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Integral Transpersonal Journal of arts, sciences and technologies


Eurotas Official Journal




Pier Luigi Lattuada


Giovanna Calabrese, editor chief

Ilaria Cislaghi, editor Daniela Giovine, consulting editor Patrizia Rita Pinoli, consulting editor Eleonora Prazzoli, consulting editor Silvia Lodrini, consulting editor Claudia Castiglioni, graphical project


Ingo Benjamin Jahrsetz, Germany

Jure Biechonsky, Estonia Bernardette Blin-Lery, France Gennady Brevde, Russia Steven Schmitz, USA Ingrida Indane, Latvia Dietrich Franke, Germany Magda Sole, Spain Lyudmila Scortesca, Moldova



Regina U. Hess, Germany Lindy Mcmullin, Greece Rona Newmark, South Africa Elena Piccoli, Italy Luciano Ghisoni, Italy


Timoty M. Perazzoli Valentina D. M. Lattuada


INTEGRAL TRANSPERSONAL JOURNAL VOLUME III, NUMER III, 2012 Editorial Report From The 2012 Eurotas Conference In Latvia GIOVANNA CALABRESE M.D., Ph.D.


Contributions Third Tier Thinking And Subtle Consciousness JOHN ROWAN, Ph.D.


2012 And Human Destiny: End Of The World Or Consciousness Revolution? J. STANISLAV GROF M.D., Ph.D


Phenomenology Of Zero In Transpersonal Psychology PIER LUIGI LATTUADA M.D., Ph.D.


Facing Death: Existential Anguish Of Loss Between Ontological Aspects And Psychological Effects INES TESTONI Ph.D.


The Spiritual Midwife: Spiritually Transformed Into Creativity Among Childbearing Women With Transpersonal After Effects KERSTI WISTRAND., Ph.D.


I-Ching As A Method For Enhancing Consciousness OSVALDO LOISI Ph.D.



Eurotas Events Invitation to the EUROTAS 2013 Conference in Moldova


Conferences 2013


Classical Reading Proposal


Original Reading Proposal


Authors’ instructions Authors’ Instructions Text Format


Information about ITI


Notice to subscribers



Editorial Report From The 2012 Eurotas Conference In Latvia


In September the 14th annual European Transpersonal Association Conference organized by the Latvian Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy Association was held in Jurmala, Latvia. As stated by the organization, the conference was focused on “the interaction of creativity and spirituality in the field of psychology and psychotherapy, as well as on the role of these phenomena in the growth, transformation, and healing in the everyday life of an individual and in the development of human society as a whole.” There was a warm and efficient organization as well as a creative and transpersonal artistic atmosphere throughout the conference. This included an artistic exposition in the main conference hall, a musical “tune-up” at the beginning of each morning session, and numerous cultural events planned for 6

Editorial - Report from the 2012 Eurotas Conference in Latvia

the evenings. One of the cultural events was an excursion to Pedvale to visit a well-known Latvian sculptor, Ojars Feldbergs, and to see a traditional Fire Ritual. All of these events surely inspired the attendees to share their experiences in the various workshops and lectures. Presenters came not only from Europe, they also came from the United States, South American countries, Asia, Israel, and South Africa. For four days they discussed the main topics including Creativity and Spirituality in Everyday Life, Nature – People – Ritual, Synthesis and Integration, and the Role of Transpersonal Psychology in Development of Global Process. There were also many experiential workshops in the afternoons. Here I would like to draw attention to the lecture by David Lukoff on “Scientific Research in Transpersonal Psychology” followed by a panel discussion with members from the Eurotas and ATP boards. David Lukoff showed that the impact of humanistic and transpersonal concepts appears to be increasing within general psychology. I agree with him when he says: “It is our job to reclaim those concepts”. The growing interest of mainstream psychology and psychotherapy for spirituality has to urge us to show to an audience as large as possible what we are doing as transpersonal psychotherapists, counsellors, <and> social workers, researchers and educators in general. We have to communicate the development of transpersonal psychology to agencies and institutions from which health, education, and social services are governed and organized. David Lukoff referred to the two indexed journals explicitly focusing on transpersonal psychology, the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology and the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, to emphasize the importance of empirical research within transpersonal psychology. He showed 7

Editorial - Report from the 2012 Eurotas Conference in Latvia

there is a trend toward an increase of empirical research studies published by these two journals, going from almost 5% in the interval 1970-79 to more than 15% in 2000-2009. However, as Steven Schmitz demonstrated during the transpersonal research panel discussion, to reach a larger audience we must be aware to use the appropriate language, to utilize the research methods designed for transpersonal topics, and to be rigorous when we do research or publish clinical reports. Therefore if we want to convey our vision in other fields we need to speak both in scientific terms and from a transpersonal perspective. Psychotherapy, in general, has always struggled between science and philosophy, and this is even truer for the discipline of transpersonal psychotherapy. However, we must consider that people making decisions in the field of health care, education and social services rely more on scientific demonstrations than on philosophical argumentation. Referring again to Lukoff’s speech we must consider that “it is not unusual for a new discipline to require several decades to find its bearing conceptually before really taking off with an empirical research agenda.” It seems to me that now this is even more necessary than ever. As director of this journal I found David’s and Steven’s talks very encouraging and supportive, we have to follow the trend of empirical research to support our transpersonal concepts. We have to be aware that there are research tools coming from the qualitative research field that are fitting for transpersonal research and are available to provide such empirical support. It is possible to do research on art-therapy, non-ordinary state of consciousness, and spirituality, just to mention a few areas of interest in the field of transpersonal psychology. For this reason, without neglecting papers focused on 8

Editorial - Report from the 2012 Eurotas Conference in Latvia

philosophical discussion, this journal also encourages authors to send papers based on empirical research that describe their approach to and provide evidence of the effectiveness of transpersonal psychotherapy. Giovanna Calabrese ITJ Director


Third Tier Thinking And Subtle Consciousness

JOHN ROWAN, Ph.D. One of the founding fathers of transpersonal psychology in the UK. His books include The Transpersonal: Spirituality in Psycho- therapy and Counselling (2nd edition), Healing the Male Psyche, The Therapistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Use of Self (with Michael Jacobs) and Ordinary Ecstasy (3rd edition). He has been leading groups since 1972. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, the British Association for Counselling and Psycho- therapy and the United Kingdom Coun­cil for Psychotherapy. He is in private practice. Web site:

ABSTRACT: We are becoming familiar with the ideas of First Tier and Second Tier thinking, from the work of Beck & Cowan (1996) and Wilber (2006), but little has been written about Third Tier thinking, which is mentioned briefly in the latter book. It seems that the time has come to give it some consideration, and this is the purpose of the current short paper.


Third Tier Thinking and Subtle Consciousness In the past I have written a good deal about the Subtle level of consciousness, as for example in my book on the transpersonal in therapy (Rowan 2005, pp.72-76); see also the book I wrote with Michael Jacobs on the self in psychotherapy (Rowan & Jacobs 2002, Ch.4). One useful hint is that the Subtle is the land of dreams, and that therefore we all have experience, every night, of the Subtle. In the 1980s I spent ten years exploring the Subtle, and had some exciting experiences there myself. Some years ago I did a general paper on the Subtle level of consciousness as defined by Ken Wilber (Rowan 1998), and this is one place to look for a broad account of the Subtle, but recently I have come across one particular application of this kind of study which seems to me of some importance. Many people have now come across the very interesting work on Spiral Dynamics (Beck & Cowan 1996) which talks about different tiers of thought. First Tier thinking is the most common level of consciousness for most of us, being based on formal (Aristotelian, Newtonian, Boolean, mathematical) logic, the logic of “A is A”. It tends toward black-and-white thinking, making us think that if we have an opinion, and someone else has a different opinion on the same matter, one of us (probably me) is right and the other wrong. If the other is sufficiently wrong, I may be entitled to put him right, by force if necessary. This kind of thinking is depressingly common. Second Tier thinking is based on dialectical logic (what Ken Wilber sometimes calls Vision-logic), where I can have an opinion and the other guy can have a different opinion, and we may both be right at times. This is the logic of paradox, or “A is not simply A” (Rowan 2000), which is increasingly being seen as necessary in dealing with human beings. One of the best exponents of this in practical terms was Mary Parker Follett (Graham 1995) who introduced the world to the idea of the win/win solution. “But the Green to Yellow transition is, as Graves called it, ‘a momentous leap’ which takes us over from the First Tier’s Subsistence levels to the Second Tier’s Being levels. This is not just another step along the developmental staircase.” (Beck & Cowan 1996, p.274) 11

Third Tier Thinking and Subtle Consciousness I have written at some length about the Second Tier (Rowan 2001) and its relation to the research of people like Maslow, Kohlberg, Loevinger, CookGreuter, Piaget, Torbert and Kegan. So far, so good. But what about the Third Tier? Third Tier thinking is mentioned in Wilber’s (2006) Figure 2.4, but he says very little about it. More can be found in the website www. The essence of third tier thinking is that we have to admit that we are spiritual beings. This means that we can have steady personal experience of this great realm, which the Buddhists call the sambhogakaya. It is a realm which we all have access to in dreams. It is the polytheistic realm described so well by Jungians like Jung (1968), Dieckmann (1986), Thomas Moore (1992) and James Hillman (1981), by humanistic psychologists like Jean Houston (1996), by mythologists like Joseph Campbell (1990), Stephen Larsen (1990) and Feinstein & Krippner (1997), by Tantrists like Philip Rawson (1973) and Arthur Avalon (1978), by neopagans like Starhawk (1989), Adler (1986), the Matthews couple (1985) and Crowley (1989), by feminists like Bolen (1994), by ecologists like Willliam Devall (1988), Michael Zimmerman (1998) and James Lovelock (1991), by psychological explorers like Grof (1990) and (1992), students of shamanism like Roger Walsh (1990), discoverers like William Bloom (1998), psychologists like Cortright (2007), psychotherapists like Nathan Field (1996), and so forth. And never forget the standard work on European mysticism by Evelyn Underhill (1955). Wilber’s account is spread over a number of books, from the earliest onwards. and I think the most succinct statement is to be found in his (2000) book, where he says: “experienced previously only in peak experiences, or as a background intuition of immortality, wonder, and grace, the Soul begins now to emerge more permanently in consciousness. Not yet infinite and all-embracing, no longer merely personal and mortal, the soul is the great intermediate conveyor between pure Spirit and individual self.” (p.106) The Subtle is the realm of archetypes, of gods and goddesses, of nature 12

Third Tier Thinking and Subtle Consciousness spirits, of fairies, of angels, of visions and audible messages, of standing stones, of rivers, wells and springs, the whole range of nature mysticism. To put it more formally, it is the realm of concrete representations of the divine, and therefore reconcilable with the whole field of bhakti yoga. Whenever we have what we would call a mystical experience, we are in the realm of the Subtle. This is the crucial difference from the Causal, where there is no such thing as an experience. All the great breakthroughs into a mystical realm belong to the Subtle, even when they present themselves as much more than that. One of the best introductions to the Subtle is to be found in Cortright (2007), who says: “The psychic being or soul, antaratman, is described by the bhakti schools of Vedanta, as well as by the Western traditions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In integral yoga, the psychic centre is the evolutionary element in human beings.” (p.25). Of course all this is very easily compatible with the excellent work of Henri Corbin (1972) on the imaginal world, deriving from the Sufi tradition. The Subtle is the realm of the soul. To some people the word ‘soul’ is suspect, because of its associations with formal religion and its dogmas. For such people I have devised the following list, which covers all the main synonyms for the soul:

Higher Self Inner Teacher Deep Self Heart Transpersonal Self (1) Genius Daimon Guidance Self Higher Intuitive Self 13

Third Tier Thinking and Subtle Consciousness Archetype of the Self Guardian Angel Wise Being Bliss Savikalpa Luminosity Psychic centre By using this chart, one may choose which term gives the most charge, or the least offence, or whatever enables us to choose that which works for us. But if we are to use such concepts as the Subtle, we do have to choose some word to represent that part of the field which is most personal and most intimate. The Basic Rule Having said so much by way of general introduction, I want now to go on to describe the basic rule within the Subtle, which makes it so hard to accept and to study, for most investigators. It is this: at the Subtle level we cannot ask the question – “Is it true?” Instead, we have to ask the question – “What effect did that have on you?” This means that, for example, if someone were to say – “I saw a fairy at the bottom of my garden” – the appropriate response is not to reply – “What is your evidence? Do you have a photograph? Did you film it? Do you have independent witnesses?” Rather is it to say – “What effect did that have on you? How did you respond? Did you change in any way?” To me this seems so obvious and natural, because I have lived with it so long, that I have no problem with it. But to others, particularly those raised in a scientific tradition, it is not only shocking, it is quite unacceptable. “If this is true, there is no way of seriously studying such phenomena. Your statement is sheer mystification”. For someone locked in to the most basic and standard scientific tradition, positivism, there is in fact no way of distinguishing between mysticism and mystification. 14

Third Tier Thinking and Subtle Consciousness However, if it is true that this is the only way in which these phenomena can be studied, the problem of study shifts away from the correspondence theory of truth to one of the alternatives: the coherence theory of truth, the pragmatic theory of truth, or one of the deflationary theories of truth, as Kirkham (1992) has described them. It also raises the question of what logic we are to use in this field, as I have described elsewhere (Rowan 2003), such as many-valued logic or dialectical logic. Some of these might improve the situation considerably. The purpose of this short paper is simply to register that the entry into Third Tier thinking is well worth studying, and raises unique problems which are just not being tackled by many people at the moment. I have some doubt as to how acceptable all this is to academia. It may be that the conceptual difficulties are huge in the present state of the academy. But if we are to make any progress in transpersonal psychology, it seems to me that somehow we have to rise to the challenge, and find out how to study these matters in a wholehearted way. This may be hard, but not impossible. Peter Reason (1988) collected some very able people together to explore territory like this more than thirty years ago. Some very interesting approaches to such matters are to be found in books like Heron (1996), Braud & Anderson (1998), or indeed Bentz & Shapiro (1998), where the authors are specifically addressing such problems as transpersonal experiences. Miller & Crabtree (2000) also have some wise words to offer on this. The way forward is not all that obscure, but it is challenging, requiring us to abandon our blind faith in quantitative methods and yes/no thinking. If we can genuinely introduce third tier thinking into our research methodology, everything is possible.


Third Tier Thinking and Subtle Consciousness REFERENCES •

Adler, Margot (1986) Drawing down the moon: Witches, Druids, Goddessworshippers and other pagans (2nd ed) Boston, Beacon Press.

Avalon, Arthur (1978) Shakti and Shakta New York, Dover Publications.

Bentz, Valerie Malhotra & Shapiro, Jeremy J (1998) Mindful inquiry in social research London: Sage.

Bloom, William (1998) Working with angels, fairies and nature spirits London: Piatkus.

Bolen, Jean Shinoda (1984) Goddesses in everywoman: A new psychology of women New York: Harper Colophon.

Braud, William & Anderson, Rosemarie (eds)(1998) Transpersonal research methods for the social sciences: Honoring human experience Sage: London.

Campbell, Joseph (1990) Transformations of myth through time New York: Harper & Row.

Corbin, Henri (1972) ‘Mundus Imaginalis, or the imaginary and the imaginal’ Spring pp.1-19.

Cortright, Brant (2007) Integral psychology: Yoga, growth and the opening of the heart Albany: SUNY Press.

Crowley, Viviane (1989) Wicca Wellingborough: The Aquarian Press

Devall, William (1988) Simple in means, rich in ends: Practising deep ecology Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith Books,

Dieckmann, Hans (1986) Twice-told tales: The psychological use of fairy tales Wilmette: Chiron.

Feinstein, David & Krippner, Stanley (1997) The mythic path: Discovering the guiding stories of your past – creating a vision for your future New York: Tarcher/Putnam.

Field, Nathan (1996) Breakdown and breakthrough: Psychotherapy in a new dimension London: Routledge.

Graham, Pauline (1995) Mary Parker Follett: Prophet of management: A celebration of writings from the 1920s Boston: Harvard Business School Press


Third Tier Thinking and Subtle Consciousness •

Grof, Christina & Stanislav (1990) The stormy search for the self Los Angeles: Tarcher.

Grof, Stanislav (1992) The holographic mind New York: Harper Collins

Heron, John (1996) Co-operative inquiry: Research into the human condition London: Sage.

Hillman, James (1981) ‘Psychology: Monotheistic or polytheistic’ in D L Miller, The new polytheism Dallas: Spring.

Houston, Jean (1996) A mythic life: Learning to live our greater story Harper San Francisco.

Jung, Carl Gustav (1968) The archetypes and the collective unconscious (2 nd ed) London: Routledge.

Kirkham, Richard L (1992) Theories of truth: A critical introduction Cambridge: MIT Press.

Larsen, Stephen (1990) The mythic imagination: Your quest for meaning through personal mythology New York: Bantam Books.

Lovelock, James (1991) Gaia: The practical science of planetary medicine London: Gaia.

Matthews, C & J (1985) The Western Way: Vols 1 & 2 London: RKP.

Miller, William L & Crabtree, Benjamin F (2000) ‘Clinical research’ in N K Denzin & Y S Lincoln (eds) Handbook of qualitative research (Second edition) London: Sage.

Moore, Thomas (1992) Care of the soul: How to add depth and meaning to your everyday life London: Piatkus.

Rawson, Philip (1973) Tantra, London: Thames & Hudson.

Reason, Peter (ed) (1988) Human inquiry in action: Developments in new paradigm research London: Sage.

Rothberg, Donald (1998) ‘Ken Wilber and the future of transpersonal inquiry’ in D. Rothberg & S Kelly (eds) Ken Wilber in dialogue Wheaton: Quest.

Rowan. John (1998) ‘Explorations in the Subtle’ 32-42 BPS Transpersonal Psychology Review 2/3 December.

Rowan, John (2000) ‘Dialectical thinking and humanistic psychology’ 17

Third Tier Thinking and Subtle Consciousness Practical Philosophy 3/2 18-21. •

Rowan, John (2003) ‘Philosophical counselling and its logics’ Existential Analysis 14/2.

Rowan, John (2005) The transpersonal: Spirituality in psychotherapy and counselling (2nd edition) London: Routledge.

Rowan, John & Jacobs, Michael (2002) The therapist’s use of self Buckingham: Open University Press.

Starhawk (1989) The spiral dance (2 nd ed) San Francisco: Harper & Row

Underhill, Evelyn (1955) Mysticism New York: Meridian.

Walsh, Roger (1990) The spirit of shamanism Los Angeles: Tarcher.

Wilber, Ken (1983) Eye to eye Garden City: Anchor.

Wilber, Ken (1983a) A sociable god New York: McGraw-Hill.

Wilber, Ken (1995) Sex, ecology, spirituality Boston: Shambhala.

Wilber, Ken (2000) Integral psychology Boston: Shambhala.

Zimmerman, Michael E (1998) ‘A transpersonal diagnosis of the ecological crisis’ in D. Rothberg & S Kelly (eds) Ken Wilber in dialogue Wheaton: Quest.


2012 And Human Destiny: End Of The World Or Consciousness Revolution?

J. STANISLAV GROF, M.D. Is a psychiatrist with more than five decades of experience in research of non-ordinary states of consciousness. In the past, he was Principal Investigator in a psychedelic research program at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, Czechoslovakia, Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and Scholar-inResidence at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Currently, he is Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), conducts professional training programs in holotropic breathwork and transpersonal psychology, and gives lectures and seminars worldwide. He is one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology and the founding president of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA). Web site:


2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? Since the publication of Jose Arguelles’ book The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology (Arguelles 1987) brought to the attention of lay audiences the fact that the most important of the Mayan calendars, the Long Count Calendar, would end abruptly on December 21, 2012 AD, there have been many discussions concerning the possibility that this prophecied the end of time or even of the world. Jose Arguelles organized in this connection what became known as Harmonic Convergence, the world’s first globally synchronized meditation. It was held on August 16–17, 1987, a date which marked the beginning of the projected twenty-five-year culmination of two important cycles of Mayan cosmogony - the 5,125 year Great Cycle of History, as well as the 25,920-year Cycle of Evolution, both of them ending on the same day, December 21, 2012. As this date is approaching, the mystery of the Mayan prophecy has become the focus of many articles, books, and conferences and of a movie entitled 2012. Similar prophecies about the end of the Great Cycle can be found in many other cultural and religious groups – the Hopi, Navajo, Cherokee, Apache, Iroquois confederacy, ancient Egyptians, the Kabbalists, Essenes, Q’ero elders of Peru, the Subsaharan Dogon tribe, and the Australian Aborigines. However, the Mayan prophecy is unique and most interesting, since it involves a specific date. With some rare exceptions, such as the Mayan scholar John Major Jenkins (Jenkins 1998 and 2002) and a few others, the Mayan prophecy about the end of the cosmic cycle, the Fifth World, has been interpreted in terms of actual destruction of the material world and extermination of humanity, in a way similar to the interpretation (or better misinterpretation) of the term Apocalypse by Christian fundamentalists, particularly the millions of American Christians who believe that at the time of this global destruction they will experience “rapture” and be united with Jesus. People who see it this way are not aware of the fact that the original and literal meaning of the term apocalypse (Greek Ἀποκάλυψις Apokálypsis) is not destruction but “lifting of the veil” or “revelation”. It referred to the disclosure of some secrets hidden from the majority of humanity to certain privileged persons. The source of the misinterpretation of this word is probably the phrase 20

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? “apokálypsis eschaton” which literally means “revelation at the end of the æon, or age”. I would like to suggest in this paper a radically different, more optimistic interpretation of the Mayan prophecy – as referring to the end of the world as we have known it: a world dominated by unbridled violence and insatiable greed, egotistic hierarchy of values, corrupted institutions and corporations, and irreconcilable conflicts between organized religions. Instead of predicting a physical destruction of the material world, the Mayan prophecy might refer to death and rebirth and a mass inner transformation of humanity. In order to explore this idea, we have to answer two important questions, First: How could ancient Mayans two thousand years ago know anything about the situation that humanity would be facing in the twenty-first century? And second: Are there any indications that modern society, more specifically the industrial civilization, is currently on the verge of a major psychospiritual transformation? I will try to address these questions in the following text. The Mayan prophecy concerning the 2012 winter solstice has an important astronomical dimension. Over 2,000 years ago the early Maya formulated a profound galactic cosmology. Being excellent observers of the sky, they noticed that the position of the winter solstice sun was slowly shifting toward an alignment with the galactic axis. This movement is caused by so called precession - the wobble of the rotational axis of the earth. The Mayans concluded that major changes of cosmic proportions would occur at the time of this auspicious solar/ galactic alignment. This is an event that happens only every 25,920 years, which is the period required for the winter solstice sun to move through all twelve zodiacal signs. The sunrise on December 21, 2012, would thus represent not only return of the light into the world, as it happens every year on winter solstice, but also enlightenment on a large scale and of a different order. C. G. Jung used in his book Aion and in his other writings the term “Platonic Month” for the period that it takes the vernal equinox point to pass through one constellation of the sidereal zodiac and the term “Platonic Year” for the completion 21

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? of the entire zodiacal cycle on a much larger cosmic scale. Jungian scholar Alice Howell expounded this perspective in her book Synchronicity in Astrological Signs and Ages (Howell 1990). She pointed out that the crossing of the vernal equinox sun into another constellation has been regularly associated with a radical shift of the dominant archetypes. This would then influence, for example, the religious and ritual symbolism of that period, as exemplified by the importance of the bull in Age of Taurus, of the sheep in the Age of Aries, and of the fish in the Piscean Age. While the time of the annual solar return can be astronomically exactly calculated, what happens astrologically in connection with the galactic alignment would not be a one-day event. Precession shifts the position of the equinoxes and solstices one degree every 71.5 years. Because the sun is one half of a degree wide, it will take the December solstice sun almost 36 years to precess through the galactic equator. Astrologically, the transits also are not momentary events; their influence follows a bell-curve. Their influence gradually increases and reaches a maximum at the time when the angular relationship is exact; following this culmination, it gradually decreases. The influence of the galactic alignment would thus extend over a period of several decades and the world changes associated with it would already be underway. The present form of galactic alignment occurs only once every 25.920 years. It is interesting that the last alignment of this kind coincided with the time of disappearance of the Neanderthals and emergence of the Cromagnon culture with radically new ritual and artistic expression. Astronomers of the pre-classic Maya culture called the Izapa Culture devised the Long Count calendar consisting of thirteen baktuns (each lasting 394 solar years) to target the time when the cosmic alignment would maximize - December 2012 AD. To accomplish that, they had to place the beginning of this calendar to August 11, 3114 BCE., many centuries before their time. It is this 5125-year/13 baktun cycle representing a wave harmonic of history that ends on December 21, 2012. The cultural legacy of ancient Mayans includes also glyphs and images carved in stone monuments and paintings on funeral vases, plates, and tripods related to this auspicious alignment that convey information open to interpretation (Robiczek 1981, Grof 1996, 2006). 22

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? I am not a mayologist, astronomer, astrologer, or psychic. I should therefore say a few words about how I became interested in this area and why I should be able to say anything of relevance concerning the enigma of the Mayan prophecy. In my adolescence and post- adolescence, I was fascinated by Mesoamerican cultures and read many books about the Mayans, Aztecs, Incas, and other cultures of Central America ad South America. I also learned how to paint in the styles of some of these cultures. My interest deepened even further when I started working with psychedelics and discovered the importance of the process of psychospiritual death and rebirth. The stories about the Mayan Hero Twins and Quetzalcoatl are prime examples of this process. I later studied these Pre-Hispanic mythologies in some depth as preparation for my books entitled Books of the Dead and The Ultimate Journey (Grof 1994 and 2006). I came to the conclusion that it is impossible to really understand the Mayan culture unless we take into consideration the enormous importance that psychedelics and other “technologies of the sacred” played in the ritual, spiritual, cultural, and even scientific life of the ancient Mayans. And I believe that it is impossible to seriously study the Mayan prophecy without taking this fact into consideration. My own main area of interest in the last fifty years has been research of nonordinary states of consciousness or, more specifically, an important subcategory of these states for which I coined the term holotropic. This composite word means literally “oriented toward wholeness” or “moving in the direction of wholeness” (from the Greek holos = whole and trepo/trepein = moving toward or in the direction of something). These are states that novice shamans experience during their initiatory crises and later induce in their clients. Ancient and native cultures have used these states in rites of passage and in their healing ceremonies. They were described by mystics of all ages and initiates in the ancient mysteries of death and rebirth. Procedures inducing these states were also developed in the context of the great religions of the world – Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity (Grof 2000, 2006). The Mayans had a rich array of “technologies of the sacred”, procedures that can induce holotropic states of consciousness. A powerful and specifically Mayan mind-altering technique was massive bloodletting induced by using lancets made 23

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? of stingray spines, flint, or obsidian to wound the tongue, earlobes, and genitals (Schele and Miller 1986, Grof 1994). Ritual bloodletting opened up an experiential realm that was not ordinarily accessible before the time of biological death. The Mayans used the symbol of the Vision Serpent for the experiences induced by blood loss and shock. This symbol represented the contact between the everyday world of human beings and the world of gods and sacred ancestors, who were expected to appear in their visions in the supernatural realms. The lancet was perceived as a sacred object with enormous power; it was personified in the form of the Perforator God. Because of the extraordinary importance that these “technologies of the sacred” had in the Mayan culture, it is reasonable to assume that visionary experiences induced by them might have provided inspiration for the prophecy concerning 2012 and played a major role in its articulation. It is thus fully justified to look at this prophecy through the prism of the discoveries of modern consciousness research involving psychedelic substances and other consciousness-expanding procedures. In holotropic states of consciousness, it is possible to obtain profound revelations concerning the master blueprint of the universe designed by cosmic intelligence of such astonishing proportions that it is far beyond the limits of our everyday understanding and imagination. Individuals experiencing psychedelic states, including myself, occasionally reported that they had profound illuminating insights into the creative dynamics of the Kosmos. More specifically, psychedelic pioneer Terrence McKenna described in his preface to John Major Jenkins’ book “Maya Cosmogenesis 2012” (Jenkins 1998) that he received his insights concerning 2012 in his mushroom sessions. These experiences provided the inspiration for his own book on 2012 co-written by his brother Dennis and entitled The Invisible Landscape. Individuals who had such revelatory cosmic visions suddenly understood that what is happening in the material world is formed and informed by archetypal principles, beings, and events existing in dimensions of reality that are inaccessible for our everyday consciousness. They also saw that the dynamics 24

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? of the archetypal world is systematically correlated with the movements of the planets, their angular relationships, and their relative positions to the fixed stars. This led to a completely new understanding of astrology, its origins, and paramount importance. It became clear to them that the source of astrology were large-scale encompassing visions of the workings of the Kosmos and not tedious accumulation of individual observations of correlations between events in the world and celestial bodies. Richard Tarnas, amassed over a period of more than thirty years impressive and convincing evidence for systematic correlations existing between the archetypal world, celestial dynamics, and psychological and historical processes and presented it in his ground-breaking and paradigm-breaking book Cosmos and Psyche (Tarnas 2006). Tarnas’ astrological research has focused primarily on correlations with the movements of the planets, but there exist astrological systems, which pay great attention to fixed stars; experiences in holotropic states can provide equally revealing insights in this regard. An important aspect of experiences in holotropic states is that they transcend narrow linear time and make it possible to see events in the universe on a cosmic astronomical scale. In all their grandeur, time scales like the Mayan Long Count Calendar or the Great or Platonic Year are very modest as compared to others inspired by visionary experiences, such as those found in Tantric science, in which the age of the universe amounts to billions of years (a number similar to the assessment of modern cosmologists), or to those discussed in Hindu religion and mythology - the kalpas or the Day of Brahman - that also amount to billions of years. The visions of ancient Mayan seers could thus with the help of “technologies of the sacred” easily reach many centuries into the future. The Mayan prophecy concerning the galactic alignment is not limited to astronomical observations and astrological predictions; it is intimately interconnected with mythology, with what C. G. Jung called the archetypal domain of the collective unconscious. For example, the Mayan seers referred to the December solstice sun as “Cosmic Father” and to the Milky Way as “Cosmic Mother”. They envisioned the center of the galaxy, where modern astronomy 25

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? places a giant black hole, as her creative and destructive womb. The time of the galactic alignment was thus the time of a cosmic hieros gamos, sacred marriage between the Feminine and the Masculine. Research of holotropic states – psychedelic therapy, holotropic breathwork, and work with individuals in “spiritual emergencies” – made major contributions to the understanding of mythology. Myths are commonly considered to be products of human fantasy and imagination not unlike the stories of modern fiction writers and playwrights. Consciousness research has brought convincing support for the work of C. G. Jung and Joseph Campbell suggesting a radically new approach to mythology. According to these two seminal thinkers, myths are not fictitious stories about adventures of imaginary characters in nonexistent countries and thus arbitrary products of individual human fantasy. Rather, myths originate in the collective unconscious of humanity and are manifestations of primordial organizing principles of the psyche and of the cosmos which Jung called archetypes (Jung 1976). Archetypes express themselves through the individual psyche and its deeper processes, but they do not originate in the human brain and are not its products. They are superordinated to the individual psyche and function as its governing principles. In holotropic states the archetypal world can be directly experienced in a way that is as convincing and authentic as the material world appears to be, or more so. To distinguish transpersonal experiences involving archetypal figures and domains from imaginary products of individual fantasy, Jungians refer to this domain as imaginal. French scholar, philosopher, and mystic, Henri Corbin, who first used the term mundus imaginalis, was inspired in this regard by his study of Islamic mystical literature (Corbin 2000). Islamic theosophers call the imaginal world, where everything existing in the sensory world has its analogue, ‘alam a mithal’, or the “eighth climate”, to distinguish it from the “seven climates” regions of traditional Islamic geography. The imaginal world possesses extension and dimensions, forms and colors, but these are not perceptible to our senses as they would be if 26

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? they were properties of physical objects. However, this realm is in every respect as fully ontologically real and susceptible to consensual validation by other people as the material world perceived by our sensory organs. Archetypes are timeless essences, cosmic ordering principles, which can also manifest as mythic personifications, or specific deities of various cultures. The figures of Maya mythology – Hunahpu, Xbalanque, their father One Hunahpu, Seven Macaw, Quetzalcoatl (Kukulcan), and others - like those of any other culture are thus ontologically real and can be directly apprehended by individuals experiencing holotropic states. As John Major Jenkins pointed out, Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend contributed to the understanding of archetypes another important dimension that is relevant for the problem of the Mayan prophecy. They described in their book Hamlet’s Mill the deep connection that exists between myth and astronomical processes (de Santillana and Dechend 1969). In 1948, after many years of systematically studying mythologies of various cultures of the world, Joseph Campbell published his ground-breaking book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which in the following decades profoundly influenced research and understanding in the field (Campbell 1968). Analyzing a broad spectrum of myths from various parts of the world, Campbell realized that they all contained variations of one universal archetypal formula, which he called the monomyth. This was the story of the hero, either male or female, who leaves his or her home ground or is forcefully separated from it by external circumstances and, after fantastic adventures and ordeals culminating in psychospiritual death and rebirth, returns to his original society radically transformed - as an enlightened or deified being, a healer, seer, or great spiritual teacher. In Campbell’s own words, the basic formula for the hero’s journey can be summarized as follows: “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder; fabulous forces are encountered and a decisive victory is won; the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow men.” 27

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? Campbell’s inquisitive and incisive intellect went beyond simply recognizing the universality of this myth over time and space. His curiosity drove him to ask what makes this myth universal. Why does the theme of the hero’s journey appeal to cultures of all times and countries, even if they differ in every other respect? Campbell’s answer has the simplicity and unrelenting logic of all brilliant insights: the monomyth of the hero’s journey is a blueprint for the transformative crisis, which all human beings can experience when the deep contents of the unconscious psyche emerge into consciousness. The hero’s journey describes nothing less than the experiential territory that an individual must traverse during times of profound transformation. During the years of our friendship, Joseph Campbell also enthusiastically embraced the concept of Basic Perinatal Matrices (BPMs), because they provided for him another important piece of the puzzle, linking the process of spiritual death and rebirth to biological birth. And birth is an experience that all humans share, irrespective of their culture, geographical location, and historical period. The story of the Mayan Hero Twins is a classical example of Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. It belongs to a vast array of archetypal motifs that we can experience in holotropic states. The observations from modern consciousness research that are most relevant for a positive interpretation of the Mayan prophecy are related to a phenomenon that is much more common in holotropic states than the experience of the Apocalypse; it is the experience of psychospiritual death and rebirth. This experience has played a crucial role in the ritual and spiritual history of humanity – in shamanism, rites of passage, the ancient death/rebirth mysteries, and in the great religions of the world (see the Christian concept of being “born again” and the Hindu “dvija” – a “twice-born person”). The process of death and rebirth is a multivalent archetype that manifests on many different levels and in various areas and ways, but in self-exploration and therapy it is usually closely related to the reliving and conscious integration of the memory of biological birth. Psychospiritual death and rebirth is one of the most prominent themes in therapeutic work using holotropic states. When the age regression in the process of deep experiential self-exploration moves beyond the level of memories from childhood and infancy and reaches the level of the unconscious that contains 28

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? the memory of birth, we start encountering emotions and physical sensations of extreme intensity, often surpassing anything we previously considered humanly possible. At this point, the experiences become a strange mixture of the themes of birth and death. They involve a sense of a severe, life-threatening confinement and a desperate and determined struggle to free ourselves and survive. Because of the close connection between this domain of the unconscious and biological birth, I have chosen for it the name perinatal. It is a Greek-Latin composite word where the prefix peri- means “near” or “around”, and the root natalis signifies “pertaining to childbirth”. This word is commonly used in medicine to describe various biological processes occurring shortly before, during, and immediately after birth. The obstetricians talk, for example, about perinatal hemorrhage, infection, or brain damage. However, since traditional medicine denies that the child can consciously experience birth and claims that this event is not recorded in memory, one never hears about perinatal experiences. The use of the term perinatal in connection with consciousness reflects my own findings and is entirely new (Grof 1975, 2000). The perinatal region of the unconscious contains the memories of what the fetus experienced in the consecutive stages of the birth process, including all the emotions and physical sensations involved. These memories form four distinct experiential clusters, each of which is related to one of the stages of the birth process. I have coined for them the term Basic Perinatal Matrices (BPM I-IV) (Groff 2000). BPM I consists of memories of the advanced prenatal state just before the onset of the delivery. BPM II is related to the onset of the delivery when the uterus contracts, but the cervix is not yet open. BPM III reflects the struggle to be born after the uterine cervix dilates. And finally, BPM IV holds the memory of the emerging into the world, the birth itself. The content of these matrices is not limited to fetal memories; each of them also provides selective opening into a vast domain in the unconscious psyche that we now call transpersonal. This involves experiential identification with other people and other life forms, ancestral, racial, collective, phylogenetic and karmic memories, and material from the historical and archetypal collective unconscious, 29

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? which contains motifs of similar experiential quality. Emergence of this material into consciousness constitutes the process of psychospiritual death and rebirth and results in deep inner transformation. Some of the insights of people experiencing holotropic states of consciousness are directly related to the current global crisis and its relationship with consciousness evolution. They show that we have exteriorized in the modern world many of the essential themes of the death rebirth process that a person involved in deep personal transformation has to face and come to terms with internally. The same elements that we would encounter in the process of psychological death and rebirth in our visionary experiences make today our evening news. This is particularly true in regard to the phenomena that characterize what I refer to as the third Basic Perinatal Matrix (BPM III) (Grof 2000). As I mentioned earlier, this matrix is related to the stage of birth when the cervix is open and the fetus experiences the tedious propulsion through the birth canal. This stage is associated with the emergence of the shadow side of human personality â&#x20AC;&#x201C; murderous violence and excessive or deviant sexual drives, scatological elements, and even satanic imagery. It is easy to see manifestations of these aspects of the death rebirth process in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s troubled world. We certainly see the enormous unleashing of the aggressive impulse in the many wars and revolutionary upheavals in the world, in the rising criminality, global terrorism, and racial riots. Equally dramatic and striking is the lifting of sexual repression and freeing of the sexual impulse in both healthy and problematic ways. Sexual experiences and behaviors are taking unprecedented forms as manifested in overtly sexual books, plays, and movies, gay liberation, sexual freedom and experimentation of adolescents, premarital sex, general promiscuity, common and open marriages, high divorce rate, sadomasochistic clubs and parlors, and many others. The demonic element is also becoming increasingly manifest in the modern world. Renaissance of satanic cults and witchcraft, popularity of books and horror movies with occult themes, and crimes with satanic motivations attest to that fact. Terrorism of suicidal fundamentalist fanatics and deviant militant groups is 30

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? also reaching satanic proportions. The scatological dimension is evident in the progressive industrial pollution, accumulation of waste products on a global scale, and rapidly deteriorating hygienic conditions in large cities. A more abstract form of the same trend is escalating corruption and degradation of political, military, economic, and religious institutions, including the American presidency and government. Scams, shenanigans, and embezzling of astronomical amounts of money on the highest levels of society have become commonplace and reached an all time high. Observations from the research of holotropic states of consciousness have thrown new light on human propensity to unbridled violence and insatiable greed – two forces that have driven human history since time immemorial and are currently threatening survival of life on this planet. This research has revealed that these “poisons”, as they are called in Tibetan Vajrayana, have much deeper roots than current biological and psychological theories assume – biology with concepts like the “naked ape”, the “triune brain”, and the “selfish gene” (Morris 1967, McLean 1973, Dawkins 1976) and psychoanalysis and related schools with their emphasis on base instincts as the governing principles of the psyche (Freud 1955, 1961 and 1964). We have seen over the years profound emotional and psychosomatic healing, as well as radical personality transformation, in many people who were involved in serious and systematic experiential self-exploration and inner quest. Some of them had supervised psychedelic sessions, others participated in Holotropic Breathwork workshops and training or various other forms of experiential psychotherapy and self-exploration. Similar changes occur often in individuals who are involved in shamanic practice or are meditators and have regular spiritual practice. We have also witnessed profound positive changes in many people who received adequate support during episodes of spontaneous psychospiritual crises (“spiritual emergencies”). Thanatologist Ken Ring referred to this group of transformative experiences as “Omega experiences” and included in it near-death experiences and alien abduction experiences (Ring 1984). As the content of the perinatal level of the unconscious emerges into consciousness 31

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? and is integrated, the individuals involved undergo radical personality changes. They experience considerable decrease of aggression and become more peaceful, comfortable with themselves, compassionate, and tolerant of others. The experience of psychospiritual death and rebirth and conscious connection with positive postnatal or prenatal memories reduces irrational drives and ambitions. It causes a shift of focus from pondering about the past and fantasizing about the future to fuller awareness of the present moment. This shift enhances zest, ĂŠlan vital, and joi de vivre and brings the ability to enjoy and draw satisfaction from simple circumstances of life, such as everyday activities, food, lovemaking, nature, and music. Another important result of this process is emergence of spirituality of a universal and mystical nature that, unlike the dogmas of mainstream religions, is very authentic and convincing, because it is based on deep personal experience. The process of spiritual opening and transformation typically deepens further as a result of transpersonal experiences, such as identification with other people, entire human groups, animals, plants, and even inorganic materials and processes in nature. Other experiences provide conscious access to events occurring in other countries, cultures, and historical periods and even to the mythological realms and archetypal beings of the collective unconscious. Experiences of cosmic unity and oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own divinity result in increasing identification with all of creation and bring the sense of wonder, awe, love, compassion, and inner peace. What began as a process of psychological probing of the unconscious psyche conducted for therapeutic purposes or personal growth automatically becomes a philosophical quest for the meaning of life and a journey of spiritual discovery. People, who connect to the transpersonal domain of their psyche, tend to develop a new appreciation for existence and reverence for all life. One of the most striking consequences of various forms of transpersonal experiences is spontaneous emergence and development of deep humanitarian and ecological concerns. Differences among people appear to be interesting and enriching rather than irritating or threatening, whether they are related to gender, race, color, language, political conviction, or religious belief. Following this transformation, these individuals develop a deep sense of being planetary citizens rather than citizens of 32

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? a particular country or members of a particular racial, social, ideological, political, or religious group, and they feel the need to get involved in service for some common purpose. These changes resemble those that have occurred in many of the American astronauts who were able to see the earth from outer space (see Mickey Lemleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s documentary The Other Side of the Moon). It becomes obvious that our highest priorities as biological organisms have to be clean air, water, and soil. No other concerns, such as economic profit, military pursuits, scientific and technological progress, or ideological and religious beliefs, should be allowed to take priority over this vital imperative. We cannot violate our natural environment and destroy other species without simultaneously damaging ourselves. This awareness is based on an almost cellular knowledge that the boundaries in the universe are arbitrary and that each of us is ultimately identical with the entire web of existence. In view of the fact that everything in nature runs in cycles and is based on the principles of optimum values, homeostasis, and sustainability, the technological civilizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s frantic pursuit of unlimited economic growth, exploitation of nonrenewable resources, and exponential increase of industrial pollution hostile to life appears to be dangerous insanity. In the world of biology excess of calcium, iron, vitamins, hormones, or even water is not better than lack of these elements and compounds and unlimited growth is the main characteristic of cancer. As Gregg Braden pointed out, the potential significance of 2012 can be supported by scientific observations (Braden 2007). Astrophysicists have shown that we are at the beginning of a new cycle of magnetic storms (sunspots) that will peak in 2012 with intensity 30-50% greater than previous cycles. Although the solar magnetic storms are cyclical, they have never occurred during the last 26.000 years at the time of galactic alignment and with the population and the complex electronic technology we have today; it is therefore uncertain what effects this phenomenon will have on our future. Scientists also agree that the magnetic field of the earth has been rapidly weakening and there are indications that we are in the early stage of reversal of the magnetic poles, which could occur in 2012. Historical analysis shows that periods and areas 33

2012 and Human Destiny: End of the World or Consciousness Revolution? of weak magnetic fields are conducive to greater acceptance of new ideas and change. Magnetic reversals are rare in the history of civilizations, but common in the history of the earth; at least 14 of them happened in the last 4.5 million years (one of them coinciding with the sudden extinction of the mammoths). However, none of them happened at a time when the planet had over 6 billion inhabitants with significant number of them depending on modern electronic communication technology – television, radio, computers, and satellites. We can now return to the main subject of this paper – the Mayan prophecy concerning 2012. Whether or not this was predicted by ancient Mayan seers, we are clearly involved in a dramatic race for time that has no precedent in the entire history of humanity. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of humanity and of life on this planet. Many of the people with whom we have worked saw humanity at a critical crossroad facing either collective annihilation or an evolutionary jump in consciousness of unprecedented nature and dimension. Terence McKenna put it very succinctly: “The history of the silly monkey is over, one way or another” (McKenna 1992). We either undergo a radical transformation of our species or we might not survive. The final outcome of the crisis we are facing is ambiguous and uncertain; it lends itself to pessimistic or optimistic interpretation and each of them can be supported by existing data. If we continue the old strategies, which in their consequences are clearly extremely destructive and self-destructive, it is unlikely that modern civilization will survive. However, if a sufficient number of people undergo a process of deep inner transformation described above, we might reach a stage and level of consciousness evolution at which we will deserve the proud name we have given to our species: homo sapiens sapiens and live in a new world that will have little resemblance to the old one.


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Phenomenology Of Zero In Transpersonal Psychology PIER LUIGI LATTUADA M.D., Ph.D. Medical Doctor Ph.D in Clinical Psychology Psychotherapist President of Transpersonal Medicine and Psychotherapy Association, Milan Founder of Biotransenergetica and Transpersonal Psychoterapy School, Milan Board member of Italian Psychoterapy Associations Federation Member of Story of Sanitary Art Accademy, Rome Past Medical director of Lifegate Holistic Medicine of Milan Website:;

ABSTRACT: In the previous articles we concluded our discussion outlining a possible scenario for the establishment of a Science of Consciousness, able to treat a complex object such as the psyche with guarantees of validity. A dynamic object, unitary and interconnected to which the emerging integral vision gave back its original Aristotelian and Platonic meaning, defining it as the place of the soul of things and that modern physics is able to identify with the creative vacuum, the field area, the matrix. We proposed an Epistemology of the Second Attention founded precisely on a level of attention able to face the ghost of consciousness with scientific tools that transcend and include the guarantees of validation and falsification requested by the science of matter. A kind of attention that transcends and includes the ordinary one, the first one, inviting us to stand in front of the complete observation field as in front of a photography of a landscape, with clear eyes, empty mind, light heart. Attention that, not only takes note of facts, accurately collecting data, concentrating on the details of every content, but also knows how to grasp, free from judgment, going beyond the appearance, the container, the field that contains them, the essence that each data indicates, beyond itself. Doing so it will be possible and right to accompany theoretic models with graphics and access protocols through the insight of a new way of understanding which opens like flashes in the night to fragments of essence and truth on the subject in question. Distinguished by one side apparent and one hidden. To engage in such a difficult task a method and an appropriate inner attitude are needed. The Epistemology of the Second Attention proposes itself as the method, the transition from zero, wanting to propose itself as the necessary and sufficient attitude. We have seen and will see, that both carry among them a thousand year old historic guarantee supported by traditions of wisdom of all time and latitude.


Phenomenology of Zero in Transpersonal Psychology A Transpersonal Literacy Proposing itself as a tool able to attend to the psyche with a unitary attitude, in particular through the study and mastery of the transcendent inner experience, Transpersonal Psychology seems to want to collect the inheritance of the vast and widespread universal heritage of knowledge and wisdom of humanity, giving it dignity as science. Exploring the dimensions of the inner experience, in his book The Man Without boundaries, Pierre Weil (1996), identified a number of boundaries that limit mankind in his own vision of the world, so skillfully defining the areas of intervention of transpersonal psychology, that are: conscience, memory, evolution and death. According to Weil, the knowledge and the transcendence of those boundaries are, in actual fact, the main prerogative of the transpersonal movement working with scientific methods for the development of the following thesis: • Consciousness is a continuous and unlimited flow. Boundaries only exist in the minds of man. • Memory goes beyond phylogenesis and can go back to the evolutionary day of the one who lives to the very source of the vital energy. • Human evolution is not restricted to intellect, but proceeds towards the highest qualities such as: wisdom, love, humbleness, compassion, awareness, etc. • Death is only a transition, an opportunity to reach new dimensions of being. If we agree to what we expressed we’ll realize that this clarity solves a problem, but creates another one. The solved problem is to give a specific identity to the transpersonal approach, overcoming the possible conflict of interest or overlap with other psychological approaches. None of the known approaches, such as psychodynamic, the cognitive/ behavioral one, the existential humanistic or systematic one, have as object of their study the four areas indicated above. The new problem is 39

Phenomenology of Zero in Transpersonal Psychology that the other approaches, that don’t express the will to treat the ineffable dimensions of spirituality, don’t feel the need for a new epistemology or a new attitude; in our opinion, Transpersonal Psychology, has to deal with new methods and attitudes such as the Epistemology of the Second Attention or the Transition from Zero. Due to the nature of the object treated, transpersonal psychology presents proximity with the areas that for millennia have been considered the exclusive domain of philosophy and religion, its speakers are therefore much closer to the wise man from the mountain than to the scientist from the labs, its methods much closer to the monk in meditation and the shaman from the forest than to the methods of the psychoanalyst on the bed. That is why transpersonal psychology is considered by many to belong to the tradition of the everlasting philosophy, the ensemble of the knowledge traditions of humanity. Traditions that indistinctly recognize the existence of two very different methods of knowledge that for convenience we defined as dual and unitary, drawing so a definitive and unequivocal boundary. This doesn’t’ t mean that the transpersonal psychotherapist should become a monk or shaman, his task is to embrace the heritage of these figures, recognizing the regularities, the universal laws they suggested and to bring them to the ordinary world, the one of the psychic discomfort and of the personal fulfillment, treating them with the language of science and of everyday experience. We are talking with Ashok Gangadean (2012) about a transpersonal literacy that we can use to tell the journey of the human consciousness in its evolutionary day, without having to limit or confine it to the narrow corridors of the logical literacy of the rational mind. Reduced to a minimum, The Epistemology of the Second Attention is brought down to the Mastery of the Conscious Observation, the mental presence, the Transition from the Zero can be brought back to the self-sacrifice, the disappearance of the Self (I) through the misidentification with the contents of the mind. Presence and sacrifice, consciousness and love outline the borders of an epistemology as old as the world, recited by the sacred Scriptures of every era and tradition, ignored by science during the last centuries. We believe 40

Phenomenology of Zero in Transpersonal Psychology that the meaning of transpersonal psychology is to rectify this tragic oversight and to recover the forgotten side of history. The Forgotten Side A side described by traditions, thousands of years old, with abundance of details and richness of contents. For example The Tibetan Tantric Buddhism reminds us that the true nature of the mind is the mirror and that the mental contents are nothing but the reflections on its surface. Or we can remember what the Veda said: “Getting closer to the Gods means entering the depths of the being, awake. Not fulfilling praiseworthy actions, not making yourself welcome to the gods by showing respect and offerings. Simply being awake” (Panikkar 1992 p. 85). And they stress the point: “The seer does not see death, nor disease, nor suffering. The seer sees everything, wins everything, everywhere” (Panikkar 1992 p. 85). We can also consider the Christian view on the matter: ”In order to reach the original Source, we must undo the complex (the multiple)” (Panikkar 1992 p. 85) backed up by the Brahamanic expression “in order to rebuild the primordial unity” and confirmed by the Buddhist intuition “merely to undo it, asamskrta” (Panikkar 1992 p. 85). Or maybe we would like to consider the Hermetic Ancient Egyptian tradition? “The interior is just like the exterior, the small like the large, there is only one law and only One who operates it. Nothing is small or large in the divine economy” (in Schuré 1986 p. 143). Going on with Buddhism: “There’s no difference between samsāra and nirvāna” (Pannikar 1992 p. 93), and again “Buddha never preached any Dharma, anywhere” (Pannikar 1992 p. 101). 41

Phenomenology of Zero in Transpersonal Psychology … Only those that possess a superior mind can understand what nirvana is and embrace an attitude which is neither of attachment or indifference...They overcome every assertion and negation, they brake the barriers between the past, the present and the future...The lasting enjoyment of the perfect quietness and of the suspension of change: this is nirvāna: it stays the same and doesn’t t change” (Pannikar 1992 p. 101). To see, to wake up, to not do, seem to be the conditions outlined by thousands of years of inner research in order to reach the awareness of the Self, conditions skillfully summarized in the Zen warning: Empty and awake. Conditions that seem to need the disappearance of the Self (I), and to introduce concepts like sacrifice and love side by side with the Observation, as the Veda talked about: “The Supreme Being sacrifices itself in order to produce everything that exists, divides itself to escape his unity, and this sacrifice is considered as the vital point of all nature’ s functions” (Schuré 1986 p. 54). “And Ram promulgated the perpetual sacrifice of the Supreme Being that sacrifices itself to produce everything that exists, the sublime love act of the one that becomes complex; testifying at the same time the law of the two that becomes one, of the Supreme Being, perfect union of Soul and Substance, creator Intellect and Soul of the world”. A Choice In the presence of such amazing truths available to anyone that can understand them, what is left for the poor little western man, for the scientist strong in his certified knowledge guaranteed by strict protocols and exclusive societies? What is left for the custodians of the dual mind that 42

Phenomenology of Zero in Transpersonal Psychology fervidly support reason and validation or the possibility of manipulation of data? They are left with the option to declare them as non-scientific or philosophical speculations, or to take a step forwards: â&#x20AC;&#x153;When you understand the division between the seer and the one who is seen, that will only be the beginning. When your mind builds its fortress in which you will feel safe, find a way to step outside, to the open field and let the winds of impermanence ruffle your convictionsâ&#x20AC;?. Transpersonal Psychology, which timorously deals with such greatness, comes with tools and maps, technologies of the sacred and theoretical models, psychograms and cartographies. We can say that the dual mind, thanks to the corpus of transpersonal psychology, has outlined the borders of the step forward to take, a step that has still not been taken. The analogy could describe a handful of heroes planning to leave their castle in order to begin their journey in search of the Graal or of the killing of the dragon or the liberation of the princess from the tower. The strategies have been developed, the maps are correct, everything has been studied in detail, now it is time to go out to the territory and to face the tests of the world. Too often when, attending conferences about Transpersonal Psychology, reading the books by its most illustrious representatives and the human conditions of its insiders, you are left with the feeling that we are all still living inside the castle. It is very rare to feel that empty presence, essential courage, that lack of personal importance that indicates access to the dimensions of Conscious Observation and of Compassionate Love. Dualism still seems to rule, in facts and in behavior, the ordinary mind, burdened with the inertia of habit, and swaggers undisputed in the everyday grammar. What can be done? How can we interrupt the flow, how can we pull out the plug? How can we take the step? The answer lies in the suggestion to introduce in the transpersonal iconography the concept of transition from the zero and its reference maps. 43

Phenomenology of Zero in Transpersonal Psychology Transition From The Zero The chain of the strengths described in the tradition seem to confirm the validity of the ones that by now we should consider to be real milestones of transpersonal literacy: Observation, Second Attention, Misidentification, compassion and disappearance from ourselves, through a non linear evolutionary progression that through quantic leaps leads to the Awakening. Awakening always distinguished by the mastery of the dialogue between Reality and Truth, I and Self, dualism and unity. The Transition from Zero, outlines self denial, in its original meaning of exercise; exercise of denial, of sacrifice, to find once again that eternal present, accessible beyond the thresholds of the dual mind and of the Reality it creates, in a vain attempt to access the truth. To anyone willing to look through the telescope of the inner experience, it is obvious, that in order to reach oneself, we must give up the temptations of the ego, recognize oneself at home, allow the flow and say yes to the copious source of the Self, letting it gush out uncorrupt and incorruptible from the depths of our being. The Transition from Zero allows us to catch a glimpse of the squaring of the circle through that self denial that becomes exercise, between spiritual research and research of the Truth, exercise of sacrifice, able to fill the ontological gap between immanent and transcendent, bridge between human and divine, between Ego and I, between Reality and Truth. A research carried out with the tools of a new science still at its dawn, a Science in the First Person (Varela 1985, 1992), an Essential Science (Tart 1977, 2009), a Science of Consciousness (Lattuada 2009), able to deal not only with the fullness of the contents, maps and models, but also with the emptiness that contains them; not only with the consistency of the phenomenal data, but also with the essence not visible to the eye, not only with what can be theorized or demonstrated but also with those words that suggest silence and those gestures that commit self sacrifice through the vacuum of listening and attention. The Transition from Zero allows access to the dimension of the Psyche that the unitary mind, daughter of the zero, grasps with Panikkar (1992) in its complex unity of Logos, Autos, Pneuma, Bios and most of all Zoè, the 44

Phenomenology of Zero in Transpersonal Psychology essence. In fact a unitary view does not conceive a solution of continuity between Bios, the vital force and Pneuma, the knowing function, between the breath and Autos, the individual identity, the personality, the continuity of the perception of the I, that in psychology is named ego or Individual Self and Logos, the thinking function and Zoé the essence, the eternal life, the time of the things, the rhythm of every single event here and now. In Conclusion In this and in the previous articles we described a method and an attitude, we draw maps and models in order to outline a transpersonal literacy able to photograph flashes of truth, indicate what cannot be said with words, words that suggest silence, contents that loudly invoke the essence from which they come from and to which they return. Perhaps we could of done better and more, we don’ t know how to go beyond, we stop at the threshold of the essence embracing the metaphor of the Buddhist mirror. Let’ s imagine some of the best-known maps of transpersonal psychology such as Wilber’s four quadrants (Wilber 1996) or Grof’s four perinatal matrices (Groff 1998).

Fig.1 Quadrants and Matrices 45

Phenomenology of Zero in Transpersonal Psychology Both of them describe evolutionary processes of the Self in space and time. The first one describes the relationship of the Self with itself and with the other from itself; the second one describes the possible phases of interruption and realization of the Self in its evolutionary journey. They do not tell us what to do with them, how to use them, what kind of attitude we should have towards them, they tell us nothing about our degree of identification or misidentification with the contents they express. They talk to us about the fullness, the contents, not about the vacuum, about the field that contains them. They talk about numbers from one to four, the zero is missing, the Alfa and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the well-known fifth element, the quintessence. This is where we stop and can go no further, at the threshold of the quintessence, element that we can only indicate introducing another map able to foresee it, in the hope that it can show the way to those willing to follow it.

Fig. 2 Matrices, Quadrants and Field 46

Phenomenology of Zero in Transpersonal Psychology REFERENCES: •

Grof S. (1988), Oltre il cervello, Cittadella, Assisi.

Lattuada P. L. (2008) - L’arte medica della guarigione interiore – Franco Angeli

Lattuada P.L. (1994), Il Modo Ulteriore, Meb, Padova.

Lattuada P.L. (1998), Biotransenergetica, Xenia, Milano.

Lattuada P.L. (2004), Oltre la mente, Franco Angeli, Milano.

Lattuada P.L. (2011a) – Second Attention Epistemology, Integral Transpersonal Journal, 0, pp. 6-51

Lattuada P.L. (2011b) – Second Attention Epistemology: Truth and Reality, Integral Transpersonal Journal, 1, pp. 13-26

Lattuada P.L. (2012) – Second Attention Epistemology: Integral Process Evaluation Grid (III part). Integral Transpersonal Journal, 2, pp. 9-25

Panikkar R. (1992) Il silenzio di Dio, Borla, Roma,

Panikkar R. (2001), I Veda. Antologia dei testi fondamentali della tradizione vedica, Rizzoli, Milano

Schuré E. (1986), I Grandi Iniziati, Laterza, Bari.

Tart, C.T. (1977),Stati della Coscienza, Astrolabio Ubaldini, Roma.

Tart, C.T. (2009), The End of Materialism, New Harbinger Pubblication Inc. Oakland.

Varela F. J..1996 .”Neurophenomenology: A methodological remedy for the hard problem.” in Journal of Consciousness Studies.

Varela F., Maturana H. (1985), Autopoiesi e cognizione. La realizzazione del vivente, Marsilio, Venezia.

Varela F.J., Thompson E., Rosch E., (1992), La via di mezzo della conoscenza, Feltrinelli, Milano.

Vivekacūḍāmaṇi. Traduzione e commento di Raphael, Ed. Asram Vidya, Roma

Wilber K. (1996), A Brief History of Everything, Shambhala, Boston U.S.A.


Facing Death: Existential Anguish of Loss between Ontological Aspects and Psychological Effects

INES TESTONI, Ph.D. Ines Testoni is professor of Social Psychology and director of the Master Death Studies & th End of life (University of Padova). Her principal themes of research and interest concern the relationship among death, psychological discomfort, existential suffering, representation of the death. Specifically, in the field of social psychology of health, she studies bereavement and anticipatory mourning, health psychology and psycho-oncology / end-of-life, mental and social representations of health and illness. The theme of death is the pivot through she moves other aspects of her psychological research, where the questions on suicide and euthanasia are particularly studied. In this field and in the interest in a epistemological re-foundation of the relationship between philosophy and psychology, specific themes are increased: cultures of death and Terror Management Theory; social and cultural psychology of religion; ontological aspects of the social construction of meaning; Death Education; thanatology; educational/formational processes and thanatology; informed consent between social representations of illness and those of cure; the function of psychology in the solution of bioethical problems; conceptual dynamics emergent from the concept of the identity â&#x20AC;&#x153;mind/brainâ&#x20AC;?; representation of death and strategies of social and individual coping; psychosocial factors and suicide; prevention of suicide; social representations of the body; nihilism and suffering. She has written 8 monographs, she has edited 9 book and published 50 scientific national and international articles 48

Facing Death: Existential Anguish of Loss between Ontological Aspects... ABSTRACT: In the new Millennium, the Western discussions on death have became infinite, since the borders between natural life and death have been blurred by technique and bioethical discussions begun. The problem involves all the most important disciplines of psychology, sociology, philosophy, and it is a specific focus of many counseling techniques interested in support of mourners. In this article we consider the importance of psychological counseling and its position opposite the religious one which seems to be the best answer to spiritual instances of dying persons. Key words: mourning, counselling, death representation, death anguish, terror management theory.

Don’t Die: Your Death Is My Loss Death Between Loneliness And Mourning In contemporary Western societies, the thanatological studies on the representations and the practices inherent to dying are getting more and more numerous because the border between natural life and death has been blurred by medical technique (Machado, 2005; Neimeyer et al., 2003). The biological sciences have introduced in human history a new strange dilemma, which is the result of the wide extension of lifespan: the discussion whether aging should be viewed as a disease or not. In fact, in the 20th, old age, which in the previous centuries used to be considered the period of the highest wisdom, fells down into the area of nosological representations, while psychosocial defense mechanism of repression (Verdrängung) was progressively turning death into the darkness of denial. Concerning this, Geoffrey Gorer (1965) effectively said that nowadays an unprecedented turnabout happened: whereas copulation became more and more “mentionable” and brought in the area of public domain, death considered as a natural process became more and more “unmentionable”, because the scene of corruption and decay turned out to be disgusting. The concealment of dying processes has made happen people facing death 49

Facing Death: Existential Anguish of Loss between Ontological Aspects... abandoned, worsening their bereavement. In fact, the natural response to loss, whose painfulness comes from disruption of the personal representation of existential horizon, occurs not only on an intrapersonal / individual level, but also on an interpersonal familial/social one. As a matter of facts, the social repression of the realistic imagine of death and the celebration of wellbeing, successfully reached by medical sciences, has produced both the rejection of dying image as pornographic and the effect of isolation of mourners and dying people. Norbert Elias described this phenomenon in The loneliness of the dying, analyzing how the contemporary culture have produced the dismantling of the social language on dying with the consequent exacerbation of the lack of shared sense on life and its end. The seclusion of dying and mourning is the effect of the emptying of feeling and meaning of traditional symbolic rituals, which are replaced by institutional routine of medical practices. In fact, in Elias’ opinion, death has become taken out of the family relationships, managed by health structures and treated as if it was a dreadful horror requiring to be hidden. Because in the contemporary society everybody lives alone, it is necessary to die alone: that is why it is so difficult to be prepared either for personal or others death. The Gorer’s critique appears when Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1969), sensible to the problem of institutionalization of dying processes, was working at the University of Chicago Medical School, in order to analyze the sufferance in dying and the psychological conditions of terminally ill patients. The result of her study is the famous Five Stages of Grief Model (FSGM). Even though bereavement does not necessarily proceed in invariant sequences and mourners do not undergo the same processes in the same order, FSGM describes five possible phases, which have been amply discussed, sometimes criticized and now sufficiently approved, by Scientific Community (Kübler-Ross, 2005): Denial (it is the conscious or unconscious refusal to accept the reality of the situation); Anger (it appears with the recognition that denial cannot continue and consists in an aggressive reaction to the reality); Bargaining (it is the negotiation with reality for an extended life with a higher effort to exchange lifestyle); Depression (loss of hope caused by the afflictive certainty of death); Acceptance (acquiescence to the unavoidableness of death). At the present time, there are many other hypothesis on the possible 50

Facing Death: Existential Anguish of Loss between Ontological Aspects... psychological elaboration process of the bad news inherent to death, but FSGM remains the most famous and utilized model in the management of grief. The royal road to deal with bereavement runs in the contrary direction adopted by contemporary Western culture denounced by Elias. The term “mourning” indicates the way, referring to the complex of behaviours and public display of grief - varying between different cultures and evolving over time - in which the bereaves are involved in and ritualize their grief through social communication. In this sense, it is different from “bereavement” and may pertain to specific rituals and particular outward signs identifying who is having been deprived of someone beloved. However, it is used also to indicate generally grief and bereavement, denoting personal and subjective responses to loss. In fact, in Therese A. Rando opinion (1993), whose model of mourning was developed specifically in relation to Western society, those concepts are fundamentally indissoluble because every expression of grief is oriented to communicate with society, and the process of experiencing the psychological and physical reactions to the perception of loss cannot be separated by the contact with other people. So, the concluding aim pursued by the labor of mourning is the “accommodation” – meaning “adaptation” – of individual to the condition where the loved one has gone while the personal relational network is still persisting. This process requires a huge individual and social readjustments to cope with, compensate for, and adapt to the absence, incorporating loss into a new existential view. Mourning does not decline linearly over time but courses in a fluctuant way along a period of months or more. Different types of losses are associated with diverse patterns, relate to the cause of death, and the relationship with the died person. Rando (1993, 2000) indicates a stairs (6-R model) that must be climbed by mourner to readjust the life after loss, toward their own self and the external world (the path may be followed in this order or in another one, completely or partially): Recognize the loss; React to the separation; Recollect and Re-experience the deceased and the relationship; Resign the old attachments to the deceased; Readjust to move adaptively into the new world without forgetting the old; Reinvest the emotional energies. However, if this itinerary fails, the survivors cannot proceed toward healthy life 51

Facing Death: Existential Anguish of Loss between Ontological Aspects... and the redefinition of their future. In this sense, the psychosocial dimension results essential, but nowadays also inadequate – as Elias suggested. As a matter of the facts, society and the familial network assist the mourners in the beginning of their grief by enabling their reactions to the loss, but do not sufficiently lend them a hand during the important latter processes of readjustment. This is way mourners are frequently left alone to reshape themselves and their world and the consequence of isolation may be a factor that severely complicates the labor of mourning. I’ll Painfully Miss You: End Of Life And Anticipatory Mourning The analysis of Elias and Kübler-Ross are particularly significant because the advance in medical techniques has lengthened not only the lifespan but also the period named “End Of Life” (EOL), which is the terminal phase of illness when disease cannot be cured, and it is reasonably expected to result in the death of the patient within a short time. This term is more commonly used for progressive diseases such as slowly progressing disease, i.e. AIDS and neurological degenerative pathology, or cancer. Patients are “terminal” when their life expectancy is estimated to be more or less six months, and this is the period in which palliative care is more intensive. Treatments are said to have a palliative effect if they relieve symptoms without having a curative effect, but it is not an appropriate definition because “palliative care” is a model (PCM) of healthcare intervention which focuses on relieving every form of sufferings related to ill. In fact, PCM is appropriate for patients in every disease phase, including those undergoing treatment for curable illnesses and those living with chronic diseases (Simultaneus Palliative Care Model: SPCM), but it is particularly useful in EOL. PCM utilizes a multidisciplinary approach, involving the team composed by physicians, nurses, social workers and psychologists to manage physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs of terminal patients and their families (Davies, Higginson, 2005; Randall, Downie, 2006). Pain control is of extreme importance in the care of the dying patient, and this is the first dimension within which PCM operates, but one of the most important aspect, which this kind of cure has to manage through a satisfactory psychological 52

Facing Death: Existential Anguish of Loss between Ontological Aspects... support, is the “Anticipatory Mourning” (AM). It is a critical psychological condition appearing when individuals and their families are living with illness representing death getting nearer and nearer. In Therese Rando opinion (2000), it is the phenomenon of adaptational demands caused by experiences of loss and trauma, and stimulated in response to the awareness of life-threatening or terminal illness. It was previously called “preparatory grief” by Elisabeth Kubler Ross (1969), to indicate the condition of the terminally patients who have to prepare themselves for their death. Nowadays it is used also to indicate the facing death situation, both in first (I am dying: FPAM) and in third person (she/he is dying: TPAM). The concept is particularly complicated because this circumstance does not regard only the simply preparation to grieve at some time in the future, but the grief in the present, relative to a process of loss currently being experienced and projected into the future, where persons have to pay a great deal of attention to both the past and the future (Becvar, 2001). Both FPAM and TPAM occur on three levels of processes: Intrapsychic, Interpersonal and Systemic; mourning course proceeds in a healthy manner whether loss and grief are understood and adapted to on each of these levels. Lack of comprehension or coping on any plane will may cause the collapse of life following loss. The improvement in family relationships patients with lifethreatening illness or in EOL supports of an appropriate separation influences upon the post death bereavement of survivors. Nevertheless the management of FPAM and TPAM in EOL is very complicate. The most important problem of TPAM regards the new condition of caregiving, which determines an extremely worrying transition. The psychological difficulties depend on the actuality of relatives who assume the caregiving function and moreover on the nursing home placement, because the new situation modifies the previous role of both relatives’ relationships and housing. In fact, many of familiar caregivers are married or living with a partner and may have children, besides often they are working while providing care. The tasks which relatives are supposed to deal with and which may require a psychological support are the following: the early preparation of EOL journey, choosing between home or hospice, planning the palliative care intervention and guaranteeing spiritual and memorial practices, beforehand legal 53

Facing Death: Existential Anguish of Loss between Ontological Aspects... counseling while the patients can participate in order to respect their values and views, the elaboration of the relationship deterioration and of conflicts between family members, the recognition of the incapacity for caregiving to require specific assistance (living arrangements, medical treatment, end-of-life directives …). All these toils imply a positive elaboration of TPAM. It is evident that the psychological support results particularly indefeasible: the more the family and dying person understand and elaborate FPAM/TPAM the better, on one hand, the bereavement after death is dealt with, and on the other hand the reorganization of everyday life is managed (Rando, 2000). Familial caregivers of terminally ill patients have substantial stress and elevated rates of depression; then, psychological counseling can be helpful in a number of ways, i.e. by helping family members cope with the imminent loss of a loved one, by inquiring about stress and depressive symptoms, by suggesting different systems of care when necessary, by reducing feelings of guilt or inadequacy. Unfortunately, the multiplication of the efforts in EOL leads to a significant transformation in family and especially in marital dynamics, weakening the intra-familial communication and although they are considered “primary” they are also underestimated by social health system. The consequence is that the familial caregivers, needing help with both practical and psychological issues, are abandoned in a dramatic social support shortage. Counseling From Anticipatory Mourning To Traumatic Loss And Complicated Grief Every mourner is unique and supporting the grief of loss may be very difficult if the dimensions which circumscribe the particular experience of each individual remain concealed in the darkness of social isolation. While most bereaved people can resume normal functioning within a year after the loss, a small subset around 10 –15% continue to suffer from prolonged grief symptoms for several years or longer (Bonanno, 2004). Many factors may exacerbate the fear surrounding dying: uncontrolled pain, demotivation, abandonment and isolation, hopelessness, depression are the commonest, but there are many others aspects to consider. Indeed, three main areas which are involved in the labour of 54

Facing Death: Existential Anguish of Loss between Ontological Aspects... mourning: Psychological factors (characteristics pertaining to: the meaning of the loss, the mourner, and the death); Social factors (intimate and social relationships); Physiological factors. The identification of each dimension is crucial, because, although grief in bereavement is itself a normal process, it can become harmful and require a specialized support. The terms “Complicated Bereavement /Ggrief” or “Prolonged Grief Disorder” (PGD) designate the outcome of grief resulting in dysfunctional behavior, poor quality of life, depression, addiction, and, sometimes, suicide. PGD occurs when normal grief and loss processes appear to become immovable and those symptoms continue unresolved for months and even years. The Rando’s theory permits to identify this danger chance in order to work early with individuals at risk before and after a predictable death. The more common risk factors are the following: strong dependence on the deceased; old age; addiction; mental illnesses; poverty; discrimination; social isolation ... Then it is also important to identify such individuals as early as possible and offer them a counseling and supportive services. It is evident that in these circumstances the elaboration of AM is unavoidable to prevent negative consequences. However, PGD may also happen in another situation, where it is impossible to work on mourning before death: this is the case of traumatic grief, which may be caused by violent or sudden deaths, mortal situations in which the bereaved may feel some sense of responsibility, and deaths of children or young people. This kind of decease overwhelms any ability to make the loss meaningful and the more terrible the death and the more limited the coping abilities of the bereaved person, the greater is the risk of PGD. Often, traumatic grief consequences have features of both depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Clinical activity already considers the distinction between normal adaptive reactions to stress or mental disorders such as depressive episode or post-traumatic stress disorder. In mourning filed, it is possible to run the risk of pathologizing normal emotional reactions to loss on the one hand and on the other of underestimating the depressive symptoms. The problem is related to the diagnostic category of adjustment disorder introduced in the DSM-III-R, which in the case of the Adjustment Disorders (AD) in bereavement is not yet able to define the correct differentiation between normal reaction and pathological one (Baumeister et al., 55

Facing Death: Existential Anguish of Loss between Ontological Aspects... 2009). Treatment of normal or complicated grief and of anticipatory mourning helps mourners who are unable to free themselves from bereavement because of problems arising from emotional instability or difficulties in their relationship with the person who has died. Many analyses showed that stronger reduction in PGD severity was significantly associated with stronger reductions in negative cognitions and avoidance (Boelen et al. 2011; Boerner, 2003). In order to translate sorrowing remembrances into new representations of past experiences, Narrative Based Medicine (NBMA) and Psychology (NPA) Approaches adopt many strategies to evocate personal story of mourners (Frank, 1995; Gauthier, 2002; Neimeyer, 1994). The counseling lend them a hand to evoke happy memories, and hold imaginary conversations with the deceased person under a therapistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s guidance to solve possible conflicts, exploring regrets or resentment. Life review, in which patients recount their jobs, travels, and experiences of life, is a simple and important intervention to achieve purpose and meaning life, and may be also the occasion to solve problems together with significant persons. Conclusions: Spiritual Problems In Bereavement Counseling Grief patterns in bereavement vary greatly among different cultures and individuals. In fact, mourning is culturally relative and powerfully influenced by the social context within which it occurs: from the meaning of loss and the consequent reactions exhibited by mourners to the social support disposed to help them. In the Western society of the 20th, the technology trends have significantly amplified the prevalence of complicated mourning by causing what Elias described: urbanization, excessive social mobility, and technicalization going with economic, political and labour crises have isolated individuals by segmenting and making more and more superficial the interpersonal relationships. In this article we have considered the horizon of bereavement and its internal articulation, contemplating the importance of counseling in helping mourners. However, these are only the tip of the iceberg, because a further difficulty related to the secularization and the de-ritualization of life representations is concealed under the appearances of modernity. 56

Facing Death: Existential Anguish of Loss between Ontological Aspects... Recently, the analysis of the phenomenon of “continuing bond” and its therapeutic effect on the solution of sorrow (Klass et al., 1996) has changed the previous perspective which used to require the bereaved to detach from the deceased. In the obsolete perspective, elaborated specifically by Sigmund Freud in Trauer und Melancholie, the healthy “work of mourning” was supposed to produce the complete detachment of mourners from lost person. In the last two decades, the opposite perspective has been gaining ground and considering the importance of consolation guaranteed by the maintenance of relationships with departed. According to Kelsey (1982) and Walker (2000), the representation of life after life is a powerful instrument against death anguish and grief, and, as considered by Alvarado and coll. (1995) and by Florian and Mikulincer (1998), religiosity improves resilience and coping with loss, influencing the attachment style. Since these studies, many other researchers have shown the psychological value of hoping in afterlife in order to solve death anxiety; in particular, this theme is getting more and more important in EOL (i.e. Corr et al. 2009, Eliott, Olver, 2010). Spirituality is also involved in labour of AM, in those situations where patients in advanced stages of dying find themselves in altered states and fluctuant level of consciousness as delirium or dream states. In order to help patients and their relatives in the elaboration of this experience, it is effective to involve them in telling stories characterized by religious traits, where angelic visitors or mythological symbols may appear. Nevertheless the importance of spiritual support in EOL, in AM and in PDG, the lack of symbolisms of transcendence unavoidably worsens the psychological suffering of mourners and may invalidates the supportive dialogue focusing on spiritual themes. In conclusion, the removal of any religious authority in all aspects of social life and governance determined by modernization and scientific rationalization is surely a problem that the psychological counseling has to face. The question inheres to the fact that psychology begins where religion finishes and an epistemological discussion about relationship between spirituality and psychological dimensions in not yet profoundly discussed. The question is particularly emphasized by the researchers of Terror Management Theory (TMT) (Kastenbaum, 2001), which is one of the most important psychological areas of study on social death representations. 57

Facing Death: Existential Anguish of Loss between Ontological Aspects... TMT considers the awareness of mortality a fundamental factor in all forms of human behaviours (Burke et al., 2010; Florian, Kravetz, 1983), determining the individual and social removing of death-thoughts from focal attention through a defensive Dual Process Model (DPM), articulated by “proximal defences” and “distal defences”. The first ones include reactions such as engaging in cognitive and motivational biases that are vulnerability-denying defensive distortions; the second ones converge at symbolic cultural systems that sustain, signify and give value to one’s own world when the thoughts of death become exorbitant: the cultural worldview manage ways in which individual and social groups keep death anguish unconscious. The “Darwinian human” characterizes the foundation of psychological conception of human being which is based on the belief that immortality is a myth. In this sense, every individual is only an animal destined to die, and self-awareness is simply a brain function (Solomon et al. 1991). This is the scientific point of view of psychology which is radically different from metaphysical and religious perspectives, whose convictions do not define awareness as a brain secretion, but as the identity of humans, remaining even after death: soul, spirit, mana… The Hamletic dilemma is to establish whether the metaphysic definition is true or illusory. Psychology, as science different from religious faith, was born when the idea of the absolute God died ... Then the final question we want propose in this site in order to open a possible discussion is the following: can a psychologist understand in a scientific way the problem of soul and the religious solution to the terror of death? Do psychologists have an adequate competence on these problems and themes, which involve philosophical and epistemological disciplines?


Facing Death: Existential Anguish of Loss between Ontological Aspects... REFERENCES •

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Becvar D. S. (2001). In the presence of grief: Helping family members resolve death, dying, and bereavement issues, Guilford, New York.

Boelen P. A., de Keijser J., van den Hout M. A., van den Bout J. (2011). Factors associated with outcome of cognitive-behavioural therapy for complicated grief: A preliminary study, Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 18, 4, 284291.

Boerner K. (2003). To have and have not: Adaptive bereavement by transforming mental ties to the deceased, Death Studies, 27, 3, 199-226.

Bonanno G. A. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: Have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events? American Psychologist, 59, 20-28.

Burke B. L., Martens A., Faucher E. H. (2010). Two Decades of Terror Management Theory: A eta-Analysis of Mortality Salience, Research Personality and Social Psychology Review, 20, 1–41.

Charon R., Wyer P. (2008). Narrative evidence based medicine, Lance, 371, 296-297.

Corr C. A., Nabe, C. M., Corr D. M. (2009). Death and dying, life and living (6th ed.), Belmont, Wadsworth, CA.

Elias N. (1985). The Loneliness of the Dying: Some Sociological Problems, ed. orig. 1979, Basil Blackwell, Oxford.

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Kelsey M. T. (1982). Afterlife: The other side of dying, The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York.

Klass D., Silverman P. R., Nickman S. L. (eds.)(1996). Continuing Bonds: A New Understanding of Grief, Taylor & Francis, Washington, DC.

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Walker, G. C. (2000). Secular eschatology: Beliefs about afterlife, Omega. The Journal of Death and Dying, 41, 5–22.


The Spiritual Midwife: Spirituality Transformed Into Creativity Among Childbearing Women With Transpersonal After Effects

Kersti Wistrand, Ph.D.

ABSTRACT: In this article I want to focus on the transpersonal events in childbirth, and the transpersonal ability of healing that sometimes support childbearing women with the deepest element in their experiences, namely “seeing the light, and becoming one with the light with unconditional love and understanding”. Having lectures on NDEs (near death experiences) in women’s organisations during 1983-1994 I came in contact with 34 women who told there experiences both during complicated, and normal childbirths. I will present the after effects of transpersonal nature. Focusing on the healing ability I will then show how these abilities could be used in the profession of old time spiritual midwifery. I exhibit an interview with a male healer and two interviews with two Russian spiritual midwives and compare their stories with material from old Viking literature to show that the same phenomena was cross-cultural. At last I’ll show how the persecution of “witches” during medieval time exterminated the transpersonal knowledge connecting childbirth in the Western society. It is important to restore these phenomena in our collective mind of to-day. Keywords: Childbearing women, transpersonal experiences, spiritual midwives during Viking time, ‘Russian povituhas’, medieval prosecution of midwives.


The Spiritual Midwife: Spirituality Transformed Into Creativity... Introduction - Spirituality In Connection With Childbirth Researchers have found NDEs (Near Death Experiments) in as many as one third of the people who have come close to death, which makes up to 5 % of United States population (Gallup 1984, Ring 1984, Sabom 1982). We don’t know how many women have NDEs in childbearing, but through research in Russia we know that many of those women experience elements of the NDE in normal deliveries (Spivak 1993, 1998, Wistrand 2012), but most often forget it after a week or two. There is nothing mentioned in the text-books in psychology, gynaecology or psychiatry. The element “experience of and entering the light” in the NDE may give a mystical experience similar to those sometimes happening to the meditating mystics in all religions. In old Indian philosophy you talk about arousal of kundalini, a form of energy believed to reside in the base of the spine streaming up to the brain giving enlightenment. I would say that the childbearing women sometimes seem to have the same kundalini power emerging. Christina Grof, the founder of the Spiritual Emergency Network, experienced a life-changing transpersonal crisis when giving birth to her son:

“ … I felt an abrupt snap somewhere inside of me as powerful and unfamiliar energies were released unexpectedly and began streaming through my body. I started to shake uncontrollably. Enormous electrical tremors coursed from my toes up my legs and spine into the top of my head. Brilliant mosaics of white light exploded in my head… I felt strange, involuntary breathing rhythms taking over…” (Grof 1990).

The enlightening seems to give special after effects like the feeling that all life is holy, and connected, and an awareness of meaning and purpose of life. It also gives spiritual growth with increased loving and acceptance of themselves and loving attitude towards other’s with increased awareness of their needs, and willingness to reach out to them. Those having the deepest experiences entering 63

The Spiritual Midwife: Spirituality Transformed Into Creativity... the light, also show more psychic abilities, and sometimes also electro-magnetic phenomena. Method This article is based on interviews with 34 women between 1983 -1994, where every woman told her story in an unstructured way, and then answering Kenneth Rings questionnaires (Ring 1980). Most of them contacted me in connection with lectures about NDEs in women’s organizations. Having their experiences 4 -30 years earlier, they could tell about after effects. I also exhibit interviews with two Russian spiritual midwives and compare their stories with material from old Viking literature. Results - Transpersonal After Effects Among Childbearing Women In childbearing I have found that “the experience of and entering the light” often is connected with prolonged deliveries or big loss of blood. More seldom you may also find it in normal childbirths (Wistrand 1990). In my sample 60 % of the 34 women interviewed experienced a special light during their childbirth, but not all of them entered that light. 30 % experienced paranormal after effects; seven of the women telling it was a chock. It took years to integrate into daily life. Two of the women, who had deep blood loss, and had also lost their children, got the deepest after effects with healing abilities. Here is a summary of the 34 childbearing women’s experiences: Streams Of Energy, Out-Of- The-Body Experiences (Oobe). It is rather common that women during delivery feel energy streaming inside their bodies; Christina Grof being one of them. Some women tell about experiences of light, which has given them renewed energy to bear the child. One woman was also cured from rheumatism. One woman told that she, just before falling asleep, felt strong energies, real 64

The Spiritual Midwife: Spirituality Transformed Into Creativity... vibrations with sounds, which made her leave her body, giving her an OOBE, which frightened her. Refined Intuition Several women having an altered state of consciousness at childbirth have been more sensitive after their experiences. Together with the streaming of energy they also get a refined and reinforced intuition, the ability to receive other persons thought frequencies, sometimes transforming them into inner pictures, and interpreting them. One woman tells: “My sensitiveness increased, and I got like antennas to sense what was going on inside and between human beings. It’s giving me troubles, but I can’t stop it. I feel vibrations with my body, get like electrical hits. It’s getting stronger, and stronger, and I don’t like it.” Some women have developed an ability seeing the aura. Internal Vision One woman with miscarriage and a big loss of blood, and deep experiences, became psychic afterwards. She could see the auras around persons, “read them” telepathically, and see their inner tensions in form of pictures, and gradually started her education to become a therapist, and a healer. A woman, whose uterus burst with big loss of blood and death of her child, told that she after her childbirth could experience bodily tensions in other persons, and sometimes see like pictures of their internal organs, internal vision. The ability “internal vision” is known and practised in Tibetan medicine. Brennan writes about her ability in her text book “Hands of Light” (Brennan 1987). I didn’t think of asking about details about the “internal visions” during the interviews, but: the Swedish author Perrat (Perrat 2012), who had a NDE, gives detailed information, 65

The Spiritual Midwife: Spirituality Transformed Into Creativity... and also tells what is happening to him when starting healing. He gets a tingling in his fingers, and like a band of tingling energy around his head, especially above his ears and forward to his temples. Precognition One woman tells that she can intuitively see future events and that those really occur later on. She both has dreams coming true, and visionary pictures in front of her when awake. Also here it started after seeing the light at childbirth. Experience Of Meeting Dead Relatives Some women have had experiences with the meeting with dead relatives a time after childbirth with big loss of blood, though they didn’t meet any relatives during their NDE. One woman tells: “I was in the kitchen. All of a sudden an old woman was standing there beside the door: `I wanted to drop in and see if everything is alright with to you´ she said. `Oh, God, are you coming!´ I said. `How are you?´ `I’m well!´, she answered and disappeared. She was my old grandma who died 24 years ago!” One woman told that many years after childbirth, she had during an out-of-thebody experience guided a dying neighbour to reach the light in this realm. She had never experienced an OOBE before her childbirth.

Healing Abilities One woman told: “The most remarkable was that I felt energy streaming in my 66

The Spiritual Midwife: Spirituality Transformed Into Creativity... body, and especially in my hands for years after. My small illnesses were all gone.” Two women used their extra energy by sharing it, and giving massage to ill persons, telling that they had great success in curing people, but hiding their healing abilities, which were considered difficult to talk about in society.

The Spiritual Midwife: Spirituality Transformed Into Creativity According to some anthropologists, telling about other parts of the world, it is most frequently the death of a child during childbirth that initiated women into their careers as midwives (Ladermann 1983, Lahood 1983, Sered 2006). Pagan Time In Scandinavia I found two examples of spiritual midwives in old Viking literature. One was in the Poetic Edda, written down in Iceland some time during 850 -1050 (Hollander 1962). There I have found a poem about the midwife Oddrun, who helped Borgny bear twins. The childbirth was complicated, but Oddrun used her special technique: “gala galdr” in Icelandic, which means she was singing charms in an especially sharp, piercing way. Frigg, the Mother Goddess, and Freya, the goddess of fertility, love and childbirth, were also there. Freya was the leader of a crowd of guardian spirits, disir, who followed the families, and could help in childbirth. The other midwife used help runes, and called the disir for assistance. Medieval Time In Scandinavia The whole Scandinavia was officially christened in the middle of the 12th century. The Catholic Church following the patriarchal system of the Bible had no place for female priestesses or spiritual midwives. The spiritual midwives were now believed to be witches. In the Swedish Göta law from the 13th century you can read that a person singing galdr should be sentenced to be hug or hanged. In 1571 a Swedish law established, in which the priest was given the task to decide who would become a midwife, and special commissions went round in the country controlling the midwife system. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII issued a Papal bull, and as a result Melleus 67

The Spiritual Midwife: Spirituality Transformed Into Creativity... Maleficarum was published in 1487, a handbook for secular courts for pursuing witches. 40.000-100.000 persons were executed. (Gaskill 2010 Rapley 1998) According to Melleus the most dangerous witches were the old time midwives, who therefore were pointed to scapegoats in society (Russel 1984) The last Swedish woman was sentenced to death in 1704. In Russia being an Orthodox Christian country, that never had witch-hunting, I found the profession of spiritual midwives still alive. Spiritual Midwifes In Russia In old Russia it used to be thought that every person lives many lives, and therefore childbirth was seen as a reincarnation of the soul in the material world. Childbirth was a transition from the outer world, the world of the souls, to this world of people. The povituha, the Russian spiritual midwife in the old days, was the person who helped the soul in this transition and welcomed it into this physical world. She was seen as an intermediary between the two worlds, and higher forces were thought to be involved. Her profession was one of the most highly regarded in Russian villages. She also took care of the newborn and followed it through its first year of life, healing the baby when it was stricken with diseases. To become a povituha she must be a harmonious woman, have given birth to at least three children, and passed her menopause. She also had to be born as a clairvoyant or had received the gift through deep experiences during childbirth. During 1994 I met two povituhas in Moscow: Zhanna, a midwife with examination from a traditional Soviet maternity hospital school, and Julia. Using Igor Charkovskys´s prophylactic methods Julia has during four years delivered 170 women, most often in water. Zhanna, who told me about the old Russian traditions you have just read, had three NDEs in her life, but she also inherited the skills to be a povituha from her mother, grandmother etc. They were all clairvoyants and working as povituhas since many generations: 68

The Spiritual Midwife: Spirituality Transformed Into Creativity... “They were much better at these things in old days”, Zhanna told. During the whole labour the povituha was singing special songs in a special way, deeply from her belly to help the childbirth. My grandma submerged into a hypnotic state, where she could communicate telepathically with the foetus and help it through the channel. The child was always born healthy and without surgery. My grandma was also asked to assist every time when the doctors told that a caesarean was indicated – it was of course before the communist period. “It is necessary to be clairvoyant if you work as a povituha, because you work with both dimensions at the same time”, Zhanna continues. “I would never work without spiritual help. I am always working with a spiritual entity beside me. She is helping me and the woman. Only with her help I can do what I do. By tradition we call her ´The Mother Goddess.’” Julia is a modern Russian woman but also a povituha, delivering women with techniques from old times in Russia. She was not born clairvoyant, but got her sensitivity five years earlier, when giving birth to her second child. During the childbirth she had a transcendent experience, passing a tunnel, and entering a bright harmonic light, where she stayed until her daughter was born. After this experience her intuition and sensibility was refined. Travelling around in the Russian countryside together with her husband, she has found many old povituha melodies from pagan time, which she now uses. She tells: “During the prophylactic course, I establish contact with the foetus, finding out if I can manage the delivery or not. If not, I tell the woman to go to a maternity hospital, as it is not advisable to bear at home. I’m only clairvoyant during the deliveries. I pray and use special breathing techniques, but also the old melodies during about a quarter to reach an altered state of mind. Then I can follow 69

The Spiritual Midwife: Spirituality Transformed Into Creativity... the child telepathically, and can rapidly follow the child in the birth channel, and notice how it feels. I can also see the same pictures as the mother. Later during the childbirth, I’m very sensitive in my fingers, and can feel energies of the baby through the mother’s body. I can also influence the child with my finger tips. ” Julia is a very good singer, and I ask her to sing such an old melody, and for the first time I can understand the old Icelandic expression “gala galdr”. Her song is very load with sharp tunes coming deep from her belly, and no one hearing it can avoid being affected. Indeed it must also be a help for the bearing women! Julia says: “I’m working with a lot with these old songs during the deliveries, and I can really tell that is only these melodies that help. They help the opening of the uterus and passage through the tunnel. They are very old, from pagan time!” Conclusions Childbearing women with experiences of entering the light on transcendent level sometimes become clairvoyant, get internal visions, and healing abilities. Modern western women today having these experiences get scared and have difficulties to integrate them into daily life. In pagan time these abilities could be used in helping other women in childbearing, e.g. spiritual midwifery. Comparing the works of the Old Russian povituhas and the Viking midwives we can imagine similarities: the special old melodies, the special way of singing to come into trance and become clairvoyant, and the assistance of spiritual entities. Presumably the pre-Christian Viking midwife also had internal visions, and healing powers, and presumably she also had a NDE entering the light, when giving birth to a child earlier in her life. The persecutions of spiritual midwives, and man with healing abilities, during medieval time totally effaced this old knowledge in our Western society, leaving a big vacant space in our consciousness, which must be healed to make us whole and healthier human beings. We must have access to and affirmation of the 70

The Spiritual Midwife: Spirituality Transformed Into Creativity... transcendent level in our consciousness. It is important to understand, listen to and support the women in the maternity wards.


The Spiritual Midwife: Spirituality Transformed Into Creativity... REFERENCES •

Brennan, B A (1987), Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing through the Human Energy Field, chapter 18. New York, NY: Bantam Books.

Gallup, G. Jr, and Proctor, W (1982). Adventures in immortality: A look beyond the threshold of death. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Gaskill, Malcolm Witchcraft, A very short introduction, Oxford University Press, 2010, p.76. ;

Grof S. & Grof C. (1990), The Stormy Search For The Self: A Guide To Personal Growth Through Transformative Crisis, p 1, New York, NY: Penguin Putnam.

Hollander, Lee M. (Trans.) (1962). The Poetic Edda: Translated with an Introduction and Explanatory Notes. (2nd ed., rev). Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Ladermann C (1983) Wives and midwives: Childbirth and nutrition in rural Malaysia. Berkeley: California Univ Press.

Lahood, G, (2006) Rumours of angels and heavenly midwifes: Anthropology of transpersonal events and childbirth, Woman and Birth: Journal of the Australian College of Midwives, 20(1), 3-10. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2006.10.002

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Rapley, Robert (1998) A case of witchcraft: the trial by Urbain Crandier, Mc gill-Queen´s Univ Press MQUP.

Ring, K (1984), Heading toward Omega, New York, N.Y: Coward & McCann & Geoghegan.

Ring, K (1980) Life at Death – A Scientific Investigation of the Near Death Experiences. N. Y: Coward & McCann & Geoghegan.

Russel, J.B. (1984). Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

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I-Ching As A Method For Enhancing Consciousness OSVALDO LOISI, Ph.D.

ABSTRACT: “I Ching” –“The Book of Changes”- is one of the basic treatises of ancient China used as a divinatory oracle for thousands of years. From a psychological point of view, it’s a source of inspiration to complement logical thinking and a method for enhancing awareness. Basically composed of unconnected texts attached to graphic lines arranged in rigorous binary order, provides the consultant the opportunity to exercise the intellect in a different way, beyond the usual verbal, linear and causal mode. “I Ching” –“The Book of Changes”- is one of the basic treatises of ancient China used as a divinatory oracle for thousands of years. From a psychological point of view, it’s a source of inspiration to complement logical thinking and a method for enhancing awareness. Basically composed of unconnected texts attached to graphic lines arranged in rigorous binary order, provides the consultant the opportunity to exercise the intellect in a different way, beyond the usual verbal, linear and causal mode.

During the oracular experience, based on a random procedure, the focus of perception is projected -in terms of Gestalt theory- to the background, beyond the limits of the “figure”. As a result, the subject verifies a growing awareness and the ability to find meaning and sense connected to vital energies. On the other hand, from a theoretical standpoint, this book constitutes a challenge to Western rationality, as it proposes expanding the research field on mental life. Keywords: I Ching, oracle, method, enhancing, awareness, randomness, figure, ground, rationality. 74

I-Ching as a Method for Enhancing Consciousness “I Ching” is a compound name, the translation of which into English might be roughly: “the Book of Changes”. It is one of the basic treatises of ancient China used as a divinatory oracle for thousands of years. In the West, it’s a source of inspiration to complement logical thinking and a method for enhancing awareness and self knowledge. Indeed, the comparison with Western culture reveals certain shortcomings of our current way of thinking, especially when trying to approach the intricacies of subjective phenomena. That’s why it makes sense to look into it today. Its origins lie deep in darkest antiquity and therefore we know nothing about its authors. Assumed to have been written some three thousand years ago, it is considered one of the oldest books, if not, perhaps, the oldest one ever written. What we do know is that the Chinese have employed it since the dawn of their history and has been fundamental to their society and to that of several other countries in its area of influence. Still today, four of its eight basic symbols can be seen on the flag of the Republic of South Korea. The unknown magicians who supposedly were its authors, structured it upon the idea of change as the intimate fabric of all reality, but did not employ words to state it. Not even used ideograms. It happened at a time so remote that may even be considered prior to any form of writing. They found an ingenious way to express change using two graphic lines; one solid and the other broken coupled horizontally one upon the other, combined in mathematical order. The original body of the book, thus, was neither words nor ideograms, but only these two lines, stacked in groups and placed in succession, revealing pure and simple opposition playing between them. It is just a structure of lines, arranged similarly to the one/zero binary order, and, as a curious note, say, resembling modern electronic bar codes. It presents a first arrangement of 8 groups of three lines each, called “trigrams” that results from all possible mating between a solid and a broken line among them. In a second stage, these groups were coupled together to form 64 groups 75

I-Ching as a Method for Enhancing Consciousness of six lines each, called â&#x20AC;&#x153;hexagramsâ&#x20AC;?, being formed, thus, the definitive body of the I Ching, as shown in the following figure.

During the course of the centuries, however, other sages, especially Confucius, gave each group a name, and in turn, each line was attached to brief narratives describing diverse everyday life situations. This is the configuration that has finally come to us and is used currently both in East and West Countries, mainly for divinatory purposes. However, the book is not a logical text that could be read fluently, as any other one. This unique feature makes it evident that it was intended to be consulted at random. The query made to the Oracle is carried out by methods and practices that have changed over the centuries. Nowadays, we use only three coins to do it, flipping them at once in order to make appear, by chance, those basic solid and broken lines. Generally, it is performed as follows: 1. Must be used three identical coins or medals. 76

I-Ching as a Method for Enhancing Consciousness 2. They have to be assigned the value “two” to the head and “three” to the tail, or vice versa. 3. Then, the coins must be tossed at one time, summing up the values as they come. 4. If the result is odd, it is considered that a solid line has come up, and if it is even, a broken one. The operation is repeated six times and the emerging lines must be drawn from the bottom up, piled on each other. Thus, the hexagram containing the oracle’s answer is formed. As we can see, the operation involves chance as a normal way to handle the mind. To understand this apparently irrational procedure we must bear in mind that I-Ching leads to a transcendent reality, and for this reason the search must be done from a sort of consciousness’s back door. That is; as far as possible from voluntary deliberation. In fact, the Confucian text and the procedure of the query to the oracle are well known and there are numerous translations available to European languages. That happened especially after Carl Jung prefaced the first English edition of Richard Wilhelm´s classic translation from Chinese into German in the mid-fifties (Wilhelm 1997). Since then, I Ching surprises all who approaches it with an open mind, causing the impression of an entity that answers, in a personal spiritual experience. The divinatory aspect is what had made up its reputation from its origins in the Far East. In the West, this peculiarity was publicly recognized by many intellectuals who, along with Jung, admitted having verified its divinatory virtues. However, we prefer to discuss here its transpersonal value as a tool for enhancing consciousness. For us, the series of 64 hexagrams expresses all the varied repertoire of mental life. Each one of them symbolizes a certain inner attitude, and everything that can become conscious. All that can be thought, felt, believed, desired, imagined, etc. 77

I-Ching as a Method for Enhancing Consciousness Also every problem, joy, emotion, and so on. Hexagrams may be considered a screen where everyone can freely project upon it his or her concerns, questions, thoughts or feelings. Its web of lines, are not ideas to be learned but a framework deprived of contents, just meant to help the task of feeling and thinking. Hexagram No. 1 is the act of creation and the inner attitude of giving oneself to others. It leads to the No. 2, which means Conceiving, Embracing. The third means Stumbling, that guides to four, devoted to Learning, and so forth (Hexagrams 5 &6: Expecting/Conflict, 7&8: The Army/Comradeship, 9&10: Inhibition/Freedom, 11&12: Relationship/Stagnation, 13&14: To Organize/To Possess, 15&16: Modesty/Enthusiasm, 17&18: Leading/Prisoner of the Past, 19&20: Approach/Contemplate, 21&22:Striking/Gracefulness, 23&24: Deteriorate/Rebirth, 25&26: Innocence/Self Discipline, 27&28: Feed/Excess, 29&30:Water /Fire, 31&32: Suggestion/Duration, 33&34: Escape/Confrontation,35&36: Progress/Involution, 37&38: Family/Oppositions, 39&40: Difficulty/Liberation, 41&42: Decrease/ Increase, 43&44: Overflow/Contact, 45&46: Flock/Sprout, 47&48: Exhaustion/ Meditate, 49&50: Revolution/Evolution, 51&52: Thunder/Mountain, 53&54: Organize/Improvise, 55&56: The Top/Leaving, 57&58: Wind/Lake, 59&60: Spread/ Restriction, 61&62: Innermost Being/Frustration, 63&64: Perform/Prepare.) This peculiar configuration submitting the names of the hexagrams to a mathematical order enables the consultant to associate ideas by other pathways than the ordinary verbal speech. In other words: the imagination of the subject can take one of two roads: the linear offered by verbal language or the chain of empty concepts that invites him or her to fill up. The first way provides information and culture. The second makes subjective awareness grows. The man or woman seeking advice can project freely upon the hexagram their concerns or doubts, and then simply expect what occurs in their respective subjectivities. It may appear sensations, feelings, recalling of the past, association of ideas or sudden inspirations. Normally, a kind of lighting that reveals certain hidden aspects of the submitted question. They perceive that no experience or problem can be enclosed in words nor resumed in verbal sentences, for from the 78

I-Ching as a Method for Enhancing Consciousness Universe’s perspective, there are many more problems and solutions that could be imagined. So, the enquirer overcomes the common concept of Destiny as a series of default or unforeseen events, and discovers a new freedom facing future. Actually, the oracular consultation is a personal adventure full of surprises. The most important disclosure is the final encounter with something or someone who could be compared with the “daimon” which Socrates talk about as his personal guide. I prefer to imagine him as an “Inner Master” or a “Potential Self”, but everyone can call it as he/she may deem fit. It is a sort of virtual instance that throws light on whatever be the question we submit and, to some extent, makes us inwardly stronger. At this point, the perspective of a new way of handling the mind encourages us to reconsider the nature of knowledge itself. Naturally, knowledge is not an objective reality seen reflected in a mirror, but involves an action that performs the mind on an undifferentiated reality. The fact is that reality is “processed” by the mind. This phenomenon can be clearly seen in the so-called “reversible figures” discovered in the twenties by the Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin (Rubin 1915). When trying to know anything, mind proceeds to split it in two areas, choosing one of them, that is, “abstracting it” and rejecting the other in order to create contrast.


I-Ching as a Method for Enhancing Consciousness This operation recalls the attitude of God in the act of Creation. According to the Bible, The Lord divides light from darkness and land from water, and then Adam from Eve and the couple from Paradise, Cain from Abel, etc. Behind these stories, the Genesis appears as the saga of human consciousness; that is: a metaphor of the need of mind to split apart all perceived reality to raise awareness. The act of knowing, thus, involves an essential paradox, since as can be seen; the conscious figure is backed up by an unconscious ground in a reversible process. Furthermore, awareness is supported by something that must be hidden, which means that knowledge rests on ignorance. For this reason, the nature of consciousness is one of the biggest problems posed to science. This means that the act of awareness is a task undertaken by mind extracting a portion from a whole, and hiding the rest to provide the figure -by contrast- limits and shape. The act of consciousness seems to be similar to looking at a coin: we can not simultaneously view both sides. To see one side of the coin, we ourselves must hide the other. To put it another way, as consciousness exists only to the extent that the ground is ignored, mind has to make an effort to stay away from the ground. For example, when attending a play in the theatre: we can concentrate on the plot and eventually get moved by it, but only to the extent that we overlook all the props around the scene. If, for instance, the focus shifts to the details of the scenery, our commitment to the story tends to wane. To keep the focus on the plot, thus, requires an effort of the mind to maintain grounds away. But the fact is that mind has to pay a high price to gain awareness, for in doing so, falls into a trap. Like a fly in the ointment, is caught in its own abstraction. This means that grounds not only must be hidden, but also will be excluded from rational framework. At this stage we may ask ourselves: what does the mind conceal? What is excluded from rationality? There is an ancient fable, attributed to Phaedrus, a Roman author who lived at the beginning of our era, that says: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Peras imposuit Jupiter nobis 80

I-Ching as a Method for Enhancing Consciousness duas..., etc.” In Latin, this means: “Jupiter, the Roman god has imposed upon us two bags: one on the chest, containing the faults of other people, and another on the back, with our own shortcomings”. Thereby, said the fable, we are inclined to judge others more harshly than ourselves, simply because we can not see our own shortcomings (Phaedrus 1992). This antique story hits the nail on the head: what is hidden while knowing is the observer himself, the subject. It’s me, you, all of us as we strive to know. The ground of the figure, thus, is the observer himself. In short, it comprises all subjective matter. In turn, the act of observing means an inner attitude. It’s the energy of Nature that makes us sees, feel, think, believe, desire, etc. This fact is of major importance, for everything we experience in life gets the colour and meaning we ourselves provide. The conclusion is that grounds, as such, remain unknown to the mind. Of course, every background can be known, but only as figures; that is, not in itself. Grounds can be observed piece by piece, but in doing so, they are denaturalized while turned into figures. Indeed, they disappear, like the life of a mouse when slaughtered to be studied on the vivisection table. This is a major weakness of Western thought: The inability to know ground in itself, that is: grounds as grounds and, ultimately, all subjective life. Because of that exclusion, Western culture has been built on figures, say, signs. So, trying to understand reality, Western mind is forced to build up scaffolds made of signs. Following this way of handling the intellect, the image of the universe provided by Western science resembles a “patchwork” as wide as the imagination can reach. And, truly, knowing becomes an illusion similar to the purpose to step on the horizon, or the end of the rainbow. Instead, the Oriental mind, at least that of I Ching´s authors, has been made upon figures and grounds together. This kind of mentality contributed to build a civilization which emphasizes the subjective. Submitted a problem to western 81

I-Ching as a Method for Enhancing Consciousness rationality, it appears as defined by words, that is: signs like traffic signals. This leads to confusing map with territory, ideas with realities, energy values, ​​with rhetoric. Instead, I Ching express the problem in a pictural way, which frees consciousness from the burden of verbal discourse. As an alternative, submitting the problem to the Oracle, it will appear to some extent as a physical object. During the session, we are inclined to imagine and feel that the problem has different sides, a top, bottom, inside and outside, before and after, and so. To interpret the oracle’s advice is advisable to perform a display of hexagrams, comparing the meanings that are formed by changing the nature of the lines or reversing the position of the trigrams. All this helps to shed light on the question submitted. The display of hexagrams shows various possible futures that lie ahead, and Destiny appears like a sort of streams that the current of a river could follow. They are eventual situations that the subject may help to produce, depending on the inner attitude he or she are able to adopt. Quantum Physics has demonstrated that at the subatomic level, objective reality does not exist, except as a set of possibilities which the observer is capable of influence. This is a situation which, surprisingly, reflects the hexagrams when deployed. Western mind falls into the trap of materialism because it assumes that the ground of the figure exists as an objective reality. Then, it supposes that everything surrounding the figure could be abstracted later to complete the picture of what actually “is out there”. Science and technologies work this way with highly effective results, of course, because they are based on signs, and signs work as maps about material reality. But this way of handling the mind does not yield the same results when applied to feelings and values and inner lives of people. I Ching suggests that there are two levels of consciousness: about figures and about grounds. Looked at carefully, this distinction is not entirely foreign to us because the Bible itself says in Genesis that “Adam knew” his wife, Eve. Thus, we can say that there is a kind of knowledge that implies not only a vision of reality, but also involves feelings and relationship. 82

I-Ching as a Method for Enhancing Consciousness Unfortunately, since the birth of Modern Age, awareness of grounds, that is: moral consciousness has stopped its evolution, due to a mode of reasoning that considered scientific method as the only reliable and even possible way to know, based on solely â&#x20AC;&#x153;clear and distinct ideasâ&#x20AC;?, as Descartes put it, excluding grounds and the energy of moral values. This way of reasoning, gave birth, of course, to a culture that stands for his material feats, but reveals powerless to cope with problems of private concern. Then, say that knowledge as we conceive it, applies only to the physical world, but by no means is capable to learn the realities of the interior life of people. As a result, when we try to study the subjective, that is, emotional and existential issues, we are only able to talk about them. That is, using just discourse, metaphors and allegories. To the western mind, thus, ethics, values, feelings and, ultimately, all that can truly make people happy or unhappy remain in complete darkness and it is impossible to develop consciousness about feelings and emotions about life, justice or goodness. No other conclusion can be drawn in a world where wars are increasingly sophisticated and bloody, and the planet we inhabit is subjected to a regrettable destruction. Aldous Huxley points out that when the wolves fight one another, the struggle is never to die. When one of them feels defeated, offers his neck to the rival as a sign of surrender and the winner walks away (Huxley 1980). However, statesmen and politics in general, in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s society accuse an alarming lack of values. Behind a weak coat of ideas and discourse, often hide instincts and appetites not even shared by beasts. Undoubtedly, Western civilization is craving for a new consciousness able to connect and interact with the energies of Nature. As I Ching frees consciousness from the prison of verbal signs, mind faces more ways to associate ideas and generate meaning, allowing it to grow and develop towards higher levels of awareness. Of course, this is an intimate individual operation. The responses suggested by the Oracle are not universal truths, but rather vital energy providing balance and tempering the mind as if it were a musical instrument. 83

I-Ching as a Method for Enhancing Consciousness Here we come to a revealing conclusion: We did not come to this world to convince anyone of any universal truth or scope, but just to express our unique voice, joining the chorus of all living beings to celebrate life and do take care for it.


I-Ching as a Method for Enhancing Consciousness REFERENCES

Huxley, A. (1980). The Human Situation, (1st ed.). London: Triad/Panther Books.

Phaedrus (1992). The Fables of Phaedrus (1st ed.). Texas: University of Texas Press.

Rubin, E. (1964). Figura y Fondo (1ra ed.). Buenos Aires: Ediciones 3.

Wilhelm, R. (1997). The I-Ching, or Book of Changes (27th ed.). New Jersey, NJ: Princeton University Press.


EUROTAS SPONSORED EVENTS From the website of the European Transpersonal Association

15th European Conference of Transpersonal Psychology Chisinau, Moldova, September 19-22, 2013

“Human Potential, Education and Consciousness Evolution” Global Knowledge Sharing

Venue: Hotel “Codru” and “Jolly Alon Hotel” located in the heart of the Central Park of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova 86

The mission of the conference:

The mission of the 15th EUROTAS Conference is to share the knowledge we have gained about human potential and consciousness evolution from many years of research, teaching, and practice in Transpersonal Psychology and Transpersonal Studies to inform educational systems on how to encourage individual and societal transformation for future generations. Participants and lectures:

We will assemble a variety of presentations from professional scholars, researchers, professors, workshop leaders, and practitioners in the fields of transpersonal psychology, consciousness studies, education, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, the arts, business, and health care. We are interested in a multi-disciplinary global collaboration with our transpersonal theme of educating the whole person and nurturing mind, body, emotions, creativity, social relations, and spirit in the educational process. We will be inviting presenters from around the world who are interested in transformative education. 87

We are expecting 350 participants for this annual EUROTAS Conference. Plus we plan to have presenters from Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, USA, Israel, South Africa, Australia, and South America.

A call for presenters and registration will begin on 20th January, 2013. More information on the EUROTAS website

For more information, contact: Coordinator - Lidia Maidan Conference Director â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Lyudmila Scartsescu


SOULDRAMA CONFERENCE-WORKSHOP Making Global Connections and Increasing Our Spiritual Intelligence May 18 -25, 2013 Register by Jan 1, 2013 Souldrama速 was born in the spiritual area of Sedona in 1997. Since that time, this process has spread throughout the world as a new method to integrate psychology and spirituality to help people access their spiritual intelligence, discover their higher purpose and remove the blocks that hold them back. It has been recognized as a new action model for the 12 Step Recovery, and has been applied to autism, grief, and dance therapy. We have been blessed to expand this process for the past four years to Indoneisa with many talented trainers. Join us for our 50 CE Hour program for personal growth and/or training at the original retreat center. Learn this seven step transpersonal method to align the ego and soul in the energy vortexes of Sedona! 89

In Sedona vortexes are created, not by wind or water, but from spiraling spiritual energy. The vortexes of Sedona are named because they are believed to be spiritual locations where the energy is right to facilitate prayer, mediation and healing. Vortex sites are believed to be locations having energy flow that exists on multiple dimensions. The energy of the vortexes interacts with a person’s inner self. It is not easily explained. Obviously it must be experienced. Side trips will be available to the Grand Canyon and to the vortexes. Details This Workshop includes: • 50 continuing Education Hours • 7 nights in a shared double room • 3 vegetarian meals Side trips and all transportation are not included. Price If deposit is made before Jan 1, 2013 there will be a discount on single and double rooms. 90

Sign Up Now Retreat accommodations include hotel-style guest rooms, casita-style. Our guest rooms are decorated in a Zen-like retreat facility, featuring 2 comfortable double beds with plush coverings, a table and chairs, closet, mini-refrigerator, full bathroom/shower, and air conditioning/heating. The original accommodations were designed in Frank Lloyd Wright style to blend in with the peace and nature of the retreat center. Sitting at your outside patio, you can enjoy the harmony and healing properties of Sedonaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vortex energy surrounding Sedona Mago Retreat. The Zen-like accommodations enhances oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s health and wellness experience. To help maintain a meditative state, accommodations do not include television or phones. Wi-Fi reception is limited in most guest rooms, but computers are available at our lounge. For any other information Tel:. 800-821-9919 Email: Connie Miller -


SMN FORTHCOMING EVENTS From the website of the Scientific and Medical Network

The SMN is a membership organisation founded in 1973 by George Blaker. It has grown over 35 years into an educational charity delivering courses, events and publications on interdisciplinary ideas in science, medicine, philosophy and spirituality. The emerging interdisciplinary fields of noetic science and consciousness studies are key areas of interest.

Connecting Mind, Spirit and Nature in Frenchmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cove, Jamaica 19 February 2013 - 23 February 2013

The participants will undertake a journey of exploration with Elleke van Kraalingen and David Lorimer into connection with the universal spirit and the natural world in a location that teams with life and beauty. In this transformational week it will be used yoga and meditation together with modern 92

psychology and science to experience our relationship with the whole of life. There will be meditation and yoga sessions on the beach, together with discussions of key themes relating life, consciousness and nature. Among the specific topics for morning discussions will be the relation between spirit and matter, between life and consciousness, between the individual and universal mind etc... We will be searching for meeting points between science and spirituality, as well as individual paths towards integration and inner peace. Participants will also have the opportunity of making their own presentations on the theme in afternoon sessions. Details The Conference is organised by Frenchmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cove Resort in association with the Scientific and Medical Network. Venue: Frenchmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cove, Jamaica For any other information visit the website:



Classical Reading Proposal

Transpersonal Development: The Dimension Beyond Psychosynthesis Roberto Assagioli ISBN 978-0953081127 Revised Edition 2008 Pages: 300

Roberto Assagioli was born in Venice in 1888. As a young medical student he introduced the discoveries of Sigmund Freud to his professors. However, he saw that psychoanalysis neglected the exploration of what Maslow, some sixty years later, would call `the farther reaches of human natureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Assagioli was ahead of his time and was not recognized until the late sixties when Psychosynthesis, his famous contribution to human understanding, was taken up by thousands of people around the world. Psychosynthesis, a practical therapy designed to help people achieve their full potential, evolved out of fifty years of Roberto Assagioliâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s psychos95

piritual reflections. The gems of this rich collection are presented here in Transpersonal Development. Part One describes the reality of the superconscious. Part Two delves into the problems and difficulties experienced on the spiritual path. Part three deals with the everyday application of those insights gained in the process of spiritual awakening. The inspiring message of this book is that transpersonal development is not just for the exceptional few. It is possible for everybody. Assagioli gives practical guidelines to help people achieve the goal. He presents a vision of the integration of cultural, scientific, and human aspects which can give birth to a new humanity.


Original Reading Proposal

Lillibit’s Dream Melody Sullivan Illustrated by Stanislav Grof ISBN 978-1592750009 Year of Edition: 2011 Pages: 32

“I want to FLY!” Lillibit, the caterpillar, declares. But how will she fly? After all, she is not yet a butterfly, and the other caterpillars don t believe she can do it. Lillibit wiggled and squiggled. She jerked and jiggled. But still nothing happened. In fact, it will take something greater than her best efforts to fly. It will take her letting go of everything she knows. For only within the mystical brew of metamorphosis will she leave her old life behind and begin a new one. Certain to appeal to children and adults alike, 97

Lillibit’s Dream takes readers on a heartfelt journey of big dreams, profound changes, and the gifts of acceptance, patience and faith. With easy, engaging language and charming, vibrant illustrations, author Melody Sullivan and illustrator Stanislav Grof deliver a beautiful analogy for life s transitions and the miracles of personal transformation. Enjoy Stanislav Grof’s read­ing through the online video!


ITJ Authorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Instructions Text Format

All text must be written either in Italian or in English, submitted by e-mail at the following address: On a separate file, list authorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; name, title, the session in which the text has to be published (Transpersonal forum, research or clinical report, comment, EUROTAS report or transpersonal report) and contact information (email address). On a second file submit the article with title, abstract (250 words) and keywords. Text submitted for transpersonal forum should not exceed 5500 words. Text for research or clinical report should not exceed 2500 words. Text submitted for comment on papers or books, eurotas report or transpersonal report should not exceed 1500 words. All text submitted for publication will be evaluated by the editorial board and text submitted for transpersonal forum and research or clinical reports are subject to a peer review process. Bibliographic references should be listed according to APA style: Journal Article: Herbst-Damm, K. L., & Kulik, J. A. (2005). Volunteer support, 99

marital status, and the survival times of terminally ill patients. Health Psychology, 24, 225â&#x20AC;&#x201C;229. doi: 10.1037/02786133.24.2.225 Authored Book: Mitchell, T. R., & Larson, J. R., Jr. (1987). People in organizations: An introduction to organizational behaviour (3rd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Chapter in an Edited Book: Bjork, R. A. (1989). Retrieval inhibition as an adaptive mechanism in human memory. In H. L. Roediger III & F. I. M. Craik (Eds.), Varieties of memory & consciousness (pp. 309â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 330). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum Upon approval for publication authors will be asked to provide a short biography of first author (250 words). Publication policy Text submitted for publication in any of the session must be original, not published or under consideration for publication, in any format. Submission of a manuscript irrevocably grants explicit permission by the author for it to be published in ITJ. For articles to be published in the research or clinical report author must state that he/she has complied fully with BPS/APA ethical standards in the treatment of humans or animals studied and will have data available for examination for up to 5 years past the date of publication.


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