Blog Archives

Zorba the Buddha: Enlightenment as an Attitude of Adventuring … Eventually It Is Simply About Staying Open to Experience/Process

osho-and-zorba

Ecstasy Is Intensity … Catharsis and Calmness in Spirituality: Spock Should Hardly Have Been the Poster Child for Mysticism … What’s so “Alive” About Acting Like a Machine?  292766_217737858356598_441894144_n

images (1)eastwoodSpock is hardly a role model for spirituality … quite the opposite. Do you not think it awfully convenient that the role models for mysticism promulgated in the media—Unfeeling Machine Men—would be exactly what totalitarian societies want to create?

tumblr_lp4lgeThK81r0bxv9o1_1280

The Big Primal ~ Instant Satori

Buddha enlightenmentAnother perspective on this subject is suggested by Heider (1974). He says that an emphasis on catharsis is rooted in “a model of growth and transcendence based on the concept of the sudden satori” (p.41), which is considered unrealistic. It is true that this situation existed among many primalers. Many of us initially, and in line with Janov’s assertions, did assume this dependence on and/or expectation of the “big primal”: 297289_219836374813413_1020054870_nthe primal that would make it all different and change our lives forever. In fact, letting go of this expectation began to be seen as a mark distinguishing advanced from beginning primalers. More experienced primalers began to see primal as a tool, not an end in itself. We began to see ourselves as growing and living both inside and outside of our primaling, and to see feelings as going on all the time, not just when we were lying down and “catharting.”

541025_245376535592730_674755363_n

…if we do not “be” with our illusions, we cannot know them…

The initial confusion, however, is understandable, considering the inaccurate impression engendered by the early primal that all feeling that is not primaling is somehow unreal. jesus20at20gethsemaneThis myth serves to negate all that passes through one and all that one feels between primal experiences. Janov was trying to make a point, and an important one at that: Much of what goes on inside one’s self is, in fact, elements of primal complexes and therefore is not accurate perceptions of self, others, and world. But an important facet to this is that it remains important to “be” with all that material, whether objectively valid or not, in order that one may link it all together and have the connections and insights that can occur during those catalyzing events called primals. For if we do not “be” with our illusions, we cannot know them. Hence, how can we discard them?

tears_0

Certainly the awesomeness of some forms of catharsis, the energy release involved, helps one to downplay the significance of the in-between times. But subsequently such plateau or calm spots, preparation or postcathartic periods, even the activities of our daily life, took on an importance previously unacknowledged. We began to understand that it is not a matter of catharsis for catharsis’s sake, or just of emptying one’s “Primal Pool,” in Janov’s terms.

302759_230999363697114_1470884553_n

In that sense I am in agreement with Heider’s (1974, p. 41) direction in leaving an emphasis on catharsis and beginning “to rely heavily upon spiritual disciplines, both as preparation for the release of tension and as a maintenance program designed to enhance and prolong the desirable effects of the encounter experience.” For, using meditation in the sense that Rajneesh (1976) does, that of being with where one is in the here and now, it makes perfect sense to me that a spiritual regimen can and should be used during the in-between times to help us to stop and be aware of the continuing process within us, if that is what it takes.

536409_212235448906839_1051537751_n

Being Where One Is

An important sidelight, however, is that for many primalers this sort of structuring may be unnecessary. As mentioned, the results of primaling, in the postcathartic period, may be the same as the results of meditation. Consequently, for many advanced primalers access is only too apparent during the between times. Therefore, to “be” where one is often only requires that we leave off avoiding, through distracting ourselves in work, sex, alcohol, drugs, food, and various other ways, the primal/spiritual process that continues within us between sessions. At this point it becomes a matter of staying open to Experience/Process, allowing it to flow through and teach us.

we-have-seen-ourselves

Meditation Can Be Anti-Spiritual

In fact, there is the known danger in using a spiritual technique that it can be used to defend against “process.” As Epstein and Leiff (1981, p. 145) put it, “Meditation experiences may be used in both adaptive and defensive ways.” And a meditation that is used solely to force us into relaxation or into a concentration with a specific focus as a way to defend against “process” and the occasional peaks and valleys that are part of it would, in my opinion, be antiprimal, indeed would be antispiritual, antimystical, antigrowth.

526916_230999860363731_1978819541_n

Zorba the Buddha

The-Atonement-of-Jesus-Christ-Landing-2011-01-24Therefore, in general I agree with Heider’s shift in emphasis away from catharsis and to the postcathartic period, but not nearly to the extent to which he apparently has. For I do not see a need to “transcend” catharsis or go “beyond” it as he does. Certainly Grof, Muktananda, E23439Pic13374and others would concur that even the outer reaches of transpersonal experience do not entail a cessation of conflict, resolution, growing, and learning. Similarly, Epstein and Leiff (1981, p. 144) have pointed out that “meditation can be viewed as a developmental process which can produce side effects anywhere along the continuum,” and so one would wonder why we would leave off catharsis as a tool for dealing with such blocks.

Eye_of_the_Storm3_07

Ecstasy Is Intensity … What is so Alive About Being Machine-Like?

asfadfa553096_245884038875313_518942495_nI should point out that the experience of nearly all primalers is that the need to cathart becomes less as time goes on. But additionally, I do not see a need to posit a point beyond catharsis, for I do not see anything wrong with catharsis, with enjoying the capacity to experience intensity of ecstasy, desolation, or insight. It seems to me that this capacity can add color and vitality to our lives. Indeed, it may be that which, at times, makes us feel we are alive!

Dandiapanpsychism

It Wouldn’t Be “Up” if You Never Came “Down” from It

475px-rembrandt_christ_in_the_storm_on_the_sea_of_galilee-web_thumbBut Heider certainly does find something wrong with catharsis, and our differences bring up an important point. He points out that he left off inducing catharsis because of post cathartic depression that would ensue. it is my opinion that occasional catharsis can have just that sort of effectGrofChristStan_StormySearchicon if we acknowledge the depths of primal and perinatal phenomena extending all the way back through birth and womb material. Therefore, anything short of a thorough working through of these deeper levels always will leave one susceptible to relapses, postcathartic depressions, and return of symptoms in that these catharses represent further access as well as resolution.

zorba-the-buddha-festival_01

Enlightenment as an Attitude of Adventuring

To that extent, I believe that Heider has not gone far enough with catharsis to those areas where the most substantial gains can be made … although even then we can expect”relapses”happiness if we employ the model that Grof, among others, presents of “enlightenment” being an attitude toward the process of becoming, of adventuring deeper into the cosmos, rather than a static serene state of inaction. Grof has shown us how deep one often must go before one can expect real resolution; or, in other words, just how deep within us, and how far into our past, the roots of our present concerns extend.

The_Eye_of_the_Storm_by_sparklehorse

Spock is Hardly a Role Model for Spirituality

we-seek-to-keep-out-these-filthy-others448 Saint Spock webA passage from the I Ching may help to clarify this point. It is possible that because of our Appolonian Western heritage we have a tendency to view an unaffected, somehow undisturbable state … as in our common conceptions of the results of meditation … as a goal. But not all cultures and spiritual disciplines posit it as such. In the Wilhelm/Baynes classic translation of the ancient work it is written,

While Buddhism strives for rest through an ebbing away of all movement in nirvana, the Book of Changes holds that rest is merely a state of polarity that always posits movement as its complement” (p.201).

534540_225072210956496_1863331824_n

Apparently, an unmovable state is seen as neither desirable nor possible; it is indicative of death rather than greater life.

themotionpicture0094

It continues further on:

True quiet means keeping still when the time has come to keep still, and going forward when the time has come to go forward.

800px-1610_Cecco_del_Caravaggio_Christ_expulses_money_changers_anagoria

In this way rest and movement are in agreement with the demands of the time, and thus there is light in life.

ShivaShaktiWhen a man has thus become calm, he may turn to the outside world. He no longer sees in it the struggle and tumult of individual beings, and therefore he has that true peace of mind which is needed for understanding the great laws of the universe and for acting in harmony with them.

Whoever acts from these deep levels makes no mistakes.

seed-of-light-in-darkness

Such it is that we can be in the midst of life, fully experiencing it, and yet be aware of its illusionary quality, hence be unattached to it and more able to flow with it. Let us say “Zorba the Buddha.”

307521_245374475592936_1761618271_n

Continue with The Agonies and Ecstasies of Exquisiteness: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Thirteen — The Psyche Heals Itself … If Only Allowed to Do So

Return to Science Has Uncovered Something Subtler Than the Physical, Undergirding One’s Life, and Interconnected with All and Everyone: Deeper, and Higher, Spiritual Realities

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

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

Zorba-the-Buddha-in-Antelope

Karmic Genetics and Meditation as a Defense: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Nine — Bad Karma Enters Us Through Our Birth and Womb Experiences

522776_213228388807545_170571225_n

“Pranic Lifetrons in the Spermatazoa and Ova … Guide … the Embryo According to a Karmic Design”: Defusing Mental Contortions … Aiding Meditation

28886_224628691000848_1490527373_n

“Humanity … Is Neurotic”.”

0023-vaultsecretdublinAlso there might be cultural differences. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) wrote that “humanity, itself, is neurotic” because society requires that each person be “conditioned” and “molded into a particular pattern” and not be “allowed to be just whatever he is” (1976, p. 26). Further, he said that this may have had something to do with the fact that the great spiritual masters, who themselves realized, could not help the greater portion of humanity to reach enlightenment (p. 27).

Westerners Might Be “Crazier” and Thus Find It More Difficult

Keep this in mind along with the evidence that Americans have traditionally ranked among the lowest in the world in the general indulgence we afford our infants (Whiting & Child, 1953). Additionally, we are, in cross-cultural perspective, “quite severe in the general socialization of [our] children,” especially in regards to such important events as weaning and toilet training where we have been judged to be “exceptionally early and exceptionally severe” and “in a hurry to start the training process” (p. 320). These things be truing, we may say that we are, in some ways, more “neurotic” than many other cultures.

  thewall...the meat grinder

It May Be That the Real Benefits of Spiritual Practice Cannot Be Gained by Most Westerners

Considering all this we might question why we think we can just adopt, wholesale, the techniques that have been developed down through the centuries and, especially, for use in other cultures. For if, as Rajneesh says, the spiritual techniques don’t work because they do not address humanity as it is—that is to say, neurotic—then meditation and similar practices may be said to be even less applicable to a modern “severely conditioned” … and more traumatized … Westerner.

0019-robocop06crppd

Demons Lacking in the Liberated

In this same vein, it is interesting how often yogis and spiritual masters speak of having had uneventful childhoods and loving parents. Paramahansa Yogananda mentions this in respect to his childhood. And it is not inconceivable that this may have had something to do with the seeming lack of “demons” with which he had to contend and with the exceptionally blissful, beautiful, and loving perception of the infinite that he presents in his autobiography.

guide-the-development-according-to-a-karmic-design

Bad Karma Enters Us Through Our Prenatal and Perinatal Traumas

images_gallery_05_14_thumbThe spiritual explanation for these differences in levels of primal pain has been that the yogi-to-be has worked through most of his or her karma in previous lifetimes, and that there is a link between karmic influences and the “life situation” to which one returns, which would include the amount of first- and second-line pain to which one is subjected. This notion of a link between karmic influences and one’s “life situation” is not found only in the spiritual literature. For example, Grof (1976) notes that LSD experiences of previous incarnations sometimes occur alongside experiences involving the reliving of disturbances of intrauterine life (pp. 108-109). In discussing the experiences of one such subject, he writes as follows:

[H]e was . . . experiencing episodes that appeared to be past-incarnation memories. It seemed as if elements of bad karma entered his present life in the form of disturbances of his embryonal existence and as negative experiences during the period he was nursed. He saw the experiences of the “bad womb” and “bad breast” as transformation points between the realm of the karmic law and the phenomenal world governed by natural laws as we know them. (pp. 109-110)

karma-enters-in-sperm-and-egg-experience

Similarly, Yogananda (1946) writes, “The pranic lifetrons in the spermatazoa and ova . . . guide the development of the embryo according to a karmic design” (p. 478n).

we

prometheusAt any rate, for many people the amount of personal pain they carry would certainly seem restrictive, if not downright prohibitive, of the spiritual path. In these cases meditation can become long and arduous. The effect of a lot of second-line, repressed pain can be that one’s meditation is continually plagued by disturbing thoughts and feelings rooted in various unconscious trauma.

An example of this sort of thing is give by Amodeo (1981). The method used to overcome this block is one that is a crucial feature of primal therapy.

Meditation Can Bring Up Unresolved Traumas from Early Life

One Can Hardly Remain Calm

In meditation it is true that one can open up to such completely forgotten experiences. Thus confronted, one could hardly remain calm and unaffected. In this way meditation can be disruptive and might even lead one into therapy. It is becoming increasingly known that this is not an uncommon result of meditation (cf. Epstein & Leiff, 1981; Walsh, 1979, p. 164). Consequently, some people enter primal therapy this way.

296406_204005356396515_2093756942_n

Defusing Mental Contortions … Aiding Meditation

For these people it seems that primal is helpful in allowing them to relive these repressed experiences, thereby revealing connections to their troublesome conscious derivatives. This defuses such mental contortions and allows meditation to be practiced with less of these distractions. Or, in terms of the mechanics of meditation as described by Rama et al. (1976, pp. 149-151), the disturbing thoughts are allowed to invade consciousness totally and have complete sway. But as in doing so they reveal their origins, they are sent back to the unconscious, “elaborated” and “weighted” though they may be, but bound to their historical roots. Thus, when they arise again, either spontaneously in meditation or triggered outside meditation, they do not produce further elaborations—as in worrying, trying to figure them out, or self-abasement. And, if all elements of the complex have been uncovered, they can be much more easily dismissed by consciousness. The effect is that of aiding meditation in its attempt at dissipating thoughts, which are now mere tracings rather than stopped-up cauldrons.

483106_226157574181293_1287006560_n

Otherwise, Meditation Can Become a Defense and Keep One Stuck in Struggling

305667_224628737667510_1169787820_nIt would seem that without a primal-type therapy, meditation could allow some gains in terms of glimpses of reality outside of one’s inner dialogue, and some in terms of helping to dissipate the causes of that dialogue. Yet as long as there are experiences that are completely cut off from consciousness, and that, continually charged as they are, produce troublesome and distracting thoughts that feed the inner dialogue and must forever be dissipated, then meditation would not seem to be as effective in eliciting the gains that are possible. Under these circumstances meditation can become a defense and a struggle and serve to prohibit further growth (cf. Amodeo, 1981, p. 152; Epstein & Leiff, 1981, p. 145).

Continue with A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Ten — Clean and Unclean Mysticism: The “Monsters” and Demons and Fear Do Not Exist Outside of You

Return to The Making of a Calmer Crazy Person … Why Meditation by Itself Is Often Not Enough: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Eight — Non-Conceptual Experience

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

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

Non-Conceptual Experience — A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Eight: The Making of a Calmer Crazy Person … Why Meditation by Itself Is Often Not Enough

meditation-the-making-of-a-calmer-crazy-person

Cerebral Distortion and the Importance of Connection: It May Be That, Without Therapy, the Real Benefits of Spiritual Practice Are Not Attainable by Most Westerners

0020-533225_1976819996975_1737376259_944265_47690847_n

Non-Conceptual Experience

It would seem that some spiritual disciplines and religions are able to give some people a taste of more “alive” experiences than would ordinarily be possible by temporarily reducing the amount of pain-energized cortical activity or “noise.” In Huxley’s classic work, The Doors of Perception (1954), he makes a point that there are many “temporary by-passes” to “brain-as-reducing-valve,” some of which he directly relates to a slowdown of cortical activity through physiological means (pp. 23-24).

xnyh05_thumb2

Meditation Tries to “Cut Through” the Pain

Meditation, specifically, appears to be a method of attempting to still the pain-driven cortical ramblings to gain access to nonverbal experience. In primal terms it may be said to be an attempt to bypass second-line pain and go directly to nonconceptual first-line material. This is not to say that some second-line is not dealt with. In addition to the evidence presented by Kornfield (1979) and Kapleau (1980), we might also remember that Muktananda’s journey inward was characterized by smiles and tears. Apparently, some second-line connections were made. Yet the meditative technique seems structured, basically, to get “below” these “personal” levels as soon as possible.

 0011-scream6g1

In meditation one attempts to maintain a “calm, detached attitude while observing his mental processes,” and the goal is to attend to thoughts that will deepen meditation and allow other distracting or disturbing thoughts to arise and burst without becoming involved in them (Rama et al., 1976, pp. 149-150). In this way the body learns to associate the relaxed state with what had formerly been disturbing thoughts, ever productive of cerebral “noise.”

chaotic-meditation

Primal and Meditation Both Access Nonconceptual Experience

icarus-suspended-_2-2009-dario-puggioni_thumbThis meditation technique is vastly different from a primal one wherein all disturbing thoughts are allowed full sway in consciousness. Nevertheless, both do seem to provide access to underlying nonverbal levels. In fact, I have been told by one person who has experienced first-line pain in both meditation and primal that the phenomena encountered are identical: They are primarily body phenomena that the conceptual parts of the brain can interpret in a number of ways.

brazil21_thumb

Meditation and Primal Both Access Body Memories of Birth and the Perinatal

In this respect, we might recall the descriptions of death-rebirth that are so commonly found in the spiritual literature and in the ethnographies of nonliterate peoples. Though primalers will invariably relate their particular experiences of this sort to their own biological births, in the psychedelic literature we find many examples of people reliving their births and using spiritual concepts, such as death-rebirth, to explain their experiences … although it should be noted that often in subsequent relivings the biological elements become too obvious to ignore.

images-21

The Importance of Connection

Apparently, it is only in the ways that these experiences are interpreted that shows up as a difference between them. Whereas Muktananda felt the “hopping” his body did was like that of a frog, someone in primal might realize that the jerks and kicks were actually the eruption of unresolved tensions from her or his birth.

10-emergence-440_thumb

Janov would say, however, that this difference in interpretation is an important one. For if one is interpreting these nonverbal body feelings in spiritual or other terms, one is not linking them up with one’s personal reality or one’s own experiences. One is not “connecting”; one is not seeing how that particular pattern of pain has influenced one’s second-line pain, nor how it has influenced one’s life history and present patterns of behavior. Thus, Janov would say that no change in those patterns of behavior can occur.

pink_floyd_the_wall_still_thumb

Cerebral Distortion

It would seem that first-line access without connection to second-and third-line—that is to say, without connection to how those birth and prenatal events influenced one’s childhood experiences and current life feelings and circumstances—would keep the cortical programs intact. Neural energies would continue proceeding along familiar distorted pathways, and these pain-necessitated elements of the antiquated defense system would remain to influence and distort the perceptions of one’s deeper experiences.

31018_224910937639290_493738849_n

A Calmer State with a Disturbed Understanding May Result from Meditation on Its Own

On the other hand, one could make a case that very real, repressed energy is released during these first-line encounters no matter how they are interpreted. This energy, then, is no longer driving the excess cortical activity common to neurotics and characteristic of the beta state. The effect is that of less “noise,” calmer brain wave activity, and an increased capability to gain access to subtler energies.

access-to-subler-energies

Therefore, the fact that connections are not made and the original cerebral pathways are not altered seems to mark the difference between the primal and spiritual first-line encounters. I will discuss the effects of this further on.

464684684581661_thumb

Differences in Pain

It should be pointed out that for some this difference may not represent a real problem. Some people may simply not have much second-line pain, or even first-line pain blocking the perception of clear Reality.

People Differ in the Amount of Life Trauma Separating Them from Bliss

chiron_by_summitstudios_thumbApparently, there are vast differences in the amount of pain that people carry around, as Grof has demonstrated in reference to his LSD subjects. He found that there were some people who, after dealing with and reliving psychodynamic and perinatal material for a few sessions, would proceed to transpersonal experiences for the remainder of their sessions. This was especially true of professionals who were undergoing the treatment as part of their training. imluipopoiuoygages1This was in contrast to others with manifest neurotic and psychotic symptoms, many of whom had been hospitalized and often required scores of sessions dealing with their personal material before proceeding to transpersonal material (Grof, 1970, p. 2).

“Humanity … Is Neurotic”.”

0023-vaultsecretdublinAlso there might be cultural differences. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) wrote that “humanity, itself, is neurotic” because society requires that each person be “conditioned” and “molded into a particular pattern” and not be “allowed to be just whatever he is” (1976, p. 26). Further, he said that this may have had something to do with the fact that the great spiritual masters, who themselves realized, could not help the greater portion of humanity to reach enlightenment (p. 27).

Westerners Might Be “Crazier” and Thus Find It More Difficult

Keep this in mind along with the evidence that Americans have traditionally ranked among the lowest in the world in the general indulgence we afford our infants (Whiting & Child, 1953). Additionally, we are, in cross-cultural perspective, “quite severe in the general socialization of [our] children,” especially in regards to such important events as weaning and toilet training where we have been judged to be “exceptionally early and exceptionally severe” and “in a hurry to start the training process” (p. 320). These things be truing, we may say that we are, in some ways, more “neurotic” than many other cultures.

images_thumb1

It May Be That the Real Benefits of Spiritual Practice Cannot Be Gained by Most Westerners

Considering all this we might question why we think we can just adopt, wholesale, the techniques that have been developed down through the centuries and, especially, for use in other cultures. For if, as Rajneesh says, the spiritual techniques don’t work because they do not address humanity as it is—that is to say, neurotic—then meditation and similar practices may be said to be even less applicable to a modern “severely conditioned” … and more traumatized … Westerner.

0019-robocop06crppd

Continued with Bad Karma Enters Us Through Our Birth and Womb Experiences … Meditation as a Defense: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Nine — Karmic Genetics

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

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

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

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

primal-spirituality-xxx

Spiritual Experiences Occur in Deep Therapy: Helping Entities, Past-Incarnations, Satori, Synchronicity, Inner Guidance, Life Force, Archetypes, and the Collective Unconscious

bliss-beyond-pain

Transpersonal, Spiritual Experiences Occurring in Deep Experiential Psychotherapy

kwanyin1jacob-ladderOn the more exotic side, experiences of which I am aware that have had a transpersonal quality to them include encounters with and messages from “helping entity” types and infusions of colored “helping energy.” Experiences that have had past-incarnation qualities also have been reported, but they apparently occur only when they are important for the individual’s understanding or resolution of her or his present concerns. All of the experiences I am reporting occurred to people who had been primaling for a minimum of four years, working through birth and womb material much of that time.

0027-centaur-child-crpd_thumb1_thumb_thum

Parallel to the Effects of Long-Term Spiritual Practice

In addition to these reports of experiences had in or through primaling, we note gains in equanimity similar to those described for meditators and the occurrence of satori-like states. Cleared of attachment to the past and the future strivings that come of it, experiences with a marked sense of “nowness” are common. Corresponding elements of synchronicity between inner and outer states, effortless doing, and inner guidance appear also, correlates for which seem primarily to be associated with the effects of long-term spiritual practice.

543110_224628771000840_418702986_n

The Joy Beneath the Pain

Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious

shiva-hindu-godFinally, we might note that there are some primalers who are reported to experience phenomena described as archetypal and related to the collective unconscious (McCloud, 1975). McCloud uses the terms “transpersonal” and “mystical” to describe the quality of the experiences inherent in contact with this area of the unconscious. He says that these experiences can occur during the state of “total physical calm” that follows the “period of high physical activity or agitation” characteristic of “direct encounter with the negative and fearful aspects of the Unconscious” (p. 288). McCloud claims that experiences during these “deep inner meditative states” may take the form of “a spontaneous (noncortical) flow of images through the mind or, especially in more advanced persons . . . may consist of what seems afterward to have been a total void” (p. 289).

69697_223926567737727_2109901722_n

One Must Discover One’s Own Truth

561118_417771534949707_1862742195_n1McCloud contends that since Janov’s framework does not include such experiences, these unfamiliar and nonrational experiences are forced into the familiar primal paradigms. These primal rationalizations then become a defense at the point at which deeper experiences are possible, thus preventing the full experience of these deeper levels. Interestingly, McCloud also claims that what is helpful in experiencing these levels is to be given “support but little or no direction” (p. 284), in strong contrast to Janov’s directive techniques. One might conclude from this that different experiences and different interpretations are possible when one is allowed to discover one’s own “truth” as opposed to a preconceived one.

we

Joyful Possibilities of Experiential Process

602658_223926641071053_44879649_nAnyway, as far as the “blissful” experiences mentioned, it appears that the reason we hear little of them in regard to primal therapy is because Janov himself has been unaware of the joyful possibilities of the primal process. As Lonsbury (1978) points out, Janov’s is an incomplete theory of feeling based only on feeling “Pain”: All else is labeled “crazy.” Also Janov specifically states that the goal of primal is not “happiness” (1970, p. 101), which he sees as a neurotic state (1972, pp. 164-172) but, rather, something like “contentment” (p. 168). He sees primal people as “scarred” people who are able to use primal to better their life situation from the horror that it otherwise would be (1970, p. 136). His use of the word “contentment” leads me to suspect that he is talking about a state of reduced tension following abreaction (cf. 1970, p. 102; l972, p. 218).

The Roots of Bliss

The fact is that not only are advanced primalers dipping into areas more akin to bliss than mere contentment, but Grof also, through his LSD research, has demonstrated the existence of positive and joyful experiences existing alongside the negative ones at the deep perinatal level of the psyche. Grof gives these “positive COEX systems” the same status as the “negative COEX systems,” which is his term for the traumatic experiences laid down in the brain needing to be relived. Grof claims that positive COEX systems relate to particularly blissful experiences from one’s personal life, having their deepest roots in blissful intrauterine and postnatal experiences.

placenta-stem-cell_thumb

Bliss and the Womb

539412_482170655176632_2049230402_nThe fact that Janov does not seem to know about these positive potentials of the primal process seems to be related to his disregard of womb experiences. Although both LSD subjects and advanced primalers outside of Janov’s Primal Institute have often described embryonal experiences, healingcrisisdown even to the sperm and egg level, Janov has little to say about womb experiences in his writings and considers sperm experience a fantasy (1974a, p. 323). That some of the positive experiences mentioned do not begin to happen until one has felt back to those levels, then, would help to explain his ignorance of them.

Through my own experiences with spiritual disciplines and primal I have come to believe that the bliss the yogis and meditators describe is the same as meditation-emotionalthe “alive” or “life force” feelings described by primalers. Contrary to Janov’s assertion, I believe it is an error to describe this state of “spiritual” bliss as a state of being totally cut off from one’s body, as “anti-Primal.” Primalers describe the feeling of being cut off with words like “deadness” or “numbness,” never “bliss.”

47042_220848008055140_670766905_n

Continue with The Making of a Calmer Crazy Person … Why Meditation by Itself Is Often Not Enough: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Eight — Non-Conceptual Experience

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

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

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

“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

541025_245376535592730_674755363_n

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

DigitalStroodyNaturesSpectrum

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]

 prenatal-21

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.

23935_220951888035195_123866744_n

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.

icarus-falls-nobody-noticing-rszd

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.

4ea944548d6f351c3ff39961b7a5131e-d58fghy

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.”

7448789334_3231ae561a_z

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.

425799_223926521071065_719118926_n

“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.”

401630_234401583356892_914668767_n

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)

19928_245883818875335_1524060473_n

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.

603326_245374635592920_1098036277_n

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

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

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

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

537166_245376122259438_193619635_n

The Awareness of a “Larger Reality”: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Five — Brain Correlates to Primal and Spiritual Experience … Wave and Structure

 282412_236641313132919_1129892183_n

Brain Waves

The relations between these levels of growth and the techniques under consideration can be demonstrated by their correlations with brain wave activity.

Theta Waves … Hypnogogic Experiences

Beta waves on the EEG correspond to normal waking consciousness while alpha indicates a more relaxed, tranquil state. The consciousness correlated with theta waves, which are even slower than alpha, is characterized by a dream-like or “reverie” state during which one is immersed in a world of images. It has long been known that these dream-like states (called “hypnogogic experiences”) play some part in scientific and artistic creation. (Rama, Ballentine, & Ajaya, 1976, pp. 146-147)

artgallery-psion005-abstract-digital-art-fractal-psytrip_thumb

Delta Waves—A Nightly Return to Our Roots in the Infinite

An even more relaxed state is the delta state, which usually is only experienced in the phase of “deep sleep.” It is unknown what exactly goes on during this state of sleep as, unlike REM sleep, which is characterized by dreaming, this appears to be a dreamless state. Yogananda (1946, p. 493) has indicated that it represents a nightly return to our roots in the infinite. Regardless, it is a more relaxed state than even the very relaxed and creative theta state.

154577_511361335570595_1968797156_n

Theta has been called a measure of feeling states by Janov (1974b, p. 40). He also has brought forth research showing a trend toward theta and delta states in advanced primalers (cf. Janov & Holden, 1975, p. 493; Janov, 1971, pp. 214-215). Lake (1981) also makes this connection between theta states and integrative primal access and relivings. Similarly, research on meditators has indicated that they also exhibit alpha, theta, and delta wave patterns while awake, with more advanced meditators exhibiting the slower brain-wave patterns (cf. Rama et al., 1976, pp. 159-161; Walsh, 1979, p. 166).

The Awareness of a “Larger Reality”

We see that at least in regard to brain-wave activity the effects of primal and meditation are parallel. The effects include increasingly relaxed patterns and greater synchronization. One might speculate that the correlate of these slower rhythms is the awareness of subtler and subtler energies (a primaler would say “feelings”). These energies and awarenesses are unavailable in the normal beta state and could therefore be said to represent the awareness of a “larger reality.”

1-eye-of-the-storm-ricky-barnard

Brain Structure

In addition to brain-wave activity, one might also find correlates to this process in terms of actual parts of the brain.

Right Brain—Left Brain Integration

Much has been made of late correlating states of consciousness and areas of the brain along right brain/left brain lines. Left brain dominance has come under attack and an integration of the two is called for. It is becoming clear that this kind of integration is an important aspect of both the primal and spiritual processes. Evidence for this is presented by Janov (1973; Janov & Holden, 1975). And evidence of this kind of integration occurs in the spiritual disciplines, particularly in its most advanced stages (Earle, 1981).

374503_227010290762688_948343612_n

Approaching the “Source”

What I am saying is that contact with subtler energies may involve awareness of brain activity existing closer to the brainstem, the “source” of brain activity, while normal consciousness is awareness of brain activity that is primarily cortical. Both the much acclaimed ability of yogis to control physiological processes that normally are unconsciously regulated and the reports that primalers are more aware of internal biological processes attest to this conception of the process.

227063_237286989735018_613053158_n

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

Return to The Primal Serene — A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Four: How Passion Promotes Serenity and the Detached Observer in Catharsis — The Eye of the Storm

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

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

How Passion Promotes Serenity and the Detached Observer in Catharsis — The Eye of the Storm: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Four — The Primal Serene

15129_227010137429370_522891380_n

Catharsis Makes Us Aware, by Contrast, of a Strong, Unaffected Self Within … Catharsis and Calmness: We Gain Insight Into the Illusion of Maya and Rootedness in a Deeper Self

Shiva

Real Meditative Experience May Not Be So Relaxing

Thus, it appears that the techniques of relaxation have to do with attempting to still the vagaries of pain-derived tension, the internal dialogue, so as to gain access to areas of consciousness that are “outside” and more fundamental than these vagaries. And contact with those areas may not be so relaxing!

484006_434131589990339_399158917_n

The Primal Serene

0011-scream6gThis technique is in some ways exactly opposite to primal ones. Primal involves the “tossing out” of all the vagaries—the manifesting in a verbal or physical way of the tensions existing in the body at the moment. But the results of each appear the same. Characteristically, following a primal one finds oneself sinking into a serene and markedly relaxed state. It appears that spiritual techniques differ from primal in attempting to reach that state directly by conscious control over the body/mind. Once that state is reached, it allows further abatement of physiological processes and, hence, access to even subtler realms of consciousness.

378454_226157477514636_541922685_n

A primaler also can be viewed as open to subtler energies after having reached a “cleared out” relaxed state via primaling, and could conceivably use a technique like meditation to increase that access.

passion-promotes-serenity

I was surprised to discover, after originally proposing this relation between catharsis and meditation in 1979 and approaching from the stance of psychotherapy, that Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh had already made the same kind of formulation coming at it from the spiritual perspective. It is described in his book, Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy (1976). See especially the chapter on “Chaotic Meditation.”

matrix-network

At any rate, Primal or a similar deep experiential psychotherapy then becomes a method of dealing with the grosser manifestations of psychobiological energy that keep the body in a tense and overdetermined state. Once these energies are dealt with and released, it becomes possible to employ a “mindfulness” type of meditation to deal with subtler energies, to connect with and dissipate those subtler energies, and thereby to gain access to subtler energies still.

548664_239016846228699_463805986_n

The Detached Observer in Catharsis—The Eye of the Storm

calm-before-storm-1Another way to look at the relation between catharsis and calmness, and the benefits that one can have for the other, is suggested by Heider (1974). He points out in his article, “Catharsis in Human Potential Encounter,” that “as a rule the person actually going through catharsis reports no feelings of fear even at times when he appeared most fearful; it is as if there is a detached observer who knows that the process is natural and even necessary” (p. 37). Indeed, one can let go into extreme emotional states time and time again and remain always aware of the “detached observer” part of oneself.

bp24

A major benefit of catharsis is that as this continually happens one becomes increasingly conscious of a part that is unaffected by the turmoil—the part that is there, observing at the onset of agitation, that “sits quietly by” watching in the midst of catharsis, and that is there to silently aid one, through “reentry” and into the calm state afterward.

silent-unaffected-self-within

Thus, catharsis makes us distinctly aware, through contrast, of a strong, silent, unaffected self within; it makes us aware of an “unchanging” that contrasts with all the violent changingness. In so doing it helps us to be more in contact with that self and its subtler pushes, pulls, and impulses—its subtler pattern. We become increasingly aware of a more fundamental self that is unmoved by all the chaos of consciousness.

artgallery-psion005-abstract-digital-art-fractal-psytrip_thumb

To that extent, it corresponds to those phases of meditation that entail the encounter with disruptive material with the admonition not to get caught up in them, to refuse them energy by believing in them.

forsale

Indeed this attitude can be the result of catharsis. We can release the explosive energy born of “attachment,” in the Buddhist sense, and hence gain insight into the illusion of “maya,” the fleeting changingness, and gain rootedness in a more inviolable self.

421773_204208433042874_2079949326_n

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

Return to “At Times I Hopped Like a Frog … Between Smiles and Tears, I Continued my Inward Journey.” — Guru Muktananda: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Three — Cathartic Meditation

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

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

Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth … What Can Be Done: Changing the Patterns of Millennia Requires Learning That Feeling Good Is Not Bad

flower-field

Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence: What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring? And Can You Handle Happiness?

578392_285262338257405_978247196_n

Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

06hold-600

Men Would Rather Be Manly Than Alive and What Say We Leave a Planet for Our Offspring?

owe-460x307

Why We Invite War, Allow Fascism, and Pollute: Our Coming Into the World Makes Us Want to Leave It

icarus-copy1

The question posed at the end of the last chapter was whether we had opened the door to an unimaginable armageddon or were experiencing the birth pangs of a massive consciousness transformation and subsequent Earth rebirth. Are we going to self-destruct, bringing death to the entire planet along with us, or will we become good citizens of this planet and our species continue on?

climatehoaxeuropean-companies-fund-senate-climate-deniers

What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring?

Most folks would think there would be only one answer to that question desired by virtually all humans. But in previous chapters, especially Apocalypse Emergency, Chapter Five: Death Wish – Thanatos Walking, I showed how, and why, that common-sense notion would, amazingly, be wrong: We saw how there is a huge percentage of our human Earth citizens, and a part of all of us, that wants to “throw in the towel.” This has always been true of humans, but it is of critical importance only now.

But I will assume anyone reading this will at least consciously be wanting our vital question to be answered in the affirmative. You know as well as I that the folks on the other side of this question are doing vastly different things right now than us and are nowhere to be found around here.

How Do We “Like” Life?

So the next thing to be addressed is how we might change our fortunes and live. Since continuing on is not just of matter of deciding it—voting “like” on it or checking its box—as we saw in Chapter Five: Death Wish, how can we get around this part of ourselves and our population that wants to do us all in? We need to know how to derail our perpetual cycles of war and violence. We need know how to quit bringing pollution and suffering on us. We have to know how we can stop our secret desire to take comfort in failure, how to “unlike” self-sabotage on our inner “profile.”

How Do We “Unlike” Fascism?

I have written a great deal on this question, including an entire book in 2011 on the way we act out this masochistic tendency politically and culturally by taking comfort in totalitarianism and embracing fascism. [Footnote 1]

robots

For our purposes presently I will focus on the element of it all that is critical to answering our question. So we first need to look into the place from which emanates our dilemma. I showed that this bugaboo is our Will to Death.

cowboys2011111

Our Coming Into This World Makes Us Want to Leave It

Now we need to get more specific on this negative inclination of ours. As we have seen this Will to Death arises from human’s unique-among-all-species primal pain rooted in our singular way of coming into the world, our unique human birth.

SKRA040_XS035

We Need Look Deeper

We need to look deeper into the elements of that part of ourselves that would have us take us all down. We need inquire into that tendency of ours to choose pollution over health, tyranny over freedom, war over peace, enslavement over autonomy, violence over pacifism, oppression over liberty, misery over happiness. We must derail the cycles of war, violence, and fascism. We must know how to “like” happiness.

534196_401456473200431_152032768142804_1576605_417327672_n

We Need Know Where Exactly to Focus Our Efforts to Be Successful

To do so, we must separate the skeins of this inner entanglement and shed light into this darkness within. We need to know specifically, precisely where to place the lever of effort we will apply to truly move the world, to derail it from its current acceleration into oblivion.

So we look now into the elements of that perinatal unconscious manifesting currently as a will to die on the grandest scale imaginable.

hiroshima atomic bomb video1

Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth

We find there are two researchers who are particularly relevant to our understanding of the elements of the perinatal unconscious in a way as to avert collective, worldwide disaster. These are Stanislav Grof and Lloyd DeMause. [Footnote 2]

Men Would Rather Be “Manly” Than…Alive…

DeMause writes,

[T]he group-fantasy shared prior to wars expresses the nation’s deep feeling that the increase in pleasure brought about by the prosperity and progress that usually precede wars “pollutes” the national blood-stream with sinful excess, making men “soft” and feminine”—a frightful condition that can only be cleansed by a blood-shedding purification. [Footnote 2]

crusakhkhdes

Men are more terrified of appearing “feminine” than of losing their lives. Why we invite war.

DeMause is saying we go forever into war because after a while peace makes men feel guilty, “sinful.” Men have uncomfortable, even shameful…homophobic…feelings of being “soft” or “feminine” when their lives are good. So men choose the “purifying,” masculinizing ritual of war to fight off these feelings. Nothing distracts one from looking inward better than a “good, old-fashioned” life-or-death struggle, and war is the most all-encompassing of them.

vietnamnapalm1966

Men are more terrified of appearing “soft” than having the boot of totalitarianism on their neck. Why we allow fascism.

What DeMause says about bringing war upon us can be said also about allowing fascism, inviting totalitarianism. For whether we are fighting enemies of another nation or struggling to survive against oppression at home, we are involved in a daily struggle. Secret to us, we feel better being engaged in a dramatic battle, though it brings us suffering and misery.

How-Did-the-Islam-Conquer-the-World-2

We simply can’t hack peace for very long. We feel guilty, for some reason, lolling on the beach. You ever notice how at the end of your vacation time, you are anxious for it to be over and to get back to work? That feeling—that one where we feel…guilty?…uncomfortable…tense?…unfulfilled?…(you tell me)—that’s it. That’s the one I’m talking about.

the-golden-agadfae

It happens the same way collectively after we have experienced a “vacation” of national peace—for example, in the Nineties when we were prosperous and mostly peaceful under Clinton. At the end of it, with Bush, we ended up getting the misery and struggle many in America were driven to want, though no one would ever admit that.

giuliani-finger

A quick aside. The fact that the majority of Americans actually didn’t vote for Bush and so tried to choose happiness over struggle is a source of hope for us in all this. That’s a hint of what’s coming.

Cycles of Birth, Cycles of War … The Four “Colors” of the Perinatal Veils and Why Women Fear Fatness and Men Fear Femininity

Fractal-Art-Wallpaper

Four Kinds of Early Experience Color Our Adult Experience in Four Distinct Ways … Cycles of Birth and War

ah-64d-apache-wallpaper-helicopter-blade-cab-explosion-fire-napalm-127634-1600x1200

Four Kinds of Experiences in Our First Nine Months Imprint Us for Four Feeling “Flavors” as Adults

Images_Gallery_05_14But for now, let us get back to this opening provided us. We can make better use of deMause’s insight on the birth feelings that take us into war using Stanislav Grof’s delineation of this birth unconscious of ours. Let us review as described earlier and further stipulate on them: Grof explains we are moved as adults by four specific kinds of drives emanating from our earliest experiences. These specific tendencies in us relate to four different times in the birth process which involve four radically different kinds of experiences.

nature-balances-HerSelf-we-are-part-of-Her

Grof uses the term, basic perinatal matrices (BPMs), to refer to these four aspects of our inner urges. I will describe them here and refer to them along with DeMause’s cycles of social-historical violence and war to pull apart the roots of our current apocalyptic dilemma. [Footnote 3]

pentagonal-fractal

Our Tendency to Always Screw Up a Good Thing, BPM I

The first of Grof’s aspects of our unconscious he terms Basic Perinatal Matrix I, BPM I for short.

mother_and_baby_dolphin

Prosperity and Progress Equal Feeling “Soft” and “Feminine”

clip_image002reunionGrof’s BPM I is sometimes described as “oceanic bliss” and involves the experiences and feelings related to the relatively undisturbed prenatal period. On the social, macrocosmic level, it is the period described in the quote by deMause above in which there is a period of “prosperity and progress” and feelings of being “soft” and “feminine.”

Placenta-Stem-Cell

Snow-White-and-the-Huntsman

prosperity.progress.feminine

522936_184846674968481_100003294484517_288967_526358242_nkumbayaThe strong connection between individual experience (personal psychology) and collective realities (social-historical events and elements) is patent here since in BPM I experience the individual is still in the mother’s womb and to some extent shares her identity, which is of course feminine. Being unborn and not having gone through the “toughening” experiences of birth and later trauma, which predominantly create one’s defenses, the individual is also “soft,” in other words, undefended.

happy_dancing_friday_19

“No Pain, No Gain,” Hell, Satan, and Poisonous Placenta; BPM II

“No-Exit” Claustrophobia

placenta-22005-RachelStone-PrometheusTo further review Grof’s schema and its relation to deMause’s cycles of war, I want to remind you that BPM II is related on the individual level to the time near the end of pregnancy when the fetus is no longer rocking blissfully on the waves of oceanic bliss but is trapped in an ever more confining womb. As the fetus grows in size, the suffering becomes greater; no doubt this is the source of the common-sense belief that growing has to involve suffering, for example, “No pain, no gain.” At any rate, the feelings are those of claustrophobia and “no exit.”

unwanted-information

more-suffering-less-dyingdesertheartThere is heavy non-agitated depression here, since there appears to be no hope, no change in the situation that would indicate a way out of the suffering. Indeed, this period continues practically right up to the time of birth, ending only when the cervix becomes dilated and, experientially speaking, there appears suddenly to be a “light at the end of the tunnel” and therefore hope.

21146_05_06_43MB

Where the Hell We Get the Idea of Hell

bpm2411862143_smallHowever, up until that time there are feelings of being totally unempowered, completely in the hands of an entity—the womb—that imposes a horrifying reality that appears to be unending and eternal. Herein we have the psychological roots of notions of hell and Satan. Feelings associated with this state include despair, victimization, blame, and guilt.

jupiter

“You’ll Wallow in Your Shit, and You’ll Think You’re Happy.” – Kurt Cobain, from the Song, “Sad”

peoplearealreadydyingclip_image005As birth comes nearer, “fetal malnutrition” increases, since the neonate’s increasing size and weight press down on and constrict the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the placenta, when the mother is standing. The decreased blood supply means a reduction of life-giving oxygen as well as the buildup of toxins that would otherwise be taken away by a normal blood flow. So feelings of suffocation as well as skin irritation and other feelings of wallowing in waste matter—deemed poisonous placenta by deMause—increase. [Footnote 4]

410557

“You’re Really in a Laundry Room.” – Kurt Cobain, from the Song, “Sad”

As I have said previously, deMause has found that these feelings exist to an extraordinary degree in a society and its leaders prior to its engaging in a war. Similarly, they precede, and obviously can be held to be accountable for, individual acts of violence—including everything from murder and rape to unfortunately all-too-common and ordinary spousal and child abuse in the household, and of course everything in between.

Print

Bloody War, Bloody Birth — BPM III

Crusades181264_233235313453542_936852846_nBPM III is birth. Its social analogue is war or violent assault. Feelings that accompany this state on both the individual and societal level include rage and intense aggressiveness, all-encompassing struggle, and sexual excess.

cruvghjklsades

10-emergence-440

Nothing’s Ever Good Enough, BPM IV

BPM IV relates to the time of actually coming out of the womb and the post-natal period. On the societal level it is the ending of a war.

prisonbreak460

“Busting Out All Over”

clip_image006imagjuyhgioloiues (2)Feelings of expansiveness, release, exultation, coming finally out into the light and/or being “on top” of things, and victory are feelings associated with this matrix, whether in the individual birth or the collective war cycle.

womenhappyArmsOut

Peace Sign V-Fingers dreamstime_3940931s0073As I said the societal analogue to BPM IV, or actually being born, is a war’s end. It is no coincidence that in triumph or peace, the two-finger peace symbol is used. What better way to signal we have come from constriction into openness, specifically through the vise of a mother’s cervix, out from between two legs. As John Lennon so aptly put it, using the peace sign frequently, “War is over (if we want it).”

woodstock-songs-photo

Mission Accomplished … Not!

clip_image008533225_1976819996975_1737376259_944265_47690847_nInterestingly, just as in recent times harsh modern obstetrical practices and the removal of the baby from the mother can leave lifetime feelings of success not bringing with it the expected rewards and thus a post-accomplishment sort of depression, so also the ending of successful wars sometimes also leaves a society with a sort of letdown. For example, the euphoria following George H. W. Bush’s Gulf War—which catapulted his approval ratings into the ninety percent range in 1991—was followed, only a year later, by the increasing agony of a recession and Bush’s defeat at the polls.

frankenstein2

Newborn-Baby-with-Cord

Cycles of Birth, Cycles of War

6207242_f260snowwhitelamentof7wpAll of this is to say that in society, as in the womb, a period of uninterrupted and relatively undisturbed feelings of growth leads to feelings of depression—being too “soft” and “feminine,” but also “too fat” in the womb and, therefore, extremely constricted and compressed.

Why Women Fear Becoming Fat and Men Fear Appearing “Feminine”

bizarre-beauty-placentaclip_image009Another way of saying this: feelings of expansion are followed by a fear of entrapment. And I agree wholeheartedly with deMause in saying that it happens this way in a nation’s cycle of feelings because it happened that way to us prior to and during our births. We have these patterns of feelings as collective groups of individuals because our first experience of expansion was followed by extreme depression, guilt, despair, and then struggle and something bloodily akin to war—our actual births.

images (2)

crusakhkhdes

image_thumb14

What to Do to Stop War and Violence: Changing the Patterns of Millennia Requires Learning That Feeling Good Is Not Bad

lebanon-bombing-2006

To Derail War and Violence, Replace Self-Sabotaging With Self-Actualizing … We Can No Longer Afford Our Delusional Ways

polls_StairwayToHeaven_D_4d_5953_976546_answer_1_xlarge

What Can Be Done?

Accession480px6a00d8341bf7f753ef010536d1eee6970c-800wiSo knowing this, how can we use it? In previous chapters, I explained how and why we see the dynamics of this perinatal unconscious, not coincidentally right now, on the ascendance, just at the time when it is crucial we deal with it to survive. I called this an emerging perinatal unconscious, and I went into detail about why it is happening now, what it means, and how we should take advantage of the opportunity it brings that could aid us in our current dilemma.

11 TDPOPP05  HINDASH

For now, I need only remind that is imperative we face these unconscious forces instead of turning away from and thereby insuring our continued ignorance of them and helpless acting out of them.

nuclear.power.kills

So, how do we consciously participate in these drives, not merely be driven by them?

IG_MotherBabyPack1-bigLloyd DeMause, in his article, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence,” printed in the spring 1996 issue of The Journal of Psychohistory, called for kinder and gentler birthing and child-caring practices to mitigate the ferocity of these forces within humans and help us avoid an otherwise inevitable planetary disaster. He was restating what other pre- and perinatal psychologists…I am clip_image003one, by the way…including Thomas Verny and Stanislav Grof assert. [Footnote 5]

However, I believe we need to go further than that. I, along with Grof, call for a larger awareness of and efforts in the direction of healing these perinatal elements in the consciousness and unconscious of those already alive right now. For unless we act to heal the people currently inhabiting this planet, we might not leave a planet that babies can be born into!…let alone people to conceive and give birth to them. Healing the perinatal traumas can be accomplished through, at this point, thoroughly tested and effective techniques of experiential regression and emotional release.

But it is impossible for everyone to take advantage of these techniques, especially in the short time we have to make the changes. But something short of that ideal may be sufficient to stave off otherwise inevitable doom.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

Finding the Weakest Spot

Of course only time will tell what will be the result of this emerging perinatal unconscious for our species.

Rachel_Weisz_Snow_White-2

Real, not blindly delusional, action is required.

But to get an idea of what we might hope for, given a readiness to actually do something about this, I offer a perspective. This understanding requires we remember some critical aspects of the cartography of the psyche described above. Looking into them we might begin to see where are the openings allowing for realistic action to be taken to bring about true, not just blindly delusional, change for our species.

gods-hands.crpd

We can no longer afford otherwise.

Obama Health Caredc05bFor our purposes here, the most important part of the cycle is BPM I. Societies, according to deMause, go through these cycles of war and peace and have been doing so for as long as we know. But we can no longer afford these wars, as World War I and World War II have shown—with each one being an increase in our ability to destroy and to commit atrocities. We cannot afford to have a World War III as that most likely would end life on our planet.

nuclear-bomb-america-hong-kong-6

Indeed, as I’ve been pointing out, we cannot even afford the less extreme forms of acting out of perinatal trauma that we have been doing in our poisoning of the earth and air, global overpopulation, and the ongoing regional wars to give just a few of many examples I could have used. These things, along with many other current quite insane tendencies of ours, have the capacity to end our species and possibly all life on this planet.

488018_2199588246042_988375251_n

Feeling Good Is Not Bad

reunionkumbayaSo the cycle of societal perinatal acting out must be stopped. And the most obvious place to derail the insidious cycle is at the point of societal prosperity and progress. Feeling soft, undefended, and feminine are, rationally speaking, not things to be alarmed about.

alinaderzad.blogspot.

Kid Centaurs Playing dreamstime_12338563kittenboot.compassion.stray-kitten (2)Quite to the contrary, it is rational that prosperity should make people feel good. It is rational that feeling soft should be a source of contentment, sensitivity, and intimacy with others. It makes sense that men should have no shame about feeling feminine because that only means that they have access to sensitive and nurturing feelings that are a source of joy, “color,” and fulfillment in life.

clip_image005

Changing the Patterns of Millennia

Male-doctor-spanking-a-newborn-baby-12383229-0imagkyghljlbesBut how do we do this? How do we convince people that feeling good is not bad? For these unconscious forces, these cycles of violence, have been pulling our strings for at least tens of thousands of years. How can we change such an engrained pattern?

538154_482871241727400_1996868195_n

Chasing the Mirages of the Future

Well, again, we get our leads from the experiences of individuals undergoing experiential psychotherapy.

“It’s never enough.”

For individuals also, if they are to heal themselves, have to learn how to appreciate success and to stop sabotaging themselves in the myriad of ways they do. Individuals act out their mini-cycles of “war” in their struggles to achieve. And people are driven to struggle to achieve because they cannot be pleased with what they have.

irritated-young-man-driving-a-vehicle-is-expressing-his-road-rage

first_peopleclip_image007Relating back to deMause’s societal schema, people cannot simply enjoy their “prosperity.” People cannot stop to smell the roses occasionally. We cannot count our blessings and feel contented with what we have. Nor can we enjoy the natural pleasure of being alive in the moment.

work.6391737.2.flat,550x550,075,f.experience-life-in-3d-seagulls-nz

“Wrong…It IS enough.”

No, instead what characterizes we humans—for the most part because of our having birth trauma—is a persistent drive to always have more than we do. We find that every accomplishment or success is short lived, with inexplicable depression following it. For each new attainment does not bring the expected (unconscious) rewards and leads us almost immediately to a new struggle, a new accomplishment to be sought.

ik23dve_AzPA

Humans are driven to chasing mirages of better times somewhere off in the future, and we fail to live in the present. We feel unsatisfied with what we have and are continually deluded that some new possession, accomplishment, or love “conquest” will bring with it the missing happiness.

534196_401456473200431_152032768142804_1576605_417327672_n

Becoming Self-Actualizing Instead of Self-Sabotaging

clip_image008When people are aware of the way they unconsciously sabotage their happiness, they sometimes seek help. And if they seek help in the experiential psychotherapies, they are enabled to work through their birth trauma so that they are no longer driven out of the moment, with its pleasure and pain, into an imagined but never attainable pleasureful and happy future.

photos-of-dolphin-9513

Learning that it is enough

Enjoying the sunSo people derail their cycles of drivenness and their tendencies to sabotage their successes by learning to enjoy their “prosperity,” even if it is the simple pleasure of being alive. And when they act to add to that pleasantness, they do so, not out of drivenness, but out of feelings of flow and the simple joys of acting and actualizing one’s tendencies, talents, and desires. They become self-actualizing instead of self-sabotaging.

aagtryh

Can You Handle Happiness? What to Do – We Get By With a Little Help, from Our Nature … Stand in the Place Where You Are

6a00d8341bf7f753ef010536d1eee6970c-800wi

dreamstime_1136572

A Hierarchy of Healing … Becoming Human Beings (Not Doings): Removing the Hood from Homophobes, A Hard Rain, and Stand

Chile-Volcanoeruptionlightning

asdfasfadf

OK, knowing this, one might ask if I am suggesting that to save our species everyone needs to get into experiential therapy. While that would be nice, it is not practical.

But I believe it is not necessary either. There is an element of that societal period of prosperity that can be used and focused on in order to make the societal change of pattern, the societal derailing of the tendency to self-sabotage through war-making.

Getting By, With a Little Help From Our Nature

clip_image002Fairy_Tree_by_NiroloAnd that element is this: During times of prosperity, when one is less engaged in a struggle to survive, we find that one’s body will naturally try to heal itself of unresolved and somatically imprinted trauma by bringing into consciousness the repressed traumatic memories needing resolution.

105020main_thunderstorm_night_lg

Hierarchy of Healing

This occurs in a manner similar to that of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Basically, one’s needs to “grow emotionally”…i.e., clear away the unresolved trauma…can only come to the fore when one’s physical survival needs are relatively taken care of. And arise they unerringly do, given any opportunity to do so.

031304thumb

“Don’t just do something, STAND there!”

541041_4115243720203_1028962858_n167117_145303942191698_100001362782419_222213_3793925_nHowever, when these traumatic memories come up seeking resolution, they, also unerringly, bring with them the associated feelings of depression, unease, and pain. But because these feelings are anything but pleasant, to their detriment most people seek to avoid these feelings through addictions and other forms of “acting-out” behavior. So addictions and acting-out behavior emerge after periods of relative stability precisely because that stability allows unresolved feelings an opening for emergence and a possibility of resolution and healing.

fractal-Julius-Tree

Allowing Our Society to Be Honestly, Blatantly “Sick”

absinthedrinkericarus-dota-dotaSo there you have it; that is the crux. The period of societal prosperity can be maintained and added to if that society refuses to run away from the negative feelings that come up with success. As I have said, one needs to get “sicker” in order to get really well.

“Stand in the Place Where You Are … Just Stand.”

clip_image003 422701_410548268971538_166854740007560_88147643_830390629_nSocietally, we need to allow the social, formerly repressed, “sicknesses,” negativities, and the pain that comes with them to arise and be socially worked out, to be hashed out, rather than to escape them by resorting to scapegoating enemies and waging war against them. [Footnote 6]

wpronnie-lee-gardner-execution-4403-ju-590x413

Are We Doing This?

But can societies do this? Are they doing this?

Apparently Not

It does not seem so at the moment. For we have extreme acting out going on from Tea Party type elements. The homophobia that characterizes them is an indicator of the degree to which they are fearful of that feeling of being “soft” and “feminine,” I mentioned.

20081026-monons_hate_gays

But Then Again…

Tea-Party-coming-look-out-kid-feel-the-HATEMoveOn_candlelightHowever there is a pattern in change that things can not really change until the negative slide has “hit bottom.” These negative forces cannot be gone beyond until they have wasted themselves in desperate acts. At this time also, positive forces are strengthening in the wings, burnishing their skills, tempering their character and nobility, fully capable when the time comes to take over. There are so many examples of this in social and individual histories, but not to get bogged down, I will mention one powerful one—Nelson Mandela. You can take it from there.

owe-460x307

The more common thing to mention about change is that prior to a major paradigm shift, the forces on the decline always wage a fierce, desperate battle…a bloody retreat, a burning of the fields, near suicidal and totally reckless forays.

The 99% of the 1%

We see people do this, too, just before they are about to change. We see people who self-destruct being the ones whose last desperate battle before awareness can dawn being something that takes their life and perhaps others with them.

538154_482871241727400_1996868195_n

god-hates-fags

bachmann_stupidity_2_0

images

dumb2

545fe718

brutal.bullying

Republican meeting

tea-party

surroundingandattackingagayyouth

political-pictures-real-americans-scary

racist_tea_party1

gaddafi02We currently can point to Gaddafi, Assad, and other tyrants. We can observe reckless tea-baggers willing, as in the debt ceiling clash, to bring down the country for ideals that, however rationalized and spun, are at their roots as simple and crude as jealousy—of those smarter and more capable; hatred—of minorities, the poor, the “dirty,” the “slobs,” the “lazy”…basically all the scapegoats society allows them to vent the rage of their inner fears and hurt on; and homophobia—that fear of being “soft,” feminine, unmasculine, and being willing to kill or be killed rather than to let oneself be seen that way.

allen

wants.gays.surrounded.by.electric.fence

Homophobes Don’t Fear Homosexuals … They Fear What’s Inside Themselves

clip_image004Before continuing, one big misconception around that last point needs clearing up: homophobia is at base not fear/hatred of homosexuals, it is terror/hatred of the “feminine” and “softness” inside of the man himself who is homophobic. And this is the result of tens of thousands of years of “civilization,” still continuing, in which men are threatened with disapproval, ostracism, ridicule, attack, or worse for not repressing their softer sides down to the level of the norm of their group.

Boys Learn They Must Be Less Alive to Survive

Boys learn they must constrict their potentials and diminish themselves to that which coincides with—and does not threaten—the older males in their group or face severe punishment. Boys learn the consequences for not becoming less than they could be are severe, often from their own fathers.

godhatesfags

Girls Learn They Must Feel Less Pleasure to Be Liked

And by the way, something similar goes on with young girls and the reduction of their potentials. We see a blatant example of this in the practice of cliterectomy—also called female genital mutilation—in some cultures. In this practice the older women—mother and aunts usually—are responsible for this brutal and extremely painful and bloody attack. It tells little girls they will have no pleasure more than that which was allowed the older women, themselves, in that patriarchal world. So girls must diminish themselves in order to not be hated and ostracized by the women of the group, who, already having been diminished, would be jealous of someone being allowed to have what they have not. This is an exact mirror image of the process that goes on in the diminution of the personalities—the potentials—of young boys.

A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall

Now to continue: So seeing so much of this pathos, hate, and bitter fear and anger is hopeful for us to be near the end of the cycle. Certainly it could get worse. But I personally don’t see how we could go much further on this path to oblivion without going past the point of no return. Perhaps we are not meant to succeed. Perhaps we are doomed. But I know in my own life, and that is the only true basis anyone can have for knowing how things really work, that, without fail, every seeming “loss of ground” was a prelude to an even bigger “advance.”

icarus the phoenix

MP_The-Centaur

we.are.interconnected

534196_401456473200431_152032768142804_1576605_417327672_n

IMG_1098

water_bwa_hr_rr

As Jung said, we need to take two steps backward to make a big leap forward. That is the way individuals are. And societies and populations are just collections of individuals. As the Tao symbol depicts, the seed of light is in the depths of darkness. So we can hold on to that, for one thing.

Tao_YinYangEarth2

6179gfdgfd409404_ac4e450c81-300

shutterstock_1560565multiracial_400

So Let Us See. A Scenery of Healing?

With these considerations in mind, the next chapter will evaluate our current social-cultural scenery for our prospects. In Rebirthing Rituals – The Sometimes Messy Scenery of Healingwe will look for any indications that this standing firm in the face of the rising up of the repressed social Shadow—allowing the pain of it and facing it foursquare, hashing it out—is to be found in the current social arena.

Iranvigil0918-10

If we can find this being done, we may allow ourselves at least the hope for a change in consciousness radical enough to save us from extinction. On the contrary, if we find little or no evidence for this kind of auspicious, fruitful healing activity, we might as well consider ourselves doomed.

brandon-watts-lies-injured-899

89-63_tank_man_-_web

protester-street-link-blocks

Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing

article-2063706-0EDE406400000578-305_634x357

Return to Apocalypse No, Chapter Seven: Through Gaia’s Eyes – Nature Balances HerSelf

Wall Street Protest Denver

Footnotes

1. The book mentioned was posted online in two places in August, 2011: Culture War and Culture War, Class War.

2. Lloyd deMause, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence.” The Journal of Psychohistory 23 (1995): 2. Reprinted with permission on the Primal Spirit site.

Stanislav Grof, Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research. New York: Viking Press, 1975; LSD Psychotherapy. Pomona, CA: Hunter House, 1980; Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1985; The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988; The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.

3. I explain this in more detail in Chapter Seven: We Ain’t Born Typical under the heading “Elements of Birth Experience.”

4. “You’ll wallow in the shit and you’ll think you’re happy” and “You’re really in a laundry room” from, and with appreciation to, Kurt Cobain. These are lyrics in his song, “Sad.” The video and lyrics are reproduced again here for your convenience:

Nirvana – “Sad” (also “Sappy” and “Verse Chorus Verse”) – Lyrics

And if you save yourself You will make him happy He’ll keep you in a jar And you’ll think you’re happy He’ll give you breathing holes Then you’ll think you’re happy He’ll cover you with grass And you’ll think you’re happy Now You’re really in a laundry room, You’re really in a laundry room Conclusion came to you, oh And if you cut yourself You will think you’re happy He’ll keep you in a jar Then you’ll make him happy He’ll give you breathing holes Then you’ll think you’re happy He’ll cover you with grass Then you’ll think you’re happy Now You’re really in a laundry room, You’re really in a laundry room Conclusion came to you, oh (x2) And if you fool yourself You will make him happy He’ll keep you in a jar And you’ll think you’re happy He’ll give you breathing holes Then you will seem happy You’ll wallow in your shit Then you’ll think you’re happy Now You’re really in a laundry room (x3) Conclusion came to you, oh Alternate lyrics: And if you kill yourself You will make him happy

5. Lloyd deMause, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence.” The Journal of Psychohistory 23 (1995): 2. Reprinted with permission on the Primal Spirit site.

Stanislav Grof, Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research. New York: Viking Press, 1975; LSD Psychotherapy. Pomona, CA: Hunter House, 1980; Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1985; The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988; The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.

6. “Stand in the place where you are…just stand” from and with appreciation to R.E.M. While it seems no one understood the group’s huge initial release, “Stand,” it is quite meaningful in the current context. A video and lyrics are included here for your consideration:

R.E.M. – “Stand” … lyrics

Stand in the place where you live
Now face North
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven’t before
Now stand in the place where you work
Now face West
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven’t before
If you are confused check with the sun
Carry a compass to help you along
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
[repeat 1st verse]
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
If wishes were trees the trees would be falling
Listen to reason
Season is calling
[repeat 1st verse]
If wishes were trees the trees would be falling
Listen to reason
Reason is calling
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
So Stand (stand)
Now face North
Think about direction, wonder why you haven’t before
Now stand (stand)
Now face West
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven’t
[repeat 1st verse]
Stand in the place where you are (Now face North)
Stand in the place where you are (Now face West)
Your feet are going to be on the ground (Stand in the place where you are)
Your head is there to move you around, so stand.

Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence – Audiocasts

“Part 1; What Say We Leave a Planet for Our Offspring?” – the audio by SillyMickel Adzema

For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here:

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player_fb.swf?pid=pffbztrfkv

“Part 2; Can You Handle Happiness (And the Pain That Comes With It)?” – the audio by SillyMickel Adzema

For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here:

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player_fb.swf?pid=syglfhsvld

Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing

Return to Apocalypse No, Chapter Seven: Through Gaia’s Eyes – Nature Balances HerSelf

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

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

A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Three — Cathartic Meditation: “At Times I Hopped Like a Frog … Between Smiles and Tears, I Continued my Inward Journey.” — Guru Muktananda

387765_308339679179024_203799022966424_1348799_1719099873_n

The Path Is Different from the Goal: The Truth About Meditation Can Only Now Be Told — Real Meditation Is About Letting Go and Experiencing Not About Controlling Oneself

604053_223925837737800_1686297406_n

What Really Happens in Authentic, Deep Meditation

Janov’s position that meditation is simply an attempt at inducing relaxation, which is then called bliss and couched in terms like “oneness with God” (1970, pp. 221-222), is an uninformed opinion that leaves out of consideration the variety of spiritual experiences that occur during meditation.

184846_223926804404370_27797559_n

Only Now Can It Be Told

Why Janov might think this is understandable, however. Explicit information on meditation experiences, especially during the earliest stages, has not always been easy to come by. For centuries there existed the belief that spiritual experiences were to be kept secret and not freely discussed. But the belief that emerges in our age is that the times are such as to make possible certain allowances that formerly were denied. In this vein several masters have in this century written personal accounts of their spiritual experiences; some even have allowed themselves to be tested by scientific methods. Adding to this are the findings of the ever increasing body of meditation research that, for the first time in history, has been taking place in the last half century.

Cathartic Meditation

“Between Smiles and Tears, I Continued my Inward Journey.” — Guru Muktananda

From the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda (1946) and Swami Baba Muktananda (1974), we are able to derive a conception of meditational experiences that is totally at variance with the notion that it is merely an attempt at relaxation or that it is, as Wilber claimed, distinct from “pre-” states. Muktananda writes, for example, “Various feelings emerged during meditation,” and “Sometimes I was happy, sometimes sad. Alternating between smiles and tears, I continued my inward journey” (p. 75).

259958_226823254114725_1442061891_n

He talks about innumerable movements that occur in the process of meditation (p. 77). Most interestingly, he notes that these movements are automatic and “continued for a prolonged period” (pp. 82-83). “At times I hopped like a frog. Occasionally my body moved violently as if possessed by a spirit” (p. 78).

dr-manhattan-movie_thumb

The Yogic Experiences No One Tells You About

Muktananda explains that “the practitioners of Siddha Yoga have a vast variety of experiences about which one neither hears nor reads” (p. 76); that because of this an aspirant might abandon the path out of sheer fright (p. 77). Unaware of the variety of emotions and experiences entailed in the spiritual process, expecting perhaps only “bliss” (or relaxation?), the aspirant may think he or she is going insane (p. 77). He himself, however, sees all these experiences as part of a natural process that is cleansing in nature and makes possible access to higher levels of consciousness.

calmness-and-catharsis600105_230999793697071_718873809_nmatrix-revolutions-45_thumb

“Meditators Commonly Experienced Intense Feeling States….”

Additional examples of these kinds of meditational experiences are given by Kapleau (l980) and Kornfield (1979). In fact, Kornfield reports that incidences of “spontaneous movement” were the most common experiences reported by beginning meditators (p. 45). He notes also that “Meditators commonly experienced intense feeling states and frequent dramatic changes of mood,” with examples of such including “screaming mind trips,” “violent crying,” “huge release of anger,” and “heavy sadness” (pp. 47-48).

icarus-falling-like-the-first-falling

The Goal Is Different from the Path

In these descriptions of emotional discharge/release we can see similarities to what is described as occurring in primal therapy.

Spontaneous, Automatic Movement in Meditation ~ First-Line Feelings in Primal Therapy

But the descriptions of spontaneous and automatic movement are especially interesting. In many respects they recall the experiences that primalers with access to their “first-line” pain (preverbal, usually surrounding birth) frequently encounter. In fact, it is exactly this kind of relation (between the physical and emotional experiences reported by Kapleau, Kornfield, and others and perinatal experiences occurring outside of the spiritual disciplines) that is noted by Bache (1981).

10-emergence-440_thumb

The bliss and equanimity described in the spiritual literature are thus associated most strongly with the advanced stages of meditation and should not be confused with the experiences entailed in the process of getting there.

0007-coleprometheusbound1847vassaraa-web1

Most of What Passes for Meditation Is Anything But Mystical

The point is that there is more to meditation than mere relaxation or undiluted “trans-” states. Although evidently, as Rowan (1983) put it, “Most of what passes for meditation has nothing much to do with mystical experiences at all—it is just the achievement of a very calm state” (p. 21). From what I have seen, most of meditation as understood today is about learning to become more repressed and neurotic … less alive. It is all about trying to push out of consciousness all the upsetting things of life–all the things which when faced, embraced, and integrated can be gone beyond and can enrich one.

we-seek-to-keep-out-these-filthy-others

Still, Rowan continues, “it is possible to get small or large peak experiences through meditation” (p. 21).

Real Meditative Experience May Not Be So Relaxing

Thus, it appears that the techniques of relaxation have to do with attempting to still the vagaries of pain-derived tension, the internal dialogue, so as to gain access to areas of consciousness that are “outside” and more fundamental than these vagaries. And contact with those areas may not be so relaxing!

484006_434131589990339_399158917_n

Continue with The Primal Serene — A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Four: How Passion Promotes Serenity and the Detached Observer in Catharsis — The Eye of the Storm

Return to Is God a Defense? Is Passion not Spiritual? A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Two — To Travel Unafraid Through All the Rooms of One’s House

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

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

Psychedelic Research and Deep Experiential Psychotherapy Have Intensified the Exploration of Spiritual Aspects of the Unconscious: How Valid Are Spiritual Experiences?

184873_225070957623288_272523389_n

Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part One — Primal Therapy: In Resolving Buried Tensions, One Sees Clearly, Feels Freer, and Turns Cycles of Pain Into Cycles of Joy

292766_217737858356598_441894144_n

The debate about the status we should ascribe to spiritual experience has been going on for a long time in psychology. Disagreement on this was crucial to Jung’s break from Freud, with Jung postulating an unconscious containing transpersonal as well as purely personal elements.

expanded-exploration-of-spiritual-unconscious

More recently, LSD research and cathartic approaches to psychotherapy have extended the experiential exploration of spiritual aspects of the unconscious. Consequently, the legitimacy of spiritual experience has become an issue among some of us who primal.

483074_225070970956620_1806881079_n

Some of us who have been through primal therapy have begun to have experiences that we find difficult to trace to biological roots.pandora__s_jar_by_xxdigipxx-d3100pj-png_thumb1_thumb But Janov, in his writings about primal, is consistent with the Freudian tradition in which he was tutored. He maintains a mechanistic interpretation of the primal process. He sees spiritual experiences as derivative of underlying primal pain and views meditation as “anti-Primal” (1970, p. 222).

For some who have continued primaling beyond Janov’s prescribed limits, it is becoming apparent that he is unaware of some of the potentials of the process he presented. As one who began “feeling his feelings” [Footnote 1] over four decades ago, I will present an explanation of the relationship between the primal and spiritual processes as an alternative to Janov’s mechanistic one. I rely on my own experiences, those I have observed in others in my role as facilitator and therapist, and the experiences of a number of other primalers as they have been related to me. I also rely on the important work with LSD and holotropic breathwork that Stanislav Grof (1970, 1976, 1980, 1985, 1988; Grof & Halifax, 1977; many more) has presented.

427790_221004181363299_1753407168_n

Primal Therapy

It may be important to bring us up to date on primal therapy. Arthur Janov introduced it in 1970 with his controversial book, The Primal Scream, subtitled, Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis. It had its time of ascendancy, with well-known personalities such as John Lennon espousing it. It also had a long period of malignment in print and the media, with much of the criticism apparently directed at Arthur Janov’s style in presenting it or the excessive quality of his claims concerning it. Relevant articles, which were published in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, are those by Kelley (1972), Kaufmann (1974), and Lonsbury (1978). Despite the controversy, however, primal therapy seems to have struck a chord in many people with its statement that the vast majority of us carry around a reservoir of unfelt pain from past experiences that was repressed because it was too overwhelming to be dealt with at the time. Primal therapy survived many of its contemporaries in the human potential movement.

four-sculpted-in-womb

Primal theory, simply stated, is that the memories of unfelt pain from traumatic experiences in childhood, at birth, and in the womb, and the emotions that would have naturally occurred with them, are locked in the body as unresolved tension. This tension motivates all neurotic and psychotic symptoms in its grosser manifestations, and in its subtler manifestations influences and shapes one’s perceptions of and attitudes toward one’s self and world, and thus determines one’s behavior toward them. It does so in a manner that is symbolic of the unresolved need or trauma.

32317-bigthumbnail_thumb1

This pain/tension keeps us uncomfortable, keeps us from being able to see reality clearly and act positively, keeps us from being fully functioning, and keeps us forever viciously trapped in negative life situations that serve only to recreate the patterns of our past scars. In primal one opens up to these repressed memories and relives the traumatic events with all the emotion that should have been there, accompanying them, originally. In resolving the tensions, one sees more clearly and is able to act more positively and joyfully and to create more positive scenarios for one’s life.

vlcsnap-2011-05-29-11h47m39s55_thumb

Space limits a complete description of primal theory or therapy, and for that I refer the reader to Janov and to the articles mentioned. That is, with a few modifications. Outside of Janov’s own works, much of what has appeared in print has, as nearly as I can determine, been written by people who have neither been in nor been very close to primal therapy, the exception being Lonsbury (1978). In addition, little popular attention has been directed to it in recent years, and none to its development. I have been involved in a developing primal therapy and would like to amend the record accordingly.

http-inlinethumb12-webshots-com-42955-2998621800104237032s600x600q85

I agree with much of what Kelley had to say in 1972. In Denver, where I did the majority of my therapy, the medical model was abandoned and an educational one was adopted, as per his suggestion. More importantly, Kelley noted the fallacy of a “postprimal” state, “cured” and devoid of defenses. That this state is an extrapolation of tendencies, as Kelley says, and the mythical qualities of a “primal man” as well as a “genital character,” has become obvious to most of us who have been primaling for any extended period of time. To that extent, Kelley was well ahead of the rest of us in primal in seeing this. My major disagreement with his article is that it does not seem to take into account the deeper potentials of the primal process. He posits a need for an “education in purpose,” which is separate from or “antithetical” to (an education in) feeling, and does not acknowledge the possible emergence of a “felt purpose,” in the course of one’s “feeling,” that synthesizes the two.

561118_417771534949707_1862742195_n

But most of all, I feel it is important to respond to Kaufmann (1974). Much of his attitude and many of his assertions have been mirrored elsewhere in the media and have contributed to the prevailing distorted impression of primal that is at variance with what I will be describing. As other critics of primal have done, Kaufmann seems to have zeroed in on the excesses and inaccuracies of the early primal therapy as described in Janov’s earliest works. A good example is his criticism of the “postprimal” person. This indolent, sexless character has been the source of much confusion and disdain for primal therapy. And Kaufmann’s remarks clearly are admissible considering the date. But let me say emphatically that this particular notion of a “real person” was later abandoned both in the publications coming out of Janov’s Primal Institute (“A connected person achieves.” [Footnote 2]) and among us primalers. We just didn’t turn out that way.

Janov’s early characterization began to be seen as someone just on the verge of making a more precipitous descent into earlier, “first-line,” preverbal feelings.

1157996048

Other of the early inaccuracies eventually were cleared up in practice. The primal therapy I experienced in Denver in 1975 with Jules and Helen Roth and their staff was an evolved version of primal as originally described by Janov (1970), or as initially presented to me in Toronto by Thomas Verny in 1972. It was less directive, more supportive. 1345645We didn’t maintain the illusion (as much) that anyone could really know where someone else was “at” and so we didn’t pretend that we could “bust” each other. Similarly, we didn’t use “props” or attempt to interpret one another’s experiences. We let one another “be” more fully where we already were and helped one another to go “deeper.” I specify the discrepancies because they relate to what I say further on.

dolphin-in-womb

I might also add that while in Denver I was witness and participant in primal’s continued development. Initially, it did contain many elements of a “primal religion” as often criticized. Subsequently, we let go of illusions of that nature and were able to integrate this invaluable tool into a fuller life and into a broader framework of understanding. My impression from other primalers is that similar evolutions occurred elsewhere.

0034-chironwounded

The point I make is that the primal therapy to which I refer is quite unlike the popular notions of “primal scream therapy” and different in many ways from its earliest descriptions. My response to detractors of early primal therapy is just that many of their criticisms are no longer relevant.

mp_the-centaur_thumb1

Continue with Is God a Defense? Is Passion not Spiritual? A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Two — To Travel Unafraid Through All the Rooms of One’s House

Return to Everything You “Know” About Life You Learned as a Fetus: Foundations of Myth and Mind and my Personal Involvement with This Research into Our Actual “Human Nature”

Footnotes

1. fantasypic8-snake_thumbI will be using the terms primaling and feeling one’s feelings interchangeably. We began to use the term feeling feelings instead of primaling partly to counteract the impression fostered by Janov that all feeling outside of primaling is unreal, that there is a basic difference between primals and normal feelings. Although there is a great difference in quality and intensity, and to that extent a new term is justified, normal feelings are not separate from primal feelings. They are the tip of the iceberg, and are used to get to their roots in primal feelings.

2. The quote is from Spike (1974). See also the interviews in the Journal of Primal Therapy (1974) for other changes in the conceptions of early primal.

cosmic-mind

Continue with Is God a Defense? Is Passion not Spiritual? A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Two — To Travel Unafraid Through All the Rooms of One’s House

Return to Everything You “Know” About Life You Learned as a Fetus: Foundations of Myth and Mind and my Personal Involvement with This Research into Our Actual “Human Nature”

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

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

%d bloggers like this: