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From Assagioli to Almaas

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1 From Assagioli to Almaas
A Rough Guide to Transpersonal Psychology Keith Hackwood INTRO – me, PS, prison, dramatherapy, Mindfulness teaching, Tibetan practice, Ecopsychology, Divine Rebel Fail Well / Rough Guides: contemporary, tell it like it is, wit & inquisitiveness Please ask questions as we go along, stop me etc

2 The Transpersonal is the future of Psychology
Why? How? Culminating Crises in Positivist Materialsm Present from the outset Wide Vision Overview and impact The ‘beyond personal’ Mysticism and the roots of psychology; on soul… Heraclitus – you cannot exhaust the soul Jakob Boehme – there is nothing higher than the soul James Hillman – anti empiricist, refusal of being objectified, self-contained on its own terms ‘follow itself’

3 Contextual Crises Outer Inner Climate Change Resource Depletion
Limits to Growth ‘End of Progress’ ‘Problem of Civilization’ Anxiety Depression Loss of Meaning Loss of identity Alienation Pathology of the times Shift toward ontology Problematique – ‘the predicament of humankind’; Club of Rome 1970: ‘generalized metasystem of problems’ not isolated or in situ; open systems Converging crises … Kunstler: Clusterfuck

4 ‘civilisations don’t just happen, civilisations are born in ecstasy’ Kingsley; Parmenides and Empedocles Kenneth White on geopoetics – energy/coherence/penetration/depth/The Void William Ophuls on ‘Rule of Life’ – seeking that which affirms living, post-Enlightenment philosophes Civilizations don’t just happen… the spiritual impulse that originally gave rise to our Western culture is still present Peter Kinglsey

5 A Return to Essence How? Art or Science (Psycho)Synthesis Education
‘Therapy’ is too small a word Freud’s pessimism v Positive psychology transcended by TP (ecstasy) Psyche (soul, butterfly, breath) Logos (word, utterance, power), Therapy ( to attend to and to serve) Psychology = ‘butterfly thought’ or ‘the speech of our inner life’; Naranjo – therapy is too small a word – not all is reducible to psychological level; Synthesis of levels

6 The World Behind The World
D O I N G H A V I N G Upward drift Biopsychosynthesis Hawkins: wider, bigger self – “every identification is a limitation” and “Reality needs no agreement” Adya – avoid having an “argument with reality”

7 Psychosynthesis is the future of Psychoanalysis
Roberto Assagioli 1888 – 1974 Early life – adoption and NDE – prodigy – languages – academic prowess – Venice to Florence…

8 Psychosynthesis in Print
Doctoral Thesis Psychosynthesis ‘Manual’ – 1965 The Act of Will – 1974 Transpersonal Development Freud’s pupil, internship at Burgholzli with Jung, Breuer et al Struggle to write – letter on train re book titles etc 2 wars – ww1 as doctor esp for shellshock; ww2 persecution, Mussolini, pacfism, then Nazi wanted list – partisan hideout etc; Ilario’s TB and death

9 Principal Ideas Model of human being I-Self Axis The Will
Disidentification Stages of Psychosynthesis (personal/transpersonal) Theosophy & Bailey material (Ascona/Eranos) Keyserling & Hamann Dante Divine Comedy (analysis as inferno, Hell, Jungian model as limbo and PS as heaven, paradiso)

10 “The only way out is the way up”
The Egg Diagram Assagioli’s Draft I-Self axis – modern neuropsych sees ‘Self as a plural verb not a singular noun’ (Siegel)

11 Disidentification: I have a body but I am more than my body’; standard mystic move eg Meditations on a bloated corpse etc; can be misapplied, insight versus distortion; return to the theme with Almaas Casa Assagioli

12 Place – Topos of the mind – influence of the suchness of Florence etc, the light, the history; anecdotes – Fra Angelico, San marco eggs, Brunelleschi’s dome as an egg, Medici patronage – the Palle as proto egg diagram Giegerich in Soul’s Logical Life – soul has historicity, soul of place, history’s rhythms Florence

13 The Considerator Astrology pseudonym; writing and lecturing; esoteric Astrology – the wall of silence – gruppo alle fonte etc – esoteric room and basement

14 Struggles, desire, the will – not so much an unconflicted wise elder but a struggling disciple, chohan etc; envy of freud’s publications “The Will to Publish”

15 He was very early. Who was there to hear such a large and balanced statement? Not many.
From the Eulogy for Assagioli, by James Vargiu Legacy – PS as ahead of its time – the first coherent and explicit fusion of western medical-psychological knowing with spiritual insight… an explicitly transpersonal psychology or ‘psychology with soul’; pioneering

16 The Transpersonal Field
PAUSE 3 Minute Breathing Space? The Transpersonal Field

17 Transpersonal Disciplines
Relates to: Psychology, Psychiatry, Psychotherapy Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology Sociology Anthropology Cultural Theory Academic discipline Critiques: too perennialist and neoplatonic; not scientific enough; no clear agreement of terms; speaks about consciousness, as participatory not observational; values subjective over objectivity; wave and particle forms; Values CONTEXT over Content

18 Notable Peaks C G Jung (Especially the Red Book)
Archetypal Psychology (Hillman) Spiritual Psychology (Sardello) Ecospychology & Ecophilosophy Stanislav Grof Integral Studies (Wilber) 20th Century story Jonathan garb’s idea of ‘many mysticisms’ here expressed as ‘many transpersonal psychologies’ Steiner personally attacked by Hitler as Assagioli was by Mussolini Eco = Gestalt Ontology (Dave Key, Maggie Kerr, Mary Jayne Rust etc) Psychedelic therapies and substances, MDMA, Psilocybin, LSD, DMT etc Inquiry and spiral dynamics mapping

19 Notable Peaks Washburn Naranjo (Gestalt & Enneagram)
Influence of Buddhism (Watts, Suzuki, Trungpa, Elias Capriles) Sufism Kabbalah Sri Aurobindo Psychoanalytic updates, ego development and trans-ego work Cutting through spiritual materialism Ecstasy/Sufi devotionalism Kabbalah with individual and social-collective psychological dimensions / Safed etc; jewish-christian mix Imprisoned and writes; Auroville

20 Back to Basics 2 wings of Freudian inheritance
Left wing emancipatory impulse (closest to TP) – Norman O Brown – life against death / ‘meaning is not in things but between them’ and ‘love without attachment is light’; Herbert Marcuse; RD Laing – are persons possible? Other wing = adaptive, conservative, held within and within culture, fearful

21 Back to Basics Freud the ‘godless Jew’
From ‘hysterical misery’ to ‘common unhappiness’ Fear of the ‘black tide of mud of occultism’ Therapy as Shamanic Operation Freud the failed hypnotist of the French tradition… second prize = talking cure Hidden history of analysis, Freud the auto-analyst (as Assagioli is with DK or Jung with Philhemon) Pain vs suffering – pain inevitable, suffering optional; Siegel and interpersonal neurobiology; Robert Romanyshyn – the unconscious IS nature Shamanism – ‘hunters of spirit’ (Terence McKenna)

22 A H Almaas & The Diamond Approach
Almaas Kuwaiti, California, Physics, Naranjo’s Seekers After Truth group (sub Gurdjieff); Ijazo; Enneagram; Buddhism, Sufism, object relations, Berkley liberalism and emancipatory juices; esalen

23 The Structure of Reality
Being / Soul / World Personal Essence Essential Aspects The Theory of Holes “Disidentification means the cessation of identification, the cessation of taking something to be you, or to belong to you, or to define you.” Diamond Approach as a self-contained method or set of teachings; spiritual psychology Ego is not transcended but is, maybe, metabolized Essences are perfected and occluded till we clear obscurations (false strength vs Strength etc) Personal essence is developmental Update on idea of disidentification Theory of Holes – reveals our resistances and stucknesses and also the way to proceed into and through them, self-resolving

24 Method Inquiry Socratic & Psychodynamic Presence
Embodied ‘felt-sense’ / limbs and hara Cf Eugene Gendlin…. Felt sense, vague, pre-language, embodied intuitive sense – emerges into a felt shift… and AHA or a sense of movement

25 Love of Truth The soul is fundamentally faithful to the truth, but she is ignorant The truth is now and your life is now Giving ourselves to truth means giving up defences – the self cannot give itself up RD Laing – are persons possible? Almaas – yes, but! ‘Our deepest nature is not that of a person. We can manifest as a person, but at the deepest level, we are something that is the source of the person’

26 The Way of Silence & the Talking Cure
Hawkins – TRUTH HAS NOTHING TO PROVE Charles Eisenstein ‘evidence is a servant of truth, we have made it into its master’ Ursula Le Guin ‘it was an old story that was no longer true. Truth can go out of stories you know. What was true becomes meaningless, even a lie, because the truth has gone into another story, the water of the spring rises in another place’ The Paradox The Way of Silence & the Talking Cure From Knowing to Being

27 Divine Rebel: Coming Soon… The Life & Work of Roberto Assagioli
By Mark Jones & Keith Hackwood Publishing Date: September 2014

28 Diolch yn fawr Thankyou
Female mystics – Hidlegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, St Teresa of Avila etc; mindfulness writers – Pema Chodron, Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg, Mukti, Gangaji etc etc Gerrie Hughes’ book – ‘Competence and Self-Care in Counselling & Psychotherapy’ c/o Routledge Diolch yn fawr Thankyou


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