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What Frank and Brian Herbert's DUNE can teach us about Schizophrenia (Triggers)


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I was reading the final installment of DUNE, released by the principle author's son and titled "Sandworms of Dune". When a particular passage blind sided me with its potential for insight on Psychosis. I'll try to type this all out:

This chapter is prefaced by a young man who has just been given an intense mind altering drug in order to induce a state of omniscient mental clairvoyance, he rapidly finds out that he cannot handle it and it overwhelms him.

On Delusion and Communicating with others during Psychosis:


Paolo gasped as even more ideas flooded into his head, building in momentum and power. {(He goes on to describe his developing plan for the universe to onlookers.)} Paolo was speaking faster and faster now, swept along by intoxicating visions. The look of confusion on the others' faces made the young man wonder if anyone here could even comprehend him any longer. They seemed so primitive to him now. What if his own thoughts were so grand that they were beyond even the most sophisticated sciences? That would be really something! The (others) expressions reflected disbelief, as if they considered Paolo's pronouncements a joke, a flare of anger rose within him, how can they not be taking him seriously?

On Hallucination:

Paolo began to see the whole canvas of the future unrolling before him, broad strokes revealed by the incredible magnifying power of the (drug). It was even stronger than he had imagined, and the future became intensely focused in his mind. Fractal minutiae formed before him in an infinite, yet completely expected pattern. In a glorious tableau, he knew he could see everything about the tapestry of the future, every tiny detailed if he chose! No unexplored terrain, no wrinkles or nuances in the topography of events to come.

On Isolation and Helplessness:

Paolo paused in his restless pacing and gazed ahead, seeing beyond the walls of the grand cathedral, feeling overwhelmed by thoughts that no other human being could begin to understand. In the background, he heard a voice, "What's the matter with you boy? Snap out of it." But the visions continued to shoot at Paolo like projectiles from a machine gun. He couldn't dodge them, could only receive them, like an invincible man standing against ferocious firepower. No longer able to move, Paolo stood staring at the moments that were yet to come, everything he could influence and all that he could not. Each second sliced into a billion nanoseconds, then expanded and spread out across a billion star systems. The scope of it threatened to overwhelm him.

On voices:

"What is happening to me?" He asked himself. "You brought this upon yourself." A million voices answered.

This part struck me the hardest,

On over-stimulation, catatonia and ego-death:

With new eyes Paolo saw moment by moment expanding outward from him forever, the whole scope of the (universe) and the furthest reaches of all time. Another nanosecond passed. He had absolutely uncontaminated revelation. He saw time folding forward and backward from the focal point of his consciousness. Caught in the tidal-wave of his own power, Paolo began to see much more than he had ever wanted to see. He witnessed every heartbeat a thousand times over, every action of every single person, every being in the entire universe. He knew how each instant would play out from now until the end of history, and in reverse, to the beginning of time. Petrified by his own tedium, he knew every breath and pulsepoint in the entire history and future of the universe. Another nanosecond passed. How could anyone endure this? Trapped in a pre-determined path, absolute foreknowledge rendered Paolo completely irrelevant. He envisioned himself sinking in slow motion to the floor and lying face up, unable to move or speak, unable to even blink his eyes (this is his extent of physical control in reality.) Paolo could only stare fixedly into the future, which he had already seen a hundred thousand times. Another nanosecond passed.

This is a powerful and insightful parallel to psychosis, particularly its observable effects often misinterpreted by witnesses to the afflicted. The afflicted may appear unwilling to focus, but the truth of the matter is almost always that he or she is, in fact, quite focused, likely more focused than a stable brain is capable. Rearrangement of basic principles of reality are impossible for the unafflicted to grasp. In many ways it is like attempting to describe color to the blind. simply tending to see and experience things that have never and probably will never exist in a 'well' mind.

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Just something to share at the moment Mjolnir. More thoughts later...

"The unified field underlying physical existence completely dissolved all boundaries. As I moved deeper into it, all borders fell away, all appearances of division were ultimately illusory. No boundaries between incarnations, between human beings, between species, even between matter and spirit. The world of individuated existence…was revealing itself to be an exquisitely diversified manifestation of a single entity."

"Though these experiences were extraordinary in their own right, the most poignant aspect of today's session was not the discovered dimensions of the universe themselves but what my seeing and understanding them meant to the Consciousness I was with. It seemed so pleased to have someone to show Its work to. I felt that it had been waiting for billions of years for embodied consciousness to evolve to the point where we could at long last begin to see, understand and appreciate what had been accomplished.

I felt the loneliness of this Intelligence…and I wept for its isolation and in awe of the profound love which had accepted this isolation as part of a larger plan. Behind creation lies a Love of extraordinary proportions, and all of existence is an expression of this love. The intelligence of the universe's design is equally matched by the depth of love that inspired it."

The visionary has to adapt the direct experience of a transcendent reality to the level of understanding of his time and also struggle to integrate it with his own understanding. He or she is really a kind of translator. Jung was a visionary but it took him forty years to integrate the visions which began when he was 35 with his life work as a psychiatrist and healer of souls. In the prologue to his autobiography he says: "In the end the only events in my life worth telling are those when the imperishable world irrupted into this transitory one. That is why I speak chiefly of inner experiences, among which I include my dreams and visions…They were the fiery magma out of which the stone that had to be worked was crystallised."

Jung found it ironical that he, a psychiatrist, should encounter at almost every step of his opening to the imperishable world the same psychic material which is typical of psychosis. "This," he says, "is the fund of unconscious images which fatally confuse the mental patient. But it is also the matrix of a mythopoeic imagination which has vanished from our rational age."

Why has it vanished? The definition of a visionary prior to 1650 was one who was able and accustomed to see visions. By 1750 when the belief that the physical universe was the only "real" one was becoming established in philosophical and scientific circles, the definition has changed to someone who sees something which is not real. Today a visionary may be defined as someone who suffers from delusions or hallucinations, who is at worst psychotic, at best emotionally unstable. So why the change in perception? ...

Source: Anne Baring ~ The Relevance of Visionary Experience to Culture

See also:

- Christopher Bache ~ Dark Night, Early Dawn

- Carl Jung's Experience of Schizophrenia

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Mjolnir: This is a powerful and insightful parallel to psychosis, particularly its observable effects often misinterpreted by witnesses to the afflicted. The afflicted may appear unwilling to focus, but the truth of the matter is almost always that he or she is, in fact, quite focused, likely more focused than a stable brain is capable. Rearrangement of basic principles of reality are impossible for the unafflicted to grasp. In many ways it is like attempting to describe color to the blind. simply tending to see and experience things that have never and probably will never exist in a 'well' mind.


... Gleaming in the dark sea, I'm as

Light as air, floating there breathlessly

When the dream dissolves, I open

Up my eyes, I realize that

Everything is shoreless sea

Weightlessness is passing over me...

I suspect that many people could not make the connection between what we've been talking about in these conversations of ours and psychosis/schizophrenia. Or if they do, they're slotting it into that category called "grandiosity". I grant that we are speaking of only one aspect of those kinds of experiences and they're probably somewhat rare, although not as rare as some might think. In Jung-speak, we are in the territory of the Self and it is grandiose. It's huge. It's immense. It is the entire Universe. It is Everything. It is All. It cannot possibly be contained in a human body or by a human ego.

Psychiatry does not address these aspects of "the schizophrenic experience" except, perhaps, to explain them away as delusions or neurological glitches. Psychology touches on some aspects, particularly depth psychology and transpersonal psychology. Philosophy certainly treads in those waters. Aside from that, we have to turn to the mystics, the cosmonauts, the schizophrenics to try and find understanding and thus, integration of our experiences.

The bulk of my experience took place out in the cosmos somewhere. The paradox is, the further you go in, the further you go out. Meantime, I sometimes think that what gets labelled as "apathy" is related to that intense emotional state you describe. It's not that we don't feel anything, it's that we feel so much. Further, as a result of having "felt" that, there is a shift in values. It's very difficult to get reattached to the material -- I'm not referring here to consumerism so much as physicality. We have these bodies and: When in Rome, you must do as the Romans do. I, apparently, am in Rome. So, I (re)learned how to put my ego back on but it's never going to stick quite as well as it did before because I know now -- it's just an idea, it's just an image, it's just a covering. It's not the totality of who I am.

This, according to Jung, is the whole point of the schizophrenic experience -- to come back into communication with the Self...

Over half a century ago in Küsnacht, Switzerland, the psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung came to feel that psychological health is a dynamic, on-going process of personal development into greater maturity and spiritual awareness. This process – which he called individuation – is, he said, nourished by a continuous flow of symbolic insights transmitted from the unconscious Self to the conscious Ego, in a variety of ways including dreams, insight, and flashes of intuition. Should this inner communication flow get blocked for any reason, one may find oneself increasingly frustrated, for the simple reason that one has lost touch with the built-in guiding system of one's deeper Self.

In Jung's view, if such a blockage persists in time, one becomes alienated – in the sense that one may no longer be able to use the considerable resources of one's innate common sense to adapt effectively to one's social environment. Alienation, of course, also happens on a collective level within the family, society, and civilisation, in which case the context one may have trouble adapting to includes not only the social, but the ecological environment as well. Whether individual or collective, a chronic blockage of the psyche's inner communications process may lead beyond a mere sense of ennui, and eventually jeopardise the ability to be responsible for one's health and survival.

What really took Jung's colleagues by surprise, however, was his declaration that the so-called acute schizophrenic break phenomenon is actually no disease, but rather a natural (and temporary!) healing process – which automatically activates itself in response to the underlying blockage which I have just described. Jung maintained that the spontaneous onset of the visionary state of consciousness is nature's self-organising way for the alienated psyche to become whole again. In his view, when the Ego has become cut off from the rest of the psyche to a point of real distress, the Self "comes to the rescue" through a temporary, but complete overpowering of the conscious personality by means of a vivid upwelling of hallucinatory voices and visions from the deeper levels of the unconscious. The conscious Ego, that is, falls apart and comes back together again, renewed.

If one understands the essentially life-affirming nature of the visions which occurs during this metamorphosis, appreciates their symbolic relevance to the problems at hand, and integrates their deeper meaning, the result is a healing of the alienated condition which prevailed before the onset of the so-called illness itself – and a rebirth of the personality as a more integrated, invigorated whole...

Source: The Inner Apocalypse

Music of the Hour: Nina Gordon ~ Tonight and the Rest of My Life

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Stan Grof on non-ordinary states of consciousness...

‎... We don't have a category in current psychiatry that would say, "This is a spiritual experience." Many people over the years who have experienced non-ordinary states of consciousness have been diagnosed as mentally ill and hospitalized.... They've been given tranquilizing medication when in other cultures this type of experience would be considered to be perfectly normal.

... It resembles in many ways what happens in Kundalini yoga, only people are not in the lotus position; they are in the reclining position.

... one of the things that you have to do when you work with these non-ordinary states--or the special subcategory of holotropic states [holo means "whole" and tropic means "moving toward" so holotropic means "moving toward wholeness"]--is deal with the fact that the psyche is larger than traditional psychiatry defines it.

... In addition, there is another domain of the psyche which we now call transpersonal. This includes such things as experiencing oneness with other people, experiencing group consciousness, experiencing identification with various animals or other life forms, transcending time, and having collective karmic experiences. We can even have experiences and encounters with various mythological figures from cultures that we never personally studied. It's observing these experiences that led Jung to the conclusion that we don't have just the Freudian individual unconscious, but also what Jung called the "collective unconscious," which is actually two different domains or aspects: the historical, where we carry the history of humanity in our psyche; and the archetype, where we carry our cultural heritage and mythologies.

... I'm very interested in what responsible, supervised work with these holotropic states would do for people--and also participation in shamanic rituals and other powerful forms of extreme psychotherapy. I am also interested in spontaneous near-death experiences and spontaneous episodes of non-ordinary states that we call "spiritual emergencies." Current psychiatry would see these as psychotic states, but all these experiences can profoundly transform people. And people who engage in responsible exploration with holotropic states tend to develop a certain kind of world view and a certain kind of attitude.

... their level of aggression and anger is significantly lowered and they develop a sense of compassion. They experience a melting of boundaries--racial boundaries, gender boundaries, cultural boundaries, political boundaries--and they tend to develop an all-embracing attitude towards the world and a tremendous interest in international peace.

... I think we all definitely have untapped abilities--and experiencing the holotropic state increases the probability that you will be able to use it in some creative way. I think this type of phenomenon is one more challenge to the traditional view that you can explain everything by studying the physiology of the brain. It's one of those things that we call anomalous phenomenon and a lot of them happen in non-ordinary states of consciousness.

Source: An Interview with Stanislav Grof

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heh. This is the first such article I've come across that specifically identifies quantum physics as a "symptom" of sorts. It was my own experience that fueled my interest in the matter but it (quantum physics) has also been a fairly popular discussion topic among a number of "schizophrenics" I've encountered.

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder hallmarked by hallucinations. The criteria for schizophrenia appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition, Revised Text, DSM-IV TR, published by the American Psychiatric Association. This is the manual mental health professionals use when they make diagnoses for billing purposes.

A new category, V62.89 has been recently added as a religious or spiritual problem. It was created because not all people who see and/or hear things are schizophrenic. This phenomenon has also been called spiritual awakening and mystical experience.

Spiritual Emergence Theory, Transpersonal Psychology

Transpersonal Psychology was developed in 1969 by Stanislav Grof, Abraham Maslow, Victor Frankl, Jim Fadiman and Antony Sutich. Its main purpose is to study different states of consciousness, especially the transpersonal consciousness state. This state transcending limits of the ego is known in all cultures and time periods by different names.

According to this theory, there are four main states of consciousness and different realities:

• Awake. The physical world prevails, as perceived by the sense organs;

• Dreaming. Also called Rapid Eye Movement, REM: consciousness, when

dreaming one is cut-off from the physical world, but the perso touch with the psychic world by psychical functions;

• Sleep. Consciousness is cut-off from the psychical and physical worlds and is in a pure and luminous state, and;

• Transpersonal state. Reality becomes one with the universal and impersonal consciousness. The transpersonal state remembers visions of reality as described by
quantum physics
. Matter is seen as energy and light, transcends time limits and is an eternal and transtemporal dimension.

A meeting with physicists and transpersonal psychologists established the basis of a new scientific paradigm: the holistic. The transpersonal experience has great therapeutic value because it eradicates the dualistic illusion and awakens buried feelings of love and wisdom. It questions the nature of truth, addresses the problem of psychosis’ origin and hallucinations and the normality and reality of what the “I” is.

Spiritual Emergence Experience - Grof’s Criteria

... There are episodes involving changes in consciousness and in perceptual, emotional, cognitive and psychosomatic functions. There is significant transpersonal emphasis in the process, such as death and rebirth sequences, archetypal phenomena, past incarnation memories, out-of-body experiences, incidence of synchronicities and/or extra-sensory perception with intense energetic states and identification with cosmic consciousness. Criteria include:

• Ability to see the condition as an inner psychological process and to deal with it in a healthy manner.

• Absence of underlying physical conditions and disorders, substance abuse and a long history of mainstream psychiatric treatment and hospitalizations.

• Reasonably good overall health allowing the client to safely withstand the stress associated with the experiential work.

Spiritual Emergency Experience

Grof recognized the downside of SEEs and termed it Spiritual Emergency Experience. The latter is more likely to turn into a spiritual emergency, negative experience, when:

• Individuals have no conceptual framework to support the experience which enables understanding and accepting the phenomenon with balance.

• Individuals don’t have the physical or emotional flexibility to integrate the experience.

• Family friends and/or professionals of a person having the experience see the phenomenon in terms of psychopathological symptoms.

Source: Spiritual Emergence Experience, SEE: Schizophrenia, a Psychiatric Disorder, or Psychic Awakening?

See also:

- Depth Psychology and Quantum Physics

- The Dark Mater of the Universe

- Mirror Suprarational Development: Black Hole

- The Self-Aware Universe

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^^^ Oh @#$#.

All I have to say is - Yes.

I related so well to that passage in Dune because my hallucinations and delusions tend to not, exactly, exist. That is to say that I understand I am hallucinating, but the things that I 'see' are internal, I do not have projected visions of physical objects, people, ideas, indeed I do not see anything typically defined as odd at all. It's more of an energetic thing, not energetic as in hyper, energetic as in lacking in physical manifestation. I feel very much like I have been unwillingly acquainted with the subtext of existence and the underlying ethereal nature of reality. More and more, I am compelled to increasingly distrust a belief in reality, just because I -feel- something else. Indeed, there is a sense that I am watching myself die, the ego fragmentation is well underway and I am frankly surprised that I am at any given point in time capable of holding a conversation.

It feels like slipping, gentle but consistent slipping. Like I am being gradually carried away from the hard, rational world experienced and enjoyed by most. In a dream you cannot typically control what is going on around you, often even when you have a nagging suspicion that you are dreaming. It takes a firm, lucid realization that you are dreaming in order to effectively begin controlling it. I feel like I am dreaming this reality, and that I have a nagging suspicion of some firmer state of consciousness (as waking is to dreaming). I feel like once i complete whatever horrendous cycle I have been plunged into that I will then wake up and regain a control that is robbed from me during this dream reality where I am confined to the constricting laws of a world I am not permanently trapped in.

My Psychiatrist diagnosed me with OCD, I trust the opinion of my psychiatrist and I cannot deny that my thought patterns are obsessional, but this is perpetually feeling psychotic. The thing is, it doesn't actually feel -psychotic-, but I am blessed with enough intellect to recognize the symptoms of psychosis and acknowledge them, I'm afraid that I have been misdiagnosed merely because I understand what is happening to me, and can recognize that my idea of reality is becoming strained only be comparing it to my memories of not having these thoughts, experiences, ,by comparing myself to others and what I read, and ultimately because I am in a state of relentless terror which reasserts that there is something wrong with me.

My only fear is that I will become overwhelmed and give into the temptation to off myself, otherwise my fear of these experiences are gradually fading as I am becoming jaded by their continued frequency.

I have made a mantra of telling myself that my reality is skewed and it is the reality of others that I must base my decisions, ideas and beliefs in, though I have powerful and emerging intuitions that have been attempting to force my attention away from the basic principles of life and to make myself acknowledge the very dark things that haunt the strength of my established perceptual foundations.


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MjolnirL My Psychiatrist diagnosed me with OCD, I trust the opinion of my psychiatrist and I cannot deny that my thought patterns are obsessional, but this is perpetually feeling psychotic. The thing is, it doesn't actually feel -psychotic-, but I am blessed with enough intellect to recognize the symptoms of psychosis and acknowledge them, I'm afraid that I have been misdiagnosed merely because I understand what is happening to me, and can recognize that my idea of reality is becoming strained only be comparing it to my memories of not having these thoughts, experiences, ,by comparing myself to others and what I read, and ultimately because I am in a state of relentless terror which reasserts that there is something wrong with me.

There are different approaches people can take in such a situation. As a general rule, people will usually attempt to cope on their own or within the scope of their own resources until they can't anymore. At that point, they'll reach out in some direction for something that feels helpful to them. Part of the difficulty can be that you don't know what is going to feel most helpful to you at first, or when -- for there may be different things that are helpful at different times.

At this point, you already have a relationship in place with a psychiatrist. No doubt, you are fully aware that if you start to feel your experience is too much to handle on your own, you could follow that path of inquiry to see if it's going to be beneficial for you. You also have some awareness, some different models of interpretation that you could apply that might also be helpful. As always, there is no guarantee. What helps you is what helps you. Often, it takes a few doses of the unhelpful before you can recognize what will be most helpful for you.

One possible guideline that might assist you in determining when to reach out for help can be based upon daily function. Are you still capable of working/studying/volunteering? Can you still tend to basic daily needs such as eating and sleeping? What's happening with your sleeping patterns? What about your relationship with your wife and other family members? How about pain or fear levels -- are they still within a copable range or are they rapidly moving beyond that?

You noted that you have had some family members who may have undergone similar experiences. If you feel comfortable speaking with them, they might be able to offer some insights and guidance. You also must live somewhere in the world and that somewhere may have a range of resources available at a local level. It would not hurt to explore what those resources are and which ones appeal to you in the event you determine you need more help than you can provide to yourself.

~ Namaste, Mjolnir. I hope all goes well with you.

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Ahhh. And this is so lovely, it can only be shared...

Poet's Obligation

To whoever is not listening to the sea

this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up

in house or office, factory or woman

or street or mine or harsh prison cell;

to him I come, and, without speaking or looking,

I arrive and open the door of his prison,

and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,

a great fragment of thunder sets in motion

the rumble of the planet and the foam,

the raucous rivers of the ocean flood,

the star vibrates swiftly in its corona,

and the sea is beating, dying and continuing.

So, drawn on by my destiny,

I ceaselessly must listen to and keep

the sea's lamenting in my awareness,

I must feel the crash of the hard water

and gather it up in a perpetual cup

so that, wherever those in prison may be,

wherever they suffer the autumn's castigation,

I may be there with an errant wave,

I may move, passing through windows,

and hearing me, eyes will glance upward

saying 'How can I reach the sea?'

And I shall broadcast, saying nothing,

the starry echoes of the wave,

a breaking up of foam and quicksand,

a rustling of salt withdrawing,

the grey cry of the sea-birds on the coast.

So, through me, freedom and the sea

will make their answer to the shuttered heart.

~ Pablo Neruda

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I just came across this video today Mjolnir. Given the nature of some of our conversation, I thought you (and perhaps, others) might find some value in it:

The site it was linked from: Kaia.com

That's incredible, I really liked the state of consciousness rainbow diagram. I as well like the idea of validating these experiences as a transitional step in the direction of evolution.

I've been doing my best lately to move away from self-pity (it's been one of the hardest parts) toward the direction of conceptual and objective understanding. Because of a recent development in language difficulty and comprehension I've begun to take the standpoint that while reality is in the eye of the beholder it is still what you make of it. My wife tells me "Just don't give in (to the craziness?)." but it's hard to explain to someone who hasn't been through this that it isn't a black and white matter of resistance, success, or defeat, that there is a point where giving in ceases to have any substance or meaning. I'm also looking back and realizing that I'm not going insane, I've already been here for a pretty long time, I'm just now going through an intense phase of suffering that will probably vault me into a place I'd rather not be. It is at this point that I ask myself "What is sanity?" and the only conclusion I can come to is similar to the one in that video about spiritual emergency- that most people stay within a certain range of thought and reality and that people like us are either capable of going farther out or are sometimes lost there and incapable of closing back in.

I realize now, since my last post, why I have this sensation of dreaming. As a general rule, when something external affects you, you step back and analyze it inside your mind, within your head. Since this is an internal type of suffering, I have essentially developed a way to compartmentalize my thoughts so that I may step away from them and observe them from a still more objective point of view. When you stub your toe, you can control your immediate reaction to pull away and yelp. It isn't difficult to master this reflex. I find that the same applies to mental confusion, disorientation and agony, much like there is a part of you that can dictate your reflexes, there is a part of your mind that can dictate how you react to your thoughts and other senses.

I am curious to expand upon this idea of trans-personalism, because I find myself more and more often empathizing with others in whole as human beings. I am frightened by the fact that I am probably experiencing "thought insertion", but at the same time I feel almost certain that what pops into my head when I'm examining another person is pretty accurately what they are thinking.

Just today, on the bus, a woman got off and began coming around the bus in front of it right after the bus began moving forward again. She threw up her hands not in a gesture of fear but sort of as an apology. The thought "Sorry!" came into my head when I watched her do this and I swear that I felt her humility. I realize that this was my compassion for the woman's situation and my own projected idea of what she must have been thinking, it was fairly obvious, but at the same time I really felt like I was right there with her, about to be smacked by the front end of the bus and feeling foolish due to my own carelessness. Does this make sense? The line is getting blurrier for me, and the logical analysis of scenarios like these are feeling less tangible and more like a frantic hope that what I'm not experiencing what I'm perpetually believing as true.

I feel like I'm complaining more than I'm helping here. My apologies.

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Mjolnir: I feel like I'm complaining more than I'm helping here. My apologies.

Hello Mjolnir. I don't really see this conversation having any specific means in mind. Rather, I see it as a means of exploring some themes, swapping notes, learning from individual experience.

I am curious to expand upon this idea of trans-personalism, because I find myself more and more often empathizing with others in whole as human beings. I am frightened by the fact that I am probably experiencing "thought insertion", but at the same time I feel almost certain that what pops into my head when I'm examining another person is pretty accurately what they are thinking.

Personally, I wouldn't consider the ability to "feel the feelings of others" -- which is what empathy is -- to be on par with thought insertion although it does entail a certain degree of sharing of mutual space and thus, a loosening of egoic boundaries.

Regretably I only have a few minutes at the moment but I did want to speak to those two points and also draw your attention to this thread if you've not seen it: Mary's Problem. You may find that to be informative as well.

~ Namaste

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  • 1 month later...

A recent reading I came across in my wanderings...

5. Non-Medical Models: schizophrenia as a spiritual/mystical emergency‎

5.9 Summary of the Mystical Problem in Schizophrenia

Putting together a coherent account of the mystical problem associated with schizophrenia begins with the existential proposition that the consciousness of self presents all individual humans with a paradox. This paradox concerns the self’s knowledge that because personal extinction is a foreseeable inevitability, and is unavoidable, the fear of it is therefore irrational. Yet despite the knowledge of this irrationality, the fear of death remains the foundation stone in the architecture of self identity. The existential dilemma that confronts people who grow into an awareness of this problem concerns the difficulty in finding a purposeful form of self-expression in these circumstances.

The mystical quest is an attempt to transcend the self and uncover a separate reality that is connected to a higher, deeper or expanded level of consciousness. Everyone has the potential to reach this improved level of consciousness, which involves the replacement of the self’s emotional dichotomy of fear-of-death/desire-for-life with a love/courage polarity focussed on transpersonal objectives. Mystical traditions, some of which have been in existence for more than two thousand years, teach their adherents a variety of techniques which are designed to induce this transition.

The transition phase itself involves a psychological crisis during which the person's mind is flooded with mythological images, putting it temporarily out of balance. The vast majority of people in modern industrial societies do not comprehend the meaning of mystical experience and they mistakenly believe that people who display signs of this crisis are suffering from a mental disease and require urgent medical attention. This cultural belief in the existence of mental disease creates social conditions that are particularly dangerous for the many accidental mystics who stumble inadvertently into the mystical experience without protection or guidance from an organised discipline. These unfortunate people usually come to the attention of medical psychiatrists who diagnose them with schizophrenia and routinely abort their mystical experience by the forced application of neuroleptic drugs.

Despite being handicapped with inappropriate training a small number of psychiatrists have had the insight to see mystical experience rather than mental illness in the schizophrenic symptoms of their patients. Some of these psychiatrists, like Laing and Perry, have realised that the crisis phase is only temporary and that what the patients really need is a supportive and protective environment so they can complete the psychological transition.

When this psychological transition is successful the benefits extend beyond the individual to the whole society. But these benefits are endangered by current psychiatric practices. Perry warns: ‘If this way of viewing psychic turmoils is on target, then there is a grave danger in psychiatry’s zeal to suppress them, and instead there is an urgent need to safeguard visionary experience for the benefit of the culture’.

Source: Richard Gosden - Punishing the Patient: How Psychiatrists Misunderstand and Mistreat Schizophrenia

Music of the Hour:

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