- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Ishk Book Service; 3d edition (February 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1883536006
- ISBN-13: 978-1883536008
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,680,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Mind Field : A Personal Essay 3d Edition
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Robert Ornstein is a brain researcher who, having worked his way to the cutting edge of consciousness, refuses to budge. In what is essentially a series of essays, The Mind Field takes a rational, scientific look at the esoteric envelope -- psychotherapy, Eastern mysticism, intuition training, parapsychology. With deft reasoning and rock-solid information, Ornstein delivers an enlightening exploration which brushes away much detritus, leaving a sprout of potential to be nurtured and observed.
"For genuine enquirers this book is a must!" -- Doris Lessing
"Works with cool logic and scientific skepticism to point up the potential of intuitional, inductive, and holistic modes of thought." -- The New York Times
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He wrote in the Preface to this 1976 book, "We are now on the threshold of a new understanding of man and of consciousness, one which might unite the scientific, objective, external approach of Western civilization and the personal, inward disciplines of the East. The emergence of this new synthesis has caused many to flock, unthinkingly, to rudimentary spiritual sideshows, which are quick, cheap, and often flashy... I write to develop a more secure position... somewhere between the two dominant positions... I hope the book will prove in a small way elucidating to many who have wondered whether they should go to a psychotherapist to deal with their interest in consciousness, whether there is anything useful in 'awareness training,' whether they should meditate, whether they should travel to the East, whether they should seek refuge in Shahmanism or in systems of thought more relevant for cultures different from ours, or more relevant perhaps for a different epoch.... This book is based more on personal experience than any of my other books, based as it is partly on my travels in Asia, Africa, and Europe, as well as on my twelve years as a research psychologist and on my personal acquaintance with people involved in meditation, parapsychology, brain research, and connected disciplines."
He covers topics such as Carlos Castaneda, Idries Shah/Sufism, Transcendental Meditation, Gurdjieff, etc.
He says, "Reason, then, primarily involves an analysis of discrete elements, inferentially (sequentially) linked; intuition involves a simultaneous perception of the whole." (Pg. 26)
He suggests, "It is time to give the simultaneous aspect of our consciousness its due place in our understanding of the mind, in our education, and in human affairs. Intuition is not an obscure, mysterious function possessed only by a very few highly creative and unusual artists or scientists who produce interesting theories. Intuition is a faculty considered largely negative---creativity is romanticized, made external, considered unavailable to most ordinary people. The faculty of intuition is, rather, latent in all of us, a primary aspect of our cognitive abilities which we have allowed to degenerate." (Pg. 31)
He points out, "It is often overlooked that even if [Uri] Geller were, as claimed, 'the greatest psychic ever to reach these shores,' he still would yield little in the way of useful evidence of 'psychic powers' in ordinary people. Geller is, by his own definition, unusual, and at best would display only tantalizing possibilities, which would need much follow-up with less extreme subjects and procedures." (Pg. 66)
More so than most of Ornstein's more research-oriented books, this one is somewhat "dated," and smacks of the Human Potential Movement optimism and the anticipation of the New Age movement (which peaked in the 1990s). Still, Ornstein's comments on the various topics are always interesting, if no longer on the "cutting edge" of research.
In summary the book is ok but don't look for anything that has not been covered by other authors in the same field. It really needs to be updated to make it relevant today. As those especially in the Transpersonal Psychology field have long passed Ornstein by.
If you are interested in Sufism look elsewhere like those by Kabir Helminski - Living Presence, The Knowing Heart.
For psychology and meditation I'd start with Charles Tart and Daniel Goleman. Both of whom have extensive experience in both areas.