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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 SelfSpark of the MindSummit 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 Pilgrims 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 READERS 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 issues first article is Nondualism and the Divine Domain by Burton Daniels. Ken Wilbers 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 SelfSpark of the MindSummit 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 fields 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 Campbells 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 Pilgrims 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 readers 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 volumes 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 readers 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



The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

Nondualism and the Divine Domain

Burton Daniels

This paper claims that the ultimate issue confronting transpersonal theory is that of nondualism. The revelation of this spiritual reality has a long history in the spiritual traditions, which has been perhaps most prolifically advocated by Ken Wilber (1995, 2000a), and fully explicated by David Loy (1998). Nonetheless, these scholarly accounts of nondual reality, and the spiritual traditions upon which they are based, either do not include or else misrepresent the revelation of a contemporary spiritual master crucial to the understanding of nondualism. Avatar Adi Da not only offers a greater differentiation of nondual reality than can be found in contemporary scholarly texts, but also a dimension of nondualism not found in any previous spiritual revelation.

he purpose of this paper is to clarify the fundamental nature of reality, which is frequently confused in transpersonal psychology: nondualism. Perhaps nowhere in transpersonal psychology has nondualism received a more thoughtful treatment than in Wilbers (1995, 2000a) spectrum/quadrant theory. Wilber initially posited a spectrum theory of consciousness, in which he integrates all psychological, philosophical, and spiritual treatises on the development of human beingsfrom the inception of ones Very Being into an incarnated birth to their attainment of Divine Enlightenment and immersion in nondual reality. His quadrant theory goes on to elaborate on this depiction of consciousness, organizing the vast expanse of existence into four fundamental dimensions: interior and exterior, as well as individual and collective. Every aspect of existence is thought to be subsumed within the general structure of an allinclusive consciousnessindeed, even the nondual reality that serves as its ultimate ground and final denouement. Wilber has written extensively, lucidly, and beautifully about nondual reality. His passages on God and Spirit are carefully crafted and offered lovingly. 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. His synthesis of spiritual revelation from the various traditions of humanitys great saints and sages is remarkable, not only because of their prodigious scope, but also because of the sub-

tle and profound realizations inherent within them. His body of work covers a sprawling expanse of spiritual literature and can be deemed not only a mammoth undertaking, but a work of extraordinary value for both science and spirituality. Humanity has benefited immeasurably from his work. However, for all its scope and remarkable cogency, it is not unprecedented. The Ruchira Avatar, Adi Da Samraj (1991, 2000b) has also written extensively, lucidly, and beautifully about nondual reality. Avatar Adi Das 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. These stages progress through a potential sequence of human maturation, spiritual growth, and Divine Enlightenment in any given individuals life (see Adi Da, 2000b, pp. 103-131, 385-390): First Stage: individuation and adaptation to the physical body. Second Stage: socialization and adaptation to the emotional-sexual (or feeling) dimension of being. Third Stage: integration of the psycho-physical personality and development of the verbal mind, discriminative intelligence, and the will. Fourth Stage: ego-surrendering devotion to the Divine Person and purification of body-based point of view through reception of Divine Spirit-Force. Fifth Stage: Spiritual or Yogi ascent of attention into psychic dimensions of the being and mystical experience of the higher brain.
Nondualism and the Divine Domain

Sixth Stage: Identification with ConsciousnessItself (presumed, however, to be separate from all conditional phenomena). Seventh Stage: Realization of the Divine Self and Inherently Perfect Freedom and realization of Divine Love-Blissno difference experienced between Divine Consciousness and psycho-physical states and conditions. Upon examination, considerable correlation exists between Wilbers spectrum theory and Avatar Adi Das seven stages of life. Both represent the individual as consisting most fundamentally of five levels of being each of which correlating to one or another stage of lifefollowing in the spiritual tradition of Advaita Vedanta (Deutsche, 1969), as well as Mahayana Buddhism (Suzuki, 1968; Conze, 1962).1 Avatar Adi Da refers to the spiritual process of these traditions as the Great Path of Return and acknowledges that it represents a generally accurate depiction of the first six stages of life. However, this depiction gives only a limited and inadequate account of unmanifest, nondual reality, out of which manifest existence arises. Wilber and Avatar Adi Da are essentially in accord relative to the first six stages of life. In fact, Wilbers meticulous and detailed account of these stages of life is probably unsurpassed in the history of human ideas. Although his quadrant theory has certain difficulties (Daniels, 1999), his spectrum theory is a superlative treatment of the first six stages of life, virtually mirroring that of Avatar Adi Da. Even so, at the point of the seventh stage of lifethe Divine Domain of Radical Non-Dual Realitystriking differences between their accounts can be discerned. Not recognizing this difference has serious consequences for any understanding of nondualism. 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. The two often appear intermixed and conflated in his writingsas is frequently the case in the great sixth stage literatures of the Great Tradition (where accounts of the seventh stage appear at all). Further, the Great Path of Return of the spiritual traditions can be seen as not only inadequate to account for true nondual Enlightenment, but actually incidental to that purpose, for the essential dynamic of this process happens elsewhere. Indeed, the Great Path of Return only ends up obscuring a true understanding of nondual Enlightenment precisely because its essential dynamic happens elsewhere. This set of circumstances might tend to confuse 2

the reader who is not well-informed about the seventh stage of life. Because Wilbers account of nondual reality exists within an impressive overall theory of consciousness, and his prominence within the transpersonal community has been established thereby, it would be useful to consider these differences more closely. S/self and the Divine Domain Relative to spiritual reality, human beings can be most fundamentally described as consisting of two aspects: lower self and deeper Self. By this, it is meant that psychic structure involves a concomitant interface between two entirely different, yet intimately connected, aspects of ones beingwhat Jung (1919, 1964) referred to as the Self and the ego. However, Jungs description of the Self is frequently vague and inexact. Unfortunately, other descriptions of the Self in Western philosophy typically fare no betterfor example, Husserls transcendental ego (1960), Sartres non-positional consciousness (1957), and Hegels soul (1993). Better descriptions can be found in the tenets of Eastern spirituality for example, the big mind of Zen Buddhism (Muzuka, 1990), or the buddhi of yoga psychology (Rama, et al., 1998). Assogioli described the S/self this way: There are not really two selves, two independent and separate entities. The Self is one; it manifests in different degrees of awareness and self-realization. The reflection appears to be selfexistent but has, in reality, no autonomous substantiality. It is, in other words, not a new and different light but a projection of its luminous source (1965, p. 20). Consequently, this amalgam of lower self and deeper Self can be best indicated by the following nomenclature: the S/self.2 Further, this depiction of S/self has significant implications for the understanding of nondualism. The relationship between the lower self and the deeper Self could be put this way: This abiding dependence of I upon Self amounts to an ontological union of I and Self. They are so fundamentally related that a true break in that relationship would mean personal annihilation, the nonbeing of I. So complete is this union that it may be called nondual, a unity transcending any sense of duality, isolation, or separation (Firman & Gila, 1997, p. 45). Yet, this relationship cannot be so simply stated. This passage indicates the kind of confusion obscuring a true understanding of nondualism. In fact, to use the term in this way is misleading. Although nondualism is frequently used to refer to the relationship between Self and self, it most accuratelyand most auspiciouslyrefers to the rela-

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tionship between S/self and God. The Divine Reality of ultimate nondualism is not realized by virtue of the self more accurately approximating the Self, or else actualizing the self. Rather, Divine Reality is realized by eliminating the S/selfand, in the process, being absorbed into God. Nondual reality has been expressed in numerous texts from various spiritual traditions, including not only Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, but certain texts of Taoism. These orientations can be described according to several features typically attributed to nondualism. A good account of these features has been put this way: The following types of nonduality are discussed here: the negation of dualistic thinking, the nonplurality of the world, and the non-difference of subject and objectalthough there [are] two other nondualities which are also closely related: first, what has been called the identity of phenomena and Absolute, or the Mahayana equation of samsara and nirvana, which can also be expressed as the nonduality of duality and nonduality; second, the possibility of a mystical unity between God and man. The critique of thinking that employs dualistic categories (being vs. nonbeing, pure vs. impure, etc.) usually expands to encompass all conceptual thinking, for such thinking acts as a superimposition which distorts our immediate experience. That is why we experience the world dualistically in the second sense, as a collection of discrete objects (including me) interacting causally in space and time. Negating dualistic thinking leads to experiencing the world as a unity, variously called Brahman, Dharmakaya, Tao, the One Mind, and so on. This leads to the third sense of nonduality, the denial that subject and object are truly distinguishablewhich isthe root delusion that needs to be overcome. (Loy, 1998, pp. 17, 178) In other words, dualistic thinking separates the nonseparate unity of reality into component parts or categories (i.e., dualistic perception). Consequently, reversing the process, by eliminating this separation, reverses the self/other dichotomy and returns the multitude of discrete objects to their pristine statethe original unity of realitywhich was always already the case to begin with. However, although the passage by Loy suggests that different types of nondualism are possible, what

is actually referred to by this passage is a single account of nondualism, applicable to the different aspects of any individual: cognition, perception, behavior, and, ultimately, their very Being. Yet, there actually are different kinds of nondualism, indeed, even going beyond that mentioned by Loy. Overall, Avatar Adi Da (2000b, pp. 144-153) indicates that there are five possible orientations to reality: Conventional Monism, Conventional Dualism, Primary Dualism, Secondary Non-Dualism, and Ultimate NonDualism. These orientations to reality summarize all of the possible perspectives of the various traditions of psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. According to the point of view of Conventional Monism, the world or domain of nature is all that exists. Reality is a material unity of natural laws and processes. In this orientation, the defining principle could perhaps be put like this: What you see is what you getor else perhaps this: When youre dead, youre dead. This point of view accounts for all the bodilybased and mortal beliefs about existence. It motivates the individual to struggle and search for fulfillment in the context of the first three stages of life, especially as it culminates in the third stage of life and the development of the rational mind. Indeed, the period in which this faculty of mind first most fully emerged in the West was dubbed the Age of Enlightenment (Tarnas, 1991). However, this depiction is a startling misnomer. It actual fact, it represents the least of what could be called lesser enlightenments. Following upon this stage, Conventional Dualism interjects an awareness and appreciation of spiritual reality into that which is merely physical. According to this point of view, the world is made up of a number of principal pairs, which, ultimately, includes God. Typically, God is paired with either the world or the psyche (e.g., Platonic Forms). Each half is related to and even interrelated with the otherbut each half is also paradoxically conceived to be utterly different than or inherently separate from the other. Consequently, the goal of each lesser (or dependent) half is to submit (and eventually ascend) to the greater (or higher) half. In other words, the obligation is for the psyche (or even all of existence) to submit and eventually ascend to God (i.e., the Good). As a result, the individual traverses an immense hierarchy of existence until they finally ascend to the pinnacle of salvation, which is God-realization (Griffiths, 1991). This process takes place within the fourth and fifth stages of life, the subtle and essentially spiritual domains of human development. Recently, the New Age movement has sought to usher in what amounts
Nondualism and the Divine Domain

to a new Age of Enlightenment, but has only actually succeeded in emulating one or another of the lesser enlightenments (see Wilber, 1995, 1999b).3 Following upon this stage, the highest transcendental position begins to emerge, starting with the point of view of Primary Dualism for example,, Jainism and Samkhaya Yoga (Larson, et al., 1987). This position ushers in the sixth stage of life. According to the point of view of this position, the totality of existence is a combination of only two primary realities: Purusha and Prakriti. Purusha is traditionally understood to be nonconditional and inherently perfect Being and Consciousness. Prakriti is traditionally understood to be objective energy, which, when modified, appears as the body, mind, and all objects or others. The spiritual practice associated with this point of view requires the individual to separate from Prakriti, usually by willful ascetic disciplines, so that the individual might participate exclusively as Purusha. This orientation begins the process that takes place within the sixth stage of life, the causal and ultimate spiritual domain of human development. Following upon this stage, the first form of a truly nondual position appears. In Secondary NonDualism (or Secondary Absolute Monism), no inherently independent or separate Purusha exists, whether as an eternal and nonconditional, individual Self or, as some traditions would have it, an absolute Being or Consciousness Itself. Rather, the totality of existence is only Prakriti, conditionally appearing as a beginningless and endless continuum of causes and effects (Satorakashananda, 1977; Verma, 1993). The spiritual practice associated with this point of view indicates that Prakriti appears only as an ephemeral and observable sequence of changes until, by the process of observation, insight, and self-pacification, the inherent and original (or nirvanic) state of Prakriti is realized. However, a difficulty exists with this point of view, 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. This orientation is superseded by the ultimately nondual position. In Ultimate Non-Dualism (or Primary Absolute Monism), the tables are turned for the preceding position. In other words, no separate and independent objective energy (i.e., Prakriti) exists, or any separate and independent body, mind, or object at all. Rather, the totality of existence is only the One and Absolute Purusha (i.e., Self-Existing and SelfRadiant Consciousness Itself ). The spiritual practice associated with this orientation involves Its Very 4

Presence being understood and directly intuited to be actual (or really so)and then perfectly or utterly affirmed by direct identification with Consciousness Itself. Avatar Adi Da speaks of this orientation to nondualism as follows: This point of view and Process (which may follow upon, or be Uncovered by, the point of view and Process of Secondary Non-Dualism, and which may even immediately follow upon, or be Uncovered by, the point of view and Process of Primary Dualism) is the third (and final, 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, and also, secondarily, or with less directness, within the schools of some varieties of Buddhism, especially within the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, and, but with even less directness, within some of the schools of Taoism). (2000b, p. 147) The essential realization is that only Consciousness exists, whether things arise or not. If things do arise, Consciousness is happy to participate in themwhy not? It is a play of life, and infinitely amusing. The Love-Bliss characterizing this state exists in the Awareness, not in the arising. Consequently, nothing is ever threatened or at risk for the sixth stage sage. They can afford to be humorous and amused by all that arisesnone of it means anything. Only the existence of Consciousness matters, for in this existence is a direct realization of Divine Love. Everything else pales in comparison. Yet, the point of view of Ultimate Non-Dualism is actually somewhat more complex than this. 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. In such a case, exclusive attachment to Consciousness Itself is released and all of existence is seen as the manifestation of this One Reality. So to speak, Ultimate Non-Dualism can be thought of as straddling the sixth and seventh stages, acting as a bridge between them. Avatar Adi Da also refers to seventh stage Ultimate Non-Dualism as Radical Non-Dualism, indicating its immediate and direct association with the Divine Condition Itself. Avatar Adi Da describes this orientation to nondualism as follows: Most ultimately, this point of view and Process (of Ultimate Non-Dualism, or Primary

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Absolute Monism) is (if it is, by Means Of My Avatarically Self-Transmitted Divine Grace, 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, because (from the thoroughly NonDualistic Point of View that necessarily characterizes the seventh stage of life) the Ultimate Absolute Is both Self-Existing (As Absolute Being Itself and Absolute Consciousness Itself ) and Self-Radiant (As Absolute, and Perfectly Subjective, Love-Bliss-Energy Itself )indicating (in each case) the One, Absolute, and NonSeparate (or Inherently All-Inclusive, or Perfectly Non-Exclusive) Real God, or Truth, or Reality. (Ibid., p. 148) Avatar Adi Da frequently refers to this condition as Open Eyes. In this state, 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. The seventh stage of life is the Divinely Self-Radiant process by which all of conditional existence is outshined (see Adidam, 1991, pp. 707-708). In other words, body, mind, and world are no longer noticed but not because the Divine Consciousness has withdrawn or dissociated from manifest phenomena (i.e., sixth stage Ultimate Non-Dualism). Rather, the Ecstatic Recognition of all arising phenomena (by the Divine Self, as a modification of Itself ) has become so intense that the Bright, Love-Blissful Radiance of Consciousness now Outshines all phenomena. Therefore, all phenomena become immediately and directly recognized as nothing other than the Divine Condition Itself. Although this kind of language might sound similar to revelations made throughout the spiritual traditions (e.g., Lankavatara Sutra, Avadhoota Gita, Tripura Rahasya), they can be distinguished from the revelation of Avatar Adi Da in three significant respects:4 1. No historical text mentions all aspects of the seventh stage realization, 2. Certain aspects of the seventh stage realization appear in no historical texts at all, and 3. No historical text mentions only the realization of the seventh stage of life. Even the texts mentioned previously (among only a handful of others) represent primarily the sixth stage

point of view of Ultimate Non-Dualismwith only certain passages within them suggestive of the more profound and all-pervasive Realization of Radical Non-Dualism. Avatar Adi Da explains the difference between His unique revelation of the seventh stage of life and the seventh stage intuitions of these premonitory texts as follows: The traditional premonitorily seventh stage texts are advanced sixth stage literatures that express a few philosophical conceptions (or yet limited and incomplete intuitions) that sympathetically resemble the characteristic seventh stage Disposition (in and of itself ), and (thus) somehow foreshadow (rather than directly reflect, or directly express) the truly Most Ultimate (or Transcendental, Inherently Spiritual, and Most Perfectly Divine) Point of View. [N]one of the traditional texts communicate the full developmental and Yogic details of the progressive seventh stage Demonstration (of Divine Transfiguration, Divine Transformation, and Divine Indifference). 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). Therefore, 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, to Complete the Great Tradition of mankind. (in press) The Illusion of Relatedness The absence of the seventh stage point of view has significant implications for any understanding of nondualism. The difficulty for most accounts of nondualism, whether in the spiritual traditions or transpersonal psychology, is twofold: 1. They suggest that God is the goal of development, and 2. They misrepresent the actual mechanics whereby God manifests into human beings. Wilbers spectrum theory offers an account of precisely these misrepresented mechanics. In his spectrum theory, the development of evolution, climbing up the ladder of ascentitself resulting from a prior, vertical deployment of involution, sliding down the ladder can be traced through a hierarchy (i.e., holarchy) involving several levels of being. Whereas involution
Nondualism and the Divine Domain

indicates preexisting states of deeper consciousness, evolution initiates states of higher consciousness coming into being. According to the perennial philosophyor the common core of the worlds great wisdom traditionsSpirit manifests a universe by throwing itself out or emptying itself to create soul, which condenses into mind, which condenses into body, which condenses into matter, the densest form of all. Each of those levels is still a level of Spirit, but each is a reduced or stepped down version of Spirit. At the end of that process of involution, all of the higher dimensions are enfolded, as potential, in the lowest material realm. And once the material world blows into existence (with, say, the Big Bang), then the reverse processor evolutioncan occur, moving from matter to living bodies to symbolic minds to luminous souls to pure Spirit itself. Each level is a whole that is also part of a larger whole (each level or structure is a whole/part or holon). In other words, each evolutionary unfolding transcends but includes its predecessor(s), with Spirit transcending and including absolutely everything. (Wilber, 1999a, p. 10) However, although involution and evolution are intrinsic processes of human life, they do not truly indicate the mechanics whereby God manifests into human beings. Indeed, Realizing God involves one in a different dynamic than that of involution and evolution entirely. The process of Radical Non-Dual Enlightenment is far from easy, for embarking upon this process immediately embroils one in a perplexing paradox: nirvana and samsara are the same. Yet, this paradox exists only on the samsara side of the equation, not that which is God. Therefore, the paradox can be resolved in this way: There is only Godeven if spread upon the illusory levels of mind (or samsara). Whereas God is Reality, mind is illusion. That very defining feature is precisely how they can both be and not beone and the same. Although it is true that the illusion exists, nonetheless, its not real. Its an imitation (and, therefore, an imposter) of what Is Real: God. The two exist as a dualitywithin nondualism. Whereas the one Is God, the other is merely arising in (and as) God. Consequently, the mechanics of human manifestation actually occur as follows: There is only God. The causal Self comes into being as an utterly spontaneous contraction occurring in the pure state of 6

Consciousness that Is God. It arises spontaneously, without cause or reason, and tends to persist, or else to be repeated. If Consciousness identifies with this selfcontraction, It will falsely presume that It is no longer Itself but, instead, an illusion of Itself. It will regard Itself to be other than, or separate from, Itself, simply existing as this very activity of painful self-contraction. In so doing, It will also tend to resolve the discomfort of this separate state of being through attention and falsely presume that It is, therefore, related to Itself, across the non-existent gulf of this (apparent) separateness. Yet, there is still only prior Reality (which the Self continues to actually Be). This tension of separation goes both ways, like a rubber band stretched taut, simultaneously pulled both toward and away. Consequently, the Self can only feel its own, inherent feeling of Love-Bliss when it relaxes this contracted state, releasing the Illusion of Relatedness into what is its own, true state of Consciousnessas God, meanwhile, continues to merely exist in a Blissful state of Awareness of all that is arising. 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. However, once objects (or conditions) arise, they tend to persist (or to demand repetition)and Consciousness may, therefore, tend to dwell on them with fascination. All of this arising is (in itselfor separately) an illusionthe principal signs of which are the presumption of relatedness (and of difference), the presumption of a separate self (Adi Da, 2001a, pp. 346-347) Consequently, two aspects of reality come to exist, engaged in an intense paradox of God and Self, respectivelythe latter tussling with the former in a struggle over the sovereignty of its assumed identity. However, this dynamic tension surrounds a further process arising within its midst. The two aspects of the paradox originally defined as God and Self are simultaneously delineated further into that of Self and Other, the latter compensating the former for its comprised identity. From here, the duality of this simultaneous paradox (God/Self and Self/Other) further extends itself through all the levels of being (i.e., involution). The entire range of the human individuals various levels of being are nothing but a diminution of the fundamental Reality that is God, laboring against Itself and what is Its own True and Real state. This diminution takes

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place within mind, which is not other than the illusions of S/self that comprise it. In other words, the S/self is an alternative to God, lived out in its various levels and diminutions. There is a price to be paid for this error, which is continually lived out in the suffering of every life, for the activity of contraction in the midst of the Living Love-Bliss that is God is painful resulting in nothing but the loss of the Love and Happiness of True Being. Further, it is an activity that every individual is presently doing. Even now. This sequence of simultaneous paradox ultimately traces out the agony of humanitys suffering. The two are self-contained, one within the other, like the hard and brusque case of a nut, with the worm in its seed. The two unfold in their turn, like steps ever diminishingone turning away, even in facing itself; while the other, in turning away, turns against itself. Each is writhing upon the pillars of its own end of the dichotomy. Indeed, even as the causal Self emerges into awareness, this fundamental separation is still present. However, this is ultimately just an illusion. It could all be understood differently. If the separate I and its separate other are Most Perfectly Relinquished (or Most Perfectly transcended), 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, or on what is otherwise perceived conditionally)then what arises? This Unique and Original Freedom may be likened to the perception of waves from the point of view of the ocean (as compared to the perception of waves from the point of view of any single wave). There are no separate waters in the seas, but every wave or motion folds in one another on the Deep. Such is the Disposition of the only-by-me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life. (Ibid., pp. 344-345) Most accounts of spirituality and nondualism are problematic, precisely because they attempt to resolve the paradox from the side that is the ego-Ibut not that which is God. In other words, they try to make sense of the paradox from within the parameters of the paradox, which is, certainly, a futile effort. However, God can be understood only on the other side of the paradox, prior to its formation. Put somewhat differently, the ego-I consists essentially of lack and is empty, imploded inward upon itself; whereas God is full and effulgentindeed, radiating Ecstatically to Infinity. Clearly, the two operate upon very different

principles.5 This confusion probably manifests itself most commonly in a concept typically attributed to JudeoChristian religion: the Fall of Man. Contrary to the biblical account, Wilber speaks of the Fall this way: Thus, involution is not something that merely or even especially occurred prior to birth or in some distant cosmological past. Involution is actually said to be occurring right now, in this moment, as we separate or alienate ourselves from Ground and Source. For moment to moment, we move away from Spirit, we involve, we descend; and thus we must return to Source and Selfwe must grow and evolve to reverse the Fall (1990, p. 125). However, like the JudeoChristian account, this passage suggests that the Fall operates according to dynamics similar to gravity, such that the individual plummets through the levels of being on their way to birthas if Falling from the sky of heaven en route to an impact with the Earth. Therefore, this process could be thought of as a vertical Fall. Only in this sense does the idea of growing and evolving so as to reverse the Fall makes any sense. However, the Fall could be understood very differentlyas the Illusion of Relatedness. In this sense, the Fall could be thought of as a horizontal (i.e., lateral) process, taking place at every level of being equally. Indeed, the Fall that is involution actually falls through the Fall that is the Illusion of Relatednesswhich precedes it and pervades it all along its descending path. Involution arises as a consequence of the Illusion of Relatedness, tracing out its trajectory based on this more fundamental gesture within God and Reality and does so at every level of its descent. The causal Self Falls away from God and then, having thus Fallen in this sense, now Falls through the involuted levels of being. Consequently, reversing the Fall that is the Illusion of Relatedness occurs irrespective of growth and evolution. Instead, it is a matter of not Falling in the first placewhich requires no additional effort or process to reverse itprecisely because one has not Fallen. 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 usual definition of consciousness (as opposed to unconsciousness) does not mean Consciousness Itselfindeed, precisely because it derives its meaning as an alternative to unconsciousness. Consciousness is usually thought of as a state of awareness, that is to say, the ability to notice things. However, Consciousness
Nondualism and the Divine Domain

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

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ladder of evolution. But it is also true that Spirit is the wood out of which the entire ladder and all its rungs are made. Spirit is the suchness, the isness, the essence of each and every thing that exists. The first aspect, the highest-rung aspect, is the transcendental nature of Spiritit far surpasses any worldly or creaturely or finite things. The entire earth (or even universe) could be destroyed, and Spirit would remain. The second aspect, the wood aspect, is the immanent nature of SpiritSpirit is equally and totally present in all manifest things and events, in nature, in culture, in heaven and on earth, with no partiality. From this angle, no phenomenon whatsoever is closer to Spirit than another, for all are equally made of Spirit. Thus Spirit is both the highest goal of all development and evolution, and the ground of the entire sequence, as present fully at the beginning as at the end. Spirit is prior to this world, but not other to this world. (1997, pp. 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 ambiguouslyto indicate both Self and Godand, further, the goal of the stages of life is attributed to both Self and God. Wilber sees his theory as an attempt to align with spiritual presentations made traditionally: That simple witnessing awareness, the traditions maintain, is Spirit itself, is the enlightened mind itself, is Buddha-nature itself, is God itself, in its entirety. Thus, according to the traditions, getting in touch with Spirit or Godis your own simple witnessing awareness (Ibid., p. 287). However, a significant problem exists with this: the spiritual traditions are in error. Consequently, nothing is gained by being so aligned. Yet, the error is not so much a mistaken notionfor it does accurately represent the casual Selfas an error of omission, failing to accurately represent God. Virtually no precedence for the seventh stage revelation is present in the spiritual traditions, apart from a handful of texts that are premonitory in nature.7 Wilber collapses the sixth and seventh stages together, claiming that nondual reality is essentially comprised of two aspects: goal and ground. However, only the latter applies to Radical Non-Dual Reality (i.e., Real God). The former applies to the causal Self alone (i.e., sixth stage Ultimate Non-Dualism), and this is what makes all the difference. Nonetheless, this

confusion is easy to make and, indeed, stems from the traditional understanding of nondualism. That is to say, nondualism is typically thought to result whenever the self/other distinction is eliminated. But such is not the case for Radical Non-Dualism. Only the other is dissolved in the elimination of the self/other distinctionnot the causal Self, which is to say, the Illusion of Relatedness. What actually results for having eliminated the self/other distinction is not Radical Non-Dualism, but merely a partial aspect of reality: the Self. Although the elimination of the self/other distinction has been traditionally associated with the emergence of what might be thought to be Radical Non-Dualism, such is simply not the case. A subtle dualism yet remains: Self and God. The forms of dualism are not resolved until the entire S/self structure is eliminated, dissolved in the True and Radically Non-Dual Enlightenment of Real God. Simply put, the real significance of the sixth stage error is this: confusing the causal Self for Real God. In another context, Wilber has correctly identified the ultimate significance of this difference, by paraphrasing Avatar Adi Das own revelation about it: Adi Daoriginally taught nothing but the path of understanding: not a way to attain enlightenment, but an inquiry into why you want to attain enlightenment in the first place. The very desire to seek enlightenment is in fact nothing but the grasping tendency of the ego itself, and thus the very search for enlightenment prevents it. The perfect practice is therefore not to search for enlightenment, but to inquire into the motive for seeking itself. You obviously seek in order to avoid the present, and yet the present alone holds the answer: to seek forever is to miss the point forever. You always already ARE enlightened Spirit, and therefore to seek Spirit is simply to deny Spirit. You can no more attain Spirit than you can attain your feet or acquire your lungs. [T]hus seeking Spirit is exactly that which prevents realization. (1997, p. 26) Yet, Wilber has not applied this same understanding to his own theory, for it is precisely the act of setting God up as a goal that inserts seeking into the equationand eliminates God thereby. Further, Wilber makes a different sort of error in his comments, as well, suggesting that you always already are enlightened Spirit. However, the truth is this: even though you are always already God, you are not always already Enlightened (at least, certainly, in terms of Radical
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Non-Dualism). Indeed, it is precisely the fact that you are suffering a veil of ignorance that indicates your need to be Enlightened. God is your true statebut the Illusion of Relatedness is also true of you, and what requires elimination in the process of Radical NonDual Enlightenment. Wilber simply has no account of the Illusion of Relatedness in his theory. Although Wilber states that you can no more attain Spirit than you can attain your feet or acquire your lungs, attaining Spirit is precisely what is meant by the Great Path of Return he is advocating. Ironically, conceiving of consciousness as if a spectrum only ends up undermining the nondual reality it is intended to advocate. Indeed, 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. Avatar Adi Da (1997, 2001b) frequently speaks of Radical Non-Dual Reality as being a state of Brightnesswhich is a state of unfathomably Blissful Light, without form or function or any referents to dilute it. It is by way of the Illusion of Relatedness that this Brightness is corrupted and transmuted into a spectrumas if by a prism. The difference between the seventh stage account of this process and the sixth stage is that the sixth stage sees the prior unity of Light while within the prism. Although this witnessing of reality exists prior to the Lights transmutation into a spectrum, it does not exist prior to the Lights entering the prism. In other words, the sixth stage is still captivated by the mechanics of the prismeven as the Brightness exists within it. Although the Light has not yet transmuted into the spectrum, nonetheless, the forces are building by which it will do so. The seventh stage, on the other hand, exists as the absolute purity of Brightness, on the other side of the prism, before its dreadful mechanics of incarnation even come to existand, indeed, remains even after the fact, in the event that they do. 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 if another level of construction in the overall holarchy. Rather, the seventh stage of life is the context of every stage, including the sixth. Consequently, the seventh stage is present as much at the beginning as in the culmination of the holarchy. Further, this context can be accessed at every stage directly and immediately. And to do so captivates one in a swoon and rapture of Gods Love-Bliss: Therefore, the only right asana is utter in-love of Me, unconditional love-feeling of Me. Fundamentally, 10

the asana of Ruchira Avatara Bhava (or the loveIntoxication of true devotion to Me) is a devotional, Yogic gesture in heart-Communion with Me (Adi Da, 2000a, p. 325). This Bhava is available to every individual at any time, not just those in the higher stages of life. However, it is accessed only through the spiritual process of worship and devotionprecisely because the Blessing of Bhava is Given as a Gift, to everyone. Therefore, it must be received as a Giftand given in return. Unfortunately, Wilbers concept of transcendence is at odds with this revelation. Although Wilber includes a Unity Consciousness in his formulations of the ultimate ground of existence, his emphasis and orientation all point toward the moving from one level of consciousness to anotherrather than the immediate and direct immersion into Consciousness Itself. Self-transcendence (or self-transformation)is not just a communion, self-adaptation, or association. In self-adaptation or communion, one finds oneself to be part of a larger whole; in self-transformation one becomes a new whole, which has its own new forms of agency (relative autonomy) and communion. Eros, as Socrates (Plato) uses the term, is essentially what we have been calling self-transcendence, the very motor of Ascent or development or evolution: the finding of ever-higher self-identity with ever-wider embrace of others. And the opposite of that was regression or dissolution, a move downward to less unity, more fragmentation (what we called the self-dissolution factor, tenet 2d). (Wilber, 1995, pp. 42, 335) For Wilber, the choice is to either ascendand develop into greater embrace and unityor else descendand disintegrate into greater fragmentation and regression. What he fails to appreciate, however, is a third option: transcendinto direct and immediate communion with God. In fact, Radical NonDualism has nothing to do with progression of any kind, whether ascension or descensionor, indeed, even an integration of the two. Transcendence, in this sense, is a matter of releasing ones hold on life and its developmental trajectory. Unfortunately, Wilber has the process go a step further, attaching to the next higher level of development. But the whole point of transcendence is the releasedisengaging ones affiliation and identification with their particular level of being (that is to say, all levels of being). The conundrum of Wilbers spectrum theory could perhaps be put this way: although holons consist

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of God, they do not actually comprise God. That is to say, no assembly or arrangement of holonseven ones that integrate into higher levels of the holarchywill ever result in God. Indeed, holons are nothing but the effect of the Illusion of Relatedness having taken place. In other words, the difficulty for Wilbers theory is this: seventh stage Ultimate Non-Dualism is mistaken for the collapse of the self/other distinctionwhen seventh stage Ultimate Non-Dualism is, in reality, the collapse of the Self/God distinction. 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, or separate and separative point of view) itself, 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, Truth, or Real God. I Say Only Reality Itself (Which Is, Always Already, The One, and Indivisible, and Indestructible, and Inherently egoless Case) Is (Self-Evidently, and Really) Divine, and True, and Truth (or Real God) Itself. 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, and Utterly Indivisible, and Perfectly Subjective, and Indestructibly Non-Objective SourceCondition and Self-Condition of All and all. (2000b, pp. 250, 295) Wilber likens the situation relative to nondualism to that of a ladder (if not, indeed, a river). However, this is something of a pantheistic (i.e., Secondary Non-Dualism) view in which the mere aggregate of component parts represents God and Realitywhereas, in truth, God and Reality are other than the ladder. That is to say, the ladder itself arises within God, only then to divide into its corresponding rungs. Wilber states that the ladder gives a good description of manifest existence because the highest rung of the ladder and, indeed, the very wood of which it is made are, in essence, the very same thing: Spirit. However, this statement is based on an illusion, which can be sorted out in the following way: when the highest rung of the ladder (i.e., causal Self ) originally emerges, that is all the ladder there is. At this causal point of origin, it is easy to see how the wood and the rung are identical they are all there is. Still, this causal rung is not God.

It arises in God. The Illusion of Relatedness yet separates the two. However, as involution proceeds, this rung does, indeed, throw itself out into further levelseach one of which simply a continuation of the causal rung. To suggest that the ladder is the origin of each rung is misleadingat least in the same sense that God Is the Source and Substance of all existence. Although the language sounds similar, the dynamic underlying them is entirely different. It is the causal stage that is the origin of each subsequent rung of the ladder, stretching out into ever diminished forms until it finally reaches bottom. It is in this manner that it makes sense to speak of an origin and a goal to existencefor the whole developmental sequence is really nothing more than the causal rung expanding and contracting upon itself. Avatar Adi Da makes use of a different metaphor entirely to speak of Radical Non-Dual Reality: the waves of the ocean. Each apparently separate entity or being is nothing but a wavecomprised of the same water as every other wave and, indeed, the entire ocean. No real difference or separation between themat least on the level of the ocean. But on the level of the waves, it seems that there is no end to the difference and separation, as they appear to spread out in all directions. For the sake of sorting out the essential difference between these two metaphors, imagine there are only six waves in the ocean. Further, imagine that five of these waves have all emerged, or descended, out of the original sixth wave. In fact, imagine that these waves are all somehow connected together, assembled by the very fact that they inhere in one another. All the waves of the ocean can be thought of as an immense matrix (or else spectrum), aligned together and arising, level upon level, into an ascending hierarchy. As can be seen, this arrangement is exactly that of a ladder. However, there is more to existence than merely this ladder. Wilber is correct in asserting that there is a ladder of existenceit is just that the ladder is floating in the ocean! And, therefore, its rungs are not actually comprised of woodtheyre comprised of water.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. Yet, to do so involves a concomitantand Ecstatic activity: submit to being absorbed back into the ocean. One must release their attachment (i.e., addiction) to manifest existence and submit to God. But this is exactly what the ego-I loathes to do (Vitz, 1994)and for good reason. To release ones hold on manifest exisNondualism and the Divine Domain


tence is to die. However, 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-Inot the human body. It is the ego-I that stands between S/self and God and it does so at every stage of life, including the sixth stage (however subtle its presence at that point). 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, therefore, a painful denial of Ecstasy), and 2) realize that this is something you are doingeven right now. Consequently, the true means to God-Realization is simple: stop doing it! No amount of development will ever ease or replace this obligation, for even the sixth stage of life has its own sense of ego-I to overcome. The S/self in its entirety must accept and submit to being absorbed into God. In a manner of speaking, there is really only one means to God-Realization: you must take the plunge! Any other understanding only confuses the issue. Wilber speaks of the ladder metaphor in this manner: But according to the traditions, it is exactly (and only) by understanding the hierarchical nature of samsara that we can in fact climb out of it, a ladder discarded only after having served its extraordinary purpose (1997, p. 45). Perhaps nowhere is the contrast between the Great Tradition and Radical NonDualism more evident than in this passage, for Enlightenment actually occurs based upon an entirely different dynamic. [T]he radical approach to Realization of Reality (or Truth, or Real God) is not to go gradually higher and higher (and, thus, more and more away), but (by surrendering your self, or total body-mind, to Mejust as it is, in place) to directly enter into heartCommunion with Me (the Avataric SelfRevelation of the Reality, or Truth, That Is the Only Real God), and (in this Manner) to Realize Reality, Truth, or Real God In Place (or As That Which Is Always Already The Case, Where and As you Are, Most Perfectly Beyond and Prior to ego-I, or the act of self-contraction, or of differentiation, which act is the prismatic fault that Breaks the Light, or envisions It as seeming two, and more). (Adi Da, 2000a, p. 276) Put somewhat differently, the error of the Great Tradition is this: in having climbed the ladder, one 12

only reaches the top rung. There is nowhere else to go in scaling the ladder but the top rung. And, more to the point, mistakenly thinking that God-Realization involves climbing out of samsara only ends up obscuring the real process of God-Realization. Although Wilber claims you must first climb the ladder, so as to position yourself to discard it, the truth is you must discard the ladder right now, nevermind your apparent unpreparedness to do so. And the same is true at every stage of lifeindeed, even that of the causal, sixth stage sage. In other words, you dont need to experience the ladder first to discard it (at any or all of its rungs). You need only to understand it. It is at this point that you discard the ladderwhen you understand that it is unnecessary. Indeed, contrary to Wilbers account, at the point of ones highest climb, a surprising development could be said to occur: the ladder is not actually discarded. Rather, it collapses, something like a telescope, each rung simply enfolding within the others until only one is left. To think that no more ladder exists simply because only one rung is left is an illusion. The causal, sixth stage sageno matter how truly illustrious and profoundis simply perched upon their final plank of wood, so close to the ocean that they are everything except immersed within it. It is all around them, yet, this one, final piece of wood keeps them buoyed. Radical Non-Dualism and the seventh stage of life, on the other hand, yield an entirely different participation in Reality: In the only-by-Me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life, all conditions (or all motions, or patterns, 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. Therefore, 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. At first, this Realization Shines in the world and Plays Bright Demonstrations on the waves. At last, The Brightness Is Indifferent (Beyond difference) In the DeepThere, Where Primitive relatedness Is Freely Drowned. And, When Bright SelfRecognition Rests Most Deeply In Its Fathomless Shine, the Play of motions Is Translated In Love-Bliss, Pervasive In the

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Water-Standand, like a Sea of Blankets, All the Deep Unfolds To Waken In the Once Neglected (Now Un-Covered) Light of SelfIlluminated and Eternal Day. (Adi Da, 2001a, pp. 345, 346) Conclusion God both is and is not the S/self, and understanding this fundamental paradox is the only means by which one can understand their true relationship to God. Merely considering the S/self to be God indeed, even as it exists at the truly profound level of the causal Selfonly trivializes the very real dynamic of separation that exists in its midst, for the S/self is also not God. One cannot Realize God by pretending the difference between them does not exist. One can Realize God only by eliminating that difference which is only ones own doing, nevermind how spontaneous and without reason. Clearly, confusing the sixth and seventh stages is easy to do, for the difference between them is extremely subtle. Yet, this difference is of ultimate significance. 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. Wilber (2000b) refers to this state as the Unborn. To see how this reference could be made is understandable, for the causal Self does exist prior to involution (i.e., prior to being born as the various levels of being). However, it does not exist prior to the Illusion of Relatedness nor, therefore, as Real God. Although the Unborn is an utterly profound state of reality, its realization is predicated upon the developmentrather than the dissolutionof manifest being. But it is the latter that makes the difference. Ultimately, God-Realization is a matter of being absorbed into that which is truly Unmanifest. The traditions have, at most, only intuited the seventh stage of life. They have not fully Embodied it, as is the case with Avatar Adi Da. This is precisely why Avatar Adi Da is the unique and only means to seventh stage God-Realizationfor He Is That Very Reality which is to be Realized.

References Adi Da (1991). The Dawn Horse Testament. Middletown, CA: Dawn Horse Press. Adi Da (1997). Drifted in the deeper land. Middletown, CA: Dawn Horse Press. Adi Da (2000a). Hridaya Rosary (Four Thorns of HeartInstruction). In The Five Books of the Adidam Revelation (Book Four). Middletown, CA: Dawn Horse Press. Adi Da (2000b). The seven stages of life. In The Seventeen Companions of the True Dawn Horse (Book Ten). Middletown, CA: Dawn Horse Press. Adi Da (2001a). Eleutherios. In The Five Books of the Adidam Revelation (Book Five). Middletown, CA: Dawn Horse Press. Adi Da (2001b). Real God Is the Indivisible Oneness of Unbroken Light. In The Seventeen Companions of the True Dawn Horse (Book One). Middletown, CA: Dawn Horse Press. Adi Da (in press). The unique sixth stage foreshadowings of the Only-By-Me revealed and demonstrated and given seventh stage of life. In The Basket of Tolerance. Middletown, CA: Dawn Horse Press. Adidam (Eds.) (1991). Notes. In The Dawn Horse Testament. Middletown, CA: Dawn Horse Press. Assagioli, R. (1965). Psychosynthesis. New York: Viking. Beck, D.E. & Cowan, C.C. (1996). Spiral dynamics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers. Chopra, D. (1995). The seven spiritual laws of success. San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen Publishing. Cohen, A. (2002). Living enlightenment. Lenox, MA: Moksha Press. Cohen, A. & Wilber, K. (2002). The guru and the pandit: Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber in dialogue. What is Enlightenment? 22, 39-49. Conze, E. (1962). Buddhist thought in India. London: Allen and Unwin. Daniels, B. (1999). In appreciation of Wilbers spectrum/quadrant theory. Internet: Daniels, B. (2003a). The Apex Paradox: The role of the ego in psychology and spirituality and its implications for clinical practice (Vol. I: The abundant ego). Lincoln, NE: Writers Showcase. Daniels, B. (2003b). The Apex Paradox: The role of the ego in psychology and spirituality and its implications for clinical practice (Vol. II: The aberrant ego). Lincoln, NE: Writers Showcase. Deutsche, E. (1966). Advaita Vedanta. Honolulu, HI: EastWest Center Press. Firman, J. & Gila, A. (1997). The primal wound. Albany, NY: State Univ. of New York Press. Griffiths, B. (1991). Vedanta and Christian faith. Clearlake, CA: Dawn Horse Press. Nondualism and the Divine Domain


Hegel, G.W. (1993). The Essential Writings (F.G. Weiss, Ed.). New York: HarperCollins. Husserl, E. (1960). Cartesian meditations (D. Cairns, Trans.). The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. Jung, C.G. (1919/1971). Instinct and the unconscious. In The Collected Works of C.G. Jung (Vol. 8). Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press. Jung, C. G. (1964). Man and his symbols. New York: Dell. Larson, G. J., Potter, K. H., & Bhattacharya, R. S. (Eds.) (1987). Encyclopedia of Indian philosophy (Vol. 4). Princeton, NJ: Princeton Press. Lee, C. (2003). Adi Da: The promised God-Man is here. Middletown, CA: Dawn Horse Press. Loy, D. (1998). Nonduality. Amherst, NY: Humanity Books. Muzuka, E. (1990). Object relations theory, Buddhism, and the self: Synthesis of Eastern and Western approaches. International Philosophical Quarterly, 30(1), 59-74. Pulver, S.E. (1995). The technique of psychoanalysis proper. In B.E. Moore & B.D. Fine (Eds.), Psychoanalysis: The Major Concepts. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press. Rama, S., Ballentine, R, & Ajaya, S. (1998). Yoga and psychotherapy. Honesdale, PA : Himalayan Pubs. Sartre, J. P. (1957). The transcendence of the ego (F. Williams & R. Kirkpatrick, Trans.). New York: Noonday Press. Satorakashananda (1977). The goal and the way. St. Louis, MO: Vedanta Society. Shankara (1979). A thousand teachings (M. Sengaku, Trans.). Tokyo: Univ. of Tokyo Press. Suzuki, D.T. (1968). Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra. London: Routledge and Kegan-Paul. Tarnas, R. (1991). The passion of the western mind. New York: Ballantine Books. Verma, C. (1993). Buddhist phenomenology. Columbia, MO: South Asia Books. Vitz, P. (1994). Psychology as religion (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Wilber, K. (1990). Two patterns of transcendence: A reply to Washburn. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 30(3), 113-136. Wilber, K. (1995). Sex, ecology, spirituality. Boston & London: Shambhala. Wilber, K. (1997). The eye of spirit. Boston & London: Shambhala. Wilber, K. (1999a). Introduction. In The Collected Works (Vol. 2). Boston & London: Shambhala. Wilber, K. (1999b). The marriage of sense and soul. New York: Broadway Books. Wilber, K. (2000a). Integral psychology. Boston & London: Shambhala. Wilber, K. (2000b). One taste. Boston & London: Shambhala.

Footnotes 1This sequence of S/self structure is summarized in Wilber (1995, 2000) as follows: spirit, soul, mind, body, matter. Avatar Adi Da (2001a) agrees with this five-tier structure overall. However, there is a significant difference in the two schemas. He depicts this sequence as consisting of the following levels of being: causal, subtle, mental, etheric, and gross. Indeed, Avatar Adi Da indicates that there are three basic tiers overall, as the subtle actually subsumes the mental and etheric within it. Structurally, there is a significant difference between the two schemas, for the emotions (i.e., etheric level) are omitted in Wilbers model, while the levels of body and matter are differentiated into the two lowest levels instead. As a way of clarifying what Wilber means by his nomenclature, a somewhat simplistic correlation can be drawn between these levels of being and certain domains of science: matter represents physics and geology; body represents chemistry and biology; and mind represents psychology and sociology. Unfortunately, at this time science has no correlates for the subtle and causal levels of being (i.e., soul and spirit). The schema of these levels of being relates to Avatar Adi Das revelation of the seven stages of life as follows: the first three stages of life conform to the gross, etheric, and lower mental levels, respectively; the fourth stage of life is a transitional state between the lower and higher levels; the fifth stage of life conforms to the higher mind of the subtle level; and the sixth stage of life conforms to the primal Self of the causal level. The seventh stage of life subsumes them all as the inherent Substance and SourceCondition of Existence. 2For a fuller account of the S/self, especially as it relates to the ego, see Daniels (2003a, b). 3However, note that even in being lesser, the states of spiritual attainment emulated here are profound and exhalted levels of being and should not be dismissed or taken lightly. Although they fall short of the most profound level of EnlightenmentRadical Non-Dualism and the seventh stage of lifethey, nonetheless, represent extraordinary states of awareness, far exceeding those attained by the vast majority of humanity at this time. Indeed, the remarkable few capable of attaining these stages of life represent an enormous boon to humanity, which is so critical at this stage of evolution. These levels of lesser enlightenment are advocated in the recent works of numerous authors for example, Cohen (2002), Chopra (1995), and Beck & Cowan (1996). 4For a fuller treatment of these aspects of the seventh stage of life, see Adi Da (2000b, 2001a). 5These may be easily confused for one another. Indeed, Cohen and Wilber give this example: You really, really, really need to let go of self and egoic self-esteem altogether. And the problem is that therapistswant to hold onto the egoic


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self-contraction and make it feel good about itself. [Yet] as one goes deeper and deeper into the process of transformation, it gradually becomes clear what a daunting foe the ego really is, and what a poison narcissism is (2002, pp. 4546). However, although these precepts sound similar to the revelation of Avatar Adi Da, they are not actually situated in the context of the seventh stage of life, precisely because they do not take into account the Illusion of Relatedness. Rather, they advocate the evolution of Enlightenment, which only ends up making God into a goal of spiritual practicerather than an ongoing, present relationship of worship and devotion. This approach to Enlightenment is what Avatar Adi Da calls either Emanationism or Transcendentalism. For a fuller treatment of these different approaches to spiritual awareness and awakening, see Adi Da (2000b) and Daniels (2002). 6According to Avatar Adi Das (2000b, 2001a) schema of development, the right side of the heart is the anatomical reference point for both the sixth stage of life and the causal Selfwhich are ultimately subsumed within the anatomical reference point of the seventh stage of life: amrita nadi. 7To this point, all spiritual masters have necessarily worked within the cultural constraints imposed by their particular time and place. Only in the last half of the twentieth century has technology and affluence allowed for the creation of a true world community. Consequently, 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, all-inclusive revelation. Avatar Adi Da has Incarnated precisely for the fulfillment of this purpose (see Lee, 2003). 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. Although this more watery metaphor may appear to have some similarity to that of the ocean, Wilbers use of the river is in no way the same. The metaphor of the river is employed to suggest the flux and fluidity of developmentover against that of a rigidly linear course. 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. If the rungs of the ladder could be conceived of as being in flux or fluid, then it would serve the exact same purpose as that of the riverand the situation would remain essentially the same: a ladder (i.e., river) floating in the ocean.

Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at

Nondualism and the Divine Domain


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, the founder of psychosynthesis, into transpersonal psychology. This notion is explained and linked up with the Western mystical tradition. Here, coming from antiquity and specifically from the neo-Platonic tradition, a similiar concept has been developed which became known as the spark of the soul, or summit of the mind. This history is sketched and the meaning of the term illustrated. During the middle ages it was developed into a psychology of mysticism by Thomas Gallus, popularized by Bonaventure, and radicalized by the Carthusian writer Hugh of Balma. Spark of the soul signifies an "organ of the mystical experience." It is argued that the split introduced into history between outer and inner experience has lain dormant ever since the 13th century, with inner experience relegated to the private and mystical realm. By introducing this concept, transpersonal psychology reconnects with this tradition and has to be aware of the legacy: to achieve the theoretical, and if possible scientific, integration of both types of experience by drawing on the experiential nature of this concept and fostering good research.

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, but that this progress is achieved by both working within given frameworks of accepted presuppositions and by discussing and debating the very foundations (Kuhn, 1955; Laudan, 1977; Oeser, 1979a; Oeser, 1979b; Fleck, 1980; Toulmin, 1985; Collingwood, 1998). Psychology, as a scientific discipline, is comparatively young with a history of roughly 150 years; the first blinded psychological experiment dating back to Peirces and Jastrows attempt to find out about the smallest perceptible sense difference in 1883 (Kaptchuk, 1998). It is understandable, therefore, that insiders and outsiders alike deplore a kind of preparadigmatic state of psychology as a whole, with many different research paradigms in Kuhns sense (Kuhn, 1977) competing for priority. It is only in some disciplines within psychology, like in experimental or applied psychology, that a comparatively unitary canon of methods and accepted standards of problem solving seems to have been accepted by the whole community. 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, 1980; Bunge & Ardila, 1987). While this might be acceptable for some branches of psychology, this suggestion does not seem to depict the whole situation, and certainly not within clinical psychology, where even the consensus on what methods to base scientific evidence on is debated (Chambless, Sanderson, Shoham, et al, 1995; Seligman, 1995; Weinberger, 1995; Wachter & Messer, 1997; Messer & Woodfolk, 1998). Clinical psychology seems to be very much in a preparadigmatic stage, where many rivalling theories exist, which not only suggest different modes of action contradictory to those of competing theories, but also rest on theoretical presuppostions excluding each other. 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, 1987; Beitman, Goldfried, & Norcross, 1989; Glass, Victor, & Arnkoff, 1993; Castonguay & Goldfried, 1994; Fensterheim & Raw, 1996). It is mostly within the context of clinical psychology, and most notably through its humanistic psychological expressions, that a new movement arose at the end of the 60s, which called itself Transpersonal Psychology (Sutich, 1969, 1976). The impulse to found yet another movement


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


ence, it is now within transpersonal psychology and by the mediation of Assagiolis psychosynthesis that one of the most interesting concepts of this tradition starts to surface again. I want to sketch out this tradition and therebey connect the seemingly unconnected modern practice and terminology with the tradition, and thus point to its importance and possible explanatory power. 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. Since this history is extremely complicated and complex, I will only point out the more important turns and steps.

* Higher Self

(organizing principle) higher unconscious

field of consciousness collective unconscious


middle unconscious subpersonalities lower unconscious

Figure 1. Assagiolis Personality Model. It will remain a task on its own to be accomplished in a separate paper to follow the history of Assagiolis sources through modern psychology and from the theosophical tradition. Likely sources will have to include the writings of Blavatsky and Bailey, Yoga psychology, William James, who first seemed to have mentioned a concept like spiritual self in the modern scientific tradition, and Jewish Kabbalist sources. All those direct sources of Assagiolis will not be the topic of this paper. 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. Roots in Antiquity The first written trace of the idea that there is 18

some higher, spiritual nature within man we can see in the fragment B119 (around 500 BC) of Heraklitos (Weber, 1976), which reads: ETHOS ANTHROPO DAIMON. This can, as most texts by Heraklitos, be understood in different ways and needs interpretation. But one possible and probably sensible reading and translation would be: home for man is the god(ly). The Greek word ETHOS signifies home, hearth, the innermost of the house. The fragment, then, can be understood in the sense: The god(ly) is home to man, meaning surrounding, holding man, but also in the centre of man, central to his innermost personality there is something godly. Heidegger, in his famous letter on humanism has pointed toward this fragment in this sense (Heidegger, 1967, p. 301ff ). We next explicitly meet the idea of some inner God or godlike inner voice in the famous Platonic dialogue, The Apology of Socrates (Plato, 1964). Socrates, who because of that in the end is sentenced to death for introducing new gods, confirms that he experiences an inner voice that is sometimes warning him against doing things, but never advises him in the positive to do something. Endre von Ivanka (1964), who has traced the history of this concept, has pointed out that apart from the Platonic and neo-Platonic traditions of the concept of Spark of the Soul, there also is a Stoic root to it, namely the Stoic teaching of the universal fire as the source of everything and the trace of this fire in everything as a fiery, cosmic seed. Plato, of course, with his teaching that the soul stems from the realm of ideas from where it comes into the body, bringing a trace of the ideal worlds of immutable ideas and of the Beauty and Good with it into the human being, laid the foundation for the later teaching of an immortal soul or rather, an immortal part within the soul. Plato developed a model of the soul in which one part of the soul was striving towards the good, which later was merged with Stoic and other ideas. Even Aristotle, who otherwise was more inclined towards biology and natural philosophy and tried to eschew some of the pitfalls of Platonic thinking, in his De anima - on the soul (Aristoteles, 1983) explicitly said that the highest part of the soul, the agent intellect, the active part of the intellect, came from outside-THYRATHEN, which literally reads as from outside through the door. Although his de anima was a work rather of natural philosophy, which tried to understand and outline the natural workings of the soul, he pointed to this super- or trans-natural part of the soul. Since one other work of Aristotle, which is

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thought to have contained the more esoteric aspect of his psychology, is lost, we can only speculate what he really meant by the saying, the active intellect comes from outside. 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, as well as his Islamic interpreters, interpreted him in the sense that this active part of the intellect was a spiritual and immortal part of the soul (Merlan, 1963). The next step was made within the neo-Platonic tradition of those Platonists, who revived the Academy and its teaching after nearly 500 years. The founder of this neo-Platonist movement was Plotinos (204-270 AD) (Plotin, 1966). The hallmark of his teaching is, in modern terminology, a consequent idealist ontology which starts from the insight or experience that pure consciousness is primary. Plotinos called the principal source of everything the One, which he conceived to be all and everything in one, beyond every limitation, out of which everything emanates in four stages: first the NOUS, the intellect, which is pure intelligibility and reservoir of the world of ideas in the Platonic sense. From the intellect emanates the world soul which gives life to everything. And from this, at last, emanates the material world. However, there is an imprint of the divine One in every single soul, as it were, a trace of the One which is at the same time mark of and spurn to the One. It is the impulse within the soul to return, turn round to the One again and, in mystical contemplation, seek reunion with the One (Beierwaltes, Balthasar, & Haas, 1974). This model, of course, is akin to Eastern cosmologies, and very likely was inspired by contacts between the Greek culture and the East (OMeara, 1982). 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, which is printed in the first volume of the Loeb edition of Plotinos works). A few quotes from Plotinos may illustrate his ideas: For the soul is many things, and all things, both the things above and the things below down to the limits of all life, and we are each one of us an intelligible universe, making contact with this lowerworld by the powers of the soul below, but with the intelligible world by its powers above; and we remain with all the rest of our intelligible part above, but by its ultimate fringe we are tied to the world below... (Enn III. 4, 3.21 ff ). ...but there is a higher part (of the soul) which the transitory pleasures do not please, and its

life is comfortable (Enn IV 8, 8.23) Often I have woken up out of the body to my self and have entered into myself, going out from all other things; I have seen a beauty wonderfully great and felt assurance that then most of all I belonged to the better part; I have actually lived the best life and come to identity with the divine; and set firm in it I have come to that supreme actuality... (Enn IV 8, 8.1f ) These quotes illustrate Plotinos psychology pretty clearly: He saw the soul as containing two parts, a higher and lower part. The higher part, he thought, was like a mark of the divine, a trace of the One, which was experienced by the individual as a desire to reunite with the One. This was possible, Plotinos taught, by contemplation, by receding the faculties and powers of the soul from the outside world and turning inwards until, in total stillness, this divine part of the soul reunites with the One. This was one of the main sources of the contemplative traditions in the West, and is, of course, very much akin to Eastern practices of meditation like Yoga or Zen. Plotinos, so his biographer Porphyrios tells us and as Plotinos testified himself, had quite a few experiences like that which left in him the desire to be totally gone from this world and reunited. Therefore he was ashamed of his body, which to him seemed like a hindrance. This, incidentally, is the source for much of later aversions against the body, which is attributed to Christianity, but seems to derive from the neo-Platonist tradition. The idea of a special part of the soul was finally introduced by Proclos, one of Plotinos followers and the systematizer of Plotinos ideas (Beierwaltes, 1965). In his Ten doubts on providence (Proklos, 1953, 1977), he says: For in us also there is inherent a certain occult vestige of the One, which is more divine than our intellect, and in which the soul, perfecting and establishing herself, becomes divine, and lives, as far as is possible for this to be accomplished by her, a divine life. (1953, p. 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.-Dionysios), the Areopagite. Saint Paul, in the Acts of the Apostles, is said to have preached to the Athenians and to have converted one Dionysios, a philosopher from the Areopague. Using this alias name, this anonymous monk of the 5th century could secure himself highest
Higher Self


authority since his writings were long thought to have been inspired by the Apostle himself. Saint Thomas Aquinas, for example, quoted Ps.-Dionysios more often than Saint Augustine. Thus, this neo-Platonic tradition made its way into the Christian middle ages, neo-Platonism baptized, as it were. The teachings of Ps.-Dionysios the Areopagite (Ps.-Dionysius Areopagita, 1949, 1957, 1987), endowed with Apostolic authority, have been highly influential in the middle ages. The main theme of his book Mystical Theology, was centred around the immense greatness of God, his absolute otherness and difference and the impossibility to know him. In this teaching the neo-Platonic One is identified as God, or God as he is conceived in the Judaic-Christian tradition is identified with the neo-Platonic One. And mans endeavour, of course, must be to seek reunion with God, in ignorance, beyond rational thinking and knowing. Ps.-Dionysius takes up the teachings of Proclos and also speaks of a higher part of the soul, which is the faculty of union of man with God. Development During the Middle Ages Somewhere along the line during the Dark Ages this neo-Platonic idea of a special part of the soul as the trace of the One, or the image of God in Christian terminology, seems to have melted together with the Stoic teaching of the seeds of the eternal fire to form what became known as scintilla synderesis, the spark of the synderesis. Synderesis is a complicated term, and it is still unclear, what it really meant and what its true ethymology is. For the philosophers of the middle ages it primarily was a moral concept. It signalled a part of Figure 2. Scheme of Thomas Gallus psychology.

the human soul, which was untouched and untouchable by human sin. Philosophers of the 12th century, like Phillip the Chancelor, or later on Adam de la Hale, used the term synderesis to signify the fact that even the worst of sinners always had a door open towards the good, that he always could convert himself and turn to God, since there was a place within him which remained untouched by all the evil he brought on himself by his sins (Lottin, 1942, 1948). This was the place where God spoke through the true voice of consciousness, the synderesis, a place free of sin even in the sinner, and thus granting freedom of conversion at any time. In this moral sense this term seems to have been used for quite a long time, even by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. But in parallel to this moral usage another one turned up out of the slumber of the dark ages in the mystical tradition. The main psychological text of the middle ages, the Liber de spiritu et anima - The book of the spirit and the soul, which is attributed to the Cistercian author, Alcher of Clairvaux, but was known in the middle ages as a text of St. Augustines, mentions the fact that in the contemplative-mystical experience the soul is taken out of its normal state, and that there is an occult power within the soul, but without naming this power (Pseudo-Augustinus & Alcher von Clairveaux, 1996, Cap. XXIV, p. 797). It was Thomas Gallus or Thomas of St.Victor, also known as Thomas of Vercelli or Commentator Vercellensis, who reintroduced the concept of the scintilla synderesis as a mystical notion. Thomas Gallus (1219 - 1247) is mentioned as a canon of St.Victor in Paris and university teacher in

consummatio intellectus

apex mentis

synderesis supra naturam et industriam robur mentis industria vera an falsa natura intellectus - veritas aliena cognoscere

experitur affectus unicionem ad Deum nec potest comprehendre intellectus imperia liberi arbitrii motus voluntarii appetitus divinorum


vires naturales

naturales apprehensiones affectus - bonitas sua propria cognoscere

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1219. At some stage he was transferred to the abbey of Vercelli in Piemont, where he lived and studied (Barbet, 1990). His work, apart from his monastic and ecclesiastic duties, mainly consisted in reading, commenting and interpreting the works of Ps.-Dionysios the Areopagite. By doing this, he achieved two things, which made him important for posteriority: He translated the meaning of the Greek terms which were close to the pagan, neo-Platonic tradition, into the Western, Augustian terminology and made this strain of contemplative tradition more accessible to the West. And he developed a psychology which could incorporate these teachings. The main part of this psychology, which he outlined in his commentary on Isiah, is lost. But he wrote a summary himself in one of his commentaries which has survived and has been edited (Thomas Gallus, 1936). In that summary he aligns the inner structure of the soul with Ps.-Dionysios teaching of the celestial hierarchies, and posits 3*3 faculties of the soul, according to the 3*3 hierarchies of angels. It is schematically reconstructed in Figure 2. There are two major faculties: intellect (intellectus), and affect (affectus). While the intellect is concerned with the outside world and truth (veritas, aliena cognoscere)at the lower level with sensory truth, at a higher level with propositional and intellectual truth, the affect is concerned with goodness and the souls own states (bonitas, suo propria cognoscere) at a lower level with the subjective and sensual goodness, at a higher level with the intellectually and morally good. The first level of the soul, compartments 1-3 as it were, consist of the natural faculties of the soul (vires naturales). They work naturally, subconsciously in modern parlance (natura). There we find the natural, sensual apprehensions (naturales apprehensiones), and the simple discernment of basic truths and falsity (vera an falsa). But at the border toward the next level, denoted as the rational faculty (ratio), the affect already comes out of its natural slumber, as it were, and experiences a desire for the divine (appetitus divinorum). This second level, compartments 4-6, is activated by the will and by effort of energy (industria), and is the central power of the mind (robur mentis). One could also interpret this as the conscious level of our human rational faculties. The highest part of the affect here are the commands of the free will (imperia liberi arbitrii). Note that in former psychologies some 50 or 100 years earlier, this free will would have been a part of the synderesis. Here in Thomas Gallus, we find a whole compartment above the rational powers of the soul which he calls synderesis. These are the compartments 7-9 so to speak. This is activated by

grace only; it is beyond human nature and active effort (supra naturam et industriam), and in it the highest faculties of the human soul are perfected (consummatio intellectus). Of this upper triad of the soul, the synderesis, only the very highest, which corresponds to the highest hierarchy of angels, the Seraphim, is called the apex mentis - summit of the mind, or at other places scintilla synderesis - spark of the synderesis, or principalis affectio - principal affection. This is the organ of the contemplative, unitive experience of ecstatic oneness of the soul with God, which is beyond any operation of the mind. This scintilla synderesis belongs solely to the affect, and thereby is concerned with the highest good of the soul, with God alone. In his commentary on the Mystic Theology (which, by the way, is extremely rare; a copy is obtainable by interlibrary loan from the university library in Mainz, Germany) of Ps.-Dionysius the Areopagite (Thomas Gallus, 1934, p. 14), he says: In this book he (i.e. Dionysius) hands down.. a more profound way of knowing God... Pagan philosophers...thought the highest cognitive power was found in the intellect, when there is another power that exceeds the intellect no less than the intellect exceeds reason and the reason exceeds imagination. This power is the principal affectio, which is the spark of the synderesis and which alone can be united to the Holy Spirit. This is the first explicit mentioning of a specific faculty of the soul, whose sole purpose and aim is the unification with God, a faculty or organ for the mystical experience, as it were. With Thomas Gallus, the neo-Platonic teaching of a trace of the One has combined with various strands of Christian teaching, with the moral concept of consciousness, to form an explicit psychological notion of the scintilla synderesis, spark of the soul or principal affection, which is the highest part of the soul. In this specific place in the soul a human being is divine, as it were, and is able to unite with God him/herself, and by doing this, gains experiential, mystical knowledge of God. Here the spark of the soul has made its entry into the teaching of the West. Thomas Gallus was not a minor writer. He was well regarded by posteriority and widely read, whence his title of honour commentator Vercellensis - the commentator from Vercelli. The middle ages only tributed such nicknames and titles of honour to wellknown and important writers. Thus it is understandHigher Self


able that his teachings were taken up by others and handed down. Saint Bonaventure, the Franciscan friar, general, and professor of theology was one of them (Gilson, 1929). In his book Itinerarium mentis in Deum - The minds itinerary to God he described the mystical ascent (Bonaventura, 1961). This ascent is conceived according to his more Augustinianpsychology. And every faculty of the soul has a certain role to fulfill in this. He says: These six steps of the ascent to God are according to six hierarchically ordered faculties of the soul, ... the senses, the imagination, the rational faculties, the intellect, the understanding, and the summit of the soul or the spark of the synderesis (apex mentis seu synderesis scintilla). (Bonaventura, 1961, I.6, p. 59f.) It is within this latter spark of the soul, which he also calls apex affectus, summit of the affect, that the mystical experience takes place: In this step, if it is to be perfect, all intellectual activities have to be given up. And the apex of the affect is totally taken over and transformed into God. This process, however, is mystical and most secret. Noboby understands it, unless he receives it, and he does not receive it, unless he desires it, and he does not desire it, unless the fire of the holy spirit ignites him in his very centre. (Bonaventura, 1961, VII. 4, p. 150) Thus, 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. Bonaventure has taken up the notion introduced by Thomas Gallus of a summit or spark of the soul, and being one of the major authors of the Franciscan community and a widely read theological teacher, popularized it. In parallel, another author was possibly even more influential than St. Bonaventure in familiarizing the spiritual readership with the concept of a higher part of the soul: the Carthusian author, Hugh of Balma (Walach, 1994; Walach, 1996). Hugh of Balma is usually known only to specialists due to missing editions and literally missing access to his writings, except in old and rare prints until very recently. There is now available a recent English (Martin, 1997b) and German translation (Walach, 1994), as well as a criti22

cal edition of his text (Hugo de Balma, 1995). Opinions about the author, his biography, his motives and the basic thrust of his teachings vary widely. While the official, accepted version is that he was a Carthusian prior, Walach (1994) has argued that he probably was a Franciscan friar opposing St. Bonaventure and who had to retreat into the charterhouse for personal safety and ecclesiastical peace. These details, however, do not concern the main impact of his teaching. This was taken up extensively about 100 years after his presumed active period, which can be dated round about the years of 12601270. His teaching was highly influential, his work was translated into many languages, and printed in many editions, such that he can really be called one of the fathers of Western mysticism. He very likely was the main source for the contemplative text, The Cloud of Unknowing (Anonymous, 1981), which also is inspired by Carthusian spirituality. He influenced the 14th and 15th century movement of lay devotion, the so called devotio moderna, and thereby was seminal for the later contemplative or mystical tradition. His influence on Meister Eckhart remains to be traced, but the fact that Eckhart was in Paris in 1276/7 and in 1312 makes a connection a possibility. One can make a point that, up to Hugh of Balma, mystical and classical theology, pre-modern science and mystical speculation, outer and inner experience were one. This is also evidenced by Thomas Gallus psychology, where the faculty of intellect, which is concerned with the outer world, and the faculty of affect, which is concerned with the souls own inner states, which in fact is inner experience, are still together. It was Hugh of Balma who radicalized this teaching. His basic message is simple: Only in the total withdrawal of the soul from every outward orientation, only in radical extinction of thinking, and only in concentrating all the souls powers into the affect, thus aiming only at the mystical union with all desire and all power and in ardent love, can true knowledge of God, true peace and freedom be gained, and, as a kind of side effect, true knowledge of many other things. He severely attacks all school teaching and academic wisdom, university teachers and theologians for having relinquished the true path towards insight and knowledge, the mystical path, as taught by Ps.-Dionysios and Thomas Gallus, which leads to a unification with God in the scintilla synderesis, and which is the only aim and bliss of the soul. Here is a textual example from Hughs lengthy tract, Viae Sion lugent - The ways to Zion mourn, which was also known as Mystical Theology or as

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De triplici via ad sapientiam - 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, which in reality makes the spirit able, without any mediating agent, to rise ardently and glowingly with surging strivings to his beloved. This type of knowledge was handed down in the Mystical Theology (of Ps.Dionysius). It rises up in the summit of the affective power. About this rising it is said that it happens without knowledge, or rather by not-knowing. By letting go of any activity of imagination, of the rational faculty, of the mind and of the understanding, we are able to feel already now, in the present moment, by virtue of the unification of the glowing, ardent love that, what the mind is incapable of grasping. (Walach, 1994, p. 265) This text, then, is one of the major manifestos, if not the most important one, of mystical thought in the West. It was ascribed to Bonaventure and thereby became widely known and eminently important. More than 100 text witnesses are extant, an enormous number, testifying to its wide distribution. Its influence is still not completely traced and established, but certainly goes as far as the Spanish mystics (Pablo Maroto, 1965) of the 16th and 17th century, like Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order and of the meditative-experiential tradition of the spiritual exercises (Beyer, 1956). It is in Hugh of Balma that the academic tradition of the West branches into an exoteric, academic, theological and scientific branch, which looks at everything from the outside, for which experience is experience of something (else), be it nature, world or God, and in an esoteric, counter-academic, mystical branch, for which experience is eminently experience of oneself, as nature, as world, as God. Since the latter half of the 13th century, the mystical tradition has drifted away from orthodox teaching, and was more or less driven out of universities and schools. Experience has started to become experience of outer things. Inner experience or mystical experience has been delegated to lay piety and private worship. The psychology of these mystical writers, however, has culminated in a notion, which has henceforth remained present in the West: the notion of a higher part of the soul, variably named summit of the mind, spark of the soul, principal affect, spark of the syndere-

sis. Meister Eckhart, the Dominican friar and preacher has taken this notion up and popularized it in the vernacular in his sermons, mostly to Dominican sisters, which were written down and copied widely. Here he also calls this central part of the soul spark of the soul, little fortress of the soul, God within. And from there it made its way into the teaching of other mystics, like Tauler or Seuse, or into the circles of lay people (Ruh, 1993). A concept was born, albeit mainly outside academical traditions, which signifies that, within the human mind, there is a part which is like a better part of a divine nature, and therefore can be the place and the means of the mystical experience of union with God. It is conceived as the very centre or summit of the soul. It certainly would be interesting to sketch further this history in the West and in later times. And it would be even more interesting to draw the parallels with and underline differences to Eastern traditions, which would certainly be possible, but is outside the scope of this paper. These hints may suffice for a first approach. This concept has mainly disappeared from the academic agenda ever since Hugh of Balma, who likely tried to influence academic opinion, failed. It has since lived and survived in the circles of pious groups, in monasteries and in the writings and teachings of mystical writers. It seems to be an interesting fact that, within transpersonal psychology, especially within psychosynthesis, this concept returns. Higher Self: The Heritage and the Future Agenda It is within psychosynthesis as described by Assogioli that the concept of a Higher Self makes it quasi-official reappearance on the agenda of modern psychology. It 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, summit of the mind, spark of the synderesis. While the mystical tradition used the term more in the context of the mystical experience of union with God, Assagioli assigns more mundane tasks to the Higher Self, as we saw. In his psychologywhich, by the way, he did not see as a fixed system but as a suggestion open to and in demand of further explorationthe Higher Self is an active centre, activating and thereby pulling the individual toward his or her development. Whiteheads beautiful metaphor of God luring entities towards him, comes to mind here. The Higher Self of Assagioli has a psychological function: unification, and spiritual development of the psyche. During the middle ages, this was identical to
Higher Self


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

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there is something like that in the testing for the understanding of a Koan. Something like that would be necessary for a science of spiritual experiences. A catalogue of traces which should be detectable in the psychological make-up or in the daily lives or achievements of people with true experiences of their higher nature should be worked out. The knowledge of the spiritual traditions can be helpful in this, but eventually will have to undergo empirical tests as well. As yet, these types of validation of experiences, which alone can yield an argument against reductive reasoning, are not public knowledge. Maybe they never will be, nor should be. Maybe some simple surrogate tests could be devised. The rationale is not much different from that of common tests: What can be tested for (intelligence, motor performance, school aptitude), likely exists. History shows that phenomena, experiences, facts and theories remain unrecognized unless they can be combined with, integrated into and linked up with existing knowledge and paradigms. A successful new paradigm is not a paradigm which suggests: Throw away the old stuff, Ill give you something completely new. In that sense voices coming from the transpersonal camp and demanding a new science are not all that helpful, if they cannot at the same time point out, how to really integrate what is new with what is there. Quantum mechanics was successful not because it was new, but because it could integrate what was there into a new framework, 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. In that sense, good theory and good empirical theory testing should be mandatory also for transpersonal psychology, if integration is to happen at all. One way would be to promote research into meditation, both empirically by EEG, fMRI, and quantitative self-report, as well as phenomenologically by studying qualitative reports, and to combine this with existing models as far as possible. It would probably be wise to utilize the modern trend towards neuroscience, neuroimaging and the concepts derived from there, as well as the methodology that comes with it, to introduce the topics of transpersonal psychology into mainstream research. The Higher Self or Spark of the Soul initially was a concept derived from experience. Plotinos reportedly had quite a few spiritual experiences himself, as probably did the other writers. It was inner experience, subjective in the first place, but linked up with philosophical and traditional terminology, and thus intersubjective in result. We need something similar today, it seems. We need experience in the full sense of the

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Pablo Maroto, F.d. (1965). Amor y conocimiento en la vida mstica segn Hugo de Balma. Revista espiritulidad, 24, 399-447. Plato (1964). Plato with an English Translation by W.R.M. Lamb. The Loeb Classical Library. (Plato I: Charmides, Alcibiades I & II, etc.). London: Heinemann. Plotin. (1966). Plotinus with an English Translation by A.H. Armstrong in Seven Volumes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. The Loeb Classical Library. Proklos. (1953). Proclus the Neoplatonic Philosopher: Ten Doubts Concerning Providence and a Solution of those Doubts and On the Subsistence of Evil transl. by T. Taylor. Chicago: Ares. Proklos. (1977). Trois tudes sur la providence. Ed. D. Isac. I. De decem dubitationes circa providentiam. II. De providentia et fato et eo quod in nobis ad theodorum mechanicum. III. De malorum subsistentia. Paris: Socit dEdition Les Belles Lettres. Ps.-Dionysius Areopagita. (1949). Mystical theology and the celestial hierarchies. Transl. b. The Editors of the Shrine of Wisdom. Fintry Brook: Shrine of Wisdom. Ps.-Dionysius Areopagita. (1957). The Divine names. Transl. b. the Editors of The Shrine of Wisdom. Fintry Brook: Shrine of Wisdom. Ps.-Dionysius Areopagita. (1987). The complete works. Transl. by C. Luibheid. Intr. by. J. Pelikan, J. Leclercq & K. Froehlich. The Classics of Western Spirituality. London: SPCK Press. Pseudo-Augustinus, A., & Alcher von Clairveaux. (1996). Liber de Spiritu et anima. In PL 40 (vgl.S 816) (Ed.), (pp. 779-832). Robinson, E. (1977). The original vision: A study of the religious experience of childhood. Oxford, UK: Religious Experience Research Unit, Alistair Hardy Research Centre. Ruh, K. (1993). Geschichte der abendlndischen mystik. Mnchen: Beck. Rusting, C.L. (1998). Personality, mood, and cognitive processing of emotional information: Three conceptual frameworks. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 165-196. Schuller, M. (1988). Psychosynthesis in North America. The story of the movement, the people, and the issue. Doctoral Dissertation, Union Graduate School. Seligman, M. (1995). The effectiveness of psychotherapy. American Psychologist, 50, 965-974. Stein, K.F., & Markus, H.R. (1996). The role of the
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self in behavioral change. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 6, 349-384. Sutich, A. J. (1969). Some considerations regarding transpersonal psychology. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1, 11-20. Sutich, A.J. (1973). Transpersonal therapy. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 5, 1-6. Sutich, A.J. (1976). The emergence of the transpersonal orientation: a personal account. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 8, 5-19. Tart, C. T. (1976). The basic nature of altered states of consciousness: A systems approach. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 8, 45-64. Tart, C. T. (1986). Consciousness, altered states, and worlds of experience. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 18, 159-170. Thalbourne, M.A. (1991). The psychology of mystical experience. Exceptional Human Experience, 9, 168-183. Thalbourne, M.A., & Delin, P.S. (1994). A common thread underlying belief in the paranormal, creative personality, mystical experience, and psychopathology. Journal of Parapsychology, 58, 3-38. Thalbourne, M.A., & Delin, P.S. (1998). Transliminality: Its relation to dream-life, religiosity and mystical experience. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. Thomas Gallus. (1934). Explanatio in mysticam theologiam. Grand Commentaire sur la theologie mystique. Ed. G. Thry. Paris: Editions historiques et philosophiques R. Haloua. Thomas Gallus. (1936). Commentaire sur Isaie. Ed. par G. Thry. Vie Spirituelle, 47, 146-162. Toulmin, S. (1985). Conceptual revolutions in science. In R. S. Cohen & M. W. Wartofsky (Eds.), A Portrait of Twenty-Five Years: Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science 1960-1985 (pp. 5874). Dordrecht: Reidel. Turner, R.P., Lukoff, D., Barnhouse, R.T., & Lu, F.G. (1995). Religious or spiritual problem. A culturally sensitive diagnostic category in the DSM-IV. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 183, 435444. Wachtel, P.L. & S.B. Messer (Eds.) (1997). Theories of and Evolution. Origins Psychotherapy. Washington: American Psychological Association. Walach, H. (1994). Notitia experimentalis Dei Erfahrungserkenntnis Gotte. Studien zu Hugo de Balmas Text Viae Sion lugent und deutsche bersetzung. Salzburg: Institut fr Anglistik und Amerikanistik der Universitt Salzburg. Walach, H. (1996). Notitia experimentalis Dei - Was 28

heisst das? - Hugo de Balmas Begriff der Erfahrungserkenntnis Gottes - Versuch einer Rekonstruktion. In J. Hogg (Ed.), The Mystical Tradition and The Carthusians. Vol 5. (pp. 45-66). Salzburg: Institut fr Anglistik und Amerikanistik der Universitt Salzburg. Washburn, M. (1978). Observations relevant to a unified theory of meditation. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 10, 1. Weber, F.J. (Ed.) (1976). Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. Text und Kommentar. Paderborn: Schningh. Weinberger, J. (1995). Common factors arent so common: The common factors dilemma. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 2, 45-69. Wilber, K. (1974). The spectrum of consciousness. Main Currents, 31, 2. Wilber, K. (1975). The ultimate state of consciousness. Journal of Altered States of Consciousness, 2, 3. Wilber, K. (1979). A developmental view of consciousness. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 11, 1-21. Wilber, K. (1984a). The developmental spectrum and psychopathology: Part I, stages and types of pathology. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 16, 75118. Wilber, K. (1984b). The developmental spectrum and psychopathology: Part II, Treatment modalities. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 16, 137-166. Wilber, K. (1985a). Ein Entwicklungsmodell des Bewutseins. In R. Walsh & F. Vaughan (Eds.), Transpersonale Psychologie. (pp. 117-135). Bern: Scherz, Wilber, K. (1985b). Philosophia perennis und das Spektrum des Bewusstseins. In R. Walsh & F. Vaughan (Eds.), Transpersonale Psychologie. (pp. 83-99) Bern: Scherz. Wilber, K. (1985c). Auge in Auge: Wissenschaft und Transpersonale Psychologie. In R. Walsh & F. Vaughan (Eds.), Transpersonale Psychologie. (pp. 247-253). Bern: Scherz. Wilber, K. (1985d). Zwei Weisen des Erkennens. In R. Walsh & F. Vaughan (Eds.), Transpersonale Psychologie. (pp. 267-275) Bern: Scherz. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at University College Northampton School of Social Sciences and Samueli Institute for Information Biology, Boughton Green Road, Northampton NN2 7AL UK. Phone +441604-89 2952, Fax +44-1604-722067. Email Harald.walach@northhampton.Ac.Uk

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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, Joseph Campbell, as well as the poetry of John Keats, especially his Ode to a Nightingale, offer new ways to reimagine our relation to the earth, to the dead and to languages continued vitality. Beginning with a brief overview of some of the major tenets of Campbells guiding force of the monomyth, which gathers all the various world mythologies as inflections of one universal story, the essay then moves into a discussion of Keats poem in order to reveal the power of poetic utterance in reconfiguring a vital mythology. If there is to be a renewed mythos, it may come out of a revisioned care of language itself as a transport vehicle towards the transcendent or invisible realms of being that poetry exposes us to through its aesthetic and linguistic corridors. The purpose of yoking mythology to poetry is to realign consciousness along a mytho-poetic axis of insight and understanding.

As long as I am this or that, or have this or that, I am not all things and I have not all things. Become pure till you neither are nor have either this or that; then you are omnipresent and, being neither this nor that, are all things. Meister Eckhart, in Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy (1970, p.107) The mythologist Joseph Campbell, whose 100th birthday we celebrate this year (1904-2004), revealed in many of his 28 books and journals the intimate connection of mythology to the earths foundational soil. By doing so, he antedated the ecology movement as well as a fuller consciousness of the earths terminal illnesses if not diagnosed and treated with some careful prescription policies available for continued refills. Campbell would, I believe, diagnose the accelerating rapacity of the earths resources as yet another consequence of an earlier malady wherein matter and spirit begin to separate; Campbell refers to such a divorce as mythic dissociation (1972/1993, p. 74). 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, and now, of an entire planet, I detect his impulses moving in two directions: into the body and into the natural order in one direction, and towards the transcendent in the other, perhaps even to the transcendent Other that is in facttat tvam asithou

art the other. In addition, psychic and spiritual energy, though not divorced from matter but actually inhering within it, within Mother Earth, seems to be one of Campbells perennial and abiding concerns. This essay will explore these regions rather than move to the topic that put him on the world map: that of the heros journey (1948/2004). For today we would be wise to place the earths journey at the forefront of any pilgrimage towards revitalizing the planet. The life of a mythology, he asserts in Flight of the Wild Gander (1951/2002) derives from the vitality of its symbols as metaphors (p. xx). This quality of vitality of the symbolic and metaphoric realms of knowing is at the heart of Campbells teachings and one we would do well to retrieve, for it guides us to the proposition that in the active life of the imagination of a culture, language too is crucial, in the way we both disabuse and pollute, or nurture and elevate the status, of words themselves. What we do to words mirrors with exacting frequency what we do to the world. Language and landscape are intimate first cousins. And both are showing signs of permanent exhaustion. In his incisive study on the importance of our ancestors, in The Dominion of the Dead (2003), Robert Pogue Harrison observed that in the age of the new barbarism, words lose their moral memory. For even our moralityindeed, our morality above all depends on the historical resonance of its foundationThe Nature of Myth


al words: liberty, duty, sacrifice, compassion, equality, none of which brooks the false eloquence of the times (p. 86). I believe that carelessness in speech, in self-expression, and in writing is directly yoked to a disrespect and indifference to the matter and, indeed, the world spirit that the philosopher Georg W.F. Hegel (17701831) believed was the nugget resting deep in the heart of the earth. Joseph Campbells entire work contains a Hegelian impulse; more needs to be cultivated regarding the intimate connections in thought between these two titans. Here is Hegel early in his epic work, The Philosophy of History (1834/1991): It must be observed at the outset, that the phenomenon we investigateUniversal History belongs to the realm of Spirit. The term World, includes both physical and psychical Nature.But Spirit, and the course of its development, is our substantial object. (p. 16) Hegels insight comes seductively close to a key tenet of Campbells reflections on world mythologies as he continues: the rational necessary course of the World-Spiritthat Spirit whose nature is always one and the same,unfolds this its one nature in the phenomena of the Worlds existence (1834/1991, p. 10). Campbell, deploying similar words to delineate an analogous idea, believed, following the Irish writer, James Joyce who gave him the term monomyth, that all the varieties of world mythologies are inflections of one story. Phil Cousineau, in his Introduction to the revised The Heros Journey, writes that the monomyth is in effect a metamyth, a philosophical reading of the unity of mankinds spiritual history, 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. ((1990/2003, p.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, we see that they are symptoms of the unconscious, but also controlled and intended statements of spiritual principles which are as constant in history as the human nervous system (1948/1968, p. 257). In this vein, let us link for a moment both Hegel and Campbell to one more crucial historical figure, Ranier Maria Rilke, who writes in his thoughtful responses to a young poet that Spiritual creativity originates from the physical; they are of the same essence (Rilke, 1929/1992 p.38). He further links 30

these two impulses that allow for some new creation to enter the world when he reflects that spiritual creativity is a gentler, more blissful and enduring repetition of physical desire and satisfaction (p. 38), which implies that psyche, nature, and spirit are more aligned than alien to some fundamental hidden unity that perhaps the metaphors of poetry are best equipped with a greater alacrity than other forms of expression, to transmit to a receptive audience. Campbell underscores Rilkes insight when he coins the phrase mythic identification (1951/2002, p. 160) to capture the sense of a hidden transcendent unity of truth, substance and energy. The latter part of this essay must, then, include a brief exploration of Ode to a Nightingale by the 19th century English poet, John Keats, who in his short but gifted life created some of the most remarkable poetry on the themes that Campbell and others believed were at the heart of any pulsating desire to restore the mythic impulse to the heartbeat of the common citizen. This ode recollects and records a transcendent pilgrimage into the imaginal realm, guided by the song of an invisible bird that turns an ordinary event in the life of an exhausted soul into a mythical journey that revitalizes and shifts his vision towards the mysteries of a transcendent realm. This languid soul has indeed heard and heeded the call and entered the vocational woods of poetic creation. What Keats ode exposes is an essential and exhausting poverty inherent in literalism, which I take as the expression of the everyday shorn of its transcendent reverberations. The function of the poet, Campbell asserts, is to see the life value of the facts round about, and to deify them, as it were, to provide images that relate the everyday to the eternal (2004, p. xvi). The symptoms of literalisms malady include an arresting or blockage of psychic energys flow, which Carl Jung observes in Mysterium Coniunctionis in a section entitled An Alchemical Allegory, is the source of your fantasy, the fountain of your soul.You would like to make gold because poverty is the greatest plague, wealth the highest good (1963/1989, par. 191). Jung believed, in this last book which he completed in his eightieth year, that the image of the everflowing fountain expresses a continual flow of interest toward the unconscious, a kind of constant attention or religio, which might also be called devotion (par. 193). Perhaps in entertaining the heros journey, we have read it too literally. I say this because there is implicit in the metaphor of this journey the possibility that the hero is an encompassing metaphor for the life energy

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itself that flows, becomes sidetracked, end-stopped, decreased, increased, diluted, or polluted. The hero may be imagined as energy itself, the life force that permeates all matter, but which finally shares a universal origin, a common source, even a mythic heritage. At the heart of the heros 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, p. 40). Campbell reveals in his writing how both the worlds material, its physicality, and its metaphorical or symbolic resonances, matter. There seem to be only two kinds of people: Those who think that metaphors are facts, and those who know that they are not facts (2001, p. 48). The first group are the atheists and the second are religious. However, he writes earlier in the same volume that The divine is transcendent even of the category of transcendence, for that too is a category of thought(p. 39). Given this metaphorical quality that points to and exposes a mystery beyond contradiction and duality, he affirms that myth is a constant regeneration, an identification with the life process (2003, p.8). What for Campbell is the life process comprises for Hegel the World Spirit that animates and informs the World soul. Thus, 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. Campbell insists that the life of a mythology springs from and depends on the metaphoric vigor of its symbolswhich can convey some realization of the infinite (2001, p. 6). A new mythos must therefore be diligent and dedicated to preserving speech as well as preserving species. The death throes of the soul reveal themselves in, among other venues, the death of languageits cadavers are strewn around us everywhere: in clichs, slogans, worn out phrases, vulgarity and profanity, empty words, strict denotation, newspeak, sound-bytes and a general lack of vitality in selfexpression. For Campbell, this metaphorical quality lying vibrantly at the heart of myths and myth-making, begins in the body, in its energetic language; it is the interior of flesh, even as it connects us to the natural, physical world at the same time that it clears a space for accommodating the transcendent, to allow us transparence to the latter. In allowing the energy of the world soul to permeate ones own body, ones own psyche, one opens oneself to the mythic impulse which is to make us transparent to transcendence (2003, p. 40), which is another way of asserting that myths promote our learning to live the divine life within you

(p. 40). Only metaphor has this exclusively powerful quality of allowing us to enter domains not readily accessible to the rational mind. The word metaphor, he explains, is from two Greek words: meta=to pass over, to go from one place to another; and phorein=to move or carry. Metaphors carry us from one place to another; they allow us to cross boundaries otherwise impossible; they also transport us past time, space; and they center us in the connotative dimensions of a world that is essentially and furiously denotative (2001, p. xvi). Within this field of metaphor, which is a mode of transportation, an efficient and very economic delivery system of sorts, for the psyche, myths, according to Campbell, serve four functions: 1. they align consciousness to the mysterium tremendum, the universe as it is; 2. they are interpretive, providing a consistent image of the order of the cosmos; 3. they help carry the individual through various stages and crises of life; 4. they carry a religious function: to awaken and maintain in the person an experience of awe, to know and respect that ultimate mystery that transcends all forms (2001, pp.3-4)). Myths, therefore, as he writes in Flight of the Wild Gander, are the texts of rites of passage (p. 34) having their origins in the energies of the organs of the body, both in conflict and in complement to one another. 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. Archetypes are biologically grounded (p. 51). A renewed or revisioned mythos might then include an ability to reimagine the relation of spirit, body and earth in a constant but benevolent dialogic tension between the bodys interiority and the worlds matter, mediated by the social customs that comprise a specific historical time and place. Finally, and to reveal the underlying unity of human embodiment and the cosmos, 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 two breaths being the same (2002, p. 41). A new mythos would gain much energy if it planted Campbells observation in the forefront of its assertion as a central tenet of its development. A key to this web of relationships, even a partnership between energy flows through shared matter, is offered more than once by Campbell when he quotes the 19th century poet Novalis: The seat of the soul is there, where the outer and the inner worlds meet (2002, p.5). Perhaps analogies are birthed right here,
The Nature of Myth


in that marsupial pouch that for Campbell characterizes, in an organic and animal way, the place of society where the human body breathes itself into the social matrix, a second womb of sorts, that shapes it and is contoured by it. I offer the following wobbly neologism to capture something of such a partnership: mythophysiologya mythos of flesh, the body, which my colleague Robert Romanyshyn has eloquently described as a gestural body, [which is ] a magnetic, gravitational, erotic field (2002, p. 93). Campbell intuited something profound about the bodys relation to myth and meaning but chose not to pursue it in depth. He observed that mythos and dream are motivated from a single psycho-physical source. The human imagination is moved by the conflicting urgencies of the organsincluding the brain, of the human body (2002, p. xiv). He called these bioenergies, which is the essence of life itself; but when unbridled become terrific, horrifying, destructive (p. xix). Human embodiment, like mythology generally, for Campbell, has its own organizing structures; 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, or an entire people, grasp in a sensate way an intuition of place and of belonging to something beyond themselves. This is not a new myth but a reclaimed one, and we can here highlight the indispensable place of a historical imagination in retrieving the humanity of our species. Human history may then be understood as a biography of an entire species, as well as a record of the pilgrimage of humanitas, which Robert Pogue Harrison tells us, citing the work of Gimbatisto Vico, reveals that the word humanitas in Latin comes first and properly from humando, burying (2003, p. xi). 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, to be born; p. x). A new or revitalized mythos, then, would seek to reclaim the wisdom of the dead, for the quality of being connected to ancestry has been muted considerably in todays future-obsessed consciousness, whose mythos is surcharged with planned obsolescence. A new mythos would exchange hubris for humus. James Hillman, undoubtedly influenced by Vico, writes in Healing Fiction (1983) of the central importance of historys qualitative hold on psyche. He argues convincingly against the preoccupation with the historical ego, whose organizing impulse is to remember 32

and reflect unconsciously the history which formed it and which its continuity would uphold (p. 60). By contrast, each of us is influenced by historys hundred channels which show culture at work in the channels of the soul. The land of the dead is the country of ancestors, and the images who walk in on us are our ancestors. They are the historical progenitors, or archetypes, of our particular spirit informing it with ancestral culture (p. 60). So, perhaps less an emphasis on historical events and facts at this juncture, and more on the nature of a historical sensibility imaginally kindled that arouses ones soul within a larger fabric of meaning and intentions, may assist us in reclaiming the ancestral imagination to allow for a fuller vision of our place in historical time. By the same token, 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, global order is necessary and must take precedence over the rights and appetites of the seemingly autonomous self. Campbell writes in Flight of the Wild Gander (1990/2002) that myths and rites constellate a mesocosm, a mediating middle cosmos through which the microcosm of the individual is brought into relation with the macrocosm of the universe (p. 123). Given such a connection, life on earth is to mirror in the human body the almost hidden, yet now discovered order of the pageant of the spheres (p. 130); such an observation rests on a fundamental premise in all of Campbells musings on world mythologies: the highest concern of all myths, ceremonies, etc, is to get people to identify with something outside of themselves (1990/2002, p. 130). His most cogent and sustained opus, the four volume The Masks of God, 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. Early in the beginning of volume 4, Creative Mythology (1968), Campbell reiterates and in truth, redesigns his list of four qualities, goals and purposes of a peoples mythology. The fourth point is the only one I wish to access here: The fourth and most vital, most critical function of a mythology, then, is to foster the centering and unfolding of the individual in integrity, in accord with d) himself (the microcosm), c) his culture (the mesocosm), b) the universe (the macrocosm), and a) that awesome ultimate mystery which is both beyond and within himself and all things. (p. 6) Stanislav Grof s own work, to which I have only

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recently come, resonates a similar holistic view, 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. 298). Such a shift of capacitya key and critical word hererests on the ability to recognize the myth of mechanism that has dominated a vision of nature and her structure for hundreds of years. Instead of the image of the cosmos as a mechanical system that assumes it can then be understand by dissection and explanation (p. 299), cultural forces shifted the inflection to one of the image of the cosmos as a mythical or series of overlapping mythical tonalities, organisms and the interfaces of both divine and human orders commingling and mutually influencing one another. Such a shift would, I believe, be in line and in the spirit of both Grof s lifes work and Joseph Campbells 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.G. Jung. In such a relationship, nature becomes transformed into narrative, as Richard Kearney develops this idea in a powerful little book, On Stories (2001). There the nature and structure of the narratives we tell, are in a sense homologousand perhaps even holotropic?of the structure of the world we inhabit. Nature and narrative grow like seedlings from the same plot of ground, are fertilized by the same principles that organize and order the cosmic as well as social and individual orders. In such a paradigm, a full and authentic mimesis, or imitation of a psychic action, that Aristotle discovered in the 5th century BCE in Greece, would finally reach its fullest expression. Both Joseph Campbell and Stan Grof would find a strong partnership in the observation expressed by the latter writer in The Holotropic Mind (1990): New scientific findings are beginning to support beliefs of cultures thousands of years old, showing that our individual psyches are, in the last analysis, a manifestation of cosmic consciousness and intelligence that flows through all of existence. We never completely lost contact with this cosmic consciousness because we are never fully separated from it. (pp. 202-03) Let me turn in the last part of this excursus to the realm of poetry, to the process of poiesis that only the human being is fully equipped to create. For the Greeks, poiesis is a making or a shaping of something that has been apprehended; its praxis is to create by

analogy a mimetic representation of some vision, some insight that has particularly powerful mythic resonances. As such, poetry is capable of producing an organic mythology, a mythology of organs and origins, for poets do not eschew the world so much as they enter it more fully than the rest of us may be capable. They are the figures in the culture to whom we turn, for, as the poet Wallace Stevens observes, in writing of Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom, two southern poets of the last century, the poets sensibilities have large orbits (1997, p. 711). And from that penetration through the boundaries that might inhibit or resist the rest of us in our tracks, the poet is a partner in the heros journey who, 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. Poets are the antithesis of those souls caught in hell. For Campbell, Hell, properly, 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, p. 100). In other words, these souls are landlocked, even drydocked, such that they find it impossible to leave their safe harbors and sail towards the transcendent. When asked about the experience of the transcendent and how one might achieve its status, Campbell reflected on it in a Discussion transcribed at the back of Thou Art That, and drew this conclusion: How does the ordinary person come to the transcendent? For a start, I would say, study poetry. Learn how to read a poem. You need not have the experience to get the message, or at least some indication of the message (p. 92). 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, in order to shatter those boundaries that Stan Grof believes keep us arrested within limits that are more arbitrary than absolute (2000, p. 318). The Odes of John Keats (1795-1821) are among the most famous and finely wrought in literature by such a young poet. While written in the early part of the 19th century, they could have been etched yesterday or even tomorrow. As I stated in the title of this paper, there exists an intimacy between the myth of nature, perhaps a mytho-poiesis of nature, that unveils and makes more transparent, the nature of myth. Keats Ode to a Nightingale (1819) renders that dual awareness in dramatic form as he implicitly outlines the lineaments of a mythological sensibility we must retrieve, as both Stan Grof and Joseph Campbell rightly insist on. Any
The Nature of Myth


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. In short, our response must be both mythic and poetic. Wallace Stevens, one of our toughest and most elegant voices of the poet and the critic, could have been musing on Keats Ode when he wrote: There is always an analogy between nature and the imagination, and possibly poetry is merely the strange rhetoric of that parallel (1997, p. 715). In an earlier poem,Ode to Psyche (1819), Keats lamented the loss of psyches place in the natural order through the strange rhetoric that Stevens confirms is the poetic response to the ordinary; 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 poets task, as Keats reveals it in that ode, is to become a priest of the imagination who utters psyches presence back into the world as both a sacramental mission and as a sacred imperative. In Ode to a Nightingale he renders an experience that is no less epiphanic, namely, to reclaim from the past, from the dead, a living testimony of the future. His ode is like a remembrance, for it returns to conscious awareness the absolutely essential role of the imagination as an instrument for reclaiming of the dead, for disinterring a relation that has been truncated and buried, between soul and matter. Said another way, the poets task is not just concerned with the worlds body, but with words bodies themselvesthe power of words organic vitality to form a world and to transcend the ordinary world of sense by such a conveyance. 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, created by the poets sense of the world, that is to say, his attitude, as he intervenes and interposes the appearances of that sense. (1997, pp. 722-23) Keats Ode to a Nightingale testifies to such a transcendent possibility as well as our capacity to nest imaginally in just that brooding domain. The voice of the figure in the poem, its narrator, begins in lethargy: My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains/My sense, as though of hemlock I had 34

drunk,/Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains( 1819, p. 205) as he (in fact it could be a man or a woman) falls Lethe-wards into the ennui of forgetfulness. What this voice seeks is some vitality in his own life, a draught of vintage that has been cooled a long time in the deep-delved earth/Tasting of Flora and the country green,/Dance, and Provencal song (p. 205), some elixir of life that would revive and restore a connection to the natural order. He hears at the same time, and in fact is inspirited by, the song of an invisible nightingale singing in the dark shadows of the forests trees. Such will be his catalyst to heed the sound of the call and venture out, entering the forest at its darkest part, that is, where no one had cut a path before; Campbell insists the heroic journey must originate in pathlessness and in isolation; otherwise one is following anothers path (2001, p. xvii). Bliss eventuates out of personal blisters. The narrators desire seems motivated, in part, by the oppressive sense of lifes decay and death, where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs/Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies (p. 206). The response he feelsfor odes convey as much feeling as thought or actionis moved by desire for a life of depth, for an lan vital, spawned by imagination, by the poetic impulse of the psyche, and perhaps by poetrys innate wisdom. Now, suddenly, through the invisible birds song as guide, the languid soul is immediately transported into another level of consciousness which transcends the boundaries of time and space, yet is anchored securely in the voice of the birdan image, I suspectof the animal mundi herselfnot seen, only heard: Already with thee! tender is the night,/And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,/Clusterd around by all her starry Fays (p. 206). His soul is, in a moment of eternal time, re-animated by the feminine light of the moon and the dark vegetation, where he moves slowly Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways (p. 206). The almost instantaneous transformation into the mysterious realm of nature through an imaginal leap instills in him what I would call a natural imagination, one which is attuned not just to the foliage but to the smells of the coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,/ [and] the murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves (p. 206). His world darkens as he reflects on his attraction, to easeful Death, Calld him soft names in many a mused rhyme To take into the air my quiet breath; Now more than ever it seems rich to die. (p. 206)

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This call by Death is both crucial and necessary, it seems to me, in the construction of a new mythos for the world; for unless the dead are now acknowledged as the central core of our legacy of the living, the same patterns of responses will remain stubbornly in place, both cadaverous and calcified. But with a reverent bow to the dead emerges a recognition of historys 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, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn; (p. 207) This passage bears witness to an entry in one of Wallace Stevens notebooks: The poet is the priest of the invisible (1997, p. 908). As priest, he consecrates the mundane into the transcendent. Within such a sacred posture, two losses most in need of retrieval grow from the soil of lament in the poems voice: the dead, 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. Harrison offers a dramatic image of this observation: Our psyches are the graveyards of impressions, traumas, desires, and archetypes that confound the law of obsolescence (2003, p. xi). He further asserts that any salvific impulse in humanity to preserve itself must be based on a humic foundation, one whose contents have been buried so that they may be reclaimed by the future (p. x). Indeed, to move into the natural order, as the voice of the poem does, is to simultaneously enter by analogy into the world of the dead and the unborn at the same stroke. By the same token, the voice of Keats poem not only retrieves the numinous quality inherent in the natural order, but that voice is also led to it by a kind of poesy, the song of the bird, which has now achieved in his imagination mythical status. Or, his imagination has uncovered the transcendent quality alive in the songs immanence, or perhaps more accurately, in its mythopoetic veracity: Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!/ No hungry generations tread thee down (p. 207) for the particular bird whose song led him into his initial reverie now swells its orbit, if not increases its volume, to become the sound that has echoed through the corridors of history from time immemorial; 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. A temporal event has been

transformed, via the mystery of language, to a mythical experience, which at the same instant has married this sole soul to history, to the vast community of the dead. But as suggested in the archetypal pattern of Joseph Campbells heros journey, he or she must not rest content with the new experience or challenge; the heroic figure must return to the ground from which one originated to complete the cycle of departure, initiation, and returnwith some gift of remembrance. 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. 207) On his return, however, and with a clever oral pun on the word sole, he continues to hear the fading echoic resonances of the birds song, 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, or the transcendent realm cited earlier by Wallace Stevens and given several currency values in Campbells work. But now the nightingales song fades over the still stream,/Up the hill-side; and now tis buried deep/In the next valley-glades (p. 207). It has found its earth home once again. In the metaxis of dream and perceptual waking is the space of contemplation, remembrance, reflection, and renewal: Was it a vision, or a waking dream? /Fled is that music:Do I wake or sleep? (p. 207). One possible answer is yes to both, a waking and sleeping experience, a form of death of the self as it enters through the shining corridor of reverie, the thinly-bordered imagined realm of silence and slow time, a line Keats crafts in Ode On a Grecian Urn (p. 207). If we are able to slow down sufficiently to hear Keats call, then we could suggest that a revitalized mythology must then include a poetic and imaginal response to the matter of the world, a connection to the natural and transcendent orders of being, to history, to a renewed relationship with the dead, with the past, with a historical sensibility, with an awareness of mythic time and space which situates us between flux and permanence, the permanence of flux and the flux of permanence itself; it includes as well a shift from a strictly solar to a lunar consciousness, to a deeper connection to ones sole self, and a return to share, to voice, to make public in a larger venue what one has discovered, in a language that is clean and freshly strewn with original analogies to wake the imagination from its dreary and often habituated slumbers.
The Nature of Myth


Only by taking this last step in the journeymaking public, not in shrill outcries of literal laments, but in a more imaginal and reasoned response, founded on a fertile loam of intuition, will there by any hope, to my mind, 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, numbs their souls and provokes increased consumption. Harrison ends his Preface to The Dominion of the Dead (2003) with this observation: sometimes the best way to retrieve a legacy is by freeing it from its original framework and reinscribing it in new ones (pp. xi-xii). Surely the pioneering work of Joseph Campbell, Stan Grof, Rick Tarnas, John Keats, Carl Jung, James Hillman, Marie Louise von Franz, Marion Woodman, Christine Downing, Ginette Paris and others, each with his or her uniquely beveled and honed eloquent language, 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. Author Note This paper is based upon a presentation at the Sixteenth International Transpersonal Conference in Palm Spring, California: 13-18 June 2004. References Bush, D. (Ed.). (1959). Selected poems and letters by John Keats. New York: Houghton Mifflin. Campbell, J. (1968). Creative mythology. The masks of God, vol. 4. New York: Viking Press. Campbell, J. (1972). Myths to live by. New York: Penguin Publishing. Campbell, J. (1990). Flight of the wild gander: Explorations in the mythological dimension. Novato, CA: New World Library. Original work published 1951. Campbell, J. (2003). The heros journey: Joseph Campbell on his life and work. Novato, CA: New World Library. Original work published 1990. Campbell, J. (1973). The hero with a thousand faces. Bollingen Series XVII. Princeton: NJ: Princeton University Press. Original work published 1948. Campbell, J. (2002). The inner reaches of outer space: Metaphor as myth and as religion. Novato, CA: New World Library. Original work published 1986. Campbell, J. (1988). The power of myth. (B. S. Flowers, Editor.) New York: Doubleday. 36

Campbell, J. (2001). Thou art that: Transforming religious metaphor. Novato, CA: New World Library. Campbell, J. (2004). Pathways to bliss: Mythology and personal transformation. Novato, CA: New World Library. Grof, S. (1993). The holotropic mind: The three levels of human consciousness and how they shape our lives. San Francisco: Harper. Grof, S. (2000). Psychology of the future: Lessons from modern consciousness research. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Harrison, R.P. (2003). The dominion of the dead. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Hegel, G. (1991). The philosophy of history. (J. Sibree, Trans.). Great Books in Philosophy Series. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Press. Original work published 1822. Hillman, J. (1983). Healing fiction. Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Publishing. Huxley, A. (1970). The perennial philosophy. New York: Harper and Row Publishers. Original work published 1944. Jung. C.G. (1989). Mysterium coniunctionis. (R.F.C.Hull, Trans.), Bollingen Series XX. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. Original work published 1944. Kearney, R. (2001). On stories. New York: Routledge Press. Redford, R. (2004). Natural resources defense council pamphlet on the environment. New York: NRDC Publications. Rilke, R.M. Letters to a young poet. (Joan M. Burnham, Trans.). The Classic Wisdom Collection. Novato, CA: New World Library. Original work published 1929. Romanyshyn, R. (2002). Ways of the heart: Essays toward an imaginal psychology. Pittsburgh, PA: Trivium Books. Stevens, W. (1997). Stevens: Collected poetry and prose. New York: The Library of America. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

Myth, 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, including the mythological perspective of Joseph Campbell and the holotropic perspective of Stanislav Grof, on actor training using the neutral mask. An outline of training in the neutral mask is given, focusing on the approach of David Latham, as experienced by the author in his own training. Points of correspondence with the vision of Campbell and Grof, and their influence, are discriminated and discussed. These correspondences open up two areas of inquiry: the transformative effect of the mask work when conducted in a transpersonally-oriented set, and the use of the neutral mask as an approach to the study of myth and archetype. Both are discussed, and some preliminary conclusions drawn based on experiences reported by student-actors and the authors observations during his own research and his practice as actor and teacher.

n his preface to The Masks of God, Joseph Campbell writes that within its four volumes are given all the motifs contained in the unified symphony of humanitys spiritual heritage, with many clues, besides, suggesting ways in which they might be put to use by reasonable men to reasonable endsor by poets to poetic endsor by madmen to nonsense and disaster (Campbell, 1991a, p. xx). In the years since the publication of The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Campbell, 1993), Campbells insights into this symphonythe artefacts of which, whether works of philosophy, psychology, theology or folklore, he placed together under the umbrella of mythhave been put to use in fields as varied as screenwriting and organisational learning. In this paper, I will offer an account of how those clues, and the larger vision put forth in his writings, have served poetic ends in actor training and performance, particularly in work with the neutral mask, a powerful contemporary mask widely-used in actor training in Europe, Australia and North America. 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, because it is amazingly congruent with mask work, provides an excellent orienting vehicle for the unique combination of creative work and personal transfor-

mation that this work represents. The nature of this transformational environment will be further illuminated by setting it alongside Stanislav Grof s model of healing in non-ordinary states of consciousness (Grof, 1985, 1987). The second part of the paper will describe the experience of actors who do this work the transformations they reportand how the mask can be a way of research into the myth, archetype and journey, and what it has revealed regarding these in my own research. Personal background and mask training There are many different approaches to the neutral mask, and while there are many similarities and common or recurring elements in these different approaches, there are also important differences. Joseph Campbells vision of myth has come to be a part of the mask work through my teacher, David Latham. When I write of the mask work in this context, I am acknowledging that there is a broad tradition but specifically referring to the neutral mask work as I learned it from David Latham. Artists tend, however, not to stay the same for too long, so I should also add that I am referring to how David was teaching it ten years ago, when I trained with him, and to my own interpretation and development of that work. The following account of the neutral mask, based on my own

Neutral Mask


experience as an actor, observer and teacher, will trace the broad outlines of the work. I trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia. When I arrived from my hometown of Perth, a few thousand miles away, to begin training, I had just finished a degree in philosophy and politics and I was intellectually-orientednot very aware of my body or my feelings. Our training was three years full-timea very intense three years and in the first six weeks we were completely immersed in exercises to increase our awareness of body, breath, impulses, and imagination. In voice, we spent six weeks lying on the floor sensing our breath, lengthening our spines, and releasing all kinds of tiny muscles. In movement we practised Feldenkrais work (Feldenkrais, 1980), Alexander (Alexander, 1984), ideokinesis, stretching, and many other exercises. In acting we did a great deal of work to become aware of impulses, and specific exercises to prepare us for the mask, exercises that loosen and awaken the body and imagination and connect these with the breath, exercises to evoke movement that is inspired by breath and infused with image. We worked to make the spine responsive, flexible and present to awareness. Preparation for the mask also involves work with the various centres in the body (chest, groin, solar plexus), imagining the breath moving down the front of the spine into the centres, attending the images and energies that emerged there, and then moving from these energies. David Latham never used the word chakra, however, which for novice actors carries associations with the new age or Hinduism. Using concepts like chakra in an acting class causes some people to become resistant and others to become over-excited. It is unnecessary. In acting, the immediate experience and ones capacity to communicate it is the important thingthe actual energetic freedom and creative mastery of the actor. Too many concepts associated with other realms of endeavour and modes of discourse can become a serious obstacle. We also began to journey inwardly, lying on the floor, simply telling the story of our imagination to a single witness as it unfolded. These inner journeys and the movement improvisations might begin with personal themes but they soon move through violence, sexual places, religious places, or just plain weird places. David Latham always affirmed wherever we went. When the mask is introduced, it is done quite formally. Its a definite moment: Today we begin work with The Mask. Various elements come together to create a sacred space and the impression of an initia38

tion: the way the teacher handles the masks; the presentation of definite taboos; the fact that students are only permitted to wear black, plain clothing; the division of the room, like a theatre, into a performance space and an audience space; those who are not performing are always in the audience. There is never any clapping. Masks, of course, have long been an important part tool of initiation and transformation. It has been argued that the mask is the most ubiquitous of human artifacts. It is found in nearly every culture and its association with ritual and with non-ordinary states of consciousness is well-known (Eldredge, 1996). First, students are asked simply to wear the mask in front of the group, sometimes in conjunction with an image, such as being in a desert, often without. This simple exercise yields a range of often powerful experiences, which demonstrate the extraordinary capacity of the mask to induce shifts in consciousness. The student-actors often report experiencing a sense of peace, freedom, or terror. Some pull the mask off quickly, others say that they felt possessed. One student reported that she felt her breath moving through her in a circle, up her spine and down the front of her body, another spoke of an intoxicating and seductive power like he had never experienced before (Holloway, 2001). The students are not told what they should experience, and they are told very little about the nature of the mask. It it is up to the students to discover what it is through their own curiosity, by acting in it, and by observing it as an audience member (SaintDenis & Saint-Denis, 1982). For the actor understanding is a matter of action, of doing. While it is important to allow the performer to make their own sense of the work, based on their own experience, it is possible to make some general remarks about its nature. The neutral mask is not a particular character. It has no psychology, no problems, no past. It has no inner conflict; it lives in a state of inner calm. It has no differentiated attitude. It does not hold to a fixed point of view. It does not do one thing on the inside and another on the outside. It is what it sees; it is action. It is totally transparent. It has no plans, no agendas. It teaches an actor to be simple, and to be present. Jacques Lecoq, the late, renowned teacher of neutral mask, writes that To enter into a mask means to feel what gave birth to it, to rediscover the basis of the mask and to find what makes it vibrate in yourself. After this it will be possible to play it from within (Lecoq, 2000, p. 55). The story of the birth of this mask is very illuminating. It was discovered in the theatre of Jacques Copeau, a Frenchman, the founder of

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

the Vieux-Colombier theatre and its school (Copeau, Rudlin, & Paul, 1990). 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, resonance, freedom and elemental aliveness. One day in the rehearsal of a difficult emotional scene, an actress found herself blocked, unable to play it, however hard she tried. In desperation, Copeau took his handkerchief and covered the actress face. To everyones amazement, she was then able to play the scene freely and truthfully. After this Copeau asked his students to make themselves simple neutral masks, simply to cover their faces. Copeaus son-in-law Jean Daste, wrote about how this became the discovery of a mysterious world. They would make up very simple exercises with various themes: waiting, discovery, fear, anguish such as the families of sailors, watching from the shore for the arrival of a boat. It has been shipwrecked; we wait; we realize the sailors will not return. Somehow these simple themes and simple actions brought forth, in the mask, great emotion and a power that astonished their audience: the characters possessed a greater reality and a greater vitality (Copeau et al., 1990, pp. 237-238). In the simplest terms, what a mask does is make the invisible visible. It shares with ritual and spiritual practice an interest in a normally invisible reality. Unlike many spiritual practices, which seek to touch this reality inwardly, mask, theatre and often ritual are concerned with making this invisible reality visible on this plane1. This invisible inner reality could be a realm of spirits, the eternal archetypes, the imagination of a playwright or the psychological world of a character. The important thing is that some facet of this unmanifest world is made manifest through the body, voice and speech of the performer or shaman. The use of a particular mask determines, of course, what invisible thing or being will come through. We can begin to see the affinity between mask and Campbells vision of myth when he suggests that the basic theme of all mythologythat there is an invisible plane supporting the visible one (Campbell, 1988, p. 71). Theres a roughly equivalent duality in Stan Grof s work in which he distinguishes holotropic and hylotropic states or realities (Grof, 1985, p. 38). The actors transformation into the mask character could be seen as the holotropic reality emerging into the hylotropic. If masks reveal the invisible, one approach to understanding a mask is to ask, What of the invisible world does it make visible? Because the neutral mask

has no past, it lives outside time, in a world that is prior to culture, in which everything is done for the first time. It is a world of essences, of elemental beginnings. It is always interestingly, an outdoor world, intimately connected to nature. Jacques Lecoq, the late, great French acting teacher says that it allows one to find the essentialthe word of all words (Wylie, 1994, p. 78). He calls it the mask of masks and says, Beneath every maskthere is a neutral mask (Lecoq, 2000, p. 40). The actors begin to discover this through performing simple human actionswaking up for the first time, throwing a stone, the last goodbye to the beloved. They discover that for the mask to work, to have life, they must pare back unnecessary gesture and action; they must shed their idiosyncrasies, and so release what Reich would call their character armour. The mask covers the face, the persona, the daily mask. The actor must adapt their body and action to the mask; it must be the body of the mask, a body without conflict, without attitude. Its actions must be prior to culture, prior to conditioning, for the first time. We are searching for simplicity and universality, so that any person, from any culture, would be able to understand: ah, she said goodbye; ah, he discovered something. The work moves on to identifications, with the elements (Water, Fire, Air and Earth), with archetypes (e.g., The Warrior, The Innocent, The Seven Deadly Sins, the Major Arcana of the Tarot), with substances (Plastic, Olive Oil, Aluminium Foil, Glass, Rubber, and so on), and even onto colours, music and words. These identifications often begin with an invitation to the students to contact an image. The mask improvisation involves completing the image. Completing the imageentering into it, embodying the invisible presence (which is, at the beginning, felt within) while in contact with an audiencemakes up the crux of the actors work; it is what we practice again and again. This is what Lecoq calls mime but it is mime de fond, mime of depth, not mime of form. He explains it like this: Take for example, the observation of a tree: in going beyond the ideas which surround it, and the personal feelings it arouses, 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, 1994, p. 80). The same process is applied even for identifications with elements that do not, on the surface, appear to have movement, like colours. We ask: what is the living gesture of a certain colour? How does yellow move? Mime de fond
Neutral Mask


involves an identification with things in order to make them livemime is a way of rediscovering a thing with freshness (Lecoq, 2000, p. 22). This work frees and connects the imagination and the body and expands the actors range of expression and feeling. Journey & the Monomyth Beyond these simple identifications there are Journeys based on the monomyth (Campbell, 1993), in which many possible identifications are integrated into an unfolding story of transformation. This represents one major influence of Campbell on my teacher David Latham. The actor will be told something like: You wake up. You receive the call to set out on a journey, and you answer the call. You cross a threshold and enter a new world. You travel along a road of trials where you meet forces that help you and forces that hinder you. At the end of the road of trials you face a great test. When you pass this test you are given a gift, you return with this gift to the world you came from. You share the gift and you sleep. They must improvise this with complete physical and imaginal commitment, with no planning or guidance about the specific content this structure brings forth. The details of the journey are changed all the time. Sometimes it occurs in pairs or groups; sometimes it is given in great detail, sometimes very simply. Many students will ask for the structure to be repeated, but they are told, what happens, happens. You will remember what you remember. The point is not to tick the boxes: that would be a travesty of the work. The point is that, like the elements and archetypes, is in the actor, and it can come out. The point is to go through the personal associations to the mythic resonance. The point, because we are actors, is to really do it, to find it truthfully and become it completely so that the invisible is made visible and palpable. Of course, it is not about making something up; it is not about acting it out. The forms arise from the deeper physical and imaginative connection with the structure itself. In experience they seem to arise from the body. You see the image, you are the image; the image is in you and you are in it. David Latham has a way of talking so that the words resonate in the body, they have impact, so that one can feel memories waking up inside. When he said You Wake Up, it was clear that it was no ordinary waking upthat You Wake Up was an action of intensity and scope. The impact of hearing this for the first time, as a student before any contact with 40

Campbells work, was extraordinary. There was a sense of remembering, as if I was touching something archaic within myself. My first journey was spread out over two classes: I rode a dragon, killed a giant snake, and got stuck on a beach-wasteland facing the ocean, until I understood that my journey was into the ocean, where I was torn apart by fish, ending up in the arms of a great Silence I knew was God. I lay there for a long time, not wanting to leave, until He told me to Do it with love. Then I got up and took off the mask. A powerful element of this experience was the sense of necessity which imbued my actions, as if there was only one way the story could unfold, according to a precise inner logic that was at once my own and beyond me. The mask knew what had to happen, and I knew too, in an archaic place inside myself. All the personal associations, the mythic metaphors and the actual physical actions in all their rhythms, were one harmonious and necessary unfoldment. Afterwards David Latham told me he thought I had died. I tried to explain that I had and there was some confusion until I realised that he thought I had actually died, because I had lain there so still for so long. He asked if I had been given a gift. I said no, but he kept digging until I mentioned what I had been told just before the end. He said thats your gift. After that I understood how being an actor, an artist, could be a truly profound journey. David talks about this work as nourishing the roots of ones talent, and this first experience remains for me a touchstone, one at the roots of both my artistic life and personal being, and one which has proved both unexpectedly rich and difficult to live out fully. By way of contrast, Lecoqs journey relies for its structure on the natural world, with very specific content. He will tell students: At daybreak you emerge from the sea; in the distance you can see a forest and you set out towards it. You cross a sandy beach and then you enter the forest. You move through trees and vegetation which grow ever more densely as you search for a way out. Suddenly, without warning, you come out of the forest and find yourself facing a mountain. You absorb the image of this mountain, then you begin to climb, from the first gentle slopes to the rocks and the vertical cliff face which tests your climbing skills. Once you reach the summit, a vast panorama opens up: a river runs through a

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valley and then there is a plain and finally in the distance, a desert. You come down the mountain, cross the stream, walk through the plain, then into the desert, and finally the sun sets. (Lecoq, 2000, p. 41) Its important to remember that as the mask moves through these environments it becomes them; it is what it sees. The image is in the actor and the actor is in the image. Later, the actors rerun the journey in extreme conditions: There is a raging sea and the wave throws you up onto the beach. The sand is being swept by a rainstorm. The forest is on fire. Once you are on the mountain there is an earthquake followed by avalanches, and you slide down towards the river, which is in flood. You manage by grabbing hold of the trees. Finally you reach the desert, where a sandstorm is blowing up. (Lecoq, 2000, p. 42) Campbells orientation as a facilitating vision or set Lecoq encourages his students to be aware of the symbolic overtones of the natural environments they move throughcrossing the river can be a metaphor for adolescence, for example. In David Lathams work, however, metaphor is central, and this points to the second significant way that Campbells work has influenced it: it serves as the cornerstone of an overarching, facilitating vision, a kind of meta-frameworkwhat Grof would refer to, in non-ordinary states of consciousness work, as the set (Grof, 1976, p. 14). By the time I met David Latham and began working with him, he had been absorbing Joseph Campbells work for nearly twenty years, and the philosophical basis of his work had become the triangle of myth, art and psychology. He was interested in training an actor in such a way that the actors work exists in the duality of that which is psychological and that which is universal (Latham, 1992, p. 2). Part of doing this is uncovering the roots and nurturing these roots, the universal depths, and this is where the neutral mask is very effective. David writes that his work is not about invention; it is not about methods; it is about revealing; revealing at a deeper and deeper level, making connections that have psychological connotations and universal connotations, and not only bringing those to the work, but allowing them to be the driving force of the work in its content and its form. The founda-

tion of the craft thus reaches into the deepest source of our being, the essence of our humanness, individually, communally and culturally. (Latham, 1992, p. 4) Although it might be simplistic to try to analyse, in the space available, something as profoundly integrated and organic as an individual teachers art, developed over long years of personal struggle and innovation, I would like to point to two elements that seem important. Firstly, David Latham affirms wherever his students journey to in their imagination and their improvisation. To use Campbells phrase, he says yea to it all (Campbell, 1991c, p. 20). This distinguishes him very clearly from the Lecoq tradition, which uses the via negativa. Although it seems simple, such an attitude has depth and richness, to maintain it honestly requires great personal trust, heart and openness and its effect on the working atmosphere are profound and significant. I remember Davids appreciation of all the places we wentnot just allowing but appreciation of the powerful, perverse, sexual, violent, emotional. He was interested in all of youwhatever you wanted to bring out, he affirmed it. I once asked him what he began with when he started teaching. He told me that he just knew that he wanted peoplehis students and actorsto bring out what was in them. Something deep within responds to this attitude. Underlying it is a sense of trust that wherever you go will be OK, an understanding that the depths of the individual are universal and that these depths will eventually emerge. In this way, we can go to the universal through the personal, not by negating it. We can experience how, beneath our surface characteristics, the profoundly personal, the most intimate places, are universal. The second element of Campbells vision that David brought to the work was a profound and intensely lived understanding of metaphor. For David, the mask is a metaphor, myth is a metaphor and theatre is a metaphor (Latham, 1992). Even the physical exercises serve as metaphors, for acting, for inner states. More than this, the work occurs within an atmosphere of play, but also a holy atmosphere; it is, as Campbell would say, a highly played game of as if (Campbell, 1991b, p. 28). The power of the images is deeply respected, but even the most powerful identification is regarded as a symbol: it lives in and through the body of the actor, sometimes in terrifyingly powerful ways, but nevertheless it is still theatre. At the end, the actor takes off the mask. The only thing David said more than yes was let it go.
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There are many connections and correspondences between Campbells vision of myth and metaphor and masking generally, as he eloquently demonstrates at the outset of his four-volume masterwork, in Primitive Mythology (Campbell, 1991b, pp. 21-26). The affinity is even more acute when we consider the neutral mask specifically. The essence of the neutral mask is silence and stillness. In it, the actor transforms into the elemental forms of reality and lives through the movements of the world, and yet mask remains the same. In Campbells terms, it is the World Axis, the centre of the turning wheel of terror-joy. Neutral is a fulcrum point which doesnt exist (Eldredge & Huston, 1995, p. 123). The seeming paradox within these images is literal with the mask: it doesnt move; it is made of papier mache. It is the still point and the silence that makes movement and speech possible. Campbell says, Myth is the revelation of a plenum of silence within and around every atom of existence (Campbell, 1993, p. 267); and Myth is a directing of the mind and heart, by means of profound informed figurations, to that ultimate mystery which fills and surrounds all existence (Campbell, 1993, p. 267). The forms that arise in the mask are nothing if not profound informed configurations.2 Like myth, the mask is prior to time, and all are playful: between the stillness at the centre and the dynamism of the worlds and the masks movements, when both are present in awareness, there comes the sense of play. Finally, Campbells whole conception can be seen to turn on the metaphor of masking: he writes about the Masks of God, the costumes of that transcendent Source from which words (and, I would add, particular forms) turn back.3 Behind all the masks, there is the neutral mask, the principle of masking itself, the principle of play and transformation. David Latham would say, more simply, the mask is theatre. Once I came across Stanislav Grof s writings, a whole other set of common elements and parallels became apparent, some of which his model shares with Campbell. These are important because they bridge Campbells vision with the process of personal and transpersonal transformation that is so much a part of such in-depth performance training. 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, realms of the unconscious are like movies the creative principle is screening on different channels (Grof, 1998, p. 73) another version of the masks of God metaphor. In LSD Psychotherapy, Grof writes about the importance of the as-if framework, calling it that territory of experiential ambiguity which seems optimal for thera42

peutic work (Grof, 2001, p. 196). In other words, one can get stuck by literalizing ones experience, by menu-eating. Lathams approach to the mask also shares with Grof s work a willingness to affirm whatever comes up, a trust in the overall trajectory of the psyche, the movement of the process from personal to universal or transpersonal, and the use of non-ordinary states of consciousness. Grof writes that The main objective of the techniques of experiential psychotherapy is to activate the unconscious, to unblock the energy bound in emotional and psychosomatic symptoms, and to convert the stationary balance of this energy into a stream of experience (Grof, 1987, p. 166) and The NOSC tends to change the dynamic equilibrium underlying the symptoms, transform them into a stream of unusual experiences, and consume them in the process (Grof, 1987, p. 167). From my description above, it should be clear that there is a similar process going on in the mask. Finally, the journey of the student through the mask training looks like a journey through the transpersonal level of Grof s cartography: identifying with Fire, with The Tree, with different kinds of matter, with archetypes, as well as the acting out of the monomyth, which Campbell explicitly associated with the spiritual journey (Campbell, 1988). 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. It is, given these similarities, a powerful crucible for deep personal transformation, and I will now discuss the kinds of changes actors report in this work. 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. 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 craft of actors is in large part to do with the development of their instrument, themselves. The practice of completing the image brings actors up to and through their physical limitations again and again, and so clears the channels of expression and feeling in the body. The transformation of the actor-person builds the actor-instrument; the body becomes not just a vehicle for the imagination, but in a sense saturated with imagination; it becomes permeable to essences. The journey awakens the chan-

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nels of energy in the body and after the training, the body remembers the formsthe rhythms, weights, gestures, actionsthat evoke particular connections. The actor becomes the metaphor, the one who carries across the meaning of the invisible, who brings the invisible into forms that point back to the silence.4 This offers an actor an incredible range of physical expression he or she probably has not imagined up until this point. More importantly, it opens up inner experience, new rhythms and feelings, sensations of greater weight or sublime lightness, a whole universe of body memories, which are more than merely physical. These become sources for the actor, for characters (fiery revolutionaries, air-heads, slippery characters), or for whole theatrical creations. While the main trajectory of discovery in the neutral mask is toward the theatre, nobody could work with the neutral mask, I am convinced, without discovering, as Lecoq says, that it also points toward life. He writes that For everyone, the neutral mask becomes a point of reference (Lecoq, 2000, p. 38). For myself, it became a reference point not only for acting but, perhaps even more so, for the world; it has become like a pendulum that swings between theatre and life. The experiences and insights of the mask point both ways, and I have kept returning to it, each time making discoveries about theatre, the world and myself. In my own research I wanted to include this second trajectory, and actors were invited to comment, if it seemed appropriate, on the effects of the mask work on them beyond the studio. One research intensive I conducted involved actors working with the monomyth on a daily basis for two weeks, in conjunction with many other exercises, which were chosen specifically to support the development of their journey work. Ill talk about two things that emerged from this research: what the participants reported about changes in themselves, and what we learned about archetype, the monomyth and myth generally. The following accounts are based on the experiences reported by the actors during this intensive, on the reports of other actors I have trained or observed and on my own experiences with the mask. Spiritual Emergence(y) Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the rare effects is something like a spiritual emergence(y), in the Grofs terms (Grof & Grof, 1995), by which I mean that the work provokes a transformational process that continues explicitly and strongly outside of the class, and which can include powerful experiences likely to be pathologized by mainstream psychiatry. For myself, it

was as if the mask work opened the inner floodgates, emotionally, imaginatively and energetically. At various times, I would experience, outside of the class, an enormous upsurge of elemental energies, sudden, huge waves of emotion, and powerful dreams that would continue after I woke up, like another reality overlaying this one. One actor wrote, after a powerful experience of Water: I couldnt sit still, from deep inside of me was flowing a stream of clear, bright, clean energy and it wasnt stopping. I had forgotten that life could feel like this, and it wasnt stopping, I couldnt even sit down, I kept jumping up on my feet and even that wasnt enough it was another day and night before it began to subside (Holloway, 2001, para. 1). For this student the mask was one catalyst for a powerful spiritual emergency that continued for months afterwards. Awakening of Energy and Essence Various energetic experiences frequently occur. It is quite common for the energy of the elements to keep flowing for some time. One student reported that she noticed quite a lot of heat in [her] inside heat, like [she was] burning up. Another after becoming fire talked about the fire in [her] belly consuming and burning through [her] resentments in the days after her Fire identification. Many actors also report energetic effects not specifically related to the specific identifications. One actor, who had done some work with the Diamond Approach (Almaas, 2004), reported that she felt what she called, little poofs of magic cloud in her chest. During the mask work, these happenings would sometimes be the source of her mask work, but they would also occur outside of the studio, often when she thought of the work. Her description suggests more than an emotion, and is more reminiscent of the lataif level as Almaas describes ita level between energy and the substance of essence (Almaas, 1998). She describes sifting through the thoughts, the emotions, the ratty commendations and condemnations to get close to the POOFS. Other students give reports that suggest something similar, qualities opening up inside and intimate movements that are more than physical. An increase in their sense of presence and the presence of their fellow actors is also a common observation. Changes in perception of the world Participants often report a change in their perceptions: thinking new thoughts, the world becoming new and different, seeing in a different way. This makes sense if we consider that once you have identiNeutral Mask


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

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an actor finds a deep personal connection with the image, it can go to a depth where he no longer sees any image at all. He is being the stillness, centred in it, and the form seems to emerge out of the body itself. The body seems to shape itself, to find the forms independently as the actor observes it. You dont know what will happen in the next moment. This experience of the quality or archetype coming out of the body, or the intelligence of the body is something that Tarnas points to in Grof s work: participants often have the insight that the body is the repository and vessel of the archetypal (Tarnas, 1993, p. 428). 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. Most often the actor finds the useful sources in childhood or adolescence. Observing fire between classes does not usually bring the same numinosity, organic spontaneity and power that is often present when the actor draws on the memory of a bushfire tearing through their hometown. The muscles must remember. Journey In the case of the journey, this also appears to be the case. Cirlot writes that From the spiritual point of view, the journey is never merely a passage through space but rather an expression of the urgent desire for discovery and change.... Hence to study, to inquire, to seek or to live with intensity through new and profound experiences are all modes of travelling, or, to put it another way, spiritual and symbolic equivalents of the journey.... (Cirlot, 1971, p. 164). To live with intensity through new and profound experienceshow many of the young actors that we see have really journeyed? What are their frames of reference, their associations? Everquest? Outward Bound? How many of us have felt the long passage through different territories on a journey that we did not know we would return from? How many of us have come back from long years away and faced our place of origin and only then discovered that we were not at all the same? How many of us have absorbed the loss and the maturity of that adventure? Divorced from its physical dimension, the archetype of the journey can become a mere phrase, hackneyed and trite. As teachers of mask, we work to shake the concept loose of its easy associations, to wake up the actors imaginations to the profound reality of the universal dimension. We work physically to do this, calling on the actor to find the limits of their strength in pushing, of their release in falling and so on. The trials are

designed to see to it that the intending hero should really be a hero, says Campbell (1988, p. 126). We often need to use a series of physical tasks to help the actor lift their energy to level of a true trial. What Im saying here is that the mask teaches us that an archetype divorced from the physical loses its grandeur. For the sense of a mythic journey to emerge, there is something important about going to the physical limit and just beyond it. I once tried to make a performance that would capture and express the magnificent theatre of mask class. We chose the most powerful and dramatic identifications from the training and we worked, using a very detailed process, to gradually find the impulses and the movement, so that the performance had a repeatable form, and although the work was fascinating and rich, and the relevant archetypes came to life, the drama was lost because, as the students rehearsed, their bodies became more open to the archetype. What had, in the beginning, pushed them to their limits was now something they could encompass. In a sense, they expanded to meet it, and while the performance was interesting, and was perhaps a more perfect embodiment of the archetypal form than the original improvisations, it didnt live in the same way as it did in mask, when the energies took the actors beyond themselves, however imperfect the form may have been. When a thing is perfect, it is dead; it has no movement. Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan writes of the train wheel being turned from off-centre (Inayat Khan, 1994), and actually the neutral mask is not really neutral: there is a deliberate imperfection. If it was symmetrical it would be dead. Symmetrical masks have no life. Something a little off-centre has to be turning the wheel, and this seems to apply to the actor as well. In the mask, the journey is about the intensity of the experiences, not about ticking the boxes of a pregiven structure. The structure is useless if the actor has no passion for adventure, no thirst for transformation. Theatrically, it does not work unless we see the actor transformed by the environments and events they are experiencing, not only in the outward expression, but more fundamentally in the centre, in the quality of their presence. I would say this is true for the world too: the journey isnt a journey unless you are actually changed by it, unless you are receptive to the terrain through which you move. The Great Test is the apex of the journey, the fundamental transition at which the momentumthe energy and the rhythmsof the journey thus far, condense and reach their limit of intensity. The breaking open that happens with the gathering expression of all
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the heros resources (catharsis), often seems to be a shedding of a coarser way of moving. It provides an opening into whichspeaking in terms of energy not actionThe Gift can descend. We observe that the moment of The Gift is almost always a transition into greater subtlety. On many occasions, this is when the journey really opens to a sacred dimension. Interestingly, it can come without a huge physical struggle, and yet this often the point at which rhythm and quality of the actors movement will become most clearly numinous. Unless the call is strong and specific (but not necessarily known) at the beginning, the hero very easily becomes transformed into the surrounding environment. There is no interest, no drama or epic energy in the journey unless there is a powerful forward movement, usually given by the call, facing enormously powerful obstacles. Without this, it is boring; it is bad theatre. Without a strong need to complete the journey, in the face of a raging river the mask becomes the river. We also find that an insipid call draws forth only a trickling stream. 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, Campbell writes (1988, p. 122), and indeed we find that the urge to go on the journey, the pull of the call, must be stronger, in fact, than death. If it isnt the work can attain a puffed-up, sticky-significant quality, which I call the fake mythic. The chest lifts a little too high; the body becomes more rigid, less permeable. Significance is not given by the focused and specific intensity of the performers presence as they face a specific trial, but attempted by creating a kind of honey quality in the movement, as if trying to expand the movement beyond itself. The mythic quality doesnt exclude the lightness and simplicity, the directness of the mask. In fact the true mythic quality requires them. I would say that the journey becomes mythic when there is a true and specific call that is stronger than death, when there is nothing that is added to the action, when it is pared down to the essential. A strong call is connected to the principle of the end being present at the beginning. The presence of the mask is more than time, so the end is implicit in its presence at the beginning. As Joseph Campbell says The basic principle of all mythology is this, of the beginning in the end (Campbell, 1993, p. 269). We might also say that it is to do with the end in the beginning and the stillness within the movement. All of these elements together comprise, according to Michael Chekhov, the feeling of the whole which he 46

views as essential to all art and a crucial element of the actors art (Chekhov, 1991, p. xl). These correspondences point to the integrity of David Lathams triangle of myth, art and psychology, in that all three might be called, in Grof s terms, holotropicoriented toward the whole, expressing the movement toward wholeness, toward the reality of the inner, of presence, the soul and the spirit, rather than toward matter. 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.5 Author Note This paper is based on a presentation to the 16th International Transpersonal Association Conference: Mythic Imagination and Modern Society, Palm Springs, California, June 2004 Footnotes mask is engaged in making present a presence and making present an absence (Eldredge, 1996, p. 15). 2Because the mask has no character, the actor must, in order to embody it, shed her idiosyncrasies. Because the mask has no past, the actors cannot carry their baggage in their body-armour. They have to find a neutral body, and this means that the primary images are not usually personal associations, as you might find in an actor trained in Strasbergs method, but timeless or mythic associations. The neutral mask actor may be aware, and usually is aware, of all kinds of personal connections, as she moves through a mythic landscape, or performs an action like the last good bye, but the mask is innately universal. It has a mythic, not a domestic resonance. If we find the right body and behaviour, the mask tunes us into the mythic depths to actions that have universal resonance. Thats the invisible world of the mask, and it is also one of the invisible worlds within us, the mythic dimension of our own depth. 3The crucial thing though is that words, and forms, point to, if they are good metaphors; they point beyond themselves to the source of life, and carry new life across from that source into the manifest world. The metaphor is therefore the bridge, and metaphor means to carry across. 4Compare Grotowski: Performer knows how to link body images to the song. (The stream of life is articulated in images.) The witnesses then enter into states of intensity because, so to say, they feel presence. And this is thanks to Performer, who is a bridge

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between the witness and this something. In this sense, Performer is pontifex, maker of bridges (Grotowski, 2001, p. 377). 5In Wilbers model, he deems the validity claims for knowledge in the interior-subjective domain of reality (the I quadrant) to be aesthetic (Wilber, 1996, p. 122). References Alexander, F. M. (1984). The use of the self. Downey, CA: Centreline Press. Almaas, A. H. (1998). Essence. York Beach: ME. Samuel Weiser. Almaas, A. H. (2004). The inner journey home: Souls realization of the unity of reality. Boston: Shambhala. Campbell, J. (1988). The power of myth. New York: Doubleday. Campbell, J. (1991a). The masks of God: Creative mythology. New York: Arkana. Campbell, J. (1991b). The masks of God: Primitive mythology (Revised ed. Vol. 1). Ringwood, Australia: Penguin Arkana. Campbell, J. (1991c). Reflections on the art of living: A Joseph Campbell companion. New York: Harper Collins. Campbell, J. (1993). The hero with a thousand faces. London: Fontana Press. Chekhov, M. (1991). On the technique of acting. New York: Harper Collins. Cirlot, J. E. (1971). A dictionary of symbols. Burlingame, CA: Redwood Press. Copeau, J., Rudlin, J., & Paul, N. H. (1990). Copeautexts on theatre. London; New York: Routledge. Eldredge, S. A. (1996). Mask improvisation for actor training and performance: The compelling image. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. Eldredge, S. A., & Huston, H. (1995). Actor training in the neutral mask. In P. B. Zarrilli (Ed.), Acting (re)considered. New York: Routledge. Feldenkrais, M. (1980). The potent self. New York: Penguin. Grof, S. (1976). Realms of the human unconscious: Observations from LSD research. New York: E.P. Dutton. Grof, S. (1985). Beyond the brain: Birth, death and transcendence in psychotherapy. New York: The State University of New York Press. Grof, S. (1987). The adventure of self-discovery: Dimensions of consciousness and new perspectives in

psychotherapy and inner exploration. New York: State University of New York Press. Grof, S. (1998). The cosmic game: Explorations of the frontiers of human consciousness. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Grof, S. (2001). LSD psychotherapy. Sarasota, FL: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Grof, S., & Grof, C. (1995). The stormy search for the self: Understanding and living with spiritual emergency. London: Thorsons. Grotowski, J. (2001). Performer. In R. Schechner & L. Woolford (Eds.), The Grotowski sourcebook (pp. 376-380). New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications. Holloway, N. (2001). Anglesea. Unpublished manuscript, Melbourne. Inayat Khan, P. V. (1994). That which transpires behind that which appears: The experience of Sufism. New Lebanon, NY: Omega Publications. Latham, D. (1992, 17th July). The actor and the journey. Paper presented at the Theatre Training Conference, National Institute of Dramatic Art. Lecoq, J. (2000). The moving body (D. Bradby, Trans.). London: Methuen. Saint-Denis, M., & Saint-Denis, S. (1982). Training for the theatre: Premises & promises. New York, London: Theatre Arts Books; Heinemann. Soanes, C. (Ed.). (2001). Oxford dictionary of current English (Third ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Tarnas, R. (1993). The passion of the Western mind. New York: Ballantine. Wilber, K. (1996). A brief history of everything. Melbourne, Australia: Hill of Content. Wylie, K. (1994). Satyric and heroic mimes: Attitude as the way of the mime in ritual and beyond. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at or 11 Prospect Grove, Northcote VIC 3070, Australia.

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The Sources of Higher States of Consciousness

Steve Taylor
In this paper, it is argued that higher states of consciousnessor mystical experienceshave 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. (These are termed HD and ICE states). The author investigates examples of both types of experience, and compares and contrasts them. 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.

he question of why and how higher states of consciousness occur has never received a clear answer. There are, of course, attempts to explain mystical experiences in neurological (or neuropsychological) terms. Persinger (1987) has linked mystical/religious experiences to stimulation of the temporal lobes, and even claimed to induce such experiences with a helmet which produces weak complex magnetic fields. DAquili and Newberg (2000) have suggested that mystical experiences of oneness correlate with decreased activity in the posterior superior parietal lobe of the brain, which is responsible for our awareness of boundaries. They have also linked mystical experiences with the autonomic nervous system, claiming that meditative experiences of serenity may stem from a high level of activity in the parasympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system, while ecstatic high-arousal states may be induced by increased activity in the sympathetic half. But as Wilber (e.g., 1996) has pointed out, we can just as easily see these brain states as results of higher states of consciousness rather than causes of them. These researchers may only be investigating the footprints of mystical and spiritual experience, rather than the experience itself. At the same time there is the difficulty of explaining subjective experience in purely objective terms. 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. 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. 160). 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. Alister Hardys research (1979) showed that, while they may sometimes seem purely to be a matter of chanceor gracethere are many potential triggers of spiritual/mystical experiences. These include nature, music, despair or depression, music, prayer, and quiet reflection. Alexanders extensive research (e.g., 1990) has shown a clear link between the regular practice of transcendental meditation and such experiences. This research establishes an important link, but does not seek to explain the cause of the experiences. Tarts systems model of consciousness (1983) provides a usefulif tentativeview of the problem. He suggested that states of consciousness are the result of the interaction of a large number of neurological and psychological processessuch as attention, perception, cognition, emotionsand that if any one process is altered sufficiently (e.g., if we concentrate our attention to an intense degree or if we experience intense emotion), an overall consciousness shift may result. This view applies to altered states of consciousness rather than to higher states in particular, but has some similarities with the explanation I am going to suggest. Ludwigs model (1966) is also helpful. He suggested that there are five basic ways of producing alterations of consciousness: (1) by reducing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity; (2) by increasing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity and/or emotion; (3) by increasing alertness or mental involvement; (4) by decreasing alertness or relaxing the critical faculties; and (5) by changes in the body chemistry or neurophysiological functioning. This again applies to altered states rather than solely to higher states, and also has


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similarities with my model. Disrupting the Equilibrium Fischer (1971) made an important distinction between ergotropic higher states of consciousnessthat is, high arousal active or ecstatic statesand trophotropic higher statesthat is, low arousal passive and serene experiences. High arousal states are associated with triggers such as drugs, dancing, fasting and breath-control, whereas low arousal states are associated with triggers such as meditation and relaxation. This distinction is valid, I will suggest, since these two types of mystical experience follow from the two distinct sources I intend to identify. Scholarsand mystics and spiritual seekers themselvesgenerally agree that there are certain fundamental features of mystical/spiritual experience. These include: an intensified perception of the phenomenal world, a sense of inner peace and wholeness, a sense of oneness with the manifest world (or a sense of transcending boundaries), and a sense of becoming a deeper and truer Self (e.g., James, 1902/85; Underhill, 1911/60; Wilber, 2000b). However, as we will see, not all of these features are common to both types of higher states of consciousness from both sources. Throughout history human beings have made a conscious effort to produce ergotropic high arousal states. This is actually fairly easy to do, even though there is no certainty that they will occur. Our bodies continually strive to maintain a state of homeostasis, the optimum condition of our biological functioning. This includes such factors as body temperature, blood sugar, salt concentration, and so on, which must remain ator quickly return toan optimum level. Maintaining homeostasis is both involuntary and voluntary. To a large extent our bodies maintain homeostasis automatically, by breathing, digesting food, sweating and shivering, for example. But we are also obliged to consciously aid the process by performing physical functions like eating, drinking and sleeping. When we do not manage to do this for some reason and suffer an internal imbalance, we are liable to illness and even death, especially if the imbalance continues for a long period (Green, 1987). But there is also a possibility that we will experience higher states of consciousness. Disrupting homeostasis can be used as what Andresen and Forman (2000) refer to as a technology of spiritual experience. This may be, for example, the basis of the longstanding connection between fasting and both altered and higher states of consciousness. A prolonged lack of foodwhich disrupts homeostasis by

causing a lower level of blood glucose, higher levels of insulin and a lower body temperatureappears to make the hold which ordinary consciousness has over us much looser. The shamans of native cultures often use fasting and sleep deprivation as preparation for soul flights and vision quests, as also did the initiates of the Roman and Greek mystery cults as a preparation for rituals (Krippner, 2000; Burkhert, 1987). Sleep deprivation can certainly cause altered states of consciousness. In Oswalds experiments (1970), for example, participants who went without sleep for five days displayed symptoms identical to schizophrenia, with visual hallucinations and acute paranoia. But higher states of consciousness can result too, particularly a more intense perception of reality, an awareness of what Becker (1973) called the raw experience of the world. The following report was given me by a nurse who had been working night shifts without sleeping properly during the day. 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. I walked past a tree and each leaf seemed to be coming out at me. They were all vivid, glowing, shining, and I felt a feeling of ecstasy. Each leaf seemed to be pulsating and growing. Ive never seen anything as beautiful ever again. This connection between physical deprivation and higher states of consciousness may partly explain the tradition of asceticism, the conscious effort to mortify their physical desires made by manyparticularly Christiansaints and mystics. Asceticism is sometimes seen as a morbid and neurotic expression of the antiphysical dualistic ideology of monotheistic religions such as Christianity, and this is certainly true to some degree. 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. We will see later that asceticism achieves this partly through a long term process of taming physical desires (thereby conserving consciousness-energy), but it is probable that ascetics also used pain and discomfort in a more short term way, as a means of inducing temporary higher states of consciousness. The 14th century German mystic, Henry de Suso, spent years wearing a hair shirt and an iron chain, as well as a leather belt containing 150 inwardfacing sharp brass nails. He never had a bath in 25 years, never sheltered from the cold in the winter or
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touched or scratched any part of his body apart from his hands and feet (James, 1902/1985). The Sufi mystic, al-Shebli, took a bundle of sticks with him into his cellar every day, with which he would beat himself whenever he found his attention wandering from contemplation of Allah. At the end of the day he would dash his hands and feet against the wall (Attar, 1990). 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, they were able to free themselves from ordinary consciousness. By far the most direct way of disrupting the equilibrium, however, is by using drugs. As Huxley pointed out: For an aspiring mystic to revert, in the present state of knowledge, to prolonged fasting and violent self-flagellation would be as senseless as it would be for an aspiring cook to behave like Charles Lambs Chinaman, who burned down the house in order to roast a pig. Knowing as he does (or at least can know, if he so desires) what are the chemical conditions of transcendental experience, the aspiring mystic should turn for technical help to the specialistsin pharmacology, in physiology and neurology, in psychology and psychiatry and parapsychology (Huxley, 1977, p. 121). Or as we might rephrase it: why bother with pain, hunger or sleep deprivation when it is possible to disrupt homeostasis more directly simply by ingesting certain chemicals? Of course, human beings have always used drugs for transcendental and ritualistic purposes, as a means of intensifying or altering consciousness. The Neolithic peoples of Europe smoked opium and cannabis for apparent religious or ritualistic purposes 5,000 years ago; the Native Americans ingested sacred plants such as fly-agaric mushrooms and peyote; the early Indo-European conquerors of India worshipped their drink Soma (probably made from magic mushrooms); while adepts of the Greek Eleusinian mysteries ingested kykeon (Rudgley,1993; McKenna, 1993; Smith, 1964). All drugs alter the normal chemical balance of the human organism, and therefore disrupt homeostasis. Of course, not all drug experiences are transcendental experiences, but all drugs undoubtedly can generate them in the right circumstances. Even our one socially-sanctioned drug, alcohol, has transcendental properties. 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, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour (1902/1985, p. 387). By far the most powerful in terms of their transcendental effects, however, are psychedelic drugs. One acquaintance who experimented with magic mushrooms gave me the following report: Everything I looked at, trees and stones and blades of grass, seemed to have a powerful presence, an identity and being. They seemed to have personalities or souls. At the same time they were all interconnected. I looked at a meadow which was full of wild plants and bushes and weeds and in some waywhich I cant really describeeverything in it was one. They were all separate on one level but on another they were all just one thing. 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. Not in an Oh my god, Im a blade of grass! kind of way, but because there wasnt this distinction between me and it. 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, an experience of oneness with the cosmos, and an awareness of the oneness of all phenomena. It might seem controversial to suggest that drug-induced spiritual experiences are essentially the same in kind as the above experiences of sleep-deprivation and lack of food, but 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, in that drug experiences are likely to be much more powerful. There are other methods of inducing higher states of consciousness through disrupting homeostasis, such as altering our normal breathing patterns. Normally we inhale and exhale at the same rate, and preserve a balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen levels. But if we inhale faster and more deeply than usual we build up a higher than usual concentration of oxygen, and if we exhale faster and more deeply than usual we build up a higher than usual concentration of carbon dioxideand both of these non-homeostatic states can, it seems, generate higher states of consciousness. Many Native American groupssuch as the Salish, the Algonquians and Kiowaused both hypo- and hyperventilation as a means of inducing higher states of consciousness (Jilek, 1989). Certain kinds of chanting

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practised by tribal peoples, such as the throat music of the Inuit, also appear to involve a rapid rhythmic hyperventilation which produces altered and higher states (Metzner, 1987). Part of the purpose of the pranayama exercises of yoga is to induce temporary higher states of consciousness. Although the essential purpose of pranayama is long-term regulation of pranaand inseparable from the physical exercises of hatha yoga, it is clear that a breath control technique such as kevali-kumbhaka, in which the aim is simply to hold the breath for as long as possible, would potentially induce a higher state of consciousness (Feuerstein, 1990). This may also be the root of the connection between dancing and higher states of consciousness. The initiates of the Greek and Roman mystery cults used frenzied dancingas well as self-flagellation and drugsas a means of disrupting homeostasis so that they could be, in the words of a contemporary observer, filled with divine aweassimilate themselves to the holy symbols, leave their own identity, become at home with the gods, and experience divine possession (in Spenser, 1950, p. 157). Similarly, the Dervish orders of Islam used dancing as a means of inducing the state of consciousness which they called passing away. Here we can probably assume that prolonged energetic dancing produces an internal imbalance because of a high body temperature, dehydration and exhaustion. We can put forward similar cases for other ritualistic and religious practices such as drumming (which may also, like chanting, involve a meditative concentrative aspect) and painful ordeals. All of these are examples of the fifth category in Ludwigs model: changes in the body chemistry or neurophysiological functioning. His second categoryincreasing exteroceptive stimulation and/or motor activity and/or emotioncan also be seen as related to disrupting homeostasis, since in most cases the increasing level of these factors is likely to produce an internal imbalance, as with the increasing motor activity of frenzied dancing. The question of why disrupting homeostasis can result in higher states of consciousness is difficult to answer exactly. It seems clear, however, that ordinary consciousness and homeostasis are closely interlinked. From the point of view of survival, ordinary consciousness is our optimum mode of consciousness. It may be that, as the filter theory of higher states of consciousness put forward by Huxley (after Bergson), and later developed by Naranjo and Ornstein (1971) suggests, the shadowy vision of reality which ordinary consciousness gives us evolved as a kind of survival mech-

anism. It screens out reality so that we can concentrate properly on the business of day to day survival. And at the same time it conserves energy. 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. Or as Floyd W. Rudmin wrote: In line with evolutionary theory, it is widely accepted that this active mode of ordinary consciousness is adaptive and functional and serves to enhance the survival of the species. It simplifies and actively processes information and guides and monitors our intra- and interpersonal actions (1994, p. 60). In view of this it seems justifiable to say that, at least to some extent, homeostasis works to regulate and maintain ordinary consciousness. The optimum physical state of homeostasis equates with the optimum psychological state (from the point of view of survival) of ordinary consciousness. As a result, when we disrupt homeostasis we also disrupt ordinary consciousness1. However, its important to point out that disrupting homeostasis certainly does not always result in a higher state of consciousness. It almost always results in altered states of consciousness, but only infrequently in higher states. For example, extreme tiredness may often result in psychotic and delusional states, with paranoia and hallucinations. Psychedelic drugs appear to most reliable way of inducing higher states through non-homeostasis, but even they can frequently produce psychotic symptoms. The exact chemical nature of the disruption to homeostasisin the case of sleep deprivation, blood pressure, a depressed immune system and hormonal and metabolic changes; or in the case of pain, hormonal and metabolic changes and increased heart rate and blood pressure, or the chemical changes produced directly by drugsdoes not seem to be so significant. Any disruption to homeostasis can, it seems, trigger altered states of consciousness (including higher states). This might suggest that I am attempting to reduce higher states of consciousness to chemical causes. But the important point may be rather that ordinary consciousness is strictly chemically moderated. Higher (and altered) states of consciousness occur when the chemical conditions that regulate ordinary consciousness are relaxed, as it were. Any change in any one of these conditions is enough to dismantle the whole structure. This suggests that, rather than merely being chemically produced themselves, higher states of conHigher States


sciousness are ontologically more fundamental and authentic, and that ordinary consciousness may be thought of asat least to some extenta more artificial, chemically-generated construct. Consciousness-Energy and Higher States of Consciousness In a discussion on the psychological effects of meditation, Novak (1996) makes an important connection between our normal shadowy vision of the world and psychic energy. He notes that the endless associational chatter of our minds monopolises our psychic energy, leaving none available for us to devote to what he calls the open, receptive and present-centred awareness. However, when a person meditates, she or he deprives the automatized structures of consciousness (which produce thought-chatter) of attention. As a result, they begin to weaken and fade away, which frees up the energy that they normally monopolise. As a result, Novak claimed that energy bound in defences and fantasies can be released in present-centeredness. 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 survivalUnder special conditions of dysfunction, such as in acute psychosis or in LSD states, or under special goal conditions such as exists in religious mystics, the pragmatic systems of automatic selection are set aside or break down, in favour of alternate modes of consciousness (Deikman, 1981, p. 259). Both these views hint at what can, I believe, be classified as the second major source of higher states of consciousness. They can also occur when there is an intensification of what I term consciousness-energy. This is roughly equivalent to the term psychic energyI prefer consciousness-energy because it emphasises the interrelationship between this energy and consciousness. Consciousness-energy is the active principle of consciousness, the energy which we use in being conscious, in the acts of perceiving the phenomenal world, attending to our experience and thinking logically and discursively. This is not to say that consciousness is in its essence a form of energyDe Quincey (2002) has argued that this cannot be the case, since there is always a witnessing I which is apart from the flow of energy. Consciousness as a witness may be fun52

damentally independent, but consciousness as awareness and as consciousness as cognition are bound up with psychic energy. Psychologists often assume the existence of psychic energy (e.g., Novak, 1995; Csikszentmihalyi, 2003) or attentional energy (e.g., Deikman, 2004a; Csikszentmihalyi, 1992; Marchetti, 2004) without making it clear exactly what this energy is. Others talk more obliquely of mental effort (e.g., Gross, 1996) or pool of attentional resources (Kahneman, 1973), seeming to assume the existence of some form of mental energy without actually using the term. Consciousness-energy is clearly distinct from energy as we normally think of it, 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. On an everyday level, we accept its existence almost as a given, and we certainly feel subjectively that it exists. As Marchetti (2004) puts it, paying attention towards an object spends attentional energy on it. We have the sense that our level of consciousness-energy continually fluctuates, according to how much we have expended through concentrating or attending to stimuli. If we have been concentrating hard, we might feel lethargic or run down; if there is a surplus of consciousness-energy, we feel alert and vibrant. Our moods seem to be affected by our level of consciousness-energy toowhen we feel mentally drained we often feel depressed, whereas when we feel mentally buoyant, with a high level of consciousnessenergy, we usually feel cheerful and optimistic. We also conserve this energy through the phenomenon of automatization. Activities such as driving, typing or playing a musical instrument are initially painstaking conscious processes, but at a certain point there is a switch to fully automatic processing, the purpose of which is to conserve attentional energy so that we can focus our minds elsewhere (Norman & Challice, 1980).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; through the concentrative effort we make to deal with the tasks and chores which fill our lives, including the effort to communicate with other human beings; and also through the effort we make to process the various forms of information (e.g., perceptual stimuli such as sights and sounds, and verbal information from the media, books or the internet), which are part of our lives. However, when, for some reason, we halt this constant outflow of consciousnessenergy, and build up a high concentration within our

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own being, we are liable to experience higher states of consciousness. As Novak suggests, this is one interpretation of what may happen in meditation practice. The thought chatter of the ego is fed by attention, so when we focus our attention elsewhere, it fades away. In addition, during meditation we largely close the other main channels through which we expend energy. We process very little information from our environment, and the only task we have to concentrate on is focusing our attention. Our automatized perception means that we usually give very little consciousnessenergy to the act of perceiving our surroundings. However, when the chatter of our minds fades awayand when we conserve energy in the other ways I mentionedthere is a surplus of consciousness-energy, which means that perception no longer needs to be automatic, since there is no need for energy to be conserved. As a result we perceive our surroundings with first-time vision, and are awake to the is-ness and animacy of natural phenomena. Examples of these were given by many participants of Deikmans experimental meditation sessions (Deikman, 2004b). Many mystics and spiritual teachers have spoken of mystical experience in similar terms to these. The Hindu text the Moksha-Dharma compares the transcendental Self to a sun, and notes that through the process of concentration (dharana), the rays of the sunor the whirls of consciousnessare gathered up and focused inwardly. As a result, the yogin experiences the intense radiance of the Self, and attains a state of samadhi (Feuerstein, 1990). In the Christian mystical tradition, 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, p.7, italics added). Or again, he states that to achieve union with God, a man must collect all his powers as if into a corner of his soul (1979, p. 20). Similarly, 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, 1986, p. 223). The terms powers and powers of the soul here are equivalent to the term consciousness-energy, and the terms drawing in, collecting, and liftingand also the gathering up of the whirls of consciousness described in the Moksha-Dharmarefer to what I describe as generating a high concentration of consciousness-energy. One of the main differences between ICE states (as I will term them from now on, standing for 'intensification of consciousness-energy') and higher states

of consciousness resulting from homeostasis disruption is that the former arein Staces terminology (1964/88)more introvertive. That is, whereas homeostasis disruption (HD) states are centred around a different mode of experiencing the phenomenal world, ICE states also often involve a profound sense of inner peace and contentment, or even bliss. ICE states have a powerful affective dimension that HD states lack. Meditators have, for example, reported great senses of peace, wholeness, and relief (Hardy, 1979). This sense of inner peace appears to be generally absent from HD experiences, which is logical when we consider that it is probably directly caused by the high concentration of consciousness-energy which meditation can generate. As the Indian mystical traditions make clear, bliss is the nature of being or consciousnessbeing-consciousness-bliss (Sat Chit Ananda) is the essence of reality. We are, therefore, likely to experience this bliss when the energy of our being is intensely concentrated. There is another cause of this sense of inner peace that requires explanation. As well as an intensification, ICE states feature a stilling of consciousness-energy. At the same time as monopolising a large portion of our consciousness-energy, the constant thought-chatter, which runs through our minds, creates a constant psychic disturbance. In Meister Eckharts (1996) phrase, there is a constant inward storm of thought. In spiritual states caused by an ICE this storm fades away. It has to, otherwise consciousness-energy would not be concentrated enough to produce a spiritual state. And this contributes to the sense of bliss which spiritual ICE states feature. There is always a sense of inner stillness, and a sense of purityand this is not so much an affective state, as a direct, literal experience of the stillness and purity of consciousness in these moments. Meditation is, we might say, a conscious attempt to intensify and still our consciousness-energy, both in the short and long term. (In the long term it is an attempt to permanently halt the associational chatter of the mind, which may lead to a permanent alteration of the structures of consciousness, if a point is reached where the chattering ego becomes so weakened that it disappears as a psychic habit.) However, there are situations in which ICE states may occur more accidentally, and give rise to higher states of consciousness. This is probably, for example, the reason why spiritual or mystical experiences often occur in natural surroundings. Usually if a person is, for instance, walking alone in the countryside she is absorbing and processing comparatively little information and being relatively inactive, and so largely closing two of the main chanHigher States


nels through which consciousness-energy drains away. And at the same time the beauty of nature may have a similar effect to a mantra in meditation. It becomes a focus for the attention, directing it away from the chattering of the ego. As a consequence the chattering might fade away, until an ICE state is generated, resulting in a sense of inner peace and wholeness and a familiarity-free perception of is-ness and all-pervading spirit. The following are good examples of higher states of consciousness (presumably) induced by nature from Hardys The Spiritual Nature of Man (1979): Last summer, when walking on Hampstead Heath alone, feeling calm and at peace with the world, suddenly I became aware that there was no separateness between myself and other people, that there was no such things as death, and I was pervaded by a feeling of great peace and joy. (p. 62) In my early twentiesin Wales, I went out for walk one evening alone. The path led up to a narrow precipice walk along the hills edge, and while I was therethe setting sun blazed out turning the whole world crimson and gold, there was a gust of wind and felt as if I had been swept into the very heart of all that glory and colour, taken over by something outside myself if which I was yet a part. (p. 72) The high incidence of spiritual experiences amongst athletes and sportspeople (e.g., Murphy & Whyte, 1995; Taylor, 2002) can be explained in similar terms. Some of these may be due to homeostasis disruption, since the exertions of some sports can easily create internal imbalances. However, sports also often involve an intense degree of concentration, which may generate ICE states. This is particularly the case with sports that involve long periods of monotonous rhythmic activity, such as long distance running or swimming. The activity itself serves as a focusing device, and quietens the chattering ego. As the psychiatrist Thaddeus Kostrulaba (1976) wrote, after discussing the universal use of mantras to induce different states of consciousness, I think the same process occurs in the repetitive rhythm of long-distance running. Eventually, at somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes, the conscious mind gets exhausted and other areas of consciousness are activated (p. 103). Similarly, the poet Ted Hughes described a meditative state he often experienced while fishing. He notes how poetry depends upon the ability to focus the mind, and believes that he acquired this ability through fishing. He describes the effect of staring at a float for long 54

periods: All the nagging impulses that are normally distracting your mind dissolveonce they have dissolved, you enter one of the orders of bliss. Your whole being rests lightly on your float, but not drowsily, very alert (1967, p. 72). This may also be part of the reason why sex can be a powerful trigger of spiritual states. The sheer pleasure of sex can shift our attention away from the egomind, which may fall silent. As a result, after sex we may experience what D.H. Lawrence described as the strange, soothing flood of peace which goes with true sex (1973, p. 54). Sex can, therefore, as Jenny Wade comments, take people to the same realms as trance, meditation, drugs (p. 120). Music, too, is a prominent trigger of spiritual states, for similar reasons. The following exampleagain from Hardyis a good example of an ICE state induced by music: I was sitting one evening, listening to a Brahms symphony. My eyes were closed, and I must have become completely relaxed, for I became aware of a feeling of expansion, and seemed to be beyond the boundary of my physical self. Then an intense feeling of light and love uplifted and enfolded me (Hardy, p. 85). The fact that the person was inactive and had closed his eyes had already reduced his or her outflow of consciousness-energy, and we can assume that the music acted as a concentrative device, quietening the chattering of the ego-self, reducing the outflow further. In theory, almost any activity which involves a degree of concentration and which takes place in a quiet and still settingand which can therefore result in an intensification and stilling of life-energycould give rise to a spiritual experience. Other significant triggers of spiritual experience, such as literature, the contemplation of art and creative work (Hardy, 1979; Laski, 1961) might be explained in these terms. 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. However, we should give some attention to other aspects of higher states of consciousness. For example, how can we explain the sense of one-ness that comes with spiritual experiences in these terms? Unlike the sense of inner peace, this sense of one-

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ness isas we have seenalso a feature of spiritual experiences resulting from homeostasis disruption. This suggests that the experience is not strictly related to ICE states. The experience may be primarily related to ego-dissolution, a transcendence or dismantling of the separate-self system which creates the illusion of separateness and duality. This can be achieved through disrupting homeostasissince the separate self-system is an integral part of our ordinary optimum survival consciousness which homeostasis partly serves to maintainor through a silencing of associational chatter. Our sense of ego appears to be largely maintained by this chatter. Therefore when the chatter becomes silent the separate self-system may fade away. However, ICE states in particular may provide another source of this experience of oneness. As many spiritual traditions hold, at the essence of our being, we are one with the cosmos. As the Vedanta tradition tells us, atman is one with brahman. The consciousness-energy that constitutes our being is one and the same as the consciousness-energy which pervades the cosmos. Therefore, when we experience a powerful intensification of consciousness-energy, we also effectively experience the essence of the whole universe. We tap into the ocean of Spirit that pervades all reality. Another important aspect of spiritual experiences is the sense of becoming who we really are, the sense that we have made contact with a deeper and truer part of our own being. There is an identity shift from the ego-self to the True Self, which can occur temporarily in higher states of consciousness or as a gradually evolving feature of long-term spiritual development. This new sense of self is vividly evoked in Paul Bruntons famous description of meditating in the presence of Ramana Maharishi: The brain has passed into a state of complete suspension, as it does in deep sleep, yet there is not the slightest loss of consciousness. I remain perfectly calm and fully aware of who I am and what is occurring. Yet my awareness has been drawn out of the narrow confines of separate personality; it has turned into something sublimely all-embracing. Self still exists, but it is a changed, radiant self. Something that is far superior to the unimportant personality which was I, some deeper diviner being, arises into consciousness and becomes me. (1972, pp. 304-5) The important point here may be that our true sense of self is embedded in consciousness-energy. The energy is our Self, our true identity, so that an ICE state equates with a sense of connection to a truer self,

especially once the superficial thought-maintained self of the ego has faded away. According to the Yoga philosophy of Patanjali, the restriction of the whirls of consciousness allows the transcendental Self to appear (in Feuerstein, 1990, p.171.) Since HD states do not depend on an intensification of consciousness-energy, we would not expect this aspect to feature in them. And based on my own examination of reports of HD states (e.g., Huxley, 1977; Ouspensky, 1984; Hardy, 1979; McKenna, 1993) and my own personal experiences of them3, I believe this to be the case. Reports of HD-induced higher states of consciousness do not, I believe, generally feature this sense of becoming one with a truer and deeper self. In this respect the term that is sometimes used for psychedelic drugs, entheogens (e.g., Walsh, 2003)literally, revealers of the god withinis misleading. If anything, they should be termed extheogens. Long Term Spiritual Development Long-term spiritual development can also be interpreted in terms of an intensifying and stilling of consciousness-energy. One way of looking at regular spiritual practicewhether it is daily meditation practice or mindfulness exercises or a monastic life of renunciationis as a concerted effort to generate a permanently high concentration of consciousness-energy (and to permanently still consciousness-energy to some degree), by permanently reducing or restricting its outflow. As mentioned previously, the practice of meditation does this by teaching the chattering ego the habit of quietness. But the spiritual life involves more than meditation. Traditionally, 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, to take vows of silence or celibacy, to rid themselves of all possessions or to relinquish ambitions or interests of their own. This kind of radical spirituality is opposed to many contemporary spiritual teachings (e.g., Cope, 1999), which insist that there is no distinction between the spiritual and the mundane and that every aspect of our livesincluding business, food and relationshipsoffers the opportunity for spiritual growth. Like asceticism, detachment has been seen as part of the ascending world-rejecting tradition which posits an artificial and dangerous duality between matter and spirit. Its certainly true that, as the Integral Philosophy recently developed by Ken Wilber, Michael Murphy, and others suggests, focusing our energies exclusively upon spiritual development is likely to cause an imbalance and a neglect of
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other important areas of our lives. However, the purpose of the life of a renunciate is clear: he or she is attempting to drastically limit the outflow of consciousness-energyor more specifically, making a determined effort to permanently close down the channels through which consciousness-energy drains away. This underlying purpose of detachment was noted by Underhill (1960), who describes it as a process of stripping or purging away of those superfluous, unreal, and harmful things which dissipate the precious energies of the self (p. 204). The practice of voluntary poverty, for example, can be seen as a method of stopping our thoughts being occupied and our energies being drained away by possessions. As Meister Eckhart noted, There are men who completely dissipate the powers of the soul in the outward man. These are the people who direct all their aims and intelligence towards transient possessions (1990, p. 117). And similarly, Underhill (1960) noted that possessions are a drain upon the energy of the self, preventing her from attaining that intenser life for which she was made (p. 212). In a similar way, we can see the practice of celibacy as, on the one hand, a method of freeing the monk or mystic from the responsibility of having to care and provide for a family, and also a means ofhopefully, since there is always the danger that the sexual energy may simply be repressedfreeing the consciousness-energy which is normally devoted to sexual desires and activity. As Swami Prabhavananda (1952) wrote: Sexual activity, and the thoughts and fantasies of sex, use up a great portion of our vital force. When that force is conserved through abstinence, it becomes subliminated as spiritual energy (p. 72). Silence and solitude are clearly two other ways of concentrating or intensifying consciousness-energy. This is another aspect of asceticism. We should not see asceticism purely as a matter of punishing the body for its sinful desires. At the same time as serving as a means of inducing temporary spiritual states through homeostasis-disruption, it should be seen as a question of taming or controlling what ascetics called the body of desire in order to conserveand redirectthe consciousness-energy which it normally monopolises. As Underhill notes again, The mortifying process is necessarybecause those senses have usurped a place beyond their station; become the focus of energy, steadily drained the vitality of the self (p. 220). Underhill actually refers to a wrong distribution of this energy. And similarly, the yogic ascetisicm of tapas was defined by Swami Prabhavananda (1969) as the practice of conserving energy and directing it toward the goal of yogaobviously, in order to do 56

this, we must exercise self-discipline; we must control our physical appetites and passions (p.102). Tapas usually involves chastity (brahmacarya) and the subjugation of the senses (indirya-jaya) and is believed to generate an intense form of energy, ojas, which is sometimes experienced as heat (the literal meaning of the word tapas). The first two stages of Patanjalis eight-limbed path of yoga also involve rigorous selfcontrol and an effort to tame the body of desire. The purpose of yama (often translated as restraint) is, as Feuerstein (1990) puts it, to check the powerful survival instinct and rechannel it to serve a higher purpose (p. 186). This frees up psychospiritual energy, which the adept can use at the niyama (discipline) stage, when he attempts to harmonize his relationship to life at large and to the transcendental reality (p. 186). We should note that both detachment and mortification (or asceticism) are not at least ideallyongoing or permanent processes. They are processes directed to a particular end: a release from what Underhill calls the selfhoods tyranny and from the dominance (and energy-monopolisation) of our lower, hedonistic impulses. Many mystics strove for years to attain this freedom, at which point they often relinquished their lives of detachment and became extremely active. St. Catherine of Sinea, for example, spent three years living as a hermit and an ascetic until she attained a state of deification. At that point she abandoned her solitude and was frenetically active for the rest of her life, teaching, converting non-Christians and serving the poor and sick (Underhill, 1960). The same is true of other mystics such as St. Theresa, St. John of the Cross, and St. Francis of Assisi. The purpose of detachment and mortification is to produce a transformation of being, a permanent redistribution of consciousnessenergy, which equates with a permanently higher state of consciousness, or ascendance to the higher transpersonal realms. I should make it clear that I am certainly not advocating a retreat from the world, or implying that everyday life is opposed to spirituality. 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 livesfrom eating to washing the dishes and sex and socialisingis sacred and spiritual. The effort to tame physical appetites does not necessarilyand should notentail a mind/body duality or a sense of disgust towards the body. The practices should be seen purely as a matter of economy, of permanently taming our desires so that they no longer monopolise our consciousness energy, and of reducing

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its outflow by keeping ourselves apart from the demands and the hectic activity of normal life. This does not mean going to the extremes of the ascetics in my view it is probably only necessary to follow the middle way that Buddhism recommends, half way between hedonism and asceticism, in which we avoid excessive desires and excessive activity, but do not go the extreme of punishing the body or neglecting other areas of our development besides the spiritual. ICE states versus HD states This is not the place for an extended discussion and comparison of HD and ICE mystical states. Many scholars have written at length on the question of whether drug-induced higher states of consciousness are comparable with those induced by or related to long term spiritual practices or seemingly proffered by the grace of God (e.g., Huston Smith, 1964; Stace, 1964/1988; Zaehner, 1961). However, there are a few salient points that I would like to mention. HD and ICE states are two different technologies of spiritual experience, and have been used as such throughout human history. But the spiritual experiences they generate are of a different character. 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, or a sense of transcending boundaries and (d) a sense of becoming a deeper and truer Self. As I mentioned above, one of the differences between ICE and HD states is that while the former feature all four of these, the latter do not. HD states certainly feature (a) and (c), but they do not appear to feature the affective characteristics of (b) and (d). HD states are primarily sensory or perceptual experiences. I also pointed out that in ICE states the characteristic (c) is likely to be more powerful than in HD states because of the essential oneness of consciousness-energy with the consciousness-force of the cosmos. HD and ICE states correspond to Fischers (1971) ergotropic high arousal and trophotropic low arousal experiences. HD states can never give rise to the low arousal void experience of what Robert Forman (2000) describes as the Pure Consciousness Event. This can only come from ICE states, since these actually involve a purification and intensification of consciousness. Similarly, we can say that HD states are neverin Staces terminology (1964/1988)introvertive. They always involve the phenomenal world; they are always extrovertive. On the other hand, ICE states can be both introvertive and extrovertive. They may be intro-

vertive void experiences of pure consciousness, or extrovertive experiences of perceiving is-ness, wonder and oneness. Whether ICE states are introvertive or extrovertive depends simply upon the circumstances in which they occur. An ICE state which is consciously induced by meditation will be introvertive, simply because the meditator has closed her senses to the external world, by shutting her eyes, sitting in quietness and focusing her attention on a mantra (or another object of concentration). An ICE state that occurs in the countryside, or while long-distance running or listening to music, will be extrovertive, simple because the individual is already in open communication with the external world. A major problem with HD states is their unreliability. 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), and even when they do, they are likely to generate other altered states of consciousness besides higher states, such as hallucinatory experiences or psychotic episodes. As Walsh noted of psychedelic drugs in particular, [they] can induce genuine mystical experiences, but only sometimes, in some people, under some circumstances (2003, p.2). ICE states, on the other hand, have a very low risk of negative or psychotic states, and reliably generate transpersonal or mystical states. Probably the most important difference between HD and ICE states, however, is that only the latter can build towards a permanently transformed consciousness. In Wilbers terms (e.g., 2000), only they can create permanent, enduring structures of consciousness. HD states can only give peek experiences into the transpersonal domains. These can be useful; they might come as a bolt out of the blue, rupturing the familiar, taken-for-granted world and making the individual aware that higher realms of reality do exist. There is some evidence that drug-induced higher states of consciousness encourage individuals to investigate methods of gradual long-term consciousness transformation (e.g., Tart, 1991). This may not always be the case though. Being given these experiences for free may create a passive attitude towards them, and a reluctance to make the long term disciplined effort which permanent spiritual transformation requires. For every Ram Dass, there is a Timothy Leary. Or as Smith puts it, Drugs appear to induce religious experiences: it is less evident that they can produce religious lives (1964, pp. 528-9). HD states can also be dangerous. The individual may not actually be ontologically ready to process the
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experience, and their psychic equilibrium may be disturbed as a result. William Johnston argued that meditation is safer than drugs because the meditation, if properly instructed, and guided, can integrate the new knowledge and preserve his equilibrium (1988, p. 124). Particularly with intense use of psychedelic drugs, there is the danger that the separate self-system may collapse altogether, and lead to schizophrenia or psychosis. In fact this is the only long-term psychic change which the regular inducement of higher states of consciousness through HD can lead to. Whereas meditative ICE states are constructivethat is, they gradually tame the chattering ego and produce a permanent intensification of consciousness-energy, and gradually create a new psychic structureHD 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, to the point where it is no longer able to re-form itself. This strongly suggests that ICE states are superior to HDs. However, at least HD states have the apparent advantagewhich is part of their appealof requiring no effort, whereas ICE states usually involve some form of mental concentration and a degree of self-discipline. 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 thingor else that they only superficially resemble them. HD mystical experiences are clearly genuine, but deficient in that they do not feature aspects of higher states of consciousness common to ICE states. We might say that they are one-dimensional, in that they can only be extrovertive, and lack an affective dimension. This essay leaves some questions unanswered, of course. For example, why is it that disrupting homeostasis does generate higher states of consciousness in some instances but not in others? Or, how do ICE states correlate with the different levels of mystical or transpersonal experiences (e.g., in Wilbers model, the psychic, subtle, causal and non-dual)? (My suggestion would be, very briefly, that the greater the intensification and purification of consciousness-energy, the higher the level of consciousness.) This model of higher states of consciousness suggests a new view of the issue of whether children and native or tribal peoples might be more spiritual than adult Westerners. In Wilbers model of transpersonal development (e.g., 2000) this is impossible, 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). However, if we see an intensification of consciousness-energy as the source of spiritual states, then children and native peoples clearly do have access to the transpersonal realms. In fact, since in both cases their sense of ego is less developed and less active than ours, and appears to produce less associational chatter, we might assume that there would be a reduced outflow of consciousness-energy in their case, and that they would be therefore more open to spiritual states than us. This might not apply so much to children, since the intensity of their instinctive desires and heightened emotionality would itself produce a large outflow of consciousness-energy, but could easily be true for native peoples (see Taylor, 2003 for a related discussion). The important point is that, as so many spiritual teachers have stated, our over-active and overseparate egosalthough not the ego in itselfare an enemy. As well creating a sense of otherness between us and the world, and between ourselves and our own bodies, they monopolise our consciousness-energy, so that we see the world as one-dimensional and inanimate place, instead of the radiant, benevolent, meaningful, Spirit-charged cosmos that it really is. Endnotes 1 Neurologically, higher states of consciousness associated with homeostasis disruption appear to correlate with hyperactivity of the limbic system. Rhawn Joseph (2000) recognises that practices such as food and water deprivation, pain, drug use and self-mutilation have been traditionally been used to induce mystical or spiritual states, and links this to arousal of the brains limbic system. As he sees it, when the limbic system is denied its normal input, it becomes hyperactive and can no longer efficiently delete and filter out stimuli, resulting in intensified perceptual awareness. However, again, we can equally see the hyperactivity of the limbic system as a correlateor an effectof the mystical or spiritual state that is produced when homeostasis disruption means that ordinary consciousness can no longer be regulated and maintained. Following Newberg and DAqullis research, there would also appear to be a correlate with increased activity in the sympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system. 2 The existence of this energy makes sense in terms of the theory of consciousness put forward by Robert Forman and others, which suggests that the brain itself doesnt produce consciousness, but rather

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receives and transmits it. According to this view, consciousness is a fundamental force of the universe, present everywhere and in everything, and at the cellular level and above, entities become capable of receiving it, and so become individually conscious. Extending this further, consciousness-energyor psychic energyis the portion of universal consciousness which is canalised into us, which is received and transmitted by our brains. This accords very well with the spiritual concept that at the heart of being we are one with the universe, that atman is one with brahman. Our own consciousness is of the same substance as the consciousness that pervades the universe. 3 I made a number of experiments with LSD and magic mushrooms over a two-year period. With the exception of one psychotic episode (with LSD), the experiences did produce what I would class as higher states of consciousness. I experienced an intense perception of the phenomenal world; so-called inanimate objects came to life, and natural phenomena such as stones and trees seem to possess a consciousness or being of their own. I was also occasionally aware of the presence of spirit in things. I felt I knew what brahman was when I looked at the sky and felt it was filled with a harmonising, living presence. There was also an awareness of the unity of superficially separate things. I felt exhilarated by these perceptions, even euphoric at the sense of meaning I could perceive, but I never experienced a sense of inner peace and wholeness, or a sense of becoming one with a deeper self. In fact the perceptual intensity was occasionally accompanied with a sense of inner emptiness and indifference.

References Alexander, C.N., Davies, J.L., Dixon, C.A., Dillbeck, M.C., Druker, S.M. Oetzel, R., Muehlman, J.M., & Orme-Johnson, D.W. (1990). Growth of higher stages of consciousness: Maharishis Vedic psychology of human development. In C.N. Alexander and E. Langer (Eds.), Higher stages of human development: Perspectives on adult growth (pp. 286-341). New York: Oxford University Press. Andresen, J, & Forman, R. (2000). Methodological pluralism in the study of religion. Journal of Consciousness Studies. 7(11-12), 7-16. Attar, F. A. (1990) Muslim saints and mystics. London: Arkana. Becker, E. (1973). The denial of death. New York: Free Press.

Brunton, P. (1934/1972) A search in secret India. London: Rider. Burkert, W. (1987) Ancient mystery cults. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Cope, S. (1999) Yoga and the quest for the true self. New York: Doubleday. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1992). Flow: The psychology of happiness. London: Rider. Csikszentmihlayi, M. (2003). Materialism and the evolution of consciousness. In T. Kasser, & A. Kanner (Eds), Psychology and consumer culture (pp. 91-106). Washington D.C: American Psychological Association. De Quincey, C. (2002). Radical nature. Montpelier, VT: Invisible Cities Press.Deikman, A. (2004a). Deautomatization and the mystic experience. In R. Woods, (Ed.), Understanding mysticism (pp. 24060). London: The Athlone Press. Deikman, A. (2004b) Experimental meditation available at http:/ accessed 05/05/04Feuerstein, G. (1990) Yoga: the technology of ecstasy. Wellingborough, UK: The Aquarian Press. Fischer, R. (1971). A cartography of the ecstatic and meditative states. Science, 174(4012), 897-904. Forman, R. (1998). What does mysticism have to teach us about consciousness? Journal of Consciousness Studies, 5(2), 202-223. Green, S. (1987) Physiological psychology: An introduction. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Gross. R. (1996), Psychology: The science of mind and behaviour. London: Hodder & Staughton. Happold, F.C. (1986) Mysticism. London: Pelican Hardy, A. (1979) The spiritual nature of man. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Hughes, T. (1967) Poetry in the making. London: Faber and Faber. Huxley, A. (1977). The doors of perception and heaven and hell. London: Grafton. James, W. (1902/1985). The varieties of religious experience. London: Penguin. Jilek, W. (1989). Therapeutic use of altered states of consciousness in contemporary North American Indian dance ceremonials. In C. Ward (Ed). Altered states of consciousness and mental health: a cross cultural perspective (pp. 167-85). London: Sage. Johnston, W. (1988) Silent music. London: Fontana. Joseph, R. (2000) The transmitter to God: the limbic system, the soul and spirituality San Jose: The University Press California. Kahneman, D. (1973), Attention and effort. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
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Kostrulaba. T. (1976). The Joy of running. Philadelphia: Lippencott. Life of Ramakrishna (Anonymous, 1929) Madras, India: Ramakrishna Math. Krippner, S. (2000). The epistemology and technologies of shamanic states of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 7(11-12), 93-118. Laski, M. (1961). Ecstasy. London: The Cresset Press. Lawrence, D.H. (1973) John Thomas and Lady Jane. London: Penguin. Ludwig, A.M. (1966) Altered states of consciousness. Archives of General Psychiatry, 15, 225-234. Marchetti, G. (2004). The role attention plays in building our subjective experiences. Journal of NonLocality and Remote Mental Interactions, 1 (2), (Available at Accessed 11/10/04). Mascaro, J. (Ed.). (1990). The Upanishads. London: Penguin. Masters, R.E.L. & Houston, J. (1966) The varieties of psychedelic experience. New York: Delta. McGinn, C. (1993). Consciousness and cosmology: Hyperdualism ventilated. In M. Davies and G.W. Humphreys (Eds), Consciousness (pp. 155-77). Oxford, UK: Blackwell. McKenna, T. (1993) The food of the gods. New York: Bantam. Meister Eckhart (1979) German sermons and treatises, vol. 1 (Trans. M. Walshe). London: Watkins. Metzner, R. (1987). Shamanism, alchemy & yoga: Traditional techniques of transformation. (Available at Accessed 21/7/04). Murphy, M. & White, R.A. (1995). In the zone: Transcendent experience in sports. London: Arkana. Naranjo, C & Ornstein, R. (1971). On the psychobiology of meditation. London: Allen & Unwin. Newberg, A, & DAqulli, E. (2000). Neurospsychology of religious and spiritual experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 7, 111-122. Norman, D.A. & Shallice, T. (1980) Attention to action: Willed and automatic control of behaviour, CHIP Report 99, San Diego: University of California. Novak, P. (1997). Buddhist meditation and the consciousness of time. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 3(3), 267-77. ONeal, D. (Ed.) (1996). Meister Eckhart: From whom god hid nothing. Boston: Shambhala. Oswald, I. (1970). Sleep. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin. Ouspensky, P.D. (1984) A new model of the universe. 60

London: Arkana. Persinger, M.A. (1987) Neuropyschological bases of god beliefs. New York: Praeger. Prabhavananda, Swami & Isherwood, C. (1969). How to know God: The yoga aphorisms of Patanjali. New York: Mentor. Rudmin, F.W. (1994). Property. In W. J. Lonner and R. Malpass (Eds). Psychology and culture. (pp. 5559) Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Rudgley, R. (1993) The alchemy of culture. London: British Museum Press. Smith, H. (1964) Do drugs have religious import? Journal of Philosophy LXI, 517-530. Spencer, S. (1950) Mysticism in world religion. London: Penguin. Stace, W. (1964/1988). Mysticism and philosophy. Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher. Tart, C. (1983). States of consciousness. El Cerrito, CA: Psychological Processes. Tart, C. (1991). Influence of previous psychedelic drug experience on students of Tibetan Buddhism. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 23, 139-74. Taylor, S. (2002). Spirituality: The hidden side of sports. New Renaissance, 10(4), 6-9. Taylor, S. (2003). Primal spirituality and the onto/phylo fallacy. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 22, 61-76. Underhill, E. (1911/1960) Mysticism. London: Methuen. Wade, J. (2000) Mapping the course of heavenly bodies: The varieties of transcendent sexual experiences. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 32, 103-22. Walsh, R. (2003). Entheogens: true or false? International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 22, 1-6. Wilber, K. (1996). Sex, ecology and spirituality. Boston: Shambhala. Wilber, K. (2000a). One taste. Boston: Shambhala Wilber, K. (2000b). Integral psychology. Boston: Shambhala. Zaehner, R.C. (1961) Mysticism sacred and profane. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

Fear No Spirits: A Pilgrims Journey through the Brazilian Churches of Ayahuasca

Robert Tindall
This is an intimate account of a pilgrimage through the Holy Land of Daime, the Brazilian frontier state of Acre, in which the author weaves together accounts of his own healing experience. It also portrays the extraordinary variation and vitality of the communities there, both indigenous and Catholic/Afro-Brazilian, who use ayahuasca as a sacrament.

Horatio: Hamlet:

Oh day and night, but this is wondrous strange! And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. Shakespeare Hamlet 1.5.173-74.

cre is the holy land for work with Daime in Brazil. Bordering Peru and Bolivia, it is the westernmost state of the Amazon rain basin, and still possesses 90% of its original forest. Acre is still very much raw frontier, hosting some of the heaviest cocaine trafficking in South America, a powerful presence of evangelical Christianity, and serious rural poverty. It was also the home state of Chico Mendez, who, in resistance to the massive land theft and senseless deforestation being practiced by the wealthy newcomers to Acre in the 1980s, organized and imbued with an environmental vision the forest workers of the Amazona fight he continued up to the day of his assassination by a local rancher and strongman, Darly Alves da Silva. Acre hosts a landscape dotted with the churches of Daime, which light up at night like phosphorescent jellyfish floating in a dark, tropical sea. My botanist friend, Sean, 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. Within the movement originating with Mestre Irineu, two main streams developed: The Church of the Universal Flowing Light, or Santo Daime, which claims to hold most truly to the original form transmitted by the Mestre; and the Barquinha, or little boat, whose work, with marked Afro-Brazilian elements, was initiated by a disciple of Irineu, Daniel Pereira de Mattos (known as Frei Daniel). And there

are the native traditions underlying the lineage of Mestre Irineu, as practiced for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin, arising and co-evolving out of their seamless communion with the forest: the womb and gift of Pachamama. Through all the communities, seeds of distrust toward foreigners have been sown. Among the Indians bio-piracy by Westerners, 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), has so alienated the healers of the forest that they have begun keeping their medicines to themselves. The extent of this tragedy is not easily imagined until the degree of knowledge of these peoples is fathomed. As well, certain Daime communities have closed their doors to participation by Westerners after getting what they perceived as bad press, or will no longer donate bottles of ayahuasca to hipsters who smuggle them into the U.S. and sell the sacrament at a huge profit. In spite of these abuses, the doors of most churches remain open, and the pilgrim is welcome to join in the work. I first arrive in Alto Santo, a neighborhood thirty minutes outside of Rio Branco, in the night, traveling dirt roads through area recently carved out of the jungle. It is warm, the stars are bright, and the slat-board pioneer houses we pass are dark. Then a vision leaps electric out of the night. Beneath blazing fluorescent lights, I see two lines of men and women dancing, facing one another beneath a huge, open air structure. A gigantic cross with two crossbeams (the Caravaca Cross adopted from Northern Spainthe second crossbeam represents the second coming of Christ), stands illuminated in the front yard. I get out of the car and hear music and singinga sound like a polka
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band riding in the back of a flatbed truck on their way to heaven. As I draw closer, I see the women wear white dresses with green sashes, multi-colored trailers descending from their shoulders. The men wear white suits with a green pinstripe descending their pant legs. As I enter, dazzled by the lights and colors and already buzzing from a shot of ayahuasca I had drunk earlier at the Barquinha church, I see that the men also wear a silver brooch in the shape of a Star of David with a crescent moon resting within, indicating they are fardados. (Fardado is sometimes translated as star-persongiving a New Age airiness to a fundamentally military conception: farda in Portuguese describes a military uniform). The women are wearing silver crowns. They are doing a four-step dance, moving back and forth in a tightly disciplined line, beating out their steps with maracas they hold in their right hands. A band, composed of accordion, conga drum, tambourine, electric guitar, bass and classical guitar, jams away in the space between the two lines. The high pitch of the womens voices gives me the image of a psychedelic subway train charging, relentless and happy, through the night. I am led in a numinous daze across the concrete floor to a booth at the far end of the structure, where a dignified man with a bushy moustache waits like an amiable bartender. I look within and see an altar with a candle burning before a photo taken during the 1930s of a stocky forest worker, his expression truly transported, gazing into another world. The altar is covered with bottles of ayahuasca. The man smiles at me and pours, waiting for my signal to stop. I drink and a seat is set out for me. I sit and try to follow the hymns of the dancers, but the Portuguese is very fast. Someone sitting next to me hands me a hymnal, which helps some, but then I close my eyes and listen and angelic mists and swirling mandalas begin to draw me on. I open my eyes. The music has stopped. I see a new frontier, a new people without artifice, a world of exquisite possibilities. This, I realize, is the new frontier for humanity, open and immeasurably happy. My language acquisition abilities have suddenly been radically enhanced, and I can understand the Portuguese being spoken around me. I enter into conversation with Henrique, a professor of mathematics and physics at the University of Acre, and we proceed to discuss the Buddhist doctrine of sunyata, emptiness, and its relation to work with entheogens. Then Henrique begins to ask me penetrating questions about the United States, which instead of provoking my usual liberal self-righteousness stir an immense 62

well of sadness within me. A proto-fascist ruling clique has seized power in my beloved homeland. I cannot speak for grief. Henrique looks at me with comprehension. The daime is working on you, isnt it? he asks, as waves of agony rise and break within me. As the music commences again, I take a maraca and join the line, getting down the four-step but give up trying to sing from the hymnal at the same time. Later I am taken to the altar and introduced to the figure in the photo: it is Mestre Raimundo Irineu Serra. I study him. He looks as if he were wearing a Noh mask, the one for representing vision into other worlds. I make my bows. May the humble inherit the earth. It appears to be happening right here. The Barquinhas wear sailors suits when they make a major journey, bright white with epaulettes and a white cap like a fez with a braid wound around it. They are right to do so. During the ceremony I see my guardian angel, my guiding spirit, as a blazing figurehead on the prow of the ship of my soul, cutting through the darkness with his omniscience, and I realize the carven prows of those old Viking ships were no mere decorations. Struggling with our bags and attempting to orient ourselves after the three-day bus ride from Rio de Janeiro to Rio Branco, Sean and I encountered Luis, a young lawyer from So Paulo who had recently transplanted himself in Rio Branco to work on environmental issues and indigenous rights. He was small of stature, clean cut and alert, and seemed to engage the world around him with a boundless optimism. And he spoke an English he had learned from his mother. It turned out he was a Daimista, a member of a Barquinha church. He offered his assistance, as well as his opinions about the communities we had come to visit. It gave me some pause. The usual rivalries among groups existed in Rio Branco, too, I decided. Some days later he met us at our hotel and oriented us to the work of the Barquinhas, explaining that the church of the little boat is a synthesis of Catholic Christianity with Umbanda and Candomble, the Yoruba spiritual practices brought over by the slaves from Africa, and elucidated a very complicated system of correspondences between deities: Oxala, the masculine father spirit, related to Christ; Yemanja, the Holy Mother, feminine power, related to Mary; and other Orixas, or spirits, such as Oxossi, the power of the forest and native healing wisdom; or Xango, the power of justice, related to stones and through his spouse, Oxum, to waterfalls. I scrambled to take notes,

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despairing of distinguishing mantra from yantra and tantra. But no matter. We were going to get to experience Umbanda soon. The community was in the midst of a twenty-day long romera, a cycle of worship of So Sebastio in which they drank ayahuasca every night, and there was to be a major work soon. Arriving the following evening, we pass through a wooden gate and enter an open structure like the one where people danced in Alto Santo, except the floor is of hard packed, red earth. In the center, spread out on a surface of sand, I notice miniature figures arranged in a village scene. We continue down a flight of stairs and enter the patio of the church, a cross lit up at the entryway, a dirty little scamp of a dog curled up right on the threshold. It could be any Catholic church in Latin America, with its little bell tower and niches for saints, its exterior a muted orange painted over smooth adobe. We and everyone else step over the dog, respecting its presence there, and enter. Within we cross a clean floor of white tile and face an altar covered with images of saints. A massive banquet table with a white tablecloth surrounded by chairs sits in the middle of the room, a statue of So Sebastio, chained to a tree and pierced by arrows, upon the table. Rows of seats line the back and side of the church. I wander off and sit on the wrong side. A musician tuning his guitar gestures me back. Women on one side, men on the other. I look around and note that most of the faces are African in descent, unlike in the Santo Daime church in Alto Santo. Luis leaves us, and Sean and I sit quietly in the pews. Finally a bell rings, and he reappears dressed in white and gestures for us to come. We go out and see two lines have formed, one of women and the other of men, who are filing forward to drink ayahuasca. We reach the head of the line, are given the sacrament, make the sign of the cross with the cup, and drink. The ayahuasca is very bitter and strong. We go back in and take our seats. The core of the community takes their places around the banquet table. A curtain has been drawn over the altar, covering the entire front of the church. The mantric cycle of praise commences, most of which I dont understand, except I can recognize the Credo being repeated over and over, and the names of Jesus, Mary, the Heavenly Father, and So Sebastio. Musicians accompany the prayer. As the ayahuasca begins to take hold, I notice the curtains are slowly parting in front of the altar. I hear a voice say to me, Fear no spirits. Okay, I think, I dont fear spirits. In fact, I feel completely comfortable with them.

Something very powerful begins moving, like a spiritual storm front, through the church. I see people rising from their seats and standing, very erect, two fingers of their right hand raised at the level of their faces like antennae. Piercing whistling tears through the air, sounds I cannot imagine the human vocal apparatus being capable of making. The spirits of the preto velhos, the old blacks, have come and the group possessed by the old African spirits files out. Then Luis reappears beside us, smiling. Time to drink again, he says. I look out and sure enough, the line is forming anew. I start to say, I think I may actually have had enough already, but then I shrug and go out and drink. The curtain is parting more rapidly now, in imitation of the opening of the heavenly realm, and then the ayahuasca strikes like a blinding cloud of light. Seated in profound mirao I behold the blazing guardian of my spirit boat as an intricate ritual of prostration is carried out by men and women in sailors suits facing the altar before me. Then in the middle of a song I come to Christ and lay my burden down before him, my long journey filled with wounds and bewilderment. I feel his hand on my forehead as I relinquish my addictions: to coffee, to hyper-vigilance, to finding the perfect woman, and see the shell of my former self in California and feel deep compassion for the man I have been. It all seems a blaze of light, a stupefaction, a vanishing; the guitar and Catholic liturgy weaving fresh neural pathways through my mind. Then the curtains slowly close, and the community vanishes to doff their sailor suits. Luis comes up to us and announces, The evening is just beginning. Sean and I look at each other in astonishment. How can we take any more? We already feel irradiated by spirit. But the lines to drink are forming again outside. Were moving on into the Umbanda portion of the work now, he explains. We drink again and go out to the structure with the floor of packed red earth. I now have an opportunity to study the figures arranged in the sand in the center. Luis explains they are the Holy Family, or rather, the Holy Ancestors, the Yorimba. Their skin is deeply black, their garments and eyes pearly white, and they are spread out in a tableau of village life, one fellow playing the banjo, the white-haired, ample matriarch enthroned in the center, the patriarch, thin and tall like a reed, capable of walking a hundred miles at a stretch through arid ground, standing beside her. At their backs, as if on the other side of the world, is the European Holy Family, little white-skinned baby
Fear No Spirits


Jesus in cradle, Joseph and Mary and Donkey in attendance, angels guarding the way to his cradle. The band commences, conga drums prominent. Luis turns to me and says, Whatever you do, dont stop dancing. Its a slow dance, widdershins, men and women moving in two circles, a dance to draw energy and life out of the earth. I begin, awkwardly, but eventually get the hang of it. A four step inside a square, then a step forward. In the center, many women and a few men are smoking pipes, using the tobacco for purification and to send messages to the divinity, spitting and bowing, hunched over close to the earth. After a time I see Luis, his arms folded behind his back, pipe in mouth, stooped forward in a posture of aged dignity close to the altar. Somehow he makes me think of a young Abe Lincoln. Young women are led around and in by their elders; the sick and simple are brought forward. The earth becomes wet with spit. The drums beat. We move in a circle around the center, but the center does not radiate out. Rather it absorbs our energy. It is dark, inchoate, liminal. A bardo space, the votive pit in Hades in which Odysseus spilled the blood of the ewe and ram, and poured libations to summon the unnumbered dead... a terminal where the spirits negotiate their transit to other worlds. Then the power goes out, and candles are lit, blazing, scintillating around the forms of the dancers in white. Its breathtakingly beautiful, and I begin to understand the dance. Power of old Africans, pulse rising from the earth, ayahusaca working through the body. I am grateful that I am allowed to dance on the periphery and not drawn in. I do fear these spirits. I am not ready to experience atuao, or mediumship, with the spirits of Umbanda. An old man is dancing out there in the crowd; a mulatto, stringy from a life of hard work, dirt poor. Sean has taken a seat and I walk over and clap him on the back. Were both smiling in rapture. See that old man? Sean asks me, tipping his head in the old forest workers direction. Yep. Hes been checking us out. I want to be an old man like him, drinking ayahuasca and dancing with the spirits. We decide we love this old man. The old man comes around in the circle of dancers again and we watch him. He pretends not to be observing us, but I smile and give him the thumbs-up sign. He breaks into a huge grin and nods back at us. He must love us too. The dance concludes in the dark of the early morning. Sean and I ride back together in a taxi. He 64

turns to me from the front seat and says, Man, I dont know how I am going to return to my life in California after this. My own life in California is so inconceivably distant and inapplicable; I can only nod in agreement. My Western intellect, which I had imagined as being fairly open, has had all its fundamental premises blown this evening. The only useful shred of the Western Intellectual Tradition I can think of is, There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, then are dreamt of in your philosophy. Luis and I are supposed to meet in the center of Rio Branco, 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. A smell of burning plastic wafts through the marketplace, but bars selling pitchers of juice made to order from the cornucopia of fruit growing in the Amazon compensate for the stench. Its a couple days later, and Sean has been pretty much shut up in his hotel room since the night at the Barquinha, playing guitar and watching Brazilian television. Im out and about, but have the same problem as he: What does one do with ones life after having gone to the heavenly realms? The world seems dull and grey in comparison. This evening is solely a work of mantra, of praise, and while I still dont know what to make of tantra, I have a deep feeling of gratitude for my experience of it. Luis appears and while we wait for a local bus to take us to the Barquinha church, a young man, his hair and beard gone wild, comes ranting through the station, a voice crying from the wilderness, and a sign of the strength of the evangelical movement in Acre. The Brazilians dont seem to do anything halfway in this land of spirits. What voice speaks through him? I wonder. Are we not all equal in this? Are we not all dreaming? The bus comes and we board. We talk about the situations in Brazil especially designed to push a North Americans buttons, and I hesitate the opinion that sometimes anger can help set things straight. Luis turns and looks me in the eyes. There is never any reason to get angry. Ever. I look back and realize he is right. Fierce defense in preservation of the world is one thing. Anger at a person or situation is another. North Americans, I realize, have an illusion of a right to elbow room that Brazilians know doesnt exist. In fact, we even accept anger as a kind of social lubricant. I fall silent. The truth is, Ive been sick. Changing the subject, he explains to me that when the preto velhos come that

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

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. Its 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. Im 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 cleargrandmotherly 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, theyre 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 romera 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 mirao 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 aboveam I imagining this? Is this really a hand I feel on my forehead? Margerie from So 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 mirao, 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 dont 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 cabocloshelping spirits of the Umbanda spiritual tradition related to the spirit of the natives of the forestand 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 fazendeiros 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 cant they use natural lights? I complain. It is impossible to travel through florescent lights. Theyre 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. Im 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 mirao 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. Its 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 apurao, 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 mans 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 mirao 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 analysisor a Christian onewhere 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 humanitys 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 wouldnt 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 hunters 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


to the center to learn Portuguese, how to ride a bicycle, how to work an ATM and a cellular phone, while non-natives such as ourselves come to be educated in the ways of the Kaxinawa. Walking through the compound we encounter classrooms with chalkboards and ancestral figures, rough-hewn and primitive to uneducated European eyes. A fear is eating at me as we take our places for the ceremony in an elegant wooden structure with a high sloped roof of woven palm fronds, that ayahuasca really is just a sort of Prozac, temporarily lifting the mind up, but not going to the root of our beings dilemma. That I am fooling myself and will return to California with some good stories but the same old self. I am weary too of the fundamentalism of Daime. The doctrine, salvadores, messengers, the weary repetition of the word Jesusnot as a mantra to enter the divine, but as a vaguely oppressive fixture of beliefand the casting of the entire movement into a New Testament mold. Then a young guitarist who accompanied us turns out to be a strange bird: a daime evangelist. His attempts to dominate the group go on until I begin grumbling that if I dont have to hear the word Jesus again for a year I wont be at all displeased. The Kaxinawa sit patient and vigilant, happily joining in with the songs about our precious savior Jesus. But the Kaxinawa work with ayahuasca, not daime, and I saw that evening that daime is only a brief portion of the territory of grandmother ayahuasca. The brew they chose is a light one, a very gentle visitation which, when it comes, makes me put my hands on the earth: things, dear, fresh, particular things; the earth, our ground, to bring me home again. We wear red stripes on our faces. The young men of the tribe wear headdresses and crowns of feathers, feathers of flight spring from their upper arms. When the evangelical portion of the evening subsides, they sing into the night like an animal sings into it, like the forest sings to itself, in its native tongue, accompanying themselves with flute and maracas. Portuguese and English, even the guitar itself, seems a rude imposition upon this world, even as we attempt to praise it with our barbaric Indo-European tongues and instruments. And so the natives rock us into the night with invocations and sounds such as we have never encountered before, ending each song with bursts of child-like giggling. At the end of one, Fabiano, who turns out to be an apprentice shaman, explains to us that the entire tribe gathers to sing that piece whenever someone is leaving the village for a long journey, to wish them happiness and good-fortune on their way. The image of a people gathering to sing for one another, thereby 68

opening and creating a dreaming way through the forest, makes me lament anew the cold mechanisms of my own culture with its straight-cut roads lined with advertisementsthe culture responsible for, as of this date, the killing of 85% of the Kaxinawa people. As we leave a huge white bird cuts the early morning sky, a lean aerodynamic ascetic, all stomach and bill, honed to transparency by his habitat. I watch him with awe as he sails over the forest, from which a rich symphony of sound is now emerging. I and the forest and the albatross all caught up in the same dream of Pachamama.

Author Note Fear no Spirits is excerpted from a forthcoming book, The Jaguar that Roams the Mind, a narrative pilgrimage into the medicines of the Amazon rainforest. After the Brazilian section, the pilgrim continues on his way to Takiwasi, a center for the treatment of addiction, and then to an apprenticeship with the master healer Juan Flores Salazar at his Mayantuyacu center in the jungle outside of Pucallpa, Peru.

End Note 1 The Kaxinawa ayahuasca myth is adopted from Two Ayahuasca Myths from the Cashinahua of Northwestern Brazil by Elsje Maria Lagrou (2000).

References Lagrou, E. M. (2000). Two ayahuasca myths from the Cashinahua of Northwestern Brazil. In L. E. Luna and S. F. White (Eds.). Ayahuasca reader (pp. 3135). Santa Fe, NM: Synergetic Press.

Correspondence regarding this paper should be directed to Robert Tindall at

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

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 Wittgensteins (1981/1922, p. 183) statement that, the sense of the world must lie outside the world. It seems rather obvious that an explanation as to why someone, for example, engages in serial murder can

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only be provided by a set of conditions that exist outside and, thus, temporally prior to the act of serial murder (e.g., the cognitive rehearsal of violent sexual fantasies, damage to the limbic system of the brain). The explanation clearly does not exist within the definitional boundaries of serial murder as the premeditated murder of three or more victims committed over time, in separate incidents, in a civilian context, with the murder activity being chosen by the offender (Keeney, 1992; cited in Keeney & Heide, 1994, p. 384). It is perhaps noteworthy that Edwards (1973) thesis is illustrative of an anti-metaphysical position that arguably pre-empts the answer by ruling outon 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 experientialand concep70

tualknowledge 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 ones 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 consistsin partof 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 yogis perceptions are veridical as opposed to delusory. Second, throughout this essay Kaufmanns (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). Kaufmanns (1991) definition is being used on the grounds that it constitutes the orthodox view of the term universe. Finally, this essay does not attempt to provide a definitive answer to the question, Why does

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the universe exist? But rather, it sets itself the far more modest task of analysing the preceding question from an advaitic perspective. Advaita Vedanta: An overview Advaita (literally non-dualism) as articulated by Sankaracharya is a doctrine of the vedantic school of Hindu philosophy (Blackburn, 1996). Vedanta refers to the philosophy of the Vedas (Shastri, 1959). Veda (from vid to know) may be defined as knowledge. It is the name of the most ancient Sanskrit scriptures, considered to be a direct revelation from God to the mystics of the past (Easwaran, 1986, p. 236). As previously stated, the doctrine of advaita vedanta was purportedly constructed a posteriori using metaphysical knowledge acquired through various ASCs facilitated by the aspirant practising one of four main yogas: Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, or Rajas (Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1978). These four Yogas represent different methods aimed at erasing the ego (ahamkara) through selfless work, the discriminative power of the intellect (buddhi), devotion to a Personal God or spiritual teacher (guru), and meditation, respectively. Such techniques facilitate ASCs referred to as samadhi in which one has a direct experience of Absolute Reality (Brahman). Sri Ramana Maharshi (1985b) delineates three different grades of samadhi: (1) Savikalpa samadhi. The lowest level of samadhi in which one is required to maintain constant effort otherwise the obscuration of Brahman will occur. (2) Kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. The stage prior to liberation (moksha) characterised by effortless awareness of ones 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 subjects ignorance (Maharshi, 1985a). It has been suggested that the universe in the orthodox sense of all space, along with all the matter and radiation in space (Kaufmann, 1991, p. 631) is not absolutely real. However, the universe is not absolutely non-existent either for the simple reason that it is present as a delusory perception in normal waking consciousness (Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1978). Insofar as a delusion is experienced it must be accredited some degree of ontological status. An examination of the question Why does the universe exist? will now be undertaken with reference to two creation theories associated with the advaita doctrine: the theory of simultaneous creation (drishti-srishti vada) and the theory of non-causality (ajata vada).

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The Theory of Simultaneous Creation (Drishti-srishti vada) Sri Ramana Maharshi (1985a, p. 184) stated that, All that you see depends on the seer. Apart from the seer, there is no seen. This sloka is an example of the doctrine of simultaneous creation (Drishti-srishti vada). It is suggesting that the universe comes into existence simultaneously with the emergence of the I thought (the seers sense of beingness), rather than there being a gradual process of creation (i.e., the big bang theory). Drishti-srishti vada asserts that the cause of the seers sense of beingness and hence the universe is Brahman4. Statements attesting to this thesis abound in the advaitic literature. For example, in Sri Sankaracharyas commentary of the Bhagavad Gita it is explicitly stated that Brahman is the cause of the universe: The Knowable supports beings during sthiti, the period of the sustenance of the Universe; and It devours them at pralaya, i.e., at the time of dissolution. It generates them at the time of utpatti, the origin of the Universe, just as a rope gives rise to an illusory snake (Sastry, 1992, p. 352). The Vedanta-sutras of Badarayana echo the sentiments of Sankaracharaya: From the Self (Brahman) sprang ether (Akasa, that through which we hear); from ether, air (that through which we hear and feel); from air, fire (that through which we hear, feel, and see) (Vasu, 1979, p. 202). In a similar vein, the Aitareya-Upanishad holds that, In the beginning all this was self, one only; there was nothing else blinking whatsoever. He thought shall I send forth worlds. He sent forth these worlds (Vasu, 1979, p. 202). Although drishti-srishti vada postulates a metaphysical entity referred to as Brahman as the cause of the universe, the nature of this cause is held to be unknowable for two reasons. First, through Beingness the inner organ (antahkarana) comprised of intelligence (buddhi), ego or sense of self (ahamkara), and mind (manas) is generated (Chapple, 1990, p. 56). When the dissolution of Beingness into Brahman occurs during ASCs such as samadhi, the cessation of buddhi, ahamkara, and manas also takes place. It follows that if ones 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, 1987a, p. 38). Nisargadatta Maharaj (1987b) delivers the following affirmation: It is a non-attentive state. So where is the question of remembering? With Beingness attention starts later. The borderline between Being and NonBeingness is intellect boggling, because the intellect subsides at that precise location (p. 3, 58). 72

The second reason is contained in Sri Nisargadatta Maharajs (1987a) personal account of his experience of drishti-srishti vada: In my original non-knowing state I did not know my sense of Being. But all of a sudden that Beingness was felt spontaneously; this is the first miracle. Then in a flash I observed this enormous manifest world and also my body. Later, I conceived that the entire universe has manifested in the speck of my Beingness only. (p. 37) The salient point contained in the preceding quotation is Nisargadatta Maharajs (1987a) reference to Brahman as a non-knowing state (p. 38). This statement requires further explanation. As Absolute subjectivity Brahman cannot directly experience itself as a perceptible object, for then it would cease to be the subject. Wilber (1993) illustrated this point by comparing the situation to a sword that cannot cut itself, an eye that cannot see itself, a tongue that cannot taste itself, or a finger that cannot touch its own tip. This argument is reiterated in Baladevas commentary to the Vedanta-sutras of Badarayana in which he wrote, If the Self could perceive His own properties, He could also perceive Himself; which is absurd, since one and the same thing cannot be both the agent and the object of an action (Vasu, 1979, p. 331). This is what is meant in the Brihadaranyaka-Upanishad when it is stated that, You cannot see the seer of sight, you cannot hear the hearer of sound, you cannot think the thinker of the thought, you cannot know the knower of the known (Swami & Yeats, 1970, p. 138). If the initial conditions (i.e., Brahman) are non-experiential and hence unknowable then it is logically impossible to formulate a complete causal explanation of the universe if one accepts Poppers (1959) assertion that the conjunction of universal statements with initial conditions is required for a complete causal explanation. The Theory of Non-Causality (Ajata Vada)5 Whereas drishti-shrishti vada is considered a relative truth (i.e., it is true from the standpoint that we are human beings attempting to achieve liberation from maya), advaita regards the theory of non-causality (ajata vada) as the ultimate truth. Crudely put, ajata vada represents a denial of the orthodox view that the universe has a cause. Ajata vada argues that nothing exists except the one reality [Brahman] which is eternal and unchanging (Maharshi, 1985a, p. 184). Hence, sense impressions relating to space-time, causality and discrete objects are all regarded as nonveridical perceptions that take place in the mind of the

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ignorant (ajani). Consequently, the universe in the orthodox sense of all space, along with all the matter and radiation in space (Kaufmann, 1991, p. 631) does not exist. It is noteworthy, however, that ajata vada does affirm the reality of the universe but only when veridically perceived as an uncaused appearance in Brahman. Proponents of this theory, thus, regard the substance of the universe as being identical to Brahman (Maharshi, 1985a). Consequently, one is unable to address the question, Why does the veridically perceived universe exist? with reference to an external causal explanation. Furthermore, one is precluded from invoking an internal causal explanation of the universethat is, asserting that the causes of the universes past states are prior past states (Smith, 1995)on the grounds that space-time and, thus, past states and prior past states are considered delusory perceptions from an ajata vada perspective. One may further enquire as to why a delusory perception of the universe as all space, along with all the matter and radiation in space (Kaufmann, 1991, p. 631) exists? However, if delusory perceptions are constituents of the universeand the universe is an uncaused appearance in Brahmanthen delusory perceptions are also uncaused appearances in Brahman. Consequently, if one accepts that the universe cannot be a candidate for causal explanation by virtue of being an uncaused appearance in Brahman; then the question, Why does the universe exist? is clearly unanswerable provided that one takes the question to mean, What is the causal explanation of the universe? Objections to Advaita Vedanta In the present authors view there seem to be certain logical problems with various components of the advaita doctrine. First, if as drishti-srishti vada suggests Brahman is a non-knowing state in which ones sense of Beingness and cognitive functioning have been extinguished, then how does one come to know that such a state exists? Furthermore, if the cessation of ones long-term memory system (a cognitive function) occurs during this state, one would be unable to recall the experience. Yet, surprisingly, practitioners have provided phenomenological reports of this altered state in various advaitic texts. Even if, for the sake of argument, ones long-term memory system was still functioning during this state, there would be nothing to recall because, if Brahman is non-experiential, it must be phenomenologically contentless and therefore attributeless. This raises a further question. If Brahman is attributeless, on what grounds are proponents of advaita justified in asserting that the characteristics of

Brahman are existence (sat), consciousness (chit), and bliss (ananda)? Second, if Brahman is atemporal and therefore unable to step down into time and space as the ajata vada doctrine argues, does this not place restrictions on a metaphysical entity which is supposedly unrestricted? Furthermore, if the universe is an emanation of the eternal Brahman, as drishti-srishti vada contends, and the universe is subject to space-time, logic dictates that space-time must also be enfolded in Brahman, existing in a state of latency. To quote Wittgenstein (1981/ 1922, p. 107), if p follows from q, the sense of p is contained in that of q, where p is the universe and q is Brahman. 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. Finally, if the subject is unable to experience itself as a perceptible object and if from an advaitic standpoint everything is the subject (i.e., Brahman) then one should be unable to experience a delusory perception of the universe as all space, along with all the matter and radiation in space (Kaufmann, 1991, p. 631) for it too must ultimately be Brahman. If a = b, and a is imperceptible, then, obviously, b is also imperceptible. Modes of Knowing and Category Errors Extrapolating from St. Bonaventure, Wilber (1996) explicated three modes of knowing: the eye of flesh, by which we perceive the external world of space, time, and objects; the eye of reason, by which we attain a knowledge of philosophy, logic, and the mind itself; and the eye of contemplation, by which we arise to a knowledge of transcendent realities (p. 3). 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, Why does the universe exist? To utilise Wilbers (1996) terminology, it is an example of confusing two different modes of knowing: the eye of reason with the eye of contemplation. As Wilber (1996) stated, Reason cannot grasp the essence of absolute reality, and when it tries, it generates only dualistic incompatibilities (p. 19). Furthermore, logical problems associated with advaita vedanta are also based on a category error. One may recall that the term advaita translates as nondual. Wilber (1996) argued that if one attempts to translate nondual Reality into dualistic reason, then you will create two opposites where there are in fact none, and therefore each of these opposites can
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be rationally argued with equal plausibility-and that, to return to Kant, shows why reason only generates paradox when it tries to grasp God or the Absolute (p. 19). Consequently, 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, that is, employing the human intellect for the purpose of reasoning about a metaphysical entity constitutes a category error. Conclusion It was argued 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? The present author suggests that, 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). It was further contended that experiential knowledge of the manifestation and dissolution of the universe is accessible during certain ASCs associated with advaita vedanta (e.g., kevala nirvikalpa samadhi), but not during ordinary or normal waking consciousand is thus state specific (Tart, 1972; 1998) or state dependent (Fischer, 1980). It was suggested that such experiences might provide valuable insights into the external and internal causal mechanisms of the universe that are unobtainable a priori. Two a posteriori derived creation theories associated with advaita vedanta (e.g., the theory of simultaneous creation and the theory of non-causality) were subsequently applied to the question, Why does the universe exist? It was argued that, from the standpoint of drishti-srishti vada, 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). (2) As Absolute Subject-ivity, Brahman cannot be rendered an object of conscious awareness and thus experienced. Consequently, a complete causal explanation of the universe cannot be formulated on the grounds that the initial conditions (i.e., Brahman) are unknowable. Extrapolating from the theory of ajata vada, the question, Why does the universe exist? may not be addressed via a causal explanation because: (1) the universe in the orthodox sense of all space, along with all the matter and radiation in space (Kaufmann, 1991, p. 631) is held to be a delusory perception; and (2) 74

when veridically perceived the universe is an uncaused appearance in Brahman. Clearly the a posteriori perspective used in the present paper may be applied to other metaphysical problems (e.g., personal identity, the mind-body problem, time). For instance, the injunctions used by practitioners of advaita vedanta (e.g., Karma, Jnana, Bhakti and Rajas yogas) are, in essence, methods of self-inquiry (Maharshi, 1988) that are held to provide experiential knowledge regarding, for example, the nature of personal identity. Furthermore, during the various grades of samadhi, one experiences alterations in the inner organ (antahkarana) comprised of intelligence (buddhi), ego or sense of self (ahamkara), and mind (manas) and also ones bodily awareness that may provide insight into the mindbody problem. One may also experience Brahman as the eternal and unchanging reality (Maharshi, 1985), 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). Consequently, 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, Why does the universe exist? in particular. Author Note The author would like to thank Stanley Krippner and Peter Baynes for valuable suggestions and comments. End Notes 1. The question Why does the universe exist? may be differentiated from the question How did the universe come into being? on the grounds that, whilst the former is a metaphysical question, the latter is a scientific cosmological question. 2. Wittgenstein (1981/ 1922) wrote that for an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannot be expressed. The riddle does not exist. If a question can be put at all, then it can also be answered. (p. 187) 3. Popper (1959) asserted that: To give a causal explanation of an event means to deduce a statement which describes it, using as premises of the deduction one or more universal laws, together with certain singular statements, the initial conditions...We have thus two different

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kinds of statement, both of which are necessary ingredients of a complete causal explanation. They are (1) universal statements, i.e. hypotheses of the character of natural laws, and (2) singular statements, which apply to the specific event in question and which I call initial conditions. It is from universal statements in conjunction with initial conditions that we deduce the singular statement, This thread will break...The initial conditions describe what is usually called the cause of the event in question (pp. 59-60). 4. Interestingly, the vast majority of mystical philosophies assert that a metaphysical entity of some kind is the cause of the universe. For example, in the writings of the Kabbalah in regard to the mystical philosophy of Jerusalem, it is held that in the beginning there is only the Root of all Roots, the Great Reality, the Indifferent Unity, En-Sof (Scholem, 1961, p. 12) from which emanate the ten seifrot (literally rays) which constitute the physical universe (Hoffman, 1980; Idel, 1988; Matt, 1996; Scholem, 1961, 1969). Similarly, Mahayana Buddhism postulates a Transcendental Reality, the One-Mind, which is the Outbreather and Inbreather of infinite universes throughout the endlessness of duration (Evan-Wentz, 1954, p. 1). 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, 1985, p. 44). An important question is whether all of these various mystical philosophies are referring to the same metaphysical entity or whether, for example, Brahman and En-sof are qualitatively distinct. For an excellent discussion of this ontological issue, see Katz (1978) and Franklin (1990). 5. Many aspects of the ajata-vada doctrine have already been alluded to in a previous section of this essay entitled Avaita Vedanta: An Overview. Therefore my comments in this section shall be necessarily brief.

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Chapple, C. (1990). The unseen seer and the field: Consciousness in Samkhya and Yoga. In R.K.C. Forman (Ed.). The problem of pure consciousness (pp. 53-70). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Easwaran, E. (1986). The bhagavad gita. London: Arkana. Edwards, P. (1973). Why? In P. Edwards & A. Pap (Eds.). A modern introduction to philosophy (3rd ed.) (pp. 796-810). New York: The Free Press. Evans-Wentz, W. Y. (1954). The Tibetan book of the great liberation. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Fischer, R. (1980). State-bound knowledge: I cant remember what I said last night, but it must have been good. In R. Woods (Ed.), Understanding mysticism (pp. 306-11). London: Athlone. Franklin, R. (1990). Experience and interpretation in mysticism. In R.K.C. Forman (Ed.). The problem of pure consciousness (pp. 288-304). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Gilson, E. (1941). God and philosophy. New Haven: Yale University Press. Guenon, R. (1981). Man and his becoming: According to the vedanta. New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. Heidegger, M. (1959). An introduction to metaphysics. New York: Yale University Press. Hoffman, E. (1980). The Kabbalah: Its implications for humanistic psychology. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 20, 33-47. Huxley, A. (1985). Perennial philosophy. London: Triad Grafton Books. Huxley, J. (1964). Essays of a humanist. London: Chatto & Windus. Idel, M. (1988). Kabbalah: New perspectives. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Katz, S.T. (1978). Language, epistemology, and mysticism. In S.T. Katz (Ed.). Mysticism and philosophical analysis (pp. 22-74). New York: Oxford University Press Kaufmann, W. J. (1991). Universe (3rd ed.). New York: W.H. Freeman and Company. Keeney, B. T., & Heide, K. M. (1994). Gender differences in serial murder: A preliminary analysis. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 9, 383-398. Koestenbaum, P. (1962). The sense of subjectivity. Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, 2, 47-65. Maharshi, R. (1985a). Creation theories and the reality of the world. In D. Godman (Ed.). Be as you are: The teachings of Ramana Maharshi (pp. 181-192). London: Arkana.
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Maharshi, R. (1985b). Samadhi. In D. Godman (Ed.). Be as you are: The teachings of Ramana Maharshi (pp. 155-162). London: Arkana. Maharshi, R. (1988). The spiritual teaching of Ramana Maharshi. Boston: Shambhala. Maharshi, R. (1997a). Self-enquiry. In A. Osborne (Ed.). The collected works of Ramana Maharshi (2nd ed.). (pp. 17-38). York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc. Maharshi, R. (1997b). Who am I? In A. Osborne (Ed.). The collected works of Ramana Maharshi (2nd ed.). (pp. 39-47). York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser. Maharaj, N. (1987a). Beyond the Upanishads. In R. Powell (Ed.). The nectar of the Lords feet: Final teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (pp. 37-44). Longmead, UK: Element Books. Maharaj, N. (1987b). To realize the Absolute, even Beingness has to be transcended. In R. Powell (Ed.). The nectar of the Lords feet: Final teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (pp. 51-58). Longmead, UK: Element Books. Matt, D. C. (1996). The essential Kabbalah: The heart of Jewish mysticism. New York: HarperSanFrancisco. Popper, K. R. (1959). The logic of scientific discovery. London: Hutchinson. Prabhavananda, S., & Isherwood, C. (1978). Shankaras crest-jewel of discrimination (viveka chudamani) (3rd ed.). Hollywood, CA: Vedanta Press. Prabhavananda, S., & Isherwood, C. (1981). How to know God: The yoga aphorisms of Patanjali. Hollywood, CA: Vedanta Press. Raju, P. T. (1967). Metaphysical theories in Indian philosophy. In C.A. Moore (Ed.). The Indian mind: Essentials of Indian philosophy and culture. (pp. 4165). Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii. Rowe, W. (1989). Two Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument, in W. Rowe and W. Wainwright (eds.), Philosophy of Religion, San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers. Russell, B., & Copelston, F. C. (1973). The existence of GodA debate. In P. Edwards & A. Pap (Eds.). A modern introduction to philosophy (3rd ed.) (pp. 473-490). New York: The Free Press. Sastry, A. M. (1992/ 1897). The bhagavad gita: With the commentary of Sri Sankaracharya (7th ed.). Madras, India: Samata Books. Scholem, G. (1961). Major trends in Jewish mysticism. New York: Schocken Books. Scholem, G. (1969). On the Kabbalah and its symbolism. New York: Schocken Books. 76

Shastri, H. P. (1959). Direct experience of reality (Aparokshanubhuti). London: Shanti Sadan. Shastri, H. P. (1969). World within the mind (yogavasishtha) (4th ed.). London: Shanti Sadan. Smith, Q. (1995). Internal and external causal explanations of the universe. Philosophical Studies, 79, 283-310. Swami, S. P., & Yeats W. B. (1970). The ten principle upanishads (2nd ed.). London: Faber & Faber. Swinburne, R. (1979). The Existence of God. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. Tart, C. T. (1972). States of consciousness and statespecific sciences. Science, 176, 1203-1210. Tart, C. T. (1998). Investigating altered states of consciousness on their own terms: A proposal for the creation of state-specific sciences. Journal of the Brazilian Association for the Advancement of Science, 50, 103-116. Vasu, R. B. S. C. (1979). The vedanta-sutras of Badarayana. New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. Wilber, K. (1993). The spectrum of consciousness (2nd ed.). Wheaton, IL: Quest Books. Wilber, K. (1996). Eye to eye: The quest for the new paradigm (3rd ed.). Boston: Shambhala. Wittgenstein, L. (1981/1922). Tractatus logico-philosophicus. London: Routledge.

Address correspondences to the author at: School of Psychology Deakin University 221 Burwood Hwy Burwood VIC 3125, AUSTRALIA. Phone: +613 9244 6357 Fax: +613 9244 6858. Email:

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24


Russian Soul: A Report from the European Transpersonal Association 2005 Conference in Moscow
Glenn Hartelius

he 2005 European Transpersonal Association (EUROTAS) conference exemplified its theme of Human Consciousness and Human Values in an Interconnected World. The Russian Association of Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy, with the support of several other organizations, graciously hosted over 200 participants from more than 20 countries. Vladimir Maykov, Gennady Brevde, and a team of volunteers guided us through four days of presentations (June 23-26), translating tirelessly between English and Russian. The following pages constitute a small tour of the conference, offering a series of six presentations drawn from the 70-some offerings on the program. 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. Vladimir Maykov (Russia) opened the conference by situating it in the context of a Russian transpersonal project that reaches back to antiquity. He spoke from a uniquelyinformed vantage point, 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. Jasons work reaches deep into theoretical and scientific realms to understand experiences of transformation he witnesses with his clients. Vitor Rodriguez (Portugal) offered a glimpse into his clinical experience with the diagnosis and treatment of psychic attack. He began with a fascinating clinical story that shows the practical value of

an esoteric approach. Mark Burno (Russia) shared fruits from 30 years of practice using spiritual culture as an avenue to therapy. He made an insightful distinction between idealist and materialist approaches to spirituality. Rupert Tower (UK) used an enchanting Russian fairy tale to lead us into the shadow, frankly broaching issues of power and leadership in psychotherapy training organizations. Tanna Jakubowicz (Poland) rounded out this special topics section with an inspiring call to direct action. Correspondence regarding this introduction, any articles in this special topic section, or the EUROTAS conference can be directed to the author at

Special Topic: Russian Soul


The Transpersonal Tradition in Russian Culture

Vladimir Maykov

he transpersonal tradition is deeply rooted in Russian culture. Unlike any other country in the world, Russia is geographically connected to Asia, the Near East and Europe. In addition, Russia has its own shamanic culture, Celtic pagan tradition, and Russian Orthodox Church. This rich tapestry underlies Russian thinkers and writers of recent centuries who embody within their works the principles and spirit of transpersonalism. Even though the transpersonal vision is new in the West, it is traditional in Russia. We can see three distinct layers underlying the Russian transpersonal tradition, which establish its origins in distant antiquity. First, there is an ancient layer of shamanisma practice that continues in Russia to this day. Contemporary shamans live and work in places such as Buryat, Tuvinia, Altai, Yakutiya, and Khakassiya. Second is a layer of Russian paganism: Celtic paganism held sway over western Russia for centuries and left its imprint. Then there is a more modern layer, covering the last thousand years. In the modern layer, I identify seven different roots of Russian transpersonalism. The first of these is the Russian Orthodox Church, which includes the mystical doctrine of hesychasm. Although there are many aspects to hesychasm, it includes both a practice in which the saying of prayers is synchronized with the breath, and a contemplative phenomenon in which ones chest begins to vibrate and shake. Clearly, Russian Orthodox mysticism invokes altered states of consciousness. In addition to Russian Christianity, there is the Russian religious philosophy of N. Berdyaev and L. Schestov, the theosophy of E.P. Blavatsky, the anthroposophy of R. Steiner, the existentialist writings of authors such as L. Tolstoy and F. Dostoevsky, the Fourth Way of G.I. Gurdjieff, and the tradition of Russian cosmism of such visionaries as S.N. Fyodorov, K.E. Tsilokovsky, and academician V. Vertnadsky. Together these inform the modern transpersonal project in Russia. Transpersonalism is thus inherent in the Russian soul. Yet it is not easy to explain our inner being, the soul behind Russian transpersonalism. It has been said that excavating the Russian soul is like peeling an onion: the more you penetrate its layers, the more you cry. In the end, you are left with empty nothingness. In fact, as noted by the academician D.S. Lihachev, space holds a 78

special place in Russian consciousness. Russians experience space as open sky, as the pure potentiality of life that pulls you out of bondage. There is an archetypal wounding of the Russian soul, typified by the image of St. George lancing the dragon. This symbol has been central to Russian national imagery for five hundred years. How does this wounding manifest itself? Personal development is different in Russia than in the West. In the West, the body is born, it becomes a personality, and then it spends its life striving to become a spiritual being. In Russia, the body is born and, through wounding, it becomes a spiritual being. But there is almost a full absence of personality in the Western sense of the word, with its correlatives of civil society, lawful state, democracy, market economy and declaration of human rights. Rather, the Russian soul must spend its life striving to become a personalitytrying to become functional in society. The continuous historical development of this transpersonal urge was interrupted early in the 20th century. The gap between that time and ours was bridged by a small cohort of thinkers and practitioners who escaped from Stalins terror and raised Russian transpersonalism from the ashes: men such as V.V. Nalimov, M.M. Bakhtin, A.F. Losev, M.K. Mamardashvili, A.M. Pyatigorsky and V.N. Mihejkin. In the 1970s and 80s a broader transpersonal underground developed, laying the groundwork for the founding of the Russian Association of Humanistic Psychology in 1990, shortly after Perestroika. In May of 2002 we took a further step toward professional development with the founding of the Russian Association of Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. The Russian transpersonal project of today is more highly professional and many-sided than ever before. Many academic scientists have been drawn to this perspective, yielding a community in which intensive searches are conducted in many directions; there is no strict adherence to any one epistemology or theoretical framework. Russia, a country with centuries-old transpersonal roots, is poised to speak with the entire world in the common language of the transpersonal. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

Synthesis and Plurality: Stories of the Self

Jason Wright

his essay was inspired by an epiphany, which occurred whilst on a lonely holiday to Turkey in 1997. As I lay beside my hotel pool exhausted from looking at rocks piled up by the ancients, it occurred to me that ideas live in us as we live in the world. We are the medium of ideasthey live, breed, and die in us. I became fascinated with this as process, and as imagery that helps me describe the work I have done over the last 12 years treating people who are struggling with addiction. I work at the CORE Trust, a London-based center that uses a holistic multi-disciplinary approach to addiction involving complementary therapies and psychotherapy (individually and in groups), with the whole project held as a community. 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, inadequate parenting and dysfunction. In its raw form this basic question is an insoluble and often torturous dilemma: Should I live, or not? Here, the assumptions about the nature and qualities of the self that are at stake remain unexamined. In therapy this question can and often does transform into the more useful question, What self am I, that I might want to live? Although narcissistic, this question opens the door to useful inquiry. From here it becomes possible to explore how the self-image of the client is organized, and how its organization might be made secure enough to be sustained over time. From a Buddhist perspective, of course, this self is an illusion. However, this is not simply the end of the matter. Rather, it piques us with the question, What is this self that I experience? Following from the imagery above and my multidisciplinary work at the CORE Trust (note, readers interested in learning more about CORE are encouraged to visit, I was unable to sustain my image of self as a thing (i.e. onticly and diachronically secure). Rather, it seems to me, in a semiotic and narrative context, that an image of self exists at the point where a persons inner conscious and unconscious stories and outer stories of community and culture meet. This self-image is identified as me. However this is not a self as thing but as a process

that alters with the ever-changing tides of inner and outer narrative. Here I am thinking about process as does Pickering (1999) in terms of Alfred North Whiteheads process philosophy. Whitehead (1933) considers transitional processes, structures of activity, and the evolution of those structures to be inherent in the character of reality, in the continual creative advance of nature. If the self is also such a process, 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. The focus moves away from the artifact of this process (i.e., the personal self ) and into the process itself. Following Pickerings argument, I would view these processes as being essentially semiotic in nature that is, composed of culturally-meaningful signsand negotiated through narrative. Here then we return to the inspirational images that open this short paper. Access to this process would then mean access to the possibility of more effective and more useful narratives, a process that can radically change the self-experience of the client. Here we meet James Hillmans (1983) idea that you need to heal the story, not the person. How do we approach this? What might be the mechanism of this self-process? In his book, Approaches to Consciousness (2004), Les Lancaster brings together cognitive neuroscience and mysticism to explore the nature of consciousness. I shall use his ideas here to think about how we might generate and sustain the process of self, how we might think about redefining those narratives, and the cultural milieu from which they arise. For the purposes of understanding consciousness, Lancaster recognizes the link between cognitive neuroscience approaches and mystical approaches. For example, 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. Lancaster identifies the fact that the process of identifying a self, or I-tagging, comes late in this sequence of six events that make up the perceptual process. There are six stages in Lancasters model of this process: 1. In the process of seeing an object, a set of neurons fire
Special Topic: Russian Soul


and are analyzed through the visual cortex. 2. The memory process responds to the input. 3. Various schemata are activated through neural resonance. 4. Identity of an object is established separate from the background information. 5. For Lancaster, this is the moment when the I-narrative and the perceptual process come together. The perceived object is incorporated in the individuals ongoing meaning narrative. In Abhidhamma this is known as javana. There is no literal translation for the word javana, but it conveys an active role in the perceptual processthere is a clear transition from perceptual mechanism to narrative. 6. Finally, memory is updated by relaying back the current perception, including the narrative interpretation. The important feature to grasp is that this activity goes on outside of normal awareness. The sense of I-ness is added prior to the normal waking experience of consciousness, but late in the perceptual process. Under mundane conditions the nature of I-tagging is powerful. The sense of self is continually reinforced by registering new I-tagged perceptions into the individual-meaning narrative. The advantage of studying this process from a mystical perspective such as Abhidhamma is that it points out this deconstruction of the perceptual process. Lancaster suggests that such deconstruction, through meditation or other mystical processes, offers the opportunity to decrease the reinforcing nature of the I-tag, and thereby allows the possibility for a greater number of associative schemata to reach consciousness. Here then we are back to the key for transformational process in psychotherapy: moving beyond the personal self-image to the process behind it, to the thoughts of the world, or the mind of God. Through altering the relationship between the narrative of self and the narratives of experience, it becomes possible to develop more effective and more useful narratives. Here we are immediately into the ground of psychotherapeutic work, be that in a classical psychoanalytic frame such as a Winnicotts (1951) model of transitional space or a Hillmans (1983, 1996) view of narrative reconstruction or soul making from a case history to teleological soul history. 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- image within me in order to imagine differing possibilities. The goal, if there is one, is to develop an overarching narrative with the client, one that 80

enables the client to cope with his or her experience creatively rather than destructivelya narrative that is open and containing rather than destructive and constraining. Sometimes I feel as if I lend an alternate self to the clientboth 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. Working with a client in this way requires some skill and art at perceiving the individual content streams within the clients narrative and then helping the client to re-weave them. Perhaps the best way to illustrate it is with a brief clinical example: B was 41 at the time of presentation. Her father had been deceased for 10 years, her mother was still alive, and she had one sister. She had been treated violently by both parents throughout her childhood. She left home and school at age 15, but had gone on to work in demanding and prestigious jobs. These are the bare bones of the personal narrative, with significant defining features such as violence, death, and action in the world. The client presented to CORE with alcohol, polydrug habits and difficulties with eating. In individual therapy she identified her violent and abusive experiences in childhood as causing problems, particularly with respect to difficulties in relating to people, a tendency to isolate herself, chronic low self-esteem and habitual self-destructiveness. The clients narrative of these symptoms as drivers of her addictive behavior indicated a compatibility between her ideas and those held by CORE as an institution. Here is the experience of shared narrative ideas that is essential to developing the therapeutic work. B attended well during her time at CORE, but experienced initial ambivalence toward the community. She found it difficult to talk in group, and would lay down on the floor hiding her face, speaking rarely, and then not in a self-disclosing manner. Here the CORE narrative and her personal narrative came into conflict. It was not possible for her to determine the safest way to meet the needs of the CORE project as caregiver, so she attempted to control the situation by evoking her familiar narrative cycle of non-compliance and the violence it historically evoked. Within the analytic frame of repetition compulsion, the kernel of the story is here. Concurrently in her individual therapy, the client and her therapist explored issues of trust and relationship, examined her difficulties with shame, and her linkage of violence and intimacy. Toward the end of the fifth month, B was beginning to recognize that she had agency in relationship and was not simply the victim of

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circumstance. Here we evidence a fundamental alteration of the clients narratives in relation to herself, CORE, and perhaps to a normative narrative. She was able both to contain and reveal difficult feelings and the story behind them, whilst developing a new overarching narrative in which she was no longer trapped in her circumstances as a victim. However, the clients non-compliant behavior in group was still at issue. The conflict between the two narrative streams became unbearable and she relapsed into addictive behavior. Ultimately the newfound story, and new self-image, contained her and, in this context, historic experiences that had previously been unbearable began to emerge into consciousness. Over the next few months the client explored many of her intimate relationship, particularly with members of her immediate family. Most significantly, she was able to bear the memory of her fathers sexual abuse. She considered that she might be able to pull the parts of her self together to feel more whole. Her personal narrative was being negotiated within the containing narrative framework of CORE, and a deeper sense of self slowly emerged. As part of this process, she read her own case history. In response she wrote: Its very strange, and enlightening, to read a case history of yourself, someone elses version of your narrative. Firstly of course it isnt long enough; it doesnt begin to explain the circumstances or the level of distress that I felt to start using when I was 12. Before alcohol, I self-harmed: burning myself, bouncing my head off walls, stitching my fingers together, trying to find a way I could cause myself more pain than what I already felt, but couldnt understand. My linear narrative didnt start until I was nine, just fragmentary memories of agues. Alcohol made me not feel pain, as later did heroin, tranquilizers, and cannabis; cocaine and speed made me not care whether I felt pain or not. When I got to CORE, Id used alcohol for 29 years and drugs for 26. Substance free, it became apparent that there wasnt a time without the feelings that made me want to self-destruct. Through CORE I have repaired myself enough to attempt a fulfilling, clean and sober life, and I am fortunate that support is available through COREs weekly after-care treatment that I attend. Another strange thing is how completely different I feel for the vast majority of the time. I still have bad days when I plummet to the depths of despair and self-hatred instantaneously, but I can contain my feelings without using. That is true liberation.

As of this moment, the client is still in psychotherapy and has remained clean for 15 months since leaving CORE. She is continuing in higher education. It is through the interaction of differing narratives that such changes in the clients narrative stream were possible. She became capable of tolerating her experiences and re-envisioning herself; this new and more useful selfimage better contains her narrative and her experiences. We are back to the main idea for defining self: a set of confluent narratives woven into a master narrative, which through time and the process of the psyche develop into the image or icon called self. Through deconstruction of the narrative stream it is possible to engage the underlying process and avoid over-identification with the images it throws up. Transpersonal psychotherapy is not just about the content of our being, but also learning to be aware of the context within which we experience being itself. That the self advances and confirms the myriad things is called delusion. That the myriad things advance and confirm the self is enlightenment. (Aitkin, 1985, p. 232). Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at References Aitken, R. (1985). Gandhi, Dogen, and Deep Ecology. In B. Devall & G. Sessions (Eds.), Deep Ecology: Living As If Nature Mattered (pp. 23235). Salt Lake City, UT: Peregrine Smith Books. Hillman, J. (1983). Healing fiction. New York: Stanton Hill Press. Hillman, J (1996). The souls code. New York: Random House. Lancaster, B. L. (2004). Approaches to consciousness, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Pickering, J. (1999). The self as semiotic process. In S. Gallagher & J. Shear (Eds.).Models of the Self (pp. 62-83.) Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic. Whitehead, A. N. (1933). Science and the modern world, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Wiley, N. (1994). The semiotic self. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Winnicott, D.W. (1951). Transitional objects and transitional phenomena. In Through paediatrics to psychoanalysis (pp. 229-242). London: Institute of PsychoAnalysis and Karnac Books.

Special Topic: Russian Soul


The Psychic Defense

Vitor Rodrigues

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

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to use traditional termsat the risk of speaking in language associated with medieval superstition. Unfortunately I have found very few authors dealing with the matter of psychic attacks in a somewhat realistic way (Bailey, 1930; Fortune, 2001). If we assume there is some kind of real phenomenon behind such reports, what kind of a model can we use to understand outer demons? Inner demons, of course, are our own unfinished businessunwholesome fears, greeds and ambitions. Left unchecked, these unwholesomenesses lead to evil actions. One way to understand outer demons is as subtle presences that connect with us through these inner flaws and who cultivate those flaws. Psychic attacks can also come from humans. Some will try to perform interesting rituals, some will try to project their own negative energy onto you, and some will ask for help from demonic entities. Two of the main procedures of classic witchcraft are the dajida and the charge. A dajida is a witchcraft doll prepared by the practitioner of dark arts and sympathetically connected to the victim by means of a sample, such as a bit of that persons hair, nails, blood, sperm, saliva, photograph, or a piece of clothing that has been worn for some time. Once the connection is established, it is believed that what the practitioner does to the doll will happen to the victim at a distance. Fortunately, this is not so easy to accomplish. Part of the effect is through suggestion, reinforced by the folkloric beliefs of the victim. But in some ways the doll also helps the practitioner project his or her own energy and intention. Some classical experiments seem to produce interesting effects, though it is difficult to do such experiments ethically. However, a few related experiments have been done under laboratory conditions (for some hints at a modern version, see Ostrander & Schroeder, 1997). A charge is an object filled with bad feelings and bad intentions, such as a dead cat. Typically, the sorcerer gets a cat or rat, connects it to the victim in the same manner as a dajida, then puts it some place to rot. The rotting process is intended to have repercussions on the victim. Another variation is a cursed stabbing knife that is placed where the victim will find it. The intended outcome is that the negative qualities in the knife will induce the victim to use the blade to kill himself. Symptoms of psychic attack include the following: 1. A feeling that someone is blowing on the back of your neck, but no one is there;

2. A persistent stinging in parts of the body, producing a specific pain; 3. Strange pains that do not respond to painkillers; 4. Unexplained illness that cannot be diagnosed by medicine; 5. Pressure on the back of the neck, spine, or back of head, as if someone is pressing with a finger; 6. 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, occurring as a sudden feeling of intense anguish or fear, or the sensing of a threat that may occur with nausea); 7. Nightmares (most are from indigestion, stress, worry, and personal problems, but other incidents have a quality of vividness and may feel as if an octopus or some other threatening thing is grabbing the person, or as if some specters or demons are present-sometimes the dream experience is one of being encaged or otherwise imprisoned); 8. Direct visions (e.g., a girlfriend of mine was combing her hair in front of the mirror, and saw black serpents in her hair, while other clients have seen a vampire at the door, or a bedcover has seemed to become a python); 9. Hearing threatening voices, which of course, to a psychologist, is a probable sign of schizophrenia, but in my experience many people who hear voices clearly are not schizophrenicthat is, they are living normal productive lives and some small percentage of these may result from psychic attacks); 10. A sense of constriction and despair, a feeling of oppressive darkness that is darker than the absence of light; 11. Fatigue, weakness, feeling a burdensome weight; 12. Unexplained fainting; 13. Waking up and feeling as if movement is impossible, 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; 14. Sudden, intense, uncontrollable emotion; 15. Repulsive odors, such as rottenness, that are suspended in a precise location; 16. A sound of bells that comes from nowhere; and 17. Paranoiathe feeling that someone or something is after you. Naturally, all of these symptoms may arise from causes other than psychic attack. However, when more conventional causes or cures do not work, it is possible that the symptom may result from such an attack, mostly if several symptoms like the ones above are showing up together, and normal explanations have
Special Topic: Russian Soul


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

Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at


The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

On Therapy by Means of Spiritual Culture

Mark E. Burno

herapy by means of spiritual culture is a psychotherapeutic approach in which the leading psychotherapeutic mechanism is that of creative self-expression, creative inspiration. Yet the state of creative inspiration can be felt in different ways according to the nature of the particular soul. For example, an individual with a more idealistic nature will experience spirituality and creative inspiration quite differently than one with a more materialist bent. In Western tradition, the state of creative inspiration is often understood as something sent from Above, as to a receiver. As such, this state is called Freedom (Fromm), Logos (Frankl), Self-Actualization (Maslow), Personal Growth (Rogers), Psychosynthesis (Assagioli), Transpersonal State (Grof ), and so forth. This approach is more of an idealistic relationship to a transcendent spirituality. In Russia, there are more people of a materialistic nature of soul than in the West or the Far East. Such people feel the state of creative inspiration as an emission of their own bodies. Because of this, the Russian notion of spirituality is broader; it includes not only what is sent to us from Above, but is also Something emitted by ourselves. In this way, we can say that Pushkin and Chekov are spiritual writers, but without an idealistic, religious worldview; they are more in the natural-scientific stream. This same distinction can be seen in psychotherapy. Alexander Yarotsky (1908, 1917), a physician with a materialistic worldview, is one of the fathers of Russian clinical psychotherapy in the natural-scientific approach. Yarotsky named his classical book, Idealism as a Physiologic Factor (1908). He understood idealism as a state of captivity to altruistic ideals. In Russia, there are many intellectuals with this materialistic understanding of spirituality. With the help of many others, I have worked out this psychotherapeutic method over more than 30 years (see Burno, 2002, 2005). The essence of the method is as follows: The patients with painful feelings of inferiority study elements of clinical psychiatry, characterology, natural history, and psychotherapy in order to learn to express themselves creatively in harmony with their natural characterological peculiarities. In order to live naturally, that is, in accordance with

ones own nature, one must study ones own natural features; these then become real orienting points for following ones own spiritual nature: ones own nature, emitting spirit. This method helps not only people of a materialistic outlook, but also those with a more idealistic nature, to find their own psychotherapy. Here is an excerpt from a group session on creative self-expression that helps individuals to feel their own outlook and understand whether they are more idealistic and religious or natural-scientific in their own nature. This session is called Polenov and Rublev. It begins by viewing a painting by the Russian artist Vasiliy Polenov entitled Christ and the Sinner. In Polenovs picture, Jesus is a young but wise man: wholly human, realistically depicted. This is realistic pictorial art on a religious theme. Then we view an icon by Anton Roublev, the famous Russian artist and monk of the 15th century. Here we see the face of Jesus, but we do not know whether the neck is male or female. The nose looks rather like a ducks bill, and the hair is just an inarticulate mass. For the idealist it must be this way: the face of Christ should not be full-blooded and alive, for it is the origin of Spirit. If the face were lifelike, we would not see the stream of Spirit flowing from his eyes. This image of Christ is the glance of the transcendental world, of God. It reminds us of how the girl in Gogols story speaks of the stars in the sky. She says, The angels open the windows of their houses. So, we have one image of spirit for idealists and another for materialists. Spirit is no less important to the materialist, but it is secondary: body (matter) emits spirit. For such a person, his or her own body is the source of spirit. So, therapy by means of spiritual culture may be creative inspiration that takes a more religious, idealistic form, or it may take the natural-scientific form of creative self-expression. The approach is different for differing patients.

Special Topic: Russian Soul


References Burno, M. E. (2005). Native psychotherapy in Russia. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 7(1), 71-76. Burno, M. E. (2002). Therapy by means of creative self expression. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 4(2), 49-53. Yarotsky, A. I. (1917). O psykoterapii pri hronicheskih vnutrenih boleznyah. Russky Vrach , 3(25-28), 433-444. Yarotsky, A. I. (1908). Idealizm kak fiziologichesky factor. Yuruev: Yuryevsky Universitet. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at Weshniakowskaja Street 4-1-101 Moscow 111402 Russia


The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

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 by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular. (Jung, 1967, par. 335) cut off the youths head (and found great pleasure in his evil game). The next day the czar issued the same challenge and again a bold young man suffered the same fate. On the third day there was another dinner party and the czar made the same offer. There was a third bold young man who said he could escape him, but only on the third attempt. He went out of the city and shape-changed into a weasel, a drill, and then a falcon and flew in front of the czars daughters window. She saw him and opened the window and he flew in. Inside her room he turned himself back into a young man and had a nice private dinner with the czars daughter. Then he turned himself into a ring she put on her finger. However, the czar again consulted his magic book and discerned the youths hiding place. So, he said, now your head must come off your shoulders! But the youth replied that it had been arranged that he should have three tries, and the czar let him go. The youth departed once more, shape-changing into several animals, and was again admitted to the czars daughters room where he turned into his own form. They had a nice feast and spent the night together and tried to plan a way to escape the czar. The next day he went to open fields and turned himself into a blade of grass. But once again the czar consulted his magic book, found the youth and demanded that his head must come off his shoulders, but the youth said No, as he still had another chance to hide, the last one, and the czar agreed. The youth left the palace, and shape-changed into a grey wolf, a pike, and then a falcon. Flying over mountains and cliff, he saw the nest of the Magovei bird (a magic bird in Russian fairy tales) on a green oak tree and dropped down into her nest. The bird was not there at the time, but when she came back and saw the bold youth sitting there, she said, What impertinence! She seized him by the collar and flew with him out of the nest, across the blue sea and put him on the magician czars window. The youth changed himself into a fly, flew into the palace and then became a piece
Special Topic: Russian Soul

want to begin by telling you a Russian fairytale loosely taken from Marie-Louise Von Franz (1987, pp. 236-9). This tale, called The Black Magician Czar, describes an encounter with the Shadow and how to cope with it. In the discussion that follows, I will also draw upon six informal qualitative interviews that I conducted with senior, 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.K. Council for Psychotherapy. Based in large part on their experiences of encountering the Shadow during difficult transitions and periods of conflict within their organisations, I will examine how power and leadership are held, and how later generations may unconsciously carry the Shadow for the founders. Finally I wish to suggest innovative forms of holding authority and leadership for the 21st century. The Black Magician Czar There was a czar who was a black magician and a very powerful ruler. One day he gave a dinner party for all his subjects and said to them: Whoever can run away and hide himself from me shall have half my kingdom and my daughter as his wife, and after my death he can rule over my whole empire. Everybody who sat there remained silent and turned pale. But a very bold young man got up and said, Czar, I can hide from you and escape. And the czar answered, All right, bold young man, hide yourself. Tomorrow I will hunt for you and if you dont succeed in hiding yourself, your head must come off! The bold young man went off to hide, but the czar read his book of magic and found out where the youth had gone, and sent his servants to find him and bring him before him. And he himself, the czar, took a sharp sword and


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

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amidst the vacuum and chaos, prior to finding a reframed identity. The Jungian analyst Robert Hobson calls this the therapeutic community disease (Hobson, 1979, p. 232). He outlines three phases: (1) The coming of the Messiah; (2) the Enlightenment; and (3) the Catastrophe. 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, a potential Saviour Hero who will bring revitalizing purpose to the organization. Initially a period of intellectual stimulation follows, there seems to be inner cohesion; but outer groups are constellated, individual differences and anxieties are denied, and the Shadow goes underground. However, inevitably the pain, death, rage and mourning for what was lost with the original founder has to be faced, and disillusionment, breakdown and usually unnamed destructive components of the process force themselves into consciousness (Perry, 1991). The saviour fantasy must be relinquished, 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, 2005, p. 98). There is an African proverb that holding power is like holding an egg. Hold it too loosely, and it may drop and fall; hold it too tightly, and it may break. It is in the holding of the tensions of these polarities that the unthought known (Bollas, 1987) of the transcendent function can reveal itself. There are several methods for mediating with shadow influences that can aid such a process of internal self-examination. Social Dreaming is increasingly used within analytical training institutes and mainstream organisations to build a communal relationship with the Shadow and unconscious processes. (GordonLawrence, 2005). 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, transformational philosophy to life and work in essence a way of being that is committed to an individuals personal growth within organisations and promotes a sense of community (Greenleaf, 2003). Collective leadership is yet another paradigm in which mutual interconnection configures the presence of collective leadership, where difference, messiness and diverse ideas remain and flourish but are held. The nature of leadership is no longer that of a spiritual parent to a child, but of peer to peer, allowing leadership to shift,

devolve, and be shared by individuals that are able to provide many differing qualities of leadership in differing circumstances according to their particular style, strengths and personal attributes. Creative methods such as these may help us to own, 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. It is within the oft unspoken, unnoticed, unassuming acts of determination to bear difference, and in open-hearted gestures of kindness and the courage of forgiveness, 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. References Biran, H. (2003). The difficulty of transforming terror into dialogue. Group Analysis, 36(4), 490-502. Bollas, C. (1987). The shadow of the object. London: Free Association Books. Gordon, L. W. (2005). Introduction to social dreaming: Transforming thinking. London: Karnac. Greenleaf, R. (2003). The Servant-leader within: A transformative path (H. Beazley, J. Beggs, & L. C. Spears, Eds.). New York: Paulist Press. Hobson, R. (1979). The Messianic community. In R. Hinshelwood & N. Manning, (Eds.), Therapeutic Communities (pp. 103-112). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Jung, C. G. (1967). The collected works of C. G. Jung: Vol. 13. Alchemical studies (Bollingen Series 20, R. F. C. Hull, Trans.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Perry, C. (1991). Listen to the voice within: A Jungian approach to pastoral care. London: SPCK Publishing. Schwartz, H. (1990). Narcissistic process and corporate decay: The theory of the organisational ideal. New York: New York University Press. Von Franz, M-L. (1987). Shadow and evil in fairytales. Dallas, TX: Spring Publications. Wellings, N. & McCormick, E. (2005). Nothing to lose: Psychotherapy, Buddhism and living life. London: Continuum. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at

Special Topic: Russian Soul


We Were Made for These Times

Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount

aving Jewish roots, studying mysical Judaism, Buddhism and shamanism, I have followed many paths, finally arriving at this place with no name. Ain Sof, Holy Spirit, Great Spirit are among the many names for this one ground from which all life springs. But if you ask me what I believe in, I might confess that I practice the religion of love, because re+ligare means reconnecting and love has the greatest bonding power. My concern is how to make this world a better place to live. Czech president Vaclav Havel, speaking at Harvard University, said, I am persuaded again and again that, lying dormant in the deepest roots of most, if not all, cultures there is an essential similarity, something that could be madeif the will to do so existeda genuinely unifying starting point for that new code of human coexistence that would be firmly anchored in the great diversity of human traditions (1995). Deep down in the ground there are the same seeds of truth, love, wisdom, compassion, peace and justice. It takes new moral energy to create new political will. We need politics of awareness based on morality and a new morality based on love for all living beings. When we look at the world from an eagles eye view, we see two struggling forces. The old order is a fragmented world based on the illusion of separateness, battling for spheres of influence and control over territories and human minds. The new order, set by unitive consciousness, perceives the world as one organism based on the shared ground underlying all spiritual traditions. There are no spectators in this struggle. We need to establish direct connection between our spiritual practice and service for the world. My intention is to join all people who are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now and who are awake enough to contribute to the process of healing, transformation and reconciliation. We can all see that transpersonal and holistic awareness is becoming more popular. Why? Because this is the right answer to the burning problems of the world and the painful dilemma of being human. The real pain in the lives of most people may not be about starvation as much as about lacking trusta deprivation of higher purpose and meaning. As Eyad 90

el Sarraj (2002) observed, The hopelessness that comes from a situation that keeps getting worse, [is] a despair where living becomes no different than dying. Even if spiritual emptiness is a phenomenon particular to the West, it has great impact on the entire human civilization. It is the spiritual starvation of the so-called developed world that causes physical poverty and starvation in underdeveloped nations. These developed societies pump natural resources out of the soil of the Third World and dump back their junk and toxic waste, thereby stripping of natural dignity and spirituality the inhabitants, who are left naked like slaves and beggars of a better world. In this way, both rich and poor nations are left spiritually bereft. Earth is being devoured because most people are disconnected from the Source of Life, uprooted from the earth, spiritually homeless, thirsty, unsated. This is the cause of deep despair, fear, anger, oppression and warsthe emptiness inside us that leads us to reach for everything outside us, to conquer other territories and exploit natural resources. We have an ongoing history of genocide and holocaustsa long chain of cruel wars between oppressors and victims, and victims who become oppressors. 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, The future is brought into the present by people who conspire togetherthat is, breathe together. A saying attributed to the Hopi Indians says, We are the ones we have been waiting for. In my vision I saw that the most urgent and beautiful task is helping people to tap into a deep source of spiritual abundance. A second, equally important work is to learn how to transform and reconcile inner conflict so we do not cast our shadow on the world. When we are deeply connected to the whole, we feel relieved and happy, willing to contribute to common goodness. In this state of mind we can embrace and respect all diversities as a manifestation of the One. In practical terms, I imagine this work to be one of supporting already-existing trends in our culture such as: 1. Promoting the renaissance of holistic culture, drawing from old spiritual traditions, cultivating the real nature of man as a manifestation of the

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

true nature of all creation, reclaiming the sacredness of life and death; 2. Enhancing the evolution of humankind from homo tribus to homo holos. The tribal human is preoccupied mostly with the tribal drives of the first three chakrasbasically having to do with territory and survival. The holistic human is able to raise awareness to the heart and the crown chakra level, and embrace the entire Earth community; 3. Inspiring new womens movements to reclaim feminine power and wisdom, and to bring in more love and respect for the Earth and all living beings; 4. Developing the politics of awareness, fostering a new sense of planetary consciousness that is interfaith and multicultural; 5. Supporting culture and communication without violence; and 6. Co-creating a new code of co-existence based on the values that underlie the great spiritual traditions. Indras diamond net is an ancient vision of the world in which all beings have the nature of a diamond, and exist in a boundless network of reflections and relationships. My personal vision is to set up a network of international action so we can inspire each other to do this most urgent work with the people who are within our reach. My idea is to create INDRA-net, standing for International Direct Radiant Action Network. We need to think about what kind of actions we can develop, so more people can gain access to spiritual experiences, and find their way home. The guardians of the old order are very well armed and organized. We need to encourage each other to intensify our activities and make them more effective. I believe we have a special responsibility in this time in history. This is our opportunity to trigger the tipping point, to transform a minority perception into a majority embrace. In the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, we were made for these times (2003).

References Brown, I. G. (1994). Brochure of the third conference, European Transpersonal Association. London. el Sarraj, E. (2002). Suicide bombers: Dignity, despair, and the need for hope. Journal of Palestine Studies, 31(4), archive /modules.php?name =News&file=print&sid=193, retrieved July 30, 2005 Estes, C. P. (2003). Letter to a young activist during troubled times,, retrieved July 30, 2005 Havel, V. (1995). Address delivered at Harvard University., retrieved July 31, 2005. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at

Special Topic: Russian Soul



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

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For trust is surrendering oneself. Never, never trust. (Trungpa, 1998, pp. 13-14). Ah, such an invitation, invocation of trust, such romantic longing, such a flirt! What does Kathleen want? To be the single yakini, yes. And, maybe, and surely beyond telling, to trust. In the goddess that she is, yes, and in the love that she is, yes, and maybe in a human partner, I cannot say, I must ask her at some point. What does Kidder want? Ah, hes blushing. He wants it all: unrelationships brutal beauty, deep trust, playflirt, kindness, all the faces of love. For Kali is ultimate love, and so is Kidders tender joy. May I have this dance, Kat? Ever in the big truth. * * * Perhaps a bit demanding. So here is the second coda, that of the goddess and dakini. But what if Kalis cutting isnt the only play? What if Kat and I were both the goddess, with full breasts and hips, swaying, bringing life as well as death, holding all warm forms, sisterhood, holding Kathleens warm hand, in her red turtleneck and jeans, side by side. And the goddess can make love with the goddess, always is: the sex of the ocean with the ocean, churning, genderless, transshaping, the sea that never breaks, has no necessity of further opening. It is a very deep passion, hard for humans to hear. Yes. But Kidder is also dakini, a sky-goer. If the goddess is all places at once, he shows up in all places, all at once. If the goddess is love, giving and receiving, he dances her love songs, in and out of key. If the goddess is form, he is the emptiness aspect of her forms, dissolving at touch, reuniting from within. If the goddess glows her fullness, he dwells in the secret interstices of her womb. When she has urgent play, he is utter stillness. When she is silent, his speech splashes like light warm June drops of rain. When the goddess is seductive, dakini comes up behind and tweaks her boo. And when they sex, who is who is who? Which rain falls, where is up or down? What wind, earth, whose water, swirl and swirl and swirl. * * * There is one more coda, that of Jesus. Trungpa, the goddess, Jesus. Thats a progression. T. is primal That. The goddess is his first manifestation, moving outward toward the human realm. Jesus emerges from her, is her intense refinement into pure love. Kathleen writes:

Is there anyone who will ensure that your corpse will be taken off the hook on the wall behind Ereshkigals throne, fed the food and water of rebirth, and brought to the surface again? Yes, whispers Jesus, yes, I will come for you over and over and over until your immortal soul no longer needs me. I hold you, Kathleen, in my love. * * * The Last Word There is no last word, nor can there be a resolution in this. Thats the point, where bliss is pain is bliss. * * * A friend of mine read this letter, hes twenty-two, he emails me: It is so fine, with your well-sharpened, almost ancient tools. Kat flutters there in her constant pure aversion, turning her head to giggle when you are there admiring her loud HARKING neck. You dont see the giggle. It is still so serious, no, so fine, no, so sharpened, your tools. Drop the tools more, drop your arm, dont use your skin, trust your hairs, let that sway of your hairs dissolve into her body, it is more compelling to her insides. She can run from the trucks interior designs, the large truck of almost-flying concoctions, but if you spill the materials, break open the huge churning barrel of the truck, there it will splash for so long she will BATHE in it. The flirtdreadjoy is a place of shaking invisible sheets, look out for the tiny razors. * * * So Jesus wins this hand, his clear radiance and gentle voice, calling. And in the end Kathleen didnt want to play, thats all. References Trungpa, C. (1976). The myth of freedom and the way of meditation. Boston: Shambhala Publications. Trungpa, C. (1998). Timely rainSelected poetry of Chogyam Trungpa. Boston: Shambhala Publications. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to the author at

Readers Commentry



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 234 published works in English, French, Russian and other Slavic languages. Burton Daniels (United States) has been a counselor since 1987. He has had a wide range of training from psychodynamic to transpersonal psychotherapy, and is currently working as a family therapist. He received a masters degrees in psychology from Sonoma State University and Argosy University. He has been a practitioner of Adidam since 1983 and currently lives in the ashram of his spiritual master, Avatar Adi Da Samraj. Glenn Hartelius (United States) is a mind/body theorist, clinician and teacher. He has a particular interest in developing critical methodologies for the felt sense. He is completing a Ph.D. in East-West psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount (Poland) is a psychotherapist specializing in transpersonal therapy. She holds a masters degree in clinical psychology from Warsaw University and completed postgraduate studies in the U.S. in Gestalt Therapy and Bioenergetics. She is president of the Polish Transpersonal Forum and, as former vice-president of the European Transpersonal Association, she organized the fourth European Transpersonal Conference in Warsaw in 1997.

Vladimir Maykov, Ph.D. (Russia) is a leader of transpersonal studies in Russia. He was one of the first Soviet teachers of transpersonal psychology and, since 1990, has developed and taught more than 20 training programs in transpersonal therapy. In addition to authoring several books, he founded an international project to publish transpersonal psychology texts in Russian, through which he has edited approximately 50 books. He also founded the Transpersonal Institute in 1994 and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in 1997, and serves as president of the Russian Association for Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. Adam Rock (Australia) received a Ph.D. in psychology from Charles Sturt University in 2005. His research interests include altered states of consciousness, the ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery, and philosophical problems associated with psychology. Vitor Rodrigues (Portugal) has a private psychology/ psychotherapy practice and is president of both the European Transpersonal Association and the Portuguese-Brazilian Transpersonal Association. He is the author of eight books and has taught at the University of Lisbon, the Nursing School of Evora, and the University of Algarve Faculty of Medicine. He regularly lectures and conducts workshops and journalistic interviews on transpersonal subjects. Dennis Patrick Slattery (United States) is Core Faculty in the Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology Programs at Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has taught for 37 years, is author of over 225 articles, reviews and popular culture essays for newspapers and magazines, as well as author or editor of eight books on psychology, literature, human embodiment, and poetry. 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).


The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24

Kidder Smith (United States) is Professor of History and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College where he teaches courses on East Asian cultures and religions. Steve Taylor (United Kingdom) Steve Taylor teaches at the University of Manchester and Salford College, England. His essays and articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including The Journal of Consciousness Studies, the Journal of DH Lawrence Studies and New Renaissance. His essay Primal Spirituality and the Onto/Phylo Fallacy appeared in IJTS vol. 22. He is the author of a study of time perception, Out of Time (Paupers' Press, UK). His book, The Fall: the Evidence for a Golden Age, 6000 Years of Insanity and the Dawning of a New Era, was recently published by O books, with a foreword by Stanley Krippner. It was a Book of the Year in the Independent (UK) newspaper, 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 is married with a 2 year old son, and a new baby boy. This may be the last paper he writes for some time. Robert Tindall, M.A. (United States) is a long-time Zen student in the tradition of the Diamond Sangha and now practices at Ring of Bone Zendo. He has also worked extensively on the medieval genres of the chivalric quest and has investigated Amazonian medicines in Peru. He lives and teaches in Oakland, California. Rupert Tower (United Kingdom) is a UK Council for Psychotherapy Registered Transpersonal Psychotherapist working in private practice and Director of the Centre for Transpersonal Psychology based in London. He has worked in management roles over the last 20 years in the arts and qualitative marketing, focusing on leadership and organizational/group dynamics. More recently, he has led process groups with addicts. He has presented and published research papers for the UK Market Research Society, the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research, and the British Journal of Social Psychology.

Ashley Wain (Australia) is a Ph.D. candidate in social ecology at the School of Contemporary Arts at the University of Western Sydney, where he is researching numinous and essential experience in actor training and performance. He trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts and has appeared in leading roles at various theatres, as well as devised and directed performances. He has also taught at various schools and companies for nearly a decade. In addition, he trained in Holotropic Breathwork with Stanislav Grof and Tav Sparks and is the author of an article on this experience, published in Radical Spirit: Spiritual Writings from the Voices of Tomorrow. Harald Walach (Germany/United Kingdom) is a research professor in psychology with the University of Northampton, and director of the European office of the Samueli Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and a Ph.D. in theory and history of science. He is also the director of the Section for the Evaluation of Complementary Medicine at Freiburg University Hospital, Germany, where he has conducted work in the evaluation and conceptual foundations of complementary medicine (mainly homeopathy, acupuncture and spiritual healing). Recently his research interests have covered mindfulness meditation and spirituality. He is cofounder and vice president of the German Association of Transpersonal Psychology, editor of the journal, Research in Complementary Medicine/Forschende Komplementrmedizin, and is on the editorial board of a number of journals in the area of complementary medicine. Jason Wright (United Kingdom) is a transpersonal and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. He is currently Chair for The Centre of Transpersonal Psychology and Clinical Director for the CORE Trust. He holds positions as a board member for both the European Transpersonal Association and The College of Psychoanalysts, and has a private practice in central London. As a UK Council for Psychotherapy registered psychotherapist, he has held the office of Chair of the Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic section.

About the Contributors


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


The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2005, Volume 24


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


Manuscript Submission All manuscripts should be written in English and prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the most recent edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. When submitting manuscripts for the General or Special Topics sections, include an abstract (up to 120 words) and a biographical statement for each author (up to 175 words). For manuscripts submitted to the Reader Comments section, an abstract and biography are not required. Manuscripts for the General and Special Topics sections should not exceed 10,000 words (including text, references, notes, etc.). Submissions for the Reader Comments section should not exceed 4,000 words (including text, references, etc.) and the cover letter should specify the IJTS article, book, article from another source, or special event which is the basis of the manuscript. Manuscripts submitted to IJTS must be original and neither previously published nor under consideration for publication elsewhere. Submission of a manuscript assumes commitment to publish it in the IJTS if it is accepted. All statements are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or staff of IJTS. Contributing authors are responsible for obtaining written permission, where appropriate, to reprint copywritten material. Editors review all manuscripts at time of submission to assess their general suitability for publication in the IJTS. Manuscripts submitted for the General or Special Topics sections which are deemed suitable for consideration for publication are subsequently peerreviewed. Manuscripts deemed unsuitable are returned to the corresponding author without undergoing the peer-review process. Manuscripts submitted for the Reader Comments section may or may not receive peer review. When a manuscript is accepted for publication, the author will be asked to send a hard copy of the final draft accompanied by a matching disk or, if possible, provide the final draft to the editors in the form of an e-submission. Thereafter, page proofs and a copyright transfer agreement will be sent to the first author and must be returned within one week. Manuscripts may initially be submitted in hard copy, on disk, or, most preferably, through electronic means. The Publisher and Editors are not responsible for the loss or damage of materials sent to them. Electronic submissions should be emailed to Douglas A. MacDonald, Editor, at the following email address: Please send manu-

scripts as an IBM PC-compatible attachment in Word or Wordperfect format. If submitting on disk, send an IBM PC formatted CD rom or 3.5" floppy disk containing a copy of the manuscript to the address below. The disk should be clearly labeled with authors names, title of submitted manuscript, file name, and format (e.g., Word, Wordperfect). For hardcopy submissions, send four copies of manuscripts to the address below: Douglas A. MacDonald, Ph.D. Editor International Journal of Transpersonal Studies Department of Psychology University of Detroit Mercy 4001 West McNichols Road Detroit, Michigan, USA 48221

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To Order:, 415.249.1380, or Send Order Request to: Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center 747 Front Street, 3rd Floor San Francisco, CA 94111 Destinations in the USA are sent via media mail. For Priority mail, add US$3.95 per volume, or US$7.50 per IJTS packet. Non-USA destinations are sent via surface mail. For airmail, add US$15.00 per volume, or US$20.00 per IJTS packet. (Canada and Mexico add US$4.00 per volume or US$6.00 per packet). Make checks or money orders payable to: Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center


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