Spirituality studiesVolume 1 / Issue 1 Spring 2015

Editorial 1 Martin Dojčár Revision and re-enchantment of the legacy of psychology from a half 3 century of consciousness research Stanislav Grof Sophiology as an example of integral science and education in the 37 slavonic tradition Emil Páleš On yoga in general 77 Květoslav Minařík There is nothing to limit our freedom 91 An interview given to Pavol Remiáš and Daniel Cvečko by Sandó Kaisen A Comparison of spiritual traditions in the context of the 97 universality of mysticism Slavomír Gálik - Sabína Gáliková Tolnaiová The holy and dirty money of faith: shapes of religion in 113 contemporary society Adrián Slavkovský Multiculturalism in health care concerning judaism and holocaust issues 123 Rebeka Ralbovská - Monika Zaviš - Renata Knezović About Spirituality Studies 136 VOLUME 1 ISSUE 1 SPRING 2015 The numbering between brackets refers to the original numbering on the Spirituality Studies webpage.

EDITORIAL Martin Dojčár Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to announce the 1th issue of the Spirituality Studies journal! In its content you can find extensive lifetime research contributions of Stanislav Grof and Emil Páleš side by side with profound insights into yoga by Květoslav Minařík, the legend of the 20th century mysticism from former Czechoslovakia, and an interview with a contemporary French-Polish Zen master Sandó Kaisen – all published for the first time here. The mosaic of the first issue is, at the same time, completed with three inspiring studies, one of which is written by Monika Zaviš, Rebekah Ralbovská and Renata Knezović, the other one by Sabína Gáliková Tolnaiová along with Slavomír Gálik, and finally, last but not least, the one by Adrián Slavkovský OP. We have started the Spirituality Studies journal as an enthusiasts’ project. It wouldn’t be possible without the generous contribution of the whole team, but in particular MartinHynek, a graphic designer who has designed our web page, andMilan Špak, an artist and photographer who has kindly provided us with his photographs. As an international and interspiritual editorial team we stand firm in our commitment to deliver to you the top quality of studies, articles, educational materials and information related to spirituality for free. On the other hand, we depend on your kind attention as a reader, and, if you will, on your gracious financial support as a benefactor. To help us keep going on with the Spirituality Studies as an open access journal, non-profit project, please, stay with us. Cordially Martin Dojčár editor-in-chief Spirituality Studies 1 (1) Spring 2015 1

2 Martin Dojčár

REVISION AND RE-ENCHANTMENT OF THE LEGACY OF PSYCHOLOGY FROM A HALF CENTURY OF CONSCIOUSNESS RESEARCH Stanislav Grof Received September 22 2014 - Revised November 12 2014 - November 26 2014 Abstract Drawing on observations from more than fifty years of research into an important subgroup of non-ordinary states of consciousness that he calls “holotropic”, the author suggests a revision of some basic assumptions of modern psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy. The proposed changes involve the nature of consciousness and its relationship to matter, dimensions of the human psyche, the roots of emotional and psychosomatic disorders, and therapeutic strategy. In the light of the new observations, spirituality appears to be an essential attribute of the human psyche and of existence in general. An important and controversial subject that could be only tangentially addressed in the context of this paper is the importance of archetypal psychology and astrology for consciousness research. Keywords Transpersonal psychology, archetypal psychology, holotropic states of consciousness, consciousness research, cartography of human psyche Spirituality Studies 1 (1) Spring 2015 3 (1)

1 Modern consciousness research and the dawning of a new paradigm In 1962, Thomas Kuhn, one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, published his groundbreaking bookThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Kuhn 1962). On the basis of fifteen years of intensive study of the history of science, he demonstrated that the development of knowledge about the universe in various scientific disciplines is not a process of gradual accumulation of data and formulation of ever more accurate theories, as usually assumed. Instead, it shows a clearly cyclical nature with specific stages and characteristic dynamics, which can be understood and even predicted. The central concept of Kuhn’s theory, which makes this possible, is that of a paradigm. A paradigm can be defined as a constellation of beliefs, values, and techniques shared by the members of the community at a particular historical period. It governs the thinking and research activities of scientists until some of its basic assumptions are seriously challenged by new observations. This leads to a crisis and emergence of suggestions for radically new ways of viewing and interpreting the phenomena that the old paradigm is unable to explain. Eventually, one of these alternatives satisfies the necessary requirements to become the new paradigm that then dominates the thinking in the next period of the history of science. The most famous historical examples of paradigm shifts have been the replacement of the Ptolemaic geocentric system by the heliocentric system of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo; the overthrow of Becher’s phlogiston theory in chemistry by Lavoisier and Dalton; and the conceptual cataclysms in physics in the first three decades of the twentieth century that undermined the hegemony of Newtonian physics and gave birth to theories of relativity and quantum physics. Paradigm shifts tend to come as a major surprise to the mainstream academic community, since its members tend to mistake the leading paradigms for an accurate and definitive description of reality. Thus in 1900 shortly before the advent of quantum-relativistic physics, Lord Kelvin declared: “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurements.” In the last five decades, various avenues of modern consciousness research have revealed a rich array of “anomalous” phenomena – experiences and observations that have undermined some of the generally accepted assertions of modern psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapyconcerning the nature and dimensions of the human psyche, the origins of emotional and psychosomatic disorders, and effective therapeutic mechanisms. Many of these observations are so radical that they question the basic metaphysical assumptions of materialistic science concerning the nature of reality and of human beings and the relationship between consciousness and matter. 4 (2) Stanislav Grof

2 Holotropic states of consciousness In this paper, I summarize my observations and experiences from more than half a century of research into an important subgroup of non-ordinary states of consciousness for which I coined the name holotropic; these findings seriously challenge the existing scientific paradigms. Before I address this topic, I would like to explain the term holotropic that I will be using throughout this article. All these years, my primary interest has been to explore the healing, transformative, and evolutionary potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness and their great value as a source of new revolutionary data about consciousness, the human psyche, and the nature of reality. From this perspective, the term “altered states of consciousness” (Tart 1969) commonly used by mainstream clinicians and theoreticians is not appropriate, because of its one-sided emphasis on the distortion or impairment of the “correct way” of experiencing oneself and the world. (In colloquial English and in veterinary jargon, the term “alter” is used to signify castration of family dogs and cats). Even the somewhat better term “non-ordinary states of consciousness” is too general, since it includes a wide range of conditions that are not relevant for the subject of this paper. Here belong trivial deliria caused by infectious diseases, tumors, abuse of alcohol, or circulatory and degenerative diseases of the brain. These alterations of consciousness are associated with disorientation, impairment of intellectual functions, and subsequent amnesia. They are clinically important, but lack therapeutic and heuristic potential. The term holotropic refers to a large subgroup of non-ordinary states of consciousness that are of great theoretical and practical importance. These are the states that novice shamans experience during their initiatory crises and later in life induce in their clients for therapeutic purposes. Ancient and native cultures have used these states for millenia in rites of passage and in their healing ceremonies. They were described by mystics of all ages and initiates in the ancient mysteries of death and rebirth. Procedures for inducing them were also developed and used in the context of major world religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity. The importance of holotropic states for ancient and aboriginal cultures is reflected in the amount of time and energy that themembers of these human groups dedicated to developing “technologies of the sacred”, various procedures capable of inducing such states for ritual and spiritual purposes. These methods combine in various ways drumming and other forms of percussion, music, chanting, rhythmic dancing, changes in breathing, and cultivating special forms of awareness. Extended social and sensory isolation in a cave, desert, arctic ice, or in high mountains is also an important way to induce such non-ordinary states. Extreme physiological interventions used for this purpose include fasting, sleep deprivation, dehydration, use of powerful laxatives and purgatives, and even infliction of severe pain, body mutilation, and massive bloodletting. Spirituality Studies 1 (1) Spring 2015 5 (3)

The ritual use of psychedelic plants has been by far the most effective tool for inducing healing and transformative non-ordinary states. When I recognized the unique nature of these states of consciousness, I found it difficult to believe that contemporary psychiatry does not have a specific category and term for such theoretically and practically important experiences. Because I felt strongly that they deserve to be distinguished from “altered states of consciousness” and not be seen as manifestations of serious mental diseases, I started referring to them as “holotropic”. This composite word literally means “oriented toward wholeness” or “moving toward wholeness” (from the Greek holos, “whole”, and trepo/trepein, “moving toward” or “in the direction of something”). The word holotropic is a neologism, but it is related to the commonly used term heliotropism – the property of plants to always move in the direction of the sun. 3 Holotropic states of consciousness and the spiritual history of humanity The name holotropic suggests something that might come as a surprise to an average Westerner: in our everyday state of consciousness we identify with only a small fraction of who we really are and do not experience the full extent of our being. Holotropic states of consciousness have the potential to help us recognize that we are not “skin-encapsulated egos”, as British philosopher and writer AlanWatts called it (Watts 1961), but that, in the last analysis, we are commensurate with the cosmic creative principle itself. Or, to use the statement by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French paleontologist and philosopher, “we are not human beings having spiritual experiences, we are spiritual beings having human experiences” (Teilhard de Chardin 1975). This astonishing idea is not new. In the ancient Indian Upanishads, the answer to the question: “Who am I?” is “Tat tvam asi”. This succinct Sanskrit sentence means literally: “Thou art That”, where ”That” refers to the Godhead. It suggests that we are not “namarupa” – name and form (body/ ego), but that our deepest identity is with a divine spark in our innermost being (Atman) which is ultimately identical with the supreme universal principle that creates the universe (Brahman). This revelation – the identity of the individual with the divine – is the ultimate secret that lies at the mystical core of all great spiritual traditions. The name for this principle could thus be the Tao, Buddha, Shiva (of Kashmir Shaivism), Cosmic Christ, Pleroma, Allah, and many others. Holotropic experiences have the potential to help us discover our true identity and our cosmic status (Grof 1998). Sometimes this happens in small increments, other times in the form of major breakthroughs. 6 (4) Stanislav Grof

4 Holotropic states of consciousness and modern psychiatry Psychedelic research and the development of intensive experiential techniques of psychotherapy in the second half of the twentieth century moved holotropic states from the world of healers of ancient and preliterate cultures into modern psychiatry and psychotherapy. Therapists who were open to these techniques and used them in their practice were able to confirm the extraordinary healing potential of holotropic states and discovered their value as goldmines of revolutionary new information about consciousness, the human psyche, and the nature of reality. I became aware of the remarkable properties of holotropic states in 1956 when I volunteered as a beginning psychiatrist for an experiment with LSD-25. During this experiment, in which the pharmacological effect of LSD was combined with exposure to powerful stroboscopic light (referred to as “driving“ or “entraining” of the brainwaves), I had an overwhelming experience of cosmic consciousness (Grof 2006). This experience inspired my lifelong interest in holotropic states and research in this area has become my passion, profession, and vocation. Since that time, most of my clinical and research activities have consisted of systematic exploration of the therapeutic, transformative, heuristic, and evolutionary potential of these states. The half century that I have dedicated to consciousness research has been for me an extraordinary adventure of discovery and self-discovery. I spent the first few decades conducting psychotherapy with psychedelic substances, initially at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and then at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in Baltimore, Maryland, where I participated in the last surviving U.S. psychedelic research program. Since 1975, my wife Christina and I have worked withHolotropic Breathwork, a powerful method of therapy and self-exploration that we jointly developed at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Over the years, we have also supported many people undergoing spontaneous episodes of non-ordinary states of consciousness – psychospiritual crises or “spiritual emergencies”, as Christina and I call them (Grof and Grof 1989; Grof and Grof 1991). In psychedelic therapy, holotropic states are brought about by administering mindaltering substances, such as LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, and tryptamine or amphetamine derivatives. In Holotropic Breathwork, consciousness is changed by a combination of faster breathing, evocative music, and energy-releasing bodywork. In spiritual emergencies, holotropic states occur spontaneously, in the middle of everyday life, and their cause is usually unknown. If they are correctly understood and supported, these episodes have an extraordinary healing, transformative, and even evolutionary potential. I have also been tangentially involved in many disciplines that are more or less directly related to holotropic states of consciousness. I have spent much time exchanging information with anthropologists and have participated in sacred ceremonies of native cultures Spirituality Studies 1 (1) Spring 2015 7 (5)

in different parts of the world with and without the ingestion of psychedelic plants, such as peyote, ayahuasca, and Psilocybe mushrooms. This has involved contact with various North American, Mexican, South American, and African shamans and healers. I have also had extensive contact with representatives of various spiritual disciplines, including Vipassana, Zen, and Vajrayana Buddhism, Siddha Yoga, Tantra, and the Christian Benedictine order. I have also closely followed the development of thanatology, the young discipline studying near-death experiences and the psychological and spiritual aspects of death and dying. In the late 1960s and early 1970s I participated in a large research project studying the effects of psychedelic therapy for individuals dying of cancer. I also have been privileged to know personally and experience some of the great psychics and parapsychologists of our era, pioneers of laboratory consciousness research, and therapists who had developed and practiced powerful forms of experiential therapy that induce holotropic states of consciousness. My initial encounter with holotropic states was very difficult and challenging, both intellectually and emotionally. In the early years of my laboratory and clinical psychedelic research, I was bombarded daily with experiences and observations, that my medical and psychiatric training had not prepared me for. As a matter of fact, I was experiencing and observing things that were considered impossible in the context of the scientific worldview I had obtained during my medical training. And yet, those supposedly impossible things were happening all the time. I have described these “anomalous phenomena” in my articles and books (Grof 2000, 2006). 5 Psychology of the future In the late 1990s, I received a phone call from Jane Bunker, my editor at State University New York (SUNY) Press, which had published many of my books. She asked me if I would consider writing a book that would summarize the observations from my research in one volume and would serve as an introduction to my already-published books. She also asked if I could specifically focus on all the experiences and observations from my research that current scientific theories could not explain and suggest the revisions in our thinking that would be necessary to account for these revolutionary findings. This was a tall order, but also a great opportunity. My 70th birthday was rapidly approaching and a new generation of facilitators was conducting our Holotropic Breathwork training all over the world. We needed a manual covering the material that was taught in our training modules. And here was an offer to provide it for us. The result of this exchange was a book with a deliberately provocative title: Psychology of the Future. The radical revisions in our understanding of consciousness and the human psyche in health and disease that I suggested in this work fall into the following categories: 1. The nature of consciousness and its relationship to matter; 2. New cartography of the human psyche; 8 (6) Stanislav Grof

3. Architecture of emotional and psychosomatic disorders; 4. Effective therapeutic mechanisms; 5. Strategy of psychotherapy and selfexploration; 6. The role of spirituality in human life; 7. The importance of archetypal astrology for psychology. Unless we change our thinking in all these areas, our understanding of psychogenic emotional and psychosomatic disorders and their therapy will remain superficial, unsatisfactory, and incomplete. Psychiatry and psychology will be unable to genuinely comprehend the nature and origin of spirituality and appreciate the important role that it plays in the human psyche and in the universal scheme of things. These revisions are therefore essential for understanding the ritual, spiritual, and religious history of humanity – shamanism, rites of passage, the ancient mysteries of death and rebirth, and the great religions of the world. Without these radical changes in our thinking, potentially healing and heuristically invaluable experiences (“spiritual emergencies”) will be misdiagnosed as psychotic and treated by suppressive medication. A large array of the experiences and observations from the research of holotropic states will remain mystifying “anomalous phenomena”, events that according to the current scientific paradigms should not occur. Mental health professionals will also have difficulty accepting the therapeutic power of psychedelic substances, mediated by profound experiences that are currently seen as psychotic – as demonstrated by the terms that mainstream clinicians and academicians use to describe them: experimental psychoses, psychotomimetics, or hallucinogens. This view reflects the inability to recognize the true nature of holotropic experiences as germane expressions of the deep dynamics of the psyche. In view of my own initial resistance to the bewildering experiences and observations from researching holotropic states, as well as phenomena associated with them (such as astonishing synchronicities), I will not be surprised if the changes I am proposing encounter strong resistance in the academic community. This is understandable, considering the scope and radical nature of the necessary conceptual revisions. Professionals in conventional academic and clinical circles tend to confuse “map and territory” and see current theories concerning consciousness and the human psyche in health and disease to be a definitive and accurate description of reality (Korzybski 1931, Bateson 1972). We are not talking here about a minor patchwork, known as ad hoc hypotheses, but a major fundamental overhaul. The resulting conceptual cataclysm would be comparable in its nature and scope to the revolution that physicists had to face in the first three decades of the twentieth century when they were forced to move from Newtonian to quantum-relativistic physics. In fact, the conceptual changes I am proposing would represent a logical completion of the radical changes in our understanding of the material world that have already occurred in physics. The history of science abounds with examples of individuals who challenged the domiSpirituality Studies 1 (1) Spring 2015 9 (7)

nant paradigm. Typically, their ideas were initially dismissed as products of ignorance, poor judgment, bad science, fraud, or even insanity. I am now in the ninth decade of my life, a time when researchers often try to review their professional career and outline the conclusions they have reached. More than half a century of research of holotropic states – my own, as well as that of many of my transpersonally-oriented colleagues – has amassed so much supportive evidence for a radically new understanding of consciousness and of the human psyche that I have decided to describe this new vision in its entirety, fully aware of its controversial nature. The fact that the new findings challenge the most fundamental metaphysical assumptions of materialistic science should not be a sufficient reason for rejecting them. Whether this new vision will ultimately be refuted or accepted should be determined by unbiased future research of holotropic states. 5.1 The nature of consciousness and its relationship to matter According to the current scientific worldview, consciousness is an epiphenomenon of material processes; it allegedly emerges out of the complexity of the neurophysiological processes in the brain. This thesis is presented with great authority as an obvious fact that has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. But on closer inspection, we discover that it is a basic metaphysical assumption that is not supported by facts and actually contradicts the findings of modern consciousness research. We have ample clinical and experimental evidence showing deep correlations between the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of the brain, on the one hand, and states of consciousness, on the other. However, none of these findings proves unequivocally that consciousness is actually generated by the brain. Even sophisticated theories based on advanced research of the brain – such as Stuart Hameroff’s suggestion that the solution of the problem of consciousness might lie in understanding the quantum process in the microtubules of brain cells on the molecular and supramolecular level (Hameroff 1987) – falls painfully short of bridging the formidable gap between matter and consciousness and illuminating how material processes could generate consciousness. The origin of consciousness from matter is simply taken for granted as an obvious and self-evident fact, based on the metaphysical assumption of the primacy of matter in the universe. In fact, in the entire history of science, nobody has ever offered a plausible explanation for how consciousness could be generated by material processes, or even suggested a viable approach to the problem. Consider, for example, the book by Francis Crick The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul (Crick 1994); the book’s jacket carried a very exciting promise: “Nobel Prize-winning Scientist Explains Consciousness”. Crick’s “astonishing hypothesis” was succinctly stated at the beginning of his book: ”You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve 10 (8) Stanislav Grof

cells and their associated molecules. Who you are is nothing but a pack of neurons.” At the beginning of the book, “to simplify the problem of consciousness”, Crick narrows it to the problem of optical perception. He presents impressive experimental evidence showing that visual perception is associatedwith distinct physiological, biochemical, and electrical processes in the optical system from the retina through the optical tract to the suboccipital cortex. And there the discussion ends as if the problem of consciousness had been satisfactorily solved. In reality this is where the problem begins. What exactly is capable of transforming biochemical and electric processes in the brain into a conscious experience of a reasonable facsimile of the object we are observing, in full color, and project it into three-dimensional space? The formidable problem of the relationship between phenomena – things as we perceive them – and noumena – things as they truly are in themselves (Ding an sich) was clearly articulated by Immanuel Kant (Kant 1999). Scientists focus their efforts on the aspect of the problem where they can find answers: the material processes in the brain. The much more mysterious problem – how physical processes in the brain generate consciousness – does not receive any attention, because it is incomprehensible and cannot be solved. The attitude that Western science has adopted in regard to this issue resembles the famous Sufi story. On a dark night, Nasruddin, a satirical Sufi figure, is on his knees under a street lamp. His neighbor sees him and asks: “What are you doing? Are you looking for something?” Nasruddin answers that he is searching for a lost key and the neighbor offers to help. After some time of unsuccessful joint effort, the neighbor becomes confused and feels the need for clarification. He asks: “I don’t see anything! Are you sure you lost it here?” Nasruddin shakes his head and points his finger to a dark area outside of the circle illuminated by the lamp and replies: “Not here, over there!” The neighbor is puzzled and inquires further: “So why are we looking for it here and not over there?” Nasruddin explains: “Because it is light here and we can see. Over there it’s dark and we would not have a chance!” Similarly materialistic scientists have systematically avoided the problem of the origin of consciousness, because this riddle cannot be solved within the context of their conceptual framework. The idea that consciousness is a product of the brain is naturally not completely arbitrary. Its proponents usually refer to a vast body of very specific clinical observations from neurology, neurosurgery, neurophysiology, and psychiatry, to support their position. The evidence for close correlations between the anatomy, neurophysiology, and biochemistry of the brain and consciousness is unquestionable and overwhelming. What is problematic is not the nature of the presented evidence but the conclusions that are drawn from these observations. In formal logic, this type of fallacy represents a non sequitur – an argument wherein its conclusion does not follow from its premises. While the experimental data clearly show that consciousness is closely connected with the neuSpirituality Studies 1 (1) Spring 2015 11 (9)

rophysiological and biochemical processes in the brain, they have very little bearing on the nature and origin of consciousness. A simple analogy is the relationship between a TV set and the television program. The situation here is much clearer, since it involves a system that is human-made and its operation is well known. The final reception of the television program – the quality of the picture and of the sound – depends in a very critical way on the proper functioning of the TV set and on the integrity of its components. Malfunctions of its various parts cause very distinct and specific changes of the quality of the program. Some of them lead to distortions of form, color, or sound, others to interference between the channels, etc. Like the neurologist who uses changes in consciousness as a diagnostic tool, a television mechanic can infer from the nature of these anomalies which parts of the set and which specific components are malfunctioning. When the problem is identified, repairing or replacing these elements will correct the distortions. Since we know the basic principles of the television technology, it is obvious to us that the set simply mediates the program and that it does not generate it. We would laugh at somebody who would try to examine and scrutinize all the transistors, relays, and circuits of the TV set and analyze all its wires in an attempt to figure out how it creates the programs. Even if we carried this misguided effort to the molecular, atomic, or subatomic level, we would have absolutely no clue as to why, at a particular time, a Mickey Mouse cartoon, a Star Trek sequence, or a Hollywood classic appear on the screen. The close correlation between the functioning of the TV set and the quality of the program does not necessarily mean that the entire secret of the program is in the set itself. Yet this is exactly the kind of conclusion that traditional materialistic science draws from comparable data about the brain and its relation to consciousness. Ample evidence suggests exactly the opposite, namely that under certain circumstances consciousness can operate independently of its material substrate and can perform functions that reach far beyond the capacities of the brain. This is most clearly illustrated by the existence of out-of-body experiences (OBEs), which can occur spontaneously, or in various facilitating situations – shamanic trances, psychedelic sessions, spiritual practice, hypnosis, experiential psychotherapy, and particularly near-death experiences (NDEs). In all these situations consciousness can separate from the body and maintain its sensory capacity, while moving freely to various close and remote locations. Veridical OBEs are particularly interesting, because independent verification confirms that the perception of the environment is accurate. In near-death situations, veridical OBEs can occur even in people who are congenitally blind for organic reasons (Ring and Valarino 1998; Ring and Cooper 1999). Many other types of transpersonal phenomena can also mediate accurate information about various aspects of the universe that had not been previously received and recorded in the brain (Grof 2000). Materialistic scientists have not been able 12 (10) Stanislav Grof

to produce any convincing evidence that consciousness is a product of the neurophysiological processes in the brain. They have been able to maintain this conviction only by ignoring, misinterpreting, and even ridiculing a vast body of observations indicating that consciousness can exist and function independently of thebody andof the physical senses. This evidence comes from parapsychology, anthropology, LSD research, experiential psychotherapy, thanatology, and the study of spontaneously occurring holotropic states of consciousness (“spiritual emergencies”). These disciplines have all amassed impressive data demonstrating clearly that human consciousness is capable of functioning in many ways that the brain, as understood by mainstream science, cannot possibly achieve and that consciousness is a primary and further irreducible aspect of existence – an equal partner of matter or possibly superordinated to it. 5.2 New cartography of the human psyche Traditional academic psychiatry and psychology use a model of the human psyche that is limited to postnatal biography and to the individual unconscious described by Sigmund Freud. According to Freud, our psychological history begins after we are born; the newborn is a tabula rasa, a clean slate. Our psychological functioning is determined by an interplay between biological instincts and influences that have shaped our life since we came into this world – the quality of nursing, the nature of toilet training, various psychosexual traumas, development of the superego, our reaction to the Oedipal triangle, and conflicts and traumatic events in later life. According to this point of view, our postnatal personal and interpersonal history determine who we become and how we psychologically function. The Freudian individual unconscious is also essentially a derivative of our postnatal history – a repository of what we have forgotten, rejected as unacceptable, and repressed. This underworld of the psyche (the idas Freud called it), is a realm dominated by primitive instinctual forces. To describe the relationship between the conscious psyche and the unconscious Freud used his famous image of the submerged iceberg. In this simile what had been assumed to be the totality of the psyche was only a small part of it, like the portion of the iceberg showing above the surface of the water. Psychoanalysis discovered that a much larger part of the psyche, comparable to the submerged part of the iceberg, is unconscious and, unbeknownst to us, governs our thought processes and behavior. Later contributions to dynamic psychotherapy added to etiological factors problems in the development of object relationships and interpersonal dynamics in the nuclear family, but shared with Freudian psychoanalysis the exclusive emphasis on postnatal life (Blanck and Blanck 1974, 1979; Sullivan 1953; Satir 1983; Bateson et al. 1956). Who we become and how we psychologically function is determined by what happens to us after we were born. But this model proves to be painfully inadequate when we work with holotropic states of consciousness induced by Spirituality Studies 1 (1) Spring 2015 13 (11)

psychedelics and various non-drug means, as well as those occurring spontaneously. To account for all the phenomena occurring in these states, we must drastically revise our understanding of the dimensions of the human psyche. Besides the postnatal biographical level that it shares with traditional psychology, the new expanded cartography includes two additional large domains. The first of these domains can be referred to as “perinatal”, because of its close connection with the trauma of biological birth. This region of the unconscious contains the memories of what the fetus experienced in the consecutive stages of the birth process, including all the emotions and physical sensations involved. These memories form four distinct experiential clusters, each of which is related to one of the stages of childbirth. I have coined for them the term “basic perinatal matrices” (BPM I–IV). BPM I consists of memories of the advanced prenatal state just before the onset of the delivery. BPM II is related to the first stage of the birth process when the uterus contracts, but the cervix is not yet open. BPM III reflects the struggle to be born after the uterine cervix dilates. And finally, BPM IV holds the memory of emerging into the world, the birth itself. The content of these matrices is not limited to fetal memories; each of them also represents a selective opening into the domains of the historical and archetypal collective unconscious, which contain motifs of similar experiential quality. Detailed description of the phenomenology and dynamics of perinatal matrices can be found in my various publications (Grof 1975, 2000). The official position of academic psychiatry is that biological birth is not recorded in memory and does not constitute a psychotrauma. The usual reason for denying the possibility of birth memory is that the cerebral cortex of the newborn is not mature enough to mediate experiencing and recording of this event. More specifically, the cortical neurons are not yet “myelinized” – completely covered with protective sheaths of a fatty substance called myelin. Surprisingly, this same argument is not used to deny the existence and importance of memories from the time of nursing, a period that immediately follows birth. The psychological significance of the experiences in the oral period and even bonding – the exchange of looks and physical contact between the mother and child immediately after birth – is generally recognized and acknowledged by mainstream obstetricians, pediatricians, and child psychiatrists (Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus 1995; Kennel and Klaus 1998). The myelinization argument makes no sense and is in conflict with scientific evidence of various kinds. For instance, it has been established that memory exists in organisms that do not have a cerebral cortex at all. In 2001, an American neuroscientist of Austrian origin, Erik Kandel, received a Nobel Prize in physiology for his research of memory mechanisms of the sea slug Aplysia, an organism incomparably more primitive than the newborn child. At Tufts University Tal Shomrat and Michael Levin, conducted fascinating research into the molecular mechanisms in Planarian flatworms that enable these organisms to regenerate their entire body, including the brain. The Planaria may offer unique opportunity 14 (12) Stanislav Grof

to study brain regeneration and memory in the same animal. To establish a system for the investigation of the dynamics of memory in a regenerating brain, they developed a computerized system to train flatworms in an environmental familiarization protocol. They showed that worms exhibited environmental familiarization, and that this memory persisted for at least 14 days – long enough for the brain to regenerate. They further showed that trained, decapitated Planaria exhibited evidence of memory retrieval after regenerating a new head model system. The authors propose planaria as a key model species for mechanistic investigations of the encoding of specific memories in biological tissues. The assertion that the newborn is not aware of being born and is not capable of forming memory of this event is also strongly conflicts with extensive fetal research showing that the fetus is extremely sensitive even in the prenatal stage (Tomatis 1991; Whitwell 1999; Moon, Lagercrantz, and Kuhl 2010). The most likely explanation of this striking logical inconsistency occurring in individuals trained in rigorous scientific thinking is psychological repression and resistance in regard to the terrifying memory of biological birth. The second transbiographical domain of the new cartography is best called “transpersonal” because it includes a rich array of experiences in which consciousness transcends the boundaries of the body/ego and the usual limitations of linear time and three-dimensional space. This transcendence leads to experiential identification with other people, groups of people, other life forms, and even elements of the inorganic world. Transcendence of time provides experiential access to ancestral, racial, collective, phylogenetic, and karmic memories. Yet another category of transpersonal experiences can take us into the realm of the collective unconscious that the Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung called “archetypal”. This region harbors mythological figures, themes, and realms of all the cultures and ages, even those of which we have no previous intellectual knowledge (Jung 1959). In its farthest reaches, individual consciousness can identify with the Universal Mind or Cosmic Consciousness, the creative principle of the universe. Probably the most profound experience available in holotropic states is identification with the Supracosmic andMetacosmic Void, Primordial Emptiness and Nothingness that is conscious of itself. The Void has a paradoxical nature; it is a vacuum, in the sense that it is devoid of any concrete forms, but it is also a plenum, since it seems to contain all of creation in a potential form. The existence and nature of transpersonal experiences violate some of the most basic assumptions of materialistic science. They imply such seemingly absurd notions as relativity and arbitrary nature of all physical boundaries, nonlocal connections in the universe, communication through unknown means and channels, memory without a material substrate, the nonlinearity of time, or consciousness associated with all living organisms, and even inorganic matter. Many transpersonal experiences involve events from both the microcosm and the macrocosm, realms that cannot norSpirituality Studies 1 (1) Spring 2015 15 (13)

mally be reached by unaided human senses, or from historical periods that precede the origin of the solar system, formation of planet earth, appearance of living organisms, development of the nervous system, and emergence of Homo sapiens. Mainstream academicians and physicians adhering to the monistic materialistic worldview have no other choice but to deny the existence and authenticity of transpersonal experiences or relegate them to the category of “anomalous phenomena”. However, serious attempts have been made to provide for them a scientific conceptual framework and integrate them into a revolutionary new worldview. In an intellectual tour de force and a series of books, the world’s foremost system theorist, interdisciplinary scientist, and philosopher, Ervin Laszlo, has explored a wide range of disciplines, including astrophysics, quantum-relativistic physics, biology, and transpersonal psychology (Laszlo 1993, 1999, 2003, 2004a, 2004b). He pointed out a wide range of phenomena, paradoxical observations, and paradigmatic challenges, for which these disciplines have no explanations. Drawing on revolutionary advances of twentieth century’s science, he has offered a brilliant solution to the anomalies and paradoxes that currently plague many of its fields. Laszlo achieved this by formulating his connectivity hypothesis, which has as its main cornerstone the existence of what he called the “psi-field” and, more recently, renamed the “Akashic field” (Laszlo 2003, 2004b). Laszlo describes it as a subquantum field that is the source of all creation and holds a holographic record of all the events that have happened in the phenomenal world. He equates this field with the concept of “quantum vacuum” (or better “quantum plenum”) that has emerged from modern physics (Laszlo 2003, 2004ab). Laszlo’s connectivity hypothesis provides a scientific explanation for otherwise mysterious transpersonal experiences, such as experiential identification with other people and with representatives of other species, group consciousness, possibility of experiencing episodes from other historical periods and countries including past life experiences, telepathy, remote viewing and other psychic abilities, out-ofbody experiences, astral projection, the experience of the Supracosmic and Metacosmic Void, and others. An alternative conceptual framework that can account for many of the baffling properties of transpersonal experiences is the process philosophy of the English mathematician, logician, and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead (Whitehead 1978). Whitehead’s metaphysical system is of particular interest because it does not grant fundamental metaphysical status to matter but places central focus on experience or mind. According to process philosophy, the basic element of which the universe is made is not an enduring substance, but a moment of experience, called in his terminology “actual occasion”. The universe is composed of countless discontinuous bursts of experiential activity on all levels of reality, from subatomic particles to human souls. The relevance of Whitehead’s philosophy for transpersonal psychology and consciousness research has been explored in the writings of John Buchanan, David Ray Griffin, John Quiring, Leonard Gibson, 16 (14) Stanislav Grof

and Grant Maxwell (Buchanan 1994, 2001, 2002 and 2005; Griffin 1989, 1996; Quiring 1996; Gibson 1998, 2006, 2010; Maxwell 2011). Having spent more than half a century studying holotropic states of consciousness, I have no doubt that there exist transpersonal experiences, which areontologically real and are not products of metaphysical speculation, human imagination, or pathological processes in the brain. By the term “ontologically real”, I refer to a category of experiences which not only possess the subjective sense of reality, but whose contents also seem to reveal something of the nature or essential qualities of being or existence. It would be erroneous to dismiss all transpersonal experiences as products of fantasy, primitive superstition, or manifestations of mental disease, as has so frequently been done. Anyone attempting to do so would have to offer a plausible explanation why these experiences have in the past been described so consistently by people of various races, cultures, and historical periods. He or she would also have to account for the fact that these experiences continue to emerge in modern populations under such diverse circumstances as sessions with various psychedelic substances, during experiential psychotherapy, in meditation of people involved in systematic spiritual practice, in near-death experiences, and in the course of spontaneous episodes of psychospiritual crisis. Detailed discussion of the transpersonal domain, including descriptions and examples of various types of transpersonal experiences can be found in my various publications (Grof 1975, 1987, and 2000). In view of this vastly expanded model of the psyche, we could now paraphrase Freud’s simile of the psyche as an iceberg by saying that everything Freudian analysis has discovered about the psyche represents just the tip of the iceberg showing above the water. Research of holotropic states has made it possible to discover and explore the vast submerged portion of the iceberg, which has escaped the attention of Freud and his followers, with the exception of the remarkable renegades Otto Rank and C. G. Jung. Mythologist Joseph Campbell, known for his incisive Irish humor, used a different metaphor: “Freud was fishing while sitting on a whale.” 5.3 The nature, function, and architecture of emotional and psychosomatic disorders To explain various emotional and psychosomatic disorders that do not have an organic basis (“psychogenic psychopathology”), traditional psychiatrists use a superficial model of the psyche limited to postnatal biography and the individual unconscious. This model suggests that these conditions originate in infancy and childhood as a result of various emotional traumas and interpersonal dynamics in the family of origin. There seems to be general agreement among schools of dynamic psychotherapy that the depth and seriousness of these disorders depend on the timing of the original traumatization. Thus, according to classical psychoanalysis, the origin of alcoholism, narcotic drug addiction, and manic-depressive disorders can be found in the oral period of libidinal Spirituality Studies 1 (1) Spring 2015 17 (15)

development; obsessive-compulsive neurosis has its roots in the anal stage; phobias and conversion hysteria result from traumas incurred in the phallic phase and at the time of theOedipus andElectra complex; and so on (Fenichel 1945). Later developments in psychoanalysis have linked some very deep disorders – autistic and symbiotic infantile psychoses, narcissistic personality, and borderline personality disorders – to disturbances in the early development of object relations (Blanck and Blanck 1974 and 1979). As I mentioned earlier, this does not apply to Rankian and Jungian therapists who understand that the roots of emotional disorders reach deeper into the psyche. These conclusions are based on observations of therapists who use primarily verbal means. The understanding of psychogenic disorders changes radically when we employ methods involving holotropic states of consciousness that engage levels of the unconscious generally inaccessible to verbal therapy. Initial stages of this work typically uncover relevant traumatic material from early infancy and childhood that is meaningfully related to emotional and psychosomatic problems and appears to be their source. However, when the process of uncovering continues, deeper layers of the unconscious unfold and we find additional roots of the same problems on the perinatal and transpersonal levels of the psyche. Various ways of working with holotropic states – such as psychedelic therapy, Holotropic Breathwork, rebirthing, and primal therapy, or psychotherapy with people experiencing spontaneous psychospiritual crises – have shown that emotional and psychosomatic problems cannot be adequately explained as originating exclusively in postnatal psychotraumatic events. In my experience, the unconscious material associated with them typically forms multilevel dynamic constellations for which I have coined the term “systems of condensed experience“ or “COEX systems“ (Grof 1975, 2000). A typical COEX system consists of many layers of unconscious material that share similar emotions or physical sensations; the contributions to a COEX system come from different levels of the psyche. The more superficial and accessible layers contain memories of emotional or physical traumas from infancy, childhood, and later life. On a deeper level, each COEX system is typically connected to a certain aspect of the memory of birth – a specific BPM; the choice of this matrix depends on the nature of the emotional and physical feelings involved. For example, if the theme of the COEX system is victimization, this would be BPM II; if it is fight against a powerful adversary or sexual abuse, the connection would be to BPM III. For a positive COEX comprising memories of deeply satisfying and fulfilling situations it would be BPM I or BPM IV, and so on. The deepest roots of COEX systems underlying emotional and psychosomatic disorders reach into the transpersonal domain of the psyche. They have the form of ancestral, racial, collective, and phylogenetic memories, experiences that seem to be coming from other lifetimes (“past life memories”), and various archetypal motifs. Thus, for example, therapeutic work on anger and dispo18 (16) Stanislav Grof