Transpersonal Studies

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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Editors’ Introduction

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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

Editors’ Introduction

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iv The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Volume 24 . 2005.

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. His synthesis of spiritual revelation from the various traditions of humanity’s great saints and sages is remarkable. His body of work covers a sprawling expanse of spiritual literature and can be deemed not only a mammoth undertaking. 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. T he purpose of this paper is to clarify the fundamental nature of reality. and beautifully about nondual reality. 2000a) spectrum/quadrant theory. His quadrant theory goes on to elaborate on this depiction of consciousness. pp. Nonetheless. Humanity has benefited immeasurably from his work. these scholarly accounts of nondual reality. His passages on God and Spirit are carefully crafted and offered lovingly. Adi Da Samraj (1991. as well as individual and collective. Wilber initially posited a spectrum theory of consciousness. it is not unprecedented. 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. Wilber has written extensively. The revelation of this spiritual reality has a long history in the spiritual traditions. lucidly. discriminative intelligence. spiritual growth. organizing the vast expanse of existence into four fundamental dimensions: interior and exterior. Perhaps nowhere in transpersonal psychology has nondualism received a more thoughtful treatment than in Wilber’s (1995. Nondualism and the Divine Domain 1 . in which he integrates all psychological. either do not include or else misrepresent the revelation of a contemporary spiritual master crucial to the understanding of nondualism. and beautifully about nondual reality. However. Fifth Stage: Spiritual or Yogi ascent of attention into psychic dimensions of the being and mystical experience of the higher brain. but a work of extraordinary value for both science and spirituality. lucidly. Second Stage: socialization and adaptation to the emotional-sexual (or feeling) dimension of being. philosophical. 2000b. The Ruchira Avatar. and Divine Enlightenment in any given individual’s life (see Adi Da. not only because of their prodigious scope. and the spiritual traditions upon which they are based. even the nondual reality that serves as its ultimate ground and final denouement. for all its scope and remarkable cogency. 385-390): First Stage: individuation and adaptation to the physical body. but also a dimension of nondualism not found in any previous spiritual revelation. Avatar Adi Da not only offers a greater differentiation of nondual reality than can be found in contemporary scholarly texts. 103-131. Third Stage: integration of the psycho-physical personality and development of the verbal mind. which is frequently confused in transpersonal psychology: nondualism. and the will. but also because of the sub- tle and profound realizations inherent within them. Fourth Stage: ego-surrendering devotion to the Divine Person and purification of body-based point of view through reception of Divine Spirit-Force. 2000b) has also written extensively. Every aspect of existence is thought to be subsumed within the general structure of an allinclusive consciousness—indeed. 2000a).Nondualism and the Divine Domain Burton Daniels This paper claims that the ultimate issue confronting transpersonal theory is that of nondualism. These stages progress through a potential sequence of human maturation. which has been perhaps most prolifically advocated by Ken Wilber (1995. and fully explicated by David Loy (1998).

nondual reality. this amalgam of lower self and deeper Self can be best indicated by the following nomenclature: the S/self. Wilber’s meticulous and detailed account of these stages of life is probably unsurpassed in the history of human ideas. 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. and his prominence within the transpersonal community has been established thereby. S/self and the Divine Domain Relative to spiritual reality. 1998). it manifests in different degrees of awareness and self-realization. his spectrum theory is a superlative treatment of the first six stages of life. aspects of one’s being—what Jung (1919. 1969). Because Wilber’s account of nondual reality exists within an impressive overall theory of consciousness. Indeed. Upon examination. it is meant that psychic structure involves a concomitant interface between two entirely different. two independent and separate entities. 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). the Great Path of Return only ends up obscuring a true understanding of nondual Enlightenment— precisely because its essential dynamic happens elsewhere. the nonbeing of ‘I. 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.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. yet intimately connected. for the essential dynamic of this process happens elsewhere. not a new and different light but a projection of its luminous source” (1965. By this. but actually incidental to that purpose. p.. Volume 24 .Sixth Stage: Identification with ConsciousnessItself (presumed. 1999). 1968. a unity transcending any sense of duality. Even so. and Hegel’s soul (1993). It is. 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. out of which manifest existence arises. Sartre’s non-positional consciousness (1957). in other words. et al.’ So complete is this union that it may be called ‘nondual’. human beings can be most fundamentally described as consisting of two aspects: lower self and deeper Self. to use the term in this way is misleading. Husserl’s transcendental ego (1960). 1964) referred to as the Self and the ego. 1962). 45). as well as Mahayana Buddhism (Suzuki.2 Further. 1997. the Great Path of Return of the spiritual traditions can be seen as not only inadequate to account for true nondual Enlightenment. In fact. This passage indicates the kind of confusion obscuring a true understanding of nondualism. 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. virtually mirroring that of Avatar Adi Da. other descriptions of the Self in Western philosophy typically fare no better—for example. Conze. this depiction gives only a limited and inadequate account of unmanifest. to be separate from all conditional phenomena). The Self is one. In fact. 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. Although his quadrant theory has certain difficulties (Daniels. Although nondualism is frequently used to refer to the relationship between Self and self. p. Unfortunately. Yet. 2005. or separation” (Firman & Gila. however. Consequently. Better descriptions can be found in the tenets of Eastern spirituality— for example. They are so fundamentally related that a true break in that relationship would mean personal annihilation. Jung’s description of the Self is frequently vague and inexact. Assogioli described the S/self this way: “There are not really two selves. isolation. in reality. 20). The reflection appears to be selfexistent but has. However. or the “buddhi” of yoga psychology (Rama. Further. no autonomous substantiality. this relationship cannot be so simply stated. it would be useful to consider these differences more closely. considerable correlation exists between Wilber’s spectrum theory and Avatar Adi Da’s seven stages of life. this depiction of S/self has significant implications for the understanding of nondualism. Not recognizing this difference has serious consequences for any understanding of nondualism. the “big mind” of Zen Buddhism (Muzuka. However. Wilber and Avatar Adi Da are essentially in accord relative to the first six stages of life. This set of circumstances might tend to confuse 2 the reader who is not well-informed about the seventh stage of life. 1990). it most accurately—and most auspiciously—refers to the rela- The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.

their very Being. Overall. Avatar Adi Da (2000b. the “goal” of each lesser (or dependent) half is to submit (and eventually ascend) to the greater (or higher) half. the defining principle could perhaps be put like this: “What you see is what you get”—or else perhaps this: “When you’re dead.. what is actually referred to by this passage is a single account of nondualism. Indeed. These orientations can be described according to several features typically attributed to nondualism. the obligation is for the psyche (or even all of existence) to submit and eventually ascend to “God” (i. 178) In other words. this depiction is a startling misnomer.e. Yet. the nonplurality of the world. you’re dead. pp. variously called Brahman.” This point of view accounts for all the bodilybased and mortal beliefs about existence. However. etc. Platonic Forms). That is why we experience the world dualistically in the second sense. Typically. A good account of these features has been put this way: The following types of nonduality are discussed here: the negation of dualistic thinking. In other words.” These orientations to reality summarize all of the possible perspectives of the various traditions of psychology. dualistic thinking separates the nonseparate unity of reality into component parts or categories (i. dualistic perception). which can also be expressed as “the nonduality of duality and nonduality”. Consequently. which is God-realization (Griffiths. 144-153) indicates that there are five possible orientations to reality: “Conventional Monism. ultimately. although the passage by Loy suggests that different “types” of nondualism are possible. reversing the process. being absorbed into God.) usually expands to encompass all conceptual thinking. especially as it culminates in the third stage of life and the development of the rational mind. in the process. According to the point of view of “Conventional Monism. According to this point of view. pp. and.” “Secondary Non-Dualism.” “Primary Dualism.. perception. and the non-difference of subject and object…although there [are] two other nondualities which are also closely related: first. philosophy. behavior. 17.… This leads to the third sense of nonduality. Negating dualistic thinking leads to experiencing the world as a unity. Consequently. the One Mind. which. (Loy. the subtle and essentially spiritual domains of human development. and so on.” and “Ultimate NonDualism. 1998. what has been called the identity of phenomena and Absolute.” “Conventional Dualism. or else actualizing the self. by eliminating this separation. Reality is a material unity of natural laws and processes.tionship between S/self and God. Recently. the period in which this faculty of mind first most fully emerged in the West was dubbed the “Age of Enlightenment” (Tarnas. It actual fact. for such thinking acts as a superimposition which distorts our immediate experience. the denial that subject and object are truly distinguishable…which is…the root delusion that needs to be overcome. The critique of thinking that employs dualistic categories (being vs. The Divine Reality of ultimate nondualism is not realized by virtue of the self more accurately approximating the Self. Tao. it represents the least of what could be called “lesser” enlightenments.e. In this orientation. Following upon this stage. nonbeing. there actually are different kinds of nondualism. 1991). as a collection of discrete objects (including me) interacting causally in space and time. It motivates the individual to struggle and search for fulfillment in the context of the first three stages of life.” the world or domain of nature is all that exists. the “Good”). Divine Reality is realized by eliminating the S/self—and. but certain texts of Taoism. God is paired with either the world or the psyche (e. the world is made up of a number of principal pairs. Dharmakaya. indeed. even going beyond that mentioned by Loy. pure vs. and spirituality. or the Mahayana equation of samsara and nirvana. 1991).. the individual traverses an immense hierarchy of existence until they finally ascend to the pinnacle of salvation.g. Rather. impure. including not only Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. 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. reverses the self/other dichotomy and returns the multitude of discrete objects to their pristine state—the original unity of reality—which was always already the case to begin with. the possibility of a mystical unity between God and man. As a result. ultimately. However. “Conventional Dualism” interjects an awareness and appreciation of spiritual reality into that which is merely physical. This process takes place within the fourth and fifth stages of life. includes God. applicable to the different aspects of any individual: cognition. the New Age movement has sought to usher in what amounts Nondualism and the Divine Domain 3 . Nondual reality has been expressed in numerous texts from various spiritual traditions. second.

appears as the body. Purusha is traditionally understood to be nonconditional and inherently perfect Being and Consciousness. the point of view of “Ultimate Non-Dualism” is actually somewhat more complex than this. the tables are turned for the preceding position. 2005. “Ultimate Non-Dualism” can be thought of as straddling the sixth and seventh stages. no inherently independent or separate Purusha exists. for in this existence is a direct realization of Divine Love. 1995. Self-Existing and SelfRadiant Consciousness Itself ). The spiritual practice associated with this orientation involves Its Very 4 Presence being understood and directly intuited to be actual (or really so)—and then perfectly or utterly affirmed by direct identification with Consciousness Itself. this point of view and Process (of “Ultimate Non-Dualism. Avatar Adi Da speaks of this orientation to nondualism as follows: This point of view and Process (which may follow upon. as some traditions would have it. In “Ultimate Non-Dualism” (or “Primary Absolute Monism”). when modified. an absolute Being or Consciousness Itself. so that the individual might participate exclusively as Purusha. the totality of existence is only Prakriti. Everything else pales in comparison. Following upon this stage. This orientation is superseded by the ultimately nondual position. They can afford to be humorous and amused by all that arises—none of it means anything. In such a case. This orientation begins the process that takes place within the sixth stage of life. 1993).” and which may even immediately follow upon. and all objects or others. Rather. insight. So to speak. Avatar Adi Da also refers to seventh stage “Ultimate Non-Dualism” as “Radical” Non-Dualism. Rather. exclusive attachment to Consciousness Itself is released and all of existence is seen as the manifestation of this One Reality.” or “Primary The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Yet. and also.. Avatar Adi Da describes this orientation to nondualism as follows: Most ultimately.e. The spiritual practice associated with this point of view requires the individual to separate from Prakriti. In “Secondary NonDualism” (or “Secondary Absolute Monism”). Verma. conditionally appearing as a beginningless and endless continuum of causes and effects (Satorakashananda. or object at all. Prakriti) exists. indicating its immediate and direct association with the Divine Condition Itself. but with even less directness. the point of view and Process of “Secondary Non-Dualism. within the schools of some varieties of Buddhism. 147) The essential realization is that only Consciousness exists. Volume 24 . Consequently. or be “Uncovered” by. whether “things” arise or not. p. (2000b. or with less directness. the totality of existence is a combination of only two primary realities: Purusha and Prakriti. or any separate and independent body. a difficulty exists with this point of view.e. mind. especially within the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. This position of nondualism not only originates in the sixth stage of life. whether as an eternal and nonconditional. 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. This position ushers in the sixth stage of life. the point of view and Process of “Primary Dualism”) is the third (and final. Prakriti is traditionally understood to be objective energy. not in the arising.. 1977. but it can also lead to or culminate in the seventh stage of life. 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. 1999b). and infinitely amusing. acting as a bridge between them. The Love-Bliss characterizing this state exists in the Awareness. by the process of observation. which. the totality of existence is only the One and Absolute Purusha (i. starting with the point of view of “Primary Dualism”— for example.to a new Age of Enlightenment. but has only actually succeeded in emulating one or another of the “lesser” enlightenments (see Wilber. no separate and independent “objective energy” (i. If “things” do arise.3 Following upon this stage. or be “Uncovered” by. within some of the schools of Taoism). secondarily.. and self-pacification. mind. In other words. the first form of a truly nondual position appears. et al. Only the existence of Consciousness matters. usually by willful ascetic disciplines.. nothing is ever threatened or at risk for the sixth stage sage. Jainism and Samkhaya Yoga (Larson. the highest transcendental position begins to emerge. the inherent and original (or nirvanic) state of Prakriti is realized. and. 1987). However. Consciousness is happy to participate in them—why not? It is a play of life. individual Self or. The spiritual practice associated with this point of view indicates that Prakriti appears only as an ephemeral and observable sequence of changes until. According to the point of view of this position. the causal and ultimate spiritual domain of human development.

as a modification of Itself ) has become so intense that the “Bright. mind. and (thus) somehow foreshadow (rather than directly reflect.… [N]one of the traditional texts communicate the full developmental and Yogic details of the progressive seventh stage Demonstration (of Divine Transfiguration. vertical deployment of involution. 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 his spectrum theory. is twofold: 1. Even the texts mentioned previously (among only a handful of others) represent primarily the sixth stage point of view of “Ultimate Non-Dualism”—with only certain passages within them suggestive of the more profound and all-pervasive Realization of “Radical” Non-Dualism. and Divine Indifference). The seventh stage of life is the Divinely Self-Radiant process by which all of conditional existence is “outshined” (see Adidam. and 3. sixth stage “Ultimate Non-Dualism”). climbing up the ladder of ascent—itself resulting from a prior. (in press) The Illusion of Relatedness The absence of the seventh stage point of view has significant implications for any understanding of nondualism. or directly express) the truly Most Ultimate (or Transcendental. pp. They suggest that God is the goal of development. and Most Perfectly Divine) “Point of View”. (Ibid.. Avadhoota Gita.Absolute Monism”) is (if it is. Lankavatara Sutra. Divine Transformation. 148) Avatar Adi Da frequently refers to this condition as “Open Eyes. sliding down the ladder— can be traced through a hierarchy (i. 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. 2. Rather. Although this kind of language might sound similar to revelations made throughout the spiritual traditions (e.” Love-Blissful Radiance of Consciousness now Outshines all phenomena. Therefore. Tripura Rahasya).e. Love-Bliss-Energy Itself )…indicating (in each case) the One. Absolute. 707-708).e. they can be distinguished from the revelation of Avatar Adi Da in three significant respects:4 1. and world are no longer noticed— but not because the Divine Consciousness has withdrawn or dissociated from manifest phenomena (i. 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. 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. and Perfectly Subjective.” In this state. or Truth. Wilber’s spectrum theory offers an account of precisely these misrepresented mechanics. In other words. the Ecstatic Recognition of all arising phenomena (by the Divine Self.. by Means Of My Avatarically Self-Transmitted Divine Grace. and 2. Whereas involution Nondualism and the Divine Domain 5 . or Reality. whether in the spiritual traditions or transpersonal psychology. Certain aspects of the seventh stage realization appear in no historical texts at all. 1991. all phenomena become immediately and directly recognized as nothing other than the Divine Condition Itself. body. Therefore. The difficulty for most accounts of nondualism.. Inherently Spiritual. No historical text mentions only the realization of the seventh stage of life. And. No historical text mentions all aspects of the seventh stage realization. holarchy) involving several levels of being. the development of evolution. to Complete the Great Tradition of mankind. They misrepresent the actual mechanics whereby God manifests into human beings. or Perfectly Non-Exclusive) Real God. 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 ). 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.g. p. and NonSeparate (or Inherently All-Inclusive..

they tend to persist (or to demand repetition)—and Consciousness may. This tension of separation goes both ways. they do not truly indicate the mechanics whereby God manifests into human beings.… However. The causal Self comes into being as an utterly spontaneous contraction occurring in the pure state of 6 Consciousness that Is God. pp. 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. It arises spontaneously. it’s not real. Realizing God involves one in a different dynamic than that of involution and evolution entirely. evolution initiates states of higher consciousness coming into being. there is still only prior Reality (which the Self continues to actually Be). which condenses into mind. Whereas the one Is God. this dynamic tension surrounds a further process arising within its midst. an imposter) of what Is Real: God. It will regard Itself to be other than. 1999a. but each is a reduced or “stepped down” version of Spirit. simultaneously pulled both toward and away. although involution and evolution are intrinsic processes of human life. moving from matter to living bodies to symbolic minds to luminous souls to pure Spirit itself. all of the higher dimensions are enfolded. therefore. In other words. mind is illusion. engaged in an intense paradox of God and Self. nonetheless.. therefore. It’s an imitation (and. Whereas God is Reality. If Consciousness identifies with this selfcontraction. In so doing. without cause or reason. say. And once the material world blows into existence (with. the densest form of all. an illusion of Itself. this paradox exists only on the samsara side of the equation. Indeed. for embarking upon this process immediately embroils one in a perplexing paradox: nirvana and samsara are the same. Therefore. not that which is God. the paradox can be resolved in this way: There is only God—even if spread upon the illusory levels of mind (or samsara). the Big Bang). the Self can only feel its own. tend to dwell on them with fascination. across the non-existent gulf of this (apparent) separateness. Volume 24 . 346-347) Consequently. involution). or else to be repeated.e. like a rubber band stretched taut.… All of this arising is (in itself—or separately) an illusion—the principal signs of which are the presumption of relatedness (and of “difference”). once objects (or conditions) arise. which condenses into body. the other is merely arising in (and as) God. (Wilber. continues to merely exist in a Blissful state of Awareness of all that is arising. each evolutionary unfolding transcends but includes its predecessor(s). the mechanics of human manifestation actually occur as follows: There is only God. p. From here. 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. At the end of that process of involution. true state of Consciousness—as God. It will also tend to resolve the discomfort of this separate state of being through attention and falsely presume that It is. Yet. 2005. two aspects of reality come to exist. related to Itself. laboring against Itself and what is Its own True and Real state.indicates preexisting states of deeper consciousness. then the reverse process—or evolution—can occur. in the lowest material realm. with Spirit transcending and including absolutely everything. releasing the Illusion of Relatedness into what is 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). 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. Although it is true that the illusion exists. The entire range of the human individual’s various levels of being are nothing but a diminution of the fundamental Reality that is God. and tends to persist. as potential. 2001a. It will falsely presume that It is no longer Itself but. That very defining feature is precisely how they can both be— and not be—one and the same. Consequently. therefore. Each of those levels is still a level of Spirit. However. which condenses into matter. simply existing as this very activity of painful self-contraction. or separate from. the presumption of a separate self… (Adi Da. 10) However. instead. inherent feeling of Love-Bliss when it relaxes this contracted state. This diminution takes The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. meanwhile. Itself. Yet. respectively—the latter tussling with the former in a struggle over the sovereignty of its assumed identity. Consequently. The two exist as a duality—within nondualism. the latter compensating the former for its comprised identity. the duality of this simultaneous paradox (God/Self and Self/Other) further extends itself through all the levels of being (i.

Indeed. Instead. like the JudeoChristian account. the Fall could be understood very differently—as the Illusion of Relatedness. 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. Consciousness is usually thought of as a state of awareness. even in facing itself. Each is writhing upon the pillars of its own end of the dichotomy. the ego-“I” consists essentially of lack and is empty. There is a price to be paid for this error. they try to make sense of the paradox from within the parameters of the paradox. a futile effort. 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. the two operate upon very different principles. in turning away. 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. 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. Indeed. as we separate or alienate ourselves from Ground and Source. prior to its formation.place within mind.… There are no separate waters in the seas. radiating Ecstatically to Infinity. Consciousness Nondualism and the Divine Domain 7 . In this sense. precisely because it derives its meaning as an alternative to unconsciousness. like steps ever diminishing—one turning away. while the other. However. the S/self is an alternative to God.. now Falls through the involuted levels of being.e. Contrary to the biblical account. It could all be understood differently. we move away from Spirit. which is continually lived out in the suffering of every life. However. involution is not something that merely or even especially occurred prior to birth or in some distant cosmological past. this passage suggests that the “Fall” operates according to dynamics similar to gravity. reversing the Fall that is the Illusion of Relatedness occurs irrespective of growth and evolution. God can be understood only on the other side of the paradox. but every wave or motion folds in one another on the Deep. (Ibid. having thus Fallen in this sense. turns against itself. it is an activity that every individual is presently doing. like the hard and brusque case of a nut. imploded inward upon itself. The two unfold in their turn. this fundamental separation is still present. and thus we must return to Source and Self—we must grow and evolve to reverse the Fall” (1990. “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. lived out in its various levels and diminutions.5 This confusion probably manifests itself most commonly in a concept typically attributed to JudeoChristian religion: the Fall of Man. If the separate “I” and its separate “other” are Most Perfectly Relinquished (or Most Perfectly transcended). In other words. we descend. which is. Involution arises as a consequence of the Illusion of Relatedness. Therefore. we involve. Consequently. 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. tracing out its trajectory based on this more fundamental gesture within God and Reality— and does so at every level of its descent. This “sequence” of simultaneous paradox ultimately traces out the agony of humanity’s suffering. 125).. the Fall could be thought of as a “horizontal” (i. The usual definition of consciousness (as opposed to unconsciousness) does not mean Consciousness Itself—indeed. taking place at every level of being equally. Further. whereas God is full and effulgent—indeed. even as the causal Self emerges into awareness. which is not other than the illusions of S/self that comprise it. However. 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). Even now. this process could be thought of as a “vertical” Fall. For moment to moment. with the worm in its seed. Only in this sense does the idea of growing and evolving so as to reverse the Fall makes any sense. Involution is actually said to be occurring right now. The two are self-contained. one within the other. lateral) process. However. Put somewhat differently. However. 344-345) Most accounts of spirituality and nondualism are problematic. that is to say. In other words. p. Clearly. pp. this is ultimately just an illusion. Wilber speaks of the “Fall” this way: “Thus. precisely because they attempt to resolve the paradox from the side that is the ego-“I”—but not that which is God. the ability to “notice” things. in this moment. The causal Self Falls away from God and then.… Such is the Disposition of the only-by-me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life.

Although this state represents an extraordinary level of being. The epistemological position of simple awareness is typically referred to in the spiritual traditions as “witness” consciousness. The confusion Wilber makes is in attributing Consciousness Itself (i.6 Even deep. 1979). 2005. nonetheless. Although this latter comment might sound like “Radical” Non-Dualism. this passage is an excellent example of what could be called the “lesser” enlightenment associated with sixth stage “Ultimate NonDualism”. Yet. dreaming. which is associated with Divine Being and the seventh stage of life. However. or Most Perfectly Resolved In Its Perfect Source…The Most Ultimate and Inherently Most Perfect Awakening Of Perfectly Subjective Transcendental. and Divine Consciousness Itself ) (Adi Da. 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. the essence of the Illusion of Relatedness. attention itself. To be aware of something is to attend to it—and is. which is a version of what Avatar Adi Da calls the sixth stage error. Rather. namely Consciousness as Such. In that state. and anything that is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not ultimate reality. dreamless sleep arises—and is ultimately Awakened and Resolved—in the Ultimate Source of Being that is Consciousness Itself. if we want to realize our supreme identity with Spirit. in so doing. We have seen that the wisdom traditions subscribe to the notion that reality manifests in levels or dimensions. In other words. it does not indicate “Radical” Non-Dual consciousness. Volume 24 . the individual participates in experience as the causal Self.. Wilber put it this way: [This] brings us to the most notorious paradox in the perennial philosophy. “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. the individual no longer perceives and understands experience from the point of view of the lower self or even the subtle Self. over against which that consciousness can be said to be aware. Wilber has both manifest and unmanifest existence refer to the same level of being. 223). the ego. Wilber also suggests that an even more profound dimension of being exists beyond this: the nondual reality out of which all manifest existence arises. subconscious and self-conscious) aspects of S/self are made conscious. therefore. In this sense.… Thus. or sleeping. or the soul). Spirit is the summit of being. But Consciousness Itself is more primal than that.Itself is not aware of things. and 2) allow us to recognize and identify with that which is constant— or timeless—through all of those states. In trying to have it both ways. identified with the very consciousness that is observing all that arises. because basically there is nothing—literally nothing— in the deep dreamless state. However. a curious quality is associated with it. with each higher dimension being more inclusive and therefore “closer” to the absolute totality of Godhead or Spirit.” merely observing all that exists—even while they perhaps continue to participate in the events of life. sleeping. But. 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”. dreaming.. When all unconscious (not to say. 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. p. “Consciousness as Such”) with one or another of the various modes of possible awareness: waking.… Ultimate reality (or Spirit). (2000b. or sleeping. then there is only Consciousness Itself. the result is to confuse them both. However. Wilber only reduces the seventh stage to the sixth stage. Here. This will: 1) strip us of an exclusive identification with any of those states (such as the body. it is not “Radical” Non-Dual Being. one takes the position of the “witness. However. and follow it through all changes of state—waking.g. more is at stake in Wilber’s point of view than this. Ramana said…must also be fully present in deep dreamless sleep. timeless Spirit.… That is a shocking statement. Conventional notions of consciousness associate it with an object. Spiritual. the highest rung on the 8 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. dreaming. pp. This is the beginning of the ultimate stages of life. Shankara. 2000b. Perhaps one way to clarify this distinction is by comparing it to the principal therapeutic imperative of psychoanalysis: making the unconscious conscious (Pulver. such a position represents the point of view of the sixth stage of life (e. the “Radical” Non-Dual state of Enlightenment actually represents the transcendence of each level of being—whether waking. we will have to plug ourselves into this current of constant consciousness. 1995).e. It simply is Awareness. by any other name. the mind.

the highest-rung aspect.. But such is not the case for “Radical” Non-Dualism. for it is precisely the act of setting God up as a goal that inserts seeking into the equation—and eliminates God thereby.e. The entire earth (or even universe) could be destroyed. stems from the traditional understanding of nondualism. certainly. Wilber sees his theory as an attempt to align with spiritual presentations made traditionally: “That simple witnessing awareness. and therefore to seek Spirit is simply to deny Spirit. Further. you are not always already Enlightened (at least. sixth stage “Ultimate” Non-Dualism). The former applies to the causal Self alone (i. Thus Spirit is both the highest goal of all development and evolution. apart from a handful of texts that are premonitory in nature. in heaven and on earth. and Spirit would remain. nondualism is typically thought to result whenever the self/other distinction is eliminated. p. the wood aspect. In another context. such is simply not the case. 287). The forms of dualism are not resolved until the entire S/self structure is eliminated. claiming that nondual reality is essentially comprised of two aspects: goal and ground. the truth is this: even though you are always already God. The first aspect. nothing is gained by being so aligned. 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. further. Wilber has correctly identified the ultimate significance of this difference. You obviously seek in order to avoid the present. However. Only the other is dissolved in the elimination of the self/other distinction—not the causal Self. That is to say. A subtle dualism yet remains: Self and God. dissolved in the True and “Radically” Non-Dual Enlightenment of Real God. failing to accurately represent God.. 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. Simply put. for all are equally “made of ” Spirit. but merely a partial aspect of reality: the Self. 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.… Thus. (1997. and yet the present alone holds the answer: to seek forever is to miss the point forever. in culture. However. 26) Yet. the essence of each and every thing that exists. is Buddha-nature itself. but an inquiry into why you want to attain enlightenment in the first place. and the ground of the entire sequence. only the latter applies to “Radical” Non-Dual Reality (i. a significant problem exists with this: the spiritual traditions are in error. is the enlightened mind itself.ladder of evolution. but not other to this world. Wilber has not applied this same understanding to his own theory.” However. the isness. What actually results for having eliminated the self/other distinction is not “Radical” Non-Dualism.7 Wilber collapses the sixth and seventh stages together.. and thus the very search for enlightenment prevents it.e. the goal of the stages of life is attributed to both Self and God. as well. Wilber makes a different sort of error in his comments. according to the traditions. in terms of “Radical” Nondualism and the Divine Domain 9 . pp. is Spirit itself. the real significance of the sixth stage error is this: confusing the causal Self for Real God. and this is what makes all the difference. p. Virtually no precedence for the seventh stage revelation is present in the spiritual traditions. the Illusion of Relatedness. is the immanent nature of Spirit—Spirit is equally and totally present in all manifest things and events. But it is also true that Spirit is the wood out of which the entire ladder and all its rungs are made. is God itself. Yet. Real God). with no partiality. indeed. in its entirety. in nature. (1997. Spirit is the suchness. no phenomenon whatsoever is closer to Spirit than another. Consequently. The second aspect. suggesting that “you always already are enlightened Spirit. this confusion is easy to make and. the traditions maintain. The “perfect practice” is therefore not to search for enlightenment. but to inquire into the motive for seeking itself. which is to say. Nonetheless. the error is not so much a mistaken notion—for it does accurately represent the casual Self—as an error of omission. You can no more attain Spirit than you can attain your feet or acquire your lungs. You always already ARE enlightened Spirit. getting in touch with Spirit or God…is your own simple witnessing awareness” (Ibid.… [T]hus seeking Spirit is exactly that which prevents realization. Spirit is prior to this world. From this angle. is the transcendental nature of Spirit—it far surpasses any “worldly” or creaturely or finite things. The very desire to seek enlightenment is in fact nothing but the grasping tendency of the ego itself. as present fully at the beginning as at the end.

God is your true state—but the Illusion of Relatedness is also true of you. the only right asana is utter ‘in-love’ of Me. In fact. not just those in the higher stages of life. is essentially what we have been calling self-transcendence. and what requires elimination in the process of “Radical” NonDual Enlightenment. a move downward to less unity. the seventh stage is present as much at the beginning as in the culmination of the holarchy. more fragmentation (what we called the self-dissolution factor. nonetheless.… In self-adaptation or communion. indeed. 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. is a matter of releasing one’s hold on life and its developmental trajectory. 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. Although this witnessing of reality exists prior to the Light’s transmutation into a spectrum. the forces are building by which it will do so. (Wilber. on the other hand. in the event that they do. 1995. Wilber has the process go a step further. 335) For Wilber. 2001b) frequently speaks of “Radical” Non-Dual Reality as being a state of “Brightness”—which is a state of unfathomably Blissful Light. indeed. remains even after the fact. It is by way of the Illusion of Relatedness that this “Brightness” is corrupted and transmuted into a spectrum—as if by a prism. this context can be accessed at every stage— directly and immediately. self-adaptation. 325). it does not exist prior to the Light’s entering the prism. including the sixth. without form or function or any referents to dilute it. even an integration of the two. What he fails to appreciate. conceiving of consciousness as if a “spectrum” only ends up undermining the nondual reality it is intended to advocate. 2005.” on the other side of the prism. whether ascension or descension—or. 10 the asana of ‘Ruchira Avatara Bhava’ (or the love‘Intoxication’ of true devotion to Me) is a devotional. “Radical” NonDualism has nothing to do with progression of any kind. Although Wilber states that you can “no more attain Spirit than you can attain your feet or acquire your lungs. And the opposite of that was regression or dissolution. 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. The conundrum of Wilber’s spectrum theory could perhaps be put this way: although holons consist The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Further. before its dreadful mechanics of incarnation even come to exist—and. 42. Fundamentally. Transcendence.… Eros. Avatar Adi Da (1997. Indeed. unconditional love-feeling of Me. it must be received as a Gift—and given in return. to everyone. Yogic gesture in heart-Communion with Me” (Adi Da. it is precisely the fact that you are suffering a “veil of ignorance” that indicates your need to be Enlightened. Rather. Unfortunately. p. And to do so captivates one in a swoon and rapture of God’s Love-Bliss: “Therefore. Ironically. however. or association. Volume 24 . 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. 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. Although Wilber includes a “Unity Consciousness” in his formulations of the ultimate ground of existence. Indeed. Unfortunately. attaching to the next higher level of development. pp.Non-Dualism). Although the Light has not yet transmuted into the spectrum. the seventh stage of life is the context of every stage. In other words. the choice is to either ascend—and develop into greater embrace and unity—or else descend—and disintegrate into greater fragmentation and regression. The seventh stage. Therefore. Wilber simply has no account of the Illusion of Relatedness in his theory. exists as the absolute purity of “Brightness. 2000a. in this sense. tenet 2d). as Socrates (Plato) uses the term. Wilber’s concept of transcendence is at odds with this revelation. the sixth stage is still captivated by the mechanics of the prism—even as the “Brightness” exists within it. Self-transcendence (or self-transformation)…is not just a communion. all levels of being). in self-transformation one becomes a new whole. However.” attaining Spirit is precisely what is meant by the Great Path of Return he is advocating. the very motor of Ascent or development or evolution: the finding of ever-higher self-identity with ever-wider embrace of others. which has its own new forms of agency (relative autonomy) and communion. as if another level of construction in the overall holarchy. Consequently. one finds oneself to be part of a larger whole. it is accessed only through the spiritual process of worship and devotion—precisely because the Blessing of Bhava is Given as a Gift. This Bhava is available to every individual at any time. is a third option: transcend—into direct and immediate communion with God.

. I Say Only Reality Itself (Which Is. the dynamic underlying them is entirely different. In other words. and Perfectly Subjective. or separate and separative point of view) itself. God and Reality are other than the ladder. or descended. and True. its rungs are not actually comprised of wood—they’re comprised of water. and Indivisible. the entire ocean. Always Already. to do so involves a concomitant—and Ecstatic— activity: submit to being absorbed back into the ocean. no assembly or arrangement of holons—even ones that integrate into higher levels of the holarchy—will ever result in God. As can be seen. holons are nothing but the effect of the Illusion of Relatedness having taken place. in truth. this is something of a pantheistic (i. the very wood of which it is made are. as involution proceeds. indeed. However. imagine that five of these waves have all emerged. as they appear to spread out in all directions. Indeed. this statement is based on an illusion. which can be sorted out in the following way: when the highest rung of the ladder (i. However.e. Each apparently separate entity or being is nothing but a wave—comprised of the same water as every other wave and. and Indestructibly Non-Objective SourceCondition and Self-Condition of All and all. and Indestructible. it seems that there is no end to the difference and separation. assembled by the very fact that they inhere in one another. this arrangement is exactly that of a ladder. and Really) Divine. 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. Further. pp. No real difference or separation between them—at least on the level of the ocean. in essence. into an ascending hierarchy.of God. “Secondary Non-Dualism”) view in which the mere aggregate of component parts represents God and Reality—whereas. Yet. imagine there are only six waves in the ocean.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. “stretching” out into ever diminished forms until it finally reaches bottom. level upon level. therefore. and Truth (or Real God) Itself. But this is exactly what the ego-“I” loathes to do (Vitz. 295) Wilber likens the situation relative to nondualism to that of a ladder (if not. 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.” it is easy to see how the wood and the rung are identical— they are all there is. and Inherently egoless Case) Is (Self-Evidently. indeed. But on the level of the waves. there is more to existence than merely this ladder. It is the causal stage that is the origin of each subsequent rung of the ladder. Wilber is correct in asserting that there is a ladder of existence—it is just that the ladder is floating in the ocean! And. Although the language sounds similar. The One. 250. That is to say. Wilber states that the ladder gives a good description of manifest existence because the highest rung of the ladder and. In fact. indeed. Truth. they do not actually comprise God. imagine that these waves are all somehow connected together. The Illusion of Relatedness yet separates the two. the very same thing: Spirit. Avatar Adi Da makes use of a different metaphor entirely to speak of “Radical” Non-Dual Reality: the waves of the ocean. or Real God.. this rung does. causal Self ) originally emerges. To release one’s hold on manifest exisNondualism and the Divine Domain 11 . Still. indeed.… I Say the only Real God (or Truth Itself ) Is the One and Only and Inherently Non-Dual Reality (Itself )— Which Is the Inherently egoless. At this causal point of “origin. (2000b. 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. However. and Utterly Indivisible. out of the original sixth wave. that is all the ladder there is. this causal rung is not God.. in reality. the collapse of the Self/God distinction. For the sake of sorting out the essential difference between these two metaphors. only then to divide into its corresponding rungs. One must release their attachment (i. All the waves of the ocean can be thought of as an immense matrix (or else spectrum).e. aligned together and arising. 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. 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. a river). “throw itself out” into further levels—each one of which simply a continuation of the causal rung. It arises in God. However.e. That is to say. addiction) to manifest existence and submit to God. the ladder itself arises within God. 1994)—and for good reason.

sixth stage sage. At first.” which act is the prismatic fault that Breaks the Light. something like a telescope.” or total body-mind. all conditions (or all motions. 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. Truth. thus. at the point of one’s “highest climb. including the sixth stage (however subtle its presence at that point). You need only to understand it. contrary to Wilber’s account. for even the sixth stage of life has its own sense of ego-“I” to overcome. In a manner of speaking. And. yet. [T]he “radical” approach to Realization of Reality (or Truth. It is at this point that you discard the ladder—when you understand that it is unnecessary. The S/self in its entirety must accept and submit to being absorbed into God.… Therefore. a painful denial of Ecstasy). p.” a surprising development could be said to occur: the ladder is not actually discarded.tence is to die. However. Perhaps nowhere is the contrast between the Great Tradition and “Radical” NonDualism more evident than in this passage. There is nowhere else to go in scaling the ladder but the top rung. this one. Pervasive In the The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 2000a. Rather. in place) to directly enter into heartCommunion with Me (the Avataric SelfRevelation of the Reality. 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. you don’t need to experience the ladder first to discard it (at any or all of its rungs). sixth stage sage—no matter how truly illustrious and profound—is simply perched upon their final plank of wood. and (in this Manner) to Realize Reality. on the other hand. or patterns. it is exactly (and only) by understanding the hierarchical nature of samsara that we can in fact climb out of it. more to the point. mistakenly thinking that God-Realization involves “climbing” out of samsara only ends up obscuring the real process of God-Realization. so as to position yourself to discard it. “Radical” Non-Dualism and the seventh stage of life. The “Brightness” Is Indifferent (Beyond “difference”) In the Deep—There. Wilber speaks of the ladder metaphor in this manner: “But according to the traditions. 2005. And. yield an entirely different participation in Reality: In the only-by-Me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life. Where Primitive relatedness Is Freely Drowned. it collapses. even that of the causal. to Me—just as it is. It is the ego-“I” that stands between S/self and God— and it does so at every stage of life.… At last. When “Bright” SelfRecognition Rests Most Deeply In Its Fathomless Shine.” or the act of self-contraction. or of “differentiation. The causal. p. Deep (Inherently egoless. 276) Put somewhat differently. so close to the ocean that they are everything except immersed within it. nevermind your apparent unpreparedness to do so. Most Perfectly Beyond and Prior to ego-“I. To think that no more ladder exists simply because only one rung is left is an illusion. That Is the Only Real God). the Play of motions Is Translated In Love-Bliss. and more). more and more “away”). final piece of wood keeps them buoyed. but (by surrendering your “self. each rung simply enfolding within the others until only one is left. one 12 only reaches the top rung. or Truth. the error of the Great Tradition is this: in having climbed the ladder. 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. or Real God In Place (or As That Which Is Always Already The Case. there is really only one means to God-Realization: you must take the “plunge”! Any other understanding only confuses the issue. the truth is you must discard the ladder right now. therefore. the true means to God-Realization is simple: stop doing it! No amount of development will ever ease or replace this obligation. Indeed. (Adi Da. Consequently. and 2) realize that this is something you are doing—even right now. In other words. Volume 24 . Where and As you Are. this Realization Shines in the world and Plays “Bright” Demonstrations on the waves. for Enlightenment actually occurs based upon an entirely different dynamic. It is all around them. Although Wilber claims you must first climb the ladder. 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. a ladder discarded only after having served its extraordinary purpose” (1997. 45). or envisions It as seeming two. And the same is true at every stage of life—indeed. or Real God) is not to go gradually “higher and higher” (and.

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. 345. R. 39-49. at most. In The Five Books of the Adidam Revelation (Book Four). Hridaya Rosary (Four Thorns of HeartInstruction). (1995). for the causal Self does exist prior to involution (i. A. The guru and the pandit: Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber in dialogue. The unique sixth stage foreshadowings of the Only-By-Me revealed and demonstrated and given seventh stage of life. K. The “Apex” Paradox: The role of the ego in psychology and spirituality and its implications for clinical practice (Vol. II: The aberrant ego). MA: Moksha Press. (2003a). Psychosynthesis. Cohen. C. Adi Da (2001b).C. However. this difference is of ultimate significance. Merely considering the S/self to be God— indeed. But it is the latter that makes the difference. CA: Dawn Horse Press. pp. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Internet: BurtonDaniels. The “Apex” Paradox: The role of the ego in psychology and spirituality and its implications for clinical practice (Vol. Buddhist thought in India. Griffiths. A. it does not exist prior to the Illusion of Relatedness— nor. its realization is predicated upon the development—rather than the dissolution—of manifest being. Adi Da (1997). Clearly. B. therefore. (1991). Lincoln. Daniels. In appreciation of Wilber’s spectrum/quadrant theory. & Wilber. The seven stages of life. confusing the sixth and seventh stages is easy to do. (1999). and understanding this fundamental paradox is the only means by which one can understand their true relationship to God. Notes. D. Drifted in the deeper land. Beck. Lenox. J. London: Allen and Unwin. Advaita Vedanta. The seven spiritual laws of success. All the Deep Unfolds To Waken In the Once Neglected (Now Un-Covered) Light of SelfIlluminated and Eternal Day. 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 (2000a). Lincoln. Daniels. NE: Writer’s Showcase. (1965). Living enlightenment. (2002). Assagioli. prior to being “born” as the various levels of being). In The Dawn Horse Testament. as is the case with Avatar Adi Da. Wilber (2000b) refers to this state as the “Unborn. for the S/self is also not God. Adi Da (2001a).) (1991). nevermind how spontaneous and without reason. NY: State Univ. Adidam (Eds.Water-Stand—and. of New York Press. Middletown. CA: Dawn Horse Press. One cannot Realize God by pretending the difference between them does not exist. (1962). CA: Dawn Horse Press. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Middletown. E. D. 2001a. San Rafael. CA: Amber-Allen Publishing. UK: Blackwell Publishers.com. NE: Writer’s Showcase. The traditions have. Albany. Daniels. One can Realize God only by eliminating that difference— which is only one’s own doing. & Cowan. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Honolulu. Middletown. E. I: The abundant ego). Deutsche. for the difference between them is extremely subtle. Adi Da (2000b). B. God-Realization is a matter of being absorbed into that which is truly Unmanifest. B. Middletown. Cohen. Spiral dynamics. Middletown. like a Sea of Blankets. Nondualism and the Divine Domain 13 . Middletown. (1966). Adi Da (in press). In The Five Books of the Adidam Revelation (Book Five). New York: Viking. (Adi Da. (2002). Although the “Unborn” is an utterly profound state of reality. Clearlake. Middletown. (1997). The primal wound. Vedanta and Christian faith. Chopra. In The Basket of Tolerance. In The Seventeen Companions of the True Dawn Horse (Book Ten). CA: Dawn Horse Press. Conze. B.. (2003b). & Gila. They have not fully Embodied it. Eleutherios. only intuited the seventh stage of life. 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. In The Seventeen Companions of the True Dawn Horse (Book One).E. A.e. The Dawn Horse Testament. Firman. as Real God. Yet. Real God Is the Indivisible Oneness of Unbroken Light. 346) Conclusion God both is and is not the S/self. (1996).” To see how this reference could be made is understandable. What is Enlightenment? 22. CA: Dawn Horse Press. CA: Dawn Horse Press. Middletown. HI: EastWest Center Press. Ultimately. References Adi Da (1991). Oxford.

These levels of “lesser” enlightenment are advocated in the recent works of numerous authors— for example. soul and spirit). Structurally. R. S. Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra. Wilber. Grand Rapids. D. b). Louis. etheric. K. Fine (Eds. He depicts this sequence as consisting of the following levels of being: causal. Boston & London: Shambhala. (2000b). S. NY: Humanity Books. Buddhist phenomenology. Introduction.W. Moore & B. K. ecology. And the problem is that therapists…want to hold onto the egoic 14 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.. Wilber. Nonduality. MI: William B. PA : Himalayan Pubs. Boston & London: Shambhala. Trans. S. 2005. K. C. Jung (Vol. 2000) as follows: spirit. A thousand teachings (M. MO: South Asia Books. Williams & R. Shankara (1979). Weiss. Suzuki. (1995). (1998). note that even in being “lesser. G. Adi Da: The promised God-Man is here. Loy. Wilber.E. (2003).E. Pulver. (1968). Wilber. The goal and the way. Satorakashananda (1977). The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.” the states of spiritual attainment emulated here are profound and exhalted levels of being and should not be dismissed or taken lightly. K. while the levels of “body” and “matter” are differentiated into the two lowest levels instead. E. New York: Broadway Books. and mind represents psychology and sociology. really need to let go of self and egoic self-esteem altogether. C. 113-136. Chopra (1995). S. Sengaku. (1957). the remarkable few capable of attaining these stages of life represent an enormous boon to humanity.). of Tokyo Press. (1991). Jung. at this time science has no correlates for the subtle and causal levels of being (i.Hegel..) (1987). 5These may be easily confused for one another. Rama. there is a significant difference between the two schemas. Avatar Adi Da (2001a) agrees with this five-tier structure overall. Avatar Adi Da indicates that there are three basic tiers overall. especially as it relates to the ego. Jung. Trans.). The eye of spirit. Man and his symbols. MO: Vedanta Society. Amherst. (2000a). The technique of psychoanalysis proper. Cairns. The seventh stage of life subsumes them all as the inherent Substance and SourceCondition of Existence. nonetheless. Princeton. there is a significant difference in the two schemas.. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. J.). Psychology as religion (2nd ed. Boston & London: Shambhala. and gross. subtle. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Muzuka. Indeed. Lee. Husserl. K. (1993). D. (Eds. P.e. Middletown. as the subtle actually subsumes the mental and etheric within it. Columbia. Larson. The marriage of sense and soul. the fourth stage of life is a transitional state between the lower and higher levels. and the sixth stage of life conforms to the primal Self of the causal level. respectively. New York: Noonday Press. (1999a). Wilber. Press. NJ: Princeton Press.D. for the emotions (i. (1994). However. Instinct and the unconscious. a somewhat simplistic correlation can be drawn between these levels of being and certain domains of science: matter represents physics and geology. 3However. Encyclopedia of Indian philosophy (Vol. NJ: Princeton Univ. CA: Dawn Horse Press. New Haven. The Essential Writings (F. (1997).. Cohen (2002). Footnotes 1This sequence of S/self structure is summarized in Wilber (1995. Sex. (1990). Kirkpatrick. see Daniels (2003a. body represents chemistry and biology. 2For a fuller account of the S/self. 2001a). Tokyo: Univ. (1993). Press. 30(3).). G. In B. Psychoanalysis: The Major Concepts. Trans. 30(1). far exceeding those attained by the vast majority of humanity at this time. Unfortunately. Princeton. In The Collected Works of C. 59-74. In The Collected Works (Vol. London: Routledge and Kegan-Paul. Verma. Ed. Two patterns of transcendence: A reply to Washburn. Tarnas. etheric. the fifth stage of life conforms to the higher mind of the subtle level. Honesdale. 4For a fuller treatment of these aspects of the seventh stage of life. Yoga and psychotherapy. International Philosophical Quarterly. CT: Yale Univ. One taste. Cartesian meditations (D. 8). & Bhattacharya. The passion of the western mind. St.G. New York: Dell. 4). mental. P. (1999b).e.). C. (1990). matter. Cohen and Wilber give this example: “You really. Wilber. Potter. soul. Boston & London: Shambhala. Indeed. which is so critical at this stage of evolution. see Adi Da (2000b. Although they fall short of the most profound level of Enlightenment—“Radical” Non-Dualism and the seventh stage of life—they. Sartre. spirituality.G. K. H. J. Wilber. & Ajaya. As a way of clarifying what Wilber means by his nomenclature. (1960).). New York: Ballantine Books. K. New York: HarperCollins. Object relations theory. 2). K. (1919/1971). Vitz. (1995). E. 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. and lower mental levels. Buddhism. (1964). and Beck & Cowan (1996). really. The transcendence of the ego (F. Indeed. Volume 24 . C. and the self: Synthesis of Eastern and Western approaches. R.. G. mind. R.T. etheric level) are omitted in Wilber’s model.G. (1998). represent extraordinary states of awareness. Boston & London: Shambhala. Integral psychology. body. Ballentine.

which only ends up making God into a goal of spiritual practice—rather than an ongoing. Consequently. Avatar Adi Da has Incarnated precisely for the fulfillment of this purpose (see Lee. they advocate the evolution of Enlightenment.e. For a fuller treatment of these different approaches to spiritual awareness and awakening. it gradually becomes clear what a daunting foe the ego really is. Although this more “watery” metaphor may appear to have some similarity to that of the ocean.” If the rungs of the ladder could be conceived of as being in flux or fluid. then it would serve the exact same purpose as that of the river—and the situation would remain essentially the same: a ladder (i. This approach to Enlightenment is what Avatar Adi Da calls either Emanationism or Transcendentalism. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at Daniel_Sleeth@adidam. Rather..… [Yet] as one goes deeper and deeper into the process of transformation. see Adi Da (2000b) and Daniels (2002). Only in the last half of the twentieth century has technology and affluence allowed for the creation of a true world community. 2003). they are not actually situated in the context of the seventh stage of life. Wilber’s use of the river is in no way the same. all spiritual masters have necessarily worked within the cultural constraints imposed by their particular time and place. pp.org Nondualism and the Divine Domain 15 . 7To this point. all-inclusive revelation. “river”) floating in the ocean. 6According to Avatar Adi Da’s (2000b. the conditions have only recently occurred whereby the provincialism of local customs and loyalties could be overcome and the Great Tradition consummated in a single. 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. 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. However.self-contraction and make it feel good about itself. although these precepts sound similar to the revelation of Avatar Adi Da. 4546). The metaphor of the river is employed to suggest the “flux” and “fluidity” of development—over against that of a rigidly linear course. precisely because they do not take into account the Illusion of Relatedness. 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”. present relationship of worship and devotion. and what a poison narcissism is” (2002. 2001a) schema of development.

This notion is explained and linked up with the Western mystical tradition. It is only in some disciplines within psychology. 1995. 1989. Weinberger. Victor. Collingwood. 1993. with many different research paradigms in Kuhn’s sense (Kuhn. Oeser. into transpersonal psychology. 1955. 1998). 2005. Fensterheim & Raw. a similiar concept has been developed which became known as the spark of the soul. Spark of the soul signifies an "organ of the mystical experience. Messer & Woodfolk. 1980. & Norcross. et al. Goldfried. is comparatively young with a history of roughly 150 years. Clinical psychology seems to be very much in a preparadigmatic stage. 1979b.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. Oeser. but that this progress is achieved by both working within given frameworks of accepted presuppositions and by discussing and debating the very foundations (Kuhn. Laudan. 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. transpersonal psychology reconnects with this tradition and has to be aware of the legacy: to achieve the theoretical. Here. integration of both types of experience by drawing on the experiential nature of this concept and fostering good research. 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. It is understandable. coming from antiquity and specifically from the neo-Platonic tradition. While this might be acceptable for some branches of psychology. Beitman. 1977. like in experimental or applied psychology. 1969. 1987). where many rivalling theories exist. but also rest on theoretical presuppostions excluding each other. 1998). 1998). Castonguay & Goldfried. During the middle ages it was developed into a psychology of mysticism by Thomas Gallus. popularized by Bonaventure. that a comparatively unitary canon of methods and accepted standards of problem solving seems to have been accepted by the whole community. and radicalized by the Carthusian writer Hugh of Balma. Psychology. 1994. 1980. and if possible scientific. with inner experience relegated to the private and mystical realm. Glass. Bunge & Ardila. that a new movement arose at the end of the 60s. and most notably through its humanistic psychological expressions. 1995. 1977) competing for priority. It is mostly within the context of clinical psychology. Sanderson. 1976). which not only suggest different modes of action contradictory to those of competing theories. Wachter & Messer. and certainly not within clinical psychology. 1995. Fleck. & Arnkoff. or summit of the mind. that insiders and outsiders alike deplore a kind of “preparadigmatic” state of psychology as a whole. 1996). 1987. which called itself “Transpersonal Psychology” (Sutich. where even the consensus on what methods to base scientific evidence on is debated (Chambless. Volume 24 . the founder of psychosynthesis. therefore. Toulmin. The impulse to found yet another movement 16 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 1997. 1985. this suggestion does not seem to depict the whole situation. Seligman. as a scientific discipline." It is argued that the split introduced into history between outer and inner experience has lain dormant ever since the 13th century. By introducing this concept. 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. Shoham. This history is sketched and the meaning of the term illustrated. 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. 1979a.

Therefore. 1975.within the already widely disparate field of clinical psychology. such as: the experience that individual purpose is always an act of transcending the individual self and relating with a “transpersonal” value (Frankl. Assagioli underlined that the process of integration and synthesis which human development represents is neither a random nor a simple cumulative process. Lukoff. 1991. 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. Lundh. Thalbourne & Delin. 1991. and also a kind of repository of future developmental possibilities. for an outsider. Thalbourne. and thereby. & Turner. But most important of all is his concept of Higher Self. 1971. 1995. Some emphasize the esoteric and theosophic heritage (Schuller. Lu. 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). Atwood & Maltin. While these traditions have lost their importance within sciHigher Self 17 . “higher” drives like altruistic impulses or artistic inspiration. Barnhouse. 1970.” “mystical. Robinson. foreshadowed an important modern movement within self-regulation theory (Kuhl. 1972. he used the depth-psychological terminology introduced by Freud and developed by Jung and differentiated it. to use a modern metaphoric language. as it were. in contrast. neo-Platonic and mystical traditions. who developed a psychological model of personality and clinical change which he called “psychosynthesis” (Assagioli. because very likely the concept of a schema would cover what Assagioli meant by subpersonalities.” without clear definitions of these terms (Lukoff. although Assagioli seems to have derived many of his concepts and strategies also from theosophy and. 1934. 1986. 1969. 1977. from Eastern sources as well (Besmer. 1911). & Lu. Rusting. 1975. While many theoreticians and practitioners of transpersonal psychology have heavily relied on impulses from Eastern philosophies and traditions. Thalbourne & Delin. 1973. 1984. 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. 1974. 1980. Thereby. Complexes of experiences he called sub-personalities. This is a notion akin to Jung’s concept of “complex. It would be very interesting to study this concept in relation to modern schema-theoretic approaches (Ciompi. 1998. our bio-psychological past. 1974.” meaning an emotional. 1991. 1985. he quickly developed a psychological concept of his own. he called Higher Self. 1985d). drives and impulses. 1976. incidentally. 1986. The higher unconscious. his psychology looks as if he had invented all the concepts himself. Stein & Markus. 1991. Fadiman & Frager. The lower unconscious can roughly be compared to what Freud intended with this notion: past and unconscious experiences. 1984. however. 1998). 1979. 1976. It is wrong. 1998). Sutich. This centre. 1998). 1991).1972. 1988. usually associated with repeated experiences or social roles. which both acts as the inner guideline and impulse—as well as a regulating and attracting goal. 1975). One could even say that the higher unconscious was something like an Aristotelian final cause or entelechy for human development. 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. 1969. Bergin. 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). 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. 1988). 1974). 1994. Engler. Lukoff. Schuller. Assagioli usually was very scant with bibliographic details of his sources. motivational and action oriented quasi-independent part of the personality. Tart. Assagioli pointed towards the importance of the human will as a resource for integration and development. but one which seems to be mediated. 1999). 1985a. 1985c. Turner. Washburn. psychosynthesis is one of the “Western” types of transpersonal psychologies. 1996. 1978. 1992. 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. 1995. was a notion to differentiate “higher” impulses from the lower unconscious and to describe them: esthetic values. Armstrong. 1988). therefore. 1973. 1985b. to suppose that Transpersonal Psychology is a unitary school. 1984. inspiration and intuition. Originally one of the early advocates of psychoanalysis in Italy (Assagioli.” or “religious. 1996. supervised or even fostered by something like a transpersonal attractor. Thalbourne. seems to have been the realization that there were realities and experiences pointing beyond the personal self (Maslow. 1973).

” confirms that he experiences an inner voice that is sometimes warning him against doing things. with his teaching that the soul stems from the realm of ideas from where it comes into the body. of course. Even Aristotle. central to his innermost personality there is something godly. cosmic seed. who first seemed to have mentioned a concept like “spiritual self ” in the modern scientific tradition. then. The Greek word “ETHOS” signifies “home. Plato developed a model of the soul in which one part of the soul was striving towards the good. can be understood in the sense: The god(ly) is home to man. but also in the centre of man. the active part of the intellect. 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.or trans-natural part of the soul. All those direct sources of Assagioli’s will not be the topic of this paper. 1976). 1967. 301ff ). This can. But one possible and probably sensible reading and translation would be: “home for man is the god(ly)”. Volume 24 . 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. came from “outside-THYRATHEN.” Although his “de anima” was a work rather of natural philosophy.” “the innermost of the house”. spiritual nature within man we can see in the fragment B119 (around 500 BC) of Heraklitos (Weber. Plato. 2005. be understood in different ways and needs interpretation.” “hearth. as most texts by Heraklitos. meaning surrounding. 1983) explicitly said that the highest part of the soul. namely the Stoic teaching of the universal fire as the source of everything and the trace of this fire in everything as a fiery. who because of that in the end is sentenced to death for “introducing new gods. who otherwise was more inclined towards biology and natural philosophy and tried to eschew some of the pitfalls of Platonic thinking. Since this history is extremely complicated and complex. Assagioli’s Personality Model. Heidegger. and Jewish Kabbalist sources.” which literally reads as “from outside through the door. Since one other work of Aristotle. 1964). he pointed to this super. Roots in Antiquity The first written trace of the idea that there is 18 some higher.on the soul” (Aristoteles. * Higher Self (organizing principle) higher unconscious field of consciousness collective unconscious Me middle unconscious subpersonalities lower unconscious Figure 1. who has traced the history of this concept. Likely sources will have to include the writings of Blavatsky and Bailey. the agent intellect. which is The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Endre von Ivanka (1964). “The Apology of Socrates” (Plato. Yoga psychology. has pointed out that apart from the Platonic and neo-Platonic traditions of the concept of Spark of the Soul. The journey will lead us from the predecessors of the notion in antiquity to the first formulation of a transpersonal type of psychology by mystical writers of the middle ages to the modern concept. laid the foundation for the later teaching of an immortal soul or rather. William James. I want to sketch out this tradition and therebey connect the seemingly unconnected modern practice and terminology with the tradition. in his “De anima . which tried to understand and outline the natural workings of the soul. holding man. which reads: ETHOS ANTHROPO DAIMON. bringing a trace of the ideal worlds of immutable ideas and of the Beauty and Good with it into the human being. in his famous “letter on humanism” has pointed toward this fragment in this sense (Heidegger. We next explicitly meet the idea of some inner God or godlike inner voice in the famous Platonic dialogue.ence. there also is a Stoic root to it. and thus point to its importance and possible explanatory power. it is now within transpersonal psychology and by the mediation of Assagioli’s psychosynthesis that one of the most interesting concepts of this tradition starts to surface again. Socrates. The fragment. p. but never advises him in the positive to do something. an immortal part within the soul. I will only point out the more important turns and steps. which later was merged with Stoic and other ideas.

he says: For in us also there is inherent a certain occult vestige of the One. which to him seemed like a hindrance. of course. there is an imprint of the divine One in every single soul. but by its ultimate fringe we are tied to the world below. is lost. perfecting and establishing herself. as it were. the Areopagite. this anonymous monk of the 5th century could secure himself highest Higher Self 19 . 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. both the things above and the things below down to the limits of all life. but with the intelligible world by its powers above. and lives. 8. and in which the soul. in the Acts of the Apostles.but there is a higher part (of the soul) which the transitory pleasures do not please. a higher and lower part. as well as his Islamic interpreters. which is pure intelligibility and reservoir of the world of ideas in the Platonic sense. was like a mark of the divine. one of Plotinos’ followers and the systematizer of Plotinos’ ideas (Beierwaltes. And from this. which is printed in the first volume of the Loeb edition of Plotinos’ works). emanates the material world. becomes divine. Plotinos called the principal source of everything “the One. is said to have preached to the Athenians and to have converted one Dionysios. at last. 1982). a trace of the One which is at the same time mark of and spurn to the One. The hallmark of his teaching is. 8. a trace of the One. I have seen a beauty wonderfully great and felt assurance that then most of all I belonged to the better part. This was possible.1f ) These quotes illustrate Plotinos’ psychology pretty clearly: He saw the soul as “containing” two parts. a divine life. of course. Plotinos taught. and we are each one of us an intelligible universe. Plotinos. Therefore he was ashamed of his body. From the intellect emanates the world soul which gives life to everything. 1953.” which he conceived to be all and everything in one. so his biographer Porphyrios tells us and as Plotinos testified himself. by receding the faculties and powers of the soul from the outside world and turning inwards until. incidentally. 1977)... going out from all other things. and very likely was inspired by contacts between the Greek culture and the East (O’Meara. I have actually lived the best life and come to identity with the divine. is the source for much of later aversions against the body. which is attributed to Christianity. Using this alias name. a consequent idealist ontology which starts from the insight or experience that pure consciousness is primary. we can only speculate what he really meant by the saying. who revived the Academy and its teaching after nearly 500 years. turn round to the One again and. and its life is comfortable (Enn IV 8. 1974). This was one of the main sources of the contemplative traditions in the West. The idea of a special part of the soul was finally introduced by Proclos. 3. and we remain with all the rest of our intelligible part above. by contemplation. and all things.. which was experienced by the individual as a desire to reunite with the One. In his “Ten doubts on providence” (Proklos. out of which everything emanates in four stages: first the NOUS. 1966). (Enn III. 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. he thought. Balthasar.-Dionysios). as far as is possible for this to be accomplished by her. making contact with this lowerworld by the powers of the soul below. The founder of this neo-Platonist movement was Plotinos (204-270 AD) (Plotin. & Haas. The next step was made within the neo-Platonic tradition of those Platonists. 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.. This. is akin to Eastern cosmologies.. in modern terminology. However. in mystical contemplation. A few quotes from Plotinos may illustrate his ideas: For the soul is many things. It is the impulse within the soul to return. beyond every limitation. (Enn IV 8. in total stillness. and set firm in it I have come to that supreme actuality. 1965).thought to have contained the more esoteric aspect of his psychology. seek reunion with the One (Beierwaltes. But it is a well accepted fact meanwhile that the followers of Aristotle and those who still had access to the rest of his works. This model. The higher part..23) Often I have woken up out of the body to my self and have entered into myself. but seems to derive from the neo-Platonist tradition. the intellect. Saint Paul. interpreted him in the sense that this active part of the intellect was a spiritual and immortal part of the soul (Merlan. very much akin to Eastern practices of meditation like Yoga or Zen. 1963). . p. the “active intellect” comes from outside. and is. 4. this divine part of the soul reunites with the One. which is more divine than our intellect.21 ff ). (1953.

but was known in the middle ages as a text of St. It signalled a part of Figure 2. In this teaching the neo-Platonic One is identified as God.” a place free of sin even in the sinner. as it were. The main theme of his book “Mystical Theology. But in parallel to this moral usage another one turned up out of the slumber of the dark ages in the mystical tradition. Alcher of Clairvaux. have been highly influential in the middle ages. and it is still unclear. seems to have melted together with the Stoic teaching of the “seeds of the eternal fire” to form what became known as “scintilla synderesis. who reintroduced the concept of the “scintilla synderesis” as a mystical notion. p. the human soul. 1949. quoted Ps. even by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. 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. which is the faculty of union of man with God. or the image of God in Christian terminology. mentions the fact that in the contemplative-mystical experience the soul is taken out of its normal state. of course. for example. Scheme of Thomas Gallus’ psychology.bonitas sua propria cognoscere The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.1247) is mentioned as a canon of St.” which is attributed to the Cistercian author. 1987). Thomas Gallus (1219 . since there was a place within him which remained untouched by all the evil he brought on himself by his sins (Lottin. 797).” the spark of the synderesis. XXIV. Thus. like Phillip the Chancelor. also known as Thomas of Vercelli or Commentator Vercellensis. Saint Thomas Aquinas. 1996.” was centred around the immense greatness of God. but without naming this power (Pseudo-Augustinus & Alcher von Clairveaux. what it really meant and what its true ethymology is. and that there is an “occult power” within the soul. In this moral sense this term seems to have been used for quite a long time. This was the place where God spoke through the true voice of consciousness. Philosophers of the 12th century. And man’s endeavour.authority since his writings were long thought to have been inspired by the Apostle himself.The book of the spirit and the soul. Volume 24 . 1948). “in ignorance. must be to seek reunion with God.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 .-Dionysios the Areopagite (Ps. and thus granting freedom of conversion at any time.-Dionysius Areopagita. that he always could convert himself and turn to God. Cap. It was Thomas Gallus or Thomas of St.” beyond rational thinking and knowing. neo-Platonism baptized. For the philosophers of the middle ages it primarily was a moral concept. the “Liber de spiritu et anima . Augustine’s. endowed with Apostolic authority. Ps. or God as he is conceived in the Judaic-Christian tradition is identified with the neo-Platonic One. his absolute otherness and difference and the impossibility to know him.Victor. which was untouched and untouchable by human sin.-Dionysius takes up the teachings of Proclos and also speaks of a higher part of the soul. The main psychological text of the middle ages. the “synderesis. 1942. 2005. this neo-Platonic tradition made its way into the Christian middle ages.-Dionysios more often than Saint Augustine. or later on Adam de la Hale. used the term “synderesis” to signify the fact that even the worst of sinners always had a door open towards the good. Synderesis is a complicated term.Victor in Paris and university teacher in consummatio intellectus apex mentis synderesis supra naturam et industriam robur mentis industria vera an falsa natura intellectus . 1957. The teachings of Ps.

14). sensual apprehensions (naturales apprehensiones). unitive experience of ecstatic oneness of the soul with God..spark of the synderesis”. which corresponds to the highest hierarchy of angels. In that summary he aligns the inner structure of the soul with Ps. into the Western. Pagan philosophers. whence his title of honour “commentator Vercellensis . at a higher level with propositional and intellectual truth. And he developed a psychology which could incorporate these teachings. to form an explicit psychological notion of the “scintilla synderesis. At some stage he was transferred to the abbey of Vercelli in Piemont. There are two major faculties: intellect (intellectus). the synderesis. as it were. according to the 3*3 hierarchies of angels. consist of the natural faculties of the soul (vires naturales). compartments 1-3 as it were. By doing this. this free will would have been a part of the synderesis.-Dionysios’ teaching of the celestial hierarchies. It is schematically reconstructed in Figure 2. compartments 4-6. subconsciously in modern parlance (natura). But at the border toward the next level. with the moral concept of consciousness. This is activated by grace only.. apart from his monastic and ecclesiastic duties. These are the compartments 7-9 so to speak.e. and posits 3*3 faculties of the soul. is activated by the will and by effort of energy (industria). In this specific place in the soul a human being is divine. Thomas Gallus was not a minor writer. and by doing this. the affect already comes out of its natural slumber. gains experiential. which is beyond any operation of the mind. While the intellect is concerned with the outside world and truth (veritas. With Thomas Gallus. Dionysius) hands down.thought the highest cognitive power was found in the intellect. the neo-Platonic teaching of a trace of the One has combined with various strands of Christian teaching. suo propria cognoscere)— at a lower level with the subjective and sensual goodness. Augustian terminology and made this strain of contemplative tradition more accessible to the West. p. which is the spark of the synderesis and which alone can be united to the Holy Spirit.” The middle ages only tributed such nicknames and titles of honour to wellknown and important writers.. neo-Platonic tradition. the affect is concerned with goodness and the soul’s own states (bonitas. The highest part of the affect here are the commands of the free will (imperia liberi arbitrii). and the simple discernment of basic truths and falsity (vera an falsa). Of this upper triad of the soul. is lost. and is able to unite with God him/herself.the commentator from Vercelli.summit of the mind”. the Seraphim. They work naturally. and is the central power of the mind (robur mentis). by the way.” This is the “organ” of the contemplative. or at other places “scintilla synderesis . and experiences a desire for the divine (appetitus divinorum). at a higher level with the intellectually and morally good. he says: In this book he (i. mainly consisted in reading. is extremely rare. His work. 1990). with God alone. Germany) of Ps. where he lived and studied (Barbet. which made him important for posteriority: He translated the meaning of the Greek terms which were close to the pagan. which is the highest part of the soul. a copy is obtainable by interlibrary loan from the university library in Mainz. only the very highest. This scintilla synderesis belongs solely to the affect. and affect (affectus). whose sole purpose and aim is the unification with God. There we find the natural. Note that in former psychologies some 50 or 100 years earlier. But he wrote a summary himself in one of his commentaries which has survived and has been edited (Thomas Gallus.-Dionysios the Areopagite. it is beyond human nature and active effort (supra naturam et industriam). The main part of this psychology.-Dionysius the Areopagite (Thomas Gallus.principal affection. a faculty or organ for the mystical experience. In his commentary on the “Mystic Theology” (which. which he outlined in his commentary on Isiah. 1936).. he achieved two things. is called the “apex mentis . when there is another power that exceeds the intellect no less than the intellect exceeds reason and the reason exceeds imagination.1219. Here in Thomas Gallus. and thereby is concerned with the highest good of the soul. as it were. Here the “spark of the soul” has made its entry into the teaching of the West. Thus it is understandHigher Self 21 . commenting and interpreting the works of Ps. and in it the highest faculties of the human soul are perfected (consummatio intellectus). He was well regarded by posteriority and widely read. 1934. or “principalis affectio . mystical knowledge of God.. The first level of the soul. aliena cognoscere)—at the lower level with sensory truth. as it were.” spark of the soul or principal affection. This is the first explicit mentioning of a specific faculty of the soul. One could also interpret this as the conscious level of our human rational faculties. a more profound way of knowing God. denoted as the rational faculty (ratio). we find a whole compartment above the rational powers of the soul which he calls synderesis. This second level. This power is the principal affectio.

except in old and rare prints until very recently. as well as a criti22 cal edition of his text (Hugo de Balma. Hugh of Balma is usually known only to specialists due to missing editions and literally missing access to his writings. which is concerned with the soul’s own inner states. his work was translated into many languages. another author was possibly even more influential than St. And the apex of the affect is totally taken over and transformed into God. the intellect. Here is a textual example from Hugh’s lengthy tract. which is concerned with the outer world. There is now available a recent English (Martin. Saint Bonaventure. 1961). true peace and freedom be gained. Volume 24 . He severely attacks all school teaching and academic wisdom. and. and he does not desire it. and thereby was seminal for the later contemplative or mystical tradition. Bonaventure in familiarizing the spiritual readership with the concept of a higher part of the soul: the Carthusian author. where the faculty of intellect. His teaching was highly influential. Bonaventure has taken up the notion introduced by Thomas Gallus of a summit or spark of the soul. pre-modern science and mystical speculation.) It is within this latter spark of the soul. . unless he desires it. the imagination. 1981). all intellectual activities have to be given up. the rational faculties. These details. in Bonaventure the neo-Platonic-Dionysian theme of an imprint of the One or an organ for the mystical experience has been combined with the more traditional Augustinian psychology familiar at the schools of theology and has been firmly established in what became one of the key texts of the Western Christian mystical traditions. the senses. as taught by Ps.6. which he also calls apex affectus. which can be dated round about the years of 12601270. and only in concentrating all the soul’s powers into the affect. (Bonaventura. It was Hugh of Balma who radicalized this teaching. is mystical and most secret. can true knowledge of God. that the mystical experience takes place: In this step. 1961. Walach. Noboby understands it. which was also known as “Mystical Theology” or as The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. This was taken up extensively about 100 years after his presumed active period. such that he can really be called one of the fathers of Western mysticism. however. 150) Thus. 4. 1929). the so called devotio moderna. 2005. “The Cloud of Unknowing” (Anonymous. only in radical extinction of thinking. true knowledge of many other things. While the official. the Franciscan friar. outer and inner experience were one. and professor of theology was one of them (Gilson. His influence on Meister Eckhart remains to be traced. “Viae Sion lugent . and he does not receive it. 1995). This process. which in fact is inner experience. 1961. Bonaventure and who had to retreat into the charterhouse for personal safety and ecclesiastical peace. His basic message is simple: Only in the total withdrawal of the soul from every outward orientation. I. university teachers and theologians for having relinquished the true path towards insight and knowledge. and the summit of the soul or the spark of the synderesis (apex mentis seu synderesis scintilla). up to Hugh of Balma. Hugh of Balma (Walach.-Dionysios and Thomas Gallus. are still together. This ascent is conceived according to his— more Augustinian—psychology. which also is inspired by Carthusian spirituality. and being one of the major authors of the Franciscan community and a widely read theological teacher. which leads to a unification with God in the scintilla synderesis. Walach (1994) has argued that he probably was a Franciscan friar opposing St. the understanding. In his book “Itinerarium mentis in Deum . do not concern the main impact of his teaching. and which is the only aim and bliss of the soul. 59f. (Bonaventura. mystical and classical theology. He influenced the 14th and 15th century movement of lay devotion. p. however. accepted version is that he was a Carthusian prior.The mind’s itinerary to God” he described the mystical ascent (Bonaventura. p. but the fact that Eckhart was in Paris in 1276/7 and in 1312 makes a connection a possibility. He very likely was the main source for the contemplative text.. 1996). his motives and the basic thrust of his teachings vary widely. summit of the affect. as a kind of side effect. And every faculty of the soul has a certain role to fulfill in this. his biography. 1997b) and German translation (Walach. the mystical path. This is also evidenced by Thomas Gallus’ psychology. Opinions about the author.The ways to Zion mourn”. and the faculty of affect.able that his teachings were taken up by others and handed down. if it is to be perfect. 1994. One can make a point that. and printed in many editions. VII. popularized it. He says: These six steps of the ascent to God are according to six hierarchically ordered faculties of the soul. unless the fire of the holy spirit ignites him in his very centre. thus aiming only at the mystical union with all desire and all power and in ardent love. In parallel. 1994). unless he receives it.. general.

to rise ardently and glowingly with surging strivings to his beloved. is one of the major manifestos. It certainly would be interesting to sketch further this history in the West and in later times. spark of the soul. It is conceived as the very centre or summit of the soul.Dionysius). especially within psychosynthesis. It was ascribed to Bonaventure and thereby became widely known and eminently important. This type of knowledge was handed down in the “Mystical Theology” (of Ps. Its influence is still not completely traced and established. however. By letting go of any activity of imagination. in monasteries and in the writings and teachings of mystical writers. which in reality makes the spirit able. 1956). and Ignatius of Loyola. Here he also calls this central part of the soul spark of the soul. without any mediating agent. It seems to be an interesting fact that. 1993). within the human mind. Inner experience or mystical experience has been delegated to lay piety and private worship. which signifies that. spark of the syndere- sis. and in an “esoteric. as nature. of the mind and of the understanding. And from there it made its way into the teaching of other mystics. for which experience is eminently experience of oneself. the Dominican friar and preacher has taken this notion up and popularized it in the vernacular in his sermons.” “summit of the mind. by virtue of the unification of the glowing. there is a part which is like a “better” part of a divine nature. like Theresa of Avila. 265) This text. activating and thereby pulling the individual toward his or her development. be it nature. an enormous number. albeit mainly outside academical traditions. who likely tried to influence academic opinion. p. It rises up in the summit of the affective power. (Walach. Meister Eckhart.” counter-academic. or into the circles of lay people (Ruh. which looks at everything from the outside. 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. this was identical to Higher Self 23 . which has henceforth remained present in the West: the notion of a higher part of the soul. More than 100 text witnesses are extant. world or God. we are able to feel already now. It is in Hugh of Balma that the academic tradition of the West branches into an “exoteric. 1994. 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. Whitehead’s beautiful metaphor of “God luring” entities towards him. the founder of the Jesuit order and of the meditative-experiential tradition of the spiritual exercises (Beyer. for which experience is experience of something (else). if not the most important one. During the middle ages. principal affect. About this rising it is said that it happens without knowledge. which were written down and copied widely. A concept was born. little fortress of the soul. Experience has started to become experience of outer things. 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. of the rational faculty. has culminated in a notion. this concept returns.“De triplici via ad sapientiam . Since the latter half of the 13th century. the mystical tradition has drifted away from orthodox teaching. as world. of mystical thought in the West. as God. These hints may suffice for a first approach. variably named summit of the mind. and spiritual development of the psyche. In his psychology–which. testifying to its wide distribution. mostly to Dominican sisters.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. God within. in the present moment. but is outside the scope of this paper. but certainly goes as far as the Spanish mystics (Pablo Maroto.” “spark of the synderesis. as we saw. which would certainly be possible. what the mind is incapable of grasping. like Tauler or Seuse. by the way. And it would be even more interesting to draw the parallels with and underline differences to Eastern traditions. failed. John of the Cross. within transpersonal psychology. The Higher Self of Assagioli has a psychological function: unification. The psychology of these mystical writers. comes to mind here. It has since lived and survived in the circles of pious groups. and therefore can be the place and the means of the mystical experience of union with God. This concept has mainly disappeared from the academic agenda ever since Hugh of Balma. and was more or less driven out of universities and schools.” academic. 1965) of the 16th and 17th century. mystical branch. ardent love that. then. Assagioli assigns more mundane tasks to the Higher Self. theological and scientific branch.” While the mystical tradition used the term more in the context of the mystical experience of union with God. or rather by not-knowing.

of course. 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. 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. Although there is some research into that direction. only the soul. or rather in this or similar concepts of Transpersonal Psychology. basically untouched by psychological suffering. this has some important ramifications. we know virtually nothing. Both attribute to this part an active role in the unification of the personality. 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. If this is so. can be effective. I venture to say that in the Higher Self of psychosynthesis.deification: becoming God-like or union with God. interventions tapping the spiritual resources should be researched and documented well. which is thought to be an imaginative counterpart of contacting one’s Higher Self. Assagioli has suggested some imagination exercises for helping the individual growth process. which is not very convincing to sceptics and critics: What is the criterion that in any experience of Higher Self. and that the power of such a mystical experience can be severely hampered by psychological malfunctioning of the rest of the person. like selfesteem. As I have tried to show. At present. We need data on the effectiveness of interventions like that. We feel reminded of Viktor E. or coping skills. in modern parlance. or even more effective than conventional treatment. Specifically. quite natural and a health resource rather than hazard. which forbids entities beyond necessity. Then. While for Assagioli. Only if presented in the widely read mainstream journals with high impact and rigorous review will such material be taken seriously. Both traditions see the experience of this innermost part.The best known of these is probably the inner journey to the wise man. to which everyone is drawn. or Spark of the Soul. 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. healing. our godlike nature. of Higher Nature. to let oneself be drawn by the call of God. the mystical tradition has pulled away from the official academic strand of research and teaching. Christ-nature or Buddha-nature. Transpersonal therapies should take up the burden of empirical research and evaluation. as the most important and most fulfilling experience. 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. Apart from the different and clerical language this is couched in. it describes the same basic experience. 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. the old concept of “spark of the soul” makes its reappearance. there would be the reductive argument which is difficult to counter apart by selfevidence. and there are some tasks which come with it. in other words to reintroduce the topics of transpersonal psychology within academic main-stream psychology and research. sound and available as a resource. Therefore. In the Zen-tradition The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Frankl’s dictum that the spirit is never ill. and on the effectiveness of therapies which base their concept more on a spiritual understanding of man. The historical distance from the middle ages can be traced in the fact that nowadays we also recognize psychological needs more readily. 2005. If it is true that within transpersonal psychology some of the legacies of the mystical tradition are present. and it probably would be cut away by Ockham’s razor. there is no clear advantage for such a concept to everyday research and theorizing. prayer or whatever other type. proving to the scientific community and the public that therapies using transpersonal resources. then one task would obviously be to reconnect this strand of thinking and experiencing with the main stream of the scientific endeavour. It should be shown beyond doubt that spiritual experiences are quite common. There are several strands of empirical and theoretical research which recommend itself in that way. Volume 24 . since history is not simply a rehearsal of the same piece of music all over again. in imagination. for the mystical writers of the middle ages this was the innate spurn to embark on the spiritual quest. utilizing this as a resource. it is by no means enough nor is it good enough. Granted that a modern psychological stance has something to add and to offer to the purely mystical or spiritual position. Historical and theoretical research should establish firm links between concepts of different cultures and times. We acknowledge that sometimes psychological problems have to be solved before or after spiritual experiences. this is a kind of ever present synthesizing and motivating activity. it seems.

Assagioli. R. R. 16. as probably did the other writers. Vom Himmel. Proklos. Hibbert Journal. both empirically by EEG. London: Harper Collins. transl. Methoden der psychotherapie und der selbsttherapie. In that sense. As yet. History shows that phenomena. (pp. or the spark of the soul. A successful new paradigm is not a paradigm which suggests: Throw away the old stuff. & Maltin. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. (1965). Assagioli. Psychosynthese. Quantum mechanics was successful not because it was new. I’ll give you something completely new. as well as phenomenologically by studying qualitative reports. Assagioli. motor performance. Maybe some simple surrogate tests could be devised. facts and theories remain unrecognized unless they can be combined with. R. 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. neuroimaging and the concepts derived from there. Die schulung des willens. but because it could integrate what was there into a new framework. (1983). Walsh. 800-816). In such a notion of science and experience there would be a place for a concept derived from inner experience like the Higher Self. J. Transpersonal development. 207-230. if they cannot at the same time point out. The rationale is not much different from that of common tests: What can be tested for (intelligence. R. Atwood. W. It was inner experience. The cloud of unknowing: The classics of Western spirituality. but eventually will have to undergo empirical tests as well. Assagioli. integrated into and linked up with existing knowledge and paradigms. Higher Self 25 . Von der Seele. are not public knowledge. Putting eastern philosophies into western psychotherapies. but linked up with philosophical and traditional terminology. and quantitative self-report. We need something similar today. these types of validation of experiences. Von der Dichtkunst. München: DTV. Freiburg. (1991). Thomas Gallus. J. Frankfurt: Klostermann. 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. New York: Paulist Press. 3345. 184-201. T. & hrsg. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Plotinos reportedly had quite a few spiritual experiences himself. how to really integrate what is “new” with what is there. introd. Germany. (1984). (1986). The Higher Self or Spark of the Soul initially was a concept derived from experience. Barbet. In dictionnaire de spiritualité. Aristoteles. school aptitude). Author Note This paper is based on a talk held at the 3rd World Congress of Psychotherapy in Vienna. Beierwaltes. It would probably be wise to utilize the modern trend towards neuroscience. fMRI. Atti del IV Congresso Internationale di Filosofia. experiences. subjective in the first place. R. Ed. July 1999. Assagioli. (1974). by J. 606-624). We need experience in the full sense of the word. Psychoanalysis and psychosynthesis. Symbols of transpersonal experiences. Assagioli. Transpersonal experience in childhood. (1934). Prinzipien. Nendeln: Kraus. which alone can yield an argument against reductive reasoning. likely exists. (pp. good theory and good empirical theory testing should be mandatory also for transpersonal psychology. References Anonymous. if integration is to happen at all. Paderborn: Junfermann. The dimension beyond psychosynthesis.. 33. 368-382. methoden und techniken. 1.there is something like that in the testing for the understanding of a Koan. as well as the methodology that comes with it. but as what it originally was: inner and outer exprience combined into one mode with two faces. (1911). Übers. and thus intersubjective in result. Assagioli. (1988). 35-55. nor should be. Maybe they never will be.. v. R. (1981). and to combine this with existing models as far as possible. Adliswil/Zürich: Verlag Astrologisch-Psychologisches Institut. Il Subcosciente. to introduce the topics of transpersonal psychology into mainstream research. Jung and psychosynthesis. D. (1991). It was supported by the Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene. American Journal of Psychotherapy. One way would be to promote research into meditation. L. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. In Anonymous. not only as inner experience and not only as outer experience. 45. In that sense voices coming from the transpersonal camp and demanding a “new” science are not all that helpful. Armstrong. Something like that would be necessary for a science of spiritual experiences. R. it seems. Gigon. The knowledge of the spiritual traditions can be helpful in this. (1990). Bologna. 14.. O. (1969). Grundzüge seiner metaphysik.

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whose 100th birthday we celebrate this year (1904-2004). For even our morality—indeed. of an entire planet. the essay then moves into a discussion of Keats’ poem in order to reveal the power of poetic utterance in reconfiguring a vital mythology. p. Language and landscape are intimate first cousins. Robert Pogue Harrison observed that “in the age of the new barbarism. within Mother Earth.107) The mythologist Joseph Campbell. As long as I am this or that. though not divorced from matter but actually inhering within it. Become pure till you neither are nor have either this or that. I believe. psychic and spiritual energy. As I continue to read and absorb his elegant insights into the essential place of a shared and coherent mythos in the life of the individual and of an entire people.” offer new ways to reimagine our relation to the earth. language too is crucial. By doing so. I detect his impulses moving in two directions: into the body and into the natural order in one direction. or have this or that. for it guides us to the proposition that in the active life of the imagination of a culture. In his incisive study on the importance of our ancestors.” which gathers all the various world mythologies as inflections of one universal story. of words themselves.” Campbell refers to such a divorce as “mythic dissociation” (1972/1993. And both are showing signs of permanent exhaustion.” he asserts in Flight of the Wild Gander (1951/2002) “derives from the vitality of its symbols as metaphors” (p. revealed in many of his 28 books and journals the intimate connection of mythology to the earth’s foundational soil. 74). I am not all things and I have not all things. words lose their moral memory. being neither this nor that. 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). p. are all things. 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. and now.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. in Huxley. 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. The Perennial Philosophy (1970. in the way we both disabuse and pollute. in The Dominion of the Dead (2003). What we do to words mirrors with exacting frequency what we do to the world. our morality above all— depends on the historical resonance of its foundationThe Nature of Myth 29 . Joseph Campbell. 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 addition. or nurture and elevate the status. especially his “Ode to a Nightingale. to the dead and to language’s continued vitality. xx). then you are omnipresent and. The “life of a mythology. Campbell would. as well as the poetry of John Keats. Beginning with a brief overview of some of the major tenets of Campbell’s guiding force of the “monomyth. and towards the transcendent in the other. Meister Eckhart. 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. The purpose of yoking mythology to poetry is to realign consciousness along a mytho-poetic axis of insight and understanding. seems to be one of Campbell’s perennial and abiding concerns. For today we would be wise to place the earth’s journey at the forefront of any pilgrimage towards revitalizing the planet. perhaps even to the transcendent Other that is in fact—tat tvam asi—thou art the other. If there is to be a renewed mythos.

we have read it too literally.” “is the source of your fantasy.But Spirit. to transmit to a receptive audience. writes that “the monomyth is in effect a metamyth. nature. 86). 2005. Hegel (17701831) believed was the nugget resting deep in the heart of the earth. The term “World. in self-expression. Joseph Campbell’s entire work contains a Hegelian impulse. that the phenomenon we investigate—Universal History— belongs to the realm of Spirit. but also controlled and intended statements of spiritual principles which are as constant in history as the human nervous system” (1948/1968.…unfolds this its one nature in the phenomena of the World’s existence” (1834/1991. par. and the course of its development. Jung believed. and to deify them.F. 160) to capture the sense of a hidden transcendent unity of truth. p. 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. the world spirit that the philosopher Georg W. In this vein.xix). This ode recollects and records a transcendent pilgrimage into the imaginal realm. Campbell asserts. Campbell. What Keats’ ode exposes is an essential and exhausting poverty inherent in literalism. which implies that psyche. which Carl Jung observes in Mysterium Coniunctionis in a section entitled “An Alchemical Allegory. 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. in his Introduction to the revised The Hero’s Journey. ((1990/2003.” includes both physical and psychical Nature…. indeed. The symptoms of literalism’s malady include an arresting or blockage of psychic energy’s flow. 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. Volume 24 . to provide images that relate the everyday to the eternal” (2004. is our substantial object. in this last book which he completed in his eightieth year. which I take as the expression of the everyday shorn of its transcendent reverberations. 10). include a brief exploration of “Ode to a Nightingale” by the 19th century English poet. is “to see the life value of the facts round about. and in writing is directly yoked to a disrespect and indifference to the matter and. I believe that carelessness in speech. believed. Phil Cousineau. 191).You would like to make gold because poverty is the greatest plague. sacrifice. This languid soul has indeed heard and heeded the call and entered the vocational woods of poetic creation. following the Irish writer. Ranier Maria Rilke. p. The function of the poet. 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.’ which might also be called devotion” (par. the fountain of your soul…. 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. who writes in his thoughtful responses to a young poet that “Spiritual creativity originates from the physical. 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. xvi). as it were. more needs to be cultivated regarding the intimate connections in thought between these two titans. Here is Hegel early in his epic work. 257). 193). that the image of “the everflowing fountain expresses a continual flow of interest toward the unconscious. (p. duty. then. compassion. equality. a kind of constant attention or ‘religio. wealth the highest good” (1963/1989. more blissful and enduring repetition of physical desire and satisfaction” (p. deploying similar words to delineate an analogous idea. Campbell underscores Rilke’s insight when he coins the phrase “mythic identification” (1951/2002. a philosophical reading of the unity of mankind’s spiritual history. 38). substance and energy.” none of which brooks “the false eloquence of the times” (p. The Philosophy of History (1834/1991): It must be observed at the outset. we see that they are symptoms of the unconscious. The latter part of this essay must.” that all the varieties of world mythologies are inflections of one story. 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. Perhaps in entertaining the hero’s journey. 1929/1992 p.al words: liberty.38). p. p. John Keats. 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. James Joyce who gave him the term “monomyth. let us link for a moment both Hegel and Campbell to one more crucial historical figure. they are of the same essence” (Rilke.

providing a consistent image of the order of the cosmos. The word “metaphor. 4. the death of language—its cadavers are strewn around us everywhere: in clichés. even as it connects us to the natural. p. Archetypes are biologically grounded… (p. 39). or polluted. A renewed or revisioned mythos might then include an ability to reimagine the relation of spirit. 6). and to reveal the underlying unity of human embodiment and the cosmos. but which finally shares a universal origin. newspeak. The Nature of Myth 31 . the life force that permeates all matter. The hero may be imagined as energy itself. empty words. vulgarity and profanity. myths. they are interpretive. diluted. to go from one place to another. The first group are the atheists and the second are “religious. p. its physicality. Campbell reveals in his writing how both the world’s material. Within this field of metaphor. the two breaths being the same” (2002. slogans. 51). 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. 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. is offered more than once by Campbell when he quotes the 19th century poet Novalis: “The seat of the soul is there. Thus. 3. one opens oneself to the mythic impulse which is to make us “transparent to transcendence” (2003. he writes earlier in the same volume that “The divine is transcendent even of the category of transcendence. therefore. sound-bytes and a general lack of vitality in selfexpression. 34) having their origins in the energies of the organs of the body. A key to this web of relationships. they carry a religious function: to awaken and maintain in the person an experience of awe. increased. the universe as it is. space. p. among other venues. 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. 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. decreased. one’s own psyche. “There seem to be only two kinds of people: Those who think that metaphors are facts. 2.8). p. he affirms that “myth is a constant regeneration. and phorein=to move or carry. xvi). serve four functions: 1.” However. they also transport us past time. p. In allowing the energy of the world soul to permeate one’s own body. are the “texts of rites of passage” (p. body and earth in a constant but benevolent dialogic tension between the body’s interiority and the world’s matter. The death throes of the soul reveal themselves in. they allow us to cross boundaries otherwise impossible. p. mediated by the social customs that comprise a specific historical time and place. A new mythos must therefore be diligent and dedicated to preserving speech as well as preserving species. 40). p. physical world at the same time that it clears a space for accommodating the transcendent. Myths. For Campbell. What for Campbell is the life process comprises for Hegel the World Spirit that animates and informs the World soul. Only metaphor has this exclusively powerful quality of allowing us to enter domains not readily accessible to the rational mind. a common source. pp. worn out phrases. an identification with the life process” (2003. begins in the body. both in conflict and in complement to one another. it is the interior of flesh.5). according to Campbell. and its metaphorical or symbolic resonances. an efficient and very economic delivery system of sorts. becomes sidetracked. for that too is a category of thought…”(p. and they center us in the connotative dimensions of a world that is essentially and furiously denotative (2001. they align consciousness to the mysterium tremendum. even a mythic heritage. which is another way of asserting that myths promote our “learning to live the divine life within you” (p.itself that flows. and those who know that they are not facts” (2001. Given this metaphorical quality that points to and exposes a mystery beyond contradiction and duality. Metaphors carry us from one place to another. Perhaps analogies are birthed right here. strict denotation. Finally. 48). which is a mode of transportation. 40). this metaphorical quality lying vibrantly at the heart of myths and myth-making.3-4)). 41). 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. 40). for the psyche. in its energetic language. is from two Greek words: meta=to pass over. 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. end-stopped. matter.” he explains. they help carry the individual through various stages and crises of life. even a partnership between energy flows through shared matter. p. to know and respect that ultimate mystery that transcends all forms (2001. as he writes in Flight of the Wild Gander. where the outer and the inner worlds meet” (2002.

p. This is not a new myth but a reclaimed one. Campbell writes in Flight of the Wild Gander (1990/2002) that “myths and rites constellate a mesocosm. a second womb of sorts. xiv).in that “marsupial pouch” that for Campbell characterizes. Creative Mythology (1968). and we can here highlight the indispensable place of a historical imagination in retrieving the humanity of our species. I offer the following wobbly neologism to capture something of such a partnership: mythophysiology—a mythos of flesh. reveals that the word “humanitas in Latin comes first and properly from humando. b) the universe (the macrocosm). 93). Campbell reiterates and in truth. and a) that awesome ultimate mystery which is both beyond and within himself and all things. of our particular spirit informing it with ancestral culture” (p. 60). which Robert Pogue Harrison tells us. By the same token. or an entire people.” whose organizing impulse is to remember 32 and reflect unconsciously “the history which formed it and which its continuity would uphold…” (p. He called these “bioenergies. but when unbridled become terrific. p. His most cogent and sustained opus. whose mythos is surcharged with planned obsolescence. 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. 130). then. has its own organizing structures. to which I have only The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. undoubtedly influenced by Vico. that shapes it and is contoured by it. most critical function of a mythology. grasp in a sensate way an intuition of place and of belonging to something beyond themselves. in an organic and animal way. erotic field…“ (2002. yet now discovered order of the pageant of the spheres” (p. which my colleague Robert Romanyshyn has eloquently described as “a gestural body. taking the word nature in its full etymological sense (from nasci. xi)…. like mythology generally. Human embodiment. [which is ] a magnetic. goals and purposes of a people’s mythology. The human imagination is moved by the conflicting urgencies of the organs—including the brain. as well as a record of the pilgrimage of humanitas. would seek to reclaim the wisdom of the dead. They are the historical progenitors. So. is to foster the centering and unfolding of the individual in integrity. xix). He observed that “mythos and dream are motivated from a single psycho-physical source. and the images who walk in on us are our ancestors…. a mediating middle cosmos through which the microcosm of the individual is brought into relation with the macrocosm of the universe” (p. 6) Stanislav Grof ’s own work. life on earth “is to mirror in the human body the almost hidden. the place of society where the human body breathes itself into the social matrix. 2005. James Hillman. and more on the nature of a historical sensibility imaginally kindled that arouses one’s soul within a larger fabric of meaning and intentions. then. Campbell intuited something profound about the body’s relation to myth and meaning but chose not to pursue it in depth. 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. which is the essence of life itself. is to get people to identify with something outside of themselves” (1990/2002. 130). the four volume The Masks of God. p. citing the work of Gimbatisto Vico. Volume 24 . The human is bound up with the humus and is why burial figures as the generative institution of human nature. such an observation rests on a fundamental premise in all of Campbell’s musings on world mythologies: “the highest concern of all myths. in accord with d) himself (the microcosm). A new or revitalized mythos. “to be born”. Early in the beginning of volume 4. for Campbell. c) his culture (the mesocosm). may assist us in reclaiming the ancestral imagination to allow for a fuller vision of our place in historical time. or archetypes. p. Human history may then be understood as a biography of an entire species. gravitational. 123). By contrast. burying” (2003. horrifying. The fourth point is the only one I wish to access here: The fourth and most vital. redesigns his list of four qualities. x). writes in Healing Fiction (1983) of the central importance of history’s qualitative hold on psyche. 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. (p. p. of the human body” (2002. for the quality of being connected to ancestry has been muted considerably in today’s future-obsessed consciousness. A new mythos would exchange hubris for humus. ceremonies. destructive” (p. He argues convincingly against the preoccupation with the “historical ego. the body. 60). Given such a connection. perhaps less an emphasis on historical events and facts at this juncture. serves as a compendium of his thought on the matrix of mythic consciousness that anticipates or is in tandem with Stan Grof ’s vision of a wholistic order. The land of the dead is the country of ancestors. etc.

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. its praxis is to create by analogy a mimetic representation of some vision. a full and authentic mimesis. 318). I would say. 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. two southern poets of the last century. poetry is capable of producing an organic mythology. some insight that has particularly powerful mythic resonances. would finally reach its fullest expression. showing that our individual psyches are. There the nature and structure of the narratives we tell. 92). Jung. even drydocked. While written in the early part of the 19th century. 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. You need not have the experience to get the message. or imitation of a psychic action. cultural forces shifted the inflection to one of the image of the cosmos as a mythical or series of overlapping mythical tonalities. as Richard Kearney develops this idea in a powerful little book. organisms and the interfaces of both divine and human orders commingling and mutually influencing one another. 298). Both Joseph Campbell and Stan Grof would find a strong partnership in the observation expressed by the latter writer in The Holotropic Mind (1990): New scientific findings are beginning to support beliefs of cultures thousands of years old. and drew this conclusion: “How does the ordinary person come to the transcendent? For a start. resonates a similar holistic view. are in a sense homologous—and perhaps even holotropic?—of the structure of the world we inhabit. We never completely lost contact with this cosmic consciousness because we are never fully separated from it. 711). are fertilized by the same principles that organize and order the cosmic as well as social and individual orders. they could have been etched yesterday or even tomorrow. They are the figures in the culture to whom we turn. the nature of myth. 299). the poet is a partner in the hero’s journey who. (pp. a mythology of organs and origins. Campbell reflected on it in a “Discussion” transcribed at the back of Thou Art That. that unveils and makes more transparent. Nature and narrative grow like seedlings from the same plot of ground. such that they find it impossible to leave their safe harbors and sail towards the transcendent. for. in the last analysis. study poetry. Instead of “the image of the cosmos as a mechanical system” that assumes it can then be understand by “dissection” and explanation (p. a manifestation of cosmic consciousness and intelligence that flows through all of existence. for poets do not eschew the world so much as they enter it more fully than the rest of us may be capable.recently come. 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. nature becomes transformed into narrative. Any The Nature of Myth 33 . For the Greeks. returns with a boon that is worth contemplating as we tend to the right measure of our own voyage. p. The Odes of John Keats (1795-1821) are among the most famous and finely wrought in literature by such a young poet. Such a shift would. to the process of poiesis that only the human being is fully equipped to create. in order to shatter those boundaries that Stan Grof believes keep us arrested within limits that are more arbitrary than absolute (2000. “the poets’ sensibilities have large orbits” (1997. these souls are landlocked. there exists an intimacy between the myth of nature. As I stated in the title of this paper. perhaps a mytho-poiesis of nature. as the poet Wallace Stevens observes. Poets are the antithesis of those souls caught in hell. As such. “Hell. On Stories (2001). Learn how to read a poem.G. I believe. poiesis is a making or a shaping of something that has been apprehended. When asked about the experience of the transcendent and how one might achieve its status. In such a paradigm. properly. In such a relationship. 100). And from that penetration through the boundaries that might inhibit or resist the rest of us in our tracks. that Aristotle discovered in the 5th century BCE in Greece. having suffered through the concrete world in a unique way. p. 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. or at least some indication of the message” (p. For Campbell. p. 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. In other words. as both Stan Grof and Joseph Campbell rightly insist on. 202-03) Let me turn in the last part of this excursus to the realm of poetry.

and possibly poetry is merely the strange rhetoric of that parallel” (1997. The response he feels—for odes convey as much feeling as thought or action—is moved by desire for a life of depth. Said another way.”Ode to Psyche” (1819). that is to say. 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. Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme To take into the air my quiet breath. xvii). as he intervenes and interposes the appearances of that sense. for an élan vital. Thus poetry becomes and is a transcendent analogue composed of the particulars of reality. and perhaps by poetry’s innate wisdom. created by the poet’s sense of the world. the song of an invisible nightingale singing in the dark shadows of the forest’s trees. 206). begins in lethargy: “My heart aches. p. 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. its narrator. 206). Campbell insists the heroic journey must originate in pathlessness and in isolation. What this voice seeks is some vitality in his own life./ [and] the murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves” (p. for disinterring a relation that has been truncated and buried. to reclaim from the past. only heard: “Already with thee! tender is the night.’ that is.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. sad. our response must be both mythic and poetic. The narrator’s desire seems motivated. 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. for it returns to conscious awareness the absolutely essential role of the imagination as an instrument for reclaiming of the dead. His soul is. pp. the poet’s task is not just concerned with the world’s body. 206). his attitude. as though of hemlock I had 34 drunk. 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. in part. re-animated by the feminine light of the moon and the dark vegetation. Such will be his catalyst to heed the sound of the call and venture out. I suspect—of the animal mundi herself—not seen. and in fact is inspirited by. last gray hairs/Where youth grows pale. In “Ode to a Nightingale” he renders an experience that is no less epiphanic. could have been musing on Keats’ Ode when he wrote: “There is always an analogy between nature and the imagination. Wallace Stevens. (1997. and spectre-thin. His world darkens as he reflects on his attraction. The voice of the figure in the poem./Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains”( 1819. from the dead. His ode is like a remembrance. some elixir of life that would revive and restore a connection to the natural order. where he moves slowly “Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways” (p. p. and dies” (p. 206). namely. 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. one which is attuned not just to the foliage but to the smells of “the coming musk-rose. “entering the forest at its darkest part. by the oppressive sense of life’s decay and death. (p. Volume 24 . Bliss eventuates out of personal blisters. otherwise one is following another’s path (2001. p. and Provencal song” (p. full of dewy wine. In an earlier poem. 2005. “a draught of vintage” that has been cooled a long time “in the deep-delved earth/Tasting of Flora and the country green. suddenly. in a moment of eternal time. 715). 205) as he (in fact it could be a man or a woman) falls Lethe-wards into the ennui of forgetfulness. Now. The poet’s task. In short. 206) The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. through the invisible bird’s song as guide. as Keats reveals it in that ode. and a drowsy numbness pains/My sense. between soul and matter. a living testimony of the future. one of our toughest and most elegant voices of the poet and the critic. 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…. “where palsy shakes a few. yet is anchored securely in the voice of the bird—an image./Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays” (p. Now more than ever it seems rich to die. 722-23) Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale” testifies to such a transcendent possibility as well as our capacity to nest imaginally in just that brooding domain. the languid soul is immediately transported into another level of consciousness which transcends the boundaries of time and space./And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne. He hears at the same time./Dance. 205). where no one had cut a path before. by the poetic impulse of the psyche. spawned by imagination.

a connection to the natural and transcendent orders of being. immortal Bird!/ No hungry generations tread thee down” (p. 908). desires. when. to make public in a larger venue what one has discovered. (p. By the same token. 207) On his return. As priest. both cadaverous and calcified. with an awareness of mythic time and space which situates us between flux and permanence. the voice of Keats’ poem not only retrieves the numinous quality inherent in the natural order. in a language that is clean and freshly strewn with original analogies to wake the imagination from its dreary and often habituated slumbers. 207) for the particular bird whose song led him into his initial reverie now swells its orbit. if not increases its volume. xi). One possible answer is “yes” to both. a waking and sleeping experience. with the past. the solitary and lifeless voice of the narrator at the beginning has been revitalized by this seemingly ordinary connection to nature that has gestated in the poetic imagination and now leafs into a mythological experience. 207) This passage bears witness to an entry in one of Wallace Stevens’ notebooks: “The poet is the priest of the invisible” (1997. to voice. Harrison offers a dramatic image of this observation: “Our psyches are the graveyards of impressions.” a line Keats crafts in “Ode On a Grecian Urn” (p. It has found its earth home once again. which has now achieved in his imagination mythical status. for unless the dead are now acknowledged as the central core of our legacy of the living. 207). the permanence of flux and the flux of permanence itself. and now ‘tis buried deep/In the next valley-glades” (p. a form of death of the self as it enters through the shining corridor of reverie. he or she must not rest content with the new experience or challenge. the same patterns of responses will remain stubbornly in place.” he continues to hear the fading echoic resonances of the bird’s song. with a historical sensibility. to history. traumas. in its mythopoetic veracity: “Thou wast not born for death. “one whose contents have been buried so that they may be reclaimed by the future” (p. two losses most in need of retrieval grow from the soil of lament in the poem’s voice: the dead. or a waking dream? /Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?” (p. it seems to me. 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. reflection.This call by Death is both crucial and necessary. 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. is to simultaneously enter by analogy into the world of the dead and the unborn at the same stroke. via the mystery of language. to a renewed relationship with the dead. p. 207). then we could suggest that a revitalized mythology must then include a poetic and imaginal response to the matter of the world. the thinly-bordered imagined realm “of silence and slow time. and renewal: “Was it a vision. to become the sound that has echoed through the corridors of history from time immemorial. in the construction of a new mythos for the world. If we are able to slow down sufficiently to hear Keats’ call. the heroic figure must return to the ground from which one originated to complete the cycle of departure. Indeed. to move into the natural order. She stood in tears amid the alien corn. or perhaps more accurately. it includes as well a shift from a strictly solar to a lunar consciousness. Or. and with a clever oral pun on the word “sole. as well as a sense of the historical connection that binds us all as one into a common humanity: what we all share each in our separate ways is a relation to the past and to the dead. his imagination has uncovered the transcendent quality alive in the song’s immanence. but that voice is also led to it by a kind of poesy. 207). he consecrates the mundane into the transcendent. however./Up the hill-side. the song of the bird. as the voice of the poem does. to a mythical experience. or the “transcendent” realm cited earlier by Wallace Stevens and given several currency values in Campbell’s work. x). But with a reverent bow to the dead emerges a recognition of history’s legacy: The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth. The Nature of Myth 35 . to a deeper connection to one’s “sole” self. and archetypes that confound the law of obsolescence” (2003. to the vast community of the dead. A temporal event has been transformed. But now the nightingale’s song fades “over the still stream. initiation. and return—with some gift of remembrance. which at the same instant has married this sole soul to history. sick for home. But as suggested in the archetypal pattern of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. Within such a sacred posture. p. He further asserts that any salvific impulse in humanity to preserve itself must be based on a humic foundation. and a return to share. remembrance. In the metaxis of dream and perceptual waking is the space of contemplation.

Bollingen Series XVII. Novato. (2004). (1983). (2001). Barrytown. Grof. N. (2002). Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at dslattery@pacifica. J.G. Original work published 1929. Harrison. (1959). (2003). Original work published 1944. Original work published 1986. Marie Louise von Franz. (2000).M. Pittsburgh. Original work published 1948. 2005. The masks of God.edu The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. The Classic Wisdom Collection. vol. Stevens: Collected poetry and prose. Buffalo.). NY: SUNY Press. Original work published 1944. Editor. R. California: 13-18 June 2004. Surely the pioneering work of Joseph Campbell. Novato. Jung. (1993). (B. Stan Grof. New York: Harper and Row Publishers. Pathways to bliss: Mythology and personal transformation. J.P. but in a more imaginal and reasoned response. Volume 24 . S. Psychology of the future: Lessons from modern consciousness research. J. J. R. Selected poems and letters by John Keats. Novato. References Bush.) New York: Doubleday. Novato. 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. Rilke. New York: NRDC Publications. (1990). New York: Penguin Publishing. Bollingen Series XX. W. Carl Jung. C. Campbell. Huxley.). The hero’s journey: Joseph Campbell on his life and work. (1988).). The holotropic mind: The three levels of human consciousness and how they shape our lives. San Francisco: Harper. Flowers. Novato. Trans. (1972). xi-xii). (2002).F. (Ed. The hero with a thousand faces. Trans. (1970). Myths to live by. Campbell. will there by any hope. A. Rick Tarnas. Hillman. CA: New World Library. The inner reaches of outer space: Metaphor as myth and as religion. Ginette Paris and others. Burnham. Kearney. (2003). Great Books in Philosophy Series. Grof. John Keats. (R. New York: Houghton Mifflin. Natural resources defense council pamphlet on the environment. Creative mythology. founded on a fertile loam of intuition. Original work published 1990. R. The dominion of the dead. Campbell. NY: Station Hill Publishing. New York: The Library of America. Letters to a young poet.Hull. CA: New World Library. Princeton. numbs their souls and provokes increased consumption. CA: New World Library. On stories. J. (2001). (Joan M. G. Redford. (1989). (1973). Novato. Campbell.C. (1991). Campbell. J. 36 Campbell. CA: New World Library. D. Stevens. The power of myth. Campbell. Mysterium coniunctionis. The perennial philosophy. Flight of the wild gander: Explorations in the mythological dimension. CA: New World Library. J. CA: New World Library. PA: Trivium Books. Princeton: NJ: Princeton University Press. Albany.Only by taking this last step in the journey—making public. New York: Routledge Press. 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. J. (2004). S.J: Princeton University Press. Hegel. J. Christine Downing. R. Marion Woodman. (1997). Campbell. Trans. Ways of the heart: Essays toward an imaginal psychology. each with his or her uniquely beveled and honed eloquent language. New York: Viking Press. The philosophy of history. Original work published 1951. 4. Author Note This paper is based upon a presentation at the Sixteenth International Transpersonal Conference in Palm Spring. Romanyshyn. R. (J. Original work published 1822. not in shrill outcries of literal laments. J. Sibree.). Campbell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Healing fiction. James Hillman. Thou art that: Transforming religious metaphor. S. NY: Prometheus Press. 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. to my mind. (1968).

focusing on the approach of David Latham. archetype and journey. 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. xx). “with many clues. a powerful contemporary mask widely-used in actor training in Europe. When I write of “the mask work” in this context. because it is amazingly congruent with mask work. 1985. Joseph Campbell’s vision of myth has come to be a part of the mask work through my teacher. Australia and North America. Artists tend. and to my own interpretation and development of that work. so I should also add that I am referring to how David was teaching it ten years ago. and the use of the neutral mask as an approach to the study of myth and archetype. 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. whether works of philosophy. I am acknowledging that there is a broad tradition but specifically referring to the neutral mask work as I learned it from David Latham. Campbell’s insights into this symphony—the artefacts of which. provides an excellent orienting vehicle for the unique combination of creative work and personal transfor- mation that this work represents. 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. 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. In this paper. theology or folklore. have served poetic ends in actor training and performance. 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. I n his preface to The Masks of God. and their influence. besides. These correspondences open up two areas of inquiry: the transformative effect of the mask work when conducted in a transpersonally-oriented set. psychology. 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. 1991a. In the years since the publication of The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Campbell. on actor training using the neutral mask. including the mythological perspective of Joseph Campbell and the holotropic perspective of Stanislav Grof. An outline of training in the neutral mask is given. when I trained with him. based on my own Neutral Mask 37 . David Latham. Joseph Campbell writes that within its four volumes are given all the motifs contained in the unified symphony of humanity’s spiritual heritage. Points of correspondence with the vision of Campbell and Grof. p. however. particularly in work with the neutral mask. and what it has revealed regarding these in my own research. and the larger vision put forth in his writings. Personal background and mask training There are many different approaches to the neutral mask. The following account of the neutral mask. as experienced by the author in his own training. 1987). are discriminated and discussed. he placed together under the umbrella of “myth”—have been put to use in fields as varied as screenwriting and organisational learning. not to stay the same for too long. I will offer an account of how those clues. Both are discussed. and while there are many similarities and common or recurring elements in these different approaches. 1993).Myth. there are also important differences.

breath. attending the images and energies that emerged there. It has no differentiated attitude. exercises that loosen and awaken the body and imagination and connect these with the breath. or just plain weird places. We also began to journey inwardly. Masks. Jacques Lecoq. observer and teacher. no past. First. There is never any clapping. It is found in nearly every culture and its association with ritual and with non-ordinary states of consciousness is well-known (Eldredge. These inner journeys and the movement improvisations might begin with personal themes but they soon move through violence. solar plexus). sometimes in conjunction with an image. a Frenchman. It has no plans. religious places. It does not do one thing on the inside and another on the outside. For the actor understanding is a matter of action. it is possible to make some general remarks about its nature. renowned teacher of neutral mask. 1982). the founder of The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. When the mask is introduced. The students are not told what they should experience. This simple exercise yields a range of often powerful experiences. lying on the floor. to rediscover the basis of the mask and to find what makes it vibrate in yourself. David Latham always affirmed wherever we went. a few thousand miles away. 1984). others say that they felt “possessed. ideokinesis. no problems. groin. students are asked simply to wear the mask in front of the group. plain clothing. Using concepts like chakra in an acting class causes some people to become resistant and others to become over-excited. it lives in a state of inner calm. Some pull the mask off quickly. David Latham never used the word “chakra. In voice. Too many concepts associated with other realms of endeavour and modes of discourse can become a serious obstacle. Preparation for the mask also involves work with the various centres in the body (chest. and then moving from these energies. the immediate experience and one’s capacity to communicate it is the important thing—the actual energetic freedom and creative mastery of the actor. the fact that students are only permitted to wear black. It has been argued that the mask is the most ubiquitous of human artifacts. and by observing it as an audience member (SaintDenis & Saint-Denis. and to be present. exercises to evoke movement that is inspired by breath and infused with image.” Various elements come together to create a sacred space and the impression of an initia38 tion: the way the teacher handles the masks.” One student reported that she felt “her breath” moving through her in a circle. 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. In acting. the late. we spent six weeks lying on the floor sensing our breath. freedom. or terror. like a theatre. 1996). It is what it sees. based on their own experience. It teaches an actor to be simple. 2000. It was discovered in the theatre of Jacques Copeau. It it is up to the students to discover what it is through their own curiosity. The neutral mask is not a particular character. It is totally transparent. impulses. and they are told very little about the nature of the mask. which for novice actors carries associations with the new age or Hinduism. The student-actors often report experiencing a sense of peace. to begin training. by acting in it. and specific exercises to prepare us for the mask. sexual places. Volume 24 . another spoke of an intoxicating and seductive power like he had never experienced before (Holloway. and many other exercises. p. lengthening our spines. In acting we did a great deal of work to become aware of impulses. will trace the broad outlines of the work. Alexander (Alexander. Australia. imagining the breath moving down the front of the spine into the centres. 2005. and imagination. it is action. The story of the birth of this mask is very illuminating. I trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. the division of the room. 55). simply telling the story of our imagination to a single witness as it unfolded. 2001). 1980). which demonstrate the extraordinary capacity of the mask to induce shifts in consciousness. flexible and present to awareness. It does not hold to a fixed point of view. It has no inner conflict. We worked to make the spine responsive. writes that “To enter into a mask means to feel what gave birth to it. After this it will be possible to play it from within” (Lecoq. of course. While it is important to allow the performer to make their own sense of the work. I had just finished a degree in philosophy and politics and I was intellectually-oriented—not very aware of my body or my feelings. It has no psychology. In movement we practised Feldenkrais work (Feldenkrais. and releasing all kinds of tiny muscles.” however. it is done quite formally. into a performance space and an audience space. no agendas. It’s a definite moment: “Today we begin work with The Mask. It is unnecessary. such as being in a desert. those who are not performing are always in the audience. the presentation of definite taboos. When I arrived from my hometown of Perth. of doing. have long been an important part tool of initiation and transformation.experience as an actor. often without. up her spine and down the front of her body. stretching.

ah. with archetypes (e. 237-238). The important thing is that some facet of this unmanifest world is made manifest through the body. an outdoor world. After this Copeau asked his students to make themselves simple “neutral” masks. 1990. “Beneath every mask…there is a neutral mask” (Lecoq. Jacques Lecoq. on the surface. discovery. This is what Lecoq calls mime but it is mime de fond. Rudlin. The use of a particular mask determines. simply to cover their faces. however hard she tried.g. the last goodbye to the beloved.” Somehow these simple themes and simple actions brought forth. Unlike many spiritual practices. music and words. she was then able to play the scene freely and truthfully. p. It shares with ritual and spiritual practice an interest in a normally invisible reality. and even onto colours. He calls it “the mask of masks” and says. 1988. The Warrior. would be able to understand: “ah. Olive Oil. the “daily mask.” The actor must adapt their body and action to the mask.. pp. she said goodbye. which seek to touch this reality inwardly. p. to have life. one approach to understanding a mask is to ask. wrote about how this became “the discovery of a mysterious world. embodying the invisible presence (which is. with the elements (Water.” The work moves on to identifications. a body without conflict. 1985. appear to have movement. without attitude. what invisible thing or being will come through. it must be the body of the mask. the eternal archetypes.” Completing the image—entering into it.” They “would make up very simple exercises with various themes: waiting. in a world that is “prior” to culture. not mime of form. Air and Earth). 38). Rubber. resonance.” It is a world of essences. mask. 80). at the beginning. it lives outside time. 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. Aluminium Foil. The actors begin to discover this through performing simple human actions—waking up for the first time. anguish” such as “the families of sailors. 2000. We ask: what is the living gesture of a certain colour? How does yellow move? Mime de fond Neutral Mask 39 . so that any person. great French acting teacher says that it “allows one to find the essential…the word of all words” (Wylie. great emotion and a power that astonished their audience: “the characters possessed a greater reality and a greater vitality” (Copeau et al. unable to play it. To everyone’s amazement. If masks reveal the invisible. “What of the invisible world does it make visible?” Because the neutral mask has no past. Copeau’s son-in-law Jean Daste. The Seven Deadly Sins. They discover that for the mask to work. it is what we practice again and again. In desperation. Copeau took his handkerchief and covered the actress’ face. they must shed their idiosyncrasies. watching from the shore for the arrival of a boat. we wait. It is always interestingly. with substances (Plastic. These identifications often begin with an invitation to the students to contact an image. This invisible inner reality could be a realm of spirits. The Innocent. mime of depth. 71). p. of elemental beginnings. and the personal feelings it arouses. they must pare back unnecessary gesture and action. There’s a roughly equivalent duality in Stan Grof ’s work in which he distinguishes “holotropic” and “hylotropic” states or realities (Grof. from any culture. he discovered something. prior to conditioning. 78). an actress found herself blocked. the imagination of a playwright or the psychological world of a character. 1994. the observation of a tree: in going beyond the ideas which surround it. The mask covers the face. fear. 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. felt within) while in contact with an audience—makes up the crux of the actors work. One day in the rehearsal of a difficult emotional scene. Fire. The same process is applied even for identifications with elements that do not.the Vieux-Colombier theatre and its school (Copeau. in the mask. 40).. p. 1990). intimately connected to nature. The actor’s transformation into the mask character could be seen as the holotropic reality emerging into the hylotropic. what a mask does is make the invisible visible. freedom and elemental aliveness. in which everything is done “for the first time. Its actions must be prior to culture. we realize the sailors will not return. It has been shipwrecked. “for the first time. throwing a stone. & Paul. In the simplest terms. p. The mask improvisation involves “completing the image. voice and speech of the performer or shaman. the late. of course. 1994. He explains it like this: “Take for example. Glass. the persona. 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. and so on). and so release what Reich would call their character armour. the Major Arcana of the Tarot). theatre and often ritual are concerned with making this invisible reality visible on this plane1.” We are searching for simplicity and universality. like colours.

Volume 24 . killed a giant snake. from the first gentle slopes to the rocks and the vertical cliff face which tests your climbing skills. He said “that’s your gift. in the distance you can see a forest and you set out towards it. I lay there for a long time. where I was torn apart by fish. Lecoq’s journey relies for its structure on the natural world.“involves an identification with things in order to make them live…mime is a way of rediscovering a thing with freshness” (Lecoq. The point. David talks about this work as nourishing the roots of one’s talent. When you pass this test you are given a gift. as if I was touching something archaic within myself. it is not about making something up. There was a sense of remembering.” The forms arise from the deeper physical and imaginative connection with the structure itself.” The point is not to tick the boxes: that would be a travesty of the work. sometimes very simply. because I had lain there so still for so long. and got stuck on a beach-wasteland facing the ocean. and this first experience remains for me a touchstone. The mask knew what had to happen. At the end of the road of trials you face a great test. in an archaic place inside myself. p. happens. The impact of hearing this for the first time. you are the image. but they are told. is in the actor.” Then I got up and took off the mask. A powerful element of this experience was the sense of necessity which imbued my actions. I said “no. then you begin to climb. because we are actors. ending up in the arms of a great Silence I knew was God. and I knew too. Many students will ask for the structure to be repeated. The details of the journey are changed all the time. sometimes it is given in great detail. and it can come out. The actor will be told something like: You wake up. until He told me to “Do it with love. Journey & the Monomyth Beyond these simple identifications there are Journeys based on the monomyth (Campbell. You cross a sandy beach and then you enter the forest. without warning. as if there was only one way the story could unfold. You see the image. according to a precise inner logic that was at once my own and beyond me. it is not about “acting it out. In experience they seem to arise from the body. Of course. You receive the call to set out on a journey.” After that I understood how being an actor. The point is that. was extraordinary. with no planning or guidance about the specific content this structure brings forth. 2000. the mythic metaphors and the actual physical actions in all their rhythms. David Latham has a way of talking so that the words resonate in the body. Afterwards David Latham told me he thought I had died. “what happens. one at the roots of both my artistic life and personal being. an artist. Once you reach the summit. Suddenly. 22). is to really do it. with very specific content. You travel along a road of trials where you meet forces that help you and forces that hinder you. like the elements and archetypes. When he said “You Wake Up. My first journey was spread out over two classes: I rode a dragon. They must improvise this with complete physical and imaginal commitment. You move through trees and vegetation which grow ever more densely as you search for a way out.” but he kept digging until I mentioned what I had been told just before the end. were one harmonious and necessary unfoldment. and one which has proved both unexpectedly rich and difficult to live out fully. All the personal associations.” it was clear that it was no ordinary waking up—that “You Wake Up” was an action of intensity and scope. until I understood that my journey was into the ocean. they have impact. you come out of the forest and find yourself facing a mountain. Sometimes it occurs in pairs or groups. to find it truthfully and become it completely so that the invisible is made visible and palpable. You cross a threshold and enter a new world. in which many possible identifications are integrated into an unfolding story of transformation. and you answer the call. You share the gift and you sleep. 1993). He will tell students: At daybreak you emerge from the sea. You ‘absorb’ the image of this mountain. I tried to explain that I had and there was some confusion until I realised that he thought I had actually died. The point is to go through the personal associations to the mythic resonance. This represents one major influence of Campbell on my teacher David Latham. You will remember what you remember. as a student before any contact with 40 Campbell’s work. He asked if I had been given a gift. 2005. so that one can feel memories waking up inside. not wanting to leave. By way of contrast. the image is in you and you are in it. could be a truly profound journey. This work frees and connects the imagination and the body and expands the actors’ range of expression and feeling. a vast panorama opens up: a river runs through a The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. you return with this gift to the world you came from.

he says “‘yea’ to it all” (Campbell. p. which uses the via negativa. metaphor is central. violent. More than this. Although it seems simple. 1976. The founda- tion of the craft thus reaches into the deepest source of our being. Part of doing this is uncovering the “roots” and nurturing these roots. Even the physical exercises serve as metaphors. and the philosophical basis of his work had become the triangle of myth. beneath our surface characteristics. the mask is a metaphor. an understanding that the depths of the individual are universal and that these depths will eventually emerge. For David. The only thing David said more than “yes” was “let it go. 2000. The image is in the actor and the actor is in the image. The sand is being swept by a rainstorm. but even the most powerful identification is regarded as a symbol: it lives in and through the body of the actor. for acting. In this way. In David Latham’s work. the essence of our humanness. He told me that he just knew that he wanted people—his students and actors—“to bring out what was in them. as Campbell would say. it is not about methods. then into the desert. p.” Something deep within responds to this attitude. (Lecoq. art and psychology. he affirmed it. but also a holy atmosphere. it is about revealing. We can experience how. p. This distinguishes him very clearly from the Lecoq tradition. the universal depths. You manage by grabbing hold of the trees. making connections that have psychological connotations and universal connotations. I would like to point to two elements that seem important. I once asked him what he began with when he started teaching. At the end. however. I remember David’s appreciation of all the places we went—not just allowing but appreciation of the powerful. which is in flood. 20). 2000. Later. for example. 1992. such an attitude has depth and richness. perverse. and not only bringing those to the work. p. 1992). David Latham affirms wherever his students journey to in their imagination and their improvisation. as the “set” (Grof. He was interested in all of you—whatever you wanted to bring out. the work occurs within an atmosphere of play. 1991b. p. the most intimate places. sometimes in terrifyingly powerful ways. David writes that his work is not about invention. not by negating it. to maintain it honestly requires great personal trust. it is what it sees. something as profoundly integrated and organic as an individual teacher’s art. revealing at a deeper and deeper level. “a highly played game of ‘as if ’” (Campbell. and this points to the second significant way that Campbell’s work has influenced it: it serves as the cornerstone of an overarching. heart and openness and its effect on the working atmosphere are profound and significant. Once you are on the mountain there is an earthquake followed by avalanches. 28). in the space available. Firstly. but nevertheless it is still theatre. 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. it is. p. and you slide down towards the river. The power of the images is deeply respected. individually. 4) Although it might be simplistic to try to analyse. in non-ordinary states of consciousness work. a desert. a kind of meta-framework—what Grof would refer to. walk through the plain. The forest is on fire. p.” Neutral Mask 41 . the actor takes off the mask. By the time I met David Latham and began working with him. Underlying it is a sense of trust that wherever you go will be OK. 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. myth is a metaphor and theatre is a metaphor (Latham. To use Campbell’s phrase. he had been absorbing Joseph Campbell’s work for nearly twenty years. the actors rerun the journey in extreme conditions: There is a raging sea and the wave throws you up onto the beach.valley and then there is a plain and finally in the distance. are universal. where a sandstorm is blowing up. 2). 14). You come down the mountain. and finally the sun sets. 1992. the profoundly personal. developed over long years of personal struggle and innovation. communally and culturally. emotional. sexual. but allowing them to be the driving force of the work in its content and its form. (Latham. facilitating vision. we can go to the universal through the personal. The second element of Campbell’s vision that David brought to the work was a profound and intensely lived understanding of metaphor. 1991c. and this is where the neutral mask is very effective. 41) It’s important to remember that as the mask moves through these environments it becomes them. for inner states. cross the stream. (Lecoq. Finally you reach the desert.

”2 Like myth. p.3 Behind all the masks. a trust in the overall trajectory of the psyche. The practice of “completing the image” brings actors up to and through their physical limitations again and again. p. pp. David Latham would say. p. 166) and “The NOSC tends to change the dynamic equilibrium underlying the symptoms. The craft of actors is in large part to do with the development of their instrument. more simply. In it. 1987. 1993. 267). the centre of “the turning wheel of terror-joy. 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. themselves. the principle of masking itself. 2001. In other words. there is the neutral mask. 1993. p. with The Tree. the journey of the student through the mask training looks like a journey through the transpersonal level of Grof ’s cartography: identifying with Fire. in Primitive Mythology (Campbell. 167). The essence of the neutral mask is silence and stillness. and “Myth is a directing of the mind and heart. 1988). the actor transforms into the elemental forms of reality and lives through the movements of the world. and all are playful: between the stillness at the centre and the dynamism of the world’s and the mask’s movements. 123). The seeming paradox within these images is literal with the mask: it doesn’t move. 1991b. and consume them in the process” (Grof. In LSD Psychotherapy. it is the World Axis. The affinity is even more acute when we consider the neutral mask specifically. to that ultimate mystery which fills and surrounds all existence” (Campbell. and I will now discuss the kinds of changes actors report in this work. Grof writes about the importance of the “as-if framework. 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. and to convert the stationary balance of this energy into a stream of experience” (Grof. and the use of non-ordinary states of consciousness.” the costumes of that transcendent Source from which words (and. 1998. The forms that arise in the mask are nothing if not “profound informed configurations. there comes the sense of play. “Myth is the revelation of a plenum of silence within and around every atom of existence” (Campbell. The journey awakens the chan- The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.” Latham’s approach to the mask also shares with Grof ’s work a willingness to affirm whatever comes up. Volume 24 . 2005. I would add. it should be clear that there is a similar process going on in the mask. The transformation of the actor-person builds the actor-instrument. It is. Finally. to unblock the energy bound in emotional and psychosomatic symptoms.” calling it “that territory of experiential ambiguity which seems optimal for thera42 peutic work” (Grof. but in a sense saturated with imagination. Grof writes that “The main objective of the techniques of experiential psychotherapy is to activate the unconscious. by means of profound informed figurations. as well as the acting out of the monomyth.There are many connections and correspondences between Campbell’s vision of myth and metaphor and masking generally. p. It is the still point and the silence that makes movement and speech possible. a powerful crucible for deep personal transformation. 267). 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. 73)— another version of the masks of God metaphor. with archetypes. p. Finally. it is made of papier mache. it becomes permeable to essences. particular forms) turn back. 1987. 1995. a whole other set of common elements and parallels became apparent.” Once I came across Stanislav Grof ’s writings. 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. some of which his model shares with Campbell.” Neutral is “a fulcrum point which doesn’t exist” (Eldredge & Huston. and so clears the channels of expression and feeling in the body. which Campbell explicitly associated with the spiritual journey (Campbell. the movement of the process from personal to universal or transpersonal. “the mask is theatre. From my description above. and yet mask remains the same. 21-26). one can get stuck by literalizing one’s experience. realms of the unconscious are like movies the creative principle is screening on different channels (Grof. the body becomes not just a vehicle for the imagination. Campbell’s whole conception can be seen to turn on the metaphor of masking: he writes about the “Masks of God. given these similarities. the principle of play and transformation. with different kinds of matter. In Campbell’s terms. 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. Campbell says. transform them into a stream of unusual experiences. the mask is prior to time. 196). when both are present in awareness. by “menu-eating. p. as he eloquently demonstrates at the outset of his four-volume masterwork.

like [she was] burning up. huge waves of emotion. The actor becomes the metaphor. para. In my own research I wanted to include this second trajectory. the world and myself. the one who carries across the meaning of the invisible. The following accounts are based on the experiences reported by the actors during this intensive. emotionally. on the reports of other actors I have trained or observed and on my own experiences with the mask. This makes sense if we consider that once you have identiNeutral Mask 43 . These become sources for the actor. like another reality overlaying this one. reported that she felt what she called. sudden. it was as if the mask work opened the inner floodgates. these “happenings” would sometimes be the source of her mask work. The experiences and insights of the mask point both ways. it has become like a pendulum that swings between theatre and life. that it also points toward life. but they would also occur outside of the studio.. Changes in perception of the world Participants often report a change in their perceptions: thinking new thoughts. and powerful dreams that would continue after I woke up. the ratty commendations and condemnations to get close to the POOFS. it opens up inner experience. One research intensive I conducted involved actors working with the monomyth on a daily basis for two weeks. Awakening of Energy and Essence Various energetic experiences frequently occur. without discovering. Her description suggests more than an emotion. the neutral mask becomes a point of reference” (Lecoq. perhaps even more so. as Lecoq says. the monomyth and myth generally. after a powerful experience of Water: “I couldn’t sit still. While the main trajectory of discovery in the neutral mask is toward the theatre. the world becoming new and different. weights. During the mask work.” An increase in their sense of presence and the presence of their fellow actors is also a common observation. who had done some work with the Diamond Approach (Almaas. the emotions. It is quite common for the energy of the elements to keep flowing for some time. on the effects of the mask work on them beyond the studio. More importantly. which were chosen specifically to support the development of their journey work. He writes that “For everyone. which are more than merely physical. an enormous upsurge of elemental energies. I’ll talk about two things that emerged from this research: what the participants reported about changes in themselves. bright. sensations of greater weight or sublime lightness.4 This offers an actor an incredible range of physical expression he or she probably has not imagined up until this point. 1995). I couldn’t even sit down. Spiritual Emergence(y) Perhaps not surprisingly. imaginatively and energetically. in the Grofs’ terms (Grof & Grof. p. For myself. slippery characters). actions—that evoke particular connections. it became a reference point not only for acting but. clean energy and it wasn’t stopping. 1). One actor wrote. new rhythms and feelings. in conjunction with many other exercises. 38). I would experience. often when she thought of the work. Many actors also report energetic effects not specifically related to the specific identifications. outside of the class. nobody could work with the neutral mask. One student reported that she “noticed quite a lot of heat in [her] life. For this student the mask was one catalyst for a powerful spiritual emergency that continued for months afterwards. 2004). “qualities opening up inside” and “intimate movements that are more than physical. one of the rare effects is something like a spiritual emergence(y). and what we learned about archetype. 1998). 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. who brings the invisible into forms that point back to the silence. I am convinced. 2001. each time making discoveries about theatre. by which I mean that the work provokes a transformational process that continues explicitly and strongly outside of the class. from deep inside of me was flowing a stream of clear. and which can include powerful experiences likely to be pathologized by mainstream psychiatry. and is more reminiscent of the lataif level as Almaas describes it—a level between energy and the substance of essence (Almaas. the body remembers the forms—the rhythms.. I had forgotten that life could feel like this. At various times. 2000. air-heads. a whole universe of body memories. “little poofs of magic cloud” in her chest.nels of energy in the body and after the training. gestures. and actors were invited to comment. for characters (fiery revolutionaries.” Another after becoming fire talked about “the fire in [her] belly consuming and burning through [her] resentments” in the days after her Fire identification. For myself. for the world. seeing in a different way. if it seemed appropriate.an inside heat. and I have kept returning to it. One actor. and it wasn’t stopping. or for whole theatrical creations. She describes “sifting through the thoughts.” Other students give reports that suggest something similar.

which began to infuse her personal life more as the work went on: For a short while after each session. toward identification with essences. I am of the world and its greatness. and so on. but it also points to what it can contribute to these areas. usually accompanied by intuitive insights and visions in both the performer and observer. It is utterly beautiful. it gleams brilliant intelligence—and I am part of that. The performer’s craft distinguishes the mask work from therapy and mysticism. and toward knowledge by identity. cars and so on . you will never look at trees the same way again. its extraordinary leaps and lunges. literally held by it.” She found that this intelligent guidance “came out of the clearness of the space. where architects would mime the spaces they designed. and yet I feel my own profound stillness within its flow. “per-form” is “by means of ” or “in accordance with” the form (Soanes. and the resulting bruises. to identify himself with the world by re-enacting it with his entire being” (Wylie. For the performer it is not enough to simply have the inner experience. which leads us to move beyond our conditioned responses. The best form comes out of nothing. 2005. the numinosity of the archetype fades. An actor can understand a lot about Fire by becoming it.” 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. that is. Over time these insights accumulate and integrate with other. more mundane observations about the qualities of presence that the mask manifests. to enter the essence of a thing. rarely has the richness and resonance in performance of one that comes from that state of deep stillness and mystery. 1994. people. p. p. 80). 2001. but it seemed to come out a bit messy. which is a direct experience of the inner nature of the subject of the identification. I feel enveloped by the world. trees. or a movingly intimate understanding of ashes to ashes. One participant in the two-week intensive reported quite a remarkable change. if The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. “The action of miming becomes a form of knowledge” (Lecoq. I feel I have surrendered to the world and have an immense trust of it . you have to find the form—etymologically. Volume 24 . The following observations and discussion grows out of this process. however. teach about courage. p. 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. “Man understands that which moves by his ability to ‘mimic’ it. indescribable sense. and each movement . I am released from all burden and control. Becoming Earth can reveal the beautiful unity of suffering. Afterwards he said “I was disturbed by how far I went. It loses its mythic quality.of the light. 2000. the performer can then use their craft as a kind of research. I experience a type of bliss—a re-experiencing of myself in the world. it ceases to have that mythic.there is no fear. An archetype that they think they know. what releases and blocks these qualities. and within my own movement. Archetype One thing I have observed about archetypes is that if the actor loses touch with the timelessness and stillness of the mask. in my environs. I felt out of control. for example. This is. by the mask and our aesthetic responses. metaphorical presence. The process of research then is guided. 22). 75). gradually building a body of knowledge about the world in its inner.is so astounding. 663). metaphorical dimension. This means that. as if it is guiding me. and so partly build out of concepts. like a shaman. archetype and the monomyth generally. 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 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. aesthetic. by seeing an actor become it: how it consumes. 1994.fied with a tree. I remember one actor who touched something very deep. I am basic and simple—PURE—and everything makes wonderful. is there anything beyond that?” Even though we speak of working with images. not-knowing. a dualistic way of putting it. One part of his school in Paris was a Laboratory for the Exploration of Movement. toward knowing as if for the first time. Lecoq is very explicit about this: “Mime is pre-eminently a research art” (Wylie. in its depth.” David Latham said to him: “When you’re out of control. the poignant and even beautiful humanness of the death and decay of our bodies. compassion and wisdom. An actor becoming toothpaste can reveal its banality. p. how it is related to inspiration.

so that the performance had a repeatable form. it has no movement.. but more fundamentally in the centre. no thirst for transformation. to gradually find the impulses and the movement. there is something important about going to the physical limit and just beyond it. the drama was lost because. the archetype of the journey can become a mere phrase. You don’t know what will happen in the next moment. We work physically to do this. The body seems to shape itself. What had. not about ticking the boxes of a pregiven structure. We often need to use a series of physical tasks to help the actor lift their energy to level of a true trial. condense and reach their limit of intensity. Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan writes of the train wheel being turned from off-centre (Inayat Khan. pushed them to their limits was now something they could encompass. and although the work was fascinating and rich. For the sense of a mythic journey to emerge. in the beginning. it can go to a depth where he no longer sees any image at all. If it was symmetrical it would be dead. Journey In the case of the journey. calling on the actor to find the limits of their strength in pushing.an actor finds a deep personal connection with the image. p. Most often the actor finds the useful sources in childhood or adolescence. as the students rehearsed.. unless you are receptive to the terrain through which you move. 1971. 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. He is being the stillness. or. In the mask. The structure is useless if the actor has no passion for adventure. Something a little off-centre has to be turning the wheel. using a very detailed process. however imperfect the form may have been. organic spontaneity and power that is often present when the actor draws on the memory of a bushfire tearing through their hometown. Symmetrical masks have no life. in the quality of their presence. their bodies became more open to the archetype. not only in the outward expression. Observing fire between classes does not usually bring the same numinosity. it is dead. and this seems to apply to the actor as well.. When a thing is perfect. 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. The breaking open that happens with the gathering expression of all Neutral Mask 45 . What I’m saying here is that the mask teaches us that an archetype divorced from the physical loses its grandeur. and was perhaps a more “perfect” embodiment of the archetypal form than the original improvisations. We chose the most powerful and dramatic identifications from the training and we worked. I once tried to make a performance that would capture and express the magnificent theatre of mask class. “The trials are designed to see to it that the intending hero should really be a hero. the journey is never merely a passage through space but rather an expression of the urgent desire for discovery and change. 428). 1994). The muscles must remember. 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. 1993. this also appears to be the case. and the relevant archetypes came to life. to find the forms independently as the actor observes it. spiritual and symbolic equivalents of the journey. I would say this is true for the world too: the journey isn’t a journey unless you are actually changed by it. when the energies took the actors beyond themselves. p. we work to shake the concept loose of its easy associations.. Theatrically. This experience of the quality or archetype coming out of the body. As teachers of mask. “ (Cirlot. 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. the journey is about the intensity of the experiences. The Great Test is the apex of the journey. 164). it does not work unless we see the actor transformed by the environments and events they are experiencing.. they expanded to meet it.. 126). In a sense. to wake up the actors’ imaginations to the profound reality of the universal dimension. the fundamental transition at which the momentum—the energy and the rhythms—of the journey thus far. p. to seek or to live with intensity through new and profound experiences are all modes of travelling. it didn’t live in the same way as it did in mask.” says Campbell (1988. to inquire. Hence to study. Cirlot writes that “From the spiritual point of view. and actually the neutral mask is not really neutral: there is a deliberate imperfection. of their release in falling and so on. hackneyed and trite. centred in it. and while the performance was interesting. to put it another way. and the form seems to emerge out of the body itself.

the hero’s resources (catharsis). or performs an action like the last good bye. the mythic dimension of our own depth. they point beyond themselves to the source of life. and usually is aware. As Joseph Campbell says “The basic principle of all mythology is this. There is no interest. 2Because the mask has no character. it is bad theatre.” The chest lifts a little too high. of presence. Because the mask has no past. of all kinds of personal connections. The neutral mask actor may be aware. A strong call is connected to the principle of the end being present at the beginning. sticky-significant quality. These correspondences point to the integrity of David Latham’s triangle of myth. and indeed we find that the urge to go on the journey. as she moves through a mythic landscape. the actor must. often seems to be a shedding of a coarser way of moving. And this is thanks to Performer. and carry new life across from that source into the manifest world. according to Michael Chekhov. so the end is implicit in its presence at the beginning. If we find the right body and behaviour. p. expressing the movement toward wholeness. Significance is not given by the focused and specific intensity of the performer’s presence as they face a specific trial. We also find that an insipid call draws forth only a trickling stream. 1991. in Grof ’s terms. when it is pared down to the essential. (The stream of life is articulated in images. shed her idiosyncrasies. when there is nothing that is added to the action.” Campbell writes (1988. less permeable. than death. It has a mythic. Without this. and yet this often the point at which rhythm and quality of the actor’s movement will become most clearly numinous. California. the mask tunes us into the mythic depths to actions that have universal resonance. They have to find a neutral body. point to. in order to embody it. but the mask is innately universal. and metaphor means “to carry across. this is when the journey really opens to a sacred dimension. facing enormously powerful obstacles. 3The crucial thing though is that words. 2005. I would say that the journey becomes mythic when there is a true and specific call that is stronger than death. who is a bridge 1The The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Volume 24 . art and psychology. 269). of the beginning in the end” (Campbell. We might also say that it is to do with the end in the beginning and the stillness within the movement. not a domestic resonance. 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. 1993.) The witnesses then enter into states of intensity because. as you might find in an actor trained in Strasberg’s method. it can come without a huge physical struggle. rather than toward matter. p. The metaphor is therefore the bridge.” 4Compare Grotowski: “Performer knows how to link body images to the song. 15). the actors cannot carry their baggage in their body-armour. no drama or epic energy in the journey unless there is a powerful forward movement. We observe that the moment of The Gift is almost always a transition into greater subtlety. Without a strong need to complete the journey. which I call the “fake mythic. in that all three might be called. and it is also one of the invisible worlds within us. toward the reality of the inner. That’s the invisible world of the mask. so to say. as if trying to expand the movement beyond itself. Palm Springs. June 2004 Footnotes mask is “engaged in making present a presence and making present an absence” (Eldredge. they feel presence. On many occasions. In fact the true mythic quality requires them. and this means that the primary images are not usually personal associations. Interestingly. and forms. All of these elements together comprise. 1996. holotropic—oriented toward the whole. it is boring. p. if they are good metaphors. If it isn’t the work can attain a puffed-up. the pull of the call. must be stronger. xl). The presence of the mask is more than time. the hero very easily becomes transformed into the surrounding environment. but timeless or mythic associations. but attempted by creating a kind of honey quality in the movement.5 Author Note This paper is based on a presentation to the 16th International Transpersonal Association Conference: Mythic Imagination and Modern Society. the directness of the mask. in fact. It provides an opening into which—speaking in terms of energy not action—The Gift can descend. Unless the call is strong and specific (but not necessarily “known”) at the beginning. usually given by the call. 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. the “feeling of the whole” which he 46 views as essential to all art and a crucial element of the actor’s art (Chekhov. the body becomes more rigid. 122). p. in the face of a raging river the mask becomes the river. the soul and the spirit. The mythic quality doesn’t exclude the lightness and simplicity.

376-380). Chekhov. Grof. Eldredge. M. S. & Huston. The power of myth. The moving body (D. (1998). (1985). Latham. Inayat Khan. (1984). Mask improvisation for actor training and performance: The compelling image. Campbell. M. 17th July). (2001). S. & Grof.). (1994). A. Campbell. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications. J. Grof. M. New York: Doubleday. Australia. Copeau—texts on theatre. Evanston. 1). (1982). IL: Northwestern University Press. In P. UK: Oxford University Press. (1998). Trans. E. Australia: Penguin Arkana. 377). S. S. 122). (2001). (2004). (1995). A. 2001. C. London: Fontana Press. (1996). Neutral Mask 47 . (1995). K. Performer. A dictionary of symbols. In R. CA: Centreline Press. S. Schechner & L. Dutton. 5In Wilber’s model.. Cirlot. Wilber. Lecoq. London: Thorsons. death and transcendence in psychotherapy. (1991c). NY: SUNY Press. The potent self. New York: State University of New York Press. The cosmic game: Explorations of the frontiers of human consciousness.C. S. & Paul. K. Paper presented at the Theatre Training Conference. Almaas. S. (1993). J. Oxford. J. Holloway. New York: E. (1992. J. S. The hero with a thousand faces. Bradby. The stormy search for the self: Understanding and living with spiritual emergency. J. Eldredge. Performer is pontifex. The inner journey home: Soul’s realization of the unity of reality. Burlingame. Grof. Campbell. R. New Lebanon. Northcote VIC 3070. N. Campbell. Vol. Grotowski. F. Unpublished manuscript. Satyric and heroic mimes: Attitude as the way of the mime in ritual and beyond. Boston: Shambhala. Almaas. The use of the self.).). C. J. Melbourne. New York: The State University of New York Press. p. (1971). New York: Ballantine. (1996). Training for the theatre: Premises & promises. A.between the witness and this something. Actor training in the neutral mask. York Beach: ME. LSD psychotherapy. Oxford dictionary of current English (Third ed. Grof. Reflections on the art of living: A Joseph Campbell companion. Jefferson. P.). J. Woolford (Eds. The actor and the journey. Grof. Essence. A. p. The masks of God: Primitive mythology (Revised ed. NY: Omega Publications. Ringwood. (Ed. The adventure of self-discovery: Dimensions of consciousness and new perspectives in psychotherapy and inner exploration. In this sense. 1996. New York: Arkana. N. (1991). FL: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. (1993). (1976). London: Theatre Arts Books. Anglesea. London: Methuen. H. On the technique of acting.com. National Institute of Dramatic Art. J. H. Beyond the brain: Birth. The passion of the Western mind. he deems the validity claims for knowledge in the interior-subjective domain of reality (the “I” quadrant) to be “aesthetic” (Wilber.P. Downey. The Grotowski sourcebook (pp. Zarrilli (Ed. Wylie. Sarasota. (2001). Copeau. Realms of the human unconscious: Observations from LSD research. M. S.). Grof. Albany. (1991a). (2000). CA: Redwood Press. New York: Penguin. Rudlin. A brief history of everything. Tarnas. New York: Harper Collins. (2001). J. Campbell. Australia: Hill of Content. Feldenkrais. That which transpires behind that which appears: The experience of Sufism. V.: McFarland & Company. New York. (1991b).. & Saint-Denis. (1990). Soanes. The masks of God: Creative mythology. Saint-Denis. New York: Routledge. (1980).. N. H. Samuel Weiser. London. (1994). Acting (re)considered.. (1988). D. maker of bridges” (Grotowski. New York: Routledge. (1987).au or 11 Prospect Grove. Heinemann. H. References Alexander. Melbourne. J. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at ashwain@alphalink.. New York: Harper Collins. B.

T he question of why and how higher states of consciousness occur has never received a clear answer. These include nature. This again applies to altered states rather than solely to higher states. but has some similarities with the explanation I am going to suggest. Alexander’s extensive research (e. and (5) by changes in the body chemistry or neurophysiological functioning. 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.g. These researchers may only be investigating the “footprints” of mystical and spiritual experience. Tart’s “systems model” of consciousness (1983) provides a useful–if tentative–view of the problem. He suggested that there are five basic ways of producing alterations of consciousness: (1) by reducing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity. 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. despair or depression. At the same time there is the difficulty of explaining subjective experience in purely objective terms. and compares and contrasts them. 2005. emotions–and that if any one process is altered sufficiently (e. and quiet reflection. (4) by decreasing alertness or relaxing the critical faculties. There are. Alister Hardy’s research (1979) showed that. of course. Persinger (1987) has linked mystical/religious experiences to stimulation of the temporal lobes.g. music.. claiming that meditative experiences of serenity may stem from a high level of activity in the parasympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system. 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. Ludwig’s model (1966) is also helpful. music. (These are termed HD and ICE states). attempts to explain mystical experiences in neurological (or neuropsychological) terms. They have also linked mystical experiences with the autonomic nervous system. which is responsible for our awareness of boundaries. while they may sometimes seem purely to be a matter of chance–or “grace”–there are many potential triggers of spiritual/mystical experiences. This view applies to altered states of consciousness rather than to higher states in particular. (3) by increasing alertness or mental involvement. Volume 24 . 160). if we concentrate our attention to an intense degree or if we experience intense emotion). 1990) has shown a clear link between the regular practice of transcendental meditation and such experiences. He suggested that states of consciousness are the result of the interaction of a large number of neurological and psychological processes–such as attention. while ecstatic high-arousal states may be induced by increased activity in the sympathetic half. 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. prayer. rather than the experience itself.The Sources of Higher States of Consciousness Steve Taylor In this paper. we can just as easily see these brain states as results of higher states of consciousness rather than causes of them. But as Wilber (e. and even claimed to induce such experiences with a “helmet” which produces weak complex magnetic fields... perception. This research establishes an important link. The author investigates examples of both types of experience. 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. and also has 48 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 1996) has pointed out. cognition. but does not seek to explain the cause of the experiences. an overall consciousness shift may result. 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. (2) by increasing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity and/or emotion.g.

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. The 14th century German mystic. since these two types of mystical experience follow from the two distinct sources I intend to identify. This distinction is valid. never sheltered from the cold in the winter or Higher States 49 . even though there is no certainty that they will occur. “high arousal” active or ecstatic states–and “trophotropic” higher states–that is. Sleep deprivation can certainly cause altered states of consciousness. “low arousal” passive and serene experiences. and I felt a feeling of ecstasy. Each leaf seemed to be pulsating and growing. We will see later that asceticism achieves this partly through a long term process of taming physical desires (thereby conserving “consciousness-energy”). Our bodies continually strive to maintain a state of homeostasis. as well as a leather belt containing 150 inwardfacing sharp brass nails. 2000b). The shamans of native cultures often use fasting and sleep deprivation as preparation for soul flights and vision quests. dancing. 1902/85. Throughout history human beings have made a conscious effort to produce ergotropic high arousal states. the conscious effort to mortify their physical desires made by many–particularly Christian–saints and mystics. an awareness of what Becker (1973) called the “raw experience” of the world. This connection between physical deprivation and higher states of consciousness may partly explain the tradition of asceticism. Asceticism is sometimes seen as a morbid and neurotic expression of the antiphysical dualistic ideology of monotheistic religions such as Christianity. and a sense of becoming a deeper and truer Self (e. But we are also obliged to consciously aid the process by performing physical functions like eating. digesting food. Maintaining homeostasis is both involuntary and voluntary. the basis of the longstanding connection between fasting and both altered and higher states of consciousness. Wilber. To a large extent our bodies maintain homeostasis automatically. for example. with visual hallucinations and acute paranoia. This is actually fairly easy to do. we are liable to illness and even death.” This may be. which must remain at–or quickly return to–an optimum level. and this is certainly true to some degree. especially if the imbalance continues for a long period (Green. Disrupting homeostasis can be used as what Andresen and Forman (2000) refer to as a “technology of spiritual experience. Scholars–and mystics and spiritual seekers themselves–generally agree that there are certain fundamental features of mystical/spiritual experience. The following report was given me by a nurse who had been working night shifts without sleeping properly during the day. fasting and breath-control. higher levels of insulin and a lower body temperature–appears to make the hold which ordinary consciousness has over us much looser. Disrupting the Equilibrium Fischer (1971) made an important distinction between “ergotropic” higher states of consciousness–that is. However. participants who went without sleep for five days displayed symptoms identical to schizophrenia. a sense of oneness with the manifest world (or a sense of transcending boundaries). shining. Underhill. by breathing. But there is also a possibility that we will experience higher states of consciousness. as also did the initiates of the Roman and Greek mystery cults as a preparation for rituals (Krippner. not all of these features are common to both types of higher states of consciousness from both sources. salt concentration. I walked past a tree and each leaf seemed to be coming out at me.similarities with my model. I’ve never seen anything as beautiful ever again.. as a means of inducing temporary higher states of consciousness. whereas low arousal states are associated with triggers such as meditation and relaxation. High arousal states are associated with triggers such as drugs. and so on. A prolonged lack of food–which disrupts homeostasis by causing a lower level of blood glucose. spent years wearing a hair shirt and an iron chain.g. In Oswald’s experiments (1970). the optimum condition of our biological functioning. This includes such factors as body temperature. particularly a more intense perception of reality. but it is probable that ascetics also used pain and discomfort in a more short term way. blood sugar. 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. for example. These include: an intensified perception of the phenomenal world. 1987). glowing. But higher states of consciousness can result too. 1911/60. When we do not manage to do this for some reason and suffer an internal imbalance. Henry de Suso. a sense of inner peace and wholeness. I will suggest. Burkhert. for example. drinking and sleeping. James. 2000. 1987). He never had a bath in 25 years. as we will see. sweating and shivering. They were all vivid.

alcohol. and an awareness of the oneness of all phenomena. such as altering our normal breathing patterns.touched or scratched any part of his body apart from his hands and feet (James. but because there wasn’t this distinction between “me” and “it. Smith. hunger or sleep deprivation when it is possible to disrupt homeostasis more directly simply by ingesting certain chemicals? Of course. As Huxley pointed out: For an aspiring mystic to revert. usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour” (1902/1985.000 years ago. 1989). Many Native American groups–such as the Salish. 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. seemed to have a powerful presence. Or as we might rephrase it: why bother with pain. 1990). has transcendental properties. 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. 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. 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. McKenna. al-Shebli. in physiology and neurology. in psychology and psychiatry and parapsychology (Huxley. Volume 24 . and therefore disrupt homeostasis. All drugs alter the normal chemical balance of the human organism. the early Indo-European conquerors of India worshipped their drink Soma (probably made from “magic” mushrooms). the Algonquians and Kiowa–used both hypo. they were able to free themselves from ordinary consciousness. human beings have always used drugs for transcendental and ritualistic purposes. By far the most direct way of disrupting the equilibrium. The Neolithic peoples of Europe smoked opium and cannabis for apparent religious or ritualistic purposes 5. in the present state of knowledge. 1902/1985). 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. Normally we inhale and exhale at the same rate.1993. and preserve a balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen levels. Of course. who burned down the house in order to roast a pig. 1993. as a means of intensifying or altering consciousness. They were all separate on one level but on another they were all just one thing. but all drugs undoubtedly can generate them in the right circumstances. I’m a blade of grass!” kind of way. it seems. By far the most powerful in terms of their transcendental effects. an experience of oneness with the cosmos. trees and stones and blades of grass. Knowing as he does (or at least can know. 121). 2005. an identity and being. the Native Americans ingested sacred plants such as fly-agaric mushrooms and peyote. Even our one socially-sanctioned drug.” 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. however. 1964). 1977. 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.and hyperventilation as a means of inducing higher states of consciousness (Jilek. One acquaintance who experimented with magic mushrooms gave me the following report: Everything I looked at. if he so desires) what are the chemical conditions of transcendental experience. Not in an “Oh my god. p. 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. while adepts of the Greek Eleusinian mysteries ingested kykeon (Rudgley. The Sufi mystic. But if we inhale faster and more deeply than usual we build up a higher than usual concentration of oxygen. There are other methods of inducing higher states of consciousness through disrupting homeostasis. took a bundle of sticks with him into his cellar every day. in that drug experiences are likely to be much more powerful. not all drug experiences are transcendental experiences. with which he would beat himself whenever he found his attention wandering from contemplation of Allah. At the same time they were all interconnected. are psychedelic drugs. They seemed to have personalities or souls. p. 387). however. generate higher states of consciousness. the aspiring mystic should turn for technical help to the specialists–in pharmacology. 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. is by using drugs. Certain kinds of chanting The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. At the end of the day he would dash his hands and feet against the wall (Attar.

since in most cases the increasing level of these factors is likely to produce an internal imbalance. as with the increasing motor activity of frenzied dancing. The optimum physical state of homeostasis equates with the optimum psychological state (from the point of view of survival) of ordinary consciousness. or the chemical changes produced directly by drugs–does not seem to be so significant. 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.and interpersonal actions (1994. would potentially induce a higher state of consciousness (Feuerstein. when we disrupt homeostasis we also disrupt ordinary consciousness1. 1950. Any change in any one of these conditions is enough to dismantle the whole structure. It almost always results in altered states of consciousness. It seems clear. it’s important to point out that disrupting homeostasis certainly does not always result in a higher state of consciousness. however. 1987). It screens out reality so that we can concentrate properly on the business of day to day survival. It simplifies and actively processes information and guides and monitors our intra. that ordinary consciousness and homeostasis are closely interlinked. in which the aim is simply to hold the breath for as long as possible. 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. like chanting. but only infrequently in higher states. involve a meditative concentrative aspect) and painful ordeals. the “shadowy” vision of reality which ordinary consciousness gives us evolved as a kind of survival mech- anism. the Dervish orders of Islam used dancing as a means of inducing the state of consciousness which they called “passing away. This might suggest that I am attempting to reduce higher states of consciousness to chemical causes. His second category–increasing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity and/or emotion–can also be seen as related to disrupting homeostasis. a depressed immune system and hormonal and metabolic changes. For example. Or as Floyd W. blood pressure. and experience divine possession” (in Spenser. as the “filter theory” of higher states of consciousness put forward by Huxley (after Bergson). and later developed by Naranjo and Ornstein (1971) suggests. become at home with the gods. higher states of conHigher States 51 . as it were. Similarly. Rudmin wrote: In line with evolutionary theory. As a result. Psychedelic drugs appear to most reliable way of inducing higher states through non-homeostasis. such as the “throat music” of the Inuit. This may also be the root of the connection between dancing and higher states of consciousness. Higher (and altered) states of consciousness occur when the chemical conditions that regulate ordinary consciousness are relaxed. homeostasis works to regulate and maintain ordinary consciousness.practised by tribal peoples. hormonal and metabolic changes and increased heart rate and blood pressure. It may be that. in the words of a contemporary observer. The exact chemical nature of the disruption to homeostasis–in the case of sleep deprivation. In view of this it seems justifiable to say that. p. dehydration and exhaustion. with paranoia and hallucinations. The question of why disrupting homeostasis can result in higher states of consciousness is difficult to answer exactly. but even they can frequently produce psychotic symptoms. extreme tiredness may often result in psychotic and delusional states. Part of the purpose of the pranayama exercises of yoga is to induce temporary higher states of consciousness. it seems. And at the same time it conserves energy. However. leave their own identity. p. 60). “filled with divine awe…assimilate themselves to the holy symbols. it is widely accepted that this active mode of ordinary consciousness is adaptive and functional and serves to enhance the survival of the species. Although the essential purpose of pranayama is long-term regulation of prana–and inseparable from the physical exercises of hatha yoga.” Here we can probably assume that prolonged energetic dancing produces an internal imbalance because of a high body temperature. 157). ordinary consciousness is our optimum mode of consciousness. or in the case of pain. Any disruption to homeostasis can. at least to some extent. This suggests that. All of these are examples of the fifth category in Ludwig’s model: changes in the body chemistry or neurophysiological functioning. it is clear that a breath control technique such as kevali-kumbhaka. rather than merely being chemically produced themselves. also appear to involve a rapid rhythmic hyperventilation which produces altered and higher states (Metzner. We can put forward similar cases for other ritualistic and religious practices such as drumming (which may also. 1990). From the point of view of survival. trigger altered states of consciousness (including higher states). But the important point may be rather that ordinary consciousness is strictly chemically moderated.

. and that ordinary consciousness may be thought of as–at least to some extent–a more artificial. 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. Consciousness-energy is the active principle of consciousness. the energy which we use in being conscious. which are part of our lives. typing or playing a musical instrument are initially painstaking conscious processes.g. Csikszentmihalyi. Novak claimed that energy bound in defences and fantasies can be released in present-centeredness. she or he deprives the automatized structures of consciousness (which produce “thought-chatter”) of attention. the purpose of which is to conserve attentional energy so that we can focus our minds elsewhere (Norman & Challice. through the concentrative effort we make to deal with the tasks and chores which fill our lives. 2003) or attentional energy (e. Our moods seem to be affected by our level of consciousness-energy too–when we feel mentally drained we often feel depressed. They can also occur when there is an intensification of what I term consciousness-energy. 259). Activities such as driving. and build up a high concentration within our The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. which “frees up” the energy that they normally monopolise.. or under special goal conditions such as exists in religious mystics. Novak. Consciousness-energy is clearly distinct from energy as we normally think of it. perceptual stimuli such as sights and sounds. if there is a surplus of consciousness-energy.” However. since there is always a witnessing “I” which is apart from the flow of energy. Both these views hint at what can. On an everyday level. we halt this constant outflow of consciousnessenergy. leaving none available for us to devote to what he calls the “open. Novak (1996) makes an important connection between our normal shadowy vision of the world and psychic energy. 2004) without making it clear exactly what this energy is. we usually feel cheerful and optimistic. receptive and present-centred awareness. such as in acute psychosis or in LSD states. 1981. they begin to weaken and fade away. However. but at a certain point there is a switch to fully automatic processing. Deikman. with a high level of consciousnessenergy. chemically-generated construct.g. we feel alert and vibrant. books or the internet). 1996) or “pool of attentional resources” (Kahneman. in favour of alternate modes of consciousness (Deikman. we might feel lethargic or run down. Consciousness-Energy and Higher States of Consciousness In a discussion on the psychological effects of meditation. As Marchetti (2004) puts it. whereas when we feel mentally buoyant. when. We have the sense that our level of consciousness-energy continually fluctuates. paying attention towards an object spends attentional energy on it.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. This is roughly equivalent to the term “psychic energy”–I prefer consciousness-energy because it emphasises the interrelationship between this energy and consciousness. Marchetti. If we have been concentrating hard. We also conserve this energy through the phenomenon of automatization. we accept its existence almost as a given.. 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. 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.sciousness are ontologically more fundamental and authentic. the pragmatic systems of automatic selection are set aside or break down. including the effort to communicate with other human beings.g. 1973). p. attending to our experience and thinking logically and discursively. seeming to assume the existence of some form of mental energy without actually using the term. Consciousness as a witness may be fun52 damentally independent. Volume 24 . and verbal information from the media. and also through the effort we make to process the various forms of information (e. 1992. for some reason. Others talk more obliquely of mental effort (e. He notes that the “endless associational chatter” of our minds monopolises our psychic energy. 2004a. according to how much we have expended through concentrating or attending to stimuli. Csikszentmihalyi. As a result. 1980). As a result. I believe. 1995. Psychologists often assume the existence of psychic energy (e. 2005. when a person meditates.g. Gross. and we certainly feel subjectively that it exists. but consciousness as awareness and as consciousness as cognition are bound up with psychic energy.. in the acts of perceiving the phenomenal world. be classified as the second major source of higher states of consciousness.

The thought chatter of the ego is fed by attention. since there is no need for energy to be conserved. Our automatized perception means that we usually give very little consciousnessenergy to the act of perceiving our surroundings. ICE states also often involve a profound sense of inner peace and contentment. Examples of these were given by many participants of Deikman’s experimental meditation sessions (Deikman. There is another cause of this sense of inner peace that requires explanation. he states that to achieve union with God. Meditation is. and relief (Hardy. (In the long term it is an attempt to permanently halt the associational chatter of the mind. literal experience of the stillness and purity of consciousness in these moments. This sense of inner peace appears to be generally absent from HD experiences. p. whereas homeostasis disruption (HD) states are centred around a different mode of experiencing the phenomenal world. we are liable to experience higher states of consciousness. the yogin experiences the intense radiance of the Self. or even bliss. As the Indian mystical traditions make clear. This is probably. for example. therefore. As a result we perceive our surroundings with first-time vision. Many mystics and spiritual teachers have spoken of mystical experience in similar terms to these. which is logical when we consider that it is probably directly caused by the high concentration of consciousness-energy which meditation can generate. St. 1990). for instance. In spiritual states caused by an ICE this storm fades away. we might say. and attains a state of samadhi (Feuerstein. the constant thought-chatter. and the terms “drawing in. In the Christian mystical tradition. otherwise consciousness-energy would not be concentrated enough to produce a spiritual state. 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. for example. At the same time as monopolising a large portion of our consciousness-energy. as a direct. if a point is reached where the chattering ego becomes so weakened that it disappears as a psychic habit. 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. which may lead to a permanent alteration of the structures of consciousness. and notes that through the process of concentration (dharana). wholeness. “a man must collect all his powers as if into a corner of his soul” (1979. and give rise to higher states of consciousness. ICE states have a powerful affective dimension that HD states lack. and so largely closing two of the main chanHigher States 53 . a conscious attempt to intensify and still our consciousness-energy. 223). creates a constant psychic disturbance. and are awake to the is-ness and animacy of natural phenomena. italics added). However.” “collecting. There is always a sense of inner stillness. p. p. so when we focus our attention elsewhere. Usually if a person is. The Hindu text the Moksha-Dharma compares the transcendental Self to a sun. In addition. bliss is the nature of being or consciousness–being-consciousness-bliss (Sat Chit Ananda) is the essence of reality. 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. which means that perception no longer needs to be automatic. As well as an intensification. One of the main differences between ICE states (as I will term them from now on. Similarly. That is.) However. 1979). 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. 2004b). As Novak suggests. there are situations in which ICE states may occur more accidentally. The terms “powers” and “powers of the soul” here are equivalent to the term consciousness-energy.7. which runs through our minds. the rays of the sun–or the whirls of consciousness–are gathered up and focused inwardly. As a result.” 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. and a sense of purity–and this is not so much an affective state. the reason why spiritual or mystical experiences often occur in natural surroundings. both in the short and long term. during meditation we largely close the other main channels through which we expend energy. In Meister Eckhart’s (1996) phrase. there is a constant inward storm of thought. We process very little information from our environment. We are. it fades away. likely to experience this bliss when the energy of our being is intensely concentrated. reported great senses of peace. It has to.own being. ICE states feature a stilling of consciousness-energy. And this contributes to the sense of bliss which spiritual ICE states feature. Or again. 1986. walking alone in the countryside she is absorbing and processing comparatively little information and being relatively inactive. 20). this is one interpretation of what may happen in meditation practice. and the only task we have to concentrate on is focusing our attention. Meditators have.

. suddenly I became aware that there was no separateness between myself and other people. too. And at the same time the beauty of nature may have a similar effect to a mantra in meditation. 103). As a result. Similarly. For example. However. 120). almost any activity which involves a degree of concentration and which takes place in a quiet and still setting–and which can therefore result in an intensification and stilling of life-energy–could give rise to a spiritual experience. Eventually. sports also often involve an intense degree of concentration. but not drowsily. Volume 24 . since the exertions of some sports can easily create internal imbalances. 72) The high incidence of spiritual experiences amongst athletes and sportspeople (e. Music. taken over by something outside myself if which I was yet a part. As the psychiatrist Thaddeus Kostrulaba (1976) wrote. and we can assume that the music acted as a concentrative device. (p. therefore. p. The fact that the person was inactive and had closed his eyes had already reduced his or her outflow of consciousness-energy. feeling calm and at peace with the world. quietening the chattering of the ego-self. “take people to the same realms as trance. 1961) might be explained in these terms. meditation.g. The path led up to a narrow precipice walk along the hill’s edge. resulting in a sense of inner peace and wholeness and a familiarity-free perception of is-ness and all-pervading spirit. very alert” (1967. Laski. p. 1979. the contemplation of art and creative work (Hardy. The activity itself serves as a focusing device. My eyes were closed. Sex can. and while I was there…the setting sun blazed out turning the whole world crimson and gold. (p. which may fall silent. and quietens the chattering ego. Some of these may be due to homeostasis disruption. how can we explain the sense of one-ness that comes with spiritual experiences in these terms? Unlike the sense of inner peace. 2002) can be explained in similar terms. I went out for walk one evening alone. is a prominent trigger of spiritual states. 72). This is particularly the case with sports that involve long periods of monotonous rhythmic activity. there was a gust of wind and felt as if I had been swept into the very heart of all that glory and colour. and seemed to be beyond the boundary of my physical self. As a consequence the chattering might fade away. However. reducing the outflow further. after discussing the universal use of mantras to induce different states of consciousness. 62) In my early twenties…in Wales. drugs” (p. Lawrence described as “the strange. Murphy & Whyte. directing it away from the chattering of the ego. 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. 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. soothing flood of peace which goes with true sex” (1973. for I became aware of a feeling of ‘expansion’. This may also be part of the reason why sex can be a powerful trigger of spiritual states.H. such as long distance running or swimming. the conscious mind gets exhausted and other areas of consciousness are activated” (p. at somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes. which may generate ICE states. for similar reasons. we should give some attention to other aspects of higher states of consciousness. Then an intense feeling of ‘light’ and ‘love’ uplifted and enfolded me (Hardy. 2005. this sense of one- The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. and I was pervaded by a feeling of great peace and joy. after sex we may experience what D. 85).nels through which consciousness-energy drains away. that there was no such things as death. the poet Ted Hughes described a meditative state he often experienced while fishing. and believes that he acquired this ability through fishing. 1995. The following example–again from Hardy–is a good example of an ICE state induced by music: I was sitting one evening. you enter one of the orders of bliss. In theory. as Jenny Wade comments. such as literature. Other significant triggers of spiritual experience. “I think the same process occurs in the repetitive rhythm of long-distance running. 54). when walking on Hampstead Heath alone. listening to a Brahms symphony. until an ICE state is generated. The sheer pleasure of sex can shift our attention away from the egomind. Your whole being rests lightly on your float. Taylor. 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. He notes how poetry depends upon the ability to focus the mind. It becomes a focus for the attention. p. and I must have become completely relaxed.

I believe this to be the case. And based on my own examination of reports of HD states (e. we would not expect this aspect to feature in them. 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). Therefore when the chatter becomes silent the separate self-system may fade away. the “restriction of the whirls of consciousness” allows the transcendental Self to appear (in Feuerstein.g. it has turned into something sublimely all-embracing. Like asceticism. Michael Murphy. so that an ICE state equates with a sense of connection to a truer self. but it is a changed. 1993) and my own personal experiences of them3. If anything.g. especially once the superficial thought-maintained self of the ego has faded away. I believe. It’s certainly true that. Walsh. the sense that we have made contact with a deeper and truer part of our own being. 1984. p. As many spiritual traditions hold.. Traditionally. 1990. 304-5) The important point here may be that our true sense of self is embedded in consciousness-energy. food and relationships–offers the opportunity for spiritual growth. we also effectively experience the essence of the whole universe. Yet my awareness has been drawn out of the narrow confines of separate personality. “entheogens” (e. Ouspensky. Hardy. 1999). 2003)–literally. yet there is not the slightest loss of consciousness. the practice of meditation does this by teaching the chattering ego the habit of quietness. McKenna. to rid themselves of all possessions or to relinquish ambitions or interests of their own. According to the Yoga philosophy of Patanjali. 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. As mentioned previously. spiritual aspirants have forced themselves to extremes of renunciation and detachment in an effort to permanently transform their state of being. Our sense of ego appears to be largely maintained by this chatter. which insist that there is no distinction between the spiritual and the mundane and that every aspect of our lives–including business. our true identity. This kind of radical spirituality is opposed to many contemporary spiritual teachings (e. 1977.) Since HD states do not depend on an intensification of consciousness-energy. which can occur temporarily in higher states of consciousness or as a gradually evolving feature of long-term spiritual development. In this respect the term that is sometimes used for psychedelic drugs. Huxley.” Long Term Spiritual Development Long-term spiritual development can also be interpreted in terms of an intensifying and stilling of consciousness-energy. focusing our energies exclusively upon spiritual development is likely to cause an imbalance and a neglect of Higher States 55 . There is an identity shift from the ego-self to the True Self. by permanently reducing or restricting its outflow.. radiant self. 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. 1979. The experience may be primarily related to ego-dissolution. Another important aspect of spiritual experiences is the sense of becoming who we really are. (1972. However. Self still exists. The consciousness-energy that constitutes our being is one and the same as the consciousness-energy which pervades the cosmos. some deeper diviner being. This suggests that the experience is not strictly related to ICE states.ness is–as we have seen–also a feature of spiritual experiences resulting from homeostasis disruption. The energy is our Self.171. and others suggests. atman is one with brahman. pp. generally feature this sense of becoming one with a truer and deeper self. as the Integral Philosophy recently developed by Ken Wilber. Something that is far superior to the unimportant personality which was I. we are one with the cosmos. We tap into the ocean of Spirit that pervades all reality.g. when we experience a powerful intensification of consciousness-energy. But the spiritual life involves more than meditation. revealers of the god within–is misleading. at the essence of our being. they should be termed “extheogens. As the Vedanta tradition tells us.. Cope. to take vows of silence or celibacy. as it does in deep sleep. a transcendence or dismantling of the separate-self system which creates the illusion of separateness and duality. ICE states in particular may provide another source of this experience of oneness. detachment has been seen as part of the ascending world-rejecting tradition which posits an artificial and dangerous duality between matter and spirit. They might choose to live alone in the forest or desert. Reports of HD-induced higher states of consciousness do not. I remain perfectly calm and fully aware of who I am and what is occurring. Therefore. arises into consciousness and becomes me.

and the thoughts and fantasies of sex. St. 72). As Swami Prabhavananda (1952) wrote: “Sexual activity. a permanent redistribution of consciousnessenergy. making a determined effort to permanently close down the channels through which consciousness-energy drains away. Underhill actually refers to a wrong distribution of this energy. it becomes subliminated as spiritual energy” (p. This is another aspect of asceticism. we can see the practice of celibacy as. which the adept can use at the niyama (discipline) stage. John of the Cross. 220). We should not see asceticism purely as a matter of punishing the body for its sinful desires. 212). These are the people who direct all their aims and intelligence towards transient possessions’ (1990. Francis of Assisi. 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. The practices should be seen purely as a matter of economy. 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. “to check the powerful survival instinct and rechannel it to serve a higher purpose” (p. for example. and also a means of–hopefully. 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. And similarly. Silence and solitude are clearly two other ways of concentrating or intensifying consciousness-energy. Underhill (1960) noted that possessions “are a drain upon the energy of the self. 117). We should note that both detachment and mortification (or asceticism) are not –at least ideally–ongoing or permanent processes. Catherine of Sinea. The purpose of detachment and mortification is to produce a transformation of being. for example. steadily drained the vitality of the self ” (p. 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. At that point she abandoned her solitude and was frenetically active for the rest of her life. 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. Many mystics strove for years to attain this freedom. At the same time as serving as a means of inducing temporary spiritual states through homeostasis-disruption. and St.other important areas of our lives. The same is true of other mystics such as St. Volume 24 . use up a great portion of our vital force. on the one hand. ‘There are men who completely dissipate the powers of the soul in the outward man. This frees up psychospiritual energy. As Underhill notes again. hedonistic impulses. 204). spent three years living as a hermit and an ascetic until she attained a state of deification. ‘The mortifying process is necessary…because those senses have usurped a place beyond their station. However. or ascendance to the higher transpersonal realms. 2005. or implying that everyday life is opposed to spirituality. a method of freeing the monk or mystic from the responsibility of having to care and provide for a family. which is sometimes experienced as heat (the literal meaning of the word tapas). Theresa. teaching. at which point they often relinquished their lives of detachment and became extremely active. 186). unreal. 186). 1960). As Meister Eckhart noted. ojas. who describes it as a process of “stripping or purging away of those superfluous. preventing her from attaining that intenser life for which she was made” (p.102). And similarly. I should make it clear that I am certainly not advocating a retreat from the world. when he attempts to “harmonize his relationship to life at large and to the transcendental reality” (p. St. in order to do 56 this. can be seen as a method of stopping our thoughts being occupied and our energies being drained away by possessions. p. 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. and of reducing The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. we must exercise self-discipline. Tapas usually involves chastity (brahmacarya) and the subjugation of the senses (indirya-jaya) and is believed to generate an intense form of energy. The purpose of yama (often translated as restraint) is. This underlying purpose of detachment was noted by Underhill (1960). of permanently taming our desires so that they no longer monopolise our consciousness energy. we must control our physical appetites and passions” (p. as Feuerstein (1990) puts it. become the focus of energy. and harmful things which dissipate the precious energies of the self ” (p. converting non-Christians and serving the poor and sick (Underhill. In a similar way. 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. When that force is conserved through abstinence. 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. The practice of voluntary poverty. which equates with a permanently higher state of consciousness.

They may be intro- vertive void experiences of pure consciousness. they are always extrovertive. “[they] can induce genuine mystical experiences. wonder and oneness. Zaehner. half way between hedonism and asceticism. 1961). Similarly. A major problem with HD states is their unreliability. such as hallucinatory experiences or psychotic episodes. ICE states versus HD states This is not the place for an extended discussion and comparison of HD and ICE mystical states. This can only come from ICE states.its outflow by keeping ourselves apart from the demands and the hectic activity of normal life. is that only the latter can build towards a permanently transformed consciousness. they are likely to generate other altered states of consciousness besides higher states. pp.g. in some people. HD states can never give rise to the low arousal void experience of what Robert Forman (2000) describes as the Pure Consciousness Event. Being given these experiences for free may create a passive attitude towards them. Probably the most important difference between HD and ICE states. and have been used as such throughout human history. enduring structures of consciousness. “Drugs appear to induce religious experiences: it is less evident that they can produce religious lives” (1964. As I mentioned above. have a very low risk of negative or psychotic states. p. On the other hand. we can say that HD states are never–in Stace’s terminology (1964/1988)–introvertive. However. I also pointed out that in ICE states the characteristic (c) is likely to be more powerful than in HD states because of the essential oneness of consciousness-energy with the consciousness-force of the cosmos. HD and ICE states correspond to Fischer’s (1971) ergotropic high arousal and trophotropic low arousal experiences. simply because the meditator has closed her senses to the external world. but do not go the extreme of punishing the body or neglecting other areas of our development besides the spiritual. however. and even when they do. HD states are primarily sensory or perceptual experiences. 1991). or a sense of transcending boundaries and (d) a sense of becoming a deeper and truer Self. only they can create permanent. Or as Smith puts it. on the other hand. or while long-distance running or listening to music. there is a Timothy Leary. and a reluctance to make the long term disciplined effort which permanent spiritual transformation requires. Huston Smith. These can be useful. For every Ram Dass. there are a few salient points that I would like to mention. They always involve the phenomenal world. An ICE state that occurs in the countryside. HD states can only give “peek” experiences into the transpersonal domains. 528-9). 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). ICE states. This may not always be the case though. under some circumstances” (2003. will be extrovertive. by shutting her eyes. or extrovertive experiences of perceiving is-ness. but they do not appear to feature the affective characteristics of (b) and (d). Above I have dealt with four different aspects of higher states of consciousness: (a) an intensified perception of the phenomenal world (b) a sense of inner peace and wholeness (c) a sense of oneness with the manifest world. HD states can also be dangerous. The individual may not actually be ontologically ready to process the Higher States 57 . and reliably generate transpersonal or mystical states.g. 2000). taken-for-granted world and making the individual aware that higher realms of reality do exist. Whether ICE states are introvertive or extrovertive depends simply upon the circumstances in which they occur.. 1964.g. In Wilber’s terms (e. the latter do not. since these actually involve a purification and intensification of consciousness. in which we avoid excessive desires and excessive activity. sitting in quietness and focusing her attention on a mantra (or another object of concentration). 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. HD states certainly feature (a) and (c). There is some evidence that drug-induced higher states of consciousness encourage individuals to investigate methods of gradual long-term consciousness transformation (e.. HD and ICE states are two different technologies of spiritual experience.. As Walsh noted of psychedelic drugs in particular. Stace. This does not mean going to the extremes of the ascetics— in my view it is probably only necessary to follow the “middle way” that Buddhism recommends. An ICE state which is consciously induced by meditation will be introvertive. Tart. simple because the individual is already in open communication with the external world. But the spiritual experiences they generate are of a different character. 1964/1988. they might come as a bolt out of the blue. rupturing the familiar. ICE states can be both introvertive and extrovertive. one of the differences between ICE and HD states is that while the former feature all four of these. but only sometimes.2).

Rhawn Joseph (2000) recognises that practices such as food and water deprivation. of course. 2003 for a related discussion). benevolent. there would also appear to be a correlate with increased activity in the sympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system. The important point is that. in that they can only be extrovertive. very briefly. the higher the level of consciousness. In fact. 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. again. 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). subtle. if we see an intensification of consciousness-energy as the source of spiritual states. and gradually create a new psychic structure–HD states are essentially destructive: they produce a powerful blast which immobilises the ego. resulting in intensified perceptual awareness. it becomes hyperactive and can no longer efficiently delete and filter out stimuli. and if this blast is regularly repeated the ego-structure will be eroded away. pain. and guided. the psychic. However. as so many spiritual teachers have stated. then children and native peoples clearly do have access to the transpersonal realms. since in both cases their sense of ego is less developed and less active than ours. there is the danger that the separate self-system may collapse altogether. As well creating a sense of “otherness” between us and the world. in Wilber’s model.. and lead to schizophrenia or psychosis.) 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. which suggests that the brain itself doesn’t produce consciousness. and that they would be therefore more open to spiritual states than us. Endnotes 1 Neurologically. since the intensity of their instinctive desires and heightened emotionality would itself produce a large outflow of consciousness-energy. at least HD states have the apparent advantage–which is part of their appeal–of requiring no effort. why is it that disrupting homeostasis does generate higher states of consciousness in some instances but not in others? Or..g. 2000) this is impossible. This strongly suggests that ICE states are superior to HDs. and lack an affective dimension. our over-active and overseparate egos–although not the ego in itself–are an enemy. William Johnston argued that “meditation is safer than drugs because the meditation. but deficient in that they do not feature aspects of higher states of consciousness common to ICE states. This might not apply so much to children. can integrate the new knowledge and preserve his equilibrium” (1988. that the greater the intensification and purification of consciousness-energy. 2 The existence of this energy makes sense in terms of the theory of consciousness put forward by Robert Forman and others. but rather The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. when the limbic system is denied its normal input. so that we see the world as one-dimensional and inanimate place. As he sees it. whereas ICE states usually involve some form of mental concentration and a degree of self-discipline. instead of the radiant. how do ICE states correlate with the different levels of mystical or transpersonal experiences (e. 2005. However. In Wilber’s model of transpersonal development (e. For example. but could easily be true for native peoples (see Taylor. causal and non-dual)? (My suggestion would be. Whereas meditative ICE states are constructive–that is. We might say that they are one-dimensional. if properly instructed. p. Spirit-charged cosmos that it really is. 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. and their psychic equilibrium may be disturbed as a result. to the point where it is no longer able to re-form itself. Volume 24 . drug use and self-mutilation have been traditionally been used to induce mystical or spiritual states. However. meaningful. 124). Particularly with intense use of psychedelic drugs. HD mystical experiences are clearly genuine.g. Following Newberg and D’Aqulli’s research.experience. they gradually tame the chattering ego and produce a permanent intensification of consciousness-energy. we might assume that there would be a reduced outflow of consciousness-energy in their case. they monopolise our consciousness-energy. higher states of consciousness associated with homeostasis disruption appear to correlate with hyperactivity of the limbic system. and appears to produce less associational chatter. In fact this is the only long-term psychic change which the regular inducement of higher states of consciousness through HD can lead to. This essay leaves some questions unanswered. and links this to arousal of the brain’s limbic system. and between ourselves and our own bodies.

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or “little boat.173-74. and the slat-board pioneer houses we pass are dark. It is warm. Within the movement originating with Mestre Irineu. and serious rural poverty. facing one another beneath a huge. 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. a powerful presence of evangelical Christianity. it is the westernmost state of the Amazon rain basin. Beneath blazing fluorescent lights. cre is the holy land for work with Daime in Brazil. Acre hosts a landscape dotted with the churches of Daime. which claims to hold most truly to the original form transmitted by the Mestre.” whose work. In spite of these abuses. Among the Indians bio-piracy by Westerners. a neighborhood thirty minutes outside of Rio Branco. and the Barquinha. open air structure. two main streams developed: The Church of the Universal Flowing Light. Through all the communities. Horatio: Hamlet: Oh day and night. was initiated by a disciple of Irineu. who. traveling dirt roads through area recently carved out of the jungle. Sean. A gigantic cross with two crossbeams (the Caravaca Cross adopted from Northern Spain—the second crossbeam represents the second coming of Christ). 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. or will no longer donate bottles of ayahuasca to hipsters who smuggle them into the U. Shakespeare Hamlet 1. The extent of this tragedy is not easily imagined until the degree of knowledge of these peoples is fathomed. in which the author weaves together accounts of his own healing experience. tropical sea. certain Daime communities have closed their doors to participation by Westerners after getting what they perceived as bad press. hosting some of the heaviest cocaine trafficking in South America. in the night. It also portrays the extraordinary variation and vitality of the communities there. which light up at night like phosphorescent jellyfish floating in a dark. It was also the home state of Chico Mendez. As well.S.Fear No Spirits: A Pilgrim’s Journey through the Brazilian Churches of Ayahuasca Robert Tindall This is an intimate account of a pilgrimage through the “Holy Land” of Daime. seeds of distrust toward foreigners have been sown. but this is wondrous strange! And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. both indigenous and Catholic/Afro-Brazilian. and the pilgrim is welcome to join in the work. as practiced for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin. Bordering Peru and Bolivia. who use ayahuasca as a sacrament. the doors of most churches remain open. and still possesses 90% of its original forest. I see two lines of men and women dancing. Darly Alves da Silva. stands illuminated in the front yard. 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). and sell the sacrament at a huge profit. the stars are bright. or Santo Daime. the Brazilian frontier state of Acre. arising and co-evolving out of their seamless communion with the forest: the womb and gift of Pachamama. My botanist friend. I first arrive in Alto Santo. Then a vision leaps electric out of the night. I get out of the car and hear music and singing—a sound like a polka Fear No Spirits 61 . has so alienated the healers of the forest that they have begun keeping their medicines to themselves. Acre is still very much raw frontier. in resistance to the massive land theft and senseless deforestation being practiced by the wealthy newcomers to Acre in the 1980’s. Daniel Pereira de Mattos (known as Frei Daniel).5. with marked Afro-Brazilian elements. And there A are the native traditions underlying the lineage of Mestre Irineu.

I see the women wear white dresses with green sashes.band riding in the back of a flatbed truck on their way to heaven. gazing into another world. and other Orixas. The men wear white suits with a green pinstripe descending their pant legs. I take a maraca and join the line. dazzled by the lights and colors and already buzzing from a shot of ayahuasca I had drunk earlier at the Barquinha church. which helps some. is the new frontier for humanity. to waterfalls. or Xango. Sean and I encountered Luis. a world of exquisite possibilities. the one for representing vision into other worlds. waiting for my signal to stop. I see that the men also wear a silver brooch in the shape of a Star of David with a crescent moon resting within. the power of the forest and native healing wisdom. as a blazing figurehead on the prow of the ship of my soul. A proto-fascist ruling clique has seized power in my beloved homeland. isn’t it?” he asks. He offered his assistance. as well as his opinions about the communities we had come to visit. such as Oxossi. Struggling with our bags and attempting to orient ourselves after the three-day bus ride from Rio de Janeiro to Rio Branco. relentless and happy. May the humble inherit the earth. emptiness. The high pitch of the women’s voices gives me the image of a psychedelic subway train charging. I sit and try to follow the hymns of the dancers. feminine power. As I draw closer. and I can understand the Portuguese being spoken around me. I drink and a seat is set out for me. My language acquisition abilities have suddenly been radically enhanced. I open my eyes. a professor of mathematics and physics at the University of Acre. A band. the power of justice. During the ceremony I see my guardian angel. I enter into conversation with Henrique. Oxum. related to stones and through his spouse. multi-colored trailers descending from their shoulders. getting down the four-step but give up trying to sing from the hymnal at the same time. a new people without artifice. And he spoke an English he had learned from his mother. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. It turned out he was a Daimista. It appears to be happening right here. The music has stopped. tambourine. explaining that the church of the little boat is a synthesis of Catholic Christianity with Umbanda and Candomble. the Holy Mother. which instead of provoking my usual liberal self-righteousness stir an immense 62 well of sadness within me. clean cut and alert. electric guitar. bright white with epaulettes and a white cap like a fez with a braid wound around it. the Yoruba spiritual practices brought over by the slaves from Africa. his expression truly transported. a young lawyer from São Paulo who had recently transplanted himself in Rio Branco to work on environmental issues and indigenous rights. I am led in a numinous daze across the concrete floor to a booth at the far end of the structure. Henrique looks at me with comprehension. indicating they are fardados. I look within and see an altar with a candle burning before a photo taken during the 1930s of a stocky forest worker. I make my bows. I see a new frontier. (Fardado is sometimes translated as “star-person”–giving a New Age airiness to a fundamentally military conception: farda in Portuguese describes a “military uniform”). The altar is covered with bottles of ayahuasca. as waves of agony rise and break within me. Volume 24 . and its relation to work with entheogens. moving back and forth in a tightly disciplined line. Later I am taken to the altar and introduced to the figure in the photo: it is Mestre Raimundo Irineu Serra. I realize. a member of a Barquinha church. Then Henrique begins to ask me penetrating questions about the United States. jams away in the space between the two lines. It gave me some pause. and seemed to engage the world around him with a boundless optimism. and I realize the carven prows of those old Viking ships were no mere decorations. and elucidated a very complicated system of correspondences between deities: Oxala. bass and classical guitar. He was small of stature. The Barquinhas wear sailor’s suits when they make a major journey. conga drum. I study him. through the night. but the Portuguese is very fast. the masculine father spirit. where a dignified man with a bushy moustache waits like an amiable bartender. They are right to do so. related to Christ. As the music commences again. I decided. The usual rivalries among groups existed in Rio Branco. but then I close my eyes and listen and angelic mists and swirling mandalas begin to draw me on. I scrambled to take notes. The women are wearing silver crowns. my guiding spirit. Someone sitting next to me hands me a hymnal. “The daime is working on you. They are doing a four-step dance. or spirits. related to Mary. too. Yemanja. composed of accordion. cutting through the darkness with his omniscience. open and immeasurably happy. The man smiles at me and pours. This. I cannot speak for grief. Some days later he met us at our hotel and oriented us to the work of the Barquinhas. 2005. As I enter. and we proceed to discuss the Buddhist doctrine of sunyata. beating out their steps with maracas they hold in their right hands. He looks as if he were wearing a Noh mask.

and the community vanishes to doff their sailor suits. and enter. a vanishing. Women on one side. the patriarch. like a spiritual storm front. we pass through a wooden gate and enter an open structure like the one where people danced in Alto Santo. How can we take any more? We already feel irradiated by spirit. But no matter. Then the curtains slowly close. ample matriarch enthroned in the center. A curtain has been drawn over the altar. “We’re moving on into the Umbanda portion of the work now. Finally a bell rings. two fingers of their right hand raised at the level of their faces like antennae. Luis explains they are the Holy Family. and São Sebastião. have come and the group possessed by the old African spirits files out. We were going to get to experience Umbanda soon. Piercing whistling tears through the air. make the sign of the cross with the cup. The spirits of the preto velhos. and see the shell of my former self in California and feel deep compassion for the man I have been. Luis leaves us. as if on the other side of the world. little white-skinned baby Fear No Spirits 63 . and there was to be a major work soon. I feel his hand on my forehead as I relinquish my addictions: to coffee. In fact. At their backs. and drink. I look out and sure enough. I wander off and sit on the wrong side. I notice miniature figures arranged in a village scene. Within we cross a clean floor of white tile and face an altar covered with images of saints. very erect. the white-haired. and he reappears dressed in white and gestures for us to come. A musician tuning his guitar gestures me back. except the floor is of hard packed. to finding the perfect woman. sounds I cannot imagine the human vocal apparatus being capable of making. In the center. Then Luis reappears beside us. the line is forming anew. The core of the community takes their places around the banquet table. one of women and the other of men. It could be any Catholic church in Latin America. smiling. Arriving the following evening. the guitar and Catholic liturgy weaving fresh neural pathways through my mind. and then the ayahuasca strikes like a blinding cloud of light. the Holy Ancestors. except I can recognize the Credo being repeated over and over. spread out on a surface of sand. men on the other.” he explains. and Sean and I sit quietly in the pews. and they are spread out in a tableau of village life. Mary. Luis comes up to us and announces. red earth. most of which I don’t understand. Rows of seats line the back and side of the church. I now have an opportunity to study the figures arranged in the sand in the center. and the names of Jesus. I look around and note that most of the faces are African in descent. Fear no spirits. We drink again and go out to the structure with the floor of packed red earth. We and everyone else step over the dog. Something very powerful begins moving. The community was in the midst of a twenty-day long romería. I see people rising from their seats and standing. through the church. who are filing forward to drink ayahuasca. “The evening is just beginning. The curtain is parting more rapidly now. are given the sacrament. I think. Then in the middle of a song I come to Christ and lay my burden down before him. to hyper-vigilance.” Sean and I look at each other in astonishment. I don’t fear spirits. unlike in the Santo Daime church in Alto Santo. We reach the head of the line. in imitation of the opening of the heavenly realm. We go out and see two lines have formed. respecting its presence there. the old blacks. a statue of São Sebastião. capable of walking a hundred miles at a stretch through arid ground.” but then I shrug and go out and drink. one fellow playing the banjo. a cycle of worship of São Sebastião in which they drank ayahuasca every night. A massive banquet table with a white tablecloth surrounded by chairs sits in the middle of the room. upon the table. The mantric cycle of praise commences. I start to say. It all seems a blaze of light. is the European Holy Family. But the lines to drink are forming again outside. my long journey filled with wounds and bewilderment. a dirty little scamp of a dog curled up right on the threshold. their garments and eyes pearly white. “I think I may actually have had enough already. As the ayahuasca begins to take hold. “Time to drink again. standing beside her. a stupefaction. the Heavenly Father. We continue down a flight of stairs and enter the patio of the church. its exterior a muted orange painted over smooth adobe. We go back in and take our seats. with its little bell tower and niches for saints. chained to a tree and pierced by arrows. covering the entire front of the church. I notice the curtains are slowly parting in front of the altar. I hear a voice say to me. the Yorimba. thin and tall like a reed.despairing of distinguishing mantra from yantra and tantra. The ayahuasca is very bitter and strong. Musicians accompany the prayer. Their skin is deeply black. or rather. I feel completely comfortable with them. a cross lit up at the entryway. Okay.” he says. 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.

inchoate. a terminal where the spirits negotiate their transit to other worlds. “There is never any reason to get angry. I am grateful that I am allowed to dance on the periphery and not drawn in. I begin. and I begin to understand the dance. Horatio. The only useful shred of the Western Intellectual Tradition I can think of is. pipe in mouth. Somehow he makes me think of a young Abe Lincoln. It is dark. and a sign of the strength of the evangelical movement in Acre. In fact. has had all its fundamental premises blown this evening. many women and a few men are smoking pipes. I’m out and about. but bars selling pitchers of juice made to order from the cornucopia of fruit growing in the Amazon compensate for the stench. He’s been checking us out. pulse rising from the earth. tipping his head in the old forest worker’s direction. drinking ayahuasca and dancing with the spirits. It’s a couple days later. stringy from a life of hard work. In the center. My Western intellect. 2005. a young man. The old man comes around in the circle of dancers again and we watch him. Joseph and Mary and Donkey in attendance. widdershins.” It’s a slow dance.” We decide we love this old man. men and women moving in two circles. A smell of burning plastic wafts through the marketplace. He 64 turns to me from the front seat and says. using the tobacco for purification and to send messages to the divinity. then a step forward. The Brazilians don’t seem to do anything halfway in this land of spirits. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth. Rather it absorbs our energy. stooped forward in a posture of aged dignity close to the altar. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. A bardo space. The earth becomes wet with spit. then are dreamt of in your philosophy. a mulatto. but the center does not radiate out. or mediumship. of praise. scintillating around the forms of the dancers in white. and I hesitate the opinion that sometimes anger can help set things straight. a voice crying from the wilderness. He pretends not to be observing us. After a time I see Luis. Luis turns to me and says. The drums beat. We move in a circle around the center. comes ranting through the station. his arms folded behind his back. A four step inside a square. blazing. “Whatever you do. Then the power goes out. the votive pit in Hades in which Odysseus spilled the blood of the ewe and ram. Fierce defense in preservation of the world is one thing. hunched over close to the earth. have an illusion of a right to elbow room that Brazilians know doesn’t exist. We’re both smiling in rapture. Luis turns and looks me in the eyes. North Americans. but eventually get the hang of it. This evening is solely a work of mantra. ayahusaca working through the body. “Yep. and Sean has been pretty much shut up in his hotel room since the night at the Barquinha. I have a deep feeling of gratitude for my experience of it. What voice speaks through him? I wonder. I am not ready to experience atuação..Jesus in cradle. “See that old man?” Sean asks me. angels guarding the way to his cradle. dirt poor. Sean has taken a seat and I walk over and clap him on the back. the sick and simple are brought forward. I’ve been sick. The dance concludes in the dark of the early morning. and candles are lit. but I smile and give him the thumbs-up sign. conga drums prominent. playing guitar and watching Brazilian television. Volume 24 . Power of old Africans. Young women are led around and in by their elders.” My own life in California is so inconceivably distant and inapplicable. awkwardly. Changing the subject. he explains to me that when the preto velhos come that The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.. and while I still don’t know what to make of tantra. 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. “Man. don’t stop dancing.” “I want to be an old man like him. I don’t know how I am going to return to my life in California after this. I fall silent. I can only nod in agreement. Anger at a person or situation is another. I realize. liminal.” I look back and realize he is right.” Luis and I are supposed to meet in the center of Rio Branco. I do fear these spirits. and poured libations to summon the unnumbered dead. spitting and bowing. his hair and beard gone wild. a dance to draw energy and life out of the earth. An old man is dancing out there in the crowd. The band commences. Are we not all equal in this? Are we not all dreaming? The bus comes and we board. with the spirits of Umbanda. we even accept anger as a kind of social lubricant. The truth is. He must love us too. 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. Luis appears and while we wait for a local bus to take us to the Barquinha church. Ever. which I had imagined as being fairly open. Sean and I ride back together in a taxi. He breaks into a huge grin and nods back at us. We talk about the situations in Brazil especially designed to push a North American’s buttons.

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,
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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-

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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
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to the center to learn Portuguese. as of this date.com. they sing into the night like an animal sings into it. salvadores. from which a rich symphony of sound is now emerging. a center for the treatment of addiction. Author Note “Fear no Spirits” is excerpted from a forthcoming book. even as we attempt to praise it with our barbaric Indo-European tongues and instruments. makes me put my hands on the earth: things. After the Brazilian section. The brew they chose is a light one. I am weary too of the fundamentalism of Daime. We wear red stripes on our faces.” a narrative pilgrimage into the medicines of the Amazon rainforest. not daime. and then to an apprenticeship with the master healer Juan Flores Salazar at his Mayantuyacu center in the jungle outside of Pucallpa. when it comes. Peru. Two ayahuasca myths from the Cashinahua of Northwestern Brazil. but not going to the root of our being’s dilemma. Correspondence regarding this paper should be directed to Robert Tindall at tigrillo@gmail. As we leave a huge white bird cuts the early morning sky. I watch him with awe as he sails over the forest. but as a vaguely oppressive fixture of belief—and the casting of the entire movement into a New Testament mold. even the guitar itself. accompanying themselves with flute and maracas. a lean aerodynamic ascetic. Volume 24 . the pilgrim continues on his way to Takiwasi. E. 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. White (Eds. the killing of 85% of the Kaxinawa people. rough-hewn and primitive to uneducated European eyes. fresh. ending each song with bursts of child-like giggling. And so the natives rock us into the night with invocations and sounds such as we have never encountered before. all stomach and bill. The image of a people gathering to sing for one another. The Kaxinawa sit patient and vigilant. F. Then a young guitarist who accompanied us turns out to be a strange bird: a daime evangelist. NM: Synergetic Press. while non-natives such as ourselves come to be educated in the ways of the Kaxinawa. At the end of one. happily joining in with the songs about our precious savior Jesus. how to ride a bicycle. in its native tongue. and I saw that evening that daime is only a brief portion of the territory of grandmother ayahuasca. how to work an ATM and a cellular phone. like the forest sings to itself. particular things. the earth. But the Kaxinawa work with ayahuasca. Luna and S. M. “The Jaguar that Roams the Mind. our ground. to bring me home again. explains to us that the entire tribe gathers to sing that piece whenever someone is leaving the village for a long journey. When the evangelical portion of the evening subsides. to wish them happiness and good-fortune on their way. Walking through the compound we encounter classrooms with chalkboards and ancestral figures. Fabiano. feathers of flight spring from their upper arms. That I am fooling myself and will return to California with some good stories but the same old self. makes me lament anew the cold mechanisms of my own culture with its straight-cut roads lined with advertisements—the culture responsible for. Portuguese and English. The young men of the tribe wear headdresses and crowns of feathers. dear. 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). Ayahuasca reader (pp. 2005. messengers. thereby 68 opening and creating a dreaming way through the forest. Santa Fe. a very gentle visitation which. the weary repetition of the word Jesus—not as a mantra to enter the divine. 3135). The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. I and the forest and the albatross all caught up in the same dream of Pachamama. References Lagrou. E. In L. who turns out to be an apprentice shaman. (2000). 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. that ayahuasca really is just a sort of Prozac.). temporarily lifting the mind up. seems a rude imposition upon this world. honed to transparency by his habitat.

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

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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

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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).

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202). p. i. 3. 331). p. air (that through which we hear and feel). So where is the question of remembering? With Beingness attention starts later. that through which we hear). For example. through Beingness the “inner organ” (antahkarana) comprised of intelligence (buddhi). “All that you see depends on the seer. 1987a. there is no seen. p. 1992.. 1979. 1990.” This sloka is an example of the doctrine of “simultaneous creation” (Drishti-srishti vada). Volume 24 . 352). the “big bang” theory). p. for then it would cease to be the subject. In a similar vein.The Theory of Simultaneous Creation (Drishti-srishti vada) Sri Ramana Maharshi (1985a. 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. As Absolute subjectivity Brahman cannot directly experience itself as a perceptible object. 56).. 38). since one and the same thing cannot be both the agent and the object of an action” (Vasu. ahamkara. p. at the time of dissolution. Although drishti-srishti vada postulates a metaphysical entity referred to as Brahman as the cause of the universe. This statement requires further explanation. 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. Hence. He could also perceive Himself. If the “initial conditions” (i. Wilber (1993) illustrated this point by comparing the situation to a sword that cannot cut itself. 58). the nature of this cause is held to be unknowable for two reasons. 138). “If the Self could perceive His own properties. 1979. 2005. one only. this is the first miracle. He thought ‘shall I send forth worlds. p.e. It is suggesting that the universe comes into existence simultaneously with the emergence of the “I” thought (the seer’s sense of beingness). The Theory of Non-Causality (Ajata Vada)5 Whereas drishti-shrishti vada is considered a relative truth (i. causality and discrete objects are all regarded as nonveridical perceptions that take place in the mind of the The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.. The Vedanta-sutras of Badarayana echo the sentiments of Sankaracharaya: “From the Self (Brahman) sprang ether (Akasa. Crudely put.… The borderline between Being and NonBeingness is intellect boggling. and mind (manas) is generated (Chapple. I conceived that the entire universe has manifested in the speck of my Beingness only. which is absurd. 38). feel. Apart from the seer. 184). Ajata vada argues that “nothing exists except the one reality [Brahman]” which is eternal and unchanging (Maharshi. But all of a sudden that Beingness was felt spontaneously. “You cannot see the seer of sight. from ether. 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. advaita regards the theory of non-causality (ajata vada) as the ultimate truth. Later. p. you cannot think the thinker of the thought. 37) The salient point contained in the preceding quotation is Nisargadatta Maharaj’s (1987a) reference to Brahman as a “non-knowing state” (p. 202). rather than there being a gradual process of creation (i. from air. you cannot hear the hearer of sound. it is true from the standpoint that we are human beings attempting to achieve liberation from maya). there was nothing else blinking whatsoever. 184) stated that. and manas also takes place. or a finger that cannot touch its own tip. the origin of the Universe. Then in a flash I observed this enormous manifest world and also my body. sense impressions relating to space-time. (p. just as a rope gives rise to an illusory snake” (Sastry. and It devours them at pralaya. When the dissolution of Beingness into Brahman occurs during ASCs such as samadhi. This is what is meant in the Brihadaranyaka-Upanishad when it is stated that. Statements attesting to this thesis abound in the advaitic literature.e. the cessation of buddhi. 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. an eye that cannot see itself. the Aitareya-Upanishad holds that. It generates them at the time of utpatti.. p. because the intellect subsides at that precise location” (p.e. a tongue that cannot taste itself. ajata vada represents a denial of the orthodox view that the universe has a cause.e. the period of the sustenance of the Universe. He sent forth these worlds’” (Vasu. This argument is reiterated in Baladeva’s commentary to the Vedanta-sutras of Badarayana in which he wrote. 1970. 1979. you cannot know the knower of the known” (Swami & Yeats. p. fire (that through which we hear. ego or sense of self (ahamkara). Nisargadatta Maharaj (1987b) delivers the following affirmation: “It is a non-attentive state. 1985a. and see)” (Vasu. First. “In the beginning all this was self. Drishti-srishti vada asserts that the cause of the seer’s sense of beingness and hence the universe is Brahman4.

and therefore each of these opposites can Why Does the Universe Exist? 73 . practitioners have provided phenomenological reports of this altered state in various advaitic texts.. that ajata vada does affirm the reality of the universe but only when veridically perceived as an uncaused appearance in Brahman. As Wilber (1996) stated. Bonaventure. and the mind itself. “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. as drishti-srishti vada contends. 3). p. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. if one accepts that the universe cannot be a candidate for causal explanation by virtue of being an uncaused appearance in Brahman. p. To quote Wittgenstein (1981/ 1922. Furthermore. p. if Brahman is atemporal and therefore unable to ‘step’ down into time and space as the ajata vada doctrine argues. 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. by which we attain a knowledge of philosophy. Yet. One may recall that the term “advaita” translates as “nondual. then you will create two opposites where there are in fact none. Modes of Knowing and Category Errors Extrapolating from St. 631) exists? However. 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. asserting that the causes of the universe’s past states are prior past states (Smith. p. for the sake of argument. “if p follows from q. there would be nothing to recall because. “Why does the universe exist?” is clearly unanswerable provided that one takes the question to mean. Brahman) then one should be unable to experience a delusory perception of the universe as “all space. 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. it is an example of confusing two different modes of knowing: the eye of reason with the eye of contemplation. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. 107). and bliss (ananda)? Second. 19). if the cessation of one’s long-term memory system (a cognitive function) occurs during this state. 1985a). Proponents of this theory. past states and prior past states are considered delusory perceptions from an ajata vada perspective. 1991.” Wilber (1996) argued that if one attempts to translate nondual Reality into dualistic reason. Finally. surprisingly. then how does one come to know that such a state exists? Furthermore. Consequently. does this not place restrictions on a metaphysical entity which is supposedly unrestricted? Furthermore. “Why does the universe exist?” To utilise Wilber’s (1996) terminology. Wilber (1996) explicated three modes of knowing: “the eye of flesh. logic. then the question. one would be unable to recall the experience.e. regard the substance of the universe as being identical to Brahman (Maharshi. it must be phenomenologically contentless and therefore attributeless. 631) does not exist. One may further enquire as to why a delusory perception of the universe as “all space. “Why does the veridically perceived universe exist?” with reference to an external causal explanation. logical problems associated with advaita vedanta are also based on a category error. on what grounds are proponents of advaita justified in asserting that the characteristics of Brahman are existence (sat). 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.” where p is the universe and q is Brahman. and when it tries. thus. the universe in the orthodox sense of “all space. First. the eye of reason. Even if. This raises a further question. one is precluded from invoking an internal causal explanation of the universe—that is. consciousness (chit). 1991. It is noteworthy. thus. it generates only dualistic incompatibilities” (p. and the universe is subject to space-time. however. b is also imperceptible. time.ignorant (ajani). the sense of ‘p’ is contained in that of ‘q’. “Reason cannot grasp the essence of absolute reality. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. if the universe is an emanation of the eternal Brahman. Consequently. if Brahman is non-experiential. one is unable to address the question. and a is imperceptible. Consequently. Furthermore. one’s long-term memory system was still functioning during this state. 1991. If Brahman is attributeless. existing in a state of latency. logic dictates that space-time must also be enfolded in Brahman. if the subject is unable to experience itself as a perceptible object and if from an advaitic standpoint everything is the subject (i. and the eye of contemplation. If a = b. by which we perceive the external world of space. obviously. 631) for it too must ultimately be Brahman. 1995)—on the grounds that space-time and. then. by which we arise to a knowledge of transcendent realities” (p. and objects.

. 2.” (p.. 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. Jnana. thereby facilitating the recognition that sensory impressions relating to time and causality are nonveridical perceptions that take place in the mind of the ignorant (ajani). the nature of personal identity. 1980).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. “Why does the universe exist?” The present author suggests that. ego or sense of self (ahamkara). but not during ordinary or normal waking conscious—and is thus “state specific” (Tart. “Why does the universe exist?” It was argued that. Volume 24 . Conclusion It was argued there exists a lacuna in the literature with regards to an application of theories constructed a posteriori to the question. 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.. the initial conditions. whilst the former is a metaphysical question.e.. in essence. Karma. 187) 3. It was suggested that such experiences might provide valuable insights into the external and internal causal mechanisms of the universe that are unobtainable a priori. the injunctions used by practitioners of advaita vedanta (e.g. 1988) that are held to provide experiential knowledge regarding. Consequently. End Notes 1. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann. 19).. and (2) 74 when veridically perceived the universe is an uncaused appearance in Brahman. “Why does the universe exist?” in particular. that is. during the various grades of samadhi. Bhakti and Rajas yogas) are. using as premises of the deduction one or more universal laws. 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). personal identity..g. shows why reason only generates paradox when it tries to grasp God or the Absolute (p. Two a posteriori derived creation theories associated with advaita vedanta (e. 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. one experiences alterations in the “inner organ” (antahkarana) comprised of intelligence (buddhi). the question. For instance. methods of self-inquiry (Maharshi. Consequently. 1985). Extrapolating from the theory of ajata vada. Brahman) are unknowable.. 1998) or “state dependent” (Fischer. One may also experience Brahman as the eternal and unchanging reality (Maharshi. Author Note The author would like to thank Stanley Krippner and Peter Baynes for valuable suggestions and comments. p. If a question can be put at all. kevala nirvikalpa samadhi). The riddle does not exist.g. the theory of simultaneous creation and the theory of non-causality) were subsequently applied to the question. to return to Kant. the latter is a scientific cosmological question. 1972. then it can also be answered. for example.” time). Consequently. Furthermore. (2) As Absolute Subject-ivity.be rationally argued with equal plausibility-and that. employing the human intellect for the purpose of reasoning about a metaphysical entity constitutes a category error. the mind-body “problem. “Why does the universe exist?” may not be addressed via a causal explanation because: (1) the universe in the orthodox sense of “all space. together with certain singular statements. a complete causal explanation of the universe cannot be formulated on the grounds that the “initial conditions” (i. Clearly the a posteriori perspective used in the present paper may be applied to other metaphysical “problems” (e. in contrast to modern logicians. Popper (1959) asserted that: To give a causal explanation of an event means to deduce a statement which describes it.. 2005. and mind (manas) and also one’s bodily awareness that may provide insight into the mindbody problem. the ontology outlined in the doctrine of advaita vedanta was purportedly constructed a posteriori using metaphysical knowledge acquired through ASCs (e.g. Brahman cannot be rendered an object of conscious awareness and thus experienced. Wittgenstein (1981/ 1922) wrote that “for an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannot be expressed. from the standpoint of drishti-srishti vada. 631) is held to be a delusory perception.g. samadhi).

(1941). 181-192). Y. 22-74). which apply to the specific event in question and which I call ‘initial conditions. (1981). which is the “Outbreather and Inbreather of infinite universes throughout the endlessness of duration” (Evan-Wentz. P. Interestingly.’’ Therefore my comments in this section shall be necessarily brief. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. R. Oxford. (1980). 2. E. Mahayana Buddhism postulates a Transcendental Reality. The bhagavad gita. i. J. 12) from which emanate the ten seifrot (literally rays) which constitute the physical universe (Hoffman. (1962).” En-Sof (Scholem. Many aspects of the ajata-vada doctrine have already been alluded to in a previous section of this essay entitled “Avaita Vedanta: An Overview. Kabbalah: New perspectives. UK: Oxford University Press. the vast majority of mystical philosophies assert that a metaphysical entity of some kind is the cause of the universe. Gilson.H.kinds of statement. An introduction to metaphysics. B. Why? In P. (1990). 33-47. Mysticism and philosophical analysis (pp. the One-Mind. Idel. The Kabbalah: Its implications for humanistic psychology.).. New Haven: Yale University Press.. (1978). (1959). Heidegger. K. (1954). Language. State-bound knowledge: “I can’t remember what I said last night.). The bhagavad gita and its message. Gender differences in serial murder: A preliminary analysis. p. WI: Lotus Light Publications. Twin Lakes. hypotheses of the character of natural laws. In S. In D. For example. New Haven. Koestenbaum. 306-11).). In R. (1996). R.’ It is from universal statements in conjunction with initial conditions that we deduce the singular statement. Huxley. Experience and interpretation in mysticism. Katz. 44). 9. New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation.. A. In R. The sense of subjectivity. (1995). New York: W. 288-304). (1982). Hoffman. For an excellent discussion of this ontological issue. God and philosophy. S. 59-60). Matt. London: Athlone. Bombay: Chetana. Guenon. 1969). (1994). Edwards & A. Edwards. UK: Oxford University Press. p. The problem of pure consciousness (pp. London: Arkana. 1961. Similarly. UK: Oxford University Press. W. P.) (pp. C. They are (1) universal statements. R. New York: Yale University Press. E. London: Chatto & Windus. London: Arkana.T. (1980). A modern introduction to philosophy (3rd ed. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. R. Balsekar. Maharshi. References Aurobindo. Franklin. Blackburn. Scholem. Oxford. S. 20. Forman (Ed. 796-810). M.” In R. Evans-Wentz. (1985a). London: Triad Grafton Books. R. New York: The Free Press.). (1985). UK: Oxford University Press. T. Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj. & Heide. p. (1991). CT: Yale University Press. (1973). in the writings of the Kabbalah in regard to the mystical philosophy of Jerusalem. Easwaran. An important question is whether all of these various mystical philosophies are referring to the same metaphysical entity or whether.).T. Idel. S. 1985. ‘This thread will break’. 47-65.C. Woods (Ed. Oxford. and mysticism. The Oxford dictionary of philosophy (2nd ed.). The problem of pure consciousness (pp. 1). Why Does the Universe Exist? 75 . The unseen seer and the field: Consciousness in Samkhya and Yoga. and (2) singular statements. E.The initial conditions describe what is usually called the ‘cause’ of the event in question (pp. 5. Man and his becoming: According to the vedanta. for example. (1964).e.” the “Great Reality. epistemology. 383-398.C.K. Creation theories and the reality of the world. 1996. Understanding mysticism (pp. New York: Oxford University Press Kaufmann. Essays of a humanist. both of which are necessary ingredients of a complete causal explanation. The Tibetan book of the great liberation. Perennial philosophy. Katz (Ed. it is held that in the beginning there is only the “Root of all Roots.K. Godman (Ed. (1990).” the “Indifferent Unity. 1980. W.). Brahman and En-sof are qualitatively distinct. Pap (Eds. Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry. Chapple. Universe (3rd ed. 53-70). 1988. S. see Katz (1978) and Franklin (1990). 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. (1986). 1961. Be as you are: The teachings of Ramana Maharshi (pp. but it must have been good. M. 4. Forman (Ed. Keeney.). Huxley. 1954. Fischer. Freeman and Company. Oxford. M. J. (1988).

Scholem. G. Boston: Shambhala.Maharshi. B. T. Rowe. Self-enquiry. (1959). C. The Existence of God. B. R. London: Shanti Sadan. Philosophy of Religion. New York: Schocken Books. Swinburne. C.edu. Philosophical Studies. Edwards & A. World within the mind (yogavasishtha) (4th ed. 50. A modern introduction to philosophy (3rd ed.). Wheaton.). (1979). K. (1996). The essential Kabbalah: The heart of Jewish mysticism. P. Swami. In R. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii. (1981). CA: Vedanta Press. UK: Element Books. R. Matt. How to know God: The yoga aphorisms of Patanjali.. (1970). M.). CA: Vedanta Press. In C. 2005. Direct experience of reality (Aparokshanubhuti). The existence of God—A debate. H. Wittgenstein. R. Powell (Ed. (1972). 4165). The collected works of Ramana Maharshi (2nd ed. Q. Maharaj. K. On the Kabbalah and its symbolism. N. Osborne (Ed. The bhagavad gita: With the commentary of Sri Sankaracharya (7th ed. Russell. (1989). The nectar of the Lord’s feet: Final teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (pp. 283-310. Major trends in Jewish mysticism. The spectrum of consciousness (2nd ed. in W. Email: rock@deakin. York Beach. 1203-1210. Maharshi. Wilber. (pp. Moore (Ed. The ten principle upanishads (2nd ed. Godman (Ed. (1987a). Powell (Ed.). In D. (1959). (1997b). P. New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. ‘Two Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument”. (pp.). India: Samata Books. even Beingness has to be transcended. Smith. Raju. H. New York: Schocken Books. 103-116. S. 37-44). Maine: Samuel Weiser. Pap (Eds. P. Boston: Shambhala. B. 79. (1973). San Diego. (1978). The Indian mind: Essentials of Indian philosophy and culture. S.). C. Longmead. N. Prabhavananda. The vedanta-sutras of Badarayana. Rowe and W. 176. Longmead. C. Hollywood. Wilber. Prabhavananda. Eye to eye: The quest for the new paradigm (3rd ed. (1969). W. AUSTRALIA. London: Arkana.au The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Maine: Samuel Weiser.). K. (1969). In P. & Isherwood. The nectar of the Lord’s feet: Final teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (pp. (1961).) (pp. Oxford. (1988). To realize the Absolute.). T. (1985b).. Osborne (Ed.). The collected works of Ramana Maharshi (2nd ed.). Volume 24 . P. G. In R.). (1967). Inc. Tart. States of consciousness and statespecific sciences. York Beach. R. (1998).). C. London: Hutchinson. S. The spiritual teaching of Ramana Maharshi. Scholem. (1981/1922).. Beyond the Upanishads. C. 155-162). Science.. Journal of the Brazilian Association for the Advancement of Science. F. Tart. Popper. New York: The Free Press. Be as you are: The teachings of Ramana Maharshi (pp. & Isherwood. (1995). & Copelston. L. Maharaj. C. 473-490). 51-58). Sastry. Investigating altered states of consciousness on their own terms: A proposal for the creation of state-specific sciences. Vasu. Metaphysical theories in Indian philosophy. CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers. T. (1996). Shastri. (1979). Maharshi. New York: HarperSanFrancisco. Maharshi.). 39-47). (1993). London: Routledge. S.). UK: Element Books. 76 Shastri. (1987b). The logic of scientific discovery. Shankara’s crest-jewel of discrimination (viveka chudamani) (3rd ed. (1992/ 1897). London: Faber & Faber. R. UK: Clarendon Press. Hollywood. IL: Quest Books. Tractatus logico-philosophicus.A. & Yeats W. Samadhi. Internal and external causal explanations of the universe.). (1997a). London: Shanti Sadan. A. Who am I? In A. 17-38).). D. Address correspondences to the author at: School of Psychology Deakin University 221 Burwood Hwy Burwood VIC 3125. (pp. R. Wainwright (eds. Phone: +613 9244 6357 Fax: +613 9244 6858. R. In A. Madras.

as one of the most accomplished members of the Russian transpersonal community and part of the underground transpersonal movement in the late Soviet era. Vladimir Maykov. Correspondence regarding this introduction. Tanna Jakubowicz (Poland) rounded out this special topics section with an inspiring call to direct action.” Jason’s work reaches deep into theoretical and scientific realms to understand experiences of transformation he witnesses with his clients. He began with a fascinating clinical story that shows the practical value of an esoteric approach. Vladimir Maykov (Russia) opened the conference by situating it in the context of a Russian transpersonal project that reaches back to antiquity. 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. frankly broaching issues of power and leadership in psychotherapy training organizations. with the support of several other organizations. any articles in this special topic section. and a team of volunteers guided us through four days of presentations (June 23-26). or the EUROTAS conference can be directed to the author at payattention1@mac. graciously hosted over 200 participants from more than 20 countries.” The Russian Association of Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy.com Special Topic: Russian Soul 77 .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. He spoke from a uniquelyinformed vantage point. 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. He made an insightful distinction between idealist and materialist approaches to spirituality. Vitor Rodriguez (Portugal) offered a glimpse into his clinical experience with the diagnosis and treatment of psychic attack. offering a series of six presentations drawn from the 70-some offerings on the program. Mark Burno (Russia) shared fruits from 30 years of practice using “spiritual culture” as an avenue to therapy. translating tirelessly between English and Russian. The following pages constitute a small tour of the conference. Gennady Brevde. Rupert Tower (UK) used an enchanting Russian fairy tale to lead us into the shadow.

This rich tapestry underlies Russian thinkers and writers of recent centuries who embody within their works the principles and spirit of transpersonalism. In Russia. you are left with empty nothingness. it includes both a practice in which the saying of prayers is synchronized with the breath. the Fourth Way of G. and then it spends its life striving to become a spiritual being. Together these inform the modern transpersonal project in Russia.ru The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. there is no strict adherence to any one epistemology or theoretical framework. the body is born and. it becomes a personality. In May of 2002 we took a further step toward professional development with the founding of the Russian Association of Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. laying the groundwork for the founding of the Russian Association of Humanistic Psychology in 1990. market economy and declaration of human rights. It has been said that excavating the Russian soul is like peeling an onion: the more you penetrate its layers. with its correlatives of civil society. Tuvinia. The first of these is the Russian Orthodox Church. it is traditional in Russia. How does this wounding manifest itself? Personal development is different in Russia than in the West. A.F. But there is almost a full absence of personality in the Western sense of the word. lawful state. The Russian transpersonal project of today is more highly professional and many-sided than ever before. the soul behind Russian transpersonalism. the Russian soul must spend its life striving to become a personality—trying to become functional in society. Schestov. the Near East and Europe. and Khakassiya. covering the last thousand years. the anthroposophy of R. George lancing the dragon. 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. K. Rather. We can see three distinct layers underlying the Russian transpersonal tradition.K. and Russian Orthodox Church. the more you cry. democracy. yielding a community in which intensive searches are conducted in many directions. Yakutiya.M. space holds a 78 special place in Russian consciousness. Russia is geographically connected to Asia.S. Losev. Lihachev.The Transpersonal Tradition in Russian Culture Vladimir Maykov T he transpersonal tradition is deeply rooted in Russian culture. the existentialist writings of authors such as L. I identify seven different roots of Russian transpersonalism. Russia. Transpersonalism is thus inherent in the Russian soul. Many academic scientists have been drawn to this perspective. as noted by the academician D. Tsilokovsky. The continuous historical development of this transpersonal urge was interrupted early in the 20th century. Dostoevsky. Blavatsky. M. and the tradition of Russian cosmism of such visionaries as S. A. Volume 24 .transpersonal. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at www. the theosophy of E. M. This symbol has been central to Russian national imagery for five hundred years. Mamardashvili. Yet it is not easy to explain our inner being. Altai. In addition. Celtic pagan tradition. Vertnadsky.V. In the modern layer. as the pure potentiality of life that pulls you out of bondage.N. shortly after Perestroika. there is an ancient layer of shamanism—a practice that continues in Russia to this day. First. Russia has its own shamanic culture. Mihejkin. Unlike any other country in the world. Bakhtin.N. There is an archetypal wounding of the Russian soul. In the West. typified by the image of St. Russians experience space as open sky. through wounding. In fact. and academician V. Even though the transpersonal vision is new in the West. Contemporary shamans live and work in places such as Buryat. which includes the mystical doctrine of hesychasm. and a contemplative phenomenon in which one’s chest begins to vibrate and shake. Gurdjieff. Steiner. In the 1970s and 80s a broader transpersonal underground developed. the body is born. Nalimov. it becomes a spiritual being. Then there is a more modern layer. Pyatigorsky and V. Although there are many aspects to hesychasm. there is the Russian religious philosophy of N. 2005.P. which establish its origins in distant antiquity. a country with centuries-old transpersonal roots. Tolstoy and F.E. Russian Orthodox mysticism invokes altered states of consciousness. In the end. Clearly. Second is a layer of Russian paganism: Celtic paganism held sway over western Russia for centuries and left its imprint. Fyodorov. In addition to Russian Christianity. is poised to speak with the entire world in the common language of the transpersonal.I. Berdyaev and L.M.

inadequate parenting and dysfunction. I shall use his ideas here to think about how we might generate and sustain the process of self. However. this is not simply the end of the matter. 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. Lancaster identifies the fact that the process of identifying a “self. of course. in the “continual creative advance of nature. and the cultural milieu from which they arise. Approaches to Consciousness (2004)..e. From here it becomes possible to explore how the self-image of the client is organized. breed. Here then we return to the inspirational images that open this short paper. the assumptions about the nature and qualities of the self that are at stake remain unexamined. a process that can radically change the self-experience of the client. As I lay beside my hotel pool exhausted from looking at rocks piled up by the ancients. it occurred to me that ideas live in us as we live in the world.” or “I-tagging. In therapy this question can and often does transform into the more useful question. the personal self ) and into the process itself. a London-based center that uses a holistic multi-disciplinary approach to addiction involving complementary therapies and psychotherapy (individually and in groups).e. Rather. Rather. and how its organization might be made secure enough to be sustained over time. From a Buddhist perspective. The focus moves away from the artifact of this process (i. What self am I. this question opens the door to useful inquiry.uk). I was unable to sustain my image of self as a “thing” (i.” comes late in this sequence of six events that make up the perceptual process. Lancaster recognizes the link between cognitive neuroscience approaches and mystical approaches. There are six stages in Lancaster’s model of this process: 1.co. Following Pickering’s argument. a set of neurons fire Special Topic: Russian Soul 79 .coretrust. this self is an illusion. how we might think about redefining those narratives. onticly and diachronically secure). How do we approach this? What might be the mechanism of this self-process? In his book. and die in us. it piques us with the question. I would view these processes as being essentially semiotic in nature — that is. structures of activity. However this is not a self as thing but as a process that alters with the ever-changing tides of inner and outer narrative. readers interested in learning more about CORE are encouraged to visit www. 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. that an image of self exists at the point where a person’s inner conscious and unconscious stories and outer stories of community and culture meet. This self-image is identified as me.Synthesis and Plurality: Stories of the Self Jason Wright T his essay was inspired by an epiphany. In this context we understand the unifying intention to all the therapies is a spiritual one: we work within a transpersonal metaphor and see the fundamental issue facing the addicted person is the choice of whether or not to live: to live even in the face of devastating early-life trauma and alienation. I became fascinated with this as process. Here I am thinking about process as does Pickering (1999) in terms of Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy. composed of culturally-meaningful signs—and negotiated through narrative. which occurred whilst on a lonely holiday to Turkey in 1997. Les Lancaster brings together cognitive neuroscience and mysticism to explore the nature of consciousness. in a semiotic and narrative context. that I might want to live? Although narcissistic.” If the self is also such a process. Access to this process would then mean access to the possibility of more effective and more useful narratives. it seems to me. and the evolution of those structures to be inherent in the character of reality. or not? Here. We are the medium of ideas—they live. I work at the CORE Trust. In the process of seeing an object. For the purposes of understanding consciousness. Whitehead (1933) considers transitional processes. What is this self that I experience? Following from the imagery above and my multidisciplinary work at the CORE Trust (note. with the whole project held as a community. not the person. Here we meet James Hillman’s (1983) idea that you need to heal the story. For example. and as imagery that helps me describe the work I have done over the last 12 years treating people who are struggling with addiction. In its raw form this basic question is an insoluble and often torturous dilemma: Should I live.

Lancaster suggests that such deconstruction. speaking rarely. is to develop an overarching narrative with the client. Under mundane conditions the nature of I-tagging is powerful. 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. 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 found it difficult to talk in group. this is the moment when the I-narrative and the perceptual process come together. Various schemata are activated through neural resonance. Here we are immediately into the ground of psychotherapeutic work. Through altering the relationship between the narrative of self and the narratives of experience. The goal. Concurrently in her individual therapy. including the narrative interpretation. She had been treated violently by both parents throughout her childhood. but late in the perceptual process. 5. offers the opportunity to decrease the reinforcing nature of the I-tag. 2. and her linkage of violence and intimacy. The advantage of studying this process from a mystical perspective such as Abhidhamma is that it points out this deconstruction of the perceptual process. Finally. 1996) view of narrative reconstruction or soul making from a case history to teleological soul history. Working with a client in this way requires some skill and art at perceiving the individual content streams within the client’s narrative and then helping the client to re-weave them. The perceived object is incorporated in the individual’s ongoing meaning narrative. 6. B attended well during her time at CORE. The memory process responds to the input. 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. 2005. but experienced initial ambivalence toward the community. but it conveys an active role in the perceptual process—there is a clear transition from perceptual mechanism to narrative. Volume 24 . particularly with respect to difficulties in relating to people. and would lay down on the floor hiding her face. but had gone on to work in demanding and prestigious jobs. a tendency to isolate herself. Within the analytic frame of repetition compulsion. It was not possible for her to determine the safest way to meet the needs of the CORE project as caregiver. memory is updated by relaying back the current perception. her mother was still alive. and she had one sister. Her father had been deceased for 10 years. and thereby allows the possibility for a greater number of associative schemata to reach consciousness. The client presented to CORE with alcohol. 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. with significant defining features such as violence. and then not in a self-disclosing manner.and are analyzed through the visual cortex. These are the bare bones of the personal narrative. Identity of an “object” is established separate from the background information. polydrug habits and difficulties with eating. the kernel of the story is here. The sense of I-ness is added prior to the normal waking experience of consciousness. In individual therapy she identified her violent and abusive experiences in childhood as causing problems. Perhaps the best way to illustrate it is with a brief clinical example: B was 41 at the time of presentation. In Abhidhamma this is known as javana. to the thoughts of the world. death. There is no literal translation for the word javana. the client and her therapist explored issues of trust and relationship. chronic low self-esteem and habitual self-destructiveness. For Lancaster. Toward the end of the fifth month. if there is one. examined her difficulties with shame. The important feature to grasp is that this activity goes on outside of normal awareness. and action in the world. be that in a classical psychoanalytic frame such as a Winnicott’s (1951) model of transitional space or a Hillman’s (1983. 3. B was beginning to recognize that she had agency in relationship and was not simply the victim of The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 4. so she attempted to control the situation by evoking her familiar narrative cycle of non-compliance and the violence it historically evoked. it becomes possible to develop more effective and more useful narratives. or the mind of God. She left home and school at age 15.image within “me” in order to imagine differing possibilities. Here is the experience of shared narrative ideas that is essential to developing the therapeutic work. Here the CORE narrative and her personal narrative came into conflict. Here then we are back to the key for transformational process in psychotherapy: moving beyond the personal self-image to the process behind it. The sense of self is continually reinforced by registering new I-tagged perceptions into the individual-meaning narrative. through meditation or other mystical processes.

). but couldn’t understand. UT: Peregrine Smith Books. stitching my fingers together. Cambridge. Alcohol made me not feel pain. and a deeper sense of self slowly emerged.Models of the Self (pp. Transpersonal psychotherapy is not just about the content of our being. New York: Random House. Whitehead. “Gandhi. Wiley. She was able both to contain and reveal difficult feelings and the story behind them. In response she wrote: It’s very strange. Another strange thing is how completely different I feel for the vast majority of the time. Gallagher & J. Most significantly. Transitional objects and transitional phenomena. (1951). Substance free. 1985. 229-242). I still have bad days when I plummet to the depths of despair and self-hatred instantaneously. Cambridge. L. which through time and the process of the psyche develop into the image or icon called “self. and enlightening. Ultimately the newfound story. and Deep Ecology. Pickering. the client is still in psychotherapy and has remained clean for 15 months since leaving CORE. tranquilizers. (1985). The conflict between the two narrative streams became unbearable and she relapsed into addictive behavior. UK: Cambridge University Press. it became apparent that there wasn’t a time without the feelings that made me want to self-destruct…. in this context. particularly with members of her immediate family. just fragmentary memories of agues. Devall & G. CORE. she read her own case history. (1994). The self as semiotic process. Here we evidence a fundamental alteration of the client’s narratives in relation to herself. I self-harmed: burning myself. clean and sober life. (Aitkin. and cannabis. and new self-image.W. J (1996).) Exeter. My linear narrative didn’t start until I was nine. D. Lancaster. I’d used alcohol for 29 years and drugs for 26…. UK: Polity Press. (1999). Hillman. this new and more useful selfimage better contains her narrative and her experiences. Hillman. but I can contain my feelings without using. Dogen. and perhaps to a normative narrative. 62-83. London: Institute of PsychoAnalysis and Karnac Books. whilst developing a new overarching narrative in which she was no longer trapped in her circumstances as a victim. Approaches to consciousness. Through CORE I have repaired myself enough to attempt a fulfilling.” In B. It is through the interaction of differing narratives that such changes in the client’s narrative stream were possible. the client’s non-compliant behavior in group was still at issue. As of this moment. In S. New York: Stanton Hill Press. Sessions (Eds. Winnicott. historic experiences that had previously been unbearable began to emerge into consciousness. A.” Through deconstruction of the narrative stream it is possible to engage the underlying process and avoid over-identification with the images it throws up. but also learning to be aware of the context within which we experience being itself. contained her and. In Through paediatrics to psychoanalysis (pp. (2004). Science and the modern world. 232–35). and I am fortunate that support is available through CORE’s weekly after-care treatment that I attend. That the self advances and confirms the myriad things is called delusion. J. However. N. it doesn’t begin to explain the circumstances or the level of distress that I felt to start using when I was 12.). Her personal narrative was being negotiated within the containing narrative framework of CORE. Special Topic: Russian Soul 81 . p. When I got to CORE. 232).com References Aitken. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. (1983). trying to find a way I could cause myself more pain than what I already felt. cocaine and speed made me not care whether I felt pain or not. Firstly of course it isn’t long enough. The souls code. Healing fiction. That is true liberation. someone else’s version of your narrative. Over the next few months the client explored many of her intimate relationship. R. We are back to the main idea for defining self: a set of confluent narratives woven into a master narrative. Deep Ecology: Living As If Nature Mattered (pp. B. N. to read a case history of yourself. she was able to bear the memory of her father’s sexual abuse. bouncing my head off walls. She became capable of tolerating her experiences and re-envisioning herself. That the myriad things advance and confirm the self is enlightenment. as later did heroin. Salt Lake City. Before alcohol. UK: Imprint Academic. Shear (Eds. J. She considered that she might be able to pull the parts of her self together to feel more whole.circumstance. (1933). Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at jasonwright@mac. As part of this process. She is continuing in higher education. The semiotic self.

2) other entities. Although she is an excellent swimmer. the father of a friend. I bring this young woman into deep relaxation and. On the other hand. I myself had to learn a lot about psychic attacks. she is likely to faint and end up floating facedown in the water.” For the psychologist who encounters these phenomena. Dalton. “Do you know you are dead?” The young woman reports that he says. as illustrated by the previous story. Bradish. Ostrander & Schroeder. What such teachers say is partially true: you are dealing with your inner demons. In any case. Volume 24 . But all religious traditions talk about outer demons as well. “What do you mean? I am alive!” I ask him to remember when he died. You have your moments of light. Medical tests detect no problem. and those who suffer from them need and deserve skilled assistance. After a few moments. there is at least some chance that you may experience a serious breakdown. If you follow their advice. 1997. 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. 1997. she is not epileptic. but a therapeutic strategy that involves the soul of a dead person is effective in relieving a condition that standard treatments cannot resolve. Bem & Honorton.” After some further conversation. then there are some dangers in these realms—even for those who are not on a path. but also possible to influence biological systems at a distance (Nelson. Some teachers naively tell you that you should meditate a lot. meditate more. Jahn & Dunne 1994. This is a man who had recently died. Then I ask her to tell me what is happening. This is all true: it is nice to learn a spiritual path. causing her to faint. but then you hit anxiety. Then I ask. and 3) living persons. using particular techniques. to expand. Many teachers picture the wonders of conscious expansion. and the young woman is able to resume her life. I speak to this man that she is experiencing. 1997. to have meaning in your life. the glories of penetrating other realms. Jahn. However. parapsychology research suggests it is not only possible to influence thoughts at a distance (Radin. it is necessary to understand such attacks. many religions and traditions describe the phenomenon of psychic attack. it will be necessary The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. In the end. 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. I say. In my experience there are three sources of such attacks: 1) the presences of those who have died. I underwent many of them over a period of 20 years. it may happen that you end up in some trouble.” “But you are harming her. Schlitz & Braud. These dangers include more than the souls of the deceased. In the end. she cannot swim. 2005. But if the folktales speak truly. Nelson. I help her approach a state where she can access information about her condition. She describes that she sees a man. Perhaps we should take seriously the possibility that these occurrences are on some level real. As a result. They are a real feature of the spiritual dimension of human life. 1997. she cannot work or drive. and he or she tells you it is only coming from inside you—so. Dunne.The Psychic Defense Vitor Rodrigues I want to introduce my subject by telling you about the case of a client who came to me. 1997). She sees that at times he suddenly pulls her out of her physical body. threatening her life. Dobyns & Bradish. From my adolescence onward. If you follow this advice. Within a few days the fainting spells cease. Gradually I came to understand how these episodes were constructed and how to deal with them. even in waist-deep water. You go to the teacher for help. 1994). he is apparently able to recall his death. Picture an independent young woman who suddenly begins to have fainting spells. “Do you know you are harming this woman?” “No I am not! I just love her. Here we have a scientific problem: there is no proof of an afterlife. Her EEG and EKG are normal. After giving the woman some instructions for creating a psychic defense against his unwanted presence. She tells me that he had had sort of a crush on her. they would be damaging to the subjects).” but only about aggressive “entities. I believe they are right—even if you do not speak about “demons. the man agrees to leave the young woman and goes “across” with a being of light. by causing her to faint. Until we have more scientific-sounding words to talk about this dynamic.

A sound of bells that comes from nowhere. Direct visions (e. 12. occurring as a sudden feeling of intense anguish or fear.g. some will try to project their own negative energy onto you. stress. are our own unfinished business—unwholesome fears. which of course. The rotting process is intended to have repercussions on the victim. and 17. 5. saliva. and personal problems. However. some are different in origin and come on when everything in life is OK. Unfortunately I have found very few authors dealing with the matter of psychic attacks in a somewhat realistic way (Bailey. as if someone is pressing with a finger. Panic attacks (while most such attacks result from stress and worry. A persistent stinging in parts of the body. such as a dead cat. then puts it some place to rot. though it is difficult to do such experiments ethically. 4. 11. but no one is there. Some classical experiments seem to produce interesting effects.. that are suspended in a precise location. sperm. a girlfriend of mine was combing her hair in front of the mirror. reinforced by the folkloric beliefs of the victim. spine. the sorcerer gets a cat or rat. Typically. 8. or the sensing of a threat that may occur with nausea). they are living normal productive lives and some small percentage of these may result from psychic attacks). Hearing threatening voices. while other clients have seen a vampire at the door. Waking up and feeling as if movement is impossible. 6. 2. 7. greeds and ambitions. it is possible that the symptom may result from such an attack. 16. mostly if several symptoms like the ones above are showing up together. Unexplained illness that cannot be diagnosed by medicine. The intended outcome is that the negative qualities in the knife will induce the victim to use the blade to kill himself. 13. nails. Fortunately. Some will try to perform interesting rituals. all of these symptoms may arise from causes other than psychic attack. to a psychologist. and some will ask for help from demonic entities. Psychic attacks can also come from humans. A sense of constriction and despair. connects it to the victim in the same manner as a dajida. is a probable sign of schizophrenia. or back of head. or as if some specters or demons are present—-sometimes the dream experience is one of being encaged or otherwise imprisoned). Unexplained fainting. photograph. weakness. 2001). 15. Part of the effect is through suggestion. what kind of a model can we use to understand outer “demons?” “Inner demons. Paranoia—the feeling that someone or something is after you. One way to understand outer demons is as subtle presences that connect with us through these inner flaws and who cultivate those flaws. Naturally. Once the connection is established. Symptoms of psychic attack include the following: 1. Sudden. but other incidents have a quality of vividness and may feel as if an octopus or some other threatening thing is grabbing the person. 10. Left unchecked. 9. Nightmares (most are from indigestion. A dajida is a witchcraft doll prepared by the practitioner of dark arts and sympathetically connected to the victim by means of a sample.” of course. and saw black serpents in her hair. Repulsive odors.to use traditional terms—at the risk of speaking in language associated with medieval superstition. 14. and “normal explanations” have Special Topic: Russian Soul 83 . but in my experience many people who hear voices clearly are not schizophrenic—that is. uncontrollable emotion. A feeling that someone is blowing on the back of your neck. such as rottenness. a few related experiments have been done under laboratory conditions (for some hints at a modern version. blood. 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. If we assume there is some kind of real phenomenon behind such reports. this is not so easy to accomplish. or a piece of clothing that has been worn for some time. A charge is an object filled with bad feelings and bad intentions. 3. Another variation is a cursed stabbing knife that is placed where the victim will find it. when more conventional causes or cures do not work. Fatigue. intense. Two of the main procedures of classic witchcraft are the dajida and the charge. these unwholesomenesses lead to evil actions. see Ostrander & Schroeder. feeling a burdensome weight. such as a bit of that person’s hair. Strange pains that do not respond to painkillers. But in some ways the doll also helps the practitioner project his or her own energy and intention. it is believed that what the practitioner does to the doll will happen to the victim at a distance. worry. 1997). Fortune. or a bedcover has seemed to become a python). 1930. producing a specific pain. Pressure on the back of the neck. a feeling of oppressive darkness that is darker than the absence of light. However.

According to the spiritual traditions of the world this different thing. D. As power develops. G. J. FieldREG II: Consciousness field effects: Replications and explorations. Fortune. 115(1). C.. & Dunne. J. Journal of Scientific Exploration. This is a coincidence: moving in unity with everything. so God’s plan is your plan. Bradish. If not.. J. Does psi exist? Replicable evidence for an anomalous process of information transfer. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at psicosophos@mail. which is really our soul. If a person such as my client wants to develop her power. (1997). Jahn. & Schroeder..first been ruled out. (1997). G. Radin. Exploring the links: Creativity and psi in the Ganzfeld. Y. 425-454. D. she will have power—but she must use that power with love. eventually it will amount to black magic: the manipulation of psychic energies for your own purposes. Dalton. D. H. 8(4). (1997). M. D. G. Nelson. Psychic discoveries. There are specific protocols for treatment of such conditions. 4-18. J. W. A. L. R. Proceedings of presented papers at the Parapsychological Association 40th Annual Convention held in Conjunction with The Society for Psychical Research.. Dobyns. 471-489. Volume 24 . Schlitz. A linear pendulum experiment: Effects of operator intention on damping rate. New York: HarperEdge. R. Bem. & Honorton. York Beach. K. Psychological Bulletin. will start moving in harmony with God’s plan for the purposes of love. R. and beauty. she must deal with her inner demons. J. justice. North Carolina: Parapsychological Association. which are omitted from this review. New York: Lucis. 3(6). (1930/2001). (1997). (1994). 62-73. New York: Marlowe & Company. 2005. (1994). Vulnerability to such attacks can also be decreased by the development of personal and spiritual power. & Braud. Nelson. Distant intentionality and healing: Assessing the evidence. Jahn. we learn to let go of our own personalities so something different can happen spontaneously inside of us.pt 84 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. The conscious universe. B. B. S. Ostrander.telepac. Journal of Scientific Exploration... Letters on occult meditation. & Bradish. If done properly. R. (1930). ME: Samuel Weiser. Psychic self-defense. Dunne. References Bailey. (1997). Cary. Alternative Therapies. D.. 12(3).

characterology. we can say that Pushkin and Chekov are spiritual writers. In Russia. As such. Here is an excerpt from a group session on creative self-expression that helps individuals to feel their own outlook and understand whether they are more idealistic and religious or natural-scientific in their own nature. This image of Christ is the glance of the transcendental world. For the idealist it must be this way: the face of Christ should not be full-blooded and alive. and the hair is just an inarticulate mass. one must study one’s own natural features. 1917). therapy by means of spiritual culture may be creative inspiration that takes a more religious.” In Polenov’s picture. Self-Actualization (Maslow). a physician with a materialistic worldview. or it may take the natural-scientific form of creative self-expression. we have one image of spirit for idealists and another for materialists. but is also Something emitted by ourselves. we would not see the stream of Spirit flowing from his eyes. This approach is more of an idealistic relationship to a transcendent spirituality.On Therapy by Means of Spiritual Culture Mark E. creative inspiration. that is. and so forth. Logos (Frankl). there are many intellectuals with this materialistic understanding of spirituality. In this way. religious worldview. Personal Growth (Rogers). natural history. It reminds us of how the girl in Gogol’s story speaks of the stars in the sky.” It begins by viewing a painting by the Russian artist Vasiliy Polenov entitled “Christ and the Sinner. of God. Alexander Yarotsky (1908. Here we see the face of Jesus. they are more in the natural-scientific stream. 2005). Psychosynthesis (Assagioli). and psychotherapy in order to learn to express themselves creatively in harmony with their natural characterological peculiarities. idealistic form. Idealism as a Physiologic Factor (1908).” So. Such people feel the state of creative inspiration as an emission of their own bodies. He understood idealism as a state of captivity to altruistic ideals. but we do not know whether the neck is male or female. This method helps not only people of a materialistic outlook. Transpersonal State (Grof ). I have worked out this psychotherapeutic method over more than 30 years (see Burno. his or her own body is the source of spirit. “The angels open the windows of their houses. as to a receiver. Burno T herapy by means of spiritual culture is a psychotherapeutic approach in which the leading psychotherapeutic mechanism is that of creative self-expression. but it is secondary: body (matter) emits spirit. an individual with a more idealistic nature will experience spirituality and creative inspiration quite differently than one with a more materialist bent. So. the famous Russian artist and monk of the 15th century. In Western tradition. this state is called Freedom (Fromm). The approach is different for differing patients. Spirit is no less important to the materialist. The nose looks rather like a duck’s bill. is one of the fathers of Russian clinical psychotherapy in the natural-scientific approach. She says. Because of this. With the help of many others. these then become real orienting points for following one’s own spiritual nature: one’s own nature. The essence of the method is as follows: The patients with painful feelings of inferiority study elements of clinical psychiatry. Special Topic: Russian Soul 85 . This session is called “Polenov and Rublev. but also those with a more idealistic nature. Yet the state of creative inspiration can be felt in different ways according to the nature of the particular soul. For such a person. but without an idealistic. 2002. If the face were lifelike. In Russia. the state of creative inspiration is often understood as something sent from Above. In order to live naturally. the Russian notion of spirituality is broader. there are more people of a materialistic nature of soul than in the West or the Far East. emitting spirit. it includes not only what is sent to us from Above. For example. Then we view an icon by Anton Roublev. This is realistic pictorial art on a religious theme. Jesus is a young but wise man: wholly human. for it is the origin of Spirit. to find their own psychotherapy. in accordance with one’s own nature. realistically depicted. Yarotsky named his classical book. This same distinction can be seen in psychotherapy.

A. 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. E. 433-444. Russky Vrach . Burno. (1917). 3(25-28). (1908). A.References Burno. 2005. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. Native psychotherapy in Russia. I. (2002). O psykoterapii pri hronicheskih vnutrenih boleznyah. 49-53. Yarotsky. 71-76. 4(2). Idealizm kak fiziologichesky factor. M. Yarotsky. Yuruev: Yuryevsky Universitet. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. E. 7(1). Therapy by means of creative self expression. M. I. (2005). Volume 24 .

she said. across the blue sea and put him on the magician czar’s window. He went out of the city and shape-changed into a weasel. but by making the darkness conscious. In the discussion that follows.” describes an encounter with the Shadow and how to cope with it. the czar again consulted his magic book and discerned the youth’s hiding place. 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. The next day the czar issued the same challenge and again a bold young man suffered the same fate.K.” as he still had another chance to hide. and shape-changed into a grey wolf. Tomorrow I will hunt for you and if you don’t succeed in hiding yourself. On the third day there was another dinner party and the czar made the same offer. Then he turned himself into a ring she put on her finger. a pike. but only on the third attempt. however. Based in large part on their experiences of encountering the Shadow during difficult transitions and periods of conflict within their organisations. and the czar agreed. 335) cut off the youth’s head (and found great pleasure in his evil game). The Black Magician Czar There was a czar who was a black magician and a very powerful ruler. but the czar read his book of magic and found out where the youth had gone. and then a falcon. and sent his servants to find him and bring him before him. The youth departed once more. “Czar. However. a drill. “All right. the last one. Flying over mountains and cliff. I can hide from you and escape. is disagreeable and therefore not popular. Council for Psychotherapy. They had a nice feast and spent the night together and tried to plan a way to escape the czar. found the youth and demanded that his head must come off his shoulders. The youth changed himself into a fly. This tale.” Everybody who sat there remained silent and turned pale. But once again the czar consulted his magic book.” he said. The next day he went to open fields and turned himself into a blade of grass. 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.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. the czar. “now your head must come off your shoulders!” But the youth replied that it had been arranged that he should have three tries. and was again admitted to the czar’s daughter’s room where he turned into his own form. 236-9). but when she came back and saw the bold youth sitting there. took a sharp sword and 87 . Inside her room he turned himself back into a young man and had a nice private dinner with the czar’s daughter. “What impertinence!” She seized him by the collar and flew with him out of the nest. par. and after my death he can rule over my whole empire. And he himself. bold young man. and then a falcon and flew in front of the czar’s daughter’s window. She saw him and opened the window and he flew in. and the czar let him go. I will examine how power and leadership are held. 1967. hide yourself. shape-changing into several animals. There was a third bold young man who said he could escape him. Finally I wish to suggest innovative forms of holding authority and leadership for the 21st century. But a very bold young man got up and said. “So. pp. called “The Black Magician Czar. 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. I will also draw upon six informal qualitative interviews that I conducted with senior. 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. your head must come off!” The bold young man went off to hide. but the youth said “No.” And the czar answered. The latter procedure. and how later generations may unconsciously carry the Shadow for the founders.” (Jung. The bird was not there at the time.

where it felt safe enough to question. One morning the maid got up and started to lay the fire. Alongside this.” the youth said. The czar is a diabolical “negative shadow” figure whose primary drive is to dominate and retain power. and lay down by the fireplace. and his primary 88 motivation to possess power. individually and collectively. or vulnerability.” “No.of flint. Now your head must come off your shoulders. fragility. he could no longer be alive on the earth. So they went back to the empire. She took the flint stone and rubbed it on some steel. competitiveness. “Good morning. The czar himself joined in the hunt. a shameful. and an instinctual living basic nature of the psyche. debate. was likely to be cut down in czar-like fashion. the failure to recognize faults within themselves and to discern the fantasy nature of the organisational ideal. 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. immediacy. nastiness and destructiveness. p. a firestone. the stone flew out of her hand and there stood the youth. Meanwhile the black magician began to read and search his magic book. The czar’s willingness to kill the bold freshness of ardent youth reflects a drama prevalent with an omnipotent fantasy of omniscience. so the two were married and had a wonderful wedding feast. he said. 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. disagree and voice criticism. 2005. where the idea of the organisation as a unity (the ego ideal) contrasts radically with reality. and seeks possession through personal will alone. 2003). He represents openness to a wider. What seemed increasingly to be held in the Shadow in these instances were the qualities of ordinary humanness–the permission to express fallibility. Those young men who also attempt to adopt a power attitude are swiftly beheaded. any perceived challenge to the leaders’ authority. misuses power. The second and third day passed. which told him the youth was in the Magovei bird’s nest. Any possibility of dialogue is prevented through an atmosphere of terror and dehumanisation (Biran. 10). Typically. 1990. which contained many inherent strengths. He is unable to recognise the limits of reality or the existence of the other. that caused a rot to gain hold from within. which cannot be misused by evil forces. deeper consciousness that utilises wit and emotional intelligence. 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. connects us with our spontaneity. The czar thought that. I have now come voluntarily. and to acknowledge limitation–and a degree of trust in staying with the mess and chaos of a creative. a distinct transitional stage showed itself The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. and these shadow qualities would be projected onto the imagined perpetrators. to be unsure or unclear sometimes about where the project was going. “you have sought me for three days and had given up the search. or anyone who dared to hold a different vision to the status quo would be isolated. eventually in some cases leading to organisational decay and breakdown. The czar looked in his book and thought that he must be there. mighty czar. bold young man. The black czar’s magical book seems to represent a closed system of magic. and on the death of the czar he was to ascend the throne. which misinterprets the way of the feminine. The hero in this tale succeeds because he is able to receive knowledge directly from its natural source. where the character of organisational life more viscerally resembles a “snakepit” in which “there must be for each of us. 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. An organisation is an ongoing drama enacted by fallible players. but his servants found the nest but no youth. 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. The interviews also showed that when an organization goes through the demise or departure of a founder. 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. Now I should have half the kingdom and your daughter as my wife!” The czar could do nothing. processing space of not knowing. and he knows a way to approach the feminine principle so that he is helped three times. The youth became the czar’s son-in-law and got half the empire. They hunted and hunted. since he had not found the youth. “Good morning. It was the denial of this reality. mighty czar”. Volume 24 . secret underside to organisational life” (Schwartz.

H. M-L. (1991). Beggs. 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. individual differences and anxieties are denied. (2003). and in open-hearted gestures of kindness and the courage of forgiveness. and disillusionment. R. 2005. hold it too tightly. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at rupert. 490-502. Beazley. Greenleaf. (2) the Enlightenment.). strengths and personal attributes. (Eds. Schwartz. New York: Paulist Press. R. prior to finding a reframed identity. there seems to be inner cohesion. Creative methods such as these may help us to own. 1991). It is within the oft unspoken. N. The shadow of the object. E. and it may drop and fall. Hobson. (1987). (1979). It is in the holding of the tensions of these polarities that the “unthought known” (Bollas. and (3) the Catastrophe. J. Hinshelwood & N. “Social Dreaming” is increasingly used within analytical training institutes and mainstream organisations to build a communal relationship with the Shadow and unconscious processes. Nothing to lose: Psychotherapy. W. (GordonLawrence. Princeton. Perry. devolve. Wellings. Bollas. C. allowing leadership to shift. 103-112). Spears.com Special Topic: Russian Soul 89 . messiness and diverse ideas remain and flourish but are held. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. The Jungian analyst Robert Hobson calls this the “therapeutic community disease” (Hobson. Initially a period of intellectual stimulation follows. He outlines three phases: (1) The coming of the Messiah. where difference. 2005). Shadow and evil in fairytales. (2003). References Biran. A gifted individual steps forward within the vacuum with revolutionary ideas opposed to the original Vision and is experienced by self and others as magical. The difficulty of transforming terror into dialogue. 36(4). London: Karnac. p. Jung: Vol. Listen to the voice within: A Jungian approach to pastoral care. London: Free Association Books. H. Group Analysis. The collected works of C. R. p. Trans. Von Franz. N. 13. breakdown and usually unnamed destructive components of the process force themselves into consciousness (Perry. 1979. Gordon. Hold it too loosely. Introduction to social dreaming: Transforming thinking. 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. G. 2003).: Princeton University Press. (1990). & McCormick.J. (2005).amidst the vacuum and chaos. Hull. Alchemical studies (Bollingen Series 20. but outer groups are constellated. (1987).tower@btopenworld. The saviour fantasy must be relinquished. However. Therapeutic Communities (pp. death. G. inevitably the pain. F. Jung. C. Collective leadership is yet another paradigm in which mutual interconnection configures the presence of collective leadership. 1987) of the transcendent function can reveal itself. and it may break. TX: Spring Publications. Narcissistic process and corporate decay: The theory of the organisational ideal. (2005). Buddhism and living life. New York: New York University Press. Manning. The nature of leadership is no longer that of a spiritual parent to a child.). There are several methods for mediating with shadow influences that can aid such a process of internal self-examination. 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. L. 98). 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. a potential Saviour Hero who will bring revitalizing purpose to the organization. 232). C. In R. The Messianic community. London: SPCK Publishing. C. and be shared by individuals that are able to provide many differing qualities of leadership in differing circumstances according to their particular style. and the Shadow goes underground. Eds.). There is an African proverb that holding power is like holding an egg. unassuming acts of determination to bear difference.” London: Continuum. (1967). The Servant-leader within: A transformative path (H. & L. C. but of peer to peer. unnoticed. 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. rage and mourning for what was lost with the original founder has to be faced. Dallas.

In this state of mind we can embrace and respect all diversities as a manifestation of the One. Volume 24 . we feel relieved and happy. In this way. Czech president Vaclav Havel. Earth is being devoured because most people are disconnected from the Source of Life. We can all see that transpersonal and holistic awareness is becoming more popular. and victims who become oppressors. A second. if not all. [is] a despair where living becomes no different than dying. speaking at Harvard University. The old order is a fragmented world based on the illusion of separateness. When we are deeply connected to the whole. “I am persuaded again and again that. willing to contribute to common goodness. studying mysical Judaism. both rich and poor nations are left spiritually bereft. uprooted from the earth.” Even if spiritual emptiness is a phenomenon particular to the West. My concern is how to make this world a better place to live. This is the cause of deep despair. As Eyad 90 el Sarraj (2002) observed. Holy Spirit.We Were Made for These Times Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount H aving Jewish roots. transformation and reconciliation. fear. When we look at the world from an eagle’s eye view. Why? Because this is the right answer to the burning problems of the world and the painful dilemma of being human. equally important work is to learn how to transform and reconcile inner conflict so we do not cast our shadow on the world. In practical terms. it has great impact on the entire human civilization. breathe together. drawing from old spiritual traditions. spiritually homeless. 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. lying dormant in the deepest roots of most. “The hopelessness that comes from a situation that keeps getting worse. Promoting the renaissance of holistic culture. I might confess that I practice the religion of love. cultivating the real nature of man as a manifestation of the The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. battling for spheres of influence and control over territories and human minds. we see two struggling forces. who are left naked like slaves and beggars of a “better” world. 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). anger. “The future is brought into the present by people who conspire together—that is. oppression and wars—the emptiness inside us that leads us to reach for everything outside us.” A saying attributed to the Hopi Indians says. I imagine this work to be one of supporting already-existing trends in our culture such as: 1. Deep down in the ground there are the same seeds of truth. It takes new moral energy to create new political will. cultures there is an essential similarity. But if you ask me what I believe in. These “developed” societies pump natural resources out of the soil of the Third World and dump back their junk and toxic waste. wisdom. said. thereby stripping of natural dignity and spirituality the inhabitants. The new order. love. “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” 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. I have followed many paths. Buddhism and shamanism. finally arriving at this place with no name. We need to establish direct connection between our spiritual practice and service for the world. 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. 2005. perceives the world as one organism based on the shared ground underlying all spiritual traditions. We have an ongoing history of genocide and holocausts—a long chain of cruel wars between oppressors and victims. unsated. compassion. to conquer other territories and exploit natural resources. Ain Sof. peace and justice. thirsty. set by unitive consciousness. Great Spirit are among the many names for this one ground from which all life springs. There are no spectators in this struggle. It is the spiritual starvation of the so-called developed world that causes physical poverty and starvation in underdeveloped nations. 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.

x. despair.znak. We need to encourage each other to intensify our activities and make them more effective. (2003). to transform a minority perception into a majority embrace. 5. In the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes.co. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at mandala@mandala. http://peaceuk. This is our opportunity to trigger the tipping point. My personal vision is to set up a network of international action so we can inspire each other to do this most urgent work with the people who are within our reach.pl/eurodialog/ed/0/havel. Inspiring new women’s movements to reclaim feminine power and wisdom. reclaiming the sacredness of life and death. standing for International Direct Radiant Action Network. V. Brochure of the third conference. We need to think about what kind of actions we can develop. retrieved July 30.pl Special Topic: Russian Soul 91 . http://www. so more people can gain access to spiritual experiences. The guardians of the old order are very well armed and organized.mavenproductions. Supporting culture and communication without violence. Developing the politics of awareness.en. and exist in a boundless network of reflections and relationships. E. 2005. C.co.” http://www. (1995). (2002). 3. “we were made for these times” (2003). P. The holistic human is able to raise awareness to the heart and the crown chakra level. and the need for hope. I. el Sarraj.uk/ archive /modules. and to bring in more love and respect for the Earth and all living beings. Enhancing the evolution of humankind from homo tribus to homo holos.uk.true nature of all creation.html.mdl-net. I believe we have a special responsibility in this time in history. retrieved July 30.php?name =News&file=print&sid=193. The tribal human is preoccupied mostly with the tribal drives of the first three chakras—basically having to do with territory and survival. 2005 Havel.html. 4. Address delivered at Harvard University. and embrace the entire Earth community. European Transpersonal Association. Indra’s diamond net is an ancient vision of the world in which all beings have the nature of a diamond. fostering a new sense of planetary consciousness that is interfaith and multicultural. “Letter to a young activist during troubled times.com/estes. retrieved July 31. Co-creating a new code of co-existence based on the values that underlie the great spiritual traditions.com. 2. My idea is to create INDRA-net. G. 2005 Estes. Suicide bombers: Dignity. (1994). References Brown. 31(4). and 6. London. and find their way home. Journal of Palestine Studies.

would turn the sweet free flow of flirt into an embarrassed stain. then. She’s even a tantric. all delight and horror on the spot: nothing implies nothing. seduces. Yet after all. who will stay with us all the way through? Elsewhere he writes: Do not trust. No means to measure sweet or slimy. If you trust you are in Others’ hands. no floor at all. to tell safe from sex. and do tell me your name again. does anything ever land? And how. Instead of impulsively making a move from your side. 92 This is unrelationship. Ah. So I wrote some codas. Volume 24 . 88-89) So I fell for Kathleen. But then it struck me that there might be something else: dancing in space. . Dear Kat. as Trungpa’s own love story. change minds forty times by tiffin. let’s hope I’m a good dancer. I read The Myth of Freedom autobiographically. meet in a jiffy. Who will really play with him. Remaining in solitude You can never be defeated. distorts. you do not extend your eye and hand automatically: you just admire. And in that absence she is as present as ever. Flirt is just joydreadful. pretty much that’s what happens. here enough? Who else could drop dyadic partnership (ugh. sanding down the dance floor so that our dear feet wouldn’t get scuffed as we fox-trot up and back the hall. you allow a move from the other side. (Trungpa. 1976. someone’s blood suddenly all sticky between your fingers. Short: no time for “pure” or “need” or “fear” before it all moves off away. Surface and depth closer even than skin and flesh.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…. When you want something very badly. she’s a beauty queen. Elusive. It is like the single yak That defeats the wolves. only nothing happened. an earnest young man. The above comes from a great loneliness. and get it all dribbling right on top of you. or never. 2005. repairing all my kinks and crevices. So do not trust. Sure. and it tries to be all so exalted. I. it’s as if you give it all away every second. exceptionally sensual. But here’s the thing: her whole mode of interaction with the world is seduction. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. . . Who else is pink enough. And who will flirt with me? Maybe only Kat. In preparation I have cleansed myself so staunchly. and slam your breakfast clear against the wall? Much love. is that a psychiatrist’s evaluation?). which is learning to dance with the situation. the ball as it hits the gut strings. right? Grand elusion’s game. It was flirt. sweetheart. so anybody’s promising would wreck the scene. a heap smart. But maybe it wouldn’t be that much fun. gone enough. that of the romantic. fabricates. there is still ordinary life and ordinary desire. Here is the first. Kidder Sounds like an ideal solution. So she hides. betrays. have been wondering and wondering how you and I might truly meet. pp. to engage her? So I wrote this love letter. owned only in the sense that her smile seemed once to belong to her. Already perfect.

holding all warm forms. never trust. he emails me: It is so fine. When she has urgent play. the large truck of almost-flying concoctions. I must ask her at some point. Trungpa. that of Jesus. But Kidder is also dakini. where bliss is pain is bliss. holding Kathleen’s warm hand. He wants it all: unrelationship’s brutal beauty. Timely rain—Selected poetry of Chogyam Trungpa. where is up or down? What wind. his speech splashes like light warm June drops of rain. in her red turtleneck and jeans. such romantic longing. no. C. If the goddess is all places at once. Jesus emerges from her. so sharpened. that of the goddess and dakini. it is more compelling to her insides. the sea that never breaks. That’s a progression. The goddess is his first manifestation. Boston: Shambhala Publications. * * * There is one more coda. side by side. fed the food and water of rebirth. It is a very deep passion. your tools. and in the love that she is. but if you spill the materials. let that sway of your hairs dissolve into her body. is primal That. hard for humans to hear. And when they sex. such an invitation. he is utter stillness. whose water. * * * A friend of mine read this letter. with your well-sharpened. he’s twenty-two. (1998). all the faces of love. look out for the tiny razors. he is the emptiness aspect of her forms. moving outward toward the human realm. Jesus. T. maybe. who is who is who? Which rain falls. I will come for you over and over and over until your immortal soul no longer needs me. Trungpa. 13-14). For Kali is ultimate love. yes. trust your hairs. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at kidder@bowdoin. * * * Perhaps a bit demanding. (Trungpa. a sky-goer. pp. kindness. deep trust. don’t use your skin. nor can there be a resolution in this. So here is the second coda. dissolving at touch. to trust. turning her head to giggle when you are there admiring her loud HARKING neck. in my love. (1976). May I have this dance. break open the huge churning barrel of the truck. In the goddess that she is. And. there it will splash for so long she will BATHE in it. his clear radiance and gentle voice. Kathleen. When she is silent. The flirtdreadjoy is a place of shaking invisible sheets. almost ancient tools. bringing life as well as death. he shows up in all places. 1998. Kat? Ever in the big truth. and maybe in a human partner. yes. Drop the tools more. Boston: Shambhala Publications. he dances her love songs. I cannot say. That’s the point. so fine. calling. I hold you. swaying. She can run from the truck’s interior designs. yes. reuniting from within.For trust is surrendering oneself. and brought to the surface again? Yes. You don’t see the giggle. invocation of trust. in and out of key. that’s all. Never. * * * So Jesus wins this hand. all at once. churning. If the goddess glows her fullness. the goddess. and surely beyond telling. always is: the sex of the ocean with the ocean. Kat flutters there in her constant pure aversion. drop your arm. playflirt. If the goddess is love. transshaping. has no necessity of further opening. he’s blushing. Yes. Ah. But what if Kali’s cutting isn’t the only play? What if Kat and I were both the goddess. he dwells in the secret interstices of her womb. no. * * * The Last Word There is no last word. dakini comes up behind and tweaks her boo. and so is Kidder’s tender joy. such a flirt! What does Kathleen want? To be the single yakini. earth. Kathleen writes: Is there anyone who will ensure that your corpse will be taken off the hook on the wall behind Ereshkigal’s throne. C. is her intense refinement into pure love. giving and receiving. yes. If the goddess is form. whispers Jesus. And the goddess can make love with the goddess. It is still so serious. swirl and swirl and swirl. with full breasts and hips. And in the end Kathleen didn’t want to play.edu Reader’s Commentry 93 . When the goddess is seductive. References Trungpa. sisterhood. What does Kidder want? Ah. The myth of freedom and the way of meditation. genderless.

94 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. He has had a wide range of training from psychodynamic to transpersonal psychotherapy. and serves as president of the Russian Association for Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. Vitor Rodrigues (Portugal) has a private psychology/ psychotherapy practice and is president of both the European Transpersonal Association and the Portuguese-Brazilian Transpersonal Association. 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). Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount (Poland) is a psychotherapist specializing in transpersonal therapy. Avatar Adi Da Samraj. French. through which he has edited approximately 50 books. she organized the fourth European Transpersonal Conference in Warsaw in 1997. as well as author or editor of eight books on psychology. He has 234 published works in English. 2005. Adam Rock (Australia) received a Ph. Burton Daniels (United States) has been a counselor since 1987. He also founded the Transpersonal Institute in 1994 and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in 1997.D. and the University of Algarve Faculty of Medicine. in psychology from Charles Sturt University in 2005. Ph. Dennis Patrick Slattery (United States) is Core Faculty in the Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology Programs at Pacifica Graduate Institute.D. the Nursing School of Evora. Glenn Hartelius (United States) is a mind/body theorist. In addition to authoring several books. Russian and other Slavic languages. Volume 24 . the ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery. in Gestalt Therapy and Bioenergetics. She holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Warsaw University and completed postgraduate studies in the U. He has a particular interest in developing critical methodologies for the felt sense. He regularly lectures and conducts workshops and journalistic interviews on transpersonal subjects. and poetry. literature. He was one of the first Soviet teachers of transpersonal psychology and. She is president of the Polish Transpersonal Forum and.D. and is currently working as a family therapist. Vladimir Maykov. since 1990. clinician and teacher. He is the author of eight books and has taught at the University of Lisbon. human embodiment. is author of over 225 articles. He is completing a Ph. has developed and taught more than 20 training programs in transpersonal therapy. His research interests include altered states of consciousness.S. He received a master’s degrees in psychology from Sonoma State University and Argosy University. He has been a practitioner of Adidam since 1983 and currently lives in the ashram of his spiritual master. He has taught for 37 years. as former vice-president of the European Transpersonal Association.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). in East-West psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. reviews and popular culture essays for newspapers and magazines. (Russia) is a leader of transpersonal studies in Russia. and philosophical problems associated with psychology. he founded an international project to publish transpersonal psychology texts in Russian.

Ashley Wain (Australia) is a Ph. This may be the last paper he writes for some time. As a UK Council for Psychotherapy registered psychotherapist. as well as devised and directed performances.A. where he is researching numinous and essential experience in actor training and performance. About the Contributors 95 . and the British Journal of Social Psychology. He has also worked extensively on the medieval genres of the chivalric quest and has investigated Amazonian medicines in Peru. in clinical psychology and a Ph. He is cofounder and vice president of the German Association of Transpersonal Psychology. including The Journal of Consciousness Studies. He is also the director of the Section for the Evaluation of Complementary Medicine at Freiburg University Hospital. the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research. He is married with a 2 year old son. he has held the office of Chair of the Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic section. His essays and articles have appeared in a variety of publications. Out of Time (Paupers' Press. published in Radical Spirit: Spiritual Writings from the Voices of Tomorrow. Research in Complementary Medicine/Forschende Komplementärmedizin. His book. 6000 Years of Insanity and the Dawning of a New Era. and has a private practice in central London. California.D. and is on the editorial board of a number of journals in the area of complementary medicine. He trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts and has appeared in leading roles at various theatres. In addition. More recently. 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 has worked in management roles over the last 20 years in the arts and qualitative marketing. (United States) is a long-time Zen student in the tradition of the Diamond Sangha and now practices at Ring of Bone Zendo. M. was recently published by O books. candidate in social ecology at the School of Contemporary Arts at the University of Western Sydney.D. editor of the journal. he has led process groups with addicts. UK). Robert Tindall. He has presented and published research papers for the UK Market Research Society. Recently his research interests have covered mindfulness meditation and spirituality. he trained in Holotropic Breathwork with Stanislav Grof and Tav Sparks and is the author of an article on this experience. the Journal of DH Lawrence Studies and New Renaissance. Germany. 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). It was a Book of the Year in the Independent (UK) newspaper. and director of the European office of the Samueli Institute. The Fall: the Evidence for a Golden Age. His essay Primal Spirituality and the Onto/Phylo Fallacy appeared in IJTS vol. He holds positions as a board member for both the European Transpersonal Association and The College of Psychoanalysts. He holds a Ph. Harald Walach (Germany/United Kingdom) is a research professor in psychology with the University of Northampton. He lives and teaches in Oakland. focusing on leadership and organizational/group dynamics. with a foreword by Stanley Krippner.Kidder Smith (United States) is Professor of History and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College where he teaches courses on East Asian cultures and religions. England. Jason Wright (United Kingdom) is a transpersonal and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. 22. He is the author of a study of time perception. in theory and history of science. where he has conducted work in the evaluation and conceptual foundations of complementary medicine (mainly homeopathy. and a new baby boy. He has also taught at various schools and companies for nearly a decade. acupuncture and spiritual healing). Steve Taylor (United Kingdom) Steve Taylor teaches at the University of Manchester and Salford College.D. He is currently Chair for The Centre of Transpersonal Psychology and Clinical Director for the CORE Trust.

Great Britain John Davis. USA Don Diespecker. Ph. Volume 24 . USA David Fontana. Associate Professor University of Detroit Mercy BOARD OF EDITORS Manuel Almendro.D. USA Bruno Just. Ph. 2005. USA 96 The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Canada/USA Jeffrey Kuentzel. USA Søren Brier. USA Axel Randrup. Poland James Fadiman. USA Rosanna Vitale. Portugal Charles Tart. Denmark Mario Simões. Norway Daniel Holland. Germany Laura Boggio Gilot. Australia Wlodzislaw Duch. Canada John Welwood. Australia Sean Kelly. Great Britain Joachim Galuska. Professor Emeritus Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center Douglas A. Spain Liora Birnbaum. Kiran Kumar. Italy Loyd Henriksen. K. Denmark Elias Capriles. Canada Olga Louchakova. MacDonald. Venezuela Michael Daniels. Israel Jacek Brewczynski. USA S.D.BOARD OF EDITORS Harris Friedman. India Charles Laughlin.

g. articles from other journals. IJTS is committed to ensure that the fullest possible range of approaches to inquiry and expression are represented in the articles published. practice. that is. Special Topics: The second section contains several articles dedicated to a specific theme or topic germane to transpersonal studies.g. Transpersonal studies may be generally described as a multidisciplinary movement concerned with the exploration of higher consciousness. and comments to articles published in IJTS. empirical (both qualitative and quantitative).g. emphasis is given to the publication of articles from a spectrum of international contributors. responses. practice-oriented...g. organizational systems. methodological. Reader Comments: A third section of the journal is dedicated primarily to reader reactions. transpersonal approaches in anthropology. Though there is no restriction on who may publish in the IJTS. health care. 97 . and artistic articles which focus upon topics falling within the domain of transpersonal studies. However. and music). and postmodern perspectives on transpersonal studies. professional conferences)... ecstatic experience. expanded self/identity. also included are reviews of notable recently published books. history of 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. ecology. The IJTS publishes original theoretical. concepts. and human potential. and practices while embracing theoretical. Articles published in this section embody eclectic topics of study and/or approaches to inquiry and expression. transpersonal studies in designated geographically or politically bounded areas such as in Europe or China). spirituality. psychology. research. and special events (e. medicine. and practice/application will find representation in each edition of the journal. The Journal is committed to maintaining a focus on transpersonal experience. a diversity of articles on theory. Examples of potential themes/topics include the following: Qualitative and quantitative methodologies in transpersonal studies. entheogenic/psychedelic research. applications of transpersonal theory and/or practice (e. systems of knowing. 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. related to global sustainability. contributions of specific disciplines to transpersonal studies (e. issues important to the development of transpersonal studies (e. and psychotherapy). conceptions of consciousness. sociology. Ideally. and cross-disciplinary pluralism. analytic. research.EDITORIAL POLICY AND MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION GUIDELINES The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies (IJTS) is dedicated to theory. art. and discourse in the area of transpersonal studies. methodological. biology.

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