American teachings use the idea of shields to describe how we meet, receive and respond to the world, and I have found some equivalencies in Eastern teachings, as well. I’ll tell you about a few that I’ve learned, and then we’ll expand those ideas to embrace the core ideas of this book.
This process is the transformation of the self, even to the extent that we no longer recognize ourselves although, oddly, something in us will then recognize our ‘new’ self as being what we really are, or at least what we started out to be. Then, in a way, we are like the seedling of some wonderful tree which has been overtaken by a parasitic plant until very little of the original tree is recognizable – it may have become dwarfed, hollowed (...) out or even killed by the parasite, which is our egoic mask. With meticulous pruning and therapy, the tree can be uncovered and possibly healed, but then it will be a test of the tree’s original nature and soil to see whether it will endure and grow straight and tall, with roots that will hold against adversity. For this purpose, I have assembled twelve steps to describe the transformational process (consider it coincidental that the alcoholic recovery program also has twelve steps but there is, inevitably, some correspondence between the two systems). Although I describe these steps here as if they were a progression, you’ll find that they really work in parallel or in stages wherein first one line will seem emphasized, and then another at a different point in your evolution. These steps induce a gradual change in our psychic shape (the way that we fit with each other and with our circumstances), and also they are an alchemic progression, in that each prepares our neurochemical apparatus to attune to the next stage more readily. (shrink)
The author proposes a field as a new sub-branch of psychology, called Esoteric Psychology. This would be a sub-branch of Cognitive Psychology. The author claims that even the newest forms of psychology are not able to investigate special or higher states of consciousness, due to being too externally oriented; that is, standing outside of the subjective space of the subject. The author cites a wealth of information and guidance which has come down to us from ancient times, and which is (...) practiced in the forms of shamanism, certain religions, martial arts and yoga; he claims that these can be organized and used to deliberately attain the desired states and, in these states, the scholar-practitioner will be able to study, understand and assist in new therapies and larger ideas than otherwise. The aspiration is that the subconscious and unconscious minds could be better understood and accessed, and also legendary features of the mind could be apprehended, such as miracles and the supernatural. The author claims that, in so doing, ‘reality’ could be transformed and the general consciousness of society could be uplifted. (shrink)
Even though there are many views on consciousness theory in the pertinent literature, there remains a need for a unifying framework for specifying the features of specific states of consciousness. In order to know what kinds of experiences conscious states have in common, researchers need to elicit testimony that is more direct and finer-grained than has been previously available. This dissertation endeavors to fill a gap in current research by addressing concepts and methods for making requisite distinctions and illuminates the (...) question of whether specific states of consciousness can be reliably and validly distinguished from each other. In order to do this, 41 individuals were invited to be interviewed. The interview was designed as a conversational-type synthesis of 5 well-known questionnaires pertinent to states of consciousness, but without their explicit and implicit assumptions; that is, the volunteers’ responses would not conform to predetermined questions. Encoding their responses allowed me to develop a model that helped to answer the research question (“Are there identifiable features that can reliably and validly distinguish among states of consciousness thought to be distinct from each other?”) by formulating a model in which any given conscious state can be catalogued in terms of its component factors (background, resistances, setting, induction, tradition, energies, and breakthrough events). The results of this study provide much-needed insights into people’s internal experiences of their various states, thus forming a basis for improved treatments and analyses. Better understanding of these states can be an impetus for social change by allowing for more incisive analyses and treatments, as well as fostering improved interpersonal communications. (shrink)