Psychology of the Future

by Stanislav Grof, Suny Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology, State University of New York Press. 2000. ISBN 0 7914 4622

This book is about modern consciousness research. It is written by one of the founders of transpersonal psychology and covers his ideas regarding non-ordinary states of consciousness. His term for these is ‘holotropic’ experience which signifies ‘moving towards wholeness.’ His discussion draws on for example such fascinating human states of consciousness as past-life experiences, peak experiences, communication with spirit guides and channelling, near-death experiences, crises of shamans like witch-doctors, states of possession, and awakening of Kundalini. He also reports findings from his original research into ‘psychedelic therapy’ and ‘holotropic breathwork’.

One critic has commented ‘If more psychiatrists could be persuaded that human consciousness transcends the limitations of the physical brain and instead is but an aspect of what may best be described as ‘cosmic consciousness,’ we could not only expect treatment modalities to change, but we could also anticipate the possibility of culture-wide rethinking … about the nature of personhood.’

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What makes us happy?

Imagine you were phoned up out of the blue by a researcher from Harvard University and asked what you were doing, how were you feeling and what you were thinking? Research reported in the journal Science found that’s what happened to 2,250 people around the world who were contacted at random. All the responses pointed … Continue reading What makes us happy?

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Shocking view

Ever looked at Google Street view on the internet and seen yourself on the screen? That’s what happened to Bob Mewse, aged 56, although he didn’t recognise the morbidly obese man, with a shirt hanging over his huge stomach as himself – at least not until he made a closer inspection. He weighed 21 stone … Continue reading Shocking view

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Friend – How to find a good one?

friend

Who doesn’t want to feel respected or liked by other people? Yet how many of us are very troubled in this area and fail to be our true selves as a result.

Appreciating one’s solitude – for example in the back of beyond – at times can be a source of refreshment and energy. Yet, sometimes being on your own does feel very lonely. Even when in a crowd or a group situation we can also feel lonely. Then our loneliness can come from feeling different from, and not belonging to the network of people with whom we associate at work, home and play. If we are not at ease with ourselves, we will be ill at ease with people we meet. We may build a wall around ourselves and not allow others to look inside it. We may doubt there is anything of value we can share with them like a sense of humour, sparkling conversation, interesting ideas, or some useful knowledge. This is a fear that others will discover what we imagine to be our limitations. So we may find ourselves thinking, “I’d rather do it myself,” “I prefer to be alone.” Because we do not mix with others, people do not get to know us and we will lack friends and close relationships. Then we will feel even lonelier.

Friendship flourishes with having something in common and thus having shared conversation and activity – experiences that give delight.

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Fidelio: A Critic’s Disappointment.

Fidelio

Welsh National Opera Production

Hippodrome Theatre Birmingham 12/11/10

Future performances will be at Llandudno, Southampton, and Oxford.

At the outset I’ve got to say the other night’s performance of the opera Fidelio by Beethoven in Birmingham was a disappointment for me. This despite the inspirational nature of the music as a rousing, triumphant affirmation of the belief that the most important human qualities – love, courage and kindness – can exist in even the most inhuman of conditions. It is a story about a woman who disguises herself as a man working in a prison in order to save her husband who is languishing there through no fault of his own.

There were both tender intimate scenes and highly charged choruses. However, the emotional impact of the performance on me was lacking. The singing was first class and the soloists in particular deserve admiration given the great vocal skill and endurance demanded of them by the score. But to my mind the acting of the performers seemed wooden. What little movement on the stage seemed to happen in slow motion.

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Medium Gordan Smith – Book review.

medium

By Gordon Smith, 2004 Published by Hay House, Inc

There have been many books written by psychics on spirit consciousness but this has got to be one of the more credible. Gordon Smith has been hailed as Britain’s most accurate medium. I saw him the other day at a theatre in Birmingham and clearly the audience were astonished at the detailed factual information he gave that was confirmed by the individuals he was talking to.

Of course our western culture tends to be sceptical about anything that is not rationally understood and claims such as those by Smith are highly contentious within the world of science. Having said that many people nevertheless embrace paranormal beliefs. Gallup has conducted several polls and find that about three-quarters of the American population believe in the one or more paranormal processes.

The author comments on how amazing it is to watch the reaction on someone’s face when a certain piece of evidence comes through from the other side. It can put a light back on in a person’s life.

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Conference: Visionary Scientist, Scientific Visionary

Saturday 13th November 20/21 Bloomsbury Way, WC1A 2TH. This conference, held in the bicentenary year of the Swedenborg Society, hopes to provide a contemporary overview of Emanuel Swedenborg and his enduring influence as a major influence on Western culture. Lars Bergquist on ‘Swedenborg and European Literature’.  Lars Bergquist is a writer and former diplomat. He … Continue reading Conference: Visionary Scientist, Scientific Visionary

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21 Grams Exhibition

This is an exhibition by Paul Tecklenberg, 13th November 20/21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH An exploration into what the soul could be through a journey of 21 objects, each weighing 21 grams. This art work is inspired by Emanuel Swedenborg’s writings on the soul and by Dr Duncan MacDongall’s discovery in 1907 that the weight of the … Continue reading 21 Grams Exhibition

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Erotic might mean erratic

Is marriage an impossible dream? Is it unrealistic to expect two people to live together happily for the rest of their life and find spiritual healing together?

These days in England for example, couples, more often than not, live together for some time before even considering the possibility of marriage; a very different way of looking at things from say the middle of the twentieth century.

What lies behind this change? Some would point to the availability of contraceptives that allow us to have a full sexual relationship for the time being without the long-term commitment of parenthood. Others would point to a less hypocritical society. We all know that nearly half of marriages these days end in divorce. It is asked, “Why pretend everything is perfect by getting married when it clearly isn’t likely to stay that way in many cases?”

Another suggested reason for living together without getting married is to do with a fear of failure of the relationship in the full glare of public knowledge. At least in Britain this pessimism is perhaps not surprising given the high rate of marriage failure. People see cohabiting as having the advantage of being a private arrangement between two people not involving any socially recognised level of commitment and which can be finished as well as started relatively quietly.

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The Five Ages

Swedenborg’s View of Spiritual History

Extracts from Emanuel Swedenborg with commentary by P L Johnson. Swedenborg Society, 2008; ISBN 978-0-85448-154-5; xv + 243 pp; £11.95 + p&p.

This intriguing book is a selection of quotations from Swedenborg’s writings that relate to his view of different spiritual ages of the world in human history. In bringing together this material, nowhere found in one place in Swedenborg’s voluminous writings, Patrick Johnson has provided a useful service. His added comments are helpful in giving continuity and relevant recent historical knowledge, as well as some of his own suggestions.

Swedenborg can give us little guidance on dating these past ages, for his account is derived from an interpretation of the Bible as to its religious meaning. Despite this, The Five Ages shows how current ways of speaking might relate to both ecclesiastical terminology and biblical figures and events. The claim is that this holistic approach helps us to understand mankind’s psycho-spiritual development across different epochs, despite

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