Posts Tagged meditation
When Life is Ever New, a Revelation, One Has Turned the Good into the Wonderful: Experience Is Divinity, Part Nine — God Invents Joy by Forgetting.
How to Turn Being Into Becoming and Good Into Wonderful: Forgetting Brings Delight to Getting and Becoming Human Is God’s Play
We Remove the Essence of Divinity from Our Ideas of the Divine
The point is that we keep removing the essence of Divinity—Experience—from all our depictions of Divinity, guaranteeing we will be wrong. Wrong, and even end up getting the opposite idea. We turn living Spirit into emotionless icon and end up worshiping, even emulating, the very things that our holy people exhort us to look away from.
Even the thing we know most about Christ’s life is His suffering, yet is that nothing? In meditation folks try to empty their minds and become blank and emotionless, but yet Christ suffered and that is hardly nothing … let alone emotionless. We sure don’t like suffering, but it is hardly boring. This man suffered, healed, taught, hung out with folks, threw money-changers out of a temple. He may not have been “political” but he was hardly passive. He didn’t sit at home, trying to “empty his mind,” did he?
What a Rip-Off!
And then we say He suffered for us … so that we don’t have to.
Well, what a bunch of hooey, because, that would be like saying God became God so that He could prevent us from becoming God. It’s like saying we get to have a boring life and can be dumb and unenlightened and not learn from our experiences or grow, because, well, Jesus did all that for us!
It’s such a rip off, it’s like He gets to feel, He gets to really live life, but we don’t….
How to Turn Good Into Wonderful
The point is…when you are God…and you’ve had so many lifetimes … tripping out as an animal and such and knowing your sense of Reality and all else … and knowing that it is like a movie … Don’t you think … at some point….
I mean, after all you’re God, and you know there’s nothing, nothing, nothing that could ever harm you…or harm anyone. Nothing…nobody ever gets harmed. And everybody always gets loved, and it can’t help but happen always that way. It can’t help but happen always that way because there’s nothing outside of that Truth-Awareness-Bliss-Love.
So, don’t you think that God might…
I’m going to have to edge my way into this….
What Is More Alive for Someone Who’s Nothing But Good?
Would anybody crave sameness? Why would anybody crave a death-like pall of an existence? No! We all crave what? TO BE ALIVE! MORE ALIVE!! There is a reason that the worst thing that we imagine in life, death, is depicted as something rotting, boring, uneventful…. Is it not possible that in abhorring what we think is non-existence we are sensing the real and true values of Divinity? Life, aliveness, vitality, change, exuberance, freedom, magnificence, euphoria, expansiveness… are these not values that would have to be associated with Divinity?
And what is more alive for someone who’s nothing but good?
Hopeful Sadness? Seriously?
Wouldn’t Divinity be more alive by putting a “frame” around that goodness to give it a kind of a contrast so it can be more beautiful? Think of all of the things that happen in life out of pain, and the things that we all pull ourselves to, consciously or not.
Remember the poignancy I spoke of. Would there be such a feeling, would there ever be poignancy if there wasn’t like hopeless sadness? If we had hopeful sadness, we’d never even have the experience of poignancy.
Do you see that only by forgetting who we are can we really live life, be really in it, grow in it, change in it. True, it is scary as hell. But the thing is, we all…live through it!
What Do You Call God When He’s Bungee Jumping? Answer: Human
It’s kind of like when you’re bungee jumping. Say, you’re bungee jumping off a bridge. You’re sure you’re gonna die. But you’ve been convinced that all the materials, all the equipment, are safe and sound…that you’ll be secure, that nothing bad whatsoever will happen to you.
So what do you do? Having complete faith in the people doing it and the materials and the strength of them, you do it even though you’re thinking it’s certain you’re gonna die! You have all the fears in the world. It’s you doing peek-a-boo again, only this time with yourself. You’re trying to prove to yourself that God will be always there to catch you.
But the only thing is, we as God do it one better when we come into this world as a human….
We forget…that the “rope” is good.
Forgetting Brings Delight to Getting
We just throw ourselves off and let ourselves forget that it is certain we will be just fine and that instead of dying it will be fun, that it will in fact be a blast… even if only in retrospect. Or, more accurately, in overspect.
We throw ourselves off, we come into this world, hoping…knowing! knowing that at some point we will remember, before we die, that there is never anything to fear and who we really are. We know we will remember because we know we’re never really gonna die…you’re never gonna die…. You will go from one lifetime to another and will think you die, but it is impossible to end consciousness.
So we know we’re going to succeed, at some point or other. We know we’re going to remember who we are as divinity and the incredible magnificence of this game that WE have chosen to do for an adventure and as an experiment in consciousness.
And we also know, when we throw ourselves into diminished consciousness, that is, into physical form, that we are going to experience things that we have never ever experienced before…. and that we may never want to experience again.
How to Turn Being Into Becoming
You might say that if God is eternal and unchanging and Real that there are no experiences that are not already. You might say that beingness is not becomingness. Yes, we can look at it that way. Then we can understand it better by thinking of it this way: Have you ever seen a movie or a TV show or play a second time, after a very long time, and have forgotten so much of it that in experiencing it all over again it is as much fun and as en-joy-able as the first time? The joy of experience is amplified by forgetting. That is, when life is approached as a revelation, from the stance that it is ever new, it is more delightful. THAT is how one makes the good into the wonderful.
God Invents Joy by Forgetting.
So, you see that forgetting has its uses in terms of magnifying enjoyment, pleasure, fun. Again, it is a form of peek-a-boo. By keeping something hidden from few, forgotten, it is more pleasurable, even joyous, when once again it is seen to exist!
God needs to create darkness to glorify the light. She needs to invent pain to put the edge of delight in pleasure. She has to create separation and division … she has to become multiple … to bring out the beauty of Love and Unity and to create the drama of re-union.
God makes Love brighter and more exquisite by making it poignant … by mixing it with loss. She makes having so much better by losing and so setting up the magnificent experience of getting … all over again.
Continue with What I Can Tell You About the Seed of Light in the Deepest Darkness: The Witness Self, The Beneficence of Experience, and the Secret About Oneself One Dares Never Reveal
Return to The Biggest Secret and Why the Bodhisattva Waits: We Remove the Essence of Divinity from Our Ideas of the Divine
To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Experience Is Divinity
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Approaching the “Source”: Right-Left Brain Integration, Theta Waves … Hypnogogic Experiences, and Delta Waves … A Nightly Return to Our Roots in the Infinite
The Awareness of a “Larger Reality”: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Five — Brain Correlates to Primal and Spiritual Experience … Wave and Structure
The relations between these levels of growth and the techniques under consideration can be demonstrated by their correlations with brain wave activity.
Theta Waves … Hypnogogic Experiences
Beta waves on the EEG correspond to normal waking consciousness while alpha indicates a more relaxed, tranquil state. The consciousness correlated with theta waves, which are even slower than alpha, is characterized by a dream-like or “reverie” state during which one is immersed in a world of images. It has long been known that these dream-like states (called “hypnogogic experiences”) play some part in scientific and artistic creation. (Rama, Ballentine, & Ajaya, 1976, pp. 146-147)
Delta Waves—A Nightly Return to Our Roots in the Infinite
An even more relaxed state is the delta state, which usually is only experienced in the phase of “deep sleep.” It is unknown what exactly goes on during this state of sleep as, unlike REM sleep, which is characterized by dreaming, this appears to be a dreamless state. Yogananda (1946, p. 493) has indicated that it represents a nightly return to our roots in the infinite. Regardless, it is a more relaxed state than even the very relaxed and creative theta state.
Theta has been called a measure of feeling states by Janov (1974b, p. 40). He also has brought forth research showing a trend toward theta and delta states in advanced primalers (cf. Janov & Holden, 1975, p. 493; Janov, 1971, pp. 214-215). Lake (1981) also makes this connection between theta states and integrative primal access and relivings. Similarly, research on meditators has indicated that they also exhibit alpha, theta, and delta wave patterns while awake, with more advanced meditators exhibiting the slower brain-wave patterns (cf. Rama et al., 1976, pp. 159-161; Walsh, 1979, p. 166).
The Awareness of a “Larger Reality”
We see that at least in regard to brain-wave activity the effects of primal and meditation are parallel. The effects include increasingly relaxed patterns and greater synchronization. One might speculate that the correlate of these slower rhythms is the awareness of subtler and subtler energies (a primaler would say “feelings”). These energies and awarenesses are unavailable in the normal beta state and could therefore be said to represent the awareness of a “larger reality.”
In addition to brain-wave activity, one might also find correlates to this process in terms of actual parts of the brain.
Right Brain—Left Brain Integration
Much has been made of late correlating states of consciousness and areas of the brain along right brain/left brain lines. Left brain dominance has come under attack and an integration of the two is called for. It is becoming clear that this kind of integration is an important aspect of both the primal and spiritual processes. Evidence for this is presented by Janov (1973; Janov & Holden, 1975). And evidence of this kind of integration occurs in the spiritual disciplines, particularly in its most advanced stages (Earle, 1981).
Approaching the “Source”
What I am saying is that contact with subtler energies may involve awareness of brain activity existing closer to the brainstem, the “source” of brain activity, while normal consciousness is awareness of brain activity that is primarily cortical. Both the much acclaimed ability of yogis to control physiological processes that normally are unconsciously regulated and the reports that primalers are more aware of internal biological processes attest to this conception of the process.
Continue with Levels of Pain, Levels of Bliss and the First Shutdown: “I Went from Birth to an Intrauterine State to Conception to Floating in the Icy Vastness of Space.”
Return to The Primal Serene — A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Four: How Passion Promotes Serenity and the Detached Observer in Catharsis — The Eye of the Storm
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Is God a Defense? Is Passion not Spiritual? A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Two — To Travel Unafraid Through All the Rooms of One’s House
Stopping the “Internal Dialogue”: Meditation and Primal Are Attempts to Experience Aspects of Consciousness That Are Nonverbal, Noncortical, and Non-Neurotic
Is God a Defense?
This chapter is part of the development in primal in correcting one inaccuracy of the early “primal scream,” which is Janov’s attitude regarding the relation between feeling one’s feelings and the spiritual process. Janov would claim that religion and the belief in a God are defenses, and that spiritual experiences employ the energy of repressed material, as in sublimation, or are reaction formations to such pain. Specifically, Janov has stated that meditation is “anti-Primal.”
Is Catharsis Anti-Spiritual?
Attacking from the other side we have Wilber (1982) claiming that preverbal experiences are to be distinguished from transpersonal experiences. He claims that “[b]ecause both pre-X and trans-X are, in their own ways, non-X, they may appear similar, even identical, to the untutured eye,” whereas in reality they are profoundly different (p. 5). He posits a structure of linear development in which one conceivably could “regress” to pre-X, to prepersonal experience, and mistake it for transpersonal experience.
Therefore he would claim that such experiences as we undergo in the phenomenon of re-experience are actual “regressions” on the spiritual path and are antithetical to a true spiritual quest. He would also claim a spiritual meditative practice is antithetical to one of re-experience or “regression therapy.”
Meditation Is Often Emotionally “Messy”
Wilber’s theory strikes me as a curiously dualistic way of interpreting a nondichotomous reality. And although his reasoning is tight and internally consistent, it excludes the evidence of transpersonal experience as exhibited in the spiritual, psychedelic, and ethnographic literature, or the evidence of meditation research. For, as Epstein and Leiff, (1981, p. 140) wrote in commenting on Wilber’s distinctions between supposed pre- and transpersonal experience: “In fact, meditation experiences embody all of the above. Confusion arises when meditation is analyzed as one discrete state, rather than as a developmental process.”
Spiritual Growth Is Not a Linear Path, It is an Expanding Outward
Thus, I differ with Wilber in that I do not see preegoic influences as counter to a transcendental path; rather, I see them as distortions to be worked through.
This stems from the basic difference between our developmental frameworks in that Wilber sees a linearity, and I see a dialectic in which a transcendental jump “forward” may require an incorporative “backward” step. I do not see growth at all as a linear progression, but more like an expanding outward.
To Travel Unafraid Through All the Rooms of One’s House
What we find, in primal anyway, is that one actually is more adult when one can let one’s self be childlike at times. Wilber’s theory seems to exclude the possibility that the “healthiest” state may be, as many have described it, one in which we have access all the way “up” and “down” the “spectrum,” in which we can travel unafraid through all the rooms of our house. In this context regression can seem a meaningless term and discussion of it appear spurious.
An Alternative Explanation
Thus, unlike Janov who casts a dark light on spiritual pursuits in affirming the importance of primal experience (re-experience), Wilber impugns the validity of “pre-” experiences (re-experience) in affirming the importance of spiritual and meditative experiences.
Regression Is the Left Hand of Progression
My purpose here will be to counter both theorists in affirming that “pre-” is not distinct from “trans-,” as Wilber stated, nor primal distinct from meditation, as Janov stated.
Basically, the evolved primal therapy I participated in differs with Janov in discovering that primal and meditation are congruent techniques beneath their surface differences. This is evident in the similarity of the phenomena experienced in each and in the similarity of effects each has on the personality.
Their congruence is further indicated by the fact that transpersonal phenomena do seem to occur to advanced primalers, contrary to Janov’s claims. Though experiences of both primalers and LSD subjects seem to indicate that much of what is generally considered transpersonal phenomena is derivative of traumatic life experiences, particularly those occurring at birth or in the womb, there is much of transpersonal experience that cannot be explained away in that manner.
Stopping the “Internal Dialogue”
The alternative explanation I am presenting rests on the idea that the purpose of the spiritual disciplines is, as Castaneda has termed it, to stop the “internal dialogue.” This corresponds in primal therapy to the attempts to get “below” the rationalizations, intellectualizations, and defenses that are laid down in the cortex, to the real body feelings underneath. It would seem that both methods are engaged in an attempt to delve into and experience aspects of consciousness that are nonverbal, nonsymbolic, noncortical, and nonneurotic.
Neurosis has often been defined as a narrowing of consciousness. One way of viewing this is that it entails being cut off from large areas of awareness and experience that are tied up with painful memories and feelings. In this light it is interesting to consider a statement by Paramahansa Yogananda, who was discussing his experience of returning to a physical body in his reincarnation on earth. He writes, “Like a prodigal child, I had run away from my macrocosmic home and imprisoned myself in a narrow microcosm” (1946, p. 168).
“Imprisoned in a Narrow Microcosm” = Human
One way of viewing the human condition, then, is as a “neurotic” state in that it entails a narrowing of consciousness. We see neurosis in the pathological sense as simply a more extreme narrowing of consciousness than what is accepted as normal.
In this way we can see the function of the spiritual disciplines, which is to increase the capacity of the individual to accept the “larger reality,” as parallel to the purpose of primal therapy, which is to increase the capacity of the person to accept walled-off portions of her or his personal reality. As they apparently deal with different “levels” of reality, one might suspect that there would be differences in technique.
Catharsis and Calmness Alternate on Liberation’s Highway
But, conversely, I propose that primal and spiritual techniques are complementary, despite their surface differences, with either being helpful depending on the material to be worked through. Further and more specifically, I propose that primal can aid the spiritual process by clearing out negative material from the personal unconscious that would otherwise distort and impede that process, whereas spiritual techniques sometimes can be helpful in extending the arena of growth beyond the borders of strictly primal (or personal) reality.
Continue with “At Times I Hopped Like a Frog … Between Smiles and Tears, I Continued my Inward Journey.” — Guru Muktananda: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Three — Cathartic Meditation
Return to How Valid Are Spiritual Experiences? Psychedelic Research and Deep Experiential Psychotherapy Have Intensified the Exploration of Spiritual Aspects of the Unconscious
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Being Crazy in an Insane World Might Mean You’re the Sane One: Rebirthing Rituals, Part Three – Auspicious Collective Regressions
People Who Have It All Figured Out Are the Ones to Watch Out For … Emotional “Sickness” Might Indicate More “Wellness”: Rebirthing Rituals, Part 3
Regression in the Service of the Ego
With the exposure of the ineffectiveness of the Freudian tactic of intellectual understanding has come the Freudian movement’s disintegration into schools advocating various other strategies for change.
These schools/strategies include the psychiatric—the use of drugs; the neo-Freudians who acknowledge and use regression in the service of the ego and abreaction; the humanistic-existential approaches, stressing the “experiential”; and the Jungians and neo-Jungians, who would seek the resolution of these cycles in their inner archetypal acting out, resulting in an eventual rootedness of the ego in a higher Self (a spiritual center) beyond or transcending the cycles. [Footnote 9]
Other approaches include the bulk of the spiritual, new-age, or transpersonal means that are flourishing these days. These alternative paths basically differ from all others in their belief that one can simply bypass these perinatal pulls and pushes and go directly to the Light or the Self by dismissing the birth cycles, or the Darkness or Shadow, through affirming the Light, meditating the Darkness out or the Light in, changing one’s thoughts, creating one’s reality, and various combinations of these.
Finally, these newer schools and strategies for healing include those of what might be called experiential psychotherapy, which includes primal therapy, holotropic breathwork, some forms of (experiential) meditation (Vipassana meditation, for example), Reichian and bioenergetic approaches, some forms of hypnotherapy—experiential ones—ones that involve reliving traumas—and virtually all the techniques, treatments, and correctives that are espoused in the field of pre- and perinatal psychology.
The point is that from a good number of these other-than-Freudian perspectives—and all of those that acknowledge the importance of regression in the service of the ego—and from the perspective of the entire field of experiential psychotherapy, the answer to the cycles of violence, war, and death-rebirth is to stop the acting out, not by simply intellectually decrying it—as if one can actually talk oneself out of one’s inner fears and one’s Darkness/Shadow—but by reliving those cycles of violence at their origins…their primal roots. In the case of perinatal forces, those forces from “the dark side,” this is accomplished by reliving the violence of birth, a perinatal trauma that is thoroughly and masterfully delineated by Grof and deMause. [Footnote 10]
Auspicious Collective Regressions
But from this perspective of experiential psychotherapy—one completely congruent with and grateful of deMause’s contributions in psychohistory as well—regression, in Europe, or elsewhere, is not seen as something to decry, disclaim, be horrified of, or be seen as dangerous but is seen as an opportunity. Regression is certainly not seen as a form of defense but as the opposite of that. Regression is part of a process of diminishing one’s defenses against one’s internal reality of pain and trauma.
Thus, examples of blatant collective regression as in Europe—more so to the extent they are relived, released, and integrated—are entirely auspicious for the eventual elimination of war as a collective device of acting out—defending against—the painful feelings coming from one’s personal history which one carries around, all unknowingly, and which pervade, in one way or another, in forms subtle and not so subtle, every moment of one’s consciousness in the present.
From this experiential psychotherapeutic perspective, we have a different feeling about developments like those that Mayr and Boelderl describe as collective regression in Europe and Lawson describes as occurring at rock concerts. [Footnote 11]
From a more enlightened viewpoint these cultural phenomena should have us, if not dancing in the streets, at least hopeful of a gradual decrease in the use of war and violence. Why? It is because the youth who display this “regression” so blatantly were brought up by an “advanced” form of child-rearing than that of previous generations, that they have fewer defenses, fewer layers of obfuscation covering up their unconscious psychodynamics; consequently the regression is seen more clearly in their behavior. [Footnote 12]
Unflinching Belief Related to Total Dissociation
Why is this important? DeMause points out that people do go to war, and that prior to it their perinatal dynamics come to the fore, as evidenced by perinatal-laden words and images in the media and in leaders’ speeches used to describe the situation and its dynamics. Thus, our leaders take us into war, they act out their perinatal dynamics…and we in following them act out ours…in such gruesomely overt ways because these dynamics are so hidden, repressed, and overlaid with defenses that the conscious mind has absolutely no access to, and hence insight into, them as being part of one’s unconscious dynamics.
Consequently the conscious mind is completely able to convince itself that those dynamics are actual, real, and doubtless parts of the situation and therefore require an actual, real, and extreme response. The amount of resolve required to act out war can only be wrought of an unflinching belief in the rightness, the absolute correctness of one’s perspective of the situation and therefore of that extreme course of response. And that can only be brought about by a total dissociation from one’s perinatal traumas, and a complete and utter projection of it on the outside—the enemy, to be specific.
Blatant “Sickness” Related to Being Real
The contrary is also true: When there does not exist that total and complete dissociation of the perinatal trauma—when it is, as in Europe and rock concerts currently, closer to the surface, less defended against, less repressed and, hence, more blatant—it is more accessible to consciousness and less likely to be acted out in the extreme as in war. Instead it is more likely to be acted out in less extreme forms, such as jumping into mosh pits, carrying pacifiers, listening to baby tunes about the, very real, difficulties of being a baby, and so on.
Finally, it is more likely to be actually allowed to emerge in consciousness and be relived, and thereby “healed”…and gone beyond, to be replaced by something more benign and more socially constructive, and thus to be removed forever as a motivation to war or violence. This is the auspicious view of the developments described by Mayr and Boelderl. [Footnote 13]
Janov was the first to point out that a permanent resolution of underlying trauma initially entailed an aggravation of symptoms and symbolic acting out. That is to say, the underlying dynamics become more blatant and apparent in behavior. [Footnote 14]
Janov was also the first to note that the acting-out and overt neurotic was closer to being “real,” and therefore really sane, than his or her highly functioning and “normal,” but repressed, rigidly defended, and unfeeling neighbor. [Footnote 15]
9. Regarding the “experiential,” I should make clear that this approach is, from the perspective of the experiential psychotherapeutic approach I will be describing shortly, actually the superficial symbolic acting out of these underlying and powerful cycles in a way that is only a little less impotent than the Freudians.
12. Mayr and Boelderl claim quite wrongly and quite strangely—as if to make the facts not conflict with DeMause’s psychogenic theory, or as if to cover up some hole in their analysis—that those caught up in the pacifier craze were raised under the intrusive and socializing parenting modes (op. cit., 1993, p. 145) and yet, in 1992, were between the ages of 15 and 30 (Ibid., p. 143). This is hard to understand because these youth would have been born between the years 1962 and 1977 in advanced Western countries of mostly Western Europe—Italy, Germany, Austria, all of Europe, and even the U.S. (Ibid.).
However, the intrusive and socializing modes are associated, by DeMause, with the eighteenth century and the nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, respectively, in the Western world (DeMause, op. cit., 1982, p. 62). On the other hand, the helping mode begins mid-twentieth century in the Western world (Ibid., p. 63).
The conclusion from this is that these youth, described by Mayr and Boelderl, would have been greatly influenced by the helping mode. They would be expected, at least, to have received the most advanced methods of child-caring overall in the world at this time—considering DeMause’s theory—since they are the most recent progeny of the Western world!
Indeed, if these cannot be considered products of the helping mode, who can be? In order for Mayr and Boelderl to dispute this and claim they were exceptions to the rule and were raised under intrusive and socializing modes, they would have had to do a study demonstrating this, or at least cite one done. And this they do not do.
13. Michael D. Adzema, “Reunion With the Positive (Self), Part 1: The Other Half of ‘The Cure.’” Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology 1(2): 72-85. Reprinted on the Primal Spirit site.
Continue with The Most Evolved Parenting … Boomers and Millennials … and The Cyclical Nature of History: Rebirthing Rituals, Part Four – I Know It’s Hard to Believe But We’ve Been Getting Saner
Return to Railing Against the Darkness: The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, Progress Requires Regress, and Healing Is Nothing if Not Messy
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