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When the Impossible Happens: Adventures in Non-Ordinary Reality Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Sounds True, Incorporated; First Edition edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159179420X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591794202
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 3.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stanislav Grof, M.D., Ph.D. is a psychiatrist who has researched non-ordinary states of consciousness for over half a century. One of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology, Dr. Grof is the president of the International Transpersonal Association and a professor of psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and the Pacifica Graduate Institute. His numerous books include Beyond the Brain (SUNY Press, 1985) and Psychology of the Future (SUNY Press, 2000). Dr. Grof lives in Mill Valley, California.

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Customer Reviews

What makes this book so special is the depth of personal sharing.
Renn Butler
If you want to expand your consciousness, open up your mind, read this book and pass it on.
HarbinCreative
Seems like Stan was in the middle or the edge of most of them, and he probably was.
J. Buss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Renn Butler on December 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
Stan Grof's new book, "When the Impossible Happens," has become an instant transpersonal classic. The most personable and accessible of his many projects, I recommend this book enthusiastically to anyone interested in human consciousness, including the study of synchronicities, pre- and perinatal experiences, racial and collective memories, ESP and paranormal abilities, karma and reincarnation, the convergence of science and mysticism, and survival of consciousness after death.

Drawing upon fifty years of disciplined research into the extraordinary properties of the human psyche, Grof presents a series of representative experiences of himself, his colleagues, and his patients of powerful journeys in non-ordinary or holotropic ("moving toward wholeness") states of consciousness. The content of many of these experiences were then objectively verified afterward, often to incredible surprise. These included obstetric details from birth, experiences of the subject's mother during pregnancy, obscure episodes from the lives of parents and ancestors, unknowable details from past lives, minute physiological characteristics of various animal and plant species, arcane details of world mythologies of which the subject clearly had no prior knowledge, and many other examples. A number of these fit the criteria for later objective verification through hospital records or research libraries; that is, they have the credibility of paradigm busters. The sheer volume and quality of these remarkable documented experiences suggest a radical revisioning of the outmoded mechanistic and monistic vision of reality, and point instead toward a cosmos governed by higher intelligence, numinous meaning, and even sophisticated humor.

What makes this book so special is the depth of personal sharing.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Isis on January 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
Grof describes in a very intimate and almost autobiographical manner his experiences with witnessing altered states of consciousness in others (namely his patients) and his own experiences with non-ordinary reality. It is a fantastic read, truly an adventure into this rarely explored part of the subconscious mind. I also thought he was quite brave in his candor in revealing his own experiences, particularly as a person from a traditional medical/psychiatric background. His work and explorations, I feel, are ground breaking and opens up a whole realm of possibilities for future work in the study of the human psyche. His book shows that we are truly much more than we could ever imagine we are! I highly recommend it.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By P. Strayer on June 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
Most of Stan Grof's books are full of Big Thoughts, but this one is on the light side. Good bedside reading. Short chapters are just the right size for a one a night rhythm.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Moriarty on November 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Grof throws it all at you in this delightful little book on consciousness and transpersonal psychology, which is also an easy read. He discusses and elaborates on many topics that are of interest in exploring paradigm shifting views on the nature of consciousness and existence and so migrating us out of the straight jacket of materialistic monism and Freudian psychology, that have so dominated western thinking.

Topics reviewed include Holotropic breathwork, Crop Circles, Siddha Yoga, LSD and Ketamine Based therapy sessions, past life regression therapy, Synchronicities, Shamanic Influences, Primal Therapy, ESP, Remote viewing, Basic Perinatal Matrices (BPM), Astrological Archetypes etc. and it is mostly through direct experiential based vignetttes garnered from the authors 50 years in the field.

The Holotropic breathwork itself seems like a variant on Osho's dynamic kundalini pranayama, and active meditations that is combined with music. Knowing from my own experience the relationship between breathing rhythm and the quality and one's conscious state and moods, ( a fact that is also known for millennia from the teachings of Siddhas such as Thirumoolar), it is highly likely that it can be used to raise deep unconscious and traumatic states so that they can be therapeutically resolved. Just like people remember things based on a trigger from the time the memory was implanted, each traumatic event in a person past life or past lives will have its own characteristic breathing rhythm and going into this upsetting breathing rhythm can be used as a trigger to raise it once again.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Mann on February 22, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like the book. The subjects are fascinating and Grof tells his anecdotes well. I would love to see more formal statistical modeling of the anecdotal evidence.

There is a dichotomy between the anecdotal and the modern scientific view that is most excellently expressed in the anecdotal story of the author's meeting with Carl Sagan. Sagan actually shows his bias and a lack of scientific inquiry. There is room on the boat for all ideas, and Sagan shows typical scientific arrogance when it comes to discussing ideas that are beyond his scientific expertise. "I just know it's wrong" is not a scientific argument.

Grof likewise fails us with his lack of statistical data that back up his claims, expecting us to see his anecdotes as evidence when in reality his data hold nothing more than face value. Without data, the anecdote becomes just one more datum without a hypothesis. Great stories, but what are they REALLY about?
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