Ammar Mian

The Holotropic Mind - Stanislav Grof

Challenging the Newtonian Universe

Breakthroughs to New Dimensions of Consciousness

For over two hundred years the Newtonian perspective has dictated the criteria for what is an acceptable or unacceptable experience of reality. Accordingly, a “normally functioning” person is one who is capable of accurately mirroring back the objective external world that Newtonian science describes (p 5)

Sheldrake suggests that forms in nature are governed by what he calls “morphogenic fields”, which cannot be detected or measured by contemporary science. This would mean that all scientific efforts of the past have totally neglected a dimension that is absolutely critical for understanding the nature of reality (p 11)

All the ancient and pre-industrial cultures have held non-ordinary states of consciousness in high esteem. They valued them as powerful means for connecting with sacred realities, nature, and each other, and they used these states for identifying diseases and healing (p 13)

In sessions of LSD-assisted psychotherapy, we witnessed a rather peculiar pattern. Many of the experiences reported were remarkably like those described in ancient spiritual texts from Eastern traditions [despite lack of] previous knowledge of the Eastern spiritual philosophies (p 16)

Memories of emotional and physical experiences are stored in the psyche not as isolated bits and pieces but in the form of complex constellations, which I call COEX systems (“systems of condensed experience”). Each COEX system consists of emotionally charged memories from different periods of our lives (p 24)

The Perinatal Matrices

Each COEX constellation appears to be superimposed over and anchored into a very particular aspect of the birth experience (p 25)

Wholeness and the Amniotic Universe (BPM I)

A child’s consciousness may be affected by a wide range of noxious influences even in the earliest stages of the embryonal life. Positive experiences in the womb seem to play a role in the child’s development that is at least as important as a positive nursing experience (p 38)

The womb experience involves a peaceful melting of all boundaries, along with serenity and tranquility. It becomes virtually impossible to find anything negative about existence; everything seems absolutely perfect (p 40)

While experiencing this oceanic ecstasy of Apollonian BPM I, the entire world appears as a friendly place where we can safely and securely assume a childlike, passive-dependent attitude. In this state, evil seems ephemeral, irrelevant, or even non-existent (p 40)

Our LSD-mediated sessions may be accompanied by an unpleasant taste in the mouth that people describe variously as decomposed blood, iodine, metallic flavor, or simply “poison.” In our efforts to validate these experiences, we frequently discover that during pregnancy the mother was ill, had poor dietary habits, worked or lived in toxic environments, or was a habitual user of alcohol or other drugs (p 43)

Expulsion from Paradise (BPM II)

In the extreme, the person may feel paranoid or under insidious attack. The spontaneous emergence of memories involving intrauterine disturbances or the onset of the delivery from the womb seems to be among the important causes of paranoid states (p 47)

The Dionysian BPM II is accompanied by very distinct physical manifestations. These involve tension throughout the body and a posture that expresses a sense of being stuck and/or of futile struggle (p 49)

From this perspective, any effort, ambition, or dream for the future is simply doomed to failure. In extreme cases, humans appear to be nothing but pitiful perennial victims (p 49)

Experiences of BPM II are best characterized by the triad: fear of death, fear of never coming back, and fear of going crazy (p 51)

One may witness or endure tortures involving sharp pains inflicted by demons using daggers, spears, and pitchforks (p 52)

To work effectively with these states, one has to create a supportive environment and use techniques that allow these people to relive and work through not just the recent adult traumas but also the underlying primary memories of victimization associated with BPM II (p 55)

The Death-Rebirth Struggle (BPM III)

“Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, canceled, made nothing? Are you willing to be made nothing? Dipped into oblivion? If not, you will never really change.” - DH Lawrence, Phoenix

In BPM III (coming to terms with leaving the womb), there were many images of the murderer and the victim as one person. He could feel the Hitler and the Stalin in him and felt fully responsible for the atrocities in human history. He saw that humanity’s problem was the Hidden Killer that we each find within our own psyches (p 58)

He was choking, gagging, making faces, spitting, trying to get it out of his system and off his skin. At the same time, he was getting a message that he did not have to fight; the process had its own rhythm and all he had to do was surrender to it (p 59)

The memory of this experience survives in us as a sense of emotional and physical confinement and the inability to enjoy our lives fully. It sometimes takes the form of a cruel inner judge demanding punishment (p 62)

This process is often associated with visions of consuming fires. These flames destroy everything that is corrupt or rotten in our lives, preparing us for renewal and rebirth. It is interesting that in the corresponding stage of delivery many mothers feel their entire genital areas are on fire (p 66)

The Death and Rebirth Experience (BPM IV)

In BPM IV, the panic and terror were gone. There was a new anguish, but he was not alone in this anguish. He was somehow participating in the deaths of all people. He began experiencing the passion of Jesus. He was Jesus but he was also Everyone and they were all making their way in a dirge-like procession toward Golgotha (p 70)

As this session came to an end, he continued to feel filled with awe, humility, peace, blessedness, and joy. While his imagery and symbolism are decidedly Christian, the same essential themes of these experiences occur again and again with people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds while reliving BPM IV (p 72)

What really dies in this process is that part of us that holds a basically paranoid view of ourselves and of the world around us (p 74)

The ego that dies in the fourth matrix is identified with a compulsion to always be strong and in control. The elimination of the false ego thus helps us to develop a more realistic image of the world and to build strategies of approaching it that are more appropriate and rewarding (p 74)

On occasion, the process does not run its full course and results in a temporary state resembling mania. The individual involved may feel overly excited, hyperactive, and euphoric (p 77)

The Transpersonal Paradigm

An Overview of the Transpersonal Paradigm

Here under the cosmic umbrella of the night sky, we begin to recognize that the limits we perceive are in our minds, not out there in the vast, unlimited universe (p 84)

Journeys Beyond Physical Boundaries

Sri Aurobindo tells us: We have to see all becomings as developments of the movement in our true self and this self as one inhabiting all bodies and not our body only (p 89)

People have reported that after identification with animals (during transpersonal experiences), they have obtained a profound organismic understanding of drives completely foreign to humans, such as the feelings that propel the eel or the sockeye salmon on their heroic upstream journeys (p 98)

Across the Borders of Time

While reliving early life in the womb, many people have reported how keenly aware they were of thoughts and feelings that their mothers never verbalized. For example, the person recalling intrauterine life might suddenly get in touch with the mother’s sense of conflict or resentment over her pregnancy or, conversely, might feel the mother’s happiness with the pregnancy (p 114)

From the viewpoint of these writings (Jung, mystics, etc), none of us comes into life with a “clean slate.” Rather our present lives are part of a continuum that can extent far back into many previous lifetimes, and will most likely extend forward into many more (p 126)

It is important to remind ourselves that science never “proves” anything; it only “disproves” and “improves” existing theories. There is always more than a single theory that claims to account for the observable facts. I could not understand how I could have let myself be brainwashed into accepting the simple-minded concept of one-dimensional time and three-dimensional space as being mandatory and as existing in object reality (p 133, 135)

(During one of my own transpersonal experiences), I deeply regret I wasted such a unique opportunity to test my ability to manipulate space-time. However, the memory of the metaphysical horror involved makes me doubt that I would be more courageous if given another opportunity to follow through with a similar test (p 137)

Beyond a Shared Reality

“We must not confuse mythology with ideology. Myths come from where the heart is, and where the experience is, even as the mind may wonder why people believe these things.” - Joseph Campbell (p 141)

The basic message in the mystical traditions has been that not only can we experientially connect with the creative principle but that each of us, in a sense, is the creative principle. Such as “Tat tvam asi”, “Thou art That,” you are the Godhead, found in the ancient Indian Upanishads (p 164)

The experience of cosmic consciousness is boundless, unfathomable, and beyond expression. Communicating this to those who have not had this experience is neither possible nor necessary. It becomes a self-validating and deeply personal experience (p 164)

Occasionally, people can have negative reactions to cosmic insights of this kind. Some find it difficult to return to their everyday consciousnesses and assume roles that seem trivial in light of what they have just experienced. Others may feel disappointed because of a realization that as human beings they are just actors in a predetermined cosmic play and they resist awakening to that fact (p 167)

The paradox is that Rene Descartes Discourses on Method, the book that provided the foundations for modern science, came to its author in three visionary dreams and a dream within a dream (p 170)

Experiences of a Psychoid Nature

In his famous work Synchronicity, Jung expressed his view that rather than being an absolute law of nature, causality is a statistical phenomenon. Furthermore, he made the point that there are many instances where this “law” does not apply (p 176)

Many report that at the time of their peak performances they were in states that resembled mystical rapture. Their experience in the psychoid realm, such as the radical alteration of time and space, to them bordered on the miraculous (The Psychic Side of Sports by Michael Murphy) (p 181)

Implications for a New Psychology of Being

New Perspectives on Reality and Human Nature

Toward the end of his life, brain research pioneer Wilder Penfield wrote the book The Mystery of Mind, in which he stated that consciousness does not have its source in the brain. Later research, and particularly thanatology in its studies of near-death experiences, have added evidence for Penfield’s position (p 202)

Through observing clients in non-ordinary states we discover that their neurotic or psychosomatic symptoms often involve more than the biographical level of the psyche. Initially, we may find symptoms connected to traumatic events suffered in infancy or childhood (traditional psychotherapy). However, when the process continues and deepens, the same symptoms are found as related to aspects of the birth trauma (BPM I-IV). Additional roots of the same issue can then be traced even further, for example, to an experience in a past life, an unresolved archetypal theme, or a person’s identification with a specific animal (transpersonal) (p 206)

It has been suggested that the success of psychotherapy might have nothing to do with the therapist’s technique and the content of verbal interpretations, but depend on factors such as the quality of the relationship in the therapeutic setting, the degree of empathy, or the client’s feelings of being understood and supported (p 210)

After examining material of this kind for more than twenty years, I have been inevitably drawn to the possibility that the violence, greed, and acquisitiveness that have shaped human history in the past centuries may be linked to the unresolved traumas of our perinatal, transpersonal experiences (p 213, 214, 216, 219)