Chp 16

Mind - Madness & Mother Nature's Method?

Nature's Method, in Human Madness?

Is there a Method in the Madness of Psychosis?

Is Psychosis, Both Nature's Curse & Sublime Gift?

Is Psychosis the Secret of the Great Prophets?

Is Psychosis the Source of Ancient Wisdom?

Is Nature the Source of Our Unconscious?

Is Carl Jung's Synchronicity, Nature Speaking?

Is Myth, Metaphor & Meaning, Real History?

Is Joseph Campbell's Monomyth Important NOW?

Following on from my previous chapter, with its final comment about the evolving nature of being human, (see here) I'm bound by my nature to write of my growing understanding, beyond the consensus norm of my social attachment need. What I mean by this, is that I SHOULD join in the normal understanding of an "objective" reality, in order to win friends and influence people, as Dale Carnegie advises. But life is not a social should, its a matter of nature, our nature and our need for survival, which forms the ground, so to speak, of our consensus reality. These are extra-ordinary days in my life, as I walk into my own destiny, our destiny, as an evolved, painfully self-conscious, Wuman animal. Please forgive my typo here, perhaps it was Freudian? Or perhaps it comes from my "intuitive" senses? From my nature? Please consider;

During episodes of psychosis, does my burning tummy produce a heightened resonance affect, of my brain/nervous systems, in an "unconscious" metabolic process? Consider: "In physics a property of resonance is sympathetic vibration, the tendency of one resonance system to enlarge & augment through matching the resonance frequency pattern of another resonance system." Excerpt from, "Affect Dysregulation & Disorders of the Self" by Allan N Schore. Was Freud being too "cause & effect," rational, too "mechanistic," in his thinking, in this scene? Is Nature, the real source of our mass-unconscious?

The above was one of those "impulsive" comments I have tended to make over the past three years, as I've "acted-out" the nature of my psychoses. A follow my heart impulse, which guides my destiny, beneath my "rationalizations" of these e-motive, impulsive acts. They come by way of trust, in the value of lived wisdom, and its pearls I've noted along the way Like this one: "The motor act is the cradle of the mind - The capacity to anticipate and predict movement, is the basis of what consciousness is all about" _Sir Charles Sherington. A quote I'd copied and pasted into blog articles dozens of times, in 2011, before the "penny dropped," in an epiphany moment. Please consider;

Bipolar Anger & Moods
Bipolar Anger & Its Muscular Stimulation?

Anger was about Movement before the Mind Evolved?

Anger is Stimulated by Muscular Feedback Signals?

Anger is a Survival Instinct - Rage its most Intense Form?

To Control Anger - Feel the Instinct Stimulating the Mind?

Moods, Muscular Actions Affected by a Dissociated Mind?

I went for my usual walk yesterday in the early evening, thoughts swirling about people on facebook who's philosophy I disagree with. I felt a familiar tone of combative confrontation in my thinking, as scenario’s of face to face conversations filled my mind. This is an old habit of mine stemming from childhood and emotional identification with my father. Even after several kilometers and close to an hour into my walking, the same anger toned thoughts of confrontation filled my mind.

The Synaptic Gap
Suddenly as I was crossing a major intersection and dodging traffic, a scene from the previous night sprang to mind. I'd been walking across a traffic bridge on the way to my girlfriends shop, when in an epiphany moment of 'mood was movement' jumped some of those synaptic gaps within my brain.

With this insight of mind my autonomic nervous system shifted my experience with a sudden muscle relaxation and a grounded feeling of perfect presence in that moment.
"Innate Anger as muscular tension, is stimulating my thoughts and mood" came into my mind now as I carried on across the intersection and again my muscular system relaxed and grounded my experience.

Muscular tensions fire the mind? - That can't be right? Can It?

"The motor act is the cradle of the mind - The capacity to anticipate and predict movement,
 is the basis of what consciousness is all about" __Charles Sherington

"We are exquisitely social creatures. Our survival depends on understanding the actions, intentions and emotions of others. Mirror neurons allow us to grasp the minds of others not through conceptual reasoning but through direct simulation. By feeling - not by thinking" _Giacomo Rizzolatti

I've read the above quotations dozens of times over the last year or so and I guess they had not resonated within me, although I gave intellectual lip service to there validity. I have pasted them into many recent articles here on this blog, yet did not really feel there meaning until two nights ago. While walking across that traffic bridge, musing over how to write new perspectives from neuroscience, for whatever reason the often sighted words gelled together into a new sensation. I felt the reality of these two quotes rise up from the pit of my stomach, as if gut instinct had suddenly connected up with my brain, in a epiphany moment of "ah! I get it."

I guess I have been working towards this for many months now, with a daily routine of deep breath relaxation with facial and chest muscle relaxation helping me to let go of manic excitement, without any kind of self medication. Slowly but surely I have been letting go of the habitual dissociation of my over intellectualized head. Shifting the locus of my sense of being from too much living through the mind, towards a fuller sense of body/mind, felt awareness.

* * * * * * *

And right now as I've copied and pasted the comment about "A Dangerous Method" from my facebook wall, I see a note opposite, made in November 2011, reminding me of the Nursery Rhyme, "I Spy with My Little Eye," and the objectively "irrational," nature of life-metaphors and emotional meaning? Please consider;

Denial in the Lions Den?
November 15, 2011 at 9:56am

Perhaps when we look, we don't really see? Unconscious to the projection machine behind those motor mirror neurons? Truth is for those who have eyes to see? Perhaps the life eats life reality ripples through our emotions in echos of that physical law? Top dog, under dog? The unconscious dance of the nervous system in our daily interactions? Our learned rituals of a social denial of Instinct? Those Affects in Affective Disorder? Until the false God's of heaven face realization there will be no peace on Earth or Resurrection of our magnificent Spirit? Because the false God of heaven forbids you to mention that name, "animal." Heaven is right where its always been waiting for perception? You can feel it though when you stop being afraid of your own shadow? Not many have any zest for the realization of Evolution though, say that word quickly enough & your thinking mind does its passover trick? Can't feel a thing, preferring intellectual, mind-numbing-Dissociation?

The Lion and the Dragon, have long been Metaphors, for the Wuman Heart.

Please consider your 'at first sight" reaction, dear reader? Does it come from your well educated understanding of an "objectively" rational, reality? That "cause & effect," and rather machine like logic, uttered above, by a rather paternalistic, Sigmund Freud? The same mechanistic, logical thinking referred to as:

Descartes' Error
Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain is a 1994 book by neurologist António Damásio. It presents the author's "somatic marker hypothesis", a proposed mechanism by which emotions guide (or bias) behavior and decision-making, and positing that rationality requires emotional input. In part a treatment of the mind/body dualism question, the book argues that René Descartes' "error" was the dualist separation of mind and body, rationality and emotion.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Recall my statement above "Muscular tensions fire the mind? - That can't be right? Can It? compared to Antonio Damasio's "somatic marker hypothesis," which in my opinion simply reflects Sir Charles Sherington's very concise statement that the motor act, is the cradle of the mind? Using this perspective, I mastered my psychoses, by coming to terms with my emotional motivation, beneath my life-long tendency to distance my sense-of-self, from my body. Learning over time, just how much I used my mind's habitual rationalizations, to dampen or cover-up, my e-motive, motivation. Over the past three years I've had to come to terms with my mind's, passover trick and the real meaning of what we call the mind-body split.

True Meaning & The Mind's Passover Trick?
What do you mean by that, David. D. Bates? My 2nd born child, may ask?

Matthew David Bates, my 2nd born Son.
Yet, he is my 3rd conception?
Only real Men wear Pink, Eh Matt?
Well, Mattie. The Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation over 3,300 years ago by God from slavery in ancient Egypt that was ruled by the Pharaohs, and their birth as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God helped the Children of Israel escape from their slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in these homes, hence the name of the holiday. There is some debate over where the term is actually derived from. When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for, bread dough to rise (leaven).
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You should see my boy's Hand of God painting, made for his year 12, High School Certificate, exam. Mind you, it has a Cosmic, rather than an Earthly background, a bit like most Buddhist Art.

Bread dough to rise, (leaven)?
A reference to the Mind & Heaven, in front of Our Eyes?
Is mythology about our mind, and its journey through time?

In this scene, notice the hand on forehead?
Yet the Mind, does its 'Passover-Trick,' never pausing to feel the impulse to its 'rationalizations?'
Mention a story to someone, or ask a question about a well studied topic, and watch their all to fast, "yeah, yeah," I know, reactive, assumptions of "reason?"
In Buddhism, there is a saying "try to catch the gap between the spark and the flame?" In my opinion, the spark lies within your heart, and the gap referred to, is the synapses of our brain, and the flame is our mind. Or Moses, "Burning Bush," metaphor.

Am I being crazy here? Psychotic, perhaps? That's what an "objectively" rational psychiatrist, would more than likely say?

Yet consider a post from Ram Dass;

Welcome to the path of the heart!

Believe it or not, this can be your reality, to be loved unconditionally and to begin to become that love. This path of love doesn’t go anywhere. It just brings you more here, into the present moment, into the reality of who you already are. This path takes you out of your mind and into your heart.

Sharing this wisdom on my facebook wall, I make this comment;

Says it ALL, really?
But can you believe?
Have you lost your faith, in Nature?
Mother Nature.

Is the Secret of Psychosis,
Mother Nature's Gift?

Consider an excerpt from: Understanding My Psychoses & Improved Self-Regulation

We can only perceive, or literally see, what we can conceive of. We must have neuronal firing in our brains, whether it be in the imaginable state or actual perceptual state, for us to register an object as a reality.

Example: When Magellan’s fleet sailed around the tip of South America he stopped at a placed called Tierra del Fuego. Coming ashore he met some local natives who had come out to see the strange visitors. The ship’s historian documented that when Magellan came ashore the natives asked him how he had arrived. Magellan pointed out to his fully rigged sailing ships at anchor off the coast. None of the natives could see the ships. Because they had never seen ships before they had no reference point for them in their brains, and could literally not see them with their eyes. Therefore, it is to our advantage to expose our brains to varied stimulus so that the proper neuronal connections are forged. In this way we expand and enrich our ability to experience more of our environment in a meaningful way.

Consider words from my brother in arms, my kindred spirit;

"It seems obvious that when faced with the choice of allowing a realization that Jung either was singularly psychologically blind to the identity of his own benefactor Dionysus, or a realization that Jung deceptively hid the identity of the phallic maneater Dionysus– that Jung’s followers were in so much cognitive dissonance, were in such a bind that they unconsciously chose the third alternative. They went into a collective trance. Like the throng in the Emperor’s New Clothes fairy tale, they couldn’t see the reality before their very eyes.

Orwell famously affirmed this psychological axiom – 'To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.’

That’s why Perry’s patrician jaw dropped and I saw him for the first time at a loss for words when I spoke my Jungian blasphemy about the big secret hidden in plain sight. When the defense of denial collapses on a secret that big it is a dramatic thing to witness. Perry became almost giddy–he kept repeating–”Of course Michael, yes, you are right, you are right–I never saw it, none of us did–oh, you must publish this, must publish this!” And so I am right now." _Michael Cornwall PhD.

Who in 2012, was moved to write that David Bates has an understanding of madness beyond compare. A comment which gave me great encouragement, considering Michael's four decade's of front-line experience, in healing emotional/mental distress, without medications.

Reading Michael's brilliant essay again (see here) had allowed a further crystallization of my learning experience in Thailand, with its Buddhist traditions. Words and images began to gell together, (psychological-blindness, cognitive-dissonance, denial, and mental-suffering) began to resonate together, in a clearer sense of our common misperceptions, of our own reality. Please consider;

Our Consensus Reality & Cognitive Dissonance?

Cognitive Dissonance:
This is the uncomfortable feeling that develops when people are confronted by “things that shouldn’t ought to be, but are.” If the dissonance is sufficiently strong, and is not reduced in some way, the uncomfortable feeling will grow, and that feeling can develop into anger, fear and even hostility. To avoid cognitive dissonance people will often react to any evidence which disconfirms their beliefs by actually strengthening their original beliefs and create rationalizations for the disconfirming evidence. The drive to avoid cognitive dissonance is especially strong when the belief has led to public commitment.

There are three common strategies for reducing cognitive dissonance. One way is to adopt what others believe. Parents often see this change when their children begin school. Children rapidly conform to “group-think,” and after a few years, they need this particular pair of shoes, and that particular haircut or they will simply die. The need to conform to social pressure can be as psychically painful as physical pain.

A second way of dealing with cognitive dissonance is to “apply pressure” to people who hold different ideas. This explains why mavericks are so routinely shunned by conventional wisdom. To function without the annoying psychic pain of cognitive dissonance, groups will use almost any means to achieve a consensus reality.

A third way of reducing cognitive dissonance is to make the person who holds a different opinion significantly different from oneself. This is normally done by applying disparaging labels. The heretic is disavowed as stupid, malicious, foolish, sloppy, insane, or evil and their opinion simply does not matter.

When we are publicly committed to a belief, it is disturbing even to consider that any evidence contradicting our position may be true, because a fear of public ridicule adds to the psychic pain of cognitive dissonance. Commitment stirs the fires of cognitive dissonance and makes it progressively more difficult to even casually entertain alternative views.

“Without deep and active involvement in controversy, and/or a degree of philosophical self-consciousness about the social process of science, people may not notice how far scientific practice can stray from the text book model of science.” _Harry Collins.”

Which led me onto this:

"Please consider how we come to each moment of our actions and how;

Psychologically, we can only take in what we currently know and sense our immediate surroundings, life is not a thought, it’s an experience.

Hence: The fantasies of your thought are not real. They are generated by your attachment, and therefore by your desire, your hate, your anger, your fear.

The fantasies of your thought, are generated by yourself” _Buddha.

We suffer because we mistake the fantasies of our mind for reality.

It is fundamental, therefore, that we learn to distinguish between reality and the fantasies of our mind.

There are two worlds:

1. The world of the mind.
2. The world of reality.

The world of reality is real, the world of the mind isn’t real.

Of the objects which present themselves to our consciousness, in fact, some belong to the reality that surrounds us, while others belong to our mind – that is, to our memory. (the body/brain and its nervous stimulation).

We tend to falsely believe that “both” kinds of mental objects are real, yet this is a false assumption based on our past, not the present reality, by which we are surrounded and unknowingly immersed in.
Only the mental objects which belong to the surrounding environment are real, not those which belong to our memory ( the body/brain nervous energy of the past)” (read more of this Buddhist interpretation of our confused mind's here)

Please consider how we get stuck in a moment we can’t get out of, because we “judge” with an expectation from what we’ve been taught? Hence we suffer from psychological-blindness as Michael Cornwall puts it, in his brilliant essay." Read more here

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The Prince of, Sense-Ability?
Thank You!
After Three Years in Siam, (Thailand)
Mind-Less-Ness, helped me to master, my Psychoses.

Focus on the tensions within your head? Those two hundred plus muscles and nerves which send feedback signals to your brain. As you release the blood pressure tension in your head, spontaneous breath, releases your nature, your connectedness to all?

Hence Buddha's tension-less posture? The blood pressure is your heart speaking? Yet can it be so profoundly simple, to a Descartes entrained, young mind? Mind you, in the West, the Ego much prefers "I think therefore, I am."
And I write to my son James;
This stuff doesn't just come off the top of my head, James. But I understand that a first glance reaction will assume that, because the initial reaction cannot see the six years of intense self-education that produces such reasoning? Love Dad. As I post this information about the emerging new science of the heart:

HEART TALK: "The Brain in the Heart? The heart’s nervous system contains around 40,000 neurons, called sensory neurites, which detect circulating hormones and neurochemicals and sense heart rate and pressure information. Hormonal, chemical, rate and pressure information is translated into neurological impulses by the heart’s nervous system and sent from the heart to the brain through several afferent (flowing to the brain) pathways. It is also through these nerve pathways that pain signals and other feeling sensations are sent to the brain. These afferent nerve pathways enter the brain in an area called the medulla, located in the brain stem. The signals have a regulatory role over many of the autonomic nervous system signals that flow out of the brain to the heart, blood vessels and other glands and organs. However, they also cascade up into the higher centers of the brain, where they may influence perception, decision making and other cognitive processes.

Dr. Armour describes the brain and nervous system as a distributed parallel processing system consisting of separate but interacting groups of neuronal processing centers distributed throughout the body. The heart has its own intrinsic nervous system that operates and processes information independently of the brain or nervous system. This is what allows a heart transplant to work: Normally, the heart communicates with the brain via nerve fibers running through the vagus nerve and the spinal column. In a heart transplant, these nerve connections do not reconnect for an extended period of time, if at all; however, the transplanted heart is able to function in its new host through the capacity of its intact, intrinsic nervous system.

The intrinsic cardiac nervous system, or heart brain, is made up of complex ganglia, containing afferent (receiving) local circuit (interneurons) and efferent (transmitting) sympathetic and parasympathetic neurons. Multi-functional sensory neurites, which are distributed throughout the heart, are sensitive to many types of sensory input originating from within the heart itself. The intrinsic cardiac ganglia integrate messages from the brain and other processing centers throughout the body with information received from the cardiac sensory neurites. Once information has been processed by the heart’s intrinsic neurons, the appropriate signals are sent to the sinoatrial and atrioventricular nodes as well as the muscles in the heart. Thus, under normal physiological conditions, the heart’s intrinsic nervous system plays an important role in much of the routine control of cardiac function, independent of the central nervous system. Dr. Armour and his colleagues have shown that the heart’s intrinsic nervous system is vital for the maintenance of cardiovascular stability and efficiency, and that without it, the heart cannot operate properly.

Figure 2. The neural communication pathways between the heart and the brain. The heart's intrinsic nervous system consists of ganglia, which contain local circuit neurons of several types, and sensory neurites, which are distributed throughout the heart. The intrinsic ganglia process and integrate inflowing information from the extrinsic nervous system and from the sensory neurites within the heart. The extrinsic cardiac ganglia, located in the thoracic cavity, have direct connections to organs such as the lungs and esophagus and are also indirectly connected via the spinal cord to many other organs, including the skin and arteries. The "afferent" (flowing to the brain) parasympathetic information travels from the heart to the brain through the vagus nerve to the medulla, after passing through the nodose ganglion. The sympathetic afferent nerves first connect to the extrinsic cardiac ganglia (also a processing center), then to the dorsal root ganglion and the spinal cord. Once afferent signals reach the medulla, they travel to the subcortical areas (thalamus, amygdala, etc.) and then to the cortical areas." (read more here)

I can't say I'm a great fan of the HeartMath Institutes rather commercial approach to science revelation, and it was a far more honest approach, that I took to Thailand, to try to understand the nature of my psychoses. Please consider a post about my personal hero, and his paradigm shifting revelation;

Discovering a Paradigm Shift in Mental Health?

Prof, Stephen Porges - "The Polyvagal Theory"

Understanding the Face-Heart connection, and hidden vitality affects, in human health?

The paradigm shifting discovery of a “polyvagal” control of the heart, explains just how, those of us suffering from unresolved trauma experience, become locked out of the social system of group survival, in our inability to self-regulate, unconscious survival reflexes,
ie, freeze/flight/fight?

The theory shows just how “unconscious, spontaneous, social reflexes,” are inhibited in those of us struggling to cope with unresolved traumatic experience, so often diagnosed as a mental illness. In a computer analogy, its like having two distinctly different operating systems, (1) survival, (2) social. If our unconscious spontaneous social reflex functioning is “turned off,” by unresolved trauma experience, we cannot form the kind of healthy human relationships, so vital for our physical/emotional/mental health. See; The Polyvagal Theory Stephen W. Porges, PhD. Brain-Body Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Polyvagal Theory: Why This Changes Everything

How to use heart rate variability as a portal to self-regulation
The key missing ingredient in the fight/flight theory
How polyvagal theory clarifies the role of fear in unresolved trauma
Why vagal regulation affects our interactions with others
How music cues vagal regulation and why this could help your trauma patients
Polyvagal theory and working with children
How to increase psychological safety in hospital settings
Stephen Porges, PhD Author of The Polyvagal Theory, Professor at University of Illinois at Chicago

From: National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine.

IMO. It comes down to understanding and accepting that physiological processes are primary, and our thoughts are a secondary process? This new discovery changes everything, because it explains the very roots of “spontaneous” human behaviors, like never before in our history. Healthy, spontaneous, physiological function lies at the “heart” of human vitality and health, and Porges shows the hidden plumbing, (so to speak) which stimulates what others have called “flow,” or being in the moment. No matter our individual thoughts and experience, we all have the same human heart and the same brain/nervous system control of its “unconscious, autonomic” functioning, beneath our individual differences? (read more here)

* * * * * * *

Hence I suggest:
Focus on the tensions within your head? Those two hundred plus muscles and nerves which send feedback signals to your brain. As you release the blood pressure tension in your head, spontaneous breath, releases your nature, your connectedness to all? And get to know your own, Face--Heart--Connection.

It really is the secret of Buddha's tension-less posture, in my opinion. Although, Deepak Chopra's, Buddha, tells us that in the nature of our historical penchant for mystification, the term Buddha, has been confused as a Man's name, yet it literally means AWAKE or Enlightened. Speaking of history, why does another of my personal hero's suggest: “Myth is much more important and true than history. History is just journalism and you know how reliable that is.” _Joseph Campbell.

For the past six years, I've followed Joseph Campbell's advice about understanding the mystery we call LIFE and the nature of my psychoses. Especially, when comes to understanding the meaning in metaphor, and the nature of our evolving, Cosmic Destiny?  Our evolving, human nature.

“Sit in a room and read–and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time.” _Joseph Campbell.

Hence, as I underwent the transformational task of my nature's "right of passage," my previous illusions about being Jesus or King David, were transformed into an understanding of metaphor, and psychosis, as a species phenomena: Please consider;

A Messiah Species? Existential Meaning in Metaphors?

Is FEAR keeping us from the realization of our Cosmic Soul?
Has our modern, objective awareness lost sight of Meaning?
A messiah is a saviour or liberator of a people in the Abrahamic religions. Or a metaphor for our species?

Savior or Saviour may refer to a person who helps people achieve salvation, or saves them from something. Or a Species Redemption of Light Matter Energy?

A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object.
Is it time to turn our awareness inwards, to the existential meaning of spiritual metaphors, in all the worlds mythologies?

Metaphor is a type of analogy and is closely related to other rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance including allegory, hyperbole, and simile.

One of the most prominent examples of a metaphor in English literature is the All the world's a stage monologue from As You Like It: All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; — William Shakespeare, As You Like It. This quote is a metaphor because the world is not literally a stage. By figuratively asserting that the world is a stage, Shakespeare uses the points of comparison between the world and a stage to convey an understanding about the mechanics of the world and the lives of the people within it." From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Does Metaphor & Mythology, express innate Intuition? 
"Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference and/or the use of reason. "The word 'intuition' comes from the Latin word 'intueri' which is usually translated as 'to look inside' or 'to contemplate'." Intuition provides us with beliefs that we cannot justify in every case. For this reason, it has been the subject of study in psychology, as well as a topic of interest in the supernatural. The "right brain" is popularly associated with intuitive processes such as aesthetic abilities. Some scientists have contended that intuition is associated with innovation in scientific discovery. Intuition is also a common subject of New Age writings.

Intuition in Jungian psychology:
In Carl Jung's theory of the ego, described in 1921 in Psychological Types, intuition was an "irrational function", opposed most directly by sensation, and opposed less strongly by the "rational functions" of thinking and feeling. Jung defined intuition as "perception via the unconscious": using sense-perception only as a starting point, to bring forth ideas, images, possibilities, ways out of a blocked situation, by a process that is mostly unconscious.

Jung said that a person in whom intuition was dominant, an "intuitive type", acted not on the basis of rational judgment but on sheer intensity of perception. An extraverted intuitive type, "the natural champion of all minorities with a future", orients to new and promising but unproven possibilities, often leaving to chase after a new possibility before old ventures have borne fruit, oblivious to his or her own welfare in the constant pursuit of change. An introverted intuitive type orients by images from the unconscious, ever exploring the psychic world of the archetypes, seeking to perceive the meaning of events, but often having no interest in playing a role in those events and not seeing any connection between the contents of the psychic world and him- or herself. Jung thought that extraverted intuitive types were likely entrepreneurs, speculators, cultural revolutionaries, often undone by a desire to escape every situation before it becomes settled and constraining—even repeatedly leaving lovers for the sake of new romantic possibilities. His introverted intuitive types were likely mystics, prophets, or cranks, struggling with a tension between protecting their visions from influence by others and making their ideas comprehensible and reasonably persuasive to others—a necessity for those visions to bear real fruit.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), first published in 1944, attempted to provide an empirical method of identifying a person's dominant ego function, in terms of Carl Jung's theory. Beginning in the 1960s, scientists performed studies to see if MBTI results were consistent with the assumed theory that Jungian functions exist and conflict in such a way that one of them must be dominant and the others suppressed. Every study has found that instead of people's MBTI scores clustering around two opposite poles, such as intuition vs. sensation, with few people scoring in the middle, people's scores actually cluster around the middle of each scale in a bell curve. This suggests that the Jungian polarities do not exist. Most contemporary psychological research questions the existence of Jungian functions and the MBTI's ability to tell which function is dominant."
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia To further develop our intuition. As for psychosis, consider;

"Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find
the river of peace or highroad to the soul’s destination." _Joseph Campbell.

This was one of those posts in which I'm attempting to express my experience of euphoric mania and the intuitive sense of existential meaning, which always infuses my psychoses? (read more here)

Consider a quote from Albert Einstein and a rather famous song:

“People see what is, instead of seeing what could be.” _Albert Einstein.

Are we too fearful, or just childishly, too lazy, to really See?

More quotes, from dear old Uncle Albert:
"One had to cram all this stuff into one's mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect on me that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year." _Albert Einstein.

" of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought." _Albert Einstein.

"He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder." _Albert Einstein

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." _Albert Einstein.

Writing about Einstein, reminds me of an earlier attempt to write about the meaning of this strange term "affect," and its role in our metabolically stimulated, affective experiences.
Please consider;

Princess Sasiprapha.
Embodied Spirit of my Lost Daughter?
Sasi expresses her disappointment at my behavior in the last few weeks, she feels my total absorption in the book project has taken me away from her.

‘It’s on your face every day and I’m getting sick of it,’ she tells me. Innate distress expressed as concern is the look she speaks of and how it affects her, she tells me she feels like I’m dragging her down.

‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all,’ I say.

‘What! - God you love this cryptic crap,’ she says, and I explain that she wants me to reflect her beaming smile back to her, which is the unconscious meaning of the old nursery rhyme.

‘You don’t want to respond to my furrowed brow, my look of concern, my innate distress because it triggers the same unconscious reaction in you.’

‘I get it, your back to the mammalian nervous thingy,’ she tells me, doing her best furrowed brow simulation, although it’s mingled with to much innate joy, to be affective in Sasi.

‘Must be those mirror neurons, huh?’ She quips.

Did Moses have a furrowed brow too?

‘You know that photo of Einstein I have on my desk, have a look at his furrowed brow,’ I tell Sasi, explaining how Silvan Tomkins used the photo to show how the density of innate affect can become a permanent feature on the human face.

In Einstein we see a fixed look of interest, excitement and surprise, along with a deeply furrowed brow that reflects his constant grappling with such huge intellectual challenges by triggering the innate affect of distress, the biological spark for what we think of as concern.

(read more here)

Please don't be confused about my description of Sasiprapha, my first Thai girlfriend, as the embodied spirit of a child who's life I sanctioned to be aborted, when I was too young to fully realize, the sanctity of LIFE. Metaphor, is an e-motive device, which works on all existential levels, hence I'm aware of using metaphor to connect with the electro-chemical, thermo-dynamic nature of ALL.

As Princess Neytiri explains;

Avatar: Dripping with 'existential' Metaphor?
"All energy is borrowed," Neytiri had told him. "Eywa is telling us we borrowed too much, so she is taking the energy back."

She explained that it had been several years since any Omaticaya woman had been able to produce an 'eveng (the Na'vi word for child). As the male hunters died one by one of circumstances and accidents that could only be described by the tribe as a sign from Eywa, the Omaticaya were increasingly a tribe made up of females, and seemingly infertile females at that.

"Why me?" Jake asked. "How do you know it'll be any different with me knocking y'all up?"

After explaining to an alarmed Neytiri that knocking someone up didn't mean a threat of physical violence and instead meant impregnating them with a 'eveng, she told him of the sign that the atokirina had told. A sign that both she and Moat had interpreted exactly the same, with the same conviction. Jake Sully was the one that could repopulate the clan.

"Are you listening, Marine?"

Grace's strong voice snapped Jake out of his reflection as he climbed into his link station.

"Loud and clear, doctor," Jake muttered, still thinking about the Omaticaya princess.

"Have fun, soldier," Grace said with a chuckle, shaking her head.

Read more about ('The Chosen One,' here)
From my perspective, we, as the human race, are 'The Chosen One?'
In my opinion, that's what Biblical Metaphor, is all about:

"God is the field – the dynamic energy field of Inter-Being – within which, as we read in the New Testament (but perhaps never really heard), “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Or, from the divine perspective, there is “one God above all things, through all things, and in all things” (Eph. 4:6). This presence “above, through and in” can fittingly and engagingly be imaged as an energy field which pervades and influences us all." _Paul Knitter.

* * * * * * *

The Battle of Jericho?
As Existential Metaphor & Meaning?

Please consider a recent email to a kindred spirit;

I feel the same way about our face to face connection, and that wonderful moment we shared when the Walls of Jericho came tumbling down, and we shared that heartfelt smile & true knowing of each other?

As you said two mammals, sharing a moment of life, as one species, one family?

I think that your post is very important, in the need to get beyond these defensive reactions to otherness, maintained by our stupefying mechanistic logic, & Descartes Iconic Error. I hope people will read "Responding to Madness With Loving Receptivity: A Practical Guide." and take note of your profound comment about the trial by fire, which is the reality and true nature of psychosis, as a subconscious need to reality, as it is, IMO. A spontaneously invoked, "right of passage," need.

Our connect helped me to gain more insight too, I think, in terms of affect & image and trying to understand how we are deceived by our subconscious reactions to the images of life? When here in 2013, at least in the West, we are now surrounded by the image of objects, and this insane assumption that our mechanistic sense of "objectivity" provides us with insights into our own nature?

After we spoke I started to think of Prince Siddhartha's story. The child (as metaphor for the mind) born to be a tribal king, yet as the wise sage tells his earthly father of that age, he may not become a tribal king, yet one day he will become king of all the world? When I watch the PBS documentary on that legend of the mind, metaphorically described in the Buddha story, the parallels with Jesus seem undeniable, at least to me? (see pbs documentary 'Buddha' here)

In speaking with a young mental health professional yesterday, she lost her pen, and I remarked on how she'd lost the "object," and how easily we forget Moses paternal advice, to stay in love with each other and mother nature, and his warning of the dangers of falling in love with the object. Which reminds me of Joseph Campbell's understanding of the task of the wise, to keep reminding successive generations, of what is learnt and repeatedly forgotten, about the nature of life.

What do I mean, "the walls of Jericho came tumbling down?"
I'd been speaking about our "psychological boundaries."
Our internal layers of defense, of our "sensitive" self.
As a Jungian therapist, my friend just, "got it," and there was no need for further "rationalizations," to articulate my meaning. He understands the nature of the "unconscious" voice, in the affect/images of our dreams, and how we use rationalizations to dampen our e-motive energies within. He understands the royal road to the unconscious, is still, the dream. Hence, we cannot interpret Biblical metaphor on just one level of existential reality, and we should now try again, to really understand the long, long tradition of this evolving dream, and its existential metaphor.
See: Dreams: Still the Royal Road to the Unconscious
Please consider;

"Battle of Jericho

The Battle of Jericho is a battle in the biblical Book of Joshua, (Joshua 6:1-27) the first battle of the Israelites during their conquest of Canaan. According to the narrative, the walls of Jericho fell after Joshua's Israelite army marched around the city blowing their trumpets.

Spying on Jericho:
Before crossing into the land west of the River Jordan, Joshua sent two spies to look over the land. The king of Jericho heard that two Israelite spies were within his city and ordered them to be brought out to him. The spies were charged with ascertaining where the guards were placed, whether anyone disliked the king and could help them, what weaponry and armour the guards had, when the guards changed shifts, how much food, water, and other supplies the city had, and the height and width of the walls so as to determine how to overcome the city.

The woman with whom the spies were staying was named Rahab and she protected them by hiding the two men on her roof. She tells them how the citizens of Jericho had been fearful of the Israelites ever since they defeated the Egyptians via the Red Sea miracle (some 40 years prior), and agrees to cover for them on condition that she and her family are spared in the upcoming battle. The spies agree provided three conditions are met:

1. She must distinguish her house from the others so the soldiers will know which one to spare
2. Her family must be inside the house during the battle, and
3. She must not later turn in the spies.

Rahab agrees to the conditions: she hangs a scarlet rope outside her window to distinguish her house from the others. Safely escaping the city, the two returned to Joshua and reported that the "whole land was melting with fear."

The battle:
The biblical account describes the Israelites being led by Joshua and crossing the Jordan into Canaan where they laid siege to the city of Jericho. There, God spoke to Joshua telling him to march around the city once every day for six days with the seven priests carrying ram's horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times and the priests were to blow their ram's horns.

And Joshua ordered the people to shout. The walls of the city collapsed, and the Israelites were able to charge straight into the city. The city was completely destroyed, and every man, woman, child and animal in it was killed by Joshua's army as an offering to God. Only Rahab and her family were spared, because she had hidden the two spies sent by Joshua. After this, Joshua burned the remains of the city and cursed any man who would rebuild the city of Jericho would do so at the cost of his firstborn son." From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Its true, that to our socially adapted sense of self, my comparing Biblical stories with unconscious processes, within each individual, will appear, at least at first sight, somewhat crazy? Yet, as I've been asking throughout this essay, "is our current, objectively rational" sense of self, based on an illusion? An illusion which psychologically takes images of objects in the external world, and uses them build a false, self-interpretation Furthermore, do these Biblical stories, as myth and metaphor, come to us over thousands of years, as more dream-like interpretations of existential reality, than what we now take for granted, as a rational sense of consciousness? For example, it is well documented, how tribal and national story telling is handed down by word of mouth, over many, many generations, with much cross-fertilization of mythical story telling. It is also suggested by people like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, that there has been a raising of mass-consciousness, during certain periods, with no contact between tribes or nations.

Yet similar ideas arise spontaneously across the globe. Symbolic shapes, in both building and artifacts, are a classic example. As are the great religious prophets, who arise during a certain epoch of spiritual growth. Perhaps, such phenomena, reflects the rise of human consciousness, as a direct expression of both Cosmic and Earthly Nature? Here in 2013 A.D. as Global Warming begs a whole of humanity solution. Is there a rising pressure, which is bringing forth a new wave of conscious awareness? New culture, new science, and new spiritual growth? Because, this is how a sentient species evolves? And if these rather tribal metaphors of the human condition, can be seen as a species phenomena, can we stop the wary suspicion of each other, and get on with our human destiny? Please consider;

The Evolution of a Cosmic Dream?
Are Global Myths, based on Dream Interpretations?
In blended forms of Conscious & Unconscious Reality?
As Freud noted, a harsh, consciously unbearable reality, is displaced onto other characters and forms, during our dream processing.


Sleep, Arousal, and Mythmaking in the Brain:

Shakespeare proposed one possible function of sleep when he suggested that it “knits up the raveled sleeve of care.” Each day our lives cycle through the master routines of sleeping, dreaming, and waking. Although we do not know for sure what the various sleep stages do for us, aside from alleviating tiredness, we do know about the brain mechanisms that generate these states.

All of the executive structures are quite deep in the brain, some in the lower brain stem. To the best of our knowledge, however, the most influential mechanisms for slow wave sleep (SWS) are higher in the brain than the active waking mechanisms, while the executive mechanisms for REM sleep are the lowest of the three. Thus, we are forced to contemplate the strange possibility that the basic dream generators are more ancient in brain evolution that are the generators of our waking consciousness.

The brain goes through various “state shifts” during both waking and sleep. Surprisingly, it has been more difficult for scientists to agree on the types of discrete states of waking consciousness than on those that occur during sleep. EEG clearly discriminates three global vigilance states of the nervous system--waking, SWS, and dreaming or REM sleep.

Some people have also thought that dreaming is the crucible of madness. Many have suggested that schizophrenia reflects the release of dreaming processes into the waking state. Schizophrenics do not exhibit any more REM than normal folks, except during the evening before a “schizophrenic break,” when REM is in fact elevated.

There seem to be two distinct worlds within our minds, like matter and antimatter, worlds that are often 180 degrees out of phase with each other. The electrical activity in the brain stem during dreaming is the mirror image of waking--the ability of certain brain areas to modulate the activity of others during waking changes from excitation to inhibition during REM. In other words, areas of the brain that facilitate behaviors in waking now inhibit those same behaviors.

Many believe that if we understand this topsy-turvy reversal of the ruling potentials in the brain, we will better understand the nature of everyday mental realities, as well as the nature of minds that are overcome by madness. Perhaps what is now the REM state was the original form of waking consciousness in early brain evolution, when “emotionality” was more important than reason in the competition for resources.

What a strange thing, this dreaming process, that has now been the focus of more scientific inquiry than any other intrinsic mechanism of the brain. In terms of the EEG, it looks like a waking state, but in terms of behavior it looks like flaccid paralysis. When neuronal action potentials are analyzed during the three states of vigilance (sleeping, dreaming, and waking), we generally get a picture of waking activity as accompanied by a great deal of spontaneous neural activity, with only some cells being silent, waiting for the right environmental stimulus to come along."

Excerpts from, “Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions.” by Jaak Panksepp.

The Eternal Mythology of an Evolving Dream?
Existential Reality is Eternal. Its Theme Remains the Same?
Waiting for unconscious projections to be deciphered?
Is Mythology, as Biblical story, a Project from Within?
Reality's Instinctual Shadow. The Cosmos Within?
Please Consider;

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” _C.G. Jung.

Can we be Buddha now? Can we become Awake?

Please consider: "Shadow (psychology)

In Jungian psychology, the shadow or "shadow aspect" may refer to (1) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious, or (2) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not recognize in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one's personality, the shadow is largely negative. There are, however, positive aspects which may also remain hidden in one's shadow (especially in people with low self-esteem).

Contrary to a Freudian conceptualization of shadow, therefore, the Jungian shadow often refers to all that lies outside the light of consciousness, and may be positive or negative. "Everyone carries a shadow," Jung wrote, "and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is." It may be (in part) one's link to more primitive animal instincts, which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind. (Or suppressed by social need? Hence the denied instinct, in our social rank & status societies?) This comment mine.

According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to projection: turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Jung writes that if these projections are unrecognized "The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object--if it has one--or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power." These projections insulate and cripple individuals by forming an ever thicker fog of illusion between the ego and the real world.

From one perspective, 'the roughly equivalent to the whole of the Freudian unconscious'; and Jung himself considered that 'the result of the Freudian method of elucidation is a minute elaboration of man's shadow-side unexampled in any previous age'.

Jung also believed that "in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—or perhaps because of this—the shadow is the seat of creativity."; so that for some, it may be, 'the dark side of his being, his sinister shadow...represents the true spirit of life as against the arid scholar'. (the ranks of our educated priesthood "professionals," deny their instinctive self-preservation needs, creating a "mind-filled" (a mostly false sense-of-self) fantasy of service to others? (see a Fantasy Bond here) Politics, providing the most visible example?) This comment mine."
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Recall Jaak Panksepp's observation: "Perhaps what is now the REM state was the original form of waking consciousness in early brain evolution, when “emotionality” was more important than reason in the competition for resources." Are we "psychologically-blinded" by our e-motive competition for resources? Do we create, within the mind, a fantasy of being "nice" to cover-up our darker, instinctual side?

Is our normal waking state, being truly awake?
What I'm driving at here, is the evolving nature of our becoming truly human? In my opinion, Biblical stories, like all the worlds mythology, represent a projection of the hidden territory within us, a territory we label "unconscious." As our current age of technology allows us a deeper look into our electro-chemical, thermo-dynamic nature. It is becoming clear just how little our everyday awareness, is a true understanding of ourselves, and how all our learned thoughts/words, are metaphor, in their limited description of reality. Our evolved languages, as descriptors of image, more so than the deeper substance of reality, particularly our own. In my opinion, Freud's Iceberg metaphor, for our unconscious/conscious sense of self, includes, not just our individual body's and its evolved nature, but Mother Nature herself, as the Creator of Life on Earth.

In simple terms, The Israelites, as Chosen ones, represent a species metaphor, and their MonoMyth, represents the evolution of the human voice and language, as we evolved from reflexive (five senses) beings to reflective (sixth) sense, self-conscious beings. Like Eastern mythology, Christian mythology, represents the "personification" of the mind's journey through time, and our evolution. Hence the virgin Mary's immaculate conception, is a metaphor for the human mind, and its mysterious self-conscious nature, lost in the mist and mystification of long periods of time. In India, the mind's metaphoric symbol, is the Third Eye. But, is the Third Eye, a socially adapted, and rather Blind-Eye? Like our habitual tendency to cover-up, our indiscretions? The true symbol of  "the fig leaf" in the Garden of Eden, perhaps? Recall: "Safely escaping the city, the two returned to Joshua and reported that the "whole land was melting with fear."

Are we reading a mixture of dream interpretation and external reality here? Does Joshua, represent our first born "brain," those 100 million neurons in our stomach" Do the two spies, represent our "autonomic nervous system," with its twin, sympathetic and parasympathetic branches? And does "the whole land was melting with fear," represent our instinctive "wary" orientation to life? Understandably, your "at first sight" reaction will most probably be, "this is nonsense?" Yet am being silly, or does this intuitive sense come from six years of intense study, particularly the latest neuroscience research, like professor Stephen Porges "Orienting in a Defensive World: Mammalian modifications of our evolutionary heritage In Silvan Tomkins extensive exploration of our innate affects, which are considered by many, to be the roots of our complex emotions, we have nine innate affects, or orienting responses, at birth. Six of these innate affect/emotion, reaction/responses, are in Tomkins view, negative. Hence my, intuitive interpretation of Biblical Mythology. The land which is dripping with fear, is our individual, internal land? Please read more about Tomkins Nine Affects,(here) I personally agree with Tomkins view of innate affect, as a very reasonable concept of our innate nature and our instinctively driven intelligence, even though it culturally taboo, to say so. Yet in my opinion, there is a denied God conflict, in the Western worlds view of mental health, with a need to cling to an image of reason, which is now dangerously distorted by the image/affect of modernity, and its "ubiquitous" objects. In my opinion, we are still, far more "unconscious" than conscious, in our motivation. In my opinion, we are, through the consequential nature of history, entering the battle of Jericho, in this 21st century A.D. More on this later:

* * * * * * *

Am I Being Mad, Psychotic or Instinctively Intuitive?
Consider a Madcap "intuitive" post made on The Icarus, in October 2010:

From Earthly, to Cosmic Perception & Perspective?
The hero's (e-motive) journey?
In our brief history so far, we continue to open our eyes, little by little and see what is, and always was, waiting for us to perceive.

Metaphor - Myth or Magic?

What is Goddess?

What is God?

What is Metamorphosis?

And in the long tradition of the Hero's Journey:

We Enter the Age of the Goddess???

Is it Time to end our Tribal Divisions & Build Jerusalem, on this 3rd Rock from the Sun?

A Sacred Dome in anyone's Language?

* * * * * * *

Considering The Nature of Psychosis:
The purpose of its age-old process? A NEW EARTH:
Please consider;

Normal Insanity?
The collective manifestations of the insanity that lies at the heart of the human condition constitute the greater part of human history. It is to a large extent a history of madness. If the history of humanity were the clinical case history of a single human being, the diagnosis would have to be: chronic paranoid delusions, a pathological propensity to commit murder and acts of extreme violence and cruelty against his perceived “enemies” – his own unconsciousness projected outward. Criminally insane, with a few brief lucid intervals.

Fear, greed, and the desire for power are the psychological motivating forces not only behind warfare and violence between nations, tribes, religions, and ideologies, but also the cause of incessant conflict in personal relationships. They bring about a distortion in your perception of other people and yourself. Through them, you misinterpret every situation, leading to misguided action designed to rid you of fear and satisfy your need for more, a bottomless hole that can never be filled.

Trying to become a good or better human being sounds like a commendable and high minded thing to do, yet it is an endeavor you cannot ultimately succeed in unless there is a shift in consciousness. This is because it is still part of the same dysfunction, a more subtle and rarefied form of self-enhancement, of desire for more and a strengthening of one’s conceptual identity, one’s self-image. You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.

Excerpts from “A NEW EARTH” by Eckhart Tolle.

Please consider a more humane approach to psychosis:

From When The Dream Becomes Real: the inner Apocalypse in mythology, madness and the future,
By Michael O’Callaghan.

The idea that the inner Apocalypse experience might be the guardian of the gate to a sustainable future has a metaphorical ring of truth which I find appealing. To explore this further, I went to California in the early 1980s to visit Dr. John Weir Perry MD, a man who was especially knowledgeable on the subject. I had first met him a few years before in Boston at the first conference of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA), and was impressed by his compassion, wisdom, and humility.

John Weir Perry (1914 - 1988) was a Jungian psychiatrist who founded an experimental residential facility called Diabasis, in San Francisco, California, during the 1970s. This was designed as a comfortable home where young adults, who were experiencing the initial days of their first "acute schizophrenic break", could live in and be empowered to go through their Apocalypse on the way to greater health and happiness. The results were amazing: without any treatment by medication, electroshock or locked doors – but with opportunities for painting, dance, massage, meditation and conversation – full-blown "schizophrenics" were able to go through their ego-death and emerge on the other side, as Perry put it, "weller than well." Instead of being sent to a mental hospital and/or being expected to taking medication for the rest of their lives, these people would live at Diabasis for the first three months, spend three more months in a half-way home, and then return to the outside world, with few if any relapses of their "schizophrenia"!

This corroborated the results of R. D. Laing's famous Kingsley Hall experiment in London in the 1960s, in which only nine out of sixty-five "certified psychotics" who were tracked afterwards were re-admitted to hospitals again. Those who insist that "schizophrenia" is a disease will have to admit that it is curable! The principal differences between Kingsley Hall and Diabasis were the deliberately anarchic organisation of the former and its rather dismal location in a London slum, and the more organised approach of the latter in a more pleasant location in Berkeley on San Francisco Bay.

Dr. Perry met Carl Jung in Switzerland as a young medical student. He then became a psychiatrist. As a conscientious objector during World War II, he served for two years as a medic in the U.S. Army, attending to war victims in China. Here he was impressed by the character of the people and profoundly touched by their ancient philosophy of the Tao. He noticed the similarity between the traditional Chinese view of the universe as a self-organising system, and Jung's idea that schizophrenia is not a disease which the psychiatrist should attempt to control, but rather a spontaneous healing process which a subtle therapist might indeed facilitate through a kind of psychological shiatsu. After the war Perry returned to San Francisco, where he went into practice in 1949. The introduction to his first book The Self in Psychotic Process, published in 1952, was written by Jung himself.

Perry then wrote The Far Side of Madness (about Diabasis), and The Heart of History, a trans-cultural study of mythological evolution. The book is interesting, since individuation is normally thought of in the context of a given mythology or world view. Here Perry explores the individuation process not in the context of a given world view, but within the larger macro-historical evolution of the world views themselves. He thus tracks the individuation of the deepest dimensions of the Self, as reflected in the symbolism of the metamorphosis of the world's great mythologies from the power-preoccupied cosmologies of the first city-states to the more compassionate world views which seem always to follow. Ironically, in the 1980s he found himself invited to teach psychiatry at the University of Wuhan, in China - where official dogma had it that the unconscious does not exist! His latest book, published not long after his death in October 1998, is Trials of the Visionary Mind: Spiritual Emergency and the Renewal Process.

John and I met three of four times for lunch at his delightful office in a townhouse on San Francisco's Steiner Street. Gregory Bateson sometimes stayed the night there on his way back and forth from Esalen down the coast at Big Sur, where he spent the last years of his life. I pushed the half-open wooden gate that leads to the back garden, walked past a trellis of Heavenly Blue morning glory flowers, and found my friend John – a soft-spoken, melodious, rosy-cheeked, smiling man in his mid seventies, smoking his pipe in the sun. The following conversation was recorded that afternoon. (Michael O’Callaghan's questions, in black bold type)

What about the death / rebirth aspect?

Well you see, the state of being in a realm of death in the beginning is pretty soon accompanied by the idea of either being born, or giving birth. This is really the fundamental ground of the whole experience.

So there are two or three transformative elements that run through the phenomenon in a sort of overall direction. First, the feeling of death and rebirth, which is really symbolic of the process of disorganisation and reorganisation; second, the fact that this happens both on the world level as well as on the personal level – the world is also going through a disruption and a regeneration; and finally, the initial inflated notion that one is a supreme power (a great spiritual force, a supreme being, a supreme intelligence from outer space or whatever), gradually yields to a deeper overall preoccupation with the issues of relationship. The feelings and motivations tend toward love and affection in general. The sexual element is stirred up quite a bit, but mostly it's on a symbolic level. The process of psychological individuation required to achieve this feeling of loving relationship is also what social evolution is all about.

In this regard, the concerns of the regression to infancy are no more personal than one would expect. They are mostly concerned with the interpersonal field, with the parents and siblings, and with the problems of childhood and adolescence. The great surprise, during these weeks of turmoil, is that even more of the concern is about cultural and societal issues. I was totally unprepared for this: in the Freudian setting of medical school, there was no mention of it at all. At first, when Jung told me about it in Switzerland, I found it very hard to believe. I had to see for myself if he was right. This then became one of my motives for going my alternative way with these people.

Our new understanding shows that the process of re-connection to the unconscious, which these millions of people go through in a way that's usually so very hazardous, isolated and uncreative, is nonetheless made up of the same stuff as seers, visionaries, cultural reformers and prophets go through. They also experience much of the same content, except that in their case it is specifically concerned, first and foremost, with the culture itself. Any kind of personal subjective ideation is made to serve and clarify that end.

When I started looking into these cultural parallels of the "schizophrenic" process, I also began to find very clear similarities in the rituals of almost every society. There are striking parallels in the visionary states of reformers and prophets and Messiahs. Messiahs are found all over the world, you know! Almost any culture that's going through a profound upheaval of rapid turbulent change, produces seers and visionaries who glimpse the new myth-form and express its guidelines – the basic ideas and paradigms that give the people a new sense of direction. This is particularly true, of course, at the tribal level – in almost every part of the world. The shamanic visions are particularly close to what we see in "psychosis," with all the ideation of death and rebirth, and symbols of world destruction and regeneration.

Are you saying, then, that the psycho-symbolic images, feelings and ideas which emerge into consciousness during the "schizophrenic" process, also carry basic symbolic relevance – at the level of the collective unconscious – to the alienation of Humankind as a whole?

Yes! One thing that is quite significant in this respect is that each decade shows a marked difference in the typical content of the ideation. During the Fifties, for example, I used to see a lot about "Democracy" and "Communism." For many Americans at that time, the coincidence of opposites was symbolically expressed in terms of America versus Russia, and a big showdown between the forces of liberty and oppression. A little later on that content tapered off, and the moral values and the issues of war and peace that typified the Sixties came to the fore. In the Seventies, I saw a lot of concern with global concerns like preserving the planet and paying attention to nature. The "bad guys" in this case were cast in the role of those who had a disregard for the needs of Nature.

Now of course this is not too different from what one finds in dreams. For dreams also tend to reflect cultural issues, and as soon as one gets into any kind of therapy that deals with the psyche at this deeper level of the collective unconscious, one comes to the inevitable realisation that we are not going along in our psychic life, you know, just in a realm of interpersonal relationships. A very powerful culture such as ours projects huge patterns, huge conflicts and turmoils, and we all experience them, although we may not be conscious of their inner meaning at all. In this sense, Humankind is still enormously alienated; the point is, it doesn't happen just in Washington and Moscow – it happens within the psyche of the whole people. The political spokesmen are only giving voice to what is going on in all the individuals...

This brings up the question of myth-form. You see, the big problems facing society are perceived in symbolic, mythic expression, and for this reason their resolution takes place on the symbolic, mythic level as well. If there's work going on in a culture to reorganise itself, then it's a process that must occur on both levels simultaneously: individuals will go through their personal visions, and collective spokesmen will express collective visions, which get worked out and implemented on a cultural level. Please consider;

R. D. Laing & The Strange Concept of Love?

Is LOVE, Really a Cognitive Concept?

A graduate student in clinical psychology:

"Dr. Laing, I still don't understand the theoretical basis of your therapeutic approach to schizophrenia. Could you please explain it?"

R.D. Laing: "Certainly. The basis is love. I don't see how you or I can be of any help to our clients in a visionary state unless we are capable of experiencing a feeling of love for them. Therapy, as opposed to mere treatment, requires that we have a capacity for loving-kindness and compassion."

 Graduate student (perplexed): "But Dr. Laing, what is your clinical methodology for developing this approach?" — Overheard at a talk given by R.D.Laing in New York.

Is emotional maturity, "cause & effect" thinking?

Back to a conversation with John Weir Perry:
Would the determining factor then be the person's realisation that one is in a non-ordinary state of consciousness – i.e.: a state which, although very different from that of the people around one, is in fact completely natural and good – and that the hallucinatory imagery carries a symbolic meaning, which pertains primarily to the inner reality, rather than to the outside world?

You said it! The tendency, as you suggest, is to concretise all the symbolic stuff and believe there are enemies out there, and that the walls are wired, that there are people with guns at the window, and subversive political parties trying to do things, or that one is being watched because one is the head of some organisation and everybody knows it. All of that is a mistaken, "concretistic" tendency to take too literally things whose correct meaning is actually symbolic." (read more here)

* * * * * * *

Towards a NEW EARTH & The Battle of Jericho:
Comparing Eckhart Tolle's summary of the human condition with John Weir Perry's humane understanding of the process involved in psychosis. Are we reading about a continuum of human experience here? From our normal existential madness (Who in their right mind, volunteer's for a one-way trip to Mars? Or sails across an ocean, when you believe the Earth is flat?), to more extreme states of strained, distressed, existential perception? Please consider more from Eckhart Tolle and the original meaning of Sin;

“According to Christian teachings, the normal collective state of humanity is one of “original sin.” Sin is a word that has been greatly misunderstood and misinterpreted. Literally translated from the ancient Greek in which the New Testament was written, to sin means to miss the mark, as an archer who misses the target, so to sin means to miss the point of human existence. It means to live unskillfully, blindly, and thus to suffer and cause suffering. Again, the term, stripped of its cultural baggage and misinterpretations, points to the dysfunction inherent in the human condition.

The achievements of humanity are impressive and undeniable. We have created sublime works of music, literature, painting, architecture, and sculpture. More recently, science and technology have brought about radical changes in the way we live and have enabled us to do and create things that would have been considered miraculous even two hundred years ago. No doubt: The human mind is highly intelligent. Yet its very intelligence is tainted by madness. Science and technology have magnified the destructive impact that the dysfunction of the human mind has upon the planet, other life-form’s, and upon humans themselves. That is why the history of the twentieth century is where that dysfunction, that collective insanity, can be most clearly recognized. A further factor is that this dysfunction is actually intensifying and accelerating."

Excerpts from “A NEW EARTH” by Eckhart Tolle.

Please consider a Buddhist perspective on Sin;
We are not “selves” in the sense of individual, separate, independent “things.” Rather, we are constantly changing because we are constantly interrelating (or being interrelated). So, if for Buddha we are not “beings” but “becomings,” now he clarifies that we are “becomings-with.” Now we can understand why selfishness causes suffering. When we act selfishly, when we crave, when we try to possess and hold on to something as our own, when we refuse to let go – we are acting contrary to the way things work. It’s like swimming against the current, or trying to catch and hold a bird in flight. Selfishness causes friction. It makes harmful sparks fly because it rubs the wrong way against reality. For Buddhists selfishness is not so much sinful as it is stupid. (But like Christian sin, it causes suffering, for self and others.) It’s not that Buddhists are against enjoying other persons or things; they just warn us against trying to hold on to them and think we own them. As soon as we do, sparks will fly and people will get hurt.(Because we are not taught how to catch the gap, between the spark (impulse) and the flame?), This comment mine.

Excerpt from “Without Buddha I Could not be a Christian,” by Paul Knitter, Oneworld Publications.

Recall The Battle of Jericho:
The woman with whom the spies were staying was named Rahab and she protected them by hiding the two men on her roof. She tells them how the citizens of Jericho had been fearful of the Israelites ever since they defeated the Egyptians via the Red Sea miracle (some 40 years prior), and agrees to cover for them on condition that she and her family are spared in the upcoming battle. The spies agree provided three conditions are met:

1. She must distinguish her house from the others so the soldiers will know which one to spare
2. Her family must be inside the house during the battle, and
3. She must not later turn in the spies.

Rahab agrees to the conditions: she hangs a scarlet rope outside her window to distinguish her house from the others. Safely escaping the city, the two returned to Joshua and reported that the "whole land was melting with fear."

The battle:
The biblical account describes the Israelites being led by Joshua and crossing the Jordan into Canaan where they laid siege to the city of Jericho. There, God spoke to Joshua telling him to march around the city once every day for six days with the seven priests carrying ram's horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times and the priests were to blow their ram's horns.

And Joshua ordered the people to shout. The walls of the city collapsed, and the Israelites were able to charge straight into the city. The city was completely destroyed, and every man, woman, child and animal in it was killed by Joshua's army as an offering to God. Only Rahab and her family were spared, because she had hidden the two spies sent by Joshua. After this, Joshua burned the remains of the city and cursed any man who would rebuild the city of Jericho would do so at the cost of his firstborn son." From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Who, or what is Rahab?
Please consider;
"There are some Biblical commentators who believe that the word "harlot" in connection with the Rahab who is mentioned in the book of Joshua is a mis-translation and that the Hebrew word translated into English as "harlot" actually means "to feed" - and refers to an Innkeeper. Although it is possible that Rahab COULD have been considered a "harlot" by the advancing Hebrew army because she was a member of a pagan culture. In early Judaism - going out to worship pagan idols was viewed as a form of "spiritual infidelity." However, Rahab's statement to Joshua's spies seems to indicate that Rahab had made her decision to become a follower of the Lord God of the Hebrew nation BEFORE she met Joshua's spies. So, technically, Rahab would not have been considered as one who was worshipping pagan idols when she provided sanctuary for Joshua's spies. Also - in that time period - IF Rahab was an Innkeeper, she MAY have purchased the meat for her establishment from a meat market which sold meat which had been offered to the idols in the temple. This practice could ALSO have led the Hebrew nation to regard Rahab as a "harlot" - again because consorting with foreign gods was regarded as a form of spiritual infidelity. Even in the New Testament, early Christians had some concern about accidentally eating meat which had been offered first to pagan idols, and then sold at the "shambles" or meat market (I Corinthians 10:25). The ISB Encyclopedia has the following to say about Rahab:

(1) (rachabh, "broad"; in Josephus, Ant, V, i, 2, 7, Rhachab; Heb 11:31 and Jas 2:25, Rhaab): A zonah, that is either a "harlot," or, according to some, an "innkeeper" in Jericho; the Septuagint porne, "harlot"). The two spies sent by Joshua from Shittim came into her house and lodged there (Josh 2:1). She refused to betray them to the king of Jericho, and when he demanded that she produce the spies, Rahab hid the spies on the roof of her house with stalks of flax which she had laid out in order to dry. Rahab pretended that the spies had escaped before the shutting of the gate, and threw their pursuers off their track. Rahab then told the spies of the fear that the coming of the Israelites had caused in the minds of the Canaanites--"Our hearts did melt . For Yahweh your God, he is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath"--and asked that the men promise to spare her father, mother, brothers and sisters, and all that they had. The spies promised Rahab that the advancing Hebrew army would spare Rahab and ALL of her family members - provided that they would remain in RAHAB'S house - and provided she would keep their business secret. Thereupon Rahab let the spies down by a scarlet cord through the window, her house being built upon the town wall - and gave them directions to make good their escape (Josh 2:1-24). True to their promise, the Israelites under Joshua spared Rahab and her family (Josh 6:16 ff the King James Version); "And," says the author of Josh, "she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day." Her story appealed strongly to the imagination of the people of later times. Heb 11:31 speaks of her as having been saved by faith; James, on the other hand, in demonstrating that a man is justified by works and not by faith only, curiously chooses the same example (Jas 2:25). Jewish tradition has been kindly disposed toward Rahab; one hypothesis goes so far as to make her the wife of Joshua himself (Jew. Encyclopedia, under the word). Naturally then the other translation of zonah, deriving it from zun, "to feed," instead of zanah, "to be a harlot," has been preferred by some of the commentators."

The scarlet cord or rope which Rahab used to lower the spies over the wall, enabling the spies to escape the king's soldiers, is thought by some commentators to be a foreshadowing of the way that the perfect, sinless life, shed blood, death and resurrection of Christ would one day provide salvation for all who had faith in Christ - and followed through on their faith with good works.

The verse in the book of Joshua which has been translated into English as first referring to Rahab as a "harlot" is repeated below - in the original Hebrew -- JOSHUA 2:1:

יהושע 2

1 וַיִּשְׁלַ֣ח יְהֹושֻׁ֣עַ־בִּן־נ֠וּן מִֽן־הַשִּׁטִּ֞ים שְׁנַֽיִם־אֲנָשִׁ֤ים מְרַגְּלִים֙ חֶ֣רֶשׁ לֵאמֹ֔ר לְכ֛וּ רְא֥וּ אֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ וְאֶת־יְרִיחֹ֑ו וַיֵּ֨לְכ֜וּ וַ֠יָּבֹאוּ בֵּית־אִשָּׁ֥ה זֹונָ֛ה וּשְׁמָ֥הּ רָחָ֖ב וַיִּשְׁכְּבוּ־שָֽׁמָּה׃

The name Rahab was rendered as Rachab in the New Testament and she was counted as an ancestress of Christ. In Greek - Matthew 1:5" read more here

In these modern times, particularly since the second world war, the intuitive nature of a dream-like reality, seems to be expressed, more and more, in popular music? Please consider the possibility that Rahab, is a dreamlike projection, a metaphor, for Earth, as Mother Nature? Please consider another of my intuitive posts about the nature of psychosis, in my first analysis of a six week long psychosis, in November 2011:

It is the electro-chemical, thermo-dynamic nature of my unconscious experience, and its expression through metaphor that so intrigues me, now that I no longer paint a euphoric episode with sensations of shame, no longer feel an attachment to the stigma of judgmental blame. Now un-afraid and unashamed to face my experience of sensation within, I seek to further define the reality of my being. To sift through the various needs of self-support and self-definition, while wondering if I’m sensing something deeper still?

Touching the Void in a sense of Electro-Chemical Reactions?

It is while holding the notion of metaphors and these hidden electro-chemical, thermo-dynamic processes in mind, that I explore my altered states of perception these days, particularly an eerie sense of immersion within the DNA matrix of an electro-chemical, thermo-dynamic Universe?

Last November another relationship crisis threatened me with loss and isolation, causing a defensive "reaction formation," and a flight into the e-motivation of manic Euphoria. Perhaps a traumatic birthing process conditioned an unconscious and dense terror state, as the very foundation of my reactive energies, within? A deep fear of the void in loss and isolation, which became my life challenge to face?

"Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find
the river of peace or highroad to the soul’s destination." _Joseph Campbell.

The Double Helix & The Double Bind in our Nature?

Section of DNA. The bases lie horizontally
between the two spiraling strands.
I've had millisecond flashes of a deeper perception breaking through a conscious barrier, since an extraordinary out of body experience when I was twelve years old. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life though, there is pressure to suppress such experience and get on with a normal life. Standing on a cliff top, having sensation flashes of the earth turning against the night sky, instead of the other way round, is quickly dismissed as weird by a majority people. "Its just your overactive imagination," they say. A euphoric sense of imagination that led me to impulsive posts on last November, 17th;

"Change Ur Metaphor. Think Chemical Universe & FEEL HER LOVE. There is NO SEPARATION. ALL IS ONE! 1 love. 1 world. 1 tribe. Every WORD is a Projection of HER LOVE INSIDE YOU. Ur Electro-Chemical Connection. This AOM. This Age of Mythology. Sight the WORD & FEEL the CAVE. You can "Know Thyself" & BE ONE TRIBE!"


Metaphor & Meaning - The Double Helix & The Double Bind?

The Conservation constriction of our Object like Thinking is Blind to Metaphor & Meaning?

"There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven
(And) when she gets there she knows if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for."

Often the millisecond conservation urge of human homeostasis (comfort zone) need stimulates conservative thought, rushing over these words too fast, to assume its about human form & a woman? Yet is the gold she seeks an object or deeper meaning? Is the lady a human woman or Gaia mother nature?

"Ooh ooh ooh...ooh...ooh ooh ooh
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.

There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
In the tree by the brook there's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven

Oooh...It makes me wonder
Oooh...It makes me wonder

There's a feeling I get when I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who stand looking

Oooh...It makes me wonder
Oooh...And it makes me wonder

And it's whispered that soon, if we all called the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forest will echo with laughter

A White Stone in the Book of Revelations?
A Slingshot to the Stars in David & Goliath?
Woe woe woe woe woe oh
If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean for the May Queen
Yes there are two paths you can go by
but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on

And it makes me wonder...ohhh ooh woe

Your head is humming and it won't go -- in case you don´t know
The piper's calling you to join him
Dear lady can you hear the wind blow and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our souls
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last
When all are one and one is all, yeah
To be a rock and not to roll

And she's buying a stairway to heaven." _Led Zeppelin.

Jacob's Ladder - William Blake.
The Double Helix in our DNA?
When I read the lyrics above from the perspective of cellular electro-chemical energy expressing itself through a meaning making mind, the words-metaphors take on entirely different meaning to a normal and objective perception of daily life. The Biblical story of Jacobs Ladder takes on new context, as a mythological interpretation of an unconscious inner journey, rather than literal history? I also wonder what ultimately seeks expression in my impulse to post;

"I guess I could think of those 100 billion neurons in my head & the 100 that are in my gut, as a chemical implant from outer space? Sort of makes me feel we are immersed in it when I metaphor life this way? Is that what quantum mechanics means by oneness & no separation? A chemical Universe? Just a thought? Nothing mysterious after all, just a simple, natural reality?" on November 17th 2011.

I guess I could think of it as an expression of the code written in my DNA, emerging within the reality of an Eternal Now? After all, there are notions that time is an illusion, as is all shape and form and that all that ever was and will be, happened in one eternal moment, and this is it? Which does beg the question about madness experience and what the nature of delusion really is?

In the isolated minds of people like myself, are we wrestling with the same depth of existential awareness that bleeds through every age of our common humanity? Like the reference to the white stone above, which in terms of existential metaphor can be seen as prophetic of the age of our current sense of being? Are our notions of soul a metaphor for the reality of a cosmic sense of being? A cosmos that perceives itself through our eyes?

New Living Translation (©2007)
"Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it."

I do believe that we are in an age when spirituality and science is converging, as science uncovers more of the hidden reality to our meaning making mind, and its attempt to interpret its true purpose. As for the new name in the above verse, I'd rename the human race WUMAN in light of our heaven sent talent for metaphysics and in the hidden manna of our DNA? I do believe we would see that heaven is right where its always been, waiting for our mature perception?

“When you realize that eternity is right here now, that it is within your possibility to
experience the eternity of your own truth and being, then you grasp the following:
That which you are was never born and will never die..” _Joseph Campbell.

I find this in a thoughtless stillness these days, just looking out & seeing, feeling what I'd always rushed over? Although it takes a withdrawal from hustle & bustle into deep stillness to sense this. What comes through for me is the metaphor interpretations of thoughts that reflect on the nature of being & our mind's true purpose? (read more here)

* * * * * * *

In my humble opinion these three conditions, in the Jericho story, refer to the evolution of our triune brain and triune nervous systems?

She tells them how the citizens of Jericho had been fearful of the Israelites ever since they defeated the Egyptians via the Red Sea miracle (some 40 years prior), and agrees to cover for them on condition that she and her family are spared in the upcoming battle. The spies agree provided three conditions are met:

1. She must distinguish her house from the others so the soldiers will know which one to spare
2. Her family must be inside the house during the battle, and
3. She must not later turn in the spies.

The Biblical story of Genesis, as an out of Egypt tale of one tribe, the Israelites (humanity) being led by Joshua (gut instinct), is a tale of human evolution, out of Africa by way of Egypt, towards the West, and the socialization process of our Western civilization. Of course, such a process, like nature herself, is both beautiful and brutal at the same time. With the challenge of our evolving mind (the observer affect) to face up to reality, as it is, and particularly, our human destiny. What are, not just who we are? The Universe perceiving and acting upon itself, for the sake of its long-term survival. Hence our age-old perception of an Eternal Now? In the East, the great prophet we label Buddha (literal translation--awake)parallels the shift in consciousness, which Jesus brings to Christianity? Both, representations of evolution, and the mind's journey through time, in my opinion. Please consider excerpts from a dualistic view of Christianity and Buddhism;

What Buddhists are after:

So this is the experience that the Buddha had and that Buddhists seek – they want to become Enlightened to the real truth of the Four Noble Truths, to the reality of the impermanence and interconnectedness of everything, and to the freedom and peace that result when they wake up to this reality of impermanence. This is what Buddhists are after, what counts most for them. As Christians seek God, Buddhists seek Awakening. You might say that for Buddhists, Awakening is their “Absolute.” But does this mean that the Absolute for Buddhists is a personal experience? Well, yes and no. Yes, Enlightenment is, first of all, one’s own experience. It has to be, for if one “doesn’t get it,” there’s no “it” to talk about.

But there is an “it” – that is, Enlightenment is an experience of something. And that something is the way things are, the way they work. It’s not a “thing” as we usually use that word; it can’t be located here or there, like everything in the world, but even more so, it does not have its own existence. (I told you that Buddhists insist that what they’re talking about is beyond words.)

After Nirvana, one of the most common terms in Buddhism is Sunyata. Elaborated within the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism (the reform movement that set in a few centuries after Buddha’s death), it meant, literally, Emptiness – but not emptiness in the purely negative sense of nothingness (like a room that is empty), (Like the Kaaba?) but emptiness in the sense of being able to receive anything (a room that can be filled). The root “su” means empty/full – “swollen,” not only the hollowness of a balloon, but the potentiality of a pregnant woman. Sunyata attests to the reality that everything does not find its own existence in itself; rather, it is open to, dependent on, and therefore able to contribute to what is other.

That which became manifest in the historical Buddha is termed Dharmakaya, the “body of Dharma.” “Dharma” here indicates both the infinite, unknowable truth of Buddha’s message, and the power this truth has to transform. More practically and personally, Zen Buddhists speak of Emptiness as the “Buddha-nature” that inheres in all sentient beings. Humans, through following the Noble Eightfold Path, can realize and express Buddha-nature in their lives. This mysterious, interrelated Buddha-nature is really our true nature, and we can experience it when we let go of our selfishness and allow ourselves to interact, in giving and receiving, with everything else in the interconnected fabric of reality.

Nirvana/Sunyata (or InterBeing/Groundlessness) is not something that “exists” the way we think everything else exists. It is not a “thing” as we experience other “things;” indeed it is a no-thing (another term some Mahayana Buddhists use). Whereas other “things” have their existence in and through interconnectedness, Sunyata or Nirvana is their connectedness. To use a term not found in the original Buddhist texts but adopted by contemporary Buddhists, Sunyata or Groundlessness might be imaged as a process, indeed, the process itself by which and in which and through which everything has its being. Whoops … I mean its becoming.

It’s right here, now! With this image of InterBeing as an energy field, we Christians can better appreciate what Buddhists, especially of the Mahayana traditions, are leading us to when they go on to insist that “Nirvana is Samsara.” This is a brain-teaser meant seriously to push us into a sense or feeling of the non-duality between what for Buddhists is Ultimate (what counts most for them) and what for all of us is this finite world. “Samsara” is our everyday, work-a-day, suffer-a-day life – our constantly changing, constantly relating worldly existence. This finite reality we call daily life is where we find Nirvana or Emptiness, for Samsara is Nirvana.

“In the future Christians will be mystics, or they will not be anything.” _Karl Rahner.

Christians must be mystics: “God” must be an experience before “God” can be a word. Unless God is an experience, whatever words we might use for the Divine will be without content, like road signs pointing nowhere, like lightbulbs without electricity. Buddha would warn Christians, and I believe Rahner would second the warning: if you want to use words for God, make sure that these words are preceded by, or at least coming out of, an experience that is your own. And it will be the kind of experience that, in some way, will touch you deeply, perhaps stop you in your tracks, fill you with wonder and gratitude, and it will be an experience for which you realize there are no adequate words.

Rahner listed all kinds of ways in which such experiences can take place in everyday life – falling in love, hoping when there is no hope, being overwhelmed by nature, deep moments of prayer or meditation. Often, or usually, such experiences happen before there is any talk or explicit consciousness of “God.” They happen, and some such word as “God” or “Mystery” or “Presence” – or “Silence” – seems appropriate. To put this more in our contemporary context, Buddha has reminded me and all of us Christians that any kind of religious life or church membership must be based on one’s own personal experience. It is not enough to say “amen” to a creed, or obey carefully a law, or attend regularly a liturgy. The required personal experience may be mediated through a community or church, but it has to be one’s own. Without such a personal, mystical happening, one cannot authentically and honestly call oneself religious.

But with it, one is free both to affirm and find meaning in the beliefs and practices of one’s church, and at the same time one is free to criticize one’s religion, which means to stand above, to confront, but at the same time to have patience with one’s religion. Both Buddha and Jesus, because of their own extraordinary mystical experiences, were able to criticize bravely their own religions of Hinduism and Judaism respectfully (Jesus, to the point of getting into serious trouble) but also to affirm and preserve what they found to be true and good in those religions. Mystics are both loyal followers and uncomfortable critics – which, it seems to me, is exactly what Christian churches need today.

I’ve used the word “experience” a lot in the preceding section, mainly in insisting that without some kind of a mystical experience, religion is merely empty sham or shell.

Perhaps the first or dominant adjective that scholars of comparative mysticism use to describe what they mean by mystical experience is unitive. There’s no one way to unpack what they are getting at. To have a mystical or personal religious experience is to feel oneself connected with, part of, united with, aware of, one with, Something or Some-activity larger than oneself. One feels transported beyond one’s usual sense of self as one grows aware of an expanded self, or a loss of self, in the discovery of something beyond words.

Philosopher of religion John Hick describes mystical experience as the shift from self-centeredness to Other-centeredness or Reality-centeredness. Certainly, our description of Buddhist Enlightenment squares with this unitive characteristic of mysticism, even though Buddhists, while strong on loss of self, use deliberately slippery terms for what they’re connected with: Emptiness, Groundlessness, InterBeing. Christian mystics, on the other hand, are very clear about what they are united with. Christian mystical literature abounds with expressions such as “one with Christ,” “temples of the Holy Spirit,” “the Body of Christ,” “Spouses of Christ,” the “Divine indwelling,” “participants in the divine nature.”

the Buddhist notion of dependent origination and InterBeing might open the doors to a deeper grasp of what Thomas Aquinas saw when he announced that God participates in creation, or that we participate in God’s being. Or even more eagerly, I asked whether the Buddhist claim that Nirvana is Samsara can help us make sense of Rahner’s philosophical description of “the supernatural existential” – that is, his startling but perplexing claim that our human condition is not just “human” or purely natural because from the first moment of creation humanity is infused and animated by the grace of God’s very presence. In other words, the “Natural” is really the “Supernatural!” Or could the Buddhist teachings on InterBeing throw dynamic light on Paul Tillich’s elegant proposal (at the time quite revolutionary) that God can most coherently be understood as the Ground of Being?

The only “definition of God” found in the New Testament. The author of John’s first letter announces that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The author is not saying that God is a Father who loves but that God is love. I’m taking the passage literally and carefully when I let this language confirm what I sense and what Buddhists have helped make clear for me: to move beyond, or more deeply into, the common image of God as Father, we can and must speak of love. Why? Because the image of Father tells us (or is supposed to tell us, depending on what kind of father we had) that the very nature of God is love. To love is to move out of self, to empty self, and connect with others. Love is this emptying, connecting, energy that in its power originates new connections and new life. The God who, as Dante tells us, is “the love that moves the moon and the other stars” is the Inter-Being of the stars and the universe.

And therefore, if we Christians really affirm that “God is love” and that Trinity means relationality, then I think the symbol Buddhists use for Sunyata is entirely fitting for our God. God is the field – the dynamic energy field of InterBeing – within which, as we read in the New Testament (but perhaps never really heard), “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Or, from the divine perspective, there is “one God above all things, through all things, and in all things” (Eph. 4:6). This presence “above, through and in” can fittingly and engagingly be imaged as an energy field which pervades and influences us all,

God is the field – the dynamic energy field of Inter-Being – within which, as we read in the New Testament (but perhaps never really heard), “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Or, from the divine perspective, there is “one God above all things, through all things, and in all things” (Eph. 4:6). This presence “above, through and in” can fittingly and engagingly be imaged as an energy field which pervades and influences us all.

What the Buddhists are after – or in Western terms, what makes up their “Ultimate Concern” – is not the knowledge or worship or love of God. It’s Enlightenment. If Christians want to be saved, Buddhists want to be Enlightened. They want to experience Nirvana. And although the experience of Enlightenment or Nirvana is as much beyond the reach of human words as air is beyond the grasp of human hands, still, two of the words that come up most often when Buddhists do indulge in the unwarranted task of talking about Enlightenment are wisdom and compassion. Both words are the fruit of personal experience, not the products of rational thinking.

Wisdom, or prajna, is what one understands, or realizes, or senses when one wakes up to the felt reality that all is in flux and that all is interrelated. In Enlightenment, one sees it and feels it. One’s eyes are opened. And as a result one also sees and feels others differently, and begins to act toward them differently. This different way of acting is described as compassion, or karuna. As all Buddhists recognize, and especially the reforming Mahayanists emphasize, it is impossible to have wisdom without compassion.

For Buddhists there is no original source of evil, no “dark force” either outside us (the devil) or inside us (a sinful nature). If they offer any kind of explanation for evil on the human level – that is, for the depressing frequency and efficiency with which human beings harm each other – Buddhists would say that such “evil” originates not from Satan nor from a sinful nature but from ignorance. More plainly put: we do awful things not because we’re awful but because we’re ignorant.

The two faces of Enlightenment. To see one is also to see the other. Therefore, if you think you are Enlightened but do not feel compassion for all “sentient beings” (not just humans, but all beings who are able to feel), then you’d better go back and check out your Enlightenment. Or, if you are trying to have compassion for all your neighbors but have not experienced your own “no-self” in the web of Inter-Being, you’d better watch out, for your compassion will probably peter out or become contaminated by your own self-seeking ego. These two faces of Enlightenment make sound, philosophical sense, if you do your philosophy based on Buddhist experience. To experience what is called the Emptiness of all individuality, or the reality of InterBeing, is to experience your constitutive connections with others.

Whatever natural or biological concern you have for yourself, that same concern you will also feel toward others. If biology naturally leads you to be concerned about or love yourself, Enlightenment will naturally lead you to be concerned about and love others. You will, in Christian terms, love your neighbor as yourself. If Christians call this a “commandment,” for Buddhists it’s something that comes naturally, as part of the Enlightened experience of Nirvana or Inter-Being. To draw a conclusion from this somewhat more philosophical reflection, if Nirvana, as we said earlier, is not just a personal experience but a Reality in which or as which we exist, then this Reality– also referred to as Emptiness or Dharmakaya or InterBeing – contains, or consists of, or expresses itself through compassion."

Excerpts from “Without Buddha I Could not be a Christian,” by Paul Knitter, Oneworld Publications.

In my opinion, this need of reality to express itself through compassion, as so eloquently described by Paul Knitter, sums up the need for understanding ourselves and the further dissolution of ignorance. In Buddhist thinking, ignorance is the real source of human evil in this world, not some superstitiously, super-natural being. Furthermore, following John Weir Perry's understanding of the processes involved in psychosis, and considering Eckhart Tolle's perfectly rational view that human history, viewed as an individual being, must be considered as insanity. We can reasonably describe the human condition, as a continuum of experience, ranging from our normal neurosis to psychosis. Not only do people in the extreme states of psychosis make affect/images concrete, so too, does our consensus normality.

Yet, once we remove "ignorance" from our self-definition, which in my opinion, has been recently achieved, in professor Stephen Porges "The Polyvagal Theory," and his understanding of our unconscious functioning, as "neuroception". In my opinion, we are slowly waking to new reality, some use the metaphor "evolution," as this age of technology, sees humanity on the threshold of a dream, and the realization of a new age. Its the big secret hidden in full view? Once we let go of our current objectification of nature, particularly our own, in our mechanistic sense of reason, which now passing its use by date. Descartes iconic statement of modernity, "I think, therefore, I am," and its cause and effect logic, is based on an older Clockwork universe perception, which our modern love affair with objects tends to reinforce, in my opinion. Reinforce, because we are mostly ignorant of our own internal function, which thought tends to deny? We don't pause, as Buddhist's suggest to catch the gap, between the spark and flame? We are ignorant of the mind's fundamental "dissociation" from nature, born as it was, in TRAUMA, in my humble opinion. The foundation of the human mind, in my opinion, lies within the reactive nature of our autonomic nervous system, with an innate freeze reaction, creating the millisecond dissociation, we label (a metaphor) our mind? Trauma, has in my opinion, fueled the evolution of our civilization, with its rather uncivil denial of our self-preservation instinct, in the status and rank nature of family and society. Perhaps we need a new Moses to remind us about "idolization" and our disgraceful treatment of Mother Nature? Although I suspect, we will soon face up to the meaning of metaphor, mythology and just what the Biblical narrative really refers too. In the prophesied "Battle of Jericho," less ignorant, human voices are now speaking out. In science, philosophy and religion. Please consider;

* * * * * * *

An Eternal Now & Its Existential Survival Theme:

The Original, Adam & Eve?
As we face up to the great challenge of our TIME, Climate Change. Do need a new way of doing things, or a new way of Being? A new Realization? One Species, One Family, One Destiny? Please consider;

2020: Project Realization. Towards a New Sense of Self & Earth. Re-Defining the Chemistry of Life's Cosmic Nature.

A dream. A future day when all humanity will pause to honor our ancestors in acceptance of our species destiny. Science continues to discover more about reality, both without & within. Reaching for a,
 Cosmic Self-Realization?


Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day 
You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way 
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town 
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way 

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain 
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today 
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you 
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun 

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but its sinking 
And racing around to come up behind you again 
The sun is the same in the relative way, but youre older 
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death 

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time 
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines 
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the english way 
The time is gone, the song is over, thought Id something more to say 

Home, home again 
I like to be here when I can 
And when I come home cold and tired 
Its good to warm my bones beside the fire 
Far away across the field 
The tolling of the iron bell 
Calls the faithful to their knees 
To hear the softly spoken magic spells.

Is there really a dichotomy,  between Science & Religion?

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