Lives in Spirit: Precursors and Dilemmas of a Secular Western Mysticism

SUNY Press
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Lives in Spirit explores the dynamic conflicts that both energized and distorted the spiritual development of key precursor figures of a contemporary secular or “this-worldly” mysticism. With its historical roots in the early Gnostics and Plotinus, this characteristically Western spirituality re-emerges with the secularization and loss of traditional religious belief of modernity. The lives, works, and direct experiences of Nietzsche, Emerson, Thoreau, Jung, Heidegger, Gurdjieff, Crowley, and contemporary feminist mysticism are considered in terms of transpersonal psychology (Almaas), the sociology of mysticism (Weber and Troeltsch), and contemporary psychoanalysis (Winnicott, Bion, Kohut). Spiritual or essential experience is seen as an inherent form of human intelligence, which while potentially and even increasingly impacted by personal dynamics and social crisis, is not reducible to them.
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About the author

Harry T. Hunt is Professor in the Department of Psychology at Brock University. He is the author of On the Nature of Consciousness: Cognitive, Phenomenological, and Transpersonal Perspectives and The Multiplicity of Dreams: Memory, Imagination, and Consciousness.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 1, 2012
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Pages
369
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ISBN
9780791486443
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Movements / Transpersonal
Religion / Mysticism
Religion / Psychology of Religion
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Understanding the Dream Sociogram, the complementary volume to Dream Sociometry, explains how to take sociometric data from dreams and life issues and create a Dream Sociogram, to reveal patterns of intrasocial dynamics that clarify conflicts and reveal pathways to transformation. By identifying collectives of emerging potentials, or perspectives and relationships that are attempting to manifest higher order integration, this book teaches readers to stand back from personal and societal dramas and discover creative contexts that show an effective way forward.

Unique in its approach to analysing dreams, the book introduces a methodology that teaches multi-perspectivalism as a way of resolving pressing life issues. It argues that humans, as naturally psychologically geocentric, need to evolve into a multi-perspectival world view and understanding of self. Exploring how to use the sociogram to deepen this understanding, the book offers practical examples and detailed real-life applications. Its integral and transpersonal applications of Moreno’s sociometry are novel and substantive in their addition to this field of research.

The transpersonal results can be effective in reducing anxiety-based disorders, nightmares and phobias, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. As such, this book will be of interest to researchers in the fields of psychodrama, sociometry, group psychotherapy, transpersonal, experiential and action therapies, as well as postgraduate students studying psychology and sociology.

The American comedienne Lily Tomlin once observed with surprise that we call it 'praying' when we talk to God and 'schizophrenia' when God talks back to us. In this book people speak about inner experiences in which they perceived themselves and the world so differently that they thought they were going mad. Experiences of existential voids, heights and depths, freezing wastes and silences, of pure energy, love and fear, oneness and chaos. They found no explanation in science or religion; traditional standards of normality and morality brought them no further than 'madness' and 'heresy'. From sheer necessity they learned to steer by a sort of inner compass, and began to tap unconventional resources. This gave their experience on balance the depth and dynamism of a spiritual transformation which they would not have wanted to miss. Since 1994 such spiritual crises have acquired an official place in psychiatric diagnostics, namely as non-pathological episodes. Knowledge and insight fall substantially short, however, both in professional circles and among the public at large. In this book the author shows how transpersonal psychology interprets such crises as the growing pains of human consciousness. This wider perspective transcends the traditional, individual frameworks of the life sciences, parallel to the earlier shift of classical mechanics to quantum physics. At a time that resounds with demands for meaningfulness, and which seems engrossed in a holistic model of reality, this book sets about giving a place within this perspective to the phenomenon of the spiritual crisis.
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