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The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives Paperback – May 28, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Grof ( The Stormy Search for Self , LJ 4/1/90) offers this New Age book which purports to unravel the complexities of the human mind through the assessment of observations of "non-ordinary" states of consciousness (LSD-induced, etc.). The mind, according to Grof, is essentially "holotropic," that is, like a hologram wherein the whole can be reconstructed from a tiny part. The book's first part analyzes memories of life in the womb and the painful process of birth. This is largely a rehash of Grof's Realms of the Human Unconscious ( LJ 7/75, o.p.). The rest of the book is given to a discussion of our "infinite transpersonal consciousness," wherein we can transcend not only the time-space continuum but even visit other dimensions and parallel universes. Grof purports to be scientific--the word appears often throughout the book--but he is surprisingly short on validation. He accepts without question the spoon bending of Uri Geller and the mental photography of Ted Serios. This book is suitable for the New Age shelf if you don't have the author's earlier treatment.
- Dave Summers, Holly Twp. Lib., Mich.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Hal Zina Bennett, Ph.D., is a lecturer, consultant, and the author or co-author of twenty-seven books, including The Lens of Perception, The Well Body Book (with Mike Samuels, M.D.), The Holotropic Mind (with Stanislav Grof, M.D.), and Follow Your Bliss (with Susan J. Sparrow). He is also a contributing editor to Shaman's Drum magazine

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (May 28, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062506595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062506597
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

145 of 151 people found the following review helpful By Tony Mayo, Executive Coach for Business Owners on October 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
I recommend The Holotropic Mind to two audiences: the scientifically minded willing to follow solid research wherever it goes and the New Age enthusiast willing to explore a radical theory which seeks to explain a wide range of occult phenomenon, from pre-birth memories to ESP to life-after-death.
Dr. Grof is skilled psychiatrist and researcher with solid academic credentials in the US and Europe. He was one of the first to experiment with LSD--experiment in the laboratory sense, not in the adolescent escapade sense. His decades of research with thousands of subjects, including himself, has convinced the doctor that altered states of consciousness are the gateway to understanding the nature of the human experience.
P. 133 neatly summarizes Dr. Grof's approach, and his book's challenge to the typical Western reader: "The prevalent bias of the modern industrialized world is one of excluding all forms of spirituality as erroneous and misleading. ... While the existence of the experiences is a fact that can be confirmed by any serious researcher familiar with non-ordinary states of consciousness, there are various ways to interpret the same data. This is not so different from any other scientific question. After all the theory of gravity is not the same as gravity itself. Similarly, while we might refuse to take seriously past life experiences because we do not like the theories of reincarnations, we would not think of applying the same thinking to gravity, that is, denying that objects are falling because we do not like the theories of gravity that explain it. There are observable facts about reincarnation. ... It is important to remind ourselves that science never 'proves' anything; it only 'disproves' or 'improves' existing theories.
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96 of 99 people found the following review helpful By renn butler on October 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Stanislav Grof's new book is a moving journey into the depths and heights of the human psyche. Based on thirty-five years of consciousness research-originally with psychoactive substances, then with a powerful non-drug technique, Holotropic Breathwork ™--this work represents the most extensive mapping of inner space compiled to date. Edited with the help of a professional writer this is also one of the most accessible of Grof's writing, appealing both to the interested beginner and the veteran explorer.
Grof's research suggests that profound healing happens automatically when people enter certain non-ordinary states of consciousness that are intrinsic to their own being. The process usually begins with a working through of emotionally charged memories from the lifetime. Eventually it deepens into a confrontation with biological birth and the inevitability of death, sequences that are intermixed with historical, karmic, and archetypal themes. Finally the process opens out into ecstatic transpersonal and spiritual realms, beyond the boundaries of individual consciousness. This book is full of fascinating case histories of people who have had the courage to look beneath the surface of everyday reality. Some of the accounts of healing and personal evolution described here will move and inspire you.
Self-exploration of this type is truly a kind of final frontier. Grof makes a solid case for the reintroduction of healing practises that use non-ordinary states of consciousness, techniques that have been used in non-industrial cultures for thousands of years. The documented effects of these suggest a potential for healing and transformation "undreamed of" in traditional psychotherapy.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By D. Rigas on October 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
What does holotropic mean? The dictionary does not define the term, and neither does the author, although he has developed an entire psychiatric treatment and trademarked it as the "Holotropic Breathwork." If we compare it to the meaning of "allotropic" we can deduce that it should mean "of one form." But with one form with what? After reading the book I am guessing that it refers to the universe. Our mind is one with it. Purely a guess; the author does not tell us.

Stanislav Grof was born in in 1931 in Czechoslovakia, where he received an MD in 1956, and PhD in 1967. It appears that he spent his time between the two degrees doing research in LSD-induced psychic states, often using himself as the subject. But when he came to the US in 1967, LSD use became prohibited, and so he eventually continued his work in "Transpersonal Psychology" (defined as a study of non-ordinary states of consciousness) with techniques that involved controlled breathing in a controlled setting. If nothing else, the reader of this book can get an idea of what a psychedelic trip feels like.

The book consists of two parts, framed between what could be called an introductory and a concluding chapter. In the introduction he mentions how some avant-garde physicists have introduced theories that connect together everything in the universe into one mathematical or even conscious entity: Talbot's holographic universe, Bohm's implicate order, Sheldrake's morphic resonance, and finally Jung's (an avant-garde psychiatrist in his day) collective unconscious. He then takes off into his favorite subject, LSD-induced regression into early childhood states and the birth process.
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