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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wilber speaks of the “Fall” this way: “Thus. lived out in its various levels and diminutions. in turning away. 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. as we separate or alienate ourselves from Ground and Source. this is ultimately just an illusion. for the activity of contraction in the midst of the Living Love-Bliss that is God is painful— resulting in nothing but the loss of the Love and Happiness of True within mind. we move away from Spirit. lateral) process. one within the other.e. this process could be thought of as a “vertical” Fall. involution is not something that merely or even especially occurred prior to birth or in some distant cosmological past. In other words. this passage suggests that the “Fall” operates according to dynamics similar to gravity. The two are self-contained. The causal Self Falls away from God and then. certainly. pp. and thus we must return to Source and Self—we must grow and evolve to reverse the Fall” (1990. Contrary to the biblical account. However. we involve... turns against itself. that is to say. There is a price to be paid for this error. the ego-“I” consists essentially of lack and is empty. (Ibid. with the worm in its seed. Involution arises as a consequence of the Illusion of Relatedness. Therefore. precisely because it derives its meaning as an alternative to unconsciousness.… Such is the Disposition of the only-by-me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life. even as the causal Self emerges into awareness. like the JudeoChristian account. However. in this moment. If the separate “I” and its separate “other” are Most Perfectly Relinquished (or Most Perfectly transcended). Put somewhat differently. In this sense. imploded inward upon itself. However. Consciousness Nondualism and the Divine Domain 7 . p. Involution is actually said to be occurring right now. radiating Ecstatically to Infinity. like the hard and brusque case of a nut. It could all be understood differently. it is an activity that every individual is presently doing. now Falls through the involuted levels of being. Indeed. Further. However. we descend. 344-345) Most accounts of spirituality and nondualism are problematic. 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. tracing out its trajectory based on this more fundamental gesture within God and Reality— and does so at every level of its descent. the S/self is an alternative to God. The usual definition of consciousness (as opposed to unconsciousness) does not mean Consciousness Itself—indeed. Consequently. prior to its formation. the Fall could be understood very differently—as the Illusion of Relatedness. God can be understood only on the other side of the paradox. 125). they try to make sense of the paradox from within the parameters of the paradox.… There are no separate waters in the seas. even in facing itself. However. Consciousness is usually thought of as a state of awareness. Each is writhing upon the pillars of its own end of the dichotomy. Instead. which is. the ability to “notice” things. This “sequence” of simultaneous paradox ultimately traces out the agony of humanity’s suffering. Indeed. taking place at every level of being equally. having thus Fallen in this sense. For moment to moment.5 This confusion probably manifests itself most commonly in a concept typically attributed to JudeoChristian religion: the Fall of Man. like steps ever diminishing—one turning away. a futile effort. “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. 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. Only in this sense does the idea of growing and evolving so as to reverse the Fall makes any sense. whereas God is full and effulgent—indeed. In other words. which is continually lived out in the suffering of every life. which is not other than the illusions of S/self that comprise it. but every wave or motion folds in one another on the Deep. Even now. 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). this fundamental separation is still present. reversing the Fall that is the Illusion of Relatedness occurs irrespective of growth and evolution. the Fall could be thought of as a “horizontal” (i. The two unfold in their turn. precisely because they attempt to resolve the paradox from the side that is the ego-“I”—but not that which is God. while the other. such that the individual plummets through the levels of being on their way to birth—as if Falling from the sky of heaven en route to an impact with the Earth. the two operate upon very different principles. Clearly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps analogies are birthed right here. matter. 40). but which finally shares a universal origin. pp. and they center us in the connotative dimensions of a world that is essentially and furiously denotative (2001. 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. decreased. the two breaths being the same” (2002. myths. providing a consistent image of the order of the cosmos. 39). 41). an efficient and very economic delivery system of sorts. Myths. Given this metaphorical quality that points to and exposes a mystery beyond contradiction and duality. the life force that permeates all matter. among other venues. to allow us “transparence” to the latter. p. p.itself that flows. 40). it is the interior of flesh. begins in the body. space. becomes sidetracked. A renewed or revisioned mythos might then include an ability to reimagine the relation of spirit. sound-bytes and a general lack of vitality in selfexpression. 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. In allowing the energy of the world soul to permeate one’s own body. serve four functions: 1. 48). he writes earlier in the same volume that “The divine is transcendent even of the category of transcendence. they align consciousness to the mysterium tremendum. The Nature of Myth 31 . 51). p. mediated by the social customs that comprise a specific historical time and place.5). 6). which is a mode of transportation. The death throes of the soul reveal themselves in. increased. end-stopped. and those who know that they are not facts” (2001. p. 2. for the psyche. diluted. worn out phrases. p. 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. The word “metaphor. Finally. Within this field of metaphor. 4. they carry a religious function: to awaken and maintain in the person an experience of awe. one opens oneself to the mythic impulse which is to make us “transparent to transcendence” (2003. even a partnership between energy flows through shared matter. and its metaphorical or symbolic resonances. even as it connects us to the natural. is offered more than once by Campbell when he quotes the 19th century poet Novalis: “The seat of the soul is there.3-4)). which is another way of asserting that myths promote our “learning to live the divine life within you” (p. he affirms that “myth is a constant regeneration. both in conflict and in complement to one another. an identification with the life process” (2003. and to reveal the underlying unity of human embodiment and the cosmos. empty words. therefore. Campbell reveals in his writing how both the world’s material. the universe as it is. they are interpretive. xvi). for that too is a category of thought…”(p. is from two Greek words: meta=to pass over. in its energetic language. where the outer and the inner worlds meet” (2002. they allow us to cross boundaries otherwise impossible. to go from one place to another. a common source. this metaphorical quality lying vibrantly at the heart of myths and myth-making. vulgarity and profanity. as he writes in Flight of the Wild Gander. slogans. 34) having their origins in the energies of the organs of the body. or polluted. 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. to know and respect that ultimate mystery that transcends all forms (2001. its physicality. strict denotation. p.” he explains. What for Campbell is the life process comprises for Hegel the World Spirit that animates and informs the World soul. they help carry the individual through various stages and crises of life. are the “texts of rites of passage” (p. p. Thus. according to Campbell. even a mythic heritage. 40). Metaphors carry us from one place to another. p. one’s own psyche. the death of language—its cadavers are strewn around us everywhere: in clichés.” However. and phorein=to move or carry. “There seem to be only two kinds of people: Those who think that metaphors are facts. physical world at the same time that it clears a space for accommodating the transcendent. For Campbell. newspeak.8). they also transport us past time. A key to this web of relationships. 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. Only metaphor has this exclusively powerful quality of allowing us to enter domains not readily accessible to the rational mind. body and earth in a constant but benevolent dialogic tension between the body’s interiority and the world’s matter. The first group are the atheists and the second are “religious. A new mythos must therefore be diligent and dedicated to preserving speech as well as preserving species. Archetypes are biologically grounded… (p. 3. 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. The hero may be imagined as energy itself.

may assist us in reclaiming the ancestral imagination to allow for a fuller vision of our place in historical time. 123). the place of society where the human body breathes itself into the social matrix. gravitational. Campbell reiterates and in truth. 60). etc. Creative Mythology (1968). The fourth point is the only one I wish to access here: The fourth and most vital. most critical function of a mythology. of the human body” (2002. p. to which I have only The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 6) Stanislav Grof ’s own work. p. that shapes it and is contoured by it. xi)…. 93). His most cogent and sustained opus. (p. like mythology generally. p. 130). the four volume The Masks of God. is to get people to identify with something outside of themselves” (1990/2002. grasp in a sensate way an intuition of place and of belonging to something beyond themselves. The human imagination is moved by the conflicting urgencies of the organs—including the brain. 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. writes in Healing Fiction (1983) of the central importance of history’s qualitative hold on psyche. 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. 2005. then. 130). or archetypes. 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. [which is ] a magnetic. life on earth “is to mirror in the human body the almost hidden. has its own organizing structures. Volume 24 . and more on the nature of a historical sensibility imaginally kindled that arouses one’s soul within a larger fabric of meaning and intentions. or an entire people. So. They are the historical progenitors. in an organic and animal way. Given such a connection. which is the essence of life itself. whose mythos is surcharged with planned obsolescence. b) the universe (the macrocosm). He argues convincingly against the preoccupation with the “historical ego. p. x). perhaps less an emphasis on historical events and facts at this juncture. which my colleague Robert Romanyshyn has eloquently described as “a gestural body. the body. Human embodiment. global order is necessary and must take precedence over the rights and appetites of the seemingly autonomous self. The land of the dead is the country of ancestors. then. horrifying. 60).” whose organizing impulse is to remember 32 and reflect unconsciously “the history which formed it and which its continuity would uphold…” (p. of our particular spirit informing it with ancestral culture” (p. a mediating middle cosmos through which the microcosm of the individual is brought into relation with the macrocosm of the universe” (p. p. for the quality of being connected to ancestry has been muted considerably in today’s future-obsessed consciousness. but when unbridled become terrific. c) his culture (the mesocosm). and the images who walk in on us are our ancestors…. Human history may then be understood as a biography of an entire species. a second womb of sorts. burying” (2003. By contrast. Early in the beginning of volume 4. would seek to reclaim the wisdom of the dead. for Campbell. destructive” ( that “marsupial pouch” that for Campbell characterizes. reveals that the word “humanitas in Latin comes first and properly from humando. “to be born”. ceremonies. James Hillman. is to foster the centering and unfolding of the individual in integrity. 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. such an observation rests on a fundamental premise in all of Campbell’s musings on world mythologies: “the highest concern of all myths. The human is bound up with the humus and is why burial figures as the generative institution of human nature. taking the word nature in its full etymological sense (from nasci. citing the work of Gimbatisto Vico. yet now discovered order of the pageant of the spheres” (p. which Robert Pogue Harrison tells us. undoubtedly influenced by Vico. xix). and a) that awesome ultimate mystery which is both beyond and within himself and all things. redesigns his list of four qualities. in accord with d) himself (the microcosm). and we can here highlight the indispensable place of a historical imagination in retrieving the humanity of our species. He called these “bioenergies. as well as a record of the pilgrimage of humanitas. xiv). He observed that “mythos and dream are motivated from a single psycho-physical source. A new mythos would exchange hubris for humus. I offer the following wobbly neologism to capture something of such a partnership: mythophysiology—a mythos of flesh. A new or revitalized mythos. goals and purposes of a people’s mythology. By the same token. erotic field…“ (2002. 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.

The Odes of John Keats (1795-1821) are among the most famous and finely wrought in literature by such a young poet. 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 the last analysis. for. in order to shatter those boundaries that Stan Grof believes keep us arrested within limits that are more arbitrary than absolute (2000. such that they find it impossible to leave their safe harbors and sail towards the transcendent. these souls are landlocked. For the Greeks. or imitation of a psychic action. 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. even drydocked. organisms and the interfaces of both divine and human orders commingling and mutually influencing one another. nature becomes transformed into narrative. that Aristotle discovered in the 5th century BCE in Greece. In such a paradigm. showing that our individual psyches are. two southern poets of the last century. Poets are the antithesis of those souls caught in hell. as both Stan Grof and Joseph Campbell rightly insist on. Instead of “the image of the cosmos as a mechanical system” that assumes it can then be understand by “dissection” and explanation (p. perhaps a mytho-poiesis of nature. for poets do not eschew the world so much as they enter it more fully than the rest of us may be capable. 100). a manifestation of cosmic consciousness and intelligence that flows through all of existence. And from that penetration through the boundaries that might inhibit or resist the rest of us in our tracks. In other words. Such a shift would. We never completely lost contact with this cosmic consciousness because we are never fully separated from it. p.recently come. Any The Nature of Myth 33 . or at least some indication of the message” (p. 92). Campbell reflected on it in a “Discussion” transcribed at the back of Thou Art That. are fertilized by the same principles that organize and order the cosmic as well as social and individual orders. 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 and narrative grow like seedlings from the same plot of ground. “Hell. There the nature and structure of the narratives we tell. in writing of Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom. (pp. and drew this conclusion: “How does the ordinary person come to the transcendent? For a start. For Campbell. are in a sense homologous—and perhaps even holotropic?—of the structure of the world we inhabit. resonates a similar holistic view. You need not have the experience to get the message. some insight that has particularly powerful mythic resonances. as the poet Wallace Stevens observes. I believe. I would say. When asked about the experience of the transcendent and how one might achieve its status. poetry is capable of producing an organic mythology. They are the figures in the culture to whom we turn. a mythology of organs and origins. While written in the early part of the 19th century. In such a relationship. 299). p. as Richard Kearney develops this idea in a powerful little book. As I stated in the title of this paper. its praxis is to create by analogy a mimetic representation of some vision. 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. On Stories (2001). to the process of poiesis that only the human being is fully equipped to create. study poetry. 711). 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. Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale” (1819) renders that dual awareness in dramatic form as he implicitly outlines the lineaments of a mythological sensibility we must retrieve. “the poets’ sensibilities have large orbits” (1997. Learn how to read a poem. 298). 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. properly.G. would finally reach its fullest expression. As such. there exists an intimacy between the myth of nature. poiesis is a making or a shaping of something that has been apprehended. cultural forces shifted the inflection to one of the image of the cosmos as a mythical or series of overlapping mythical tonalities. the nature of myth. 318). the poet is a partner in the hero’s journey who. p. a full and authentic mimesis. 202-03) Let me turn in the last part of this excursus to the realm of poetry. having suffered through the concrete world in a unique way. returns with a boon that is worth contemplating as we tend to the right measure of our own voyage. they could have been etched yesterday or even tomorrow. Jung. that unveils and makes more transparent.

and a drowsy numbness pains/My sense. otherwise one is following another’s path (2001. for it returns to conscious awareness the absolutely essential role of the imagination as an instrument for reclaiming of the dead. 205) as he (in fact it could be a man or a woman) falls Lethe-wards into the ennui of forgetfulness. to easeful Death. p. In “Ode to a Nightingale” he renders an experience that is no less epiphanic. (p. between soul and matter. 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. the song of an invisible nightingale singing in the dark shadows of the forest’s trees. where no one had cut a path before. In short. Wallace Stevens. the poet’s task is not just concerned with the world’s body. Bliss eventuates out of personal blisters. What this voice seeks is some vitality in his own life. Such will be his catalyst to heed the sound of the call and venture out. begins in lethargy: “My heart aches. Said another way. p. by the oppressive sense of life’s decay and death. yet is anchored securely in the voice of the bird—an image. last gray hairs/Where youth grows pale. Campbell insists the heroic journey must originate in pathlessness and in isolation. 206). our response must be both mythic and poetic. through the invisible bird’s song as guide. from the dead. 206). 206) The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Now more than ever it seems rich to die. in part./ [and] the murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves” (p. as Keats reveals it in that ode. I suspect—of the animal mundi herself—not seen. a living testimony of the future. 205). xvii). In an earlier poem. in a moment of eternal time. Now.”Ode to Psyche” (1819). His world darkens as he reflects on his attraction. “entering the forest at its darkest part. His soul is. his attitude./Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains”( 1819. re-animated by the feminine light of the moon and the dark vegetation. created by the poet’s sense of the world. (1997. 206). “where palsy shakes a few. “a draught of vintage” that has been cooled a long time “in the deep-delved earth/Tasting of Flora and the country green. and in fact is inspirited by. Keats envisioned already the growing pulse in the Western psyche in the 19th century to denude matter of its mystery through a stranger metaphysic that also felt the need to confirm the loss of divinity from the created order. The voice of the figure in the poem. 206). p. one which is attuned not just to the foliage but to the smells of “the coming musk-rose. only heard: “Already with thee! tender is the night. by the poetic impulse of the psyche. Volume 24 . The response he feels—for odes convey as much feeling as thought or action—is moved by desire for a life of depth. The poet’s task. pp. 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. the languid soul is immediately transported into another level of consciousness which transcends the boundaries of time and space. 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…. Thus poetry becomes and is a transcendent analogue composed of the particulars of reality. some elixir of life that would revive and restore a connection to the natural order. and possibly poetry is merely the strange rhetoric of that parallel” (1997. suddenly. where he moves slowly “Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways” (p.hope for a viable future of the planet and the politics that outline and contour its habitation must include the dual tasks of retrieval of the past and the renewal of the future. Keats lamented the loss of psyche’s place in the natural order through the “strange rhetoric” that Stevens confirms is the poetic response to the ordinary./Dance. full of dewy wine. He hears at the same time. and dies” (p. 2005. spawned by imagination. His ode is like a remembrance. and Provencal song” (p. sad. namely. for disinterring a relation that has been truncated and buried. as he intervenes and interposes the appearances of that sense. Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme To take into the air my quiet breath. 715)./And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne. and perhaps by poetry’s innate wisdom. for an élan vital. The narrator’s desire seems motivated./Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays” (p. its narrator. to reclaim from the past. that is to say.’ that is. as though of hemlock I had 34 drunk. could have been musing on Keats’ Ode when he wrote: “There is always an analogy between nature and the imagination. The almost instantaneous transformation into the mysterious realm of nature through an imaginal leap instills in him what I would call a natural imagination. and spectre-thin. 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.

or the “transcendent” realm cited earlier by Wallace Stevens and given several currency values in Campbell’s work. reflection. 207) for the particular bird whose song led him into his initial reverie now swells its orbit. the permanence of flux and the flux of permanence itself. with a historical sensibility. It has found its earth home once again. Or. and a return to share. but that voice is also led to it by a kind of poesy. Indeed. to a mythical experience. the song of the bird. with an awareness of mythic time and space which situates us between flux and permanence. 908). As priest. and return—with some gift of remembrance. the heroic figure must return to the ground from which one originated to complete the cycle of departure. But now the nightingale’s song fades “over the still stream. when. xi). he consecrates the mundane into the transcendent. immortal Bird!/ No hungry generations tread thee down” (p. then we could suggest that a revitalized mythology must then include a poetic and imaginal response to the matter of the world. both cadaverous and calcified. 207). to a renewed relationship with the dead. as the voice of the poem does. with the past.This call by Death is both crucial and necessary. to history. sick for home. his imagination has uncovered the transcendent quality alive in the song’s immanence. or a waking dream? /Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?” (p. 207). Within such a sacred posture. to make public in a larger venue what one has discovered. in its mythopoetic veracity: “Thou wast not born for death. for unless the dead are now acknowledged as the central core of our legacy of the living. By the same token. 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.” a line Keats crafts in “Ode On a Grecian Urn” (p. In the metaxis of dream and perceptual waking is the space of contemplation. She stood in tears amid the alien corn. is to simultaneously enter by analogy into the world of the dead and the unborn at the same stroke. and renewal: “Was it a vision. traumas. x). A temporal event has been transformed. But with a reverent bow to the dead emerges a recognition of history’s legacy: The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth. in the construction of a new mythos for the world. which has now achieved in his imagination mythical status. and archetypes that confound the law of obsolescence” (2003. desires. Harrison offers a dramatic image of this observation: “Our psyches are the graveyards of impressions. he or she must not rest content with the new experience or challenge. two losses most in need of retrieval grow from the soil of lament in the poem’s voice: the dead. the voice of Keats’ poem not only retrieves the numinous quality inherent in the natural order. to become the sound that has echoed through the corridors of history from time immemorial. and now ‘tis buried deep/In the next valley-glades” (p. 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. If we are able to slow down sufficiently to hear Keats’ call. 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. via the mystery of language. initiation. or perhaps more accurately. the same patterns of responses will remain stubbornly in place. He further asserts that any salvific impulse in humanity to preserve itself must be based on a humic foundation. if not increases its volume. p. and with a clever oral pun on the word “sole. 207) On his return. which at the same instant has married this sole soul to history. But as suggested in the archetypal pattern of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. however. the thinly-bordered imagined realm “of silence and slow time. to a deeper connection to one’s “sole” self. “one whose contents have been buried so that they may be reclaimed by the future” (p. (p. 207) This passage bears witness to an entry in one of Wallace Stevens’ notebooks: “The poet is the priest of the invisible” (1997./Up the hill-side. remembrance. a form of death of the self as it enters through the shining corridor of reverie. it includes as well a shift from a strictly solar to a lunar consciousness. in a language that is clean and freshly strewn with original analogies to wake the imagination from its dreary and often habituated slumbers. One possible answer is “yes” to both. 207). a connection to the natural and transcendent orders of being. to voice. The Nature of Myth 35 . The heroic is never completely unmoored from its humic and humble foundations: Forlorn! The very word is like a bell To toll me back from thee to my sole self! (p. it seems to me. to move into the natural order.” he continues to hear the fading echoic resonances of the bird’s song. to the vast community of the dead. p. a waking and sleeping experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Neolithic peoples of Europe smoked opium and cannabis for apparent religious or ritualistic purposes 5. an identity and being.touched or scratched any part of his body apart from his hands and feet (James. 2005. as a means of intensifying or altering consciousness. in the present state of knowledge. They seemed to have personalities or souls. not all drug experiences are transcendental experiences. and therefore disrupt homeostasis. Certain kinds of chanting The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.1993. 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. Even our one socially-sanctioned drug. al-Shebli. Not in an “Oh my god. At the end of the day he would dash his hands and feet against the wall (Attar. By far the most powerful in terms of their transcendental effects. Normally we inhale and exhale at the same rate. Smith. such as altering our normal breathing patterns. hunger or sleep deprivation when it is possible to disrupt homeostasis more directly simply by ingesting certain chemicals? Of course. The Sufi mystic. seemed to have a powerful presence. and preserve a balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen levels. it seems.” 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. All drugs alter the normal chemical balance of the human organism. One acquaintance who experimented with magic mushrooms gave me the following report: Everything I looked at. human beings have always used drugs for transcendental and ritualistic purposes. 1977. took a bundle of sticks with him into his cellar every day. generate higher states of consciousness. I’m a blade of grass!” kind of way. the early Indo-European conquerors of India worshipped their drink Soma (probably made from “magic” mushrooms). At the same time they were all interconnected. 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. trees and stones and blades of grass. an experience of oneness with the cosmos. however. is by using drugs.and hyperventilation as a means of inducing higher states of consciousness (Jilek. while adepts of the Greek Eleusinian mysteries ingested kykeon (Rudgley. 387). in psychology and psychiatry and parapsychology (Huxley. By far the most direct way of disrupting the equilibrium. and an awareness of the oneness of all phenomena. 121). 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. with which he would beat himself whenever he found his attention wandering from contemplation of Allah. the Native Americans ingested sacred plants such as fly-agaric mushrooms and peyote. 1902/1985). McKenna. they were able to free themselves from ordinary consciousness. 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. alcohol. They were all separate on one level but on another they were all just one thing. As Huxley pointed out: For an aspiring mystic to revert. 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. Volume 24 . Or as we might rephrase it: why bother with pain. p. Of course. Knowing as he does (or at least can know. p. in physiology and neurology. 1993. has transcendental properties. the aspiring mystic should turn for technical help to the specialists–in pharmacology. 1964). 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. usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour” (1902/1985. who burned down the house in order to roast a pig. in that drug experiences are likely to be much more powerful. but because there wasn’t this distinction between “me” and “it. are psychedelic drugs. 1989). There are other methods of inducing higher states of consciousness through disrupting homeostasis. 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.000 years ago. 1990). but all drugs undoubtedly can generate them in the right circumstances. the Algonquians and Kiowa–used both hypo. 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. Many Native American groups–such as the Salish. if he so desires) what are the chemical conditions of transcendental experience. however. But if we inhale faster and more deeply than usual we build up a higher than usual concentration of oxygen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

evening and atuar in the bodies and minds of the mediums of the church, I can go for an interview with one of them. He will translate for me. I will need him especially because the old Africans speak with very thick, archaic accents. Later that evening a little girl comes and taps my thigh while I sit in the church, gesturing for me to follow. I enter a back room with another floor of hard packed red earth. Those who had been possessed by the preto velhos earlier in the evening have taken up their places within, lined up against the walls in their consultories, altars of African and Christian figures by their sides, pipes smoking. It’s a scene transported straight from Africa. Luis meets me at the door and leads me up to small black woman with a grave but pleasant expression, sitting close to the earth on a stool, a pipe in her hand. She is not old, but somehow she gives the impression of being wizened. I take another stool and sit before her. I’m told I can ask her any question, if I have an illness she can work on it, anything I want. I ask a question and the answer she gives is simple and clear—grandmotherly wisdom. She adds it would help if I light a candle to my guardian spirit and take a shower with certain herbs. I relax. Whoever these old Africans may be, they’re thoroughly down to earth. “Open your hands,” she tells me. She stands and puts her palms on mine, and then lightly feathers my forehead, saying prayers over me. She sits back down and regards me shrewdly. I thank her. I tell her I am very happy to be here. “You are very welcome to our church,” she replies. Luis, who has been translating, adds, “I think they like you.” I make a short bow and go out. The romería finishes for the evening, but the daime is not done with me. Standing outside trying to speak I find my eyes closing and my consciousness drifting off. My interlocutor, Laura, realizes I am beginning another miração and she finds me a chair and puts me at the foot of the cross in the garden. The daime is coming on very strong indeed, and I suddenly feel nauseous with fear and adrift in a dark cloud. I take out my prayer beads and struggling to seize the tiller of my consciousness, begin my abbreviated form of the rosary. Soon my head is tilted back and a warm light is pouring down from above—am I imagining this? Is this really a hand I feel on my forehead? Margerie from São Paulo appears out of the night, delighted, and pulls up a seat beside me as I am swept into warm colors and light in profound adoration of

Maria. I open my eyes and it is as if they have finally focused: I am in a garden of eternity. The colored lights on the cross that had drawn me upward go out, and a little girl runs up and leaves a candle burning before us. Through the miração, I see a woman in white kneeling across the way. As Maria speaks to me waves of gentleness reach recesses of my heart I had despaired of touching. I am crying with joy. Laura joins us. The women are delighted, stroking my back and laughing with me, and first Laura sings a hymn to Maria, and then Margerie gets excited and leafs through a book in the darkness and finds one of her own. I feel left out because I don’t know a song to Maria. But then I remember The Beatles’ “Let it Be.” I sing. Cheesy as it sounds, it is exquisite, like breathing diamonds and stars out into the universe. The last time we see Luis he takes us to his home. We cross the Rio Branco and enter the park named after Chico Mendez, pass the scored rubber trees and enter a small compound of slat-board houses raised upon stilts. A family is washing themselves at the community water trough as we file by upon the wooden planks that provided a walkway through the mud. A simple padlock hangs at his door. We enter the tiny space, dominated by a refrigerator, fan, and an ironing board. A few books sit on his shelf. The room bespeaks his voluntary, disciplined frugality. We sit on his bed and he pours us glasses of guarana, the ubiquitous Brazilian soft drink. Luis’ work is going well. He tells us how his plans to set up collectives and train forest workers, allowing them to reap the wealth of the forest while sustaining it for future generations, are meeting acceptance in the new socialist-minded government of Lula. As well, the power to enforce these new environmental and indigenous rights laws is being given, without which they would be meaningless in Brazil. In my last image of Luis he is standing with a hymnal in his hand, singing for us about the stars guiding us on, about the caboclos–helping spirits of the Umbanda spiritual tradition related to the spirit of the natives of the forest—and about Santa Maria, the sacred use of cannibas sativa, more commonly known as marijuana, to worship the Virgin Mary. The songs have the simplicity and melodic beauty of medieval plainchant, as well as the depth of religious feeling. His high, clear voice competes with the television that his neighbors, right on the other side of the thin slatboard wall separating their domiciles, have turned on and set blasting. Luis shows no impatience at all. A buffalo emerges out of the darkness with a slow,
Fear No Spirits


stately gait, an apparition of gentle strength in the thick jungle surrounding the Forteleza. It is two weeks after my visit to the Santo Daime community in Alto Santo, weeks filled with ceremonies that seem to have anointed my eyes with spirit: the buffalo moves as symbol, both part of and transcendent to the world. As we had searched down roads of thick mud, pulling up to fazendeiro’s shacks to ask directions, the sun set over the vast, open landscape dotted by cattle and gigantic palm trees and I wondered if we would ever find this elusive “fortress” out there in the jungle. But we did, and as we ascend a winding path I can see on the horizon above another brilliantly lit open-air structure like the church at Alto Santo. The sound of singing reaches our ears, accompanied by the hum of a generator. Beneath the Caravaca Cross, I attempt to scrape the mud off my shoes. The feeling out here is raw frontier, only the most basic essentials, the church floating on its little concrete slab like a postage stamp on a verdant sea. The scenario is similar to the one at Alto Santo. Men and women are dancing opposite one another with the maracas, the band jamming away in the center. But there are differences. Here the men wear business suits; blue slacks and jacket, white shirt and blue tie. It gives me pause. While the guys in the suits at Alto Santo meant business, the fact the suits were white with a green pinstripe gave them the aspect of a chorus line in a cabaret, taking the edge off of my own Pavlovian reactions to the uniform. This seems almost evangelical. A little alarm goes off in my mind. Suits spell danger, the world of narrow-minded authority I have never learned to fully trust. I am taken to drink. A very ample cup is poured for me. I toss it down and go and sit, feeling some resistance in myself and wondering what it could be. I watch the little children of the Forteleza, who dance in their own sections, singing the hymns from memory, and then running off to play together. I attempt to follow the music, to surrender myself to the experience, but the reverse is happening. The monotony of the singing, the concrete, the florescent lights, are becoming unendurable. Why can’t they use natural lights? I complain. It is impossible to travel through florescent lights. They’re a brick wall into the world of spirit. I stare at the concrete pad, feeling absolutely cut off from the earth. Suddenly my body launches me out of the structure, across the lawn, past someone vomiting in the darkness to the outer perimeter of the compound, where I lean upon a post and look off into the jungle. I’m feeling torn between worlds. The jungle is out there calling while I am stuck with my obligations within the compound. The human world against the 66

natural world. As I have done so many times in my life, I lean against the fence and gaze with yearning into the freedom outside. My head drops onto the post. A miração washes over me, and I hear the voice of grandmother ayahuasca speaking to me. She says, “You have the ability to transform into an animal. It’s a precious gift you have been given, but not everyone can understand it. You can live in both worlds, the human and the animal, and move back and forth without impedance.” I am deep in this dream when I hear the sound of approaching footsteps behind me. I turn around and see that two men in suits, fardadoes, have come out for me. Ah yes, the Brazilian imperative to incorporate into the group. “Yes, I am fine. Quite well, actually. Thank you so much for coming to check on me. I will return momentarily....” I dissemble, but to no avail. I realize they are concerned that in my state a spirit might attack me or I will be led off by a will-o’-thewisp into the forest. I surrender and return to the safety of the church. I know I am radiating foreignness at the moment, but I cannot sit with the others, and I find a seat on the outskirts and clutch my prayer beads, holding on for the rest that is to come. It comes hard, waves of repressed material bubbling up and bursting in my mind. It is the apuração, the stage of purification, the emptying out of the storehouses of consciousness. Working my prayer beads, struggling toward the light, I find myself gesticulating and grimacing and can imagine what I must look like to the watchful fardadoes. But there is nothing for it. I am holding on for dear life. Then a spirit flashes into my consciousness. An Apollonian face, a superhero in green with eternal, beautiful young man’s vitality. Hermes, messenger of the gods. His piercing eyes meet mine and I know him and his hand flashes out and he slaps a jewel into my forehead and is gone. “A spirit just came and put a jewel in my forehead,” I say to myself in the rich silence he leaves in his wake. “Cool.” Jewels, of course, have medicinal properties. As the miração unfolds further, I see how my masculine life was being subtly warped by my adversarial relationship to my father, how my resisting of his conservative perspectives was preventing the growth of aspects of my own masculinity. I see the only possible stance toward my father is veneration, and to allow all superfluous material to fall away. After all, he is the father that gave me life, and through him is one avenue to the Father. Only through complete acceptance of my own father could I develop as a fully real-

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

ized male in my own right, I realize. I can stand again, and I go in to join the congregation. As soon as I pick up a maraca to enter the line the music stops. Standing there like the guy who missed the train, someone approaches me and takes me to meet the padrinho, Luis Mendez do Nascimento, who had been a disciple of Mestre Irineu. He is a small, thin old man, a forest worker with a beaming face who when I am introduced asks me if the Forteleza had been difficult to find. I answer it was “well-hidden,” and we both burst into delighted laughter. People are taking seats in preparation for something. I find myself seated smack in the middle of the congregation, fully integrated back into the human world listening to an impassioned, learned disquisition on the economic history of Acre. The speaker, a university professor, orates before us without notes, focusing his story around the figure of the seringueiro, the rubber-tapper whose impoverished, solitary existence, as well as his heartless exploitation by the capitalists and landowners, is remembered and honored at the Forteleza. It was, I realized, a Marxist analysis—or a Christian one—where the poor worker, the least of men, is the fundament of the entire economic superstructure, and as the gospels repeatedly stress, the very person of Christ. The padrinho sits, his legs crossed like a gentleman, listening with rapt attention, as does the rest of the congregation. As the narrative takes up the story of Chico Mendez, given with great veneration and a specificity of detail that reflects the depth of grief still existing within the elders of the community, I realize that the man has been speaking for over two hours and there is still no sign of restlessness in the group. Nor is his energy flagging, unlike my own. The discourse concludes with a vision of humanity’s collaboration with the forest, of the salvific power now emerging from it, and of economic justice for all people of Acre. I am again struck by wonder for this frontier of humanity. Where in the United States, I think, would people sit and attend to a discourse of such depth and vision about their own community and its future, as we once had done in the founding and early days of our own country? The speechifying continues far into the morning. I realize through my exhausted haze that the padrinho is welcoming me to the church. Then to my astonishment, in the ultimate gesture of acceptance of me as a visitor, he cries out, “Viva os Estados Unidos!” “Long Live the United States!” There are few places indeed upon this earth where the common people will still cry

out for the long life of the United States of America. But now I understand. Venerate the father, and by so doing awake him to his true nature. The Kaxinawa Indians are sitting in plain view the entire time, but it takes me two weeks to notice them. Finally, browsing through the brilliant seed necklaces and bows and arrows in a little trading post in the center of the park in Rio Branco, I take a good look at the Indian behind the counter: small indeed in stature, high cheekbones, jet black hair, a sing-song accent to his Portuguese, and a deep sense of self-possession in his brown eyes. Suddenly inspired, I reach into my backpack and pull out my journal, flipping hastily to the back pages where I have my list of contacts. “You wouldn’t happen to know Fabiano Kaxinawa?” I asked in my clumsy Portuguese. “Yes. I am him,” he responds with amusement. According to the Kaxinawa1, knowledge of ayahuasca was received by their ancestor from a village of anacondas. A hunter named Yube, seeing an anaconda emerge from a lake and transform into a beautiful woman, made love to her and returning to her village, married her. After a year his snake wife told him there would be a ceremony with nixi pai, ayahuasca, and warned him not to drink: “You will become scared and will call out the name of my people and they will kill you.” But the hunter drank anyways and cried out in terror, “The snakes are swallowing me!” When the hunter cried out, his wife coiled herself lovingly around him and began singing sweetly in his right ear. Then his mother-in-law did the same thing, singing in his left ear. Finally, his father-in-law coiled himself around all three of them and placing his face upon the hunter’s forehead, accompanied the song as well. But still, the anacondas were offended and he only managed to escape from the lake with the help of a little bods fish who returned him to his human wife and home. But his anaconda family got him in the end, crushing all the bones in his body. He remained alive only long enough to instruct the people in the making of the brew and the songs he had learned in the snake world. He died and where he was buried four kinds of ayahuasca grew from his limbs, each of which when drunk show a different part of his life. The work is held far outside of Rio Branco, at a center the Kaxinawa have created as a bridge between cultures. Recognizing that isolation is no longer an option for them, but also clear they do not wish to lose themselves into the maelstrom of dislocation and economic anonymity of Brazilian culture, they have opted to become bicultural. The Kaxinawa themselves come
Fear No Spirits


a very gentle visitation which. 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. as of this date. in its native tongue. messengers. who turns out to be an apprentice shaman. and I saw that evening that daime is only a brief portion of the territory of grandmother ayahuasca. the weary repetition of the word Jesus—not as a mantra to enter the divine. Author Note “Fear no Spirits” is excerpted from a forthcoming book. 2005. Correspondence regarding this paper should be directed to Robert Tindall at tigrillo@gmail. but not going to the root of our being’s dilemma. Santa Fe. to wish them happiness and good-fortune on their way. When the evangelical portion of the evening subsides. ending each song with bursts of child-like giggling. (2000). The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. dear. feathers of flight spring from their upper the center to learn Portuguese. Ayahuasca reader (pp. accompanying themselves with flute and maracas. Then a young guitarist who accompanied us turns out to be a strange bird: a daime evangelist. Two ayahuasca myths from the Cashinahua of Northwestern Brazil. Walking through the compound we encounter classrooms with chalkboards and ancestral figures. the pilgrim continues on his way to The Kaxinawa sit patient and vigilant. I watch him with awe as he sails over the forest. In L. White (Eds. happily joining in with the songs about our precious savior Jesus. 3135). End Note 1 The Kaxinawa ayahuasca myth is adopted from “Two Ayahuasca Myths from the Cashinahua of Northwestern Brazil” by Elsje Maria Lagrou (2000). Fabiano. E. even as we attempt to praise it with our barbaric Indo-European tongues and instruments. a lean aerodynamic ascetic. His attempts to dominate the group go on until I begin grumbling that if I don’t have to hear the word “Jesus” again for a year I won’t be at all displeased. particular things. The image of a people gathering to sing for one another. I am weary too of the fundamentalism of Daime. “The Jaguar that Roams the Mind.” a narrative pilgrimage into the medicines of the Amazon rainforest. E. fresh. 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. rough-hewn and primitive to uneducated European eyes. but as a vaguely oppressive fixture of belief—and the casting of the entire movement into a New Testament mold. That I am fooling myself and will return to California with some good stories but the same old self. salvadores. The brew they chose is a light one. like the forest sings to itself. F. the killing of 85% of the Kaxinawa people. And so the natives rock us into the night with invocations and sounds such as we have never encountered before. makes me put my hands on the earth: things. to bring me home again. NM: Synergetic Press. the earth. that ayahuasca really is just a sort of Prozac. explains to us that the entire tribe gathers to sing that piece whenever someone is leaving the village for a long journey. a center for the treatment of addiction. The doctrine. how to work an ATM and a cellular phone. But the Kaxinawa work with ayahuasca. all stomach and bill. We wear red stripes on our faces. Peru. from which a rich symphony of sound is now emerging. not daime. thereby 68 opening and creating a dreaming way through the forest. After the Brazilian section. even the guitar itself. temporarily lifting the mind up. M. As we leave a huge white bird cuts the early morning sky. when it comes. Volume 24 . References Lagrou. seems a rude imposition upon this world. At the end of one. honed to transparency by his habitat. and then to an apprenticeship with the master healer Juan Flores Salazar at his Mayantuyacu center in the jungle outside of Pucallpa. how to ride a bicycle. they sing into the night like an animal sings into it. Luna and S. while non-natives such as ourselves come to be educated in the ways of the Kaxinawa. our ground.). The young men of the tribe wear headdresses and crowns of feathers. I and the forest and the albatross all caught up in the same dream of Pachamama.

Why Does the Universe Exist? An Advaita Vedantic Perspective
Adam J. Rock, Ph.D.
The University of New South Wales Wagga Wagga, NSW Australia

Debates concerning causal explanations of the universe tend to be based on a priori propositions (e.g., Edwards, 1973; Smith, 1995; Swinburne, 1978). The present paper, however, addresses the metaphysical question, “Why does the universe exist?” from the perspective of a school of Hindu philosophy referred to as advaita vedanta and two of its a posteriori derived creation theories: the theory of simultaneous creation (drishti-srishti vada) and the theory of non-causality (ajata vada). Objections to advaita vedanta are also discussed. It is concluded that advaita vedanta has the potential to make a significant contribution to contemporary metaphysical debate in general and our understanding of the question, “Why does the universe exist?” in particular.

The Problem Heidegger (1959) considered the question, “Why does the universe exist?”1 to be the “fundamental problem of metaphysics” (p. 61). A number of scholars suggested that such a question can be answered. For example, Gilson (1941, p. 139) asserted that the cause of the universe is a “pure Act of existence” that is absolute and hence self-sufficient. In contrast, the question is frequently deemed an insoluble riddle and, thus, inherently meaningless2 or simply ill-conceived. For instance, Huxley (1964, p. 108) suggested that one must learn to accept that the universe is an “irreducible mystery,” while Russell (Russell & Copelston, 1973) contended that there is no ground whatsoever for the assumption that the universe as a whole must have a cause. One particularly noteworthy argument for the meaninglessness of the question, “Why does the universe exist?” is derived from the modern logic of Wittgenstein (1981/1922) and elucidated by Koestenbaum (1962), Waisman (1967; cited in Edwards, 1973, p. 806) and others. Essentially, the argument is that “the question of why there is something and not nothing is either ill-formed or profitless, since any intelligible answer will merely invite the same question” (Blackburn, 1996, p. 40). This argu-

ment was advanced in Edwards’ (1973) influential essay “Why?”: In any of its familiar senses, when we ask anything of x, why it happens or why it is what it is- whether x is the collapse of an army, a case of lung cancer, the theft of a jewel, or the stalling of a car - we assume that there is some set of conditions, other than x, in terms of which it can be explained. We do not know what this other thing is that is suitably related to x, but unless it is in principle possible to go beyond x, and find such another thing, the question does not make any sense. Now, if by “the universe” we mean the totality of things, then our x in “Why does the universe exist?” is so all-inclusive that it is logically impossible to find anything which could be suitably related to that whose explanations we appear to be seeking. (p. 809) Edwards’ (1973) thesis may be summarised by Wittgenstein’s (1981/1922, p. 183) statement that, “the sense of the world must lie outside the world.” It seems rather obvious that an explanation as to why someone, for example, engages in serial murder can

Why Does the Universe Exist?


only be provided by a set of conditions that exist “outside” and, thus, temporally prior to the act of serial murder (e.g., the cognitive rehearsal of violent sexual fantasies, damage to the limbic system of the brain). The explanation clearly does not exist within the definitional boundaries of serial murder as “the premeditated murder of three or more victims committed over time, in separate incidents, in a civilian context, with the murder activity being chosen by the offender” (Keeney, 1992; cited in Keeney & Heide, 1994, p. 384). It is perhaps noteworthy that Edwards’ (1973) thesis is illustrative of an anti-metaphysical position that arguably pre-empts the answer by ruling out—on a priori grounds-–the possibility of a transcendent entity that may function as a causal agent. Edwards’ (1973) argument is sound provided that his a priori definition of the universe and assumptions about knowledge are correct. Edwards’ (1973) acknowledges that if it can be convincingly argued that there exists a metaphysical entity that transcends and includes the universe, then it is possible that the question “Why does the universe exist?” can be answered, and is therefore meaningful. More recently, philosophers have been engaged in intricate debate over internal and external causal explanations of the universe. Swinburne (1979), for example, argued that, “if the only causes of its past states are prior states, the set of past states as a whole will have no cause and so no explanation” (p. 78). Swinburne (1979) maintained, however, that if it were such that God causes the set of past states, then an external causal explanation would be possible. In contrast, Rowe (1989) contended that whilst each past state of the universe may be causally explained by prior past states, there is no causal reason for the set of states of the universe because a set is an abstract object and is thereby precluded from entering into causal relations. Similarly, Smith (1995) concluded that “it is nomologically necessary that a beginningless universe has an internal causal explanation (be it deterministic or probabilistic) but no external causal explanation” (p. 310). The present author suggests that a commonality exemplified by the preceding arguments pertaining to causal explanations of the universe (e.g., Edwards, 1973; Rowe, 1989; Swinburne, 1979; Smith, 1995) is that they were all formulated a priori. Consequently, there exists a lacuna in the literature with regards to an application of theories constructed a posteriori to the question, “Why does the universe exist?” Psychological research suggests that some experiential—and concep70

tual—knowledge is “state-specific” (Tart, 1972; 1998) or “state-dependent” (Fischer, 1980); that is, certain knowledge may be obtained in altered states of consciousness (ASCs) that is inaccessible during one’s ordinary or normal waking conscious. Indeed some ASCs (e.g., kevala nirvikalpa samadhi) purportedly involve experiences of, for example, the manifestation and dissolution of the universe (e.g., Maharaj, 1987a). It is arguable that such experiences may provide valuable insights into the external and internal causal mechanisms of the universe that are unobtainable a priori. The purpose of this essay is to apply the school of Hindu philosophy referred to as advaita vedanta to the question “Why does the universe exist?” The present author will take the question, “Why does the universe exist?” to mean, “What is the causal explanation of the universe?”3 Advaita vedanta is being consulted because it consists—in part—of two creation theories that directly impinge on the preceding question. Furthermore, in contrast to modern logicians, the ontology outlined in the doctrine of advaita vedanta was purportedly constructed a posteriori using metaphysical knowledge acquired through ASCs (e.g., samadhi). In the advaita system, mystical experience is facilitated by the aspirant practicing one of four main yogas: Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, or Rajas (Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1978). For these reasons, it is arguable that advaita vedanta is well-positioned to address the question, “Why does the universe exist?” The present paper will commence with a brief summary of the advaita doctrine. Second, discussion will revolve around two creation theories associated with advaita: the theory of simultaneous creation (drishti-shrishti-vada) and the theory of non-causality (ajata vada). Finally, objections to the advaita theory will be considered. Before proceeding, a number of qualifying statements need to be made. First, the present paper is not concerned with the epistemological status of knowledge claims made by practitioners of advaita. For the purpose of this essay it will be assumed that the yogi’s perceptions are veridical as opposed to delusory. Second, throughout this essay Kaufmann’s (1991) definition of the universe as “all space, along with all the matter and radiation in space” (p. 631) will be adopted as opposed to Edwards’ (1973) definition of the universe as “the totality of things” (p. 809). Kaufmann’s (1991) definition is being used on the grounds that it constitutes the orthodox view of the term “universe.” Finally, this essay does not attempt to provide a definitive answer to the question, “Why does

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

the universe exist?” But rather, it sets itself the far more modest task of analysing the preceding question from an advaitic perspective. Advaita Vedanta: An overview Advaita (literally non-dualism) as articulated by Sankaracharya is a doctrine of the vedantic school of Hindu philosophy (Blackburn, 1996). Vedanta refers to the philosophy of the Vedas (Shastri, 1959). Veda (from vid “to know”) may be defined as “knowledge.” It is the “name of the most ancient Sanskrit scriptures, considered to be a direct revelation from God to the mystics of the past” (Easwaran, 1986, p. 236). As previously stated, the doctrine of advaita vedanta was purportedly constructed a posteriori using metaphysical knowledge acquired through various ASCs facilitated by the aspirant practising one of four main yogas: Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, or Rajas (Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1978). These four Yogas represent different methods aimed at erasing the ego (ahamkara) through selfless work, the discriminative power of the intellect (buddhi), devotion to a Personal God or spiritual teacher (guru), and meditation, respectively. Such techniques facilitate ASCs referred to as samadhi in which one has a direct experience of Absolute Reality (Brahman). Sri Ramana Maharshi (1985b) delineates three different grades of samadhi: (1) Savikalpa samadhi. The lowest level of samadhi in which one is required to maintain constant effort otherwise the obscuration of Brahman will occur. (2) Kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. The stage prior to liberation (moksha) characterised by effortless awareness of one’s true identity as Brahman and the temporary cessation of ahamkara. It further entails the absence of bodily awareness and an inability to perceive the sensory world. However, this state is transitory. Its conclusion is signified by the reemergence of bodily awareness and subsequently ahamkara. (3) Sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. The final attainment of moksha in which ahamkara is irrevocably annihilated. In this state the cessation of all subjectobject duality occurs as one perceives that all is Brahman. (Maharshi, 1985b) As previously stated, advaita postulates an Absolute principle, an Ultimate Reality referred to as Brahman (Aurobino, 1995; Guenon, 1981; Maharshi, 1997a). The three characteristics of Brahman are existence (sat), consciousness (chit) and bliss (ananda; Balsekar, 1982; Maharshi, 1997b). In the advaita doc-

trine the individual soul (jiva) is held to be identical with Brahman. This phase of Brahman is referred to as Atman (Maharshi, 1988; Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1981; Raju, 1967; Shastri, 1959). In the Yoga-Vasishtha it is held that because Brahman is infinite it can produce no thing other than itself (Shastri, 1969). Therefore the entire universe including mind (manas), intellect (buddhi), and intelligence (chit) must be regarded as Brahman (Shastri, 1969). In the Viveka-Chudamani, for instance, it is stated that: “It [Brahman] is that one Reality which appears to our ignorance as the manifold universe of names and forms and changes” (Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1978, p. 76). This thesis is echoed in the three-fold logic of Sankaracharya in which it is contended that: (a) Brahman is real, (b) The universe is unreal, and (c) The universe is Brahman (Maharshi, 1985a, p. 187). It seems a logical absurdity that the universe can be simultaneously unreal and yet identical to an entity that is real. Ramana Maharshi (1985a) clarifies this apparent contradiction, however, by suggesting that when veridically perceived as Brahman the universe is real, however when perceived as distinct from Brahman (i.e., as a collection of discrete objects experienced through the various sensory modalities in space and time) the universe is considered an illusion (maya). This point may be further elucidated by what is referred to as the “rope and snake” analogy. A subject enters a dimly light room and sees a coiled up piece of rope [Brahman] and mistakenly perceives it as a snake [the universe]. At that moment the snake appears as wholly existent to the subject whereas the rope is considered non-existent. In reality, however, the snake is an illusory substratum that has been projected onto the rope by the subject’s ignorance (Maharshi, 1985a). It has been suggested that the universe in the orthodox sense of “all space, along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann, 1991, p. 631) is not absolutely real. However, the universe is not absolutely non-existent either for the simple reason that it is present as a delusory perception in normal waking consciousness (Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1978). Insofar as a delusion is experienced it must be accredited some degree of ontological status. An examination of the question “Why does the universe exist?” will now be undertaken with reference to two creation theories associated with the advaita doctrine: the theory of simultaneous creation (drishti-srishti vada) and the theory of non-causality (ajata vada).

Why Does the Universe Exist?


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

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

employing the human intellect for the purpose of reasoning about a metaphysical entity constitutes a category error. “Why does the universe exist?” in particular. End Notes 1. the theory of simultaneous creation and the theory of non-causality) were subsequently applied to the question. together with certain singular statements. the latter is a scientific cosmological 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. in essence. 1998) or “state dependent” (Fischer. Two a posteriori derived creation theories associated with advaita vedanta (e. kevala nirvikalpa samadhi). Consequently. during the various grades of samadhi. Wittgenstein (1981/ 1922) wrote that “for an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannot be expressed.We have thus two different The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.. It was suggested that such experiences might provide valuable insights into the external and internal causal mechanisms of the universe that are unobtainable a priori. 19). the question. If a question can be put at all.. Popper (1959) asserted that: To give a causal explanation of an event means to deduce a statement which describes it. 1991. Karma. and (2) 74 when veridically perceived the universe is an uncaused appearance in Brahman. 1980). 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). methods of self-inquiry (Maharshi. one experiences alterations in the “inner organ” (antahkarana) comprised of intelligence (buddhi)... “Why does the universe exist?” It was argued that. the ontology outlined in the doctrine of advaita vedanta was purportedly constructed a posteriori using metaphysical knowledge acquired through ASCs (e.g. along with all the matter and radiation in space” (Kaufmann.. 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. It was further contended that experiential knowledge of the manifestation and dissolution of the universe is accessible during certain ASCs associated with advaita vedanta ( rationally argued with equal plausibility-and that. “Why does the universe exist?” may not be addressed via a causal explanation because: (1) the universe in the orthodox sense of “all space. 1985). but not during ordinary or normal waking conscious—and is thus “state specific” (Tart. 1988) that are held to provide experiential knowledge regarding.. the mind-body “problem. that is. The question “Why does the universe exist?” may be differentiated from the question “How did the universe come into being?” on the grounds that. to return to Kant. Extrapolating from the theory of ajata vada. a complete causal explanation of the universe cannot be formulated on the grounds that the “initial conditions” (i. p. Clearly the a posteriori perspective used in the present paper may be applied to other metaphysical “problems” (e. the nature of personal identity. 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). 187) 3.” (p. Consequently. shows why reason only generates paradox when it tries to grasp God or the Absolute (p. Conclusion It was argued there exists a lacuna in the literature with regards to an application of theories constructed a posteriori to the question. in contrast to modern logicians.e. 631) is held to be a delusory perception. samadhi). Author Note The author would like to thank Stanley Krippner and Peter Baynes for valuable suggestions and comments. and mind (manas) and also one’s bodily awareness that may provide insight into the mindbody problem. the injunctions used by practitioners of advaita vedanta (e. whilst the former is a metaphysical question. the initial conditions.g. from the standpoint of drishti-srishti vada. The riddle does not exist. Brahman cannot be rendered an object of conscious awareness and thus experienced. For instance. Jnana. 2. Brahman) are unknowable. One may also experience Brahman as the eternal and unchanging reality (Maharshi. 2005. ego or sense of self (ahamkara).g.. Consequently.g. “Why does the universe exist?” The present author suggests that.g..” time). personal identity. Furthermore. Volume 24 . (2) As Absolute Subject-ivity. using as premises of the deduction one or more universal laws. Bhakti and Rajas yogas) are. for example. 1972. then it can also be answered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bem & Honorton. As a result.” “But you are harming her. Her EEG and EKG are normal. using particular techniques. Within a few days the fainting spells cease. Although she is an excellent swimmer. Until we have more scientific-sounding words to talk about this dynamic. and the young woman is able to resume her life. the glories of penetrating other realms. “Do you know you are harming this woman?” “No I am not! I just love her. Nelson. it is necessary to understand such attacks. After giving the woman some instructions for creating a psychic defense against his unwanted presence.The Psychic Defense Vitor Rodrigues I want to introduce my subject by telling you about the case of a client who came to me. Schlitz & Braud. If you follow their advice. From my adolescence onward. After a few moments. Bradish. In the end. as illustrated by the previous story. the possibil82 ity of psychic attack is something we cannot directly test for empirically due to ethical constraints (we would have to consider the fact that if the attacks were effective. threatening her life. there is at least some chance that you may experience a serious breakdown. But if the folktales speak truly. They are a real feature of the spiritual dimension of human life. Jahn & Dunne 1994. and 3) living persons. But all religious traditions talk about outer demons as well. You have your moments of light. 1997). but then you hit anxiety. 1997. In the end. she is likely to faint and end up floating facedown in the water. I believe they are right—even if you do not speak about “demons. In any case. I underwent many of them over a period of 20 years. and he or she tells you it is only coming from inside you—so.” but only about aggressive “entities. If you follow this advice. I speak to this man that she is experiencing. Dalton. Gradually I came to understand how these episodes were constructed and how to deal with them. it will be necessary The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Some teachers naively tell you that you should meditate a lot. She tells me that he had had sort of a crush on her. She describes that she sees a man. meditate more. You go to the teacher for help. 1994). “What do you mean? I am alive!” I ask him to remember when he died. Then I ask her to tell me what is happening. Here we have a scientific problem: there is no proof of an afterlife. Picture an independent young woman who suddenly begins to have fainting spells. he is apparently able to recall his death. the father of a friend.” For the psychologist who encounters these phenomena. Volume 24 . 2) other entities. causing her to faint. 2005. but a therapeutic strategy that involves the soul of a dead person is effective in relieving a condition that standard treatments cannot resolve. Perhaps we should take seriously the possibility that these occurrences are on some level real. the man agrees to leave the young woman and goes “across” with a being of light. but also possible to influence biological systems at a distance (Nelson. Jahn. to expand. Dunne. In my experience there are three sources of such attacks: 1) the presences of those who have died. Ostrander & Schroeder. I bring this young woman into deep relaxation and.” After some further conversation. and those who suffer from them need and deserve skilled assistance. then there are some dangers in these realms—even for those who are not on a path. Dobyns & Bradish. I help her approach a state where she can access information about her condition. However. they would be damaging to the subjects). Many teachers picture the wonders of conscious expansion. This is a man who had recently died. by causing her to faint. “Do you know you are dead?” The young woman reports that he says. What such teachers say is partially true: you are dealing with your inner demons. On the other hand. I say. many religions and traditions describe the phenomenon of psychic attack. She sees that at times he suddenly pulls her out of her physical body. 1997. parapsychology research suggests it is not only possible to influence thoughts at a distance (Radin. 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. These dangers include more than the souls of the deceased. Medical tests detect no problem. she is not epileptic. I myself had to learn a lot about psychic attacks. to have meaning in your life. it may happen that you end up in some trouble. she cannot work or drive. she cannot swim. Then I ask. even in waist-deep water. 1997. 1997. This is all true: it is nice to learn a spiritual path.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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