You are on page 1of 108

Transpersonal Studies

he International Journal of

Volume 27, 2008


Editors Introduction Glenn Hartelius and Harris Friedman What Does it Mean to Live a Fully Embodied Spiritual Life? Jorge N. Ferrer Some Rudimentary Problems Pertaining to the Construction of an Ontology and Epistemology of Shamanic Journeying Imagery Adam J. Rock and Stanley Krippner A Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism Sren Brier Brief History of Transpersonal Psychology Stanislav Grof The Past and Future of the International Transpersonal Association Stanislav Grof, Harris Friedman, David Luko, and Glenn Hartelius

SPECIAL TOPIC: Approaches to Transpersonal Psychotherapy


Introduction to Special Topic Section Harris Friedman and Glenn Hartelius The Role of Spirituality in Mental Health Interventions: A Developmental Perspective Liora Birnbaum, Aiton Birnbaum, and Ofra Mayseless The Buddhist Notion of Emptiness and its Potential Contribution to Psychology and Psychotherapy Jos M. Tirado Dantes Terza Rima in The Divine Comedy: The Road of Therapy Dennis Patrick Slattery Integral Approach to Mental Suering Laura Boggio Gilot The Therapeutic Potentials of a Museum Visit Andre Salom

Transpersonal Studies
he International Journal of

Volume 27, 2008

Table of Contents
Editors Introduction Glenn Hartelius and Harris Friedman What Does it Mean to Live a Fully Embodied Spiritual Life? Jorge N. Ferrer Some Rudimentary Problems Pertaining to the Construction of an Ontology and Epistemology of Shamanic Journeying Imagery Adam J. Rock and Stanley Krippner A Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism Sren Brier Brief History of Transpersonal Psychology Stanislav Grof The Past and Future of the International Transpersonal Association Stanislav Grof, Harris Friedman, David Luko, and Glenn Hartelius iii 1

12 20 46 55

SPECIAL TOPIC: Approaches to Transpersonal Psychotherapy


Introduction to Special Topic Section Harris Friedman and Glenn Hartelius The Role of Spirituality in Mental Health Interventions: A Developmental Perspective Liora Birnbaum, Aiton Birnbaum, and Ofra Mayseless The Buddhist Notion of Emptiness and its Potential Contribution to Psychology and Psychotherapy Jos M. Tirado Dantes Terza Rima in The Divine Comedy: The Road of Therapy Dennis Patrick Slattery Integral Approach to Mental Suering Laura Boggio Gilot The Therapeutic Potentials of a Museum Visit Andre Salom International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 63 65

74 80 91 98 i

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies


Volume 27, 2008
Editors Harris Friedman Glenn Hartelius Coordinating Editor Les Lancaster Managing Editors Kim Bella James D. Pappas Honorary Editor Stanley Krippner Editors Emeriti Don Diespecker Philippe Gross Douglas A. MacDonald Sam Shapiro Publisher Floraglades Foundation, Incorporated 1270 Tom Coker Road, LaBelle, FL 33935 2008 by Floraglades Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved ISSN (Print) 1321-0122 ISSN (Electronic) 1942-3241 Board of Editors Manuel Almendro (Spain) Rosemarie Anderson (USA) Liora Birnbaum (Israel) Laura Boggio Gilot (Italy) Jacek Brewczynski (USA)
ii International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Board of Editors (continued) Laura Boggio Gilot (Italy) Jacek Brewczynski (USA) Sren Brier (Denmark) Elias Capriles (Venezuela) Michael Daniels (UK) John Davis (USA) Wlodzislaw Duch (Poland) James Fadiman (USA) Jorge N. Ferrer (Spain/USA) David Fontana (UK) Joachim Galuska (Germany) David Y. F. Ho (Hong Kong, China) Daniel Holland (USA) Chad Johnson (USA) Bruno G. Just (Australia) Sean Kelly (USA) Jerey Kuentzel (USA) S. K. Kiran Kumar (India) Charles Laughlin (Canada/USA) Olga Louchakova (USA) Vladimir Maykov (Russia) Axel A. Randrup (Denmark) Brent Robbins (USA) Vitor Rodriguez (Portugal) Brent Dean Robbins (USA) Mario Simes (Portugal) Charles Tart (USA) Rosanna Vitale (Canada) John Welwood (USA)

Editors Introduction
e are pleased to publish this 2008 issue of the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. The issue begins with topics that range from embodied spirituality, to the nature of shamanic journey imagery, to a philosophy that oers a unied view of mind, matter, and consciousness. The next two articles oer, respectively, a brief history of transpersonal psychology and of the recently revived International Transpersonal Association. Finally, our special topic section oers a stimulating variety of approaches to transpersonal psychotherapy. The rst paper, by Jorge N. Ferrer, is titled, What Does it Mean to Live a Fully Embodied Spiritual Life? This insightful and refreshing piece notes that many religions have disparaged the physical body and separated spirituality from important aspects of embodied life, such as sensuality and sexuality. In contrast, Ferrer oers a vision of spirituality that embraces the wholeness of bodily existence and views the body as essential for spiritual transformation; his vision of spirituality is profoundly participatory, connecting across rather than rising above the world, including the person embodied within the world. To ground his participatory vision, Ferrer oers ten features of embodied spirituality, including an awakening of the body, a resacralization of the body, of nature, and of matter, and an attendant urge to create, to bring spiritual vision to the world, and to work for social, political, and ecological transformation. This is followed by a paper co-authored by Adam Rock and Stan Krippner that furthers their earlier study, Does the Concept of Altered States of Consciousness Rest on a Mistake? published in the 2007 volume of International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. This 2007 paper suggested that the concept of altered states of consciousness represents an objectication of

consciousness that conates consciousness itself with its contents. As a further explication for this insight, Rock and Krippner proposed that the term more accurately refers to an altered pattern of phenomenal properties, thus situating the change within the phenomenal eld that consciousness contemplates, rather than within consciousness itself. Their article in the current volume, Some Rudimentary Problems Pertaining to the Construction of an Ontology and Epistemology of Shamanic Journeying Imagery, takes a further step. It assumes, in line with the prior paper, that a shamanic state of consciousness should properly be referred to as a shamanic pattern of phenomenal properties, and then goes on to inquire into the ontological and epistemological status of things that appear as part of that phenomenal pattern. The next paper, A Peircian Panentheist Scientic Mysticism by Sren Brier, is a substantive exploration of the interface between science and spirituality as seen through the work of Charles Sanders Peirce. Peirce, an eminent and forward-thinking mathematician, scientist, and philosopher of the late 19th - early 20th centuries, formulated a post-Cartesian evolutionary philosophy in which psyche and physical matter are not separate. Brier sees Peirce as a panentheist, a mystic whose path to enlightenment is science as a social activity (this volume, p. 20). For readers who are not acquainted with Peirces philosophy, this article provides a substantial yet wholly accessible introduction to his remarkable and complex body of thought. For those who already know Peirce, Brier excavates his work for explicit and enriching connections with the transpersonal eld. Together, the next two works comprise a historical mini-section on transpersonal psychology. The rst of these, Brief History of Transpersonal Psychology,

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 27, 2008, pp. iii-iv International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

iii

by Stanislav Grof, oers personal glimpses into the early history of the eld, as well as a broader analysis of the cultural backdrop against which it emerged. These accounts are particularly valuable in that they are informed by the personal experience of one of the founders and primary theoreticians of transpersonal psychology. In this introduction, Grof traces some of the major streams of thought within transpersonal psychology and points to promising directions for the future. In the paper that follows, The Past and Future of the International Transpersonal Association, by Grof, Harris Friedman, David Luko, and Glenn Hartelius, the history of this international institution serves as background for the announcement that it has recently been revived and is currently in the process of being reconstituted and revitalized. In addition, we are pleased to note that the International Transpersonal Association will forge a close relationship with the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, with details yet to be worked out. Last, our special topic section, Transpersonal Psychotherapy, is introduced separately prior to the ve papers that constitute it. These pieces represent diversity not only in their approaches, but also in their gender, geographical, and cultural distribution. Four women and three men from the Middle East, Europe, the North Atlantic, North America, and South America oer a stimulating variety of perspectives related to the topics theme. As an international journal in name, we are particularly pleased to oer such a degree of diversity within this special section.

Glenn Hartelius, Editor Institute of Transpersonal Psychology Harris Friedman, Editor University of Florida

iv

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Hartelius & Friedman

What Does It Mean to Live a Fully Embodied Spiritual Life?


Jorge N. Ferrer1
California Institute of Integral Studies San Francisco, CA, USA This essay discusses the meaning of embodied spiritualitybased on the integration of all human attributes, including the body and sexualityand contrasts it with the disembodied spiritualitybased on dissociation and/or sublimationprevailing in human religious history. It then describes what it means to approach the body as a living partner with which to co-create ones spiritual life, and outlines ten features of a fully embodied spirituality. The article concludes with some reections about the past, present, and potential future of embodied spirituality.

For in him the whole fullness of divinity dwells bodily. (Colossians 2:9)

mbodied spirituality has become a buzzword in contemporary spiritual circles, yet the concept has not been dealt with in a thorough manner. What do we really mean when we say that spirituality is embodied? Is there a distinct understanding of the body underlying this expression? What distinguishes embodied from disembodied spirituality in practice? What are the implications for spiritual practice and spiritual goalsand for our very approach to spiritual liberationof taking embodiment seriously? Before attempting to answer these questions, two caveats are in order. First, though the following reections seek to capture essential features of an emerging spiritual ethos in the modern West, by no means do I claim that they represent the thinking of every spiritual author and teacher who today uses the term embodied spirituality. It should be obvious that some authors may focus on or accept only some of these features, and that the following account inevitably reects my own standpoint, with its unique perspective and consequent limitations. Second, this essay engages in the task of a creative interreligious hermeneutics that not only freelyand admittedly somewhat impetuouslyweaves together spiritual threads from dierent religious traditions, but at times revisions them in light of modern spiritual understandings. Though this procedure is still considered anathema in mainstream academic circles, I am convinced that only through a critical fusion of past and present global spiritual horizons can we begin stitching a trustworthy tapestry of contemporary embodied spirituality.

What Is Embodied Spirituality? n a way, the expression embodied spirituality can be rightfully seen as redundant and perhaps even hollow. After all, is not all human spirituality embodied insofar as it necessarily transpires in and through embodied men and women? Proponents of embodied spiritual practice, however, tell us that important trends of past and present spiritualities are disembodied. But what does disembodied mean in this context? In light of our spiritual history, I suggest that disembodied does not denote that the body and its vital/primary energies were ignored in religious practicethey denitely were notbut rather that they were not considered legitimate or reliable sources of spiritual insight in their own right. In other words, body and instinct have not generally been regarded as capable of collaborating as equals with heart, mind, and consciousness in the attainment of spiritual realization and liberation. What is more, many religious traditions and schools believed that the body and the primary world (and aspects of the heart, such as certain passions) were actually a hindrance to spiritual ourishinga view that often led to the repression, regulation, or transformation of these worlds at the service of the higher goals of a spiritualized consciousness. This is why disembodied spirituality often crystallized in a heart-chakra-up spiritual life that was based preeminently in the mental and/or emotional access to transcendent consciousness and that tended to overlook spiritual sources immanent in the body, nature, and matter.

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 27, 2008,International Journal of Transpersonal Studies pp. 1-11 An Embodied Spiritual Life

Embodied spirituality, in contrast, views all human dimensionsbody, vital, heart, mind, and consciousnessas equal partners in bringing self, community, and world into a fuller alignment with the Mystery out of which everything arises (Ferrer, 2002, 2008). Far from being an obstacle, this approach sees the engagement of the body and its vital/primary energies as crucial for not only a thorough spiritual transformation, but also the creative exploration of expanded forms of spiritual freedom. The consecration of the whole person leads naturally to the cultivation of a full-chakra spirituality that seeks to make all human attributes permeable to the presence of both immanent and transcendent spiritual energies. This does not mean that embodied spirituality ignores the need to emancipate body and instinct from possible alienating tendencies; rather, it means that all human dimensionsnot just somatic and primary onesare recognized to be not only possibly alienated, but also equally capable of sharing freely in the unfolding life of the Mystery here on earth. The contrast between sublimation and integration can help to clarify this distinction. In sublimation, the energy of one human dimension is used to amplify, expand, or transform the faculties of another dimension. This is the case, for example, when a celibate monk sublimates sexual desire as a catalyst for spiritual breakthrough or to increase the devotional love of the heart, or when a tantric practitioner uses vital/sexual energies as fuel to catapult consciousness into disembodied, transcendent, or even transhuman states of being. In contrast, the integration of two human dimensions entails a mutual transformation, or sacred marriage, of their essential energies. For example, the integration of consciousness and the vital world makes the former more embodied, vitalized, and even eroticized, and grants the latter an intelligent evolutionary direction beyond its biologically driven instincts. Roughly speaking, we could say that sublimation is a mark of disembodied spirituality, and integration is a goal of embodied spirituality. This is not to say, of course, that sublimation has no place in embodied spiritual practice. The spiritual path is intricate and multifaceted, and the sublimation of certain energies may be necessaryeven crucialat specic junctures or for certain individual dispositions. To turn sublimation into a permanent goal or energetic dynamic, however, is a fast lane to disembodied spirituality. In addition to spiritualities that blatantly devalue body and world, a more subtle type of disembodied orientation sees spiritual life as emerging exclusively from the

interaction of our immediate present experience and transcendent sources of consciousness (cf. Heron, 1998). In this context, spiritual practice is aimed either at accessing such overriding realities (ascent paths, such as classic Neoplatonic mysticism) or at bringing such spiritual energies down to earth to transgure human nature and/ or the world (descent paths, such as Sri Aurobindos integral yoga). The shortcoming of this monopolar understanding is that it ignores the existence of a second spiritual poleimmanent spiritual lifethat, as I elaborate below, is intimately connected to the vital world and stores the most generative power of Spirit. To overlook this spiritual source leads practitionerseven those concerned with bodily transformationto neglect the signicance of the vital world for a creative spirituality, as well as to seek to transcend or sublimate their sexual energies. A fully embodied spirituality, I suggest, emerges from the creative interplay of both immanent and transcendent spiritual energies in complete individuals who embrace the fullness of human experience while remaining rmly grounded in body and earth. To be sure, religious attitudes toward the human body have been profoundly ambivalent, with the body being regarded as a source of bondage, sinfulness, and delement on the one hand, and as the locus of spiritual revelation and divinization on the other. Our religious history houses tendencies that fall along a continuum of disembodied to embodied goals and practices. Examples of disembodied trends include the asceticism of Brahmanism, Jainism, Buddhism, monastic Christianity, early Taoism, or early Susm (Bhagat, 1976; Wimbush & Valantasi, 1995); Hindu views of the body as unreal (mithya) and the world as illusion (maya) (Nelson, 1998); Advaita Vedantas consideration of the bodiless liberation (videhamukti) achievable only after death as higher than a living liberation (jivanmukti) inexorably tainted by bodily karma (Fort, 1998); early Buddhist accounts of the body as a repulsive source of suering, of nirvana as extinction of bodily senses and desires, and of nal nirvana (parinirvana) as attainable only after death (Collins, 1998); the Christian view of the esh as the source of evil and of the resurrected body as asexual (Bynum, 1995); the isolation (kaivalya) of pure consciousness from body and world in SamkhyaYoga (Larson, 1969); the tantric transmutation of sexual energy to attain union with the divine in Kashmir Saivism (Mishra, 1993) or to be attuned to the creative ow of the Tao in Taoist self-cultivation (Yasuo, 1993); the Safed Kabbalists obsession with the sinfulness of

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Ferrer

masturbation and nocturnal emissions (Biale, 1992) or the Lurianic repudiation of the body as preventing man from [achieving] perfection of his soul (cited in Fine, 1992, p. 131); the Islamic consideration of the hereafter (al-akhira) as being immeasurably more valuable than the physical world (al-dunya) (Winter, 1995); and the Visistadvaita Vedantas claim that complete liberation entails the total cessation of embodiment (Skoog, 1996). Likewise, examples of embodied trends include the Zoroastrian view of the body as part of human ultimate nature (A. Williams, 1997); the Biblical account of the human being as made in the image of God (Genesis; Jnsson, 1988); the tantric armation of the nonduality of sensual desire and awakening (Faure, 1998); the early Christian emphasis on incarnation (the Word became esh; Barnhart, 2008); the goal of attaining Buddhahood in this very body (sokushin jobutsu) of Shingon Buddhism (Kasulis, 1990); the Jewish religious enjoyment of all bodily needs and appetites in the Sabbath (Westheimer & Mark, 1995); the radical embrace of sensuality in the Su poetry of Rumi or Hafez (Barks, 2002; Pourafzal & Montgomery, 1998); the Taoist vision of the body as a symbolic container of the secrets of the entire universe (Saso, 1997); the somatic connection to immanent spiritual sources in many indigenous spiritualities (e.g., Lawlor, 1991); Soto Zens insistence on the need to surrender the mind to the body in order to reach enlightenment (Yasuo, 1987); the Islamic esoteric saying of the Shiite Imams, Our spirits are our bodies and our bodies our spirits (arwahuna ajsaduna wa ajsaduna arwahuna; Galian, 2003); and the long-standing JudeoChristian advocacy for social engagement and justice in the spiritual transformation of the world (e.g., Forest, 1993; Heschel, 1996), among many others. Many apparently embodied religious orientations, however, conceal highly ambivalent views toward sensuality and the physical body. For example, Taoism did not generally value the physical body in itself, but only because it was believed to be a dwelling place for the gods; and Taoist sexual practices often involved rigorous self-restraint, inhibitory rules, and a depersonalization of sexual relationships that disdained the cultivation of mutual love among individuals (Clarke, 2000; Schipper, 1994). Also, whereas the Jewish Sabbath is a day for the consecration of sexual intercourse between husband and wife, many traditional teachings (e.g., the Iggeret ha-Kodesh) prescribed the need to engage in such union without pleasure or passion, as it was supposedly carried out in the Orchard before the rst sin (Biale, 1992).

What is more, much of the Vajrayana Buddhist appreciation of the gross physical body as a facilitator of enlightenment lay in considering it the foundation of a more real, nonphysical, astral body or rainbow body (P. Williams, 1997). In a similar fashion, Hindu tantra regarded body and world as real, but some of its rituals of identication with the cosmos entailed the purication and visualized destruction of the impure physical body to catalyze the emergence of a subtle or divine body from the very ashes of corporeality (see, for example, the Jayakhya Samhita of Tantric Vaisnavism; Flood, 2000). In short, though certain religious schools generated spiritual goals more inclusive of embodiment, in living practice a fully embodied spirituality that engages the participation of all human attributes in co-creative interaction with both immanent and transcendent spiritual sources was, and continues to be, an extremely rare pearl to nd (Ferrer, 2008; Ferrer & Sherman, 2008a). An examination of the numerous historical and contextual variables behind the tendency toward disembodied spirituality goes beyond the scope of this essay, but I would like to mention at least a possible underlying reason (see Ferrer, Albareda, & Romero, 2004). The frequent inhibition of the primary dimensions of the personsomatic, instinctive, sexual, and certain aspects of the emotionalmay have been necessary at certain historical junctures to allow the emergence and maturation of the values of the human heart and consciousness. More specically, this inhibition may have been essential to avoid the reabsorption of a still relatively weak emerging self-consciousness and its values into the stronger presence that a more instinctively driven energy once had in human collectivities. In the context of religious praxis, this may be connected to the widespread consideration of certain human qualities as being spiritually more correct or wholesome than others; for instance, equanimity over intense passions, transcendence over sensuous embodiment, chastity or strictly regulated sexual practice over open-ended sensual exploration, and so forth. What may characterize our present moment, however, is the possibility of reconnecting all these human potentials in an integrated way. In other words, having developed self-reective consciousness and the subtle dimensions of the heart, it may be the moment to reappropriate and integrate the more primary and instinctive dimensions of human nature into a fully embodied spiritual life. Let us now explore the distinctive understanding of the human body implicit in embodied spirituality.

An Embodied Spiritual Life

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

The Living Body mbodied spirituality regards the body as subject, as the home of the complete human being, as a source of spiritual insight, as a microcosm of the universe and the Mystery, and as pivotal for enduring spiritual transformation. Body as subject: To see the body as subject means to approach it as a living world, with all its interiority and depth, its needs and desires, its lights and shadows, its wisdom and obscurities. Bodily joys and sorrows, tensions and relaxations, longings and repulsions are some of the means through which the body can speak to us. By any measure, the body is not an It to be objectied and used for the goals or even spiritual ecstasies of the conscious mind, but a Thou, an intimate partner with whom the other human dimensions can collaborate in the pursuit of ever-increasing forms of liberating wisdom. Body as the home of the complete human being: In this physical reality in which we live, the body is our home, a locus of freedom that allows us to walk our own unique path, both literally and symbolically. Once we fully overcome the dualism between matter and Spirit, the body can no longer be seen as a prison of the soul or even as a temple of Spirit. The mystery of incarnation never alluded to the entrance of Spirit into the body, but to its becoming esh: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God . . . And the Word became esh [John 1:1, 14]. Would it then perhaps be more accurate to appreciate our bodies as a transmutation of Spirit into eshy form at least during our physical existence? Through the ongoing incarnation of innumerable beings, life may aim at the ultimate union of humanity and divinity in the body. Perhaps paradoxically, a complete incarnation can bring a peaceful and fullling death because we can then depart from this material existence with a profoundly felt sense of having accomplished one of the most essential purposes in being born into the world. Body as source of spiritual insight: The body is a divine revelation that can oer spiritual understanding, discrimination, and wisdom. First, the body is the uterus for the conception and gestation of genuine spiritual knowledge. Bodily sensations, for example, are foundational stepping-stones in the embodied transformation of Spirits creative energies through each human life. In the absence of severe blockages or dissociations, this creative energy is somatically transformed into impulses, emotions, feelings, thoughts, insights,

visions, and, ultimately, contemplative revelations. As the Buddha famously said, Everything that arises in the mind starts owing with a sensation on the body (Goenka, 1998, p. 26). Furthermore, in listening deeply to the body we realize that physical sensations and impulses can also be genuine sources of spiritual insight (see Ferrer, Romero, & Albareda, 2005; Osterhold, Husserl, & Nicol, 2007). In certain Zen schools, for example, bodily actions constitute crucial tests of spiritual realization and are seen as the ultimate verication of sudden illumination, or satori (Faure, 1993). The epistemological relevance of embodiment in spiritual matters was also passionately asserted by Nikos Kazantzakis (1965): Within me even the most metaphysical problem takes on a warm physical body which smells of sea, soil, and human sweat. The Word, in order to touch me, must become warm esh. Only then do I understandwhen I can smell, see, touch. (p. 43) Perhaps even more important, the body is the human dimension that can reveal the ultimate meaning of incarnated life. Being physical itself, the body stores within its depths the answer to the mystery of material existence. The bodys answer to this conundrum is not given in the form of any grand metaphysical vision or Theory of Everything, but gracefully granted through states of being that render life naturally profound and meaningful. In other words, the meaning of life is not something to be discerned and known intellectually by the mind, but to be felt in the depths of our esh. Body as microcosm of the universe and the Mystery: Virtually all spiritual traditions hold that there is a deep resonance among the human being, the cosmos, and the Mystery. This view is captured in the esoteric dictum as above so below (Faivre, 1994); the Platonic, Taoist, Islamic, Kabbalistic, and tantric understanding of the person as microcosm of the macrocosm (e.g., see Chittick, 1994; Faure, 1998; Overzee, 1992; Saso, 1997; Shokek, 2001; Wayman, 1982); and the Biblical view of the human being made in the image of God (imago Dei) (Jnsson, 1988). For the Bauls of Bengal, the understanding of the body as the microcosm of the universe (bhanda/brahmanda) entails the belief that the divine dwells physically within the human body (McDaniel, 1992). The Jesuit thinker Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1968) put it this way: My matter is not a part of the Universe that I possess totaliter; it is the totality of the Universe possessed by me partialiter (p. 12).

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Ferrer

All these perceptions portray an image of the human body as mirroring and containing the innermost structure of both the entire universe and the ultimate creative principle. In a number of traditions, this structural correspondence between the human body and the Mystery shaped mystical practices in which bodily rituals and actions were thought to aect the very dynamics of the Divinea pursuit that was perhaps most explicitly described in Kabbalistic theurgical mysticism (Lancaster, 2008). Nevertheless, this does not mean that the body is to be valued only because it represents or can aect larger or higher realities. This view subtly retains the fundamental dualism between material body and Spirit. Embodied spirituality recognizes the human body as a pinnacle of Spirits creative manifestation and, consequently, as overowing with intrinsic spiritual meaning. Body as essential for an enduring spiritual transformation: The body is a lter through which human beings can purify polluted energetic tendencies, both biographical and collectively inherited. Given that the body is denser in nature than the emotional, mental, and conscious worlds, changes taking place in it are more lasting and permanent. In other words, an enduring psychospiritual transformation needs to be grounded in somatic transguration. The integrative transformation of the somatic/energetic worlds of a person eectively short-circuits the tendency of past energetic habits to return, thus creating a solid foundation for a thorough and permanent spiritual transformation. Features of Embodied Spirituality n light of this expanded understanding of the human body, I now oer a consideration of ten features of embodied spirituality: 1. A tendency towards integration: Embodied spirituality is integrative insofar as it seeks to foster the harmonious participation of all human attributes in the spiritual path without tensions or dissociations. Despite his downplaying the spiritual import of sexuality and the vital world, Sri Aurobindo (2001) was correct when he said that a liberation of consciousness in consciousness should not be confused with an integral transformation that entails the spiritual alignment of all human dimensions (pp. 942 and following pages). This recognition suggests the need to expand the traditional Mahayana Buddhist bodhisattva vowthat is, to renounce complete liberation until all sentient beings attain deliveryto encompass an integral bodhisattva vow in which the conscious mind renounces full liberation until the body and the primary

world can be free as well (Ferrer, 2007). Since for most individuals the conscious mind is the seat of their sense of identity, an exclusive liberation of consciousness can be deceptive insofar as we can believe that we are fully free when, in fact, essential dimensions of ourselves are underdeveloped, alienated, or in bondage. Needless to say, to embrace an integral bodhisattva vow is not a return to the individualistic spiritual aspirations of early Buddhism because it entails a commitment to the integral liberation of all sentient beings, not only of their conscious minds or conventional sense of identity. 2. Realization through the body: Although their actual practices and fruits remain obscure in the available literature, the Hindu sect of the Bauls of Bengal coined the term kaya sadhana to refer to a realization through the body (McDaniel, 1992). Embodied spirituality explores the development of kaya sadhanas appropriate for our contemporary world. With the notable exception of certain tantric techniques, traditional forms of meditation are practiced individually and without bodily interaction with other practitioners. Modern embodied spirituality rescues the spiritual signicance not only of the body but also of physical contact. Due to their sequential emergence in human developmentfrom soma to instinct to heart to mindeach dimension grows by taking root in the previous ones, with the body thereby becoming the natural doorway to the deepest levels of the rest of human dimensions. Therefore, the practice of contemplative physical contact in a context of relational mindfulness and spiritual aspiration can have a profound transformative power (see Ferrer, 2003). In order to foster a genuine embodied practice, it is essential to make contact with the body, discern its current state and needs, and then create spaces for the body to engender its own practices and capabilities devise its own yoga, so to speak. When the body becomes permeable to both immanent and transcendent spiritual energies, it can nd its own rhythms, habits, postures, movements, and charismatic rituals. Interestingly, some ancient Indian texts state that yoga postures (asanas) rst emerged spontaneously from within the body and were guided by the free ow of its vital energy (prana) (Sovatsky, 1994). A creative indwelling spiritual life resides within the bodyan intelligent vital dynamism that it is waiting to emerge to orchestrate the unfolding of our becoming fully human. 3. Awakening of the body: The permeability of the body to immanent and transcendent spiritual energies leads to its gradual awakening. In contrast to meditation

An Embodied Spiritual Life

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

techniques that focus on mindfulness of the body, this awakening can be more accurately articulated in terms of bodyfulness. In bodyfulness, the psychosomatic organism becomes calmly alert without the intentionality of the conscious mind. Bodyfulness reintegrates in the human being a lost somatic capability that is present in panthers, tigers, and other big cats of the jungle, who can be extraordinarily aware without intentionally attempting to be so. A possible further horizon of bodyfulness was described by the Mother, the spiritual consort of Sri Aurobindo, in terms of the conscious awakening of the very cells of the organism (Satprem, 1982). 4. Resacralization of sexuality and sensuous pleasure: Whereas our mind and consciousness constitute a natural bridge to transcendent awareness, our body and its primary energies constitute a natural bridge to immanent spiritual life. Immanent life is spiritual prima materiathat is, spiritual energy in a state of transformation, still not actualized, saturated with potentials and possibilities, and the source of genuine innovation and creativity at all levels. Sexuality and the vital world are the rst soils for the organization and creative development of immanent Spirit in human reality. This is why it is so important that sexuality be lived as a sacred soil free from fears, conicts, or articial impositions dictated by our minds, cultures, or spiritual ideologies. When the vital world is reconnected to immanent spiritual life, the primary drives can spontaneously collaborate in our psychospiritual unfolding without needing to be sublimated or transcended. Due to its captivating eect on human consciousness and the egoic personality, sensuous pleasure has been viewed with suspicionor even demonized as inherently sinfulby most religious traditions. In a context of embodied spiritual aspiration, however, it becomes fundamental to rescue, in a non-narcissistic manner, the dignity and spiritual signicance of physical pleasure. In the same way that pain contracts the body, pleasure relaxes it, making it more porous to the presence and ow of both immanent and transcendent spiritual energies. In this light, the formidable magnetic force of the sexual drive can be seen as attracting consciousness to matter, facilitating both its embodiment and grounding in the world and the development of an incarnational process that transforms both the individual and the world. Furthermore, the recognition of the spiritual import of physical pleasure naturally heals the historical split between sensuous love (eros) and spiritual love (agape), and this integration fosters the emergence of

genuinely human lovean unconditional love that is simultaneously embodied and spiritual (for a discussion of the implications of this integration for intimate relationships, see Ferrer, 2007). 5. The urge to create: In Cosmos and History, Mircea Eliade (1982) makes a compelling case for the re-enactive nature of many religious practices and rituals, for example, in their attempt to replicate cosmogonic actions and events. Expanding this account, we could say that most religious traditions are reproductive insofar as their practices aim to not only ritually reenact mythical motives, but also replicate the enlightenment of their founder (e.g., the awakening of the Buddha) or attain the state of salvation or freedom described in allegedly revealed scriptures (e.g., the moksa of the Vedas). Although disagreements about the exact nature of such states and the most eective methods to attain them abounded in the historical development of religious practices and ideasnaturally leading to rich creative developments within the traditionsspiritual inquiry was regulated (and arguably constrained) by such predetermined unequivocal goals (Ferrer & Sherman, 2008b). Embodied spirituality, in contrast, seeks to cocreate novel spiritual understandings, practices, and expanded states of freedom in interaction with immanent and transcendent sources of Spirit. The creative power of embodied spirituality is connected to its integrative nature. Whereas through our mind and consciousness we tend to access subtle spiritual energies already enacted in history that display more xed forms and dynamics (e.g., specic cosmological motifs, archetypal congurations, mystical visions and states, etc.), it is our connection to our vital/primary world that gives us access to the generative power of immanent spiritual life. Put simply, the more that all human dimensions actively participate in spiritual knowing, the more creative spiritual life becomes. Although many variables were clearly at play, the connection between vital/primary energies and spiritual innovation may help to explain, rst, why human spirituality and mysticism have been to a great extent conservative; that is, heretic mystics are the exception to the rule, and most mystics rmly conformed to accepted doctrines and canonical scriptures (see, e.g., Katz, 1983); and second, why many spiritual traditions strictly regulated sexual behavior, and often repressed or even proscribed the creative exploration of sensual desire (see, e.g., Cohen, 1994; Faure, 1998; Feuerstein, 1998;

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Ferrer

Weiser-Hanks, 2000). I am not proposing that religious traditions regulated or restricted sexual activity deliberately to hinder spiritual creativity and maintain the status quo of their doctrines. In my reading, all evidence seems to point to other social, cultural, moral, and doctrinal factors (see, for example, Brown, 1988; Parrinder, 1980). What I am suggesting, in contrast, is that the social and moral regulation of sexuality may have had an unexpected debilitating impact on human spiritual creativity across traditions for centuries. Although this inhibition may have been at times necessary in the past, today an increasing number of individuals may be prepared for a more creative engagement of their spiritual lives. 6. Grounded spiritual visions: As we have seen, most major spiritual traditions posit the existence of an isomorphism among the human being, the cosmos, and the Mystery. From this correspondence it follows that the more dimensions of the person that are actively engaged in the study of the Mysteryor of phenomena associated with itthe more complete his or her knowledge will be. This completion should not be understood quantitatively but rather in a qualitative sense. In other words, the more human dimensions creatively participate in spiritual knowing, the greater will be the dynamic congruence between inquiry approach and studied phenomena and the more grounded in, coherent with, or attuned to the ongoing unfolding of the Mystery will be our knowledge (Ferrer, 2002, 2008). In this regard, it is likely that many past and present spiritual visions are to some extent the product of dissociated ways of knowingways that emerge predominantly from accessing certain forms of transcendent consciousness but in disconnection from more immanent spiritual sources. For example, spiritual visions that hold that body and world are ultimately illusory (or lower, or impure, or a hindrance to spiritual liberation) arguably derive from states of being in which the sense of self mainly or exclusively identies with subtle energies of consciousness, getting uprooted from the body and immanent spiritual life. From this existential stance, it is understandable, and perhaps inevitable, that both body and world are seen as illusory or defective. This account is consistent with the Kashmir Saiva view that the illusory nature of the world belongs to an intermediate level of spiritual perception (suddhavidya-tattva), after which the world begins to be discerned as a real extension of the Lord Siva (Mishra, 1993). Indeed, when our somatic and vital worlds are invited to participate in our spiritual lives, making our sense of identity permeable to not only

transcendent awareness but also immanent spiritual energies, then body and world become spiritually significant realities that are recognized as crucial for human and cosmic spiritual fruition (Ferrer, 2002; Ferrer & Sherman, 2008b). 7. In-the-world nature: We are born on earth. I passionately believe that this is not irrelevant, a mistake, or the product of a delusional cosmic game whose ultimate goal is to transcend our embodied predicament. Perhaps, as some traditions tell us, we could have been incarnated in more subtle planes or levels of reality, but the fact that we did it here must be signicant if we are to engage our lives in any genuinely wholesome and meaningful manner. To be sure, at certain crossroads on the spiritual path it may be necessary to go beyond our embodied existence in order to access essential dimensions of our identity (especially when external or internal conditions make it dicult or impossible to connect with those dimensions in our everyday life). However, to turn this move into a permanent spiritual modus operandi can easily create dissociations in ones spiritual life leading to a devitalized body, an arrested emotional or interpersonal development, or lack of discrimination around sexual behavioras the repeated sexual scandals of contemporary Western and Eastern spiritual teachers illustrate (see, e.g., Storr, 1996; Forsthoefel & Humes, 2005; Feuerstein, 2006). If we live in a closed and dark house, it is natural that we may feel pushed periodically to leave our home in search of the nourishing warmth and light of the sun. But an embodied spirituality invites us to open the doors and windows of our body so that we can always feel complete, warm, and nurtured at home even if we may want at times to celebrate the splendor of the outside light. The crucial dierence is that our excursion will not be motivated by decit or hunger, but rather by the meta-need to celebrate, co-create with, and revere the ultimate creative Mystery. It is here in our home earth and bodythat we can develop fully as complete human beings without needing to escape anywhere to nd our essential identity or feel whole. One does not need to hold a spiritual world view to recognize the miracle of Gaia (i.e., Earth as a living organism). Imagine that you are traveling throughout the cosmos, and after eons of dark and cold outer space, you nd Gaia, the blue planet, with its luscious jungles and luminous sky, its warm soil and fresh waters, and the inextricable wonder of embodied conscious life. Unless one is open to the reality of alternate physical

An Embodied Spiritual Life

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

universes, Gaia is the only place in the known cosmos where consciousness and matter coexist and can achieve a gradual integration through participating human beings. The inability to perceive Gaia as paradise is simply a consequence of our collective condition of arrested incarnation. 8. Resacralization of nature: When the body is felt as our home, the natural world can be reclaimed as our homeland as well. This double grounding in body and nature not only heals at its root the estrangement of the modern self from nature, but also overcomes the spiritual alienationoften manifesting as oating anxiety intrinsic to the prevalent human condition of arrested or incomplete incarnation. In other words, having recognized the physical world as real, and being in contact with immanent spiritual life, a complete human being discerns nature as an organic embodiment of the Mystery. To sense our physical surroundings as the Spirits body oers natural resources for an ecologically grounded spiritual life. 9. Social engagement: A complete human being recognizes that, in a fundamental way, we are our relationships with both the human and nonhuman world, and this recognition is inevitably linked with a commitment to social transformation. To be sure, this commitment can take many dierent forms, from more direct active social or political action in the world (e.g., through social service, spiritually grounded political criticism, or environmental activism) to more subtle types of social activism involving distant prayer, collective meditation, or ritual. While there is still much to learn about the actual eectiveness of subtle activism, as well as about the power of human consciousness to directly aect human aairs, given our current global crisis, embodied spirituality cannot be divorced from a commitment to social, political, and ecological transformationwhatever form this may take. 10. Integration of matter and consciousness: Disembodied spirituality is often based on an attempt to transcend, regulate, and/or transform embodied reality from the higher standpoint of consciousness and its values. Matters experiential dimension as an immanent expression of the Mystery is generally ignored. This shortsightedness leads to the beliefconscious or unconsciousthat everything related to matter is unrelated to the Mystery. This belief, in turn, conrms that matter and Spirit are two antagonistic dimensions. It then becomes necessary to abandon or condition the material dimension in order to strengthen the spiritual one. The rst step out of this impasse is to rediscover the Mystery in its immanent manifestation; that is, to stop seeing and treating matter and the body as something that is not only alien to the

Mystery but that distances us from the spiritual dimension of life. Embodied spirituality seeks a progressive integration of matter and consciousness that may ultimately lead to what we might call a state of conscious matter. A fascinating possibility to consider is that a fuller integration of immanent and transcendent spiritual energies in embodied existence may gradually open the doors to extraordinary longevity or other forms of metanormal functioning attested to by the worlds mystical traditions (see, e.g., Murphy, 1993). A Final Word conclude this essay with some reections about the past, present, and potential future of embodied spirituality. First, as even a cursory study of the lives of spiritual gures and mystics across traditions suggests, the spiritual history of humanity can be read, in part, as a story of the joys and sorrows of human dissociation. From ascetically enacted mystical ecstasies to world-denying monistic realizations, and from heart-expanding sexual sublimation to the moral struggles (and failures) of ancient and modern spiritual teachers, human spirituality has been characterized by an overriding impulse toward a liberation of consciousness that has too often taken place at the cost of the underdevelopment, subordination, or control of essential human attributes such as the body or sexuality. This account does not seek to excoriate past spiritualities, which may have been at timesthough by no means alwaysperfectly legitimate and perhaps even necessary in their particular times and contexts, but merely to highlight the historical rarity of a fully embodied or integrative spirituality. Second, in this essay I have explored how a more embodied spiritual life can emerge today from our participatory engagement with both the energy of consciousness and the sensuous energies of the body. Ultimately, embodied spirituality seeks to catalyze the emergence of complete human beingsbeings who, while remaining rooted in their bodies, earth, and immanent spiritual life, have made all their attributes permeable to transcendent spiritual energies, and who cooperate in solidarity with others in the spiritual transformation of self, community, and world. In short, a complete human being is rmly grounded in Spirit-Within, fully open to SpiritBeyond, and in transformative communion with Spirit In-Between. Finally, embodied spirituality can access many spiritually signicant revelations of self and world, some of which have been described by the world contemplative traditions, and others whose novel quality may require

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Ferrer

a more creative engagement to be brought forth. In this context, the emerging embodied spirituality in the West can be seen as a modern exploration of an incarnational spiritual praxis in the sense that it seeks the creative transformation of the embodied person and the world, the spiritualization of matter and the sensuous grounding of Spirit, and, ultimately, the bringing together of heaven and earth. Who knows, perhaps as human beings gradually embody both transcendent and immanent spiritual energiesa twofold incarnation, so to speakthey can then realize that it is here, in this plane of concrete physical reality, that the cutting edge of spiritual transformation and evolution is taking place. For then the planet earth may gradually turn into an embodied heaven, a perhaps unique place in the cosmos where beings can learn to express and receive embodied love, in all its forms. Notes 1. An abridged version of this essay was originally published in 2006 with the title Embodied Spirituality, Now and Then in Tikkun: Culture, Spirituality, Politics (May/June), 41-45, 53-64.

References Aurobindo, S. (2001). The life divine (6th ed.). Pondicherry, India: Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Barks, C. (2002). The soul of Rumi: A new collection of ecstatic poems. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco. Barnhart, B. (2008). One spirit, one body: Jesus participatory revolution. In J. N. Ferrer & J. H. Sherman (Eds.), The participatory turn: Spirituality, mysticism, religious studies (pp. 265-91). Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Basu, M. (1986). Fundamentals of the philosophy of the tantras. Calcutta, India: Mira Basu Publishers. Bhagat, M. G. (1976). Ancient Indian asceticism. New Delhi, India: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. Biale, D. (1992). Eros and the Jews: From biblical Israel to contemporary America. New York: BasicBooks. Brown, P. (1988). The body and society: Men, women, and sexual renunciation in early Christianity. New York: Columbia University Press. Bynum, C. W. (1995). The resurrection of the body in Western Christianity. New York: Columbia University Press. Chittick, W. (1994). Microcosm, macrocosm, and perfect man. In Imaginal worlds: Ibn al-Arabi and the problem of religious diversity (pp. 31-38). Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Clarke, J. J. (2000). The Tao of the West: Western transformations of Taoist thought. New York: Routledge. Collins, S. (1998). Nirvana and other Buddhist felicities. New York: Cambridge University Press. Cohen, S. J. (1994). The holy letter: A study of Jewish sexual morality. Fort Lee, NJ: Jason Aronson. Eliade, M. (1982). Cosmos and History: The Myth of the Eternal Return (ed. R. Winks). New York: Garland Publishers. Faivre, A. (1994). Access to Western esotericism. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Faure, B. (1983). Chan insights and oversights: An epistemological critique of the Chan tradition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Faure, B. (1998). The red thread: Buddhist approaches to sexuality. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Ferrer, J. N. (2002). Revisioning transpersonal theory: A participatory vision of human spirituality. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Ferrer, J. N. (2003). Integral transformative practices: A participatory perspective. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 35(1), 21-42.

2. The chakras (or cakras), whose number varies across the traditions, are the living bodys subtle energetic centers that store and channel the vital force (pranasakti) of the individual. The Indian tantric tradition identies six of these centers, located respectively at the base of the spine (muladhara), the pelvic sexual area (svadhisthana), the solar plexus (manipura), the heart (anahata), the throat (visuddha), and in the center of the eyebrows or third eye (ajna) (Basu, 1986). Whereas all these centers were considered in many religious practices, the overriding tendency has been to transmute the primary expressions of the vital forceconnected to the lower chakrasinto the subtle qualities and ecstasies of the heart and consciousnessconnected to the higher chakras. If we accept the Indian account of the primordial vital force (sakti) as feminine and of consciousness (shiva) as masculine, traditional tantric practice can be seen as a kind of internalized patriarchy in which feminine energies are used at the service of masculine goals and expressions.

An Embodied Spiritual Life

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Ferrer, J. N. (2007). Spirituality and intimate relationships: Monogamy, polyamory, and beyond. Tikkun: Culture, Spirituality, Politics (Jan/Feb), 37-43, 60-62. Ferrer, J. N. (2008). Spiritual knowing as participatory enaction: An answer to the question of religious pluralism. In J. N. Ferrer & J. H. Sherman (Eds.), The participatory turn: Spirituality, mysticism, religious studies (pp. 135-69). Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Ferrer, J. N., Albareda, R. V., & Romero, M. T. (2004). Embodied participation in the mystery: Implications for the individual, interpersonal relationships, and society. ReVision: The Journal of Consciousness and Transformation 27(1), 10-17. Ferrer, J. N., Romero, M. T., & Albareda, R. V. (2005). Integral transformative education: A participatory proposal. The Journal of Transformative Education 3(4), 306-30. Ferrer, J. N., & Sherman, J. H. (Eds.). (2008a). The participatory turn: Spirituality, mysticism, religious studies. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Ferrer, J. N., & Sherman, J. H. (2008b). The participatory turn in spirituality, mysticism, and religious studies. In J. N. Ferrer & J. H. Sherman (Eds.), The participatory turn: Spirituality, mysticism, religious studies (1-78). Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Feuerstein, G. (1998). The Yoga tradition: Its history, literature, philosophy, and practice. Prescott, AZ: Hohm Press. Feuerstein, G. (2006). Holy madness: Spirituality, crazywise teachers and enlightenment (Rev. ed.). Prescott, AZ: Hohm Press). Fine, L. (1992). Purifying the body in the name of the soul: The problem of the body in sixteenth-century Kabbalah. In H. Eilberg-Schwartz (Ed.), People of the body: Jews and Judaism from an embodied perspective (pp. 117-42). Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Flood, G. (2000). The purication of the body. In D. G. White (Ed.), Tantra in practice (pp. 507-20). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Forest, J. (1993). A Christian perspective on spirituality in light of the lives of Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. ReVision 15(3), 115-20. Forsthoefel, T. A., & Humes, C. A. (Eds.). (2005). Gurus in America. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Fort, A. O. (1998). Jivanmukti in transformation: Embodied liberation in Advaita and neo-Advaita. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Galian, L. (2003). The centrality of the divine feminine in Susm [On-line]. Available: http://kemetnu.gaia. com/blog/2008/4/suyya_sophia_and_the_divine_ feminine?printable=1. Goenka, S. N. (1998). Sattipahna Sutta discourses. Seattle, WA: Vipassana Research Publications. Heron, J. (1998). Sacred science: Person-centered inquiry into the spiritual and the subtle. Roos-on-Wye, United Kingdom: PCCS Books. Heschel, S. (1996). Bringing heaven down to earth. Tikkun 11(2), 48-56. Jnsson, G. A. (1988). The image of God: Genesis 1:26-28 in a century of Old Testament research (L. Svendsen, Trans.). Lund, Sweden: Almqvist and Wiskell. Kasulis, T. (1990). Kukai (774-835): Philosophizing in the archaic. In F. E. Reynolds and D. Tracy (Eds.), Myth and philosophy (pp. 131-50). Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Kazantzakis, N. (1965). Report to Greco (trans. P. A. Bien). Oxford: Bruno Cassirer. Lancaster, B. L. (2008). Engaging with the mind of God: The participatory path of Jewish mysticism. In J. N. Ferrer & J. H. Sherman (Eds.), The participatory turn: Spirituality, mysticism, religious studies (pp. 173-95). Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Larson, G. J. (1969). Classical Samkhya. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass. Lawlor, R. (1991). Voices of the rst day: Awakening in the aboriginal dreamtime. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions. McDaniel, J. (1992). The embodiment of God among the Buls of Bengal. Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 8, 27-39. Mishra, K. (1993). Kashmir Saivism: The central philosophy of tantrism. Portland, OR: Rudra Press. Murphy, M. (1993). The future of the body: Explorations into the further evolution of human nature. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Perigee. Nelson, L. E. (1998). The dualism of nondualism: Advaita Vedanta and the irrelevance of nature. In L. E. Nelson (Ed.), Purifying the earthly body of God: Religion and ecology in Hindu India (pp. 61-88). Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Osterhold, H. M., Husserl, E. R., & Nicol, D. (2007). Rekindling the re of transformative education: A participatory case study. The Journal of Transformative Education 5(3), 221-45. Overzee, H. (1992). The body divine: The symbol of the body in the works of Teilhard de Chardin and Rmnuja. New York: Cambridge University Press.

10

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Ferrer

Parrinder, G. (1980). Sexual morality in the worlds religions. Oxford, England: Oneworld. Pourafzal, H., & Montgomery, R. (1998). The spiritual wisdom of Hafz: Teachings of the philosopher of love. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions. Saso, M. (1997). The Taoist body and cosmic prayer. In S. Coakley (Ed.), Religion and the body (pp. 231-47). New York: Cambridge University Press. Satprem (1992). The mind of the cells or willed mutation of our species (F. Mahak & L. Venet, Trans.). Pondicherry, India: Institute for Evolutionary Research. Schipper, K. (1994). The Taoist body. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Skoog, K. (1996). Is the Jivanmukti state possible? Ramanujas perspective. In A. O. Fort & P. Y. Mumme (Eds.), Living liberation in Hindu thought (pp. 63-90). Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Storr, A. (1996). Feet of clay. Saints, sinners, and madmen: A study of gurus. New York: Free Press. Shokek, S. (2001). Kabbalah and the art of being. London: Routledge. Sovatsky, S. (1994). Passions of innocence: Tantric celibacy and the mysteries of eros. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books. Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1968). Science and Christ. New York: Harper & Row. Wayman, A. (1982). The human body as microcosm in India, Greek cosmology, and sixteenth-century Europe. History of Religions 22, 172-90. Weiser-Hanks, M. E. (2000). Christianity and sexuality in the early modern world: Regulating desire, reforming practice. Florence, KY: Routledge. Westheimer, R. K., & Mark, J. (1995). Heavenly sex: Sexuality in the Jewish tradition. New York: New York University Press. Wimbush, V. L., & Valantasis, R. (Eds.). (1995). Asceticism. New York: Oxford University Press. Williams, A. (1997). Zoroastrianism and the body. In S. Coakley (Ed.), Religion and the body (pp. 155-66). New York: Cambridge University Press. Williams, P. (1997). Some Mahayana perspectives on the body. In S. Coakley (Ed.), Religion and the body (pp. 205-30). New York: Cambridge University Press. Winter, M. (1995). Islamic attitudes toward the human body. In J. M. Law (Ed.), Religious reections on the human body (pp. 36-45). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Yasuo, Y. (1987). The body: Toward an Eastern mind-body theory. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Yasuo, Y. (1993). The body, self-cultivation, and ki-energy. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. About the Author Jorge N. Ferrer, PhD, is chair of the Department of EastWest Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, where he teaches courses on transpersonal studies, comparative mysticism, embodied spiritual inquiry, and spiritual perspectives on sexuality and relationships. He is the author of Revisioning transpersonal theory: A participatory vision of human spirituality (SUNY Press, 2002) and co-editor of The participatory turn: Spirituality, mysticism, religious studies (SUNY Press, 2008).

An Embodied Spiritual Life

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 11

Some Rudimentary Problems Pertaining to the Construction of an Ontology and Epistemology of Shamanic Journeying Imagery
Adam J. Rock
Deakin University Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Stanley Krippner1
Saybrook Graduate School San Francisco, CA, USA

Attempts to elucidate the kinds of thing or things to which the term shamanic journeying image is referentially linked must grapple with two related questions: what is the fundamental nature of shamanic journeying images, and how might the origin of a shamanic journeying image be found? The rst question is ontological, concerned with the nature and essence of shamanic journeying images. In contrast, the second is epistemological and methodolgical, concerned with how to acquire knowledge of shamanic journeying images. We demonstrate how inductive and deductive reasoning, the private language argument, and reication render problematic the resolution of both. Finally, we present a method to preliminarily formulate an ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery.

he term shamanism typically refers to a group of techniques by which its practitioners enter the spirit world, purportedly obtaining information that is used to help and to heal members of their social group (Krippner, 2000, p. 93). Several researchers (e.g., Heinze, 1991; Ripinsky-Naxon, 1993) argue that this information is accessed during altered states of consciousness (ASCs), principally those ASCs involving soul ight (i.e., ecstatic journeying; Krippner, 2002). That is to say, shamanic practices (e.g., ingesting psychoactive plants, sonic driving, ritualized dancing) ostensibly produce shifts in consciousness which Harner (1990) referred to as shamanic states of consciousness. In other papers (e.g., Rock & Krippner, 2007a, 2007b), we have provided our rationale for replacing the term shamanic state of consciousness with shamanic pattern of phenomenal properties, and will use the latter term throughout this article. Noll (1985) asserted that an integral feature of shamanism is the utilization of techniques for inducing, maintaining, and interpreting the experience of enhanced visual mental imagery (p. 445). Similarly, Peters (1989) stated that, The shaman is a visualizer (p. 130) who relies on this modality to access transpersonal realms. Indeed, Houran, Lange, and

Crist-Houran (1997) analyzed 30 phenomenological reports concerning shamanic journeying, derived from Harner (1990), and found that 93.3% emphasized visual phenomena. Shamanic visualizations (i.e., journeying imagery) typically reect ones cultural cosmology (Krippner, 1990; Walsh, 1995, 2007), which tends to be a multi-layered universe consisting of an upper world, middle world (the terrestrial world or Earth) and lower world (Ellwood, 1987).2 In recent years, shamanic practices have generated increasing interest as a complementary therapeutic strategy in the traditional medical and psychological arenas (Bittman et al., 2001). Consequently, it may prove prudent to further investigate the nature of shamanic patterns of phenomenal properties (e.g., journeying imagery). Nevertheless, to our knowledge, there exists a lacuna in the literature with regards to a systematic analysis of the philosophical problems that hamper the development of an ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery. Ontology may be dened as the matter of what there is in the world (Chalmers, 1996, p. 41); it is concerned with an overall conception of how things are (Heil, 1998, p. 6). The term ontological foundations refers to the fundamental nature or essence of a particular

12

Studies, International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 27, 2008, pp. 12-19

Rock & Krippner

variable, X (e.g., a shamanic journey image). For example, an ontologist might be concerned with whether the kind of thing that a shamanic journeying image is referentially linked to is imaginal (e.g., derived from material stored in ones long-term memory system) or transpersonal (i.e., independent of the percipients mind-body complex) (Walsh, 1990). In contrast, epistemology may be dened as the study of the origins, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge (Reber & Reber, 2001, p. 246). With regards to shamanic patterns of phenomenal properties, one might, for example, investigate the epistemological process that results in a percipient becoming aware of a shamanic journeying image. While epistemological debates in the philosophy of religion have tended to focus on mystical experience (e.g., Evans, 1989; Forman, 1996; Gill, 1984; Katz, 1978, 1983; Stoeber, 1991), one might contend that the epistemological problems discussed are also applicable to shamanic patterns of phenomenal properties. For example, there is no reason in principle why the epistemological issue of whether mystical experience is shaped conceptually and linguistically by ones cultural milieu is not applicable to shamanic patterns of phenomenal properties. Indeed, a recent series of papers (e.g., Rock & Baynes, 2005, 2007) investigated the extent to which shamanic journeying imagery is shaped by contextual inuences (e.g., the shamans cultural cosmology and autobiographical memories).3 The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how various philosophical problems impede the formulation of an ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery. We proceed by demonstrating that the problem of induction constitutes an inherent limitation associated with recent experimental studies investigating the origin of shamanic journeying imagery. Subsequently, we develop and critique a deductive argument concerning the ontology of shamanic journeying imagery. Wittgensteins (1958) private language argument and the fallacy of reication are also considered in the context of shamanic journeying imagery. Finally, we present a methodology that arguably constitutes a preliminary step towards the formulation of an ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery. Previous Experimental Research Concerning the Origins of Shamanic Journeying Imagery ttempts to elucidate the kinds of thing or things that the term shamanic journeying image is referentially

linked to may prompt one to address two intimately related questions: (1) What is the fundamental nature of shamanic journeying images? (2) How might one nd the origin of a shamanic journeying image? The rst question is ontological; that is, it is concerned with the nature and essence of the shamanic journeying image. In contrast, the second is an epistemological and methodological question; it relates to how one might acquire certain knowledge. It is arguable that 1 and 2 are inextricably bound at a fundamental level. That is to say, answering 2 presumably provides one with the methodology necessary to address 1. Rock and Baynes (2005, 2007) addressed 2 by developing a non-hypnotic version of Watkins (1971) Aect Bridge (a hypnotic technique used to uncover the origin of an aect) for the purpose of investigating the origins of shamanic journeying imagery. The Modied Aect Bridge was developed as one potential partial solution to 2; it was not designed to facilitate unrestricted access to ones unconscious material, but rather to facilitate ordinary remembering among ordinary participants in a non-clinical context. The Modied Aect Bridge was rst applied in an experimental context by Rock, Casey and Baynes (2006) and, subsequently, Rock (2006). Rock, Casey, and Baynes (2006) reported that ostensibly shamanic journey images encountered by nave participants journeying to the lower world with the aid of monotonous drumming at 8 beats-per-second for 15 minutes were just as likely to be derived from autobiographical memories as spontaneous visual mental images reported by nave participants assigned to the control condition of sitting quietly with eyes open for 15 minutes. This nding suggests that the epistemological process that results in one being consciously aware of an ostensibly shamanic journeying image involves memory recall and superimposition within ones phenomenal space. Consequently, the journeying images may be tentatively assigned an imaginal ontological status. Subsequently, Rock (2006) randomly allocated participants to counterbalanced factorial combinations of a repeated-measures factor and a between-groups factor. The repeated-measures factor consisted of four stimulus conditions (i.e., monotonous drumming, Ganzfeld, relaxation, sitting quietly with eyes open). The betweengroups factor consisted of three sets of instructions (i.e., journeying to the lower world with or without religious instructions, no instructions). It was concluded that visual mental images encountered while journeying to the lower world were derived primarily from autobiographical

Shamanic Journeying Imagery

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 13

memories. Other visual mental images were tentatively labelled as symbolic, transpersonal, and indeterminate. The results of Rock, Casey, and Baynes (2006) and Rock (2006) facilitated the development of a tentative fourfold ostensibly shamanic journeying imagery origin typology consisting of autobiographical, symbolic, transpersonal and indeterminate sources. An ostensibly shamanic journeying image may be categorized as autobiographical if it appears to be the derivative of an autobiographical memory, that is, a memory for events that have occurred in ones life (Reber & Reber, 2001, p. 423). The symbolic characterization of an ostensibly shamanic journeying image is invoked if the image seems to perform a symbolic function without appearing to mentally represent a previous sensory experience. An ostensibly shamanic journeying image may be conceptualized as transpersonal if the image appears to be linked to something that exists independently of the participants mind-body complex. Finally, an indeterminate status is conferred upon an ostensibly shamanic journeying image if the participant is unable to isolate its origin (Rock & Baynes, 2007). Given that the Modied Aect Bridge was formulated as a potential partial solution to 2, and has yielded four imagery-origin categories thereby addressing 1, it might be asked, How might one resolve the ontological foundations of shamanic journeying imagery? In this context, it may be ecacious to consider Mercantes (2008) suggestion that a persuasive argument for considering imagery associated with the Ayahuasca experience (i.e., mirao, singular; miraes, plural) an involuntary and spontaneous process is that voluntary events rely on memory (pp. 6-7). Extrapolating from Farthings (1992) discussion of mental imagery to mirao, Mercante (2008) wrote: If the arrival and dissipation of miraes were subject to the command of the individual, it would follow that no alien elements (outside a persons familiar universe) would be present.... The idea is that one can only voluntarily manipulate images that are impressed upon the memory through sensation. Not that a person cannot assemble new patterns from recorded sensory data, but he or she cannot manufacture fundamental data beyond the pale of experience. The revelatory qualities of the mirao would be lost or at least considered illusory if the experience of it were limited to the cache of existing memory (pp. 6-7). One may apply Mercantes (2008) argument to shamanic journeying imagery and contend that if

shamanic journeying images are immune to voluntarily manipulation, then shamanic journeying images are not constructed from material derived from a percipients long-term memory system. Ethnographic data, however, suggests that shamans tend to cultivate a mastery over journeying images (e.g., Noll, 1985), thus indicating provided one accepts Mercantes (2008) preceding argumentthat shamanic journeying imagery is the result of an epistemological process involving memory recall and superimposition within a percipients phenomenal space. Furthermore, it is arguable that even if the outward appearance of a shamanic journeying image, X, is derived from material stored in a percipients long-term memory system, this does not necessarily preclude the ontological foundations of X from being transpersonal. For example, if a shaman or experimental participant encounters a predatory creature during a journey to the lower worldand the outward appearance of this predatory creature is the derivative of an autobiographical memoryit remains possible that the predatory creature is merely the manifestation or persona of an external entity. Strassman (2001), for instance, suggested that entities encountered during dimethyltryptamineinduced patterns of phenomenal properties tend to manifest in forms recognizable to the percipient (e.g., elves, aliens, angels, deceased relatives), and yet may reside in parallel universes or dark matter realms. Problems of Induction and Deduction et us assume, for the sake of argument, that there are six necessary conditions (hereafter N1N6) for a visual mental image to qualify as a shamanic journeying image and that the conjunction of N1N6 constitutes a sucient condition. Let us further assume that N6 states that the ontological foundations of a visual mental image, X, must be Y (where Y is currently unknown). An ontologist might be concerned with whether the kind of thing (i.e., denoted by Y ) that a shamanic journeying image is referentially linked to is imaginal (i.e., a projection of the shamans mental set) or transpersonal (i.e., independent of the shamans mind-body complex) (Walsh, 1990). Future research might formulate an a posteriori derived denition for Y by comparing Xs that satisfy N1N5 (group 1) with Xs that satisfy four or less of the aforementioned necessary conditions (group 2). Specically, one may use the Modied Aect Bridge to investigate whether group 1 is associated with dierent

14

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Rock & Krippner

categories of Ys compared to group 2. Given that group 2 does not satisfy N1N5 (N6 notwithstanding), the ostensible shamanic journeying image status of this group is falsied. In contrast, the constituents of group 1 have not been falsied because they satisfy N1N5. If it is observed that all of the constituents of groups 1 are derived from, for example, a transpersonal source, then one might tentatively infer that Y is a transpersonal source and, thus, N6 would state that the ontological foundations of a visual mental image, X, must be transpersonal. However, if, for instance, some constituents of group 1 appear to be derived from a transpersonal source, while other constituents of group 1 do not, then it may be such that the transpersonal constituents of group 1 are shamanic journeying images and, thus, Y is a transpersonal source; whereas the non-transpersonal constituents of group 1 are merely visual mental images. That is, if N6, in fact, states that the ontological foundations of a visual mental image, X, must be transpersonal, then the transpersonal constituents of Group 1 satisfy N1N6, which is a sucient condition for qualifying as a shamanic journeying image. In contrast, the ostensible shamanic status of the non-transpersonal constituents of group 1 would be falsied on the grounds that these constituents fail to satisfy N6. It is, of course, logically possible that Y, in fact, denotes a non-transpersonal source and, thus, the non-transpersonal constituents of group 1 satisfy N1N6, while the transpersonal constituents of group 1 would be falsied. However, if one were able to denitively demonstrate that shamanic journeying images X1, X 2, X 3X10 were all derived from, for example, transpersonal sources, then to presuppose that X11 is also derived from a transpersonal source is to commit the fallacy of induction, that is, moving from particular instances to general principles. For example, Rosenberg (2000) suggested that the observation that the sun has risen many days in the past is good grounds to believe it will do so tomorrow, but does not make it logically certain that it will (p. 177). Consequently, induction is inherently limited. Additionally, if the ontological foundations were dierent for X1, X 2, X 3X10 (e.g., autobiographical for X1 and X 2, symbolic for X10, indeterminate for X7 and X8), then one might contend that such variability hampers N6s usefulness as a necessary condition. Similarly, deductive models (i.e., moving from general principles to particular instances) are inherently limited. For example, one may formulate a logically valid argument concerning the identity of Y but there is no

guarantee that such an argument is logically sound. Consider the following deductive argument: 1. All shamanic journeying images are derived from transpersonal sources; 2. X is a shamanic journeying image; 3. Therefore X is derived from a transpersonal source. It may be observed that while the preceding arguments conclusion follows logically from its premises, it may of course be such that all shamanic journeying images are not derived from transpersonal sources. The aforementioned problems associated with attempts to formulate an ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery using inductive or deductive reasoning are further complicated by Wittgensteins (1958) private language argument and the fallacy of reication. The Private Language Argument n a private language it is held that terms refer to what can only be known to the person speaking; to his immediate private sensations. So another person cannot understand the language (Wittgenstein, 1958, pp. 8889). The notion of a private language is underpinned by an argument for solipsism: I can only believe that someone else is in pain, but I know if I am (Wittgenstein, 1958, p. 102). A privileged observer (i.e., rst-person) may, for example, establish a link between the term pain and the phenomenal properties of pain. However, it is possible that the privileged observers private denition may be erroneously applied in subsequent instances due to false memory impressions concerning the phenomenal properties of pain (Malcolm, 1981). Consequently, Wittgenstein (1958) asserted that one should, always get rid of the idea of a private object in this way: assume that it constantly changes, but that you do not notice the change because your memory constantly deceives you (p. 207). To summarize, Wittgensteins (1958) private language argument undermined: (1) the ability of a nonprivileged observer to correctly apprehend the meanings of terms applied to phenomenal properties by a privileged observer; and (2) the reliability of a privileged observers application of terms to the phenomenal properties known by his or her conscious awareness. The epistemological presuppositions associated with shamanic journeying imagery are two-fold and inextricably related at a fundamental level: (1) a privileged observer can, via introspection, know a shamanic

Shamanic Journeying Imagery

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 15

journeying image; and (2) a privileged observer may communicate the introspected shamanic journeying image to a nonprivileged observer. Clearly, in order to categorize an image as shamanic one must rst learn the meaning of the term shamanic. A nonprivileged observer might endeavor to learn the meaning of objects commensurate with a shamanic journeying image, X, by attempting to correctly apprehend the meanings of linguistic terms applied by a privileged observer to the set of constituents associated with X, xyz. However, as previously stated, Wittgenstein (1958) asserted that such terms refer to what can only be known to the person speaking; to his immediate private sensations. So another person cannot understand the language (pp. 88-89). That is, while a nonprivileged observer may be informed that X exhibits a certain set of constituents, xyz, Wittgensteins (1958) private language argument undermined a nonprivileged observers ability to correctly apprehend the meanings of linguistic terms applied to xyz by a privileged observer. Consequently, while it is possible that a nonprivileged observer may subsequently engage in the privileged observation of xyz, and thus X, it is impossible to verify that such a mental event has occurred. This epistemological problem is compounded by the suggestion that a privileged observers false memory impressions concerning xyz, and thus X, may result in the unreliable application of linguistic terms to xyz, and thus X, in future instances. This raises a further epistemological problem. Tart (1975) emphasized the state-specicity of knowledge, while Fischer (1980) asserted that one may experience diculty recalling events that occur in another state of arousal (p. 306). Consequently, the probability of a privileged observer unreliably recalling a phenomenal property associated with what Tart (1975) referred to as a particular state of consciousness, SoC1, due to a false memory impression, may exponentially increase when functioning in a SoC other than SoC1 (e.g., SoC2n). Consequently, this may compromise a privileged observers ability to retrospectively assess an image as shamanic while functioning in ordinary waking consciousness. The Fallacy of Reication eichenbach (1951) employed the axiom substantialization of abstracta to denote the fallacy of reication whereby an abstract noun (e.g., consciousness) is confused with a thing-like entity. Similarly, Whitehead (1946) referred to reication as the fallacy of misplaced

concreteness, which he dened as the accidental error of mistaking the abstract for the concrete (p. 66). An awareness of the fallacy associated with reifying consciousness may be observed in James (1890) contention that consciousness does not exist, which Chalmers (1996) suggested is interpretable as an attempt to argue that consciousness does not exemplify the property of thing-ness. Indeed, Klein (1984) stated that James (1890) avoided committing the fallacy of reication by asserting that consciousness is a function or process of knowing, rather than a thing-like entity. One might argue, with some justication, that experimental studies of shamanic journeying imagery that use, for example, Pekalas (1991) Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI; a 53-item questionnaire that purportedly quanties the structures of consciousness) commit an ontological mistake by concretizing mental phenomena (e.g., visual mental imagery), thereby conating mentalism with materialism. Pekala (1991) has committed the fallacy of reication (Eacker, 1972) or misplaced concreteness (Whitehead, 1946) by attempting to quantify consciousness, and thus contravenes James (1890) contention that consciousness is not a thing-like entity, but rather a function or process of knowing (Klein, 1984). Indeed, Pekala (1991) has routinely engaged in the kind of fallacious reasoning whereby an abstract noun (e.g., state absorption, rationality, positive aect) is reied and ascribed a numerical value. The problem of reication would appear dicult to circumvent, however, given that, presently, mental phenomena cannot be investigated via the scientic methodand thus measureduntil they are reied by the assignment of operational denitions commensurate with the ontological status of thing-like entities. While Wittgensteins (1958) private language argument and the fallacy of reication problematize the ndings of shamanic research, it does not necessarily follow that the ndings are rendered spurious. Indeed, a more measured approach might be to develop an appreciation of these issues and merely interpret ones results with a suitable level of caution. A Way Forward rior to formulating an ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying images one must develop criteria designed to distinguish shamanic journeying images from other images. That is to say, one cannot investigate a particular phenomenon if one is bereft

R
16

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Rock & Krippner

of a methodology that may be used to identify that phenomenon. One may assess the ostensible shamanic status of visual mental images using Rock and Krippners (2008) criteria for the necessary conditions for shamanic journeying imagery. The rst necessary condition (N1) states that a visual mental image, X, must be integrated with other visual mental images. The term integrated is invoked to underscore that during shamanic journeying experiences various visual mental images coalesce to form cohesive geographies or landscapes. N2 states that the outward appearance (i.e., form or garb) of X must be consistent with a shamanic cosmology. N3 states that X must be consistent with the purpose of the specic shamanic journey. Finally, N4 states that the function of X must be consistent with X. The term function is employed to indicate the activities or actions expected of X according to a specic shamanic cosmology. If an X satises N1N4, then the purported shamanic journeying status of X is not falsied. It is noteworthy, however, that it does not necessarily follow that X is a shamanic journeying image because the conjunction of N1N4 may not constitute a sucient condition (i.e., there may exist other necessary conditions that have been overlooked). Future research may use Rock and Krippners (2008) criteria to evaluate Xs reported by participants exposed to shamanic techniques (e.g., rhythmic drumming). Subsequently, the ontological status of Xs that satisfy N1N4 could be explored. Methodological advances in the eld of consciousness studies provide an indication of how this secondary aim might be accomplished. For example, as previous stated, Pekala (1991) developed the PCI to ostensibly quantify the structures of consciousness. The PCI contains a threeitem dimension that purportedly quanties ones subjective sense of an altered state of awareness (SSAS; e.g., I felt in an extremely dierent and unusual state of consciousness). However, there is no reason in principle why ones subjective sense of the imaginal and the transpersonal could not be similarly explored. Indeed, items could be constructed to quantify the intensity of ones subjective sense that a shamanic journeying image is derived from an imaginal or transpersonal source (e.g., The image seemed to be created by my mind and The image seemed to be linked to an entity beyond my personhood, respectively). While the aforementioned methodology clearly does not resolve the various problems that constitute the

foci of this paper, it does ostensibly allow researchers to: (1) identify shamanic journeying images, and (2) assess a percipients subjective sense of whether a shamanic journeying image is imaginal or transpersonal. Consequently, it is arguable that this methodology constitutes an initial step towards the formulation of an ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery. Conclusion t was suggested that the utility of empirical ndings concerning the origins of shamanic journeying imagery are inherently limited by the problem of induction. Subsequently, we developed a deductive argument regarding the ontology of shamanic journeying imagery and demonstrated that while the argument was logically valid (i.e., the conclusion followed logically from its premises), there was no guarantee that the argument was logically sound. We further argued that an application of Wittgensteins (1958) private language argument to shamanic journeying imagery undermines: (1) the ability of a nonprivileged observer to correctly apprehend the meanings of the term shamanic journeying imagery applied to phenomenal properties by a privileged observer; and (2) the reliability of a privileged observers application of the term shamanic journeying imagery to the phenomenal properties known by his or her conscious awareness. Finally, we suggested that attempts to quantify the phenomenology of consciousness (e.g., journeying imagery) constitute an ontological mistake referred to as reication by conating mentalism with materialism. The inherent inadequacies of methodologies underpinned by inductive and deductive reasoning coupled with philosophical problems associated with reication and a private language referentially linked to mental objects facilitates what Walsh (1990) referred to as ontological indeterminacy. Indeed, it may not be hyperbole to suggest that the fundamental nature of shamanic journeying imagery is currently unresolvable because there is no absolute method with which to examine this phenomenon. Nevertheless, it is arguable that Rock and Krippners (2008) necessary conditions for a visual mental image to qualify as a shamanic journeying image, coupled with items designed to assess a percipients subjective sense of whether a shamanic journeying image is imaginal or transpersonal, constitute an initial step towards the formulation of an ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery.

Shamanic Journeying Imagery

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 17

Notes 1. This study was supported, in part, by the Chair for Consciousness Studies, Saybrook Graduate School. 2. Shamanic journeying imagery is not restricted to any particular sensory modality; that is, journeying imagery may be visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory, tactile or multi-modal (Walsh, 1995). However, for the purpose of the present paper, shamanic journeying images will be delimited to their visual modality because these are arguably the most abundant (Houran, Lange, & Crist-Houran, 1997; Noll, 1983). 3. One might argue that philosophical problems, by denition, resist empirical testing. It is noteworthy, however, that motivation and learning were once conceptualized as philosophical problems and, thus, held to be incongruent with the methodology of science (Eacker, 1972). References Bittman, B. B., Berk, L. S., Felten, D. L., Westengard, J., Simonton, C., & Pappas, J. (2001). Composite eects of group drumming music therapy on modulation of neuroendocrine-immune parameters in normal subjects. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 7, 38-47. Chalmers, D. J. (1996). The conscious mind: In search of a fundamental theory. New York: Oxford University Press. Eacker, J. N. (1972). On some elementary philosophical problems of psychology. American Psychologist, 27(6), 553-565. Ellwood, R. (1987). Shamanism and theosophy. In S. Nicholson (Ed.), Shamanism: An expanded view of reality (pp. 253-264). Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House. Evans, D. (1989). Can philosophers limit what mystics can do? A critique of Steven Katz. Religious Studies, 25, 53-60. Farthing, G. (1992). The psychology of consciousness. Englewood Clis, NJ: Prentice-Hall. 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. 306-311). London: Athlone.

Forman, R. K. C. (1996). What does mysticism have to teach us about consciousness? Revised version of a paper delivered at Towards a Science of Consciousness 1996 (Tucson II), April 1996. Gill, J. H. (1984). Mysticism and mediation. Faith and Philosophy, 1, 111-121. Harner, M. (1990). The way of the shaman (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Harper & Row. Heil, J. (1998). Philosophy of mind. London: Routledge. Heinze, R. I. (1991). Shamans of the 20th century. New York: Irvington. Houran, J., Lange, R., & Crist-Houran, M. (1997). An assessment of contextual mediation in trance states of shamanic journeys. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 85, 59-65. James, W. (1890). Principles of psychology, 2 vols. New York: Dover. Katz, S. T. (1978). Language, epistemology, and mysticism. In S. T. Katz (Ed.), Mysticism and philosophical analysis (pp. 22-74). London: Sheldon Press. Katz, S. T. (1983). The conservative character of mystical experience. In S. T. Katz (Ed.), Mysticism and religious traditions (pp. 3-60). New York: Oxford University Press. Klein, D. B. (1984). The concept of consciousness: A survey. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press. Krippner, S. (1990). Tribal shamans and their travels into dreamtime. In S. Krippner (Ed.), Dreamtime and dreamwork (pp. 185-193). Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher. Krippner, S. (2000). The epistemology and technology of shamanic states of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 7, 93-118. Krippner, S. (2002). Conicting perspectives on shamans and shamanism: Points and counterpoints. American Psychologist, 57(11), 962-977. Malcolm, N. (1981). Wittgensteins philosophical investigations. In V. C. Chappell (Ed.), The philosophy of mind (pp. 74-100). New York: Dover. Mercante, M. (2008). Consciousness and spontaneous mental imagery. Unpublished paper. Noll, R. (1983). Shamanism and schizophrenia: A state specic approach to the schizophrenia metaphor of shamanic states. American Ethnologist, 10, 443459. Noll, R. (1985). Mental imagery cultivation as a cultural phenomenon: The role of visions in shamanism. Current Anthropology, 26, 443-461.

18

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Rock & Krippner

Pekala, R. J. (1991). Quantifying consciousness: An empirical approach. New York: Plenum Press. Peters, L. (1989). Shamanism: Phenomenology of a spiritual discipline. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 21, 115-137. Reber, A. S., & Reber, E. (2001). The Penguin dictionary of psychology (3rd ed.). London: Penguin. Reichenbach, H. (1951). The rise of scientic philosophy. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Ripinsky-Naxon, M. (1993). The nature of shamanism. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Rock, A. J. (2006). Phenomenological analysis of experimentally induced visual mental imagery associated with shamanic journeying to the lower world. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 25, 45-55. Rock, A. J., & Baynes, P. B. (2005). Shamanic journeying imagery, constructivism and the aect bridge technique. Anthropology of Consciousness, 16(2), 5071. Rock, A. J., & Baynes, P. B. (2007). What are the origins of shamanic journeying imagery? The modication of a hypnoanalytic technique to address an enduring methodological problem. Humanistic Psychologist, 35(4), 349-361. Rock, A. J., Casey, P. J., & Baynes, P. B. (2006). Experimental study of ostensibly shamanic journeying imagery in nave participants II: Phenomenological mapping and modied aect bridge. Anthropology of Consciousness, 17(1), 65-83. Rock, A. J., & Krippner, S. (2007a). Does the concept of altered states of consciousness rest on a mistake? International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 26, 33-40. Rock, A. J., & Krippner, S. (2007b). Shamanism and the confusion of consciousness with phenomenological content. North American Journal of Psychology, 9, 485-500. Rock, A. J., & Krippner, S. (2008). Proposed criteria for the necessary conditions for shamanic journeying imagery. Journal of Scientic Exploration, 22(2), 215226. Rosenberg, D. (2000). The philosophy of science: A contemporary introduction. London: Routledge. Stoeber, M. (1991). Constructivist epistemologies of mysticism: A critique and a revision. Religious Studies, 28, 107-116. Strassman, R. J. (2001). DMT: The spirit molecule. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press.

Tart, C. T. (1975). States of consciousness. New York: Dutton. Walsh, R. (1990). Shamanic cosmology: A psychological examination of the shamans worldview. ReVision, 13(2), 86-100. Walsh, R. (1995). Phenomenological mapping: A method for describing and comparing states of consciousness. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 27, 25-56. Walsh, R. (2007). The world of shamanism: New views of an ancient tradition. Woodbury, MA: Llewellyn. Watkins, J. G. (1971). The aect bridge: A hypnoanalytic technique. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 19(1), 21-27. Whitehead, A. N. (1946). Science and the modern world (2nd ed.). London: Cambridge University Press. Wittgenstein, L. (1958). Philosophical investigations (3rd ed.). Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell. About the Authors Adam J. Rock, PhD, is a lecturer in psychology at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Windbridge Institute for Applied Research in Human Potential, Tucson, Arizona. His research interests include the phenomenology of what have typically been referred to as altered states of consciousness; conceptual problems associated with consciousness; shamanism and shamanic journeying experiences with special emphasis on the ontology and epistemology of shamanic journeying imagery; philosophical problems of psychology; and purported discarnate communication experiences. He has published in all of these areas. Stanley Krippner, PhD, is Alan Watts Professor of Psychology, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, San Francisco, California. In 2002, the American Psychological Association presented him its Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Advancement of International Psychology. His award speech, Conicting perspectives on shamans and shamanism: Points and counterpoints, was the rst article on shamanism to be published in the American Psychologist. In 2007, he gave an invited address, Learning from the Spirits, at the American Anthropological Association, reviewing his eldwork in Brazils spiritistic religions. He is a former president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and a Fellow in several professional organizations including the Society for the Scientic Study of Sexuality and the Society for the Scientic Study of Religion.

Shamanic Journeying Imagery

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 19

A Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism1


Sren Brier2
Copenhagen Business School Copenhagen, Denmark Peirces philosophy can be interpreted as an integration of mysticism and science. In Peirces philosophy mind is feeling on the inside and on the outside, spontaneity, chance and chaos with a tendency to take habits. Peirces philosophy has an emptiness beyond the three worlds of reality (his Categories), which is the source from where the categories spring. He emphasizes that God cannot be conscious in the way humans are, because there is no content in his mind. Since there is a transcendental3 nothingness behind and before the categories, it seems that Peirce had a mystical view on reality with a transcendental Godhead. Thus Peirce seems to be a panentheist.4 It seems fair to characterize him as a mystic whose path to enlightenment is science as a social activity.
Introduction he relation between science and Christianity in the West has been somewhat hostile ever since the trials against Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) in the Renaissance. But so have relations between the Church and the mystics ever since Meister Eckhart (12601328) was excommunicated from the church after his death in the Middle Ages. In modernity, science and religion have divided the arena of metaphysics between them. They are, however, still competing about how to explain the origin of humans and the universe, especially in the situations where fundamentalist versions of one or both of them are being promoted. But in general they seem to have established a peaceful division of territory in which mechanistic sciences Big Bang theory covers nature, including the human body, and religion covers the area of the inner world or the soul. As the scientic worldview has not been able to render the idea of a metaphysics of the sacred and of personal and cultural values superuous, institutionalized religion is still one of the major forms of organizing the existential-phenomenological aspect of human life. But there are neither empirically nor philosophically good reasons to believe that either classical mechanical and positivistic science, or the present forms of organized religion, or attempts to combine their knowledge, have made usor will make usable to understand and control the fundamental processes of mind and nature. The promise of articial intelligence, which would represent such mastery, remains unfullled (Ekbia 2008). Where questions of the origin of mind, life, matter, and nature meet, there seems to be a black hole in our conceptual knowledge. This chasm points to a fundamental lack in the foundation of our knowledge and/or our understanding of knowledge. It is here that one can see Peirces (1866-1913/1994) semiotic philosophy of religious and scientic knowing as an attempt to create a new transdisciplinary start on what I claim to be a panentheistic basis.5 Classical positivism, and later classical empiricism and rationalism, developed into the logical positivism and nally logical empiricism with its physicalistic vision of the unity of science; these are the rst real reective philosophies of that conception of the empirical-mathematical sciences that emerged during the Renaissance. Logical empiricism owered, especially in the 1930s, and after World War II almost rose to be sciences only well-established self-understanding. But after World War II, the majority of the theoretical developments within the philosophy of science became critical of this paradigm. An attempt was made to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the cognitive processes of science, as well as an epistemological understanding of its type of knowledge vis--vis other types of knowing such as an everyday understanding of the world. Karl R. Popper (1972) and Thomas Kuhn (1970) are two of the most prominent philosophers of science in this development. Poppers and Kuhns theories of science discuss whether observations and experiments can expand our knowledge of nature in such a way that we get a more and more truthful description. Is the growth of science an approach to a nal description of the law(s)

20

Studies International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 27, 2008, pp. 20-45

Brier

of nature, or are we just establishing still moreoften incompatibleviewpoints to describe an impenetrable complexity? Are we just receiving more information without getting nearer the truth? Popper (1972) has been endorsed as believer in the view that science get closer to the truth, and Kuhn (1970) as a social constructivist denying any kind of objective measure of truth and scientic progress. But Popper and Kuhns viewpoints are not as incompatible as they might appear. According to my analysis (Brier, 2006), Kuhn and Popper meet in the middle, the former attaching more importance to the social psychological mechanisms in science and the latter more to the logic of research. The important point is that both abandon the simple view of sciences truth-value that is often based on a mechanical monistic or dualistic view of the world. Pierce, like both Kuhn and Popper, points to the fallibility and incompleteness of science and to the important inuence of metaphysical ideas and values upon the development of scientic knowledge. Both Popper and Kuhn agree that we cannot measure how near a theory is to truth or if science should even be portrayed as getting nearer to some kind of big truth, but we can see that knowledge grows and evolves and becomes more comprehensive. Thus it seems that science alone is not an applicable tool to reveal the big truth about the nature, meaning, and purpose of life and/or the nature of the universe. Peirce wrote: Thus, the universe is not a mere mechanical result of the operation of blind law. The most obvious of all its characters cannot be so explained. It is the multitudinous facts of all experience that show us this; but that which has opened our eyes to these facts is the principle of fallibilism. Those who fail to appreciate the importance of fallibilism reason: we see these laws of mechanics; we see how extremely closely they have been veried in some cases. We suppose that what we havent examined is like what we have examined, and that these laws are absolute, and the whole universe is a boundless machine working by the blind laws of mechanics. This is a philosophy which leaves no room for a God! No, indeed! It leaves even human consciousness, which cannot well be denied to exist, as a perfectly idle and functionless neur in the world, with no possible inuence upon anything -- not even upon itself. (Peirce, 1866-1913/1994, Vol. 1, p. 162.) Since the start of classical physics in the 16th century, our mathematical and logical description of the

physical, chemical, and biological universe has gradually grown to dominate our worldview. Our understanding has been invaded by this universe to an extent where it has become common sense to see our lived worlds as a part of the universe, each individuals life a small subjective world full of signication and sense-making within an objective universe. Through communication and cooperation these small signication spheres (Brier, 1999) are connected in social and cultural practice domains to that world of signication we call a culture. But still this world isfrom natural science-based disciplines such as Western medicineparadoxically seen as part of an objective and meaningless universe (well-described by Monod, 1972). The paradox lies in realizing that the ability to obtain knowledge comes before science, that symbolic knowing needs a self-conscious, embodied language user, that language needs signs to represent the nature and origins of reality and a society to convey meaning. This allows one to see the limitation of purely scientic explanations of the phenomenon of knowledge (Brier, 2008a, b, c). The process of knowing is the prerequisite for science. How then can knowledge and intelligence ever be thought to be fully explained by a science based on physicalistic or functionalistic worldviews? As there is no knowledge without mind, no mind without nature, and no meaning without meaningfully embodied signs communicated in a society, how are we to explain knowing (the process) from a materialistic, bottom-up model based on a mechanistic understanding of the Big Bang theory, where life, intelligence, language, and knowledge are supposed to be explained through mathematical laws and logic? My suggestion is, therefore, that we have to live with both the universe and the world in a new and fruitful way, rst by acknowledging that there are dierent worlds of description (Brier, 2008a, b, c). Human scientic knowledge seems to be connected to an undetermined amount of non-knowledge, and it seems that the more exact and universal we want to make our knowledge, the more non-knowledge goes with it. It does leave open the possibility that reality provides an inner connection between dierent worlds, and that the universe is beyond a thorough scientic description but roughly describable anyway. Such a framework might help us to gain a less fundamentalist view of science and religion, and give us a better chance to judge the inner logic and consistency of dierent kinds of spiritual healing practices. Based on C. S. Peirces (1866-

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 21

1913/1994) semiotic philosophy, I will attempt to outline a modern metaphysics of origin and cognition with the purpose of adding the existential-phenomenological dimension to the modern scientic evolutionary Big Bang model of the creation of the Universe by relating feeling, meaning, willing and conscious knowing to our scientic concept of reality without experienced meaning. Thus I will interpret Peirce in the light of the modern development of science and philosophy. The Myth of Creation and the Theory of Evolution n the Christian world, the biblical stories of creation are the principle myths of origin. Here the world is understood as being created by a personal God through a period of seven days. All order in nature (laws of nature) and in the human world (morals, laws) are given once and for all. There is nothing new under the sun. There is more in the cause than in the means. Man has, as something quite exceptional, received a soul. Nature as such is without soul. These myths in their fundamentalist and dogmatic understanding do not allow any symbolic interpretation and are in conict with modernitys material, evolutionary self-understanding. An important feature of modernity is its conception of itself as a participant in a unique cultural process of progress. The universal, historical, linear understanding of time, which appeared in the 18th century in connection with the Enlightenment, is an important contribution to mankinds view of the world and itself. In the 19th century it spread from geology (e.g., Charles Lyell [1842], Principles of Geology) to an evolutionary understanding of the origin of the species advocated by Charles Darwin (1859/1998) and others. Through thermodynamicsas in Prigogines (1980; Prigogine & Stengers, 1984) understanding this materialistic conception of evolution can now be coupled to the 20th centurys cosmological understanding of the universe as something that came into being once, approximately 15 billion years ago, with a Big Bang, when nothing became everything. In the modern developments of historical materialistic theory of society and culture, the world and humankind are seen as historical developments carrying this grand evolution. We understand thereby our world(s) as something, which has developed from the universe through time from simple physical beginnings (Popper, 1972). Furthermore we understand ourselves fundamentally as material end-products of an historical

development. This has very often been considered as the absolute opposite to the more phenomenological idea of creation. The question now is whether the dierence between evolution and creation is of an absolute character. What is the relation between the physical and the phenomenological reality, if any? Is there no connection between the universe and our worlds? Should it not be possible to make a modern metaphysics of creation, which does not contradict physics and, at the same time, aims at explaining the organizing power of evolution and thereby the origin of mind and consciousness? For it is a peculiarity that modern evolutionary materialism actually ascribes all creative abilities in the universe either to absolute deterministic law or to absolute chance (often understood as the negation of deterministic law) and postulates that life, mind and consciousness appear out of the organization of dead matter as new emergent qualities in self-organized systems. It is here the concept of information in nature is introduced as an objective organizing power, a natural force (Brier, 1992). But unfortunately, as soon as information is scientically dened as objective, mathematical and mechanical, it can no longer be used as a tool to explain the emergence of life and mind in evolution (Brier, 1999). The Cartesian metaphysics of modern science forces it to look for some kind of meeting point of the inner and outer worlds in the dynamics of the human brain. For medicine, this is where the psychosomatic link must be. That we have not found this link is supposed to be caused by our lack of physiological knowledge of the nervous system, especially the brain. That is one of the reasons neurosciences and cognitive sciences have experienced such a big boom over the last decade: we want to nd that connection (Penrose, 1995; Searle, 1986). To Peirce (1866-1913/1994),6 it was his triadic, evolutionary, pragmaticistic semiotics that provided the connection between inner and outer, or rather the basis for going beyond this dichotomy. We have come to understand that the nervous system, the hormone system, and the immune system are chemically linked to each other like a biological self in the way that they all produce receptors for each others messenger molecules. This supports the idea of a second-order cybernetics, one which sees living systems as self-organized and self-producing beings: autopoietic as Maturana and Varela (1986) called it. From a biocybernetic point of view, one can point out that living systems organize worlds, which I, from a semiotic point

22

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Brier

of view, call signication spheres (Brier, 2008a). But this theory is still based on the pre-assumption of an inner world or life of the living systems in the form of an observer (Brier, 1999) and it does not provide the explanatory connection. It is too cybernetic to develop a theory of rst person experience, emotion, will, and qualia (Brier, 2008b). Is it possible to arrive at an understanding of man and the universe that embraces modern science without seeing phenomenological man as a gypsy on the edge of a dead, foreign, and meaningless wastelandwhat Monod (1972) so eloquently described as the consequence of mechanism also encompassing the biological description of life? Is it possible in the natural-science-technical age to bring man and the living into the center of a philosophical existential vision again? This is in my opinion what Peirce (1992) does in his scientic mysticism. To name his view as scientic mysticism will seem to many to be a paradox. Mysticism is a mode of thought, or phase of intellectual or religious life, in which reliance is placed upon a spiritual illumination believed to transcend the ordinary powers of understanding. As such is it is often viewed as opposing a rational understanding of the world, and therefore the whole scientic enterprise. But Peirce shows that it is actually mysticism and rationalism that represent opposite poles of theology. Rationalism regards reasonoften in the form of logic or mathematicsas the highest faculty of man. In a modern (positivistic) interpretation of Plato, then, it is the rational thought of the philosopher or scientist, or both working together, that is the sole arbiter in all matters of knowledge and as such overthrows all religious doctrines. This view often sees the world as a computer and believes that all knowledge can be algorithmically represented. Mysticism, on the other hand, is often understood to declare that spiritual truth cannot be apprehended by the logical faculty, nor adequately expressed in any form of natural language. Peirce manages to combine both views in a pragmaticistic semiotic evolutionary philosophy, where logic is semiotics. If it is correct, as Prigogine and Stengers (1984) claimed, that thermodynamics and quantum physics, seen together philosophically, are a more realistic and comprehensive worldview than classic mechanism, then spontaneity, irreversibility, time, and evolution have made their entrance as basal conceptions in physics (Prigogine, 1980). Then the belief in the complete scientic description of nature also ceases. We must realize that it is probably not possible for natural science

to uncover Natures or matters inner being, if there is one. In natural science we are obliged, on the basis of observation, experiment, and generalization to make statistical models or laws based upon the calculus of probability and our critical judgment. The new recognition of complex non-linear systems accentuates that, even if one knew the laws that govern a systems basic dynamics, this is not enough to understand its detailed development, as the initial conditions are very crucial. Physics also realizes that no version of the Big Bang theory will tell us how the Universe was created, because the original singularity eludes scientic examination. Physical explanations do not start until after the universe is initiated. Further, mechanical physics does not have an interest in explaining the rise of mind and consciousness through evolution, as it was founded in a dualistic worldview where nature was mechanical by necessity. This was a foundational aspect in Kants (1781/1990) philosophy, an approach that Peirce (1866-1913/1994) further modied. As Kultgen (1959-60) argued, it is important that both Peirce (1866-1913/1994) and Whitehead (1929) deny Kants (1981/1990) distinction between nature and freedom. To Peirce, nature has spontaneity and pure feeling at its basis in Firstness and teleology in its agapistic habit-taking of Thirdness. Thus Peirce denies the distinction between the phenomenological and the noumenalunderstood as the thing in itselfbecause this idea of the incognizable appears as a null-term of theoretical and practical thought. It is not fruitful to try to think about something that one cannot think about. For Peirce, the real is wholly open to our pragmatic observation and thinking and there is no absolute dierence between the object of theoretical and practical thought. Metaphysics is seen as an observable ideal limit of empirical inquiry (Kultgen, 1959-60, p. 288). Peirce did not have the modern and post-modern fear of metaphysics, and certainly did not see it as opposed to the scientic inquiry; therefore, he did not have the type of conict between science and religion that is seen in the modern debate about intelligent design theory (see Fuller, 1998, 2002a, 2002b). Peirces Philosophy of Creation and Evolution

t is important to notice that we do not here discuss religion as a social enterprise or the dogmas of established religions. Peirce (1976) is against dogmas in

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 23

religion and he does not cling to any single religion. In a letter to William James he wrote: I cant help thinking that the mother of Christianity, Buddhism, is superior to our own religion. That is what one of my selves, my intellectual self says. But enough, I will keep my religion to myself and to One that does not sco at it. (Vol. 3[2], p. 872) In the quote above Peirce seems keen to work with that which is the foundation of all religions. His theory of the immanent7 divine as Firstness8 is close to the Buddhist idea of the void. Secondness is, in Peirces philosophy, necessary in order for anything to take form in this world, while Thirdness is needed to stabilize any kind of structure and process. This is a principal philosophical discussion of how and where a concept of God may enter or have to enter a philosophy that can produce a concept of meaning and signication. It is important to note that Peirce is inspired in his theological philosophy not only by transcendental Christianity and by Buddhism with its concept of emptiness, but also by Aristotle and Plato.9 The divine is both immanent and transcendent in Peirces philosophy. It is both an emptiness behind and before the manifested world in time and space as well as a Firstness of possibilities, random sporting, qualia, and possible mathematical forms. Peirce (1866-1913/1994) wrote: If we are to proceed in a logical and scientic manner, we must, in order to account for the whole universe, suppose an initial condition in which the whole universe was non-existent, and therefore a state of absolute nothing. . . . But this is not the nothing of negation. . . . The nothing of negation is the nothing of death, which comes second to, or after, everything. But this pure zero is the nothing of not having been born. There is no individual thing, no compulsion, outward nor inward, no law. It is the germinal nothing, in which the whole universe is involved or foreshadowed. As such, it is absolutely undened and unlimited possibility boundless possibility. There is no compulsion and no law. It is boundless freedom. Now the question arises, what necessarily resulted from that state of things? But the only sane answer is that where freedom was boundless nothing in particular necessarily resulted. . . . I say that nothing necessarily resulted from the Nothing of boundless freedom. That is, nothing

according to deductive logic. But such is not the logic of freedom or possibility. The logic of freedom, or potentiality, is that it shall annul itself. For if it does not annul itself, it remains a completely idle and do-nothing potentiality; and a completely idle potentiality is annulled by its complete idleness. (Vol. 6, pp. 215-219) On this basis of the divine, the concept of law in Peirces philosophy is not the same as in Platonic inspired deterministic mechanism, where laws are universal, precise, mathematical, and therefore deterministic in themselves, upholding their own existence in the transcendent. Peirce wrote: I do not mean that potentiality immediately results in actuality. Mediately perhaps it does; but what immediately resulted was that unbounded potentiality became potentiality of this or that sort that is, of some quality. Thus the zero of bare possibility, by evolutionary logic, leapt into the unit of some quality. (Vol. 6, p. 220) For Peirce, Firstness is a vague, dynamic, random mix of possible forms of existence in pure feeling. The potentiality of a quality, in Peirces metaphysics, is a timeless, self-subsisting possibility that serves as the metaphysical ground of the world of actual existence. He wrote: The evolutionary process is, therefore, not a mere evolution of the existing universe, but rather a process by which the very Platonic forms themselves have become or are becoming developed. (Vol. 6, p. 194) These forms start as vague qualities and become developed in the irreversible evolution of the worlda concept foreign to Platoto become more stable and precise in form. Peirce further wrote: The evolution of forms begins or, at any rate, has for an early stage of it, a vague potentiality; and that either is or is followed by a continuum of forms having a multitude of dimensions too great for the individual dimensions to be distinct. It must be by a contraction of the vagueness of that potentiality of everything in general, but of nothing in particular, that the world of forms comes about. (Vol. 6, p. 196) Thus in Peirces cosmology the qualities are vague; Peirce saw trancendentality and vagueness as going together in

24

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Brier

reality. It is not as in classical logic, where the very precise is also the very abstract and universal, which is also the way in which Platos ideas are usually interpreted. Peirce wrote: We must not assume that the qualities arose separate and came into relation afterward. It was just the reverse. The general indenite potentiality became limited and heterogeneous. (Vol. 6, p. 199) This is when the basic categories manifest or sort themselves out. As the categories are phaneroscopic, Peirce also refers to them as universes of experience. With the emergence of the continuum of positive possibility, the Universe of Ideas or Possibility, Firstness is established (Vol. 6, p. 455). The next step is then the emergence of Secondness, as Peirces categories are also evolutionary: There is, however, an element of Secondness in the emergence of the continuum of forms where there was only indenite nothingness before, and an element of Thirdness in the continuity and eternal subsistence of those forms. As the evolution continues, Secondness comes to the fore. Nascent relations of identity and dierence emerge in and among parts of the continuum of forms, and qualities thereby come to be dierentiated. The second element we have to assume is that there could be accidental reactions between those qualities. The qualities themselves are mere eternal possibilities. But these reactions we must think of as events. Not that Time was. But still, they had all the here-and-nowness of events. (Vol. 6, p. 200) Peirce also stated that Secondness is the category of brute facts, resistance, will, force, and concreteness. He therefore wrote: The next milestone in the evolution of the cosmos is the appearance of enduring existence, the Universe of Brute Actuality of things and facts (Vol. 6, p. 455). How is this possible? Peirce (1866-1913/1994) has the following suggestion that is very similar to the way modern physics talks about the universe emerging from a quantum vacuum eld, except that Peirces eld has another nature because it is in another metaphysical framework. Like Aristotle, he is a hylozoist10 and a continuation thinker. Hyl11the sensitive matteris a kind of eld. He wrote: Out of the womb of indeterminacy we must say that there would have come something, by the principle

of Firstness, which we may call a ash. Then by the principle of habit there would have been a second ash. Though time would not yet have been, this second ash was in some sense after the rst, because resulting from it. Then there would have come other successions ever more and more closely connected, the habits and the tendency to take them ever strengthening themselves, until the events would have been bound together into something like a continuous ow. (Vol. 1, p. 412) Here Peirce is close to the quantum eld view of the origin of the universe, where original quantum events, such as the constant spontaneous play of virtual particles within the Planck time and space limit, is suddenly pushed over the limit and starts a new form of regular existence. This is what Peirce described as nature taking habits and drastic events in that habit-taking are often in physics called phase shifts. Peirce next turns to the principle of habit-taking, which is so essential for stability and evolution at the same time: all things have a tendency to take habits. . . . [For] every conceivable real object, there is a greater probability of acting as on a former like occasion than otherwise. This tendency itself constitutes a regularity, and is continually on the increase. . . . It is a generalizing tendency; it causes actions in the future to follow some generalizations of past actions; and this tendency itself is something capable of similar generalizations; and thus, it is self-generative. (Vol. 1, p. 409) Peirce is again close to how modern quantum metaphysics conceptualizes a many-world ontology, where mutual universes are possible, existing side by side unaware of each other. He wrote. The quasi-ow which would result would, however, dier essentially from time in this respect that it would not necessarily be in a single stream. Dierent ashes might start dierent streams, between which there should be no relations of contemporaneity or succession. So one stream might branch into two, or two might coalesce. But the further result of habit would inevitably be to separate utterly those that were long separated, and to make those which presented frequent common points coalesce into perfect union. Those that were completely separated would be so many dierent worlds which would know nothing of one another; so that the eect would be just what we

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 25

actually observe. (Vol. 1, p. 412) Peirce then described how the forms of the world appear through stabilization of the early habit-formation tendencies in ways similar to how modern science also describes the early universe before matter and radiation separate. Pairs of states will also begin to take habits, and thus each state having dierent habits with reference to the dierent other states will give rise to bundles of habits, which will be substances. Some of these states will chance to take habits of persistency, and will get to be less and less liable to disappear; while those that fail to take such habits will fall out of existence. Thus substances will get to be permanent. Peirce does not assume eternal transcendental ideas, like Plato, or their existence only in consciousness, like Husserl. As a true evolutionary, he started with vague beginnings, which within the Firstness of all possibilities crystallize out in a kind of phase shiftI suggestinto some basic dierences that make up the foundation of the evolution of what Peirce call Secondness. In this way the cosmos develops into a state where Secondness predominates, which Peirce calls the Universe of Actuality (Parker, 2002). In this way Peirce dares to give an ontological explanation based on a metaphysics of how the rst dierences come about and then avoids the philosophical embarrassment of an open ontology as in Luhmanns (1995) ontological foundation of his epistemology. Still Peirce avoids a deterministic universe because in such a domain nothing forces there to be a tendency in evolution toward regularity in what Peirce calls the Universe of Actuality. He does not use the concept of forces here, because the notion of force implies necessity, and here we are rather talking about a selection process out of a spontaneous variety. This of course brings in the concept of irreversible time, where Pierce is close to Prigogine and Stengerss (1984) interpretation of thermodynamics and the arrow of time. Habit-taking can grow by its own virtue (Peirce, 18661913/1994, Vol. 6, p. 101) and is a self-amplifying process, which leads to the ordered regularity and reasonability of Peirces Thirdness. The laws in the universe represent deviations from the random and are therefore of signicance. As argued earlier, it is dicult to talk about knowledge without assuming any kind of regularity in both the inside and outside reality, as also Heinz von Foerster realized (Brier, 2005). Peirce (18661913/1994) wrote: Uniformities are precisely the kind of facts that need to be accounted for. That a pitched coin should

sometimes turn up heads and sometimes tails calls for no particular explanation; but if it shows heads every time, we wish to know how this result has been brought about. Law is par excellence the thing which wants a reason. (Vol. 6, p. 12). But as regularity comes to operate with increasing force in the universe, law takes hold. In the innite future, Peirce saw a universe developing in which law would become (almost) perfect. But he also saw that the only possible way of accounting for the existence of laws of nature and uniformity in general was to suppose them results of evolution. Then his concept of law becomes qualitatively dierent from the mechanistic one. He does not suppose the laws to be absolute or to be obeyed precisely. There will always remain an element of indeterminacy, spontaneity, or absolute chance in nature. This view also pertains to his concept of time. In the following quote he sums it up his view on law, physicality, mind, and time. He wrote: I believe the law of habit to be purely psychical. But then I suppose matter is merely mind deadened by the development of habit. While every physical process can be reversed without violation of the law of mechanics, the law of habit forbids such reversal. Accordingly, time may have been evolved by the action of habit. At rst sight, it seems absurd or mysterious to speak of time being evolved, for evolution presupposes time. But after all, this is no serious objection, and nothing can be simpler. Time consists in a regularity in the relations of interacting feelings. The rst chaos consisted in an innite multitude of unrelated feelings. As there was no continuity about them, it was, as it were, a powder of feelings. It was worse than that, for of particles of powder some are nearer together, others farther apart, while these feelings had no relations, for relations are general. Now you must not ask me what happened rst. This would be as absurd as to ask what is the smallest nite number. But springing away from the innitely distant past to a very very distant past, we nd already evolution had been going on for an innitely long time. But this time is only our way of saying that something had been going on. There was no real time so far as there was no regularity, but there is no more falsity in using the language of time than in saying that a quantity is zero. In this chaos of feelings, bits of similitude had appeared, been swallowed up again.

26

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Brier

Had reappeared by chance. A slight tendency to generalization had here and there lighted up and been quenched. Had reappeared, had strengthened itself. Like had begun to produce like. Then even pairs of unlike feelings had begun to have similars, and then these had begun to generalize. And thus relations of contiguity, that is connections other than similarities, had sprung up. All this went on in ways I cannot now detail till the feelings were so bound together that a passable approximation to a real time was established. It is not to be supposed that the ideally perfect time has even yet been realized. There are no doubt occasional lacunae and derailments. (Peirce, 1866-1913/1994, Vol. 8, p. 318) Thus we have a profound evolutionary and process view, with only three basic categories, which determines the types of possible interactions, the triadicity of semiosis being the third mediating type that is the primary drive of evolution. This is also the Universe in which the (almost) completely reasonable state of thingsthat Peirce in his esthetics saw as an idealwould be made possible. The (almost) caveat is there because this universe is unrealizable in principle, as it would destroy any sort of the spontaneity and feeling that emanates from Firstness balancing necessity. But it is the regulative ideal toward which self-controlled thought and action move, and which is Peirces personal, social, and philosophical aim: the summum bonum in Peirces philosophy12 (see Parker, 2002) that is the inspiration of many of the above formulations. Thus Peirces (1866-1913/1994) pragmaticist concept of truth is dierent from analytical philosophy combined with that dualistic combination of mechanism and Platonism that Descartes founded. Peirce wrote: truth is the concordance of an abstract statement with the ideal limit towards which endless investigation would tend to bring scientic belief, which concordance the abstract statement may possess by virtue of the confession of its inaccuracy and one-sidedness, and this confession is an essential ingredient of truth. (Vol. 5, p. 565) The scientic nding of truth is thus in principle a possibility and is therefore still a guiding light for all scientic and scholarly enterprise. The world is made of a kind of abstract knowledgethe dynamic structures and processes, which in themselves are a kind of signsand therefore it is knowable. It is the indierence of the sign

to mind-independence or mind-dependence that makes it possible for us to relate the real and the ideal without detriment to either. In Brier (2007, 2008a) I argued that the rst distinction or sign making process must be breaking some kind of original wholeness. Theoretically some kind of original observer13 has to be accepted in order to understand the rst semiotic creation of an interpretant. Thus this theory for philosophical consistency demands a kind of objective idealism where mind is rst, matter is second, and the tendency to take habits is third, as Peirce theorized. There has to be some kind of awareness resting in itself, that can make the rst distinction, and therefore the rst system-environment dierence, which is something else than the wholeness.14 It breaks the wholeness and makes space and time appear. This is consistent with Peirces view that time emerges with evolution. For Peirce, his creational understanding means that subject/selves are elements in the potential super mind and that they discover themselves as partly ignorant beings that make mistakes. They/we come to know themselves as individual selves or egos because they/we lack knowledge of the whole. They/we realize that they are not the whole and are therefore imperfect and distinct from the whole. We are individual imperfect selves. To Peirce cognition is sign producing and therefore the production of signication and meaning. Peirce (1868) saw introspection as one of the four incapacities of the human being. To him knowledge of the internal world is wholly a matter of inference by way of sign making. The human self can therefore only be inferred (Peirce, 1866-1913/1994, Vol. 5, p. 462) and surprisingly, it is inferred from our mistakes, from realizing that as self-conscious semiotic beings we are not the whole (i.e., we are not the Godhead). Human individuation is found in ignorance and error. Peirce wrote that Ignorance and error are all that distinguish our private selves from the absolute ego of pure apperception (Peirce, 18661913/1994, Vol. 5, p. 235). Peirces argument concerning the self was developed in his discussion of the dawning of self-consciousness in children: It must be about this time that he [the child] begins to nd that what these people about him say is the very best evidence of fact. So much so, that testimony is even a stronger mark of fact than the facts themselves, or rather than what must now be thought of as the appearances themselves. (I may

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 27

remark, by the way, that this remains so through life; testimony will convince a man that he himself is mad.) A child hears it said that the stove is hot. But it is not, he says; and, indeed, that central body is not touching it, and only what that touches is hot or cold. But he touches it, and nds the testimony conrmed in a striking way. Thus, he becomes aware of ignorance, and it is necessary to suppose a self in which this ignorance can inhere. So testimony gives the rst dawning of self-consciousness.... (Vol. 5, p. 233) He continued and concluded this way: [Thus children] infer from ignorance and error their own existence. Thus we nd that known faculties, acting under conditions known to exist, would rise to self-consciousness. (Vol. 5, p. 236) We then here see the metaphysical foundation that supports Peirces view on science and the religion or rather the relation between the search for truth and the divine in a way that is unique and which I interpret as a new type of mysticism. The unity of truth is not in the explicit knowledge system as a grand story. This is what the postmodern movement rightfully objected against (Luntley, 1995). Peirce realized this, but kept it like a regulative idea (i.e., similar to Kant, 1781/1990), as a stage we might reachnot only in theory, but as lived reason in harmony with ethics and aestheticsin a very distant future. I therefore agree with Deely (2001) in calling Peirce the rst true postmodernist. Religion and the Sacred

o go beyond fundamentalist religion and its dogmas, I would like to maintain a distinction between religion and the sacred. Religion is predominantly a social-political institution that organizes the relationship between the sacred and the profane with the help of rituals and codes. The sacred is dened through the fundamental myths, which in the same breath establish the worldview and understanding of the human, meaning, and society. Through the sacred, the world is given meaning, and thereby makes a distinction between meaning and the meaningless possible. The sacred, therefore, seems to be a power of a completely dierent form than those powers of nature that science describes. Typical for many religions is precisely that they organize the sacred by combining the emergence of the world with the history of the emergence of society

and its cultural meaningful order based on distinction of right and wrong as well as good and bad. In this way, it seems obvious that nothing could be dierent. There is therefore no room for a gradual development of religious truth, when all the dogmas have been written down. It was this understanding of religion that Peirce broke with in his new synthesis. It is, however, exactly the reective knowledge of the fact that we can change paradigms that we have gained from modern philosophy of science, which is a decisive trait in the democratic (dialogue-ethical) societys liberation from fundamentalist religions. In the liberal democratic society we are human being rst (i.e., we start in the world of the living, feeling, language using, and embodied knowing beings), then we can choose to be Christian, Muslim, Marxist, Scientistic, or embrace other traditions. This means that one is human and has ones own existential relation to the sacred before one is religious, ideological, scientic, party political, or anything else. I think Peirce would have agreed with this view. Fundamentalism can now be formulated as the opposite view, namely those who understand themselves as belonging to a given system rst, and second as a member of the human race. It is within such beliefs that the goal easily becomes justiable for any means. When you know the fundamental truth, then you also know that the others are fundamentally wrong and need to be saved, or condemned as evil should they resist. The pattern is the same within religion, philosophy, politics, and science (Brier, 2008a). It is important to stand by the fundamental status of the estimation/abduction principle for all knowledge, both regarding religion and the sciences: none of them should be assigned the patent of truth. Peirce (1866-1913/1994) wrote on universality: I object to absolute universality, absolute exactitude, absolute necessity, being attributed to any proposition that does not deal with the Alpha and the Omega, in the which I do not include any object of ordinary knowledge. (Vol. 6, p. 607) This is exactly where Peirce started in his A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God (p. 452), where he further developed the philosophical foundation for his concept of abduction. There is in his semiotic philosophy neither skepticism about human ability to acquire knowledge about the world, nor about the existence of a partly independent material reality, living reality,

28

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Brier

or about the reality of mind as well as of the sacred. Combined with his profound evolutionary thinking this is a highly original point of view that may nally have found its time. But before we analyze Peirces viewpoint we must briey discuss the concept of mysticism. In the Christian tradition this worldview has often been seen as an opposition to the churchs dogmas and in science as an opposition to belief in scientic method as the only way of obtaining reliable and clear rational knowledge. Mysticism he word mystery (mysterion) comes from the Greek verb muo, to shut or close the lips or eyes. Today the concept mysticism points to a belief in the possibility of the mind to make a break through the world of time and space into a phenomenological beingness of eternal timelessness, all-presence, and spacelessness. About this idea of a general mystical level, often called the perennial philosophy, Happold (1973) wrote: In the deepest religious experience, whether it be Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, or Mohammedan, when all ideas, thoughts, sensations, and volitions which make up the self are exhausted, there is found to remain only a Void, the One of Plotinus, the Godhead of Eckhart and Ruysbroeck, the Brahman of Hinduism. The Void is not only Emptiness. In mystical experience it is found to be a Plenum-Void. The Emptiness and the fullness are one. (p. 80) Mysticism includes the theory of a unity between consciousness, body, and universe that is beyond language (Happold, 1973; Maharishi, 1979; Stace, 1960): a unity where distance is gone (i.e., beyond space) and presence is total (i.e., beyond time), and where words and objects unite (the triadicity of semiosis collapses into unity). To Peirce (1866-1913/1994), Firstness is an element of experience unrelated to other experiences. Everything starts as mixed together as a vagueness overwhelmingly present in the now that cannot be grasped in signs and language. He wrote: The idea of the absolutely rst must be entirely separated from all conception of or reference to anything else; for what involves a second is itself a second to that second. The rst must therefore be present and immediate, so as not to be second to a representation. It must be fresh and new, for if old

it is second to its former state. It must be initiative, original, spontaneous, and free; otherwise it is second to a determining cause. It is also something vivid and conscious; so only it avoids being the object of some sensation. It precedes all synthesis and all dierentiation; it has no unity and no parts. It cannot be articulately thought: assert it, and it has already lost its characteristic innocence; for assertion always implies a denial of something else. (Vol. 1, p. 357) All these qualities of absolute Firstness ts with the descripton of the mystical union or pure consciousness. As Peirce wrote, then it is not an experience or a cognition because that would demand a full semiosis and therefore the presence of Secondness and Thirdness. The Peircean Firstness of monadic vagueness becomes the Secondness of a dyadic separation through interaction. Consciousness, the body, and reality have a sort of common foundation in something beyond what we can experience by the semiosis of cognition. It is interesting that rational and empirical analysis of space and time in physics actually leads theories into this paradoxical domain as they point beyond the Planck Scale where measuring of time and space become impossible. The Planck scale limit of meaningful measurement is a part of the foundation for quantum theory. In his Confessions, St. Augustine (1961) made a famous analysis of time where he already made it clear that the universe is not created in time but with timeand Aristotle draws our attention to the fact that the universe, which is the place for everything, has no place for itself (i.e., one cannot ask meaningfully what there was before the universes creation, still less, where it was or what is/was outside, as time and space only exist as a possibility in a universe). This is in accordance with general mysticism, as for instance in the writings of Meister Eckhart (1958) and Happold (1973, p. 269). Spirit or the sacred is precisely that which is transcendent, says the mystic. Therefore it is also everywhere at the same time, and thereby also inside you and me, as well as outside us. The quotation marks are put in to show that the usual conceptions and distinctions are not enough when we speak of spirit. The mystics here will also say that innityand with it this space-timelessnessis found behind or in every point in the universe (pp. 119-120). The spirit is also immanent in the world as

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 29

love and creative power in matter. The mystics see it shine through the material appearances. Every selfconscious person therefore has in principle direct access to the spirit, since consciousness is also one of its manifestations. When consciousness is without content it is pure consciousness: that is to say, consciousness that is only conscious of itself (Maharishi,15 1968, 1979). The human nervous systems most fundamental achievement is precisely this capacity to reect realitys non-manifest aspect, which is the connection between the inner and the outer world. Peirce (1866-1913/1994) is a bit skeptical about this capacity. He wrote: The immediate present, could we seize it, would have no character but its Firstness. Not that I mean to say that immediate consciousness (a pure ction, by the way), would be Firstness, but that the quality of what we are immediately conscious of, which is no ction, is Firstness. (Vol. 1, p. 343) This mystical understanding of the ability of human consciousness to be in a sort of absolute Firstness as foundational to human consciousness is central to mysticism and so persistent over dierent cultures, historical periods, inside and outside dierent religions that the philosopher Leibniz (1992) called this view the perennial philosophy, a name Aldous Huxley (1945/1979) renewed in 1945 with a book on the subject. The perennial philosophy is the idea that a common, eternal philosophy exists that underlies all religious movements, in particular the mystical streams within them. The induction on many observations is that humans in many dierent cultures and all historical eras have recorded similar perceptions and experiences about the nature of reality, the self, and the world, including the meaning and purpose of existence and human life. Scholars supporting this view argue that these similarities point to underlying universal principles. They further conclude that these are the principles that form the common ground of most religions. Opposing those who claim that experiences among them the religious onesare totally determined by the cultures metaphysical views in the given period of history, the perennial philosophy claims that the dierences in the way these fundamental perceptions are described arise from dierences in human cultures. Thus in opposition to those scholars that claim that there is no unity behind the dierences, the perennial philosophy claims that there is a fundamental unity and the dierences can be explained in light of cultural

conditioning. In a philosophical analysis, Stace (1960) and Happold (1973) concluded that this is a well founded theory and, in his history of philosophy, the Norwegian ecological philosopher Arne Nss (1969, p. 69) pointed to convincing similarities between Master Eckhart and Shankaras paradigms of consciousness, even though one of them is a German Christian and the other an Indian Hinduand several centuries divide them. Happold (1973) wrote: the essence of that perennial mystical philosophy which is found in all the higher theistic religions: That the Godhead is absolute Stillness and Rest, free of all activity and inaccessible to human thought, yet alive through and through, a tremendous Energy, pouring Itself out into the created world and drawing that world back into Itself. That there is a complete unity in everything, all is in God and God is in all. That mans real self is divine. ...the Godhead is not only Eternal rest, Unconditioned Dark, the Nameless Being, but also the Superessence of all Created things. Man is, thus, not a creature set over against God; he is united with this triune life, and, this union is within us by our naked nature and were this nature to be separated from God it would fall into pure nothingness. (p. 66) Conscious development is thus to regain consciousness (the full awareness of) realitys immanent as well as transcendent aspects without violating the diversity in the relative manifestation. Expressed in concepts from Heideggers (1949/1962) philosophy, it is to be aware of the connection between dasein and the universe in which we are thrown. It is to be conscious of the roots of our thrownness. Only from this position can we get rid of the blindness in our perception of reality.16 I think Heideggers concept of blindness is pointing out what in the Vedic tradition is called Maya. It is that, which the unenlightened considers ultimate reality, but is still only a veil, a construction projected by our own inability to see things as they are in full.17 In science, it is the physical reality that is the last veil. Grand narratives are also veils. The relative (Maya) is not unreal in the sense that it does not exist, but rather in the sense that there is a more stable background behind it of pure

30

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Brier

consciousness, in which the root of all knowledge is to be found. Happold (1973) wrote that this is found: when religious feeling surpasses its rational content, that is, when the hidden, non-rational, unconscious elements predominate and determine the emotional life and the intellectual attitude. In the true mystic there is an extension of normal consciousness, a release of latent powers and a widening of vision, so that aspects of truth unplumbed by the rational intellect are revealed to him. (p. 19) Knowledge (gnosis) has here a deep phenomenological foundation that transgresses but does not rejectour normal understanding of the scientic and the rational. Mystical knowledge is subjective, without being personally individua listic, in that it bases itself on subjectivitys general aspect. To reach this is to attain what our culture once called wisdom. This type of knowledge may well be the central or fundamental aspect of human knowledge. It is embodiment of the deepest knowledge of ourselves and nature connecting inner and outer being. It is from his musing that Peirce created his concept of science as a social and ethical commitment to create a logically consistent foundation of knowledge for the development of human culture. He saw science as another form of religious commitment in the never-ending search for truth. I think the second part of the following quote by Happold (1973) describes very well Peirces understanding and the basis of his method of musing: One view of the world is that it is an intelligible presentation which is spread out before us for our detached and dispassionate examination; its nature can be grasped by thought, analysis and classication alone. This view has been held by most philosophers and scientists. Another view is that the world is not like that at all, that it is a mystery, the secret of which can only be partially grasped by thought, analysis, and classication. To penetrate its deepest secrets one must not stand aside from it but try, as it were, to feel it. One must be content, intently and humbly, to contemplate it, to gage at it as one might gage at a picture, not in order to analyse the technique of its brushwork or colour arrangement, but to penetrate its meaning and signicance. This intent, loving gazing in order to know and understand is what is meant when we say that contemplation is a tool of knowledge. (p. 70)

One can say that Peirce combined both visions by considering none of them to be absolutely true alone, but both may well be true together. A lot of the universe is within the reach of human understanding through science, but it seems that only a very little part is laid out in the open as simple computational laws. Still Peirce believed that in principle we should be able to get to know everything if we worked on it in a dedicated scientic way. But in reality he was aware that there was probably not time and money enough to ever reach that stage in semiotically based knowledge. Peircean Scientic Mysticism18

n the article A Neglected Argument for the Existence of God, Peirce (1866-1913/1994, Vol. 6, p. 452) contended that the very rst step in abductive reasoning is a form of Pure Play, which he calls Musement. He describes it this way: Pure Play has no rules, except this very law of liberty. It bloweth where it listeth. It has no purpose, unless recreation. The particular occupation I meana petite bouche with the Universesmay take either the form of aesthetic contemplation, or that of distant castle-building (whether in Spain or within ones own moral training), or that of considering some wonder in one of the Universes, or some connection between two of the three, with speculation concerning its cause. It is this last kindI will call it Musement on the wholethat I particularly recommend, because it will in time ower into the N.A. One who sits down with the purpose of becoming convinced of the truth of religion is plainly not inquiring in scientic singleness of heart, and must always suspect himself of reasoning unfairly. So he can never attain the entirety even of a physicists belief in electrons, although this is avowedly but provisional. But let religious meditation be allowed to grow up spontaneously out of Pure Play without any breach of continuity, and the Muser will retain the perfect candour proper to Musement. (Vol. 6, p. 458) This rst stage of abduction is to be undergone without rules or restrictions. There should be no censorship as to what can or cannot be considered. To that end, a positive attitude towards the world and the possibility of knowledge is needed, as a pessimistic outlook would eliminate the open mind attitude. There are all sorts of relations not amenable to being investigated if it is decided

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 31

a priori that they are not worth making. Chiasson (1999) ended her analysis of the Neglected Argument for God in the following way: From this criterion, perhaps we could say that we could redene Peirces use of the word God into: any hypothesis-formed by means of optimistically undergone abductive reasoningthat leads one into consciously choosing ethical conduct that results in the living of a good lifewhether or not the concepts we know as God or an after-life enter into the matter at all. (n.p.) On this basis the search for scientic knowledge for the benet of mankind is seen as a sort of holy quest, like it was in the early Renaissance and long after, maybe especially until Darwins evolutionary theory. Only Peirce managed to take that into account and still keep the original vision of science intact, but now also combined with aesthetics and ethics. Knowledge thus has its origin in the divine stability and intelligibility of the world according to Peirce. As Descartes (1984), Peirce saw the divine as the guaranty against total skepticism. But Peirce went much further in his evolutionary metaphysics. Peirce (1866-1913/1994) wrote in the Monist paper Evolutionary Love: Everybody can see that the statement of St. John is the formula of an evolutionary philosophy, which teaches that growth comes only from love, from I will not say self-sacrice, but from the ardent impulse to fulll anothers highest impulse. Suppose, for example, that I have an idea that interests me. It is my creation. It is my creature; it is a little person. I love it; and I will sink myself in perfecting it. It is not by dealing out cold justice to the circle of my ideas that I can make them grow, but by cherishing and tending them as I would the owers in my garden. The philosophy we draw from Johns gospel is that this is the way mind develops; and as for the cosmos, only so far as it yet is mind, and so has life, is it capable of further evolution. Love, recognizing germs of loveliness in the hateful, gradually warms it into life, and makes it lovely. That is the sort of evolution which every careful student of my essay The Law of Mind must see that synechism calls for. (Vol. 6, p. 289) In Peirces philosophy, the production of meaning is brought into what mechanism sees as dead nature by the concepts of Firstness and Synechism, combined with hylozoism and the development of the universe through the three dierent kinds of evolution: (1) evolution by fortuitous

variation (tychasm); (2) evolution by mechanical necessity (anancasm); and (3) evolution by creative love (agapism). But it was with Peirce (1866-1913/1994) as it was with St. John that, of those three, love is the greatest and the most profound. He wrote: Evolution by sporting and evolution by mechanical necessity are conceptions warring against one another. Lamarckian evolution is thus evolution by the force of habit. Thus, habit plays a double part; it serves to establish the new features, and also to bring them into harmony with the general morphology and function of the animals and plants to which they belong. But if the reader will now kindly give himself the trouble of turning back a page or two, he will see that this account of Lamarckian evolution coincides with the general description of the action of love, to which, I suppose, he yielded his assent. (Vol. 6, p. 301) Further we must keep in mind that matter is eete mind. Thus the Law of Mind also breaks up habits of matter. Peirce wrote: Remembering that all matter is really mind, remembering, too, the continuity of mind, let us ask what aspect Lamarckian evolution takes on within the domain of consciousness. the deeper workings of the spirit take place in their own slow way, without our connivance Besides this inward process, there is the operation of the environment, which goes to break up habits destined to be broken up and so to render the mind lively. Everybody knows that the long continuance of a routine of habit makes us lethargic, while a succession of surprises wonderfully brightens the ideas. A portion of mind, abundantly commissured to other portions, works almost mechanically. It sinks to a condition of a railway junction. But a portion of mind almost isolated, a spiritual peninsula, or cul-de-sac, is like a railway terminus. Now mental commissures are habits. Where they abound, originality is not needed and is not found; but where they are in defect spontaneity is set free. Thus, the rst step in the Lamarckian evolution of mind is the putting of sundry thoughts into situations in which they are free to play. (Vol. 6, p. 301) This, of course, relates to his epistemology of abduction founded in Pure Play. It is the Lamarckian development of mind that makes science as a collective inquiry possible at all. Thus in Peirces philosophy, the categories work according to the Law of Mind and there is an inner

32

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Brier

aspect of Firstness (pure feeling) in matter. But one has to be aware of Peirces (1866-1913/1994) special conception of mind and consciousness. He wrote: Far less has any notion of mind been established and generally acknowledged which can compare for an instant in distinctness to the dynamical conception of matter. Almost all the psychologists still tell us that mind is consciousness. Butunconscious mind exists. What is meant by consciousness is really in itself nothing but feeling.there may be, and probably is, something of the general nature of feeling almost everywhere, yet feeling in any ascertainable degree is a mere property of protoplasm, perhaps only of nerve matter. Now it so happens that biological organisms and especially a nervous system are favorably conditioned for exhibiting the phenomena of mind also; and therefore it is not surprising that mind and feeling should be confounded.that feeling is nothing but the inward aspect of things, while mind on the contrary is essentially an external phenomenon. (Vol. 7, p. 364) Thus, the essence of consciousness is feeling and an important aspect of Firstness is pure feeling. The possibility of being aware on other levels may be reinterpreted as a mystical theory in a Peircean framework, as is the possibility of being aware of the basic Firstness uniting all manifest things. The universe is permeated with Firstness, but that is not the same thing as human self-conscious awareness, though a consistent theory of evolution has to point to it as the origin of human consciousness. Peirce (18661913/1994) wrote: What the psychologists study is mind, not consciousness exclusively. consciousness is a very simple thing. notSelf-consciousness consciousness is nothing but Feeling, in general, -- not feeling in the German sense, but more generally, the immediate element of experience generalized to its utmost. Mind, on the contrary is a very dicult thing to analyze. I am not speaking of Soul, the metaphysical substratum of Mind (if it has any), but of Mind phenomenally understood. To get such a conception of Mind, or mental phenomena, as the science of Dynamics aords of Matter, or material events, is a business which can only be accomplished by resolute scientic investigation. (Vol. 7, p. 365) Peirce was not speaking of human self-consciousness but of the essence of consciousness as a phenomenon that

develops in nature to emerge in new and more structured forms in living beings, nervous systems, and languagebased culture. Being a sort of semiotically objective idealist, Peirce argued for a scientic study of mind seen as a foundational aspect of reality. This is in my view (Brier, 2008a) not possible for the mechanistic science that starts o with xed and dead laws that cannot develop and cannot encompass emotions and free will as causal powers. I am also convinced that cybernetic informational computational articial intelligence approaches will also be insucient (Brier, 2008a), as well a biosemiotic ideas of semiosis without interpretation, which has it most well argued form in Marcello Barbieris work (Barbieri, 2008). My main interest in Peirce is his work on establishing a new foundation that will make it possible for us to work scientically with both matter, mind, and consciousness within the same framework. Peirce (1866-1913/1994) wrote about this concept of thought, understood as a function of mind and semiosis: Thought is not necessarily connected with a brain. It appears in the work of bees, of crystals, and throughout the purely physical world; and one can no more deny that it is really there, than that the colors, the shapes, etc., of objects are really there. Not only is thought in the organic world, but it develops there. But as there cannot be a General without Instances embodying it, so there cannot be thought without Signs. We must here give Sign a very wide sense, no doubt, but not too wide a sense to come within our denition. (Vol. 4, p. 551) Here Peirce widened the semiosis concept to include pattern-creating processes as natures thinking. I would prefer to call these proto- or quasi-semiotic processes to avoid a too broad sense of the concept leading into a pansemiotic metaphysics. Nevertheless, Peirces metaphysics operated with the inside of material nature. He wrote, Wherever chance-spontaneity is found, there in the same proportion feeling exists. In fact, chance is but the outward aspect of that which within itself is feeling (Vol. 6, p. 265). I nd it compatible with an interpretation of Peirces theory and in accordance with perennial philosophy mysticism (Stace, 1960) to see living systems, most of all the human, as the way in which the universe is becoming aware of itself. Evolution is the development of self-organization of systems until they become closed and thereby individuals with their own cognition and intentions. One needs a body and a nervous system to

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 33

become (self)-conscious! As Peirce (1866-1913/1994) wrote: Since God, in His essential character of Ens necessarium, is a disembodied spirit, and since there is strong reason to hold that what we call consciousness is either merely the general sensation of the brain or some part of it, or at all events some visceral or bodily sensation, God probably has no consciousness. (Vol. 6, p. 489) Thus, Peirces concept of God is rst and most basically an abstract transcendental origin and continuity behind it all. It is a state of utter nothingness like the Godhead of Eckhart and the emptiness of the Buddhists, and it manifests as an immanent order and drive in evolution reminding me most of Hegels spirit, but in a somewhat dierent metaphysical framework where evolution and scientic thinking is integrated in a model that deviates from the Greek Logos thinking and does not have the same sort of determinism as Hegels theory had. In trying to give some hints about what pragmatism is and how it can be used on the highest metaphysical principles, Peirce summed up his general view of cosmic evolution in the following way: A disembodied spirit, or pure mind, has its being out of time, since all that it is destined to think is fully in its being at any and every previous time. But in endless time it is destined to think all that it is capable of thinking. Order is simply thought embodied in arrangement; and thought embodied in any other way appears objectively as a character that is a generalization of order, and that, in the lack of any word for it, we may call for the nonce, Super-order. It is something like uniformity. Pure mind, as creative of thought, must, so far as it is manifested in time, appear as having a character related to the habit-taking capacity, just as superorder is related to uniformity. perfect cosmology must show that the whole history of the three universes, as it has been and is to be, would follow from a premiss which would not suppose them to exist at all. But that premiss must represent a state of things in which the three universes were completely nil. Consequently, whether in time or not, the three universes must actually be absolutely necessary results of a state of utter nothingness. We cannot ourselves conceive of such a state of nility; but we can easily conceive that there should

be a mind that could conceive it, since, after all, no contradiction can be involved in mere nonexistence. (Vol. 6, p. 490) Here Peirce dealt with the classicalseemingly as we shall seemystical paradox of the impossibility of characterizing the transcendent or absolute in any precise way. It is not directly conceivable in concepts and it cannot be perceived in the way things can. Nevertheless, it seems a logical inference of the analysis of Plato. In the Christian mystical tradition, the problem is often formulated as the relation between God and the Godhead. Godhead and Superorder ne of the worlds most famous interpreters of the mystical tradition in the East and the West is Daitsetz Suzuki, who lived in periods both in the East (Japan) and the West (United States). He specialized in the mystical foundations for Buddhism and Christianity and wrote a book comparing them that was recognized as a masterpiece. Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist (Suzuki, 2002) is now a world classic published on the Internet. What is most interesting though is that Suzuki was a contemporary of Peirce and worked for the editor of The Monist, Dr. Paul Carus19. Peirce had an intensive exchange with Carus and the Monist was the journal in which Peirce published some of his most famous articles (see for instance Peirce 1892 a, b, & c, 1893). Like Carus, Peirce had an interest in the mystical side of Buddhism. Suzuki (2002) commented about the above-mentioned paradox within the mystical view and explained why it is only seemingly a paradox in the following way:

God goes and comes, he works, he is active, he becomes all the time, but Godhead remains immovable, imperturbable, inaccessible. The dierence between God and Godhead is that between heaven and earth and yet Godhead cannot be himself without going out of himself, that is, he is he because he is not he. The contradiction is comprehended only by the inner man, and not by the outer man, because the latter sees the world through the senses and intellect and consequently fails to experience the profound depths of Godhead. (p. 9) In the last quote by Peirce, he also touched upon the necessity of a generalization of order as the drive behind the evolutionary processes of the three basic categories. This pull towards order seems to be the nal causation

34

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Brier

of the evolution of the universe. It has an urge to embody its thoughts in manifest creation. Or as Plato (2004) put it in Timaeus, the One desire to share its love and perfection with the imperfect.20 It ows over from the transcendent into the relative and manifest in time and space creating matter as eete mind. The last is a Peircean formulation. The paradox is that such a transcendent order cannot be formulated in any human language. David Bohm (1983) discussed the same consequences of his own ideas of Wholeness and the Implicate Order, the famous book where he worked with the idea of an immanent order in natureinspired by the mystic Krishnamurtithat produces the holomovement. Thus I would say that Bohms conception of evolution is close to Peirces in having a sort of immanent Firstness ontology in a process philosophy. In an interview (Weber, 1972), Bohm talked about the super implicate order, which seems very similar to Peirces Super-order that has its existence out of time. Like the Buddhists, Peirce saw this order as no-thing. The Buddhists talk about emptiness. Peirce wrote that the three universes, Firstness (qualia and potentialities), Secondness (resistance, will, and brute force), and Thirdness (mediation, understanding, and habit-taking) must evolve from a transcendental basis in an evolutionary metaphysics. Such metaphysics is also behind Shankaras Advaita Vedanta that represents one of the purest mysticisms based on the Vedas, and Master Eckharts Christian mysticism (Nss, 1971). Suzuki quoted Eckhart in this matter (Suzuki, 2002, pp. 12-13), but here is the original quote from Eckhart (1929/1941): When I existed in the core, the soul, the river, the source of the Godhead, no one asked me where I was going or what I was doing. There was no one to ask me, but the moment I emerged, the world of creatures began to shout, God. If someone were to ask me: Brother Eckhart, when did you leave home?That would indicate that I must have been at home sometime. I was there just now. Thus creatures speak GodBut why do they not mention the Godhead? Because there is only unity in the Godhead and there is nothing to talk about. God acts. The Godhead does not. It has nothing to do and, there is nothing going on in it. It is never on the lookout for something to do. The dierence between God and the Godhead is the dierence between action and nonaction. When I return to God, I shall be without form,

and thus my reentry will be far more exalted than my setting out. I alone lift creatures out of their separate principle into my own, so that in me they are one. When I return to the core, the soil, the river, the source which is the Godhead, no one will ask me whence I came or where I have been. No one will have missed mefor even God passes away. (pp. 225-226) Suzuki (2002) commented on this: It is in perfect accord with the Buddhist doctrine of snyat and advances the notion of Godhead as pure nothingness (ein bloss niht) (pp. 12-13). The formulation out of this paradox is essential in much mysticism and in panentheism. There is a transcendental reality beyond time and space that cannot be spoken of but, still, it is somehow the source of everything. Why is it necessary? Peirce (1866-1913/1994) explained: For all Being involves some kind of super-order. For example, to suppose a thing to have any particular character is to suppose a conditional proposition to be true of it, which proposition would express some kind of super-order, as any formulation of a general fact does. To suppose it to have elasticity of volume is to suppose that if it were subjected to pressure its volume would diminish until at a certain point the full pressure was attained within and without its periphery. This is a super-order, a law expressible by a dierential equation. Any such super-order would be a super-habit. Any general state of things whatsoever would be a super-order and a super-habit. (Vol. 6, p. 490) Thus logically the idea of things having universal properties demands a logos as universal foundation. The big question is then, how does evolution start from there? Plato wrote in Timaeus that the One overows by love to create something that can contain at least some love in an imperfect way, as it is not jealous. In the Vedas, it is desire that makes Brahman create the world through his Shakti (female force of creation; Sharfstein, 1978). Brahman is in itself the unmovable foundation, like Aristotles unmoved mover. In Christianity, it is the Holy Ghost that acts in creation on behalf of the unmovable Father. Peirces solution is close to these. But it is formulated within his own metaphysics and, therefore, much closer to a view and a wording acceptable from a scientic viewpoint of, for instance, quantum eld theory and its idea of the world developing from

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 35

a vacuum eld that is never quite at ease. Its nature is a spontaneous quantum uctuation within the limits of the Planck Scale (see, for instance, Bohm, 1983). Peirce (1866-1913/1994) wrote the following about his Cosmology in 1891: I may mention that my chief avocation in the last ten years has been to develop my cosmology. This theory is that the evolution of the world is hyperbolic, that is, proceeds from one state of things in the innite past, to a dierent state of things in the innite future. The state of things in the innite past is chaos, tohu bohu,21 the nothingness of which consists in the total absence of regularity. The state of things in the innite future is death, the nothingness of which consists in the complete triumph of law and absence of all spontaneity. Between these, we have on our side a state of things in which there is some absolute spontaneity counter to all law, and some degree of conformity to law, which is constantly on the increase owing to the growth of habit. The tendency to form habits or tendency to generalize, is something which grows by its own action, by the habit of taking habits itself growing. Its rst germs arose from pure chance. There were slight tendencies to obey rules that had been followed, and these tendencies were rules which were more and more obeyed by their own action. There were also slight tendencies to do otherwise than previously, and these destroyed themselves. To be sure, they would sometimes be strengthened by the opposite tendency, but the stronger they became the more they would tend to destroy themselves. As to the part of time on the further side of eternity which leads back from the innite future to the innite past, it evidently proceeds by contraries. (Vol. 8, p. 317) Thus Peirce believes in creation ex nihilo (out of nothing), but as an evolution going from Tohu Bohu to some kind of perfect order, as soon as the rst tendency to take habit manifest itself in and with space and time. This is very close to David Bohms view of the Super Implicate Order (Bohm & Weber, 1983) that is his attempt to unite the mysticism of Krishnamurti with the modern quantum theoretical understanding of reality. Clearly, we move over from Firstness into Secondness and Thirdness as soon as the tendency to take habits has some dierences to work on that will not self-destruct. Peirce (18661913/1994) wrote: Hyperbolic philosophy has to assume for starting-

point something free, as neither requiring explanation nor admitting derivation. The free is living; the immediately living is feeling. Feeling, then, is assumed as starting-point; but feeling uncordinated, having its manifoldness implicit. For principle of progress or growth, something must be taken not in the starting-point, but which from innitesimal beginning will strengthen itself continually. This can only be a principle of growth of principles, a tendency to generalization. Assume, then, that feeling tends to be associated with and assimilated to feeling, action under general formula or habit tending to replace the living freedom and inward intensity of feeling. This tendency to take habits will itself increase by habit. Habit tends to coordinate feelings, which are thus brought into the order of Time, into the order of Space. (Vol. 6, p. 585) For David Bohm this will be when we go form the Super Implicate Order to the Implicate Order; or put in another way from the transcendent to the immanent. Here is another quote from Peirce where he makes this clear: In that state of absolute nility, in or out of time, that is, before or after the evolution of time, there must then have been a tohu bohu of which nothing whatever armative or negative was true universally. There must have been, therefore, a little of everything conceivable. There must have been here and there a little undierentiated tendency to take superhabits. But such a state must tend to increase itself. For a tendency to act in any way, combined with a tendency to take habits, must increase the tendency to act in that way. (Vol. 6, p. 490). I think that Peirces semiotics ts both Suzukis mysticism and Eckharts, since Suzuki (2002) pointed out that God is not creating the world in time, mathematically enumerable: His creativity is not historical, not accidental, not at all measurable. It goes on continuously without cessation with no beginning, with no end. It is not an event of yesterday or today or tomorrow, it comes out of timelessness, of nothingness, of Absolute Void. Gods work is always done in an absolute present, in a timeless now which is time and place in itself. Gods work is sheer love, utterly free from all forms of chronology and teleology. The idea of

36

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Brier

God creating the world out of nothing, in an absolute present, and therefore altogether beyond the control of a serial time conception will not sound strange to Buddhist ears. (pp. 3-4) Thus the Big Bang theory does not tell us how the world was created. It is an attempt to tell us about the physical development of time, space, and energy. Transcendence breeds immanence and immanence makes the distinction back to transcendence before time and outside space in an ever ongoing process of being and becoming. To return to this articles argument, then, it is possible to understand Peirces (1866-1913/1994, Vol. 6, p. 452) Neglected Argument for the Reality of God through the musing of pure play in the light of his benign form of panentheistic mysticism.22 To make valuable abductions, the scientist must in a positive way open his mind to the basic creative dynamics of both mind and matter. Many mystics speak of emptying the mind, being simple, going beyond the ego, and letting God in. But this is not to be understood as divine and intentional messages from a personal God or the perception of some ready-made and exact transcendental ideas. It is rather a listening to the hum of creation or the general or basic vibration of the Godhead, owing into time, space, life, and mind and back again into its own nothingness in that fundamental vibration that upholds our reality.23 As Suzuki (2002) pointed out, God is neither transcendental nor pantheistic (p. 9, emphasis supplied), meaning that God in this conception is not only pantheistic or transcendental, but both (panentheism24), and thereby the concept covers innitely more. This mystical theory lifts theories of knowledge and nature out of determinism. We cannot give a nal deterministic description of nature, culture, or the knowledge process. Thus knowing is much more than knowledge.25 Human knowing is a processional ow. It is only by letting go into this sporting of pure musement, as Peirce (18661913/1994) called it, by leaving behind any limits imposed by previous knowledge and skeptical attitudes that one can hope to abduce basic and universal knowledge. I think that Suzukis (2002) understanding ts well with Peirces when he wrote: Eckhart quotes St Augustine: There is a heavenly door for the soul into the divine nature where some things are reduced to nothing. Evidently we have to wait for the heavenly door to open by our repeated or ceaseless knocking at it when

I am ignorant with knowing, loveless with loving, dark with light. Everything comes out of this basic experience and it is only when this is comprehended that we really enter into the realm of emptiness where the Godhead keeps our discriminatory mind altogether emptied out to nothingness. (p. 14) Thus the completely open mind that does not have any goal of its own gain is the position where your consciousness is open for abducting new ideas through musing. But that is of course not the mystical union that the mystics seek to stay in. In musing you can at the most get a few glimpses and get inspired by those. Although Peirce actually did have a mystical experience, which he reported in a letter to a priest but never sent (Brent, 1998), his major path to the divine insight was clearly science, but an abductive-fallibilist pragmaticistic science. Where Plato and Descartes believed in transcendental ideas that our mind could contemplate in the highest and most divine status of mind, Peirces abduction with a basis in musing gives an evolutionary view on the basic source of human ideas. The ideas are vague and can only be claried through the collective dynamic processes of science, which is the collective eect of being logical and pursuing the empirical testing of hypotheses through induction and deduction. Our understanding is not ready made and xed but fallible, and has to be tested and developed through human scientic practice. Thus, although Peirces musing can be seen as a technique of mystical revelation as abductive inspiration, it is not about forgetting real life in the ultimate divine existentiality, but a rich inspiration in building a common cultural understanding of reality. Peirce does not underline the paradoxicality of the mystical experience and how it escapes linear thinking and presentation in language as, for instance, in the Tao Te Ching: When you look at it you cannot see it; It is called formless. When you listen to it you cannot hear it; It is called soundless. When you try to seize it you cannot hold it; It is called subtle. No one can measure these three to their ultimate ends,

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 37

Therefore they are fused to one. It is up, but it is not brightened; It is down, but it is not obscured. It stretches endlessly, And no name is to be given. It returns to nothingness. It is called formless form, shapeless shape. It is called the intangible. You face it but you cannot see its front. You follow it but you cannot see its back. Holding on to the Ancient Way (Tao) You control beings of today. Thus you know the beginning of things, Which is the essence of the Way (Tao-chi). (Suzuki, 2002, p. 15) On the other hand, Peirce said that Firstness is vague. It is only beingnot existence, as Secondness is existence. Qualisigns need signs of Secondness to be manifest. Peircean philosophy thus can be viewed as being on a mystical metaphysical foundation. But like Aristotle he develops a philosophy of science on this basis, but Peirces logos of evolutionary love is vague and evolutionary. With his theory of abduction, Peirce places himself between Plato and Aristotle. It is our access to the divine that inspires our understanding of the material world through abduction. Induction is fallible because the ideas are vague and the laws of nature not exact. We have to deduce tests from our abductively created theories and then make inductions from them to test our fallible theories and keep on correcting them in the hope of a steady evolutionary improvement of our societys knowledge basis. Time, Creation and Evolution Seen from the Eternal Now he mystical theory of cognition and consciousness thus point to an inner link between universe and world. If this is possible it should also be possible to conceive of an outer link between universe and world. Now, recapitulating that we cannot speak of time and space outside and before the universe comes

into being, we must realize that, seen from the nonmanifest, one can therefore neither say that the world came into existence at a certain time nor that it always has been, because time rst came into existence during and with the creation of the universe. The Universe is created and recreated in every eternal now in this view. When asked what was before the universe was created by Good, Master Eckhart (1979) answered that the universe was always in the thoughts of God. Seen from the Godhead all is one and time is eternity: To see the universe in a grain of sand/ And a Heaven in a Wild Flower / Hold Innity in the palm of your hand / And Eternity in an hour wrote William Blake in Auguries of Innocence. On the other hand time, seen from a human materialistic viewpoint, is real. Time is both attached to the phenomenon of perception and to the phenomenon of memory. We reconstruct reality historicallybackwards from our memory, and extrapolate the future from now as a consequence of our expectations based on the past. Prigogine and Stengers (1984) underline that time is connected to the irreversibility of physical complex processes. In this way, the conception of time is directly attached to our existence as material self-organizing cognitive systems (autopoietic systems). It is precisely this that is the human viewpoint: a material, autopoietic and cognitive system. Reading the Monist paper The Law of Mind (1892b), it is clear that Peirces solution to the problem of the worlds existence before existence of any observer, is a unique variation of the objective idealistic position. Peirce (1866-1913/1994) wrote: The law of habit exhibits a striking contrast to all physical laws in the character of its commands. A physical law is absolute. What it requires is an exact relation. Thus, a physical force introduces into a motion a component motion to be combined with the rest by the parallelogram of forces; but the component motion must actually take place exactly as required by the law of force. On the other hand, no exact conformity is required by the mental law. Nay, exact conformity would be in downright conict with the law; since it would instantly crystallize thought and prevent all further formation of habit. The law of mind only makes a given feeling more likely to arise. It thus resembles the non-conservative forces of physics, such as viscosity and the like, which are due to statistical

T
38

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Brier

uniformities in the chance encounters of trillions of molecules. The old dualistic notion of mind and matter, so prominent in Cartesianism, as two radically dierent kinds of substance, will hardly nd defenders today. Rejecting this, we are driven to some form of hylopathy, otherwise called monism..... The only intelligible theory of the universe is that of objective idealism, that matter is eete mind, inviscerate habits becoming physical laws. (Vol. 6, p. 23) From this position he proceeded to develop the theory into the realm of semiotics and knowing. Therefore, in the present interpretation where the mathematical laws are not considered transcendent, his mystical vision seems to oer a combination of the phenomenological cognitive approach with the scientic aim to produce empirical-mathematical models. To be able to accept such a unifying theory as that of Peirce, one must consequently admit that energy has other aspects than those physics until now has described. It is in my opinion precisely this organized power that Peirce (1892a & b, 1893) attempted to conceptualize in his theory of evolution, where he united the mental and the material as an evolutionary variant of objective idealism that can encompass modern physics. His triadic semiotics and its dynamics are also a major improvement over Hegels dialectics and later versions of modern emergence theories (see Christiansen, 1995). Seen from mysticisms perennial philosophy, there is no absolute dierence between the two viewpoints of science and religion; on the contrary, they supplement each other as Peirce saw in his theory of the origin of abduction or what Sebeok and Danesi (2000) would later call modeling capacity. That capacity is a prerequisite for language. Thus the perennial philosophys ultimate phenomenology can be united with the modern Big Bang materialistic evolutionism into a new vision that does not contradict the core of the scientic discoveries and admits them as parts of a greater comprehensive vision that reinstates mankind at the center of both the world and the universe. Mysticism does notas so many believehave to be a contradiction of science or philosophy; it is on the contrary a theory of their cognitive and existential basis. It is precisely mysticisms reservation with regard to the completeness of linguistic knowledge that assures a human-centered holism, which is not totalitarian exactly

because the philosophical-scientic conceptualizing process will never be completed. As Nagel (1986) pointed out: If we try to understand experience from an objective viewpoint that is distinct from that of the subject of the experience, then even if we continue to credit its perspectival nature, we will not be able to grasp its most specic qualities unless we can imagine them subjectively. ... Since this is so no objective conception of the mental world can include it all. (p. 259) Notes 1. Another way of expressing the content of this article could be : Peirces benignant form of the monstrous mysticism of the East: Panentheism and Scientic collectivism combined. See also note 22 for the Peirce quote that inspired this version. 2. I am grateful to Charls Pearson for inviting me to the conference on Peirces Religious Writings in Denver 2003 and to all the participants for their inspiration. Special thanks go to Michael Raposa (1989) for sending me his masterpiece of a book, Peirces Philosophy of Religion, which really opened my eyes for this aspect of Peirces philosophy. I want to thank my colleagues and friends Peder Voetmann Christiansen, Claus Emmeche, Ole Fogh Kirkeby, Allan Combs, and John Deely for their inspiration and support for this line of work. Finally I thank Gary Fuhrman for his valuable and productive critique of an earlier version of the manuscript. 3. Transcendenta philosophical and theological conceptin this context refers to that which is beyond our senses and experience; existing apart from matter (Raposa, 1989). It is beyond and outside the ordinary range of human experience or understanding. In theology, the concept transcendent pertains to God as exalted above the universe. 4. In Baldwins Dictionary, to which Peirce contributed, Panentheism is described as: A name given by Krause to his attempted reconciliation of theism and pantheism; the doctrine that God is neither the world, nor yet outside the world, but that the world is in him, and that he extends beyond its limits. (vol. 2, p. 255)

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 39

The term panentheism is Greek for all-in-God, pan-en-theos. Panentheism posits a god that interpenetrates every part of nature, but is also fully distinct from nature. God is part of nature, as in pantheism, but still retains an independent identity. Panentheism is a metaphysics which posits that God exists and interpenetrates every part of nature, and timelessly extends beyond as well. Panentheism is distinguished from pantheism, which holds that God is synonymous with the material universe. In panentheism, God is viewed as creator and/ or animating force behind the universe, and the source of universal truth. A panentheistic view is conceiving of God as both immanent in Creation and transcendent from it. Plotinus taught that there was an ineable transcendent god (The One) of which subsequent realities were emanations. From the One emanates the Divine Mind (Nous) and the Cosmic Soul (Psyche). We will look at Peirces philosophy in this light also, thanks to Kelly Parker (2002). The German philosopher Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (17811832) seeking to reconcile monotheism and pantheism, coined the term panentheism (all in God) in 1828. This conception of God inuenced New England transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. Panentheism was a major force in the Unitarian church for a long time, based on Ralph Waldo Emersons concept of the Oversoul. It is well known that Peirce was inuenced by the transcendentalists and the unitarians (see note 22). But the word panetheism was not used by him, probably because it had not found a common recognized denition at that time, as far as we know. The term was popularized by Charles Hartshorne (18972000) an American philosopher who developed Alfred North Whiteheads (1929) process philosophy into process theology, which is panentheist. See Clayton and Peacock (2004) and Grin (2004) for a modern discussion of the possible relations between panentheism and scientic naturalism. 5. The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches also have a doctrine called panentheism to describe the relationship between the Uncreated (God, who is omnipotent, eternal, and constant) and His creation. Most specically, these Churches teach that God is not the watchmaker God of the Western European Enlightenment. Thus another foundation for science will have to be build up. This isin my viewwhat Peirce does in his semiotic

pragmaticism. Likewise, they teach that God is not the stage magician God who only shows up when performing miracles. God is not merely necessary to have created the universe, but that His active presence is necessary in some way for every bit of creation, from smallest to greatest, to continue to exist at all. That is, Gods energies maintain all things and all beings, even if those beings have explicitly rejected Him. His love of creation is such that he will not withdraw His presence. This is close to Peirce Agapistic view of evolution as we shall see. Thus the entirety of creation is sanctied, and thus no part of creation can be considered innately evil. 6. This journal has asked me not to use the standard Peirce scholar reference system with CP for collected papers and the like as it violates APA format. 7. Immanence is a theological and philosophical concept. It is derived from the Latin words, in and manere, the original meaning being to exist or remain within. 8. Firstness has no concrete forms, only potential qualities. 9. The following pages owe a lot to Kelly A. Parkers (2002) brilliant article. He has found a lot of quotes and inserted them in a meaningful order, which I have borrowed as it ts into the view I have already started to develop in Brier (2007, 2008a). But the vision of the Neo-Platonist features in Peirces theory is of course his own theory. I see the similarity, but I think his hylozoism is at least as important and in combination with Peirces openness to the value of empirical science brings him closer to Aristotle. Still his evolutionary thinking including Darwins understanding of evolution brought into a semiotic framework makes him unique. The view I present here seems to t well with Sheri (1994). 10. Greek hyl: matter, literally, wood + zos alive, living. The English term was introduced by Ralph Cudworth in 1678. Hylozoismin this contextis the philosophical conjecture that all or some material things possess life, or that all life is inseparable from matter. It was a doctrine held especially by early Greek philosophers. Panpsychism is any system of thought that views all matter as alive, either in itself or by participation in a world soul, its processes, or some similar principle. Here Peirces Firstness is an interesting candidate. Hylozoism is dierent from the panpsychist idea of possessing a soul, but it does attribute some form of sensation to all matter,

40

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Brier

very much like Whiteheads panexperientialism. Hylozoism it is not a form of animism either, as this tends to view life as taking the form of discrete spirits. Scientic hylozoism is a protest against a mechanical view of the world as dead, but at the same time upholds the idea of a unity of organic and inorganic nature and derived all actions of both types of matter from natural causes and laws. Hylozoism is maintaining that living and non-living things are, essentially, the same and stipulating that they behave by the same set of laws. Peirce presents us with his own semiotics version of hylozoism based on his (non-mechanical) evolutionary semiotic triadic laws. 11. In philosophy, hyle refers to matter or stu. The Greeks originally had no word for matter in general, as opposed to any raw material suitable for some specic purpose, so Aristotle adapted the word for lumber for his ontology. It became the material cause underlying change in Aristotelian philosophy. It is that which remains the same in spite of the changes in forms. In opposition to Democritus atomic ontology, hyle in Aristotles ontology is a plenum or a sort of eld. Aristotles world is an uncreated eternal cosmos, but Peirce used the term in an evolutionary philosophy in a world that has an end and a beginning. 12. To get a more full understanding of Peirces summom bonum, one will also have to go into his Agapistic theory of love and the divine, which was inspired by the apostle Paul (Peirce, 1893; see also Potters, 1997). 13. Here I am thinking of the ability to make observations and therefore distinctions, so important to the foundation of cybernetics and Luhmanns system theory through the work of George Spencer-Brown. To make distinctions one needs to have qualia to for instance make a distinction between black and white. I posit that we need semiosis to produce a distinction (Brier, 2008a). Triadic semiosis has Firstness potentiality and pure feeling as a prerequisite. One can hardly talk of time and space in Firstness and one needs Secondness and Thirdness to form the concept of Firstness at all in a conscious mind. Firstness is the beginning and Secondness is the end. Thirdness is the mediation between them. It is minds tendency to take habits. 14. I have argued this point in Brier (2007) and followed George Spencer-Browns very clear theory development on this matter, showing that it lead him to much the same philosophical position as Peirce.

15. I have chosen Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as a modern interpreter of Shankaras Advaita Vedanta, as his teacher was the leader of the order Shankara created. 16. But Heidegger was not a part of the mystical traditions perennial philosophy. 17. A theory that was central to the Matrix movies where only the enlightened one could see the Matrix (the real reality) and therefore manipulate time and space. 18. Peirce denes mystical theory the following way: mystical theories (by which I mean all those which have no possibility of being mechanically explained) (Peirce, 1866-1913/1994, Vol. 6, p. 425). 19. Eugene Taylor (1995) wrote about Suzukis story and interaction with American pragmatism: Deitsetz Suzuki was born in Kanzawa, an area north of Tokyo, in 1870 into a family of Renzai Zen lineage. When he nished his schooling he became a teacher in a small shing village until his mother died, when he moved to Tokyo and began taking classes at Tokyo Imperial University. Suzuki entered zen training at this time under Setsumon-roshi and began with koan training under the Master Kosen. Thereafter, under Soyen Shaku, he lived for four years in the strict life of a novice monk at Engakuji,. Here Suzuki also came under the inuence of Kitaro Nishida, a Japanese thinker well versed in German idealist philosophy, whom Suzuki was later to introduce to the writings of William James. During this time Suzuki undertook the rst of his many translation projects, rendering Dr. Paul Caruss Gospel of Buddhism into Japanese. Suzuki was invited by Paul Carus ... to come to the United States, where he was to undertake the translation of Chinese and Japanese texts for Caruss business enterprise, The Open Court Publishing Company. Meanwhile, the invitation from Carus seems to have precipitated a crisis in Suzukis zen practice, which had become very intense in his four year struggle to master the meaning of his koan, Mu, meaning no- thing. Just before he left, according to his teachers, Suzuki experienced self-realization. In honor of this occasion his teacher Soyen Shaku gave him the name Daisetz, meaning Great Simplicity. Suzuki arrived in San Francisco in February 1897. His rst project for Carus

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 41

was an English rendering of the Tao te Ching, the famous Chinese classic attributed to Lao-tzu, followed by Ashvaghoshas Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana. He also began work at this time on his rst book, perhaps one of the most inuential for American readers, his Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism, which sketched the mystical aspects of Buddhism before it came to Japan. In all, Suzuki spent almost eleven years working for Carus . Suzuki came into contact with the pragmatic American philosophy of William James and Charles S. Peirce. James and Carus were correspondents, while Peirce had published his pioneering series of cosmological essays in Carus journal (The Monist) in the early 1890s. . (n.p.) 20. God made the world good, wishing everything to be like himself. To this end he brought order into it and endowed it with soul and intelligence. Let me tell you then why the creator made this world of generation. He was good, and the good can never have any jealousy of anything. And being free from jealousy, he desired that all things should be as like himself as they could be. This is in the truest sense the origin of creation and of the world, as we shall do well in believing on the testimony of wise men: God desired that all things should be good and nothing bad, so far as this was attainable. Wherefore also nding the whole visible sphere not at rest, but moving in an irregular and disorderly fashion, out of disorder he brought order, considering that this was in every way better than the other. Now the deeds of the best could never be or have been other than the fairest; and the creator, reecting on the things which are by nature visible, found that no unintelligent creature taken as a whole was fairer than the intelligent taken as a whole; and that intelligence could not be present in anything which was devoid of soul. For which reason, when he was framing the universe, he put intelligence in soul, and soul in body, that he might be the creator of a work which was by nature fairest and best. Wherefore, using the language of probability, we may say that the world became a living creature truly endowed with soul and intelligence by the providence of God. Source: <http://oll.libertyfund.org/Texts/ Plato0204/Dialogues/HTMLs/0131-03_Pt03_ Timaeus.html#hd_lf131.3.head.034> Updated: April 20, 2004.

21. The Oxford English Dictionary denes tohubohu as That which is empty and formless; chaos; utter confusion (also tohubohu). Tohu Bohu is the formless primordial nothingness of things not yet created, the primordial state before Creation. It is not really a place, rather a state of being, a nonplace. It is the absence of time, form, and space. Tohu va-bohu in the Torah is usually translated as empty and shapeless, from tohu wasteness + bohu emptiness, void , but in Hebrew tohu means ruin, and bohu, desolation. These two words are closely similar in meaning, tohu signifying that which lies waste, without inhabitants or other manifested activity, and bohu signifying that which is empty or void, so that the combination can be translated as the uninhabited void. Used in Genesis (tohu wabohu) for the state preceding the appearance of the manifested universeprimeval chaos: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep (Genesis 1:2). 22. Peirce (1866-1913/1994, Vol. 6, p. 102) himself admitted in the following quote to hold a benign form of it: I have begun by showing that tychism must give birth to an evolutionary cosmology, in which all the regularities of nature and of mind are regarded as products of growth, and to a Schelling-fashioned idealism which holds matter to be mere specialized and partially deadened mind. I may mention, for the benet of those who are curious in studying mental biographies, that I was born and reared in the neighborhood of ConcordI mean in Cambridgeat the time when Emerson, Hedge, and their friends were disseminating the ideas that they had caught from Schelling, and Schelling from Plotinus, from Boehm, or from God knows what minds stricken with the monstrous mysticism of the East. But the atmosphere of Cambridge held many an antiseptic against Concord transcendentalism; and I am not conscious of having contracted any of that virus. Nevertheless, it is probable that some cultured bacilli, some benignant form of the disease was implanted in my soul, unawares, and that now, after long incubation, it comes to the surface, modied by mathematical conceptions and by training in physical investigations.

42

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Brier

In his review of Josiah Royces book, The World and the Individual, Peirce (1866-1913/1994, Vol. 6, pp. 106, 108) mentioned mysticism in a somewhat skeptical fashion. 23. The last formulation is inspired by Vedic mysticism. 24. In panentheism, God is viewed as creator and/or animating force behind the universe, and the source of universal truth. Heraclitus (ca. 535475 BC) viewed the Logos as that which pervades the Cosmos and is the force and rationality whereby all thoughts and things originate. Gnosticism is Panentheistic, believing that the true God is separate from the physical universe, but that there are aspects of the true God in the physical universe as well. Valentinian Gnosticism claims that matter came about through emanations of the Supreme Being. To other Gnostics, the emanations are akin to the Sephiroth of the Kabbalistsdescription of the manifestation of God through a complex system of reality. Panentheism is often viewed as a component of Hassidic Judaism and Kabbalah. Several Su saints and thinkers, primarily Ibn Arabi, held beliefs that were somewhat panentheistic. These notions later took shape in the theory of wahdat ul-wujud (the Unity of All Things). Twelver Shiism has a panentheistic trend, represented by scholars such as Sayyid Haydar Amuli, Mulla Sadra, and Ayatollah Khomeini (all of whom were inuenced by Ibn Arabi). Many interpretations of Hinduism can be seen as panentheistic and the rst and most ancient ideas of panentheism originate in the Bhagavad Gita. For example, Lord Krishnas saying to Arjuna: I continually support the entire universe by a very small fraction of My divine power, has been interpreted to support panentheism (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10, verse 42.). Panentheism is the view that the universe is part of the being of God; it holds that God pervades the world, but is also beyond it. He is immanent and transcendent, relative and Absolute. This embracing of opposites is often called dipolar. For the panentheist, God is in all, and all is in God. 25. Hence the title of the journal, Cybernetics & Human Knowing. References Appel, K.-O. (1995). Charles Sanders Peirce: From pragmatism to pragmaticism. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press.

Augustine, St. (1961). Confessions. Toronto, Canada: Penguin Books. Baldwin, J. M. (Ed.). (1902). Dictionary of philosophy and psychology. New York: The Macmillan Company. Barbieri, M. (2008). Biosemiotics: A new understanding of life. Naturwissenshaften, 95(7), 577-599. Bohm, D. (1983). Wholeness and the implicate order. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul Inc. Bohm, D., & Weber, R. (1983). Of matter and meaning: The super-implicate order. ReVision, 6(1), 34-44. Brent, J., (1998). Charles Sanders Peirce: A life (Rev. ed.). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Brier, S. (1989). Fysik og mystik: Hinsides verdensformel og totalitarisme, Paradigma nr. 2, rg. 3, rhus: Ask. pp. 21- 30. Brier, S. (1992). Information and consciousness: A critique of the mechanistic foundation for the concept of information. Cybernetics & Human Knowing, 1(2-3), 71-94. Brier, S. (1999). Biosemiotics and the foundation of cybersemiotics: Reconceptualizing the insights of ethology, second order cybernetics and Peirces semiotics in biosemiotics to create a non-Cartesian information science. Semiotica, 127(1-4), 169-198. Brier, S. (2005). The construction of information and communication: A cybersemiotic re-entry into Heinz von Foersters metaphysical construction of second order cybernetics. Semiotica, 154(1-4), 355-399. Brier, S. (2006). Informationsvidenskabsteori (2nd ed.). Fredericksberg, Denmark: Forlaget Samfundsliteratur. Brier, S. (2007). Applying Luhmanns system theory as part of a transdisciplinary frame for communication science. Cybernetics & Human Knowing, 14(2-3), 2965. Brier, S. (2008a): Cybersemiotics: Why information is not enough. Toronto Studies in Semiotics and Communication. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press. Brier, S. (2008b). The paradigm of Peircean biosemiotics. Signs, 2, 30-81. Retrieved February 1, 2007 from <http://vip.db.dk/signs/artikler/Brier%20(2008)%2 0the%20paradigm%20of%20peircean%20biosemi otics.pdf> Brier, S. (2008c). Bateson and Peirce on the pattern that connects and the sacred. In J. Homeyer (Ed.), A legacy for living systems: Gregory Bateson as a precursor for biosemiotic thinking (pp. 229-255). London: Springer Verlag.

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 43

Chiasson, P. (1999). Revisiting a neglected argument for the reality of God. Retrieved January 19, 1999 from Arisbe website <http://members.door.net/arisbe/menu/library/ aboutcsp/chiasson/revisit.htm> Christiansen, P. V. (1995). Habit formation and the Thirdness of Signs. Roskilde, Denmark: IMFUFA. Text no. 307, Roskilde University. Clayton, P., & Peacock, A. (2004). In whom we live and move and have our being: Panentheistic reections on Gods presence in a scientic world. Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Darwin, C. (1998). The origin of species. New York: Random. (Original work published 1859) Deely, J. (2001). Four ages of understanding: The rst postmodern survey of philosophy from ancient times to the turn of the twenty-rst century. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press. DeMarco, J. (1972). God, Religion, and Community in the Philosophy of C.S. Peirce. The Modern Schoolman, 49, 331-347. Descartes, R. (1984). The philosophical writings of Descartes, Vols. 1-2 (J. Cottingham, R. Stootho, & D. Murdoch, Trans.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Ekbia, H. R. (2008). Articial dreams: The quest for nonbiological intelligence. New York: Cambridge University Press. Eckhart, M. (1941). Meister Eckhart (R. B. Blackney, Trans.). New York: Harper & Row. (Original work published 1929). Eckhart, M. (1958). Selected treatises and sermons (J. A. Clark & J. V. Skinner, Eds.). London: Faber. Eckhart, M. (1979). Prdikener og traktater, oversat og idledet af Aage Marcus. Copenhagen, Denmark: Sankt Ansgars Forlag. Fuller, S. (1998). An intelligent persons guide to intelligent design theory. Rhetoric and Public Aairs, 1, 603-610. Fuller, S. (2002a). An intelligent persons guide to intelligent design theory. In J. A. Campbell & S. Meyer (Eds.), Darwin, design, and public education (pp. 533-542). Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan University Press. Fuller, S. (2002b). A Catholic stance toward scientic inquiry for the 21st century. In B. Babich (Ed.), Philosophy of science, Van Goghs eyes, and God: Hermeneutic essays in honor of Patrick A. Heelan, S. J. (pp. 403-410). New York: Springer. Grin, D. R. (2004). Two great truths: A new synthesis of scientic naturalism and christian faith. London: Westminster John Knox Press.

Happold, F. C. (1973). Mysticism: A study and an Anthology. New York: Penguin Books. Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and time. New York: Harper & Row. (Original work published 1949) Husserl, E. (1997). Fnomonologiens id, Copenhagen, Denmark: Hans Reitzels Forlag. (Original work published 1907; in English, Husserl, E. [1999]. The idea of phenomenology. New York: Springer) Husserl, E. (1999). Cartesianske Meditationer. Copenhagen, Denmark: Hans Reitzels Forlag. (Original work published 1929; in English, Husserl, E. [1977]. Cartesian Meditations. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publisher. Huxley, A. (1979). The perennial philosophy. New York: Books for Libraries. (Original work published 1945) Kant, I. (1990). Critique of Pure Reason (J. M. D. Meiklejohn, Trans.). Bualo, NY: Prometheus Books. (Original work published 1781) Kuhn, T. (1970). Scientic Revolutions (2nd. ed., Enlarged), Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Kultgen, J. K. (1959-60). The future metaphysics of Peirce and Whitehead. Kant-Studien, 5, 285-293. Leibniz, G. W. (1992). Discourse on metaphysics and the monadology. New York: Prometheus Book. Luhmann, N. (1995). Social systems. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press Luntley, M. (1995). Reason, truth and self: The postmodern reconditioned. London: Routledge. Lyell, C. (1842). Principles of geology: Or, the modern changes of the earth and its inhabitants, considered as illustrative of geology. Boston: Hillard, Gray & Co. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1968). The science of being and the art of living. New York: New American Library. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. (1979). On the Bhagavad-Gita: A new translation and commentary with Sanskrit text, chapters 1 to 6. New York: Penguin Books. Maturana, H. & Varela, F. (1986). The tree of knowledge: The biological roots of human understanding. New York: Shambala Publishers. Monod, J. (1972). Chance and necessity. New York: Random Press. Nss, A. (1971). Filosoens historie: Vol. 2. Copenhagen, Denmark: Vintens Forlag. Nagel, T. (1986). The view from nowhere. New York: Oxford University Press. Parker, K. A. (2002). The ascent of soul to nos: Charles S. Peirce as neoplatonist. In R. B. Harris (Ed.), Studies in neoplatonism: Ancient and modern: Vol. 10.

44

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Brier

Neoplatonism and contemporary thought, Part 1 (pp. 165-182). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Retrieved February 1, 2007 from <http://agora. phi.gvsu.edu/kap/Neoplatonism/csp-plot.html> Peirce, C. S. (1868). Some consequences of four incapacities. Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 2, 140157. Retrieved February 1, 2007 from <http://www. peirce.org/writings/p27.html> Peirce, C. S. (1892a). The doctrine of necessity examined. The Monist, 2(3). Peirce, C. S. (1892b). The law of mind. The Monist, 2(4), 553. Peirce, C. S. (1892c). Mans glassy essence. The Monist, 3(1), 1. Peirce, C. S. (1893). Evolutionary love. The Monist, 3(2), p. 176. Peirce. C. S. (1976). The new elements of mathematics (C. Eisle, Ed.). The Hague, Netherlands: Mouton & Co. in association with Humanities Press. Peirce, C.S. (1992). The essential Peirce: Selected philosophical writings: Vol. 1. 1867-1893 (N. Houser & C. Kloesel, Eds.). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Peirce, C.S. (1994). The collected papers of Charles Sanders Peirce (C. Hartshorne & P. Weiss, Eds.). Electronic edition reproducing Vols. I-VIII. Charlottesville, NC: Intelex Corporation, Past Masters. (Original works published 1866-1913) Popper, K. (1972). Objective knowledge: An evolutionary approach. Oxford, UK: The Clarendon Press. Potters, V. G. (1997). Charles S. Peirce: On norms and ideals. New York: Fordham University Press. Penrose, R. (1995). Shadows of the mind. London: Vintage. Plato (1892). The dialogues of Plato in ve volumes: Vol. 3. Timaeus. Retrieved February 1, 2007, from The Online Library of Liberty: Classics in the history of liberty: Plato (Updated April 20, 2004) <http:// oll.libertyfund.org/Texts/Plato0204/Dialogues/ H T M L s/0131- 03 _ Pt 03 _Ti maeu s.ht m l#hd _ lf131.3.head.034> Prigogine, I. (1980). From being to becoming. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman. Prigogine, I., & Stengers, I. (1984). Order out of chaos: Mans new dialogue with nature. New York: Bantam Books. Raposa, M. (1989). Peirces philosophy of religion. Peirce Studies, No. 5. Bloomington & Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press.

Scharfstein, B.-A. (1978). Philosophy East/Philosophy West. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell. Searle, J. (1986). Minds, brains and science. New York: Penguin Books. Sebeok, T., & Danesi, M. (2000). Forms of meaning: Modeling systems theory and semiotic analysis. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Sheri, J. K. (1994). Charles Sanders Peirces guess at the riddle: Ground for human signicance. Bloomington & Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press. Stace, W. T. (1960). Mysticism and Philosophy. London: Macmillan and Co. Suzuki, D. T. (2002). Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist. London: Routledge Classics. Taylor, E. (1995). Swedenborgian roots of American pragmatism: The case of D. T. Suzuki. Studia Swedenborgiana, 9(2), n.p. Retrieved February 1, 2007 from <http://www.baysidechurch.org/studia/ studia.cfm?ArticleID=129&VolumeID=34&Autho rID=45&detail=1> Weber, R. (Ed.). (1986). Dialogues with scientists and sages: The search for unity. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul Publishers. Whitehead, A. N. (1929). Process and Reality. New York: Macmillan. About the Author Sren Brier, PhD, is a full professor in the semiotics of information, cognition, and communication sciences at the department of International Studies in Culture and Communication in the research center for Language, Cognition, and Mentality at the Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Cybernetics & Human Knowing, and an editoral board member on several other journals. He serves on the board of the Sociocybernetic Group, the Foundation of Information Science group, and the International Association of Biosemiotic Studies, and is a trustee in the American Society for Cybernetics. His major book in English is Cybersemiotics: Why information is not enough (Brier, 2008a). He can be reached by mail at: Sren Brier, Professor in Semiotics, IKK, CBS, Dalgas Have 15, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark; e-mail contact: sb.ikk@cbs.dk.

Peircean Panentheist Scientic Mysticism

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 45

Brief History of Transpersonal Psychology


Stanislav Grof
Grof Transpersonal Training Mill Valley, CA, USA

The International Transpersonal Association (ITA) was formed in 1978 for the purposes of promoting education and research in transpersonal subjects, as well as sponsoring global conferences for the international transpersonal community. The association was subsequently dissolved in 2004, but is now in the process of being reactivated and revitalized. As background for this development, this paper reviews the history of ITA including its international conferences and noteworthy presenters, the organizations denition, strategies, and specic goals, and details of its contemporary revival.

n the middle of the twentieth century, American psychology was dominated by two major schools behaviorism and Freudian psychology. Increasing dissatisfaction with these two orientations as adequate approaches to the human psyche led to the development of humanistic psychology. The main spokesman and most articulate representative of this new eld was the well-known American psychologist Abraham Maslow. He oered an incisive critique of the limitations of behaviorism and psychoanalysis, or the First and the Second Force in psychology as he called them, and formulated the principles of a new perspective in psychology (Maslow, 1969). Maslows (1969) main objection against behaviorism was that the study of animals such as rats and pigeons can only clarify those aspects of human functioning that we share with these animals. It thus has no relevance for the understanding of higher, specically human qualities that are unique to human life, such as love, self-consciousness, self-determination, personal freedom, morality, art, philosophy, religion, and science. It is also largely useless in regard to some specically human negative characteristics, such as greed, lust for power, cruelty, and tendency to malignant aggression. He also criticized the behaviorists disregard for consciousness and introspection and their exclusive focus on the study of behavior. By contrast, the primary interest of humanistic psychology, Maslows (1969) Third Force, was in human subjects, and this discipline honored the interest in consciousness and introspection as important complements to the objective approach to research.

The behaviorists exclusive emphasis on determination by the environment, stimulus/response, and reward/ punishment was replaced by emphasis of the capacity of human beings to be internally directed and motivated to achieve self-realization and fulll their human potential. In his criticism of psychoanalysis, Maslow (1969) pointed out that Freud and his followers drew conclusions about the human psyche mainly from the study of psychopathology, and he disagreed with their biological reductionism and their tendency to explain all psychological processes in terms of base instincts. By comparison, humanistic psychology focused on healthy populations, or even individuals who showed supernormal functioning in various areas (Maslows growing tip of the population; p. 5), on human growth and potential, and on higher functions of the psyche. It also emphasized that psychology has to be sensitive to practical human needs and serve important interests and objectives of human society. Within a few years after Abraham Maslow and Anthony Sutich launched the Association for Humanistic Psychology (AHP) and its journal, the new movement became extremely popular among American mental health professionals and even in the general public. The multidimensional perspective of humanistic psychology and its emphasis on the whole person provided a broad umbrella for the development of a rich spectrum of new eective therapeutic approaches that greatly expanded the range of possibilities of dealing with emotional, psychosomatic, interpersonal, and psychosocial problems.

46

Studies, International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 27, 2008, pp. 46-54

Grof

Among the important characteristics of these new therapies was a decisive shift from the exclusively verbal strategies of traditional psychotherapy to direct expression of emotions, and from exploration of individual history and of unconscious motivation to the feelings and thought processes of the clients in the here and now. Another important aspect of this therapeutic revolution was the emphasis on the interconnectedness of the psyche and the body and overcoming of the taboo against touching, previously dominating the eld of psychotherapy. Various forms of bodywork thus formed an integral part of the new treatment strategies: Fritz Perls Gestalt therapy, Alexander Lowens bioenergetics and other neo-Reichian approaches, encounter groups, and marathon sessions can be mentioned here as salient examples of humanistic therapies. In spite of the popularity of humanistic psychology, its founders Maslow and Sutich themselves grew dissatised with the conceptual framework they had originally created. They became increasingly aware that they had left out an extremely important element the spiritual dimension of the human psyche (Sutich 1976). The renaissance of interest in Eastern spiritual philosophies, various mystical traditions, meditation, ancient and aboriginal wisdom, as well as the widespread psychedelic experimentation during the stormy 1960s, made it absolutely clear that a comprehensive and crossculturally valid psychology had to include observations from such areas as mystical states, cosmic consciousness, psychedelic experiences, trance phenomena, creativity, and religious, artistic, and scientic inspiration. In 1967, a small working group including Abraham Maslow, Anthony Sutich, Stanislav Grof, James Fadiman, Miles Vich, and Sonya Margulies met in Menlo Park, California, with the purpose of creating a new psychology that would honor the entire spectrum of human experience, including various non-ordinary states of consciousness. During these discussions, Maslow and Sutich accepted Grofs suggestion and named the new discipline transpersonal psychology. This term replaced their own original name transhumanistic, or reaching beyond humanistic concerns. Soon afterwards, they launched the Association of Transpersonal Psychology (ATP), and started the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Several years later, in 1975, Robert Frager founded the (California) Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, which has remained at the cutting edge of transpersonal education, research, and therapy for more than three decades. The International

Transpersonal Association was launched in 1978 by myself, as its founding president, and Michael Murphy and Richard Price, founders of Esalen Institute. Transpersonal psychology, or the Fourth Force, addressed some major misconceptions of mainstream psychiatry and psychology concerning spirituality and religion. It also responded to important observations from modern consciousness research and several other elds for which the existing scientic paradigm had no adequate explanations. Michael Harner, an American anthropologist with good academic credentials, who had experienced during his eld work in the Amazon a powerful shamanic initiation, summed up the shortcomings of academic psychology succinctly in the preface to his book The Way of the Shaman (Harner, 1980). He suggested that the understanding of the psyche in the industrial civilization is seriously biased in two important ways: it is ethnocentric and cognicentric (a better term would probably be pragmacentric). It is ethnocentric in the sense that it has been formulated and promoted by Western materialistic scientists, who consider their own perspective to be superior to that of any other human groups at any time of history. According to them, matter is primary and life, consciousness, and intelligence are its more or less accidental side products. Spirituality of any form and level of sophistication reects ignorance of scientic facts, superstition, child-like gullibility, self-deception, and primitive magical thinking. Direct spiritual experiences involving the collective unconscious or archetypal gures and realms are seen as pathological products of the brain. Modern mainstream psychiatrists often interpret visionary experiences of the founders of great religions, saints, and prophets as manifestations of serious mental diseases, although they lack adequate medical explanations and the laboratory data supporting this position. In their contemptuous dismissal of ritual and spiritual life, they do not distinguish between primitive folk beliefs or the fundamentalists literal interpretations of scriptures and sophisticated mystical traditions and Eastern spiritual philosophies based on centuries of systematic introspective exploration of the psyche. Psychiatric literature contains numerous articles and books that discuss what would be the most appropriate clinical diagnoses for many of the great gures of spiritual history. St. Anthony has been called schizophrenic, St. John of the Cross labeled a hereditary degenerate, St. Teresa of Avila has been dismissed as a severe hysterical psychotic, and Mohammeds mystical

Brief History of Transpersonal Psychology

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 47

experiences have been attributed to epilepsy. Many other religious and spiritual personages, such as the Buddha, Jesus, Ramakrishna, and Sri Ramana Maharshi have been seen as suering from psychoses, because of their visionary experiences and delusions. Similarly, some traditionally trained anthropologists have argued whether shamans should be diagnosed as schizophrenics, ambulant psychotics, epileptics, or hysterics. The famous psychoanalyst Franz Alexander (1931), known as one of the founders of psychosomatic medicine, wrote a paper in which even Buddhist meditation is described in psychopathological terms and referred to as articial catatonia. While Western psychology and psychiatry describe the ritual and spiritual life of ancient and native cultures in pathological terms, dangerous excesses of the industrial civilization potentially endangering life on the planet have become such integral parts of our life that they seldom attract specic attention of clinicians and researchers and do not receive pathological labels. We witness on a daily basis manifestations of insatiable greed and malignant aggression: the plundering of nonrenewable resources and their conversion into industrial pollution, deling of natural environment critical for survival by nuclear fallout, toxic chemicals, and massive oil spills, abuse of scientic discoveries in physics, chemistry, and biology for development of weapons of mass destruction, invasion of other countries leading to massacres of civilians and genocide, and designing of military operations that would kill millions of people. The main engineers and protagonists of such detrimental strategies and doomsday scenarios not only walk freely, but are rich and famous, hold powerful positions in society, and receive various honors. By the same token, people who have potentially life-transforming mystical states, episodes of psychospiritual death and rebirth, or past-life experiences end up hospitalized with stigmatizing diagnoses and suppressive psychopharmacological medication. This is what Michael Harner (1980) referred to as the ethnocentric bias in judging what is normal and what is pathological. According to Harner (1980), Western psychiatry and psychology also show a strong cognicentric bias. By this he means that these disciplines formulated their theories on the basis of experiences and observations from ordinary states of consciousness and have systematically avoided or misinterpreted the evidence from non-ordinary states, such as observations from psychedelic therapy, powerful experiential

psychotherapies, work with individuals in psychospiritual crises, meditation research, eld anthropological studies, or thanatology. The paradigm-breaking data from these areas of research have been either systematically ignored or misjudged and misinterpreted because of their fundamental incompatibility with the leading paradigm. In the preceding text, I have used the term nonordinary states of consciousness. Before we continue our discussion, a semantic clarication seems to be appropriate. The term non-ordinary states of consciousness is being used mostly by researchers who study these states and recognize their value. Mainstream psychiatrists prefer the term altered states, which reects their belief that only the everyday state of consciousness is normal and that all departures from it without exception represent pathological distortions of the correct perception of reality that have no positive potential. However, even the term non-ordinary states is too broad for the purpose of our discussion. Transpersonal psychology is interested in a signicant subgroup of these states that have heuristic, healing, transformative, and even evolutionary potential. This includes experiences of shamans and their clients, those of initiates in native rites of passage and ancient mysteries of death and rebirth, of spiritual practitioners and mystics of all ages, and individuals in psychospiritual crisis (spiritual emergencies; Grof & Grof , 1989, 1991). In the early stages of my research I discovered to my great surprise that mainstream psychiatry has no name for this important subgroup of non-ordinary states and dismisses all of them as altered states. Because I felt strongly that they deserve to be distinguished from the rest and placed into a special category, I coined for them the name holotropic (Grof, 1992). This composite word means literally oriented toward wholeness or moving in the direction of wholeness (from the Greek holos = whole and trepein = moving toward or in the direction of something). This term suggests that in our everyday state of consciousness we identify with only a small fraction of who we really are. In holotropic states we can transcend the narrow boundaries of the body ego and encounter a rich spectrum of transpersonal experiences that help us to reclaim our full identity. I have described in a dierent context the basic characteristic of holotropic states and how they dier from conditions that deserve to be referred to as altered states of consciousness (Grof, 2000). For greater clarity, I will be using the term holotropic in the following discussion.

48

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Grof

Transpersonal psychology has made signicant headway toward correcting the ethnocentric and cognicentric biases of mainstream psychiatry and psychology, particularly by its recognition of the genuine nature of transpersonal experiences and their value. In the light of modern consciousness research, the current conceited dismissal and pathologization of spirituality characteristic of monistic materialism appears untenable. In holotropic states, the spiritual dimensions of reality can be directly experienced in a way that is as convincing as our daily experience of the material world, if not more so. Careful study of transpersonal experiences shows that they cannot be explained as products of pathological processes in the brain, but are ontologically real. To distinguish transpersonal experiences from imaginary products of individual fantasy, Jungian psychologists refer to this domain as imaginal. French scholar, philosopher, and mystic Henri Corbin, who rst used the term mundus imaginalis, was inspired in this regard by his study of Islamic mystical literature (Corbin, 2000). Islamic theosophers call the imaginal world, where everything existing in the sensory world has its analogue, alam a mithal, or the eighth climate, to distinguish it from the seven climates, regions of traditional Islamic geography. The imaginal world possesses extension and dimensions, forms and colors, but these are not perceptible to our senses as they would be when they are properties of physical objects. However, this realm is in every respect as fully ontologically real and susceptible to consensual validation by other people as the material world perceived by scientists. Spiritual experiences appear in two dierent forms. The rst of these, the experience of the immanent divine, is characterized by subtly but profoundly transformed perception of the everyday reality. A person having this form of spiritual experience sees people, animals, plants, and inanimate objects in the environment as radiant manifestations of a unied eld of cosmic creative energy. He or she has a direct perception of the immaterial nature of the physical world and realizes that the boundaries between objects are illusory and unreal. This type of experience of reality has a distinctly numinous quality and corresponds to Spinozas deus sive natura, or nature as God. Using the analogy with television, this experience could be likened to a situation where a black and white picture would suddenly change into one in vivid, living color. When that happens, much of the old perception of the world remains in place, but is radically redened by the addition of a new dimension.

The second form of spiritual experience, that of the transcendent divine, involves manifestation of archetypal beings and realms of reality that are ordinarily transphenomenal, that is unavailable to perception in the everyday state of consciousness. In this type of spiritual experience, entirely new elements seem to unfold or explicateto borrow terms from David Bohmfrom another level or order of reality. When we return to the analogy with television, this would be like discovering to our surprise that there exist channels other than the one we have been previously watching, believing that our TV set had only one channel. The issue of critical importance is, of course, the ontological nature of the spiritual experiences described above. Can they be interpreted and dismissed as meaningless phantasmagoria produced by a pathological process aicting the brain, yet to be discovered and identied by modern science, or do they reect objectively existing dimensions of reality, which are not accessible in the ordinary state of consciousness. Careful systematic study of transpersonal experiences shows that they are ontologically real and contain information about important, ordinarily hidden dimensions of existence, which can be consensually validated (Grof, 1998a, 1998b, 2000). In a certain sense, the perception of the world in holotropic states is more accurate than our everyday perception of it. Quantum-relativistic physics has shown that matter is essentially empty and that all boundaries in the universe are illusory. We know today that what appears to us as discrete static objects are actually condensations within a dynamic unitive energy eld. This nding is in direct conict with the pedestrian perception of the world and brings to mind the Hindu concept of maya, a metaphysical principle capable of generating a convincing facsimile of the material world. And the objective nature of the historical and archetypal domains of the collective unconscious has been demonstrated by C.G. Jung and his followers years before psychedelic research and new experiential therapies amassed evidence that conrmed it beyond any reasonable doubt. In addition, it is possible to describe step-by-step procedures and proper contexts that facilitate access to these experiences. These include non-pharmacological procedures such as meditation practices, music, dancing, breathing exercises, and other approaches that cannot be seen as pathological agents by any stretch of the imagination. The study of holotropic states conrmed Jungs (1964) insight that the experiences originating on deeper

Brief History of Transpersonal Psychology

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 49

levels of the psyche (in my own terminology, perinatal and transpersonal experiences) have a certain quality that he called (after Rudolph Otto) numinosity. The term numinous is relatively neutral and thus preferable to other similar names, such as religious, mystical, magical, holy, or sacred, which have often been used in problematic contexts and are easily misleading. The sense of numinosity is based on direct apprehension of the fact that we are encountering a domain that belongs to a superior order of reality, one which is sacred and radically dierent from the material world. To prevent misunderstanding and confusion that in the past compromised many similar discussions, it is critical to make a clear distinction between spirituality and religion. Spirituality is based on direct experiences of non-ordinary aspects and dimensions of reality. It does not require a special place or an ocially appointed person mediating contact with the divine. The mystics do not need churches or temples. The context in which they experience the sacred dimensions of reality, including their own divinity, are their bodies and nature. Instead of ociating priests, the mystics need a supportive group of fellow seekers or the guidance of a teacher who is more advanced on the inner journey than they are themselves. Spirituality involves a special kind of relationship between the individual and the cosmos and is, in its essence, a personal and private aair. By comparison, organized religion involves institutionalized group activity that takes place in a designated location such as a temple or a church, and involves a system of appointed ocials who might or might not have had personal experiences of spiritual realities. Once a religion becomes organized, it often completely loses the connection with its spiritual source and becomes a secular institution that exploits human spiritual needs without satisfying them. Organized religions tend to create hierarchical systems focusing on the pursuit of power, control, politics, money, possessions, and other secular concerns. Under these circumstances, religious hierarchy as a rule dislikes and discourages direct spiritual experiences in its members, because they foster independence and cannot be eectively controlled. When this is the case, genuine spiritual life continues only in the mystical branches, monastic orders, and ecstatic sects of the religions involved. While it is clear that fundamentalism and religious dogma are incompatible with the scientic world view, whether it is Cartesian-Newtonian or based on the new paradigm, there is no reason why we could not seriously study the nature and implications of

transpersonal experiences. As Ken Wilber (1983) pointed out in his book, A Sociable God, there cannot possibly be a conict between genuine science and authentic religion. If there seems to be such a conict, we are very likely dealing with bogus science and bogus religion, where either side has a serious misunderstanding of the others position and very likely represents a false or fake version of its own discipline. Transpersonal psychology, as it was born in the late 1960s, was culturally sensitive and treated the ritual and spiritual traditions of ancient and native cultures with the respect that they deserve in view of the ndings of modern consciousness research. It also embraced and integrated a wide range of anomalous phenomena, paradigm-breaking observations that academic science has been unable to account for and explain. However, although comprehensive and well substantiated in and of itself, the new eld represented such a radical departure from academic thinking in professional circles that it could not be reconciled with either traditional psychology and psychiatry or with the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm of Western science. As a result of this, transpersonal psychology was extremely vulnerable to accusations of being irrational, unscientic, and even akey, particularly by scientists who were not aware of the vast body of observations and data on which the new movement was based. These critics also ignored the fact that many of the pioneers of this revolutionary movement had impressive academic credentials. Among the pioneers of transpersonal psychology were many prominent psychologists, such as James Fadiman, Jean Houston, Jack Korneld, Stanley Krippner, Ralph Metzner, Arnold Mindell, John Perry, Kenneth Ring, Frances Vaughan, Richard Tarnas, Charles Tart, Roger Walsh, as well as others from many disciplines (e.g., anthropologists, such as Angeles Arrien, Michael Harner, and Sandra Harner). These individuals created and embraced the transpersonal vision of the human psyche not because they were ignorant of the fundamental assumptions of traditional science, but because they found the old conceptual frameworks seriously inadequate and incapable to account for their experiences and observations. The problematic status of transpersonal psychology among hard sciences changed very radically during the rst two decades of the existence of this edgling discipline. As a result of revolutionary new concepts and discoveries in various scientic elds, the philosophy of traditional Western science, its basic

50

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Grof

assumptions, and its Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm were increasingly challenged and undermined. Like many other theoreticians in the transpersonal eld, I have followed this development with great interest and described it in the rst part of my book, Beyond the Brain, as an eort to bridge the gap between the ndings of my own research and the established scientic worldview (Grof, 1985). The inux of this exciting new information began by the realization of the profound philosophical implications of quantum-relativistic physics, forever changing our understanding of physical reality. The astonishing convergence between the worldview of modern physics and that of the Eastern spiritual philosophies, foreshadowed already in the work of Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrdinger, and others, found a full expression in the ground-breaking book by Fritjof Capra (1975), his Tao of Physics. Capras pioneering vision was in the following years complemented and rened by the work of Fred Alan Wolf (1981), Nick Herbert (1979), Amit Goswami (1995), and many others. Of particular interest in this regard were the contributions of David Bohm, former co-worker of Albert Einstein and author of prestigious monographs on the theory of relativity and quantum physics. His concept of the explicate and implicate order and his theory of holomovement expounding the importance of holographic thinking in science gained great popularity in the transpersonal eld (Bohm, 1980), as did Karl Pribrams (1971) holographic model of the brain. The same is true for biologist Rupert Sheldrakes (1981) theory of morphic resonance and morphogenetic elds, demonstrating the importance of non-physical elds for the understanding of forms, genetics and heredity, order, meaning, and the process of learning. Additional exciting contributions were Gregory Batesons (1979) brilliant synthesis of cybernetics, information and systems theories, logic, psychology, and other disciplines, Ilya Prigogines (1980) studies of dissipative structures and order out of chaos (Prigogine and Stengers 1984), the chaos theory itself (Glieck, 1988), the anthropic principle in astrophysics (Barrow & Tipler, 1986), and many others. However, even at this early stage of the development, we have more than just a mosaic of unrelated cornerstones of this new vision of reality. At least two major intellectual attempts at integrating transpersonal psychology into a comprehensive new

world view deserve to be mentioned in this context. The rst of these pioneering ventures has been the work of Ken Wilber. In a series of books beginning with his Spectrum of Consciousness, Wilber (1977) has achieved a highly creative synthesis of data drawn from a vast variety of areas and disciplines, ranging from psychology, anthropology, sociology, mythology, and comparative religion, through linguistics, philosophy, and history, to cosmology, quantum-relativistic physics, biology, evolutionary theory, and systems theory. His knowledge of the literature is truly encyclopedic, his analytical mind systematic and incisive, and his ability to communicate complex ideas clearly is remarkable. The impressive scope, comprehensive nature, and intellectual rigor of Wilbers work have helped to make it a widely acclaimed and highly inuential theory of transpersonal psychology. However, it would expect too much from an interdisciplinary work of this scope and depth to believe that it could be perfect and awless in all respects and details. Wilbers writings thus have drawn not just enthusiastic acclaim, but also serious criticism from a variety of sources. The exchanges about the controversial and disputed aspects of his theory have often been forceful and heated. This was partly due to Wilbers often aggressive polemic style that included strongly worded ad personam attacks and was not conducive to productive dialogue. Some of these discussions have been gathered in a volume entitled Ken Wilber in Dialogue (Rothberg & Kelly, 1998), and others in numerous articles and Internet websites. Many of these arguments about Ken Wilbers work focus on areas and disciplines other that transpersonal psychology and discussing them would transcend the nature and scope of this paper. However, over the years Ken and I have exchanged ideas concerning specically various aspects of transpersonal psychology; this involved both mutual compliments and critical comments about our respective theories. I rst addressed the similarities and dierences between Kens spectrum psychology and my own observations and theoretical constructs in my book Beyond the Brain (Grof, 1985). I later returned to this subject in my contribution to the compendium entitled Ken Wilber in Dialogue (Rothberg & Kelly, 1998) and in my own Psychology of the Future (Grof, 2000). In my attempt to critically evaluate Wilbers theories, I approached this task from a clinical perspective, drawing primarily on the data from modern

Brief History of Transpersonal Psychology

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 51

consciousness research, my own and that of others. In my opinion, the main problem of Ken Wilbers writings on transpersonal psychology is that he does not have any clinical experience and the primary sources of his data have been his extensive reading and the experiences from his personal spiritual practice. In addition, he has drawn most of his clinical data from schools that use verbal methods of psychotherapy and conceptual frameworks limited to postnatal biography. He does not take into consideration a large portion of the clinical evidence amassed during the last several decades of experiential therapy, with or without psychedelic substances. For a theory as important and inuential as Ken Wilbers work has become, it is not sucient that it integrate material from many dierent ancient and modern sources into a comprehensive philosophical system that shows inner logical cohesion. While logical consistency certainly is a valuable prerequisite, a viable theory has to have an additional property that is equally if not more important. It is generally accepted among scientists that a system of propositions is an acceptable theory if, and only if, its conclusions are in agreement with observable facts (Frank, 1957). I have tried to outline the areas where Wilbers speculations have been in conict with facts of observation and those that involve logical inconsistencies (Rothberg & Kelly, 1998). One of these discrepancies was the omission of the pre- and perinatal domain from his map of consciousness and from his developmental scheme. Another was the uncritical acceptance of the Freudian and post-Freudian emphasis on the postnatal origin of emotional and psychosomatic disorders and failure to acknowledge their deeper perinatal and transpersonal roots. Wilbers description of the strictly linear nature of spiritual development, inability to see the paradoxical nature of the pre-trans relationship, and reduction of the problem of death (thanatos) in psychology to a transition from one developmental fulcrum to another have been additional areas of disagreement. An issue of considerable dissent between us has been Ken Wilbers insistence that opening to spirituality happens exclusively on the level of the centaur, Wilbers stage of psychospiritual development characterized by full integration of body and mind. I have pointed out, in fundamental agreement with Michael Washburn (1988), that spiritual opening often takes the form of a spiral combining regression and progression, rather than in a strictly linear fashion. Particularly frequent is the opening involving psychospiritual death and rebirth, in

which case the critical interface between the personal and transpersonal is the perinatal level. This can be supported not just by clinical observations, but also by the study of the lives of mystics, such as St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and others, many of whom Wilber quotes in his books. Particularly problematic and questionable is Wilbers (2000) suggestion that we should diagnose clients in terms of the emotional, moral, intellectual, existential, philosophical, and spiritual problems that they show according to his scheme, and assign them to several dierent therapists specializing in those respective areas. This recommendation might impress a layperson as a sophisticated solution to psychological problems, but it is nave and unrealistic from the point of view of any experienced clinician. The above problems concerning specic aspects of Wilbers system can easily be corrected and they do not invalidate the usefulness of his overall scheme as a comprehensive blueprint for understanding the nature of reality. In recent years, Ken Wilber distanced himself from transpersonal psychology in favor of his own vision that he calls integral psychology. On closer inspection, what he refers to as integral psychology reaches far beyond what we traditionally understand under that name and includes areas that belong to other disciplines. However broad and encompassing our vision of reality, in practice we have to pare it down to those aspects which are relevant for solving the problems we are dealing with. With the necessary corrections and adjustments discussed above, Wilbers integral approach will in the future represent a large and useful context for transpersonal psychology rather than a replacement for it; it will also serve as an important bridge to mainstream science. The second pioneering attempt to integrate transpersonal psychology into a new comprehensive world view has been the work of Ervin Laszlo, the worlds foremost system theorist, interdisciplinary scientist, and philosopher of Hungarian origin, currently living in Italy. A multifaceted individual with a range of interests and talents reminiscent of great gures of the Renaissance, Laszlo achieved international fame as a child prodigy and concert pianist in his teens. A few years later he turned to science and philosophy, beginning his lifetime search for understanding of the human nature and the nature of reality. Where Wilber outlined what an integral theory of everything should look like, Laszlo actually created one (Laszlo, 1993, 1996, 2004; Laszlo & Abraham, 2004; Laszlo, Grof, & Russell, 2003).

52

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Grof

In an intellectual tour de force and a series of books, Laszlo has explored a wide range of disciplines, including astrophysics, quantum-relativistic physics, biology, and psychology. He pointed out a wide range of phenomena, paradoxical observations, and paradigmatic challenges for which these disciplines have no explanations. He then examined the attempts of various pioneers of new paradigm science to provide solutions for these conceptual challenges. This included Bohms theory of holomovement, Pribrams holographic model of the brain, Sheldrakes theory of morphogenetic elds, Prigogines concept of dissipative structures, and others. He looked at the contributions of these theories and also at problems that they had not been able to solve. Drawing on mathematics and advances in hard sciences Laszlo then oered a solution to the current paradoxes in Western science, which transcends the boundaries of individual disciplines. He achieved that by formulating his connectivity hypothesis, the main cornerstone of which is the existence of what he calls the psi-eld, (Laszlo, 1993, 1995; Laszlo & Abraham, 2004). He describes it as a subquantum eld, which holds a holographic record of all the events that have happened in the phenomenal world. Laszlo includes in his all-encompassing theory quite explicitly transpersonal psychology and the spiritual philosophies, as exemplied by his paper on Jungian psychology and my own consciousness research (Laszlo, 1996) and his last book, Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything (Laszlo, 2004). It has been very exciting to see that all the new revolutionary developments in science, while irreconcilable with the 17th century Newtonian-Cartesian thinking and monistic materialism, have been compatible with transpersonal psychology. As a result of these conceptual breakthroughs in a number of disciplines, it has become increasingly possible to imagine that transpersonal psychology will be in the future accepted by academic circles and become an integral part of a radically new scientic world view. As scientic progress continues to lift the spell of the outdated 17th century materialistic worldview, we can see the general outlines of an emerging radically new comprehensive understanding of ourselves, nature, and the universe we live in. This new paradigm should be able to reconcile science with experientially based spirituality of a non-denominational, universal, and all-embracing nature and bring about a synthesis of modern science and ancient wisdom.

References Alexander, F. (1931). Buddhist training as articial catatonia. Psychoanalytic Review, 18, 129. Barrow, J. D., & Tipler, F. J. (1986). The anthropic cosmological principle. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. Bateson, G. (1979). Mind and nature: A necessary unity. New York: E.P. Dutton. Bohm, D. (1980). Wholeness and the implicate order. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Capra, F. (1975). The Tao of physics. Berkeley, CA: Shambhala Publications. Corbin, H. (2000). Mundus imaginalis, or the imaginary and the imaginal. In B. Sells (Ed.), Working with images (pp. 71-89). Woodstock, CT: Spring Publications. Frank, P. (1957). Philosophy of science: The link between science and philosophy. Englewood Clis, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Gleick, J. (1988) Chaos: Making a new science. New York: Penguin Books. Goswami, A. (1995). The self-aware universe: How consciousness creates the material world. Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher. Grof, S. (1985). Beyond the brain: Birth, death, and transcendence in psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Grof, S., & Bennett, H. Z. (1992). The holotropic mind: The three levels of human consciousness and how they shape our lives. San Francisco: HarperCollins. Grof, S. (1998a). Ken Wilbers spectrum psychology: Observations from clinical consciousness research. In D. Rothberg & S. Kelly (Eds.), Ken Wilber in dialogue: Conversations with leading transpersonal thinkers (pp. 85-115). Wheaton, IL: Quest Books. Grof, S. (1998b). The cosmic game: Explorations of the frontiers of human consciousness. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Grof, S. (2000). Psychology of the future: Lessons from modern consciousness research. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Grof, S. & Grof, C. (1989). Spiritual emergency: When personal transformation becomes a crisis. Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher. Grof, C. & Grof, S. (1991). The stormy search for the self: A guide to personal growth through transformational crises. Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher. Harner, M. (1980). The way of the shaman: A guide to power and healing. New York: Harper & Row.

Brief History of Transpersonal Psychology

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 53

Heisenberg, W. (1971). Physics and beyond: Encounters and conversations. New York: Harper & Row. Herbert, N. (1979). Mind science: A physics of consciousness primer. Boulder Creek, CA: C-Life Institute. Jung, C. G. (1964). Collected works: Vol. 10. Psychology of religion: East and west. Bollingen Series 20. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Laszlo, E. (1993). The creative cosmos: A unied science of matter, life, and mind. Edinburgh, UK: Floris Books. Laszlo, E. (1996). Subtle connections: Psi, Grof, Jung, and the quantum vacuum. The International Society for the Systems Sciences and The Club of Budapest. Retrieved May 14, 2008, from < http://www. goertzel.org/dynapsyc/1996/subtle.html> Laszlo, E., Grof, S., & Russell, P. (2003). The consciousness revolution: A transatlantic dialogue. Las Vegas, NV: Elf Rock Productions. Laszlo, E., & Abraham, R. H. (2004). The connectivity hypothesis: Foundations of an integral science of quantum, cosmos, life, and consciousness. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Laszlo, E. (2004). Science and the Akashic Field: An integral theory of everything. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions. Maslow, A. (1969). The farther reaches of human nature. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1, 1-9. Pribram, K. (1971). Languages of the brain. Englewood Clis, NJ: Prentice Hall. Prigogine, I. (1980). From being to becoming: Time and complexity in the physical sciences. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman. Prigogine, I., & Stengers, I. (1984). Order out of chaos: Mans dialogue with nature. New York: Bantam Books. Rothberg, D., & Kelly, S. (Eds.). (1998). Ken Wilber in Dialogue: Conversations with leading transpersonal thinkers. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books. Schrdinger, E. (1967). What is life?: With mind and matter. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Sheldrake, R. (1981). A new science of life: The hypothesis of formative causation. Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher. Sutich, A. (1976). The founding of humanistic and transpersonal psychology: A personal account. Doctoral dissertation, Humanistic Psychology Institute, San Francisco, California. Sutich, A. (1976). The emergence of the transpersonal orientation: A personal account. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 8, 5-19.

Washburn, M. (1988). The ego and the dynamic ground. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Wilber, K. (1977). The spectrum of consciousness. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books. Wilber, K. (1980). The atman project: A transpersonal view of human development. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books. Wilber, K. (1983). A sociable god: Brief introduction to a transcendental sociology. New York: McGraw-Hill. Wilber, K. (2000). Integral psychology: Consciousness, spirit, psychology, therapy. Boston: Shambhala Publications. Wilber, K. (1995). Sex, ecology, and spirituality: The spirit of evolution. Boston: Shambhala Publications. Wolf, F. A. (1981). Taking the quantum leap. San Francisco: Harper & Row. About the Author Stan Grof, MD, is a psychiatrist with more than fty years of experience in research of non-ordinary states of consciousness induced by psychedelic substances and various non-pharmacological methods. Currently, he is Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco and Wisdom University in Oakland, CA, conducts professional training programs in holotropic breathwork and transpersonal psychology, and gives lectures and seminars worldwide. He is one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology and the founding president of the International Transpersonal Association. In October 2007, he received the prestigious Vision 97 Award from the Dagmar and Vaclav Havel Foundation in Prague. Among his publications are over 140 papers in professional journals and the books Realms of the Human Unconscious; LSD Psychotherapy; The Adventure of SelfDiscovery; Beyond the Brain; The Cosmic Game; Psychology of the Future; When the Impossible Happens; The Ultimate Journey; Spiritual Emergency; and The Stormy Search for the Self (the last two with Christina Grof ). He may be reached at: stanG@infoasis.com.

54

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Grof

The Past and Future of the International Transpersonal Association


Stanislav Grof
Grof Transpersonal Training Mill Valley, CA, USA

Harris Friedman
University of Florida Gainesville, FL, USA

David Luko
Institute of Transpersonal Psychology Palo Alto, CA, USA

Glenn Hartelius
Institute of Transpersonal Psychology Palo Alto, CA, USA

The International Transpersonal Association (ITA) was formed in 1978 for the purposes of promoting education and research in transpersonal subjects, as well as sponsoring global conferences for the international transpersonal community. The association was subsequently dissolved in 2004, but is now in the process of being reactivated and revitalized. As background for this development, this paper reviews the history of ITA including its international conferences and noteworthy presenters, the organizations denition, strategies, and specic goals, and details of its contemporary revival.

he Association of Transpersonal Psychology (ATP) was created in the late 1960s and has held regular conferences in California since its inception. Later, several transpersonal conferences were held outside of California but still within the US, including those held in Council Grove, Kansas, which were started in 1969 by a small group of people (e.g., Walter Pahnke, John Lilly, Ken Godfrey, Helen Bonny, Elmer Green, Alyce Green, and Stan Grof). These Kansas conferences had some participants from abroad and represented the precursor of later international transpersonal conferences. As interest in the transpersonal movement grew, extending beyond the San Francisco Bay area and outside of the US, occasional international transpersonal conferences were held. The rst was in Bifrost, Iceland in 1972, organized by Geir and Ingrid Vilhjamsson. Among the attendants were Joseph Campbell and Jean Campbell-Erdman, Huston Smith, Walter Houston Clark, and Icelandic mythologist Einar Palsson. This was followed by another conference held in Bifrost in 1973, again organized by Geir and Ingrid Vilhjamsson. The third international transpersonal conference was held in a school in Inari, Finland in 1976, on the Soviet border. Among its participants were Salvador Roquet and Prince Peter of Denmark. The fourth international transpersonal conference was held in Belo Horizonte,

Brazil in 1977, organized by Pierre Weil and Leo Matos. During the nal meeting of this 1977 conference, it was noted that these conferences had become quite popular and well attended, so it was suggested that the tradition of the international transpersonal conferences should be formalized and hosted through the creation of an international association of transpersonal psychology. Out of this, the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) was launched in 1978 by Stan Grof, its founding president, and Michael Murphy and Richard Price, the founders of Esalen Institute in California, the rst modern human potential (growth) center. ITA was incorporated in California on February 27, 1980 as a scientic and educational corporation whose mission was to promote transpersonal education and scientic research, as well as to guarantee continuation of these international transpersonal conferences into the future. In contrast to ATP, which was founded primarily as an American institution limited to the discipline of psychology, ITA was explicitly formed to be international and interdisciplinary in its focus, as it had become obvious that the transpersonal vision was being embraced globally and that it transcended psychology as a singular discipline. Also, since calling the new organization the International Association of Transpersonal Psychology, as some had suggested, would have also implied a hierarchical superiority over the extant organization

International International Transpersonal Association International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 27, 2008, pp. 55-62 Journal of Transpersonal Studies 55

ATP, this name was soundly rejected. After a discussion with Arthur Hastings, Stan Grof decided to use the name ITA and determined that its primary activity would involve continuing to hold international transpersonal conferences in dierent parts of the worldsomething which did happen for many years. The interdisciplinary nature of these international transpersonal conferences is exemplied by the fact that they featured not just prominent transpersonal psychologists but also many from other healing professions such as physicians, psychiatrists, and non-psychologist psychotherapists, as well as anthropologists, artists, biologists, educators, economists, mathematicians, mythologists, philosophers, physicists, politicians, spiritual teachers, and leaders from many other areas of human endeavor inuenced by the transpersonal orientation. The International Transpersonal Conferences Held by ITA The following lists and summarizes the various international transpersonal conferences held by the ITA: 1. Danvers (Boston), USA, 1979. The rst project of the new ITA was to organize the next international transpersonal conference. Elias and Isa Amador oered to be the organizers, while Stan and Christina Grof chose the topic, The Nature of Reality. The responsible parties decided to make an attempt to bring together all major representatives of the eld and make it a coming out for ITA and the global transpersonal movement. All the presenters invited to the conference agreed to present in return for only traveling expenses and accommodations, despite the fact that many were able to command signicant fees for presenting elsewhereand this then became the tradition that continued at all the subsequent ITA international transpersonal conferences. The Grofs were the program coordinators and a special guest of the conference was Swami Muktananda. 2. Melbourne, Australia, 1980. Alf and Muriel Foote, Australians who attended an Esalen workshop with the Grofs, oered to be organizers of the next international transpersonal conference. Since transpersonal psychology was completely unknown in Australia, the conference desperately needed advertising so the Grofs traveled to Australia to give a series of workshops, lectures, and TV/radio interviews. The conference had over 400 participants and brought together people from all over Australia

who had interest in transpersonal subjects, often without their having any prior knowledge of the term. This meeting started the transpersonal movement in Australia. 3. Bombay, India, 1982. The next international transpersonal conference was organized in cooperation with the Siddha Yoga Foundation and the site coordinator was Marilyn Hershenson. Its theme was Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science and focused on bringing together spiritual teachers and new paradigm scientists to show the convergence of worldviews. The conference was to be opened by the Dalai Lama and closed by the Karmapa with the Black Crown ceremony, but the illness of the Dalai Lama and death of the Karmapa prevented this. However, presentations included many prominent spiritual gures (e.g., Swami Muktananda, Mother Teresa, and the Parsee high priest Dastoor Minocher Homji) and scientists (e.g., Karl Pribram, Fritjof Capra, Rupert Sheldrake, Elmer and Alyce Green). The rst connection was made with Karan Singh, former Maharaja of Kashmir and Jammu, an Aurobindo scholar and a brilliant speaker who later participated in a number of ITA conferences. There was also a cultural program featuring the then Indian rising star, dancer Alarmel Valli, Paul Horn with Al Huang, an evening of Jewish mysticism with Shlomo Carlebach and Zalman Schachter, and a zikr by the Halveti Jerrahi dervishes. Over seven hundred people participated in this conference. 4. Davos, Switzerland, 1983. At the end of the Bombay conference, Stan Grof passed the ITA presidency on to Cecil Burney, who organized the next international transpersonal conference with the help of Rashna Imhasly. The Dalai Lama was able to come this time and among the special guests were Frederic Leboyer, Elizabeth Kbler-Ross, Sri Chakravarti, Gopi Krishna, Karan Singh, and Marie-Louise von Franz. 5. Kyoto, Japan, 1985. The theme of this international transpersonal conference was Spirituality and Technological Society. After the success of the Davos conference, Cecil Burney traveled to Japan with his teacher, who was extremely popular in Japan. He managed to recruit to the conference organizing committee the founder and honorary chairman of Sony and the founder of Kyocera, then the fastest growing company in Japan. Encouraged by this alliance, Burney decided to rent the Kyoto International Conference Center at the cost of $11,000

56

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Grof, Friedman, Luko, & Hartelius

a day for the conference. This was based on the fact that he expected to get 1,500 paying participants. He did not realize, however, that he had to sell not only transpersonal psychology (unknown at the time in Japan), but also the concept of a conference where the Japanese needed to take a week o from their work to attend a meeting unrelated to their job. Among the guests were prominent Japanese spiritual teachers and philosophers (e.g., Nikitani Roshi), African shaman and anthropologist Credo Mutwa, and astronaut Rusty Schweickart. The conference was extraordinary, particularly its cultural program (an imperial drama, a Shinto re ceremony, a ute performance by a group of monks who live with their heads covered by special baskets, etc.). Unfortunately, only 700 people attended the conference, which, though quite impressive under the circumstance, was still a nancial disaster. The conference lost over U.S. $50,000 and sent the ITA into bankruptcy. 6. Santa Rosa, CA., USA, 1988. Some fortuitous circumstances allowed the ITA to survive. After diculties with Heldref Publications, the publisher of the Re-Vision Journal, Ken Wilber resigned as editor of that journal and Stan Grof was invited to take his place. Heldref sent one of its sta members, Stuart dEggnu, as observer to the Kyoto international transpersonal conference. After this observer gave an enthusiastic report about the conference, Heldref oered a loan as seed money for another international transpersonal conference and ITA was resurrected, this time with a home in Washington, D.C., while Stan Grof resumed as its president. Stan and Christina Grof then faced the problem of avoiding another Kyoto asco, while working under debt to Heldref. To increase the likelihood of nancial viability, they decided to place the meeting close to the San Francisco Bay Area, where a large number of prominent presenters could participate without incurring signicant traveling expenses. The participation of this core group made the conference attractive not only for participants, but also for additional presenters. The theme of this international transpersonal conference was The Transpersonal Vision: Past, Present, and Future. The coordinator was John McKenzie, helped by Tav and Cary Sparks. Among the special features of the conference was participation of Albert Hofmann and an evening with Mickey Hart. The conference was a great nancial success, with the prot over $130,000 USso ITA not only returned the loan to Heldref

($70,000), but also had enough seed money for its next conference. 7. Eugene (Oregon), USA, 1990. The theme of this international transpersonal conference was Mystical Quest, Attachment, and Addictions, emphasizing spiritual treatments within scientically-acceptable transpersonal frameworks. Representatives from the addiction eld (e.g., John Bradshaw, the Sierra Tucson sta, Linda Leonard, etc.) were highlighted. 8. Atlanta, USA, 1991. The next international transpersonal conference was on the same theme, Mystical Quest, Attachment, and Addiction. It was brought to the East Coast after the success of the previous Eugene conference. After that conference, Stan Grof passed the ITA presidency to Patricia Demetrios-Ellard. 9. Santa Clara (San Francisco), USA, 1994. The theme of this international transpersonal conference was Spirit in Action: Awakening to the Sacred in Everyday Life, bringing the transpersonal perspective into politics, business, economy, and medicine. New presenters included Isabel Allende, Gloria Steinem, Jerry Brown, Jim Garrison, Thomas Benyaka, Michel Odent, and others. 10.Killarney, Ireland, 1995. The next international transpersonal conference was to some extent a continuation of the Santa Clara meeting, an application of transpersonal psychology to urgent problems in other areas. The conference theme was Spirituality, Ecology, and Native Wisdom, and its coordinator was Ralph Metzner. 11. Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1992. After the death of Patricia Demetrios-Ellard, Stan Grof resumed the presidency of ITA. After an unsuccessful attempt to organize a conference in Russia (due to perestroika and glasnost), the conference on the theme of Science, Spirituality, and the Global Crisis: Toward a World with a Future was held in Prague and was enormously successful. The hall with a capacity of 1600 people was sold out and the registration for Westerners had to be stopped a month before the conference, while hundreds of interested Czechs could not be admitted to the conference due to space limitations. The participants came from 36 dierent countries. 12.Manaus, Brazil, 1996. The theme of this international transpersonal conference was Technologies of the Sacred: Ancient, Aboriginal, and Modern. Shamans from Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, and representatives of the Santo Daime people, members of Union de

International Transpersonal Association

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 57

Vegetal, and spiritists attended. The cultural program included capoeira, School of Samba, Santo Daime chants, and others. The highlight of the conference was a concert in the famous Manaus opera house featuring Jai Uttal, Geo Gordon, Chungliang Al Huang, and others. Over 900 people participated in the conference. 13. Palm Springs, CA, USA, 2004. The theme of the most recent international transpersonal conference was Mythic Imagination & Modern Society: The ReEnchantment of the World. The conference was inspired by the 100th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Campbell. The coordinator was Robert Duchmann. Among the special guests were John Cleese, Lorin Hollander (playing Mussorgskys Pictures at an Exhibition), and Indian classical dancers Vishnu Tattva Dass and Barbara Framm. Outstanding Presenters at ITA Conferences Many of the presenters at ITA Conferences have been outstanding representatives of various elds. These include luminaries from psychology and psychiatry, other sciences, spiritual life, art and cultural life, and politics, some of whom are listed as follows: psychology and psychiatryFrances Vaughan, Roger Walsh, Sandra Harner, June Singer, John Perry, James Fadiman, Arthur Hastings, R. D. Laing, Virginia Satir, Dora Kal, Elisabeth Kbler-Ross, Marie-Louise von Franz, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Claudio Naranjo, Ken Pelletier, Ralph Metzner, Angeles Arrien, Christopher Bache, Paul Grof, Stanislav Grof, Christina Grof, Charles Tart, Steven Larsen, Robin Larsen, Kenneth Ring, Arthur Hastings, Judith Cornell, Richard Tarnas, Jean Houston, Steve Aizenstat, Arnold Mindell, Amy Mindell, Roger Woolger, Gilda Moura, Raymond Moody, John Bradshaw, Pierre Weil, Marion Woodman, Massimo Rosselli, Ann Armstrong, Paulo Rzezinski, Linda Leonard, Jane Middelton-Moz, Rokelle Lerner, Charles Whiteld, John Mack, Robert Jay Lifton, Robert McDermott, Stanley Krippner, Andrew Weil, Seymour Boorstein, Dean Shapiro, Charlene Spretnak, Marilyn Schlitz, Ingo Jahrsetz, Hrcoles Jaci, John Beebe, Harris Friedman, Jenny Wade, Michael Mithoefer, Charles Grob, Richard Yensen, Vladimir Maykov, Donna Dryer, Dennis Slattery, Rick Strassman, Phillippe Bandeira de Melo, Michael Grosso, David Ulansey, Don Juan Nuez del Prado, and Roberto Baruzzi; other sciencesDavid Bohm, Karl Pribram, Fritjof Capra, Rupert Sheldrake, Fred Alan Wolf, Ervin Laszlo, Elizabeth Kbler-Ross,

Willis Harman, Albert Hofmann, Orlando VillasBoas, Vasily Nalimov, Ilya Prigogine, Lee Sannella, Igor Charkovsky, Elmer and Alyce Green, Michael Harner, Peter Russell, Richard Katz, Russell Targ, Arthur Young, Jean Achterberg, Duane Elgin, Ivan Havel, Zdenek Neubauer, Carl Simonton, Frederic Leboyer, Peter Schwartz, Bernard Lietaer, Brian McCusker, Terence McKenna, Brian Swimme, Amit Goswami, Igor Charkovsky, Luiz Augusto de Queiroz, Michel Odent, and Rachel Naomi Remen; spiritual life--Mother Teresa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Swami Muktananda, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Pir Vilayat Khan, Sheikh Muzaer and the Halveti-Jerahi dervishes, Sogyal Rinpoche, Ram Dass, Chungliang Al Huang, Matthew Fox, Jack Korneld, Wes Nisker, Nishitani Roshi, Gopi Krishna, Thomas Banyacya, Don Manuel Qespi, Andrew Harvey, Lauren Artress, Alex Polari de Alverga, Huston Smith, Cecil Williams, Shairy Jose Quimbo, Brooke Medicine Eagle, Zalman Schachter, Olotunji Babatunde, and Shlomo Carlebach; art and cultural lifeJohn Cleese, Alarmel Vali, Paul Horn, Mickey Hart, Steven Halpern, David Darling, Randall Bramblett, Michael Vetter, Gabrielle Roth, Nina Wise, Jiri Stivn, Patricia Ellsberg, Alex Grey, Silvia Nakkach, Lorin Hollander, Tara Tupper, Nina Simons, Jon Voight, Jai Uttal, Georey Gordon, Russell Walder, Vishnu Tattva Das, Barbara Framm, Susan Grin, Robert Bly, Robert Schwartz, Gloria Steinem, Isabel Allende, Jill Purce, Georgia Kelly, Steve Roach, Rusty Schweickart, Raizes Caboclas Orchestra, Mar Azul Capoeira group, and Lost at Last; and politicsKaran Singh, Jerry Brown, John Vasconcellos, Jim Garrison, Burnum Burnum, and Sulak Sivaraksa. Documents of the ITA The following Denition and Description of the ITA, as well as its Theoretical Position and General Strategy and Specic Goals were produced at the time of the organizations founding and evidently were upgraded over time. They are reproduced as they were last documented, with slight editing, and they are as apropos today as they were in January, 1980 when rst signed by ITAs founding president, Stan Grof. Denition and Description of the ITA The ITA is a scientic organization that unites individuals of dierent nationalities, professions, and philosophical or spiritual preferences who share the transpersonal orientation. That means that using the specic methods of their disciplines and the results of

58

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Grof, Friedman, Luko, & Hartelius

their observations they are moving toward or have arrived at the recognition of the fundamental unity underlying the world of separate beings and objects and are applying this new understanding in their respective elds. In theory, the ITA supports the development of new scientic paradigms recognizing the role of consciousness and creative intelligence in the universe, emphasizing the unity of the mind and body, and studying human beings in their complex interpersonal, social, ecological, and cosmic context. It is interested in bridging the gaps existing at present between various scientic disciplines and seemingly disparate or contradictory approaches, such as ancient wisdom and modern science or the Eastern spiritual philosophies and Western pragmatism. The ITA encourages all serious eorts to formulate a comprehensive and integrated understanding of the cosmos and of human nature. In practice, the ITA works to facilitate the application of the new principles and conceptual frameworks to therapy, scientic research, education, spiritual practice, economy, ecology, politics, and other areas of human life. The following groups can be mentioned as typical representatives of the ITA membership: 1. Psychiatrists and psychologists with a transpersonal orientation, interested in consciousness research, mystical states and other experiences of non-ordinary realities, metavalues and metamotivations, meditation and other forms of spiritual practice, clinical and laboratory techniques of inducing unusual states of consciousness, paranormal phenomena, therapeutic value of the death-rebirth process and unitive experiences, revisioning of everyday life, spiritual emergency, and other related subjects. 2. Physicians who are trying to overcome the mechanistic and overspecialized approaches of medicine and develop a holistic understanding of human beings, including the psychological, interpersonal, social, philosophical, and spiritual dimension. Such an orientation is usually associated with an interest in the healing potential of the organism, awareness of the relevance of emotional and transpersonal factors for the disease process, and exploration of alternative approaches to therapy. An important task of the medically oriented members of the ITA is to develop models of the mind, body, and the central nervous system that would bridge the present gap between biology, medicine, and transpersonal psychology. 3. Scientists exploring the philosophical implications of

modern physics, the nature of reality, the relationship between consciousness and matter, the role of creative intelligence in the universe, and the convergence of modern science and mysticism. 4. Anthropologists holding a transpersonal orientation, studying shamanic practices, rites of passage, spiritual healing ceremonies, trance phenomena, aboriginal technologies of inducing non-ordinary states of consciousness, and development of paranormal abilities by individuals and entire groups, or native religions, mythologies, and cosmologies. 5. Educators interested in the application of the principles and techniques of transpersonal psychology to education and to the process of enhancing learning capacity and creativity. 6. Theologians, priests, spiritual teachers, and creative thinkers interested in direct experiences of spiritual realities and techniques of inducing them, as well as in attempting to bridge the gap between spirituality, philosophy, and science. 7. Practitioners of complementary medicine, holistic health, and alternative health modalities who seek to understand and treat the whole human being. 8. Sociologists, economists, ecologists, politicians, philosophers, and members of other groups trying to develop conceptual systems and practical approaches that can help to overcome the antagonism between individuals and groups separated by racial, sexual, cultural, social, and political dierences or economic interests, and facilitate interpersonal, international, and interspecies synergy, as well as ecological harmony. 9. Musicians, painters, sculptors, dancers, poets, and other artists who are interested in conveying through various media the nature of transpersonal experiences or transpersonal philosophy. 10. Individuals who have paranormal abilities, have had episodes of non-ordinary states of consciousness or are involved in systematic spiritual practice and search for a deeper understanding of their personal process or are willing to share their experiences with interested researchers and audiences. Theoretical Position and General Strategy of the ITA 1. To emphasize inner life, quality of the human experience, self-actualization, and the evolution of consciousness, as compared to a one-sided focus on the quantity and quality of external material indicators,

International Transpersonal Association

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 59

2.

3.

4.

5.

and to acknowledge the importance of spiritual needs and impulses as integral aspects of human nature. To recognize subjective experiences and introspection as valid sources of scientic data. To respect every individuals right to pursue the spiritual path and choose his or her own approach to self-discovery. This is based on the assumption that systematic self-exploration conducted with integrity and honesty will eventually lead to the recognition of the unity underlying creation and result in a better adjustment of the individual to family members, fellow humans, and nature than externally imposed and enforced rules and restrictions. To explore and develop safe and eective techniques of in-depth self-exploration and inner transformation and to make these approaches available as a complement to the typical Western strategies of problem-solving that rely entirely on manipulation and control of the external world. To encourage and emphasize complementarity, synergy, and cooperation versus antagonism and competition, a holistic approach versus the focus on isolated aspects of reality, and harmonious tuning into the cosmic process versus manipulative intervention. To maintain an open-minded approach to the exploration of the world unimpeded by rigid adherence to the existing paradigms. This is based on the recognition that reality is innitely more complex than any scientic theory can describe and that theoretical models of any kind are just temporary approximations and integrations of the data known at a particular time; they can never represent an accurate, exhaustive, and nal description of objective reality. Specic Goals of the ITA To create a network of cooperating organizations in dierent countries of the world that would locally organize lectures, seminars, and workshops with transpersonal focus. To facilitate international exchange of information in the form of guest lecturers, researchers, students, books, journals, articles, lms, and tapes. To apply the transpersonal theory and its specic practical approaches to the pressing problems in the world, particularly reducing the political tensions and the danger of wars, helping various underprivileged groups, and alleviating the ecological crisis. To publish an international journal reecting the basic philosophy of the ITA.

5. To organize and coordinate international research project focusing on crosscultural comparison of various transpersonal phenomena, such as spiritual practices, healing ceremonies, culture-bound forms of transpersonal states, rites of passage, attitudes toward death, near-death-experiences, paranormal performances, etc. 6. To encourage the establishment of chairs and departments at universities and other teaching facilities oering transpersonally oriented courses and training. 7. To continue the tradition of the International Transpersonal Conferences. The past thirteen conferences were held in Iceland, Finland, Brazil, Australia, India, Switzerland, Japan, USA, Czechoslovakia, and Ireland. 8. To raise funds for an International Center for Transpersonal Studies to be established in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is an ambitious and longterm project and the ITA board deeply appreciates any advice and assistance in this regard. Death and Rebirth of the ITA After the 2004 International Transpersonal Conference in Palm Springs, CA, the ITA dissolved as an organization when Stan and Christina Grof did not want to invest time and energy into yet another transpersonal conference and none of their transpersonal friends who they approached was willing to take on the task. The death of ITA was noticed when it became apparent to two individuals that there was a lacuna created by its absence. Specically, Harris Friedman, Editor of the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies (see <transpersonalstudies.org>), was looking for an organization to sponsor this journal after Saybrook Graduate School, its previous owner, had some nancial diculties and withdrew its commitment to the journal. It occurred to Friedman that an international journal would be best sponsored by an international organization, something he began to discuss with the then Managing Editor of the IJTS, Glenn Hartelius, as well as other members of the journals editorial board, particularly Les Lancaster, IJTSs Coordinating Editor, who accepted the role of exploring how to use the journals website to link the international transpersonal communityand who also received a small grant from the British Psychological Society to fund this eort. Simultaneously David Luko, Co-president of ATP, began to explore the possibility of forming a new

1.

2.

3.

4.

60

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Grof, Friedman, Luko, & Hartelius

international organization, which led to his creating a google group (see http://atpweb.org/googlegroup/) for what he called the International Associations of Transpersonal Psychology, which was conceptualized to become an organization of organizations, uniting the various other worldwide transpersonal organizations. At the World Congress of Spirituality and Psychology held in Delhi, India in January 2008, Luko sponsored a meeting to discuss forming such a group, which was well attended, including by Friedman, Hartelius, Lancaster, Luko, and many others. As a follow-up to that meeting, there was discussion on the google group from some of the meetings participants, as well as others who joined in, regarding the shape and direction of such a new organization. Friedman advocated exploring a resurrection of the ITA name and, after much debate on the google group, it was decided to name the new organization ITA, after the original ITAand to continue the ITA tradition, including its conferences. Stan Grof gave his blessing to the idea and Friedman oered to solicit funding from the Floraglades Foundation, a nonprot organization that owns IJTS, to incorporate ITA again, this time as a Florida nonprot. The participants on the google group agreed to support this plan with initial ocers being Friedman serving as its President, Luko as Vice President, and Hartelius as Secretary and Treasurerand with the initial ocers being the incorporating board. ITAs Future After incorporation occurs,1 a number of future steps are anticipated. First, a mission statement and other documents for the newly resurrected ITA need to be developed or further specied. All involved in this discussion seem to agree that extending the tradition of holding international transpersonal conferences is a high priority and already there is discussion of holding the next such conference in either Brazil or Russia. In addition, an expansion of the ITA board to include leaders from the global transpersonal community is in line, as is development of a website that can link the international transpersonal community. Current plans call for a transfer of the IJTS to ITA; as part of this transition, Friedman will relinquish the journals editor role to devote more time to presiding over ITA, while Hartelius has agreed to replace Friedman as IJTSs editor. All in all, these are exciting times for the international transpersonal community and everyone interested is invited to participate in ITAs newly unfolding future.

Note oooo 1. The ITA was incorporated on May 27, 2008. About the Authors Stan Grof, MD, is a psychiatrist with more than fty years of experience in research of non-ordinary states of consciousness induced by psychedelic substances and various non-pharmacological methods. Currently, he is Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco and Wisdom University in Oakland, CA, conducts professional training programs in holotropic breathwork and transpersonal psychology, and gives lectures and seminars worldwide. He is one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology and the founding president of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA). In October 2007, he received the prestigious Vision 97 Award from the Dagmar and Vaclav Havel Foundation in Prague. Among his publications are over 140 papers in professional journals and the books Realms of the Human Unconscious; LSD Psychotherapy; The Adventure of Self-Discovery; Beyond the Brain; The Cosmic Game; Psychology of the Future; When the Impossible Happens; The Ultimate Journey; Spiritual Emergency; and The Stormy Search for the Self (the last two with Christina Grof). He may be reached at: stanG@infoasis.com. Harris Friedman, PhD, received his degree from Georgia State University in psychology. He is Research Professor of Psychology at University of Florida, as well as Professor Emeritus at Saybrook Graduate School and a licensed psychologist. He has written over 100 articles and book chapters, focusing primarily on scientic approaches to transpersonal psychology. He has also authored the Self-Expansiveness Level Form, a widely-used measure of transpersonal self-concept, and edits the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. He may be reached at harrisfriedman@oraglades.org. David Luko, PhD, is a and Professor of Psychology at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and a licensed psychologist in California. He is author of 70 articles and chapters on spiritual issues and mental health, co-author of the DSM-IV category Religious or Spiritual Problem, co-president of the Institute for Spirituality and Psychology and of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology, and maintains the Spiritual

International Transpersonal Association

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 61

Competency Resource Center at www.spiritualcompetency.com Glenn Hartelius is Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA, and secretary of the newly re-formed International Transpersonal Association. The focus of his research is in the areas of consciousness studies, somatic psychology, phenomenology, intersubjective inquiry, the participatory paradigm, post-Cartesian philosophy, and transpersonal psychology. He may be reached at ghartelius@mac.com.

62

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Grof, Friedman, Luko, & Hartelius

Approaches to Transpersonal Psychotherapy: Introduction to Special Topic Section


Harris Friedman
University of Florida Gainesville, FL, USA

Glenn Hartelius
Institute of Transpersonal Psychology Palo Alto, CA, USA
ranspersonal psychotherapy, as the practical application of transpersonal psychology, has arguably received less attention in transpersonal literature than the broad conceptual frameworks of the discipline. Yet it is the clinical embodiments of transpersonal principles that have the potential to bring transformative energies into the practice of psychology. As a small contribution toward this enterprise, this issues special topic section presents ve very diverse papers focused on transpersonal psychotherapy. Liora Birnbaum, Aiton Birnbaum, and Ofra Mayseless explicate a way to understand various levels of bringing spirituality into psychotherapy in their paper, The Role of Spirituality in Mental Health Interventions: A Developmental Perspective. This clearly-presented stage model can serve as a useful guide for experienced transpersonal psychotherapists who seek to better conceptualize their own way of introducing transpersonal content into therapeutic arenas. It may also provide encouragement to psychotherapists who have been thus far hesitant to introduce a transpersonal approach into their work to sense a way to both begin working in this mode, as well as oering insight into how deeper engagement of this sort might be accomplished. Jos M. Tirado, in his paper titled, The Buddhist Notion of Emptiness and its Potential Contribution to Psychology and Psychotherapy, contrasts Western and Eastern views of the individual, focusing on how overly-narrow and reied Western views of the self as an isolated monad may lead to psychological diculties which, in turn, might be remedied by Eastern views and their related practices, particularly as derived from the rich insights stemming from the Buddhist tradition.

Specically, this could lead to the recognition of a dierently conceived and constructed sense of self as part of healing in psychotherapy. In contrast to how transpersonal studies so often turn to the rich insights within Eastern cultures while ignoring the equally rich and often forgotten Western spiritual traditions, Dennis Patrick Slattery explores the applicability of a classic poem in his paper, Dantes Terza Rima in The Divine Comedy: The Road of Therapy. The map provided in this poem, which is much more than a mere cognitive map but, rather, a coherent literary device to alter consciousness, operates through a constantly oscillating rhythm uniting past, present, and future in a tapestry of history, memory, mimesis, and myth. Together, these can serve as a transpersonal guide to the journey clients take in psychotherapy, as they learn to relate their personal narratives of past, present, and possible future selves to the heartbeat of their more mundane lives and their higher spirituality. In the Integral Approach to Mental Suering, Laura Boggio Gilot proposes a model of psychological suering that unites scientic psychology and meditative wisdom. Through comparing these disparate traditions, she expands both developmental and psychotherapeutic theory, providing many insights applicable to the practice of psychotherapy. Last, Andre Salom, in The Therapeutic Potentials of a Museum Visit, outlines the transformational potential of museums. As the repository of archetypal objects, museums can elicit transpersonal experiences and can be used as part of psychotherapy to promote expanded awareness and transpersonal growth.

International International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 27, 2008, pp. 63-64 Journal of Transpersonal Studies 63

Together, these ve papers share a common theme, namely that the range of possibilities for developing and rening transpersonal approaches to psychotherapy are only in the beginning stage of being explored. It is our hope that this special topic section will stimulate such exploration and encourage psychotherapists to creatively reach out with avowedly transpersonal approaches in their work. Harris Friedman, Editor University of Florida Glenn Hartelius, Editor Institute of Transpersonal Psychology

64

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Friedman & Hartelius

The Role of Spirituality in Mental Health Interventions: A Developmental Perspective


Liora Birnbaum
Kfar Yona, Israel

Aiton Birnbaum
Kfar Yona, Israel

Ofra Mayseless
Haifa University Haifa, Israel This article presents a four-level developmental description of the extent to which clinicians apply spirituality in therapy. At the rst level, clinicians begin to sense dissonance regarding their traditional, positivist worldview while conducting conventional psychotherapy, especially in cases involving life-threatening situations or loss. At the second level, clinicians open up to the possibility of the existence of a metaphysical reality and to spiritual/transpersonal beliefs expressed by clients. At the third level, clinicians may cautiously contact this transcendental reality and seek ways to utilize this dimension to access information relevant to therapy. At the fourth level, clinicians actively engage in implementing transpersonal interventions aimed at facilitating change and healing. These levels of integration are delineated along with inherent changes in therapist worldview, perceived professional role, and relevant dilemmas.
here is a large body of empirical evidence suggesting links between spiritual and religious experiences and health (Miller, 1999; Koening & Larson, 2001; Koening, McCullough, & Larson, 2001; Pargament, 1997), thus underscoring the important role of patients spirituality in their mental health. In clinical practice, too, greater attention is being placed on the role of religious faith and spirituality in an eort to humanize psychotherapy (Beck, 2003) and to bring a more comprehensive and holistic approach to intervention (Frame, 2003; Miller, 1999, 2003; Richards & Bergin, 1997, 2004; Shafranske, 1996; Sperry, 2001). Internationally, mental health professional associations have highlighted the need for developing sensitivity to this life dimension (Culliford, 2002) because: in every human being there seems to be a spiritual dimension, a quality that goes beyond religious aliation that strives for inspiration, reverence, awe, meaning and purpose, even in those who do not believe in God (Murray & Zentner, 1989, p. 259). For example, in a longitudinal study by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI, 2004) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),

112,000 undergraduate students at 236 colleges around the United States (US) were surveyed in order to understand their perceptions of spirituality and its role in their lives. Most students demonstrated a remarkably high level of interest and participation in the spiritual domain, with many involved in a spiritual search and/or a search for meaning and goals in life, and reporting a sense of commitment to relevant beliefs. Moreover, they arrived at the university with the expectation that their academic pursuits would further not only accumulation of theoretical or professional knowledge but also enhance their spiritual development. Similarly in a smaller, clinical sample of seriously ill patients with diagnoses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, unipolar depression, schizoaective disorder, and personality disorder (Koening & Larson, 2001), 60% reported that religion/spirituality, including transpersonal beliefs, had a signicant positive impact on their illness. Thus, there is growing recognition that spirituality represents a central factor in individuals lives and of the need to take it into consideration in mental health interventions. It is, however, as yet unclear how this

International International Mental Health Interventions Spirituality inJournal of Transpersonal Studies, 27, 2008, pp. 65-73 Journal of Transpersonal Studies 65

sensitivity to the spiritual domain might be implemented and what might constitute a full acknowledgement of this dimension in individual psychotherapy (see discussions by Corbett & Stein, 2005; Elkins, 2005; Epstein, 1995; Germer, Siegal, & Fulton, 2005; Luko & Lu, 2005; Miller, 1999; Shafranske & Sperry, 2005; Welwood, 1985, 2002). In this paper we present a conceptual discussion of the possible ways by which spirituality might be (and has been) incorporated in mental health interventions. We suggest a developmental approach involving various levels of integrating spirituality into mental health practice. Successive levels denote a more comprehensive and perhaps advanced stage in the introduction of spirituality into the sphere of mental health. The various levels representation of increased spiritual understanding and use of relevant concepts and techniques in therapy may also be seen to reect parallel shifts in attitude and practice evident in the world of psychology. They also mirror gradual shifts in the way clinicians perceive themselves as helpers and the nature of the service they provide their clients. We have identied four such levels of spirituality integration, which can be briey described as follows: (a) Dissonance: The clinician maintains their traditional materialist position but senses dissonance between its implications and the needs of clients in certain extreme situations; (b) Opening up: The clinician acknowledges the validity of diverse world views, including the existence of a transcendent or transpersonal reality, and passively accepts and responds to clients spiritual material; (c) Contact with caution: The clinician actively acquires knowledge about the self in treatment through various spiritual channels, for example, accessing altered states of consciousness; (d) Engaged: The clinician is able to fully integrate and implement transpersonal interventions to promote health and empower clients. Each of these levels is related to ontological and epistemological shifts and also involves various ethical dilemmas as to the nature and purpose of intervention and the techniques used, as well as the nature of the relationship between clinician and client change. Dissonance ne reason for the neglect of the spiritual dimension by mental health professionals has to do with the th 19 century positivist worldview regarding the material world as the only existing world. Within this paradigm there was no room for the metaphysical. The soul was basically seen as derived from the physical body or, within

O
66

a dualistic approach, as separate but dependent on the body; when the body dies, everything (mental world, soul) ceases to exist. Spiritual experiences and beliefs were mostly seen as reecting anomalous activity of the mind or brain, or as a sort of delusional belief. In the rst case (anomalous mind or brain activity), these experiences or beliefs (e.g., talking to someone who does not exist in material reality) might have been seen as reecting disease or drug abuse. In the second case (delusional thinking), well functioning individuals who believe in the existence of a metaphysical, transcendental world were often seen as deranged, irrational, or as lying to themselves in this specic domain. Such illogical beliefs were attributed to a fear of death and diculty to accept the truth that we completely cease to exist once we die. Alternatively, when such ideas were part of a recognized religious belief system, their validity was neither contested nor accepted; they were conceived to be outside the domain of valid scientic knowledge: There are things you know and there are things you believe in (Mayseless, 2006). (Yet we note that clinical interventions within a religious framework by priests, ministers, rabbis, or pastors did openly acknowledge and use the spiritual and transpersonal dimensions all along, [Koening, McCullough, & Larson, 2001].) Interestingly, there were certain situations in clinical practice that seemed to allow the use of patients spiritual beliefs in the existence of a higher power and /or another reality without raising undue criticism. These were conditions of existential crisis and life threatening situations such as terminal illness, loss or grief, or contemplation of suicide. In such cases, issues related to meaning, higher purpose in life, the existence of a higher being, life after physical death, and other spiritual concerns are quite common. In the case of suicide contemplation, for example, Birnbaum and Birnbaum (2005) identied central concerns regarding relationship with God (perceived as forgiving, punishing, guiding, or containing), belief in reincarnation, and life after death. Such situations were open to diverse interventions based on patients spiritual beliefs or those oered by therapists. Perception of a continuing relationship with a deceased person, a search for a higher purpose or mission in life, and the concept of God or a higher power and its relationship with the individual have long been perceived as intuitive and integral parts of the therapeutic discourse in these particular situations. The same goes for the famous 12-step approach to addictions, which was

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Birnbaum, Birmbaum, & Mayseless

built upon acceptance of, and reliance on, a higher power (Miller, 1999). The question is: Why? What is it in these circumstances that shields them from practitioner resistance and condemnation of irrational spiritual beliefs? There seem to be three relevant themes in such life threatening situations that allow clinicians to go beyond their dominant materialist beliefs: (1) These cases are usually perceived as crises that demand individuals ultimate inner resources of strength, including their spiritual beliefs, which receive legitimacy in light of the crisis; (2) The human quest for hope in such situations calls for solutions beyond human control and rational perception; if practitioners adhered to their usual reality perception, no hope, solace or consolation would be forthcoming; (3) Compassion towards seriously ill or dying people relaxes practitioners judgmental criteria; individuals are given the privilege of observing their lives from a transcendental-holistic perspective without having to worry about being seen as irrational. In sum, at this rst level, spiritual beliefs and concerns are usually not evoked by the clinician but are acknowledged and allowed without criticism due to extreme situations. Of course this delineation is highly prototypical and, hence, may not do justice to the exibility with which many clinicians actually exhibit when spiritual issues are raised in therapy. The point we are making is that at this level professionals typical ontological assumptions (only the material exists; the mental world dies when the body dies) and epistemological beliefs (we cannot get information from deceased people, higher beings, or a cosmic, universal wisdom) signicantly limit the therapeutic process. Their inuence may be all the more powerful and insidious since they are often not openly acknowledged or stated, yet they are likely to aect both style and content of therapy (e.g., what is considered relevant and solicited in the evaluation and what is not, what receives attention or emphasis and what is downplayed or ignored, what is merely allowed and what is reinforced), thus coloring interpretations given, interventions oered, and the entire encounter. Some relevant questions and dilemmas relating to this level might include: Should clinicians accept nonscientic phenomena as legitimate? Should they honor such concerns and worldviews even if they clearly do not share them and actually think that they are fantastic creations of the imagination? For example, if a widow tells a therapist about her conversations with her late husband whom she believes contacts her from the other side,

should clinicians (as many do) interpret this as an internal conversation with her representation of her husband, or should they accept the possibility that the deceased actually exists in another dimension and continue from there to explore her possible relations with him in other incarnations? Opening Up he second phase in the inclusion of spiritual facets in mental health interventions involves a personal paradigm shift on the part of the clinician. In this stage, therapists can place spirituality and psychology side-byside. This requires that they relinquish the positivism and empiricism characteristic of the previous stage in favor of a post-modern or existential-humanistic position (Capra, 1983; Lorimer, 1998; Ravindra, 2000). From such a post-positivist view, the clinician can question the validity of 19th century empirical science, realizing that there is no objective reality, only interpretations of realities. Hence, a clients view of realityhis or her life story or narrativeis what matters, and clinicians cannot and should not disqualify it, just as they cannot and should not convince a client who believes in God or in a certain religious tradition that this is simply a subjective, non-valid belief. According to this view, a spiritual or transcendental reality can be accepted as a legitimate worldview to be explored in therapy if and when the client raises such issues. If an existential-humanistic view is adopted, and especially if the assumptions of transpersonal psychology are considered (Wilber, 1977), the paradigm shift involves entertaining the possibility that a spiritual sphere actually exists and may be explored. A clinician at this level would assert that if spiritual phenomena or beliefs have any inuence on the mental and physical world, there should be no obstacles in the way of assessing this inuence via accepted research methodologies (Mayseless, 2006). In line with this view is the large body of research examining associations between spiritual activities such as meditation and varied physical and mental states. Studies have described the impact of meditation on the nervous system, including changes of brain waves, changes of perception, improvement of emotional regulation, and more (Anand, China, & Singh, 1961; Brown & Engler, 1986; Davidson, KabatZinn, & Schumacher, 2003; Kasamatsu & Harari, 1966; Lutz, Greschar, Rawlings, Ricard, & Davidson, 2004). Scientic inquiry into the relationship between spiritual, mental, and physical aspects of reality has taken many other forms. For example, Sabom (1982) and

Spirituality in Mental Health Interventions

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 67

vanLommel, Wees, Meyers, and Elerich (2001) have researched near death experiences. Schwartz and Simon (2002) have conducted experiments examining scientic evidence for life after death via channeling. Stevenson (1997) reported on work with children suggestive of reincarnation. Though these studies may not furnish conclusive evidence for spiritual beliefs, they reect the capacity to apply scientic methodology to the eld. One of the most rigorous attempts of this kind is the series of experiments examining anomalous processes of information or energy transfer (i.e., telepathy; Bem & Honorton, 1994, p. 4), and Schnidt, Schneider, Utts, and Walachs (2004) meta-analysis of experiments examining the feeling of being stared at by a distant observer in another room. These experiments provided evidence for a small but reliable eect of information or energy transfer that cannot be explained by current scientic theories. In accordance with this ontological and epistemological shift (i.e., accepting the possibility that a spiritual realm exists), some researchers have experimented with interventions reecting such change. An interesting example can be found in a recent study where dreams were interpreted in a series of clinical sessions using either a spiritual or a non-spiritual approach (Davis & Hill, 2005). The study used a controlled prepost design and concluded by suggesting the benet of incorporating spirituality into dream interpretation for spiritually oriented clients (p. 492). Another intriguing example can be found in the psychomanteum research conducted at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California (Hastings et al., 2002). A psychomanteum process involving mirror-gazing was used in a research setting to explore the possibility of facilitated contact with deceased friends and relatives and to collect data on these experiences and their eects on bereavement. The process included three stages: (1) talking about memories of the deceased, (2) sitting in a darkened room gazing into a mirror while thinking of the deceased, and (3) discussing the resulting process with the clinician. The study reported strong experiences and a few apparent contacts. Obviously, such research not only challenges practitioners limits in terms of their beliefs, but it may also raise several dilemmas: To what extent should their openness to a metaphysical reality be expressed in the therapy room? Is it necessary for practitioners to stretch and modify their own beliefs in order to meet clients spiritual needs and if so, to what extent? Should clinicians raise these possibilities actively or should they wait for

their clients to raise them and then follow them in their clinical interventions? An example of a clinician engaging his or her client from this second stage may be relevant. A doctor presented for therapy following traumatic exposure to severe physical injuries sustained by a young boy in a biking accident while under his care. After several sessions, the client reported that as he bent over the boys body and attempted to tend to his wounds and support him, he experienced the presence of a woman with long white hair telling him that he was in the right place and doing the right thing. He felt surrounded by love and was lled with a strong sense of inner compassion and calm. The therapist had not initiated exploration in such a direction and was not particularly oriented toward such metaphysical phenomena, but he reacted to the clients statement of his experience with complete acceptance and empathic amazement. In sum, the second level reects a conceptual shift that involves ceasing to relate to metaphysical phenomena and altered states of consciousness (channeling and contacts with alternative realities) as pathological responses. The possible acceptance of a metaphysical reality is reected in the writings of scholars about the fundamental wholeness and interconnectedness of human existence (Capra, 1983; Findlay, 2000; Powel, 2001). These scholars suggested that if we acknowledge the existence of such alter-reality, we should not only respect clients experiences in these domains but also ask ourselves as practitioners: What is the meaning of human existence and how do we actively implement our beliefs relating to these domains? Such questions lead us to our third level. Contact with Caution t the third level of incorporating spirituality into therapeutic practice, the common relationship between valid knowledge and invalid knowledge is shattered and spiritual/transpersonal ways of knowing are accepted as legitimate ways of understanding the world, the human experience, and gathering information about them. For example, in such a worldview, the Jungian concepts of the collective unconscious and archetypes might be accepted as legitimate and used as part of clinicians interpretations. The outlook of the clinician at this level corresponds with transpersonal and psychospiritual psychology as rst introduced by William James in 1905 (Benson, 1999). As a leading gure in modern psychology,

68

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Birnbaum, Birmbaum, & Mayseless

he introduced the possible existence of a dimension of the self that is beyond the conscious ego and through which the spiritual manifests itself. James concluded (and after him Jung, 1961) that our consciousness is a small and limited part of a wider consciousness. Around our conventional awareness and separated by a thin boundary lie other types of consciousness, giving access to other realities and knowledge. James sought to legitimize the study of the entire range of human experience including religious experience, mystical states, psychic phenomena, and non-Western conceptions of personality and consciousness. In line with this pioneering work, current conceptualizations of transpersonal experiences view them as going beyond the ordinary sense of identity or personality to encompass wider dimensions of the psyche and the cosmos (Wilber, 1977). At this level, the changed ontology is reected mostly in clinicians ways of knowingthat is, their epistemology. Clinicians may use various means of accessing transcendental knowledge about themselves, their clients, clinician-client relationships, and the best ways to help their clients. One spiritual way of knowing the world may include therapists ability to use altered states of consciousness to gain access to intuitive or transcendental knowledge (Sollod, 1993). The clinician may also openly accept and utilize knowledge accessed by the client through such channels. There are various techniques known to provide access to such knowledge about the self, such as the dierent types of meditation (Glickman, 2002; Germer, Siegal, & Fulton, 2005), as well as channeling and regression therapies (Jue, 1996). For example, mindfulness meditation entails clearing the mind and observing mental, emotional, or imaginary occurrences while accessing altered states of consciousness. The meditator may receive insights: some truth derived from a universal intelligence (or wisdom). The process is similar to the reective orientation advocated by most schools of psychotherapy. In the words of Epstein (1995), This examination is, by denition, psychological. Its object is to question the true nature of the self and to end the production of self-created mental suering. (p.3). Insights derived from access to altered states of consciousness may be expected to include new perspectives and more holistic and integrative insights regarding life issues and struggles. For example, in the case of a young woman who complained of a conictual relationship with her husband, the focus was the couples inability to share parenthood; the client felt her husband was withdrawing

and abandoning her to handle their three kids by herself. After a couple of sessions the feeling in the room was that therapy was not progressing. Between sessions, the therapist engaged in meditation focusing on the case and received information pointing toward the fathers fears about the oldest son (10 years old) being gay and his confusion about how to approach the matter. After some hesitation and tentative exploration around the issue, the therapist decided to share the results of her meditation with the client. The relevance of this issue was quickly conrmed and facilitated a dramatic shift in the course of therapy. In this phase, clinicians accept that an alterreality exists and that spiritual issues need to be addressed. They actively collect pertinent information via various channels but remain hesitant to use such data in therapeutic interventions with clients. They may well use spiritual dimensions when thinking about the clients presenting problems, yet they do not present themselves openly as spiritual or holistic therapists. Various reasons may underlie such hesitation even among clinicians who have gone beyond any residual conscious and unconscious doubts about spirituality characteristic of level two. They may lack knowledge and experience in implementing such interventions, and they may fear disapproval by potential clients and their professional community. In general, the clinician at this level may be described as a spiritual novice. In sum, in this phase of incorporating spirituality into therapy, clinicians acknowledge the existence of a spiritual realm and recognize and utilize the capacity to know more about the self and the universe through connection to higher levels of consciousness. They tend, however, to avoid actively and openly employing spiritual techniques in therapy sessions, and they use them only sporadically and with caution. For example, they may meditate to understand the clients situation and get help from what they perceive as higher wisdom or external guidance and use this information in their intervention without revealing the source of their insights to their clients. Some questions surfacing naturally at this level include: Who should collect the transcendental knowledge, and how should it be used? Is it the professional and ethical duty of the clinician to actively use their spiritual abilities for the benet of their clients? Should the clinician meditate on behalf of their clients, even if this was not part of the therapeutic contract? If so, what measures can the clinician use to assure this

Spirituality in Mental Health Interventions

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 69

knowledge is reliable? Should the client be asked to open up for such experiences (e.g., to meditate) and then discuss the experiences with the therapist? How active should clinicians be in bringing in their own spiritual worldview and knowledge? Should the clinician actively present the client with these ways of knowing? Engaged n this fourth level, spirituality is fully and actively incorporated in mental health interventions. Clients are helped to actively engage in exploring their relationship with the cosmos/higher power and therapists freely use their own power or connection with higher existence to facilitate healing. Such clinicians own a distinctly spiritual and holistic worldview, and actively apply it in dening clinician-client relationships, conceptualizing presenting problems, and introducing various techniques and interventions in and outside therapy sessions. The various spiritual denitions of the relationship and the therapeutic process, as well as the therapeutic techniques, are derived from healing traditions, which emphasize the central importance of the connection of all life to cosmic realities. In this view, healing is usually seen as restoring a condition of wholeness or harmony, in contrast to psychotherapeutic approaches that perceive human beings as isolated from universal and spiritual purposes (Sollod, 1993). The ways in which people are interconnected with one another (including with the therapist) can also be explored as part of the spiritual connection with the universal collective consciousness. This involves seeking meaning behind signicant relationships and life events in a dierent manner than the usual line of inquiry, simply because it relies on dierent assumptions regarding reality. From such a perspective, a search for an assumed pre-existing and higher common purpose, which emphasizes primarily spiritual connectedness and a natural unity between clinician and client, is common. (Birnbaum, 2005). For example, rather than the why me? question clients often ask regarding their problem (and therapists in reference to certain clients), clients may become aware of a sense of mission in their current life in which the current problem plays some role. The following questions can be asked: Assuming there is a higher purpose behind your life events and that they arent random, what do you think is the meaning of your illness/problem at this point in your life? What could be the meaning of the fact that the two of us are working together in this particular setting?

Therapists can ask themselves, How do I understand the assignment of this particular client to me, now? Clinicians and clients can work this way during ordinary waking consciousness (everyday mindfulness) and also using altered states of consciousness. Interconnectedness can be taken a step further when the therapist has expertise in entering dierent states of awareness and can use this ability to enhance a variety of therapeutic processes. In such states, clinicians rely on factors outside their ordinary ego to facilitate healing. They are then open to other states of receptivity, which may involve a deep feeling of unselsh love, enhanced sensitivity to the other, and contact with inner resources of compassion and understanding (Sollod, 1993), as well as transcendental knowledge. Clients too may be encouraged to use various techniques such as meditation, channeling, past life regression (Jue, 1996), or other healing procedures to nd out about themselves, about their problems and about the universe. This phase of incorporating spirituality in therapy raises specic ethical and professional issues. If clients can be encouraged to acquire such skills, which clients are appropriate for it? Can every client benet from some form of spiritual self-inquiry? What would indications and contraindications for this be, in terms of the client and their life circumstances? With what cultural and special populations and problems, at what ages and developmental stages, and at what point in therapy might such interventions be more or less appropriate? Finally, this phase may represent the apex of clinicians professional-spiritual development and the development of their self-identity. At this stage, therapists may have a sort of identity crisis (or opportunity), as they wonder: Am I a therapist or a healer? Is my therapeutic work geared toward problem solving or toward a spiritual quest? Are these two distinct ways to achieve transformation of the self? How do I as a clinician dene myself, the type of work I do and the kind of service I provide for my clients? Discussion our levels of therapist incorporation of spirituality in mental health practice have been suggested and illustrated. The rst two levels represent primarily epistemological and ontological shifts in clinicians worldviews, while the next two levels reect translation of the continuing shift into action. The four levels taken together are viewed as developmental. They involve a

70

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Birnbaum, Birmbaum, & Mayseless

gradual increase in the centrality of spirituality in mental health intervention, each presenting dierent associated professional dilemmas, ways of conceptualizing the relationship, and roles clinicians play in therapy. Important implications relating to this developmental process revolve around two major themes: similarities and dierences between psychotherapy and healing and the changes implied by this model in the realm of the therapeutic relationship. Sollod (1993) has suggested that the similarities between psychotherapy and healing have to do with the therapeutic situation, involving a client with a problem and a helper who is viewed as the potential healer. However, following Welwood (1985), we might want to distinguish between the processes of psychotherapy and of spiritual quest. Are these simply two dierent approaches to achieve mental health and personal fulllment? In a lecture on mindfulness and healing, Epstein (2005) provided an interesting working assumption that identies the need to employ spiritual techniques: You cant solve a problem with the same consciousness that created it. His approach emphasizes that healing is about our relationship with and attitude toward our experiences, among them our illness. He argued that people who seek cure are those who look for a way to get rid of the sickness and make it disappear, whereas people who seek to heal themselves engage in a journey of exploring and studying their true self. Such a mindful journey encourages the client to ask: Is there a meaning and a message behind what is happening in my mind? What is the opportunity? How can the problem serve as a vehicle to healing? In other words, Epstein talks about healing the whole for the sake of curing the ill part. In this approach, the clinician is not viewed just as a therapist or a practitioner but as a healer. Thus, the dierent developmental levels discussed in this paper may also be conceived as involving changes in the role of the clinician from curing to healing. The shifts in understanding, learning, and treating necessarily lead also to a change in clinicians professional identity and self-perception. Therapists who perceive themselves and their role dierently may be expected to structure dierent types of relationships with their clients while trying to sort out some of the dilemmas connected to spiritual practices. For example, Sollod (1993) suggested that in cases where altered states of consciousness are used in the course of therapy, there is no clear separation between the processes of the healer and those of the client, and these lead occasionally to

the point of mindful fusion. This unusual fusion contradicts the focus in traditional dynamic approaches on dierentiation between therapist and client. Even if we were to set aside such untraditional phenomena, mutual implementation of spiritual practices in therapy can be seen as an aspect of human interconnectedness with the potential to transform the clinician-client relationship into a mutual spiritual journey. Birnbaum and Birnbaum (2005) suggested that spiritual practices, which demand special qualications, should be carried out only by trained professionals and that careful appraisal should be employed as some of these practices and ways of viewing the world may not be suitable for everyone. Spiritually-oriented and trained clinicians should be able to assess, using the various spiritual means at their disposal, whether their clients are ready and open to view the world from a transpersonal perspective and to use transpersonal ways of knowing in the therapeutic session. Clinicians will obviously collect and use information from the various sources they believe in (both traditional and spiritual), but the introduction of dierent ways of thinking and working on the problem or illness should be guided rst and foremost by the needs and mental and spiritual condition of the client. The view presented here is an attempt to integrate the dierent voices that are raised in reference to spirituality and therapy and to make sense of the various modes in which spiritually-sensitive therapists work. We do not, however, suggest that all clinicians should examine themselves according to our proposed model and nd ways to acquire transpersonal strategies. It may well be that the incorporation of spirituality in clinical work best begins naturally with the clinicians awareness of clients spiritual needs, and that empathic and sensitive clinicians would not ignore such needs regardless of their personal religious or spiritual preference or lack thereof. The diverse changes discussed here might serve to encourage us all to expand our views regarding the situation in which one human being seeks help from another. Clinicians need not experience themselves as healers if they feel detached from certain connotations associated with that concept; however, they should take into account that there is more to mental health than the therapy of the psyche.

Spirituality in Mental Health Interventions

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 71

References Anand, B.K., China, G.S., & Singh, B. (1961). Some aspects of electroencephalographic studies in yogis. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophisiology, 13, 452-456. Beck, J. R. (2003). Self and soul: Exploring the boundary between psychotherapy and spiritual formation. Journal of Psychology and Theory, 31(1), 24-36. Bem, D.J., & Honorton, C. (1994). Does Psi exist? Replicable evidence for an anomalous process of information transfer. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 4-18. Benson, J. (1999). Transpersonal and psycho-spiritual psychology. In Canada, E. R. & Furman, L. (Eds.), Spiritual diversity in social work practice: The heart of helping (pp.117-127). New York: The Free Press. Birnbaum, L. (2005). Connecting to inner guidance: Mindfulness meditation and transformation of professional self-concept in social work students. Critical Social Work, 6(2). Retrieved January, 2006, from<http://www.uwindsor.ca/units/socialwork/ critical.nsf/EditDoNotShowInTOC/EF84B5D9853 93C9285257017001BBEC6> Birnbaum, L., & Birnbaum, A. (2005). The technique of guided mindfulness meditation in suicide. In J. Merrick & G. Zalsman (Eds.), Suicidal behavior in adolescence (pp. 331-348). London: Freund. Brown, D., & Engler, J. (1986). The stages of mindfulness meditation: A validation study. In K. Wilber, J. Engler & D. Brown (Eds.), Transformation of consciousness (pp. 161-217). Boston: New Science Library/Shambhala. Capra, F. (1983). The turning point: Science, society and rising culture. London: Harper Collins. Corbett, L., & Stein, M. (2005). Contemporary Jungian approaches to spiritually oriented psychotherapy. In L. Sperry & E. P. Shafranske (Eds.), Spiritually oriented psychotherapy (pp. 51-74). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Culliford, L. (2002). Spiritual care and psychiatric treatment: An introduction. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 8, 249-261. Davidson, R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., & Schumacher, J. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65(4), 564-570. Davis, T.L., & Hill, C. E. (2005). Spiritual and nonspiritual approaches to dream work: Eects on clients well-being. Journal of Counseling and Development, 83, 492-503.

Elkins, D.N. (2005). A humanistic approach to spirituality oriented psychotherapy. In L. Sperry & E. P. Shafranske (Eds.), Spiritually oriented psychotherapy (pp. 131-152). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Epstein, M. (1995). Thoughts without a thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective. New York: Basic Books. Epstein, P. (2005, March). The healing journey meets the spiritual journey. Paper presented at the New York Insight Meditation Center, New York City, NY. Frame, M. W. (2003). Integrating religion and spirituality into counseling. Pacic Grove, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. Findlay, C. (2000). Black swans, spirituality and health care: Towards appropriate interdisciplinary research methodologies and healing cultures. Parapraxis, 6(2). Retrieved 4/22/06 from <http//www.keele.ac.uk/ depts./pc/parapraxisv6i2.htm#ndlay> Germer, C. K., Siegal, R. D., & Fulton, P. R. (Eds.). (2005). Mindfulness and psychotherapy. New York: Guilford Press. Glickman, M. (2002). Beyond the breath: Extraordinary mindfulness through whole-body vipassana meditation. Boston: Journey Editions. Hastings, A., Hutton, M., Braud, W., Bennett, C., Berk, I., Boynton, T., Dawn, C., Ferguson, E., Goldman, A., Greene, E., Hewett, M., Lind, V., McLellan, K., & Stenbach-Humphrey, S. (2002). Psychomanteum research: Experiences and eects on bereavement. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 45(3), 211-227. Higher Education Research Institute (2004). The spiritual life of college students: A national study of college students search for meaning and purpose. Retrieved December 7, 2006, from heri@ucla.edu. Jue, R. W. (1996). Past-life therapy. In B. W. Scotton, A. B. Chinen, & J. R. Battista (Eds.), Textbook of transpersonal psychiatry and psychology (pp. 377-387). New York: Basic Books. Jung, C. G. (1961). Memories, dreams, reections. New York: Random House. Kasamatsu, A., & Harari, T. (1966). An electroencephalographic study on the Zen meditation. Folia Psychiatria et Neurologica Japonica, 20, 315-336. Koening, H. G., & Larson, D. B. (2001). Religion and mental health: Evidence for an association. International Review of Psychiatry, 13, 67-78. Koening, H. G., McCullough, M.E., & Larson, D. B. (2001). Handbook of religion and health. New York: Oxford University Press.

72

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Birnbaum, Birmbaum, & Mayseless

Lorimer, D. (1998). The spirit of science: From experiment to experience. Edinburgh, UK: Floris Books. Luko, D., & Lu, F. (2005). A transpersonal integrative approach to spiritually oriented psychotherapy. In L. Sperry & E. P. Shafranske (Eds.), Spiritually oriented psychotherapy (pp. 177-206). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Lutz, A., Greischar, L. L., Rawlings, N. B., Ricard, M., & Davidson, R. J. (2004). Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 101(46), 16369-16373. Retrieved May 5, 2005, from www. quantumconsciousness.org/EEGmeditation.htm Mayseless, O. (2006). Can scientic methodology be applied to research spirituality? Paper presented at the 6th conference of the Israeli Association for History and Philosophy of Science. Jerusalem, Israel. Miller, G. (2003). Incorporating spirituality into counseling and psychotherapy. New York: Wiley. Miller, W. R. (1999). Integrating spirituality into treatment: Resources for practitioners. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Murray, R. B., & Zentner, J. P. (1989). Nursing concepts for health promotion. London: Prentice Hall. Pargament, K. (1997). The psychology of religion and coping: Theory, research, practice. New York: Guilford Press. Powel, A. (2001). Spirituality and science: A personal view. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 7, 319-321. Ravindra, R. (2000). Science and the sacred. Wheaton. IL: Theosophical Publishing House. Richards, P. S., & Bergin, A. E. (1997). A spiritual strategy for counseling and psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Richards, P. S., & Bergin, A. E. (Eds.). (2004). Religion and psychotherapy: A case book. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Sabom, M. B. (1982). Recollections of death: A medical investigation. New York: Harper and Row. Schnidt, S., Schneider, R., Utts, J., & Walach, H. (2004). Distant intentionality and the feeling of being stared at: Two meta-analyses. British Journal of Psychology, 95, 235-247. Schwartz, G.E., & Simon, W.L. (2002). The afterlife experiments. New York: Pocket Books. Shafranske, P. E. (Ed.). (1996). Religion and the clinical practice of psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association,

Sollod, R.N. (1993). Integrating spiritual healing approaches and techniques into psychotherapy. Retrieved 4/22/06 from <http://www.com/psyrelig/ solld2.html> Sperry, L. (2001). Spirituality in clinical practice. Philadelphia: Brunner-Routledge. Sperry, L., & Shafranske, E. P. (Eds). (2005). Spiritually oriented psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, Stevenson, I. (1997). Where reincarnation and biology intersect. Westport, CT: Praeger. van Lommel, P., van Wees, R., Meyers, V., & Elerich, I. (2001). Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: A prospective study in the Netherlands. The Lancet, 358, 2039-2045. Welwood, J. (Ed.). (1985). Awakening the heart. Boston: Shambhala. Welwood, J. (2002). Toward a psychology of awakening. Boston: Shambhala Wilber, K. (1977). The spectrum of consciousness. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books. About the Authors Liora Birnbaum, PhD, is a certied family therapist in private practice in Israel. She uses mindfulness to develop experiential working and learning methods in therapy and in students professional training. She publishes and presents her work internationally and was the rst to teach a course on spirituality and social work in Israel. Aiton Birnbaum, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Kfar Yonah, Israel, and an EMDREurope certied consultant in EMDR. He teaches college courses and publishes in the eld of psychology and Bible, focusing on topics relevant to clinical and community psychology such as trauma, loss, and positive psychology. Ofra Mayseless, PhD, is the Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Haifa, Israel. She is a certied clinical psychologist and a professor of Developmental Psychology. Her current research focuses on the caregiving/nurturing motivational system as it manifests itself in leadership, parenting, teaching, and role reversal, as well as in how it relates to the spiritual realm and spiritual development.

Spirituality in Mental Health Interventions

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 73

The Buddhist Notion of Emptiness and its Potential Contribution to Psychology and Psychotherapy
Jos M. Tirado
Saybrook Graduate School Hafnarfjordur, Iceland A growing number of psychologists now have their practices and theories informed by Buddhist meditation practices. These practices, however, are themselves deeply informed by the Buddhist notion of emptiness (nyat). This Buddhist concept oers a rich vein of possibilities in informing psychology and psychotherapy. The present paper examines the development and potential of this concept for inuencing these and other areas.

n his rst book, Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective, Epstein (1995) beautifully encapsulated within the titles rst clause a potentially innovative contribution to modern psychology. Within this intriguing statement are hints of the Buddhist concept of emptiness, including its possible benets, prospective applications, and impact on psychotherapy. For if there really is no thinker, who precisely is caught up in the snares of psychological illnesses? Elaborating on this question, Epstein has said that this emphasis on the lack of a particular, substantive agent is the most distinctive aspect of traditional Buddhist psychological thought (p. 41). He also suggested, correctly, that this Buddhist notion of a lack of self may point us toward a new understanding of consciousness. The Buddhist answer to this question of who suers might be posited as follows: the attachment to the sense of a thinker is the ultimate source of our illness, and therefore, upon release from this conning xation, our illness will subside. Yet to whom does this attachment or xation occur? Our very use of a language that requires subjects and objects, referring to essential entities and things, becomes problematic from a Buddhist standpoint because what is being pointed at is said to be insubstantial, possessed of an ineable nature. The potential contributions this notion might oer to the world of psychology and psychotherapy are therefore signicant. While the accumulation of material goods and the ever-increasing lling up of our lives with more invasive forms of entertainment and communication accelerates at seemingly breakneck speed, few would

suggest that our collective lives have become more whole. Even with an abundance of easily available psychotherapeutic modalities, hardly any would say we have become happier or less neurotic. Who can dismiss entirely the tongue-in-cheek title of a book co-penned by Jungian analyst James Hillman (Hillman & Ventura, 1993), Weve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the Worlds Getting Worse? Since Buddhism argues that grasping onto the notion of a self is at the root of the most essential existential human problem, Buddhist critiques of this notion of the self might helpfully address the narcissistic emphases of psychology. These critiques are salient because, as Epstein (1995) stated, the overwhelming dis-ease of the human condition is narcissism, which he dened in part as the inability to tolerate unpleasant truths about oneself (p. 48). According to Epstein, the Buddha was articulating a vision of a psyche freed from narcissism (p. 41), adding that, all the insults to our narcissism can be overcome, the Buddha proclaimed, not by escaping them but by uprooting the conviction in a self that needs protecting (p. 45). Few concepts seem as eminently suited for such a task as the central Buddhist concept of emptiness. This concept directly challenges the very notion of an independent, inherently existent self and therefore oers an initially uncomfortable but possibly groundbreaking palliative to some of the most pressing psychological diculties in the human condition. The positive interpretation of emptiness allows for a philosophically deconstructed yet healthily adaptive self that responds to psychological challenges with neither narcissistic myopia nor dissociative fragmentation.

74

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 27, 2008, pp. 74-79 Studies,

It is the purpose of this paper to briey dene and describe the ramications of adopting this Buddhist idea into the realm of psychology and thereby hopefully contribute a bit to its understanding and possible use. Emptiness The English word, emptiness, is universally agreed upon as a proper translation of the Sanskrit word, nyat. nyat has been dened as, the ultimate nature of reality which is the total absence of inherent existence and self-identity with respect to all phenomena (Coleman, 1993, p. 304 [emphasis added]). It is further characterized more specically as empty and void of Permanency, of true Happiness, Personality, and Pleasantness (Nyanatiloka, 1952, p. 132). Thus, being devoid of any phenomenal characteristics, void or the indescribable is the real nature of things (Grimes, 1989, p. 354). The word nyat is made of two parts: nya or empty (its root svi refers to being swollen, as in a belly, and this lends itself to the image of a swollen belly, presently devoid of any contents, but laden with possibilities) and t, describing the quality of being ascribed to the former part of speech (i.e., equivalent to the English sux ness): thus, empty-ness. Since within most Western languages this writer is familiar with the notion of emptiness is understood as pejoratively negative, describing the absence of any thing (nihilism in Buddhist terms), it might be less misleading and more helpful to follow the broader Buddhist development of this idea as Buddhism moved from India to Tibet, China, Japan, and Korea. It should be noted at the outset that the Buddha made clear his determination to keep the interpretation of his teachings away from the two extremes of what he called nihilism and eternalism. The former position, nihilism, would argue that nothingness is the natural conclusion derived from analyzing the nature of self as empty. This lent itself to the rejection of any Ultimate Reality and denial of the possibility of apprehending anything beyond our senses. It had potentially disastrous consequences morally as well, for if no ultimate standard for moral behavior exists, it could be argued that no restraints on moral behavior are necessary. The latter concept of eternalism was akin to Vedantic beliefs in (1) the soul, an eternal, transmigrating entity possessed of an inherent identity, and (2) God, the Ultimate substratum of Reality representing Reality in its truest sense. With regard to this sense of a personal

self, it seems that human dispositionstend to move in two dierent directions.the rst is in the direction of absolute negation.the other is in the direction of making it a permanent and eternal reality (Kalupahana, 1987, p. 40). Neither position was correct according to the Buddha, and both represented distortions of his own Middle Way. This said, it should be noted that, both Madhyamaka and Advaita Vedanta deny that ultimate reality can be understood in a dualistic manner (King, 1995, p. 135 [emphasis added]). The eort to translate religious or spiritual terms from one language to another is always fraught with diculty. It was no dierent in the transition from the literary, spiritual languages of the Indian subcontinent, Pali and Sanskrit, to East Asia, where many of the languages adopted the Chinese ideographs (known in Japanese as kanji) as the whole or part of their own writing systems. These ideographs were able to visually contain a wealth of information, deposited as it were within each sub-section (called a radical) of the character, from which literally tens of thousands of compounds with multiple meanings could then be made. The languages themselves (Chinese in particular, certainly Japanese as well) were quite comfortable with ambiguities and subtleties, dierentiating them from the precision and denitive clarity of, say, Sanskrit. The ideograph adopted to represent this word, nyat, is ku [], which means, sky, [to] make/ be unoccupied, empty (Hadamitzky & Spahn, 1997, p. 92). Its signicance in this discussion lies in the traditionally dual expositions of its value as a synonymous reading for nyat. The reasoning of the rst reading went as follows: as the sky is not a thing but rather, a space, it can be said to be without solidity, empty of things and thingness. It only hosts, so to speak, all passing phenomena, remaining without inherent identity or substance (a bird, for example, in the literal sky image, and thoughts, for its application to objects of consciousness). So too with nyat. This was the negative formulation. It does not mean that things do not exist but rather that they are nothing but appearances (Schuhmacher & Woerner, 1989, pp. 330-331 [emphasis added]). Traditional Zen imagery, the moons reection in a dew drop for example, capture somewhat the essence of what mistaking the image for the reality might be like. There remained however another positive formulation most emphasized by various Tibetan schools, which asserted that, while the sky itself is empty of substance,

Buddhist Notion of Emptiness in Psychotherapy

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 75

it might also be characterized as a self-luminous background to all phenomena, mental or physical, and pregnant with innite possibilities. While emptiness is indicated in traditional Madhyamaka by saying what it is not, in Mahamudra and Dzogchen it is viewed in positive terms. nyat here becomes openness that is inseparable from clarity (luminosity) (Schuhmacher & Woerner, 1989, p. 331). This positive aspect might be of most interest in modern consciousness studies and its practical applications within the realm of psychotherapy. By way of example, the patient who is oered a positive, open-ended vision of their full potentialities, beyond any and all aspects of their presenting conditions, will be empowered far more than the one oered a more constricted sense of self by the therapist. As well, changes in consciousness associated with positive mental states have been examined quite a bit of late, including promising research involving the Dalai Lama whose interest in these matters has proven helpful to scientists studying their relationship. Emptiness, Language, and a Psychology of Self Western psychology is rooted in an understandably Western view of individuality: a separate self, relating to a world of separate entities. This view might also be alternatively described as a Judeo-Christian model with regards to soul and a Cartesian-Newtonian model with regards to matter. All of which together represent the foundation of most of what is characterized as Western thought. The interaction of these separate entities forms dynamic relationships, which, through those interactions, can positively or negatively aect each of the entities in relationship. For example, when internal views about the entities outside or the internal components of the individual become distorted or inappropriately focused upon, then psychological diculties may occur. By contrast, Eastern psychologies (if we may use that word in this context) are thoroughly informed by ideas predisposed towards a more collective view of what constitutes an individual and the world around one. A sharp distinction between individualism and collectivismcharacterizes important analyses of Western versus Asian approaches [to psychology] (Rao, 2002, p. 265). A brief examination of the Japanese understanding of individuals might be helpful here. Kasulis (1981), in Zen Action, Zen Person, expounded on denitions of self in Japanese Zen and their relationships to related Western ideas. In Japanese,

several words are used in speaking of a person: the terms kojin, ningen, and hito are all used in dierent contexts. However, as this is a great deal due to Buddhist inuences upon the language and society he noted that, when the Japanese see someone as an individual (kojin), they see him or her as one object among many, but when they see someone as a human being (ningen), they see that person in a context.While the individual (kojin) is a real entity, one most fully becomes a human being (ningen) when one is in relationship.The individual becomes meaningful insofar as he or she is an outgrowth of the relationships established by the operative context, not vice versa (pp. 6, 9; emphasis added). We should note that this notion of emptiness, or at least a set of analogous concepts or positions, has been tested or touched upon and essentially rejected by Western thought: Heraclitus, with his image that everything ows and that you cannot step in the same river twice (Russell, 1984), is one example. Hume, with his empirical observation that self, other, cause, eect, and more are all merely habits of mind and concepts overlaid on the bare world of experience, is another. Daniel Dennett, with his notion of the mind as having no continuity or unchanging self (see Rao, 2002) would be a third. So why has the West run screaming from this idea? How is it that Buddhism approaches non-self in such a way that is less terrifying in the East than in the West? In fact, what the Buddha posited was that instead of a solid, inherent self, there was only a changing stream of becomingconstantly fed by perceptions, which does not represent a static entity to which everything belongs (Kalupahana, 1987, p. 38). We may further understand the importance of emptiness by looking at its relationship to another important Buddhist idea, dependent origination, or pratitya samutpda. This notion, described by some as interconnectedness, was sometimes utilized to justify the nascent inux of emptiness into later Buddhist thought. Since interconnectedness was regarded as an early Buddhist teaching and therefore considered authoritative, its general thrust contained seeds for a new way of viewing self. By saying that there exists no thing whose full identity, arising, sustenance, and eventual passing, was not due to elaborately intertwined matrices of relationships to other things similarly entangled, it implied that nothing therefore existed as an inherently independent unit. Pratitya samutpada isthe principle

76

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Tirado

ofthe essential dependence of things on each other, i.e., the unreality of separate elements (Murti, 1980, p. 7 [emphasis in original]). This concept could then be extrapolated to characterize the nature of all existence as emptinessempty of substance, of properties that suggest solidity in identity, and of denitive characterization. It was Ngrjuna, writing in the 2nd/3rd cent. CE (Murti, 1980), with his collected aphorisms and dialectic analyses, who ingeniously revived a thenmoribund Buddhist movement by putting forth his middle path, or Madhyamaka. The function of the Madhyamika dialectic is not to bring about a change in things but in our mentality (p. 233). Ngrjuna did not deny the existence of things as phenomena, but declared their absence of essence. Thus it is false to say that things exist or that they do not exist. The truth lies in the middle, in emptiness (Schuhmacher & Woerner, 1989, p. 238). Ngrjuna endeavored to undermine Indian (non-Buddhist as well as abhidharmic) arguments about causality by proving the relationship between cause and eect to be neither absolute nor unparadoxical (Kasulis, 1981, p. 20). For Nagarjuna, concepts are samvriti; they literally cover or obstruct the way things are actually experienced (p. 23). Releasing ourselves from the propensity to conceptualize, and therefore, to reify the objects of our experience, we liberate ourselves from the most ensnaring of human propensities associated with our minds. This is the inevitable and invariant grasping after the objects of experience, traditionally delineated as 1) the desire to get those things we want, 2) to avoid the things we do not wish to be near to, and 3) to cling to the memory of things lost. One can easily see the areas in which such a perspective might be put to use in psychology. It is possible to suggest that most psychotherapy clients, at least those in non-psychotic or extreme dissociative conditions, are involved in one way or another with some xation of at least one of these three conditions. A person aected by compulsive gambling, obsessively avoiding cracks in the sidewalk, or grieving inconsolably from the traumatic memory of parental loss might all respectively be specic examples of these three aictions. Aside from Buddhism, most other Indian schools of thought still accept the notion of a deeper substratum of individuality, one that is more self than the provisionally understood individual self. When we look at Smkhya or Vedanta, two dominant philosophical trends still surviving within the various strands of

Hinduism, then we see the utter reliance upon this notion of a deeper substratum of existence. This substratum may also be described as the sense that beneath, or, better put, beyond the phenomenal world we experience lies a more real Reality. However, emptiness according to Buddhism undercuts this notion as well, arguing that any imputation we ascribe to existence remains an imputation and little else. Thus, the intellectual and linguistic precision normally used in stripping language of its propensities to reify concepts is here brought to bear on considerations of religious import. This process may be subsequently applied to a psychological context and in so doing, might illuminate a new angle for addressing other ageold problems. These problems are related to the ontology, epistemology, and phenomenology of being, of consciousness and human life itself. Kasulis (1981) has written, since language can never leave its own constructs and internal rules, it cannot serve as a vehicle for philosophical truth (p. 22 [emphasis in original]). One might add as well that language presents no vehicle for psychological truth, for the same limiting reasons Ngrjuna has so amply demonstrated (Murti, 1980). But the search for philosophical Truth is not generally considered the driving motivation in psychological practice. Insights, cures, solutions, reasons, suggestions, therapies, counsel, answers, and directions are more along the line of what is sought. Here again we are presented with emptinesss unusual utility, for it squarely confronts the ultimate inadequacies of all these and directs the pursuer back to the uidity of experience itself. In so doing it begins to peel away, layer after layer, the errant presumptions in all our questioning, leading toward a state of unknowing. While one might initially approach anxiously, with context and guidance this unknowing can prove as liberating as realizing the skys immeasurable potentiality versus its insubstantiality. We have already suggested that the Buddhist notion of emptiness can provide an excellent series of ideas that may inform the therapeutic encounter. The suering of the false self derives from attachment to the two extremes of self-suciency and emptiness. By bringing awareness to those very attachments, they can be released (Epstein, 1995, p. 67). It is not too hard to imagine (and Epstein provides concrete examples of such) psychotherapists utilizing insights derived from meditation or the contemplation of emptiness in order to assist clients in loosening the seemingly intractable grasp many have on their problems. This eort, in fact, has

Buddhist Notion of Emptiness in Psychotherapy

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 77

been explored in a number of areas. For example, both Fenner (1995) and Wilber (1997) have said some interesting things about its possible application in psychology. In addition, there have been eorts to incorporate Buddhist mindfulness practices with cognitive behavioral therapies (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 1999; KabatZinn, 1994; Linehan, 1993a, 1993b; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). Therapies incorporating mindfulness alone (Germer, 2005) or programs utilizing variations of Buddhist mindfulness-based meditation for group counseling (Tirado, 2007) are also becoming more common. Epstein (1995) wrote, the true self experience that has come to preoccupy Western analysis is achievable most directly through the appreciation of what the Buddhists would call emptiness of self (p. 72). This self, a more uid, less centralized (non)entity may be compared to an ever-owing sea whose waters can roll over any obstacle and whose depth belies any notion of its insubstantiality. Conclusion We might summarize the Buddhist perspective as saying that, once rmly convinced that our nature is occluded by a number of delusions (most important of which is the delusion that we have a nature or a xed, inherent self), only then might we begin the therapy that relieves not only our psychological illness, but our existential anxieties as well. We may actually come to experience, rather than simply intellectually conclude, that, disturbing thought patterns and their corresponding emotional reactions are baseless, or lack any foundation, and that therefore, the problems themselves [become] impotent or incapable of drawing mental attention and energy (Fenner, 1995, p. 166). But the great challenge to traditional Western psychology may be less disruptive than the implications of what a more interconnected, less centrally placed, separate individual might mean to an entire culture built upon selshness and narcissistic materialism. Any such challenge is bound to disturb the philosophical underpinnings of so much of our distinctly Western cultures so that novel ways of constructing our societal relations may be required, with implications for our social economic structures. While the inuence of Buddhist ideas such as interconnectedness or emptiness has not necessarily tempered consumerist or material excesses in Eastern societies, there remain many areas from where the West can learn.

While the initial reaction to any therapeutic use of the notion of emptiness might be a frightening sense of identity loss, a separate internally more positive movement may also occur, that is, one of recognizing a dierent self dierently conceived and dierently constructed. This self, acknowledged as an empirically veriable, practical but ultimately provisional concept, can be utilized to reach potentially new heights of human integration. We might further state that any insights emptiness has to oer may suggest modication to our current models of consciousness. For example the positive aspect of emptiness, which has been described within later Buddhist traditions as the tathgatagarbha, literally the Buddha-womb, is also the womb of unfettered possibilities. This notion comports quite comfortably with the humanistic and transpersonal movements in psychology and their goals for ennobling the human condition. References Coleman, G. (Ed.) (1993). A handbook of Tibetan culture: A guide to Tibetan centres and resources throughout the world. Boston: Shambhala. Epstein, M. (1995) Thoughts without a thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective. New York: BasicBooks. Fenner, P. (1995). Reasoning into reality: A system-cybernetic model and therapeutic interpretation of Buddhist Middle Path analysis. Boston: Wisdom Publications. Germer, C. K. (2005). Mindfulness. In C. K. Germer, R. D. Siegel, & P. R. Fulton (Eds.), Mindfulness and Psychotherapy (pp. 3-27). New York: The Guilford Press. Grimes, J. (1989). A concise dictionary of Indian philosophy: Sanskrit terms dened in English. New York: State University of New York Press. Hadamitzky, W., & Spahn, M. (1997). Kanji & Kana: A handbook of the Japanese writing system (Revised Edition). Boston: Tuttle Publishing. Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and commitment therapy: An experiential approach to behavior change. New York: Guilford Press. Hillman, J., & Ventura, M. (1993). Weve had a hundred years of psychotherapy and the worlds getting worse. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

78

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Tirado

Kalupahana, D. J. (1987). The principles of Buddhist psychology. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Kasulis, T. (1981). Zen action, Zen person. Honolulu, HI: University Press of Hawaii. King, R. (1995). Early Advaita and Buddhism: The Mahayana context of the Gaudapadiya-Karika. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Linehan, M. (1993a). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. New York: Guildford Press. Linehan, M. (1993b). Skills training manual for treating borderline personality disorder. New York: Guilford Press. Murti, T. R. V. (1980). The central philosophy of Buddhism: A study of the Madhyamika system. London: Unwin Paperbacks. Nyanatiloka. (1952). Buddhist dictionary: Manual of Buddhist terms and doctrines. Colombo, Sri Lanka: Frewin & Co., Ltd. Rao, K. R. (2002). Consciousness studies: Cross-cultural perspectives. Jeerson, NC: McFarland & Company. Russell, B. (1984). A history of Western philosophy. London: Unwin Paperbacks. About the Author Rev. Jos M. Tirado is a Shin Buddhist priest living in Iceland with over 30 years experience in three Buddhist traditions, Zen, Vajrayana, and Pure Land. He has contributed articles and poetry to CounterPunch, Swans Commentary, Gurdjie Internet Guide, Dissident Voice, and other publications. Last year he presented at the annual All & Everything Conference. His paper, entitled, Beelzebubs Buddhas: The Inuence of Buddhism and its Tibetan Variants on Gurdjies Fourth Way, commented on G. I. Gurdjies magnum opus, All & Everything: Beelzebubs Tales to his Grandson. He has a B.A. in Religious Studies, an M.A. in Buddhist Studies, an M.A. in Psychology, and is currently working on his Ph.D. in Psychology from Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in San Francisco. Since 2001, he has been further developing a Meditation-Based Group Counseling program he devised. His website, www.thepathofmyexperience.com, collects his writings.

Buddhist Notion of Emptiness in Psychotherapy

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 79

Dantes Terza Rima in The Divine Comedy: The Road of Therapy


Dennis Patrick Slattery
Pacica Graduate Institute Carpinteria, CA, USA Wisdoms pursuit through symbols, metaphors, poetry, and therapy is a path of indirection, less available the more ones pursuit is direct. Wisdom may be gained through particular processes of knowing, pilgrimages towards the truth of things. Dantes 14th century poem engages a new rhyme scheme to further this pursuit of knowing towards wisdom. He called it terza rima, or third rhyme. Its structure, the essay argues, embodies two movements of the soul: the journey towards knowing, one which is always bending back in memory, and the movement of therapy itself, wherein one becomes more conscious by seeing in the present a conuence of ones history and ones destiny at the same instant.
Love and the gracious heart are but one thing, As that wise poet puts it in his poem; As much can one without the other be As without reason can the reasoning mind. (Dante Alighieri, 1290/1992, p. 39) he pursuit of gnosis seems a perennial desire of being human and feeling that re of desire in the belly to gain greater consciousness. Perhaps knowing, a present participle and a gerund, is both an action from the verb and a condition from the noun. As a part of speech, gerunds may comprise the linguistic structure of the new physics because of their ability to include at once both movement and matter. As such, present participles not only represent a part of speech, but more to our concerns, may indeed be archetypes of rhetoric because they allow something like knowing to be both an action and a state of being, which encourages a new pattern of awareness, as in the following two sentences: Knowing that Italy would be warm in July, Sandy packed several sleeveless blouses. In this structure knowing is an action. But a crucial shift occurs in the second sentence: Knowing is one corridor that may lead to wisdom. Here is the same word, but strolling now in a new neighborhood, knowing is a condition of being. To pursue what may be archetypally resolute about wisdom traditions invites a few earlier questions:

What is knowing? Is there a stream of consciousness that leads from perception to reection to knowledge to wisdom? Does wisdom erupt, full blown, when the goddess Athena is deployed in all of her resplendent warrior wisdom from the forehead of her father, Zeus, as an icon for consciousness itself? The Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset (2002) called that condition faced by all human beings, to have it out with their surroundingsthey have to know what to abide by about it (p. 198). He referred to this condition of guring out what to believe about ones surroundings the construction of a primordial reality which is to set in motion their intellectual apparatus, the main organ of whichI contendis the imagination (p. 198). Is there inherent, therefore, in the nature and indeed the structure of poetic knowledge, an organizing principle that oers a particular angle of vision on wisdom as part of a poetic tradition? My thesis here is that poetry is mimetic precisely because psyche is analogic, metaphoric, and mythic in both its posturings as verb and as noun. We could, with some reward, open psyche up to a discussion of adjectives, pronouns, prepositions, even the psycho-dynamics of commas and semicolons, but that is another essay on psyches grammatical proclivities.

80

Studies, International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 27, 2008, pp. 80-90

Slattery

By asserting the above observation, I want to create a short but richly endowed pearl necklace, the beads of which include Aristotle, Dante, and C.G. Jung, in that historical order, but not necessarily in that same mythic beadwork. The reclusive and profound poet of New England, Emily Dickinson (1960), gathered so much of what will be explored here in one of her most pithy poetic pronouncements: Tell all the Truthbut tell it slant, Success in Circuit lies; Too bright for our inrm Delight The Truths superb surprise. As Lightning to the Children eased, With explanation kind The truth must dazzle gradually, Or every man be blind (#1129, pp. 506-507) The truth must be grazed, perhaps leaving a discernible burn mark on the exposed arm as it passes intimately by; it must not be assaulted directly from front or behind. Rather, it must be taken in subtly, with nuance aforethought. So might the same be said for wisdom itself. The slant part of telling the truth is a poetic move because it suggests that the major vehicles to carry the tenor of truth are metaphor and analogy, both eager presenting symptoms that encourage indirection to nd direction outwhich the obsequious Polonius suggested to his daughter Ophelia during the early warning storms of deceit in Shakespeares Hamlet. Moreover, my sense is that metaphorical knowing is archetypal, what Jung (1971) himself called an archetype of transformation. In The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, his rst chapter, Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, was devoted to outlining the physiology of archetypes. As he neared the end of an in-depth discussion of three archetypal gures the shadow, the anima and the wise old manthose gures which he believes can be directly experienced in personied form ( 80), he decided to include, in what feels almost like an after-thought, another brand of archetype, what he referred to as archetypes of transformation. They are not personalities, he insisted, but are rather akin to typical situations, places, ways and means, that symbolize the kind of transformation in question. They are genuine symbols because they are ambiguous, full of half-glimpsed meanings, and in the last resort, inexhaustible ( 80). Symbolic reality then, if we cull Jungs insight, is a valid and perennial way both of knowing and

of seeking wisdom. Symbols, like metaphors, which the mythologist Joseph Campbell called the native tongue of myth (2002, p. 8), includes as well similes, correspondences, analogies, all of which oer pathways to wisdom through knowledge that is gural in their intention, indirect in their focus, and precise in their structure. The importance of such power to direct the soul towards knowledge and wisdom Campbell corraled in the following assertion: The life of a mythology springs from and depends on the metaphoric vigor of its symbols (p. 6). By the rich word vigor I understand him to mean it must contain enough psychic libidinal energy to further the knowledge contained therein. Like a particularly powerful dream, it must amass enough energy to break through into conscious awareness and settle with surety in the memory. When a metaphor, or even an entire mythos, loses vigor, it collapses like a wet rag into a personal or cultural clich. Knowing, in addition, is by indirection, one of the hallmarks of poetic intuition or instinct, what I choose to call a gnosopoetics or mythopoetics, for it requires something to be taken in by perception, imagined anew, ordered in its content, and then articulated through some medium of coherence to form a complete experience. Not meaning but an experience of life itself is what Campbell believed people sought in their lives. Meaning is often overrated while life itself remains on the shelf, in the back, unlived and perhaps underrated. Moreover, the physicist and educator, Donald Cowan (1988), informed us in Unbinding Prometheus: Education for the Coming Age, that fundamentally learning occurs in three moments: 1. an apprehension or grasping; 2. a mapping; and 3. a making something from the previous two moments (p. 85, emphasis supplied). This last condition activates poiesis, what the philosopher Aristotle referred to as a making or a shaping into a coherent form what had hitherto been untended and unexpressed. Knowledge grows directly from such a process, a pilgrimage of sorts, through just such an imaginal working. It carries with it a tendency to cultivate, a tending, as one does to a eld of crops. As such, it is intimately connected with culture, for culture itself is a consequence and a product of cultivating. As the philosopher, poet, and Kentucky farmer Wendell Berry (1978) articulated so elegantly in The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, A fully vibrant culture, it seems to me, is one which cultivates the soil of wisdom herself; wisdom is indeed soiled and of the earth (p. 43).

Dantes Terza Rima: The Road to Therapy

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 81

In his Poetics, if we leave Jung and poetry for a moment and return to 5th Century BCE Athens, Aristotle (trans. 1969) made a profound discovery when he explored in detail Sophocles Oedipus Rex as a paradigm for the genre of tragedy and as a tting launch pad for remarks on poetrys general nature. In what may be perhaps the rst work of literary theory in the West, Aristotle set out in rather rigid prose to catalogue and dierentiate the parts of tragedy as drama. In his exploration, however, I believe he anticipated some major insights of depth psychology, hence his inclusion here. He founded his sense of imitation in pleasure, the kind of pleasure a child experiences by mimicking or imitating, often in exhaustive repetition, some action in play: For the process of imitation is natural to mankind from childhood on: Man is dierentiated from other animals because he is the most imitative of them, and he learns his rst lessons through imitation (p. 7). I want to set in motion here, but not extend it, a relevant connection between repetition and the more subtle recursivity of psyches perennial motion to return, to retrieve, and to renew what already enjoys a certain familiar domicile in memory. My last observation here serves as a brief prolegomenon to Dantes Commedia, which will shortly enter this discussion. Learning is a pleasurable act, Aristotle (trans. 1969) believed. It grows from viewing representations because it turns out that they learn and infer what each thing isfor example, that this particular object is that kind of object (p. 7). Knowing by analogy gives pleasure, if not joy, in the act of learning. To think, remember, and articulate by analogy is joy-full because it aords pleasure in the act of creating one-in-relationship to what may be unfamiliar, and then successfully yokes it to the familiar. The heartbeat of poetry throbs right here, as does the pleasure which accrues from such a sustained blood pressure. Aristotle (trans. 1969) suggested this is an inborn impulse; perhaps like an instinct it has its corollary in the archetypal realm of psyche and in an archetypal ways and means of Jungs denition of archetypes of transformation cited earlier. Poetry, here tragedy specically in Aristotles calculus, imitates an action, not of men, but of life, for life consists in action (p. 8). Not only is this action the origin of poetry, it is the origin of learning, itself. I further assert that it is the origin of archetypes and of their study in archetypal psychology, their aesthetic presence in art and poetry, and the origin of the road to wisdom. Such an action resides at the center of therapy itself and may constitute a central motion in all healing.

I say this because of a dependent adverbial clause of Jungs (1970) that arrested me years ago, and that I contend carries the payload inherent in depth psychology. I cite it here from Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self: Since analogy formation is a law which to a large extent governs the life of the psyche ( 441). I sidestep the main clause of this sentence; it is not needed for my purposes here. But I do believe this dependent clause is worth a moment of meditation for what it implies. In this clause Jung is Aristotelian in a very specic way: both Aristotle and Jung shared a belief that innate to the human being is an impulse towards analogy formation, or an instinct to imitate. Advertising knows this implicitly and any successful marketing campaign is predicated on this core insight. Both Aristotle and Jung share as well a similar sense of the power of analogys presence as a way of knowing. The subtle slide from knowledge is yet to be explored. Analogy, moreover, is the cloak worn by symbol, metaphor, simile, and myth, often of a brightly colored fabric. Let us add Joseph Campbell (2002) to the discussion in order to reveal his connection to both Aristotle and Jung. He insisted at the end of the rst chapter of Thou Art That: A system of mythological symbols only works if it operates in the eld of a community of people who have essentially analogous experiences, or to put it another way, if they share the same realm of life experience (p. 8); not duplicate lives, but the same realm, which allows sucient latitude for one to achieve an original journey in this sublunary realm. In our story, plot for Aristotle (trans. 1969), was the soul of tragedy (p. 13) and we could add, the soul of poetry; character is second in importance, for character is the vehicle that carries the tenor of the plot. Tragedy, Aristotle further asserted, is an imitation of an action; and it is, on account of this, an imitation of men acting (p. 13). Francis Fergusson, commenting on the word action in this edited volume of the Poetics, believed it is not overt action, but rather, citing Dante, whom we will welcome in a moment, a movement of spirit (p. 8)and even that is invisible but no less real, taking place sub rosa, in the realm of the invisible movement of psyche; what Aristotle suggested of the action of Tragedy I believe can be extended to include other plot structures as well: Tragedy is an imitation, not of men, but of an action and of life, and life consists in action, and its end is a mode of action, not a quality (p. 62).

82

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Slattery

Such an action, furthermore, does not occur without the presence of psychic energy that gives the action its impetus and its sustained motion towards completeness. Paul Ricoeurs (1997) in-depth work on mimesis yielded this observation: mimesis performs the same kind of guiding-concept function for poetry that persuasion does for prose in the public arena (p. 36). Poetry and prose both persuade with a force that while shared are not identical. Their energy valences are quite dierent but not unrelated. To say we are moved by a lm, a story, a painting, or a piece of music, even a personal memory, or that we feel the power of a poem or an image, is to be mimetically engaged in something profound and transpersonal being imitated in our own being that resonates and mirrors the plot or soul of the works movement even while it sparks a vague intuitive knowing within us. Dualistic responses that split self from world, spirit from matter, and soul from mimetic artall collapse here under the weight of imaginal involvement. In an insightful foreword to a recent book on Jung and Henry Corbin, spiritual psychologist Robert Sardello (2005) called this form of perception subjectively-objective, wherein in an imaginal metaphysics all dualism is resolved so that there is no longer a subject-object distinction; rather, subject and object are one (p. xv). Dantes Commedia reects, as a poetic artifact, such a collapse or resolution by deploying the reader into the actual pilgrimage of the poet who recollects that experience. By extension, moreover, the reader is cast upon the story of his/her own growth into consciousness, realized in the pilgrimage of reading and imagining Dantes own fabricated journey. Mythopoiesis, then, includes not just the creation of the work of art, but the way in which the myth inherent in the work is reshaped in our own imagination by this universal mimetic faculty or capacity to imagine. Wisdom, archetypal wisdom, is spawned in just this mythic backwater through the sluice of imaginal knowing. One important implication here is that psyche is fundamentally aesthetic, that aisthesus is its ground of being, its fundamental ontology. Let me conjecture at this juncture, a metaphor: Plot is to character as Action is to wisdom. The rst part of the metaphorplot is to characteris the embodied, incarnate, and perceivable reality. But underneath the hood beats the engine of action-wisdom,

the power source that, like a poetic delivery system, oers plot-character both its energy and its motion even its motivation. Moreover, under this same hood resides the intensity of vigor that, as Campbell reminded us, the metaphor must contain if it is to unleash the energy necessary to both raise and shape consciousness and with it, perception. Here reside the words of O. B. Hardison (1968), scholar and commentator of the Poetics. In discussing Aristotles critical apparatus, he sprang forward in time to the neo-platonist Plotinus. Hardison interpreted Plotinus understanding of nous as a creative force seeking to emanate outward, to ll all possible gaps in the scale of being, and to realize itself in material creation (p. 282). John Dillon in The Extracts from the First Edition of The Enneads called nous Divine Mind or Divine Intellection (Plotinus, trans. 1991, p. xxxiii). The poet begins to take shape here (this is my abiding hope) as a divinely-chosen individual, one numinously inspired, not one who creates falsehoods, illusions, and wretched simulacra of the Truth, a word Dickinsons poem earlier encouraged us to consider. What the poet creates is charged with divine energia andhas a priest-like function of revealing truth to mens clouded vision (Hardison, 1968, p. 283). One key passage into such a revelation, Hardison insisted, is by imitating the world through looking to their divine archetypes and producing images of them as they might or ought to be (p. 284). His thought is in line not only with Jungs but with the profound meditations of anthropologist Robert Plant Armstrong (1981). Writing in the same imaginal grooves as the above two thinkers, Armstrong (1981) diligently developed in a beautiful and complex way the idea that all works of art carry or embody a force or presence which tend to gratify the human psyche (p. 4). Briey, works which carry the power of aecting presence have a certain mana personality about them: they are special kinds of things (works) which have signicances not primarily conceptual (they are aecting), and which own certain characteristics that cause them to be treated more like persons than like things (presence) (p. 5). Moreover, like persons, they exist in a state of ambiguity (p. 5). Yet they also carry the status of a thing, so they are both subjective and objective. In fact, power seems the most appropriate name for those distinctive though elusive properties. It is power which quickens us so that we greatly prize such things and, thus, so universally make them (p. 6).

Dantes Terza Rima: The Road to Therapy

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 83

Through the powers of aecting presence, things have the capacity to assume mythic qualities, which once again implicate vigor, power, energy: These universal, generative energies and states are mythologems (a word I borrow from Jung, who uses it to mean archetype), and they occur in fairly stable form from people to people (pp. 48-49). From this weaving of the various voices collating the dierent energy sources, I discern that without contact with the myth in the matter, wisdom remains ever-elusive. Wisdom in some manner or condition resides in the ability of the energy innate in aective presence to work on us, to shape us poetically as we imagine the work. Of course, the relationship is reciprocal: what are the eects of my own aective presence on the work of art? The discussion grows even richer when we remember that etymologically, the word plot translates as muthos, and for Aristotle (trans. 1969) the plot must follow the inner logic of poetic art (p. 31). In other words, present is an organizing principle at work in the plot, which I suspect nds its correspondence in the inner logos of the audience members. Active, therefore, is an interior logos in the plot that nds its analogies in the guiding mythos of each individual. Mythos, therefore, is an invisible inner logos, as a visible analogy of a deeper mystery that mythos taps, provokes, incites. The plot of a work of art is then both a content and an action, since each of our lives shuttles between noun and verb. The plot itself, then, is the aperture into wisdom, gleaned through the deeper reservoir of the action, a reservoir of the mythologems. I understand now how Plotinus (trans. 1991) himself can ask in the Seventh Tractate: Is There an Ideal Archetype of Particular Beings? (pp. 406-409); this is the title of his very short chapter of The Enneads, which in this Tractate rests on a principle of doubling and analogy. Plotinus puts forth the idea that each of us has a Soul which contains the Reason-Principles of all that it traverses, [then] once more all men have their (archetypic) existence (pp. 406-07). Not only is this so, but he further suggests that every soul contains all the Reason-Principles that exist in the Cosmos: since the Cosmos contains the Reason-Principles not merely of man, but also for all individual living things, so must the Soul (p. 407). He tells us clearly, lest we become confused over the term Soul, that for him it means principle of Life (p. 409). This very principle of life is the fuel for the

engine of mimesis in poetry itself. Aristotle, if I grasp at all Stephen Halliwells (1998) excursus on the nature of imitation (mimesis), as well as the structure of poetic unity, tended us closer to the poetic wisdom, archetypally-grounded and psychologically-oriented, that set the stage for the pilgrim-poet Dantes lifes journey both as pilgrim and as poet in the Commedia. If poetry is an imitation of an action that must through its plot, represent one complete action whole and complete and of a certain magnitude (Halliwell, 1998, p. 14), as Aristotle insisted, then some imaginal dance must arise between the world we know and the world that poetry makes visibleand most crucially, possibleto our discerning aesthetic gaze. Here Halliwell is very helpful: the events of a dramatic poem should exhibit a higher intelligibility, particularly causal intelligibility, than is usually to be found in life (p. 135). He further argued that the plot of a dramatic poem, which is its essential structure of action, is not to be understood as simply corresponding to reality past or presentbut as representing a heightened and notional pattern of possibility, and as therefore more accessible to rational apprehension than are the events of ordinary experience (p. 135, emphasis supplied). Let us pause for a moment on the phrase representing a heightened and notional pattern of possibility. Aristotle, as understood through Halliwells interpretation, suggested that poetry contains or perhaps is, an aesthetic expression of a more deeply intuited pattern of psyche that may just establish a power of a ecting presence. More time would prompt me right here to develop how this last sentence conveys the genesis of ones personal mythos. Nonetheless, I believe this notional pattern of possibility is the realm of the archetypal. Unless the poem generates sucient wisdom energy, it does not have the sforza, as Italians label it, or the strength, the Eros, or the libidinal power to shape our imaginations into an awareness of this pattern of possibility. Therefore, in its proportions and in its expression of a single action that itself is whole and complete, it inaugurates a certain joy in witnessing it because it aesthetically delights the senses, the intellect, and the emotions, as well as the more collective archetypal level embedded in the specic action. Moreover, at least in any discussion of poetry and wisdom derived therefrom, one that inclines towards Aristotle, the apprehension of beauty is part of this experience. Aesthetics itself has its own hydraulicsits own turbines of energy, to extend the metaphor a bit. To achieve it, however, perhaps on the rst,

84

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Slattery

the fourth, the fteenth reading, is to gain wisdom inherent in the action. The biologist Brian Goodwin (2001) reminded us that ideas have their time, and if you happen to discover something before people are ready to recognize its signicance, you might as well leave it in the bottom drawer until the climate is receptive (p. 46). So with a deepening mimetic understanding of a poem: it has its own time to reveal itself. Mimesis is achieved on some level, determined of course by our growing capacity to discern this pattern of possibility. We are speaking less of content than of coherence, discerned, wisely enough, from an expanded and deepened awareness of the works action. Not its message, not its meaning, not its character development, but its internal form is most relevant to shape matter into meaning. To touch this formative principle by the ngertips of our imaginal involvement is the goal of the reading itself a complex pilgrimage through the poems lush or austere landscapeas well as by apprehending at least a fraction of its generic form. Now all of the above is in the service of getting us to Halliwells (1998) nal insight: It is not immediately to life that the poet must turn for his material, but to an imagined world (including that of inherited myth) in which the underlying designs of causality, so often obscured in the world as we encounter it, will be made manifest. (p. 135) By turning to myth, I suspect, the poet reshapes and reforms the lineaments and contours of it to suit his/ her vision of patterned possibilities (general) by means of the specic plot, wherein characters interact, think, feel, and react to their surroundings and to one another (particular). The general or universal or archetypal action is thus embedded squarely in the particular sinews of the concrete narrative. The reader then experiences deeply in his/her soul the imagined world in the makingwhat I would term a mytho-poetic achievement of consciousness. To enter such a realm is to know, to come to a knowledge unavailable any other way or through any other disciplines. Poetic knowledge is its own form of ontological awareness. It deepens and expands, even makes elastic, our own limited world view. It does so, not by trying to match its reality to the one we swim in daily, but by creating an imagined form of a reality that exists only in the poem. Not sociology, politics, theology, or political correctness but poiesis is what the poet seeks to imagine into a formed experience. The Commedias Force Field: Terza Rima

he depth psychologist Michael Conforti (2003) has explored the self-organizing dynamics in the natural order in Field, Form and Fate. He began in that study by deploying, in part, Jungs (1971) analogy between the nature of the archetype and the axial system of a crystal which determines the crystalline structure in the liquid, although it has no material existence of its own (155). The analogy here in poetry is the substance of the form of a poem. I remember reading this comparison for the rst time and being moved to assent to the wisdom inherent in its power. My intention in this essay is to suggest that a similar action occurs between the nature of the archetype and the axial system of a poem, such as Dantes, within the imaginal life of the reader. The reader in the act of reading is a pilgrim companion, and no less analogous to Dantes voyage as pilgrim, and his second pilgrimage as writer of the voyage we, he assumed, have signed on and submitted to. I wish less to interpret the almost incomprehensively brilliant content of this poem but to reside and dwell instead in its rhythmic and constant dance pattern: the terza rima. Dante, scholars assert, invented such a rhyme scheme for this poem, written between 1310-1313; he then backlled its plot to 1300 to assure that his prophetic pronouncements would enjoy a certain historical veracity. I underscore or place in italics the pattern of the poems rhyme scheme, for in it, of course married to the content of the lines, is a pattern of wisdom, if such a property is possible, both of learning and of therapeutic healing. I am indebted to the last chapter of the Dante scholar, John Frecceros (1986) superb study, Dante: the Poetics of Conversion, for introducing me to the subtle motions of the poems patterned canzone. At the outset I suggest that the terza rima is an archetype of transformation; to be transformed is predicated on being in motion. Terza rima is both noun and verb. Much more can be said of the tri-partite or trinitarian structure of the entire poem; however, my goal is to explore just this rhyme scheme in its triune structure. As a structure and an action it is as well a gerund in its dramatic role in the poem. Perhaps therapy itself must be willing to oscillate between the noun and verb forms of the psyche. The entire 100 cantos of Dantes Commedia relate in memory the plot, or muthos, of one soul waking in a dark wood to recognize that he has lost the path of his life, his connection to himself and to any allegiance or presence of the divine. In short, he has stepped out of

Dantes Terza Rima: The Road to Therapy

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 85

the coherent mythos that gives meaning and coherence to life. Almost immediately, and spurred by fear, he attempts the heros journey on his own but is quickly rebued by three beasts who confront him; they can be understood as gures of Dantes own excessive appetites. Only with the help of three primary guides and mentors, originating in their call by the Blessed Virgin Marythe classical poet Virgil, the lovely and forceful historical gure of Beatrice Portinari, whom Dante knew in Florence, and, in the last steps in Paradiso, the holy gure of Bernard of Clairveaxis the pilgrim led to confront the paradox of his nal vision. Each gure assists him dierently on his therapeutic journey towards wholeness. In the course of his pilgrimage deep into the oal of Inferno, up into the wounding, then cleansing habitation of Mount Purgatory, and nally through the celestial highways of the planets to the Primum Mobile in Paradiso, Dante meets, argues with, feels pity for, chastises, loves an entire population of gures that populate variously myth, poetry, and history. The poem is, among other things, the richest and most detailed exemplum of what Joseph Campbell discovered was inherent in so many mythologies world-wide: the heros struggle to enter the woods of unknowing, to confront oppositions and aids, and to return to his/her community with the boon of new knowledge, indexed and catalogued now under M for mystical wisdom narrative. To tell his story, Dante (Alighieri, 1313/1982) adapted the rhythmic rhyme scheme of terza rima in which three lines, akin to the poems footsteps, or footprints, detail the motion of the poem and our involvement in both its sustained rhythm and content. Let us look at the rst examples of this structure in Inferno 1 that begins with these lines: Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita A mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, B che la dirritta via era smarrita. A Ahi quanto a dir qual era e cosa dura B esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte C che nel pensier rinova la paura! B Tant e amara che poco e piu morte; C ma per trattar del ben chI vi trovai, D diro de laltre cose chI v vho scorte. C Io non so ben ridir com I vintrai, D tant era pien di sonno a quell punto E che la verace via abbandonai. D (lines 1-12) Allen Mandelbaums translation follows: (When I had journeyed half of our lifes way,

I found myself within a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path that does not stray. Ah, it is hard to speak of what it was, that savage forest, dense and dicult, which even in recall renews my fear: so bitterdeath is hardly more severe! But to retell the good discovered there, Ill also tell the other things I saw. I cannot clearly say how I had entered the wood; I was so full of sleep just at the point where I abandoned the truth path). Dante has entered as awakened pilgrim the wisdom path which he now relates to us in the residue of memory through narrative. That the poem begins midway carries a reection in the middle term of the terza rima. Form and content cannot be separated; knowing grows, I believe, from the interstices, the metaxes of the rhyme scheme, and the rhythm of each lines syllables, which remains more or less consistent throughout, the conversation that ensues between cantos that precede and follow the one being read. Indeed, perhaps the current clich that lifes progress is often comprised of two steps forward and one step back was born here, in the rhyme scheme. But as with most clichs, it skips across the surface of what treasures might dwell in a lower layer. The movement of this scheme, moreover, is for one thing the motion of psyche herself as she seeks understanding and indeed, wisdom. Terza rima is psyches rhythm, its method, its scheme, for knowing; its repetition of rhymed words suggests it is a patterned knowing, a duplicative knowing in fact, wherein some insight is mirrored both backward and forward and gains in the motion a texture and profundity that rests on imitation and remembrance. The rhythm is based, moreover, on what Freccero (1968) installed as a constant recapitulation (p. 263). Consider rst the forward movement of A to B. But at this step in the pilgrimage forward, something happens to return one to A that in the word that ends the line at the same instant rhymes with but is not identical to, or an exact copy of, the original A. Not a repetition compulsion is active here but a retreat back into something familiar as well as a step into newness. What is crucial to see is the simultaneous motion into the familiar and unfamiliar at once. The dramatic genius of this structure is that the familiar is new and what newness sprouts here in the retreat to the original rhyme is indeed familiar territory. The second A therefore

86

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Slattery

completes the rst foot of the terza rima, yet it is and is not the rst A. What has intervened to interrupt the two As not being duplicates is of course, the middle term: B. What the middle term signies will be suggested in a moment. Nevertheless, we can venture that intervention of the new term saves the similar but not identical terms from rigidifying into a trap of repetition, entrapment, and loss of motion in a shuttling rhythm that is a constant recapitulation into new ground. Nor is it the rst A even if the word vita was repeated in the second A such that the rst terza rima would then read vita, oscura, vita (instead of smarrita), because something crucial has intervened: history itself, in the form of B (oscura). Between the forward movementsa two-stepand the backward motion a one-step, history erupts into presence as a specic modality of temporality, both in the motion of the bodys movement in the pilgrimage and in the motion of the poems movement in the language. History itself becomes a way of knowingboth personal memory or biography and a larger vessel of history itself; not just Dantes own personal memory and biography, but history itself becomes known, both as a structure for understanding the great patterns that seem to govern human life collectively, and as the specic cultural history of his own era. Such is Dantes archetypal genius: to wed poiesis (imaginations shaping capacity) to history, perception to memory, body to spirit, and motion to myth. I include this last term because in the language of the poem, what has been rst experienced as a literal eventthe journey through inferno, purgatory, and paradiseis now recollected. But this recollection is also a new form, a fresh telling or expression of the original journey. It is more a recollection deeply imagined for its further possibilities. Therefore it is a recollection in hope. The journey has taken on mythic proportions, or better said, mytho-poetic proportions in the recollection that is also an imaginal motion forward. I should note as well that in this microcosm of the terza rima is the complex journey of the hero as Campbell adumbrates it repeatedly in his writings, but most fully in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1973, pp. 49-244). Therapy as Terza-Rimic Motion of Soul he meaning of the poem, but only after the experience of the journey that is its content and structure, stirs to the surface like sea life from fathomless depths, through the oscillating rhythm of the rhyme scheme. Structure

is archetypal and yields its own form of knowing; it connects intimately with the movement or rhythm of the reader-pilgrim-interpreter that is the poems Trinitarian audience. The poems wisdom stretches out in sympathy to meet the readers own psychic rhythm; we learn, the poem seems to insist, by recollecting into newness. I say this with one eye on the rhyme scheme: ABA to BCB so that the rst B (oscura), the middle term of the rst terza rima becomes B (dura)C (forte)B (paura!) The middle term of the preceding terza rima metamorphosis into the rst and last rhymes of the next terza rima. In that transformation, moreover, what do we discern and experience as readers? Memory herself in the gure of the Greek goddess, Mnemosyne, stirs the hearts vessel of forward motion, of breaking into new ground, or seeing anew by means of what has just passed. Now the past is retrieved into new envisionings. If we pull the lens back just a bit for a moment, we as pilgrim-readers (and it appears that all deep reading is a pilgrimage of memory wedded to imagination), do sense that the rst terza rima deals with the pastI found, I had lostthe next with the presentit is hard to speak of what it wasas it unfolds, unfurls, curls or spirals back into the past which even in recall renews my fear (che nel pensier rinova la paura!and the third envelops the future But to retell the good discovered there/Ill also tell the other things I sawwhich wraps past/present/future into a tightly corded knot of omni-temporal meaning. My own sense is that in therapy, all three dimensions must be operative, provoked, evoked so that the entire person as client is present in his/her past-future being. Such complexity, to thicken the baroque quality of the poems structure further, is braided into another gure, one that Freccero (1986) discerns in this manner: The geometric representation of forward motion which is at the same time recapitulatory is the spiral (p. 263). Therefore, the reader must assuredly tread this poem wearing non-skid hiking boots, for he/she is going to be asked to traverse tough terrain with often cantankerous talus slipping under ones feet; to move backward and forward in the terza rima rhythm, and to spiral down, then up, through the rst 67 cantiche that comprise the

Dantes Terza Rima: The Road to Therapy

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 87

Infernal and Purgatorial realms, is the dance Dantes poem insists we engage if we are to grasp its moving meanings. A rough and tenuous pilgrimage indeed, not for the faint of heart or the visually unchallenged reader. Finally, and for the ritual of therapy itself, something that might seem obvious here should not be missed or down-sized: the middle term of the terza rima scheme becomes the rst and last terms of the next step in the poem. Now if we think of the three parts of the foot of terza rima comprising past, present, future, and the middle term as present becoming both past and future of the next foot, then the notion of the linear trajectory of pastpresentfuture is an illusion that Dantes poem exposes. In other words, rather than there being a past presentfuture, there is only present. There is a present of the past, a present of the present, and a present of the future. Presencing is the heart of therapy; the idea that the past is recollected or that the future is anticipated is true with the caveat that it is their presentness that is always exercising its sovereignty, not a past being recollected, but a presencing of the past as well as a presencing of the future. Not linear but rather mythic time is the frame for therapy, for poetry, and for increasing ones orbit of being conscious.1 For practical application to therapyand recall that I am not a therapistis to assist the client in collapsing the notion that the past is back there and that the future is out there; quite to the contrary: both past and future are imbedded in the middle term of the terza rima temporal scheme. Ones ability to imagine time dierently through the rhyme scheme would elicit, it seems to me, very dierent responses to ones relation to the story of their past and the trajectory of their future. Finally, let us allow Jung (1960) in on the conversation at this juncture since his insight bears directly on the rhythmic rhyming structure of the poem. In developing his discussion on the qualities of psyche that leads to understanding, Jung centers on intuition, which he understood as a way of feeling: But intuition, as I conceive it, is one of the basic functions of the psyche, namely, perception of the possibilities inherent in a situation ( 292). Implicit in his remark is Dantes terza rima structure, to this extent: the movement forward from AB and then a return to Aadvances a particular perception based on re-cognition that is much richer than one aorded the pilgrim as he journeys from A to B before retreating back to a new A! What is gained in this reversal, or backward

motion, which both prepares and anticipates another movement forward, is a new horizon of possibilities, what one could not see at rst, but sees forward in retrospect. In other words, each step of the terza rima opens up its own brand of perception or reection. A sensibility that there are more possibilities inherent in the situation at any step of the poems forward thrust is deployed through a greater consciousness when one returns to the rst term in the third moment of the terza rimic unity: ABA. The second A is the moment of intuiting what might be possible, based squarely on what has been certain. At every step of the epic pilgrimage, then, certainty consistently collides with uncertainty, clarity with ambiguity, paradox with potentialities, the light of greater understanding with the darkening aspect of the souls mystery. Such is the psychic rhythm of the poems organic life throughout the 100 cantos. Such as well is the psychic life of the individual in the therapeutic encounter. Memory itself, the act of imaginally remembering the future, is the pivot or hinge of the poems action, exactly marking where the present and the future receive their energy, their direction, and their resolve. Memory for the individual reader-pilgrim blossoms out to become history for an entire people, as Freccero (1986) traces later in the chapter. What at one moment in time and space is anticipated, is in another moment remembered, and in another moment perceived, so that the dance of terza rima is a constant pirouette between past and future with something of the eternal Now of the present embodying or incarnating the life force or principle of souls poetic dynamism. My sense is that the poems wisdom is revealed in multiple ways, but here specically in the rhyme scheme as it weds the content of each three-line foot. What is created in the space of the relation of what is anticipated growing back and down into what is remembered? I suggest it is a metaphorical awareness, a gural sensibility that expands and deepens our capacity for consciousness itself. That Dante makes this abundantly clear in the poems insistence that one traverse its landscape incarnately, not just intellectually, points us to the primary but not exclusive myth that drives its enginesthe incarnation, life, crucixion, and resurrection of Christ as an archetype of the Self. May not the terza rima structure also mirror this mythosthe movement forward into some new event and insight being birthed, that grows and develops, suers, falls back into the past, but is then resurrected

88

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Slattery

not quite as a recapitulation but as rejuvenation. Such is the structure, complex and recursive, of the pilgrimage of life itself, what Aristotle intuited was the real subject matter of poetry mimetically tailored for the audience. The spirit of rejuvenation through memory, history, mimesis, and myth is the constantly oscillating heartbeat, the systole and diastole, of the poem. I am not certain where a more profound archetypal wisdom may be found than in the texture and textual structure of such a living, breathing art form that asks each of us to pilgrimage it in his/her own style, in unison with ones own heart rhythm, but always with a certain abandon, so that one is saved from abandoning the true way that is ones destiny, with its origin in the will of He or She who moves and designs all things. Note 1. I am indebted here to James Olneys (1998) work on St. Augustines Confessions and his development of the all-inclusive presence of ones life (pp. 2-11). References Alighieri, D. (1982). Inferno. The divine comedy of Dante Alighieri (A. Mandelbaum, Trans.). New York: Bantam. (Original work published 1313) Alighieri, D. (1992). Vita Nuova. (M. Musa, Trans.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. (Original work published 1290) Aristotle (trans. 1969). Poetics (S. H. Butcher, Trans.). New York: Hill and Wang. Armstrong, R. P. (1981). The powers of presence: Consciousness, myth and a ecting presence. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Berry, W. (1978). The unsettling of America: Culture and agriculture. San Francisco: Sierra Books. Campbell, J. (2002). Thou art that: Metaphor as myth and as religion. Novato, CA. New World Library. Campbell, J. (1973). The hero with a thousand faces. Bollingen Series XVII. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Conforti, M. (2003). Field, form and fate: Patterns in mind, nature and psyche (Rev. ed.). New Orleans, LA: Spring Journal Books. Cowan, D. (1988). Unbinding Prometheus: Education for the coming age. Dallas, TX: The Dallas Institute. Dickinson, E. (1960). The complete poems of Emily Dickinson (T. H. Johnson, Ed.). New York: Little

Brown. Freccero, J. (1986). Dante: The poetics of conversion. Cambridge, UK: Harvard University Press. Goodwin, B. (2001). How the leopard changed its spots: The evolution of complexity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Hardison, O. B. (1968). Aristotles poetics (L. Golden, Trans.). Englewood Clis, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Halliwell, S. (1988). Aristotles poetics. Chicago: University of Chicago. Jung, C. G. (1971). Archetypes of the collective unconscious. In The Collected Works of C.G. Jung: Vol. 9, Part 1 (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.; pp. 1-41). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Jung, C. G. (1960). On the nature of the psyche. In The Collected Works of C.G. Jung: Vol. 8 (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.; pp. 159-236). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Jung, C. G. (1970). The structure and dynamics of the self. In The Collected Works of C.G. Jung: Vol. 9, Part 2 (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.; pp. 222-265). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Olney, J. (1998). Memory and narrative: The weave of lifewriting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ortega y Gasset, J. (2002). What is knowledge? (J. GarciaGomez, Trans. & Ed.). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Plotinus (trans. 1991). The enneads. (S. MacKenna, Trans.). New York: Penguin Press. Ricoeur, P. (1997). The rule of metaphor: Multi-disciplinary studies of the creation of meaning in language (R. Czerny, K. McLaughlin, & J. Costello., Trans.) Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press. Sardello, R. (2005). Foreword. In T. Cheetham, Green man, earth angel: The prophetic tradition and the battle for the soul of the world (pp. xi-xvii). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. About the Author Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D., is Core Faculty in the Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology Programs at Pacica Graduate Institute near Santa Barbara, CA. A teacher for 39 years, he has authored or co-edited 13 books, including three volumes of poetry (two with accompanying CDs) and over 225 articles, reviews, and popular culture essays for journals, books, newspapers, and magazines. His most recent work, co-edited with Jennifer Selig, is Educating with Soul: Retrieving the

Dantes Terza Rima: The Road to Therapy

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 89

Imagination of Teaching, due out in January 2009 (Spring Journal Books). He serves on the boards of Spring Journal Publications and the Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche, of San Francisco. He is also a Fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. Dr. Slattery oers workshops in the United States on Joseph Campbell and personal mythology. E-mail: <dslattery@pacica.edu>

90

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Slattery

Integral Approach to Mental Suering


Laura Boggio Gilot
Italian Association for Transpersonal Psychology Rome, Italy

This article further develops one section by the same name in another article published in the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies entitled Integral Approach in Transpersonal Psychotherapy (Boggio Gilot, 2003) by proposing a model of mental suering based on uniting scientic psychology with meditative wisdom (e.g., derived from Yoga Vedanta). The role of spiritual vision underlines a wider understanding of the origins of mental suering, including damage from ontological unawareness and egoism, non-ethical factors usually ignored in psychology. These give rise to destructive poisons of the mind such as pride, greed, fear, resentment, envy, and intolerance, which characterize egoic narcissism. This comparative approach to psychology and meditative wisdom allows for an expansion of developmental and psychotherapeutic theories.

ithin the perspective of Western psychology, psychotherapy deals with a complex range of suering involving physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral states, which aect persons relation to life and produce an intimate and existential suering that undermines the achievement of personal and interpersonal goals. In particular, it hurts the quality of individual freedom and frequently its aims. Mental suering always involves drives, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, and manifests itself through the subjective expression of painful emotions and distorted thoughts, as well as through objective behaviors of a destructive and irrational type. These painful states of sentiment may produce alterations in the sense of reality and antagonistic and separative attitudes in the inner and outer world, thereby hindering any harmonious integration in the intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. To cure this inner suering, psychotherapy uses the therapeutic relationship, but there is no univocal view of this clinical art. There are various schools of psychotherapy, each based on a set of notions on the nature of the human person and of health and suering, developed according to a given cultural paradigm and the corresponding philosophy and world vision, which is the context of the science of psychotherapy. We thus see great dierences in the so-called four forces of Western psychology: psychoanalysis, behavioral and cognitive psychology, humanistic psychology, and transpersonal psychology.

The former two, psychoanalysis and cognitive-behavioral psychology, are the product of the mechanistic paradigm and the materialistic vision that restricts reality to the physical universe. Humanistic psychology includes existential philosophy and systemic science in its embrace, as the human being is primary and central to its vision. Transpersonal psychology, however, is based on a vision of the human being and the world that includes spiritual reality and considers its experience and expression as the utmost peak of psychological growth. The study, interpretation, and vision of mental suering are strictly connected to the vision of the world and the human person on which are based the above psychological and psychotherapeutic theories. In the conceptions born in the framework of mechanistic and materialistic science, the reading of suering takes place in the context of personal biography and connects to a disturbance of the instinctual-aective dimension that is close to the biological life, in which context it is studied and dealt with. When human existence is only seen associated to bodily life, even the psychological experience is seen as the result of the persons contact with the surrounding physical and relational world, and each reaction is attributed to positive or negative experiences in the world. There being no possible assumption that life may originate before birth and may be independent of external experience, the causes of personal suering are all looked for in the context of personal

International Journal Mental Suering International Integral Approach to of Transpersonal Studies, 27, 2008, pp. 91-97 Journal of Transpersonal Studies 91

biography and the relations with the environment, parents, and society. Thus, in the psychoanalytic literature, the mental suering, called psychodynamics, is all in the incapability of adapting to reality, because of impulses that cannot be regulated by reason or morals often reduced to some maladjustment in the so-called object relations, where object basically stands for the parental gures. The psychoanalysis requires going back to early history and the interiorized experience of object relations. The goal is a normal social adjustment, for which what is needed is to restructure the malignant internal objects and their structural by-products that in turn cause the conicts, complexes, and inhibitions of personality that make it dicult to establish satisfactory social relations. In behavioral and cognitive psychology, mental suering consists of a disturbance of the construction of thought due to a negative conditioning of the environment. Therapy requires revising the texture of thought and freeing it from the dysfunctional constructions in order to reach a satisfactory adjustment to social reality. The humanistic-existential view largely refers to a vision of the world extending from the mechanisticmaterialistic context to the recognition of the interdependence of the various human, ecologic, and cosmic systemseven the conception of suering changes. The human being who recognises himself as part of a wider universe than family and society is in search of a goal and a task going beyond simple adjustment. The reading of symptoms, in this context, looks at not only the damages of interpersonal and socio-cultural relations, but also at the inhibition of a free relation with existence due to the lack of meaning and the lack of free expression of ones creativity. The humanistic-existential conception underlines that the cause of suering lies not only in early life events, but in the repression of ones emotions, talents, and most authentic valuesa crushing of the truly original tendencies of the person which hinders the natural track of self-realization and the expression of higher fundamental needs. Healing here requires the courage to exist with ones ideas and ones values, as well as nding an existential direction capable for facing the great themes of lifethe result being otherwise to fall into discouragement, boredom, insignicance, and eventually despair. Whereas the therapy of psychodynamic suering considers the dysfunctional object relations and requires going back to the patients past and transforming those elements that hinder the

adjustment to reality, existential therapy of suering requires going beyond adaptation and conformity and, instead, living according to ones real nature, free from the need of conrmation from others and conventional safety. This means that adaptation, which for ordinary psychodynamic suering is the goal of a much longedfor normality, becomes an unbearable limit from the perspective of existential suering. As Jung himself had to note on this issue, to be normal is a splendid ideal for those who are a failure, for those who have not been able to adapt. But for the ones who are more capable than the average, for those who never nd it dicult to be successful and do their share in the world, to be bound to normality is a Procrustean bed, un unbearable bore, an awful sterility and desperation. It so happens that many persons become neurotic because they are just normal, whereas others become neurotic because they are unable to become normal (Jung, 1939). With transpersonal psychology, a suering is described that relates to the separation of the ego from its spiritual essence: this involves not only the deprivation of the most profound values and the lack of meaning in life with the associated feelings of alienation, boredom and despair, but also the lack of connection with the spiritual dimension toward which the individuality naturally tends. Transpersonal psychology underlines a suering that is more specically related to the removal of the sublime and the crises faced in the phase of spiritual awakening, which generally occurs around the middle of life. The various conceptions of suering all share a least common denominator: the recognition that suering manifests itself through a state of lack, which reects the frustration of fundamental human needs. The psychodynamic conceptions, more related to early biographic experiences, refer to the primary needs of safety, love and esteem, whereas the humanistic-existential conceptions refer to the needs of growth, self-realisation, and meaning. The transpersonal conception refers to the lack in the needs of connection with the Sacred, of knowledge, truth and self-transcendence. Here, going back to a spiritual cultural context recognizing the unity of life and its transcendent matrix, it appears that the greatest source of suering is the ontologic ignorance, the deprivation of a contact of individual life with the universal life, due to the identication with the historical ego, immersed in the outer ow and separated from developmental and ideal values.

92

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Boggio Gilot

In the spiritual vision, the lack of an encounter with universal archetypes impoverishes individual life: it is the lack of the feeling of belonging to the unity of life that produces the anguish of life and death. Spiritual poverty, due to the ignorance of ones essence, condemns one to compensate through the importance of the sense of the ego, conned to the body and its attachments while unable to grant safety and continuously generating conditions of separateness, fear, anxiety, and aggressive defensiveness. The application of the principles of transpersonal psychology is based of the following developments of transpersonal psychotherapy. In the words of Walsh and Vaughan (1993), transpersonal psychotherapy aims at the integration of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of wellbeing. Its objectives include the classical ones of a normal psychological functioning, adding to these the fostering of human growth and awareness beyond the notion of health as conventionally recognised. The potential of healing implicit in the modication of ordinary consciousness and the validity of the transcendent experience is here strongly underlined. A transpersonal psychotherapist can utilise traditional techniques as well as methods derived from spiritual disciplines, such as meditation and mental training. According to Boornstein (1992), psychotherapy also deals with the psychological processes related to the realization of the states of enlightenment, bliss, transcendence, and mystic union, as well as of the psychological conditions directly or indirectly underlying these events. According to Washburn (1994), a fundamental objective of transpersonal psychotherapy is the integration of the spiritual experience with a wider understanding of human nature and the development of suering.

Ken Wilbers Integral Approach ver the past 25 years, the historical development of psychotherapy models has produced a progressive tendency toward an integrative and intercultural approach. This stemmed from the need to coordinate the theoretical and epistemological body of knowledge of the four fundamental schools of psychology and psychotherapy (psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic-existential, and transpersonalsee Table 1), along with psychologies coming from other contexts than scientic ones, such as the meditative traditions. The aim is to go beyond the atomistic and totalitarian vision of the scientic model that has ignored the discoveries of others and the intercultural aspects. This tendency has emerged in the International Journal of Psychotherapy (2002), with special reference to the distinction between the risk of a hybrid syncretism, clearly to be avoided, and a pluralistic model recognising the complementarity of the various conceptions with the aim of a unied and wider vision of psychological distress and the methods to heal it. Integrative conceptions combining psychology and spirituality include the work of Naranjo (1989), the psychology of Almaas (2004), and particularly the integral approach of Ken Wilber (2000), already a leader of transpersonal psychology who brilliantly combined the theories and methods of Western psychology with the wisdom of meditative traditions. According to Wilber, human totality is composed of body, mind, soul, and spirit. Development occurs through a process of integration of the potentialities of these levels in an arch that goes from a prepersonal-prelogical-preegoic stage, to a personal-logical-egoic, and then to a transpersonaltranslogical-transegoic one. At each stage, specic disturbances are possible and therefore specic psychopa-

Table 1.

Conceptions of mental suering Incapability of adapting to reality, due to dysfunctional object relations Disturbance of the construction of thinking and of the systems of dierentiation and correlation, due to a negative conditioning Failure of self-realisation, due to frustration of the needs of growth and lacking sense of existence Removal of the sublime and conicts inherent to spiritual crises

Psychoanalytic Cognitive Humanisticexistential Transpersonal

Integral Approach to Mental Suering

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 93

thologies, requiring an accurate dierential diagnosis and dierential healing methods. With this complex spectrum of psychopathological development, Wilber coordinated the psychoanalytic, cognitive, humanistic, and transpersonal conceptions and proposed a new image of an integral therapist capable of working with the dierent bands of the spectrum. Exploration on meditative states sheds new light on the theories of suering and psychotherapy, both with respect to phenomenological and prognostic aspects and with respect to the signicance of suering and its developmental value. Spiritual Vision of Mental Suering n the scientic approach, mental pathology is signalled by a suering exhibiting symptoms and is faced according to a deterministic vision that attributes its origins to a cause external to the patient (e.g., in early traumas due to dysfunctional relations with the family and the environment). In this deterministic frame of reference, mental suering derives from others: the patient is a victim of external forces, family, or society, making him or her the pathetic protagonist of a painful condition not wanted and unable to be inuenced. This strictly mechanistic vision showing us a human being that is manipulated by and a victim of hostile external forces, though partly valid in biographical terms, does not fully account for the reasons of mental suering nor help the solution of human unhappiness, while on the other hand easily stirring up destructive behaviors. If ones suering is attributed to others, illfeelings and anger naturally develop, and particularly when suering is exclusively related to early emotional traumas, hate against the parents can burst with unforeseeable outcomes. In a rigidly deterministic context, psychotherapy, rather than being an instrument to foster peace and unity in the family and society may instead increase separation. In this perspective, other negative consequences arise that are hardly coherent with a positive model of mental health. Seeing the suering as originated by others, it is only natural to consider that salvation should also come from the outside. The only way to be healed is therefore seen in psychotherapy, and if will or means to access it are lacking, then what is left in front of suering is to dull ones senses, having recourse to pleasure, alcohol, drug, the alienating hedonistic distraction, and arming ones power, as means to compensate for the wrongs one considers to be the victim of. When such is

the human condition, suering is no longer an instrument of contact with oneself, a means of knowledge and growth, but rather becomes an instrument of alienation and loss of a realistic and developmental relation with life. The scientic and materialistic notion of mental suering lacks both a wise vision of life and ethical considerations: it deprives the patient of a precise responsibility towards his condition, underestimates the human capacity to face suering, fails to promote the development of good forces, and rather fosters a basic narcissism. To recover, frequently only means acquiring aggressive forces to use in a more intelligent way (see also Boggio Gilot, 1997). Ancient wisdom, that which derives from the great meditative traditions (especially Yoga Vedanta), has a profoundly dierent vision of suering, as well as a dierent approach to recovery. It emphasises that, although it is true that in ordinary life a great part of human experience is related to suering, it is also true that only to a small extent does this suering comes from external causes. Mostly, it is instead self-produced and depends on factors that are intrinsic to the self-centered mental state, that is, on basic narcissistic aictions of a mind that is unaware of its own potentialities and spiritual nature. It is this ontologic unawareness that causes the development of the non-ethical factors and poisons that inhabit the mind and give rise to wrong and separative behaviors. In this context, because the origin of suering is in the human being, he is responsible for it, and can overcome it by having recourse to his own inner potentialities, that is, to the development of consciousness, until reaching the spiritual experience that connects individual to universal life (Boggio Gilot, 1993). These goals require a profound knowledge and transformation of oneself. The spiritual vision is profoundly dierent from the scientic one, in that it confers responsibility and a central role to the patient, making him no longer an unaware victim but rather the maker of his own destiny. In looking broadly at the sense and nature of suering, the Eastern view adds a particularly enlightening perspective by emphasizing the central role of karma, that is, the law of cause and eect, which attributes a determinant value to human action with the consequent production of corresponding eects. The inevitable suering, such as for instance that related to an organic disease or the daily problems of existence, that the Western view attributes to a bizarre and obscure fate, is in the Eastern

94

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Boggio Gilot

view the result of a negative behavior, possibly even stemming from some previous existence, that created negative eects precipitating in the present. The concept of karma recognises a relative free-will, in the sense that fortune or misfortune is the product of previous behaviors and choices. The present, however, is not only inevitably predetermined, but is also the time when new free actions are promoted, thereby strewing the negative or positive seeds that will sprout in the future. Close to the concept of karma is Platos notion of daimon, reconsidered by Hillman (1997), according to which the soul becomes incarnated even in choosing his or her own parents and life events, in order to pass through a developmental process and face the challenges needed to reach liberation. In this context, the suering that life brings along is in no way accidental, but is rather a signicant and liberating element meant to foster the perfecting of the individual and elevation toward the supreme goal of life. In agreement with the Eastern tradition (e.g., Samkara), Plato outlined that not only suering does

not derive from others, but also it is highly useful in that it serves to lift up oneself: it has a cathartic value and brings along the possibility to live it as an opportunity of growth and development. In this spiritual perspective, suering as such is dignied as an opportunity of growth, and responsibility is underlined, in that the individual is at least a co-creator of that which he lives, and has a task. In short, there is a meaning in what happens, and this must be understood in terms of ones own development. Uniting psychology and the spiritual vision into an integral conception (Boggio Gilot, 2005), it is possible to outline two basic categories of human suering: (1) There is one type of suering that has a developmental signicance: it is useful because it oers the possibility of a transformation of ones personality and, through this, the opportunity to get rid of a negative karma accumulated in the past. This suering, if well understood, helps liberation and salvation. (2) There is another type of suering that is useless and selfproduced, in the here and now, through the factors of self-centered unawareness and the consequent poisons

Table 2.

Human suering according to ...the scientic view of Western psychology ...the meditative tradition
Part of the suering is self-produced through wrong doings of the past and the present: rather than being afraid, the human being must take responsibility for his actions by doing right. Mental suering is either the result of a previous negative karma, or the result of the poisons of the unaware and egocentric mind in the here and now. The human being has no reason to be resentful: his task is to proceed towards the understanding and transformation of himself. The absence of clinical symptoms does not mean that one is healthy. The healthy mind is the one which is inhabited by ethical factors and qualities that produce the right perception and is united with life. The unhealthy mind is inhabited by factors of egocentric unawareness and by poisons that are unethical attributes of illusion and suering. The cure implies spiritual development.

All human suering comes from the outside: the human being is a passive victim and is right to be afraid and to defend himself from external threats. Mental suering is signalled by symptoms stemming from troubled object relations or negative conditionings. The human being is right to be resentful, because he is the victim of the violence of others. The healthy mind is identied with the absence of clinical symptoms and its suering does not require to be cured. The unhealthy mind shows symptoms and must be cured countering the symptoms, with no reference to the ethical and spiritual state.

Integral Approach to Mental Suering

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 95

of the mind. This suering, caused by wrong doings of the present, is soiled with non-ethical factors and brings along destructiveness, as well as negative eects for the future. The suering that is not self-produced and is ultimately useful includes both those disturbances of development deriving from traumas suered by the child in the family and early environment, as well as the suering related to unavoidable life events. The suering that is self-produced, instead, stems from a thought lacking wisdom and from narcissistic and non-ethical personal choices. Here lie the roots of that negative assimilation of the frustrating experiences of life and of those reactions of rejection that frequently give rise to clinical symptoms and the maladjusted behaviors of overt psychopathology. The integral approach is that which takes care of the various forms of suering with an accurate diagnosis and using tools derived from Western psychotherapy and Eastern meditative wisdom: particularly the practice of ethics and the practice of awareness and transformation of the Yoga Vedanta systems of meditation, considered to be particularly useful for taking care of mental and behavioral suering (see Table 2 and Figure 1). As has been pointed out, it is and will become increasingly evident that the only psychology capable of facing the despair, destructiveness, and bewilderment of the modern world will be an integral psychology that includes the wisdom of spiritual traditions. Only these, in fact, possess the methods to foster the awareness of the good forces that every human being carries as inner nature, and only these can foster the trust and the hope without which neither healing nor the peace of the heart will ever be realised (Boggio Gilot, in press).

References Almaas, P. H. (2004). The inner journey home. Boston: Shambhala. Boggio Gilot, L. (Ed.). (1993). So erenza e guarigione [Suering and Healing]. Assisi, Italy: Cittadella. Boggio Gilot, L. (1997). Crescere oltre l io [Growing Beyond Ego]. Assisi, Italy: Cittadella. Boggio Gilot, L. (2005). Il cammino dello sviluppo integrale [The Path of Integral Development]. Rome: Satya-Edizioni AIPT. Boggio Gilot, L. (in press). Curare mente e cuore, negli stadi dello sviluppo dalles all io allanima [Healing Mind and Heart, in the developmental stages from id to ego to soul]. Rome: Satya-Edizioni AIPT. (in press) Boornstein, S. (1992). Transpersonal psychotherapy (2nd ed.). Stanford, CA: JTP Books. Hillman, J. (1997). Il codice dellanima [The souls code]. Milano, Italy: Adelphi. Jung C. G. (1939). Modern man in search of a soul. New York: Harcomer Brace. Naranjo, C. (1989). How to be: Meditation in spirit and practice. Los Angeles: Tarcher. Samkara, V. (1981). Il gran gioiello della discriminazione. [The grand jewel of discrimination]. Rome: Asram Vidya. Walsh, R., & Vaughan, F. (1993). Paths Beyond Ego. Los Angeles: Tarcher. Washburn, M. (1994). Transpersonal Psychology in Psychoanalytic Perspective. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Wilber, K. (2000). Integral Psychology. Boston: Shambhala.

Figure 1.

Human suering SUFFERING MEANINGFUL TRANSFORMATIVE MEANINGLESS DESTRUCTIVE Factors of egocentric unawareness Poisons of the unethical mind Boggio Gilot

Disturbances of development due to traumatic factors 96

Diseases and unavoidable life events

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

About the Author Laura Boggio Gilot, PhD, is a psychotherapist and author. She is founder and president of the Italian Association for Transpersonal Psychology (AIPT), cofounder and past president of the European Transper-

Integral Approach to Mental Suering

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 97

The Therapeutic Potentials of a Museum Visit


Andre Salom
Sasana: A Center for Transpersonal Studies Bogot, Colombia Museums are safe spaces for the objects they hold and for the persons that visit them, providing environments that can function in therapeutic ways. Within the wide range of objects, there is enough diversity to help guests discover what similarities they have with others as well as what makes them unique as individuals. Within exhibits, individuals can explore themselves through the reactions they have to particular pieces, through the observation of what holds their attention within the environment, and through the awareness and development of their contemplative mind. Museums can introduce transpersonal information, add information to previous transpersonal experiences, and even promote expanded states of awareness. With direction, guests can use museums to learn about themselves, thus optimizing the therapeutic potentials of these institutions.
useums invite visitors to take a peek into the collective experience of human beings. Philippe de Montebello (2005), Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, described them, quite literally and succinctly, as the memory of mankind. They are, he said, the repositories of precious objects and relics, the places where they are preserved, studied and displayed (editorial page). Museums can provide an additional service: they can supply therapeutic experiences that can signicantly impact our well-being if we place the emphasis in learning about ourselves through the contents in them. Supporting Therapeutic Encounters A Safe Space he term museum comes from the Greek word mouseion, meaning the shrine of the muses (Halsey, 1977, p. 668). A muse, used as a noun, is dened as a spirit or other source of genius or artistic inspiration; its denition as a verb is to think, reect or meditate (p. 668). As the roots of the word museum imply, museums are meant as places of meditation and contemplation. The architectural boundaries of a museum (scale, lighting, temperature, circulation, display, etc.), along with the appraisals visitors make of these elements, mark a clear dierence between the museum and the world outside of it. They propose a shift in behavior, cognition. and emotion. Many museums pose a spiritual quality

by inviting visitors into a slowed pace, subdued sounds, and an orderly visual experience. They adhere to a code of good behavior: visitors cannot destroy works that produce strong negative reactions in them, nor can they take home those that they adore. Exhibits are carefully organized, summoning the contemplative mind to come forth and perceive what is presented. This state of aairs is conducive to self awareness and insight. Every single piece in a museum is valued and protected. This atmosphere of safety has the potential to create a sense of security in guests who visit, perhaps allowing them to risk experiences such as aloneness. At times, a private encounter can take place between ones self and a particular piece of art, even as other people surround. The protective limits, created to optimize attention, bid the mind to expand beyond its usual internal dialogues, and be present with and in the environment. Uniqueness and Tolerance of Di erences t times I draw on the works of established artists for therapeutic interventions. A patient may think his or her art is not worthy because it is not suciently structured, it is too gloomy, empty, colorful, or unusual or perhaps even too ordinary. Here, prints of well-known art work may come to the rescue. Patients who fear a lack of ability often dare to draw beginners scribbles after seeing pieces such as Andre Masons Automatic Drawing, a piece where the artist aimed at accessing his

98

Studies, International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 27, 2008, pp. 98-103

Salom

unconditioned mind by making spontaneous marks on paper. Even more impressive for patients is the diversity of pieces valued and displayed in museum installations. Witnessing the validity of uniquely personal expression, (as portrayed, for instance, in the juxtaposition of Twomblys Lepanto paintings and the Don Juan de Austria by Velazquez, at the Museo del Prado, two singular and very dierent artistic voices) reassures patients that it is not only his or her therapist who validates distinct personal expressions. It is also museums that authorize them, and museums, by preserving and interpreting our heritage, serve as symbols of society (MacDonald, 1989). The diversity of art shown in many collections can mirror our value as individuals with myriad and inimitable ways of expression. In this way, uniqueness is symbolically appreciated within a museum. As the expression of uniqueness is validated, it arms a multiplicity of possibilities in the manifestation of singularity. All types of art pieces cohabitate a wide range of exhibits. Both a modern print, like Lozowicks New York, and a piece from the Iron Age, such as The Stanwick Horse Mask, have their own special place. The dribbles of Pollok are valued, as are Pisarros landscapes, Noguchis stone sculptures, and Piero Della Francescas linear perspectives. Themes, dimensions, materials, and techniques that are used in art, are as extensive as we are ourselves. Views of diverse customs, traditions, and values are presented through the direct communication provided by pieces of art themselves, as well as by means of explanatory description provided by the museum. Even diverse stages of consciousness are portrayed inside museums through the medium of artistic expression. Robbins (1987), stated that form, texture, color, volume, space, movement, and abstractiondescribethe nonverbal aspects of internal representational life (p. 105), and give information about the artists reality, feelings and ways of relating. Thus, art expresses diversities of consciousness, whether they be whole, realized, awake, spontaneous, (Wilber, 1996) or instinctual, impulsive libidinous[or] apelike (p. 2). This armation of variety encourages tolerance of dierences in others and in ourselves. The Big Group ith uniqueness may come the feeling of being dierent and secluded. Feeling separate and unlike others may lead to suering. In my practice as an art therapist, and in my own personal life, I am

constantly being faced with such suering. There is pain and confusion, there are feelings of isolation, inadequacy, fear, shame, guilt, and regret. Yet as I watch patients courageously face their lives, there is a power towards growth in the exchange between patient and therapist, a dynamic that is both moving and humbling. The suering allies with inner creative source in the search for ourselves through artistic form. As the suering takes shape, so does our aliveness, our compassion, and our beauty. Museums allow guests to see the artistic expressions of others who, like them, have explored the human experience with all its hues, textures, and tones, and then allowed these experiences to manifest in their work. By creating an atmosphere that houses expressions of all dierent states of mind, museums become optimal for exploring the concepts of imparting information, universality, and installation of hope that Yalom (1995) has described as therapeutic in his book, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. Imparting Information ne of the reasons people go to museums is to acquire information. This information can give perspective to their daily obstacles. Visitors learn about the life stories of many artists who created artwork as they coped with distressing conditions. They discover that Monet painted his water lilies despite problems with his vision (Is It Art?, 1997), and that Kahlo painted much of her work from her bed, conned by the many surgeries that she underwent after a bus accident fractured her back. They learn that Matisse started to cut shapes instead of painting them because cancer forced him into a wheelchair, that Munch suered from alcoholism, that Van Gogh had bipolar tendencies, that Hopper underwent acute loneliness, and that nancial diculties plagued Vermeer and Gauguin. The fact that these artists continued to search for meaning and reach for beauty in the face of adversity may inspire visitors to do the same.

Universality and Installation of Hope here is no human deed or thought that is fully outside the experience of other people (Yalom, 1995, p. 6). This is claried by studying the works of artists who have expressed concerns for and zeal towards situations that individuals can relate to in some way. Humanitys greatness and frailness are manifested in their art, partly documented and placed inside museums so that it can be shared. The sense of isolation is inevitably shaken in

Therapeutic Potentials of a Museum Visit

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 99

the face of the realization that humans share so many common features. These can be seen in museum exhibits that evidence human similarities from beyond ones own time and place. Beyond its common diculties, humanity also share the possibility of resignifying its experiences. As de Montebello (2005) discussed the importance of museums, he stated that through them, one can learn about mankinds awe-inspiring ability, time and again, to surpass itselfthat no matter how bleak the times we may live in, we cannot wholly despair of the human condition . . . no matter the degree of chaos and adversity surrounding him, man has shown his ability to excel, to surpass. (editorial page) The restorative factors of exploring our humanness through our collective art can be similar to the therapeutic factors of group therapy; in the former, the scale of the group simply becomes bigger. A sense of universality may be perceived in museums, and hope in humanity itself can be installed in visitors if museums are used as agents for the wellbeing of communities. Using Museums Therapeutically Identity and Particular Pieces n museums, people are exposed to material that oers new opportunities for them to discover themselves. Collective items surround us in collections, and this can ignite in us a sense of our distinctiveness. In the words of Carl Jung (1997), If . . . contents (produced by the collective unconscious) remain unconscious, the individual is, in them, unconsciously commingled with other individuals, in other words, he is not dierentiated, not individuated (p. 71). Visitors may search for identity, a crucial aspect of individuation, as they intently experience museum galleries. This quest for identity might come to rest on a particular piece. If a visitor is so touched by a piece that it is the only one they want to consider, and anything else would be distracting, he or she might ponder sincerely into the meaning of such an attraction. What is it that the piece provokes; what could the gures in it say in relation to their own life story; how do the colors stir their emotions and aect their internal dialogue; what memories, movements, or bodily sensations does it arouse? In this way, contemplation of a particular object may help individuals note unnoticed aspects of themselves.

The Whole Environment useums seek for clarity of perception by providing carefully chosen stimuli presented in controlled doses. This makes them advantageous environments for exploring the interaction between surroundings and their inuence on inner life. Through the contemplative nature of the environment, visitors may be cued into an acute sensitivity that is benecial for exploring the total setting and the parts that make it up: a beam of light, the chit-chat of nearby visitors, the lines on a painting, the smell of coee, the view from a stairway. Museums can inspire guests to learn about a technique, explore certain themes, or delve into existential questions. They may rush by, pass leisure time, enthusiastically share experiences, or contemplate by themselves, seemingly alone in the innity of the present moment. I nd that going to an exhibit with another person requires a lot of cooperation. Each visitors rhythms, reactions, and desires become clear when in comparison to others. What wing of a museum are we interested in? How will we manage time through the galleries and at particular pieces? How much and in what way do we wish to talk about the work? What do we each need along the way? Who makes the decisions? Do we negotiate, concede, confront, or compromise? Guests may move from one aspect of a show to the next, as they see t. Perls (1973) described the humans capacity to discriminate, stating that acceptance, and rejection of the environment, are the most important functions of the total personality. . . . Contact and withdrawal, in a rhythmic pattern, are our means of satisfying our needs, of continuing the ongoing process of life itself (pp. 22-23). The museum experience can bring insight into the relationships with others and with the environment. I may inquire into what holds my attention, and how this attention accords with what I feel and think. I can explore the decisions I make as I move through a display to see whether I am choosing in accordance with myself, or in accordance with what I imagine the expectations of others to be.

Letting Go s visitors walk through an exhibit, they may feel invited to let go of strong emotions and thoughts produced by one piece or aspect of a museum, in order to be able to experience whatever is coming next. This type of contemplation can help illustrate the process of letting go that is part of many schools of meditation. The therapeutic value of this is illustrated in the following words:

100 International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Salom

In meditation, you have the opportunity of easing your grip on all your preconceptions, images, and self importance, the opportunity of allowing them to fade away for a while and nding out that you are still there. The repeated experience of this builds trust that you do not have to gure life out or cling to a self-image, that you do not have to commandeer your own spirit, or jump to x every problem you detect in yourself. (Walsh & Vaughan, 1996, p. 37) Viewing a museum exhibit with this framework in mind can teach this contemplative skill by oering a structure within which to watch patterns of mental grasping and judging, and thereby support the process of relaxing the mind into the present. Museums and Transpersonal Realms useums can serve as vehicles for exploring the transpersonal realms in many ways. The objects inside museums are physical manifestations of the creative force that runs through humanity, whether or not the purpose of a particular creation was related to the sacred. These objects carry symbols, and Real symbolsare not invented or made up, nor are they poetic or allegorical means to represent a known fact. On the contrary, they are numinous and autonomous products of the unconscious, expressions of unknown, that is unconscious, facts carrying an energy charge that can aect the psyche in drastic fashion. (Harding, 1961, p. 2) As such, the objects are infused with creation, and viewers can potentially develop relationships with the pieces in which transpersonal consciousness can be explored. Introducers of Transpersonal Information xhibits may introduce spiritual traditions or lead to spiritual inquiry by engaging many of our senses with unique aliveness, allowing for integral learning experiences. As educational devices that introduce information, museums can motivate visitors into further investigation of dierent traditions and their experiential explorations, devotional paths, transcendental inquiries, and roads of service. Moreover, the learning processes that museums initiate do not necessarily terminate at the end of an exhibit. After walking through the Oriental Museum at the University of Chicago, The Human Headed Winged Bull from Khorsabad and The Bulls Head from Persia

inspired me to explore the topic of Power Animals (Grof, 1993, pp. 148-150) in various cultures. After learning about Shamanic rites at the Museo del Oro in Bogot, a friend explored a ritual with Yaje, the psychotropic plant of the Amazon. Though I saw them a long time ago, Klimts The Kiss, with its depiction of union between man and woman, and Michelangelos Creation of Man, representing for me the union with divinity, still confront me deeply; they are often in my mind. When I ask myself if I can unite as those images propose, my fears and desires arise, allowing for a reinvestigation of my needs for intimacy and independence at many levels. Adding to Previous Transpersonal Experiences uring a Holotropic Breathing (cf. Grof, 1993, pp. 22-23) session, I had images of two beautiful women. One gracefully danced through my body; the other, powerful and frightening, surrounded me and performed rituals to destroy that which was no longer needed. I do not recall seeing these deities before, nor did I see them again until months later during a visit to the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. I remembered my experience when I recognized the sculptures of Lakshmi and of Kali as the Hindu Goddesses who had appeared in my session and reenergized me. Seeing them in pictures and sculptures, learning their names, origins, stories, and qualities further explained my experience and reconnected me to a devotional feeling toward them. It was wonderful to realize that the goddesses of my experience existed past the limits of my own mind. At the museum I got a sense of what Grof was talking about when he wrote that

our individual consciousness connects us directly not only with our immediate environment and with various periods of our own past , but also with events that are far beyond the reach of our physical senses, extending into other historical times, into nature and into the cosmos...we can reach far back in time and witness sequences from the lives of our human and animal ancestors, as well as events that involved people from other historical periods and cultures with whom we have no genetic connection whatsoever. (p. 18) While visiting a particular wing of the Chteau Neuf at Versailles, my mother experienced anxiety, oppression, and claustrophobia. This fact intrigued me without resolution until I learned about Grof s (1993)

Therapeutic Potentials of a Museum Visit

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 101

Basic Perinatal Matrices (BPM): experiential patterns stored in memory that are thought to be connected to four stages in the biological process of delivery (pp. 28-29). Grof portrays the second of these matrices as follows: The biological basis for BPM II is the termination of life in the womb and the encounter with uterine contractionsthe entire world of the fetus is closing in and crushing it causing anxiety and great physical discomfort.A person experiencing a fully developed BPM II feels caged, caught in a claustrophobic nightmarish world. lled with terror, suering, wars, epidemics, accidents and natural disaster. (pp. 46-48) Years later I described this matrix for her, and she connected the description to her experience at Versailles. This suggested to me that the exhibit had somehow triggered my mother into accessing BPM II material. Kindlers of Transpersonal Experiences useum visits can support expanded states of consciousness, for there are exhibits that have specic spiritual purposes. Such is the case of the Heart Shrine Relic Tour, which displays the relics left by enlightened Masters in their cremation ashes, pearllike crystals believed to hold qualities of wisdom and compassion. Persons who have seen these relics report feeling peaceful and moved for days after attending the show. One visitor described the experience as a reminder of the sacredness within (Maitrei Project International, 2000-2008, n.p.). Museum pieces need not belong to a particular spiritual tradition to sponsor a transpersonal experience. I sat at the middle of one of the original oval galleries of The Musee de lOrangerie to watch Monets Water Lilies. The dark lighting, the curved walls and the gallerys disposition permitted the Water Lilies to surround and soothe me with their beauty. I lost the sense of time and space. I forgot myself and went into deep states of relaxation. It could have been the symbol of the lilies oating on water that produced this expansion. Perhaps it was Monets state of consciousness when drawing them that touched me. The colors and textures might have done the maneuver. What matters is that images and metaphors present themselves as living psychic subjects (Hillman, 1991, p. 48) and, since museums are lled with images, expanded states of awareness may result.

Conclusion hen discussing art versus therapeutic art, Arrington (2001) names the importance of a signicant other (the therapist), and of a theoretical approach, as part of a therapeutic process. She states that therapeutic art includes the clients intention, process, product, and the gestalt of the whole phenomenon of creating personal image (pp. 105-108). I believe that similar elements are necessary to transform museum visits into therapeutic processes, and that that these processes can easily including transpersonal interventions. The rst steps toward therapeutic applications of museum visits have been taken, as is demonstrated by various collaborations. The Boston Museum of Modern Art has worked with Hearthstone, oering short focused tours of the museums representational pieces for Alzheimers patients (Kennedy, 2005). The Norton Priory Museum & Gardens collaborates with Astmoor Day Services, oering direct work with nature for adults with learning disabilities (Hayden, 2004). The Metropolitan Museum of Art oers educational workshops at social service agencies incorporated into art-based family programs facilitated by Free Arts NYC, an organization that works with abused children. Art making, exhibiting, and museum involvement through work or volunteering can oer many benets. Yet I do not believe that these are necessary for a therapeutic engagement with creativity; a simple visit to a museum can contribute to this purpose. In this light it would be benecial to develop collaborative relationships with museums so that art therapists might have the opportunity to create a sucient holding environment for their patients as they visit. A holding environment, as described by Robbins (1987), is that space between patient and therapist in which [therapists] complement or mirror patients inner representational world (p. 61), and in which empathy is the basis of communication (p. 27). This can be created inside museums as therapists and patients work empathically with the associations, feelings, and interpretations aroused by the museum experience to nd meaning and insight. As they hold with a therapeutic framework in mind, art therapists can look after the gestalt of the museum experience itself, transforming the museum visit into a deeper aair.

102 International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Salom

References Arrington, D. (2001). Why do we make art? A reective paper. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 18 (2), 105-108. De Montebello, P. (2005, June 1). Museums: Why should we care?: For the study and understanding of mankind. Leisure and Arts, The Opinion Journal from the Wall Street Journal, editorial page. Retrieved March 10, 2006, from < http://www. opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110006760> Grof, S. (1993). The holotropic mind: The three levels of human consciousness and how they shape our lives. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco. Halsey, W. D. (Ed.). (1977). Colliers dictionary. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. Harding, E. (1961). What makes the symbol eective as a healing agent? In G. Adler (Ed.), Current trends in analytical psychology (pp.1-17). London: Tavistock Publications. Hayden, G. (2004, September 2). Fertile ground. Community Care, 1538, 38-39. Hillman, J. (1991). A Blue Fire. New York: Harper Perennial. Is It Art? (1997, January 19). The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2006, from <http://query. nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9904E4D71F9 3AA25752C0A9619528260&sec=health> Jung, C. (1997). The technique of dierentiation between the ego and the gures of the unconscious. In J. Chodorow (Ed.), Encountering Jung on active imagination (pp. 61-72). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Kennedy, R. (2005, October 30). The Pablo Picasso Alzheimers therapy. The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2006, from <http://www.nytimes.com/ 2005/10/30/arts/design/30kenn.html?ex=1149566 400&en=5f7a4ac2138c 60&ei=5070> MacDonald, G. F., & Alsford, S. (1989) A museum for the global village. Retrieved July 28, 2008, from: http://w w w.civilization.ca/cmc/architecture/ tour02e.html Maitrei Project International (2000-2008). Visitors experiences. Retrieved December 9, 2007, from <http://www.maitreyaproject.org/en/relic/letters. html> Perls, F. (1973). The gestalt approach and eye witness to therapy. Wilmette, IL: Science and Behaviour Books.

Robbins, A. (1987). Holding environment as frame for theory and technique. In A. Robbins (Ed.), The artist as therapist (pp. 61-88). New York: Human Science Press. Walsh, R., & Vaughan, F. (1996). Comparative models of the person and psychotherapy. In S. Boorstein (Ed.), Transpersonal psychotherapy, 2nd ed. (pp. 15-30). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Wilber, K. (1996). The atman project: A transpersonal view of human development. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books. Yalom, I. (1995). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books. About the Author Andre Salom, MPS, received her B.A. degree in architecture from Universidad de los Andes, Bogot, in 1999 and her MPS in Art Therapy and Creativity Development from Pratt Institute, NY, in 2001. She codeveloped the rst educational courses about Art Therapy in Colombia, which have been taught at Sasana: A Center for Transpersonal Studies, in Bogot, since 2006 and is in the process of consolidating the Colombian Art Therapy Association. She runs art therapy sessions for groups and individuals from a wide range of populations. She has authored two childrens books: Todos dejamos los Panales and Conociendo a Bebe. She may be reached at andreesalom@yahoo.com.

Therapeutic Potentials of a Museum Visit

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 103