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← The Implications of Consciousness Research for Psychiatry, Psychology, and Psychotherapy - Stan Grof

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Showing Revision 10 created 07/08/2014 by Usuari retirat.

  1. Good evening everybody.
  2. Before I start I would also like
    to thank Rick Doblin and MAPS
  3. for what I understand has been
    a great conference again.
  4. I'm sorry I missed it because I was very sick
    to the point that I couldn't do the keynote,
  5. and I apologize for not showing
    up but I was really really sick.
  6. I am not quite
    where I should be.
  7. About 100 degrees temperature.
  8. But I didn't want
    to miss this one.
  9. So I will not be shaking hands
    and I will not be hugging.
  10. Just sort of keep away from me.
  11. I don't want to
    bring in any germs.
  12. I understand that we
    have mixed audience now.
  13. Some people who are part of the holotropic
    breathwork group and than some...
  14. can I just see the hands of people who just
    came to listen to this part... quite a few.
  15. You know there is actually a certain overlap
    between what would have been the keynote
  16. and what's the preparation for
    the holotropic breathwork,
  17. because we have to somehow prepare people
    theoretically, not just explain what we would be doing.
  18. So this evening will
    have two parts.
  19. In the first one I
    will talk about
  20. the kind of psychology that we have to use
    in order to work with holotropic states,
  21. and than the second half of the
    evening will be the nuts and bolts.
  22. What we will be doing in
    the breathwork itself.
  23. Those of you who came just for this evening are
    welcome to stay for the second half of the talk.
  24. It might be a little frustrating to get
    the detailed information and not do it.
  25. Let me start the way
    I usually start.
  26. although I don't think it's
    really necessary in this group.
  27. I ask some questions
    the audience.
  28. How many of you experience in your everyday life
    any of those non-ordinary states of consciousness?
  29. It is a series of a experiences.
  30. I think its redundant in this group but
    we can still do it. Can we see the hands?
  31. It doesn't look much
    different anywhere we go.
  32. I ask these questions
    basically for two reasons.
  33. One is that everything I will be taking about comes
    from the study of non-ordinary states of consciousness.
  34. And than the second one is
    that holotropic breathwork
  35. is a method that is using the healing,
    transformative, evolutionary,
  36. and heuristic potential of
    non-ordinary states of consciousness.
  37. And what's very interesting is that
    current psychiatry does not really have
  38. a special name for these states.
  39. We have just on name which is
    altered states of consciousness.
  40. Which puts together everybody from trivial deliria, deliria
    tremens, hallucinations that you have during typhoid fever
  41. all the way to something that
    would happen during meditation,
  42. and we see all those states as being
    pathological in one way or another.
  43. We don't have a special category, a
    mystical state or spiritual experience,
  44. so people who have
    these experiences,
  45. they tend to get a diagnosis. And there is a tendency to
    suppress these states when they appear spontaneously.
  46. And we have a culture the industrial civilization
    actually outlawed the means and context
  47. for inducing some
    of these states.
  48. I have been so far talking about
    non-ordinary states of consciousness.
  49. Actually psychiatrists are using
    a different term, which is
  50. altered states of consciousness,
    which I really don't like.
  51. It suggests to me that there is a correct
    way of experiencing ourselves and the world
  52. and than, in these states
    it's somehow distorted.
  53. I always have to think
    about veterinary medicine.
  54. You know, get you pet altered.
  55. So I have too much respect for the
    states to call them altered states,
  56. but even tha term
    non-ordinary is too broad.
  57. You can have them
    post-traumatic changes
  58. of consciousness. You can be very drunk and
    being in a non-ordinary state of consciousness.
  59. So there is a certain
    special subcategory of
  60. these non-ordinary states
    that I've been interested in
  61. and they have healing potential
    they have transformative potential
  62. I believe they have evolutionary
    potential and the term heuristic
  63. means that the they are also a source of
    revolutionary new information about consciousness,
  64. about the human psyche, and
    even the nature of reality.
  65. So because I felt very strongly
    that we should have a special
  66. term for this state, I started
    calling them holotropic.
  67. Holos, holon, in Greek means whole and trepo,
    trepein means moving in the direction of
  68. something, like heliotropism is a is
    a property of the plant to always
  69. move in the direction
    of the Sun.
  70. So it means moving
    toward wholeness.
  71. These are states that
    move us toward wholeness.
  72. This is a term that surprises many people
    from the Western industrial civilization.
  73. The question arises.
    Aren't we all already?
  74. I mean the way we experience our itself
    in our everyday state of consciousness.
  75. And the answer would
    have to be no.
  76. That in our ordinary state of consciousness we
    identify only with a small fraction of who we are.
  77. When I talk about it I
    usually refer to Hinduism
  78. as a nice way of explaining
    what is meant by this.
  79. In the Hindu tradition you would hear
    that we are not nama rupa, we are not
  80. name and form, name and shape.
  81. That our true identity is actually
    is a spark of divine creative energy
  82. that we carry in the
    core of our being.
  83. It is called Atman.
  84. And this is not a belief
    or fantasy of the Hindus.
  85. You have schools of yoga and
    if you practice systematically
  86. you have a possibility of
    experiential validation.
  87. You can experience yourself
    as that divine energy
  88. and if you have that experience of
    this core of your being, Atman,
  89. you realize that that energy is identical
    with the energy which had created this
  90. cosmos, this Brahman. So our identity
    is not body-ego is not nama-rupa.
  91. It is Atman-Brahman.
  92. And Hinduism is not the
    only only religion that
  93. believes that this idea of the identity of the
    individual with totality of cosmic creative energy.
  94. It's the secret core of
    all major religions.
  95. So you can find statements in many
    different spiritual scriptures.
  96. Swami Muktananda used to say:
  97. God dwells in you as you.
  98. If you read the Upanishads where the
    question is raised: Who are you? Who are we?
  99. The answer is, in
    Sanskrit: Tat tvam asi.
  100. which is usually translated
    archaically: Thou art that.
  101. You are it. You are Godhead.
    Your true nature is divine.
  102. In Islam you find:
  103. Whoever knows himself
    knows his or her Lord.
  104. You find these kinds of statements in Christianity,
    you find it in Kabbalah, certainly in Taoism.
  105. In Buddhism if you look
    inside you are Buddha.
  106. So these holotropic states make it possible for
    us to somehow claim our full cosmic identity
  107. sometimes it happens in small steps, sometimes
    in the form of major breakthrough, major jumps.
  108. Because in some other ways to formulating it the
    French Jesuit and paleontologist philosopher
  109. Teilhard de Chardin said: We are not human
    beings having spiritual experiences,
  110. we are spiritual beings
    having human experiences.
  111. And Alan Watts the British-American
    philosopher and spiritual teacher
  112. used to say: We are not
    skin-encapsulated egos.
  113. So this is the meaning behind that the
    term holotropic. Those are states that
  114. make it possible to discover our
    cosmic status, our deepest identity.
  115. Now what are the states
    that we are talking about?
  116. This is not just holotropic breathwork. Holotropic
    states are also states that the novice shamans
  117. experience as part of
    the initiatory crisis
  118. when they have the experience a
    traveling into the underworld,
  119. being exposed to tortures and challenges,
    experience death, dismemberment and then
  120. coming together in new way and
    traveling into the supernal
  121. realm. These are also
    states that they then
  122. as practicing shamans induce in
    their clients for healing purposes.
  123. Those are the states that are in use in rites of
    passage in various native cultures. The variety of
  124. means from psychedelic plants all the way
    to chanting, fasting, sleep deprivation,
  125. stay in the desert, stay in a cave, dancing,
    chanting, and even extreme measures like
  126. physical pain like the Lakota Sioux Sundance or
    the massive bloodletting that you find in the
  127. Lacota and on Mayan
    people and so on.
  128. So those are different technologies of the
    sacred as they would call them. In another area
  129. where you would find holotropic states would
    be the ancient mysteries of death and rebirth.
  130. They are very common particularly
    in the Mediterranean area.
  131. The mysteries of Isis and
    Osiris, the mystery of Tumus,
  132. Inanna and Tumus, the Bacchanalia
    an earlier you the Dionysian,
  133. the mysteries of Atis, Adonis the Corybunthic rites
    the Mythraic mysteries or in Missouri America
  134. the Shebabic, the
    Mayan mysteries.
  135. Those are some examples and
    then of course we have
  136. the large category of these
    technologies of the sacred
  137. that were developed by the
    great religions of the world.
  138. So you have different schools of
    yoga you have different forms of
  139. Buddhism, you have
    Daoist exercises.
  140. Kabbalistic exercises, you find
    it in the Christian tradition
  141. things like Jesus' Prayer, the
    Hasid Kabbalistic exercises so on.
  142. So it's a very large category of
    experiences and they actually
  143. are responsible for the fact that
    we have ritual and spiritual
  144. life. We would not have religions without the
    founders and the disciples and the early followers
  145. having had these
    holotropic experiences.
  146. It's somewhat strange
    that current psychiatry
  147. sees these experiences as being
    psychotic, as being pathological.
  148. How would schizophrenic
    experiences... ?
  149. There is about 1 percent incidence of schizophrenia
    across-the-board indifferent if in countries
  150. How psychotic experiences of one percent of the
    people would inspire the religious, would inspire
  151. building of Gothic cathedrals,
    incredible music, incredible art?
  152. There has to be something much more fundamental
    to the human nature then pathology.
  153. This is something that really has to be
    corrected in psychiatry. I think it's a
  154. fundamental error to see these
    experiences as being pathological.
  155. I was myself introduced to
    this category of experiences
  156. when as a beginning psychiatrist I
    volunteered for analysis session
  157. at a time when I was quite disappointed with
    psychiatry I went to study psychiatry because I read
  158. Freud and at that time when LSD
    came into my life I already
  159. was realizing the limitations of
    psychoanalysis: how long it takes
  160. how much money, how much
    time, how much energy.
  161. And I was becoming aware of the
    fact that even after years the
  162. results are not
    exactly breathtaking.
  163. I started thinking about
    nostalgically about
  164. the profession that I chose originally
    which was working in animated movies.
  165. And if I think about it now I didn't
    get so far from animated movies.
  166. But anyway I was in that state
    of real disappointment and
  167. I was working at the Psychiatric Department
    of the School of Medicine in Prague.
  168. And we just finished a
    large study of Malaril
  169. just one of the early tranquilizers
    and it came from Sandoz
  170. a pharmaceutical company
    in Switzerland.
  171. We had a good working relationship with
    Sandoz, which means: you get free literature,
  172. they might pay your trip to a
    conference and report about their
  173. preparations and they also send you samples
    of other substances that they develop.
  174. It's part of this cooperation we've got a
    big box full of ampules and it said LSD-25
  175. and it came with a letter that described the story
    of discovery, which I'm sure everybody knows
  176. in this group. The story
    of Albert Hofmann,
  177. his accidental intoxication.
  178. Those of us who knew Albert well
  179. heard the story from him very frequently,
    that this was not really accidental.
  180. He synthesised LSD first in 1938
    and sent it to the pharmacologists
  181. toxicologists, and then they send it
    back and said nothing interesting
  182. and no further
    research recommended.
  183. LSD-25 was the twenty-fifth derivative
    of lysergic acid that he produced.
  184. And then from 1938
  185. he continued adding
    other side-chains.
  186. He produced quite a few other derivatives
    but he said that as he was making
  187. additional derivatives this particular substance
    somehow he couldn't get it out of his head.
  188. He had a strong feeling they
    must have overlooked something.
  189. And five years later in 1943
  190. this feeling was so strong that he decided to
    make something that was absolutely exceptional
  191. which is to make another
    sample and send it back
  192. to the pharmacologists for
    more careful exploration.
  193. As he was synthetising, he had this
    famous accidental intoxication
  194. and then several days later is experiment when
    he took - being a very conservative person -
  195. a very infinitesimal dose which
    was one forth of the dose of
  196. other ergot alkaloids:
    250 micrograms.
  197. Probably quite a few people in this group could
    relate to that number. So what came was his famous
  198. bicycle ride through the streets of
    Basel and then his experience of
  199. dying and being hexed by his
    neighbor considered to be a which
  200. and then asking for a doctor, when the doctor
    came he was not dying anymore, he was now
  201. a newborn he had
    relived his birth.
  202. So Sandoz was now sending... There
    was one intermediate thing which was
  203. Dr Stoll, who was actually
    the son of Albert's boss.
  204. Dr Stoll conducted a pilot study with
    a group for psychiatric patients and
  205. a group of "normal people" and this in the
    late 40s became a scientific sensation.
  206. So Sandoz was now sending these
    samples to various universities and
  207. research institutes and we were
    one of the group that got this
  208. sample and it came with a letter describing this
    whole story and suggesting two possible uses.
  209. One was to use it as experimental
    psychosis where you can
  210. give it to people and do all kinds of
    examinations before, during and after
  211. and get some insights about
    what's happening biologically
  212. when people's psyche is
    so deeply influenced.
  213. And the second one its something
    that became my destiny, karma.
  214. Maybe this could be
    used as a kind of
  215. an unconventional training tool for
    a psychiatrist or a psychologist,
  216. nurses, students.
    You could take it
  217. and spend a few hours in a world
    that seems to be very similar to
  218. the world that some of your patients
    are living in. Then you'd be able to
  219. understand them better, you'd be
    able to communicate with them
  220. more effectively and hopefully be
    more successful in their treatment.
  221. Which was sorely
    needed at that point.
  222. I was beginning psychiatrist when
    psychiatry was really medieval, with
  223. insulin comas, electric shocks, cardiazole shocks,
    even dunking patients in cold water and so on.
  224. So I got very excited. By that time
    I was really disenchanted with
  225. psychiatry and it seems like an exciting
    possibility so ... I had my session and
  226. my preceptor was very interested
    in electroencephalography
  227. and at the time when I had the
    session was particularly interested
  228. in something that is called driving the
    brainwaves or entraining the brainwaves
  229. which is you expose people
    to a big strobe light
  230. and then you change the frequencies, and
    you study in the suberpituitary area
  231. if the brain waves pick up the
    frequency that you're feeding in,
  232. if you can control, if you can drive
    if you can entrain the brainwaves.
  233. So those of us who wanted
    the session we had to agree
  234. to have EEC before, during, and after
    and also having our brainwaves driven
  235. in the middle of
    that experiment.
  236. So I won't go into details, the whole storie
    is in When the Impossible Happens, in my book.
  237. But to make a long story short between
    the third and fourth hour when my
  238. session was culminating the research assistant
    came and said it was time to drive the brain waves
  239. and expose me to this gigantic strobe and as she
    turned it on there was that light I never seen
  240. I thought it was like it must
    have been like in Hiroshima.
  241. Today I think it more like that
    Dharmakaya from Bardo Thödöl.
  242. the primary clear light that
    you see at the time when you
  243. when you die. And my consciousness was pulled out
    of my body I lost the research assistant, Prague
  244. the planet and I had the
    feeling that I ceased to exist
  245. in the form that I had been before. And I had
    the feeling I became all of existence and then
  246. the powerful experience is
    coming down of actually being
  247. in the astronomical cosmos and she was
    following very carefully the protocol when
  248. all these things were happening
    to me and then she turned it off
  249. and my consciousness started shrinking
    and I found the planet, I found Prague,
  250. I found the clinic, I found my body.
    And then for a while
  251. my consciousness was sort of
    floating around my body and I
  252. had real difficulties
    to align those two.
  253. And it became clear to me, that what
    they taught me in the university
  254. that consciousness is somehow
    generated by the brain,
  255. by the neurophysiological activities
    in the brain simply is a nonsense.
  256. That consciousness is a cosmic phenomenon and that
    our brain somehow mediates it, but it certainly
  257. is not capable of
    generating something like
  258. consciousness, or that matter is not capable
    of generating something like consciousness.
  259. And I was stuck with psychiatry.
  260. I felt, you know, if you are a psychiatrist
    this is by far the most interesting thing
  261. you can study, these these non-ordinary
    states or what I call now holotropic states.
  262. So this was in 1956 and I
    really have done very little
  263. professionally since that
    time that would not be
  264. related in one way or another
    to these non-ordinary states.
  265. It became my passion, by profession, my
    vocation, that one day really change my life
  266. professionally and personally. It sent
    me in a completely new direction.
  267. If I compare it to psychoanalysis
    - I spent seven years
  268. in psychoanalysis, three times a
    week if you say: Does it change you?
  269. Well, I changed.
  270. But seven years is a long
    time, you change anyway.
  271. And there was no indication that any
    changes in my life were really related to
  272. what I was doing on the couch. I loved every moment
    of it. I love to play with my dreams and so on.
  273. But in terms of being a transforming
    experience, that certainly was not.
  274. As far as the session is
    concerned, I know I was one person
  275. walking into that room and somebody else walked
    out of there and there was just no doubt
  276. what it was about, and why it
    happened and how it happened.
  277. I wanted to do something in the
    keynote that I don't usually do
  278. when we prepare people
    for the breathwork.
  279. But what I would like
    to do is a little
  280. homage to Albert Hofmann and show
    you some pictures of our meetings.
  281. I consider him my spiritual teacher
    and without his discoveries my
  282. life would be very different.
    So this is the picture
  283. of Albert Hofmann at the time when he
    discovered the psychedelic effects of LSD.
  284. This was a picture that was shown all
    over the world because it was the real
  285. scientific sensation.
    What very few people know
  286. is that the sensation was
    not the psychedelic effect.
  287. It was known that there are
    plants in various cultures
  288. that can have psychedelic effects and
    mescaline was already known in a pure form,
  289. isolated at the turn
    of the century.
  290. It was the incredible power thousand
    times stronger than mescaline
  291. You have to take hundreds of milligrams
    of mescaline to have a decent session,
  292. and 100 micrograms
    of LSD would be
  293. enough to do that. So this is what the
    Maryland Psychiatric Research Center
  294. looked like where we
    did the research.
  295. I understand Bill Richards talked
    about the research that we did there.
  296. Has he shown any pictures
    of the Institute?
  297. This was Albert's visit and the other
    two people are Walther Pahnke.
  298. He is famous for his Good Friday experiment that
    Rick Doblin did a follow up on, and Alan Bonny.
  299. He was our music therapist and developed
    guided imagery with music as an
  300. independent therapeutic method.
    This was one
  301. of the visits twenty years ago in
    their home in a little village
  302. called Berg on the
    French-Swiss border.
  303. And this in the middle is Anita,
  304. Albert's wife and this remaining
    person there is Christina for those
  305. who haven't met her.
    And during this visit
  306. we actually ran into Roberto
    Vinosa and Martina Hoffmann
  307. this was like a special treat. Roberto
    died about over two years ago.
  308. He and Martinez is just wonderful
    wonderful visionary artists.
  309. And this was Albert's favorite music box.
    And then we also made friends
  310. with Hans Ruedi Giger who is
    an amazing phantastic realist.
  311. You might know him as somebody
    who got the Academy Award for
  312. Alien and inspired the all
    the monsters in this movie.
  313. And also they borrowed some of his art
    for Prometheus. So this is in Pierre.
  314. We became really good friends
    his wife Carmine we did
  315. a whole training she's a she is holotropic breathwork
    practitioner and he has a wonderful museum
  316. in Bigirer castle and we now had
    two of our training modules the
  317. the topic fantastic realism there and this
    was a lunch we invited out that for one day
  318. spent one day with our group and this
    was lunch and the remaining person is
  319. a is Ted Sparks with the director holotropic
    breathwork training no and this is
  320. Hans Ruedi Giger taking out there with to
    a tour of his museum you can see the size
  321. of these images Hans Ruedi is just absolute
    master of the the darkest areas in the psyche.
  322. the worst that you can experience I'm
    holding there LSD my Problem Child
  323. I wrote a preface to it, and
    Albert just signed it for me
  324. and here we had a wonderful plenary
    roundtable discussion where
  325. where Hans Ruedi and Albert
    presented it to polls
  326. on Albert at this point four
    months before his 100th birthday.
  327. and he was very very sharp he was
    working on the pharmacology of
  328. the pigments that give colors to plants and
    colors to butterfly wings since those whose
  329. lover nature you know Hans Ruedi was
    like the other side of the spectrum
  330. the absolute master of the kind
    of claustrophobic nightmare
  331. that you can hit in psychedelic
    sessions like that existed
  332. we walked out of position it was
    like coming production on with the
  333. within good Indian guru really a spiritual darshan
    and other than a scientific presentation.
  334. This was end of the module, the the
    person on the right side it's Carmen
  335. it's Hans Ruedi Gieger's wife This was the goodbye
    and then I went back four months later for
  336. Albert's 100th birthday. This was
    in the Museum of Natural History
  337. with all the psychedelic relics
    from all over the world as you
  338. can imagine on the
    Bundespresident said the
  339. special letter. They're they're
    all of Albert's friends and so on
  340. and then three of us in the evening
    went to Burg when there was
  341. celebration of his birthday by the neighbors which
    was amazing very very different from this one
  342. there were children bringing flowers and and
    singing songs and citing poems and so on
  343. and LSD was not mentioned once. I
    don't think the neighbors knew
  344. what Albert was just the wonderful neighbor
    who just happened to be hundred years old.
  345. This was this was the 100th
    birthday and then two years later
  346. was another psychedelic forum in Basel and
    Albert was still listed among the speakers
  347. but didn't make it. At that time he really didn't
    feel well didn't want to a leave but invited
  348. the Gigers and their photographer so we had this
    tremendous privilege of spending an afternoon
  349. with him. This is for
    weeks before he died
  350. and this is the last picture you can
    see he's holding Alex Grey's book.
  351. He loved his art.
  352. So as I mentioned after this
    session all my professional life
  353. was focusing on these
    holotropic states.
  354. So about half of the time
    was clinical work with
  355. psychedelics, and efforts in the
    Psychedelic Research Institute in Prague
  356. and then at the Maryland Psychiatric Research
    Center what was at the time the last surviving
  357. official research in
    the United States.
  358. There also Bill Richards was part of
    and Walter Pahnke and Sandy Unger
  359. and other people,
    Charles Savage.
  360. Besides the clinical work with
    psychedelics then in 1975 when the the
  361. research in Maryland
    basically came to an end,
  362. I moved to Esalen and then Christina
    and I developed the holotropic
  363. breathworkrest. Powerful experiences
    of a similar kind can be
  364. induced by faster breathing, by music
    by bodywork and we combined it with
  365. mandala drawing. Then over the years
    Christine and I also worked with people
  366. who had spontaneous episodes
    of holotropic states.
  367. And with all the
    experience with breathwork
  368. and psychedelics we just couldn't
    understand why we shouldn't
  369. work with those states the way we work
    with psychedelics and with the breathwork.
  370. It became clear that these state if
    they're properly understood and properly
  371. supported can actually be
    healing can be transformative.
  372. Very much like those induced by
    psychedelics or by the breathwork.
  373. We started talking about these states as spiritual
    emergencies and Cristina in 1980 started
  374. the SEN or the Spiritual Emergency Network where
    the basic idea was to bring together people
  375. who are in these kinds of crises with
    people who have this alternative
  376. understanding and are able to offer help.
    The Spiritual Emergency Network now exists
  377. in many countries of the world.
    Unfortunately
  378. it's not in great shape in the
    United States it was at CIAS
  379. and had a special area, special
    telephone lines and computer and so on
  380. and then when the funds were cut for the school
    this was the one that was easiest to cut.
  381. I was also interested in variety of areas
    where the common denominator was always
  382. there were holotropic states as a
    critical element so I spent a lot of
  383. time with shamans, American shamans, Mexican, South
    American shamans, I participated in ceremonies
  384. with and without the psychedelics with
    native cultures. I contacted with
  385. thanatologists. We ourselves had a large
    study of cancer patients using psychedelics.
  386. Near-death experiences was one area
    that I was very interested in.
  387. UFO abduction phenomena and then
  388. the different spiritual systems. You
    probably know that Jack Cornfield is a close
  389. friend and we did I
    think about 37 day
  390. retreats combining the holotropic
    breathwork and vipassana Buddhism
  391. we had connection with the Tibetan teachers,
    with yogis, the great Swami Muktananda
  392. with Zen people, the Benedictine Order brother
    David stand around just father beat aggressive
  393. We're interested what happens ... because they're
    using powerful means of inducing these states ..
  394. what happens when they are too successful and it
    sort of opens how do they handle it and so on.
  395. As I was studying these different
    forms of holotropic states
  396. it was obvious that current
    psychiatry and psychology
  397. simply had no explanation for
    the kinds of things that were
  398. happening or for things that were
    happening around these experiences.
  399. For example unbelievable synchronicities
    something that really challenges the whole
  400. linear type of
    thinking that we have
  401. in cause-and-effect thinking that
    we have in in Western science.
  402. I was the describing these different challenges
    in books and some of them were published by
  403. the State University
    of New York Press and
  404. when I was approaching my 70th birthday,
    I got a call from Jane Bunker
  405. the editor at SUNY
    press and she said:
  406. Stan, you know we have published some of your
    books on different aspects of your work.
  407. Would you consider writing one book
    that would put it all together?
  408. So it would not be scattered.
  409. And then there was a little pause and then
    she said: And would you specifically focus
  410. on observations and experiences that current
    psychology and psychiatry cannot explain?
  411. And then there was an even
    longer break and then she said:
  412. And would you just sketch what
    psychology and psychiatry
  413. would have to look like
    to incorporate somehow
  414. accommodate these observations from these
    holotropic states? A kind of a tall
  415. order. But I was
    very excited because
  416. I was about to at least semi-retire,
    and do more reading and writing
  417. and we had this training happening all over
    the world with all new line of teachers
  418. they were teaching in different
    parts of the world and we needed
  419. a manual so that there is some kind of consistency
    and this was an offer to print one for us.
  420. So I decided to write
    the book and I gave it
  421. quite deliberately a provocative
    title The Psychology of the Future.
  422. If you write books like Beyond the Brain
    or The Holotropic Mind, I think people can
  423. take it or leave it if you say
    this is Psychology of the Future,
  424. people get either interested or they
    get pissed saying how do you dare?
  425. At the same time
  426. I really believe seriously that if
    we study these holotropic states,
  427. in all the different varieties that
    I described, that it would lead to
  428. a revolution in
    psychiatry and psychology
  429. that would be comparable to what
    happened in physics in the first three
  430. decades when the physicists had to
    move from Newton to Einstein and
  431. then to quantum physics. And not only that,
    but that it would be a logical complement to
  432. the changes that already happened
    in our understanding of matter.
  433. Actually the warmest acceptance of these kinds of
    observations did not come from psychiatrists and
  434. psychologists, but from
    modern physicists.
  435. They have no problems of accepting for example
    certain characteristics of transpersonal
  436. experiences and so on,
    because it's really
  437. in consonance with quantum
    relativistic physics.
  438. For me extremely important was
    the book of Fritjof Capra,
  439. the first major bridging when he wrote
    the Dao of Physics showing that
  440. the current scientific
    disciplines were still stuck in
  441. seventeenth-century thinking and if physicists
    since the turn of the century, the discovery of
  442. radioactivity and X-rays were already
    somewhere else, but the other disciplines
  443. were still sort of under the
    spell of the mechanistic
  444. thinking. These were the
    categories where I suggested that
  445. really radical changes
    would have to be made.
  446. What I would be talking
    about is two aspects.
  447. One is how the observations of holotropic
    states would change psychology and psychiatry.
  448. And the other aspect of it would be if we had
    a psychology like that, how easy it would be
  449. for psychologists and psychiatrists to embrace
    psychedelics, so that there would not be conflict.
  450. At this point it's very difficult for
    many traditional psychiatrists and
  451. psychologists to accept psychedelics, because the
    idea is that we are trying to treat people by
  452. inducing psychotic states, something
    that if they appear spontaneously
  453. tremendous effort would be to
    suppress them. So if you had a
  454. psychology and psychiatry that integrate
    somehow the paradigm breaking
  455. challenges, it would
    be very logical to use
  456. thing like holotropic breathwork or psychedelic
    sessions, it would be understandable why you treat
  457. spiritual emergencies by helping
    people to get through them,
  458. rather than giving them
    something to suppress
  459. what is happening. What you find in these states
    is that homeopathic sort of principles operating.
  460. If symptoms that emerging it's an effort
    of the organism to get rid of something.
  461. So it's an effort that you want to support
    you want to amplify that. You don't want to
  462. suppress that. I'll just go
    very quickly through that.
  463. The first one is the major one.
  464. Because there is a basic metaphysical assumption,
    that this is a material universe and therefore
  465. life, consciousness and intelligence
    are side-products are epiphenomena.
  466. So for billions of years the universe
    was just a development of metamaterial,
  467. particles and life, consciousness,
    intelligence were latecomers like a flu
  468. in a gigantic universe that happen
    after billions of years of this
  469. material evolution. I think
    very few people including
  470. scientists realize that
    we have absolutely no
  471. proof that consciousness is generated
    in the brain. What we have:
  472. we have a lot of observations
    showing systematic correlations
  473. between anatomy of the brain, physiology
    and biochemistry but we have absolutely
  474. no proof that consciousness is coming from the
    brain. You a have similar situation in the TV set.
  475. You know the quality of the picture, of the
    sounds critically depends on the components
  476. in the set, but that's not a proof that
    the program is generated in the box.
  477. It's still alternative that the TV set somehow
    mediates that but that the program is coming from
  478. somewhere else. This is exactly
    the logical jump that was made.
  479. In terms of formal logic this would be called
    non sequitur, it really doesn't follow.
  480. And we have actually a number
    of observations showing,
  481. particularly the observations
    from transpersonal phenomena,
  482. that consciousness is capable of doing
    things that the brain could not possibly do.
  483. I will just mention the out-of-body
    experiences in near death situations.
  484. We have now instances where the person
    is not only in a state of cardiac death,
  485. but has a flat EEG and consciousness
    in that state gets out of the body,
  486. gets accurate perception
    of the environment.
  487. this michael c bombs patient at them you
    know was frozen because they they needed to
  488. operate on the aneurysm at the base of the
    and yet that's one of the most detailed
  489. out-of-body experiences
    that is documented.
  490. And many different transpersonal experiences
    mediate access to information of other people,
  491. members of other species,
    experiences from other centuries,
  492. experiences of mythologies that we have
    never never studied. The whole Jungian
  493. collective unconscious both
    historical and archetypal.
  494. None of those things can be
    really explained from the brain.
  495. The second one is the cartography of the psyche.
    We have a model which limits somehow the psyche
  496. to postnatal biography - what happened to us after
    we were born and then the individual Freudian
  497. unconscious which is also kind of
    derivative of postnatal biography.
  498. Things that happened to us that we rejected, that
    we suppressed, that we couldn't accept and so on.
  499. Freud called the newborn tabula rasa,
    clean slate, that there is nothing
  500. preceding birth, that's of interest to
    psychiatry, including birth itself.
  501. There was of course Otto Reich, but it's like
    a footnote in books of psychiatry, kind of
  502. historical curiosity but
    it's not taken seriously.
  503. Unfortunately the same is true for Jung.
    Jung is not really
  504. exactly embraced by mainstream
    psychiatry and psychology.
  505. So the general thinking is postnatal
    biography and the individual
  506. unconscious. If you work with holotropic
    states you have to add two major domains, one
  507. is what I call perinatal, it's a record of birth
    and I talk about four perinatal matrices,
  508. the experiences related
    to the stages of birth.
  509. The experience in the
    uterus before contractions.
  510. Then the stage of birth, when there are
    contractions but the cervix is not open.
  511. Then the struggle through the birth
    canal when the cervix opens.
  512. Then coming out. Each of
    them represent very distinct
  513. experiential matrices and
    there is a powerful record
  514. that you can verify many
    of those experiences.
  515. Even if people have no intellectual
    knowledge of that process.
  516. And then you have to add
    another large domain
  517. that we now call transpersonal -
    identification with other people,
  518. experience of group consciousness,
    experiences of other centuries,
  519. of other countries, sometimes with the sense
    of déja vu, déja vecu, then the past-life,
  520. karmic kind of experience.
  521. Experiences of the whole mythological, archetypal
    unconscious as it was described by Jung.
  522. So the cartography that you have to use
    when you work with these holotropic states
  523. is very much like what you find in
    the great spiritual philosophies
  524. of the East, where somehow the psyche
    of each person is commensurate somehow
  525. with all of existence. In the sense that
    under certain circumstances we have
  526. access to information, we can become
    everything that's part of existence.
  527. So from one perspective if you think
    in terms of what things weigh and
  528. measure, then we are an insignificant
    part of the universe. But in terms of
  529. what we can become in these states experientially,
    we are in a sense the whole universe.
  530. So that's the cartography
    of the psyche.
  531. Then the architecture of emotional
    or psychosomatic disorders.
  532. In current psychiatry, if something is not an
    organic problem - Alzheimer, temporal tumor,
  533. whatever - it's functional, it's
    psychogenic, the idea is that it happened
  534. sometime after we were born.
  535. And in classical psychoanalysis there is a correlation
    between stages of libido in the development
  536. and certain forms
    of psychopathology.
  537. If it's an oral fixation it would be
    alcoholism, drug addiction, depression.
  538. If it's obsessive-compulsive neurosis, it's
    anal fixation. If it's anxieties like phobias
  539. or conversion hysteria, it's called phallic
    fixation and so on. But the whole thing happens
  540. after we are born. There is no
    contribution from anything including
  541. birth or prenatal state.
    Certainly not the
  542. transpersonal realm. Now this you
    would have to correct if you work
  543. with holotropic states and you
    work on a specific problem
  544. you always find something
    in childhood and in infancy
  545. that seems to be
    significantly related to it.
  546. It's not that it's wrong, but it's
    just sort of describes the certain
  547. superficial level
    of the problem and
  548. mistakes it for the whole. So if you
    work with holotropic states you
  549. would then find additional contributions, that
    come from the different matrices of births,
  550. and in the deep unconscious there
    would be contributions that would
  551. be karmic, that would be archetypal,
    that would be phylogenetic.
  552. So behind emotional and
    psychosomatic problems
  553. you would have a layered constellation
    coming from different periods.
  554. I call them co-ex systems,
    systems of condensed experience.
  555. This looks like very bad news. We
    thought all we have to do is to
  556. work on things of childhood,
    maybe early childhood,
  557. and now it seems like the
    playground is much much bigger.
  558. The good news is that
    there are very powerful
  559. therapeutic mechanisms, making use of
    transformation that become available when your
  560. experiential process reaches the
    perinatal level and then certainly the
  561. transpersonal level. For example
    reliving birth and expressing
  562. the pent-up emotions, the pent-up physical
    energies can be therapeutic in a variety of
  563. problems. Claustrophobia, for instance
    to make a lot of sense, headaches,
  564. psychogenic asthma, episodes
    of violence, violent behavior.
  565. A number of problems can be at least
    alleviated if you experience birth and express
  566. the emotions and the physical energies.
    But there are also powerful mechanisms
  567. operating on the transpersonal level.
    Let's say
  568. a powerful past-life experience.
    If you bring it into
  569. consciousness and you process
    it, it can be very healing.
  570. We have seen instances where
    the healing happened, the last
  571. chapter of the healing process of a particular
    phobia or psychosomatic pains and so on
  572. that came in the form of
    a karmic experience,
  573. or an archetypal experience.
    In some instances even demonic
  574. archetype emerges so that the session looks like
    exorcism. Really sort of strange demonic energy
  575. can be found behind a
    particular symptom.
  576. One healing mechanism that's extremely
    important, extremely powerful
  577. is the experience
    of cosmic unity.
  578. When you have the feeling that your
    boundaries are merging, you become
  579. one with other people, you
    become one with nature.
  580. You become one with the universe,
    you become one with the divine
  581. creative energy. The irony is that if it happens
    to you spontaneously, you would get a diagnosis.
  582. And if they get you before it's completed,
    it would be stopped by tranquilizers and be
  583. kept there in an
    unfinished form.
  584. Strategy of a psychotherapy and self-exploration
    If you look at the world of psychotherapy, it
  585. doesn't look great. You
    have any number of schools,
  586. and each school will tell you
    something completely different.
  587. There's no agreement as to what are the
    principal motivating forces in the psyche.
  588. Why do symptoms develop?
    What do symptoms mean?
  589. How you interpret symptoms? And then
    each school would give you a different
  590. method. How you work with your clients
    to straighten them up so to say.
  591. So if you have a problem you can
    flip a coin and you choose a school
  592. and with each school comes a different
    story as to what's wrong with you
  593. and you'll be asked to do something
    different, and it will be seen as
  594. the scientific method of choice.
  595. This is how this is done.
  596. And this is not just if you would compare, let's
    say an approach to a phobia with a behaviorist
  597. and Freudian analyst, but even within the
    Freudian field the schools that were
  598. originally inspired by Freud, they
    just went into all kinds of different
  599. directions. There is lot of
    emphasis on interpretation.
  600. I remember in my own
    analysis you know when
  601. I would say something it went like
    this: This is what you think, but
  602. what it really is this. Which was
    of course the Freudian perspective.
  603. I always have to say
    the story here.
  604. I had an analyst who was
    probably in his sixties.
  605. The time of the late 60s early 70s and
    several of young psychiatrists where
  606. in analysis with him and
    we also had seminars where
  607. we referred to literature and discussed
    cases, stories and so on and
  608. one of his little fault was that he
    sometimes took a nap in the session
  609. and you had to sort of try
    to do something to bring him
  610. into the process and one of us
    asked in these seminars
  611. this purely theoretical question:
    What happens when the psychoanalyst
  612. falls asleep during therapy? If
    I keep free associating, does
  613. therapy still continue? Is
    the process interrupted?
  614. Should you get maybe refunded?
  615. Because money is so important
    in psychoanalysis.
  616. And he didn't say: No, this kind of thing
    doesn't happen in psychoanalysis.
  617. He knew, so he had to
    do something with it.
  618. So he said: Yeah it can happen, sometimes you are
    tired, you didn't sleep well, you're recovering
  619. from a cold, yeah it can happen.
  620. But if you're in this
    business for a long time,
  621. you develop this sixth sense. You fall asleep
    only when the stuff that he's coming at
  622. is irrelevant.
  623. And when something really important emerges,
    you wake up and you're right there.
  624. He was also an admirer of Ivan Petrovic
    Pavlov, the Russian physiologist who got a
  625. Nobel Prize for the discovery
    of conditioned reflexes.
  626. And Pavlov talks about
    inhibition of the cortex,
  627. and that sometimes you can have a
    waking point like in hypnosis.
  628. The cortex is inhibited
    but you can communicate.
  629. And his favorite example was a mother
    who can sleep through heavy traffic
  630. or heavy noises, but when her own child starts
    moaning, she wakes up. This is just like
  631. Pavlov's model. The stuff that's relevant
    you wake up and you're right there.
  632. This is a very sad situation
    and most of us aren't even
  633. bothered by that. Sure we have all these
    schools, then each says something
  634. different and I get a training in this
    school and if it doesn't work for me
  635. I just get another training.
  636. So what is somehow, the alternative that
    the holotropic states seem to offer?
  637. It is actually something that's very close to
    where Jung was in the later years of his life.
  638. For Jung the psyche was not something that was
    confined in the skull, in the brain. The psyche
  639. was cosmic, it was anima Mundi and
    our individual psyche partakes
  640. or takes part out of
    this cosmic matrix.
  641. So there is no way we can use our
    intellect to understand the psyche
  642. in general or psyche of our client in particular
    then come with some tricks to fix the
  643. the processes of the psyche. The intellect is just
    a partial function of the psyche that's good for
  644. orientation in everyday
    life, but it cannot
  645. figure out the psyche and fix it.
    The psyche is much larger.
  646. So Jung's approach was: You can create a kind
    of supportive environment and within that you
  647. offer some method through which
    the conscious ego can communicate
  648. with a higher aspect of the
    client, which he called the self
  649. using symbolic language, and the therapist
    is not the fixer, it's not the doer.
  650. It's a go adventure in
    Jung's terminology.
  651. Jung was using active imagination is
    compared to Freud who was analyzing
  652. dreams that you had in the past. Sometimes dreams
    that were months old or years old you wanted the
  653. material to emerge so to say "in statu
    nascendi" - as it was being born -
  654. and he had an idea which is
    very similar to the principles
  655. of psychedelic therapy or
    the holotropic breathwork,
  656. that in that situation what
    emerges is some important
  657. sufficiently charged material
    from the unconscious
  658. that's close enough to the surface to
    be available for processing that day.
  659. And then something else is deeper you will have
    to wait for that, but you want something that
  660. sort of creates a situation where now what
    was unconscious is becoming conscious.
  661. And it has its own order of emerging
    so that the therapeutic process
  662. is guided from within
    by the self-healing
  663. intelligence. It's not really an insight and
    interpretation of the therapist with a very
  664. very important aspect of the work
    with holotropic states that the
  665. the idea of the
    self-healing intelligence.
  666. It also reflects the original
    Greek meaning if the word therapeutes
  667. which is not the fixer, it's not
    the doer, but somebody who
  668. intelligently cooperates
    in the healing process.
  669. It comes from the temple
    incubation in ancient Greece.
  670. I guess that the role of
    spirituality should be clear now.
  671. In traditional psychiatry, which is
    materialistic, there is really not a
  672. lot of tolerance
    for spirituality.
  673. The history of the universe
    is the history of developing
  674. matter and the consciousness is a
    product of material processes.
  675. So where is tha place for spirit?
    What are you talking about?
  676. If you are spiritual or
    religious from a strictly
  677. psychiatric point of view you
    really don't know your science.
  678. That is something to do with
    superstition, with the ignorance,
  679. with magical thinking,
    primary process.
  680. If you have a spiritual belief
    system and you're an intelligent person
  681. like Einstein, or some of the people who
    created quantum physics like Niels Bohr,
  682. Schrödinger, Heisenberg and so on,
    they all were you know mystics.
  683. Then we have psychoanalysis, then
    you have some unfinished business
  684. from childhood, where you sort of
    looked at your parents as divine
  685. figures and now if you think about God it's
    basically that infantile image that you are
  686. projecting to your mother or your
    father now becoming gods and goddesses.
  687. If you have a spiritual
    experience, you get a diagnosis.
  688. If you work with holotropic states, you
    develop a lot of respect for spirituality
  689. you realize that when your process of
    self-exploration reaches at least the
  690. perinatal level, a new quality comes into your
    experience, which Jung called numionsity.
  691. He actually borrowed it from Rudolf Otto.
    Numionsity.
  692. He didn't like terms like
    religious, mystical,
  693. spiritual, because the they
    can be easily misunderstood.
  694. Numinous is a nice and neutral
    term, but you basically move
  695. into an experiential space, which
    is radically different from
  696. the world that you live in,
    in your everyday life.
  697. There is a sense of sacredness,
    holiness about it.
  698. He was convinced that
    that reality is actually
  699. superordinate to this reality,
    that, in a sense it even
  700. forms and informs this reality. And
    this then makes spiritual quest a legitimate
  701. endeavor, rather than some
    kind of an ignorant activity.
  702. So we will not go into
    a been to the last one
  703. we're just finishing at CIAS
    course at psyche an cosmos.
  704. I've been working for about thirty years
    with Rick Doblin as is this
  705. brilliant psychologist and astrologer
    and we have found out that the
  706. only way you can really predict
  707. what kind of psychedelic session, what
    kind of holotropic session you will
  708. have is to use
    transit astrology.
  709. You can get archetypal prediction not a
    concrete prediction, but you basically
  710. get tuned into the archetypal fields related to
    currently transiting planets. So this would be
  711. opening another can of worms and it
    would really require a lot of time
  712. but if you are interested I have a personal
    website which is my full name Stanislavgrof.com
  713. you can find several of the articles there on how we're
    using astrology in the work with holotropic states
  714. and there are all kinds
    of other articles as well.
  715. So we would end this part.
    This is basically kind of a
  716. theoretical preparation. You know the kind of
    psychology that you have to bring into the session.
  717. First before that you are not crazy,
    if you have a past life experience
  718. or a death-rebirth experience, or
    if you experience yourself as
  719. some kind of animal. Those are
    all sort of normal capacities
  720. of the psyche and then
    the most important thing
  721. really trusting your own inner
    healing capacity, the self-healing
  722. process. Not bring any
    kind of concepts
  723. about things that you read,
    those things that you were
  724. taught as part of some school. Really, go into
    the session with what the Zen Buddhists call
  725. the beginner's mind. As if you didn't
    know anything about this process
  726. you're just there, breathing
    faster, deeper than usual
  727. just being like in vipassana, Buddhist meditation,
    being prepared for any experience that
  728. emerges. Let it happen and
    let it go, so you're always
  729. prepared to be surprised by
    what emerges spontaneously.
  730. So, thank you for your patience. We'll
    take a short break and then talk about what we will do.