No real problem. But if my bookshelf is full of philosophy, religious history, theology and the biographies of religious people, oh dear, watch out. But the truth is that I happen to love theology and religious philosophy. I find the subject very interesting, challenging, deep and relevant — far more relevant and meaningful that football, or sport generally, or trains, or fiction books. My own penchant is for American Crime Fiction from the nineteen fifties.
Then throw into this mix the fact that I was eventually diagnosed as borderline manic depressive or bipolar. I suffer mainly from periods of depression and every now and again there is an unsettling upheaval caused by a manic period, which have wrecked relationships and caused major schisms or fault lines in my life and cost me a lot of money.
In my worst period in my mid twenties, I really did think at one point that men in white coats were going to drag me away to some institution. Such instability took me on a search for a good psychological foundation, a solid ground, a worldview that would act as an anchor in such times of upheaval — and that meant a deeper religious or spiritual quest.
I actually started going to church before my bipolar condition really emerged — there was a good youth club there. It was as mercenary as that. I enjoyed the friendship, sense of community and activities. But then came a number of mystical experiences — deep personal encounters with the Divine which. Eventually I left the church to follow a different spiritual course.
Periods of depression led me to popular self-help psychology books and from there I moved to a more systematic study and obtained a University degree majoring in psychology. But was there some truth in what people were saying? Could my mystical experiences just be explained away in psychological terms?
Was I suffering from religious mania? Hence this book.
The text that follows was extensively revised about eighteen months after it was first written. No real changes were made to the conclusions, but the study was restructured to some degree to present the contents in a more natural sequence. Some repetitive sections were removed and some new sections were added to clarify and expand certain important themes. The study is a general, sweeping overview of a deep and complex subject.
ISBN 13: 9781553695073
I guess entire books could be written on some of the sections, but I could not and did not want to write an overly technical study, though I think that most people will find it deep enough, but rather I wanted to write more generally and expansively, to get the broad sweep and flavour of the theme. The Further Reading section at the end will give those readers who want more depth plenty to muse upon. Rob Laynton May Further reading References. Then the nature and role of beliefs, faith and meaning will be explored.
I will then discuss myth, faith and folklore, together with modes of being with reference to Julian Jaynes and the Bicameral mind and the work of Arthur Deikman and the Observing Self, before considering the individual mystic and their experience. In this discussion I shall consider the nature of the self and our conceptual constructs of the world around us. I will then explore mystical world-views, and degrees of transcendence, drawing out a general philosophy before then moving the discussion on as to whether we can prove the existence of the Divine or not.
During this discussion I shall explore the nature of reality. I conclude by looking at different principles of interpreting the content of mystical experience. Robert Laynton was born in England in and continues to live there. He has also been diagnosed as being borderline bipolar.
Their experiences are described as mystical or Transcendent and they are often called mystics. What exactly is mystical experience? How is it valued in society? How is it understood in the community? Can such experiences be explained by biological means alone? Are such just mentally ill, or suffering some sort of mental aberration?
Are all such people just deluded? Are they just experiencing hallucinations or illusions? Do they have religious mania? Are they eccentric, just plain ill or is there a spiritual dimension to be accessed which rational, western viewpoints mistakenly dismiss? As William James and others have remarked, such an experience is usually accompanied by feelings of reverence and awe; the experience is highly valued and is felt to be a more direct perception of reality than is possible ordinarily.
Such an intuitive experience is called mystical because it is considered beyond the scope of language to convey. Indeed, some descriptions may simply contradict other descriptions of the Divine. This identification of the person or self as Divine is opposed to the more usual sole identification of ourselves as being a finite body-self: in other words, a mind housed in a finite body. In other words, they vary in degree.
For descriptive purposes we can group these experiences into 1 untrained-sensate, 2 trained-sensate, and 3 trained-transcendent. Untrained-sensate applies to experiences occurring in people not regularly engaged in meditation, prayer, or other spiritual exercises. Apparently, anyone can have a sensate-mystical experience. Such experiences feature intense emotional, perceptual,. Thus, for example, we have an account of a person having a classical mystical experience, occurring with no particular stimulus at all, arising from a state of quietness: All at once, without warning of any kind, he found himself wrapped around as it were by a flame coloured cloud.
For an instant he thought of fire, some sudden conflagration in the great city, the next he knew that the light was within himself. Directly afterwards he found himself in a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination that was quite impossible for him to describe. The untrained sensate and the trained-sensate states are phenomenologically indistinguishable, but the reports of trained mystics are usually expressed in the language of the religious conceptual system in which they are trained.
As one might expect, a mystical experience that occurs as a result of training, with the support and direction of a formal religious or spiritual social structure and ideology, tends to have a more significant psychological effect. However, there are also accounts of spontaneous conversion experiences that are noteworthy for their influence on a person's life.
It is typical of all mystical experience that it more or less fades away, leaving only a memory or longing for that which was experienced. The trained transcendent or enlightenment experiences are said to have more permanent effects, but even in those cases, training is continued for a long time until the person has realized the experience in his everyday life.
It would seem that mystical experiences form a progression when they occur as part of a specific spiritual discipline. Mystics such as St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, and various commentators together with Eastern mystic literature generally divide the phenomena and the stages or levels through which mystics progress into a preliminary experience of strong emotion and ideation sensate and a higher experience - the ultimate goal that goes beyond emotion or conceptualisation, transcendent.
It is this latter experience, occurring almost always in association with long training, that characterizes the trained-transcendent group. It is the mysterious darkness wherein is concealed the limitless good. To such an extent are we admitted and absorbed into something that is one, simple, divine, and illimitable, that we seem no longer distinguishable from it… In this unity, the feeling of multiplicity disappears. When, afterwards, these persons come to themselves again, they find themselves possessed of a distinct knowledge of things, more luminous and more perfect than of others…This state is called the ineffable obscurity…This obscurity is a light to which no created intelligence can arrive by its own nature.
They may swing from moods of deep depression to periods of overactive, excitable behaviour known as mania. Between these severe highs and lows can be stable times. The number and frequency of these periods of depression and mania vary from person to person: some people will experience just one or two episodes, whereas others will have many episodes of depression or mania.
Also, some people see or hear things that others around them don't known as having visual or auditory hallucinations or delusions. A sufferer may be quite unaware of these changes in their attitude or behaviour and after a manic phase is over, they may be quite shocked at what they've done and the effect that it has had. Though mania may flare up periodically, depression is the most consistent symptom which may also provoke suicidal feelings. It usually starts during or after the teenage years and it is unusual for it to start after the age of Men and women are affected equally.
Stressful events, illness or lack of support can trigger individual episodes of illness. When avoidance is either not possible or not appropriate, then people can learn to take steps to protect themselves at an early stage from the consequences of such situations. Furthermore, and in contrast to views about schizophrenia for instance, it was assumed that people were actually quite well in between the episodes that brought them to the attention of psychiatric services.
More recent work has, however, indicated that although some people do indeed cope very well with their lives for the vast majority of the time, there are a lot of people who have to cope with significant levels of symptoms even when they are 'well'. In other words, many sufferers do not have sufficient symptoms to be said to be clinically depressed or manic but may at the same time have combinations of symptoms that serve to make day-to-day life very difficult.
These figures are quoted to emphasise the seriousness of the problem that people with this diagnosis have to deal with. There is no single type of person who. Feeling depressed or down is a normal reaction to events in our lives. A depressive episode is diagnosed if five or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer. This is diagnosed if there is a period of a week or more during which a person feels unusually good, high, excited, hyper or irritable.
This can be so extreme that the sufferer loses contact with reality and starts to believe strange things, have poor judgement and behave in embarrassing, harmful or even dangerous ways.
Manic Depression: An Overview
This may be accompanied by:. Often the person will appear euphoric with an overwhelming sense of well-being and selfimportance. The content of these is usually in keeping with the euphoric mood and the unrealistic sense of great self-importance. Bipolar I: Here there has been at least one high, or manic episode, which has lasted for longer than one week.
Some people with Bipolar I will have only manic episodes, although most will also have periods of depression. Untreated, manic episodes generally last 3 to 6 months. Depressive episodes last rather longer - 6 to 12 months without treatment. Rapid cycling: With this, more than four mood swings happen in a 12 month period.
Rapid cycling tends to develop later in the course of illness and is more common among women than among men. Some people argue that mania is incompatible with mystical experience because in the manic stage the mind is racing, over active e. In my experience I have found the manic stage to be more complex than that. I have found at least two stages, one that is positive; and one that is negative. Whilst it is true that the negative stage itself is not compatible with mystical experience, the positive stage is more conducive to mysticism.
It refers primarily to delusions, hallucinations and other severe thought disturbances. For example, being convinced that a ball of newspaper in the street is a dead sheep, or that a rope is a snake. For example, people may have delusions of grandiosity where the sufferer may believe that they are the Prime Minister or have special powers or wealth and these may occur during mania; whereas delusions of guilt or worthlessness, such.
Schizophrenia then is considered to be primarily a thought disorder: with the person suffering from delusions which are held with absolute conviction and experienced as self-evident truths, typically of great personal significance and which are not amenable to reason or modifiable by experience. The content of these delusions is unlikely or fantastic and is not shared by those of a common social or cultural background. For example, believing that the birds in the garden are singing in Greek.
These delusions often have a religious or political content. Other qualities include sentences spoken by the sufferer being incomplete and rambling and phrases or sentences are not logically connected. There may be sudden changes in direction or irrelevances. Abstract ideas are not processed properly — e. An idea of the peculiar flavour of schizophrenic thought can be given by referring to a letter written by Ivor Gurney, a talented composer and First World War poet, who, from the age of 33, spent the last fifteen years of his life in an asylum.
He developed auditory hallucinations and delusions that he was tortured by wireless waves and could converse with the great composers and that he had in fact written much of their music. Nature, now sombre, sometimes says tremendous things, and sometimes lightly, as of the biographer of F. I ask for some money, please, and a small poetry book if there is one modern if it can be got. It is marked by severely impaired reasoning as well as emotional instability and can cause violent behaviour.
Schizophrenics are often unable to make sense of the signals they receive from the world around them. If untreated, most people with schizophrenia gradually withdraw from the outside world. There is some thought that what psychiatrists call schizophrenia is actually a number of different conditions classified under a single heading. While there is evidence that genetic factors have a role in developing schizophrenia, other unknown causes play a significant part as well.
Thus there are several competing theories as to what does cause the illness: Heredity: Research shows that the condition tends to run in families: a person with schizophrenic relatives is ten times as likely to develop schizophrenia as someone who has no history of the disease in the family.
Viral infection: Some researchers have argued that schizophrenia is caused by a virus that attacks the brain. The virus is thought to attack the part of the brain that interprets messages from the senses. Damage to this part of the brain may account for a person's delusions and hallucinations. Chemical imbalance: A popular theory is that schizophrenia is caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry electrical messages between nerve cells.
However there is still no agreement as to which, if any of these theories is correct, or whether it is caused by a combination of factors. Therefore, because schizophrenia's. Most sufferers have some, but not all, of these symptoms. For example, some patients believe that God, the FBI, or alien beings talk to them and tell them how to behave. He or she may also have trouble carrying out routine tasks such as tying shoelaces, washing, or getting dressed.
It is estimated that 1 percent of the world's population has schizophrenia, therefore millions of people worldwide are affected by it. Another way to express the prevalence of schizophrenia at any give time is the number of individuals affected per 1, total population. In the United States that figure is 7. This means that a city of 3 million people will have over 21, individuals suffering from schizophrenia.
People diagnosed with schizophrenia make up about half of all patients in psychiatric hospitals and may occupy as many as one quarter of the world's hospital beds. Schizophrenia can affect people of any age, race, sex, social class, level of education, or ethnic background. Slightly more men than women develop the condition. Schizophrenia is rarely diagnosed in children, though it has been reported in children as young as five years of age. Historically, people with these afflictions have been defined as "mad" or "insane" or were believed to be possessed by evil spirits.
Those suffering from mental illness were often beaten, tortured, or locked up in special facilities. Psychiatrists today recognize five subtypes of schizophrenia: 1 Paranoid schizophrenia - Those diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia tend to suffer from delusions and hallucinations.
For instance, a person may believe he or she is someone other than who he or she really is. A person suffering from a paranoid delusion may believe, unrealistically, that someone intends to do them harm. Hallucinations often take the form of hearing imaginary voices and a patient may believe that he or she is receiving messages from a supernatural or unknown source. Although people with paranoid schizophrenia have relatively normal emotions and cognitive thinking functions, compared to those who suffer other forms of schizophrenia, their delusions and hallucinations, put them at high risk of violent or suicidal behaviour.
They may act in a silly way or withdraw from the world. A patient may stand or walk in peculiar patterns, may repeat certain motions over and over again, or become rigid and unmoving for long periods of time. It can be disturbing, unsettling and appear unconventional. Some may achieve a strong sense of self by considering themselves as Divine, for what can be stronger than to identify with the Absolute? There is also a very strong link between schizophrenia and mysticism. People who go through schizophrenic stages or conditions also often experience great mystic awareness: the divine is very close to these people because of their hallucinations positive schizophrenia.
Currently, psychologists are looking at the similarities and differences between the experiences, hoping to shed light on the nature, process and treatment of psychosis. Kenneth Wapnick concluded that both schizophrenics and mystics follow basically the same developmental path, but differ in preparation for that process. Joseph Campbell observed that the schizophrenic is drowning in the same waters in. When research was conducted, neuro physicians and scientists came to know about the neural pathways of spirituality or mysticism and changes of brain structure and they proved to be the same during both schizophrenia and mysticism.
Yet many patients recovered from their illness by experiencing mysticism during schizophrenia. Even so, differences can be teased out. May respond inappropriately to the needs and concerns of others. Responds empathically to the needs and concerns of others. The ancient lineage of psychotherapy is seldom appreciated because Western culture considers psychotherapy as a relatively recent development of psychiatry and to be one of its subdivisions.
While it is true that psychiatry, a category of scientific medicine, is a modern development, psychotherapy has been associated with the sacred for thousands of years. Historians of psychotherapy acknowledge priests and shamans as the first to heal the psyche. A sorcerer, his head crowned with deer's antlers, is depicted on the wall of a cave in southern France, dating from 15, B. Psychotherapists of one sort or another have been around a long time. Formal psychotherapy originated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when treatment was taken over from the clergy by rationalistic medicine and it eventually became the specialty of psychiatry.
Psychiatry at first dealt primarily with madness, but Freud's psychoanalysis extended psychiatry and psychotherapy to neurotic and character problems as well. The scope of formal psychotherapy has been progressively enlarged and is now concerned with problems of existential human suffering - the traditional domain of religion, from which psychotherapy historically originated.
Psychotherapy appears to have come full circle then. Although the modern version is quite different from the archaic ceremonies that featured magic, taboos, gods and dramatic rituals of exorcism and so on, there have been changes other than appearance. The marriage of psychotherapy to rational medicine has given it a systematic understanding of neurotic and psychotic syndromes and refined technical procedures. However, Western science is characterized by a split between the sacred and the rational, which has left modern psychotherapy less well equipped than the superseded ancient, primitive versions to handle certain problems.
The loss of dramatic placebo devices is not the difficulty: the issue goes deeper, involving the most fundamental assumptions of Western thought. Freud's view of reality and indeed the view of most contemporary theorists of psychotherapy is based on a nineteenth-century physical and biological scientific model that is far too narrow to encompass human subjectivity. Consequently, certain sources of suffering cannot be dealt with from within a Western framework. We are faced with major problems that call for the broadening of our perspective and the extending of our science.
The oral teachings recorded in the Upanishads, Buddhist sutras and similar records go back thousands of years and provide evidence that mystical teachers of widely different cultures sometimes say remarkably similar things. They were also concerned with human suffering and they propose that human beings are ignorant of their true nature and that this ignorance leads to lives of pain and futility.
The sages describe a Way that leads to a higher level of existence - one infinitely more desirable than the level on which most people conduct their lives. The mystical tradition does not offer therapy in the usual sense of that word, but achieving the goal of mysticism - experiencing the Real Self - is said to cure human suffering because its very basis of suffering is thereby removed. Often confused with religion, the mystical tradition occupies a place of its own. Religion and mysticism are both concerned with the sacred realm, but most religions tend to focus on externals and exteriors, whereas mysticism focuses on our Inner Self.
Non-dualistic mysticism goes even further, seeing all that is as an expression of the One Unified Absolute. This Undifferentiated Absolute is Transcendent of all yet Immanent in all — therefore the often unrecognised Real Self of each human being, their True Nature and Ground of. While "I am Absolute" is the fundamental realization of mysticism, it is a blasphemous concept in many religions, and often perceived as a delusion in psychotherapy. Because both religion and mysticism respond to the perception of the sacred, the work of mystics historically took place within a religious context although it remained distinct from the activities of everyday religious practices.
For example the wandering monks for whom the Upanishads were written often did not perform Hindu sacrifices and rituals, but followed special practices imparted in secret by their teacher. The monks, usually thought of by laypersons as part of an established religious tradition, were actually following a teaching that said that the ordinary, external forms and concepts of religion were illusions that one must transcend.
A similar situation prevailed for Zen monks who pursued their training in the context of Buddhism. Western culture often overlooks the distinction between religion and mysticism, especially in the psychological and psychiatric literature. This is unfortunate because the mystical emphasis on self-development makes it consonant with modern psychotherapy. The mystical tradition has been concerned with the very problems that modern psychotherapy has been unable to resolve.
It makes sense, therefore, to investigate mysticism with a view to dealing more effectively with those problems and gaining wisdom as human beings. Psychiatry in this analogy is like an over-zealous lifeguard who can't tell the difference between drowning and swimming. Everybody he sees in the water is run over by his rescue boat, knocked unconscious and hauled out with a boat hook and most of the people rescued: swimmers and drowners alike are crippled in the process. The lifeguard, who can't swim himself, denies that swimming is possible and claims that the crippling that people suffer is actually caused by the drowning experience rather than the rescue.
This is confirmed by raucous praise for the lifeguard from many of the crippled drowners and their relatives. The crowd of spectators on the beach are divided: a few of them can tell the difference between swimming and drowning, but most of them can't and the crowd is persuaded by the drowners and their relatives to support the lifeguard's tactics. Swimmers who aren't too badly crippled and who want to go back into the water have to learn how to swim without splashing so as not to attract attention from the crowds who are adoring the lifeguard.
It's important for those who know how to swim to maintain this skill of swimming without splashing so that it can be passed on to others. Common sense would indicate that an ability to swim should be a prerequisite for appointment as a lifeguard. Perhaps this will happen one day.
Quadrant 2 is concerned with objects that make up the individual and which can be measured and observed: brain structures, brain activity, heart rate, biochemical processes, neuronal pathways e. Quadrant 3 is also concerned with observation and objective measurable facts, Quadrant 4 is also concerned with groups or collectives, but this quadrant is concerned with shared meanings and values present in cultures and groups.
What is considered here if you like is the group psyche rather that the individual psyche. All these facets are important as we consider out theme. There appears to be substantial agreement between developmental theories and approaches as to these various stages or sequence of levels in each line. Radiating out from the centre, then, are diagonal lines of developmental stages within each quadrant. See figure 2. For example there are lines of linguistic, aesthetic, moral, spiritual, intellectual and mathematical development all spiralling out from the centre.
Thus it is that a person may be clever, but morally reprobate, or have high artistic ability yet not be linguistically fluent. The idea of stages or levels may be most familiar to us in the example of our progression through childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood. The theories of thinkers such as Piaget or Freud merely put in more stages and levels to create a greater differential. In the natural world we can illustrate these stages of development by saying an acorn develops into a sapling which then develops into a Note that with both these illustrations, the order of progression is fixed and that a later stage contains aspects and qualities that an earlier stage does not: a sapling has leaves, an acorn does not; and an oak tree is not just a giant acorn.
We can also note for example that adolescence does not come before childhood and an adult is not just a giant baby. Of course people can and do differ about the details of such a diagram, but it is presented here in a simple form, as a reasonable and general summary that helps to frame and structure the present discussion. Thus as we study a human being, they are not just a developing physical body: they have developing thoughts, awareness and intentions as well.
Neither does the individual exist in isolation: they are part of measurable structures in the world: families, work groups, nations and so on and such groups, cultures and communities have shared meanings and values. Someone whose theory is focussed on biology will be placed in Upper Right Quadrant 2 for example. At a more detailed level, we can actually place some theories at a particular level or set of levels within a quadrant. For example, the study of genetics with Upper Right Quadrant 2 would be placed at one of the lower level: it is concerned with building blocks of human biology.
Though such building blocks affect later stages of development, the blocks themselves, genes and genetics, is at one of the lower levels.
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Though a theory is centred in one Quadrant, it obviously is related to all quadrants. So if schizophrenia is caused by a genetic problem, it still affects our internal subjective mental life — the way we think — as well as the way we behave. We can also explore frequencies and incidences in society and how a particular culture deals with and evaluates schizophrenia. But the focus for the geneticist is on the lower stages of Upper Right Quadrant 2.
Other theories may openly cover more than one quadrant. Cognitive behaviourism is a good example. It basically says that how we think affects how we act and feel. Therefore, if we can change our thinking strategies, we will change our mood and behaviour. This theory then embraces both of the Upper Quadrants. This is a little beyond the scope of this study, so I am going to approach this idea in a very general way rather than getting stuck in too much detail.
In this respect, I am not going to focus too much on the levels within a quadrant, though I may make occasional reference as to the level of a particular approach. Rather I am more concerned with placing a theory within one or more of the quadrants. We have seen that the various thinkers who have developed schools of sociology, psychology and psychiatry have tended to reduce their theories and explanations to one or two quadrants and even to levels or stages within a quadrant, thus giving only partial explanations. We can begin allocate some theorists like this:.
My main focus in this study is on the individual.
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I am not so concerned with details and theories as to how societies and cultures are structured and how they cultivate meaning and value. I will make passing references to society and culture but not in the same sort of detail as the individual. In terms of this study, this is put in second place to the individual. But this is by no means to indicate that these Lower Quadrants are not vitally important and relevant. They are simply beyond my scope as an author for me to deal with in any depth.
Focussing then on the Upper Quadrants, we can begin to place various approaches and theories into their respective Quadrants:. I will explore this in more detail as we go on but for now we can say that Psychology itself tends to fall into one of two major trends: a Descriptive or b Explanatory. The descriptive school is sympathetic to religious life, perhaps even with a goal of fostering religious life, especially through religious education and pastoral care, whereas the explanatory trend is suspicious or disdainful of popular piety and seeks to find the origins of religion not in the transcendent, but in the mundane world of biological, psychological and environmental events.
The goal for the explanatory theorist is the transforming, if not the elimination, of religion, at least in its most common varieties, because religion is seen as a liability.
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Thus Freud, saw religion as infantile wish fulfilment and an illusion. Jung saw religion as an asset: a way to human excellence, or wholeness. Lets look a little more at these four quadrants and their developmental lines: 2. Developed by Sigmund Freud and others, it proposed that the individual developed through a series of psycho-sexual stages up to adolescence. In Psychoanalysis, schizophrenia is regarded as not treatable by psychoanalytic methods because the schizophrenic is unable to form relationships and thus key psychoanalytic processes such as transference cannot take place.
If we do a data search among the evolutionary trends of interior apprehension or the subjective individual self, we find a largely uncontested hierarchy of emergent properties, summarized in the Upper Left quadrant, quadrant 1. Figure 3. These are the levels or stages of. Thus at lower stages for example, a child cannot see that the amount of water in a tall glass is the same as the amount of water in a shallower, broader glass.
It takes a certain level of development to be able to accommodate this idea. The existence of most of these emergent properties are largely uncontested by specialists in the field, and the levels listed in the Upper Left Quadrant represent a simple summary of some of the major evolutionary capacities of interior apprehension and subjective thought. Wilber describes these levels as holons. As we move from one stage to another, the previous level does not just disappear, but is both included and transcended.
Thus in moving from the emotional stage to the rational stage, emotions do not just disappear but are incorporated and included. Sometimes Wilber portrays this idea as being rather like one of those Russian dolls, with smaller and smaller dolls inside the outer, large doll. In a similar way, earlier stages are embedded in subsequent stages. Traumas at an early stage similarly do not just disappear.
Unresolved issues carry through to the next stage like a fault line — distorting and affecting later development. What value do I give it? Or, what does the Divine mean to me? What value do I place on God? How important is the Divine in my life? How important are they in my life? How do I synthesise these things into my experience? It is the area of phenomenology, and of many psychology disciplines, such as counselling and so on.
Some of the most interesting stages for religious expression in this quadrant include the magic, mythic, rational and existential stages or levels. Those at the magic level typically embrace pre Christian religion such as much New Age thinking and themes such as witchcraft, sorcery, spells, Tarot cards, Voodoo, paganism and so on.
Those at the later mythic level embrace such monolithic religious ideas as Christianity and Islam, particularly in the fundamentalist expressions, whereas those at the rational level embrace the Age of Reason, Science, Atheism and secular humanism. Those at the existential level are concerned with broad issues of existence: uniqueness, finiteness, meaning and so on, as expressed by Sartre and so on.
Now this seems quite straightforward but we have some important and fundamental questions to ask concerning this quadrant. This is often taken to mean that a person should deny their self-interest and personal gain: they should deny themselves any personal pleasures and satisfactions, defer or avoid rewards, praise, honour and reputation, perhaps even their own needs and requirements, putting God first.
But is this really what is meant? What is said is that a. This at first may seem a contradictory thing to say. How can one deny oneself? How can one deny who one is by nature? Just what or who is it that is moving through these stages in this Upper Left Quadrant 1? As Unmanifest, the Divine is Unspoken: the Potential of all that is or may be. The Divine is beyond-being in that the notion of Being is dualistic: if there is being then there is non-being or nothingness, but the view put forward by some of the worlds most profound mystics proposes that there is only the Divine Absolute as No-thing.
However, this Essence that is beyond being, manifests Itself as Being and then simultaneously as Being and as all there is: as all existents. The Divine Word is Spoken and out of No-thing the plurality of manifest existents comes into being as a delimited expression of the Formless Divine. The Essence of all existents is the Essence-as-Essence, the Absolute, which at the same time remains Transcendent of all, thus Essence is simultaneously Transcendent and Immanent, a position known as panentheism.
At the highest spiritual level there is no duality: all is One Unity: Essence, but in expression, there is multiplicity of form. There is no creation as such, but rather, a contraction and delimitation of the Unmanifest One Formless Essence to a manifest plurality of forms. There is only Essence: the universe and any parallel universes are the delimited Essence or Divine, One in Essence.
In spirit then there is Unity, but in expression there is separateness, division and multiplicity, though the Essence of this multiplicity is One. If the Essence of all that exists is Absolute, Essence-as-Essence, then, as already suggested, it follows that our True Essence or Nature is Essence also and that our expression in time and space is the Absolute delimited into our particular form, to a particular mode of existence, without fragmentation or dilution. Our Self then, the Ground of our being is Essence-as-Essence.
There is nothing deeper or higher than this, which is why I use capital letters in writing it. Within this subjective sense of individual selfhood is our active locus or centre as an individual, separate, sentient, material being. We often mix our descriptors of human beings and this is something that we need to be aware of. Sometimes we use concrete terms such as brain, lungs, head and so on. I am not making reference at all to the supernatural here, or to a psychic as a spirit medium.
They cannot be objectively observed or measured. These are conceptual abstractions describing the internal and subjective part of our phenomenal experience as individuals. So it is important to be careful when we mix these two types of description. We can and should however avail ourselves of both types of description: both are valid in their own domain and both have their limitations. Scientists tens to talk in concrete, empirical terms, and the empirical model has enabled us to make great advances in knowledge enabling surgical interventions, the creation of life saving drugs and so on, but when taken alone it reduces all explanations to the measurable material level.
It has no room for Spirit or spirituality, which it tends to see as primitive, or as regressive or as a baseless superstition. The abstract conceptual model on the other hand has a wider scope providing richer explanations and fuller meanings, but it cannot be verified by objective measurement, nor does it tend to lead to the kind of advances that science has developed. Spiritual and religious models tend to use the abstract descriptors of the person, because many spiritual traditions began before the advent of a disciplined, rational, scientific inquiry and the use of empirical medical models.
Spiritual models tend to use terms like mind, heart, soul, spirit and will. The Upper Left Quadrant 1 looks at the more abstract subjective parallel of this: the internal sense and perception of ourselves that arises from this biological organism: the subjective self which appears to act as conductor and governor to some degree at least, of what we do, what we give attention to, what we say and think and so on. It is also therefore the focal point of action or agency.
If we look to the upper left hand quadrant 1 then, we find subjective experience: value, meaning and truthfulness. Thus it is here that we find our subjective concepts and theories of interpretation and meaning. It refers to a cluster of processes in the brain Upper Right Quadrant 2 that are subjectively experienced in Upper Left Quadrant 1 as cognitive and perceptual processes which appear to be at our core of subjective experience serving as an executive in order to maintain psychological or mental balance.
It is better to describe it as our subjective sense of our expressive self-as-object. The ego is a subjective sense of the boundedself existent. The ego then is not an object but an emergent, subjective sense, and it emerges from biological activity in the brain and body. This subjective differentiation begins to emerge and develop between the ages of 18 months to 4 years old.
Thus any developmental stages before this are pre-egocentric. It is only at this stage of initial differentiation, that the child begins to be able to differentiate themselves from others. Thus, if the child is shown a piece of paper with orange on one side and blue on the other, and clearly shown both sides, when shown just the orange side they will correctly answer that they see orange. When asked what colour the person holding the paper sees, they will also say orange. They cannot take the role of the other.
It is only with the ability to initially differentiate that the child begins to display the development of their own ego. They will clearly display the classic signs of egobuilding even though there is no conscious awareness of this on the part of the child; there is a desire to please, to be liked, to be accepted and to be given attention, etc. For example, when asleep, we might be able to fly or walk through walls. This dream ego, like the contents of the dream itself, is a downgraded version of our wakeful subjective experience. It is downgraded because when we are asleep, some of our physiological activity, our brain activity and so on, is minimised or reduced.
This minimisation of certain biological functions has the effect of downgrading our subjective experience. Yet we as Essence are still present. Identification is another cognitive emergent from biological activity: sometimes it is a conscious process, sometimes not, whereby a person labels, classifies and defines who and what they are.
Thus such people are usually loud, brash, opinionated, arrogant and so on. Death threatens to bring about its non-existence. For some mystics, but not all, death and the post-death state is not a situation whereby disembodied egos continue to exist or where egos are reunited with resurrection bodies continuing the existence of this core self. Rather, at death the ego is lost, as a droplet of ocean spray is lost when it falls back again into the ocean and merges with it. Thus in an extract from one mystics spiritual journal: Death is not what you think! You are thinking that when someone dies, they continue to exist in some spiritual form after death, caught up into some sort of spiritual society, mingling with the spirits of other people that they met on earth, as though this is some kind of extension of the material world.
This is not what death is like. In death all things are become new. You have heard it said that in heaven there is no giving of people in marriage, and this is true. All these earthly ways cease. Heaven is not a spiritual earth, with its law courts and judgements and other institutions. It is not an extension of earth but a completely different realm. But it is true that the Spirit returns to God because the Spirit is God. God is in us all and is Imperishable, Indestructible and cannot die.
Therefore, when a person dies, God returns to God. Song of Simon 3 v The results of this may be depression, anger, aggression, fear, defensiveness, transference, projection, madness, suicide and so on. B SELF. We cannot avoid mixing abstract and concrete terms altogether. The objective self refers to those qualities of us-as-existent that can be objectively measured: our physical body, our brain and its activity, our nervous system, our heart and vascular system and so on. The subjective self refers to the emergent subjective sensations, experiences and faculties that we have such as mind, thoughts, emotions, will, memory and ego.
The subjective self, the objective self and the Essential Self are more precise terms for what is generally and loosely called mind, body and spirit. I have suggested that it forms the internal focus, centre or locus, the subjective governor or administrator, but governor and administrator of what? Well I have already spoken about the emergent subjective, sensations that we have: experiences and faculties such as mind, thoughts, emotions, will and memory.
Together, these make up the integrated subjective self-system or structure. More fully, the aspects of this self-system include our awareness, our consciousness, unconsciousness, sub consciousness. We cannot focus on everything at once so information is attenuated, narrowed by our attention to an amount that we can process and digest.
There is our will: our faculty of intention, choice, or agency: our volition. In addition there is our sense of values, ethics, standards or personal morality. There are also our emotions and feelings, our affections such as love, joy, hatred, anger, e. There is our sense of needs, preferences and desires; our likes and dislikes, passions and dispositions for or against certain matters. The mind is another general concept with an emphasis on our cognition, our thoughts, ideas, concepts, imagination, intellect, reasoning, intelligence, knowledge, understanding and perception.
Closely related to this is our memory, our store of knowledge and experience, some of which we can recall. This is in turn is closely related to the 'conscience': a witness bearer that as it were stands alongside us in all that we do, think and feel — sometimes accusing us and sometimes excusing us in the light of learned experience, memory and the context of our culture.
All these work as a whole to create a subjective conceptual framework, a personal construct of the world and a web of meaning and value. This is a two way process: I choose to think or concentrate, to focus my thoughts on a given subject for example, but also, thoughts arise involuntarily as distractions, daydreams, e. This is so for each of the above dimensions, though some are less voluntary than others.
There are other words that are sometimes used with regard to the subjective self which I tend to use in a very qualified way. The essential meaning of the word 'soul' is: breath, especially, breath of life: the vital force that animates the body, showing itself in breathing. In this sense, it is applied to animals, as well as humans. Thus a dead soul, one that is soulless, is a dead, nonbreathing or inanimate being. But the word 'soul' can be used in a secondary sense to describe the essential person, the personality, or inward person, with their reasoning, feelings, desires, affections and aversions.
Sometimes, the word 'soul' is used interchangeably with 'spirit' and indeed the words are very similar. The word 'spirit' means 'breath of air or wind or breath of mouth.
The second sense in which 'spirit' is used is to describe any inner disposition, purpose or attitude in general, covering both our thinking and affections. Thus we find a spirit of courage, of pride, of jealousy, of determination, of fear, of error, of wisdom, of understanding. One can be hasty in spirit, faithful in spirit, poor in spirit, perverse in spirit. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory n. Jessica Dolin. Publisher: Trafford Publishing , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.
View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title This is a journey into the mind of someone with manic depression disorder as her thinking becomes more and more disordered and her behavior increasingly out of phase with those around her.
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About the Author : Jessica Dolin is a recovering manic depressive who lives in Portland, Oregon with her girlfriend, April and their three cats. Buy New View Book. Customers who bought this item also bought. Stock Image. Published by Trafford on Demand Pub New Paperback Quantity Available: 1. Revaluation Books Exeter, United Kingdom. Seller Rating:.