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Out of Eden—Agrarian Revolution … Return to Eden—Primal Renaissance: The Earliest Yuppies, 25,000 Years Ago, Cast Us Out of the Garden. We Are Returning … Now

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Primal Renaissance: Our Greatest Hope May Be the Flourishing of Culture as We Reintegrate Long-Lost Knowledge and Worldview, Formerly Ridiculed as “Primitive”

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Falls from Grace, Epilogue: Are We Entering a Primal Renaissance?

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We live in exciting times.  Information hams it up before us at every turn.  This unparalleled info-glut brings fascination, paralysis, agony, insight, change, renewal, and inspiration.  In some ways it looks like a renaissance — take the incredible proliferation of technology, for example . . . the mind-boggling advances in computers.  But a renaissance of the “primitive,” the “uncivilized” . . . a primal renaissance?  How can that possibly be?

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Paleolithic Consciousness … Out of Eden

For weeks I had been working on several articles, my ardor suspending me above the landscape of a natural consciousness, a hunter-gatherer one.  Called “paleolithic consciousness” by one contemporary theorist, this mindstyle is reputed to exist among our hunter-gatherer progenitors and among some current “primal cultures.”  It is characterized by greater attunement with body and nature, greater relaxation and well-beingness, more loving child-caring, greater sensory and aesthetic appreciation, more expanded psychic openness, fuller emotional and relational capacity, and greater “with-it-ness” (Witness) with reality in general.

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The Earliest Yuppies and The Agrarian Revolution

I was also focusing on how our civilization came to lose that primal expansiveness of soul — a la “ejection from the Garden of Eden.”  An increasing mistrust of nature — and an inexplicable rebellion against an eternally old “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy — led to attempts to control Nature, and consequently body as well.  The supposed big “advance” of these earliest yuppies was the domestication of plants and animals.  In history, this first major “upwardly mobile” turning is known as the “agrarian revolution,” and it occurred variously between 10 and 30 thousand years ago.

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Renaissance

All of a piece it came to me that what was going on now, in Western culture, was exactly parallel to what had occurred during the Renaissance of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  At that time, you may recall, the Catholic Church’s intellectual hegemony was loosening, which allowed ancient Roman and Greek texts preserved in the monasteries to be released into the collective culture.  There, our formerly repressed and forgotten “classical” heritage combined and cross-fertilized with views prevailing at that time to create the incredible flowering of culture and human potential that the word renaissance now conveys.

The View from the Doorstep of Nuclear and Ecological Annihilation

It occurred to me that night how we, in the consciousness and ecology movements, are becoming ever more aware, once again, in diverse and various ways, of the vast legacy of feeling, perception, human fulfillment, and spiritual awareness and viewpoint that current “child-rearing” practices cause us “normally” to leave behind.  Similarly we come to realize how much our species lost in coming into its much-vaunted “civilization” in its evolutionary history.  The view from the doorstep of nuclear and ecological annihilation allows such perspectives. 

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Yet, through our different ways of healing ourselves, and to extents greater and lesser, we retrieve that lost and repressed legacy.

Multiculturalism

And we are, happily, not alone in that retrieval.  Increasingly it appears that our age is characterized, on a global scale, by an unprecedented multiculturalism wrought of technological advances in telecommunications and transportation.  Consequently, we are pushed to enjoying an ever growing awareness of the legacies of primal cultures, both current and historical.

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Xenophobia Dissolving and “Ego”-Eroding Information

At the same time and not coincidentally we observe our own religious, scientific, and Western-cultural hegemonies collapsing under that same weight of contrary and both xenophobia- and “ego”-eroding information.  Moreover, this collapse is aided by momentous and far-reaching occurrences as diverse as our mistaken engagements in third-world countries — our misadventures in Iraq and Vietnam, for example; the technological crisis of credibility wrought of the global ecological crisis; and the discoveries of the new physics with their concurrent death-blow to the pretensions of common-sense materialism.

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Re-Integration of the Primitive and Primal … Return to Eden

It became clear to me that just as centuries ago we came out from under the thumb of a brand of cultural repression that scapegoated and repressed former cultures — specifically, the Greek and the Roman legacies, calling them “pagan” — we were now coming out from under the thumb of a cultural repression and consequent scapegoating of even longer duration — one extending back ten to thirty-thousand years!  Along with this we were seeing not only the limitations and inadequacies of the Western civilization and technology which so many had sacrificed for, and killed for; we were seeing also the re-integration of long-lost knowledge and worldview — which formerly had been obscured and hidden beneath such pejoratives as “primitive,” “savage,” and “uncivilized.”

Shamans, Vision Quests, Sweat Lodges, and Drums

Some of us were learning this only too well, as it seemed necessary to search out the earliest or least “civilized” cultures possible for the only pertinent tips we could find on sane and healthy child-caring techniques. 

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But the rest of our culture is catching on too, and in a big way!  Shamanistic practices, rites of passage, and indigenous rituals are enjoying great popularity.  Workshops on everything from vision quests, fire-walking, and Native American sweat lodges . . . to nature treks, drumming, and “sacred arrow” ceremonies have begun popping up.  And currently we are even recognizing our Western patriarchal culture’s evil hand in the extermination of society upon society of indigenous peoples; we are re-writing the history books on the legacy of Columbus even as we passed the five-hundredth anniversary of his landing in America.

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A Flourishing of Culture?

What’s more, in a manner analogous to the cross-fertilization of ideas that led to the medieval Renaissance, our culture is expanding and becoming richer through the inclusion of these alternate perspectives.  Those of us on the healing edge are uniquely able to sense the potential of this inclusion as we experience the effects that this kind of appreciation of the feeling, the affectionate, the intuitive, the natural, the body, and the senses has had upon our individual lives.  Why would we not think that this kind of cross-fertilization of repressed heritage would lead to a flourishing of our culture in the same way that it is has led to a blossoming in our lives?

The Brightest Light on Our Cultural Horizon

Indeed, many of us do feel that a “primal renaissance” is occurring on our planet.  Furthermore, many of us believe that this occurrence may be, in truth, the brightest hope on what otherwise can appear globally to be a rather bleak social and cultural horizon.

So let us not lose this opportunity to midwife the emergence of this primal renaissance, and, germinal as it may appear at this time, to nurture it to its fullest flowering.  We cannot change the past, of course.  But our efforts will work — one small measure at least — for righting the many wrongs of those who have come before us toward those earlier primal societies, and the deeply felt ideas and cultural ways they held dear.

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To Access the Entire Book, of which this is an excerpt, Go To Falls from Grace

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Continue with Book 10 Primal Return: The Prodigal Awakening

Return to Planet of the Apes? Thunderdome? No. But Only If We Are Lucky: Our Primal Return May Indeed Be a Primal Renaissance

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Surrender Spiritualities, Believing in Ultimate Goodness, See Controlling as the Problem: Sadly, a Mystical Machismo Has Invaded Current Spiritual Thinking

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Patriarchal Cultures Carry Their Advance and Conquer Tactics Into the Inner World: Correcting the “Civilized” Ego … Stormy Path to Self, Part Four — Control Versus Surrender

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Spirituality Is Self-Actualization Not Ego-Actualization

What people like White and Wilber simply do not get is that spirituality is not a matter of further ego-actualization . . . that spirituality involves surrendering the ego, letting go of the ego. Instead they would have us construct, control, strive, to build a “super” ego.

An Example of This Mistake: Homo Noeticus Is Actually Homo Ego

The Homo noeticus that White (1990) describes in his book, The Meeting of Science of Spirit, is an example of the kind of mistakes that are possible with this ego-highlighted model of human development. His Homo noeticus might better be termed “Homo ego.” For indeed, what he offers us is a continuation of the Promethean hubris that has brought us to this precarious situation. What he offers us is the same kind of attitude toward the inner world as we have taken towards the outer world, the same kind of advance and conquer, the same kind of control tactics. In support of this I note that while he uses the terms “control” and “master” often—in describing higher states and enlightenment, he uses the terms “surrender” and “letting go” only once. In White’s universe I suppose the meek do not inherit the earth.

Transpersonal Athleticism and Mystical Machismo

This entire attitude is reminiscent of a book from 1968 titled The Master Game by Robert S. De Ropp. Theorists like De Ropp, White, and Wilber have never quite understood the idea that this whole spiritual trip is not a matter of transpersonal athleticism, mystical machismo, or jocko-militaristic “mastery.” Indeed, it is obvious that White has this attitude in his espousal of the martial arts. It is understandable that he would see spirituality this way in that he is a former military man. Ken Wilber has a strong connection to the military as well, having been brought up in such a family. (Should we be getting our spiritual advice from the armed forces?)

It is equally clear that he doesn’t quite understand the concept of the surrender of ego for, even in his very espousal of Jesus, he doesn’t accept Jesus’s attitude of non-violence or “turn the other cheek.” Of course these pacificistic attitudes would not make sense in a spiritual program like his which involves the aggrandizement of the ego and its defense at all costs.

Spirituality Is Actually Attunement with God, the Giving Up of Ego Struggles

These sorts of would-be spiritual teachers also, in line with the kind of thinking I’ve described, are the ones who are wont to point out the dangers of regression to “pre-” states and so forth. Once again, in doing so, they acknowledge their fear of loss of ego in their espousal of so-called “higher” or “transcendent” striving. They do not understand that spirituality is, in reality, a matter of attunement with God, attunement with All That Is . . . is a giving up of ego struggles, and a letting go into All That; as opposed to a control, a “mastery,” a striving, or a transcendence of it all.

Control Versus Surrender

Essentially what I am saying is that there are two paths of so-called “spirituality.” One of these might be described as going up the “hierarchy of defenses” and the other as undercutting or going below such “act-outs” or spurious “atman projects.” Another way of saying this is that there are “control” spiritualities and “surrender” spiritualities, with rarely the twain meeting.

Control Spiritualities: Atman Projects, Religion, Building a Hierarchy of Defenses — an Egoic Tower of Babel

control_room11Control spiritualities are adapted to patriarchal cultures and involve the use of the ego to “control” and be in charge of even the realms of the supernatural. This is so because an ultimate evil—a devil or Satan—is postulated, which is given equal weight along with God in determining one’s ultimate fate. This type of spirituality is normally what is called religion.

Surrender Spiritualities: God As Being Good; Controlling Is Seen as the Problem, Not the Solution

surrender-to-godBut there is another brand of spirituality that is based on a belief in the ultimate goodness and rightness of All That Is. God’s goodness being essentially the dominant force in the Universe, herein it is considered safe to “surrender” in one’s relation to Reality, to expect that one will be guided correctly, in fact perfectly, in the act of letting go. Thus letting go is not to be feared … as it is in the control spirituality … but is to be practiced and fostered. In this perspective, which we might call surrender spirituality, control is seen as the problem, not the solution.

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“Control” and “Surrender” Psychotherapies

Of course these two approaches to spirituality represent two approaches to surrenderpsychotherapy as well. The control attitude is the dominant mode of psychoanalytically-based approaches … in which the “demon” of the id is postulated. The attitude of “letting go” and “surrender,” on the other hand, is the dominant attitude of the experiential psychotherapies, which are themselves rooted in the tradition of humanistic psychology with its belief in the ultimate goodness of the human organism and which thus allows a faith in the ultimate rightness of human processes.

Hero’s Journey as “Control” Psychotherapy

the-control-attitude_thumbSince the control attitude, in any of its manifestations, requires the postulation of an ultimate evil against which one must remain vigilant and must fight, the common “hero’s journey” myth—with its typical fighting and slaying of supposedly evil parts of the personality and reality symbolized as dragons and other monsters—is a prevalent focal myth to this attitude. Corresponding to this myth are the emphasis on disciplines and practices seeking to develop the ego and the will … over against the dangers that are postulated to exist in the universe requiring these disciplines and, so-called, ego developments.

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A Different Heroic Response in “Surrender” Paths

05.Rue.JonahintheWhaleWSince the “feeling” therapies and the other spiritual and experiential psychotherapeutic modalities with which they are allied are so different in attitude to the traditional “control” attitude, should there not be corresponding differences in myths to exemplify them? Indeed, there are.

In history, the surrender spiritualities have had correspondences in myth in which the dragon is not fought, conquered, and slain, but rather is www-St-Takla-org__Jonah-and-the-Whale-1either tamed and becomes one’s ally or pet. Saint Margaret is the prime example in the West, but this is a depiction prevalent in the East.

Or else one is swallowed by the “dragon” or monster and, after a while, is reborn. Jonah is the prime example in the West for this latter depiction. But again this reaction to the fearful dissociated aspects of the personality, or the Shadow, is not a common one in the Western patriarchy. However, it is rather prevalent in traditional cultures … especially in shamanism … and in the East.

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Continue with The “Patriarchal Mistake” Involves Struggling to Keep Out “Negative” Thoughts: For “There Is No Coming to Consciousness Without Pain.” – Carl Jung

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Control

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Surrender

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Continue with The “Patriarchal Mistake” Involves Struggling to Keep Out “Negative” Thoughts: For “There Is No Coming to Consciousness Without Pain.” – Carl Jung

Return to Ego Weak Mystics and Shamans: A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Modern “Sanitized” Spirituality … the “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Be Medicated Today

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

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A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Modern “Sanitized” Spirituality: Ego Weak Mystics and Shamans … the “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Be Medicated Today

we-are-then-simple-awarenessHigh Self Esteem (Positive Thinking) Distorts Reality for Temporary Pleasantness … High Self Regard Involves Openness to the Unpleasant: Stormy Path to Self, Part Three

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Ego-Weak Mystics and Shamans

In a more recent work, John White (1990) continues Ken Wilber’s mistake in not realizing that the sharp distinction between the sacred and the profane that we observe today is a product of recent history.

The “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Not Fare Well in Front of a Psychiatrist

While White refers to early mystics in making his case for what a unitive state of consciousness entails, he does not seem to notice that these people, in terms of his proposition of developing a fully functioning ego as a necessary prerequisite to transpersonal realms, would not only fail in this regard but that by his criteria the kind of odd and extremely eccentric behavior of holy people in the past would be considered insane.

My point is that in neither White’s nor Wilber’s limited Western viewpoint is there any allowance for that kind of “regressive” behavior on the spiritual path. I quote Feuerstein (1991) as an antidote to this omission:

It is true that when we look at crazy adepts like Drukpa Kunley or Nityananda, we see phenomenal feats of renunciation. But we also see behavior that, certainly in the eyes of a psychiatrist, at times borders on the neurotic, if not psychotic. Some of these holy fools have in fact wondered about their own sanity. The saintly Ramakrishna, teacher of the world-famous Vivekananda, is a case in point. For a period of time he ceremonially worshipped his own genitals, and on other occasions he installed himself on the altar of the temple where he served as head priest.

Such behavior is certainly not “normal.” Nor is sitting on garbage heaps or sexually fondling women and girls, as has been reported of several contemporary Hindu adepts. (p. 21)

The “Fully Functioning Ego”

Thus, I re-iterate, as White (1990) himself points out (p. xxiv, he says “I elaborate on this central point throughout the book”), central to White’s argument that we are evolving into a new species of human at this time in history is that the characteristic Western ego “development”—one could as easily say (and some have said)—”ego-dissociation”—is a necessary prerequisite to higher consciousness. Thus he marshals in, to support his proposal, the concept of the “fully functioning ego” which Wilber has unfortunately popularized.

A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Most “Sanitized” Modern Spiritual Pursuits

What these transpersonal theorists are claiming then, in deference to mainstream psychology which is dominated by ego psychologists, is that a fully functioning ego is necessary to develop before one can go on to transpersonal pursuits. My research and experience, confirmed by that of Stanislav Grof and supported by the theory of Michael Washburn (1988) and others, tells me they are wrong in this espousal and that in fact what they are talking about developing is merely a supremely defended ego. It seems that what they would wish to develop is high self-esteem as a prerequisite for higher consciousness.

But the Idea of Necessary Defenses Is a Relic of Antiquated Freudian Thinking

Yet my research indicates that this is a legacy from Freudian thought which claimed that defenses are necessary. To the contrary, what we have learned from primal therapy and the other experiential, feeling psychotherapies is that defenses are not necessary.

Self Esteem Versus Self Regard

Furthermore, research by Gergen and Marlowe (1968) points out that there’s a difference between high self-esteem and high self-regard.

High Self Esteem (Positive Thinking) Distorts Reality for Temporary Pleasantness … High Self Regard Involves Openness to the Unpleasant

Essentially, high self-esteem involves the use of defenses that deny and avoid aspects of reality, whereas high self-regard is based on an openness to and acceptance of those same kinds of unpleasant aspects of reality. Self-esteem and the fully functioning ego is based on distortion of reality and falseness relative to the Self; high self-regard is rooted in painful and not necessarily so functional acceptance of reality in its dark and light, pleasant and unpleasant facets.

Attunement with the Higher Self Involves a Diminution of the Ego, a Reduction of Ego Defenses

Similarly, there is a difference between what is often called ego strength and what is meant by the fully functioning ego. For ego strength, as Erikson (1968, 1985) uses it for example, is really a consequence of being in tune with the higher self, which is in fact not ego strength at all. On the contrary, this kind of attunement with the higher self (or Self) represents a diminution of the ego, a reduction of ego defenses.

Madness and Genius … Madness and Mysticism

Going back historically, what is noticeable about mystical adepts (not always their followers, interestingly—see Hesse [1930/1968], for example) is their lack of ego, often from a very early age, and how they are closer to their mystical promptings because of this. This pattern also relates to creative people and the process of creativity. For creative people from all times quite often exhibit this poorly functioning ego that has often been associated with mystics. Because of this, people are familiar with the connection between madness and genius as well as the one between madness and mysticism. (See Erikson, 1962.)

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“Fully Functioning Ego” Actually Precludes, Rather Than Precipitates, the Mystical

The point is that in neither of these cases is there the development of this recent prescription: “the fully functioning ego.” In fact, a fully functioning ego is the last thing a person with mystical promptings would want to develop.

An Anal-Compulsive Control of Inner Life

One begins to suspect that what these transpersonal theorists and their legions of followers are really saying is that they really do not want to surrender to mystical promptings or to surrender to the Divine.

Affirmations, Ritual, and the Like Are Capitulation to the Controlling Ego and a Flight from True Spiritual-Mystical Surrender

What this kind of thinking says about these erstwhile spiritual adepts is that they want to continue to do their controlling; they want to continue to do their affirmations; they want to control their inner life. Certainly there are fear reasons why one would want to avoid the path of spiritual surrender and would wish to carry one’s controlling and defensive ego over with one into the transpersonal realms. And the devolutional model helps us to see the very deep roots of that fear and makes this entire transpersonal gambit quite understandable.

Worst of All, These Beliefs Have Roots in Racism and Western Supremacism

Still, the dictates of truth, and of real spirituality, require that these fearful prescriptions and their illusion-weaving proselytizers be spotlighted for what they are. For it is bad enough when one is self-deluded. It is purely unacceptable when one seeks to foist one’s ego defensiveness onto the spiritual pursuits of others. It is worse still when institutions, such as the psychiatric and psychological, are reinforced in their antiquated and soul-destroying methods by such efforts and beliefs. And it is worst of all when these beliefs support the kind of unconscious racism and denigration of other-than-Western-cultures that has caused so much suffering historically.

Continue with A Mystical Machismo Has Invaded Spiritual Thinking: Whereas Surrender Spiritualities, Believing in Ultimate Goodness, See Controlling as the Problem

Return to “Crazy” and Transcendent Are Not Opposite as Ego Psychologists Conveniently Proclaim: Have Western Puritanical Beliefs Infected Transpersonal Psychology?

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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Apocalypse No: Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious … the book

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Apocalypse No:
Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious

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Complete Book Chapters with Links

This book is being offered in its entirety online, free of charge and with complete graphics and audio-visual media, at this time. This policy may need to change when it is published separately and offered for sale in the very near future.

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These are the strangest of days. We live in a time in which ending our species in our lifetime, even eliminating all life on this planet, are very real possibilities. The awareness of this acceleration toward an “end of days” — while so horrifying that we are in denial of it and hardly speak it — hangs over us and affects us in ways singular and fantastic.

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This book — Apocalypse No, Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious — awakens us to the unique character of our times. There are powerful factors and unconscious influences erupting into our world now which are changing the Earth and us in radical ways … for good and ill. This unprecedented era in history is rife with the perinatal, that is, with repressed memories locked into us arising from our experiences of birth. We see that our impending apocalypse has to do with birth feelings, birth trauma — an emerging perinatal unconscious.

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Herein is revealed the underbelly of our modern world and life and the impetus behind our self-destruction. We see primal forces arising and exposed. We begin to understand how and why this is happening now. Knowing this gives us the power to do something about our dire situation. Finally, we can direct our attention to the roots of our drive to apocalypse and reverse it.

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More than that, this awakening provides a way of transformation for ourselves. For we see that in the heart of this darkness we are bringing down upon us lies the most incredible opportunity for taking a leap beyond what we think of as human nature. This time calls for a new hero’s cycle — one that leaves behind the thuggishness of the old one. We are lifted beyond ourselves in a higher calling and a transcendent yet deeply rooted spirituality.

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We realize that the necessary answer to the dilemma of apocalypse or Earth rebirth lies, not only in the resurrection of a new Earth, but in the dawning of a new self as well.

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We will either heroically, somehow, save our species and our planet, which will require a change of our human nature unlike anything that has been asked of our species ever before, or we will be witnesses to the elimination of life on this planet in some way that we cannot imagine but can only be horrific in the extreme. This book is about facing, not denying, the uniquely dire character of our times and finding out what it says about us and requires of us.

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There is much here to see, and so much of it the mainstream would never touch for fear of creating a panic. Still, to survive our species must face our problems, not look away. And there is a nobility in doing that, which is unlike any kind of nobility or heroism that has been asked of our species before.

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However, this time brings with it an advantage and opportunity also unprecedented: Never before has it been more clear what is right and what is wrong, what is worthwhile and what is not, what is life … what, death, and what is noble and what evil. At no other time has a higher calling or a path of true nobility of soul been more visible. To align oneself with this cause lifts one out of oneself and one’s petty concerns into a heady and invigorating life purpose. We might die in our efforts. There is every likelihood that we will be unable to reverse our dire trajectory. Still, should that occur, those who face and take up this challenge will not suffer the agony of regretting that one could have done something but did not.

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On the other hand, though we will need many noble souls to reverse our current downslide into oblivion, it is possible that simply a significant fraction of the world’s population—like the “leaven in the dough”—can make all the difference in the world, literally, by tipping our course one way as opposed to another, especially if these people—because of their healing and their awareness of the crisis—are motivated to place themselves in positions of influence and education, or to put their efforts toward healing, on individual and collective levels, in larger numbers than the average populace would. In other words, not just the leaven in the dough but as persons, standing in the right place and with the lever big enough, who can move the world. I hope, for the sake of us all, that you are one of those heroes.

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Chapter One: Strange Days

Chapter Two: “We Ain’t Born Typical””

Chapter Three: The Perinatal Media

Chapter Four: Twenty-First Century Life – Table of DisContents

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Chapter Five: Birth Wars, World Woes

Chapter Six: Healing Crisis – Getting “Sick” To Be Well

Chapter Seven: Through Gaia’s Eyes – Nature Balances HerSelf

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Chapter Eight: Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society

Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell

Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects Versus Surrender Solutions

Chapter Thirteen: Peaceful Warriors and Silly Heroes

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Chapter Fourteen: To Move the World – A Race Against Time

Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary

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Continue with Book Five: Wounded Deer and Centaurs

Return to Apocalypse Emergency – Book 3

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More Nestling Up With the Implicate Order, Or Before and After the Western Fall (Split): Tribes and Wonder Versus Civilization and Suffering

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The Priests in the Church Were Keeping Out All the Screaming People, Forcibly Repressing, Refusing to Acknowledge It: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Seven

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(continued from The Bliss of Connection with Others … But There Is a Pain in Unexpressed Love: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Six — Womb with a Review [Footnote 1])

More Nestling Up With the Implicate, Or

Before and After the Western Fall (Split) (June 19, 1992)

This is a holotropic session of this day:

It started out when the music was very rhythmic, and the hands were doing a lot of fertilized-egg kinds of movements and embryonic kind of stuff. And sometimes I was having images of Prague and of inside the city—especially Old Town Square and the towers. [Prague is where the holotropic workshop was being held.]

And I kept having pictures of people who had lived here, and all the suffering that had gone on here, and the striving. I kept picturing the people who had lived and written books and everything, plays and philosophies, inside their little rooms—all the different kinds of lives that people had here [Prague].

I kept picturing Swami [Sathya Sai Baba] and kept saying: “Oh Swami,” as if I were feeling and acknowledging what had gone on here: the feelings and desires, the struggles and the yearnings, and all those human things and feelings that had passed through this place. And I felt sad for all these people, the hardship they had gone through and all the feelings. And then I got up and went to the bathroom.

And when I came back it was just very peaceful. The drumming and everything was just something that was there. And I enjoyed parts of it: There were African parts, and they would have drumming and I would understand what it would be like to be an African person in a tribe.

At one point, however, the African tribe music sounded different or not good. And I had the feeling that this was singing from another tribe, not my own, an enemy tribe or something; I didn’t like it.

And then as it went off into different phases of music I would often feel very good—very interesting and beautiful in a certain way. And then it went into Native American chanting; and I thought that was incredible, that I must have been an indigenous American at one time … just wonderfully beautiful.

And it was either just before or just after that there was this Gregorian-type Church music. And one of the things that I kept having—scenes from Prague going through my head the entire time—and one of the scenes was the inside of a church.

And when the Gregorian music came on, I pictured the inside of that church again. And one of the interesting things was I realized at a certain point that people in the room around me were screaming [they actually were, in reality]—and there was a lot of that going on—and I had this feeling as if—when the Gregorian music was on—that the people in the church, the priests that is, that they had this reality going on in which they were keeping out all the screaming people, they were keeping them all outside the church, trying to repress that, trying to deny the reality of that. And so I felt like I was tuning into the reality of this place: That they [the priests and ecclesiasts] would forcibly try to repress this other element and keep it out of their consciousness, would refuse to acknowledge, let alone deal with it.

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An Afterthought

As many as 30 million women were murdered horribly over a period of 300 years during the middle ages for having any trace of free-mindedness. This was done under the direction of the Catholic Church. They were often burned at the stake.

It is no coincidence that what followed for next four hundred years of Western “civilization” was a pall of Stepford wifery unparalleled among the cultures of humans, which we are only with great difficulty over the last hundred years awakening from.

Yet these forces of repression and murder continue with us today wishing to take us back to such middle age benighted views. They exist in the anti-abortion movement, even among mainstream Republicans, again with women as the direct target. And they exist in the tea party and conspiracy circles, even among some progressives, where feminism and progressive-liberal ideas are called “illuminati” — showing again that free-thinking women and enlightened views will not be tolerated … and will be scapegoated for all the horrors of the 1% and the powers that be, just as they were in the times of Catholic tyranny.

By the way, I’ve been misunderstood if anyone thinks this is just an attack on the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was the primary evil then. I mentioned Western civilization. There are many more evil perpetrators today. It is not about blaming any institution. This is a product of our “civilization” and its anti-body, anti-sexual, anti-Nature insanity and the inherent evil of hierarchical societies in general.

Continue with Biology as Metaphor and Mythology, Part One: “The Map Is Not the Territory” and Biological Phases As Levels of Consciousness

Return to The Bliss of Connection with Others … But There Is a Pain in Unexpressed Love: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Six — Womb with a Review

Footnote

1. Cellular/ Transpersonal Experiences

Having established the legitimacy of transpersonal aspects of prenatal, and especially cellular, re-experience, it remains to be seen what light this new perspective throws upon traditional formulations. I suggest to you that this perspective is a catalyst to a radical reformulation of traditional concepts of consciousness and development. My understanding is that it supports a view compatible with Eastern, Platonic, and “primitive” philosophical renderings—which can be characterized as Emanationist —and completely undermines the dominant Western evolutionary paradigm. I delineate such a perspective, which I call the Falls from Grace Theory, beginning in the next chapter.

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However, let us first take a look at a sampling of the kinds of experiences and perspectives that are possible at this cellular and prenatal level of re-experience before attempting to see deeper into the structure of consciousness and development, presented immediately afterwards, which contains and makes sense of them. The current chapter—A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness—contains transcripts of cellular/transpersonal experiences I had through the modality of holotropic breathwork. In order to retain the flavor and potency of the raw experience itself, these transcripts are only slightly edited and are from the descriptions of my experiences I recorded immediately after having them.

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Continue with Biology as Metaphor and Mythology, Part One: “The Map Is Not the Territory” and Biological Phases As Levels of Consciousness

Return to The Bliss of Connection with Others … But There Is a Pain in Unexpressed Love: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Six — Womb with a Review

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
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Womb with a Review: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Six — The Bliss of Connection with Others … But There Is a Pain in Unexpressed Love

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A Review of Womb Life: I Was Experiencing Creation … and the Sensuous Wonderful Feeling of Being Alive and Growing….

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(continued from The Sound of Creation and Cellular Template of Eternal Bliss: I Was This Pulsating One-Celled Animal … Each Reaching Out Was Joy of Being Alive [Footnote 1])

And then I seemed to tire of that, or the music changed. And after a while I went into a period where I felt like I didn’t want to be on my back, and I went to one corner of the mat. And I told myself it was because it was wet where I’d been, but I went to one corner and I lay on my side.

And all of a sudden that made sense. My hands were moving like little fetal hands; and I was still feeling blissful. In fact I was thinking: “I don’t want to become a big baby and have BPM II.” I just wanted to stay a blastocyst. But I noticed that even as a fetus I was still grocking and digging and having a great time; and the music was still wonderful and I was still floating around. I still had movement in my hands and in my body to go with the music, to just groove with the rhythms of existence. And I felt like I was getting bigger. It seemed like I was going through a stage where I was really fetal, on my side. But then I felt the need to get up on my knees. And there was this really strong compulsion to get, like, on my head, to have my head down, and to have all the weight in my neck.

And when I did that finally—and it took me a while to get into that position, because it felt like the confines of gravity were working against me—I just wanted to tumble! But I couldn’t do that because I wasn’t in a gravityless situation. But eventually when I did get into that position it felt very right. And that was pretty good, too, but it was kind of cramped. And so I eventually stopped—it was too painful to maintain very long.

So I turned over on my side and just listened to the music. And then I spent a lot of time just listening to the music and realizing how great it was to exist and how beautiful it all is and how beautiful people are. And I began to think that that’s why we come here, to have this wonderful experience of reaching out to people.

And I began to realize that the blastocyst knows somehow that it’s reaching out to everyone else in the universe, even when it’s just a blastocyst. It’s reaching out because it knows the bliss of connecting with others. And the mandala that I envisioned would just be these cells multiplying outward with these snakelike arms reaching out in several directions to spin oneself around, or to reach out for more, or to just reflect the sensuous wonderful feeling of being alive and growing.

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This is great. I’m real glad I’m doing this, and I hope I can continue to capture these feelings and to come from this space.

I want to say one other thing, and that’s that I realized at one point that I used to do things where—when I’d have a holotropic or a primal session—that I would go and do a review of all my past issues of pain. It was almost like doing a summary first, and then at the end I might get into something new. But I would often do the summary: Like I would sometimes be repeating the trauma of not having my mother after birth— and my lips would be sucking and there’d be nobody there; and going through the pain of getting out of the womb—being stuck in the womb; and just do that whole repeat. And then sometimes after doing all of that I’d go into sperm feelings.

But this time it was as if my body was doing a review, a summary of all that I’d learned: life from sperm to egg, fertilized egg, blastocyst, all the way to fetus, and then all the way to the second stage, all the way to BPM II—like the whole sequence of BPM I was being reviewed. And I thought this is a much better time to be doing a review of than of what happens later on, after the pain starts [from BPM II onwards, as mentioned in the previous paragraph].

So this is what I was experiencing, this wonderful being a creative process. I was experiencing creation. They say Om is the sound of creation, the creative sound; everything comes from that—the primordial sound, primordial symbol. So I kept wondering if my “ohing” sounds would turn into Om [it never exactly did].

One other thing: I was feeling one time how what I was expressing was the feeling of love, that I was feeling love and expressing that. And that there is a pain in unexpressed love; the pain [of life] is that we express all our pain [and suffer through all that], and we don’t get to feel the great love, which is kept in check.

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And the pain is that the love is not able to be fully felt or released unless we do this kind of work, of course.

Continue with Tribes and Wonder Versus Civilization and Suffering: More Nestling Up With the Implicate Order, Or Before and After the Western Fall (Split)

Return to The Sound of Creation and Cellular Template of Eternal Bliss: I Was This Pulsating One-Celled Animal … Each Reaching Out Was Joy of Being Alive

Footnote

1. Cellular/ Transpersonal Experiences

Having established the legitimacy of transpersonal aspects of prenatal, and especially cellular, re-experience, it remains to be seen what light this new perspective throws upon traditional formulations. I suggest to you that this perspective is a catalyst to a radical reformulation of traditional concepts of consciousness and development. My understanding is that it supports a view compatible with Eastern, Platonic, and “primitive” philosophical renderings—which can be characterized as Emanationist —and completely undermines the dominant Western evolutionary paradigm. I delineate such a perspective, which I call the Falls from Grace Theory, beginning in the next chapter.

246489_213601765436874_1705444143_n

However, let us first take a look at a sampling of the kinds of experiences and perspectives that are possible at this cellular and prenatal level of re-experience before attempting to see deeper into the structure of consciousness and development, presented immediately afterwards, which contains and makes sense of them. The current chapter—A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness—contains transcripts of cellular/transpersonal experiences I had through the modality of holotropic breathwork. In order to retain the flavor and potency of the raw experience itself, these transcripts are only slightly edited and are from the descriptions of my experiences I recorded immediately after having them.

269823_220951214701929_2125157710_n

Continue with Tribes and Wonder Versus Civilization and Suffering: More Nestling Up With the Implicate Order, Or Before and After the Western Fall (Split)

Return to The Sound of Creation and Cellular Template of Eternal Bliss: I Was This Pulsating One-Celled Animal … Each Reaching Out Was Joy of Being Alive

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/sillymickel

friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillymickel

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Why We Scapegoat … Why We Insist on Saviors and The Community’s Inner Dragon: Of Shared Experience, Sacrifices, Morphic Resonances, and COEX Systems

Wounded Healers, Heroes, and the Group Mind: The Universe Bears Up and Rewards with Renewed Life Those who Voluntarily Sacrifice Themselves for All

Apocalypse–No! Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: : Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary

I Am You, and You Are Me, and We Are We, and We Are All Together.

DESCRIPTION: The essence of Christianity is the idea that a person — Jesus Christ, of course, in Christianity – can suffer and die for the “sins” of others, so that those persons won’t have to bear the burden of their sins. This article addresses that theme in a larger, multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious context: Are there people who take on the “sins” or “Pain” of others, who take on the karma— in an Eastern sense or the mistakes and evil of others who are not able to handle the consequences of their actions? clip_image002 Is the Divinity inherent in the Cosmos compassionately concerned enough to manifest or call forth individuals to take on the same kind of task that Christ, in a most extreme brutal form, demonstrated? This afterword is not about Christ but about that theme of extraordinary individuals with a divinely-inspired mission of suffering for the sake of others who cannot “help” themselves in raising themselves above the consequences of their ill deeds. For are not people of all times and cultures children of the same Divinity, some would say “sparks” of that same Divinity, which others, including myself, have theorized is commensurate, that is, equal, to all of Nature, including humanity each and every one of us? bgitmAssuming this, in this part I discuss this phenomenon of people taking on, willingly and unwillingly, the pain and sins of their society from the small tribe to that of all of humanity. And I put forth the proposition that there is a collective “pool of pain.” In that ultimately the distinctions between people are illusory, that we are all One, all interconnected, then both the evil, as well as the good, of each of us is both the result of the collective actions of us all as well as being a part of the consciousness that we all share more correctly the One Consciousness that each of us is.

Why We Scapegoat … Why We Insist on Saviors: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Of Sacrifices—Human, Animal, and Cucumber

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The Group Mind and The Community’s Inner Dragon: Heroes, Shamans, and Gurus … Ah, But Scapegoats As Well

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The Community’s Inner Dragon

we.are.more.open.to.the.unconscious.nowShe’d experienced being raped was what she’d told us. This veteran consciousness explorer and trained facilitator had also done a lot of regression work on herself. Yet she related how, in one of her breathwork sessions, she’d definitely had those feelings of rape . . . despite the fact that she’d not been sexually abused in this life. And this last part she knew. It was not denial or repression.

The conference attendees were shaken. It did not coincide with any common psychological, or even transpersonal, models concerning healing or experience they’d ever heard of. But in her response, the panelist offered the idea that there is a kind of storehouse of experience of collective pain that anyone can tap-in to, if one is sufficiently open . . . and ready.

depression

405920_270579809720489_470664386_n301374_287239871289656_1394192979_nSince this type of thing has come up, as well, in my own inner journeying, I would like to suggest that what we’re dealing with is a possibility, based on the evidence, of a sort of collective shadow unconscious, a collective pool of pain, if you will, which has been built up currently and in the past of distress that needs to be released.

I remember a Santa Barbara-based spiritual teacher expressed a similar idea. As she put it, after you clear out your own stuff, then you do it for the rest of the species, then for all living beings in this world, then for living things in other worlds, then for all entities, and then so on, and on, and . . .

Shamans, Sages, Tribal Kings, and Prophets

457156320685_287043257975984_1019571197_nSimilarly, from history, the spiritual literature, and anthropology we hear of certain people—shamans, tribal kings, prophets, saviors, sages, gurus—who, after dealing with their own inner dragons, can tap-in to this collective pool and thereby help other people. In resolving the negative material, releasing it and integrating it, they can have a positive effect on their community, and even the Universe as a whole.

metaphysics

6a00e551f08003883401538e720e70970bI am reminded of how certain African tribal “kings” (chieftains would be a better word), tribal leaders, and “clan kings” would be sacrificed for their tribes to the point of and including actual physical death. Similarly, shamans would take on psychic tasks that they would consider to be too dangerous or difficult for members of their tribe to do. In this way of looking at things, it is as if there is a group mind, and that the shaman’s duty is to resolve the collective issues, to work through the unfelt feelings, so that the rest of the tribe can function better.

It is as if everyone in a community does not have to, or is not able to, “work” all of their own stuff, but that a certain person can volunteer to face some of those inner demons for the entire group, or at least for those having difficulty.

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Ah, But Scapegoats As Well

john.lennon.sacraficial.lambGettingReal-WaitsNirvSkin-1In this respect I believe it is possible to make a fascinating, albeit disturbing, connection between this idea and scapegoats. In the case of scapegoating, particular individuals are selected to be this kind of lightning rod for the group’s pain and psychic distress.

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So there seems to be both this tendency for people to adopt this role for themselves and for societies to put people in these roles whether they want it or not. This indicates some kind of social, human need, or at least a fundamental human expediency, that is to say, ego defense.

image5295595xIt would seem, in any case, that there is a right way and wrong way to do this. And we can deduce that these attempts can have either beneficial or negative transpersonal and psychological effects depending on which way it’s done. Obviously there’s a huge difference between a guru or a savior taking the “sins” of their group upon themselves to release their people in that manner, versus a scapegoat being chosen to dump all the group’s unwanted feelings and shadow material on.

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Sacrifices — Animal and Cucumber

Other fascinating perspectives on this arise from study of one of its variations: This is the widespread phenomenon of sacrifice, and in particular, animal sacrifice. The Nuer of Africa, for example, as well as the neighboring Dinka, created rituals for many of life’s events around the killing of sacrificial oxen. If no oxen were available, a cucumber was often used; in other cultures, lambs or other animals may be used. At any rate, when the ox was slain, the carcass was then split, with one half being consumed and the other half thrown away from them into the bush . . . reputedly taking with it the sins, indiscretions, and wayward elements of all those assembled. Higher forces were then called forth and entreated to remove the carcass/transgressions; indeed, at times they were directly invoked, then subsequently admonished to “go away” and “be gone!”

thinkingattherootsofthings2rings_doom1szd.half - Copy (3)Since the group or individual is said to be identified with the animal, it is interesting to consider the possible message here that one takes into oneself and incorporates (integrates) only half of that which is of oneself; but one seeks the Universe’s help in disposing of the other half, relegating it to “the bush.” It is fascinating to think of the common use of prayer in this respect, that is, prayer where one invokes the Divine to take away or to “handle” those things in life, or the parts of those things, that one is incapable of handling oneself. Apparently it is the rare individual who completely integrates her or his Shadow.

Experience Is Primary

60s.hippies.peace.dovenormal_ButterflyOfHealingFINAL_LG_Jpg2It is important to keep in mind that all of this idea of a group psyche is built upon a perspective, a paradigm, in which subjectivity is primary: Experience or Mind being the only reality. Such speculation as engaged in here is not even conceivable within the dominant materialistic paradigm. Nevertheless, these possibilities have long . . . far longer than this upstart of “objective materialism” has been around . . . have long been the common currency of our species, and have been so in the vast majority of human cultures that ever existed.

Wounded Healers, Heroes, and the Group Mind: The Universe Bears Up and Rewards with Renewed Life Those who Voluntarily Sacrifice Themselves for All

Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Shared Experience, the Earth Hologram, Volcano-Jumping, and UFOs … Is That Gaia Calling?

Shared Experience: Morphic Resonances and COEX Systems

But, getting back to the subject, people having rape fantasies, both men and women, where apparently there has been no sexual abuse, is becoming ever more common. Is it that in some way when we are violated as children, psychologically and emotionally, that it’s part of a gestalt or resonance—Stanislav Grof[1] would say a COEX system; Rupert Sheldrake[2] would say a morphogenetic field or morphic resonance—that includes actual physical violations from a collective pool of pain?

Also we should consider all the current stories of people being sexually abused; there seems to be an epidemic of people claiming to have been sexually molested as infants by their parents. No doubt much of this is true. The evidence is there to confirm it. But is it also possible that people in processing their stuff, or coming close to their repressed feelings, are at times tapping into transpersonal resonances that are only similar in quality to the corresponding real-life trauma? This is a possibility we should consider; for I know it to be the only plausible one in my own case, in the case of the panelist mentioned at the outset , and in the cases of several others whom I know personally or whose cases have appeared in print.[3]

UFOs: Is That Gaia Calling?

Another item related to this pattern is the current UFO abduction experiences—the incidence of which is also increasing.[4] One interesting explanation for such experiences of being abducted and then examined, probed, and sampled—which corresponds to this collective pool of pain theory—is derived from the idea that in fact the Earth herself (Gaia) has consciousness and is therefore part of a collective consciousness to which we also belong. This idea of an earth hologram is propounded by Goddess theorists and by others as well. Joseph Chilton Pearce claims we have primary access to such an Earth hologram as children and lose it later through our normative indoctrination into society.

He writes:

The brain as a hologram is representative of the Earth. So long as this is undifferentiated, the personality, or consciousness within that brain, receiving its perceptions from that brain, is literally an undifferentiated part of the hologram effect. It is part and parcel of the world system, which, because it radiates out from the child, places him at the center of thought, with the world a body extending from him. The clarification of the hologram (to use that model) is a period of breathless wonder and excitement for the child because he is discovering his larger self. . . . [5]

The primary process is the function through which we are conscious of the Earth as a thinking globe, the flow of life, the general field of awareness, and almost surely, even larger ecologies of thought. The primary process is also past, current, and potential possibility and experience. Other cultures have maintained a much greater openness to the primary process than Western culture has. . . . [6]

Nevertheless, the potential for access to this “primary process” always exists, since it is repressed but continues to exist in the unconscious.

With these things in mind, is it possible that UFO abductees may be inadvertently stumbling into primary Earth process and picking up on the feelings of Earth herself as she is being poked, violated, measured, and having things inserted into her in this modern, high-tech, resource-exploiting era.

If so, one has to wonder whether some of the feelings of the Earth herself might not be being expressed or be trying to be integrated by her through these people. Is it possible that these people have become unwitting channels for Mother Earth’s pain—to help to express and integrate it—as she is systematically being defoliated, polluted, violated, and destroyed?

This may sound farfetched, but then, considering our actions in the face of global disaster . . . well, so are the times! Furthermore, I helped facilitate at least one inner journeyer whose experience was exactly this. Her interpretation of the powerful experience my wife and I both witnessed was that she was feeling and releasing pain and distress of all women throughout history and then Mother Earth herself. What gave extra credibility to her experience for me was that I observed what looked like her experiencing the pain of women in birth. Yet, like the rape reliving that was not of this life, this woman had never given birth herself … not in this life, anyway.

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Volcano-Jumping for Bliss and Profit

Anyway, I offer these speculations in the hope of stimulating renewed appreciation of the roles as journeyers and shamans — as they have reemerged in their modern form in the deep experiential growth modalities such as Holotropic Breathwork and Primal Therapy, both of which I have substantial experience with. It may just be that what we do on our “inner” forays into consciousness has significance in the “outer” world — in these incredibly delicate and precipitous times—far beyond what we normally think. Indeed we may be volunteering for an ancient role, and in these days, perhaps, a very much needed one. Like Joe in the Tom Hanks movie, “Joe Versus the Volcano,” we may find ourselves “jumping into the volcano to save the community.” But also like Joe, and my experience attests to this, I believe we will find that the Universe provides, not death, but rather bears up and rewards with renewed life those who voluntarily sacrifice themselves this way.

Continue with Wounded Deer and Centaurs – Book 5

Return to Apocalypse – No! Chapter Fourteen: To Move the World – A Race Against Time

Related Book: Go to Primal Renaissance: The Emerging Millennial Return by Michael D. Adzema.

Related Article: Go to “Nature As Alive: Morphic Resonance and Collective Memory by Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.d.

Related Article: Go to “Sathya Sai Baba, Avatar“ by Mary Lynn Adzema.

Related Article: Go to “The UFO Abduction Phenomenon’s Challenge to Consensus Reality” by John E. Mack, M.D.

Continue with Wounded Deer and Centaurs – Book 5

Return to Apocalypse – No! Chapter Fourteen: To Move the World – A Race Against Time

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
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Play Cards with Your Dragons: The New Hero’s Cycle Involves Surrender Not Struggle, Sacrifice Not Slaying, Compassion Not “Toughness,” and Silliness Not Stoicism

541997_280034735430484_673206244_n 0038-82a59_screen_shot_2011-09-17_at_11-24-16_am_0-img_assist_customcrppd Loving Warriors and Silly Heroes: The Necessary Hero Dances Above Dissonance, Lightens Up in the Face of Stress, and Sees Divinity Not Demons Behind It All

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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Thirteen: Peaceful Warriors and Silly Heroes

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You Just Can’t Slay a Volcano: The Necessary Hero Uses Surrender, not Struggle … For Why Would You Not Be Borne Up by a Universe That Is You

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We Need Compassionate Warriors, Not Fighters: It’s Not Enough Just to Slay Dragons, We Need to Jump Into Volcanoes

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Volcano-Jumping: A Different Heroic Response

clip_image003This different kind of heroic response—which characterizes the perinatal arena and is sorely needed at this time in history—is exemplified in another contemporary movie of cult status. We will deal with it in some detail to bring out the elements of the kind of hero that is now required to stop the cycles of destruction that have currently driven us to the abyss…to the very edge of a “volcano.”

In “Joe Versus the Volcano,” the main character, played by Tom Hanks, is given a heroic task. But unlike a typical hero’s cycle task which stereotypically involves the slaying of a fire-spewing dragon, Joe is asked to give up his life by jumping into a fire-erupting volcano.

The connection between volcano and dragon is that at the second-line or psychodynamic level the fire-spewing aspects of the perinatal, which might be compared to a volcano, can be seen as “embodied” or reduced in the form of a dragon. In the same way, the volcanic energy of perinatal feelings is initially embodied in easier-to-face and “dragonized” psychodynamic, second-line, or childhood traumas and feelings.

You Just Can’t Slay a Volcano

clip_image004But what may seem to work at the second-line or psychodynamic level—the conquering or slaying of negative feelings…and notice that I said “seem”—has no place at all at the perinatal. For here the pain energy is overwhelming and pervasive. Thus the difference is analogous to that between facing the energy of a dragon and facing that of a volcano.

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The Heroes We Need – The New Hero’s Cycle

First Anima, Then Community

clip_image007Keep in mind that this movie shows Joe, earlier on, going through all the major stages of the hero’s cycle—the retreat from mundane reality, the sailing off into a new and exotic realm of existence and adventure.

It even depicts a typical “dragon slaying”—the hero’s conquering of inner fears and risking of one’s life for another that results in the uniting with anima energy–the saving of the damsel. So earlier on there is a dealing with psychodynamic energy, just as in “Nothing but Trouble” Chevy Chase deals with psychodynamic material and enacts a dragon slaying by risking his life to rescue Demi Moore from a giant chopping machine. But, also similarly, this results in the opening up of another level, requiring a completely different—indeed, opposite—response. Thus, in “Joe Vs. the Volcano,” Joe is asked to give up his life to save an entire community, not merely to risk his life to rescue his anima, his feeling self.

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Risking It All

The ensuing plot has interesting elements as it shows Joe having to decide whether to sacrifice his newly won relationship with his anima ally for the benefit of an entire—but anonymous—community. This demonstrates that at a progressed level of the spiritual process—that having to do with one’s inter-connection with the larger community of living things, not just one’s personal unconscious—one must risk even one’s newly regained creativity, inner child playfulness, and personal feelings, i.e., one’s anima.

But in telling fashion, in order to make the higher “community” sacrifice the anima elements that have been let go of, symbolized by Meg Ryan as the anima damsel, end up going with Joe to his chosen fate and are borne up, renewed, along with him.

Borne Up by a Beneficent Universe

clip_image008On Joe’s part, the climax shows the same quality of a beneficent Universe aiding a true and dharmic heart. Joe (with his anima) face what they think is death. Instead they find themselves “borne up” by the volcano, not consumed; and they are deposited (reborn) in a typical perinatal watery surround—the ocean, symbolizing therefore a spiritual birth. This is a perfect depiction of how surrender, not “heroic” resistance, is done and why it needs to be done currently, as I have been pointing out.

“Away From the Things of Man”

In the end, the main characters are floating in the middle of a wide open sea—signifying the immensity of potentiality that is now open, and facing a gigantic moon on the horizon—symbolizing the beneficent nature of the Universe to which they are opening, that is, it is beautiful and lit with clip_image010possibilities.

They are seen sitting on only their luggage—symbolizing the “stripped down” nature of the self, that is, stripped of ego trappings of status, vainglory, defenses, and so on. Their final comment at the very end of the film is that they do not know where they’ll end up but only that it will be “away from the things of man”—indicating their desire to never go back to the drama of ego and its puerile catacomb pathways of darkened experience.

The Universe Is You

We see then that in this movie, like “Nothing but Trouble,” the heroic response required is surrender, not resistance or control, and that the response from the Universe is cooperative and helpful, and hardly antagonistic as was feared, especially at earlier levels.

This is in keeping with the discovery at the perinatal, which borders it on the transpersonal, that in fact the Universe, not only is not antagonistic, not only is beneficent and helpful, but in fact is no different from oneself, indeed is oneself…and one begins to wonder why one would ever expect not to be borne up by a Universe that is now seen as inextricably united with one’s Self.

Note

While the interpretation of Joe Versus the Volcano presented in the video below – Joe vs. the Volcano: Losing my Soul, Part One – is annoyingly suffused with theological terminology – hell, devil – and suffers from the paranoia that happens lacking a perinatal or even a Jungian understanding, it does succeed on a more superficial level of basic insight. It does get the highly metaphorical and philosophical import of the film and picks up on major themes of the movie. It strikes me as having the problem of just understanding religion while knowing nothing about psychology. And it suffers, as I’ve put it elsewhere, from the problem of projecting one’s perinatal underbelly onto the Universe or of funneling revelation through the filter of personal pain.

Silly Heroes and Evolution in Attitudes to the Perinatal: The Necessary Hero Jives with the Monsters, Dances Above the Dissonance, and Is Ever Aware of Divinity Everywhere

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What the World Needs Now … Is Loving Warriors and Silly Heroes: Jiving with Your Monsters, Dancing Above the Dissonance, and The Universality of Divinity Remembered

Responses to the Perinatal

Returning now to “Nothing But Trouble,” an aspect of it that has significance for dealing with perinatal issues is the way different characters are shown responding to the embodiment of arbitrary justice, the judge. In the wonderfully Kafkaesque courtroom scenes, we see several different types of people—representing different responses to unconscious material—hauled before the judge. The musicians, signifying artists, creative people; the hedonistic criminals; and the main characters, representing average people, each present distinct attitudes, which are responded to differently by the representative of the unconscious, the judge.

Jiving With Your Monsters

clip_image002The musicians are able to create rhythm and flow. Therefore they are able to get through the experience unharmed. Indeed, they are even able to elicit a response from the judge—getting him to join in. In this way we see how creative people can actually use perinatal material and get it to cooperate for desired ends. We might consider how this relates to the writing of “Nothing but Trouble” itself.

Peter and Dan Aykroyd, in creating this movie, are, like the musicians in the movie, getting the unconscious to “play along,” to create something beyond what either the writer or the unconscious could accomplish separately. Much of what is interesting in art is done this way: The deeper fear-evoking material is allowed to come in and enrich, enliven, freshen with new ideas and perspectives, stimulate, and invigorate the creative production.

Beware the Tar Baby

clip_image004On the other hand, the arrogant banker contends with evil, and, like Brer Rabbit with tar baby, gets stuck.

Notice also that the really contentious ones—the alcoholic drug-using criminal hedonists—are completely lost. Thus the two extremes, as well as the average person are depicted.

Lighten Up!

But the truly striking element that indicates an advanced way of dealing with the perinatal material is shown in the genre of the movie itself. As a comedy, it shows a non-attached and transcendent approach. Chevy Chase and Demi Moore, especially Chevy Chase, show an aloofness and silly playfulness in the face of horror and death that has spiritual implications. Like a Tibetan mystic, Chase refuses to get sucked in to the involved drama confronting him. Like a Christian saint about to be martyred, he jokes, teases, and gets silly with the instruments of horror and evil. Similarly, Demi Moore humors and plays cards with her would-be monsters.

Silly Heroes

2128380832_cbf329bf5fStanding within the Witness higher self, they are able to take the entire situation lightly—acting and reacting in the moment to each unique situation as it presents itself. One moment Chevy Chase is confronting his own demise, the next moment he is in a love scene. He alternates a frightful encounter with relaxing and smoking a cigar.
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clip_image006If we want to know what real and transcended behavior is, we might do well to get our hints in the depictions of unattached playfulness — as presented by modern Western actors like Bill Murray, Demi Moore, Tom Hanks, Chevy Chase, Robin Williams, Bruce Willis, and Jim Carey—rather than in the repressively calmed not-with-it-ness—not-witness—that is sometimes mistaken for spiritual attainment.

 

 

Darkening Down

clip_image008Incidentally, this element of humor shows an entirely different way of dealing with the perinatal than most other movies that deal with this kind of material. The movie, “Brazil,” is a good example of this difference. Not only is “Brazil” cast in an eerie, somber, and tragically hopeless and futile clip_image010air—indicating that one’s response here is to “believe in” the reality of such material—but the only escape in this movie is in a purely conceptual, fantasy way.

The main character cannot face the horror ultimately. He flips out into a reassuring dream sequence brimming with BPM I and BPM IV imagery. Interestingly, reflecting the pattern of progression of our expressions in feeling therapies, the dream includes a BPM III scenario to get him to those later bucolic realms.

clip_image012But in “Brazil” these are only daydreams. This fact shows a refusal to face this perinatal material or to surrender to it. Rather, in fantasy, one overcomes the horror. It is as if one continues using familiar ego techniques—hero’s journey methods, dragon-slaying methods—for dealing with material on a deeper level where they no longer work—where they are in fact counterproductive.

Thus, these techniques can only succeed in dreaming. Terry Gilliam, the creator of “Brazil,” shows us that the hero, in reality, is doomed.

However, one might interpret the main character’s escape into fantasy as a victory over evil forces. That the ending lends itself so readily to such an interpretation is a telling indictment of the state of progress of some of us in dealing with perinatal material. Apparently, there are those so lost that the only success possible seems to be in insanity or death.

Evolution In Attitudes to the Perinatal?

clip_image013However, in “Nothing but Trouble,” the main characters do face and deal with all the material. Sometimes they fight it; sometimes run from it; sometimes play with it; sometimes joke, tease, spar, or get silly with it; sometimes are swallowed by it and carried along…but always they are creatively facing and dealing with it. This different air about and attitude towards the perinatal material can be said to be an advance from the earlier movie, “Brazil,” representing perhaps a progression of our collective consciousness in our attitudes and manner of dealing with the perinatal.

Dancing Above the Dissonance

Such a prospect is, indeed, the auspicious legacy of such a creative project. Though it is doubtful they did so consciously, the Aykroyd brothers and the producers of “Nothing But Trouble” deserve our gratitude for their efforts in lighting forward our collective reality endeavor.

clip_image015Beyond that, we can take hope in the possibility that Western culture may be rising itself, however minimally at first, above the dramas of light and darkness that have plagued it for so long. The Manichean tendency can lead only to ever-spiraling cycles of resistance and assault. Yet we are seeing currently, not only an erosion of defiantly uni-dimensional ego perspectives, not only a movement toward facing and dealing with our inner darkness, but an integration of opposing forces, a dancing above the leela—the play—of light and dark.

The Universality of Divinity Remembered

The perennial understanding of the universality of divinity, both within and without us, in the lowest as well as the highest of places, is the bright at the center of the perinatal bedlam about us. We are guided as well by this gleaming, a rising moon of promise and possibilities.

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Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Fourteen: To Move the World – A Race Against Time

Return to Apocalypse – No! Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects Versus Surrender Solutions

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Will We Survive? Putting Our Society “On the Couch”: Control vs. Surrender, Death vs. Life … The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

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The Journey to Light Leads Through Perinatal Darkness: Correcting the Arrogant Modern Ego … Religions Are About Control … Spirituality, Surrender

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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell

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Does It Look Like We’ll Duck Armageddon? The Information Tsunami, Ego Erosion, and Movies Are Collective Dreaming

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Are the Changes Needed to Avoid Apocalypse Occurring? The “Royal Road” to Our Collective Mind, Putting Our Society “on the Couch”

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Is there any evidence that the changes that need to happen for us to stave off apocalypse and save our world are actually occurring?

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The “Royal Road” to Our Collective Mind

I have mentioned there are studies of the psychology of generations, beginning with the Baby-Boomers or Sixties Generation, child.centered.parentingthat show both an increased access to the perinatal as well as a tendency to act out perinatal influences in less harmful…though more blatant…ways than generations prior. We have seen that this tendency goes hand in hand with actual engagement in activities to counter the negative perinatal act-outs that exist in our environment, moviesfor example, campaigning against war, pollution, racism, violence, and so on.

But in “Chapter Three: The Perinatal Media,” I introduced the common anthropological tenet that the projective systems of a culture—that is, its art and artifacts—can be analyzed to get a glimpse into the worldview of a particular society. For our purposes, I pointed out how our movies are especially potent glimpses into our collective consciousness as well as our collective unconscious. You might say that our cinema is the “royal road” to our collective unconscious.

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Movies As Collective Dreaming

movies.as.collective.dreamingOur flicks perform admirably well as collective dreams in that, unlike the other products of our collective consciousness such as other art and artifacts, they are multimedia stories, much like dreams are. But more than that, they are shared by more of the populace than any other art form. I am not including TV separately as an art form, since I put it in the same category as films, especially when many films are broadcast on TV and much else on TV also has the same character of being multimedia stories.

Finally, the strength of a particular element of the collective consciousness can be easily determined by the popularity of a particular movie that represents it or by that element’s increasing inclusion in a number of films. For example, in “The Perinatal Media,” I discussed the emerging new elements of faces coming out of walls and forceful oral insertion.

Putting Our Society “on the Couch”

All together, these mean that, just as a psychotherapist might analyze a client’s dreams to get an idea of his or her unconscious workings and contents, one can interpret mainstream movies to get an idea of the workings and contents of our society’s “collective mind”—both conscious and unconscious.

we.are.attracted.by.art.thats.inside.usThis is no more complex than saying that when we see things in movies that people rush to see, they are drawn to it because those things are also in their own minds. And the more they flock—the greater the success of a movie—the more pervasive in a society are those themes, elements, and contents. Certain aspects—themes or elements in films—are said to really “resonate” with people and therefore people make the movies that contain them popular and successful.

When this is said, it only means that people are consciously or unconsciously drawn to things that exist within themselves. Conversely, no existence inside? No interest.

lets.analyze.filmSo in this and upcoming chapters I will use films as the dreaming out loud of our collective mind. Put less esoterically, I will be analyzing a few examples of mainstream movies for their content, and I will be assuming the content I find there exists as well in the society that has watched it…has dreamt it.

I will also be assuming that movies that are mainstream, by which I mean can be found readily for sale as DVDs on-line or in retail stores and have become part of the popular conversation are indicative of pervasive elements in our collective consciousness and unconscious. brazil.faces.from.wallsThey can be looked at for the unacknowledged workings of our society as a whole.

I will not deal with the actual numbers of people who have attended particular movies. For I will assume out of the tens of thousands of movies that are produced each year—by small and large producers—those that have made it into the theaters of virtually all the communities of our society, and from there onto the DVD lists and the shelves of stores of all those communities, have by those facts alone demonstrated their resonance with the collective social mind. Otherwise, we would get into the maelstrom of analyzing critic’s opinions of these movies; and with that, to modify a saying, opinions are like asses: everyone has a different one.

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Something’s Happening Here … Again

masks-are_-like_-faces_-from_-walls_thumbOne final point about the heuristic value of the analysis of films for the workings of the collective mind: Elements and themes in movies change over time. I have shown how new elements may be evidence of new elements of our collective unconscious minds coming into consciousness in detailing how the faces-in-the-wall element has developed. (See “All in All It’s Just Another Face in the Wall.”)

But when old, familiar plots have different outcomes, this is important as well. When elements change or evolve over time, this speaks of something going on. This points to changes or evolutions in our collective consciousness. And when elements and themes and plots change or evolve rapidly, we can accurately faces.from.walls.everywheresay that the changes in consciousness are equally swift.

These are some of the tools we will be using in this and upcoming chapters as we take a look at a few examples of mainstream films and what they might be reflecting back to us about our own society’s changes in consciousness. But first let me say something about what may turn out to be the most important of the thematic evolutions or changes in film elements that we have been seeing.

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Information Avalanche and Pre- and Perinatal Themes

In the last half century we have been hearing a great deal about the need to expand consciousness to balance the negative effects of the extremes of technological advance. Fortunately this change of consciousness is to some extent inevitable—or at least greatly aided—by certain side effects of the technological explosion…specifically in the area of telecommunications.

Ego-Eroding Information Deluge

As cultural boundaries are eroded by a multicultural information avalanche, people are forced to lower their inner defenses and ego boundaries. Confronted by such incoming information people will either take some of it in, learn, and thereby grow beyond their former selves or they will need to expend themselves in an all-out effort to shore them up.

A potent example of the first, currently, is the way people worldwide are opening to and learning from each other using social media via the internet; the revolutionary potential of this creation of an open global consciousness is already showing itself in uprising for democracies and economic justice virtually everywhere on Earth. A clear example of the second—where folks are putting everything into blocking out information and beating back the personal growth that would result—is in the backlashes to these liberal forces, which are also occurring throughout the world—as a Tea Party in the United States and as the fortification of authoritarian regimes from China to Syria and Turkey, from Iran to Israel.

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We have seen that the first response—where folks allow the discomfort inherent in personal growth—is typical of a more advanced form of child-caring that is centered on the needs of the child. We know also that the latter reaction goes with child-caring centered on the needs of the care-givers, or parents…and not the child. In this latter instance of parenting, it is understandably called child-rearing or raising a child as opposed to child-caring. We have noticed that the first response goes along with increased self-analysis and introspection and the latter one with acting out, aggression, and culture war.

Information Tsunami Pushes Consciousness Revolution

tidal.wave.of.informationSo, this tsunami of information in all areas, where previously we could smugly hold forth ego-satisfying views, pushes both toward an overthrow of those narrower perspectives and the establishment of broader, more encompassing ones as well as toward an ever increasing irrationality in fending off this information, at any and all costs.

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I discussed at length in a previous section how this informational upswelling has led to a need to process it all in new social formats and the rituals of the talk and reality shows.

“Consciousness Raising” As “Shoveling It”

new.information.some.just.pile.it.onFor the most part, this growth or expansion of consciousness, when it happens, is seen as a linear increase and correspondingly is labeled a “raising” of consciousness. This is true whether we are talking about societal or individual progress.

Ken Wilber’s transpersonal theory is the most popular version of such a ladder-style path. In it the process of growth is analogous to that of climbing a mountain or shoveling compost into a pickup truck—one simply moves upward or piles it on. [Footnote 1]

But there are those who think otherwise.

Yes, Tina Turner, We Do Need Another Hero … a Different Kind: The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

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Religions Are About Control; Spirituality, Surrender. Let Go, Let God to Correct an Arrogant Modern Ego

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The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

Those in the know about the pervasive pre- and perinatal influence on personality and behavior, and especially those of us actively engaged in working through the effects of such early traumas, are fully aware, like Dante, that the path to heaven leads through hell. We have found that the path to the transpersonal light leads through the psychodynamic and perinatal darkness, that the path up and the path down are parts of the same path outward. [Footnote 2]

A Dark and Hideous Shadow World

Our experience has been that the information avalanche and multicultural onslaught have eroded our personal boundaries to an influx, not only of transpersonal bliss-love-compassion, but equally—and very often, initially—to a dark and hideous shadow world, a backwards bizarro world, of pernicious and insidious disorganized feelings comprised of elements ancient, infantile, pathological, biological, scatological, and perinatal. These are some of the forms spiritual emergence can take, especially initially. And they are the ones most likely to be seen as spiritual emergencies.

Pre- and Perinatal Themes in Cinema

Therefore, it is interesting to see these views confirmed by the bubbling up of psychodynamic and perinatal themes in our collective consciousness as evidenced by current films, books, and music. I have mentioned the pre- and perinatal themes and symbolism in films and explained why, along with other elements of postmodern times, they are evidence of something significant occurring in the consciousness of our age—an emerging perinatal unconscious.

But there is another element evolving in current films which has to do with a changing or evolving collective attitude toward these perinatal elements. And along with a changing attitude, there is evidence pointing to an evolving collective response to it.

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Control vs. Surrender, Death vs. Life

“Control Spiritualities” and Patriarchal Cultures

Specifically, a different kind of heroic response, which characterizes the perinatal arena, can be said to characterize the postmodern movies replete with perinatal symbolism. Most striking of all, this different kind of heroic response corresponds to a different kind of spirituality than what is commonly portrayed in this society, or at least has been the norm up until now.

control_room11For basically there are “control” spiritualities and “surrender” spiritualities, with rarely the twain meeting. “Control spiritualities” are adapted to patriarchal cultures and involve the use of the ego to “control” and be in charge of even the realms of the supernatural. This is so because an ultimate evil—a devil or Satan—is postulated, which is given equal weight along with God in determining one’s ultimate fate. This type of spirituality is normally what is called religion.

“Surrender Spiritualities” and God As Being Good

But there is another brand of spirituality that is based on a belief in the ultimate goodness and rightness of All That Is. God’s goodness being essentially the dominant force in the Universe, herein it is considered safe to “surrender” in one’s relation to Reality, to expect that one will be guided correctly, in fact perfectly, in the act of letting go. Thus letting go is not to be feared—as in the control spirituality—but is to be practiced and fostered. In this perspective, which we might call surrender spirituality, control is seen as the problem, not the solution.

“Control” and “Surrender” Psychotherapies

Of course these two approaches to spirituality represent two approaches to psychotherapy as well. The control attitude is the dominant mode of psychoanalytically-based approaches—those in which the “demon” of the id is postulated.

The attitude of “letting go” and “surrender,” on the other hand, is the dominant mode of the experiential psychotherapies, which are themselves rooted in the tradition of humanistic psychology with its belief in the ultimate goodness of the human organism and which thus allows a faith in the ultimate rightness of human processes.

“Hero’s Journey” As “Control” Psychotherapy

the.control.attitudeSince the control attitude, in any of its manifestations, requires the postulation of an ultimate evil against which one must remain vigilant and must fight, the common “hero’s journey” myth—with its typical fighting and slaying of supposedly evil parts of the personality and reality symbolized as dragons and other monsters—is a prevalent focal myth to this attitude. Corresponding to this myth are the emphasis on disciplines and practices seeking to develop the ego and the will…over against the dangers that are postulated to exist in the Universe requiring these disciplines and, so-called, ego developments.

A Different Heroic Response in “Surrender” Paths

Since the “feeling” therapies and the other spiritual and experiential psychotherapeutic modalities with which they are allied are so different in attitude to the traditional “control” attitude, should there not be corresponding differences in myths to exemplify them? Indeed, there are.

In history, the surrender spiritualities have had correspondences in myth in which the dragon is not fought, conquered, and slain, but rather is either tamed and becomes one’s ally or pet—Saint Margaret is the prime example in the West, but this is a depiction prevalent in the East—or else one is swallowed by the “dragon” or monster and, after a while, is reborn.

Jonah is the prime example in the West for this latter depiction. But again this reaction to the fearful dissociated aspects of the personality, or the Shadow, is not a common one in the Western patriarchy, and it is much more common in traditional cultures and in the East.

A Shift to “Surrender” As a Corrective to a Western Overweening Ego?

All of this may be changing in recent times in the West, as once again the humanistic attitude and the new spiritual perspectives, as well as the experiential psychotherapies such as primal therapy, make us increasingly aware of the ultimate beneficence of the body, and of the Universe beyond even that, and of the importance of surrender and letting go as a corrective to the overweening control and defensiveness of the diminutive Western ego.

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Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects vs. Surrender Solutions

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

Footnote

1. See especially Ken Wilber, The Atman Project. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980.

2. See, for example, Michael Adzema, “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 25(3), 83-116. Reprinted online at the Primal Spirit site at “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality.”

Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects vs. Surrender Solutions

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“I Went from Birth to an Intrauterine State to Conception to Floating in the Icy Vastness of Space”: Levels of Pain, Levels of Bliss and the First Shutdown

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Experiences of Overwhelming Energy and Joy Have Been Described: A Primal Perspective, Part Six — Four Levels of Psychedelic Experience and a Primal Spirituality

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LSD Therapy

The strongest support for the alternative explanation, however, comes from research done by Stanislav Grof with LSD. Grof has described the reliving of traumatic experiences from childhood, birth, and in the womb, of people under the influence of LSD, that seem almost identical to experiences described by primalers. [Footnote 5]

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Four Levels of Deep, Psychedelic Experience

Grof delineates four levels of the drug state, each deeper than the preceding one: the aesthetic, the psychodynamic, the perinatal, and the transpersonal. These also represent a progression in that the usual course, over a series of LSD sessions, is to go beyond the initial levels, after having experienced and resolved the particular tasks/problems on those levels (1970, pp. 19-20). Consequently, the transpersonal level is only reached by persons in advanced stages of LSD therapy.

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The psychodynamic and perinatal level experiences, although containing additional symbolic elements not always found in the primal process, show striking similarities to experiences of what Janov has termed “second-line” and “first-line” pain.

Levels of Primal Experience, Levels of Pain

First-line pain is preverbal. It relates to traumatic experiences that occurred en utero, at birth, and for a period of about six months after birth. There is a life and death urgency about these kinds of feelings, relating as they do to a time of complete helplessness and dependence on others and an inability to separate one’s self from painful experience by conceptualizing it. This kind of pain often relates to matters of biological necessity, and the memories of the traumatic experiences are registered in subcortical parts of the brain. First-line appears to be identical to Grof’s perinatal level of the unconscious.

Second-line pain is more verbal and relates to traumatic or hurtful events from childhood, after the child has begun to use concepts to structure his or her experience. The memories associated with this level are more accessible to consciousness, registered, as they are, in the cortex. Second-line appears to be identical to Grof’s psychodynamic or biographical level.

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Levels of Pain, Levels of Bliss

The manner in which these levels are experienced, the progression from later and more accessible to earlier and deeper, the way that the pains are resolved, and the manner in which unresolved pains influence postsession intervals—all seem to be similar and often identical in the primal and the LSD experiences.

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However, one striking difference exists. Beyond the “primal” levels of the LSD experience, Grof has described experiences of a transpersonal nature that do not appear to have any roots in the personal pain of the participant and appear to be experiences sui generis. The experiences on this level are incredibly varied and range from past-incarnation experiences to ancestral memories, certain kinds of archetypal experiences, and, on what appears to be its most profound level, consciousness of “Universal Mind” and “Metacosmic Void.”

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Primal-Spiritual Feelings

The question naturally arises as to why primalers who are able to experience psychodynamic and perinatal phenomena without drugs are not reported to be contacting feelings of a transpersonal nature. Contrary to Janov’s published reports, there are some indications of it occurring. Some long-term primalers with whom I have contact have talked of receiving love, helping, strength, or bliss that seemed to be coming from a place beyond the scope of their current physical existence, to be emanating from a “higher power” of some sort. Their descriptions have many parallels to some descriptions of spiritual experience.

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“I Was Three Things: Sperm, Egg, and a Cosmic Life Force.”

Experiences of overwhelming energy and joy have been described. One person used the terms “cosmic life force,” “cosmic energy,” and “God power” to describe his experience. He remarked that it was of such intensity that it would have been too much to experience at an earlier stage in his therapy and related it to a time before he was conceived. He said that he had the realization that “I was three things: sperm, egg, and a cosmic life force.”

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Another primaler, Belden Johnson (1991) described his experience:

In a sort of sped-up time-lapse film that ran quickly backwards, I went from birth to an inter-uterine state to conception to floating in the icy vastness of space, surrounded by the faint light pricks of distant stars. At first my Observer-mind came in with, “Hm. Symbolic ideation. The soul floating in space between embodiments and all that.”

But he quickly changed his diagnosis:

“Nope. You’re a tiny part of the whole shtick , old boy. An atom in space, a mote of consciousness, a tiny fragment of the God head.” (p. 54)

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The First Shutdown

0034-icarus61It is no coincidence that these last two experiences revolve around conception and cellular consciousness. Indeed, our sense is that these spiritual experiences often are related to gaining access to a time before the first “shutdown,” which is the first time that trauma forces a retreat from one’s full capabilities and consciousness. Our experience has been that the time before initial shutdown varies among people, but usually ranges from before the fertilization of the egg to some time en utero.

Exactly when and how this shutdown occurs will be the major theme of the rest of this book, Falls from Grace. While the time of major shutdown appears to vary, shutting down or retreat from full capabilities appears to happen gradually, and in stages—with earlier access correlating with relatively more spiritual, transpersonal access.

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Footnote

5. Grof (1980, p. 10) acknowledges the convergence of LSD therapy and primal therapy.

Continue with The Joy Beneath the Pain and Positive Possibilities of Experiential Process: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Seven — The Roots of Bliss

Return to Approaching the “Source”: Right-Left Brain Integration, Theta Waves … Hypnogogic Experiences, and Delta Waves … A Nightly Return to Our Roots in the Infinite

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