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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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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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Grof further references current research, thus blending ancient and new cutting-edge science into something like a total synthesis. With good reason and convincing arguments, he refers to David Bohm’s theory of a constantly unfolding universe as one of the first holistic science concepts in modern times.
One of the most daring thinking habits to overcome, that are connected with mechanistic science, is the illusion of separateness. Grof writes:
—The holographic model offers revolutionary possibilities for a new understanding of the relationship between the parts and the whole. No longer confined to the limited logic of traditional thought, the part ceases to be just a fragment of the whole but, under certain circumstances, reflects and contains the whole. As individual human beings we are not isolated and insignificant Newtonian entities; rather, as integral fields of the holomovement each of us is also a microcosm that reflects and contains the macrocosm./10
But apart from systems theory, in which he knows to excel, Grof is really the specialist for LSD-based psychiatry, and his two decades of experience together with sound judgment of his many observations have led to something like an integrated concept of LSD-based psychiatry.
While all this research had been stopped because of the fact that LSD, together with number of natural plant psychedelics, has been forbidden by our administrative oversoul, the insights and miracles remain an ecstatic outlook in a possible future of psychiatry.
Contrary to Freudian psychoanalysis, Grof, following a tradition created by Otto Rank, includes perinatal experiences in his psychoanalytic exploration.
He wrote in the "Acknowledgements" section of this 1993 book, "This book is based on experiences, observations, and insights from thirty-five years of systematic exploration of the value of non-ordinary states of consciousness... One of the most significant intellectual events of my life was the discovery of holography and of the holonomic thinking in science, which provided a conceptual framework for a variety of otherwise incomprehensible and puzzling findings of modern consciousness research." He adds in the first chapter, "The main focus of this book is to describe and explore the radical changes in our understanding of consciousness, the human psyche, and the nature of reality that became necessary when we pay attention to the testimony of non-ordinary states, as all other cultures before us." (Pg. 13)
Here are some additional quotations from the book:
"(I believe) that the potential for mystical experience is the birthright of all humans." (Pg. 16)
"Having started this research as a convinced materialist and atheist, I had to open myself to the fact that the spiritual dimension is a key factor in the human psyche and in the universal scheme of things. I feel strongly that becoming aware of this dimension of our lives and cultivating it is an essential and desirable part of our existence; it might even be a critical factor for our survival on this planet." (Pg. 18)
"Our transpersonal experiences of entering the consciousness of animals can be extremely convincing." (Pg. 98)
"At first glance, it would appear that a belief in reincarnation is alien to, or even incompatible with, the Christian faith. However, this has not always been so; beliefs in reincarnation were part of early mystical Christianity." (Pg. 132)
"In the end I could not bring myself to carry through with the intended experiment... To this day there are times when I deeply regret that I wasted such a unique opportunity to test my ability to manipulate space-time." (Pg. 137)
"Contacts with spirit guides, or channeling, belong to the wide spectrum of transpersonal experiences that can occur in non-ordinary states of consciousness." (Pg. 153-154)
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