Category Archives: transpersonal psychology
The Eighteenth Descent — Culture: The Matrix — “Wrong-Gettedness” and the A-mazing Cultural Maze … Strutting and Fretting, Signifying Nothing
The Eighteenth Descent — Culture:
The Matrix — “Wrong-Gettedness” and the A-mazing Cultural Maze … Strutting and Fretting, Signifying Nothing
— which is Chapter 26 of *Prodigal Human: The Descents of Man* by Michael Adzema
The Eighteenth Descent — Culture:
The Matrix — “Wrong-Gettedness” and the A-mazing Cultural Maze … Strutting and Fretting, Signifying Nothing
“Such a fury we unleash, so as to create the smoke and mirrors of distraction and to keep us from the otherwise insidious trickling knowing of our horrifying creations and the gnawing abyss of dissatisfaction and unknowing inside us.”
The expulsion from Paradise that came with sedentary ways demanded increasingly complex, however vapid, entrancements — ritual and mores — of culture as compensation, however empty, for the loss.
In becoming increasingly dominating, sycophantic, and emotionless, we created an emptiness within. To compensate, we created outside us in our social environment a maze-like, fantastical panorama — likened most recently to a matrix.
In this chapter I disclose the horror we do not want to know about ourselves and our beliefs.
Wrong-Gettedness … Culture
So the advantage to the survival of the individual newborn — however rooted, as it was, in the twisted motivations of the adults tending to them — of learning to be obsequious, inauthentically pleasing, and repressive of one’s needs and expression became also the backbone of what humans call culture. For the lack of direct inner knowledge — the lack of connection to instinct, for example — that characterizes humans and was increasingly selected for with the predominance of controlling-conforming-appealing-nonexpression traits in humans, led to the ever-expanding overcomplexity of the obvious simplicity of existence. Humankind grew ever more fanciful and unnecessary traits, needs, desires, behaviors, wants, obsessions, compulsions, beliefs, visions, and thoughts — all subsumed under Ego — out of this separation from natural ways, this split from Nature, this estrangement from the Divine, this “expulsion from Paradise.”
On the societal level, the cumulative result, or manifestation, of all individual egos — with all their infinite, however twisted, complexity — is what we term culture. Culture is the human substitute for the instinct we would otherwise have, just as Ego is the substitute for Self — Self meaning identity with Divinity. Being a separation from Divinity and Nature, culture is a separation from Truth as well. The Unapproved and Hidden — the Truth of humans not contained in any culture and whose essence is revealed in this book — is Truth that we do not know … cannot and will not know. Culture is what we erect in its stead: It is the overt representation of wrong-gettedness.
Is Culture Untrue?
“Is culture all untrue?” you are thinking. Well, no. It is true in a limited way. It is true in the same way the world is known to be flat. That is, within certain limitations it has its truth and hence its usefulness. Yet it is set in a context that is not true … not at all. And that context skews the results of all the contents of culture, making them of dubious worth.
At this point you should have a pretty clear understanding of what I mean by that, as I have given many examples. For instance, that life is hard and a struggle is true for virtually all civilized folk of all time. Yet it is given a different light when it is known that it does not have to be, is not in Nature, and was not even for us for most — in fact, for ninety-nine percent — of our existence as a species. That life is a struggle is not true in the larger context of what is possible and natural for humans and what is true for virtually all life of all times, except for humans in the few thousand years of civilization.
Language Helps and Hinders
Similarly, language is an aid in communication, yes. But from the larger perspective of the Unapproved and Hidden, it is a flawed substitute, a symbolic and roundabout way, of conveying messages: Not only does it confuse and obscure as much as it reveals and conveys, but the psychic, direct transmission of information that is its alternate in Nature is far easier and far more accurate.
Not only the mind-sharing of Nature is superior, but human mental confusion keeps us from another of our planetmates’ advantages. For planetmates do not need language for they know more clearly what is going on without it being needed to be communicated. They can pick up instantly from the body language, the scent, and the facial and muscular expressions of others, together with the positioning of every element in any scene, more than could ever be communicated, by one to another, in language about what is going on in that scene.
For one thing planetmates can deduce far more accurately what is going on, since it is not being skewed or spun through the personality or agendas of any other. Added to this, they have far more information being conveyed to their senses, other than what could come from language. We can see this in the way canines are able to discern many thousands of times — up to a million times! some researchers report — more information from scent. Still, that is only one sense of many used by planetmates. We say animals can “smell fear.” That is a trite example of the fact that planetmates are sensing far more of what is going on than humans are and they cannot be dissembled to … unlike humans with their language abilities who are so easily able to be fooled. So what would need to be communicated if it is already known? And known more accurately than one would get it as once removed, communicated to one through another?
Thus, human language is an aid in communication in the smaller context of human relationships and in that of being able to be written down and “stored” for use at a later time and to be disseminated to others, sometimes many others, without direct contact. However it is perhaps not an advantage, more likely it is a hindrance, in relation to the one-on-one communication that is possible otherwise for beings on Earth.
Culture Substitutes Itself for Natural Morality
Another instance: Remember I was saying, using the example of Abraham and Isaac, how if we had not been convinced otherwise by our pedagogy we would naturally see an example in that story of a murder being espoused by a supposed “god” and a sacrifice that would not be one for Abraham, predominantly, but for Isaac, who would lose his life? A grade-schooler hearing this story for the first time does not see in this any kind of interaction with a Divine being, rather one of murdering impulses within a person in a way that later the term psychotic could be applied. That is, until culture comes along to “teach” the child otherwise.
Like planetmates, children have a natural morality — where suffering, pain, and death are bad, and pleasure, freedom, and happiness are good — until forced to think otherwise … until “enculturated.” For, within the domains of culture, no one questions Abraham’s behavior as being holy or righteous; nor the interaction with the “supernatural” as being anything but with a “god.” However, in the larger context of feeling — the natural morality built upon innate empathy, love, and caring — which any planetmate or child would apply here, it is viewed as nothing less than insanity.
Similar things could be said for our understandings of love, our conceptualization of God, our feelings about extending kindness, and what it means to be a good person: All are what we think them to be, but only within a particular context. Beyond that, they are seen to be false, twisted, and corrupted.
The “Good” Person
Let us take one of those and using it as an example make it clearer what I mean. Let us look at what, in the context of culture, we proclaim to be a good person: The “good” people of our cultures put a lot of effort into doing the “right” actions and thinking the “right” thoughts. They engage in endless hours of religious nodding, bowing, and mumbling — what we call ritual and prayer — to “please” these Phantom gods of ours. Very few people would not attribute qualities of “holiness,” goodness, and even saintliness to such people. But are they good?
“Good” people will also work, uncomplainingly, at the tasks assigned to them by controlling others, whether that be higher ups in the society — the Large Accumulators, the Controllers — or in the family, where that role is taken by husband and father in his dealings with his “good” housewife and his “good” and obedient children. Very few people would consider such compliant people to be other than the “salt of the earth,” good housewives, well-behaved boys and girls, “hard-working, god-fearing, real” Americans … Germans … (insert your nationality here).
And Sycophancy, Thought Control, Obedience, and Self-Control
However, from what I have been telling you, it should be clear that the deferential and obedient of us, in the context I am presenting, can be seen as fearful sycophants who are confusing childhood admonitions — backed by terrorizing threats — to “be good little boys and girls and behave” with adult nobility and spirituality. Yet one might ask, what is wrong with that? Are they not “good little male and female adults”?
Well, yes and no. Here is where something is true within a certain limited area, within a narrow context, but is not true when viewed against the totality of Truth. For these people will seek to wrestle with their very thoughts so they will not have “bad” ones. They will repress any urges to complain, in adherence to a cultural value system that embodies obedience and control.
We say that their control of themselves — inside and out — their discipline, their conformity make them wholesome, “holy,” or “good citizens.” But, for starters, how can a person have only good thoughts and not bad ones? In actuality, we have no control over our thoughts at all. We have only some control over our actions; we can act or not act upon our thoughts. Hence anyone telling us they have control over their thoughts is really saying they are liars — to themselves, as well as the rest of the world — about what goes on inside them.
One cannot unthink a thought. What happens is, some thought occurs to us, which we, according to the morals instilled in us, deem “not good.” It has happened, the thought; one cannot unthink it. But these sorts of people will then have a fearfulness, however un-acknowledged and blocked from their awareness, that arises in them directly after that thought. That fearfulness comes from those forces I have been describing: It is a fear about pleasing more powerful others, and it has its roots in childhood, going all the way back to infancy, and even before. It is a fear of being punished or deprived of things for what one simply is … in this case, just having a thought that arises unintended — “naturally.” And one cannot help having this fear of the Other. It might even be said such fear is “natural” for humans, considering what all we have become as a result of our hellish womb experiences, traumatic births, and deprived infancies.
On Sewage and Flowers
So we have a random but natural “bad” thought and an unfortunate but natural fear arising in us. But what does this “holy” and “good” person do? This holy person tries to force the mind to go onto another thought that is not a “bad” one. It is like the first thought, using an analogy, would be “sewage.” The next thought would be “oh, no!” The next thought, the concocted or replacement thought, would then be “flowers.” But here is where the lie is. For the person keeps telling themselves they are thinking “flowers,” however they are lying about the fact that they are really thinking “flowers not sewage,” “flowers not sewage,” “flowers not sewage,” over and over again, trying to push the first thought out of their mind, and along with all that having a feeling of fear and trepidation.
Clearly, this upstanding citizen, this self-sacrificing mensch, this “good” father, this “good” mother, this “holy” thinker, this “positive thinker,” is really not whole or positive at all. This person is a fearful sycophant, acting fearfully out of early experiences which they will never, ever remember, spending so much time thinking, “I will not think sewage, I will think flowers,” that they will never, ever find out what the thought after “sewage” might have been, if they had not fought it so much. And, yes, on its own, it just might have actually been “flowers.” And I can tell you, sooner or later it would have been … and sooner than comes of fighting it.
This person is a narcissist, therefore, caught up in a focus only on themselves and how they might be coming across to others; is a sycophant trying to please imaginary others by conforming their behavior to them; and is a liar, not telling the truth about their experience inside of themselves to either themselves or anyone else. In the next chapter on soul murder, we will look at how this can even extend into sociopathy.
Oh, you think good people and sociopaths are on the opposite ends of a continuum? You have probably also been confused as to how sociopathic killers — the Ted Bundys, Jeffrey Dahmers, John Wayne Gacys, and their ilk — can come across as such well-behaved and “nice” citizens. You probably are not either seeing how some politicians and CEOs are getting their power by seeming to be so upstanding but are at the same time working behind the scenes to take all they can at anyone’s expense and regardless who or how many die of it. More in the next chapter.
For now, the saddest part of all this is that this person, in holding back “sewage,” becomes full of “sewage” … all the while she or he is thinking they smell like and are full of “flowers.” The people around them know they are full of sewage. But those others, being often sycophantic also, are busy telling themselves the swill they see is really flowers.
Here we have an example of how wrong-getted we are able to become and how it spreads. We can see how culture aids and reinforces our wrong-gettedness and separation from the Truth of us. By this I mean that cultural values — concurrent with civilization and not with nomadic and presedentary ones — have become construed along lines to honor and reward the sycophantic, inauthentic, lying, and manipulative; and to punish the noble, authentic, the honest, and the guileless.
“Good People” Games … “Good” Actions and Hypocrisy
However, not just thoughts are controlled by “good” people. The same is true for such a person’s “holy” and “upstanding” acts. Such a person might put out their hand to another, but on some level they are thinking, “I will be nice to you, so that I do not hit you.” Yes, these people are what we call hypocrites.
You might be thinking, they are holy and good people and are not having the thought, “I want to hit you.” Still, this is what happens when the “sewage” gets backed up. A stored-up reservoir of unapproved thoughts ever pushes for release by any means, for attention from consciousness at all costs, even if they have to come out in a distorted form — an impulse/thought to hit another. On the macro scale, this is what we as a species have done in creating and then acting out the Unapproved and Hidden, which belongs to us, collectively. This end result — the Unapproved and Hidden — is the product of the billions of unallowed thoughts, lies, and denials of all the “good” people of our culture.
The example of the hateful urge to hit, rather than lovingly help, is only a crude example, of course. It does have roots deep in our unconscious, though, and extending back thousands of years. We put out our hand to shake another’s, for example. What this is really saying is, “My hand is not a fist. I will not hit you.” “My hand is open to you — in giving and receiving mode, sharing mode — and not in a competitive or aggressive mode.” “In putting out my hand I will connect with you, and not use it to fight you.” Lastly, and most recently, “My hand does not contain a weapon.” Now, why, unless a part of us knows that deep inside we would as soon hit another as anything else, would we go through all this social ritual of hand-shaking and its variants? All of its variants say similar things.
On another note, why, unless a part of us knows deep inside that we are as likely to be attacked by Other as friended by it, do we feel such relief upon the offering of said gestures? This goes to the inherent defensiveness of “normal” and “good” people that other “good” people know they had better appease by offering their hand … for reasons not much different than a primate would offer its behind to an aggressor.
By the way, that unusual defensiveness of humans arises from those early human experiences of feeling attacked by Other through the traumas prenatally and perinatally, which are then reinforced in infancy, childhood, then again in cultural rites of passage. Note that this human defensiveness is unusual in its occurrence, happening much more frequently than in planetmates. For it arises in all social situations, all, even one-on-one interactions and not just in situations of actual potential aggression, as in primates.
In any case, it is that in real life those deeper messages of wanting to hit and fearing one will be hit are inaccessible to us. What we might be aware of that goes on in us — but rarely are — is less obviously hostile. It is more subtle, is most often unconscious, and becomes increasingly more unconscious over time, in the course of one’s life … hence more likely to direct our actions in spite of us. The “negative” thought — “I want to hit you” — might arise in the form of irritation, repulsion, or dislike … or a simmering anger. We can actually feel that, but we will rarely admit those feelings occur in us … forcing ourselves, instead, to “think flowers,” again. You know what I mean.
Meanwhile, the negative thought or feeling, “you are going to attack (are attacking) me!” is not felt either. Rather, it comes out elsewhere, too. It is channeled unconsciously into all kinds of behaviors of introversion as well as defensive communications and passive-aggressive behaviors. Essentially, folks retreat from others and society, holed up in themselves; and/or they get revenge sneakily — without their even being aware they are doing it; and/or they react to all kinds of things said to them, even communications that are quite matter-of-fact or innocuous and perhaps not even pertaining to, let alone directed at them, with responses that are variations of “Well, that doesn’t apply to me! I’ll tell you a thing or two. How dare you say that! Let me explain how you’re wrong. And I’m smart! (You’re not.)” And the like. Check out the tweets of Donald Trump, and you’ll have clarity and even better examples of this.
In any case, such things in people are examples of the kinds of hidden hostility and aggression, and defensiveness, that are buried within “good” people and covered up assiduously by all kinds of cultural means. While you think this is far-fetched, perhaps, think honestly about and explain to me how our kind, at the hands of all our “good” people, have been able to participate in lynch mobs; the rounding up of Jews for genocide at the time of Nazi Germany; the piling up of Jews like firewood to be burned during medieval times with its pogroms; or during The Burning Times, the torture and immolating at the stake of women who had some “free” thoughts — in other words, not controlled and then lied about thoughts, as the “good” people setting fire to them have and do. This unacknowledged and hidden hostility explains all the horrific, yet otherwise unexplainable, actions of “normal” humans including bigotry and racism, child battering and sexual abuse, anti-immigration sentiments, genocides, police brutality and murder of people of color, wife-beating, and … (insert your “favorite” human abomination here).
So now, are these “holy” and wholesome people, these “good citizens” and “patriots” and “salt of the earth” — who are properly fearful and sycophantic, on the inside as well as the outside — really “good” and “wholly”?
For the more they tell themselves they think and feel one thing while actually thinking and feeling something else the more split down the middle they become. Till after a while, they have no clue who they are. They are liars to themselves and to all the world.
Self-Defeating Beliefs and Defenses
They cannot even become good people over time. Their disease, at all costs, fights against its cure. Indeed, it is like cancer, in that way. For to become a good person, one would have to know where one is being or has been a bad person and then change that. Such a person, however, is ever fighting to convince themselves they are full of “flowers,” so how can they possibly do anything about the “sewage” that is actually in them?
Of such “good” people, the religious of them say that such thoughts about where they are being “bad” in their seemingly “good” actions and thoughts are instances of “doubt” and “lack of faith.” So, rather than inform and do service towards becoming a greater “good,” these inconvenient thoughts are done battle with as being demons, devils, and even the product of a Satan. So, no, in battling ceaselessly against the “bad” within themselves, they cannot actually become good. For they truly do not understand the nature of their bad enough to change it. Battling it, they keep it ever at a distance, giving it a status of devil, demon, Satan, and never acknowledging that these are simply — mostly innocuous and often innocent — parts of oneself that have been made “bad” by culture, then later, oneself.
What has been said about the effort to control thoughts — “positive thinking” — can be applied analogously to the many ritualistic behaviors “good” people engage in — secular as well as religious. A part of them knows they have sewage within themselves, so they are led to ever “purify” themselves … and the world by extension.
Yes, they will participate in repetitive confessionals; sacrifices of themselves and others; ritual purifications; self-flagellation; self-destructive behaviors to unconsciously punish themselves; obsessive-compulsive grooming and bathing, maybe even hand-washing; obsessive neatness of person and surroundings; perfectness of dress, outfit, adornment, and perfume; obsessive cleaning of their homes and cars; the persnickety grooming of their lawns, intensive control of all the things and of the nature on their grounds, including the shaping of any foliage there; and the obsessive organizing and cataloging of their items and the recording of their actions and intentions, i.e., obsessive planning. Nothing of their lives can be out of their control lest they be reminded of their “inner sewage” or it be revealed to others. They will be mortified if a spot, a stain, or dirt appears on their clothing, unconsciously feeling they have been “found out.”
“Cleaning Up the Streets”
But yes, they will also see the world through this veil of “sewage” and so direct their efforts in ways to remove the “impurities” of others. Indeed, think again about those atrocities of humans, mentioned above, and you will see that almost always the people perpetrating the acts have rationalized to themselves their actions by claiming they are “cleaning up” or helping to “purify,” or “save,” the world.
If you think this only happened in previous times — Nazi Germany, The Burning Times in the Middle Ages, the times of slavery in America and elsewhere — consider how all of the “good” humans throughout the world today support the efforts to “clean up the streets,” to “keep out the riff raff,” and to “keep out the unwashed” without ever, in any instance, considering the people affected and how their efforts might be burdening and in some cases ending the lives of those poor souls — those ones simply more unlucky than oneself. These efforts are not far removed in quality — if not in quantity — from those of former times to maintain “purity” in the ranks, to suppress “heresy,” to “crack down” on some group or other of society, or to “eliminate” the “undesirables”; and even in current times, the term ethnic cleansing expresses it and demonstrates its ongoingness. Need I mention Donald Trump, his bigoted proposals, and the surprisingly large number of Americans subscribing to them? Probably not. Yet keep in mind from many quarters these sorts of citizens are deemed the “good people” of contemporary society.
Denial Activities — How “Good” People Keep Realization from Happening
Yet these good citizens — as deemed by our cultures — also spend a great amount of time involved with activities of denial: They might spend hours sitting quietly at meaningless church ceremonies … telling themselves it is really “flowers” they are seeing — you catching my drift? Or they might work themselves to death in a job.
They might fill up their time with chores around the house which are for the most part unnecessary and insignificant. Or they might immerse themselves in empty but culturally approved and applaudable activities such as repeating to themselves and others truly insignificant sports statistics; keeping up with the details of current fashion or the latest minutiae of celebrity lore; filling their minds and communications with the intricacies of auto mechanics, vehicle specifics and terminology; or showing they know what is new in financial and corporate trivia. These are all ways they can prove to themselves that they are okay and “regular” people — not the way they thought of themselves in infancy — and that others like and approve of them, not the way they felt others thought about them in infancy.
Whether they are trying to assure themselves they are “a regular guy,” “salt of the earth,” a loving and self-sacrificing mom, a “hard worker,” a patriot, good citizen, or “god-fearing” person, it is all the same: They are trying to beat back that nagging feeling that they are full of “sewage” and trying to keep others from knowing that about them. These cultural activities are the way we lie, essentially.
Pathos and “Civility”
“Good” people are to be pitied for the degree of fear and sycophancy within them; that is true. It is sad how much life they have wasted striving to abide by the unjust dictates of a culture geared to higher ups, only. Yet they are hardly to be thought of as examples of integrity, wholesomeness, wholeness, or saintliness. They only appear that way for being so afraid to be otherwise and for imposing an amount of control upon themselves equal to that fear.
Certainly, whatever wrong they do is not “obvious” wrong, most of the time. They distinguish themselves from out-and-out “bad” people, like criminals. Though, the line between the two is most often blurred and many actions are in fact criminal. They get away with them, however, occurring as they do within the context of an appearance of outward “civility,” which they take great pains to maintain. So compared to criminals, are they “good”? Or are they just better, slicker, in hiding or covering up their “bad”?
Indeed, these good and holy adults are actually pathetic — trying to be “good little boys and girls” in obedience to invisible others. They are narcissistic, being unable, like Abraham, to see the others around them and their needs, and only seeing their own “needs” … their sycophantic, fearful ones. They are liars and hypocrites; and they are anything but wholly or having integrity, they are split and deceptive.
“Good, God-fearing, Law-Abiding, Hard-Working”
Thus, within the definitions of culture, such folks are considered good people. That “good” is often followed by “law-abiding, God-fearing, hard-working” (people). However, along the measure of real Truth, this is only true in relation to other, more obvious, “bad” people. Hence, being a good person often just means being the best possible sycophant. We would be “good little boys and girls” and behave and do whatever we are told (whether it is actually good or bad), as adults, rather than be noble and authentic, and have integrity; real, empathetic love; true giving (without thought of reward); and be truly good adults.
Such “good” people of culture and society have been the good Nazis, in the past. They are the good soldiers mowing down villagers. Which is another great example of how “culture” operates to skew reality so as to cause you to do things you would not do if you were seeing reality directly, not through it. As well, they are the good citizens of society, imposing the most severe penalties upon all who stray over any lines, no matter how inconsequential, simply because people with wealth, and thus power, have drawn those lines. These are our, so-called, “good” people in our societies.
So culture proclaims, and it lies.
What Is Culture?
What is culture, then? Culture is the external manifestation of multitudes of egos; it is the accumulation of their actions. Culture substitutes for the “instinct” — the natural in us we have lost. In inserting itself into all aspects of our lives it pushes away the possibility we will ever feel that instinct arising in us, or find our body and mind becoming whole, natural, healed. Culture provides the opiate for the dis-ease of humanness, as well as it covers up the dis-ease and precludes any cure.
Culture is also the amalgamation of all that one has been told is real and true over against what one can see, discern, or would be obvious otherwise. Here’s a good way to see it. You know that in reading this book it has come up against practically everything you believed to be true. Yet if you are honest, you know this makes much more sense, and it probably even corresponds to what you sensed to be true, but could not let yourself believe, let alone assert to others … could not “say out loud.”
It’s simple, culture is that whole, that composite of all that has been put inside you for you to use in your understanding of all outside you, which is in complete contrast to what you are learning in this book or would see on your own without those inserted prejudices. That’s a good way to see it, right at hand. And that is why you have felt so uncomfortable hearing so much of this.
Essentially culture, like I said earlier, is the matrix. For it is all the ways we have been taught to see and interpret things, over against what we would on our own. And remember why and how there is such a disparity. Not only have we been separated from authentic apprehension of reality, but we have been encouraged and reinforced in that by outside interests with intentions to have us see and interpret things along ends to suit themselves … i.e., the wealthy, the elite.
Here is an example of that. Culture tells us the wealthy are wealth creators. If we saw clearly we would see that they are wealth takers, actually. It would be obvious to us, sans “culture,” that it is the small operator who is more motivated to maximize her or his investment and thus create jobs, and “wealth,” not someone who has so much that each dollar created is not seen as another addition in one’s efforts to be wealthy but simply one, along with so many others, which can sit there, for all one cares, and does not need to be reinvested. Culture, also, is what tells Trump supporters that a billionaire like him can be on the side of the “little guy,” and take on “the establishment,” and right the injustices set up by a society favoring the rich. Astonishing, eh? This power of culture?
It is that planetmates do not have culture, by the way, that is another reason they do not need language so much. For what is conveyed through language is filtered through the intentions and agendas of others, the composite of which is slanted, then, away from seeing reality as it is. With no culture, planetmates do not need language as much for they are not seeing reality so unclearly that they would need the communication of language to interpret it.
Furthermore why would any planetmate want the confusion of others’ interpretations about what one is able to see clearly? When that is offered to us humans, we say it is “bullshit,” you see. Yet if we do not see it as nonsense, it still contributes only to our endless confusion about reality and who we are. Theologies relentlessly have engaged in the actions that have caused folks such confusion about their feelings and perceptions, being as how they concoct interpretations that are only consonant within realities that are imaginary, often having psychotic roots. Similarly, endless reams of philosophy have emanated from this pattern of folks — and religions, and culture — telling other folks that what they are seeing and experiencing is other than what it obviously is.
Outside the Matrix –> The Unapproved and Hidden
By contrast to culture is The Unapproved and Hidden, which is the truth of reality outside the matrix. It is the way reality is seen with culture — all that accumulated product of slanted intentions and skewed agendas of others — removed. It is what is left when looking at all those same realities without such agendas or motives of others. Or oneself, for that matter — this is where the pre- and perinatal and infancy pain contributes its part, by the way, in skewing our interpretations and distorting our realities. Planetmates, remember, do not have that, either, further adding to their clarity about the reality they perceive.
So, yes, again, this book is an opening on The Unapproved and Hidden. I understand you do not know how lacking in agenda I am, how I get nothing for doing this, how I am not influenced by anyone higher up, or any of that; though I am unusual in being in a position in which that is all true. You do not know how my deepest rooted yet most accessible motivations are caring and love for others, concern and heartache over the unnecessary and self-imposed suffering I see; and with all that an irrepressible desire to step in, where no one else is doing it and so it is direly needed, and to do and say what only I, of all who I know, can say and do … and only that. You do not know that my only reward, now or expected, is the feeling of knowing I have helped, done the part that only I could do, and the hope it helps relieve someone’s suffering or misery now, in the future, or after I am dead. And that’s all.
You do not know all that about me, but at least notice this: That in contrast to this, to all I am writing, you can discern in what you have been by culture indoctrinated to believe quite a bit of agenda, self-serving beliefs, and “convenient” truths. If you want you can easily see that quality in all those commonly held assumptions — the superiority of man over other planetmates being the deepest but only one of them — that my writing in this book addresses and comes up against, conflicts with. If you cannot discern my lack of guile, at least notice the agendas of those who concocted and orchestrated your beliefs and your actions that came of them. Take at least that, for certain, from your own apprehensions and interpretations of your direct experience here.
Strutting and Fretting
In sum, the Divine is Ultimate Truth. Whereas, culture is the societal embodiment of the separation from the Divine. Hence, culture contains some pretty a-mazing untruths and empty rituals. They are amazing because they are fantastical — colorful psychotic fabrications, if you will. They are a-mazing also because they are manifestations of our confused and twisted consciousness and bring us ever back to the maze — in an endless trudge through labyrinthine passages of a journey that is ultimately futile, guaranteed for failure — which is our life.
Culture Is a Weed Without Roots, the Fury We Create to Block Out Our Emptiness
You see, our gradual changes from natural life involved two things, basically: A growing ability to survive biologically, physically at whatever cost to our happiness, along with a separation from our natural inclinations and felt Divine guidance. And our ever-widening separation from the Divine meant a constant hole in the felt meaning of our existence.
Lacking roots in Nature or the Divine, we were like a weed without roots, growing madly above ground, reaching out vainly in all directions for sustenance because of the lack of direct connection to our deeper truth. This expanding outward desperately in all directions creates our culture — which is the artificial substitute and the dim empty reflection of existence.
Culture — our “matrix” — is the “much ado about nothing” and the “strutting and fretting upon the stages of life” and “sound and fury signifying nothing” of which Shakespeare wrote. Culture is a magnification of our overcomplexity of the obvious simplicity of existence, and it is the overblown array of our defenses to keep at bay our realization, our “enlightenment.” Culture brings meaning to our lives, but it is a false one. It provides us motives, and it supports and sustains our efforts; but they are vain and empty goals and futile and meaningless rituals, only.
So, after the fall into sedentary-agrarian ways which multiplied the branches of culture a-mazingly, providing the opiate for our feelings of loss and the substitute for more natural ways, more of our newborns would live. As I have said, they would be given economic value — as a commodity — within that trance life or matrix we have erected. Our children would be allowed to live, but what was distributed among them was this watered-down offering, of a life drained of meaning and “juice” but mostly lacking the “colors” or “flavors” of experience we enjoyed as humans in Nature and containing instead the apprehension of the outlines of living not the immersion in its profound and lush plenitude.
This tendency for our lives to be bleached of real appreciation yet multiplied maniacally grew steadily over time coinciding with the aforementioned rise in the predominance of the traits of controlling, conforming, sycophantic and desperate striving to please and to be appealing, and nonexpression of needs become repression of personality and cobbling of ability to participate in existence’s Divine creative stream. We built increasingly a false matrix in which to dwell, substituting it for the richness of experience of our Edenal existences.
Ignorance of the Divine Makes for Some Pretty A-Mazing Untruths and Empty Rituals
All in all, driven by this inner abyss of unknowing, our outer behavior expanded in spurious and fanciful activity and productions of all kind. With time, our vapid nature would spin out unnecessary personality traits, hollow and unsatisfiable needs, fetid desires, furious but vain behaviors, insubstantial wants, blind obsessions, uncontrollable compulsions, fantastical beliefs, painfully burning visions, and tortured thoughts … of all kinds and all of it magnified, then multiplied, then repressed and fought, then struggled with … and all this in grandiose dramas that are further multiplied, exaggerated, over-dramatized, and so on round again.
Such an overcomplication of life’s simple existence and beingness we create to keep from knowing the horror of us. Such a fury we unleash, so as to create the smoke and mirrors of distraction and to keep us from the otherwise insidious trickling knowing of our horrifying creations and the gnawing abyss of dissatisfaction and unknowing inside us.
In all of these, we journeyed ever further from our roots in Nature and the Divine and made Edenal existence the most distant memory and the most certain component of everyone’s Unapproved and Hidden.
Inevitably, all these ways came back to oneself. As we faded from natural and felt existence and — driven by pain, fear, and the resulting controlling mania — succumbed to ever more entrancing substitutes, we ourselves faded from existence, in a sense. This increasingly ghostly existence amounted to soul murder, then. It is to it, we now turn.
— of *Prodigal Human: The Descents of Man* by Michael Adzema, now available in print and e-book formats.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michael Adzema. Video below … interviewed by Michael Harrell
— Related: See also other published versions of these ideas….
*Dance of the Seven Veils I* (2017).
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About Dance of the Seven Veils II and about The Path of Ecstasy Series. Upcoming works by Michael Adzema
About Dance of the Seven Veils II and about The Path of Ecstasy Series:
Upcoming works by Michael Adzema
— Which is the Afterword of *Dance of the Seven Veils I: Primal/Identity Psychology, Mythology, and Your Real Self* by Michael Adzema
Continue with Dance of the Seven Veils II and about The Path of Ecstasy Series
Upcoming works by Michael Adzema
This book, while the first of three in Dance of the Seven Veils, is also one volume out of a series of books begun, and planned, which I am titling, The Path of Ecstasy Series. Which series is separate from and paralleling the one series of mine already well along — the Return to Grace Series of fifteen volumes of which nine are in print at this time. I wish, here, to share with my readers what they can look forward to in this series, The Path of Ecstasy.
Book One, The Secret Life of Stones
This was the first book in The Path of Ecstasy Series. Being the launching point, it introduced and touched on many of the new perspectives developed and elaborated in the subsequent works. It presented a comprehensive new overstanding of Reality — a new map, if you will — comprising elements usually categorized under Idealism, in philosophy; and pantheism and panentheism, in religion. The essence of this new-paradigm view is that Reality — the Universe in its totality — is basically Consciousness or Subjectivity and that the seemingly physical part of It is a mere epiphenomenon of that all-inclusive Beingness … a Beingness which I have termed, Experience.
Coinciding with that perspective is a perceived awareness that such Subjectivity undergirding the material universe is not separated into parts, as we think normally — with different experienced realities whirling away inside the separate “boxes” of different physical bodies. Rather this Subjectivity is not only shared, it is singular. There is only one of It. And we, immersed in this Universal pool of Experience, are merely areas of It which are “lit” in our own uniquely configured way, through our focus on and participation in those elements within It. We are different experiential regions of It, though we are not separate from each other. Rather we are overlapping experiential fields, ultimately interconnected with All.
This way of looking at things is in direct contrast to the dominant materialist old-paradigm stance of modern times, which holds that the world is basically matter. Regarding consciousness? Well, it is thought to be an epiphenomenon of matter — an offshoot of it. Which consciousness, by the way, springs inexplicably into existence at some point, yet unknown, along the billions of years trajectory of biological evolution.
Meanwhile, the non-separation involved in the new cosmic overstanding, which has Experience as Reality’s base, is demonstrated empirically. This has been revealed in quantum physics as well as the new biology — where the phenomena of morphic resonance and morphogenetic fields point to a sharing of subjective space, or fields, or a Common Intersubjectivity. As the quantum physicist, Schrödinger, put it, “The number of minds in the universe is a total of one.”
Various other experiences of “experience-sharing” are verifiable — such as the trans-species experience and identification with aspects of the so-called “material” world. Both experiences of being other animate beings as well as being parts of the physical world have been described by Stanislav Grof in his many works as occurring quite frequently.
And, yes, for those who are waiting, in this last — identification with and experience of aspects of the material universe — is where we encounter the consciousness of matter … “of stones,” metaphorically speaking. It is here where we get a peek into “the secret life of stones.”
We find that we understand and partake of the inner experience of Nature — animate and inanimate — in at least some way that is not so much less than we partake of and are able to understand the experience and inner states of other humans. The extent of similarity between people is what accounts for the degree of accuracy in our abilities to do that, in the normal sense of ordinary consciousness, which is called empathy. Though in the sense of it occurring in a nonordinary state of consciousness, well even the amount of similarity, or difference, between such units of being is not such a barrier.
Indeed, the history of science in the last hundred years has amounted to a gradual giving back to Nature of its status as aware and conscious, which was initially taken away by Western hubris in regard to Nature. So, we have animal rights, the “secret life of plants,” and so on, in a gradual procession of acknowledgment over the decades. I need to add that, sadly, before that we even needed to bring awareness to the facts of children’s and babies’ consciousness. Remember, there was a time when it was thought that newborns do not feel pain. That is merely one example.
Even, if you can believe it, Western culture needed to acknowledge women’s feeling consciousness. In a similar way, in fact, some societies have considered folks in other societies as lacking in feeling awareness. And some strata of society have denied the feeling consciousness of certain “lower” segments of the population … or even of other races, as when we had slavery. I am reminded of recently hearing the pronouncements of a political figure and industrial mining titan of early Twentieth Century America rationalizing his insensitive treatment of workers as that they do not experience suffering … not really. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Thus, my book, The Secret Life of Stones, only continues the reversal of such abject greed and cruelty manifesting as the lack of empathy and the stupidity as we see in the examples above. Still, it seems the understandings of the consciousness and aliveness in the inanimate world, the world of matter — which are the most recent and necessary conclusions, arising from the findings of quantum physics and modern consciousness research — are the most difficult of which to grasp.
Yet, matter is alive, is conscious. Our sciences do tell us. There is an awareness in the physical world which is beyond our imagining. The Universe is at base Consciousness, Absolute Subjectivity, Experience, or mind-stuff. This is the finding of quantum physics and Consciousness research. Does that not imply that matter and stones are, somehow, aspects of that Consciousness, mind-stuff, Experience?
No doubt about it, there is a secret life in the Universe. It is found everywhere and in the most unlikely places. The physical world is an illusion arising from our human perception, we have found; and the fundamental reality is consciousness; it is experiential. When you look at a mountain you are seeing Experience, in some indirect way. This is the conclusion of the new physics and our latest consciousness research. There is a secret life of stones.
The Secret Life of Stones is a journey that explores the territory approaching and bordering that overstanding of matter being alive. Not just humans, plants, and animals, but all the physical world is alive. This vision of a world pregnant with Being, beyond our imagining, is the catalyst for the revolution needed in our times. It does change everything we think we know, in science, and otherwise. It brings forth a perception of reality as something in which we are immersed that is on our side, blessing us, supporting us, encouraging us — in all ways, large and small. Regardless our actions, our successes and failures, we are part of an aliveness interpenetrating us and connecting us with alive beings, experiential unites, and higher realities. It is a web, unable to be broken, in which the spot of it we see in life — with all its drama, dead ends, seeming fragmentation, circularity, and meaninglessness — is revealed to be perfect in every detail, in spite of us.
More even that that, it brings the blessing that we can be proud and noble in our rightful and truly honored place in the Universe. We can feel, rather than the cosmic aloneness to which we have relegated ourselves, the joy of cosmic belongingness, which is the right of all beings.
To our astonishment, the discovery of modern times and current science is that the boundaries of self are arbitrary and mutable. Quantum physics and modern consciousness research have revealed the possibility, once again — using psychotechnologies such as entheogens, holotropic breathwork, shamanism, deep experiential therapies, past-life regressions, and expanded forms of primal therapy — that we are not just the All, in potential, as in an experience of “becoming one with God” or in an opening to the All That Is. Along with and more easily than that, our sciences and psychotechnologies have revealed that we can take up one of the infinite foci already existing in Reality, or in potential within It, and actually be, for a time, another entity … be it an insect; a star system; a single celled animal; a sperm or egg cell; a planet, such as Gaia, the Earth; and anything in between. And amazingly, even far beyond.
Using these rediscovered and newly invented psychotechnologies, people are able to identify with and experience the consciousnesses not only of other planetmates — that is, of other species on Earth — but also are able to merge with and experience the consciousness of higher orders of beings: the Earth; individual planets; the galaxy; individual collections of people, such as the women of all time; and even collectives of supranormal beings and realities, including archetypal consciousnesses and their subjective experience. It is possible to experience consciousness of supposedly inanimate, non-living forms and even identify with consciousnesses on the atomic and subatomic levels.
Not only is the Universe alive and we are interconnected with it, but we find we can experience it. We can expand our boundaries or pass through them into the experiential realms of seemingly separate beings and Realities. And we discover we are all alike, inside, though we act and exist within different forms. Therefore, we can grok the inner realities of others, animate and inanimate. So trees bloom for the joy of it. Bees delight in their tasks. The ocean is deep, wise, and comforting. And the Universe is pervaded by love, which we erroneously label gravity. This is what we know because we are part of Reality, part of Nature, part of Divinity and not superior to it as the Judeo-Christian religions presume…. Or fallen from it like we are some kind of alien fruit that was somehow projected out of a tree, a Nature, that we have no part of, as fuddy-duddy scientists assume.
The Secret Life of Stones explains how all of this is so and reveals the profound implications that has for us and for how we live our lives. This book can be described as an adventure in logic surrounding an investigation into the discoveries on the cutting edge of our sciences, bringing forth the most profound and comprehensive philosophy, to date. We walk hand-in-hand through that new and wondrous country; we follow all the paths we find there, brought into view by this new cosmic overstanding.
Book Two, Dance of the Seven Veils I:
Identity/Primal Psychology, Mythology, and Your Real Self
Adult to Toddler, Veils One-Three.
This book, the second volume in The Path of Ecstasy Series, is the first of three parts on this topic of the Seven Veils. This first part answers the questions, who to be? And, what is the real self? It deals with our stage of adulthood and goes back to that of toddlerhood. It is all about pulling back the Veils of anthropocentrism and species-superiority, which is Veil One; the hidden agendas of societies and especially its elites which get construed as rites of passage and initiation into adulthood for young girls and boys and which thus corrupt their personalities along lines not their own, which is Veil Two; and the layers of parental abuse, misdirection, control and direction, for their ends, not our own, which get impressed upon us in infancy, toddlerhood, and childhood, and which coalesce as the primal scene, which is Veil Three. And which tells each and every one of us that we are not going to be loved unless we be something other than what we are, what we were meant to be, and what we were destined to be — which is our real self.
Book Three, Dance of the Seven Veils II:
Prenatal/Perinatal Psychology, Mythology, and Your Divine Self
Infancy to Prenate, Veils Four-Six.
The Series continues with the second of three parts of Dance of the Seven Veils. This book, the third volume in The Path of Ecstasy Series, answers the questions, what is the Divine Self? Do we have such an inner core of being? If so, how did we lose it, so that we think we do not? And, how can we get it back?
This book is concerned with the time of our lives around birth; however it traces the psychological imprints from that time back into the womb. This work’s elucidation of the experiential realms of the prenatal is, in fact, that which distinguishes it from what has been said about this time around birth, previously, in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology.
Just as fresh to the field, it adds to that discipline by exploring the influences from our time of “prenatal hell,” during late gestation. That is something never really dealt with before and only written about by one other.1 So it is that this book has to do with the time after birth — the newborn and infancy periods — yet it extends back to the time before birth, the prenatal. However, the prenatal is divided into two separate Veils, which could not be more contrasting. There is the time of blissful existence during the first two trimesters of gestation. This is the basis of much of what I call the joy grids — which is the substratum of each human’s personality having to do with what gives them pleasure, joy, fulfillment, ecstasy, and bliss. It is our deepest self in this lifetime, and it is interconnected with the Divine. From which we had only a little time earlier separated, keep in mind.
It also expands on what happens, generally speaking, during the third trimester, when the fetus’s larger mass, in conjunction with the bipedal stance of humans, results in constriction of the blood vessels going to the prenate. The extreme compression experienced by the unborn baby at this time already causes increasingly more difficulty in movement and pressure from all sides on the body. This crowdedness in the womb brings forth claustrophobic-like feelings in the prenate of wanting to explode, yet being unable to do anything about it. No exit.
Then, because of the inefficiency of the blood flow in bringing nutrients to the fetus, which includes, most importantly of all, oxygen; it is characterized by feelings of suffocation along with the cramped feelings. Finally, because the reduced blood flow means the toxic byproducts of food conversion will not be removed as efficiently, we routinely experience feelings of being force-fed toxins, waste matter, and “poisons.” This is accompanied by feelings of nausea, sickness, and — because it seems to come from all around and yet from nowhere in particular — paranoia, the sense of a dire threat which can come from anywhere at anytime and is directed in particular at oneself.
Also consequent to this buildup of toxins in the amniotic surround is a feeling of burning or irritation on the surface of the skin. These feelings are the basis of the human evil of all times, and I call them the prenatal matrices of human evil, or the PMEs. Comprising, as they do, the greatest amount of the trauma and pain of our early lives, they are pretty much congruent with what I call the pain grids.
One of the major points of the book is that in any growth — spiritual, personal, or psychotherapeutic — the goal is to go through the pain grids, by facing, acknowledging, experiencing, and reliving them, and tapping into the joy grids beneath them. Which “joy grids” I liken to our deeper human nature. This deeper self or personhood is interconnected with and interacting with the Divine — which is a state of beingness that is the experience of that time as well as is a quality of everyday consciousness that embraces one when one reconnects with these repressed experiences in the process of personal growth as an adult.
Dance of the Seven Veils II also lays out, for consideration and integration into the larger overstanding being presented, the aspects of the perinatal matrices of experience. These are matrices that have been discovered and presented to our collective understandings by Stanislav Grof.
Another aspect of this book is that it brings out the truly amazing coincidence of the events of these times with the religious ideas, theologies, iconographies, and beliefs of all cultures of all times. We discover the roots of many of the archetypes here. We can discern the imprints of that time playing into both the positive and negative proclivities of religious behavior. Naturally, these early prenatal-perinatal matrices all together — both Grof’s and mine — are the patterned substratum which gets ever and over again reflected in our basic beliefs, which we conceptualize and narrate in our mythologies.
In terms of the sequence being laid out in Dance of the Seven Veils, the time of birth itself — including the postnatal period, with its graces or horror … depending — is what I term Veil Four. The time of prenatal malnutrition and our experience of third trimester hell, with its four aspects, the PMEs, comes under the heading of Veil Five. Lastly, the time of, optimally, early blissful womb experience, connection with Divinity, and experience of harmony and buoyant optimism, confidence, and delight is what I call Veil Six.
All of these, whatever their experiential qualities — pleasureful or painful — are Veils. They are films across our comprehension because they are imprints about what Reality is that arises of our unique human experience — either individually or collectively. Thus, being a consequence of early, quite variable, quite unique (in comparison to other species) events, they cannot truly be considered accurate about what exists outside the parameters they most definitely inscribe. They comprise hard and fast prejudices about what is True and Real.
So, what is Real, then? What is Reality prior to the events which skewed our understandings of What Is so that It is a particular thing, not any other things. What actually is Naked Reality? Who were you before you were you as you think you are? What is your “original face”? Well that is what we look at in the next book.
Book Four, Dance of the Seven Veils III:
Transpersonal/Periconceptional Psychology, Mythology, and Your Original Face
Cellular to Soulular, Veil Seven and Beyond.
In the third book of Dance of the Seven Veils, which is Volume 4 in The Path of Ecstasy Series, I take on the most profound of all human questions, which has to do with what is really really real. What is Reality? That is a question that lies deep at our roots, and deep in our souls.
It is no coincidence its discovery might lie at a consideration of those deepest parts of our selves. Indeed, having removed six overlying Veils upon Reality — Veils which were projected out onto our screens of perception and understanding as a result of prior experience, especially traumatic and deeply affecting ones — this is our best chance to remove the last Veil. That is exactly the purpose of all the preceding pages in these volumes and all the prior ideas which — one by one — were used to pry back the boards upon which we stand which unthinkingly create our arbitrary platform within Reality. The culmination and purpose of this entire journey approaches its fruition here.
In this third book of Dance of the Seven Veils, then, we look at the last Veil, which has to do with our periconceptional experiences. That is to say, the experiences around conception. Periconception extends back to our emergence into Form with the creation of ovum, first, and then sperm. It continues with the actual events of the coming together of ovum and sperm at conception. It passes on into the events of the fertilized egg, the blastocyst, of implantation, and finally, of early embryonal existence. We find the deepest imprints on our human reality here, periconceptionally. Hence it is our first, our deepest, our initial Veil across our ultimate identity as Divinity and our experience in the No-Form State.
This Seventh Veil — the first reduction from Cosmic Awareness, the first cookie cutter on the dough of our physical reality — establishes our physical world, in many ways. We find here the creation of duality as perceived in the world, of thing and no-thing, of self and other, of forward and backward. We discover here the philosophical basis of our human reality. These are the things we believe, without any doubt. It will require the removal of all the preceding, and overlying, Veils to have a chance to grok what is to be gotten here. For at this point we border on the truly astounding and mind-blowing. All else may be interesting, is no doubt instrumental, is most of it useful; that is, in a practical psychological or spiritual sense. But here is where we “get real.” That phrase will be seen to never have been so true and profound as it is in its applicability here.
This third book of Dance of the Seven Veils pulls to the side the final Veil on Naked Reality. We see the soulular, the No-Form State, the face of Ultimate Divinity. And … we find … our Original Face, which is discovered to be part and parcel of all of that. Knowing this thing, one knows everything.
So this is where we will go in those books. We will, like Salome, do a Dance of the Seven Veils and find out what Naked Reality is more likely to be like.
Book Five, Womb with a View
The next volume in The Path of Ecstasy Series will be titled, Womb with a View, and it will continue this exposition. Much of it is already written, so I can tell you a little about what it will contain.
In Womb with a View, I will continue this look into the screens of distortion across human perception by focusing on the ways our womb experiences — our prenatal events and traumas — create our beliefs in life. You will notice that this is something I will have addressed, at this point, in Book 3, or Dance of the Seven Veils II; yet here is where I will unfold the premises and revelations therein. It will focus exclusively on this time in utero, which is the foundation of all our most profound religious beliefs.
We have already seen how our experiences of the events of this time create our beliefs about the supernatural. Here is where I will present the grand matrix of our prenatal basis of beliefs in goodness, joy, God, fulfillment, and life. Which I term the joy grids. We will see what that is in us; how it affects us in every moment of our lives; what its greatest profile is, collectively; how we have expressed it in religions, mythologies, and theologies; and most importantly, how this knowledge can be used to provide our truest direction in life and the path to our greatest fulfillment and joys.
It represents, as well, the passage beyond the constraints of our pain grids. This is the road to freedom. Many talk about it; many yearn for it. In this book I will show you what it is, where it is, and how to get to it. This is the heaven attainment. It is still one step removed from enlightenment, which is a going beyond all the Veils, including this one. Still, not bad. This is the basis for a happy life.
Book Six, Cells with a View
I have presented for your consideration in this current book many examples of the way fundamental and mostly unvarying events around conception arise and configure so much of our ritual and mythologies in widely varying cultures, often widely separated in time. I have shown how much alike they are, and I have expressed to you my incredulity at the fact that their remarkable consistencies have not been catalyst for research about that previously. Which congruence of patterns cross-culturally can finally — with the understandings I present of the prenatal and perinatal precursors of them in mind — garner some possibilities for comprehension, if not ultimate conclusions.
Regardless, it would seem culture in and of itself does not exert as large an influence on cultural patterns of belief as was once thought. Nor does cultural transmission account for all similarities. We have a common substratum of being, you see, arisen of our common biological experiences as humans.
Cells with a View will dive deeply into the deepest underpinnings of our reality, as laid down in us through our absolute earliest experiences in Form. In so doing we can expect to reveal the most fundamental matrix, the deepest template of our mind, and the seeds, if not foundations, of all human beliefs and culture.
We can expect that what we see here will be at least interesting; more likely it will be enlightening of much beyond it.
Book Seven, The Prenatal Matrix of Human Events
Following Cells with a View, I have plans to write a more elaborate exposition of the “prenatal matrix of human events,” as I introduced it in my recent work, Wounded Deer and Centaurs: The Necessary Hero and the Prenatal Matrix of Human Events. Which I also expanded on here in several of the chapters, especially, Chapter 5, “The Prenatal Matrix of Human Nature,” and which I will, at the time of this book’s publication, have explored in Dance of the Seven Veils II, dealing with the prenatal and Veil Five.
There is much more to be said on this topic, and it is vitally important. As I explained in Wounded Deer and Centaurs, this prenatal matrix is virtually the root of the evil that humans distinctively manifest, out of all of Nature. More than that, it is essential we see it and remove those weeds from the meadow of human personality if life is to continue on Earth. This book, Book Seven, like Wounded Deer and Centaurs, will elaborate on why and how that can be done.
Book Eight, The Centered Path Through Hell
Beyond these first seven — i.e., this one, the other two in the Dance of the Seven Veils, The Secret Life of Stones, Womb with a View, Cells with a View, and the one elaborating on the prenatal matrix — six more works are in this queue, at this time. These include one that would be about the centered path through hell. This one follows logically the one elaborating the prenatal matrix and explaining the source of human evil. For this one begins discussing the path that is necessary in order to go beyond those hellacious influences. It is one that involves facing and going through them in order, like Dante proceeding through Inferno and Purgatorio, to release oneself from their influences.
This work will include important corrections to common spiritual thinking, including my stressing the truth that the path to liberation involves facing the darkness. Unless one deals with the pain-evolved proclivities in one’s personality, one might simply become a calmer crazy person, with spiritual or religious practice. Or, as Jung put it, “One does not become enlightened by imaging figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” This book, as well, will highlight a fundamental acknowledgment that the path to authenticity, to rootedness in Divinity, is not a ladder-style one, as Wilber and transpersonal Ego psychologists think of it. Rather, an authentic spiritual path embraces, as Hesse phrased it, “seeking the depths.” As Jung also wrote, “There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” My book on the centered path through hell, correspondingly, acknowledges that “the way forward is down.”
This work reveals the equally disastrous matriarchal and patriarchal mistakes that are made in the spiritual quest. And in noticing the mistakes to the left and to the right of true-footedness it carves a road, a centered path, avoiding them. It shows how to keep oneself centered and unharmed while also proceeding in the direction down, into one’s feelings, into life experience, hence metaphorically, into “hell.” This book would be Beatrice to Dante in his Divine Comedy.
So this work focuses, for one thing, on the matriarchal mistakes we make on the path, which delays or blocks our progress. These matriarchal mistakes have to do with opening to overwhelm through various reckless means, at the times when actualization, not more access to potentiality, is what is warranted, as I explained in Chapter 39 on “Identity and the Sea of Potentiality.” At this time, I expect to include, additionally, in this particular book some of the ideas I was laying out in that chapter on Identity and potentiality about the dangers of mysticism for “modern” youth. So “the centered path through hell” book will also deal with Identity, potentiality, rites of passage, youth and mid-life and other liminal crises, drugs and their effect on the process, multiculturalism, the occult, and generations — mine of the Sixties and the ones subsequent.
However even more importantly this work on the centered path through hell deals with the much more widespread patriarchal mistakes we make. Especially in that we live in a patriarchal world, almost totally, and going back ten thousand years and more in some places, the patriarchal mistakes virtually riddle our religious and spiritual beliefs and even our ideas of personal and psychological growth. These patriarchal mistakes predominantly involve the use of control, versus surrender, and mastery, versus vulnerability, on the path. These are Ego mistakes, they are ones that are ladder-like and intellectual and are rooted in a false reliance on “rationality” as a tool of spiritual growth. Which “rationality” is an aspect of Ego, as opposed to intuition, faith, guidance from within and without, and grace.
Book Nine, The Journey of Re-Membering … The Four Phases of Self-Awareness
After this in line is a book on the “the journey of re-membering,” with a title something like that. Following the corrections to the misunderstandings of spiritual evolution unveiled in the previous book on the “centered path,” I have laid out a volume detailing the path to ecstasy and Self, or Divinity, as it proceeds in four stages, which are four completely different orientations to life itself.
These are four truly distinct phases of self-awareness that those who become liberated embody and go through in this life and over the course of their incarnations. It is the path involved in moving out from the prejudices and the evil that accrue to us all, as described in the first seven books of this Path of Ecstasy Series. The book previous to this one, the eighth volume, dealing with the “centered path,” focuses on the mistakes common on the road of self-actualization. Whereas this one, on stages, takes a look at what that path entails. So this book, by contrast to “centered path,” is the one that will depict the true and authentic route of realization — the one avoiding the pitfalls of matriarchality and patriarchality which in one way or another keeps one stuck in hellish misery.
Once one realizes the way of the centered path through hell, then, there are four phases of expanding self-understanding that are related, roughly, to four stages of life, correctly lived. More importantly these four phases are related to levels of the unconscious — each deeper and more expansive than the previous. Thus they lead to the superconscious, once those levels are embraced, incorporated, and gone beyond.
These phases of self-awareness were inspired by Masters and Houston (1966, 2000) in their seminal work, The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience. These levels — congruent with Masters and Houston’s model of the entheogenic experience itself — are the sensory, the recollective-analytic, the symbolic-existential, and the integral. Don’t worry I’ll come up with “sexier” labels for them by print time. lol. At any rate, these stages are found in virtually all valid spiritual, psychological, transpersonal paths of evolution or growth to liberation. Therefore, they provide a yardstick against which one can evaluate one’s progress. They can provide direction, when needed; and confirmation, when that is what would help.
Book Ten, Primal Spirituality and the Primal Process … The Second Half of “The Cure”
The book following that, a tenth book in the Series, is the one I am anxious to bring to print. It is on “primal spirituality.” I have several parts of it currently online, including “Only Half a Cure: Unconditional Acceptance and the Primal Process” (1993); “Reunion with the Positive (Self), Part 1 (1995); and “Creating Positive Scenarios” (1995). These are ideas that have already melded into the culture of the field of primal therapy, by now, as I brought these ideas out initially in the early Nineties. But I have much much more to say on them. And it is very important.
For one thing, the fact that it is radical unconditional acceptance that truly allows growth, that truly heals, is hardly known. Outside of the primal modality, and unfortunately sometimes even under its aegis, it is missed. If it is known, it is rarely understood sufficiently for it to bring about the powerful transformation it can. This of which I speak goes way beyond Carl Rogers’s (1961) admirable therapeutic advances termed client-centered, by the way.
However, it is truly difficult for facilitators to apply it without having done considerable deep experiential work themselves. For, predictably in a patriarchal culture and a capitalist system of economy, everything pushes in the direction of a medical-type model of growth and healing; where facilitators can get paid to give direction, provide advice, and so on … to be authorities and to be esteemed and paid that way. Fine for them, but basically that usurps the growing person’s primary mechanism for growth — which is the self-realization coming from within. Beyond that, the authority-citizen, the teacher-student, the doctor-patient mode is the only one that a person, whether counselor or client, has encountered in life, usually. The client expects it; the counselor often does not know there is anything wrong with it. Hell, what else would they be getting paid for? Why else should folks give them money except for they telling them what they need to know and fixing them wherever one thinks one can?
Nonetheless, there is a mode of radical unconditional acceptance, as we learned it in primal therapy. It is close to what Tav Sparks — the current director of Grof Transpersonal Training — is getting at in his manual Doing Not Doing: A Facilitators Guide to Holotropic Breathwork. Hard to explain, it is, but I will in my forthcoming book. For now I offer this as analogy: I am reminded that as a one-time community activist I was taught that organizers do not succeed by doing what is needed to be done, but rather by encouraging others in the group, and then stepping to the side when an event arises, so that those in the community can be motivated to step up and can learn to be leaders and initiators of change. That in no case should one step in, even if failure results, for that precludes people finding their own power, their own ability to lead and initiate progressive action.
Well, the vast majority of healers and psychotherapists are way behind the curve in learning this, unfortunately. The temptation of wanting to be seen as an authority, to be able to label oneself a “professional” … the ego and the remuneration involved in that … is virtually impossible for most would-be healers to forgo. So, that point is important to bring out in this upcoming work.
The other aspect of this book, which I see now is also very very important … I think even more so as time goes by … has to do with the final movements in the spiritual symphony. This is where so many get stuck. My experience is that even primal people, not to mention folks in virtually all spiritual and psychological paths, get this wrong. If you have come here by way of The Secret Life of Stones, think back to what I said about the spherical path versus the circular ones, in Chapter 31 of that book. Virtually all spiritual and psychological modalities see everything in terms of “balancing” opposites or “integrating” dualities within the person. And there is a huge flaw in that. I want to make a joke and say it implies that being an asshole is fine as long as one does it only half the time. And while that hits on part of it, the problem far surpasses that.
Even in my “centered path” book, I stress that it is not about “balancing” or “integrating” matriarchal and patriarchal ways but forgoing them, for what good is it to make two mistakes, however equally? One is not benefited by opening to overwhelm, a matriarchal mistake, and then alternately enlisting ruthless body-bullying will power, a patriarchal error. What is best is to avoid both blunders and learn to surrender to an inner flow that has one naturally unfolding and effortlessly actualizing, not in a “balanced” way but in a seamless way.
Hence, as one would expect in models that are circular, indeed yes, they go round and round and go nowhere. For they are ever trying to fix the person prior to or outside the person’s engagement in the world. This is another aspect of the medical model. For the medical model does not only have the problem of authoritarianism coming about because of its paid authorities, but it also has a category of “sickness”; hence, withdrawal from the world is included as an aspect of that. So also do virtually all spiritual paths involve such a retreat from life. This is the “monastery” stage — the contemplative or meditative or therapy arc of the process of growth.
Now, certainly it is important to have liminal times for growth. I stressed that repeatedly in this book under Veil Two, especially when I referred to experiences mimicking vision quests or hero’s cycles. But there is a problem in this as well. For what usually happens is those liminal times get clung to by sick people. Then to add to that, these folks are encouraged in their dependency by professionals who can hardly keep from operating out of motives of financial gain, since they live in and are constantly pressured by the demands of a capitalist system. Dependent clients make for steady streams of income, you see.
So a huge realization is missed: It is what I call the second half of the cure. And it is embodied in this statement, that:
It is only when one aligns oneself with a cause beyond oneself that one is truly healed.
For in doing so, one is lifted out of oneself into a larger, and higher, reality in which one’s Pain is not focused on, is inconsequential, hence becomes forgotten.
Another reason this is not seen is that professionals who might lead — whether in psychotherapeutic or spiritual milieus — are often ones who are themselves stuck. Indeed, they then are pied pipers. They are blocked themselves, are often unhappy and unliberated, yet they feel the need to pass on what has not worked for them … for regardless its barrenness of results, hell, they worked and paid hard for it! They tell themselves that it is okay for them to do that, for — with faith as blind as any fundamentalist — surely they will at some point, somewhere in the future, sometime, succeed in what they have been trying to achieve.
What is funny is how they sometimes will try to convince others — they will brandish it as some kind of badge of courage — that there are no real answers, as a way of rationalizing to themselves their failure and avoiding the necessary correction in their path that their failure is trying to reveal to them. Saying silly things, meant to come across as bravado, like “the only answer is there are no answers,” and such, they affirm their dead end in growth as a value. And they hate like hell any insinuation that there are actual answers and that they have simply been failures in finding them in this life.
This cul de sac is often the street signed, Existential Circle. Folks living there do not know of the freeways beyond where they live and try to convince you to live there with them. They would have you believe the “no exit” and “dead end” signs you notice are just more proof of their hardiness in living there anyway. Though perhaps being tough-minded in a losing cause is not very smart? However macho it might seem to be in some kind of existential no-nonsense “real-world”–worshiping way?
The other reason the second half of the cure — the one involving higher causes, fate, actualization, destiny, and atmadharma — is missed is related to that monkish mistake in that once retreat is taken as a value, one finds all kinds of ways to deprecate more active paths, paths of activism and service in this world. You will hear such folks decry politics, as in some egoic way of trying to put out that they are above that stuff, would not get their hands dirty. They refer to politics as “negativity,” perhaps, or “drama.” And they proclaim how they are superior in “not getting caught up in that” — those “petty concerns of this world.” However, in truth, it is simply that they are fearful of venturing outside their cocoon of the monastic, the fearful, the narcissistic, the self-obsessed — that hypochondriacal cul de sac they have made a home and rationalized as a value.
Regardless the reasons, all these folks miss the culmination of the healing process, which is expressed in the final stage of the hero’s cycle, when one brings back to the world what one has learned in the liminal state. It is related to what Maslow called self-actualization. It is parallel to what Sathya Sai Baba called the path of service (of seva, in the Sanskrit), which according to him was far far superior to the meditative route. Indeed, Sai Baba explained how the meditative route was not a properly fruitful spiritual route at all. That it was just a kind of way of doing mental spring-cleaning, so to speak. That it was only the paths involving service in the world and to society or to something beyond oneself that are any kind of spiritual paths. Castaneda in enjoining one to choose “a path with a heart” was saying something similar. In any case, this is what I agree with, what I think it is vitally important for folks to know, and what I bring out in the ideas on “the second half of the cure.”
So in terms of being healed, it is true in practice that one will not be really complete or authentic until one finds a way to bring what one has learned out into the world in some kind of helpful way, often by applying it to some cause of importance, often involving the relief or prevention of suffering to some beings other than oneself, for a change. This actualization of what was discovered within is clearly evident in vision-quest sorts of experiential cycles; it is the final stage of the Hero’s Cycle; Janov has alluded to it in his explanation of the “dialectic” between feeling feelings and action in the world; and I have written at length — in Wounded Deer and Centaurs, especially — how the myth of Chiron as the ever-suffering centaur, become the “wounded healer, is showing us this need.
And, yes, this activism is the missing component in virtually all spiritual and psychological paths. I touched on it in the first book, as well, in The Secret Life of Stones. There, I wrote about the bodhisattva path, for example. But again there is far far more to be said about it. What I want folks to get out of this upcoming book on primal spirituality and the primal process is the release into knowing that one gains oneself when one gives oneself. That sickness and neurosis and Pain cause one to look inward — that is fine. But staying constrained and fearful keeps one stuck in misery and neurosis, in directionlessness and meaninglessness. What I want folks to know is that there is a grand and beautiful and fulfilling world out there in which to participate. And that at a certain point, far earlier than most folks know, the way to grow is to stretch out to it, to stretch past one’s Pain. And to align with something that measures up suitably with what one discovered within.
It is because spiritual paths tend to draw to them introverts that this is not seen. Introverts hate like crazy having to do anything that would seem to require something like extroversion. Understandable, of course. However, they then rationalize it is not needed and is inferior to them and their path. But this is out of a mistaken notion of what activism or a higher cause is. So this is their fear or prejudice that they need to put behind them in order to feel free.
By the way, though I am not planning a book on it, extroverts, who naturally embrace activism as a matter of course, have the complementary problem in the way they pooh pooh inwardness. Yet, as I have been saying in my books, especially Funny God, that is their tragic mistake, as well. And it is the one needing correction in order for actual success on the pressing problems of the world to be had.
Now, this notion regarding a necessary engagement in the world and alignment with a cause greater than oneself is something I did actually say a bit about in The Secret Life of Stones in the chapter on gods being seen as demons, Chapter 34. I pointed out the hero’s cycle aspects of the alien abduction phenomena. And quoting Joseph Campbell (1972) and Keith Thompson (1989), I was making the point that a liminal time — a time of social “alienation” and living on the borders of one’s group, of retreat and reevaluation, of moratorium — is an absolutely essential stage in the cycle. But that if one does not come back to the world … one is “harassed night and day by the demon within.”
This problem of emotionally sick people clinging to the liminal world — spending one’s time immersed in fantasy and in wishing things were a different way is the way this commonly manifests — is in the camp of what Campbell (1972) called the “refusal of the return.” Similar, though different, is something I dealt with in this book in detailing what happened in America when the counterculture revolution and awakening was crushed by the fearful and the powers-that-be of the second half of the Twentieth Century, which is in the category of Campbell’s “refusal of the call.”
The point is that one needs to take what one learns and bring it back to the world. It is only then, with the cycle complete, that one gets relief. Indeed, one gets liberation. And more important than those, one feels fulfillment in the surety that one has been helpful; and one is rewarded being at home in a place among the noble ones who have lifted the suffering of the world a tad. Knowing that, is the wholiest blessing of all.
So, in summary, the book on primal process will explain how to traverse the path of Re-Membering described in the previous book on the four phases of self-discovery. It will explain the process, its permutations; and it will show how to “go in” — that unconditional acceptance and the primal process. But also it will unveil how to “come back out” — the second half of the cure.
Book Eleven, Authenticity Rising
The book planned for after that is one about current times and its cultural changes which involve a shift to the importance and valuing of authenticity. It is a book on “authenticity rising.” And it will show how the current state of the world in so many aspects — multiculturalism, mass media, social networking and the internet, and the environmental and political and civil crises of the day — is pushing for more and allowing for more in terms of personhood. I will show how this powerful and promising trend is raising itself up, as well I will show the powerful forces seeking to push it back down … to snuff it out. There is authenticity vying with conformity and the status quo. There is original and dharmic roles and living going head to head with the incessant, relentless demands of a material industrial corporate culture and its governments, geared to keep the masses compliant, unmoving, uncomplaining … but also ungrowing. Only time will tell who will win out.
Book Twelve, Return to Grace … The Crisis and Opportunity of End Times
What follows naturally from a book on current times and its craving for authenticity is the outer — or the social, historical, current events aspect of that. For not only is there an increasing hunger for realness and truth, the times themselves are demanding genuineness and integrity of us. No less than the survival of all life on this planet is at stake. This is the greatest crisis.
However, it is also the grandest opportunity for folks to find themselves and to participate in a cause beyond themselves. There has never been a time so ripe for personal fulfillment alongside and within a time so dire and having such momentous consequences. There has never been a better time for heroes to come forth and rainbow warriors to awaken. This is the grandest adventure of all time, the greatest story ever being told on Earth, and it is happening in our lifetimes. We are lucky to be here, despite the dark cloud of gloom and doom approaching. For we can never be better than we are able to be now. The brightest angels of our beings are being summoned at this exact time, like never before.
So this book, Book Twelve, will explore the unique and apocalyptic character of our times … in all its wondrous implications.
Book Thirteen, The Cosmic Overstanding … You, God, and Identity
The final book in this series, at least the way it is all being envisioned at this time, not only caps off the entire series in a kind of culmination, but it brings it back around again to some of the themes of the first volume, The Secret Life of Stones. For Volume I of The Path of Ecstasy Series dealt with the nature of Reality in all its components. And it pointed to some implications of that for one’s life.
Well, in this final book, I will put forth the greatest overstanding — The Cosmic Overstanding — of us in relation to the Universe as revealed in that first book, especially, but also all subsequent volumes. Whereas The Secret Life of Stones (2016) was about the nature of matter and Divinity, the final book will be about the nature of The Game, our script, and how we can be liberated within it. It will expand the ideas of “The Mind’s True Liberation” as put forth in Part Three of Funny God: The Tao of Funny God and the Mind’s True Liberation (2015), as well as conveyed in Part Three, “Experience Is Divinity” of the book by the same name (2013).
It will do far more than explain the path of liberation, though. Let alone, give you steps to achieve it — that kind of direction and to-doing of you is something I would never do. Rather, it will embody it … embody liberation. It might also open your eyes to the realization that you already are.
The Path of Ecstasy Series, Summary
In summary these books are:
Book 1. The Secret Life of Stones: Matter, Divinity, and the Path of Ecstasy. It dealt with the metaphysical nature of Reality as Idealist and panentheistic, as an experiential pool in which you, along with everyone and everything else is immersed. In which you belong, are never alone, and are noble. And in which ultimately, you are Divinity.
Book 2, this one: Dance of the Seven Veils I: Primal/Identity Psychology, Mythology, and Your Real Self. It answers the questions, who to be? And, what is the real self? And it is concerned with our anthropocentric bias as a human, and the time of our adulthood back to our time as a toddler. Which is Veils One through Three.
Book 3. Dance of the Seven Veils II: Prenatal/Perinatal Psychology, Mythology, and Your Divine Self. It will be concerned with the questions, how to be happy? And, what is the Divine Self? It deals with the pain grids as laid down in us through our prenatal and perinatal experiences. Importantly, though, it reveals the joy grids, deep inside us and imprinted in us through our early womb experiences. This is Veils Four through Six.
Book 4. Dance of the Seven Veils III: Periconceptional/Transpersonal Psychology, Mythology, and Naked Reality. This book will look into the actual nature of Existence. More importantly it will answer the questions, what is Naked Reality? And, what is our existence in the No-Form State? Which is the state in the place that is no-place and the time that is no-time both before and after this current incarnation. Naturally, it is the no-place, since it is outside of Form, or physical reality, and one can be everywhere in a place that is nowhere. However, since time is an illusion, it is also in no-time, which means an aspect of yourself exists in it right now.
The book also addresses what is the nature of No-Form beings and our existence in our No-Form aspect, our soul. Additionally, Dance of the Seven Veils III reveals the spiritual grids, which are the absolute earliest imprints we have while in Form, and which themselves need to be journeyed beyond. These spiritual grids are concerned with our cellular and soulular existences, and so, with Veil Seven, and beyond it.
Book 5. Womb with a View. This will be about how our womb experiences create our religions and supernatural beliefs and how those pre- and perinatal experiences show up in our mythologies, our spiritualities, and our theologies.
It will get into biology as both metaphor and mythology to elaborate upon what our bodies and our early biological experiences tell us about life, Reality, and our purpose and meaning of life … and how that is reflected back again upon us in our mythologies and religious beliefs.
Book 6. Cells with a View. This work will tell how our earliest experiences of life at the cellular level create our physical world and our deepest assumptions about Reality. It will uncover how these early imprints show up in the makeup of the world of matter and Nature, which we share; and of the time, cosmos, and supernatural that we assume.
Book 7. On the prenatal matrix of human events. Here will be laid out for review and insight how our late-stage gestation experiences configure our actions … how they give rise to human evil … how they are the origins of the brutality and atrocities of all time and how they are hence not our true human nature. So they can finally be gone beyond when that is recognized and addressed.
Book 8. On the centered path through hell and the way forward is down. This work will take up and strip away the matriarchal and patriarchal mistakes which mar a true apprehension of our journey. Hence it will also unveil a centered and safe navigation of our way through our Pain and dis-ease on the way to our liberation.
Book 9. On the journey of re-membering and the four phases of self-discovery. This one delineates the path of ecstasy to Self, or Divinity, as it is found in the transpersonal paths of all times and places. It shows how each of us travel from Pain and darkness to ecstasy and reunion, from the prenatal matrix to the cosmic overstanding.
Book 10. On primal spirituality and the primal process. It will reveal how radical unconditional acceptance heals and how anything less hurts or diverts. More importantly, it will unveil the necessary stage, the second half of the cure, which involves aligning with something greater than oneself — a cause, a principle, a duty, or a blessing — as the way to finally achieve release from the tortuous prison of ego, of primal pain.
Book 11. On authenticity rising. This book will dive deep into some auspicious trends in our postmodern society involving the goals that the masses are fashioning and the feelings and personalities that are being valued. This craving for genuineness, this adherence to only the real, this no-nonsense insistence on truth … “Just give me some truth!” as John Lennon asserted it … could not have happened at a better time. And it is none too soon.
Book 12. On return to grace and the crisis and opportunity of end times. This book will bring out the unparalleled fortune of our times even as we stand on the brink of disasters as great as eco-apocalypse.
Book 13. Finally, The Cosmic Overstanding: You, God, and Identity will present the good news involved in a new paradigm as it rises up from all these understandings, and more. Consistent with consciousness studies and quantum physics, yet revealing a friendly and loving reality, it says what we can rely on, why we should have hope, and how there is no reason not to be happy and free, at this time, even as we apply ourselves. For we are always and everywhere assisted and saved, uplifted and loved, even “in spite of ourselves.”
Other Books and Series
Just an fyi, I have intentions for other series — some of which I have done already considerable work on.
The Stages of Re-Membering Series
For a very long time — for forty-five years, in fact — in the works has been the elaboration, in four volumes, of the phases of re-membering or the four stages of self-understanding. These ideas, at this time hopefully, will have already been published initially in one work, as Book 9, above. These four volumes expanding on the earlier one — this Stages of Re-Membering Series — would include, again with sexier titles by print time:
Book 1. The Sensory. This describes the place from which we all start. It is a way of apprehending world and life where sensory experiences are all that matter and the sensory and the material are all that has value. Regardless what “religious” beliefs people have, we start with a “fundamentalist” view of the world of it being comprised of things. We might be the average person seeking, in the “venerable” words of George W. Bush, to “throw food on their families” (lol). We might be the careerist. We might be the religious-minded, thinking that God created us five thousand years ago in a Garden of Eden, who can’t wait to get lifted up in the skies physically when the Rapture comes. It could be the Catholic thinking that at the end of time God is going to raise all the bodies from the graves, refurbish them somehow, and then the lucky of us are going to get to hang out in “heaven” in those bodies. I just hope they have grilled cheese sandwiches, in that case.
And regardless, what is valued as a goal is the accumulation of sensory experience in life, as much as possible. So it is aligned with the struggle for wealth, as well, in that it is seen that it is money that allows more sensory experience — whether that is the finest vacations, the most elegant residences, the most sophisticated dining, or the most daredevil of stunts … or having the most accomplished of sexual partners, the most variety and amount of sexual experiences.
At this level of personal development, or spiritual advance, if there are any goals beyond surviving and increasing the pleasure quotient of life to the max, they center around stuffing as much as possible of different experiences into one’s life, having the longest “bucket list” and accomplishing them. The more parties, the more sexual partners, the more cars, the more planes jumped out of, the more motorcycles raced, horses rode, medals won, the more lavish repasts and exotic locales visited, the winner … or as they boast, those who are at this level, “the one with the most toys at the end wins.”
This is the sensory level of evolution back to Grace. This is where we start after having been diminished by the four falls from Grace as we came into this world. It is the one everyone knows; it is the one you are the most familiar with, even if you have grown past it. For we each contain it even if we supersede it. For these levels are not about different stops on a bus route, they are about expanding outward in all directions at once. So the innermost circle, this sensory one, is encompassed in all beyond it. It is integrated within one’s personality, even if one has reached past it to place the focus, the interest, of one’s life elsewhere and beyond it, in the domain of one of the outer rings from it.
As a stage of life, the sensory level is childhood. Regardless how we evolve afterward, virtually every one of us in childhood apprehends the world this way and has these kinds of values. As a spiritual experience, it is the one most are aware of, where there is enhanced sensory experience; sensory experience that is open and wonderful as a child’s, but which doesn’t go beyond that.
Book 2. The Recollective-Analytic. Some folks, however, enter upon a search for Identity in youth that involves more than simply finding out what route one might best take to acquire the materials of life and to draw to oneself the sensory experiences desired — the pleasures of the world including all the above from stage one as well as sex, spouse, family, and friends. Such individuals, instead, seek a grander identity and wish to know a more ultimate truth. And it might arise at any time of life, actually, not just youth. Especially so it might arise after the occurrence of a life-shattering tragedy. Often it emerges in mid-life, as Jung chronicled, when life’s material and sensory attainments are revealed as the shallowness they are. Nevertheless, it is an Identity stage that contains all the components of the one at youth, and some folks in youth do embark on it.
People often do not choose it — this opening into self-reflection. It is frequently forced upon one, rather, as a result of a tragedy: One experiences a serious illness or the death of someone close to one or has an accident, a career disaster, a heart-breaking love disappointment, or some other major misfortune. And this unexpected stumbling block on one’s well-planned route to material, sensory, and social success, this enforced “moratorium” from life, causes the initial inward turning. One wants to know “Why?” As in “Why me (Lord)?” “What’s it all about?” “What’s wrong with me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” In response one becomes reflective. One turns self-analytical. One begins the process of self-inquiry that is the initial and necessary stage of any and all spiritual or personal evolution.
This stage of spirituality has its corollary in the life stages as the student phase of life. Indeed, often this quest begins in college. However, the recollective-analytic as a spiritually evolutionary phase involves more of a vision quest, or of an existential search for meaning, than occurs for the average youth or student. And all things considered, this search for identity, for who to be in life and what to do, takes on the character mostly of a more profound and wider search — that for self-understanding.
Book 3. The Symbolic-Existential. This phase of spiritual evolution comes about after one has discovered some aspects of self (and Self) on the inner plane, through the previous stage, that one wishes, rather needs, to express and bring to the world. I talked above how this is a necessary stage in the primal process. Indeed it is, but in all other processes of growth it is vital as well. In terms of the primal process, the therapy stage would be the recollective-analytic above, from Book 2 of the Stages of Re-Membering Series; and this book would be the actualization phase required, or, as explained above, “the second half of ‘the cure.’”
This stage is existential for it involves immersing oneself fully in existence, in the game here and now that one came to human form on Earth to play. It is symbolic as well, for it has mythological overtones. This is the phase often depicted in mythologies, which portray the path, the journey, of everyman-woman through life. It is the life as lived by the “hero of a thousand faces,” as Campbell laid it out, and as exists in all cultures and is available for all peoples.
It is the facing of challenges, the overcoming of obstacles, the expression of what was discovered within and now in the context of society and the rest of life and the world. From stage one to stage two it was a leaving of the fold, the community, society. From stage two to stage three it is a returning to the fold, the community, the society, although perhaps not the same one. For as Tom Wolfe said, “one can never go home again.” In that case it is about finding one’s tribe and then participating in it.
It is dramatic; it is the grandest theater, for the stakes are high. It is the life that is worthy of a soundtrack, so to speak. For it is urgent and necessary to bring to the world what one uniquely can. No one else can do it. And if you fail in it, the world will simply lack forever whatever it is you came here to contribute.
This stage of spiritual evolution is full and fulfilling but stressful, intense, and all-encompassing. Failure in one’s task is the thing most feared. Not loss of material things or lack of avenues for sensory gratification. Not either is the problem that of confusion and wondering about “it all.” One does not feel here that one lacks meaning in life or considers life to be empty. There are always periods of self-reflection and re-evaluation at every stage. But in this one, one is not obsessed by that, is not paralyzed by that. One does not retreat from the world; one throws oneself into it … eager to do and belong in it. For here, at this stage, one knows enough about “it all” to know that the world lacks and needs what one can uniquely bring it. So responsibility is laid upon one’s actions as well.
It is the heroic quest, thus mythologically important, and is in that sense “symbolic.” It is immersion in life experience; it is the experiential path of evolution, it is one where one is lined up with a cause higher than oneself … thus it is existential.
It corresponds to the adult time of life, though few adults in any society bring adulthood to fruition in the way it needs to happen in order for it to be a stage in liberation. But some do. Creative and spiritual people in particular know what I am talking about here. And when one fulfills one’s life and purpose in this grandest of fashions, the next ring of the circle of growth becomes accessible. That’s a crucial point of this whole series, by the way: Which is that one cannot “jump” to the final stage from the first or second stages, but must traverse each of them, all three of them, before the doorway to the final way of being opens.
Notice, these are rings outward, with each one encompassing all the ones that preceded it. They are not rungs of a ladder in which each step takes one further away from what was below and wherein the earliest efforts are left behind and forgotten, no longer feeding or fulfilling the ones following, no longer being a headspring for ever greater wisdom. No. Each phase is enclosed within every level following it. Each way of being, with all its advancing vision and expanding awareness, is integrated within more comprehensive and truer stances in life, that it is to say, in larger wholes.
So one edges outward along the circumference of one’s self, bordering on the Divine. Here is where the magic is palpable. One has grown in purpose to the point where it brings about the next stage, the Integral.
Book 4. The Integral. This is the one the spiritual literature talks about. It corresponds to the sannyasi stage of life in the Indian culture. It corresponds to Jung’s Wise Old Man and Crone archetypes, framed as stages of life and spiritual evolution. At this point one has fulfilled oneself in relation to the society; one has done one’s Atmic duty. One approaches the Cosmic. It is not about getting anywhere at this point, it is about being here.
As I said in a previous chapter, first there is a mountain, that is the Sensory. Then there is no mountain, that is the Recollective-Analytic. Then there is … this is the Symbolic-Existential. And at this stage of the Integral one has gone beyond even that, and one has merged into Self. And if still alive, one expresses and operates out of that Source. This is the stage of the individuated person, using Jung’s terminology. In the spiritual literature, much more is said about this stage of spiritual evolution than any other, for it is the one wherein one is on the doorstep of the “goal.”
However, that reveals a mistake as well. For although in Hindu culture these stages are reflected as the four stages of a human life, if one looks in the spiritual literature it is as if this is the only stage and one can attain liberation from any of the other stages of life. Whereas that is not the case.
We now know that one cannot jump from sensory experience to enlightenment. If one takes an entheogen at that first stage, the Sensory one, all one can expect is enhanced sensory experiences. At the most there is possible an opening to the Recollective-Analytic. The experience might lead to deeper self-reflection and/or the undertaking of a spiritual quest for understanding and liberation. It might even lead to a break-down that hopefully, sooner or later, will be seen to be the break-through it in actuality is. In such case it is termed a spiritual emergency, and it is not at all pleasant or comfortable … one’s self-esteem gets wrecked, for one thing … regardless how growthful and necessary it turns out to be. In any case, that is just the beginning.
Similarly, one cannot expect to jump from the Recollective-Analytic, the monastic, the student phase directly to liberation. That is what I was stressing in what I said regarding the book that will be about the second half of the cure. One needs to bring one’s re-freshed, re-newed, re-born self into the world and add what one can to it, in engagement with the community of souls and the life on this planet. One can do that in parts, for one should always keep one foot in the world of self-evaluation, but one needs to embark on self-actualization where and when one can. It is the dialectic between the two that catalyzes growth. One goes from self-understanding to worldly actualization and inevitably confronts obstacles. Leading one back for more self-inquiry; then out into the world again, to expression and participation; which sooner or later finds stumbling blocks. Leading one inward again for another stint at the drawing board, followed by another ad-venture, and round and round again.
Nevertheless, this fruitful and often ebullient process is not the Integral stage. The Integral stage is the dawning of wisdom, or at least the beginning of that. It is open-hearted beingness in the world; palpable reunion with all life, all Experience; it is both cosmic and community belongingness at once. And that can only come about through participation and immersion, fully, in the pulsing phases of expansion, previous.
The Quadrilogy, Remembering
The other series I have planned at this time has to do with the quadrilogy, the novel in four books that I have worked on over the years. The name of the quadrilogy is Remembering. It comprises four books. Book One: Leaving. Book Two: Looking. Book Three: Arriving. And Book Four: Being Here.
Perhaps these titles make sense after what I was just relating about the four stages of re-membering above? In any case, it is true these novels are fictional expressions of the ideas of the four stages of self-understanding of the Journey of Re-Membering Series described above.
Finally, I have plans to fill out the ideas of Falls from Grace (2014) in a series of four books covering each of the phases: The First Fall, Conception. The Second Fall, Birth. The Third Fall, the Primal Scene. And The Fourth Fall, Identity. And more immediately in the future, are the books in the Return to Grace Series, titled, Psychology of Apocalypse; Back to the Garden; Primal Return; Primal Renaissance; The Necessary Revolution, and Return to Grace. Also, with no apparent series for them to find a home, are these six books in process: Prenatal Earth; The Primal Matrix of Being; Who to Be; An Existential Metaphysical; The Psychology of Generations; and The Secret of Men.
I am not going to say any more, and I have already said too much. For these plans are likely to change, indeed they undoubtedly will. What usually happens is these plans expand as put into practice, so that more books will be added. But you see here the grandest overview possible of what you can look forward to in the upcoming years. This is a look at what is enroute and will appear, barring unforeseen circumstances. That is, as they say, this is what will arrive, “the Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.” Lol.
We will see what the Universe wants and what it will support. So far, It has wanted and has supported a prolific amount! As for the future, well, stay tuned.
— from Afterword, titled “Continue with Dance of the Seven Veils II and about The Path of Ecstasy Series”
— of *Dance of the Seven Veils I: Primal/Identity Psychology, Mythology, and Your Real Self* by Michael Adzema, now available in print and e-book formats.
Click for a free downloadable copy of this excerpt from *Dance of the Seven Veils I*, with my compliments.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michael Adzema. Video below … interviewed by Michael Harrell
— Related: See also other published versions of these ideas….
*Dance of the Seven Veils I* (2017).
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“these times are the coming together of heaven and earth….
“we walk in realms of the mythical, the archetypal….
“we are embraced by arms of Divinity … and find ourselves as fingers of God Herself….
“we are the myths in motion … are witness to secrets of eternity finally revealed….
“we are players in epic stories of ends of days and beginnings of time….”