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Posts Tagged ‘Cognitive’

There comes a time in life when many begin reorienting their priorities to a more spiritual trajectory.  In numerous cultures this transition is an expected and time honored tradition for those of a certain experiential stage.  Secure in their identities, their position in society and the well being of their families many begin abandoning their worldly concerns to work on understanding and pursuing the higher elements of existence.  However, this is not always a joyous process spawned by personal satisfaction.  In his book Embodied Spirituality in a Sacred World, (2003, SUNY, Albany,) Michael Washburn claims this transition often occurs because social and personal routine creates a sense of deep alienation which in turn stimulates a long dormant psychological realm within the human mind.  For Washburn this “crossroads” stage serves as the fulcrum for a detailed examination of the process of human psychological and spiritual development from the neonatal stage all the way to full spiritual awakening. 

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Last Updated on Thursday, 6 October 2011 04:22
A Case for Panpsychism

The essence of Transpersonal study revolves around elements of experience occurring outside the norm.  It’s a uniquely subjective field investigating phenomena that frequently elude conventional scientific scrutiny.  It assumes the existence of unseen forces driving human intuition, belief and behavior.  Despite this avowed respect for the non empirical there nonetheless remain certain epistemological biases in many who study these experiences. This is understandable.  For those whose scientific understanding is rooted within the positivist and objective tradition, the tendency to force this same paradigm upon the unseen phenomena they encounter is all too common.

Within the field of anthropology this form of ‘transpersonal scientism” is most evident when studying the spiritual beliefs of traditional cultures; particularly those with deep animist orientations.  The overwhelming tendency is to assume there to be only symbolic or metaphoric reality regarding claims that certain objects or entities possess mind or spirits.  Those rites and rituals designed to muster or placate such forces are labeled with such common psychological pathologies as transference, archaic sublimation or base superstition. 

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 July 2010 09:47
Return To The Garden?

Modern science, our beloved paradigm of truth has failed to show us the spiritual light.  Compounding its shortcomings, like a petulant loser unable to admit its inadequacies, science often reverts to trivializing and deconstructing the mystical and transcendent to the point of irrelevance.  Though imperious empiricists may be quick to dismiss the realm of the unseen, for the rest of us the questions of our spiritual being still persist.  As such, like a new breed of existential explorer many contemporary people feel we must look to the culturally remote, pre-modern peoples of the planet in search of the ultimate answers.  Like modern Transcendentalists we’re convinced something as basic and pure as the nature of being must lurk in places of similar character.  Places of yore where the innocents remain uncontaminated by the taint of modernity; where idyllic life styles coexist with the forces and principles of creation.  In desperation our imaginations run wild.  We’re convinced the pre-moderns hold the answers to our mystical awakening.  

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Last Updated on Friday, 23 July 2010 12:57

Scientists of every stripe are always looking for “unitive theories.”  One grand idea neatly integrating all the diverse elements of their study into a nice tidy bundle.  In a world of caveats and exceptions such packages are hard to find.  Fortunately, there is no shortage of ambitious souls willing to try.  In two complementary books, Science and the Akashic Field and The Akashic Experience, (Rochester, Vermont-Inner Traditions,) the Hungarian Systems Theorist, Ervin Laszlo tries to integrate consciousness with the cosmos and through the process offer a startling perspective on the essence of human existence.

The Akashic Field, (or record or chronicle,) was a concept much in vogue in Theosophical circles in the early 20th century.  Akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning “ether.”  The gist of the theory asserts

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Last Updated on Sunday, 12 March 2017 09:01