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Human Development/Consciousness Evolution
Record Type: Review   ID: 966

Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research

Grof, Stanislav

 This volume in the SUNY Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology is in two sections: "Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy." The former presents the extended cartography of the psyche that Grof has developed during his clinical work with psychedelics. "It describes the basic types of experiences that become available to an average person whenever he or she gets involved in serious self-exploration with psychedelics or various powerful nonpharmacological experiential techniques. While the model of the human psyche used in traditional academic psychotherapy is conceptually limited to the recollective-analytical level, this new cartography includes two additional levels that are transbiographical. These are the perinatal level, characterized by emphasis on the twin phenomena of birth and death, and the transpersonal level that can in principle mediate experiential connection with any aspect of the phenomenal world and with various mythological and archetypal domains. I consider the knowledge of this cartography to be indispensable for safe and effective inner quest" (p. xvi). In the second section, he presents for the first time the basic principles of what he calls "holotropic therapy," or "holonomic integration," which "combines in a particular way controlled breathing, music and other types of sound technology, focused body work, and mandala drawing" (p. xiv). Grof notes that people find this method "to be an effective and exciting tool for self-exploration with an unusual potential for mediating transformative and mystical experiences" (p. xiv). It contains a special section on the effective healing and personality transformation mechanisms that operate in nonordinary states of consciousness, and which have since earliest times had an important place in healing and shamanic rituals and in rites of passage. He has attempted to rediscover these age-old practices and reformulates them in today's scientific terminology. The book ends "with a discussion of the potential and the goals of experiential self-exploration utilizing the therapeutic and transformative power of nonordinary states of consciousness. It describes how, in this process, emotional and psychosomatic healing is combined with a movement toward a more fulfilling strategy of life and a search for answers to the fundamental ontological and cosmological questions of existence" (pp. xvi-xvii). Parapsychological phenomena are considered in various sections of the book: ESP and OBEs under "Transcendence of Spatial Boundaries," reincarnation and precognition under "Transcendence of the Boundaries of Linear Time," survival and mediumistic experiences under "Experiential Extension Beyond Consensus Reality and Space-Time," and synchronicity, PK, and RSPK under "Transpersonal Experiences of Psychoid Nature."
Publisher Information:New York: Viking, 1975. 257p. Bibliography: 245-246; 1 figure; 49 illustrations; Index: 247-257; 1 table
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