerful identification is regarded as a symbol: it lives in and through the body of the actor. p. violent. the mask is a metaphor.” Neutral Mask 41 . emotional. We can experience how. I once asked him what he began with when he started teaching. something as profoundly integrated and organic as an individual teacher’s art. In David Latham’s work. 4) Although it might be simplistic to try to analyse. it is not about methods. p. and this points to the second significant way that Campbell’s work has influenced it: it serves as the cornerstone of an overarching. where a sandstorm is blowing up. beneath our surface characteristics. p. Although it seems simple. for example. “a highly played game of ‘as if ’” (Campbell. the actor takes off the mask. which uses the via negativa. in the space available. 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. p. it is about revealing. 1991c. The only thing David said more than “yes” was “let it go. not by negating it. sometimes in terrifyingly powerful ways. but allowing them to be the driving force of the work in its content and its form. communally and culturally. 2000. He told me that he just knew that he wanted people—his students and actors—“to bring out what was in them. Underlying it is a sense of trust that wherever you go will be OK. perverse. sexual. the actors rerun the journey in extreme conditions: There is a raging sea and the wave throws you up onto the beach. For David. a kind of meta-framework—what Grof would refer to. I remember David’s appreciation of all the places we went—not just allowing but appreciation of the powerful. developed over long years of personal struggle and innovation. The second element of Campbell’s vision that David brought to the work was a profound and intensely lived understanding of metaphor. p. You come down the mountain. facilitating vision. heart and openness and its effect on the working atmosphere are profound and significant. (Lecoq. 2). (Lecoq.valley and then there is a plain and finally in the distance. David Latham affirms wherever his students journey to in their imagination and their improvisation. The power of the images is deeply respected. 1976. The founda- tion of the craft thus reaches into the deepest source of our being. but also a holy atmosphere. to maintain it honestly requires great personal trust. I would like to point to two elements that seem important. individually. however. the universal depths. he says “‘yea’ to it all” (Campbell. for acting. we can go to the universal through the personal. the profoundly personal. The sand is being swept by a rainstorm. To use Campbell’s phrase. 2000. are universal. You manage by grabbing hold of the trees. art and psychology. he had been absorbing Joseph Campbell’s work for nearly twenty years. for inner states. 1992). metaphor is central. At the end. More than this. 28). 20). in non-ordinary states of consciousness work. an understanding that the depths of the individual are universal and that these depths will eventually emerge. Firstly. and not only bringing those to the work. p. revealing at a deeper and deeper level. David writes that his work is not about invention. a desert. p. (Latham. and finally the sun sets. Later. He was interested in all of you—whatever you wanted to bring out. the most intimate places. and you slide down towards the river. which is in flood. 1992. 1992. but nevertheless it is still theatre. as Campbell would say.” Something deep within responds to this attitude. 41) It’s important to remember that as the mask moves through these environments it becomes them. walk through the plain. Finally you reach the desert. making connections that have psychological connotations and universal connotations. and the philosophical basis of his work had become the triangle of myth. In this way. the essence of our humanness. Even the physical exercises serve as metaphors. This distinguishes him very clearly from the Lecoq tradition. Part of doing this is uncovering the “roots” and nurturing these roots. 14). and this is where the neutral mask is very effective. such an attitude has depth and richness. myth is a metaphor and theatre is a metaphor (Latham. he affirmed it. it is.
the principle of masking itself. with The Tree. p. Campbell says. realms of the unconscious are like movies the creative principle is screening on different channels (Grof. p. The first of these is the ‘as-if ’ framework and the idea of the cosmos as a play of the divine: in Grof ’s cosmology. 196). and all are playful: between the stillness at the centre and the dynamism of the world’s and the mask’s movements. p. the centre of “the turning wheel of terror-joy. p. In LSD Psychotherapy. The journey awakens the chan- The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Finally. Volume 24 . one can get stuck by literalizing one’s experience. 1993. with archetypes. 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. In it. with different kinds of matter. transform them into a stream of unusual experiences. 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.” Once I came across Stanislav Grof ’s writings. 1991b.” Neutral is “a fulcrum point which doesn’t exist” (Eldredge & Huston. given these similarities. the mask is prior to time. in Primitive Mythology (Campbell. Grof writes that “The main objective of the techniques of experiential psychotherapy is to activate the unconscious. by “menu-eating. The seeming paradox within these images is literal with the mask: it doesn’t move. the principle of play and transformation. when both are present in awareness. the body becomes not just a vehicle for the imagination. Grof writes about the importance of the “as-if framework. The forms that arise in the mask are nothing if not “profound informed configurations. which Campbell explicitly associated with the spiritual journey (Campbell. and yet mask remains the same. 2005. p. The essence of the neutral mask is silence and stillness. In other words. “the mask is theatre. it is made of papier mache. The craft of actors is in large part to do with the development of their instrument. Campbell’s whole conception can be seen to turn on the metaphor of masking: he writes about the “Masks of God. The affinity is even more acute when we consider the neutral mask specifically. it should be clear that there is a similar process going on in the mask. as well as the acting out of the monomyth. and I will now discuss the kinds of changes actors report in this work. 21-26). it becomes permeable to essences. and the use of non-ordinary states of consciousness. 1988). and to convert the stationary balance of this energy into a stream of experience” (Grof. the actor transforms into the elemental forms of reality and lives through the movements of the world. 267). and consume them in the process” (Grof. The transformation of the actor-person builds the actor-instrument. “Myth is the revelation of a plenum of silence within and around every atom of existence” (Campbell. it is the World Axis. and so clears the channels of expression and feeling in the body. 2001. 1993. The practice of “completing the image” brings actors up to and through their physical limitations again and again. Finally. 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. a trust in the overall trajectory of the psyche. as he eloquently demonstrates at the outset of his four-volume masterwork. to unblock the energy bound in emotional and psychosomatic symptoms. 166) and “The NOSC tends to change the dynamic equilibrium underlying the symptoms. 1995.”2 Like myth. more simply. I would add. It is the still point and the silence that makes movement and speech possible. the movement of the process from personal to universal or transpersonal. themselves. 267). 1987. some of which his model shares with Campbell. pp. particular forms) turn back. 123). 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. In Campbell’s terms. It is. there comes the sense of play. 167). but in a sense saturated with imagination. p. 1987. to that ultimate mystery which fills and surrounds all existence” (Campbell.” calling it “that territory of experiential ambiguity which seems optimal for thera42 peutic work” (Grof.” the costumes of that transcendent Source from which words (and. a whole other set of common elements and parallels became apparent.3 Behind all the masks. From my description above. the journey of the student through the mask training looks like a journey through the transpersonal level of Grof ’s cartography: identifying with Fire.” Latham’s approach to the mask also shares with Grof ’s work a willingness to affirm whatever comes up. 73)— another version of the masks of God metaphor. p. David Latham would say. 1998. by means of profound informed figurations. a powerful crucible for deep personal transformation.There are many connections and correspondences between Campbell’s vision of myth and metaphor and masking generally. and “Myth is a directing of the mind and heart. there is the neutral mask.
He writes that “For everyone. the body remembers the forms—the rhythms. an enormous upsurge of elemental energies.4 This offers an actor an incredible range of physical expression he or she probably has not imagined up until this point. and I have kept returning to it. actions—that evoke particular connections. and which can include powerful experiences likely to be pathologized by mainstream psychiatry. Spiritual Emergence(y) Perhaps not surprisingly. huge waves of emotion. the one who carries across the meaning of the invisible.nels of energy in the body and after the training. that it also points toward life. The experiences and insights of the mask point both ways. without discovering. 2001. emotionally. from deep inside of me was flowing a stream of clear. One actor wrote. and powerful dreams that would continue after I woke up. for the world.” An increase in their sense of presence and the presence of their fellow actors is also a common observation. slippery characters). She describes “sifting through the thoughts. Her description suggests more than an emotion. outside of the class. 1). 38). For this student the mask was one catalyst for a powerful spiritual emergency that continued for months afterwards. sudden. reported that she felt what she called. who brings the invisible into forms that point back to the silence. it became a reference point not only for acting but. often when she thought of the work. One actor. bright.. the ratty commendations and condemnations to get close to the POOFS. the world becoming new and different. each time making discoveries about theatre. but they would also occur outside of the studio. While the main trajectory of discovery in the neutral mask is toward the theatre. One student reported that she “noticed quite a lot of heat in [her] life. gestures. perhaps even more so. if it seemed appropriate. and it wasn’t stopping. in conjunction with many other exercises. More importantly. these “happenings” would sometimes be the source of her mask work.” Another after becoming fire talked about “the fire in [her] belly consuming and burning through [her] resentments” in the days after her Fire identification. after a powerful experience of Water: “I couldn’t sit still. the emotions. I’ll talk about two things that emerged from this research: what the participants reported about changes in themselves. “qualities opening up inside” and “intimate movements that are more than physical. on the reports of other actors I have trained or observed and on my own experiences with the mask. the neutral mask becomes a point of reference” (Lecoq. imaginatively and energetically. for characters (fiery revolutionaries. weights. new rhythms and feelings. These become sources for the actor. like [she was] burning up. like another reality overlaying this one. One research intensive I conducted involved actors working with the monomyth on a daily basis for two weeks. or for whole theatrical creations. The following accounts are based on the experiences reported by the actors during this intensive. At various times.an inside heat. and actors were invited to comment. and what we learned about archetype. I had forgotten that life could feel like this. as Lecoq says. it opens up inner experience. in the Grofs’ terms (Grof & Grof. This makes sense if we consider that once you have identiNeutral Mask 43 . on the effects of the mask work on them beyond the studio. p.. It is quite common for the energy of the elements to keep flowing for some time. I would experience. For myself. it was as if the mask work opened the inner floodgates. the world and myself. 1998). one of the rare effects is something like a spiritual emergence(y). para. who had done some work with the Diamond Approach (Almaas. by which I mean that the work provokes a transformational process that continues explicitly and strongly outside of the class. Changes in perception of the world Participants often report a change in their perceptions: thinking new thoughts. seeing in a different way. the monomyth and myth generally. In my own research I wanted to include this second trajectory. Many actors also report energetic effects not specifically related to the specific identifications. which were chosen specifically to support the development of their journey work. and is more reminiscent of the lataif level as Almaas describes it—a level between energy and the substance of essence (Almaas. 2000.” Other students give reports that suggest something similar. “little poofs of magic cloud” in her chest. it has become like a pendulum that swings between theatre and life. air-heads. nobody could work with the neutral mask. which are more than merely physical. a whole universe of body memories. The actor becomes the metaphor. sensations of greater weight or sublime lightness. 1995). I am convinced. During the mask work. clean energy and it wasn’t stopping. Awakening of Energy and Essence Various energetic experiences frequently occur. 2004). 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. I couldn’t even sit down. For myself.
The process of research then is guided. I am of the world and its greatness. metaphorical dimension. and so on. and yet I feel my own profound stillness within its flow. like a shaman. teach about courage. but it also points to what it can contribute to these areas. but it seemed to come out a bit messy. 1994. gradually building a body of knowledge about the world in its inner. Over time these insights accumulate and integrate with other. by seeing an actor become it: how it consumes. Becoming Earth can reveal the beautiful unity of suffering. metaphorical presence. 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. It is utterly beautiful. p. and toward knowledge by identity. its extraordinary leaps and lunges. “Man understands that which moves by his ability to ‘mimic’ it. For the performer it is not enough to simply have the inner experience. people. not-knowing. Archetype One thing I have observed about archetypes is that if the actor loses touch with the timelessness and stillness of the mask. to identify himself with the world by re-enacting it with his entire being” (Wylie. “per-form” is “by means of ” or “in accordance with” the form (Soanes. it ceases to have that mythic. or a movingly intimate understanding of ashes to ashes. 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. and each movement . 2000. how it is related to inspiration. This is. cars and so on . Lecoq is very explicit about this: “Mime is pre-eminently a research art” (Wylie. you have to find the form—etymologically. An actor can understand a lot about Fire by becoming it. p. 80). aesthetic. I feel enveloped by the world. indescribable sense. I am basic and simple—PURE—and everything makes wonderful. An archetype that they think they know. It loses its mythic quality. trees. I am released from all burden and control. 663). as if it is guiding me. The best form comes out of nothing. Volume 24 . usually accompanied by intuitive insights and visions in both the performer and observer. 1994. the poignant and even beautiful humanness of the death and decay of our bodies. by the mask and our aesthetic responses. 22). which leads us to move beyond our conditioned responses. that is. I feel I have surrendered to the world and have an immense trust of it . and within my own movement. toward knowing as if for the first time. archetype and the monomyth generally. An actor becoming toothpaste can reveal its banality. in my environs. if The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 75). rarely has the richness and resonance in performance of one that comes from that state of deep stillness and mystery. I remember one actor who touched something very deep.fied with a tree.there is no fear. I felt out of control. the numinosity of the archetype fades. p. which is a direct experience of the inner nature of the subject of the identification. p. the performer can then use their craft as a kind of research. 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. The following observations and discussion grows out of this process. is there anything beyond that?” Even though we speak of working with images. One participant in the two-week intensive reported quite a remarkable change. which began to infuse her personal life more as the work went on: For a short while after each session.” She found that this intelligent guidance “came out of the clearness of the space. Afterwards he said “I was disturbed by how far I went. “The action of miming becomes a form of knowledge” (Lecoq. to enter the essence of a thing. This means that. compassion and wisdom. for example. you will never look at trees the same way again.” 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. a dualistic way of putting it. what releases and blocks these qualities. 2001. where architects would mime the spaces they designed. and so partly build out of concepts. toward identification with essences.” David Latham said to him: “When you’re out of control.of the light. literally held by it. however. more mundane observations about the qualities of presence that the mask manifests. in its depth. I experience a type of bliss—a re-experiencing of myself in the world. and the resulting bruises. 2005. it gleams brilliant intelligence—and I am part of that. One part of his school in Paris was a Laboratory for the Exploration of Movement.is so astounding. The performer’s craft distinguishes the mask work from therapy and mysticism.
their bodies became more open to the archetype. this also appears to be the case. p. The Great Test is the apex of the journey. to put it another way. they expanded to meet it. and the relevant archetypes came to life. 1993. and although the work was fascinating and rich. or. You don’t know what will happen in the next moment. to gradually find the impulses and the movement. What I’m saying here is that the mask teaches us that an archetype divorced from the physical loses its grandeur. Something a little off-centre has to be turning the wheel. spiritual and symbolic equivalents of the journey. and the form seems to emerge out of the body itself. 1971. hackneyed and trite. As teachers of mask. not only in the outward expression. I once tried to make a performance that would capture and express the magnificent theatre of mask class. to wake up the actors’ imaginations to the profound reality of the universal dimension. and while the performance was interesting. pushed them to their limits was now something they could encompass. 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. 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. it didn’t live in the same way as it did in mask. In a sense. Journey In the case of the journey. it has no movement. 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. the fundamental transition at which the momentum—the energy and the rhythms—of the journey thus far.an actor finds a deep personal connection with the image. We often need to use a series of physical tasks to help the actor lift their energy to level of a true trial.. it can go to a depth where he no longer sees any image at all. when the energies took the actors beyond themselves. not about ticking the boxes of a pregiven structure. it does not work unless we see the actor transformed by the environments and events they are experiencing. and was perhaps a more “perfect” embodiment of the archetypal form than the original improvisations. 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. This experience of the quality or archetype coming out of the body.. as the students rehearsed. In the mask.. Observing fire between classes does not usually bring the same numinosity. condense and reach their limit of intensity. 1994). Symmetrical masks have no life. Hence to study. I would say this is true for the world too: the journey isn’t a journey unless you are actually changed by it. p. unless you are receptive to the terrain through which you move. the archetype of the journey can become a mere phrase. to inquire. “The trials are designed to see to it that the intending hero should really be a hero. If it was symmetrical it would be dead. the journey is about the intensity of the experiences. calling on the actor to find the limits of their strength in pushing. of their release in falling and so on. organic spontaneity and power that is often present when the actor draws on the memory of a bushfire tearing through their hometown. no thirst for transformation. in the beginning. Theatrically. When a thing is perfect. to find the forms independently as the actor observes it. The structure is useless if the actor has no passion for adventure. to seek or to live with intensity through new and profound experiences are all modes of travelling. He is being the stillness. so that the performance had a repeatable form. using a very detailed process. For the sense of a mythic journey to emerge. We work physically to do this. we work to shake the concept loose of its easy associations. We chose the most powerful and dramatic identifications from the training and we worked. Cirlot writes that “From the spiritual point of view. but more fundamentally in the centre. and actually the neutral mask is not really neutral: there is a deliberate imperfection. The muscles must remember. 126). p.. Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan writes of the train wheel being turned from off-centre (Inayat Khan. What had. Most often the actor finds the useful sources in childhood or adolescence. in the quality of their presence. The body seems to shape itself. there is something important about going to the physical limit and just beyond it.” says Campbell (1988. 164). however imperfect the form may have been. “ (Cirlot. The breaking open that happens with the gathering expression of all Neutral Mask 45 . centred in it... it is dead. the journey is never merely a passage through space but rather an expression of the urgent desire for discovery and change. the drama was lost because. and this seems to apply to the actor as well. 428).
but timeless or mythic associations. p. usually given by the call. Because the mask has no past. In fact the true mythic quality requires them. The mythic quality doesn’t exclude the lightness and simplicity. sticky-significant quality. We also find that an insipid call draws forth only a trickling stream. as she moves through a mythic landscape. 1996. and forms. Without a strong need to complete the journey. 122). must be stronger. The presence of the mask is more than time. this is when the journey really opens to a sacred dimension. not a domestic resonance.) The witnesses then enter into states of intensity because. and metaphor means “to carry across. Without this. June 2004 Footnotes mask is “engaged in making present a presence and making present an absence” (Eldredge. Interestingly. If it isn’t the work can attain a puffed-up. p. but the mask is innately universal. Volume 24 . when there is nothing that is added to the action. (The stream of life is articulated in images. 2005. We observe that the moment of The Gift is almost always a transition into greater subtlety. the actor must. 1993. rather than toward matter. the “feeling of the whole” which he 46 views as essential to all art and a crucial element of the actor’s art (Chekhov. it is bad theatre. Unless the call is strong and specific (but not necessarily “known”) at the beginning.5 Author Note This paper is based on a presentation to the 16th International Transpersonal Association Conference: Mythic Imagination and Modern Society. 2Because the mask has no character. than death. in that all three might be called. facing enormously powerful obstacles. of the beginning in the end” (Campbell. xl). The neutral mask actor may be aware. who is a bridge 1The The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. no drama or epic energy in the journey unless there is a powerful forward movement. and usually is aware. California. It provides an opening into which—speaking in terms of energy not action—The Gift can descend. the mask tunes us into the mythic depths to actions that have universal resonance. 269). p. they feel presence. 3The crucial thing though is that words. There is no interest. and carry new life across from that source into the manifest world. they point beyond themselves to the source of life. expressing the movement toward wholeness. which I call the “fake mythic. less permeable. point to.” The chest lifts a little too high. As Joseph Campbell says “The basic principle of all mythology is this. We might also say that it is to do with the end in the beginning and the stillness within the movement. of presence. according to Michael Chekhov. art and psychology. the hero very easily becomes transformed into the surrounding environment. in Grof ’s terms. the body becomes more rigid. It has a mythic. often seems to be a shedding of a coarser way of moving. 15). All of these elements together comprise.” 4Compare Grotowski: “Performer knows how to link body images to the song. 1991. if they are good metaphors. Significance is not given by the focused and specific intensity of the performer’s presence as they face a specific trial. of all kinds of personal connections. in order to embody it. the pull of the call. the mythic dimension of our own depth. or performs an action like the last good bye. as if trying to expand the movement beyond itself. the directness of the mask.the hero’s resources (catharsis). as you might find in an actor trained in Strasberg’s method. and this means that the primary images are not usually personal associations. shed her idiosyncrasies. the actors cannot carry their baggage in their body-armour. when it is pared down to the essential. the soul and the spirit. holotropic—oriented toward the whole. p. A strong call is connected to the principle of the end being present at the beginning.” Campbell writes (1988. They have to find a neutral body. in the face of a raging river the mask becomes the river. 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. in fact. And this is thanks to Performer. 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. On many occasions. I would say that the journey becomes mythic when there is a true and specific call that is stronger than death. toward the reality of the inner. it can come without a huge physical struggle. so to say. If we find the right body and behaviour. That’s the invisible world of the mask. it is boring. Palm Springs. so the end is implicit in its presence at the beginning. and yet this often the point at which rhythm and quality of the actor’s movement will become most clearly numinous. The metaphor is therefore the bridge. but attempted by creating a kind of honey quality in the movement. and indeed we find that the urge to go on the journey. These correspondences point to the integrity of David Latham’s triangle of myth. and it is also one of the invisible worlds within us.
Campbell. (1991c). The power of myth. CA: Redwood Press. Essence. Almaas. Dutton. (1995). S.. Burlingame. (1985).. N. Campbell. Australia. York Beach: ME. (1993). Saint-Denis. The use of the self. (1991a). Neutral Mask 47 . K. Satyric and heroic mimes: Attitude as the way of the mime in ritual and beyond. (2001). (2004). London: Theatre Arts Books. p. J. Actor training in the neutral mask. A brief history of everything. (1982). New York: E. Sarasota. Grof. The masks of God: Primitive mythology (Revised ed. C. & Saint-Denis. (2001). Lecoq. M. Copeau—texts on theatre. J. Vol. M.). Beyond the brain: Birth. H. FL: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Rudlin. S. Australia: Penguin Arkana. Wilber. P. J. 122). Grof. New York: Harper Collins. The masks of God: Creative mythology. S.au or 11 Prospect Grove. J. (1971). S. 5In Wilber’s model. UK: Oxford University Press. J. Almaas. H. Campbell. New York: State University of New York Press.com. E. Melbourne. (1984). The potent self. (1996). Eldredge. K. Soanes. Cirlot. (1998).). Anglesea. 17th July). S. C. Reflections on the art of living: A Joseph Campbell companion. Copeau. (1976). death and transcendence in psychotherapy. CA: Centreline Press. A. The cosmic game: Explorations of the frontiers of human consciousness. Feldenkrais. Training for the theatre: Premises & promises. F. S. A. Northcote VIC 3070. & Huston. J. Downey. (1995). On the technique of acting. New York: Penguin. New York: Harper Collins. NY: Omega Publications. 1). Grof. References Alexander. In P. N. Wylie. The inner journey home: Soul’s realization of the unity of reality.C. (1994). That which transpires behind that which appears: The experience of Sufism. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications. Performer. Holloway. p. London: Thorsons. S.). London: Fontana Press. London: Methuen. (1996). Chekhov. New York: The State University of New York Press. J. Paper presented at the Theatre Training Conference. D.). Inayat Khan. (Ed. Schechner & L. New Lebanon. Campbell.. H. V. Oxford dictionary of current English (Third ed. (2001). M. Samuel Weiser. (1980). Grotowski. (1990). Heinemann. The hero with a thousand faces. (1998). Ringwood. A dictionary of symbols. (1988). Tarnas. (1987). In R. maker of bridges” (Grotowski. The stormy search for the self: Understanding and living with spiritual emergency. National Institute of Dramatic Art. Evanston. 376-380). Bradby. Grof. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at ashwain@alphalink. The passion of the Western mind. J. Melbourne. Oxford. N. Realms of the human unconscious: Observations from LSD research. (1991). NY: SUNY Press. A.: McFarland & Company. Australia: Hill of Content. The actor and the journey. Acting (re)considered. (2001). Grof. New York: Doubleday. London. Jefferson. Eldredge. Latham. New York. Zarrilli (Ed. Performer is pontifex. (1994). he deems the validity claims for knowledge in the interior-subjective domain of reality (the “I” quadrant) to be “aesthetic” (Wilber. R. Unpublished manuscript. J. M. LSD psychotherapy. (1991b). 1996. The adventure of self-discovery: Dimensions of consciousness and new perspectives in psychotherapy and inner exploration. 377). B. Campbell. Trans. New York: Routledge. (2000). New York: Ballantine.). Grof.. & Grof.P. Albany. A. & Paul. Mask improvisation for actor training and performance: The compelling image. 2001. (1992. New York: Arkana.between the witness and this something. Boston: Shambhala. The Grotowski sourcebook (pp. Woolford (Eds. H. IL: Northwestern University Press. J. S. New York: Routledge. The moving body (D. S. In this sense.. (1993).
attempts to explain mystical experiences in neurological (or neuropsychological) terms.g. The author investigates examples of both types of experience. This again applies to altered states rather than solely to higher states. claiming that meditative experiences of serenity may stem from a high level of activity in the parasympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system. music. These researchers may only be investigating the “footprints” of mystical and spiritual experience.The Sources of Higher States of Consciousness Steve Taylor In this paper. an overall consciousness shift may result.g. but has some similarities with the explanation I am going to suggest. prayer. But as Wilber (e. if we concentrate our attention to an intense degree or if we experience intense emotion). and even claimed to induce such experiences with a “helmet” which produces weak complex magnetic fields. 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. At the same time there is the difficulty of explaining subjective experience in purely objective terms. despair or depression. Ludwig’s model (1966) is also helpful. of course. while they may sometimes seem purely to be a matter of chance–or “grace”–there are many potential triggers of spiritual/mystical experiences. and compares and contrasts them. music. while ecstatic high-arousal states may be induced by increased activity in the sympathetic half. 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. but does not seek to explain the cause of the experiences. 1996) has pointed out. Tart’s “systems model” of consciousness (1983) provides a useful–if tentative–view of the problem. There are. These include nature. (3) by increasing alertness or mental involvement..g. He suggested that states of consciousness are the result of the interaction of a large number of neurological and psychological processes–such as attention. which is responsible for our awareness of boundaries. T he question of why and how higher states of consciousness occur has never received a clear answer. cognition. Alexander’s extensive research (e. 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.. Alister Hardy’s research (1979) showed that. This research establishes an important link. 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. Volume 24 . 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. 2005. and (5) by changes in the body chemistry or neurophysiological functioning. 160). (These are termed HD and ICE states). 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. rather than the experience itself. and also has 48 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. emotions–and that if any one process is altered sufficiently (e. This view applies to altered states of consciousness rather than to higher states in particular. (4) by decreasing alertness or relaxing the critical faculties. (2) by increasing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity and/or emotion. we can just as easily see these brain states as results of higher states of consciousness rather than causes of them. perception. and quiet reflection. They have also linked mystical experiences with the autonomic nervous system. He suggested that there are five basic ways of producing alterations of consciousness: (1) by reducing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity. Persinger (1987) has linked mystical/religious experiences to stimulation of the temporal lobes.. 1990) has shown a clear link between the regular practice of transcendental meditation and such experiences.
the optimum condition of our biological functioning. Disrupting the Equilibrium Fischer (1971) made an important distinction between “ergotropic” higher states of consciousness–that is. 1911/60. But we are also obliged to consciously aid the process by performing physical functions like eating. High arousal states are associated with triggers such as drugs. 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. Maintaining homeostasis is both involuntary and voluntary. a sense of inner peace and wholeness. we are liable to illness and even death. not all of these features are common to both types of higher states of consciousness from both sources. Throughout history human beings have made a conscious effort to produce ergotropic high arousal states. for example. and this is certainly true to some degree. When we do not manage to do this for some reason and suffer an internal imbalance. which must remain at–or quickly return to–an optimum level. by breathing. with visual hallucinations and acute paranoia. However. for example. The following report was given me by a nurse who had been working night shifts without sleeping properly during the day. “low arousal” passive and serene experiences. Underhill. since these two types of mystical experience follow from the two distinct sources I intend to identify. spent years wearing a hair shirt and an iron chain. To a large extent our bodies maintain homeostasis automatically. In Oswald’s experiments (1970). the basis of the longstanding connection between fasting and both altered and higher states of consciousness. sweating and shivering. dancing. higher levels of insulin and a lower body temperature–appears to make the hold which ordinary consciousness has over us much looser. But higher states of consciousness can result too. and a sense of becoming a deeper and truer Self (e. for example. I’ve never seen anything as beautiful ever again. salt concentration. even though there is no certainty that they will occur. Henry de Suso. particularly a more intense perception of reality. a sense of oneness with the manifest world (or a sense of transcending boundaries).similarities with my model. 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. He never had a bath in 25 years. but it is probable that ascetics also used pain and discomfort in a more short term way. never sheltered from the cold in the winter or Higher States 49 . “high arousal” active or ecstatic states–and “trophotropic” higher states–that is. The 14th century German mystic. as also did the initiates of the Roman and Greek mystery cults as a preparation for rituals (Krippner. 2000. They were all vivid. 1987). Scholars–and mystics and spiritual seekers themselves–generally agree that there are certain fundamental features of mystical/spiritual experience. Disrupting homeostasis can be used as what Andresen and Forman (2000) refer to as a “technology of spiritual experience. Our bodies continually strive to maintain a state of homeostasis. Asceticism is sometimes seen as a morbid and neurotic expression of the antiphysical dualistic ideology of monotheistic religions such as Christianity. blood sugar.” This may be. glowing. shining. participants who went without sleep for five days displayed symptoms identical to schizophrenia. These include: an intensified perception of the phenomenal world. The shamans of native cultures often use fasting and sleep deprivation as preparation for soul flights and vision quests. Sleep deprivation can certainly cause altered states of consciousness. A prolonged lack of food–which disrupts homeostasis by causing a lower level of blood glucose. 1902/85. an awareness of what Becker (1973) called the “raw experience” of the world. But there is also a possibility that we will experience higher states of consciousness. fasting and breath-control. This includes such factors as body temperature.g. as well as a leather belt containing 150 inwardfacing sharp brass nails. and I felt a feeling of ecstasy. James. 1987). especially if the imbalance continues for a long period (Green. as a means of inducing temporary higher states of consciousness. This is actually fairly easy to do. I walked past a tree and each leaf seemed to be coming out at me. This distinction is valid. This connection between physical deprivation and higher states of consciousness may partly explain the tradition of asceticism. We will see later that asceticism achieves this partly through a long term process of taming physical desires (thereby conserving “consciousness-energy”). the conscious effort to mortify their physical desires made by many–particularly Christian–saints and mystics. 2000b). and so on.. Burkhert. Each leaf seemed to be pulsating and growing. I will suggest. digesting food. Wilber. drinking and sleeping. whereas low arousal states are associated with triggers such as meditation and relaxation. as we will see.
1993. Of course. however. p. Even our one socially-sanctioned drug. in the present state of knowledge. not all drug experiences are transcendental experiences. The Neolithic peoples of Europe smoked opium and cannabis for apparent religious or ritualistic purposes 5. in physiology and neurology. 1990). seemed to have a powerful presence. took a bundle of sticks with him into his cellar every day. such as altering our normal breathing patterns. while adepts of the Greek Eleusinian mysteries ingested kykeon (Rudgley. By far the most direct way of disrupting the equilibrium. 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. usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour” (1902/1985. 1902/1985). Many Native American groups–such as the Salish. if he so desires) what are the chemical conditions of transcendental experience. They were all separate on one level but on another they were all just one thing. As Huxley pointed out: For an aspiring mystic to revert. is by using drugs. hunger or sleep deprivation when it is possible to disrupt homeostasis more directly simply by ingesting certain chemicals? Of course. By far the most powerful in terms of their transcendental effects. however. and preserve a balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen levels. and therefore disrupt homeostasis.” 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. I’m a blade of grass!” kind of way. but because there wasn’t this distinction between “me” and “it. the early Indo-European conquerors of India worshipped their drink Soma (probably made from “magic” mushrooms).000 years ago. but all drugs undoubtedly can generate them in the right circumstances. the Algonquians and Kiowa–used both hypo. One acquaintance who experimented with magic mushrooms gave me the following report: Everything I looked at. has transcendental properties. Smith. They seemed to have personalities or souls. At the end of the day he would dash his hands and feet against the wall (Attar. they were able to free themselves from ordinary consciousness. At the same time they were all interconnected. 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. al-Shebli. There are other methods of inducing higher states of consciousness through disrupting homeostasis. an experience of oneness with the cosmos. Not in an “Oh my god. 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. Or as we might rephrase it: why bother with pain. 2005.1993. 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. in psychology and psychiatry and parapsychology (Huxley. who burned down the house in order to roast a pig. with which he would beat himself whenever he found his attention wandering from contemplation of Allah. are psychedelic drugs. Knowing as he does (or at least can know. the Native Americans ingested sacred plants such as fly-agaric mushrooms and peyote. generate higher states of consciousness.and hyperventilation as a means of inducing higher states of consciousness (Jilek. 1977. as a means of intensifying or altering consciousness. 1989). and an awareness of the oneness of all phenomena. William James maintained that ‘The sway of alcohol over mankind is 50 unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature. The Sufi mystic. 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.touched or scratched any part of his body apart from his hands and feet (James. p. 121). Volume 24 . Certain kinds of chanting The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. it seems. trees and stones and blades of grass. 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. alcohol. an identity and being. 387). McKenna. 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. 1964). in that drug experiences are likely to be much more powerful. Normally we inhale and exhale at the same rate. the aspiring mystic should turn for technical help to the specialists–in pharmacology. But if we inhale faster and more deeply than usual we build up a higher than usual concentration of oxygen. human beings have always used drugs for transcendental and ritualistic purposes. All drugs alter the normal chemical balance of the human organism.
and later developed by Naranjo and Ornstein (1971) suggests. it is widely accepted that this active mode of ordinary consciousness is adaptive and functional and serves to enhance the survival of the species. Any disruption to homeostasis can. such as the “throat music” of the Inuit. with paranoia and hallucinations. dehydration and exhaustion. It screens out reality so that we can concentrate properly on the business of day to day survival. trigger altered states of consciousness (including higher states). as the “filter theory” of higher states of consciousness put forward by Huxley (after Bergson). In view of this it seems justifiable to say that. 60). but even they can frequently produce psychotic symptoms. it’s important to point out that disrupting homeostasis certainly does not always result in a higher state of consciousness. also appear to involve a rapid rhythmic hyperventilation which produces altered and higher states (Metzner. Or as Floyd W. It almost always results in altered states of consciousness. It seems clear. and experience divine possession” (in Spenser. the “shadowy” vision of reality which ordinary consciousness gives us evolved as a kind of survival mech- anism. 157). or in the case of pain. extreme tiredness may often result in psychotic and delusional states. in the words of a contemporary observer. The exact chemical nature of the disruption to homeostasis–in the case of sleep deprivation. or the chemical changes produced directly by drugs–does not seem to be so significant. And at the same time it conserves energy. Any change in any one of these conditions is enough to dismantle the whole structure. “filled with divine awe…assimilate themselves to the holy symbols. Similarly.practised by tribal peoples. involve a meditative concentrative aspect) and painful ordeals. however. From the point of view of survival. 1990). It simplifies and actively processes information and guides and monitors our intra. a depressed immune system and hormonal and metabolic changes. like chanting. it seems. His second category–increasing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity and/or emotion–can also be seen as related to disrupting homeostasis. blood pressure. It may be that. Part of the purpose of the pranayama exercises of yoga is to induce temporary higher states of consciousness. This may also be the root of the connection between dancing and higher states of consciousness. the Dervish orders of Islam used dancing as a means of inducing the state of consciousness which they called “passing away. as with the increasing motor activity of frenzied dancing. since in most cases the increasing level of these factors is likely to produce an internal imbalance. Higher (and altered) states of consciousness occur when the chemical conditions that regulate ordinary consciousness are relaxed. p. at least to some extent. We can put forward similar cases for other ritualistic and religious practices such as drumming (which may also. 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. This suggests that. homeostasis works to regulate and maintain ordinary consciousness. p. but only infrequently in higher states. in which the aim is simply to hold the breath for as long as possible. when we disrupt homeostasis we also disrupt ordinary consciousness1. as it were. hormonal and metabolic changes and increased heart rate and blood pressure. Rudmin wrote: In line with evolutionary theory. The optimum physical state of homeostasis equates with the optimum psychological state (from the point of view of survival) of ordinary consciousness. become at home with the gods. All of these are examples of the fifth category in Ludwig’s model: changes in the body chemistry or neurophysiological functioning. would potentially induce a higher state of consciousness (Feuerstein. it is clear that a breath control technique such as kevali-kumbhaka. However. higher states of conHigher States 51 . Psychedelic drugs appear to most reliable way of inducing higher states through non-homeostasis. This might suggest that I am attempting to reduce higher states of consciousness to chemical causes. For example. Although the essential purpose of pranayama is long-term regulation of prana–and inseparable from the physical exercises of hatha yoga. But the important point may be rather that ordinary consciousness is strictly chemically moderated. 1950.and interpersonal actions (1994. The question of why disrupting homeostasis can result in higher states of consciousness is difficult to answer exactly. As a result. ordinary consciousness is our optimum mode of consciousness. that ordinary consciousness and homeostasis are closely interlinked. leave their own identity.” Here we can probably assume that prolonged energetic dancing produces an internal imbalance because of a high body temperature. 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. rather than merely being chemically produced themselves. 1987).
when. and also through the effort we make to process the various forms of information (e. books or the internet). Consciousness-energy is clearly distinct from energy as we normally think of it. if there is a surplus of consciousness-energy. 1996) or “pool of attentional resources” (Kahneman. with a high level of consciousnessenergy. 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. However. This is roughly equivalent to the term “psychic energy”–I prefer consciousness-energy because it emphasises the interrelationship between this energy and consciousness. 1980). We also conserve this energy through the phenomenon of automatization. Psychologists often assume the existence of psychic energy (e. be classified as the second major source of higher states of consciousness. Novak. Csikszentmihalyi. typing or playing a musical instrument are initially painstaking conscious processes. which are part of our lives. when a person meditates. Both these views hint at what can.g. 2003) or attentional energy (e. we accept its existence almost as a given. and verbal information from the media.” However. and that ordinary consciousness may be thought of as–at least to some extent–a more artificial. and build up a high concentration within our The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. which “frees up” the energy that they normally monopolise. 259). attending to our experience and thinking logically and discursively. we usually feel cheerful and optimistic. but at a certain point there is a switch to fully automatic processing. Others talk more obliquely of mental effort (e. through the concentrative effort we make to deal with the tasks and chores which fill our lives. As a result. chemically-generated construct. We have the sense that our level of consciousness-energy continually fluctuates. or under special goal conditions such as exists in religious mystics... in favour of alternate modes of consciousness (Deikman.. she or he deprives the automatized structures of consciousness (which produce “thought-chatter”) of attention. Novak claimed that energy bound in defences and fantasies can be released in present-centeredness. As Marchetti (2004) puts it. and we certainly feel subjectively that it exists. 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. As a result. If we have been concentrating hard. the energy which we use in being conscious. Deikman. such as in acute psychosis or in LSD states. 1992. 2005. Consciousness-energy is the active principle of consciousness. Consciousness as a witness may be fun52 damentally independent. for some reason. Volume 24 ..g.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. they begin to weaken and fade away. He notes that the “endless associational chatter” of our minds monopolises our psychic energy. receptive and present-centred awareness. according to how much we have expended through concentrating or attending to stimuli. Activities such as driving. we feel alert and vibrant. paying attention towards an object spends attentional energy on it. we might feel lethargic or run down. whereas when we feel mentally buoyant. 1973). seeming to assume the existence of some form of mental energy without actually using the term. 2004a. we halt this constant outflow of consciousnessenergy.g.g. On an everyday level. Our moods seem to be affected by our level of consciousness-energy too–when we feel mentally drained we often feel depressed. 1981. Gross. perceptual stimuli such as sights and sounds. leaving none available for us to devote to what he calls the “open. I believe. the pragmatic systems of automatic selection are set aside or break down. 1995. the purpose of which is to conserve attentional energy so that we can focus our minds elsewhere (Norman & Challice. including the effort to communicate with other human beings. Csikszentmihalyi. 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. Consciousness-Energy and Higher States of Consciousness In a discussion on the psychological effects of meditation. in the acts of perceiving the phenomenal world. but consciousness as awareness and as consciousness as cognition are bound up with psychic energy. p. 2004) without making it clear exactly what this energy is. Marchetti. Novak (1996) makes an important connection between our normal shadowy vision of the world and psychic energy. They can also occur when there is an intensification of what I term consciousness-energy. since there is always a witnessing “I” which is apart from the flow of energy.
therefore. and attains a state of samadhi (Feuerstein. ICE states have a powerful affective dimension that HD states lack. this is one interpretation of what may happen in meditation practice. it fades away. One of the main differences between ICE states (as I will term them from now on. We are. This sense of inner peace appears to be generally absent from HD experiences. Meditation is. since there is no need for energy to be conserved. There is always a sense of inner stillness. 223). which means that perception no longer needs to be automatic. 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. In addition. and notes that through the process of concentration (dharana). 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. Or again. so when we focus our attention elsewhere. As the Indian mystical traditions make clear. or even bliss. literal experience of the stillness and purity of consciousness in these moments. for example. during meditation we largely close the other main channels through which we expend energy. 1979). St. and the terms “drawing in. and are awake to the is-ness and animacy of natural phenomena. Our automatized perception means that we usually give very little consciousnessenergy to the act of perceiving our surroundings. we are liable to experience higher states of consciousness. which may lead to a permanent alteration of the structures of consciousness.7. both in the short and long term. ICE states also often involve a profound sense of inner peace and contentment. the reason why spiritual or mystical experiences often occur in natural surroundings. Usually if a person is. There is another cause of this sense of inner peace that requires explanation. and the only task we have to concentrate on is focusing our attention. for instance. Examples of these were given by many participants of Deikman’s experimental meditation sessions (Deikman. p. At the same time as monopolising a large portion of our 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. he states that to achieve union with God. and a sense of purity–and this is not so much an affective state. And this contributes to the sense of bliss which spiritual ICE states feature. 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. p. the yogin experiences the intense radiance of the Self. likely to experience this bliss when the energy of our being is intensely concentrated. 1990). and relief (Hardy. wholeness. the constant thought-chatter.own being. The thought chatter of the ego is fed by attention. In Meister Eckhart’s (1996) phrase. As a result. In spiritual states caused by an ICE this storm fades away. and give rise to higher states of consciousness.” 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.) However. for example. As Novak suggests. whereas homeostasis disruption (HD) states are centred around a different mode of experiencing the phenomenal world. and so largely closing two of the main chanHigher States 53 . As well as an intensification. otherwise consciousness-energy would not be concentrated enough to produce a spiritual state. “a man must collect all his powers as if into a corner of his soul” (1979. as a direct. italics added). Meditators have. The Hindu text the Moksha-Dharma compares the transcendental Self to a sun. Many mystics and spiritual teachers have spoken of mystical experience in similar terms to these. ICE states feature a stilling of consciousness-energy. 2004b). creates a constant psychic disturbance. walking alone in the countryside she is absorbing and processing comparatively little information and being relatively inactive. However. As a result we perceive our surroundings with first-time vision. bliss is the nature of being or consciousness–being-consciousness-bliss (Sat Chit Ananda) is the essence of reality. we might say. Similarly. (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. if a point is reached where the chattering ego becomes so weakened that it disappears as a psychic habit. p. In the Christian mystical tradition.” “collecting. reported great senses of peace. a conscious attempt to intensify and still our consciousness-energy. That is. which is logical when we consider that it is probably directly caused by the high concentration of consciousness-energy which meditation can generate. We process very little information from our environment. It has to. there are situations in which ICE states may occur more accidentally. which runs through our minds. 20). This is probably. 1986. The terms “powers” and “powers of the soul” here are equivalent to the term consciousness-energy. there is a constant inward storm of thought.
since the exertions of some sports can easily create internal imbalances. 103). Other significant triggers of spiritual experience. Taylor. at somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes. quietening the chattering of the ego-self. I went out for walk one evening alone. therefore. you enter one of the orders of bliss. which may fall silent. In theory. 85). Lawrence described as “the strange. (p. which may generate ICE states. resulting in a sense of inner peace and wholeness and a familiarity-free perception of is-ness and all-pervading spirit. For example. p. the conscious mind gets exhausted and other areas of consciousness are activated” (p. 2005. and seemed to be beyond the boundary of my physical self. and believes that he acquired this ability through fishing. Some of these may be due to homeostasis disruption. “take people to the same realms as trance. for I became aware of a feeling of ‘expansion’. that there was no such things as death. It becomes a focus for the attention.H. 72). As a consequence the chattering might fade away. when walking on Hampstead Heath alone. (p. The activity itself serves as a focusing device. soothing flood of peace which goes with true sex” (1973. and quietens the chattering ego. drugs” (p. As a result. However. 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. However. taken over by something outside myself if which I was yet a part. the contemplation of art and creative work (Hardy. 72) The high incidence of spiritual experiences amongst athletes and sportspeople (e. and I was pervaded by a feeling of great peace and joy.g. Music. p.nels through which consciousness-energy drains away. Then an intense feeling of ‘light’ and ‘love’ uplifted and enfolded me (Hardy. and we can assume that the music acted as a concentrative device. for similar reasons. such as long distance running or swimming. reducing the outflow further. the poet Ted Hughes described a meditative state he often experienced while fishing. Similarly. directing it away from the chattering of the ego. 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. This is particularly the case with sports that involve long periods of monotonous rhythmic activity. feeling calm and at peace with the world. Murphy & Whyte. And at the same time the beauty of nature may have a similar effect to a mantra in meditation. 120). 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. p. Sex can. listening to a Brahms symphony. This may also be part of the reason why sex can be a powerful trigger of spiritual states. 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. we should give some attention to other aspects of higher states of consciousness. and while I was there…the setting sun blazed out turning the whole world crimson and gold. sports also often involve an intense degree of concentration. Your whole being rests lightly on your float. 2002) can be explained in similar terms. there was a gust of wind and felt as if I had been swept into the very heart of all that glory and colour. 54). meditation. Laski. The following example–again from Hardy–is a good example of an ICE state induced by music: I was sitting one evening. after sex we may experience what D.. how can we explain the sense of one-ness that comes with spiritual experiences in these terms? Unlike the sense of inner peace. too. The path led up to a narrow precipice walk along the hill’s edge. as Jenny Wade comments. and I must have become completely relaxed. 1979. 1995. He notes how poetry depends upon the ability to focus the mind. until an ICE state is generated. As the psychiatrist Thaddeus Kostrulaba (1976) wrote. The fact that the person was inactive and had closed his eyes had already reduced his or her outflow of consciousness-energy. this sense of one- The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Eventually. such as literature. My eyes were closed. The sheer pleasure of sex can shift our attention away from the egomind. suddenly I became aware that there was no separateness between myself and other people. 1961) might be explained in these terms. “I think the same process occurs in the repetitive rhythm of long-distance running. but not drowsily. is a prominent trigger of spiritual states. after discussing the universal use of mantras to induce different states of consciousness. Volume 24 . 62) In my early twenties…in Wales. very alert” (1967.
1999). “entheogens” (e. generally feature this sense of becoming one with a truer and deeper self. As mentioned previously. It’s certainly true that. 1990. pp. as the Integral Philosophy recently developed by Ken Wilber.” Long Term Spiritual Development Long-term spiritual development can also be interpreted in terms of an intensifying and stilling of consciousness-energy. McKenna. food and relationships–offers the opportunity for spiritual growth. If anything. According to the Yoga philosophy of Patanjali. As the Vedanta tradition tells us. This kind of radical spirituality is opposed to many contemporary spiritual teachings (e. some deeper diviner being.) Since HD states do not depend on an intensification of consciousness-energy.. 2003)–literally. Michael Murphy. Therefore. Another important aspect of spiritual experiences is the sense of becoming who we really are. I believe. so that an ICE state equates with a sense of connection to a truer self. at the essence of our being. radiant self. yet there is not the slightest loss of consciousness. they should be termed “extheogens.g. as it does in deep sleep. 1979. we are one with the cosmos. I remain perfectly calm and fully aware of who I am and what is occurring. And based on my own examination of reports of HD states (e. detachment has been seen as part of the ascending world-rejecting tradition which posits an artificial and dangerous duality between matter and spirit. and others suggests. There is an identity shift from the ego-self to the True Self. the “restriction of the whirls of consciousness” allows the transcendental Self to appear (in Feuerstein. our true identity. In this respect the term that is sometimes used for psychedelic drugs. p. The consciousness-energy that constitutes our being is one and the same as the consciousness-energy which pervades the cosmos.g. Ouspensky. which can occur temporarily in higher states of consciousness or as a gradually evolving feature of long-term spiritual development. Cope. atman is one with brahman. 1977. revealers of the god within–is misleading. ICE states in particular may provide another source of this experience of oneness. to rid themselves of all possessions or to relinquish ambitions or interests of their own. 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. Reports of HD-induced higher states of consciousness do not. a transcendence or dismantling of the separate-self system which creates the illusion of separateness and duality. focusing our energies exclusively upon spiritual development is likely to cause an imbalance and a neglect of Higher States 55 . They might choose to live alone in the forest or desert. 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)... Traditionally. However. especially once the superficial thought-maintained self of the ego has faded away. The energy is our Self. 304-5) The important point here may be that our true sense of self is embedded in consciousness-energy. (1972. As many spiritual traditions hold. 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. 1984. Yet my awareness has been drawn out of the narrow confines of separate personality. Hardy. Our sense of ego appears to be largely maintained by this chatter. 1993) and my own personal experiences of them3. Therefore when the chatter becomes silent the separate self-system may fade away. we would not expect this aspect to feature in them. Huxley. which insist that there is no distinction between the spiritual and the mundane and that every aspect of our lives–including business.171. it has turned into something sublimely all-embracing. we also effectively experience the essence of the whole universe. by permanently reducing or restricting its outflow. but it is a changed. spiritual aspirants have forced themselves to extremes of renunciation and detachment in an effort to permanently transform their state of being.g. The experience may be primarily related to ego-dissolution. We tap into the ocean of Spirit that pervades all reality. to take vows of silence or celibacy. I believe this to be the case. the sense that we have made contact with a deeper and truer part of our own being.ness is–as we have seen–also a feature of spiritual experiences resulting from homeostasis disruption. Walsh. Like asceticism. But the spiritual life involves more than meditation. arises into consciousness and becomes me. Something that is far superior to the unimportant personality which was I. when we experience a powerful intensification of consciousness-energy. This suggests that the experience is not strictly related to ICE states. Self still exists. the practice of meditation does this by teaching the chattering ego the habit of quietness.
186). ‘The mortifying process is necessary…because those senses have usurped a place beyond their station. The practices should be seen purely as a matter of economy. 220). 212). making a determined effort to permanently close down the channels through which consciousness-energy drains away. 204). which equates with a permanently higher state of consciousness. steadily drained the vitality of the self ” (p. As Underhill notes again. or ascendance to the higher transpersonal realms. This underlying purpose of detachment was noted by Underhill (1960). Silence and solitude are clearly two other ways of concentrating or intensifying consciousness-energy. The practice of voluntary poverty. we can see the practice of celibacy as. In a similar way. can be seen as a method of stopping our thoughts being occupied and our energies being drained away by possessions. We should not see asceticism purely as a matter of punishing the body for its sinful desires. ojas. converting non-Christians and serving the poor and sick (Underhill. These are the people who direct all their aims and intelligence towards transient possessions’ (1990. when he attempts to “harmonize his relationship to life at large and to the transcendental reality” (p. Tapas usually involves chastity (brahmacarya) and the subjugation of the senses (indirya-jaya) and is believed to generate an intense form of energy. hedonistic impulses. Many mystics strove for years to attain this freedom. Underhill (1960) noted that possessions “are a drain upon the energy of the self. spent three years living as a hermit and an ascetic until she attained a state of deification. And similarly. who describes it as a process of “stripping or purging away of those superfluous. Catherine of Sinea. a method of freeing the monk or mystic from the responsibility of having to care and provide for a family. I should make it clear that I am certainly not advocating a retreat from the world. on the one hand. 2005. 1960). a permanent redistribution of consciousnessenergy. which the adept can use at the niyama (discipline) stage. at which point they often relinquished their lives of detachment and became extremely active. we must exercise self-discipline. 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. St. At that point she abandoned her solitude and was frenetically active for the rest of her life. Underhill actually refers to a wrong distribution of this energy. This frees up psychospiritual energy. The purpose of yama (often translated as restraint) is. we must control our physical appetites and passions” (p. which is sometimes experienced as heat (the literal meaning of the word tapas). preventing her from attaining that intenser life for which she was made” (p. The same is true of other mystics such as St. As Meister Eckhart noted. 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. St. When that force is conserved through abstinence. for example. Francis of Assisi. 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. John of the Cross. use up a great portion of our vital force. or implying that everyday life is opposed to spirituality. At the same time as serving as a means of inducing temporary spiritual states through homeostasis-disruption. teaching. 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. become the focus of energy. 72).102). unreal. and St. 117). Volume 24 .other important areas of our lives. in order to do 56 this. However. And similarly. it becomes subliminated as spiritual energy” (p. 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. This is another aspect of asceticism. and also a means of–hopefully. for example. As Swami Prabhavananda (1952) wrote: “Sexual activity. ‘There are men who completely dissipate the powers of the soul in the outward man. and harmful things which dissipate the precious energies of the self ” (p. 186). The effort to tame physical appetites does not necessarily–and should not–entail a mind/body duality or a sense of disgust towards the body. and the thoughts and fantasies of sex. 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. of permanently taming our desires so that they no longer monopolise our consciousness energy. p. “to check the powerful survival instinct and rechannel it to serve a higher purpose” (p. as Feuerstein (1990) puts it. The purpose of detachment and mortification is to produce a transformation of being. and of reducing The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Theresa. 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 note that both detachment and mortification (or asceticism) are not –at least ideally–ongoing or permanent processes.
1961). and even when they do. p. and reliably generate transpersonal or mystical states. A major problem with HD states is their unreliability. However.g. HD and ICE states are two different technologies of spiritual experience. taken-for-granted world and making the individual aware that higher realms of reality do exist.g. pp. Whether ICE states are introvertive or extrovertive depends simply upon the circumstances in which they occur. Zaehner. An ICE state which is consciously induced by meditation will be introvertive. simply because the meditator has closed her senses to the external world. 1964/1988. ICE states. HD and ICE states correspond to Fischer’s (1971) ergotropic high arousal and trophotropic low arousal experiences. They always involve the phenomenal world. under some circumstances” (2003. 1991).2). Tart. In Wilber’s terms (e. in some people.its outflow by keeping ourselves apart from the demands and the hectic activity of normal life. HD states can only give “peek” experiences into the transpersonal domains. Being given these experiences for free may create a passive attitude towards them. on the other hand. 2000). however. There is some evidence that drug-induced higher states of consciousness encourage individuals to investigate methods of gradual long-term consciousness transformation (e. An ICE state that occurs in the countryside. and a reluctance to make the long term disciplined effort which permanent spiritual transformation requires. These can be useful. we can say that HD states are never–in Stace’s terminology (1964/1988)–introvertive. or while long-distance running or listening to music. HD states certainly feature (a) and (c). in which we avoid excessive desires and excessive activity. The individual may not actually be ontologically ready to process the Higher States 57 . This may not always be the case though.. the latter do not.. HD states can never give rise to the low arousal void experience of what Robert Forman (2000) describes as the Pure Consciousness Event. Similarly. HD states can also be dangerous. 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. rupturing the familiar. 528-9). simple because the individual is already in open communication with the external world. since these actually involve a purification and intensification of consciousness. is that only the latter can build towards a permanently transformed consciousness. half way between hedonism and asceticism. sitting in quietness and focusing her attention on a mantra (or another object of concentration). wonder and oneness. ICE states can be both introvertive and extrovertive. They may be intro- vertive void experiences of pure consciousness. and have been used as such throughout human history.g. As I mentioned above. Huston Smith. will be extrovertive. But the spiritual experiences they generate are of a different character. “[they] can induce genuine mystical experiences. Probably the most important difference between HD and ICE states. such as hallucinatory experiences or psychotic episodes. or a sense of transcending boundaries and (d) a sense of becoming a deeper and truer Self.. “Drugs appear to induce religious experiences: it is less evident that they can produce religious lives” (1964. they are likely to generate other altered states of consciousness besides higher states. Stace. 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). but do not go the extreme of punishing the body or neglecting other areas of our development besides the spiritual. HD states are primarily sensory or perceptual experiences. one of the differences between ICE and HD states is that while the former feature all four of these. As Walsh noted of psychedelic drugs in particular. have a very low risk of negative or psychotic states. they might come as a bolt out of the blue. ICE states versus HD states This is not the place for an extended discussion and comparison of HD and ICE mystical states. On the other hand. 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. For every Ram Dass. Or as Smith puts it. by shutting her eyes. This can only come from ICE states. or extrovertive experiences of perceiving is-ness. but they do not appear to feature the affective characteristics of (b) and (d). there are a few salient points that I would like to mention. enduring structures of consciousness. only they can create permanent. 1964. there is a Timothy Leary. they are always extrovertive. 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. 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. but only sometimes.
The important point is that. 2 The existence of this energy makes sense in terms of the theory of consciousness put forward by Robert Forman and others. Particularly with intense use of psychedelic drugs. resulting in intensified perceptual awareness. and that they would be therefore more open to spiritual states than us. but rather The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. why is it that disrupting homeostasis does generate higher states of consciousness in some instances but not in others? Or. at least HD states have the apparent advantage–which is part of their appeal–of requiring no effort. and guided. 2003 for a related discussion). p. then children and native peoples clearly do have access to the transpersonal realms. In Wilber’s model of transpersonal development (e. However. higher states of consciousness associated with homeostasis disruption appear to correlate with hyperactivity of the limbic system. As well creating a sense of “otherness” between us and the world. our over-active and overseparate egos–although not the ego in itself–are an enemy. how do ICE states correlate with the different levels of mystical or transpersonal experiences (e. Volume 24 . drug use and self-mutilation have been traditionally been used to induce mystical or spiritual states. that the greater the intensification and purification of consciousness-energy. and between ourselves and our own bodies. meaningful. can integrate the new knowledge and preserve his equilibrium” (1988. instead of the radiant.g. and links this to arousal of the brain’s limbic system. there would also appear to be a correlate with increased activity in the sympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system. Whereas meditative ICE states are constructive–that is. if we see an intensification of consciousness-energy as the source of spiritual states. 2005. they gradually tame the chattering ego and produce a permanent intensification of consciousness-energy. As he sees it.. Following Newberg and D’Aqulli’s research. In fact. and appears to produce less associational chatter. causal and non-dual)? (My suggestion would be. if properly instructed. and lead to schizophrenia or psychosis. For example. to the point where it is no longer able to re-form itself. We might say that they are one-dimensional. but deficient in that they do not feature aspects of higher states of consciousness common to ICE states. and their psychic equilibrium may be disturbed as a result. Endnotes 1 Neurologically. This strongly suggests that ICE states are superior to HDs. there is the danger that the separate self-system may collapse altogether. in Wilber’s model.experience.) 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. in that they can only be extrovertive. 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). Spirit-charged cosmos that it really is. so that we see the world as one-dimensional and inanimate place. HD mystical experiences are clearly genuine. However. Rhawn Joseph (2000) recognises that practices such as food and water deprivation. This essay leaves some questions unanswered. when the limbic system is denied its normal input. and if this blast is regularly repeated the ego-structure will be eroded away. of course. since in both cases their sense of ego is less developed and less active than ours. it becomes hyperactive and can no longer efficiently delete and filter out stimuli. but could easily be true for native peoples (see Taylor. again. pain. 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.g. they monopolise our consciousness-energy. as so many spiritual teachers have stated. 2000) this is impossible. In fact this is the only long-term psychic change which the regular inducement of higher states of consciousness through HD can lead to. benevolent. William Johnston argued that “meditation is safer than drugs because the meditation.. very briefly. which suggests that the brain itself doesn’t produce consciousness. This might not apply so much to children. and lack an affective dimension. the psychic. the higher the level of consciousness. and gradually create a new psychic structure–HD states are essentially destructive: they produce a powerful blast which immobilises the ego. subtle. since the intensity of their instinctive desires and heightened emotionality would itself produce a large outflow of consciousness-energy. 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. However. whereas ICE states usually involve some form of mental concentration and a degree of self-discipline. 124). we might assume that there would be a reduced outflow of consciousness-energy in their case.
(1971).C: American Psychological Association. (1990). Cope. (1999) Yoga and the quest for the true self. R. The doors of perception and heaven and hell. and so become individually conscious. & A. London: Pelican Hardy. consciousness is a fundamental force of the universe. VT: Invisible Cities Press.. but I never experienced a sense of inner peace and wholeness.M. D. J. A. 7(11-12). Higher stages of human development: Perspectives on adult growth (pp.. so-called “inanimate” objects came to life. S. Happold. Johnston. R. C. Extending this further. A. New York: Free Press. entities become capable of receiving it. the experiences did produce what I would class as higher states of consciousness. Forman. living presence. & Forman. New York: Doubleday. The varieties of religious experience. Dixon. (1998). W. C. Wellingborough. Woods. S. Fischer. Altered states of consciousness and mental health: a cross cultural perspective (pp. Deikman. Langer (Eds. London: Rider. Oetzel. and at the cellular level and above. & Orme-Johnson.receives and transmits it. Davies. the soul and spirituality San Jose: The University Press California. J. A cartography of the ecstatic and meditative states. A. MA: Harvard University Press. Psychology and consumer culture (pp. According to this view. Jilek. In C. Science. R.. (1902/1985). In T. 24060). W. The denial of death. present everywhere and in everything. Attar. (2002). Muehlman.). Journal of Consciousness Studies. Therapeutic use of altered states of consciousness in contemporary North American Indian dance ceremonials. UK: The Aquarian Press. Brunton.html accessed 05/05/04Feuerstein. R. London: Sage. I felt I knew what brahman was when I looked at the sky and felt it was filled with a harmonising. This accords very well with the spiritual concept that at the heart of being we are one with the universe. (1987) Physiological psychology: An introduction. C. New York: Oxford University Press. Growth of higher stages of consciousness: Maharishi’s Vedic psychology of human development. What does mysticism have to teach us about consciousness? Journal of Consciousness Studies. and natural phenomena such as stones and trees seem to possess a consciousness or being of their own. Alexander and E. Cambridge. In R. Csikszentmihalyi. London: Fontana. I was also occasionally aware of the presence of “spirit” in things. 167-85). There was also an awareness of the unity of superficially separate things. (1986) Mysticism. In fact the perceptual intensity was occasionally accompanied with a sense of inner emptiness and indifference. Kasser. (1989).M. W. London: Penguin. Becker. (1973). or a sense of becoming one with a deeper self. M.W.C. Deautomatization and the mystic experience. (1990) Yoga: the technology of ecstasy. (2000). D. London: Arkana. F. London: Grafton. G. Montpelier. (2004a). A. J. Huxley. Gross. Joseph. London: The Athlone Press. Csikszentmihlayi. Washington D. Kahneman. I felt exhilarated by these perceptions. London: Hodder & Staughton. Hughes. Psychology: The science of mind and behaviour. (1987) Ancient mystery cults. (2004b) Experimental meditation available at http:/www. 3 I made a number of experiments with LSD and magic mushrooms over a two-year period. Methodological pluralism in the study of religion. that atman is one with brahman. Englewood Cliffs. References Alexander. Green. Understanding mysticism (pp. Ward (Ed).. (1973). UK: Oxford University Press. F. London: Faber and Faber. NJ: Prentice Hall. M. Andresen.. (1934/1972) A search in secret India. Burkert. (1988) Silent music.A. In C. 5(2). W.. Dillbeck. 7-16. S.Deikman. M. (1967) Poetry in the making. Druker. With the exception of one psychotic episode (with LSD). (2003). James. P. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Higher States 59 . 897-904. (1977). (1992). E.N. even euphoric at the sense of meaning I could perceive. (1990) Muslim saints and mystics. (2000) The transmitter to God: the limbic system. A. which is received and transmitted by our brains. (1996). Attention and effort. London: Rider. R. 202-223. Oxford. De Quincey. Radical nature.L. Kanner (Eds).com/experimental.C. I experienced an intense perception of the phenomenal world. R.N. 286-341). Our own consciousness is of the same substance as the consciousness that pervades the universe. Flow: The psychology of happiness. consciousness-energy–or psychic energy–is the portion of universal consciousness which is canalised into us. 91-106). (1979) The spiritual nature of man. Materialism and the evolution of consciousness. (Ed.deikman. T.). 174(4012).
R. Boston: Shambhala Wilber. W. 1 (Trans. Accessed 11/10/04). (Ed. Shamanism. 23. R. Swami & Isherwood. UK: Oxford University Press. (1966) The varieties of psychedelic experience. Marchetti. Life of Ramakrishna (Anonymous. (1996). Boston: Shambhala. H. S. 7. London: Penguin. M. 1 (2). 139-74. 103-22. London: Penguin. Humphreys (Eds). J. The role attention plays in building our subjective experiences. K. M. Lawrence. D. (1987) Neuropyschological bases of god beliefs. alchemy & yoga: Traditional techniques of transformation. (2000a). In M. (1911/1960) Mysticism. Harmondsworth. (1995). (1961). 1929) Madras. In the zone: Transcendent experience in sports. ecology and spirituality. & White.A. (1993) The alchemy of culture. (2003). Malpass (Eds). R. (1970). The epistemology and technologies of shamanic states of consciousness. (1987). Entheogens: true or false? International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. M. Zaehner. London: The Cresset Press. Newberg. Spencer. Philadelphia: Lippencott. K. London: Penguin. P. R. London: British Museum Press. 10(4). (2000b). Tart. India: Ramakrishna Math. Underhill. D. (1961) Mysticism sacred and profane. Taylor. J. S. (1993) The food of the gods. (Ed. & D’Aqulli. C & Ornstein. Prabhavananda. In W. The Upanishads. Los Angeles: J. Novak. 60 London: Arkana. (1991). R. 2005. Masters. Journal of Consciousness Studies. (1990). (1976). Accessed 21/7/04). (Available at www. 155-77). Rudgley. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. On the psychobiology of meditation. (1997). (2000). Murphy. Sleep.htm. Meister Eckhart (1979) German sermons and treatises.org/research-articles.W.W. Consciousness and cosmology: Hyperdualism ventilated. States of consciousness. Archives of General Psychiatry. Walsh.L. E.A. R. London: Arkana. (1984) A new model of the universe. Integral psychology. (1964/1988). The Joy of running. Boston: Shambhala. Ecstasy. A. (pp. Journal of Consciousness Studies. (1964) Do drugs have religious import? Journal of Philosophy LXI. (1969). (Available at www. (1973) John Thomas and Lady Jane.) (1996). 22. T. Journal of Consciousness Studies. Boston: Shambhala.emergentmind. New York: Praeger.org/marchettiI2. One taste. J. R. 32. 267-77. G. C.Kostrulaba.A. I. T. Lonner and R. 3(3). Naranjo. (1980) Attention to action: Willed and automatic control of behaviour. Walshe). 15. CHIP Report 99. Oxford. McGinn. UK: Blackwell. Mascaro.rmetzner-greenearth. 7(11-12). London: Allen & Unwin. Primal spirituality and the onto/phylo fallacy. Oxford. F. New York: Mentor. D. (2000). P. (1966) Altered states of consciousness. (1971). (1950) Mysticism in world religion. 111-122. McKenna. Wilber.E. Stace.P. Meister Eckhart: From whom god hid nothing. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. (1994). K. C.). San Diego: University of California. M. Neurospsychology of religious and spiritual experience. Norman. Influence of previous psychedelic drug experience on students of Tibetan Buddhism. 61-76. (2000) Mapping the course of heavenly bodies: The varieties of transcendent sexual experiences. J. New York: Delta. London: Watkins.H.M. Laski. London: Methuen. Smith. How to know God: The yoga aphorisms of Patanjali. Taylor. Consciousness (pp. Ouspensky. 6-9. O’Neal. Tarcher. Ludwig. Volume 24 . & Shallice.com The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Metzner. Sex. (2003). Buddhist meditation and the consciousness of time. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at essytaylor@yahoo. New Renaissance. Persinger. (1983). UK: Penguin. New York: Bantam. CA: Psychological Processes. & Houston. A. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Oswald. T. 93-118. C. 1-6. (1993). Wilber. S. El Cerrito. Wade. 5559) Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 517-530. Mysticism and philosophy. Psychology and culture. vol. Rudmin. Tart. C. (2004). 225-234. Journal of NonLocality and Remote Mental Interactions. E. 22. S. Krippner. Spirituality: The hidden side of sports. Property.D. Davies and G.C. (2002).
In spite of these abuses. or Santo Daime. stands illuminated in the front yard. who use ayahuasca as a sacrament. and the slat-board pioneer houses we pass are dark. Acre is still very much raw frontier. the Brazilian frontier state of Acre. in resistance to the massive land theft and senseless deforestation being practiced by the wealthy newcomers to Acre in the 1980’s. hosting some of the heaviest cocaine trafficking in South America. both indigenous and Catholic/Afro-Brazilian. which claims to hold most truly to the original form transmitted by the Mestre. in the night. It also portrays the extraordinary variation and vitality of the communities there. I first arrive in Alto Santo. Darly Alves da Silva. The extent of this tragedy is not easily imagined until the degree of knowledge of these peoples is fathomed. Bordering Peru and Bolivia. certain Daime communities have closed their doors to participation by Westerners after getting what they perceived as bad press. It was also the home state of Chico Mendez. tropical sea. two main streams developed: The Church of the Universal Flowing Light. Through all the communities. facing one another beneath a huge. and serious rural poverty. Then a vision leaps electric out of the night. which light up at night like phosphorescent jellyfish floating in a dark. Daniel Pereira de Mattos (known as Frei Daniel). it is the westernmost state of the Amazon rain basin. My botanist friend. 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).S. As well. open air structure. traveling dirt roads through area recently carved out of the jungle. a neighborhood thirty minutes outside of Rio Branco. has so alienated the healers of the forest that they have begun keeping their medicines to themselves. Within the movement originating with Mestre Irineu. Sean. who. Acre hosts a landscape dotted with the churches of Daime. Among the Indians bio-piracy by Westerners. the doors of most churches remain open. And there A are the native traditions underlying the lineage of Mestre Irineu. 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). I see two lines of men and women dancing. It is warm. I get out of the car and hear music and singing—a sound like a polka Fear No Spirits 61 . 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. seeds of distrust toward foreigners have been sown. Horatio: Hamlet: Oh day and night.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. and the Barquinha. in which the author weaves together accounts of his own healing experience. the stars are bright.173-74. as practiced for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin. with marked Afro-Brazilian elements. and still possesses 90% of its original forest.5. or will no longer donate bottles of ayahuasca to hipsters who smuggle them into the U. and sell the sacrament at a huge profit. and the pilgrim is welcome to join in the work. cre is the holy land for work with Daime in Brazil. arising and co-evolving out of their seamless communion with the forest: the womb and gift of Pachamama. was initiated by a disciple of Irineu. or “little boat. but this is wondrous strange! And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. Shakespeare Hamlet 1. Beneath blazing fluorescent lights.” whose work. 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.
Henrique looks at me with comprehension. As I draw closer. and I realize the carven prows of those old Viking ships were no mere decorations. Someone sitting next to me hands me a hymnal. I cannot speak for grief. to waterfalls. I enter into conversation with Henrique. Oxum. gazing into another world. I sit and try to follow the hymns of the dancers. I realize. He looks as if he were wearing a Noh mask. A proto-fascist ruling clique has seized power in my beloved homeland. Yemanja. or Xango. cutting through the darkness with his omniscience. where a dignified man with a bushy moustache waits like an amiable bartender. moving back and forth in a tightly disciplined line. It gave me some pause.band riding in the back of a flatbed truck on their way to heaven. 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. As the music commences again. jams away in the space between the two lines. Then Henrique begins to ask me penetrating questions about the United States. Volume 24 . They are right to do so. It appears to be happening right here. or spirits. and seemed to engage the world around him with a boundless optimism. And he spoke an English he had learned from his mother. I decided. The usual rivalries among groups existed in Rio Branco. as a blazing figurehead on the prow of the ship of my soul. as well as his opinions about the communities we had come to visit. The man smiles at me and pours. feminine power. (Fardado is sometimes translated as “star-person”–giving a New Age airiness to a fundamentally military conception: farda in Portuguese describes a “military uniform”). and I can understand the Portuguese being spoken around me. open and immeasurably happy. Sean and I encountered Luis. During the ceremony I see my guardian angel. They are doing a four-step dance. the Holy Mother. 2005. Struggling with our bags and attempting to orient ourselves after the three-day bus ride from Rio de Janeiro to Rio Branco. I take a maraca and join the line. composed of accordion. but then I close my eyes and listen and angelic mists and swirling mandalas begin to draw me on. He was small of stature. This. I open my eyes. clean cut and alert. A band. I look within and see an altar with a candle burning before a photo taken during the 1930s of a stocky forest worker. which instead of provoking my usual liberal self-righteousness stir an immense 62 well of sadness within me. relentless and happy. but the Portuguese is very fast. too. I make my bows. and other Orixas. I am led in a numinous daze across the concrete floor to a booth at the far end of the structure. I see the women wear white dresses with green sashes. a professor of mathematics and physics at the University of Acre. related to stones and through his spouse. It turned out he was a Daimista. and elucidated a very complicated system of correspondences between deities: Oxala. the masculine father spirit. The women are wearing silver crowns. The high pitch of the women’s voices gives me the image of a psychedelic subway train charging. I drink and a seat is set out for me. a member of a Barquinha church. a new people without artifice. I scrambled to take notes. explaining that the church of the little boat is a synthesis of Catholic Christianity with Umbanda and Candomble. I study him. bass and classical guitar. “The daime is working on you. through the night. the one for representing vision into other worlds. the power of the forest and native healing wisdom. The music has stopped. beating out their steps with maracas they hold in their right hands. conga drum. is the new frontier for humanity. indicating they are fardados. waiting for my signal to stop. He offered his assistance. related to Christ. bright white with epaulettes and a white cap like a fez with a braid wound around it. a world of exquisite possibilities. tambourine. related to Mary. May the humble inherit the earth. electric guitar. his expression truly transported. the power of justice. my guiding spirit. and its relation to work with entheogens. The altar is covered with bottles of ayahuasca. dazzled by the lights and colors and already buzzing from a shot of ayahuasca I had drunk earlier at the Barquinha church. isn’t it?” he asks. I see a new frontier. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Later I am taken to the altar and introduced to the figure in the photo: it is Mestre Raimundo Irineu Serra. The Barquinhas wear sailor’s suits when they make a major journey. the Yoruba spiritual practices brought over by the slaves from Africa. which helps some. My language acquisition abilities have suddenly been radically enhanced. and we proceed to discuss the Buddhist doctrine of sunyata. As I enter. I see that the men also wear a silver brooch in the shape of a Star of David with a crescent moon resting within. Some days later he met us at our hotel and oriented us to the work of the Barquinhas. such as Oxossi. as waves of agony rise and break within me. emptiness. The men wear white suits with a green pinstripe descending their pant legs. getting down the four-step but give up trying to sing from the hymnal at the same time.
spread out on a surface of sand. ample matriarch enthroned in the center. two fingers of their right hand raised at the level of their faces like antennae. like a spiritual storm front. and Sean and I sit quietly in the pews. a statue of São Sebastião. We go out and see two lines have formed. Then in the middle of a song I come to Christ and lay my burden down before him. I look around and note that most of the faces are African in descent. The spirits of the preto velhos. one fellow playing the banjo. Then Luis reappears beside us. We reach the head of the line. the line is forming anew. Arriving the following evening. I notice the curtains are slowly parting in front of the altar. I now have an opportunity to study the figures arranged in the sand in the center. Okay. have come and the group possessed by the old African spirits files out. We continue down a flight of stairs and enter the patio of the church. Within we cross a clean floor of white tile and face an altar covered with images of saints. Fear no spirits. I notice miniature figures arranged in a village scene.despairing of distinguishing mantra from yantra and tantra. the patriarch. very erect. I wander off and sit on the wrong side. who are filing forward to drink ayahuasca. a stupefaction. sounds I cannot imagine the human vocal apparatus being capable of making. one of women and the other of men. and the names of Jesus. In fact. except the floor is of hard packed. the Holy Ancestors. men on the other. I feel completely comfortable with them.” he explains. I don’t fear spirits. a dirty little scamp of a dog curled up right on the threshold. through the church. a vanishing. except I can recognize the Credo being repeated over and over. A curtain has been drawn over the altar. red earth. or rather. Luis comes up to us and announces. 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. a cycle of worship of São Sebastião in which they drank ayahuasca every night. a cross lit up at the entryway. covering the entire front of the church.” Sean and I look at each other in astonishment. to finding the perfect woman. A massive banquet table with a white tablecloth surrounded by chairs sits in the middle of the room. “Time to drink again. Finally a bell rings. “I think I may actually have had enough already. upon the table. Their skin is deeply black. capable of walking a hundred miles at a stretch through arid ground.” but then I shrug and go out and drink. Luis explains they are the Holy Family. I think. Women on one side. I look out and sure enough. and see the shell of my former self in California and feel deep compassion for the man I have been. chained to a tree and pierced by arrows. most of which I don’t understand. standing beside her. Mary. I see people rising from their seats and standing. is the European Holy Family. Something very powerful begins moving. The mantric cycle of praise commences. Piercing whistling tears through the air. their garments and eyes pearly white. and he reappears dressed in white and gestures for us to come. The core of the community takes their places around the banquet table. “We’re moving on into the Umbanda portion of the work now. It could be any Catholic church in Latin America. and then the ayahuasca strikes like a blinding cloud of light. with its little bell tower and niches for saints. respecting its presence there. I feel his hand on my forehead as I relinquish my addictions: to coffee. We and everyone else step over the dog. Then the curtains slowly close. the Yorimba. as if on the other side of the world. As the ayahuasca begins to take hold. and they are spread out in a tableau of village life. I hear a voice say to me. We go back in and take our seats. A musician tuning his guitar gestures me back. At their backs. Rows of seats line the back and side of the church. thin and tall like a reed. the white-haired. But no matter. I start to say. and drink. We were going to get to experience Umbanda soon. unlike in the Santo Daime church in Alto Santo. my long journey filled with wounds and bewilderment. and São Sebastião. and the community vanishes to doff their sailor suits. smiling. the Heavenly Father.” he says. the guitar and Catholic liturgy weaving fresh neural pathways through my mind. its exterior a muted orange painted over smooth adobe. In the center. Musicians accompany the prayer. We drink again and go out to the structure with the floor of packed red earth. “The evening is just beginning. in imitation of the opening of the heavenly realm. to hyper-vigilance. are given the sacrament. The community was in the midst of a twenty-day long romería. The curtain is parting more rapidly now. the old blacks. Luis leaves us. How can we take any more? We already feel irradiated by spirit. we pass through a wooden gate and enter an open structure like the one where people danced in Alto Santo. It all seems a blaze of light. and enter. and there was to be a major work soon. make the sign of the cross with the cup. The ayahuasca is very bitter and strong. little white-skinned baby Fear No Spirits 63 . But the lines to drink are forming again outside.
comes ranting through the station.” We decide we love this old man. I don’t know how I am going to return to my life in California after this. angels guarding the way to his cradle. The old man comes around in the circle of dancers again and we watch him. He’s been checking us out. scintillating around the forms of the dancers in white. but I smile and give him the thumbs-up sign. conga drums prominent. with the spirits of Umbanda. The band commences. This evening is solely a work of mantra. and while I still don’t know what to make of tantra. He must love us too. I have a deep feeling of gratitude for my experience of it. inchoate.Jesus in cradle. We’re both smiling in rapture. My Western intellect. his arms folded behind his back. Volume 24 . In the center. He breaks into a huge grin and nods back at us. “Whatever you do. have an illusion of a right to elbow room that Brazilians know doesn’t exist. we even accept anger as a kind of social lubricant. We talk about the situations in Brazil especially designed to push a North American’s buttons. I realize. and a sign of the strength of the evangelical movement in Acre. Ever. “Man. Horatio. many women and a few men are smoking pipes. the sick and simple are brought forward. The drums beat. or mediumship. don’t stop dancing. Luis appears and while we wait for a local bus to take us to the Barquinha church. He 64 turns to me from the front seat and says. I can only nod in agreement. a mulatto. but the center does not radiate out. He pretends not to be observing us. men and women moving in two circles. I begin. The truth is. Rather it absorbs our energy. tipping his head in the old forest worker’s direction. Sean and I ride back together in a taxi. but eventually get the hang of it. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.. a young man. pulse rising from the earth. has had all its fundamental premises blown this evening.” Luis and I are supposed to meet in the center of Rio Branco. “There is never any reason to get angry. a dance to draw energy and life out of the earth. 2005. I do fear these spirits. and candles are lit.” “I want to be an old man like him. and poured libations to summon the unnumbered dead. Fierce defense in preservation of the world is one thing. The earth becomes wet with spit. In fact. Luis turns to me and says. 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. widdershins. “Yep. A four step inside a square. then a step forward. dirt poor. drinking ayahuasca and dancing with the spirits. A bardo space. I’m out and about. Anger at a person or situation is another. Luis turns and looks me in the eyes. The dance concludes in the dark of the early morning.” It’s a slow dance. stringy from a life of hard work. but bars selling pitchers of juice made to order from the cornucopia of fruit growing in the Amazon compensate for the stench. awkwardly. spitting and bowing. then are dreamt of in your philosophy. After a time I see Luis. Power of old Africans. The only useful shred of the Western Intellectual Tradition I can think of is.” I look back and realize he is right. his hair and beard gone wild. Are we not all equal in this? Are we not all dreaming? The bus comes and we board. liminal. using the tobacco for purification and to send messages to the divinity. 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.. and I hesitate the opinion that sometimes anger can help set things straight. hunched over close to the earth.” My own life in California is so inconceivably distant and inapplicable. Sean has taken a seat and I walk over and clap him on the back. and I begin to understand the dance. Changing the subject. of praise. It is dark. I am grateful that I am allowed to dance on the periphery and not drawn in. a voice crying from the wilderness. the votive pit in Hades in which Odysseus spilled the blood of the ewe and ram. Young women are led around and in by their elders. North Americans. a terminal where the spirits negotiate their transit to other worlds. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth. An old man is dancing out there in the crowd. The Brazilians don’t seem to do anything halfway in this land of spirits. I am not ready to experience atuação. pipe in mouth. I’ve been sick. he explains to me that when the preto velhos come that The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. I fall silent. “See that old man?” Sean asks me. and Sean has been pretty much shut up in his hotel room since the night at the Barquinha. What voice speaks through him? I wonder. Joseph and Mary and Donkey in attendance. ayahusaca working through the body. A smell of burning plastic wafts through the marketplace. which I had imagined as being fairly open. playing guitar and watching Brazilian television. Then the power goes out. Somehow he makes me think of a young Abe Lincoln. It’s a couple days later. stooped forward in a posture of aged dignity close to the altar. We move in a circle around the center. blazing.
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
Then a young guitarist who accompanied us turns out to be a strange bird: a daime evangelist. Luna and S. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. ending each song with bursts of child-like giggling. seems a rude imposition upon this world. and I saw that evening that daime is only a brief portion of the territory of grandmother ayahuasca. the killing of 85% of the Kaxinawa people. that ayahuasca really is just a sort of Prozac. I watch him with awe as he sails over the forest. temporarily lifting the mind up. E. Fabiano. Author Note “Fear no Spirits” is excerpted from a forthcoming book. We wear red stripes on our faces. 3135). honed to transparency by his habitat. (2000). a center for the treatment of addiction. but as a vaguely oppressive fixture of belief—and the casting of the entire movement into a New Testament mold. NM: Synergetic Press. But the Kaxinawa work with ayahuasca. even the guitar itself. The brew they chose is a light one. Ayahuasca reader (pp. 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. like the forest sings to itself. to bring me home again. makes me put my hands on the earth: things. And so the natives rock us into the night with invocations and sounds such as we have never encountered before. from which a rich symphony of sound is now emerging. Correspondence regarding this paper should be directed to Robert Tindall at tigrillo@gmail. F.com. even as we attempt to praise it with our barbaric Indo-European tongues and instruments. the earth. accompanying themselves with flute and maracas. 2005. When the evangelical portion of the evening subsides. dear.” a narrative pilgrimage into the medicines of the Amazon rainforest. not daime. After the Brazilian section. a lean aerodynamic ascetic. 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 pilgrim continues on his way to Takiwasi. while non-natives such as ourselves come to be educated in the ways of the Kaxinawa. feathers of flight spring from their upper arms. M. The image of a people gathering to sing for one another. References Lagrou. Santa Fe. E.). the weary repetition of the word Jesus—not as a mantra to enter the divine. That I am fooling myself and will return to California with some good stories but the same old self. they sing into the night like an animal sings into it. The Kaxinawa sit patient and vigilant. how to work an ATM and a cellular phone. As we leave a huge white bird cuts the early morning sky. Peru. “The Jaguar that Roams the Mind. how to ride a bicycle. particular things. messengers. to wish them happiness and good-fortune on their way. rough-hewn and primitive to uneducated European eyes. as of this date. happily joining in with the songs about our precious savior Jesus. a very gentle visitation which. explains to us that the entire tribe gathers to sing that piece whenever someone is leaving the village for a long journey. I am weary too of the fundamentalism of Daime. White (Eds. Portuguese and English.to the center to learn Portuguese. Two ayahuasca myths from the Cashinahua of Northwestern Brazil. in its native tongue. fresh. I and the forest and the albatross all caught up in the same dream of Pachamama. The young men of the tribe wear headdresses and crowns of feathers. but not going to the root of our being’s dilemma. At the end of one. Volume 24 . when it comes. our ground. Walking through the compound we encounter classrooms with chalkboards and ancestral figures. salvadores. who turns out to be an apprentice shaman. thereby 68 opening and creating a dreaming way through the forest. makes me lament anew the cold mechanisms of my own culture with its straight-cut roads lined with advertisements—the culture responsible for. and then to an apprenticeship with the master healer Juan Flores Salazar at his Mayantuyacu center in the jungle outside of Pucallpa. The doctrine. End Note 1 The Kaxinawa ayahuasca myth is adopted from “Two Ayahuasca Myths from the Cashinahua of Northwestern Brazil” by Elsje Maria Lagrou (2000). In L. all stomach and bill.
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?
1985a. for then it would cease to be the subject. ahamkara. since one and the same thing cannot be both the agent and the object of an action” (Vasu. 1979. rather than there being a gradual process of creation (i. Statements attesting to this thesis abound in the advaitic literature. that through which we hear). you cannot hear the hearer of sound. Wilber (1993) illustrated this point by comparing the situation to a sword that cannot cut itself. from air. He thought ‘shall I send forth worlds. p. p. 184) stated that. an eye that cannot see itself.” This sloka is an example of the doctrine of “simultaneous creation” (Drishti-srishti vada). the Aitareya-Upanishad holds that. p. p. because the intellect subsides at that precise location” (p. Ajata vada argues that “nothing exists except the one reality [Brahman]” which is eternal and unchanging (Maharshi. the “big bang” theory). This is what is meant in the Brihadaranyaka-Upanishad when it is stated that.. p. For example. p. 58). the cessation of buddhi. p. When the dissolution of Beingness into Brahman occurs during ASCs such as samadhi. He sent forth these worlds’” (Vasu. this is the first miracle. But all of a sudden that Beingness was felt spontaneously. 1979. (p. 331). If the “initial conditions” (i. 1992. from ether. the nature of this cause is held to be unknowable for two reasons. 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. through Beingness the “inner organ” (antahkarana) comprised of intelligence (buddhi). one only. 352). Although drishti-srishti vada postulates a metaphysical entity referred to as Brahman as the cause of the universe. 1970. “All that you see depends on the seer. advaita regards the theory of non-causality (ajata vada) as the ultimate truth. the origin of the Universe. Nisargadatta Maharaj (1987b) delivers the following affirmation: “It is a non-attentive state. As Absolute subjectivity Brahman cannot directly experience itself as a perceptible object. 202). 202). fire (that through which we hear. and It devours them at pralaya. 2005. 138). The Vedanta-sutras of Badarayana echo the sentiments of Sankaracharaya: “From the Self (Brahman) sprang ether (Akasa. ajata vada represents a denial of the orthodox view that the universe has a cause. and mind (manas) is generated (Chapple. “If the Self could perceive His own properties. and manas also takes place. 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. 3. “You cannot see the seer of sight. “In the beginning all this was self.. 37) The salient point contained in the preceding quotation is Nisargadatta Maharaj’s (1987a) reference to Brahman as a “non-knowing state” (p. there is no seen. 1979..… The borderline between Being and NonBeingness is intellect boggling. at the time of dissolution.e.. the period of the sustenance of the Universe. 38).e. This argument is reiterated in Baladeva’s commentary to the Vedanta-sutras of Badarayana in which he wrote. feel. I conceived that the entire universe has manifested in the speck of my Beingness only. 1987a.The Theory of Simultaneous Creation (Drishti-srishti vada) Sri Ramana Maharshi (1985a. just as a rope gives rise to an illusory snake” (Sastry. you cannot know the knower of the known” (Swami & Yeats. and see)” (Vasu. 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. Then in a flash I observed this enormous manifest world and also my body. 184). i. It is suggesting that the universe comes into existence simultaneously with the emergence of the “I” thought (the seer’s sense of beingness). ego or sense of self (ahamkara). So where is the question of remembering? With Beingness attention starts later. Later.e. Hence. 1990. p. Drishti-srishti vada asserts that the cause of the seer’s sense of beingness and hence the universe is Brahman4. or a finger that cannot touch its own tip. a tongue that cannot taste itself. This statement requires further explanation. Apart from the seer. p. 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. Crudely put. The Theory of Non-Causality (Ajata Vada)5 Whereas drishti-shrishti vada is considered a relative truth (i. it is true from the standpoint that we are human beings attempting to achieve liberation from maya). Volume 24 .e. which is absurd. air (that through which we hear and feel). you cannot think the thinker of the thought. there was nothing else blinking whatsoever. 38). First. sense impressions relating to space-time. It generates them at the time of utpatti. In a similar vein. 56). He could also perceive Himself. causality and discrete objects are all regarded as nonveridical perceptions that take place in the mind of the The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.
practitioners have provided phenomenological reports of this altered state in various advaitic texts. 631) exists? However. “Reason cannot grasp the essence of absolute reality.” where p is the universe and q is Brahman. thus. As Wilber (1996) stated. if as drishti-srishti vada suggests Brahman is a non-knowing state in which one’s sense of Beingness and cognitive functioning have been extinguished. First. 19). it is an example of confusing two different modes of knowing: the eye of reason with the eye of contemplation. 1985a). then how does one come to know that such a state exists? Furthermore. If Brahman is attributeless. Modes of Knowing and Category Errors Extrapolating from St. if the cessation of one’s long-term memory system (a cognitive function) occurs during this state. consciousness (chit). Proponents of this theory. 631) for it too must ultimately be Brahman. it generates only dualistic incompatibilities” (p. one’s long-term memory system was still functioning during this state. however. 631) does not exist. 1991. and the universe is subject to space-time. there would be nothing to recall because. Wilber (1996) explicated three modes of knowing: “the eye of flesh. and the eye of contemplation. To quote Wittgenstein (1981/ 1922. and a is imperceptible. Bonaventure. and therefore each of these opposites can Why Does the Universe Exist? 73 . “if p follows from q. p. regard the substance of the universe as being identical to Brahman (Maharshi. if Brahman is atemporal and therefore unable to ‘step’ down into time and space as the ajata vada doctrine argues. then you will create two opposites where there are in fact none. Consequently. 3). One may recall that the term “advaita” translates as “nondual. It is noteworthy. as drishti-srishti vada contends. time. one is unable to address the question. This raises a further question. if the subject is unable to experience itself as a perceptible object and if from an advaitic standpoint everything is the subject (i. 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. p. “Why does the universe exist?” To utilise Wilber’s (1996) terminology. and the mind itself. Finally. 107). along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. the eye of reason. the universe in the orthodox sense of “all space. it must be phenomenologically contentless and therefore attributeless. logical problems associated with advaita vedanta are also based on a category error. asserting that the causes of the universe’s past states are prior past states (Smith. Yet. the sense of ‘p’ is contained in that of ‘q’. one would be unable to recall the experience. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann.” Wilber (1996) argued that if one attempts to translate nondual Reality into dualistic reason. and objects. 1991. Furthermore. obviously.ignorant (ajani). b is also imperceptible. past states and prior past states are considered delusory perceptions from an ajata vada perspective. logic. p. 1995)—on the grounds that space-time and. logic dictates that space-time must also be enfolded in Brahman. existing in a state of latency. Furthermore. then the question. “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. if the universe is an emanation of the eternal Brahman. if one accepts that the universe cannot be a candidate for causal explanation by virtue of being an uncaused appearance in Brahman. for the sake of argument. and bliss (ananda)? Second. and when it tries. does this not place restrictions on a metaphysical entity which is supposedly unrestricted? Furthermore. 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. One may further enquire as to why a delusory perception of the universe as “all space. that ajata vada does affirm the reality of the universe but only when veridically perceived as an uncaused appearance in Brahman.e. “Why does the veridically perceived universe exist?” with reference to an external causal explanation. Brahman) then one should be unable to experience a delusory perception of the universe as “all space. Even if. 1991. if Brahman is non-experiential. Consequently. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. by which we attain a knowledge of philosophy.. surprisingly. on what grounds are proponents of advaita justified in asserting that the characteristics of Brahman are existence (sat). one is precluded from invoking an internal causal explanation of the universe—that is. by which we perceive the external world of space. Consequently. p. by which we arise to a knowledge of transcendent realities” (p. thus. then. If a = b. 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.
End Notes 1. 19). 2. a complete causal explanation of the universe cannot be formulated on the grounds that the “initial conditions” (i. Consequently. in essence. to return to Kant. If a question can be put at all. 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).” time). the theory of simultaneous creation and the theory of non-causality) were subsequently applied to the question. “Why does the universe exist?” in particular. Brahman) are unknowable. in contrast to modern logicians. “Why does the universe exist?” The present author suggests that. the latter is a scientific cosmological question. methods of self-inquiry (Maharshi. Conclusion It was argued there exists a lacuna in the literature with regards to an application of theories constructed a posteriori to the question. 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. 187) 3. 1980). one experiences alterations in the “inner organ” (antahkarana) comprised of intelligence (buddhi).. then it can also be answered. Consequently. (2) As Absolute Subject-ivity.e. 1988) that are held to provide experiential knowledge regarding. personal identity.. that is. the question.g.g. Two a posteriori derived creation theories associated with advaita vedanta (e. Furthermore. employing the human intellect for the purpose of reasoning about a metaphysical entity constitutes a category error. Popper (1959) asserted that: To give a causal explanation of an event means to deduce a statement which describes it.. but not during ordinary or normal waking conscious—and is thus “state specific” (Tart. Brahman cannot be rendered an object of conscious awareness and thus experienced. for example. Wittgenstein (1981/ 1922) wrote that “for an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannot be expressed.g. kevala nirvikalpa samadhi). together with certain singular statements.” (p. whilst the former is a metaphysical question. 1972. shows why reason only generates paradox when it tries to grasp God or the Absolute (p. Bhakti and Rajas yogas) are. the ontology outlined in the doctrine of advaita vedanta was purportedly constructed a posteriori using metaphysical knowledge acquired through ASCs (e. 1998) or “state dependent” (Fischer. 2005. 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. 1991.g. Consequently. and (2) 74 when veridically perceived the universe is an uncaused appearance in Brahman. and mind (manas) and also one’s bodily awareness that may provide insight into the mindbody problem. ego or sense of self (ahamkara). Extrapolating from the theory of ajata vada. during the various grades of samadhi. the mind-body “problem. One may also experience Brahman as the eternal and unchanging reality (Maharshi. Jnana... Clearly the a posteriori perspective used in the present paper may be applied to other metaphysical “problems” (e. “Why does the universe exist?” may not be addressed via a causal explanation because: (1) the universe in the orthodox sense of “all space. from the standpoint of drishti-srishti vada.be rationally argued with equal plausibility-and that. p. Karma. The riddle does not exist.g. using as premises of the deduction one or more universal laws. 631) is held to be a delusory perception.. For instance. 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. the initial conditions... “Why does the universe exist?” It was argued that. the injunctions used by practitioners of advaita vedanta (e.We have thus two different The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. The question “Why does the universe exist?” may be differentiated from the question “How did the universe come into being?” on the grounds that. 1985). along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. 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). samadhi). the nature of personal identity. Volume 24 . Author Note The author would like to thank Stanley Krippner and Peter Baynes for valuable suggestions and comments.
The sense of subjectivity.” the “Great Reality. Perennial philosophy. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. the One-Mind. Huxley.). P. 1988. London: Arkana. The problem of pure consciousness (pp. R. Understanding mysticism (pp. the vast majority of mystical philosophies assert that a metaphysical entity of some kind is the cause of the universe. Guenon. S. 22-74). Idel. S. which is the “Outbreather and Inbreather of infinite universes throughout the endlessness of duration” (Evan-Wentz. S. (1995). hypotheses of the character of natural laws. C. 1980. for example. (1986). 4. 44). (1973). The bhagavad gita and its message. New York: W.). Idel. Woods (Ed. Edwards. Mahayana Buddhism postulates a Transcendental Reality. (1985).’ It is from universal statements in conjunction with initial conditions that we deduce the singular statement. New Haven: Yale University Press. 796-810). Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj. and (2) singular statements. Essays of a humanist. God and philosophy. 53-70). (1954). New York: The Free Press. (1990).. see Katz (1978) and Franklin (1990).. 20. (1941).) (pp. Fischer. (1990). R. Oxford. M. Chapple. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Kabbalah: New perspectives. 1). London: Arkana. For example. M. S. (1982).” In R. J. both of which are necessary ingredients of a complete causal explanation. but it must have been good. 383-398.” the “Indifferent Unity. Hoffman. Gender differences in serial murder: A preliminary analysis. London: Chatto & Windus. (1978). 9. Koestenbaum. i. W. 5. Forman (Ed. The Kabbalah: Its implications for humanistic psychology. Oxford.).K. 1961. An important question is whether all of these various mystical philosophies are referring to the same metaphysical entity or whether. Maharshi. Evans-Wentz. State-bound knowledge: “I can’t remember what I said last night. M. London: Athlone. B. New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation.The initial conditions describe what is usually called the ‘cause’ of the event in question (pp.” En-Sof (Scholem. K. Freeman and Company. Similarly. Be as you are: The teachings of Ramana Maharshi (pp.e. (1994). it is held that in the beginning there is only the “Root of all Roots.). Huxley. Katz. E. P. New York: Oxford University Press Kaufmann. CT: Yale University Press. T. Many aspects of the ajata-vada doctrine have already been alluded to in a previous section of this essay entitled “Avaita Vedanta: An Overview. In S. References Aurobindo. 306-11). Gilson. (1980). 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. Language. The problem of pure consciousness (pp. W. (1996). New Haven.). 1996. Interestingly. Matt. 181-192). In D. Oxford. Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry. Balsekar. The unseen seer and the field: Consciousness in Samkhya and Yoga. E. (1981). R. New York: Yale University Press. Katz (Ed. J. 12) from which emanate the ten seifrot (literally rays) which constitute the physical universe (Hoffman.C. 47-65. Why? In P. In R. (1988). & Heide. In R. (1985a).K. and mysticism. London: Triad Grafton Books. R. p.kinds of statement.. The Tibetan book of the great liberation. Experience and interpretation in mysticism. (1962). 1961. (1964). Twin Lakes. The bhagavad gita. They are (1) universal statements. UK: Oxford University Press.T. (1980). Scholem.T. UK: Oxford University Press. UK: Oxford University Press.C. 1954. epistemology. Easwaran. (1959). 288-304). Universe (3rd ed. Franklin. ‘This thread will break’. The Oxford dictionary of philosophy (2nd ed. Forman (Ed. E. in the writings of the Kabbalah in regard to the mystical philosophy of Jerusalem. A modern introduction to philosophy (3rd ed. Man and his becoming: According to the vedanta. 1985. Blackburn. Creation theories and the reality of the world. An introduction to metaphysics.’’ Therefore my comments in this section shall be necessarily brief. Bombay: Chetana. Y. 2. p. WI: Lotus Light Publications.). p. Godman (Ed.). Keeney. Oxford. UK: Oxford University Press. Brahman and En-sof are qualitatively distinct. Heidegger. 1969). Pap (Eds. which apply to the specific event in question and which I call ‘initial conditions.). (1991). Mysticism and philosophical analysis (pp. R. 33-47. 59-60).H. Edwards & A. Why Does the Universe Exist? 75 . A. For an excellent discussion of this ontological issue.
Powell (Ed. London: Faber & Faber. Longmead. (1993). (1998). (1992/ 1897). Prabhavananda. 4165). 39-47).). The logic of scientific discovery. (1981). Moore (Ed. Hollywood.). Tractatus logico-philosophicus. T. Maharaj. C. (1959). ‘Two Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument”. & Isherwood. 2005. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii. (1987a)..).). Address correspondences to the author at: School of Psychology Deakin University 221 Burwood Hwy Burwood VIC 3125. (1970). B. Inc. (1987b). Tart. (pp. AUSTRALIA. Wheaton. Self-enquiry.). Who am I? In A. Boston: Shambhala. (1981/1922). (1996). Wainwright (eds. Rowe. London: Hutchinson. Philosophical Studies. R. G. Maharshi. The Indian mind: Essentials of Indian philosophy and culture. Godman (Ed. The bhagavad gita: With the commentary of Sri Sankaracharya (7th ed. In R. S. B. CA: Vedanta Press. Metaphysical theories in Indian philosophy. London: Shanti Sadan.au The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. P. Scholem. (1969). & Isherwood. Vasu. Be as you are: The teachings of Ramana Maharshi (pp. York Beach.Maharshi. K. in W. S. In P.A. R.edu. P. Raju. 155-162).). On the Kabbalah and its symbolism. Internal and external causal explanations of the universe.). N. K. 50. UK: Element Books. A. W. India: Samata Books. Maharshi. The vedanta-sutras of Badarayana. CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers. Maharaj. Russell. (1996). (1967). P. 473-490). (1979). Swinburne. The nectar of the Lord’s feet: Final teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (pp. Shastri. R. C. UK: Element Books.). To realize the Absolute. The nectar of the Lord’s feet: Final teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (pp. London: Shanti Sadan.). Powell (Ed. 176. G. Tart. Madras. Science. & Yeats W. The existence of God—A debate. Rowe and W. 103-116. Maine: Samuel Weiser.. UK: Clarendon Press. T. (1961). P.. S. (1969). Oxford. In A.).) (pp. H. Prabhavananda. R. Boston: Shambhala. Wilber.). (1997b). New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. Edwards & A. C. IL: Quest Books. New York: Schocken Books. T. Popper. 79. San Diego. How to know God: The yoga aphorisms of Patanjali. Volume 24 . Wittgenstein. Q. World within the mind (yogavasishtha) (4th ed. Investigating altered states of consciousness on their own terms: A proposal for the creation of state-specific sciences. The spectrum of consciousness (2nd ed. 283-310. Smith. 37-44). (1985b). M. The ten principle upanishads (2nd ed. The collected works of Ramana Maharshi (2nd ed. Shankara’s crest-jewel of discrimination (viveka chudamani) (3rd ed. The Existence of God. In R.. even Beingness has to be transcended. & Copelston. R. Wilber. New York: Schocken Books. Phone: +613 9244 6357 Fax: +613 9244 6858. 76 Shastri. C. (1988). Longmead. Maharshi. R. Osborne (Ed. In D. 51-58). (1997a). Sastry. Beyond the Upanishads. K. (pp. Philosophy of Religion.). B. London: Arkana. S. New York: The Free Press. C.). H. A modern introduction to philosophy (3rd ed. Scholem. 1203-1210. R. (1959).). L. (1978). Direct experience of reality (Aparokshanubhuti). F. 17-38). The collected works of Ramana Maharshi (2nd ed. (1979). In C. Major trends in Jewish mysticism. Maine: Samuel Weiser. Samadhi.). York Beach. N. The essential Kabbalah: The heart of Jewish mysticism. (pp. New York: HarperSanFrancisco. States of consciousness and statespecific sciences. C. (1989). Eye to eye: The quest for the new paradigm (3rd ed. Journal of the Brazilian Association for the Advancement of Science. (1972). The spiritual teaching of Ramana Maharshi. Osborne (Ed. D.). Matt. C. (1995). Swami. Email: rock@deakin. (1973). London: Routledge. Hollywood. CA: Vedanta Press. Pap (Eds.
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. Correspondence regarding this introduction. 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. offering a series of six presentations drawn from the 70-some offerings on the program. The following pages constitute a small tour of the conference. Gennady Brevde. frankly broaching issues of power and leadership in psychotherapy training organizations. Mark Burno (Russia) shared fruits from 30 years of practice using “spiritual culture” as an avenue to therapy. He made an insightful distinction between idealist and materialist approaches to spirituality. He began with a fascinating clinical story that shows the practical value of an esoteric approach. with the support of several other organizations.SPECIAL TOPIC: RUSSIAN SOUL: A REPORT FROM THE EUROPEAN TRANSPERSONAL ASSOCIATION Russian Soul: A Report from the European Transpersonal Association 2005 Conference in Moscow Glenn Hartelius T he 2005 European Transpersonal Association (EUROTAS) conference exemplified its theme of “Human Consciousness and Human Values in an Interconnected World.” The Russian Association of Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. or the EUROTAS conference can be directed to the author at payattention1@mac. 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. graciously hosted over 200 participants from more than 20 countries. Rupert Tower (UK) used an enchanting Russian fairy tale to lead us into the shadow. 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. Vladimir Maykov. He spoke from a uniquelyinformed vantage point. translating tirelessly between English and Russian.” Jason’s work reaches deep into theoretical and scientific realms to understand experiences of transformation he witnesses with his clients.com Special Topic: Russian Soul 77 . as one of the most accomplished members of the Russian transpersonal community and part of the underground transpersonal movement in the late Soviet era. and a team of volunteers guided us through four days of presentations (June 23-26).
M. Nalimov. Steiner. Schestov. Vertnadsky.V. How does this wounding manifest itself? Personal development is different in Russia than in the West.F. K. which includes the mystical doctrine of hesychasm.I. Contemporary shamans live and work in places such as Buryat. Gurdjieff. Many academic scientists have been drawn to this perspective. as the pure potentiality of life that pulls you out of bondage. Fyodorov.M. Altai. George lancing the dragon. it includes both a practice in which the saying of prayers is synchronized with the breath. In the end. In the modern layer. Dostoevsky. First. as noted by the academician D. Volume 24 . Then there is a more modern layer. Russia. which establish its origins in distant antiquity. Rather. and academician V. Yet it is not easy to explain our inner being. This rich tapestry underlies Russian thinkers and writers of recent centuries who embody within their works the principles and spirit of transpersonalism. the existentialist writings of authors such as L. and Khakassiya. Blavatsky. Russia has its own shamanic culture.K. Even though the transpersonal vision is new in the West. The Russian transpersonal project of today is more highly professional and many-sided than ever before. Clearly. market economy and declaration of human rights. There is an archetypal wounding of the Russian soul. it becomes a personality. there is an ancient layer of shamanism—a practice that continues in Russia to this day. the more you cry. I identify seven different roots of Russian transpersonalism. the Russian soul must spend its life striving to become a personality—trying to become functional in society.N. democracy.S. Mamardashvili. the soul behind Russian transpersonalism. and a contemplative phenomenon in which one’s chest begins to vibrate and shake. Lihachev. A. a country with centuries-old transpersonal roots. typified by the image of St. In Russia. and Russian Orthodox Church. The continuous historical development of this transpersonal urge was interrupted early in the 20th century.E. M. the body is born. A.P. Russians experience space as open sky.The Transpersonal Tradition in Russian Culture Vladimir Maykov T he transpersonal tradition is deeply rooted in Russian culture.N. the theosophy of E. Yakutiya. there is no strict adherence to any one epistemology or theoretical framework. Russia is geographically connected to Asia. Together these inform the modern transpersonal project in Russia. laying the groundwork for the founding of the Russian Association of Humanistic Psychology in 1990. you are left with empty nothingness. Second is a layer of Russian paganism: Celtic paganism held sway over western Russia for centuries and left its imprint. the anthroposophy of R. space holds a 78 special place in Russian consciousness.transpersonal. it becomes a spiritual being. Bakhtin. it is traditional in Russia. Mihejkin. Losev. and then it spends its life striving to become a spiritual being. is poised to speak with the entire world in the common language of the transpersonal. It has been said that excavating the Russian soul is like peeling an onion: the more you penetrate its layers. We can see three distinct layers underlying the Russian transpersonal tradition. lawful state. In the 1970s and 80s a broader transpersonal underground developed. Tuvinia. M. Russian Orthodox mysticism invokes altered states of consciousness. In addition. In fact. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at www. In May of 2002 we took a further step toward professional development with the founding of the Russian Association of Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. shortly after Perestroika. there is the Russian religious philosophy of N. the Fourth Way of G. The first of these is the Russian Orthodox Church. In addition to Russian Christianity. This symbol has been central to Russian national imagery for five hundred years. But there is almost a full absence of personality in the Western sense of the word. Celtic pagan tradition. Although there are many aspects to hesychasm. Pyatigorsky and V. covering the last thousand years. Unlike any other country in the world. Tsilokovsky. Transpersonalism is thus inherent in the Russian soul. 2005. with its correlatives of civil society. yielding a community in which intensive searches are conducted in many directions.ru The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. through wounding. Berdyaev and L. In the West. Tolstoy and F. 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. the body is born and. the Near East and Europe. and the tradition of Russian cosmism of such visionaries as S.
e. The focus moves away from the artifact of this process (i. the personal self ) and into the process itself. how we might think about redefining those narratives. that I might want to live? Although narcissistic. Rather. This self-image is identified as me. There are six stages in Lancaster’s model of this process: 1. We are the medium of ideas—they live. What self am I.” or “I-tagging. Rather. and how its organization might be made secure enough to be sustained over time. How do we approach this? What might be the mechanism of this self-process? In his book. in a semiotic and narrative context. in the “continual creative advance of nature. breed. a London-based center that uses a holistic multi-disciplinary approach to addiction involving complementary therapies and psychotherapy (individually and in groups). or not? Here.coretrust. a set of neurons fire Special Topic: Russian Soul 79 . 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. readers interested in learning more about CORE are encouraged to visit www. Following Pickering’s argument. Here we meet James Hillman’s (1983) idea that you need to heal the story. this is not simply the end of the matter.uk).” comes late in this sequence of six events that make up the perceptual process. In its raw form this basic question is an insoluble and often torturous dilemma: Should I live. the assumptions about the nature and qualities of the self that are at stake remain unexamined. which occurred whilst on a lonely holiday to Turkey in 1997. 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.” If the self is also such a process. Here then we return to the inspirational images that open this short paper.e. this question opens the door to useful inquiry. it piques us with the question. However this is not a self as thing but as a process that alters with the ever-changing tides of inner and outer narrative. As I lay beside my hotel pool exhausted from looking at rocks piled up by the ancients. structures of activity. not the person. From here it becomes possible to explore how the self-image of the client is organized. I work at the CORE Trust. From a Buddhist perspective. it occurred to me that ideas live in us as we live in the world. onticly and diachronically secure). I would view these processes as being essentially semiotic in nature — that is. inadequate parenting and dysfunction. Lancaster identifies the fact that the process of identifying a “self. Here I am thinking about process as does Pickering (1999) in terms of Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy. I became fascinated with this as process. Approaches to Consciousness (2004). What is this self that I experience? Following from the imagery above and my multidisciplinary work at the CORE Trust (note. In therapy this question can and often does transform into the more useful question. For the purposes of understanding consciousness. Access to this process would then mean access to the possibility of more effective and more useful narratives. and the evolution of those structures to be inherent in the character of reality. For example. I was unable to sustain my image of self as a “thing” (i. and as imagery that helps me describe the work I have done over the last 12 years treating people who are struggling with addiction. composed of culturally-meaningful signs—and negotiated through narrative. and the cultural milieu from which they arise. of course. 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. In the process of seeing an object. a process that can radically change the self-experience of the client. Lancaster recognizes the link between cognitive neuroscience approaches and mystical approaches. 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. it seems to me. this self is an illusion. and die in us.co.. Whitehead (1933) considers transitional processes. However.Synthesis and Plurality: Stories of the Self Jason Wright T his essay was inspired by an epiphany. with the whole project held as a community. Les Lancaster brings together cognitive neuroscience and mysticism to explore the nature of consciousness. I shall use his ideas here to think about how we might generate and sustain the process of self.
Volume 24 . The goal. and her linkage of violence and intimacy. one that 80 enables the client to cope with his or her experience creatively rather than destructively—a narrative that is open and containing rather than destructive and constraining. How does this operate in my practice as a transpersonal psychotherapist working with addicted people? The essential frame is to effect a de-identification with the self. including the narrative interpretation. chronic low self-esteem and habitual self-destructiveness. but had gone on to work in demanding and prestigious jobs. In individual therapy she identified her violent and abusive experiences in childhood as causing problems. is to develop an overarching narrative with the client. Toward the end of the fifth month. For Lancaster. if there is one. offers the opportunity to decrease the reinforcing nature of the I-tag. The client presented to CORE with alcohol. or the mind of God. her mother was still alive. this is the moment when the I-narrative and the perceptual process come together. 2005. the client and her therapist explored issues of trust and relationship. Under mundane conditions the nature of I-tagging is powerful. but late in the perceptual process. memory is updated by relaying back the current perception. Lancaster suggests that such deconstruction. The perceived object is incorporated in the individual’s ongoing meaning narrative. so she attempted to control the situation by evoking her familiar narrative cycle of non-compliance and the violence it historically evoked. It was not possible for her to determine the safest way to meet the needs of the CORE project as caregiver. Concurrently in her individual therapy. and would lay down on the floor hiding her face. Perhaps the best way to illustrate it is with a brief clinical example: B was 41 at the time of presentation. These are the bare bones of the personal narrative. 2. The sense of I-ness is added prior to the normal waking experience of consciousness. polydrug habits and difficulties with eating. Within the analytic frame of repetition compulsion. 1996) view of narrative reconstruction or soul making from a case history to teleological soul history. through meditation or other mystical processes. a tendency to isolate herself. The memory process responds to the input. be that in a classical psychoanalytic frame such as a Winnicott’s (1951) model of transitional space or a Hillman’s (1983. The sense of self is continually reinforced by registering new I-tagged perceptions into the individual-meaning narrative. but experienced initial ambivalence toward the community. 4. B attended well during her time at CORE. Here the CORE narrative and her personal narrative came into conflict. 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. She left home and school at age 15. with significant defining features such as violence. particularly with respect to difficulties in relating to people. She had been treated violently by both parents throughout her childhood. and action in the world. The advantage of studying this process from a mystical perspective such as Abhidhamma is that it points out this deconstruction of the perceptual process. death. Her father had been deceased for 10 years. to the thoughts of the world. Finally. speaking rarely.image within “me” in order to imagine differing possibilities. 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. but it conveys an active role in the perceptual process—there is a clear transition from perceptual mechanism to narrative. and thereby allows the possibility for a greater number of associative schemata to reach consciousness. and she had one sister. the kernel of the story is here. 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 are analyzed through the visual cortex. There is no literal translation for the word javana. Various schemata are activated through neural resonance. it becomes possible to develop more effective and more useful narratives. Here is the experience of shared narrative ideas that is essential to developing the therapeutic work. Through altering the relationship between the narrative of self and the narratives of experience. 5. The important feature to grasp is that this activity goes on outside of normal awareness. B was beginning to recognize that she had agency in relationship and was not simply the victim of The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. She found it difficult to talk in group. Here we are immediately into the ground of psychotherapeutic work. Identity of an “object” is established separate from the background information. In Abhidhamma this is known as javana. examined her difficulties with shame. and then not in a self-disclosing manner. 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. 6. 3.
The conflict between the two narrative streams became unbearable and she relapsed into addictive behavior. and cannabis. In S. Firstly of course it isn’t long enough. contained her and. UK: Imprint Academic. and perhaps to a normative narrative. (1933). New York: Stanton Hill Press. I self-harmed: burning myself.” Through deconstruction of the narrative stream it is possible to engage the underlying process and avoid over-identification with the images it throws up. The self as semiotic process. I’d used alcohol for 29 years and drugs for 26…. historic experiences that had previously been unbearable began to emerge into consciousness. and a deeper sense of self slowly emerged. Pickering. That is true liberation. “Gandhi. J. but I can contain my feelings without using. That the self advances and confirms the myriad things is called delusion. New York: Random House. Cambridge. (Aitkin. she read her own case history. trying to find a way I could cause myself more pain than what I already felt.W. Approaches to consciousness. J (1996). which through time and the process of the psyche develop into the image or icon called “self. D.). Ultimately the newfound story. She is continuing in higher education. just fragmentary memories of agues.). Wiley. Most significantly. Cambridge. Transpersonal psychotherapy is not just about the content of our being. Deep Ecology: Living As If Nature Mattered (pp. Her personal narrative was being negotiated within the containing narrative framework of CORE. Over the next few months the client explored many of her intimate relationship. Devall & G. Before alcohol. 232–35). it became apparent that there wasn’t a time without the feelings that made me want to self-destruct…. 229-242). Another strange thing is how completely different I feel for the vast majority of the time. the client’s non-compliant behavior in group was still at issue. Through CORE I have repaired myself enough to attempt a fulfilling. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at jasonwright@mac. UK: Cambridge University Press. p. Gallagher & J. (1985). Dogen. N. She considered that she might be able to pull the parts of her self together to feel more whole. As of this moment. We are back to the main idea for defining self: a set of confluent narratives woven into a master narrative. (1951). but couldn’t understand. as later did heroin. (1999). R. When I got to CORE. this new and more useful selfimage better contains her narrative and her experiences. clean and sober life. I still have bad days when I plummet to the depths of despair and self-hatred instantaneously. She was able both to contain and reveal difficult feelings and the story behind them. 1985.circumstance. Hillman. in this context. it doesn’t begin to explain the circumstances or the level of distress that I felt to start using when I was 12. Healing fiction. she was able to bear the memory of her father’s sexual abuse. L. Winnicott. Here we evidence a fundamental alteration of the client’s narratives in relation to herself. That the myriad things advance and confirm the self is enlightenment.com References Aitken. cocaine and speed made me not care whether I felt pain or not. Sessions (Eds. A. particularly with members of her immediate family. London: Institute of PsychoAnalysis and Karnac Books. bouncing my head off walls. Transitional objects and transitional phenomena. and enlightening. She became capable of tolerating her experiences and re-envisioning herself. Substance free. but also learning to be aware of the context within which we experience being itself. B. Salt Lake City. stitching my fingers together. Lancaster.Models of the Self (pp. to read a case history of yourself. someone else’s version of your narrative. the client is still in psychotherapy and has remained clean for 15 months since leaving CORE.) Exeter. However. CORE. As part of this process. and I am fortunate that support is available through CORE’s weekly after-care treatment that I attend. (1983). 62-83. N. In response she wrote: It’s very strange. Shear (Eds. (1994). 232). whilst developing a new overarching narrative in which she was no longer trapped in her circumstances as a victim. My linear narrative didn’t start until I was nine. The semiotic self. (2004). The souls code. J.” In B. UT: Peregrine Smith Books. Science and the modern world. and new self-image. Alcohol made me not feel pain. In Through paediatrics to psychoanalysis (pp. Special Topic: Russian Soul 81 . Whitehead. It is through the interaction of differing narratives that such changes in the client’s narrative stream were possible. and Deep Ecology. tranquilizers. UK: Polity Press. Hillman. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
In my experience there are three sources of such attacks: 1) the presences of those who have died. it will be necessary The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.” “But you are harming her. I bring this young woman into deep relaxation and. threatening her life. by causing her to faint. Volume 24 . Medical tests detect no problem. Picture an independent young woman who suddenly begins to have fainting spells. As a result. the glories of penetrating other realms. and 3) living persons. 1997. but then you hit anxiety. They are a real feature of the spiritual dimension of human life.” For the psychologist who encounters these phenomena. 1997. I help her approach a state where she can access information about her condition. I underwent many of them over a period of 20 years. Jahn & Dunne 1994.” but only about aggressive “entities. You have your moments of light. Bem & Honorton. they would be damaging to the subjects). Nelson. Her EEG and EKG are normal. This is all true: it is nice to learn a spiritual path.” After some further conversation. 2005. causing her to faint. 1997. I say. This is a man who had recently died. You go to the teacher for help. Dobyns & Bradish. These dangers include more than the souls of the deceased. In any case. but a therapeutic strategy that involves the soul of a dead person is effective in relieving a condition that standard treatments cannot resolve. the father of a friend. many religions and traditions describe the phenomenon of psychic attack. Then I ask. 1994). Some teachers naively tell you that you should meditate a lot. to expand.The Psychic Defense Vitor Rodrigues I want to introduce my subject by telling you about the case of a client who came to me. I speak to this man that she is experiencing. she is likely to faint and end up floating facedown in the water. Here we have a scientific problem: there is no proof of an afterlife. I believe they are right—even if you do not speak about “demons. and he or she tells you it is only coming from inside you—so. But all religious traditions talk about outer demons as well. “Do you know you are dead?” The young woman reports that he says. Then I ask her to tell me what is happening. In the end. parapsychology research suggests it is not only possible to influence thoughts at a distance (Radin. Many teachers picture the wonders of conscious expansion. and the young woman is able to resume her life. She tells me that he had had sort of a crush on her. On the other hand. 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. She sees that at times he suddenly pulls her out of her physical body. 1997. meditate more. Although she is an excellent swimmer. it is necessary to understand such attacks. In the end. there is at least some chance that you may experience a serious breakdown. What such teachers say is partially true: you are dealing with your inner demons. Until we have more scientific-sounding words to talk about this dynamic. 1997). then there are some dangers in these realms—even for those who are not on a path. 2) other entities. However. Gradually I came to understand how these episodes were constructed and how to deal with them. as illustrated by the previous story. the possibil82 ity of psychic attack is something we cannot directly test for empirically due to ethical constraints (we would have to consider the fact that if the attacks were effective. he is apparently able to recall his death. she cannot swim. Dalton. Within a few days the fainting spells cease. If you follow this advice. it may happen that you end up in some trouble. Jahn. even in waist-deep water. she cannot work or drive. Dunne. After a few moments. but also possible to influence biological systems at a distance (Nelson. From my adolescence onward. she is not epileptic. 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. the man agrees to leave the young woman and goes “across” with a being of light. to have meaning in your life. She describes that she sees a man. If you follow their advice. Schlitz & Braud. Ostrander & Schroeder. Bradish. I myself had to learn a lot about psychic attacks. “Do you know you are harming this woman?” “No I am not! I just love her. using particular techniques. But if the folktales speak truly. Perhaps we should take seriously the possibility that these occurrences are on some level real. After giving the woman some instructions for creating a psychic defense against his unwanted presence.
Strange pains that do not respond to painkillers. though it is difficult to do such experiments ethically. Fortunately. as if someone is pressing with a finger. One way to understand outer demons is as subtle presences that connect with us through these inner flaws and who cultivate those flaws. Nightmares (most are from indigestion. a few related experiments have been done under laboratory conditions (for some hints at a modern version. Panic attacks (while most such attacks result from stress and worry. Unfortunately I have found very few authors dealing with the matter of psychic attacks in a somewhat realistic way (Bailey. Left unchecked. or back of head. 2. are our own unfinished business—unwholesome fears. then puts it some place to rot. Paranoia—the feeling that someone or something is after you. 7. such as rottenness. that are suspended in a precise location. sperm. stress. or as if some specters or demons are present—-sometimes the dream experience is one of being encaged or otherwise imprisoned). Unexplained fainting. and personal problems. But in some ways the doll also helps the practitioner project his or her own energy and intention. feeling a burdensome weight. photograph. 12. producing a specific pain.” of course. but other incidents have a quality of vividness and may feel as if an octopus or some other threatening thing is grabbing the person. and “normal explanations” have Special Topic: Russian Soul 83 .to use traditional terms—at the risk of speaking in language associated with medieval superstition. uncontrollable emotion. Once the connection is established. Another variation is a cursed stabbing knife that is placed where the victim will find it. Psychic attacks can also come from humans. A charge is an object filled with bad feelings and bad intentions. The intended outcome is that the negative qualities in the knife will induce the victim to use the blade to kill himself. nails. some are different in origin and come on when everything in life is OK.. 1997). A sense of constriction and despair. Direct visions (e. this is not so easy to accomplish. Unexplained illness that cannot be diagnosed by medicine. 5. 13. some will try to project their own negative energy onto you. when more conventional causes or cures do not work. 2001). 4. to a psychologist. spine. and 17. Some classical experiments seem to produce interesting effects. connects it to the victim in the same manner as a dajida. 9. is a probable sign of schizophrenia. mostly if several symptoms like the ones above are showing up together. A sound of bells that comes from nowhere. Waking up and feeling as if movement is impossible. 8. 14. reinforced by the folkloric beliefs of the victim. worry. saliva. a girlfriend of mine was combing her hair in front of the mirror. occurring as a sudden feeling of intense anguish or fear. Some will try to perform interesting rituals. Naturally. or a bedcover has seemed to become a python). 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. Symptoms of psychic attack include the following: 1. Part of the effect is through suggestion. what kind of a model can we use to understand outer “demons?” “Inner demons. and saw black serpents in her hair. 3. while other clients have seen a vampire at the door. A feeling that someone is blowing on the back of your neck. they are living normal productive lives and some small percentage of these may result from psychic attacks). all of these symptoms may arise from causes other than psychic attack. 11. such as a dead cat. 6. intense. the sorcerer gets a cat or rat. 1930. blood. Two of the main procedures of classic witchcraft are the dajida and the charge. However. Fortune. such as a bit of that person’s hair. but no one is there. and some will ask for help from demonic entities. greeds and ambitions.g. see Ostrander & Schroeder. or a piece of clothing that has been worn for some time. Pressure on the back of the neck. which of course. Fatigue. Repulsive odors. but in my experience many people who hear voices clearly are not schizophrenic—that is. Sudden. it is possible that the symptom may result from such an attack. Typically. it is believed that what the practitioner does to the doll will happen to the victim at a distance. A persistent stinging in parts of the body. these unwholesomenesses lead to evil actions. 15. However. The rotting process is intended to have repercussions on the victim. weakness. A dajida is a witchcraft doll prepared by the practitioner of dark arts and sympathetically connected to the victim by means of a sample. 10. or the sensing of a threat that may occur with nausea). 16. If we assume there is some kind of real phenomenon behind such reports. a feeling of oppressive darkness that is darker than the absence of light. Hearing threatening voices.
Psychological Bulletin. 62-73. 115(1). Psychic self-defense.. L. W. Nelson. (1997). R. J. justice. Does psi exist? Replicable evidence for an anomalous process of information transfer. A linear pendulum experiment: Effects of operator intention on damping rate. Dalton. G. There are specific protocols for treatment of such conditions. Jahn. D.pt 84 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Dunne. J. References Bailey. Fortune. & Honorton. G. New York: Marlowe & Company. (1997).. Alternative Therapies. J. Schlitz. New York: Lucis. Radin. J. The conscious universe. Volume 24 . (1994). Dobyns.. Y. 3(6). Proceedings of presented papers at the Parapsychological Association 40th Annual Convention held in Conjunction with The Society for Psychical Research. ME: Samuel Weiser. eventually it will amount to black magic: the manipulation of psychic energies for your own purposes. Bem. R.first been ruled out.. so God’s plan is your plan. Letters on occult meditation. (1997). 2005. S. If a person such as my client wants to develop her power. Ostrander. will start moving in harmony with God’s plan for the purposes of love. we learn to let go of our own personalities so something different can happen spontaneously inside of us. B. & Bradish. 8(4). K. & Braud. If done properly. Psychic discoveries. B. (1994). Bradish. Journal of Scientific Exploration. 471-489. 12(3). (1997). 4-18.. Nelson. Cary. This is a coincidence: moving in unity with everything. According to the spiritual traditions of the world this different thing. Vulnerability to such attacks can also be decreased by the development of personal and spiritual power. J. D. Distant intentionality and healing: Assessing the evidence. As power develops. York Beach. R. & Dunne. Journal of Scientific Exploration. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at psicosophos@mail. C. A. Exploring the links: Creativity and psi in the Ganzfeld. R. 425-454. North Carolina: Parapsychological Association. H.telepac. she will have power—but she must use that power with love. Jahn. (1930/2001). G. which is really our soul. FieldREG II: Consciousness field effects: Replications and explorations. M. which are omitted from this review. she must deal with her inner demons. D. D. & Schroeder. If not. D.. New York: HarperEdge. (1997). (1930).. and beauty.
Spirit is no less important to the materialist. emitting spirit. Transpersonal State (Grof ). Such people feel the state of creative inspiration as an emission of their own bodies. Alexander Yarotsky (1908.On Therapy by Means of Spiritual Culture Mark E. With the help of many others.” So. It reminds us of how the girl in Gogol’s story speaks of the stars in the sky. Yet the state of creative inspiration can be felt in different ways according to the nature of the particular soul. 2005). the state of creative inspiration is often understood as something sent from Above. and so forth. it includes not only what is sent to us from Above. Psychosynthesis (Assagioli). “The angels open the windows of their houses. 2002. 1917).” It begins by viewing a painting by the Russian artist Vasiliy Polenov entitled “Christ and the Sinner. they are more in the natural-scientific stream. to find their own psychotherapy. Idealism as a Physiologic Factor (1908). This is realistic pictorial art on a religious theme. I have worked out this psychotherapeutic method over more than 30 years (see Burno. we have one image of spirit for idealists and another for materialists. 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. in accordance with one’s own nature. She says. He understood idealism as a state of captivity to altruistic ideals. Special Topic: Russian Soul 85 . Personal Growth (Rogers). as to a receiver. The approach is different for differing patients. This session is called “Polenov and Rublev. This approach is more of an idealistic relationship to a transcendent spirituality. but also those with a more idealistic nature. Logos (Frankl). Because of this. for it is the origin of Spirit. Burno T herapy by means of spiritual culture is a psychotherapeutic approach in which the leading psychotherapeutic mechanism is that of creative self-expression. we can say that Pushkin and Chekov are spiritual writers. realistically depicted. natural history. a physician with a materialistic worldview. In Russia. of God. the Russian notion of spirituality is broader. but without an idealistic. that is. This method helps not only people of a materialistic outlook. In Western tradition. The essence of the method is as follows: The patients with painful feelings of inferiority study elements of clinical psychiatry. his or her own body is the source of spirit. This image of Christ is the glance of the transcendental world. So. In order to live naturally.” In Polenov’s picture. these then become real orienting points for following one’s own spiritual nature: one’s own nature. In this way. For such a person. is one of the fathers of Russian clinical psychotherapy in the natural-scientific approach. or it may take the natural-scientific form of creative self-expression. therapy by means of spiritual culture may be creative inspiration that takes a more religious. For example. we would not see the stream of Spirit flowing from his eyes. characterology. Jesus is a young but wise man: wholly human. and the hair is just an inarticulate mass. For the idealist it must be this way: the face of Christ should not be full-blooded and alive. The nose looks rather like a duck’s bill. Self-Actualization (Maslow). This same distinction can be seen in psychotherapy. idealistic form. this state is called Freedom (Fromm). As such. In Russia. one must study one’s own natural features. but it is secondary: body (matter) emits spirit. Here we see the face of Jesus. but is also Something emitted by ourselves. there are many intellectuals with this materialistic understanding of spirituality. the famous Russian artist and monk of the 15th century. and psychotherapy in order to learn to express themselves creatively in harmony with their natural characterological peculiarities. an individual with a more idealistic nature will experience spirituality and creative inspiration quite differently than one with a more materialist bent. Then we view an icon by Anton Roublev. Yarotsky named his classical book. If the face were lifelike. creative inspiration. there are more people of a materialistic nature of soul than in the West or the Far East. religious worldview. but we do not know whether the neck is male or female.
Volume 24 .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. 2005. 49-53. A. 3(25-28). Native psychotherapy in Russia. (1917). Yarotsky. Idealizm kak fiziologichesky factor. M. E. Burno. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. (2002). M. (1908). E. Yarotsky. 71-76. I. I. O psykoterapii pri hronicheskih vnutrenih boleznyah. 7(1). Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. Russky Vrach . 4(2). Therapy by means of creative self expression. Yuruev: Yuryevsky Universitet. A. 433-444. (2005).
And he himself. “So. They had a nice feast and spent the night together and tried to plan a way to escape the czar.” he said. but by making the darkness conscious.” And the czar answered. and how later generations may unconsciously carry the Shadow for the founders. The latter procedure. she said. your head must come off!” The bold young man went off to hide. In the discussion that follows. but when she came back and saw the bold youth sitting there. “All right. called “The Black Magician Czar. but the youth said “No. is disagreeable and therefore not popular. pp. Tomorrow I will hunt for you and if you don’t succeed in hiding yourself. and sent his servants to find him and bring him before him. She saw him and opened the window and he flew in. 236-9). I will also draw upon six informal qualitative interviews that I conducted with senior. “now your head must come off your shoulders!” But the youth replied that it had been arranged that he should have three tries. But a very bold young man got up and said.” Everybody who sat there remained silent and turned pale. The Black Magician Czar There was a czar who was a black magician and a very powerful ruler. Finally I wish to suggest innovative forms of holding authority and leadership for the 21st century. bold young man. the czar again consulted his magic book and discerned the youth’s hiding place. 1967.” describes an encounter with the Shadow and how to cope with it. shape-changing into several animals. but only on the third attempt. Council for Psychotherapy. The youth departed once more. 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. The next day he went to open fields and turned himself into a blade of grass. “Czar. the last one. 335) cut off the youth’s head (and found great pleasure in his evil game).” as he still had another chance to hide. and the czar agreed. He went out of the city and shape-changed into a weasel. However. Then he turned himself into a ring she put on her finger. On the third day there was another dinner party and the czar made the same offer. across the blue sea and put him on the magician czar’s window. “What impertinence!” She seized him by the collar and flew with him out of the nest. I will examine how power and leadership are held. Inside her room he turned himself back into a young man and had a nice private dinner with the czar’s daughter. The bird was not there at the time. 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. The youth left the palace. and then a falcon. 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. found the youth and demanded that his head must come off his shoulders. The next day the czar issued the same challenge and again a bold young man suffered the same fate. and was again admitted to the czar’s daughter’s room where he turned into his own form. and shape-changed into a grey wolf. and then a falcon and flew in front of the czar’s daughter’s window. and the czar let him go. a pike. Based in large part on their experiences of encountering the Shadow during difficult transitions and periods of conflict within their organisations. But once again the czar consulted his magic book. took a sharp sword and 87 . however.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.” (Jung. and after my death he can rule over my whole empire. but the czar read his book of magic and found out where the youth had gone. Flying over mountains and cliff. 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. par. hide yourself. a drill.K. There was a third bold young man who said he could escape him. the czar. This tale. I can hide from you and escape. The youth changed himself into a fly.
p. They hunted and hunted. 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. 10). An organisation is an ongoing drama enacted by fallible players. 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. The czar is a diabolical “negative shadow” figure whose primary drive is to dominate and retain power. He is unable to recognise the limits of reality or the existence of the other. Any possibility of dialogue is prevented through an atmosphere of terror and dehumanisation (Biran. or anyone who dared to hold a different vision to the status quo would be isolated. Those young men who also attempt to adopt a power attitude are swiftly beheaded. which cannot be misused by evil forces. which misinterprets the way of the feminine. “Good morning. secret underside to organisational life” (Schwartz.of flint. was likely to be cut down in czar-like fashion. Meanwhile the black magician began to read and search his magic book. The second and third day passed. where the character of organisational life more viscerally resembles a “snakepit” in which “there must be for each of us. and his primary 88 motivation to possess power. So they went back to the empire. mighty czar. Now your head must come off your shoulders. The czar looked in his book and thought that he must be there. or vulnerability. 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.” the youth said. where the idea of the organisation as a unity (the ego ideal) contrasts radically with reality. disagree and voice criticism. 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. since he had not found the youth. mighty czar”. but his servants found the nest but no youth. fragility. and seeks possession through personal will alone. One morning the maid got up and started to lay the fire. connects us with our spontaneity. The czar himself joined in the hunt. “you have sought me for three days and had given up the search. and to acknowledge limitation–and a degree of trust in staying with the mess and chaos of a creative. The czar’s willingness to kill the bold freshness of ardent youth reflects a drama prevalent with an omnipotent fantasy of omniscience. 2005. a firestone. any perceived challenge to the leaders’ authority.” “No. Volume 24 . Typically. The youth became the czar’s son-in-law and got half the empire. She took the flint stone and rubbed it on some steel. and he knows a way to approach the feminine principle so that he is helped three times. The czar thought that. he said. and lay down by the fireplace. eventually in some cases leading to organisational decay and breakdown. and an instinctual living basic nature of the psyche. individually and collectively. a distinct transitional stage showed itself The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. a shameful. that caused a rot to gain hold from within. misuses power. debate. where it felt safe enough to question. Alongside this. he could no longer be alive on the earth. which contained many inherent strengths. bold young man. The interviews also showed that when an organization goes through the demise or departure of a founder. deeper consciousness that utilises wit and emotional intelligence. to be unsure or unclear sometimes about where the project was going. The black czar’s magical book seems to represent a closed system of magic. 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. I have now come voluntarily. 2003). nastiness and destructiveness. and on the death of the czar he was to ascend the throne. Now I should have half the kingdom and your daughter as my wife!” The czar could do nothing. “Good morning. which told him the youth was in the Magovei bird’s nest. so the two were married and had a wonderful wedding feast. He represents openness to a wider. competitiveness. The hero in this tale succeeds because he is able to receive knowledge directly from its natural source. 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. immediacy. processing space of not knowing. It was the denial of this reality. the failure to recognize faults within themselves and to discern the fantasy nature of the organisational ideal. What seemed increasingly to be held in the Shadow in these instances were the qualities of ordinary humanness–the permission to express fallibility. 1990. and these shadow qualities would be projected onto the imagined perpetrators. the stone flew out of her hand and there stood the youth.
98).tower@btopenworld. death. devolve. References Biran. and disillusionment. New York: New York University Press.). C. and it may drop and fall. Initially a period of intellectual stimulation follows. Hold it too loosely. (2005). prior to finding a reframed identity. C. Hull. Greenleaf. & L. N. Jung: Vol. and (3) the Catastrophe. (2) the Enlightenment. Schwartz. G. Introduction to social dreaming: Transforming thinking. 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. Manning. Hinshelwood & N. Jung.). 13. C. H. The collected works of 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. and it may break. Wellings. (2005). The Servant-leader within: A transformative path (H. p. (1991). and the Shadow goes underground.com Special Topic: Russian Soul 89 . 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. Group Analysis. Spears.: Princeton University Press. Listen to the voice within: A Jungian approach to pastoral care. and be shared by individuals that are able to provide many differing qualities of leadership in differing circumstances according to their particular style. strengths and personal attributes. London: Free Association Books.J. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1979. London: Karnac. (1987). The shadow of the object. C. Gordon. Narcissistic process and corporate decay: The theory of the organisational ideal. hold it too tightly. London: SPCK Publishing. Eds. 2005). The difficulty of transforming terror into dialogue. and in open-hearted gestures of kindness and the courage of forgiveness. 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. There are several methods for mediating with shadow influences that can aid such a process of internal self-examination. N. 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. TX: Spring Publications. (1990). p. Dallas. messiness and diverse ideas remain and flourish but are held. Creative methods such as these may help us to own. R. R. Princeton. 2003). but outer groups are constellated. It is within the oft unspoken.amidst the vacuum and chaos. The saviour fantasy must be relinquished. rage and mourning for what was lost with the original founder has to be faced. (1967). (2003). (2003). G. Hobson. where difference. Nothing to lose: Psychotherapy. Buddhism and living life. M-L. breakdown and usually unnamed destructive components of the process force themselves into consciousness (Perry. individual differences and anxieties are denied. 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. W. R. 2005. E. Collective leadership is yet another paradigm in which mutual interconnection configures the presence of collective leadership.” London: Continuum. inevitably the pain. It is in the holding of the tensions of these polarities that the “unthought known” (Bollas. allowing leadership to shift. unassuming acts of determination to bear difference. Beazley. Therapeutic Communities (pp. Shadow and evil in fairytales. The Messianic community. C. The Jungian analyst Robert Hobson calls this the “therapeutic community disease” (Hobson. 490-502. but of peer to peer. However. 36(4). J. (1979). 103-112). 232). Von Franz. Beggs. New York: Paulist Press. a potential Saviour Hero who will bring revitalizing purpose to the organization. 1987) of the transcendent function can reveal itself. (GordonLawrence. 1991). Trans. unnoticed. He outlines three phases: (1) The coming of the Messiah. Perry. There is an African proverb that holding power is like holding an egg. L. “Social Dreaming” is increasingly used within analytical training institutes and mainstream organisations to build a communal relationship with the Shadow and unconscious processes. F. & McCormick. Bollas. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at rupert.). In R. there seems to be inner cohesion. Alchemical studies (Bollingen Series 20. (Eds. The nature of leadership is no longer that of a spiritual parent to a child. H. (1987).
My concern is how to make this world a better place to live. “The future is brought into the present by people who conspire together—that is. This is the cause of deep despair. Promoting the renaissance of holistic culture.” Even if spiritual emptiness is a phenomenon particular to the West. 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. because re+ligare means reconnecting and love has the greatest bonding power. Why? Because this is the right answer to the burning problems of the world and the painful dilemma of being human. anger. we feel relieved and happy. These “developed” societies pump natural resources out of the soil of the Third World and dump back their junk and toxic waste. transformation and reconciliation. oppression and wars—the emptiness inside us that leads us to reach for everything outside us. Holy Spirit. In practical terms. “We are the ones we have been waiting for. said. 2005. equally important work is to learn how to transform and reconcile inner conflict so we do not cast our shadow on the world. Czech president Vaclav Havel. wisdom. unsated. perceives the world as one organism based on the shared ground underlying all spiritual traditions. 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. cultures there is an essential similarity. I imagine this work to be one of supporting already-existing trends in our culture such as: 1. When we look at the world from an eagle’s eye view. In this way. studying mysical Judaism. Deep down in the ground there are the same seeds of truth. we see two struggling forces. It is the spiritual starvation of the so-called developed world that causes physical poverty and starvation in underdeveloped nations. I have followed many paths. The old order is a fragmented world based on the illusion of separateness. It takes new moral energy to create new political will. Volume 24 . cultivating the real nature of man as a manifestation of the The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.” In my vision I saw that the most urgent and beautiful task is helping people to tap into a deep source of spiritual abundance. We need politics of awareness based on morality and a new morality based on love for all living beings. set by unitive consciousness. speaking at Harvard University. spiritually homeless. willing to contribute to common goodness. Ain Sof. battling for spheres of influence and control over territories and human minds. The new order. if not all. uprooted from the earth. We need to establish direct connection between our spiritual practice and service for the world. love. I might confess that I practice the religion of love. Buddhism and shamanism. drawing from old spiritual traditions.” A saying attributed to the Hopi Indians says. finally arriving at this place with no name. We have an ongoing history of genocide and holocausts—a long chain of cruel wars between oppressors and victims. Great Spirit are among the many names for this one ground from which all life springs. compassion. There are no spectators in this struggle. to conquer other territories and exploit natural resources. 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. thereby stripping of natural dignity and spirituality the inhabitants. and victims who become oppressors. “I am persuaded again and again that. 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. We can all see that transpersonal and holistic awareness is becoming more popular.We Were Made for These Times Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount H aving Jewish roots. When we are deeply connected to the whole. 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). peace and justice. it has great impact on the entire human civilization. breathe together. who are left naked like slaves and beggars of a “better” world. lying dormant in the deepest roots of most. both rich and poor nations are left spiritually bereft. As Eyad 90 el Sarraj (2002) observed. A second. fear. [is] a despair where living becomes no different than dying. thirsty. Earth is being devoured because most people are disconnected from the Source of Life. But if you ask me what I believe in.
and find their way home. fostering a new sense of planetary consciousness that is interfaith and multicultural. Inspiring new women’s movements to reclaim feminine power and wisdom. V. London. 5. and embrace the entire Earth community. “Letter to a young activist during troubled times. retrieved July 30. and to bring in more love and respect for the Earth and all living beings.mdl-net. We need to think about what kind of actions we can develop.en. Indra’s diamond net is an ancient vision of the world in which all beings have the nature of a diamond. Developing the politics of awareness.com.uk/ archive /modules.html. P. (2002). E. Address delivered at Harvard University. “we were made for these times” (2003). In the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes.pl Special Topic: Russian Soul 91 . (1994). (1995).php?name =News&file=print&sid=193. G.pl/eurodialog/ed/0/havel. http://peaceuk. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at mandala@mandala. Enhancing the evolution of humankind from homo tribus to homo holos.x. retrieved July 30. The guardians of the old order are very well armed and organized. The tribal human is preoccupied mostly with the tribal drives of the first three chakras—basically having to do with territory and survival. and the need for hope. http://www. retrieved July 31. Suicide bombers: Dignity.mavenproductions. C. The holistic human is able to raise awareness to the heart and the crown chakra level. 2005 Estes. This is our opportunity to trigger the tipping point.uk. 2005 Havel. and 6. despair. to transform a minority perception into a majority embrace. so more people can gain access to spiritual experiences. References Brown.co. 31(4).znak. el Sarraj.com/estes. (2003). Co-creating a new code of co-existence based on the values that underlie the great spiritual traditions. 2.co. 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.true nature of all creation. standing for International Direct Radiant Action Network. European Transpersonal Association. 3. Brochure of the third conference. reclaiming the sacredness of life and death. We need to encourage each other to intensify our activities and make them more effective. Supporting culture and communication without violence. 2005. My idea is to create INDRA-net. 4. I. Journal of Palestine Studies. and exist in a boundless network of reflections and relationships.” http://www. I believe we have a special responsibility in this time in history.html.
and slam your breakfast clear against the wall? Much love. and get it all dribbling right on top of you. an earnest young man. (Trungpa. Kidder Sounds like an ideal solution. she’s a beauty queen. Instead of impulsively making a move from your side. But here’s the thing: her whole mode of interaction with the world is seduction. seduces. all delight and horror on the spot: nothing implies nothing. does anything ever land? And how. Volume 24 . It is like the single yak That defeats the wolves. The above comes from a great loneliness. repairing all my kinks and crevices. you do not extend your eye and hand automatically: you just admire. and it tries to be all so exalted. Already perfect. So do not trust. someone’s blood suddenly all sticky between your fingers. So she hides. here enough? Who else could drop dyadic partnership (ugh. so anybody’s promising would wreck the scene. and do tell me your name again. gone enough. 92 This is unrelationship. which is learning to dance with the situation. So I wrote some codas. betrays. who will stay with us all the way through? Elsewhere he writes: Do not trust. or never. Here is the first. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. It was flirt. fabricates. then. only nothing happened. owned only in the sense that her smile seemed once to belong to her. And in that absence she is as present as ever. to engage her? So I wrote this love letter. In preparation I have cleansed myself so staunchly. a heap smart.READERS’ COMMENTARY A Love Letter Kidder Smith Bowdoin College Suppose you see right through someone and that person does not want you to see right through and becomes horrified and runs away…. let’s hope I’m a good dancer. Who will really play with him. I read The Myth of Freedom autobiographically. Sure. change minds forty times by tiffin. exceptionally sensual. She’s even a tantric. the ball as it hits the gut strings. Who else is pink enough. you allow a move from the other side. Surface and depth closer even than skin and flesh. is that a psychiatrist’s evaluation?). would turn the sweet free flow of flirt into an embarrassed stain. distorts. . Elusive. And who will flirt with me? Maybe only Kat. . sweetheart. meet in a jiffy. Flirt is just joydreadful. If you trust you are in Others’ hands. Dear Kat. I. to tell safe from sex. as Trungpa’s own love story. But maybe it wouldn’t be that much fun. it’s as if you give it all away every second. sanding down the dance floor so that our dear feet wouldn’t get scuffed as we fox-trot up and back the hall. 88-89) So I fell for Kathleen. 1976. right? Grand elusion’s game. Ah. 2005. No means to measure sweet or slimy. Remaining in solitude You can never be defeated. When you want something very badly. But then it struck me that there might be something else: dancing in space. pp. that of the romantic. Yet after all. have been wondering and wondering how you and I might truly meet. . pretty much that’s what happens. no floor at all. there is still ordinary life and ordinary desire. Short: no time for “pure” or “need” or “fear” before it all moves off away.
Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at kidder@bowdoin. he dances her love songs. If the goddess is all places at once. the large truck of almost-flying concoctions. When she has urgent play. The flirtdreadjoy is a place of shaking invisible sheets. reuniting from within. * * * There is one more coda. he’s twenty-two. And the goddess can make love with the goddess. to trust. * * * So Jesus wins this hand. Timely rain—Selected poetry of Chogyam Trungpa. kindness. Boston: Shambhala Publications. Kathleen writes: Is there anyone who will ensure that your corpse will be taken off the hook on the wall behind Ereshkigal’s throne. never trust. he emails me: It is so fine. What does Kidder want? Ah. he shows up in all places. If the goddess glows her fullness. In the goddess that she is. look out for the tiny razors. The goddess is his first manifestation. C. Trungpa. That’s the point. is primal That. such an invitation. Jesus emerges from her. Yes. bringing life as well as death. That’s a progression.For trust is surrendering oneself. hard for humans to hear. playflirt. churning. holding Kathleen’s warm hand. the goddess. T. and surely beyond telling. break open the huge churning barrel of the truck. in and out of key. It is a very deep passion. Ah. drop your arm. (1976). But Kidder is also dakini. in my love. there it will splash for so long she will BATHE in it. fed the food and water of rebirth. in her red turtleneck and jeans. But what if Kali’s cutting isn’t the only play? What if Kat and I were both the goddess. whose water. maybe. dakini comes up behind and tweaks her boo. And in the end Kathleen didn’t want to play. such a flirt! What does Kathleen want? To be the single yakini. invocation of trust. dissolving at touch. such romantic longing. is her intense refinement into pure love. And. genderless. with your well-sharpened. don’t use your skin. C. let that sway of your hairs dissolve into her body. and so is Kidder’s tender joy. yes. So here is the second coda. Boston: Shambhala Publications. (1998). I must ask her at some point. yes. You don’t see the giggle. Trungpa. and in the love that she is. transshaping. She can run from the truck’s interior designs. When she is silent. Drop the tools more. And when they sex. he is the emptiness aspect of her forms. that’s all. * * * Perhaps a bit demanding. May I have this dance. moving outward toward the human realm. References Trungpa. yes. but if you spill the materials. I cannot say. yes. and brought to the surface again? Yes. pp.edu Reader’s Commentry 93 . no. always is: the sex of the ocean with the ocean. swaying. has no necessity of further opening. all the faces of love. that of Jesus. sisterhood. all at once. When the goddess is seductive. with full breasts and hips. (Trungpa. deep trust. I will come for you over and over and over until your immortal soul no longer needs me. side by side. For Kali is ultimate love. he is utter stillness. If the goddess is love. It is still so serious. the sea that never breaks. The myth of freedom and the way of meditation. who is who is who? Which rain falls. his clear radiance and gentle voice. Never. He wants it all: unrelationship’s brutal beauty. holding all warm forms. trust your hairs. If the goddess is form. nor can there be a resolution in this. no. Jesus. and maybe in a human partner. turning her head to giggle when you are there admiring her loud HARKING neck. it is more compelling to her insides. I hold you. he’s blushing. Kathleen. * * * The Last Word There is no last word. 1998. where bliss is pain is bliss. almost ancient tools. * * * A friend of mine read this letter. whispers Jesus. that of the goddess and dakini. where is up or down? What wind. swirl and swirl and swirl. so sharpened. giving and receiving. Kat? Ever in the big truth. so fine. his speech splashes like light warm June drops of rain. he dwells in the secret interstices of her womb. calling. your tools. earth. Kat flutters there in her constant pure aversion. a sky-goer. 13-14).
and is currently working as a family therapist. Vladimir Maykov. reviews and popular culture essays for newspapers and magazines. She holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Warsaw University and completed postgraduate studies in the U. the Nursing School of Evora. Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount (Poland) is a psychotherapist specializing in transpersonal therapy. is author of over 225 articles.D. Adam Rock (Australia) received a Ph. He also founded the Transpersonal Institute in 1994 and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in 1997. He was one of the first Soviet teachers of transpersonal psychology and. and serves as president of the Russian Association for Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. He is completing a Ph. and the University of Algarve Faculty of Medicine.D. Russian and other Slavic languages. he founded an international project to publish transpersonal psychology texts in Russian. 2005. He received a master’s degrees in psychology from Sonoma State University and Argosy University. and poetry. in psychology from Charles Sturt University in 2005. His research interests include altered states of consciousness. 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).S.D. Dennis Patrick Slattery (United States) is Core Faculty in the Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology Programs at Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has a particular interest in developing critical methodologies for the felt sense. He has taught for 37 years. human embodiment. (Russia) is a leader of transpersonal studies in Russia. Vitor Rodrigues (Portugal) has a private psychology/ psychotherapy practice and is president of both the European Transpersonal Association and the Portuguese-Brazilian Transpersonal Association. Glenn Hartelius (United States) is a mind/body theorist. He has 234 published works in English. in East-West psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Burton Daniels (United States) has been a counselor since 1987. in Gestalt Therapy and Bioenergetics. He is the author of eight books and has taught at the University of Lisbon. since 1990. He has had a wide range of training from psychodynamic to transpersonal psychotherapy. She is president of the Polish Transpersonal Forum and. He regularly lectures and conducts workshops and journalistic interviews on transpersonal subjects. the ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery. and philosophical problems associated with psychology. Volume 24 . French. clinician and teacher. has developed and taught more than 20 training programs in transpersonal therapy. through which he has edited approximately 50 books. 94 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. as former vice-president of the European Transpersonal Association. In addition to authoring several books. Ph. Avatar Adi Da Samraj. literature. He has been a practitioner of Adidam since 1983 and currently lives in the ashram of his spiritual master. as well as author or editor of eight books on psychology.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). she organized the fourth European Transpersonal Conference in Warsaw in 1997.
Germany. His essay Primal Spirituality and the Onto/Phylo Fallacy appeared in IJTS vol. As a UK Council for Psychotherapy registered psychotherapist. He is also the director of the Section for the Evaluation of Complementary Medicine at Freiburg University Hospital. and is on the editorial board of a number of journals in the area of complementary medicine. He is cofounder and vice president of the German Association of Transpersonal Psychology. California. Robert Tindall. UK). and the British Journal of Social Psychology. Steve Taylor (United Kingdom) Steve Taylor teaches at the University of Manchester and Salford College. The Fall: the Evidence for a Golden Age. England. candidate in social ecology at the School of Contemporary Arts at the University of Western Sydney. (United States) is a long-time Zen student in the tradition of the Diamond Sangha and now practices at Ring of Bone Zendo. He holds positions as a board member for both the European Transpersonal Association and The College of Psychoanalysts. published in Radical Spirit: Spiritual Writings from the Voices of Tomorrow. where he is researching numinous and essential experience in actor training and performance. Jason Wright (United Kingdom) is a transpersonal and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. He trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts and has appeared in leading roles at various theatres. focusing on leadership and organizational/group dynamics. Harald Walach (Germany/United Kingdom) is a research professor in psychology with the University of Northampton. 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. He is the author of a study of time perception. acupuncture and spiritual healing). he trained in Holotropic Breathwork with Stanislav Grof and Tav Sparks and is the author of an article on this experience. He lives and teaches in Oakland. he has led process groups with addicts. Ashley Wain (Australia) is a Ph. in theory and history of science. Research in Complementary Medicine/Forschende Komplementärmedizin.D. editor of the journal. He holds a Ph. and has a private practice in central London. This may be the last paper he writes for some time.D. M. In addition.D.Kidder Smith (United States) is Professor of History and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College where he teaches courses on East Asian cultures and religions. 6000 Years of Insanity and the Dawning of a New Era. he has held the office of Chair of the Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic section. He has also taught at various schools and companies for nearly a decade. His essays and articles have appeared in a variety of publications. as well as devised and directed performances. and a new baby boy. He has worked in management roles over the last 20 years in the arts and qualitative marketing. where he has conducted work in the evaluation and conceptual foundations of complementary medicine (mainly homeopathy. More recently. He has presented and published research papers for the UK Market Research Society. It was a Book of the Year in the Independent (UK) newspaper. 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). and director of the European office of the Samueli Institute.A. the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research. was recently published by O books. Out of Time (Paupers' Press. in clinical psychology and a Ph. About the Contributors 95 . Recently his research interests have covered mindfulness meditation and spirituality. the Journal of DH Lawrence Studies and New Renaissance. His book. with a foreword by Stanley Krippner. He has also worked extensively on the medieval genres of the chivalric quest and has investigated Amazonian medicines in Peru. He is married with a 2 year old son. including The Journal of Consciousness Studies. He is currently Chair for The Centre of Transpersonal Psychology and Clinical Director for the CORE Trust.
Professor Emeritus Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center Douglas A. Associate Professor University of Detroit Mercy BOARD OF EDITORS Manuel Almendro. Canada/USA Jeffrey Kuentzel. USA Bruno Just. USA Rosanna Vitale. Canada John Welwood. Norway Daniel Holland. Portugal Charles Tart. Italy Loyd Henriksen.D. Great Britain John Davis. Ph. USA S. USA Axel Randrup. 2005. India Charles Laughlin. K. Great Britain Joachim Galuska. Spain Liora Birnbaum. Germany Laura Boggio Gilot. Denmark Mario Simões. USA Don Diespecker. USA Søren Brier. Kiran Kumar. Poland James Fadiman.BOARD OF EDITORS Harris Friedman. Denmark Elias Capriles. USA 96 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Israel Jacek Brewczynski. Canada Olga Louchakova. Australia Wlodzislaw Duch. Australia Sean Kelly. USA David Fontana. MacDonald. Ph. Venezuela Michael Daniels.D. Volume 24 .
and practice/application will find representation in each edition of the journal. However. a diversity of articles on theory. expanded self/identity. responses. 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. sociology. and psychotherapy). Ideally. Transpersonal studies may be generally described as a multidisciplinary movement concerned with the exploration of higher consciousness. applications of transpersonal theory and/or practice (e.. and discourse in the area of transpersonal studies.. transpersonal studies in designated geographically or politically bounded areas such as in Europe or China). art. and artistic articles which focus upon topics falling within the domain of transpersonal studies. practice-oriented. practice. 97 . methodological. and human potential. professional conferences). research. and music). Though there is no restriction on who may publish in the IJTS. methodological. and comments to articles published in IJTS. The Journal is committed to maintaining a focus on transpersonal experience. systems of knowing. Special Topics: The second section contains several articles dedicated to a specific theme or topic germane to transpersonal studies.. ecstatic experience.g. contributions of specific disciplines to transpersonal studies (e. and practices while embracing theoretical. IJTS is committed to ensure that the fullest possible range of approaches to inquiry and expression are represented in the articles published. related to global sustainability. biology. and cross-disciplinary pluralism. psychology.g. conceptions of consciousness. Articles published in this section embody eclectic topics of study and/or approaches to inquiry and expression. The IJTS publishes original theoretical. concepts. Examples of potential themes/topics include the following: Qualitative and quantitative methodologies in transpersonal studies. entheogenic/psychedelic research. empirical (both qualitative and quantitative). and postmodern perspectives on transpersonal studies. 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.EDITORIAL POLICY AND MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION GUIDELINES The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies (IJTS) is dedicated to theory.. medicine.g. history of transpersonal studies. and special events (e. also included are reviews of notable recently published books.g. Reader Comments: A third section of the journal is dedicated primarily to reader reactions. health care. transpersonal approaches in anthropology. articles from other journals. issues important to the development of transpersonal studies (e. organizational systems. spirituality. research. emphasis is given to the publication of articles from a spectrum of international contributors. analytic. that is. ecology.
Manuscripts submitted for the General or Special Topics sections which are deemed suitable for consideration for publication are subsequently peerreviewed. or Send Order Request to: Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center 747 Front Street. 2005. If submitting on disk. notes. Editor International Journal of Transpersonal Studies Department of Psychology University of Detroit Mercy 4001 West McNichols Road Detroit. When submitting manuscripts for the General or Special Topics sections. Wordperfect). Word. and 22 $30 17.00 per IJTS packet. For Priority mail.00 per packet). add US$15. Contributing authors are responsible for obtaining written permission. or special event which is the basis of the manuscript. Editor. references. Manuscripts submitted to IJTS must be original and neither previously published nor under consideration for publication elsewhere. at the following email address: macdonda@udmercy. title of submitted manuscript. Manuscripts deemed unsuitable are returned to the corresponding author without undergoing the peer-review process. etc.saybrook.249. on disk. 21. When a manuscript is accepted for publication. page proofs and a copyright transfer agreement will be sent to the first author and must be returned within one week. Ph. Submissions for the Reader Comments section should not exceed 4. Submission of a manuscript assumes commitment to publish it in the IJTS if it is accepted. where appropriate. The disk should be clearly labeled with authors’ names.edu. and format (e.00 per volume or US$6.edu.g. an abstract and biography are not required.D. to reprint copywritten material.) and the cover letter should specify the IJTS article.000 words (including text. Manuscripts may initially be submitted in hard copy.00 per volume. and 19 To Order: www. file name. The Publisher and Editors are not responsible for the loss or damage of materials sent to them. through electronic means. (Canada and Mexico add US$4. CA 94111 Destinations in the USA are sent via media mail. Please send manu- scripts as an IBM PC-compatible attachment in Word or Wordperfect format. Make checks or money orders payable to: Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center 98 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 18. provide the final draft to the editors in the form of an e-submission. book.. article from another source.1380. 19. 20. All statements are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or staff of IJTS.5" floppy disk containing a copy of the manuscript to the address below. Non-USA destinations are sent via surface mail. Volume 24 . send an IBM PC formatted CD rom or 3. send four copies of manuscripts to the address below: Douglas A.000 words (including text. etc. USA 48221 Back Issues The following back issues are available: IJTS Packet 1 Volumes:IJTS Packet 2 Volumes: $50 17. references. For airmail. if possible. For manuscripts submitted to the Reader Comments section.50 per IJTS packet. 18.95 per volume.). For hardcopy submissions. Michigan. MacDonald. Electronic submissions should be emailed to Douglas A. 415. Thereafter. or US$7. Manuscripts submitted for the Reader Comments section may or may not receive peer review. add US$3. or US$20. Manuscripts for the General and Special Topics sections should not exceed 10. or. most preferably. MacDonald. the author will be asked to send a hard copy of the final draft accompanied by a matching disk or. 3rd Floor San Francisco. Editors review all manuscripts at time of submission to assess their general suitability for publication in the IJTS. include an abstract (up to 120 words) and a biographical statement for each author (up to 175 words).Manuscript Submission All manuscripts should be written in English and prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the most recent edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
729. traditional healing.M. Don Moss and Saybrook’s outstanding faculty • Experience the power and convenience of Saybrook’s individualized mentored distance study • Create your own unique program integrating your personal learning journey at the frontiers of CAM • Learn the skills and strategies to compete successfully for NIH research funding of CAM and mind-body topics • Work with research faculty exploring human energy fields.2766 • San Francisco • www. and Ph.D.D.saybrook. imagery and distant healing intentionality Lynn Freeman. Ph. degrees in Psychology or Human Science with a concentration in Integrative Health Studies Study with pioneers of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Lyn Freeman. GRADUATE SCHOOL • RESEARCH CENTER WASC Accredited 877.edu .A.
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