5/14/2011

Ten spiritually transmitted diseases


Ten spiritually transmitted diseases:
by Mariana Caplan, PhD
 
1. Fast-Food Spirituality: Mix spirituality with a culture that celebrates speed, multitasking and instant gratification and the result is likely to be fast-food spirituality. Fast-food spirituality is a product of the common and understandable fantasy that relief from the suffering of our human condition can be quick and easy. One thing is clear, however: spiritual transformation cannot be had in a quick fix.

2. Faux Spirituality: Faux spirituality is the tendency to talk, dress and act as we imagine a spiritual person would. It is a kind of imitation spirituality that mimics spiritual realization in the way that leopard-skin fabric imitates the genuine skin of a leopard.

3. Confused Motivations: Although our desire to grow is genuine and pure, it often gets mixed with lesser motivations, including the wish to be loved, the desire to belong, the need to fill our internal emptiness, the belief that the spiritual path will remove our suffering and spiritual ambition, the wish to be special, to be better than, to be "the one."

4. Identifying with Spiritual Experiences: In this disease, the ego identifies with our spiritual experience and takes it as its own, and we begin to believe that we are embodying insights that have arisen within us at certain times. In most cases, it does not last indefinitely, although it tends to endure for longer periods of time in those who believe themselves to be enlightened and/or who function as spiritual teachers.

5. The Spiritualized Ego: This disease occurs when the very structure of the egoic personality becomes deeply embedded with spiritual concepts and ideas. The result is an egoic structure that is "bullet-proof." When the ego becomes spiritualized, we are invulnerable to help, new input, or constructive feedback. We become impenetrable human beings and are stunted in our spiritual growth, all in the name of spirituality.

6. Mass Production of Spiritual Teachers: There are a number of current trendy spiritual traditions that produce people who believe themselves to be at a level of spiritual enlightenment, or mastery, that is far beyond their actual level. This disease functions like a spiritual conveyor belt: put on this glow, get that insight, and -- bam! -- you're enlightened and ready to enlighten others in similar fashion. The problem is not that such teachers instruct but that they represent themselves as having achieved spiritual mastery.

7. Spiritual Pride: Spiritual pride arises when the practitioner, through years of labored effort, has actually attained a certain level of wisdom and uses that attainment to justify shutting down to further experience. A feeling of "spiritual superiority" is another symptom of this spiritually transmitted disease. It manifests as a subtle feeling that "I am better, more wise and above others because I am spiritual."

8. Group Mind: Also described as groupthink, cultic mentality or ashram disease, group mind is an insidious virus that contains many elements of traditional co-dependence. A spiritual group makes subtle and unconscious agreements regarding the correct ways to think, talk, dress, and act. Individuals and groups infected with "group mind" reject individuals, attitudes, and circumstances that do not conform to the often unwritten rules of the group.

9. The Chosen-People Complex: The chosen people complex is not limited to Jews. It is the belief that "Our group is more spiritually evolved, powerful, enlightened and, simply put, better than any other group." There is an important distinction between the recognition that one has found the right path, teacher or community for themselves, and having found The One.

10. The Deadly Virus: "I Have Arrived": This disease is so potent that it has the capacity to be terminal and deadly to our spiritual evolution. This is the belief that "I have arrived" at the final goal of the spiritual path. Our spiritual progress ends at the point where this belief becomes crystallized in our psyche, for the moment we begin to believe that we have reached the end of the path, further growth ceases.
 

5/13/2011

Many identities, one head.

We were discussing dissociative identities last night and there surfaced the observation that pathological psychologies were merely extreme examples of much more common human tendencies, which is to say that nearly everyone harbors characteristic dissociative personal identity states to some degree or another. One symptom of switching identity states is saying one thing in one identity state and then saying the exact opposite after the switch, and being totally unaware of the blatant contradiction. This is not to be confused with bare-faced lying, in which the person knows the falsity of the statement.


Helen Schucman, co-scribe of A Course In Miracles, was diagnosed by her boss and co-scribe, Bill Thetford, as being quite dissociative. In Absence From Felicity, Ken Wapnick  discusses the diagnosis of Helen's dissociative identities in a chapter titled Beyond Heaven and Helen: The Priestess, "My primary focus in this book has been the two sides of Helen's personality." Others have used the phrases, "Helen and Hell" or "St. Helen and the Bitch."


I suppose that coming to the office each day with Helen must have been a continuing game of The Lady or the Tiger. Which is it today?


Here is more than you ever wanted to know about the history of the dissociative disorder, adapted from Wikipedia.


In Roman mythology, the god Janus was described as having "two-faces", but primarily, before the 19th century, people exhibiting symptoms similar to those were believed to be possessed by demons.


An intense interest in spiritualism, parapsychology, and hypnosis continued throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hypnotists reported what they thought were second personalities emerging during hypnosis and wondered how two minds could coexist. The 19th century saw a number of reported cases of multiple personalities which Rieber estimated would be close to 100. Epilepsy was seen as a factor in some cases,and discussion of this connection continues into the present era. The public, however, was exposed to psychological ideas which took their interest. Mary Shelley's 1818 Frankenstein, or; The Modern Prometheus, had a formidable impact.


By the late 19th century there was a general acceptance that emotionally traumatic experiences could cause long-term disorders which might display a variety of symptoms. These conversion disorders were found to occur in even the most resilient individuals, but with profound effect in someone with emotional instability like Louis Vivé (1863-?) who suffered a traumatic experience as a 13 year-old when he encountered a viper. Vivé was the subject of countless medical papers and became the most studied case of dissociation in the 19th century.


Between 1880 and 1920, many great international medical conferences devoted a lot of time to sessions on dissociation. It was in this climate that Jean-Martin Charcot introduced his ideas of the impact of nervous shocks as a cause for a variety of neurological conditions. One of Charcot's students, Pierre Janet, took these ideas and went on to develop his own theories of dissociation. One of the first individuals diagnosed with multiple personalities to be scientifically studied was Clara Norton Fowler. American neurologist Morton Prince studied Fowler between 1898 and 1904, describing her case study in his 1906 monograph, Dissociation of a Personality.


Published in 1886 Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is well known known for its portrayal of a split personality.


In the early 20th century interest in dissociation and multiple personalities waned for a number of reasons. After Charcot's death in 1893, many of his so-called hysterical patients were exposed as frauds, and Janet's association with Charcot tarnished his theories of dissociation. Sigmund Freud recanted his earlier emphasis on dissociation and childhood trauma.


A review of the Index Medicus from 1903 through 1978 showed a dramatic decline in the number of reports of multiple personality after the diagnosis of schizophrenia became popular, especially in the United States. A number of factors helped create a large climate of skepticism and disbelief; paralleling the increased suspicion of DID was the decline of interest in dissociation as a laboratory and clinical phenomenon.


Starting in about 1927, there was a large increase in the number of reported cases of schizophrenia, which was matched by an equally large decrease in the number of multiple personality reports.Bleuler also included multiple personality in his category of schizophrenia. It was concluded in the 1980s that DID patients are often misdiagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia.


In 1957, with the publication of the book The Three Faces of Eve and the popular movie which followed it, the American public's interest in multiple personality was revived. During the 1970s an initially small number of clinicians campaigned to have it considered a legitimate diagnosis.


Between 1968 and 1980 the term that was used for dissociative identity disorder was "Hysterical neurosis, dissociative type". The APA wrote: "In the dissociative type, alterations may occur in the patient's state of consciousness or in his identity, to produce such symptoms as amnesia, somnambulism, fugue, and multiple personality."


The highly influential book Sybil was published in 1974, which popularized the diagnosis through a detailed discussion of the problems and treatment of the pseudonymous Sybil. Six years later, the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder appeared in the DSM III. Controversy over the iconic case has since arisen, with some calling Sybil's diagnosis the result of the therapist's methods, while others have defended the treatment and reputation of Sybil's therapist, Cornelia B. Wilbur. As media coverage spiked, diagnoses climbed. There were 200 reported cases of DID (dissociative identity disorder) as of 1980, and 20,000 from 1980 to 1990. Joan Acocella reports that 40,000 cases were diagnosed from 1985 to 1995. The majority of diagnoses are made in North America, particularly the United States, and in English-speaking countries more generally with reports recently emerging from other countries.

4/29/2011

Terence McKenna's Final Interview



From Wikipedia

Terence Kemp McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000) was an American researcher, philosopher, speaker, spiritual teacher and writer on many subjects. His works is wide-scoped, ranging from consciousness, the human experience, psychedelic substances and their role in societies, evolution of civilizations, origin of the universe to aliens.

http://www.realitysandwich.com/node/93685
http://www.hazarddp.com/?page_id=2

3/30/2011

Oldest Christian texts discovered?

Margaret Barker is an authority on New Testament history and she has been called upon to help investigate the origins of a collection of relics which could be the earliest example of Christian text. Barker, of Borrowash England, is examining photographs of the "metal books" found in a cave in Jordan. It is thought the artefacts might be almost 2,000 years old, and they could be unique evidence of Christian activity as early as 33AD


There are about 70 of the books, each made of between five and 15 "leaves" about the size of a credit card and bound by lead rings. They were apparently found by a Jordanian Bedouin between 2005 and 2007, when a flash flood exposed two niches inside a cave, and have since been taken to Israel.

Archaeologist David Elkington is heading a British team trying to unravel the mysteries of the books and to get them safely into a Jordanian museum. He contacted Mrs Barker on the advice of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Mr Elkington admits the books have attracted intense interest.

During the course of his research, he said he and his wife had been shot at and received death threats.

11/30/2010

Soul Group Journal - November 30, 2010


Have Scientists Finally Discovered Evidence for Psychic Phenomena?!

Dr. Daryl Bem, a social psychologist at Cornell University, conducted a series of experiments that will soon be published in the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Bem tested the idea that our brain has the ability to not only reflect on past experiences, but also anticipate future experiences. This ability for the brain to "see into the future" is often referred to as psi phenomena.

"The term psi denotes anomalous processes of information or energy transfer that are currently unexplained in terms of known physical or biological mechanisms. Two variants of psi are precognition (conscious cognitive awareness) and premonition (affective apprehension) of a future event that could not otherwise be anticipated through any known inferential process. Precognition and premonition are themselves special cases of a more general phenomenon: the anomalous retroactive influence of some future event on an individual’s current responses, whether those responses are conscious or nonconscious, cognitive or affective. This article reports 9 experiments, involving more than 1,000 participants, that test for retroactive influence by “timereversing” well-established psychological effects so that the individual’s responses are obtained before the putatively causal stimulus events occur. Data are presented for 4 time-reversed effects: precognitive approach to erotic stimuli and precognitive avoidance of negative stimuli; retroactive priming; retroactive habituation; and retroactive facilitation of recall. All but one of the experiments yielded statistically significant results." – from Bem's pre-publication abstract, Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect

Bem did find that certain people demonstrate stronger effects than others. In particular, people high in stimulus seeking - an aspect of extraversion where people respond more favorably to novel stimuli - showed effect sizes nearly twice the size of the average person. This suggests that some people are more sensitive to psi effects than others. - Psychology TodayReality Sandwich



Ben Okri, author

"Beware [be aware] of the stories you read or tell;
subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness,
they are altering your world."
— Ben Okri

"Only those who truly love and who are truly strong can sustain their lives as a dream. You dwell in your own enchantment. Life throws stones at you, but your love and your dream change those stones into the flowers of discovery. Even if you lose, or are defeated by things, your triumph will always be exemplary. And if no one knows it, then there are places that do. People like you enrich the dreams of the worlds, and it is dreams that create history. People like you are unknowing transformers of things, protected by your own fairy-tale, by love." — Ben Okri

Ben Okri (born 15 March 1959) is a Nigerian poet and novelist. Having spent his early childhood in London, he and his family returned to Nigeria in 1968. He later came back to England, embarking on studies at the University of Essex. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Westminster (1997) and the University of Essex (2002), and was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 2001.

Since he published his first novel, Flowers and Shadows (1980), Okri has risen to an international acclaim, and he is often described as one of Africa's greatest writers. His best known work, The Famished Road, was awarded the 1991 Booker Prize. He has also won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa, the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, and was given a Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Okri has been described as a magic realist, although he has shrugged off that tag. His first-hand experiences of civil war in Nigeria are said to have inspired many of his works. He writes about both the mundane and the metaphysical, the individual and the collective, drawing the reader into a world with vivid descriptions.

Ben Okri discusses his approach to writing on YouTube

Books by Ben Okri



Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth, by Eric Herm

A run-in with Roundup herbicide was a transformative episode in farmer Eric Herm’s shift toward sustainable agriculture. A fourth-generation farmer, Herm tells the tale in the book Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth: A Path to Agriculture’s Higher Consciousness (Dream River Press)

Eric Herm grew up on a cotton farm near Ackerly, Texas. He left the farm to pursue other interests, traveling to various places across the world before returning to his roots. Upon arriving back on his family farm, he noticed many changes in not only the landscape but the methods of commercial agriculture that were causing more long-term problems. He began searching for answers to these problems, slowly discovering healthier organic methods which provided the inspiration for his book, Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth.



A large supercell thunderstorm cloud over Montana, July, 2010

Photo by Sean R. Heavey



11/04/2010

Image of a deep space traveler

Image of a deep space traveler. Comet Hartley II - November 4, 2010



NASA's Deep Impact (EPOXI) probe completed its flyby of comet Hartly 2 today, and it is now in the process of beaming back its collected data. This is the first photo available from the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL).