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About Dance of the Seven Veils II and about The Path of Ecstasy Series. Upcoming works by Michael Adzema

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About Dance of the Seven Veils II and about The Path of Ecstasy Series:

 

Upcoming works by Michael Adzema

 

— Which is the Afterword of *Dance of the Seven Veils I: Primal/Identity Psychology, Mythology, and Your Real Self* by Michael Adzema

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AFTERWORD

Continue with Dance of the Seven Veils II and about The Path of Ecstasy Series

Upcoming works by Michael Adzema

 

 

This book, while the first of three in Dance of the Seven Veils, is also one volume out of a series of books begun, and planned, which I am titling, The Path of Ecstasy Series. Which series is separate from and paralleling the one series of mine already well along — the Return to Grace Series of fifteen volumes of which nine are in print at this time. I wish, here, to share with my readers what they can look forward to in this series, The Path of Ecstasy.

Book One, The Secret Life of Stones

This was the first book in The Path of Ecstasy Series. Being the launching point, it introduced and touched on many of the new perspectives developed and elaborated in the subsequent works. It presented a comprehensive new overstanding of Reality — a new map, if you will — comprising elements usually categorized under Idealism, in philosophy; and pantheism and panentheism, in religion. The essence of this new-paradigm view is that Reality — the Universe in its totality — is basically Consciousness or Subjectivity and that the seemingly physical part of It is a mere epiphenomenon of that all-inclusive Beingness … a Beingness which I have termed, Experience.

Coinciding with that perspective is a perceived awareness that such Subjectivity undergirding the material universe is not separated into parts, as we think normally — with different experienced realities whirling away inside the separate “boxes” of different physical bodies. Rather this Subjectivity is not only shared, it is singular. There is only one of It. And we, immersed in this Universal pool of Experience, are merely areas of It which are “lit” in our own uniquely configured way, through our focus on and participation in those elements within It. We are different experiential regions of It, though we are not separate from each other. Rather we are overlapping experiential fields, ultimately interconnected with All.

 

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This way of looking at things is in direct contrast to the dominant materialist old-paradigm stance of modern times, which holds that the world is basically matter. Regarding consciousness? Well, it is thought to be an epiphenomenon of matter — an offshoot of it. Which consciousness, by the way, springs inexplicably into existence at some point, yet unknown, along the billions of years trajectory of biological evolution.

Meanwhile, the non-separation involved in the new cosmic overstanding, which has Experience as Reality’s base, is demonstrated empirically. This has been revealed in quantum physics as well as the new biology — where the phenomena of morphic resonance and morphogenetic fields point to a sharing of subjective space, or fields, or a Common Intersubjectivity. As the quantum physicist, Schrödinger, put it, “The number of minds in the universe is a total of one.”

Various other experiences of “experience-sharing” are verifiable — such as the trans-species experience and identification with aspects of the so-called “material” world. Both experiences of being other animate beings as well as being parts of the physical world have been described by Stanislav Grof in his many works as occurring quite frequently.

And, yes, for those who are waiting, in this last — identification with and experience of aspects of the material universe — is where we encounter the consciousness of matter … “of stones,” metaphorically speaking. It is here where we get a peek into “the secret life of stones.”

We find that we understand and partake of the inner experience of Nature — animate and inanimate — in at least some way that is not so much less than we partake of and are able to understand the experience and inner states of other humans. The extent of similarity between people is what accounts for the degree of accuracy in our abilities to do that, in the normal sense of ordinary consciousness, which is called empathy. Though in the sense of it occurring in a nonordinary state of consciousness, well even the amount of similarity, or difference, between such units of being is not such a barrier.

Indeed, the history of science in the last hundred years has amounted to a gradual giving back to Nature of its status as aware and conscious, which was initially taken away by Western hubris in regard to Nature. So, we have animal rights, the “secret life of plants,” and so on, in a gradual procession of acknowledgment over the decades. I need to add that, sadly, before that we even needed to bring awareness to the facts of children’s and babies’ consciousness. Remember, there was a time when it was thought that newborns do not feel pain. That is merely one example.

Even, if you can believe it, Western culture needed to acknowledge women’s feeling consciousness. In a similar way, in fact, some societies have considered folks in other societies as lacking in feeling awareness. And some strata of society have denied the feeling consciousness of certain “lower” segments of the population … or even of other races, as when we had slavery. I am reminded of recently hearing the pronouncements of a political figure and industrial mining titan of early Twentieth Century America rationalizing his insensitive treatment of workers as that they do not experience suffering … not really. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

Thus, my book, The Secret Life of Stones, only continues the reversal of such abject greed and cruelty manifesting as the lack of empathy and the stupidity as we see in the examples above. Still, it seems the understandings of the consciousness and aliveness in the inanimate world, the world of matter — which are the most recent and necessary conclusions, arising from the findings of quantum physics and modern consciousness research — are the most difficult of which to grasp.  

Yet, matter is alive, is conscious. Our sciences do tell us. There is an awareness in the physical world which is beyond our imagining. The Universe is at base Consciousness, Absolute Subjectivity, Experience, or mind-stuff. This is the finding of quantum physics and Consciousness research. Does that not imply that matter and stones are, somehow, aspects of that Consciousness, mind-stuff, Experience?  

No doubt about it, there is a secret life in the Universe. It is found everywhere and in the most unlikely places. The physical world is an illusion arising from our human perception, we have found; and the fundamental reality is consciousness; it is experiential. When you look at a mountain you are seeing Experience, in some indirect way. This is the conclusion of the new physics and our latest consciousness research. There is a secret life of stones. 

The Secret Life of Stones is a journey that explores the territory approaching and bordering that overstanding of matter being alive. Not just humans, plants, and animals, but all the physical world is alive. This vision of a world pregnant with Being, beyond our imagining, is the catalyst for the revolution needed in our times. It does change everything we think we know, in science, and otherwise. It brings forth a perception of reality as something in which we are immersed that is on our side, blessing us, supporting us, encouraging us — in all ways, large and small. Regardless our actions, our successes and failures, we are part of an aliveness interpenetrating us and connecting us with alive beings, experiential unites, and higher realities. It is a web, unable to be broken, in which the spot of it we see in life — with all its drama, dead ends, seeming fragmentation, circularity, and meaninglessness — is revealed to be perfect in every detail, in spite of us.

 

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More even that that, it brings the blessing that we can be proud and noble in our rightful and truly honored place in the Universe. We can feel, rather than the cosmic aloneness to which we have relegated ourselves, the joy of cosmic belongingness, which is the right of all beings.  

To our astonishment, the discovery of modern times and current science is that the boundaries of self are arbitrary and mutable. Quantum physics and modern consciousness research have revealed the possibility, once again — using psychotechnologies such as entheogens, holotropic breathwork, shamanism, deep experiential therapies, past-life regressions, and expanded forms of primal therapy — that we are not just the All, in potential, as in an experience of “becoming one with God” or in an opening to the All That Is. Along with and more easily than that, our sciences and psychotechnologies have revealed that we can take up one of the infinite foci already existing in Reality, or in potential within It, and actually be, for a time, another entity … be it an insect; a star system; a single celled animal; a sperm or egg cell; a planet, such as Gaia, the Earth; and anything in between. And amazingly, even far beyond. 

Using these rediscovered and newly invented psychotechnologies, people are able to identify with and experience the consciousnesses not only of other planetmates — that is, of other species on Earth — but also are able to merge with and experience the consciousness of higher orders of beings: the Earth; individual planets; the galaxy; individual collections of people, such as the women of all time; and even collectives of supranormal beings and realities, including archetypal consciousnesses and their subjective experience. It is possible to experience consciousness of supposedly inanimate, non-living forms and even identify with consciousnesses on the atomic and subatomic levels.

Not only is the Universe alive and we are interconnected with it, but we find we can experience it. We can expand our boundaries or pass through them into the experiential realms of seemingly separate beings and Realities. And we discover we are all alike, inside, though we act and exist within different forms. Therefore, we can grok the inner realities of others, animate and inanimate. So trees bloom for the joy of it. Bees delight in their tasks. The ocean is deep, wise, and comforting. And the Universe is pervaded by love, which we erroneously label gravity. This is what we know because we are part of Reality, part of Nature, part of Divinity and not superior to it as the Judeo-Christian religions presume…. Or fallen from it like we are some kind of alien fruit that was somehow projected out of a tree, a Nature, that we have no part of, as fuddy-duddy scientists assume.

The Secret Life of Stones explains how all of this is so and reveals the profound implications that has for us and for how we live our lives. This book can be described as an adventure in logic surrounding an investigation into the discoveries on the cutting edge of our sciences, bringing forth the most profound and comprehensive philosophy, to date. We walk hand-in-hand through that new and wondrous country; we follow all the paths we find there, brought into view by this new cosmic overstanding.

Book Two, Dance of the Seven Veils I:

Identity/Primal Psychology, Mythology, and Your Real Self

Adult to Toddler, Veils One-Three.

This book, the second volume in The Path of Ecstasy Series, is the first of three parts on this topic of the Seven Veils. This first part answers the questions, who to be? And, what is the real self? It deals with our stage of adulthood and goes back to that of toddlerhood. It is all about pulling back the Veils of anthropocentrism and species-superiority, which is Veil One; the hidden agendas of societies and especially its elites which get construed as rites of passage and initiation into adulthood for young girls and boys and which thus corrupt their personalities along lines not their own, which is Veil Two; and the layers of parental abuse, misdirection, control and direction, for their ends, not our own, which get impressed upon us in infancy, toddlerhood, and childhood, and which coalesce as the primal scene, which is Veil Three. And which tells each and every one of us that we are not going to be loved unless we be something other than what we are, what we were meant to be, and what we were destined to be — which is our real self.

 

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Book Three, Dance of the Seven Veils II:

Prenatal/Perinatal Psychology, Mythology, and Your Divine Self

Infancy to Prenate, Veils Four-Six.

The Series continues with the second of three parts of Dance of the Seven Veils. This book, the third volume in The Path of Ecstasy Series, answers the questions, what is the Divine Self? Do we have such an inner core of being? If so, how did we lose it, so that we think we do not? And, how can we get it back?

This book is concerned with the time of our lives around birth; however it traces the psychological imprints from that time back into the womb. This work’s elucidation of the experiential realms of the prenatal is, in fact, that which distinguishes it from what has been said about this time around birth, previously, in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology.

Just as fresh to the field, it adds to that discipline by exploring the influences from our time of “prenatal hell,” during late gestation. That is something never really dealt with before and only written about by one other.1 So it is that this book has to do with the time after birth — the newborn and infancy periods — yet it extends back to the time before birth, the prenatal. However, the prenatal is divided into two separate Veils, which could not be more contrasting. There is the time of blissful existence during the first two trimesters of gestation. This is the basis of much of what I call the joy grids — which is the substratum of each human’s personality having to do with what gives them pleasure, joy, fulfillment, ecstasy, and bliss. It is our deepest self in this lifetime, and it is interconnected with the Divine. From which we had only a little time earlier separated, keep in mind.

It also expands on what happens, generally speaking, during the third trimester, when the fetus’s larger mass, in conjunction with the bipedal stance of humans, results in constriction of the blood vessels going to the prenate. The extreme compression experienced by the unborn baby at this time already causes increasingly more difficulty in movement and pressure from all sides on the body. This crowdedness in the womb brings forth claustrophobic-like feelings in the prenate of wanting to explode, yet being unable to do anything about it. No exit.

Then, because of the inefficiency of the blood flow in bringing nutrients to the fetus, which includes, most importantly of all, oxygen; it is characterized by feelings of suffocation along with the cramped feelings. Finally, because the reduced blood flow means the toxic byproducts of food conversion will not be removed as efficiently, we routinely experience feelings of being force-fed toxins, waste matter, and “poisons.” This is accompanied by feelings of nausea, sickness, and — because it seems to come from all around and yet from nowhere in particular — paranoia, the sense of a dire threat which can come from anywhere at anytime and is directed in particular at oneself.

Also consequent to this buildup of toxins in the amniotic surround is a feeling of burning or irritation on the surface of the skin. These feelings are the basis of the human evil of all times, and I call them the prenatal matrices of human evil, or the PMEs. Comprising, as they do, the greatest amount of the trauma and pain of our early lives, they are pretty much congruent with what I call the pain grids.

One of the major points of the book is that in any growth — spiritual, personal, or psychotherapeutic — the goal is to go through the pain grids, by facing, acknowledging, experiencing, and reliving them, and tapping into the joy grids beneath them. Which “joy grids” I liken to our deeper human nature. This deeper self or personhood is interconnected with and interacting with the Divine — which is a state of beingness that is the experience of that time as well as is a quality of everyday consciousness that embraces one when one reconnects with these repressed experiences in the process of personal growth as an adult.

 

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Dance of the Seven Veils II also lays out, for consideration and integration into the larger overstanding being presented, the aspects of the perinatal matrices of experience. These are matrices that have been discovered and presented to our collective understandings by Stanislav Grof.

Another aspect of this book is that it brings out the truly amazing coincidence of the events of these times with the religious ideas, theologies, iconographies, and beliefs of all cultures of all times. We discover the roots of many of the archetypes here. We can discern the imprints of that time playing into both the positive and negative proclivities of religious behavior. Naturally, these early prenatal-perinatal matrices all together — both Grof’s and mine — are the patterned substratum which gets ever and over again reflected in our basic beliefs, which we conceptualize and narrate in our mythologies.

In terms of the sequence being laid out in Dance of the Seven Veils, the time of birth itself — including the postnatal period, with its graces or horror … depending — is what I term Veil Four. The time of prenatal malnutrition and our experience of third trimester hell, with its four aspects, the PMEs, comes under the heading of Veil Five. Lastly, the time of, optimally, early blissful womb experience, connection with Divinity, and experience of harmony and buoyant optimism, confidence, and delight is what I call Veil Six.

All of these, whatever their experiential qualities — pleasureful or painful — are Veils. They are films across our comprehension because they are imprints about what Reality is that arises of our unique human experience — either individually or collectively. Thus, being a consequence of early, quite variable, quite unique (in comparison to other species) events, they cannot truly be considered accurate about what exists outside the parameters they most definitely inscribe. They comprise hard and fast prejudices about what is True and Real.

So, what is Real, then? What is Reality prior to the events which skewed our understandings of What Is so that It is a particular thing, not any other things. What actually is Naked Reality? Who were you before you were you as you think you are? What is your “original face”? Well that is what we look at in the next book.

 

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Book Four, Dance of the Seven Veils III:

Transpersonal/Periconceptional Psychology, Mythology, and Your Original Face

Cellular to Soulular, Veil Seven and Beyond.

In the third book of Dance of the Seven Veils, which is Volume 4 in The Path of Ecstasy Series, I take on the most profound of all human questions, which has to do with what is really really real. What is Reality? That is a question that lies deep at our roots, and deep in our souls.

It is no coincidence its discovery might lie at a consideration of those deepest parts of our selves. Indeed, having removed six overlying Veils upon Reality — Veils which were projected out onto our screens of perception and understanding as a result of prior experience, especially traumatic and deeply affecting ones — this is our best chance to remove the last Veil. That is exactly the purpose of all the preceding pages in these volumes and all the prior ideas which — one by one — were used to pry back the boards upon which we stand which unthinkingly create our arbitrary platform within Reality. The culmination and purpose of this entire journey approaches its fruition here.

In this third book of Dance of the Seven Veils, then, we look at the last Veil, which has to do with our periconceptional experiences. That is to say, the experiences around conception. Periconception extends back to our emergence into Form with the creation of ovum, first, and then sperm. It continues with the actual events of the coming together of ovum and sperm at conception. It passes on into the events of the fertilized egg, the blastocyst, of implantation, and finally, of early embryonal existence. We find the deepest imprints on our human reality here, periconceptionally. Hence it is our first, our deepest, our initial Veil across our ultimate identity as Divinity and our experience in the No-Form State.

 

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This Seventh Veil — the first reduction from Cosmic Awareness, the first cookie cutter on the dough of our physical reality — establishes our physical world, in many ways. We find here the creation of duality as perceived in the world, of thing and no-thing, of self and other, of forward and backward. We discover here the philosophical basis of our human reality. These are the things we believe, without any doubt. It will require the removal of all the preceding, and overlying, Veils to have a chance to grok what is to be gotten here. For at this point we border on the truly astounding and mind-blowing. All else may be interesting, is no doubt instrumental, is most of it useful; that is, in a practical psychological or spiritual sense. But here is where we “get real.” That phrase will be seen to never have been so true and profound as it is in its applicability here.

This third book of Dance of the Seven Veils pulls to the side the final Veil on Naked Reality. We see the soulular, the No-Form State, the face of Ultimate Divinity. And … we find … our Original Face, which is discovered to be part and parcel of all of that. Knowing this thing, one knows everything.

So this is where we will go in those books. We will, like Salome, do a Dance of the Seven Veils and find out what Naked Reality is more likely to be like.

Book Five, Womb with a View

The next volume in The Path of Ecstasy Series will be titled, Womb with a View, and it will continue this exposition. Much of it is already written, so I can tell you a little about what it will contain.

In Womb with a View, I will continue this look into the screens of distortion across human perception by focusing on the ways our womb experiences — our prenatal events and traumas — create our beliefs in life. You will notice that this is something I will have addressed, at this point, in Book 3, or Dance of the Seven Veils II; yet here is where I will unfold the premises and revelations therein. It will focus exclusively on this time in utero, which is the foundation of all our most profound religious beliefs.

We have already seen how our experiences of the events of this time create our beliefs about the supernatural. Here is where I will present the grand matrix of our prenatal basis of beliefs in goodness, joy, God, fulfillment, and life. Which I term the joy grids. We will see what that is in us; how it affects us in every moment of our lives; what its greatest profile is, collectively; how we have expressed it in religions, mythologies, and theologies; and most importantly, how this knowledge can be used to provide our truest direction in life and the path to our greatest fulfillment and joys.

It represents, as well, the passage beyond the constraints of our pain grids. This is the road to freedom. Many talk about it; many yearn for it. In this book I will show you what it is, where it is, and how to get to it. This is the heaven attainment. It is still one step removed from enlightenment, which is a going beyond all the Veils, including this one. Still, not bad. This is the basis for a happy life.

 

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Book Six, Cells with a View

I have presented for your consideration in this current book many examples of the way fundamental and mostly unvarying events around conception arise and configure so much of our ritual and mythologies in widely varying cultures, often widely separated in time. I have shown how much alike they are, and I have expressed to you my incredulity at the fact that their remarkable consistencies have not been catalyst for research about that previously. Which congruence of patterns cross-culturally can finally — with the understandings I present of the prenatal and perinatal precursors of them in mind — garner some possibilities for comprehension, if not ultimate conclusions.

Regardless, it would seem culture in and of itself does not exert as large an influence on cultural patterns of belief as was once thought. Nor does cultural transmission account for all similarities. We have a common substratum of being, you see, arisen of our common biological experiences as humans.

Cells with a View will dive deeply into the deepest underpinnings of our reality, as laid down in us through our absolute earliest experiences in Form. In so doing we can expect to reveal the most fundamental matrix, the deepest template of our mind, and the seeds, if not foundations, of all human beliefs and culture.

We can expect that what we see here will be at least interesting; more likely it will be enlightening of much beyond it.

Book Seven, The Prenatal Matrix of Human Events

Following Cells with a View, I have plans to write a more elaborate exposition of the “prenatal matrix of human events,” as I introduced it in my recent work, Wounded Deer and Centaurs: The Necessary Hero and the Prenatal Matrix of Human Events. Which I also expanded on here in several of the chapters, especially, Chapter 5, “The Prenatal Matrix of Human Nature,” and which I will, at the time of this book’s publication, have explored in Dance of the Seven Veils II, dealing with the prenatal and Veil Five.

There is much more to be said on this topic, and it is vitally important. As I explained in Wounded Deer and Centaurs, this prenatal matrix is virtually the root of the evil that humans distinctively manifest, out of all of Nature. More than that, it is essential we see it and remove those weeds from the meadow of human personality if life is to continue on Earth. This book, Book Seven, like Wounded Deer and Centaurs, will elaborate on why and how that can be done.

Book Eight, The Centered Path Through Hell

Beyond these first seven — i.e., this one, the other two in the Dance of the Seven Veils, The Secret Life of Stones, Womb with a View, Cells with a View, and the one elaborating on the prenatal matrix — six more works are in this queue, at this time. These include one that would be about the centered path through hell. This one follows logically the one elaborating the prenatal matrix and explaining the source of human evil. For this one begins discussing the path that is necessary in order to go beyond those hellacious influences. It is one that involves facing and going through them in order, like Dante proceeding through Inferno and Purgatorio, to release oneself from their influences.

This work will include important corrections to common spiritual thinking, including my stressing the truth that the path to liberation involves facing the darkness. Unless one deals with the pain-evolved proclivities in one’s personality, one might simply become a calmer crazy person, with spiritual or religious practice. Or, as Jung put it, “One does not become enlightened by imaging figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” This book, as well, will highlight a fundamental acknowledgment that the path to authenticity, to rootedness in Divinity, is not a ladder-style one, as Wilber and transpersonal Ego psychologists think of it. Rather, an authentic spiritual path embraces, as Hesse phrased it, “seeking the depths.” As Jung also wrote, “There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” My book on the centered path through hell, correspondingly, acknowledges that “the way forward is down.”

 

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This work reveals the equally disastrous matriarchal and patriarchal mistakes that are made in the spiritual quest. And in noticing the mistakes to the left and to the right of true-footedness it carves a road, a centered path, avoiding them. It shows how to keep oneself centered and unharmed while also proceeding in the direction down, into one’s feelings, into life experience, hence metaphorically, into “hell.” This book would be Beatrice to Dante in his Divine Comedy.

So this work focuses, for one thing, on the matriarchal mistakes we make on the path, which delays or blocks our progress. These matriarchal mistakes have to do with opening to overwhelm through various reckless means, at the times when actualization, not more access to potentiality, is what is warranted, as I explained in Chapter 39 on “Identity and the Sea of Potentiality.” At this time, I expect to include, additionally, in this particular book some of the ideas I was laying out in that chapter on Identity and potentiality about the dangers of mysticism for “modern” youth. So “the centered path through hell” book will also deal with Identity, potentiality, rites of passage, youth and mid-life and other liminal crises, drugs and their effect on the process, multiculturalism, the occult, and generations — mine of the Sixties and the ones subsequent.

However even more importantly this work on the centered path through hell deals with the much more widespread patriarchal mistakes we make. Especially in that we live in a patriarchal world, almost totally, and going back ten thousand years and more in some places, the patriarchal mistakes virtually riddle our religious and spiritual beliefs and even our ideas of personal and psychological growth. These patriarchal mistakes predominantly involve the use of control, versus surrender, and mastery, versus vulnerability, on the path. These are Ego mistakes, they are ones that are ladder-like and intellectual and are rooted in a false reliance on “rationality” as a tool of spiritual growth. Which “rationality” is an aspect of Ego, as opposed to intuition, faith, guidance from within and without, and grace.

Book Nine, The Journey of Re-Membering … The Four Phases of Self-Awareness

After this in line is a book on the “the journey of re-membering,” with a title something like that. Following the corrections to the misunderstandings of spiritual evolution unveiled in the previous book on the “centered path,” I have laid out a volume detailing the path to ecstasy and Self, or Divinity, as it proceeds in four stages, which are four completely different orientations to life itself.

These are four truly distinct phases of self-awareness that those who become liberated embody and go through in this life and over the course of their incarnations. It is the path involved in moving out from the prejudices and the evil that accrue to us all, as described in the first seven books of this Path of Ecstasy Series. The book previous to this one, the eighth volume, dealing with the “centered path,” focuses on the mistakes common on the road of self-actualization. Whereas this one, on stages, takes a look at what that path entails. So this book, by contrast to “centered path,” is the one that will depict the true and authentic route of realization — the one avoiding the pitfalls of matriarchality and patriarchality which in one way or another keeps one stuck in hellish misery.

Once one realizes the way of the centered path through hell, then, there are four phases of expanding self-understanding that are related, roughly, to four stages of life, correctly lived. More importantly these four phases are related to levels of the unconscious — each deeper and more expansive than the previous. Thus they lead to the superconscious, once those levels are embraced, incorporated, and gone beyond.

These phases of self-awareness were inspired by Masters and Houston (1966, 2000) in their seminal work, The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience. These levels — congruent with Masters and Houston’s model of the entheogenic experience itself — are the sensory, the recollective-analytic, the symbolic-existential, and the integral. Don’t worry I’ll come up with “sexier” labels for them by print time. lol. At any rate, these stages are found in virtually all valid spiritual, psychological, transpersonal paths of evolution or growth to liberation. Therefore, they provide a yardstick against which one can evaluate one’s progress. They can provide direction, when needed; and confirmation, when that is what would help.

Book Ten, Primal Spirituality and the Primal Process … The Second Half of “The Cure”

The book following that, a tenth book in the Series, is the one I am anxious to bring to print. It is on “primal spirituality.” I have several parts of it currently online, including “Only Half a Cure: Unconditional Acceptance and the Primal Process” (1993); “Reunion with the Positive (Self), Part 1 (1995); and “Creating Positive Scenarios” (1995). These are ideas that have already melded into the culture of the field of primal therapy, by now, as I brought these ideas out initially in the early Nineties. But I have much much more to say on them. And it is very important.

For one thing, the fact that it is radical unconditional acceptance that truly allows growth, that truly heals, is hardly known. Outside of the primal modality, and unfortunately sometimes even under its aegis, it is missed. If it is known, it is rarely understood sufficiently for it to bring about the powerful transformation it can. This of which I speak goes way beyond Carl Rogers’s (1961) admirable therapeutic advances termed client-centered, by the way.

However, it is truly difficult for facilitators to apply it without having done considerable deep experiential work themselves. For, predictably in a patriarchal culture and a capitalist system of economy, everything pushes in the direction of a medical-type model of growth and healing; where facilitators can get paid to give direction, provide advice, and so on … to be authorities and to be esteemed and paid that way. Fine for them, but basically that usurps the growing person’s primary mechanism for growth — which is the self-realization coming from within. Beyond that, the authority-citizen, the teacher-student, the doctor-patient mode is the only one that a person, whether counselor or client, has encountered in life, usually. The client expects it; the counselor often does not know there is anything wrong with it. Hell, what else would they be getting paid for? Why else should folks give them money except for they telling them what they need to know and fixing them wherever one thinks one can?

Nonetheless, there is a mode of radical unconditional acceptance, as we learned it in primal therapy. It is close to what Tav Sparks — the current director of Grof Transpersonal Training — is getting at in his manual Doing Not Doing: A Facilitators Guide to Holotropic Breathwork. Hard to explain, it is, but I will in my forthcoming book. For now I offer this as analogy: I am reminded that as a one-time community activist I was taught that organizers do not succeed by doing what is needed to be done, but rather by encouraging others in the group, and then stepping to the side when an event arises, so that those in the community can be motivated to step up and can learn to be leaders and initiators of change. That in no case should one step in, even if failure results, for that precludes people finding their own power, their own ability to lead and initiate progressive action.

Well, the vast majority of healers and psychotherapists are way behind the curve in learning this, unfortunately. The temptation of wanting to be seen as an authority, to be able to label oneself a “professional” … the ego and the remuneration involved in that … is virtually impossible for most would-be healers to forgo. So, that point is important to bring out in this upcoming work.

The other aspect of this book, which I see now is also very very important … I think even more so as time goes by … has to do with the final movements in the spiritual symphony. This is where so many get stuck. My experience is that even primal people, not to mention folks in virtually all spiritual and psychological paths, get this wrong. If you have come here by way of The Secret Life of Stones, think back to what I said about the spherical path versus the circular ones, in Chapter 31 of that book. Virtually all spiritual and psychological modalities see everything in terms of “balancing” opposites or “integrating” dualities within the person. And there is a huge flaw in that. I want to make a joke and say it implies that being an asshole is fine as long as one does it only half the time. And while that hits on part of it, the problem far surpasses that.

Even in my “centered path” book, I stress that it is not about “balancing” or “integrating” matriarchal and patriarchal ways but forgoing them, for what good is it to make two mistakes, however equally? One is not benefited by opening to overwhelm, a matriarchal mistake, and then alternately enlisting ruthless body-bullying will power, a patriarchal error. What is best is to avoid both blunders and learn to surrender to an inner flow that has one naturally unfolding and effortlessly actualizing, not in a “balanced” way but in a seamless way.

Hence, as one would expect in models that are circular, indeed yes, they go round and round and go nowhere. For they are ever trying to fix the person prior to or outside the person’s engagement in the world. This is another aspect of the medical model. For the medical model does not only have the problem of authoritarianism coming about because of its paid authorities, but it also has a category of “sickness”; hence, withdrawal from the world is included as an aspect of that. So also do virtually all spiritual paths involve such a retreat from life. This is the “monastery” stage — the contemplative or meditative or therapy arc of the process of growth.

Now, certainly it is important to have liminal times for growth. I stressed that repeatedly in this book under Veil Two, especially when I referred to experiences mimicking vision quests or hero’s cycles. But there is a problem in this as well. For what usually happens is those liminal times get clung to by sick people. Then to add to that, these folks are encouraged in their dependency by professionals who can hardly keep from operating out of motives of financial gain, since they live in and are constantly pressured by the demands of a capitalist system. Dependent clients make for steady streams of income, you see.

So a huge realization is missed: It is what I call the second half of the cure. And it is embodied in this statement, that:

 

It is only when one aligns oneself with a cause beyond oneself that one is truly healed.

 

For in doing so, one is lifted out of oneself into a larger, and higher, reality in which one’s Pain is not focused on, is inconsequential, hence becomes forgotten.

Another reason this is not seen is that professionals who might lead — whether in psychotherapeutic or spiritual milieus — are often ones who are themselves stuck. Indeed, they then are pied pipers. They are blocked themselves, are often unhappy and unliberated, yet they feel the need to pass on what has not worked for them … for regardless its barrenness of results, hell, they worked and paid hard for it! They tell themselves that it is okay for them to do that, for — with faith as blind as any fundamentalist — surely they will at some point, somewhere in the future, sometime, succeed in what they have been trying to achieve.

What is funny is how they sometimes will try to convince others — they will brandish it as some kind of badge of courage — that there are no real answers, as a way of rationalizing to themselves their failure and avoiding the necessary correction in their path that their failure is trying to reveal to them. Saying silly things, meant to come across as bravado, like “the only answer is there are no answers,” and such, they affirm their dead end in growth as a value. And they hate like hell any insinuation that there are actual answers and that they have simply been failures in finding them in this life.

This cul de sac is often the street signed, Existential Circle. Folks living there do not know of the freeways beyond where they live and try to convince you to live there with them. They would have you believe the “no exit” and “dead end” signs you notice are just more proof of their hardiness in living there anyway. Though perhaps being tough-minded in a losing cause is not very smart? However macho it might seem to be in some kind of existential no-nonsense “real-world”–worshiping way?

The other reason the second half of the cure — the one involving higher causes, fate, actualization, destiny, and atmadharma — is missed is related to that monkish mistake in that once retreat is taken as a value, one finds all kinds of ways to deprecate more active paths, paths of activism and service in this world. You will hear such folks decry politics, as in some egoic way of trying to put out that they are above that stuff, would not get their hands dirty. They refer to politics as “negativity,” perhaps, or “drama.” And they proclaim how they are superior in “not getting caught up in that” — those “petty concerns of this world.” However, in truth, it is simply that they are fearful of venturing outside their cocoon of the monastic, the fearful, the narcissistic, the self-obsessed — that hypochondriacal cul de sac they have made a home and rationalized as a value.

Regardless the reasons, all these folks miss the culmination of the healing process, which is expressed in the final stage of the hero’s cycle, when one brings back to the world what one has learned in the liminal state. It is related to what Maslow called self-actualization. It is parallel to what Sathya Sai Baba called the path of service (of seva, in the Sanskrit), which according to him was far far superior to the meditative route. Indeed, Sai Baba explained how the meditative route was not a properly fruitful spiritual route at all. That it was just a kind of way of doing mental spring-cleaning, so to speak. That it was only the paths involving service in the world and to society or to something beyond oneself that are any kind of spiritual paths. Castaneda in enjoining one to choose “a path with a heart” was saying something similar. In any case, this is what I agree with, what I think it is vitally important for folks to know, and what I bring out in the ideas on “the second half of the cure.”

So in terms of being healed, it is true in practice that one will not be really complete or authentic until one finds a way to bring what one has learned out into the world in some kind of helpful way, often by applying it to some cause of importance, often involving the relief or prevention of suffering to some beings other than oneself, for a change. This actualization of what was discovered within is clearly evident in vision-quest sorts of experiential cycles; it is the final stage of the Hero’s Cycle; Janov has alluded to it in his explanation of the “dialectic” between feeling feelings and action in the world; and I have written at length — in Wounded Deer and Centaurs, especially — how the myth of Chiron as the ever-suffering centaur, become the “wounded healer, is showing us this need.

And, yes, this activism is the missing component in virtually all spiritual and psychological paths. I touched on it in the first book, as well, in The Secret Life of Stones. There, I wrote about the bodhisattva path, for example. But again there is far far more to be said about it. What I want folks to get out of this upcoming book on primal spirituality and the primal process is the release into knowing that one gains oneself when one gives oneself. That sickness and neurosis and Pain cause one to look inward — that is fine. But staying constrained and fearful keeps one stuck in misery and neurosis, in directionlessness and meaninglessness. What I want folks to know is that there is a grand and beautiful and fulfilling world out there in which to participate. And that at a certain point, far earlier than most folks know, the way to grow is to stretch out to it, to stretch past one’s Pain. And to align with something that measures up suitably with what one discovered within.

It is because spiritual paths tend to draw to them introverts that this is not seen. Introverts hate like crazy having to do anything that would seem to require something like extroversion. Understandable, of course. However, they then rationalize it is not needed and is inferior to them and their path. But this is out of a mistaken notion of what activism or a higher cause is. So this is their fear or prejudice that they need to put behind them in order to feel free.

By the way, though I am not planning a book on it, extroverts, who naturally embrace activism as a matter of course, have the complementary problem in the way they pooh pooh inwardness. Yet, as I have been saying in my books, especially Funny God, that is their tragic mistake, as well. And it is the one needing correction in order for actual success on the pressing problems of the world to be had.

Now, this notion regarding a necessary engagement in the world and alignment with a cause greater than oneself is something I did actually say a bit about in The Secret Life of Stones in the chapter on gods being seen as demons, Chapter 34. I pointed out the hero’s cycle aspects of the alien abduction phenomena. And quoting Joseph Campbell (1972) and Keith Thompson (1989), I was making the point that a liminal time — a time of social “alienation” and living on the borders of one’s group, of retreat and reevaluation, of moratorium — is an absolutely essential stage in the cycle. But that if one does not come back to the world … one is “harassed night and day by the demon within.”

This problem of emotionally sick people clinging to the liminal world — spending one’s time immersed in fantasy and in wishing things were a different way is the way this commonly manifests — is in the camp of what Campbell (1972) called the “refusal of the return.” Similar, though different, is something I dealt with in this book in detailing what happened in America when the counterculture revolution and awakening was crushed by the fearful and the powers-that-be of the second half of the Twentieth Century, which is in the category of Campbell’s “refusal of the call.”

The point is that one needs to take what one learns and bring it back to the world. It is only then, with the cycle complete, that one gets relief. Indeed, one gets liberation. And more important than those, one feels fulfillment in the surety that one has been helpful; and one is rewarded being at home in a place among the noble ones who have lifted the suffering of the world a tad. Knowing that, is the wholiest blessing of all.

So, in summary, the book on primal process will explain how to traverse the path of Re-Membering described in the previous book on the four phases of self-discovery. It will explain the process, its permutations; and it will show how to “go in” — that unconditional acceptance and the primal process. But also it will unveil how to “come back out” — the second half of the cure.

 

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Book Eleven, Authenticity Rising

The book planned for after that is one about current times and its cultural changes which involve a shift to the importance and valuing of authenticity. It is a book on “authenticity rising.” And it will show how the current state of the world in so many aspects — multiculturalism, mass media, social networking and the internet, and the environmental and political and civil crises of the day — is pushing for more and allowing for more in terms of personhood. I will show how this powerful and promising trend is raising itself up, as well I will show the powerful forces seeking to push it back down … to snuff it out. There is authenticity vying with conformity and the status quo. There is original and dharmic roles and living going head to head with the incessant, relentless demands of a material industrial corporate culture and its governments, geared to keep the masses compliant, unmoving, uncomplaining … but also ungrowing. Only time will tell who will win out.

Book Twelve, Return to Grace … The Crisis and Opportunity of End Times

What follows naturally from a book on current times and its craving for authenticity is the outer — or the social, historical, current events aspect of that. For not only is there an increasing hunger for realness and truth, the times themselves are demanding genuineness and integrity of us. No less than the survival of all life on this planet is at stake. This is the greatest crisis.

However, it is also the grandest opportunity for folks to find themselves and to participate in a cause beyond themselves. There has never been a time so ripe for personal fulfillment alongside and within a time so dire and having such momentous consequences. There has never been a better time for heroes to come forth and rainbow warriors to awaken. This is the grandest adventure of all time, the greatest story ever being told on Earth, and it is happening in our lifetimes. We are lucky to be here, despite the dark cloud of gloom and doom approaching. For we can never be better than we are able to be now. The brightest angels of our beings are being summoned at this exact time, like never before.

So this book, Book Twelve, will explore the unique and apocalyptic character of our times … in all its wondrous implications.

Book Thirteen, The Cosmic Overstanding … You, God, and Identity

The final book in this series, at least the way it is all being envisioned at this time, not only caps off the entire series in a kind of culmination, but it brings it back around again to some of the themes of the first volume, The Secret Life of Stones. For Volume I of The Path of Ecstasy Series dealt with the nature of Reality in all its components. And it pointed to some implications of that for one’s life.

Well, in this final book, I will put forth the greatest overstanding — The Cosmic Overstanding — of us in relation to the Universe as revealed in that first book, especially, but also all subsequent volumes. Whereas The Secret Life of Stones (2016) was about the nature of matter and Divinity, the final book will be about the nature of The Game, our script, and how we can be liberated within it. It will expand the ideas of “The Mind’s True Liberation” as put forth in Part Three of Funny God: The Tao of Funny God and the Mind’s True Liberation (2015), as well as conveyed in Part Three, “Experience Is Divinity” of the book by the same name (2013).

It will do far more than explain the path of liberation, though. Let alone, give you steps to achieve it — that kind of direction and to-doing of you is something I would never do. Rather, it will embody it … embody liberation. It might also open your eyes to the realization that you already are.

The Path of Ecstasy Series, Summary

In summary these books are:

Book 1. The Secret Life of Stones: Matter, Divinity, and the Path of Ecstasy. It dealt with the metaphysical nature of Reality as Idealist and panentheistic, as an experiential pool in which you, along with everyone and everything else is immersed. In which you belong, are never alone, and are noble. And in which ultimately, you are Divinity.

Book 2, this one: Dance of the Seven Veils I: Primal/Identity Psychology, Mythology, and Your Real Self. It answers the questions, who to be? And, what is the real self? And it is concerned with our anthropocentric bias as a human, and the time of our adulthood back to our time as a toddler. Which is Veils One through Three.

Book 3. Dance of the Seven Veils II: Prenatal/Perinatal Psychology, Mythology, and Your Divine Self. It will be concerned with the questions, how to be happy? And, what is the Divine Self? It deals with the pain grids as laid down in us through our prenatal and perinatal experiences. Importantly, though, it reveals the joy grids, deep inside us and imprinted in us through our early womb experiences. This is Veils Four through Six.

Book 4. Dance of the Seven Veils III: Periconceptional/Transpersonal Psychology, Mythology, and Naked Reality. This book will look into the actual nature of Existence. More importantly it will answer the questions, what is Naked Reality? And, what is our existence in the No-Form State? Which is the state in the place that is no-place and the time that is no-time both before and after this current incarnation. Naturally, it is the no-place, since it is outside of Form, or physical reality, and one can be everywhere in a place that is nowhere. However, since time is an illusion, it is also in no-time, which means an aspect of yourself exists in it right now.

The book also addresses what is the nature of No-Form beings and our existence in our No-Form aspect, our soul. Additionally, Dance of the Seven Veils III reveals the spiritual grids, which are the absolute earliest imprints we have while in Form, and which themselves need to be journeyed beyond. These spiritual grids are concerned with our cellular and soulular existences, and so, with Veil Seven, and beyond it.

Book 5. Womb with a View. This will be about how our womb experiences create our religions and supernatural beliefs and how those pre- and perinatal experiences show up in our mythologies, our spiritualities, and our theologies.

It will get into biology as both metaphor and mythology to elaborate upon what our bodies and our early biological experiences tell us about life, Reality, and our purpose and meaning of life … and how that is reflected back again upon us in our mythologies and religious beliefs.

Book 6. Cells with a View. This work will tell how our earliest experiences of life at the cellular level create our physical world and our deepest assumptions about Reality. It will uncover how these early imprints show up in the makeup of the world of matter and Nature, which we share; and of the time, cosmos, and supernatural that we assume.

Book 7. On the prenatal matrix of human events. Here will be laid out for review and insight how our late-stage gestation experiences configure our actions … how they give rise to human evil … how they are the origins of the brutality and atrocities of all time and how they are hence not our true human nature. So they can finally be gone beyond when that is recognized and addressed.

Book 8. On the centered path through hell and the way forward is down. This work will take up and strip away the matriarchal and patriarchal mistakes which mar a true apprehension of our journey. Hence it will also unveil a centered and safe navigation of our way through our Pain and dis-ease on the way to our liberation.

Book 9. On the journey of re-membering and the four phases of self-discovery. This one delineates the path of ecstasy to Self, or Divinity, as it is found in the transpersonal paths of all times and places. It shows how each of us travel from Pain and darkness to ecstasy and reunion, from the prenatal matrix to the cosmic overstanding.

Book 10. On primal spirituality and the primal process. It will reveal how radical unconditional acceptance heals and how anything less hurts or diverts. More importantly, it will unveil the necessary stage, the second half of the cure, which involves aligning with something greater than oneself — a cause, a principle, a duty, or a blessing — as the way to finally achieve release from the tortuous prison of ego, of primal pain.

Book 11. On authenticity rising. This book will dive deep into some auspicious trends in our postmodern society involving the goals that the masses are fashioning and the feelings and personalities that are being valued. This craving for genuineness, this adherence to only the real, this no-nonsense insistence on truth … “Just give me some truth!” as John Lennon asserted it … could not have happened at a better time. And it is none too soon.

Book 12. On return to grace and the crisis and opportunity of end times. This book will bring out the unparalleled fortune of our times even as we stand on the brink of disasters as great as eco-apocalypse.

Book 13. Finally, The Cosmic Overstanding: You, God, and Identity will present the good news involved in a new paradigm as it rises up from all these understandings, and more. Consistent with consciousness studies and quantum physics, yet revealing a friendly and loving reality, it says what we can rely on, why we should have hope, and how there is no reason not to be happy and free, at this time, even as we apply ourselves. For we are always and everywhere assisted and saved, uplifted and loved, even “in spite of ourselves.”

Other Books and Series

Just an fyi, I have intentions for other series — some of which I have done already considerable work on.

The Stages of Re-Membering Series

For a very long time — for forty-five years, in fact — in the works has been the elaboration, in four volumes, of the phases of re-membering or the four stages of self-understanding. These ideas, at this time hopefully, will have already been published initially in one work, as Book 9, above. These four volumes expanding on the earlier one — this Stages of Re-Membering Series — would include, again with sexier titles by print time:

Book 1. The Sensory. This describes the place from which we all start. It is a way of apprehending world and life where sensory experiences are all that matter and the sensory and the material are all that has value. Regardless what “religious” beliefs people have, we start with a “fundamentalist” view of the world of it being comprised of things. We might be the average person seeking, in the “venerable” words of George W. Bush, to “throw food on their families” (lol). We might be the careerist. We might be the religious-minded, thinking that God created us five thousand years ago in a Garden of Eden, who can’t wait to get lifted up in the skies physically when the Rapture comes. It could be the Catholic thinking that at the end of time God is going to raise all the bodies from the graves, refurbish them somehow, and then the lucky of us are going to get to hang out in “heaven” in those bodies. I just hope they have grilled cheese sandwiches, in that case.

And regardless, what is valued as a goal is the accumulation of sensory experience in life, as much as possible. So it is aligned with the struggle for wealth, as well, in that it is seen that it is money that allows more sensory experience — whether that is the finest vacations, the most elegant residences, the most sophisticated dining, or the most daredevil of stunts … or having the most accomplished of sexual partners, the most variety and amount of sexual experiences.

At this level of personal development, or spiritual advance, if there are any goals beyond surviving and increasing the pleasure quotient of life to the max, they center around stuffing as much as possible of different experiences into one’s life, having the longest “bucket list” and accomplishing them. The more parties, the more sexual partners, the more cars, the more planes jumped out of, the more motorcycles raced, horses rode, medals won, the more lavish repasts and exotic locales visited, the winner … or as they boast, those who are at this level, “the one with the most toys at the end wins.”

This is the sensory level of evolution back to Grace. This is where we start after having been diminished by the four falls from Grace as we came into this world. It is the one everyone knows; it is the one you are the most familiar with, even if you have grown past it. For we each contain it even if we supersede it. For these levels are not about different stops on a bus route, they are about expanding outward in all directions at once. So the innermost circle, this sensory one, is encompassed in all beyond it. It is integrated within one’s personality, even if one has reached past it to place the focus, the interest, of one’s life elsewhere and beyond it, in the domain of one of the outer rings from it.

As a stage of life, the sensory level is childhood. Regardless how we evolve afterward, virtually every one of us in childhood apprehends the world this way and has these kinds of values. As a spiritual experience, it is the one most are aware of, where there is enhanced sensory experience; sensory experience that is open and wonderful as a child’s, but which doesn’t go beyond that.

Book 2. The Recollective-Analytic. Some folks, however, enter upon a search for Identity in youth that involves more than simply finding out what route one might best take to acquire the materials of life and to draw to oneself the sensory experiences desired — the pleasures of the world including all the above from stage one as well as sex, spouse, family, and friends. Such individuals, instead, seek a grander identity and wish to know a more ultimate truth. And it might arise at any time of life, actually, not just youth. Especially so it might arise after the occurrence of a life-shattering tragedy. Often it emerges in mid-life, as Jung chronicled, when life’s material and sensory attainments are revealed as the shallowness they are. Nevertheless, it is an Identity stage that contains all the components of the one at youth, and some folks in youth do embark on it.

People often do not choose it — this opening into self-reflection. It is frequently forced upon one, rather, as a result of a tragedy: One experiences a serious illness or the death of someone close to one or has an accident, a career disaster, a heart-breaking love disappointment, or some other major misfortune. And this unexpected stumbling block on one’s well-planned route to material, sensory, and social success, this enforced “moratorium” from life, causes the initial inward turning. One wants to know “Why?” As in “Why me (Lord)?” “What’s it all about?” “What’s wrong with me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” In response one becomes reflective. One turns self-analytical. One begins the process of self-inquiry that is the initial and necessary stage of any and all spiritual or personal evolution.

This stage of spirituality has its corollary in the life stages as the student phase of life. Indeed, often this quest begins in college. However, the recollective-analytic as a spiritually evolutionary phase involves more of a vision quest, or of an existential search for meaning, than occurs for the average youth or student. And all things considered, this search for identity, for who to be in life and what to do, takes on the character mostly of a more profound and wider search — that for self-understanding.

Book 3. The Symbolic-Existential. This phase of spiritual evolution comes about after one has discovered some aspects of self (and Self) on the inner plane, through the previous stage, that one wishes, rather needs, to express and bring to the world. I talked above how this is a necessary stage in the primal process. Indeed it is, but in all other processes of growth it is vital as well. In terms of the primal process, the therapy stage would be the recollective-analytic above, from Book 2 of the Stages of Re-Membering Series; and this book would be the actualization phase required, or, as explained above, “the second half of ‘the cure.’”

This stage is existential for it involves immersing oneself fully in existence, in the game here and now that one came to human form on Earth to play. It is symbolic as well, for it has mythological overtones. This is the phase often depicted in mythologies, which portray the path, the journey, of everyman-woman through life. It is the life as lived by the “hero of a thousand faces,” as Campbell laid it out, and as exists in all cultures and is available for all peoples.

It is the facing of challenges, the overcoming of obstacles, the expression of what was discovered within and now in the context of society and the rest of life and the world. From stage one to stage two it was a leaving of the fold, the community, society. From stage two to stage three it is a returning to the fold, the community, the society, although perhaps not the same one. For as Tom Wolfe said, “one can never go home again.” In that case it is about finding one’s tribe and then participating in it.

It is dramatic; it is the grandest theater, for the stakes are high. It is the life that is worthy of a soundtrack, so to speak. For it is urgent and necessary to bring to the world what one uniquely can. No one else can do it. And if you fail in it, the world will simply lack forever whatever it is you came here to contribute.

This stage of spiritual evolution is full and fulfilling but stressful, intense, and all-encompassing. Failure in one’s task is the thing most feared. Not loss of material things or lack of avenues for sensory gratification. Not either is the problem that of confusion and wondering about “it all.” One does not feel here that one lacks meaning in life or considers life to be empty. There are always periods of self-reflection and re-evaluation at every stage. But in this one, one is not obsessed by that, is not paralyzed by that. One does not retreat from the world; one throws oneself into it … eager to do and belong in it. For here, at this stage, one knows enough about “it all” to know that the world lacks and needs what one can uniquely bring it. So responsibility is laid upon one’s actions as well.

It is the heroic quest, thus mythologically important, and is in that sense “symbolic.” It is immersion in life experience; it is the experiential path of evolution, it is one where one is lined up with a cause higher than oneself … thus it is existential.

It corresponds to the adult time of life, though few adults in any society bring adulthood to fruition in the way it needs to happen in order for it to be a stage in liberation. But some do. Creative and spiritual people in particular know what I am talking about here. And when one fulfills one’s life and purpose in this grandest of fashions, the next ring of the circle of growth becomes accessible. That’s a crucial point of this whole series, by the way: Which is that one cannot “jump” to the final stage from the first or second stages, but must traverse each of them, all three of them, before the doorway to the final way of being opens.

Notice, these are rings outward, with each one encompassing all the ones that preceded it. They are not rungs of a ladder in which each step takes one further away from what was below and wherein the earliest efforts are left behind and forgotten, no longer feeding or fulfilling the ones following, no longer being a headspring for ever greater wisdom. No. Each phase is enclosed within every level following it. Each way of being, with all its advancing vision and expanding awareness, is integrated within more comprehensive and truer stances in life, that it is to say, in larger wholes.

So one edges outward along the circumference of one’s self, bordering on the Divine. Here is where the magic is palpable. One has grown in purpose to the point where it brings about the next stage, the Integral.

Book 4. The Integral. This is the one the spiritual literature talks about. It corresponds to the sannyasi stage of life in the Indian culture. It corresponds to Jung’s Wise Old Man and Crone archetypes, framed as stages of life and spiritual evolution. At this point one has fulfilled oneself in relation to the society; one has done one’s Atmic duty. One approaches the Cosmic. It is not about getting anywhere at this point, it is about being here.

As I said in a previous chapter, first there is a mountain, that is the Sensory. Then there is no mountain, that is the Recollective-Analytic. Then there is … this is the Symbolic-Existential. And at this stage of the Integral one has gone beyond even that, and one has merged into Self. And if still alive, one expresses and operates out of that Source. This is the stage of the individuated person, using Jung’s terminology. In the spiritual literature, much more is said about this stage of spiritual evolution than any other, for it is the one wherein one is on the doorstep of the “goal.”

However, that reveals a mistake as well. For although in Hindu culture these stages are reflected as the four stages of a human life, if one looks in the spiritual literature it is as if this is the only stage and one can attain liberation from any of the other stages of life. Whereas that is not the case.

We now know that one cannot jump from sensory experience to enlightenment. If one takes an entheogen at that first stage, the Sensory one, all one can expect is enhanced sensory experiences. At the most there is possible an opening to the Recollective-Analytic. The experience might lead to deeper self-reflection and/or the undertaking of a spiritual quest for understanding and liberation. It might even lead to a break-down that hopefully, sooner or later, will be seen to be the break-through it in actuality is. In such case it is termed a spiritual emergency, and it is not at all pleasant or comfortable … one’s self-esteem gets wrecked, for one thing … regardless how growthful and necessary it turns out to be. In any case, that is just the beginning.

Similarly, one cannot expect to jump from the Recollective-Analytic, the monastic, the student phase directly to liberation. That is what I was stressing in what I said regarding the book that will be about the second half of the cure. One needs to bring one’s re-freshed, re-newed, re-born self into the world and add what one can to it, in engagement with the community of souls and the life on this planet. One can do that in parts, for one should always keep one foot in the world of self-evaluation, but one needs to embark on self-actualization where and when one can. It is the dialectic between the two that catalyzes growth. One goes from self-understanding to worldly actualization and inevitably confronts obstacles. Leading one back for more self-inquiry; then out into the world again, to expression and participation; which sooner or later finds stumbling blocks. Leading one inward again for another stint at the drawing board, followed by another ad-venture, and round and round again.

Nevertheless, this fruitful and often ebullient process is not the Integral stage. The Integral stage is the dawning of wisdom, or at least the beginning of that. It is open-hearted beingness in the world; palpable reunion with all life, all Experience; it is both cosmic and community belongingness at once. And that can only come about through participation and immersion, fully, in the pulsing phases of expansion, previous.

The Quadrilogy, Remembering

The other series I have planned at this time has to do with the quadrilogy, the novel in four books that I have worked on over the years. The name of the quadrilogy is Remembering. It comprises four books. Book One: Leaving. Book Two: Looking. Book Three: Arriving. And Book Four: Being Here.

Perhaps these titles make sense after what I was just relating about the four stages of re-membering above? In any case, it is true these novels are fictional expressions of the ideas of the four stages of self-understanding of the Journey of Re-Membering Series described above.

Finally, I have plans to fill out the ideas of Falls from Grace (2014) in a series of four books covering each of the phases: The First Fall, Conception. The Second Fall, Birth. The Third Fall, the Primal Scene. And The Fourth Fall, Identity. And more immediately in the future, are the books in the Return to Grace Series, titled, Psychology of Apocalypse; Back to the Garden; Primal Return; Primal Renaissance; The Necessary Revolution, and Return to Grace. Also, with no apparent series for them to find a home, are these six books in process: Prenatal Earth; The Primal Matrix of Being; Who to Be; An Existential Metaphysical; The Psychology of Generations; and The Secret of Men.

I am not going to say any more, and I have already said too much. For these plans are likely to change, indeed they undoubtedly will. What usually happens is these plans expand as put into practice, so that more books will be added. But you see here the grandest overview possible of what you can look forward to in the upcoming years. This is a look at what is enroute and will appear, barring unforeseen circumstances. That is, as they say, this is what will arrive, “the Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.” Lol.

We will see what the Universe wants and what it will support. So far, It has wanted and has supported a prolific amount! As for the future, well, stay tuned.

 

 

           

— from Afterword, titled “Continue with Dance of the Seven Veils II and about The Path of Ecstasy Series”

— of *Dance of the Seven Veils I: Primal/Identity Psychology, Mythology, and Your Real Self* by Michael Adzema, now available in print and e-book formats.

 

Click for a free downloadable copy of this excerpt from *Dance of the Seven Veils I*, with my compliments.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michael Adzema. Video below … interviewed by Michael Harrell

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 https://youtu.be/2mm9OBbYjRE 

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— Related: See also other published versions of these ideas….

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*Dance of the Seven Veils  I(2017). 

At Amazon at

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At Amazon at
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*Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness* (2014).

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At Amazon at
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See Michael Adzema at Amazon for any other of the eleven books currently in print.
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Out of Eden, Part Four — Secondary Altriciality and the Origins of Culture: Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction and What It Has to Do With Being Born Helpless

Out-of-the-Garden unnatural-birth

Human Nature, Culture, Pelvic Size, and Plato’s Cave: Needs Which We as Newborns Ache to Fulfill Are Satisfied by Other Species Perfectly adam_and_eve

Secondary Altriciality and Culture

Let us now add another factor to this development of supposed intelligence and culture. Let us talk about the consequences of secondary altriciality.  As I said, altricial means humans are born helpless. We would die if not cared for. Secondary altriciality of humans, and only humans, means our brains and consequent functioning are even less advanced than other species at birth. We are, in essence, born premature relative to other species.

The_Birth_of_Venus_by_lpeters

So, the consequence of secondary altriciality is that the newborn requires a period after birth of getting its needs satisfied in the same complete way as it did prior to that in the womb. This is a characteristic of Homo sapiens. It is another one of those very few things that definitively distinguishes us from all other species known. That is, the human infant is in a more dependent state, when born, than any other species, when its young is born. The human infant at birth in terms of its degree of development, is at a level corresponding to that at which, in every other mammal, it would still be in the womb.  In other words, we are born, comparatively, “premature.”

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By comparison, all other mammals, when born, are more able to provide for themselves, are further along in their development toward independence when born, are more capable of bringing about or at least initiating the satisfaction of their needs . . . hence they are less dependent, and vulnerable, than are human infants.

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Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Secondary altriciality in human infants means that there is a greater need for care, for “mothering” — because of the newborn’s greater helplessness, greater dependence, greater vulnerability — than that of all other mammals postnatally. But even the best mothering cannot be as perfect in satisfying the infant’s biological needs as was the situation for it in the womb. Hence, there is going to be a gap between need and fulfillment inherent in this prematurity, an inherent frustration of need to at least some extent, and, hence, inherently an increase of at least some amount, in the degree of pain suffered by the newborn and infant in the nonsatisfaction or incomplete satisfaction of its biological needs.

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But secondary altriciality is important in another respect.  Since this phase represents a dependent phase that corresponds to phases that occur to other species en utero — this leaves Homo sapiens vulnerable to neurosis and mental illness (its roots in the pain of unmet biological need) to an extent unprecedented, in any other species . . . hence also contributing to increased brain size, increased secondary altriciality, and so forth in the way discussed above for birth. Thus, we have another vicious cycle, again with “fevered” brains and culture the byproduct.

31018_224910937639290_493738849_nTemplo Sacrosanto

Pelvic Size

In this light it is interesting to point out that Moore (1987) presented evidence of the significantly larger pelvic size in our ancestral line of hominids which would have either (1) allowed for a gestation period of up to twelve months or (2) allowed for an exceptionally easy birth — the increased brain size being much more readily passed through a larger opening.  Either of these propositions, or a combination, is provocative in light of the above.

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In other words, we can speculate that either (1) increased pelvic size in females was naturally selected for as brain size became larger, so as to minimize the deleterious effects of painful birth (as in creating neurosis in the adult, hence reduced reproductive fitness) or (2) gestation period was prolonged, with increasing brain size, to minimize the deleterious effects of imperfectly met biological needs which are a consequence of secondary altriciality.

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In this second instance, the disadvantages of secondary altriciality are lack of precociousness in the infant, requiring an increase in maternal care after birth and reducing the economic potential of the female during that period.  But it logically follows that there is a limit to which gestation can be prolonged without itself becoming an economic disadvantage to the female — certainly the proposed gestation period of two years, twenty-one months to be exact, for full precociousness at the level we see in nonhuman primates would be a substantial economic hardship on the female. Thus it would be selected against, in evolutionary terms.

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Human Nature

Therefore, we may speculate that a combination of these factors resulted in a compensatory system where the fact of increasing brain size is eventually resolved, to date, by a comparatively reduced gestation period accompanied by increased need for child care after birth, increased need for economic dependency overall (both during and after gestation) by the female, increased need for male parental investment in providing for both female and child, and increased birth pain correlating with increased cultural development to offset or mitigate the effects of birth pain (See Fromm, 1955, on culture as providing the neurosis as well as the “opiates” to deal with such).

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The net effect is a species with prolonged child care, increased tendency toward single-family units, increased brain size, greater cultural elaboration, increased birth pain for the neonate, increased “intelligence,” and increased neurotic and psychotic behavior (thus idiosyncratic and variable behavior) which requires further cultural accommodation, hence cultural elaboration — all evolving simultaneously, interrelating and mutually reinforcing each other.  All in all, with these considerations, we have the basic factors which outline our distinctive human nature — that is, which constitute (for good or ill) our fundamental distinctions from other species.

Sorrowing_Old_Man_by_j_3_z

The Result: Plato’s Cave

At any rate, the point is that viewing it either psychologically or historically, it can be said that the Fall from Grace in Eden is such that ever afterwards humans are indirectly related to God and Nature. By this I mean they are indirectly related to the processes of reality of either the physical or metaphysical (including their own inner life, their subjectivity) sort.  They have turned their back on the beneficence of God, or Nature, and seek to go it on their own, to control Nature, to focus on survival. In that they are focused now on the world, they can see only a reflection of the Divine. They are confusing the map and the territory.

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And in that reflection they seek to discern God’s will. In those shadows they seek to understand Truth.

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To Be Continued with Primal Return, Chapter Two: Isaac’s Eyes

Return to Birth Pain Causes a Feverish Human Mind, Struggling Against Nature and the Divine, Which We Call “Intelligence”: Out of Eden, Part Three — Birth, “Intelligence,” and Culture

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Chapter One, Out of Eden, References

Adzema, Michael. (1985). A primal perspective on spirituality. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 25(3), 83-116.

Baba, Sathya Sai. (1984). Sathya Sai Speaks: Volume IV. Tustin, CA: Sathya Sai Book Center of America.

Baba, Sathya Sai. (1991). Sanatha Sarathi, November, 295.

Bird-David, Nurit. (1992). Beyond “the original affluent society”: A culturalist reformulation. Current Anthropology, 33(1), 25-47.

Buck, Sharon. (2011). The evolutionary history of the modern birth. Totem: The University of Western Ontario Journal of Anthropology, 19(Iss. 1, Art 7), 80-92. Available at: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/totem/vol19/iss1/7

Chamberlain, David. (1988). Children Remember Birth. New York: Ballantine.

Farrant, Graham. (1987). Cellular consciousness. Aesthema: The Journal of the International Primal Association, No.7, 28-39.

French, Marilyn. (1985). Beyond Power: On Women, Men, and Morals. New York: Ballantine Books.

Fromm, Erich. (1955). The Sane Society. Greenwich, CN: Fawcett.

Grof, Stanislav. (1976). Realms of the Human Unconscious. New York: Dutton.

Grof, Stanislav. (1985). Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: SUNY.

Grof, Stanislav. (1988). The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and Mew Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration. Albany, NY: SUNY.

Hannig, Paul. (1982). Feeling People: A Revolutionary Concept in Therapy, Lifestyle and Human Contact. Winter Park, FL: Anna Publishing Inc.

Janov, Arthur. (1971). The Anatomy of Mental Illness. Berkeley: Medallion.

Janov, Arthur. (1983). Imprints: The Lifelong Effects of the Birth Experience. New York: Coward-McCann.

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Kuhn, Thomas S. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lake, Frank. (1981). Tight Corners in Pastoral Counseling. London: Darton, Longman and Todd.

Mahler, Margaret S.; Pine, Fred; & Bergman, Anni. (1975). The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant. New York: Basic Books.

Moore, James. (1987). Colloquium presentation, 16 November 1987. Department of Anthropology, University of California/ San Diego, La Jolla, CA.

Peoples, Karen M. and Parlee, Bert. (1991). The ego revisited: Understanding and transcending narcissism. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 31(4), 32-52.

Sahlins, Marshall. (1972). Stone Age Economics. London: Tavistock.

Skibbins, David W. (1991). Letter to the editor. The Quest, 4(3), 5.

Sroufe, L. Alan; Cooper Robert G.; & DeHart, Ganie B. (1992). Child Development: Its Nature and Course. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Turnbull, Colin M. (1961). The Forest People: A Study of the Pygmies of the Congo. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Verny, Thomas, and Kelly, John. (1981). The Secret Life of the Unborn Child. New York: Dell.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. (1946). Autobiography of a Yogi. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship.

To Be Continued with Primal Return, Chapter Two: Isaac’s Eyes

Return to Birth Pain Causes a Feverish Human Mind, Struggling Against Nature and the Divine, Which We Call “Intelligence”: Out of Eden, Part Three — Birth, “Intelligence,” and Culture

For an Overview and Links to Other Parts of This Work-in-Progress, Go to Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man

Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness – Michael’s latest book – is now available in print and e-book formats.

at http://www.amazon.com/Falls-Grace-Devolution-Revolution-Consciousness/dp/1499297998/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1400787010&sr=1-3

Planetmates: The Great Reveal is also available in print and e-book format. at https://www.createspace.com/4691119

and at Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/Planetmates-Great-Reveal-Return-Grace/dp/1496083326/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399084684&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+adzema

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

To purchase a signed copy of any of my books, email me at sillymickel@gmail.com … Discount for blog subscribers.

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
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Birth, “Intelligence,” and Culture … Out of Eden, Part Three: Birth Pain Causes a Feverish Human Mind, Struggling Against Nature and the Divine, Which We Call “Intelligence”

dali-feverish-brains

Bipedalism Caused Painful Births, Which Caused Bigger Brains, Which Caused “Intelligence,” Which Caused Culture: Birth Trauma Makes Us Humans … and Mistrustful of Everything

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The more civilized the people, the more the pain of labor appears to become intensified. – Grantly Dick-Read, M.D. Childbirth Without Fear.

Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head. – Unknown

To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” – Genesis 3:16

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Basic Trust, Basic Mistrust, and Birth

As I have said the worldview of our hominid and hunter-gatherer existences was trusting of Nature. The world is felt to be good, not antagonistic, so dependence on it is not seen as a problem and makes life overall easier than what we know beginning with the agrarian revolution and the rise of “civilization.” Our primal forebears had a “basic trust” in regards to Nature.

Mbuti Pygmies at a forest hunting camp.

But the agrarian revolution and all “advances” after that imply a “basic mistrust.” What happened to make us more fearful, more anxious about our human condition?

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These differences of basic trust versus basic mistrust are fascinating considering their possible relation to birth trauma.

Our Experience of Birth Determines Ever Afterward Our View of the World

Erik Erikson proposes that the earliest relation of the infant with the mother sets the foundation of the later attitude toward the world. A caring, sensitive, and responsive environmental and caretaker response, in particular, the mother’s, can be the basis for an attitude of basic trust toward the world … a fundamental faith in its goodness. While a harsh and insensitive early experience — wherein the child begins to feel it cannot get its needs met — becomes the basis for a feeling of unshakeable mistrust toward the world.

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However, with our understanding of the influence of our first experiences of the world — that is, postnatally, usually in a delivery room and hospital nursery — on our basic attitudes toward it, we realize that these fundamental orientations are formed much earlier. Importantly, birth is a huge influence on that primary stance of trust or mistrust. First impressions are hard to overcome, as they say. Sure enough, if the first encounter with the world outside the womb … immediately after birth … is painful, and characterized by harshness, insensitivity, and unresponsiveness to one’s needs, then the infant comes to view the world mistrustfully and feels it to be a hostile place. [See Leboyer, Birth Without Violence, 1975].

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What also of the pain of birth itself in setting up an attitude of trust toward the world or mistrust of it? The cold, hard fact is that our experience of our birth — that is, the amount of pain and discomfort we experience in the process of delivery as well as those first crucial moments and hours of our “introductory” experience of the world outside the womb — determine ever afterward in our lives the degree of positivity or negativity with which we will view the world and other people. [See, also, Janov, Imprints: The Lifelong Effects of the Birth Experience , 1984]

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And this is where it gets interesting in seeing how we became humans and different from all other species.

Skull Size, Pelvic Size, and Birth Pain

In this regard, it is interesting to note biological anthropologist Jim Moore’s (1987) comments in a talk given at the University of California, San Diego, concerning pelvic size, birth, and secondary altriciality. Jim Moore pointed out that the paleontological evidence from the bone records of our hominid line show several fascinating developments occurring simultaneously and over the course of millions of years. We are going back as long as six to seven millions here. One is an increase in skull size. Another is a decrease in the size of pelvic bones, which occurs alongside and is a consequence of our gradual evolution to bipedalism from being, like our primate relatives, quadrupeds. [Footnote 1]

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Most folks know about the increase of skull size that occurred over the course of our evolution. However, what is only rarely considered is what effect this increase has on the process of birth. Nor has this been laid alongside the other factor of reduced pelvic size. But doing so leads to some fascinating conclusions.

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To begin, it is reasonable to suppose that this increased skull, and brain, size in hominids contributed greatly to birth pain, for both mother and infant. This is so for the obvious reason that the size of the head is the determining factor in the size of the vaginal opening required for delivery. That is, because skull bone is mostly unyielding when pressured from outside, its diameter must be less than or equal to the maximum diameter of the vaginal opening through which it must pass at birth. If the skull is too big for the opening, the child simply cannot get out. And the factor that most determines the maximum diameter of the vaginal opening is the configuration of the bones, especially pelvic bones, that are involved.

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Keep in mind that this kind of birth pain would not have occurred when the skull was smaller. A smaller head would pass, in general, with considerably more ease for infant and mother. In support of this we note that this is exactly the case for all our primate relatives, all of whom have proportionately smaller skulls. Note they also have larger, wider pelvises, proportionally, than us, and thus pelvic openings at birth time. Correspondingly, they do show observably much less difficulty and pain in birth, for both mother and newborn. So, along with this trend to increasing skull size in humans and reduced pelvic size we can surmise a corresponding trend to increasing birth pain, birth difficulties, and, consequently, increasing birth trauma for hominid newborns. [See Footnote 2]

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The Vicious Cycle of Skull Size and Birth Pain

Brain Size and Primal Pain: Brain Size Related to Degree of Unconscious Pain Needing to Be Repressed

About this factor of birth trauma, keep in mind that it is demonstrated neurophysiologically (Janov, 1971) that much of the increased brain size in humans is tied up with processing unconscious pain. That is to say, that we require the expanded capabilities inherent in neocortical expansion and larger brains to keep traumatic experiences repressed. A bigger brain is needed to keep our primal pain from overwhelming us.

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Bipedalism –> Narrower Pelvic Opening –> Birth Pain –> Increased Brain Size –> Increased Skull Size –> Birth Pain

What I am saying is that increased brain size and painful birth become, then, phylogenetically linked in a vicious cycle — one producing the other. Said another way, over the course of millions of years skull size and birth pain increased each other: Greater pain in birth requires, later on, greater repression of pain in order to survive, which leads to the development of greater neocortical capacities for processing and keeping that pain repressed. This leads to actual physical neocortical expansion, which results in greater skull size. Then, that bigger head causes greater pain in childbirth for both mother and infant. This increased birth pain causes greater birth trauma in neonates. And finally, this birth trauma leads to greater repression of pain, then, to expanded brain size, then, increased birth pain, birth trauma, a need for more repression … round and round and round again. And this goes on imperceptibly over an extremely long time in the course of our evolution.

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But keep in mind, also, that this is a chicken-and-the-egg correlation. There is no way of knowing what came first. Whether changes in skull size and expanded neocortical capacity (as for example, in the development of tool use), or greater repression of feelings and pain (possible as a consequence of increased social behavior, requiring increased repression/ control of individual behaviors), or increased birth trauma (either on its own, for some unknown reason, or more likely because of skeletal changes occurring through increasing bipedal locomotion and upright posture) came first is irrelevant. These are mutually arising causative factors. It is enough that we notice their interrelationship.

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Birth Pain Makes Us Humans

Birth Pain Caused the Feverish Minds of Humans, Which We Call Intelligence

To continue, remember that what is universally acknowledged to distinguish humans from other species is our intelligence and the elaboration of culture that comes from that. But with the understanding of skull size, birth, and repression described above, we see these much-touted distinctions and claims to superiority to be merely the byproduct of our neocortical attempts to deal with unconscious pain, specifically, that of birth trauma.

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Birth pain caused the feverish minds of humans, which we call our intelligence. “We ain’t born typical,” as The Kills phrased it. And those spinning excess wheels of mental fibrillation, driven by human birth trauma, are the gears in the machine of our manic material culture.

gears-manic-culture

Continue with Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction and What It Has to Do With Being Born Helpless: Out of Eden, Part Four — Secondary Altriciality and the Origins of Culture

Return to We Once Had the Run of the Forest and the “Original Affluent Society”: Early Human Savagery Is a Patriarchal Myth Rationalizing Our Descent Into Civilization

Footnotes

1. On bipedalism and pelvic bone changes, at “Wanna Be an Anthropologist“:

Bipedal Adaptations in the Hominid Pelvis

INTRODUCTION

Two major features are unique to humans among all the living primates: A very large brain, and moving about upright on two legs exclusively. One of these, bipedalism, appeared long before the other. Many anatomical features of Australopithecus afarensis anatomy demonstrate habitual bipedal locomotion, and the 3.6 million-year-old footprints discovered by Paul Abell at Laetoli in 1978 confirm it unequivocally (White, 1980). Not until the appearance of Homo erectus, some 1.7 million years later, could hominids be considered on their way to being large-brained (Stanford, et al., 2006).

While certain adaptations seen in the knee (e.g. the valgus angle), in the foot (such as a fully adducted hallux), and to a lesser extent in the cranium (a fully inferior foramen magnum) are all strong indicators for bipedalism (Lewin and Foley, 2004), the most interesting evolutionary changes necessary for upright posture occurred in the hominid pelvis. All of these adaptations are present not only in the pelves of modern humans, but also in all members of the Genus Homo, and in the earliest known hominids, the Australopithecines.

PELVIC ADAPTATIONS FOR BIPEDALISM

The hominid pelvis displays many unique features (when compared to that of quadrupedal primates) that support bipedalism. The major adaptations are seen in the sacrum and the ilia, as well as in the overall configuration and orientation of the pelvic bones….

2. On brain size and secondary altriciality in humans at Human Development:

Human babies enter the birth canal from the womb in the same way a chimp does but just before the actual birth the skull rotates 90 degrees in order to exit the rounded birth canal that humans have evolved. In Homo Sapiens, evolution reached a compromise that favored even bigger brains at a further cost to birthing and efficient walking. The Homo Erectus pelvis was very narrow. Humans are unique among mammals in the extent to which the brain keeps growing well after birth. The scientific terms for this is secondary altriciality. It involves accelerating the birthing process and arresting the development until after birth. Monkeys and apes are born with brains half as heavy as they will ever be. A chimpanzee brain, for example, will weigh perhaps 7 ounces at birth and about 14 ounces as an adult. Human brains are about a third of their final size in newborns; they more than double in size in the first year after birth. On average, human babies are born with a brain that weighs 14 ounces but reaches 35 ounces in one year. It will continue to grow until it reaches about 45 ounces in size (at age 6 or 7).

Gestation in humans should be about 21 months rather than the normal 9 we think in terms of. This is the process of accelerating the birthing process to enable the enlarged brain to escape the birth canal. Development of the brain then continues external to the womb for well over the first several years. What this intense development means is that a human infant is born relatively helpless. A baby can neither stand up or in any way fend for itself for a long time. Stephen Jay Gould has written our sexual maturation comes almost absurdly late in a Darwinian world supposedly regulated by a constant struggle to secure reproductive success and pass more genes along to future generations….slower development must provide some power advantage to evolve, in the face of its obvious drawbacks. In fact, must of what makes us human in the end may stem from this unnaturally long period of helplessness in the very early part of our lives.

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http://web.mesacc.edu/dept/d10/asb/origins/development.html

3. On prolonged postnatal brain growth at Unique to Humans

This is one of the most dramatic distinction between humans and other mammals (including primates). In all precocial mammals other than humans, at around the time of birth there is distinct slowing down in brain growth relative to body growth. In altricial mammals, the switch to diminished brain growth occurs at a developmental stage comparable to birth in precocial mammals. In humans, substantial brain growth relative to body growth continues for approximately a year after birth before a marked slow-down occurs. Because of this human neonates are unusually dependent on parental care in comparison with other primates for the first year of postnatal life, and sometimes labeled as “secondary altricial”.
Martin RD. The evolution of human reproduction: a primatological perspective.
Am J Phys Anthropol. 2007;Suppl 45:59-84.

And on postnatal brain growth at The Rise of Homo sapiens: The Evolution of Modern Thinking:

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altricial

http://books.google.com/books?id=pZHtlD7Ife8C&pg=PA109&lpg=PA109&dq=secondary+altriciality&source=bl&ots=v9JqxVagV5&sig=lYR3itn84ezye8erarirpRRv5YA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zFosUqnXEcn9iwLvsIDoCg&ved=0CGoQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=secondary%20altriciality&f=false

Continue with Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction and What It Has to Do With Being Born Helpless: Out of Eden, Part Four — Secondary Altriciality and the Origins of Culture

Return to We Once Had the Run of the Forest and the “Original Affluent Society”: Early Human Savagery Is a Patriarchal Myth Rationalizing Our Descent Into Civilization

For an Overview and Links to Other Parts of This Work-in-Progress, Go to Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man

Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness Michael’s latest book – is now available in print and e-book formats.

at http://www.amazon.com/Falls-Grace-Devolution-Revolution-Consciousness/dp/1499297998/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1400787010&sr=1-3

Planetmates: The Great Reveal is also available in print and e-book format. at https://www.createspace.com/4691119

and at Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/Planetmates-Great-Reveal-Return-Grace/dp/1496083326/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399084684&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+adzema

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

To purchase a signed copy of any of my books, email me at sillymickel@gmail.com … Discount for blog subscribers.

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

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

“You are looking in the wrong direction. You should be looking not outward into the world of symbols and reflections, but inward into the pleasure, pains, urges, and feelings of the body.”

“felt connection” with the Divine, meaning of Minotaur and labyrinth, impulses “getting out of control,” meaninglessness and the Abyss, the unreal demons, the process of becoming real again. What the Planetmates say, today 


You stand amazed by the profound and intricate sight of your magnificent unreality. It is hard — as hard as it is to leave the “matrix” — to question the foundations of your beliefs, while your eyes sparkle in reflection of the fascinating electronic array … and your every thought supports itself on the jetsam of stupefied minds.


“For this culture and this edifice of supposed knowledge and understanding built on these wrong and dangerous assumptions serves to feed those who seek understanding with a tasteless substitute for true awareness. Standing within Ego, as always, your comprehension and mastery of the details of the absurd and empty provides mental, fabricated satisfactions, and spurious feelings of finesse and accomplishment. You can convince yourself you are on your way to mighty understandings as you pile up endless nonsensicals. You do not see the abyss that all these untruths end in, if taken truly through to all their conclusions or if you were to honestly analyze them.

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“Granted, there are a few of you who have ventured down that path. Some of your better thinkers have, in fact, peered deeply into the underpinnings of your Reality — among them, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre. They, like your Marxists, are to be commended for making the effort, however woefully they fell short.

“For in looking beyond the glitter and the stupefication, in seeing beneath the words and all that they convey, but also conceal, in the attempt to peer into Reality itself, they have seen the Abyss. They tottered upon a brink, not knowing their hideous vision was of the ravine you created between you and Nature … between you and feeling … between you and your body.


“So going only that far — only as far as intellect and analysis alone could take them — they claimed that, indeed, life is truly meaningless and that all that exists is the Abyss. They have proclaimed Reality absurd and random.

“This is what you end up with when you have no felt connection to Existence and only mental phantasms reflecting it. So much is this true, that most of you hearing this have no idea at all what we mean by a “felt connection.”


“This is what comes from your attempts to stand outside It — Existence and Nature — and “capture” It … as always to understand only for the purpose of controlling. For certainly in your seeking of power and control — here even in the realms of the mind and the philosophical — you are doomed to failure.


“We have said we have a felt connection with the Divine; we have said we feel it in our muscles … that is to say, it is part of our Experience; we have said you call this “instinct.” Well, this is a kind of knowing that you find impossible to remember. You have it in the womb and at birth, but everything about you and about your culture is geared toward having you forget it; and you get better and better at that forgetting as you get older.


“Over time you lose yourselves in your mental labyrinth, with its resident Minotaur — symbolizing, at once, Ego, your brutal overlords, the caregivers of infancy, and the distorted figure that your soul and its connection with Nature has become.

“We have said that your symbolic thought and culture are what you substitute for that knowing, that awareness, that deep seeing and understanding.

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“So, in looking deeply into that symbolic skeletonized reflection of life — separated as it is from Reality — and the culture that is the collective embodiment of it, how can you see anything beyond it? You are looking in the wrong direction. You should be looking not outward into the world of symbols and reflections, but inward into the pleasure, pains, urges, and feelings of the body. You are afraid to do that, for, being wrong-getted, you have been taught that is dangerous.


“Therein lie your “impulses,” you think. You think these “impulses” will get “out of control” (starting to see a pattern, perhaps?), that you will become something other than yourself, might become dangerous, hurtful … “animalistic”.… Has it not occurred to you yet how out of control you already are? Do you really think by expanding your understanding and Experience of Reality back into the wisdom of the body you will become more stupid than you already are? More deranged? How is that possible?


“It is not that comprehension of the Abyss is of no worth. To the contrary, it is only after you know it that you are at all inclined to, or brave enough to, or desperate enough to look in the direction of the feelings in your body. Your mind must crash itself upon the rocks of meaninglessness. You must watch your mental skyline of religion, ritual, cultural niceties, substitute pursuits, and egoic achievements collapse upon itself. It is only in the wreckage of those cherished illusions and false hopes that you can look down in despair and notice the body that has taken you there, that has always been there, with its feelings, its own patterns of thought — which you call intuition — with its own inspiration, its breathing, its inhalation of goodness and exhalation of compassion and creativity. It is only then, turning downward your eyes in the face of the darkness and the seeming “end of times,” that you can even notice your soul, your emotion, your connection with all and Everything, your true happiness, your actual heart expansion and love.





“ And in order to realize and reconnect again with your Self, you must surrender your frantic “trying to figure it out.” You must stop believing in the demons that you have used to help explain that which you cannot, because you have refused to see it. Rather, it is more important that you stop trying to understand and to control. You must allow, at least for that moment, that you might actually learn something, that you might be taught. You must let go, at least for that moment, of your sense of self-importance, and any thoughts about how you might be appearing to anyone outside of you. At least for that moment … give yourself at least that … you must “give up”….”

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[Pt 3 of 28th Prasad — Family. More coming…  

To see the entire book, to which this will be added eventually (book is two-thirds updated), go to  http://mladzema.wordpress.com/the-great-reveal-book-6/ …

Planetmates: The Great Reveal  is now available in print and e-book format.  at https://www.createspace.com/4691119

and at Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/Planetmates-Great-Reveal-Return-Grace/dp/1496083326/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399084684&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+adzema

Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness – Michael’s latest book – is now available in print and e-book formats.

at http://www.amazon.com/Falls-Grace-Devolution-Revolution-Consciousness/dp/1499297998/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1400787010&sr=1-3 

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

To purchase a signed copy of any of my books, email me at sillymickel@gmail.com … Discount for blog subscribers.

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Like reading a letter from a wise, old friend….

By M.E.W. on February 5, 2014

I’ve recently finished reading Experience Is Divinity, by Michael Adzema.

If you ever have one of those days (weeks, months?) where it just doesn’t want to fit together, you really can use this.

Find a quiet space, fix a nice big mug of tea, and grab “Experience Is Divinity”.

You almost don’t need to use your brain. You just sort of let it absorb. Every once in a while, you find yourself thinking, ” Why wasn’t that simple thing already in my brain?”

None of Adzema books will lecture you; no heavy handed persuasion. You simply get a sense of his quiet confidence that he has something meaningful and he wants to share it with you. You won’t find psychobabble or cult like preaching; just a sort of, “This is what I think makes a lot of sense”, attitude.

The books sort of distill the most profound realities. You lay the book down, having a sense of simplicity and clarity and the chaos just sort of begins to fit. Nothing is different; it’s more that it’s OK that things are as they are.

More info and to orderExperience Is Divinity: Matter As Metaphor. Return to Grace, Volume 8

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1492932213/ref=dra_a_rv_ff_fx_it_P2000_1000?tag=dradisplay-20

Final Exp Div

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

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

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

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Ego-Weak Mystics and Shamans

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Fully Functioning Ego”

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

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

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

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

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

Self Esteem Versus Self Regard

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

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

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

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

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

Madness and Genius … Madness and Mysticism

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

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

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

An Anal-Compulsive Control of Inner Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Linear Fallacy and Ken Wilber’s Fall from Grace: Spiritual Growth Is Hardly Linear … You Can’t Put “Enlightenment” on Your To-Do List

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The Linear Fallacy

Cybernetic Dreaming

asfadfa220px-Trappist_praying_2007-08-20_dtiEven in the field of transpersonal psychology, for example, there seems an inability to accept such a visceral, energetic, cathartic, “Dionysian,” spiritual path—a “surrendered” one … a shamanistic one. Instead we see a tendency to opt for “Appollonian” head trips, mere relaxation and visualizations, cybernetic ego programming and affirmations, and rational-intellectual metaphoristics—a “controlling” path (cf., Berman, 1986, “Cybernetic Dream”).

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We hear that one must have an ego before one can lose one … as if we all, from birth, don’t have some kind of ego! We hear that there are “healthy” ego defenses to have … as if all defenses are not in some way the avoidance or distortion of truth.

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Ken Wilber’s Mistake

Interestingly, Ken Wilber—who, along with Stanislav Grof, is considered a fountainhead of modern transpersonal psychology—has been, at different times, on both sides of this development. His change of position from The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977) to The Atman Project (1980) is, in my opinion, regrettable. Obviously, from the analysis presented in this book, Falls from Grace, it is clear that I believe that his stance at the outset, in The Spectrum of Consciousness, is closer to the truth.

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The Prepersonal and the Transpersonal Are Not Separate

hippiesFurther, I agree with Washburn (1990) that Wilber’s espousal of a prepersonal/transpersonal distinction (Wilber, 1982)—which predicates his change of position—”assumes a major point at issue,” specifically, that “‘pre’ and ‘trans’ states are totally unrelated, and are in fact opposites,” and that Wilber does not establish this position empirically (p. 94). lunch-21_thumbSimilarly, while I regret the use to which Schneider (1987) puts this information, I concur with him that “a careful reading of the case evidence does not—as Wilber . . . would have it—clearly differentiate (prepersonal) psychotics from truly (transpersonal) visionaries” (p. 202).

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Ken Wilber’s Pre/Trans Distinction—Does Not Fit with the Evidence

In sum, the operative factor in Wilber’s change of position, which is also a basic building block of all of his later theory—that is to say, the pre/trans distinction—does not fit with the evidence from the spiritual or psychiatric literatures. It certainly does not fit with the evidence of experiential psychotherapy and pre- and perinatal psychology. Finally, as Epstein and Leiff (1981, p. 140) pointed out, neither does his hypothesis appear to fit with the evidence of meditation research.

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One Returns to the Beginning, Again and Again

As Grof (1985) said concerning Wilber’s pre/trans distinction:

My own observations suggest that, as consciousness evolution proceeds from the centauric to the subtle realms and beyond, it does not follow a linear trajectory, but in a sense enfolds into itself.

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In this process, the individual returns to earlier stages of development, but evaluates them from the point of view of a mature adult. At the same time, he or she becomes consciously aware of certain aspects and qualities of these stages that were implicit, but unrecognized when confronted in the context of linear evolution.

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Thus, the distinction between pre- and trans- has a paradoxical nature; they are neither identical, nor are they completely different from each other. (p. 137)

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Ken Wilber’s Fall from Grace

Indeed why Wilber, while acknowledging Grof at least, would choose not to incorporate the findings of prenatal and perinatal psychology and would opt instead for a Piaget-based theory of development that begins (1) at birth (1980, p. 6) and (2) with the self identified with matter that is defined as lowest consciousness (1980, p. x and p. 7)—a Piaget-based theory that is radically altered by prenatal and perinatal psychology and consciousness research in general (see Grof; Pearce, 1980)—is a mystery in itself. emotionless_spock_by_elfqueen1969-d2yx7rp The Alpha and the Omega Meet By that I mean that (1) Wilber ignores the first nine months of an individual’s life, as if those experiences—which others, and myself in this book, have shown to be all-important—are not only not influential but non-existent!

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By that I also mean that (2) Wilber (1980) claims that at birth the self is identified with matter (p. x and p. 7), which he calls the pleroma and which he states is a gnostic term for the virgo mater or materia prima (p. 20). First of all, my reading of gnosticism does not tell me that the pleroma is a primal matter but rather a primal spiritual source from which all else—specifically, matter—devolves.

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Gnostic writings tell that, in fact, the creation of matter and the world occurs later, much later in the course of devolution than the “spiritual” pleroma. They tell also that the material universe comes in only with the creation of the inferior god, the Demiurge (the ego); and that it is a flawed creation—one might say it is one that no longer adequately reflects spirit and that it has fallen from grace. (See Robinson, 1988, The Nag Hammadi Library in English)

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“God Is All There Is.”

This may seem a minor point; however, its implications are huge for Wilber’s theory and it indicates exactly where we differ. What I am saying is that, from a particular perspective—one might say a gnostic one—matter is from spirit (or Consciousness), is of the same stuff as spirit (except that it is flawed). That really and truly what we see “out there” is spirit and is no different from what we experience “in here” save that our sensory experience is an imperfect—one might say, reflected or indirect—experience . . . but of the same thing! This is indeed the implication of the new physics and the new psychology. As one song sums it up: “God is all. God is all there is.”

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Now, Wilber knew this in The Spectrum of Consciousness; he espoused this perspective in that book. That he later turned from this radical spiritual perspective on matter; this mystical, Eastern, “new physics,” psychedelic, and Platonic perspective on the material world and sensory experience . . . well, one might say he “fell from grace.” imadgfhfjgjklges_thumb1_thumb75340_461952720518732_919352686_n0012-1468910684_21627a3681_o The Stormy Path to Self As Grof (1985) has exclaimed concerning Wilber:

It is . . . somewhat surprising that he has not taken into consideration a vast amount of data from both ancient and modern sources—data suggesting the paramount psychological significance of prenatal experiences and the trauma of birth. (pp. 135-136)

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Further, concerning Wilber’s theoretical system:

The complexity of embryonic development and of the consecutive stages of biological birth receives no attention in this sophisticated system, which is elaborated in meticulous detail in all other areas. (p. 136)

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You Can’t “Program” Your Way Into Transcendence

It seems that Wilber (1980, 1982), however—as one of the chief proponents of the ego-quest-as-precondition-to-spiritual-quest school of transpersonal thought—has made the mistake of constructing his transpersonal argument within the gravitational field of the Western ego psychologists. Thus it ends up helplessly skewed in that direction. He completely ignores the evidence cross-culturally for the ego weakness that most often characterizes mystical adherents and religious practitioners.

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Ken Wilber’s Cop-Out

Hence, Wilber’s overall position is muddied in contradiction. See, for example, A Sociable God. Here Wilber says adolescence includes previous structures:

As the adolescent mind emerges, it destroys the exclusive identity with the body but does not destroy the body itself; it subsumes the body in its own larger mental identity. (1983, p. 104)

homepageNow, compare that with The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977) in which he contends that each stage splits off from and represses previously “owned” realities making them unconscious. There are no two ways to interpret this: In the earlier work, he saw a reduction, or devolution, in consciousness with each subsequent stage in consciousness—exactly the position I espouse in this book. Whereas by the latter work, A Sociable God, he himself has become more conforming with societal beliefs, more “sociable,” and becomes an apologist for the status quo. He begins rationalizing—as people tend to do as they get older and more split off from their real feelings—that it was not “all that” repressed after all when one 0044-legiondefygod300full-2went from one stage to the other of the spectrum. This is the transpersonal psychology equivalent of the older person, tired of the emotional baggage carried from a traumatic childhood, resigning herself to saying that, well, Daddy (or Mommy) actually did love her “in his own way.” The point is this is not about truth anymore. It is about giving up the struggle for truth and conforming to whatever beliefs make life easier … or in Wilber’s case, facilitate one on the career “ladder.”

Transcendent States Require Pre-Egoic Integration

0003-imasgfsgsgsgfsgesAt any rate, I think the integration of Wilber’s work with that of Grof, primal psychology, Masters and Houston, and the new prenatal and perinatal information from various sources helps to clarify some of the confusion resulting from his change of position. [Note 1] My hope also is that my work in this book in integrating all of the above, including Wilber’s schema, goes at least some part of the way toward correcting the misunderstanding that arises from his omissions.

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Note

1. The new prenatal and perinatal information is referenced many times in this book—see especially Chapter One—as well as in publications and conferences of the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH); the writings of Thomas Verny (1981, 1987); the evidence from primal therapy, rebirthing, holotropic breathwork, and psychedelic research—published in places too numerous to mention; and so on.

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

Return to Is the Supernatural Terrifying? The Idea of a Shamanistic, Stormy Spiritual Path Is Too at Odds with Our Religious Anti-Body Culture to Be Easily Accepted

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

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

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

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What the planetmates really think of us, the latest: On human “evolution,” control, conformity, birth…”controlling your young”

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The Twentieth Prasad — Controlling Your Young

Humans are defined by the fact of your prematurity and the consequent long period of dependence on fully growns for survival. In the light of your continued descent into ever more controlling of all aspects of your surround — as we’ve seen, your ways of having your survival needs met, your lifeways (nomadic to sedentary), the Fauna Empire of planetmates around you, the Flora Empire of planetmates, others of your own species, and even your own selves, your own otherwise authentic beingness — all coming under control over time, and over time increasing control of all these — it is not surprising, however sad, that this obsessive control would be applied to your offspring in their dependent state as well. Remember, your newborns, prematurely born, helpless, and thrown out of Nature’s divine blueprint for perfect nurturing would die out of pure despair if not for the creation of the alien construct of Ego. And the delivery system of this Ego is predominantly the fully growns who are attendant upon the needs of the helpless prematures.

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Paraphrase/ Elaboration of Twentieth Prasad by Michael Adzema:

Keep in mind that it is the mania to control your lives excessively that separates you from Nature and makes of you a consciousness opposed to the natural. For you set yourselves apart and above Nature to control Her. The core of that drive to dominate and what distinguishes you as humans and separates you from the other planetmates, as we have been saying, is your aberration of premature births—relative to the rest of us planetmates—with its result that newborns are dependent on adult caretakers for, relatively, an exceedingly long time. It is how we define you, in fact: Humans are the planetmates who experience a brutal birth, far before they are ready, which sets off a crazed overcompensation of mental activity to defend against the pain of it. Additionally, humans are the planetmates who have an excessively long infancy, where their needs are only partially met, which results in extreme controlling behavior applied to every aspect of life and all other beings in their world afterwards, in adult life.

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Now, a special example of your increasing controlling-dominating behaviors involves the way you see your children. Controlling and dominating your young is special because, remember, it is because of the characteristics of your infancy and birth that this devolution of yours away from Nature began. Your prematurity and dependency as infants causes the feeling of lack, of insufficiency, that in life pushes you to mistrust and control:

Your earliest learning of this world was that you did not get what you needed when you needed it (as an infant) and that you were left all alone to stew in that misery. So you fear, forever after, that you will not get what you need, again, and that you will die of that. Without really deciding it, driven by fear, you focus nearly all your energy and thought upon making sure those terrorizing feelings of hunger and abandonment will never happen again, in any possible future, by controlling all you possibly can that is happening around you in the present. Your intent in dominating all aspects of your surround is to wage war against a feared scarcity or shortage of life-sustaining resources, which you once experienced and—rightfully so—felt to be the gravest inequity and deadliest injustice.

But that urge to control—having its roots in your infancies—you turn around and direct back at your own infants, in their turn. For all kinds of reasons arising from that early experience of intense craving and longing—which we will elaborate upon shortly—you further hinder your children’s satisfaction of their early needs from what it would be for them otherwise. Thus you increase their drive to control everything around them when they become adults … in a vicious circle.

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So, sure enough, in your “progress of man,” your own infants became the next category of beings to come under your maddened gaze as targets for your controlling. They were convenient candidates for domination, being, as they are, completely dependent upon your fully growns for survival for that long period in infancy; and being that, to a lesser extent, for their entire childhood, they are very little able to fend for themselves without the assistance of adults.

To backtrack, your “evolution” … actually your fall from Nature … amounts to an increasing controlling fetish. We have been detailing how it began—pushed by that overheated brain and feelings of inadequateness of needs met in infancy—with a drive to control your food resources as adults. Mistrusting Nature to provide for your sustenance—as it had done for you in the past and as it does for all other planetmates—you began expanding the area of your control over food gathering by including planetmate flesh in your diet. You began hunting fauna and killing the animate planetmates for your pleasure and to beat back those dreaded uncertainty feelings.

The next stage of your taking over the details of the ways in which you would sustain yourselves involved your dominating the Flora Empire. You invented horticulture, and through farming you were able to control the lives of plant beings and suit them to your increasingly unnatural tastes and to add to your food resources.

Your descent into ever more controlling of all aspects of your environment next involved corralling planetmates. With husbandry, you took away their freedom and saw them as little different from the plants you grew and consumed. Plucked from their habitats in Nature, Fauna planetmates were, as it were, “grown” in your circumscribed habitats to be used as slave labor and/or to be parted out as food and other objects for your use.

Notice how each of these steps involves an increasing inability to view other life as sentient and deserving of respect or consideration. Under the self-centeredness of Ego consciousness, you were seeing all about you as having their reason for existence as being you.

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These developments required a sedentary mode of living, for you could not continue your natural nomadic ways while seeking to grow in place planetmates of either the vegetative or the warm-blooded variety. And this switch to a fixed domicile allowed you to act out, through excessive storage and over-accumulation, your paranoid fears of excruciating want.

Sedentary living also allowed you full sway of your defensive mania of creating substitute projects for the real adventures of life, which, now being sedentary, you could say you owned … for you had a place to put them and they did not have to be carried. So, you could go wild in your frenzies to possess and to build edifices and contraptions, equal in magnitude to your fears, that could serve in staving off that feared future of insufficiency and the dreaded pain of want. You became big on creating implements to expand your powers of control and to aid you in your outer defensiveness against your inner fears. You built structures, furnishings, tools, and devices—while sedentary—in the hopes of avoiding that sense of extreme, life-or-death need while being totally helpless to do anything about it, which you experienced in infancy. You owned, built, controlled, invented, and dominated all about you out of your terror of an imagined helplessness in the face of possible death.

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Again, Ego’s demands were to fortify itself against any and all threats to survival—imagined or real. This time, excessive accumulation and manic struggle in the creation and possession of items that might serve as insurance against future discomfort was the manner of your waging war with uncertainty. Though this lifeway satisfied these irrational desires and lusts to have and to control, it was unnatural for you, relative to what you truly wanted and needed; and it required a further diminishment of your experience of life. Specifically, sedentary living took the joy of play and adventure out of your lives and substituted sameness and drudgery—all under the promise of avoiding a lack or insufficiency of resources that was almost entirely imaginary.

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So, with increasing accumulation—allowed through sedentary living and control and domination of food sources—your next “advance” of control could manifest: You began to seek power over and to determine the behavior of other humans. The hunger games gave way to controlling-conforming ones. Status and hierarchy became the symbolic representations of your unease and insecurity—your nagging sense of lacking something you needed. And women were the ultimate targets for domination in these games, for all men could put themselves above at least these, as their reward for conformity to others.

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The methods of your control over other humans extended into cruelty, torture, and killing, in order to extract obedience. Again, your conscience allowed this through your continued removal of the idea of aliveness to all in your environs but yourself … but your Ego. In seeing all life around you as unfeeling, as not conscious or not having a soul, you had no tether on your, now thoroughly, insane and twisted proclivities for manipulation, use, and abuse.

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All of this led, in time, to your seeing even those aspects of yourselves that were outside of your Ego as being a threat. You were at odds with the natural in you—that is, that which could not come easily under control or domination. Your natural self—your real self—includes everything involving your biology … sex, for example … and the parts of your mind that naturally rebel at your sycophancy and domination in relation to others … your errant or “negative” thoughts and your doubts, for example. You could not as easily deny consciousness or aliveness to parts of yourself in order to make them “deserving” of control, so you did the next best thing and saw them as being not you and as alien. If you had to acknowledge their status as conscious and intentional, you would put yourself above them by thinking of them as subhuman or bestial … and eventually you amplified that to their being evil and demonic entities … thus further increasing your imagined distance from them. So if you were to grant their existence as being real and as in you, you saw them to not be part of you, really; you labeled yourself “possessed” and gave these parts of you a separate identity of devil.

The result is that you deemed aspects of your personhood to be targets for control and domination, too: You sought to control your sexuality, your biological functions, and your thoughts, as aspects of your controlling-conformity. Putting them outside of what you told yourself was you, they also could be put below you, as you had your women. Very similar to women also, you ascribed them a status as parts of the natural world, which you felt had ejected you (at one time) and now, as retribution, would come under your thumb. In seeking to control yourselves this way, you were rewarded also by the fact that the feeling of dominating and bullying your own body compensated for your submissive and humiliating behaviors toward those above you in status who dominated and controlled you.

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All told, you sought to align your minds, even, with “transcendent”—but actually unnatural, sterile, and unalive—principles beyond your body, which actually were unconscious alignments with controllers above you. Thus, you sought to control your thoughts, your sexuality, and your bodies—along now with your external behavior—in your excessive sycophancy and burgeoning inauthenticity.

Let us explain that last part in more detail: You had a tendency to conform to the wishes of those who had power over you, especially those who wielded that power through excessive accumulation—those who were “richer” than you. You controlled your external behavior to match what they wanted. But in doing so, you caused a split within you. Part of you did not want to be inauthentic—the part of you that was natural. So there was conflict within you; one part of you put out complaints at what you were doing. It wanted to rebel, and it sent out disturbances in your mind as its way of undermining your efforts at subservience and inauthenticity. Basically, being a suck up was disagreeable to the real part of you.

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So, to continue your conforming behavior and to have any semblance of peace with yourself you needed to find a way to deny that part of you that was real. You needed to repress its complaints. You did this by rationalizing your sycophancy as being a value and your rebellion as an evil. You created what you call “sin.”

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You see how the outer dynamic of controlling-conforming was being brought inside you and you were beginning to reflect inside you the hierarchical arrangement outside? Inside yourself, you created your own representation of a controller who demanded conformity and obedience of those below “it”—that is to say, the unacceptable, rebellious, and natural parts of you.

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But it did not stop there. For naturally the dictates you would give yourselves on the inside would be personal introjections of the demands of your superiors. What came under scrutiny were the parts of you that were unacceptable or simply not advantageous in your dealings with your higher ups. Importantly, however, these items of your personhood not advantageous to those you depended upon for survival began to include more than simply behaviors they did not like, but indeed, anything natural or biological. It was “inconvenient” to them that you might have needs; in their minds you were not quite alive, after all … you were relegated to the realm of “things” to be used as was your females and all planetmates. They would enslave you, like you were doing with planetmates, if they could. And they often did. They would provide for you and allow you to have only the bare minimum as was needed for physical survival … also as was done with kept planetmates … and all too often, kept women. Any more was too much a bother, and, after all, would reduce what they had. And their greed was as uncontainable as the fear that fueled it.

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So, your real needs were an inconvenience to those above you intent on satisfaction of their needs: You could not be loud, sexual, obtrusive, angry, too noticeable … you could not be too alive. You could not be emotional—becoming sad or tearful, after all, would be a way of saying you had needs, too … and they did not want to be reminded of that. To the contrary, only they would be allowed to feel life, you would be told to “control yourself,” “be a man (woman),” “be brave,” be strong,” “not be such a baby.” To such an extent was emotion beaten out of you that, amazingly, becoming a human adult became equal to the extent to which one could keep one’s face from moving. Having a “stone face” and being unemotional were considered by you, “mature.” Meanwhile laughter, frivolity, expressiveness, happiness, upset, and tears—all strongly evident in facial features—were to become considered childish and infantile. Indeed, those were considered bad things, which when you think of it, they need not necessarily be.

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But then, we are talking here about the way you added controlling your young, your children, to your list of domination “accomplishments.” So, being child-like—while we would see that as vivacious, fresh, and creative, in our young and not-so-young, and often, even, envied; or being creative, expressive, and/or emotion-full—while we would see that as indicating deep experience of life and passion—were instead, among you, put down severely. Being deemed childish was made as much to be mortifying for you as was being seen as feminine, for a man, was … and for exactly the same reasons: Child-like and feminine traits were both reminiscent of the Nature in you … the biological and “inconvenient.”

So, these predilections of the higher ups to wish for others to be less alive was for the purpose of making it so you could be more manageable (and usable) to them. Also, they did not want to see in you reminders that you were actually alive and feeling, for they wished to control you even to the extent of wanting you to act in a way as to not remind their consciences of their atrocious behavior. This would be reflected by you in your dealings with your young, when inflicting corporal punishment, as “Don’t you dare cry; I’ll give you something to cry about” … as “This hurts me more than it hurts you” … and simply “Don’t cry.” In essence, the parent as controller insists that child not be so inconvenient as to do anything that would trigger a conscience or awareness in the adult … a knowledge that one is, as you say, “being a dick.”

This wanting for you to not be “inconvenient” and for you to be more usable and manageable in this very day arises in the effort to make people more machine-like or robot-like. Certainly this was wanted of you in recent times for the purpose of you being usable cogs in the industrial machinery. But in this time, amazingly, you are so estranged and have become so complicit in your abject subservience that you are trying to link yourselves, your minds and your senses, to machines, computers and the like … you fantasize becoming computers, in a sense, even, calling it transhumanism and thinking you would have more power that way … again, more power meaning being even more controlling in your behavior. It is trans-human, yes, but only in the critical and disapproving way we have been describing you as humans. In yearning to be machines, and thus the ultimate in unalive and non-feeling, to such an extent have you forgotten your natural selves and succumbed to sycophancy in the service of your overlords.

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Your kin and family relations would also be seen as inconvenient … for what was wanted was that you satisfy the needs of someone else, not yourself … so any distractions from that were not wanted … were not allowed … and to the extent they could be … were stomped down and eliminated in you.

At any rate, transgressions of the overlord’s demands for you to be undemanding and unneedy … unalive … were handled by them with a degree of humiliation and, often, cruelty, equal in size to their fear of “losing control” of you.

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Tragedy enough, that was. But worse, the parts of you that were unacceptable to higher ups outside of you thus became unacceptable to you inside of you, too. You sought to align your inner reality with your outer one. Keep in mind that everyone else in Nature seeks to align their outer reality with their inner one. Quite simply, beings in Nature seek to manifest a world that is conducive to the fulfillment of their needs and the expression of their inspirations. You did the opposite: You sought to deny your needs and to stifle any expression of yourself … indeed, you sought to not be inspired and certainly to not appear to be inspired … for that also would be inconvenient to your higher ups.

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You evolved certain cultural mechanisms to help you in estrangement from yourself. Chief among these is what you call, “religion.” Through religion you could erect an edifice outside yourself to support your inner struggle to keep from being too real, too inconvenient.

With religion, you could create a transcendent ideal—that is, an ideal separate from your biology or your personhood … something detached from reality, actually. You could strive to achieve a separation of yourself from yourself, in particular the natural parts of you, and rationalize it as being better and superior. On the other side of this, you would diminish, repress, control, and subjugate all the “less transcendent” aspects of yourself. You would do to yourself on the inside what you were allowing to be done to you by higher ups on the outside, as well as what you were doing to those below you in status and, if you were a man, to the women in your life.

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But therein you see the illusion and wrong-gettedness of your thinking. For indeed this transcendent ideal—furiously upheld by your religions—was nothing other than the introjected desires and demands of the controllers above you. You were telling yourselves that you were obedient to God and “properly” fearful of God, but it was only your sycophancy and your conformity behavior in regards to the Large Accumulators that you were justifying.

It is understandable, then, how so much of your religious dictates … “commandments,” for example … were thinly veiled expressions of the desires of Large Accumulators. You were told “not to covet your neighbor’s goods,” and in this way the Large Accumulators would have their riches protected and have you feeling guilty about your desires to rebel at this inequality of ownership. We will tell you more about that later.

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The upshot of all this was that you sought absolute determination and control over your lives through an insular, defended Ego. You sought control over everything outside of it, whether that was in your environments and whether they were things or people, or whether they were inside of you and they were desires, inspirations, emotions, biological needs, or even just “negative thoughts — which is to say, thoughts that at their root where inconvenient to your higher ups and would work to your disadvantage with them if they were ever discovered. In doing all this, then, you obliterated the last of any possible authentic beingness for you.

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And with each fall from grace and over time you enlarged your capacity for and appetite to control.

Keeping these deleterious developments in mind—with all things coming under control over time, and over time there being increasing control of them—it was sadly inevitable that this obsession would reach into that dominion you have over your young ones in their dependent state at the beginnings of their lives. The repression, control, domination, and denigration that you brought to bear on all of Nature, on those below you in status, on women, you now brought to bear upon the most vulnerable of you … the easiest and most easily manipulated of targets … the weakest and most dependent of the beings so far being put “under management.”

So, however sad, it is not surprising that your obsessive controlling would be applied to your offspring in their dependent state. Keep in mind that your newborns, unlike any others of us—planetmates who have not split from Nature’s perfect ways—require careful nurturing by caregivers. Your newborns cannot cling to their mother’s fur after birth, as your nearest relative’s newborns can. Nor can they search for and acquire nourishment from their mothers’ breasts, as can other planetmates.

Yet your newborns’ requirements are even more excessive, since you are burdened, in infancy as well as throughout your life, with a residue of trauma from birth. You say some of you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), because of traumatic and inordinately painful and psychologically unmanageable events that happen to some of you in adulthood. How little you realize that your entire species is exactly so traumatized at that very time of your life, birth, when you are least able to integrate a shock to your systems.

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Hence your newborns require even more of comfort and bonding with caregivers and mothers, and even more attention to their needs, and nurturing, than the rest of us; yet you receive less.

Being prematurely thrown out of the womb, your newborns are abjectly helpless. And then they have to confront a processing at birth that one of your fully growns would label torture, if they had to undergo it. Not only are they subjected, while still naked, to a much colder environment than the ninety-eight degrees they are used to in in the womb, they are sometimes hit or slapped. Many of your cultures have this idea of “toughening” the newborn by immersing it immediately after birth in freezing cold water or subjecting it to some other mind obliteratingly painful experience.

Newborns are almost always confronted with blazing lights and thunderous and assaultive sounds. Remember this is all comparative to what they experienced in the womb. Don’t your eyes smart and burn when coming into a bright sunlight from a dark place? A tiny example, that is, but try keeping that in mind and applying that in trying to understand your neonates’ first experiences of life in the world, after a full nine months of total darkness and relative quiet.

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Then, your neonates have fingers and instruments roughly inserted into their mouths, stretching the mouth wide as if to rip off the jaw, to remove mucus. To a neonate who had nothing in the womb even close to that experience, it is felt as an oral assault … as rape.

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The cord is cut early leaving them gasping for breath. They are separated ruthlessly from the entire world they had known for nine months and with no substitute connection yet in the world outside … an experience of sterile and cutting aloneness which wounds as deeply as the knife itself. Yet when they scream in horror, your fully growns laugh and smile and applaud themselves on having a healthy baby with “good lungs.” Do you have any idea, or memory, of how you feel when confronted with such insane human behavior—so insensitive, so unseeing of you—as your first experiences with humans and your future caregivers, your parents? Do you really think that you could maintain after that, if you even had it before, the trust that any of your other needs will be cared for by what seems to you to be residents of an insane asylum?

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You are taken from your mother—the whole world to you up till that very moment—and immersed into, often cold, water, to “bathe” you. You are prodded with needles and have things stuck up your bum. You are rubbed with harsh cloths or something similar right away, too. Do you think you might at this point be wondering what the hell is wrong with you the way you are? Do you suppose you might be getting a feeling that you are not acceptable in the world of the living unless you are cleaned up and careful of your appearance? Or that there is something different about you … and “inappropriate” … that you must hide or cover up?

You, as newborns, are often, at some point, placed on a cold metal scale and/or other hard surfaces for additional “processing.” Do you suppose that being handled like a thing, right at the beginning, might impress in you the idea that maybe you are of that little worth? And at a time when your natural self is aching, intensely, for bonding, for the feeling of warm and accepting flesh against your ravaged body, and for the comfort of suckling, so as to provide a connection to aliveness in this outside world to compensate for the one brutally taken away, you instead find yourself predominantly in contact with things and an inanimate world. Add to this the fact that your experiences so far with the “living” world has been seeming like a violent assault, and do you suppose you might be having stamped upon your tender psyche an imprint of bonding with things … the material world … a feeling that that is the place, the only place, of support and comfort in life?

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Eventually, you might be wrapped tightly in blankets or other cloths, which take away the one advantage you did manage to get in coming out of the womb—your feeling of free movement. Do you suppose you are really thinking that life and humans are at all on your side?

Very often you are then even taken away from your mother. You might be left somewhere, totally alone, tightly wrapped, with unfamiliar and loud noises and bright lights around you at all times, for a time that seems interminable. You moan and complain when you are separated from a loved one as an adult … even more so when you lose that loved one to another. How do you suppose you felt when everything in the world you knew—your mother—was taken from you … who was also your sole source of comfort and nourishment and connection to life and warmth for the entirety of your life, up to that point? Do you have any remembrance of the total abject terror you experienced? Can you at least imagine?

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Usually you numb yourself at this point, as a newborn, wanting to die. You begin, at the start of your life, to try to kill yourself to escape from this world of horror you have fallen into … this apparent hell. They think you are sleeping comfortably. They do not know you are trying to die.

And in subsequent days … days which seem an eternity … as they are interspersed with bright light/darkness; coldness/warmth; being tightly wrapped, then allowed to move; being fed, then starving; and moved roughly around and manipulated, then left totally alone … you come to know the terror that death, and even worse, torture, is at hand at any corner or with any change in life. Do you have an inkling of how that felt or how it might feel? Do you think you would be open to a life of change and adventure after that? Do you suppose you might, as we have been saying, be determined for the rest of your life to never, ever, ever let anything be out of your control again … not anything? And that to the extent you needed to control all and everything about you to insure that, you would? And would you not feel sure that you would need to insure everything? For do you really suppose, after all the above, you could expect anything good to happen without actually making it happen? Would you not cling fanatically to a determination that you will always and forevermore do whatever you need to do … collateral damage be damned … fully focused on your desperation to never fall again into that pit of excruciating darkness, pain, and aloneness … and not even noticing those around you that your self-obsessed mania might be hurting or stomping upon.

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So, all in all, with despair and misery at hand on a constant basis, in those earliest moments of your time on Earth, you forge a resolve, out of fear, that you will fight back whoever and whatever you need to, forever! … lest you are put “under the knife” once again. And this resolve is the beginnings of your Ego … this resolve to control, to have power over, to conquer, to push all and everyone else to the side … for your survival.

You do that. Or you do die. The pain is too overwhelming or for some reason you cannot muster the resolve, and you just succumb to death, out of your utter despair and misery. And they tally you up as a crib death.

So Ego saves your life … but at great cost. For to erect the construct of Ego you need to split off from all that is good, natural, and easy in you, and loving; and instead focus around a drive to live at whatever cost. For at your youngest you are closest to Nature, your real self, and the Divine. Except for harsh experience and the trainings and teachings of those in your societies who in later life reinforce the split, you would, like us, know it, be it … you would be the Divine, you would be one with Nature. Indeed, to the extent that you can refrain from losing that child-likeness of soul and spirit, you will be closer to Divinity throughout your life.

But as a newborn even you will contribute to your ejection from that Edenal realm. It is you who will place the angels of death at the gates to Paradise. Forever after, the knowledge of that blessed experience before birth and the Divine Awareness you had of the Larger Reality of Beauty, Bliss, and pure Love, will lie on the other side of the deathly terror, the mind-numbing fright, of your experiences of birth and the time immediately afterward. So you will never look in that direction again. You will block out of your memory, even, that such a thing ever existed, having had imprinted in your flesh though not allowed into your conscious mind that that time is associated with the most excruciating and hellacious events you have ever experienced—your time in birth and as a newborn.

Your newborns would, thus, out of despair even die off if not for splitting off from their misery through your construct of Ego.

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And how will you construct such an Ego? The only thing you know of in your world at this point are your attendants—your caregivers and parents, in particular your mother. So what you learn from them is the only thing you even have available from which to build your new and unreal self. So, at the beginning only just from example, they and their behavior are your guides. Indeed, since you are so dependent upon them for life, the first thing you learn is who to be in order to get your needs at least met enough to keep you alive.

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This is the beginning of that controlling-conformity behavior that follows you throughout your life: Your resolve is to control; your deepest drive and motivation is to dominate and have power over all the factors that influence your life so that you will live and never experience that terrifying helplessness and fear ever again. But in order to live, to just simply live, to get the basic minimum for survival—of food, warmth, comfort, rest … and all the rest of that—you need to conform. You need to carefully observe and monitor what it is that will result in your receiving something life supporting and what it is that you do that results in something harsh and painful. Like a pigeon pushing a lever to get a pellet, you learn quickly and well. And you build your entire modus operandi for life out of these early lessons.

Thus, in your early lives, dependent on adult caretakers, it is those fully growns attending you that guide you. They, with all their insanity and their inability to truly take in or really notice much in the world outside of their Egos, must now attend to you. And, being as they are the sole models for the Ego of the child at that time, they also will be the delivery systems for that unusual human construction of Ego. Your adults, in particular the parents, will be the major instruments in creating this strange and abominable thing of consciousness, this Ego.

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***

You may have wondered how we could be so forgiving of you after all you humans do to us planetmates. Maybe now, with your seeing how much we see of you and how much we realize the unusual and horrific things you go through, you might begin to understand. For none of us would wish your lot on any of us. We get it; we get exactly why you have become the savage species you are. Indeed, we have a feeling in looking upon you very much the same as the way you view some of the most unfortunate of your own: “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

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The Idea of a Shamanistic, Stormy Spiritual Path Is Too at Odds with Our Religious Anti-Body Culture to Be Easily Accepted: Is the Supernatural Terrifying?

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Correcting the “Civilized” Ego … The Stormy Path to Self, Part One — The Way Forward Is Down: The Divine Is Mistaken for “the Devil” Until One Is Surrendered Enough

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Implications of Falls from Grace, The Devolutional Model of Development

From looking at the possibility of a more benign, less tragic human trajectory, as we did in the last chapter, I would now like to delve into the implications of this devolutional model of development—these Falls from Grace—as concerns psychotherapy, human growth, or “healing.” For, once the falls have happened to a person, once the patriarchal pathology has occurred, we need to look at what to do about it. We need to turn from prevention, as in the previous chapter, to correction or remediation.

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The Way Forward Is Down

I said at the outset of Part Two that a metaphorical analysis such as this one can uncover underlying meanings: It can provide understanding of inner and outer behavior as well as guidance for such. At this point it can be stated that the implications of an analysis such as I have been presenting are for no less than the direction of growth, the direction of mystical experience, the concept of regression, and the evaluation of current ego psychotherapies, among others.

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Is a “Fully Functioning Ego” a Prerequisite to Higher Consciousness?

Specifically, this perspective puts in question the psychotherapeutic maxim that ego strength precedes higher consciousness. I confess that many years ago I myself made exactly that claim in a work titled The Dangers of Mysticism for Modern Youth (Adzema, 1970). As I concluded, “Cosmic consciousness is dependent upon self-actualization.” By this I meant, following a Jungian line, that ego-actualization leading to a solidified ego and ego strength was necessary before one could hope to face the overwhelming and terrifying Unconscious Self—the repressed inner Divinity. And again following Jung, I proposed that this usually could not occur until the second half of life, or after the mid-life crisis.

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Is the Supernatural Terrifying?

Subsequently, however, I encountered the new experiential psychotherapeutic techniques which — it has been my own experience — allow one to deal with and integrate the repressed “negative” energies that lie along the path (as this book’s analysis demonstrates) to mystical experience of Energy, Mind, Absolute Subjectivity, and God. Thus, I declined to publish that earlier work.

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Ego Does Not Precede Illumination, It Prohibits It

Schneider (1987), to give an example, claims that the kind of mystical consciousness of which Wilber speaks is not possible because, for one thing, it would be terrifying and overwhelming.

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Indeed, that was a good part of my position in The Dangers of Mysticism for Modern Youth (Adzema, 1970). But as I say, I eventually came to understand there to be a big difference between access to and integration of these realities. For, as both Jung and Campbell have pointed out, a God is often seen as a devil until one is wholly enough … I would say surrendered enough … to approach him.

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Some People Are Sick for Healthy Reasons

At any rate, those subsequent experiences of mine with the experiential psychotherapies led to a reformulation of my understanding which led to works titled, descriptively enough, “The Way Forward Is Down” and The Centered Path Through Hell. The proposition arising from this later work is that low self-esteem, low ego strength, is a precondition for “higher” (“lower”) growth in a mystical direction.

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As Maslow (1968) put it (and contrary to Wilber [1970]), some people are sick for sick reasons and some people are sick for healthy reasons. Therefore, especially in an avowed “insane” (see Fromm, 1955) culture, we might want to think twice about doing people the big favor of “helping” them in the direction of increased ego defenses … and societal adjustment and social functioning.

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In fact, those people with inadequate defenses against what is in essence more real are not only closer to being truly sane than the majority of folks but also might be better helped by leading them in the direction of dismantling what remains of the barriers between themselves and pure Energy, pure Consciousness, and helping them instead to integrate with and grow to encompass the expanded awareness that results.

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The Stormy Path to Self

Now, I realize that this proposition is not absolutely new. For one thing it seems to make sense of some of the extreme and bizarre behavior, the seemingly manifest neurotic behavior, of some of the saints and mystics on their way to expanded awareness (see for example James, 1899/1982, especially Henry Suso, pp. 306-310; and Saint John of the Cross, 1959).

But in this secular age, it seems such allowance for “aberrant” behavior is rare. Keep in mind that in many cultures there are institutions—like medieval monasteries—or roles, like shamans, through and in which such distortions of personality can be worked out in socially sanctioned ways.GrofChristStan_StormySearchicon Contrast this with the modern attitude which seems to be that if they can’t be talked into picking themselves up and/or behaving themselves like everyone else they are to be drugged or electroshocked into compliance.

Nevertheless, there are those in this day also who do speak out in favor of the direction of growth that this book is presenting. R. D. Laing, Arthur Janov, and Stanislav Grof are not the least of these. Indeed, Stanislav and Christina Grof’s (1990) book, The Stormy Search for the Self, is a near-exact affirmation of the proposition I have just stated.

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Our Religious, Anti-Body Culture Makes Folks Terrified of the Shamanistic, Stormy Path

Still, this idea of a “stormy” spiritual path—despite the fact that it was distinctively presented and described over a century ago in William James’s classic (1899/1982) work, The Varieties of Religious Experience, (1899/1982)—in my opinion, goes too much against our hard won “rationality” … which we see is essentially our cultural rationalization. This notion is too much an affront to our culturally embedded “pragmatism” … which it is clear now is our cop-out to consensual constructs, especially fear-rooted economic ones. And it is in direct opposition to our pervasive Judeo-Christian anti-body cultural bias. So this idea of a stormy spiritual path, a path in which progress involves regress … in which the way forward is down, is anything but easily accepted.

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

Return to What Does the Natural Self Look Like? The State of Not Losing the Soul Is Emotional Openness and Joy, Being Equally Free in Tears and Laughter

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

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

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