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9998Psychology of the Future

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  • satkartar7
    Jul 15 4:22 PM
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      I think Grof also works with a model wqhich is void of
      reincarnation, but with the pool of collective unconscious from
      where each one of is born with with genetic memory

      BTW Gene, Bruce, Greg and I hold similar undertsanding about this

      Psychology of the Future: Lessons from Modern Consciousness Research

      Grof, Stanislava

      More than forty years ago, a powerful experience lasting only
      several hours of clock-time profoundly changed my personal and
      professional life. As a young psychiatric resident, only a few
      months after my graduation from medical school, I volunteered for an
      experiment with LSD, a substance with remarkable psychoactive
      properties that had been discovered by the Swiss chemist Albert
      Hofmann in the Sandoz pharmaceutical laboratories in Basel.

      This session, particularly its culmination period during which I had
      an overwhelming and indescribable experience of cosmic
      consciousness, awakened in me an intense lifelong interest in
      nonordinary states of consciousness. Since that time, most of my
      clinical and research activities have consisted of systematic
      exploration of the therapeutic, transformative, and evolutionary
      potential of these states. The four decades that I have dedicated to
      consciousness research have been for me an extraordinary adventure
      of discovery and self-discovery. (page ix)

      This book is an attempt to point out in a systematic and
      comprehensive way the areas that require a radical revision and to
      suggest the direction and nature of the necessary changes. The
      conceptual challenges presented by consciousness research are very
      fundamental and cannot be resolved by a minor conceptual patchwork
      of a few ad hoc hypotheses. In my opinion, the nature and scope of
      the conceptual crisis facing psychology and psychiatry is comparable
      to the situation introduced at the beginning of the twentieth
      century into physics by the results of the Michelson-Morley
      experiment. (page xi)

      The observations from holotropic states seriously undermine the
      fundamental cornerstone of materialistic thinking, the belief in the
      primacy of matter and in the absence of the spiritual dimension in
      the fabric of existence. They bring direct experiential and
      empirical evidence that spirituality is a critical and legitimate
      attribute of the human psyche and of the universal scheme of things.
      This important topic is given special attention in the book. It is
      argued that, properly understood, spirituality and science are not
      and cannot be in conflict, but represent two complementary
      approaches to existence. (page xii)

      Chapter 1. Healing and Heuristic Potential of Nonordinary States of
      Forty years of intensive and systematic research of holotropic
      states of consciousness led me to the conclusion that radical inner
      transformation of humanity and rise to a higher level of
      consciousness might be our only real hope for the future. I would
      like to believe that those who are about to embark on the inner
      journey, or are traveling it already, will find this book and the
      information presented in it to be useful companions in this
      challenging adventure. (page xiii)

      In this book, I will focus on a large and important subgroup of non-
      ordinary states of consciousness which significantly differ from the
      rest and represent an invaluable source of new information about the
      human psyche in health and disease. They also have a remarkable
      therapeutic and transformative potential. Over the years, daily
      clinical observations convinced me about the extraordinary nature of
      these experiences and about the far-reaching implications they have
      for the theory and practice of psychiatry. I found it difficult to
      believe that contemporary psychiatry does not recognize their
      specific features and does not have a special name for them.

      Because I feel strongly that they deserve to be distinguished from
      the rest and placed into a special category, I have coined for them
      the name holotropic. This composite word literally means "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). The full meaning of this term and the
      justification for its use will become clear later in this book. It
      suggests that in our everyday state of consciousness we identify
      with only a small fraction of who we already are. In holotropic
      states, we can transcend the narrow boundaries of the body ego and
      reclaim our full identity. (page 2)

      In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, mainstream
      psychiatrists continue to view all holotropic states of
      consciousness as pathological, disregard the information generated
      in researching them, and do not distinguish between mystical states
      and psychosis. They also continue using various pharmacological
      means to suppress indiscriminately all spontaneously occurring
      nonordinary states of consciousness. It is remarkable to what extent
      mainstream science has ignored, distorted, and misinterpreted all
      the evidence concerning holotropic states, whether their source has
      been historical study, comparative religion, anthropology, or
      various areas of modern consciousness research, such as
      parapsychology, psychedelic therapy, experiential psychotherapies,
      hypnosis, thanatology, or work with laboratory mind-altering

      The rigidity with which mainstream scientists have dealt with the
      information amassed by all these disciplines is something that one
      would expect from religious fundamentalists. It is very surprising
      when such attitude occurs in the world of science, since it is
      contrary to the very spirit of scientific inquiry. More than four
      decades that I have spent in consciousness research have convinced
      me that serious examination of the data from the study of holotropic
      states would have far-reaching consequences not only for the theory
      and practice of psychiatry, but for the Western scientific
      worldview. The only way modern science can preserve its monistic
      materialistic philosophy is by systematically excluding and
      censoring all the data concerning holotropic states. (page 16)

      Chapter Six: Spirituality and Religion
      To prevent misunderstanding and confusion that in past compromised
      many similar discussions, it is critical to make a clear distinction
      between spirituality and religion. Spirituality is based on direct
      experiences of nonordinary aspects and dimensions of reality. It
      does not require a special place or an officially 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. And instead of officiating priests, they 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.

      Direct spiritual experiences appear in two different forms. The
      first of these, the experience of the immanent divine, involves
      subtly, but profoundly transformed perception of the everyday
      reality. A person having this form of spiritual experience sees
      people, animals, and the inanimate objects in the environment as
      radiant manifestations of a unified field of cosmic creative energy
      and realizes that the boundaries between them are illusory and
      unreal. This is a direct experience of nature as god, Spinoza's deus
      sive natura. 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." In both
      cases, much of the old perception of the world remains in place, but
      is radically redefined by the addiction 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, unavailable to
      perception in the everyday state of consciousness. In this type of
      spiritual experience, entirely new elements seem to "unfold"
      or "explicate," to borrow terms from David Bohm, from another level
      of order of reality. When we return to the analogy with television,
      this would be like discovering that there exist channels other than
      the one we have previously been watching. (pages 210-211)

      Spirituality involves a special kind of relationship between the
      individual and the cosmos and is, in its essence, a personal and
      private affair. By comparison, organized religion is
      institutionalized group activity that takes place in a designated
      location, a temple or a church, and involves a system of appointed
      officials who might or might not have had personal experiences of
      spiritual realities. ...

      Brother Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk and Christian philosopher,
      uses a beautiful metaphor to illustrate this situation. He compares
      the original mystical experience to the glowing magma of an
      exploding volcano, which is exciting, dynamic, and alive. After we
      have this experience, we feel the need to put it into a conceptual
      framework and formulate a doctrine. The mystical state represents a
      precious memory and we might create a ritual that will remind us of
      this momentous event. The experience connects us with the cosmic
      order and this has profound direct impact on our ethics - system of
      values, moral standards, and behavior. (page 211)

      In visionary states, the experiences of other realities or of new
      perspectives on our everyday reality are so convincing and
      compelling that the individuals who have had them have no other
      choice than to incorporate them into their worldview. It is thus
      systematic experiential exposure to holotropic states of
      consciousness, on the one side, and the absence thereof, on the
      other, that sets the native cultures and technological societies
      ideologically so far apart. I have not yet met a single European,
      American, or member of one of the other technologized societies, who
      has had a deep experience of the transcendental realms and continues
      to subscribe to the worldview of Western materialistic science. This
      development is quite independent of the level of intelligence, type
      and degree of education, or professional credentials of the
      individuals involved. (page 218)

      Chapter Seven. The Experience of Death and Dying: Psychological,
      Philosophical, and Spiritual Perspectives.
      Conversely, it became clear that experiential confrontation with
      death in the course of therapy has important healing,
      transformative, and evolutionary potential. This research also
      revealed that the attitude toward death and coming to terms with it
      has important implications for the quality of one's life, hierarchy
      of values, and strategy of existence. Experiential encounter with
      death, whether it is symbolic (in meditation, psychedelic sessions,
      spiritual emergency, or holotropic breathwork) or real (in an
      accident, in war, in a concentration camp, or during a heart attack)
      can lead to a powerful spiritual opening. (page 220)

      ... Modern consciousness research has thus shown that the ancient
      eschatological texts are actually maps of the inner territories of
      the psyche encountered in profound holotropic states, including
      those associated with biological dying.

      It is possible to spend one's entire lifetime without ever
      experiencing these realms or even being aware of their existence,
      until one is catapulted into them at the time of biological death.
      However, some people are able to explore this experiential territory
      while they are still alive. Among the tools that make this possible
      are psychedelic substances, powerful forms of experiential
      psychotherapy, serious spiritual practice, and participation in
      shamanic rituals. For many people, similar experiences occur
      spontaneously, without any known triggers, during psychospiritual
      crises (spiritual emergencies).

      All these situations offer the possibility of deep experiential
      exploration of the inner territories of the psyche at a time when we
      are healthy and strong, so that the encounter with death does not
      come as a complete surprise at the time of biological demise. The
      seventeenth-century German Augustinian monk, Abraham of Santa Clara,
      expressed in a succinct way the importance of the experiential
      practice of dying: "The man who dies before he dies does not die
      when he dies."

      This "dying before dying" has two important consequences: It
      liberates us from the fear of death and changes our attitude toward
      it. This eases considerably our experience of actually leaving the
      body at the time of our biological demise. At the same time, the
      elimination of the fear of death also transforms our way of being in
      the world. There is thus no fundamental difference between
      preparation for death and the practice of dying, on the one hand,
      and spiritual practice leading to enlightenment, on the other. For
      this reason, the ancient books of the dead could be used in both
      situations (pages 228-229)

      Psychedelic Therapy in Patients with Terminal Diseases
      In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I had the privilege to
      participate for several years in a research program of psychedelic
      psychotherapy for terminal cancer patients, which was without a
      doubt the most radical and interesting attempt to alleviate the
      suffering of patients with incurable diseases and transform their
      experience of dying. It was one of the most moving experiences of my
      life to see how the attitude toward death and the experience of
      dying of many terminal cancer patients was transformed by profound
      mystical experiences in psychedelic sessions. (page 248)

      The most important and striking effect of LSD in terminal cancer
      patients was a profound change in the concept of death. Deep
      experiences of psychospiritual death and rebirth, cosmic unity, past-
      life memories, and other transpersonal forms of consciousness seem
      to render physical death much less frightening. The fact that these
      experiences occur in a complex psychospiritual, mythological, and
      philosophical context cannot be dismissed as momentary delusional
      self-deception resulting from impaired brain functioning.

      Psychedelic experiences that reach the perinatal and transpersonal
      level also typically have profound effect on the patients' hierarchy
      of values and life strategy. Psychological acceptance of
      impermanence and death results in realization of the futility and
      absurdity of grandiose ambitions and attachment to money, status,
      fame, and power, as well as pursuit of other temporary values. This
      makes it easier to face the termination of one's secular goals and
      the impending loss of all worldly possessions. Another important
      shift occurs in time orientation; the past and future become much
      less important than the present moment and "living one day at a

      This is associated with increased zest, as well as a tendency to
      appreciate and enjoy every moment of life, and to derive pleasure
      from simple things like nature, food, sex, music, and human company.
      There is also typically a major increase in spirituality of a
      mystical, universal, and ecumenical nature, which is not related to
      any specific church affiliation. We have also seen instances where a
      dying individual's traditional religious beliefs were illuminated by
      new dimensions of meaning. (pages 255-256)

      Chapter Eight. The Cosmic Game: Exploration of the Furthest Reaches
      of Human Consciousness
      The preceding chapters of this book focused primarily on the
      implications of the research of holotropic states of consciousness
      for psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy. However, this work
      also generates many interesting philosophical, metaphysical, and
      spiritual insights. Irrespective of the initial motivation of the
      person involved and his or her background, systematic disciplined
      self-exploration using holotropic states in a good set and setting
      sooner or later tends to take the form of a deep philosophical and
      spiritual quest. I have seen on numerous occasions that people whose
      primary interest in psychedelic sessions or in the holotropic
      breathwork was therapeutic, professional, or artistic, suddenly
      started asking the most fundamental questions about existence when
      their inner process reached the transpersonal level. (page 269)

      The Ensouled Nature and the Archetypal Domain
      If we feel embarrassed by our discovery, we might prefer to use
      modern terminology such as numinous instead of sacred and archetypal
      figures instead of deities and demons. But we can no longer dismiss
      these experiences as mere hallucinations or fantasies. Deep personal
      experiences of this realm help us realize that the images of the
      cosmos found in preindustrial societies are not based on
      superstition, primitive "magical thinking," or psychotic visions,
      but on authentic experiences of alternate realities. The research of
      holotropic states has brought ample evidence that there are
      transphenomenal dimensions of existence that are ontologically real
      and that they often can withstand the test of consensual validation.
      (page 271)

      ... When we are involved in systematic self-exploration or spiritual
      practice, it is important to avoid the pitfall of making a
      particular deity opaque and seeing it as the ultimate cosmic force
      rather than a window into the Absolute.

      Mistaking a specific archetypal image for the ultimate source of
      creation or for its only true representation leads to idolatry, a
      divisive and dangerous mistake widespread in the histories of
      religions and cultures. It might unite the people who share the same
      belief, but sets this group against another one that has chosen a
      different representation of the divine. They might then try to
      convert others or conquer and eliminate them. By contrast, genuine
      religion is universal, all-inclusive, and all-encompassing. It has
      to transcend specific culture-bound archetypal images and focus on
      the ultimate source of all forms. The most important question in the
      world of religion is thus the nature of the supreme principle in the
      universe. (page 271)

      Experience of the Supreme Cosmic Principle
      Individuals involved in systematic self-exploration with the use of
      holotropic states repeatedly describe this process as a
      philosophical and spiritual quest. This inspired me to search the
      records from psychedelic and holotropic sessions, as well as reports
      from people who were undergoing spiritual emergency, for experiences
      that would convey the sense that his quest reached its goal, its
      final destination. I found out that people who have the experience
      of the Absolute that fully satisfies their spiritual longing
      typically do not see any specific figurative images. When they feel
      that they have attained the goal of their mystical and philosophical
      quest, their descriptions of the supreme principle are highly
      abstract and strikingly similar.

      Those who report such an ultimate revelation show quite remarkable
      agreement in describing the experiential characteristics of this
      state. They report that the experience of the Supreme involved
      transcendence of all the limitations of the analytical mind, all
      rational categories, and all the constraints of ordinary logic. This
      experience was not bound by the usual limitations of three-
      dimensional space and linear time, as we know them from everyday
      life. It also contained all conceivable polarities in an inseparable
      amalgam and thus transcended dualities of any kind.

      Time after time, people compared the Absolute to a radiant source of
      light of unimaginable intensity, through they emphasized that it
      also differed in some significant aspects from any form of light
      that we know in the material world. To describe the Absolute as
      light, as much as it seems appropriate in a certain sense, entirely
      misses some of its essential characteristics, particularly in the
      fact that it also is an immense and unfathomable field of
      consciousness endowed with infinite intelligence and creative power.
      Another attribute that is regularly mentioned is an exquisite sense
      of humor ("cosmic humor").

      The supreme cosmic principle can be experienced in two different
      ways. Sometimes, all personal boundaries dissolve or are drastically
      obliterated and we completely merge with the divine source, becoming
      one with it and indistinguishable from it. Other times, we maintain
      the sense of separate identity, assuming the role of an astonished
      observer who is witnessing, as if from the outside, the mysterium
      tremendum of existence. Or, like some mystics, we might feel the
      ecstasy of an enraptured lover experiencing the encounter with the
      Beloved. Spiritual literature of all ages abounds in descriptions of
      both types of experiences of the divine.

      The encounter with Absolute Consciousness or identification with it
      is not the only way to experience the supreme principle in the
      cosmos or the ultimate reality. The second type of experience that
      seems to satisfy those who search for ultimate answers is
      particularly surprising, since it has no specific content. It is the
      identification with Cosmic Emptiness and Nothingness described in
      the mystical literature as the Void. ...

      When we reach experiential identification with the Absolute, we
      realize that our own being is ultimately commensurate with the
      entire cosmic network, with all of existence. The recognition of our
      own divine nature, our identity with the cosmic source, is the most
      important discovery we can make during the process of deep
      exploration. ... (pages 273-276)

      Chapter Nine. Consciousness Evolution and Human Survival:
      Transpersonal Perspective on the Global Crisis

      Psychospiritual Roots of the Global Crisis
      The task of imbuing humanity with an entirely different set of
      values and goals might appear too unrealistic and utopian to offer
      any real hope. Considering the paramount role of violence and greed
      in human history, the possibility of transforming modern humanity
      into a species of individuals capable of peaceful coexistence with
      their fellow men and women regardless of race, color, and religious
      or political conviction, let alone with other species, certainly
      does not seem very plausible. We are facing the necessity to instill
      humanity with profound ethical values, sensitivity to the needs of
      others, acceptance of voluntary simplicity, and a sharp awareness of
      ecological imperatives. At first glance, such a task appears too
      fantastic even for a science-fiction movie.

      However, although serious and critical, the situation might not be
      as hopeless as it appears. After more than forty years of intensive
      study of holotropic states of consciousness, I have come to the
      conclusion that the theoretical concepts and practical approaches
      developed by transpersonal psychology, a discipline that is trying
      to integrate spirituality with the new paradigm emerging in Western
      science, could help alleviate the crisis we are all facing. These
      observations suggest that radical psychospiritual transformation of
      humanity is not only possible, but is already underway. The question
      is only whether it can be sufficiently fast and extensive to reverse
      the current self-destructive trend of modern humanity. (pages 296-

      We seem to be involved in a dramatic race for time that has no
      precedent in the entire history of humanity. What is at stake is
      nothing less than the future of life on this planet. If we continue
      the old strategies which in their consequences are clearly extremely
      self-destructive, it is unlikely that the human species will
      survive. However, if a sufficient number of people undergo a process
      of deep inner transformation, we might reach a level of
      consciousness evolution when we deserve the proud name we have given
      to species: homo sapiens. (page 324)

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