Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Psychology of the Future by Stanislav Grof

December 30, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Views: 154

The author is one the foremost writers in the field of transpersonal psychology. This book covers ideas regarding non-ordinary states of consciousness. His discussion draws on for example such fascinating human states of consciousness as past-life experiences, peak experiences, communication with spirit guides and channelling, near-death experiences, crises of shamans like witch-doctors, states of possession, and awakening of Kundalini. He also reports findings from his original research into 'psychedelic therapy' and 'holotropic breathwork'. 

Holotropic consciousness

He writes that in holotropic states, consciousness is changed qualitatively in a very profound and fundamental way although people typically remain fully orientated in terms of space and time, not completely losing touch with everyday reality. At the same time it is said that our field of consciousness is invaded from contents from other dimensions of existence in a way that can be very intense and even overwhelming. We thus experience simultaneously two very different realities, having each foot in a different world.

He goes on to say that holotropic states are characterised by dramatic perceptual changes in all sensory areas. When we close our eyes we may see images drawn from personal history or visions portraying plants or animals, scenes from nature, or of the universe. We may be experiencing realms of archetypal beings and mythological regions. And even when we open our eyes, our perception of our surroundings can be transformed by vivid projections of this unconscious material. Various sounds, physical sensations, smells and tastes may also be involved.

He also describes emotions characteristic of these states. Feelings can be very intense. They may range from ecstatic rapture, content and peacefulness, to terror, murderous anger, utter despair, or consuming guilt. Such states of mind seem to match either the celestial paradises or hellish realms described in sacred scriptures of the world's religions.

He reports that, in these non-ordinary states of consciousness, we may not be able to rely on our judgment of everyday practical matters but we can be flooded by remarkable valid information on a variety of subjects as well as deep insights concerning our personal history, unconscious dynamics, and life problems. He writes that we can also "experience extraordinary revelations concerning various aspects of nature and of the cosmos that by a wide margin transcends our educational and intellectual background."

Finally he comments that the most interesting insights that become available revolve around philosophical, metaphysical and spiritual issues. And so he thinks holotropic states of consciousness facilitate deep personality changes and spiritual opening. 

Spiritual nature of existence

Grof argues that experiences of this kind are the main source of mythologies, philosophies and religious systems describing the spiritual nature of existence.

He maintains that the dogmas and activities of mainstream religions tend to obscure the fact that the only place where true spirituality can be found is inside the psyche of each of us. Most people would probably agree with his assertion that at its worst organised religion can actually function as a grave impediment for any serious spiritual search, rather than an institution that can help us connect with the divine. For, by denigrating its members, it makes it difficult to believe that the divine is within them.

Altered states of consciousness are not unequivocal proof of survival of consciousness after death. However, Grof points out that according to Western neuroscience, consciousness is a product of the physiological processes in the brain, and thus critically dependent on the body. Very few people, including most scientists, realise that we have no proof that consciousness is actually produced by the brain and that we do not even have a remote notion of how something like consciousness could possibly happen in terms of physical matter.

Whilst remaining an agnostic about what happens after death, Grof is absolutely clear that none of the interpretations based on careful study of altered states of consciousness are compatible with the monistic materialistic worldview of Western science. At the same time he acknowledges that a belief in survival and karma will have a profound impact on our behaviour.

This book is published in the Suny Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology, State University of New York Press. 2000.Grof has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the transpersonal world and it shows. However the reader should be warned about a tendency towards repetition. Many scientists will probably feel he has over-stated his case. Nevertheless I warmly recommend this book and give it a five-star rating.

Copyright 2010 Stephen Russell-Lacy

Stephen Russell-Lacy edits Spiritual Questions a free eZine that explores links between spiritual philosophy and the comments and questions of spiritual seekers.

Sign up to share your views and find out more about consciousness studies.

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Non Ordinary States


Consciousness Research


Past Life Experiences


Holotropic States


Peak Experien

Finding and collecting vintage comic books for fun and profit is something that is interesting, but can be difficult. With so many places to look, narrowing down the options can be painstaking, until

By: Jorge Orduna l Book Reviews > Comics Humor l July 07, 2012 lViews: 286

Action packed story that reads like you are there in person. Lieutenant Commander Andrew Carlson was a U.S. Navy Seal. He was as rough and tough as they come. He was part of a mission to be inserted

By: Cy Hilterman l Book Reviews > Mysteries Thrillers l July 06, 2012 lViews: 278

"Look Me In The Eye, If You Dare!" Okay, all of You "Internet Millionaire Moguls," I want some answers, and I want them now.

By: Travis L Perkins l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 310

Crush it is a great "How to" book on using social media and being real with yourself on what you do. Gary is very passionate about what he does. The key to his success is blending who he is with what

By: Joe Mosed l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 547

My resolution this year was to knuckle down and do something to bring in some new clients for my practice, so I was pleased to see that Internet Marketing Bible for Accountants looked like it might

By: Karen K Jefferson l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 296

When promoting your business online, are you using internet marketing? If you have yet to spread your branches into the online world, you ought to consider doing so.

By: Joyce McNeill Christopher l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 282

Therapists are famous for providing more questions than answers... and doing much more listening than talking. Some patients would like more. In The Tools, Phil Stutz, M.D., and Barry Michaels, MSW

By: Donald Mitchelll Book Reviews > Psychologyl June 17, 2012 lViews: 176

In his book, Dr. Amen explains how science can empirically detect and measure activities in the mind-brain connection and how this data can be used to improve mental health. I explain in the article

By: Rachel E Hoferl Book Reviews > Psychologyl June 15, 2012 lViews: 190

Ok, so just so you know, this is a biased review. I had the privilege to meet Tonya Reiman at a conference seminar in Las Vegas, and I am huge fan of this brilliant lady who is such an expert of

By: April Braswelll Book Reviews > Psychologyl June 13, 2012 lViews: 219

"Influence", the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say "yes" - and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly

By: Ian Robert Northcottl Book Reviews > Psychologyl April 09, 2012 lViews: 210

Body language is a key component of mentalism. Read this short review of one of the top body language books to gain a deeper insight on the subject.

By: Joe Anthony Whitel Book Reviews > Psychologyl March 23, 2012 lViews: 227

Dan Pink's DRIVE jumps on motivation and rides it like a motorcycle on a mountain road. There are twists and turn - but the more you ride, the hotter it gets. You know - that feeling of freedom, raw

By: Charlie Van Heckel Book Reviews > Psychologyl March 21, 2012 lViews: 194

Although in his sixties and retired, Jack still felt young. His whole life revolved around doing handyman jobs in his own home and in the homes of his three daughters. He greatly enjoyed the company

By: Stephen Russell-Lacyl Self Improvement > Inspirationall April 13, 2012 lViews: 166

It has been suggested that the Australian Aborigine is primitive and uneducated; an animist who uses ritual to win the favour of the spirits controlling food, shelter, and fertility and to ward off

By: Stephen Russell-Lacyl News & Society > Anthropology Sociologyl February 27, 2012 lViews: 190

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus