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Topics - Satori

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The Groove / Spids Nøgenhat
« on: February 18, 2018, 07:20:22 AM »
Hello all,

Long time no see! I hope you are all doing fine :)

The other day I was reminded of a current psychedelic rockband from Denmark: Spids Nøgenhat (= Liberty Cap). They have made some quite good music that succesfully captures some of the 60s psychedelia, without being lame, which much "retro" style music is.
The founder used to be in the band "Baby Woodrose", and their debut album is called "A strange cup of tea". So you can see they are quite fond of naturally occuring psychedelics.

I hereby give you one of my favourites (the one i refound the other day, while chilling, and being sent beyond the gateways of inner space while trying to focus on Second Language Acquisition theories):
Spids Nøgenhet : Mere lys (= more light), from the album "Kommer med fred" (2013 = comes with peace)

And here is the English translation of the lyrics (Danish below). Enjoy my friends!

Spids Nøgenhat comes with peace...

Have you...
tried taking your eyes off?
Laid down...
all the way inside your own mind?
And have you...
tried painting your days blue?
like it was just for the very first time.
More light... and more love.
More light... and more freedom.


Have you...
danced outside in the dark on a twine?
And crossed...
an invisible border/gateway/line (?) in the middle of reality.
And have you...
seen what you can do, if only you dare?
And tried...
to suck all of the universe into you.
More light... and more love.
And more light... and more freedom.
And more freedom... and more echo.


And have you...
tried taking your eyes off?
Laid down...
all the way inside your own mind?
And have you...
tried taking your eyes off?
And travelled...
2,000 kilometers in a two-room apartment?
More light... and more love.
More light... and more freedom.
And more freedom... more now.
More now, more now...


Spids Nøgenhat kommer med fred...

Har du...
prøvet at tage dine øjne af?
Lagt dig ned...
helt inde i dit eget sind?
Og har du...
prøvet at male dine dage blå?
Trukket vejret...
som om det bare var for allerførste gang.
Mere lys... og mere kærlighed.
Mere lys... og mere frihed.

Har du...
danset ude i mørket på en snor?
Og overskredet...
en usynlig grænse midt i virkeligheden.
Og har du...
set, hvad du kan gøre, hvis du bare tør?
Og prøvet...
at suge hele universet ind i dig.
Mere lys... og mere kærlighed.
Og mere lys... og mere frihed.
Og mere frihed... og mere ekko.

Og har du...
prøvet at tage dine øjne af?
Lagt dig ned...
helt inde i dit eget sind?
Og har du...
prøvet at tage dine øjne af?
Og rejst...
2.000 kilometer i en toværelseslejlighed?
Mere lys... og mere kærlighed.
Mere lys... og mere frihed.
Og mere frihed... mere nu.
Mere nu, mere nu...

The Long House / R.I.P Owsley Stanley
« on: March 13, 2011, 08:58:44 PM » ... alia/58355

And we lose another one to the inevitable. RIP.

The Groove / Tired of trance...
« on: April 07, 2010, 08:55:00 AM »
Hello fellow planters of spirit...

Lately I have been a bit fed up with the whole electronic music scene. Ive been listening to a lot of psytrance and various forms of more lowbeat, ambient, experimental type of electronica. But now it seems I need to get grounded, and I can't get grounded with electronic music. So I have delved into beefheart, Grateful Dead, Nina Simone etc.
But, I need more!

It was easy to navigate in the electronic genre since I have many friends making and knowing a lot of this genre, so I always had it filtered through them. So yes.. I was spoiled :D
But when it comes to exploring new genres not alive in the hood here it is difficult. I dug a lot of the 60-70's music when in high school, so have lots of that.. But when it comes to more, I don't know how to say, maybe, refined music with guitars and people singing good tunes, it is difficult. I often end up with the experience, especially with jazz, that I am in an elevator, or in the waiting room at the doctor.
So I need help with some guidelines.. some names, some key clues to look for when delving into this.
So some advice would be very nice from some of the more groovy guys and gals in here :-)


The Long House / Festivals!
« on: June 05, 2009, 09:05:20 AM »
I would like to know if any in here have a good advice for a festival somewhere in Europe, preferrably in UK, that is on same wavelength as the ideals and mood in this spiritual-psychedelic wave.
Not as big as Glastonbury, but a smaller cosy one. If not in UK, then please just mention whatever you know of a cosy festival somewhere :-)


The Long House / Spiritplants t-shirts and Sweatshirts
« on: January 21, 2007, 11:55:41 AM »
Is there anymore of the spiritplants t-shirts and sweatshirts left, that was made?
I ordered one once, and got the wrong size, sent it back and got my money back. I would like to hear if there is still a possibility to get an XL or XXL (yeah i like it a bit baggy) black hoodie, or at least a t-shirt.?


The Groove / Jazz
« on: June 14, 2006, 11:37:09 AM »
Hey there peeps.

I have always had an interest in jazz, and listen to "alot" of jazz once in a while. But i seem to have problems finding really good jazz. So this thread could maybe be seen as a start for a good jazz-guide. So that people like me could discover and read about jazz musicians and check out stuff. I often do get names, but forget them again. So at least here, they would be for a while.
So, if all you jazz-lovers out there would write down the names on the ones you find valuable to mention, and write something about their music and style, and personal opinions about that, I would become a happy jazzy lad.


The Mountain / Transparency and Peace in Nothingness
« on: June 04, 2006, 02:39:52 PM »
Here is a quite nice trip I had on MDMA and 2CB :) It is on erowid too (under my other nick, Odden). But I will post it here for you to "enjoy" :D.
I view it as a deeper spiritual experience than most of my trips, so therefore i post it in here in the Mountain. Anyway.. Please enjoy :)


I had been thinking for a long time, that it was time for another solo trip. A lot of stuff has happened in my life the last 1½ year, so tripping alone would be a good way to see all the changes in a new light. So at 12:30 this day I took 120mg MDMA, and four and a half hour later I took 25mg 2cb, and when that kicked in, 10mg 2cb more. This is the report on the experience and the reflections I have done since that trip.

+00.00: 120mg MDMA orally taken. With some 5-htp. (I forgot to preload, so did it right after MDMA, when I remembered it.. It worked fine.)
Just waiting for things to happen.

All of a sudden I am totally in it. There is all of a sudden an utter feeling of peace and love and connectedness. The 5-htp made it feel as magic as the first time I took MDMA. Even though all my trips on MDMA has been magic, since I don’t take it that often, but there was an extra schmack feeling over it. I didn’t have any thoughts, everything just flowed by. At some point I felt like being social, so I got on the computer to chat with a few friends, but that got annoying, since I couldn’t focus on my experience. So I let go of that idea, turned up the music. The playlist consisted of Burnt Friedman, Rhythm & Sound, and Carbon Based Lifeforms, which was all very nice and floaty. I laid down on my mattress, and just enjoyed my own time. I didn’t, after that one time, feel at all any need to talk to anyone, I was totally in peace with myself, I needed nothing, I did my own thing.

An hour into this, I wanted to see my body, so I got naked, and got in front of a mirror. This was a good thing for me. I saw the decaying of the body, and how it will at some point be lost from me, and lie and rot in the dirt, but I was fine with all this. Nothing could be more perfect. I thanked the universe for having given me this opportunity to live in the body I was in. It is really not that bad :D. After 30 minutes of nakedness, I got cold, and put on clothes again. I sat back on the mattress and meditated. This intensified the MDMA, and I got more and more into the feeling of peace. Which was all I could experience. Nothing else. It was so perfect. This trip was very very personal, and just for me.

During the whole experience I took 5-htp 2 times, this made the comedown from MDMA go way more smooth than usual, I felt the effects going down very slowly, and there was no nostalgia or rush of anxieties on the comedown. It all went smooth.

+04.30: 25mg of 2cb taken orally.
Going around a little, waiting, and feeling a bit restless due to the beginning of the last half of the adventure.

+05.15: first 2cb kicked in, 10mg more taken. From here on, it rises for the next 30 minutes.

+05.45. Trip intense. I think I reached a plateau here.
It is hard to describe what happened from here on and until the trip ended. But I will try making it sound somewhat connected, and explain as good as I can the things I experienced.

I put on Shpongle – Nothing lasts, but nothing is lost, and lied down and closed my eyes. During this, I got into a lot of different spaces. At some point I feel like I am individuated into a lot of persons in a room that stretches from outer space to my inner head. There is a slight dialogue between the persons, and a feeling that they can’t hide anything from anyone. Everything is so transparent. I see a road made out of geometric fractalized visuals, and at some point two persons saying stuff. They don’t understand each other, and they laugh. I open my eyes. Was I alone, or was there someone in my room? No one of course. I close my eyes again. The same feeling of transparency and being individuated is still there. It feels like I can’t gather myself. Like everything is so diffuse. Who am I? What is this that experiences more persons? The voice I often connect with being my “Ego” or personae, seemed very impersonal, and I couldn’t connect to this voice. And there was no centre as “Me” any more. This lasted for some hours. At this time, I could not look at the clock and understand exactly what it was, and how long it had lasted.

I walked around and kept on asking myself, where is the centre, what is this diffused feeling? What am I trying to figure out anyway? No answers, just a demand to let go, and shut the fuck up… So after a while I got this. By doing this, I now saw a lot of beautiful images, lotus flowers made of geometrical fractals shining with, what I now call, divine light, same with deities, buddha like figures, showing me immense beauty. I felt rewarded. I felt gratitude. I felt humble.

In this state I decided to try to read. I picked up Meister Eckhart, and started reading “On detachment”.. Just after having changed the album to “The Mystery of the Yeti 2”. This took the trip to another level. After reading some on Eckhart's detachment-concept, being the most still and stable state of all. And the noblest of all virtues. The one closest to the ground of God. Almost Nothing! It reminded me of the concept of “transparency”, that I had just read about in Nishitanis thinking, a concept borrowed from Kierkegaard. What was connected with the concept, was the notion of the now opening up to Absolute Nothingness.

The tone of Eckharts writing (though in English) hit me quite deep. I lied down again and let go. I asked for nothing, I wanted nothing. I meditated on the concept of detachment and transparency and I felt a deep peace, a peace I have never before felt. So quiet and still. I saw, just as this happened, millions of universes before my eyes emptying themselves out into this Nothingness. And I was all at peace, connected to this Nothingness. The Nothingness that was the ground of all. That’s at least how it felt. I do think now, that it was just a deep deep peace, where I saw what I saw, and felt a connection to the cosmos on a certain level. I did not as such loose myself. Because I had never really been connected as a centre throughout the whole experience. But who had the experience then ? I honestly don’t know…

Having lied down like this for a while. I think almost throughout the whole “The Mystery of the Yeti 2”- album. I put on after this: Dj Jespar – A New Beginning. A 2 hour long dj set with some good chill.. Listened and enjoyed this for a while.. and enjoyed the peace…

I then started landing slowly. I don’t know how long into the experience this was... probably around 5 hours into the 2cb experience. I talked to my friend a little, and my girlfriend.. But felt so so tired. I couldn’t think much. I just needed to be a little alone. I relaxed some more with a Burnt Friedman album, and decided to go to bed. As a sleep-album I had put on “East of the River Ganges”.. But it didn’t last long until I fell asleep.. I think it was around 22.30-23.00…

That was my experience, and that is also, of course, my reflections, as they stand in the writing moment.

A few thoughts extra:
MDMA is a good drug for solo experiences. I didn’t feel, as written, any social needs.
Words can take one far. Words are not the truth, but they can catalyse deep experiences and insights. The days after this I have been feeling nice and restful. This is the first trip where I have been so uncentered, have had such a little notion of my own Ego - without being afraid. And I have felt safe, and rewarded, and loved. It has made me humble, and has made me want to practice detachment (;)) more. I will give before I get. And I will open myself to the process of life, and be at peace with it.

For now, I have nothing more to say.


SpiritPlants Radio / Satori's Blips and Blops radio show
« on: May 24, 2005, 11:55:53 AM »
Hello folks... In this thread i will be posting my weekly show description, so folks will know what's up.

I go on air in 10 min's! So sorry its so late today.

My theme song is: Right Said Fred - Im too sexy... the most fitting for me, that i could find... And this will be played before and after show. :D

On tonights show I will start out with some traditional Swedish folk music, a band called Hedningarna and their album Karelia Visa will shoot it up.
Some nice traditional fiddle and beats, with a trippy viking sound to it. Get ready to swing your partner around!

Next is two albums by Finnish Finntroll. First of their album is trolly, foresty, folky, trippy dancy stuff :)... And their second is viking inspired forest HEAVY!.. Both albums makes you move your ass around!

After this there will be an album by Irish Lunasa. With their dreamy folky sound.. Nice tunes and good trip.

At last an album by Virelai, a danish folk band, with some good traditional tunes. With soul and all that good stuff.


The Trade Winds /
« on: May 06, 2005, 06:56:00 PM »
Bling bling

The Mountain / Why I left marxism.
« on: April 10, 2005, 12:25:49 PM »
Why I left marxism.

Yes, it is true, I used to be a damn commie. Now you all know.
But i am not anymore. When i was a marxist i thought i would be that forever, i had found my niche, the place i could save the world. Everything seemed so good in that philosophy. There was the belief that society could be changed to something better, by humans for humans, the struggle and intensity for it, and a thorough critique of the society we are in now; the capitalist one.
So why did I end up leaving that?
I will here try to put down some reasons for having given up on  the marxist life.

1: I have always been a spiritual person.
One of the things that dragged me to marxist ideas, was that the practicioners of the ideology seemed so open to alternative ideas. Even though marxist ontology rejects every metaphysical idea. And as such they did not reject me being spiritual, but they always questioned it. I often remember sitting at meetings about Marxism and Religion, being asked tons of questions, and getting to know that the meeting was held for me, so I could learn the real deal about religion. Now, this all seemed quite brainwashing and not so open to me. So that is a more personal reason, which probably lies as the core reason for my leaving marxism.

2: Marxist ontology.
Marxist ontology, is an ontology that is based on purely matter. There is no metaphysics or Gejst (Spirit, but more undefined in a sense, more abstract) in marxism, just pure matter. The world is viewed in the Newtonian mainframe, societies are viewed as being societies, consisting of human beings, but humans as belonging to a class, never as a human in itself. Which leads to next point.

3. The consequense of the ontology of marxism and the view on the ‘self’.
The marxist view of a self, is that a self is determined by ones surroundings, such as ones family background, environment, etc etc.. Now, this to me sounded all good, and it lies close to the buddhist view on the “self” (not that i am really a buddhist, but i am inspired by buddhism), they also say that ones self is determined by the surroundings. But there is a difference in each their ways of viewing the self. In buddhist ontology, there is a Nothingness, which in some ways can be seen to have a certain creative inspiration on the self. That instance is not there in marxism, which means it is, in this view of the self, much easier to manipulate people, since all the self is determined by the surroundings, and therefore no chance of a sudden change.

4. The consequense of the ontology and the idea of Utopia.
What the marxist ideology has done is nothing else than putting the idea of a utopia in “the sky” or spirit, into a matter based time; they put the idea into the future, and they gave a so called scientific explanation for the coming of Utopia on earth in the future. This they do in theories of organising the working class, capitalisms inevitable downfall, etc etc etc. But the problem is that it is not sure if what they say will really happen. And even Marx questions the next step after the revolution, if i remember my “Das Kapital” correct. Only followers of Marx’s ideas are “sure” of the next step. In this context it is a belief, a religion. After a revolution, anything can happen. There is no certainty that a socialist society followed by the communist society will happen. Russia is a good example of that. And then of course a good marxist will give arguments for why it went wrong, which in this case only supports my point, that anything can happen after the revolution.
This is where a class ideology comes in handy, since it will not, in theory, be one man with the power, but the whole class. Which is their general argument against dictatorship as it is seen in nazism and fascism. Even though in practise, it is a few people in the party that determines the way things go around in the party

5. Total-logic and reality tunnels.
One other thing that really dragged me to becoming a damn commie, was that they often had seminars and meetings, where everything from Shakespeare, to ancient greeks, to modern states of affaire etc etc etc were talked about. It seemed like marxists could talk about everything in the whole world. But did they really?
They could talk about everything, yes. But not in many ways. They always did in the same logic. Shakespeare always got put in the context of a class society, peasants and kings, greeks wit slaves and kings etc etc.
The total logic nature of marxism makes it a very seductive ideology if one wants knowledge and changing the world. It seems both instances are there. But it is a dogma, a harsh one, and it is a strong reality tunnel in that sense.
This point, i first found out after having left though. Getting out of that reality tunnel made me see the very encompassing nature of it.

6. Good mentality as the true means of doing any good to the world.
This will be the last point before the summing up.
I have always, as part of being a spiritual person, had the vision that to change anything at all one must be a good person and spreading good vibes (, maaaan ;)). This seemed to lack with marxists. Alot of the people are good people. But there is something very unsolidaric and inhuman in the way they practised their life-ideology. First of; they could only have real friends who were good objects to help pushing forward the revolution. So, only good revolutionary objects were interesting, fuck if they are humans or not. Second of; Alot of them had no clue of general respect. They could visit peoples houses and leave a mess; this is a very personal point, but to me an important one, how can anything good come out of a bunch of people with that little respect?
I think these two sub-points is also what made me annoyed enough to leave them in the end.

Now for summing up.
This is not to reject all Marx’s ideas, i am still inspired by some of his ideas. I think his critique of capitalism, and his theory of alienation is valid ideas to investigate, among a few others.... for me at least. It is more, that i dont believe that the people practising his ideas, and overdo his ideas, are very valid persons to change anything, i dont think any dogmas are usefull for decent changes.
One thing that has been very clear to me, during my life experiment, is that change can come about in oneself alone, without having the class and everything around one to change. I practise more mystical ways for self-development and tries to spread good vibes where i go, and talk to people i meet.
Whether i believe in a revolution or not, i dont know. Does it matter? I think if a big change will come about, i will be ready to go with it in any means possible. But i do not think it will be a marxist change. I agree with Foucault that marxism didnt bring that much new into modernity. (Modernity in the sense as Horkheimer and Adorno puts it, starting when the greeks went from the so-called mythos to logos and philosophised... whether that was really a change from mythos to logos or not just a mere change from one mythos to another is another discussion... i tend to like the latter explanation best... look for Raimundo Panikkar about that theory; he put it forth first.)
Foucault points to Nietszche as being where the new ideas that will bring forth a big mental change of mentality, episteme as Foucault calls it, is.
But today we have alot of serious ideas on the use of certain techniques to alter consciousness, that follows a bit in the mystical and philosophical traditions of east and west, which in this sense is interesting to point to. Except that this too seems to attract alot of people, that doesnt really have a critical mindset; and are seduced by terms like, cosmic consciousness, consciousness expantion, the seemingly merging between east and west in these ideas, technoshamanism etc etc. It is good that people read this, but i sometimes feel i want a more strong background from many of the people that are attracted to these ideas. I often hear them talk too highly and uncritical about all this, which can be damaging for any real change. Because this too, is being like a sheep and dogmatic.
So where i am at now, can probably best be explained by me having no philosophical standpoint; other than knowing myself as best as i can, get inspirations from many great traditions, and researching them with a critical mind, which fits well with the academic training i have started.
I could continue writing down thoughts on this subject matter, but this is too long already.
If it gets necessary I will expand on points and add more. :)


The Mountain / The Grof/Wilber Controversy.
« on: January 28, 2005, 08:25:31 AM »
Here is a paper i wrote for a project at the university in Ã…rhus.

I wanted to correct some few points for sake of clarification before i posted it here, but havent done it yet so you get it anyway, hehe... It was graded good :)
Hope you enjoy.

   In this paper I will examine the ideas of Stanislav Grof and Ken Wilber.
Both these thinkers deals with human consciousness and human development, but as we shall see in this paper, they deal with this area from two very different point of views.
   I will begin this investigation by describing Stanislav Grof’s system and the context in which he builds his system. After that I will deal with the system of Ken Wilber and in what context he builds up his system. The two first chapters that deals with each their system is quite long. The reason for this is that they are both large and comprehensive systems, and to get a good overview on both of them one has to describe some essential key terms. And even though the two first chapters take up a lot of space, they still leave out quite a bit of each system, but to show the differences between these two systems I have focused on the parts of each system that shows clear differences between the systems.
In the last chapter I will discuss some of the fundamental differences they both have and view what they use as a base for their arguments. In the discussion I also focus on the differences between the two systems. Both Stanislav Grof and Ken Wilber points out that they have agreements that reaches far. But these agreements are not taken into conciderations here.
As we will see, the main difference they have and where they can not agree evolves around the question; “what are the possibilities for an individual to enter transpersonal realms?”. And this is where I have focused my attention.
The paper will only be focused on Stanislav Grof’s and Ken Wilber’s systems and these two’s controversy, and is based only on the writings of Stanislav Grof and Ken Wilber.
I will not take into concideration some basic philosophical issues that could have been under focus. I will not take into concideration the deeper ontological discussion on whether transpersonal levels exist or not. The subject matter deals with human development and human potential of attaining transpersonal realms, as these two authors calls it, and it is dealing with the differences between the two authors and their systems.

Stanislav Grof:

·   Background on Stanislav Grof and His Work.
   Stanislav Grof is a Czech born psychiatrist. His work over the past 35 years has dealt with Nonordinary States of Consciousness (NOSC). He has put up a thorough system to explain these NOSC. This system contains two levels:  the level of the sensory barrier and the individual unconscious, and the transpersonl level. The experiential phenomenas of the transpersonal level consists of two important categories, the reliving of the birth-process and the breaking free of the boundaries of all notion and limits of one’s self. For the experiences of the birth-related material the BPM model (Basal Perinatal Matrices, which consists of 4 stages) serves as an explanatory model, and we will later see why these types of experiences fall under the transpersonal level. As said, Grof has been working with NOSC for over 35 years. This study in these types of experiences started with his introduction to the psychoactive substance LSD-25 . This substance showed to have remarkable effects on the human psyche, and it was later, according to Grof, shown that these effects and the experiential range of this substance had great therapeutic potential and highly challenged the mechanistic worldview, and the orthodox psychotherapeutic techniques built on the mechanistic worldview .
LSD changed Grof’s life. Grof started out as a therapist in the freudian tradition, and his techniques were therefore dictated by that mainframe. But it soon became clear to Grof that freudian interpretation models and techniques were very vague, and actually showed little or no understanding of a vast variety of the human psyche and a vast variety of experiences. As a consequence of this, Grof had to look elsewhere for more valid answers, and this started his new psychiatric and psychological growth.  Grof, together with his wife, later developed a technique that can open up to the same experiential range without using psychoactive substances, this technique is known as Holotropic Breathwork.
   It is important to note that the main goal for Grof in the book Beyond the Brain, is to show the inefficiancy of the mechanistic worldview to explain anything more than just some material based laws, and that the whole medicinal industry which is a consequense of this worldview is highly incapable of any real diagnosis and cure of a ‘disease’. What Grof wants to do in this book is to show the incapability of this mechanistic worldview, and its incapabilities of explaining anything true about the human psyche and the vast varieties of experiences an individual can experience.
   Grof speaks from a psychiatrist’s point of view, which is the reason for his focusing on the psychiatric and medical industry.
This point of view also has the consequense that what is being put forth is a carthography of the mind based on clinical research, and he therefore offers only an explanation model for a vast variety of experiences and gives techniques and guidance to use different philosophical systems as a contemporary explanatory model of a transpersonal experience. This of course reflects a world view, which as importantly pointed out before, challenges the mechanistic worldview, and gives room for experiences such as ego-death, birht-rebirth, and symbiotic experiences along with a wide range of other experiential phenomenas. All these experiences can not be explained in a newtonian-cartesian dualistic frame.

·   The Traditions Grof Is Inspired By:
   In chapter three of Beyond the Brain, Grof gives a brief account of what systems he usually use for interpretation models.
The main systems Grof uses is the classical psychoanalyses of Sigmund Freud and the conceptual systems of Alfred Adler, Wilhelm Reich, Otto Rank , and Carl Gustav Jung.
Grof points out that each of these systems can be used to a limited extent  in different stages of the levels of experiences he works with.
Usually when a subject has moved from the biographical area and moves further into death-rebirth, or the reexperiencing of the birth process the freudian terminology becomes obsolete and other explanatory models become necessary.
For example; jungian psychology has been aware of the importance of death-rebirth and reliving of the birthprocess and has studied this carefully.  
There are many examples of which model can be used for what types of experiences, but that field is too big to go into now. This is just to give a picture of where Grof gets some of his inspiration from.
All this becomes more complex, he says, when one takes into concideration the psychological systems of huge spiritual traditons such as various forms of yoga, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Sufism, alchemy, or Kabbalah etc.
He says to this that “There is an abysmal gap between most western schools of psychotherapy and these refined and sophisticated theories of the mind based on centuries of deep study of consciousness.”
To explain all the systems Stanislav Grof uses for possible explanatory models in different sessions is an impossible task here. But what is important to notice is that his system ‘digs back’ and does what Wilber would say, find spirituality ‘through the back door’.  In the sense that his system is going through the subconscious levels and through that accesses the transpersonal realms. This method is what is usually referred to as Depth Psychology.

   Let us now look at the model Grof puts forward to explain the vast variety and spectrum of experiences several individuals have experienced during his time as a psychotherapist using techniques which can bring experiences of NOSC.

·   Grof’s system:

For a more in depth explanation of Grof’s system, it shall be made clear that he distincts four levels, or realms of experiences of the human psyche (these four fall under two main categories, as we shall see): 1) the sensory barrier, 2) the individual unconscious, 3) the level of birth and death, and 4) the transpersonal domain.
   The first two fall under one category. This category deals with the biographical material, the individual’s psyche that is. The latter two both deal with experiences that goes beyond the individual.

1.   The individual level:
According to Grof, experiences into deep self exploration often starts with aesthetically interesting experiences that consist of images and visuals of rich geometrical patterns and have colorfull qualities. These experiences does not really give way for any deeper understanding of the individual’s psyche, they do not offer any real significance to the process of self-exploration and self-understanding. These types of experiences seem to be more of a sensory barrier an individual have to pass through to get on to the next level, which is the individual unconscious level.
Grof points out that the individual unconscious level has a large variety of texts and analyses concerning it. This is because of the fact that most traditional psychotherapeutical schools are limited to that level only.  
It is on this level that everything from the individual’s life that is an unresolved conflict, a repressed traumatic memory, or an incomplete psychological gestalt, can emerge and dominate the experience. Grof points out that only one criteria is needed for such an unconscious phenomena to occur; that is, it needs to be of sufficient emotional relevance.
   What Grof has found out about the individual unconscious and the memories of emotional and physical experiences, is that they are stored as complex constellations, not as bits and pieces. He has termed this COEX system, for condensed experiences.
What signifies a COEX system, is that the emotionally charged experiences from different parts of a person’s life has a common denominator that brings the experiences together in the same emotional quality, or physical sensation.
As Grof says;
“Each COEX has a theme that characterizes it. For example, a single COEX constellation can contain all major memories of events that were humiliating, degrading, or shameful. The common denominator of another COEX might be terror of experiences that involved claustrophobia, suffocation, and feelings associated with oppressing and confining circumstances.”
According to this system we can see that there is a dynamic pattern in the traumas of an individual’s life.
Grof states that COEX is not only relevant on the biographical level, as he thought in the beginning of his work in NOSC. Further research has shown that these dynamic patterns seems to represent general principles that works on all levels of the human psyche, and that often a person has to undergo some ‘digging’ in his own individual unconscious to be able to enter realms of Birth-Death and Transpersonal realms of existence.
As the self-exploration deepens, these levels become attainable to experience. As Grof states: most COEX’s are dynamically connected to ‘specific facets of the birth process’.
And this leads us to the next level of Grof’s system:  the transpersonal level.

2.   The Transpersonal level:
Here lies the most original model of Grof’s system, the BPM model. This model contains four stages that all have experiential phenomena that can be linked to certain stages of the birth process.
The reason BPM is classified as a transpersonal domain of experiences, is because of the fact that people, when they reach this level of the unconscious, feel that they have broken the limits of their own self, and can feel pain, joys, or suffering of the world at large and the experiences can even seem to extend to cosmic levels.
BPM’s four stages can be distinguished as such.
1.   BPM 1.
This level consist experiential data that can be symbolically connected to the first level of birth where the fetus/child is lying in the womb. There is a feeling of cosmic unity, everything is taken care of. There is often a feeling of what Grof calls ‘oceanic’ unity and timelessnes.  
2.   BPM 2.
This level of experiences can be linked to the starting of the delivering of the child. Experiences linked to this level is of a horrific nature, in where the safe reality one was in while lying in the womb, now falls apart, and there is a feeling of “no way out”, one is trapped in a cosmic meaningless gulf.
3.   BPM 3.
This level’s experiential phenomanons is linked to the experience of being in the birth canal. But here there is not the same feeling of a trapped “no way out”-situation. Here one can see an end to the struggle, a way out.
4.   BPM 4.
This level is related to the third stage of the clinical birth, the actual delivery of the child. The struggle through the birth canal is over and the child is released, and can start its new life as an individual.
The symbolic counterpart of this experience, is the experience of  dying and being born again. If allowed to happen, the struggle related to BPM 2 or 3 can lead to an experience of annihilation of one’s self on all possible levels. This experience is called ‘ego-death’ and often leads to the transpersonal realms.
The symbolic significance of loosing every philosophical identification with one’s self can be drawned from a huge variety of the recorded collective unconscious, since a majority of cultures have dealt with these types of experiences and have constructed mythological forms appropriate to describe an ‘ego-death’ experience.
An experience like this can be experienced in connection with destructive deities such as Moloch, Shiva, Kali a.s.o. or in full identification with Christ, Adonis, Dionysus a.s.o.

These transpersonal experiences have a multifaceted symbolism to it, but the common denominator is that the individual experiencing it, feels that his or her consciousness has expanded beyond the usual limits of the self.
The vast variety of transpersonal experiences is too huge to deal with here.

The important thing to notice in this investigation of Grof’s system, is that his system explains the possibility of going into transpersonal realms of existence by going through the unconscious.
Grof’s system is basically a system where human development and growth does not necessarily follow a given logic , but there is a tendency for individuals to dig back through the individual’s unconscious and through that entering transpersonal realms.

Ken Wilber:
·   Background on Ken Wilber and His Work:
   Ken Wilber is more of a philosopher than Grof. What Wilber tries to give in the two books I focus my attention on here, is an explanatory model of the evolution of human consciousness. He does this based on the individual human (The Atman Project – A Ttranspersonal View of Human Development), and also tries to give the same model of evolution in human consciousness for the entire human race as it has evolved throughout history (Up From Eden – A Transpersonal View of Human Evolution).
To give a brief account of Ken Wilber’s intellectual development, and circumstances that have fostered his ideas, it shall be said that he dropped out of graduate school at age 24, and had started an intense practise of Zen Buddhism.
His first books, as he puts under his fase 1, defends the Romantic notion of finding spirit and transpersonality through nature. This he later finds to be a wrong view of the nature of reality, and his break with this view comes in his two most important works, The Atman Project and Up From Eden.  
These two books have been described as milestones in the research of human consciousness. And noone, according to many thinkers in this field, have ever done this much to unite the tradition of West with the tradition of the East. The idea he defends in these two books is that human development consists of layers that an individual has to go through, starting with an unconscious unity (prepersonal), going to a conscious feeling of separation (personal) and ultimately ending with a superconscious awareness of the true Unity (transpersonal). Wilber tries to combine many traditions from the East and the West together in one coherent framework. When it comes to defining his standpoint more precisely Wilber puts himself in the tradition of perennial philosophy. Wilber uses the definition of God as found in the perennial philosophy, which is important to notice since Wilber’s system is based on humans striving for Unity with God:
“It is true that there is some sort of Infinite, some type of Absolute Godhead, but it cannot properly be conceived as a colossal Being, a great Daddy, or a big Creator set apart from its creations, from things and events and human beings themselves. Rather, it is best conceived (metaphorically) as the ground or suchness or condition of all things and events.”
Wilber’s system argues this underlying Unity, and that human beings evolution and development is always a strive for Unity.

·   The Traditions Wilber Is Inspired By:
We see in The Atman Project, that he, as Grof, is inspired by a lot of western psychology schools. He often refers to Freud, Boisen, Jung a.s.o.. But by referring to Jung, he does not put himself in the Jungian tradition of finding transpersonal realms through the unconscious, but merely uses Jung when referring to certain archetypal levels. One major difference we can see in the tradition is that Ken Wilber does not include Otto Rank.
In finding transpersonal realms, he puts himself in the tradition of Robert Assagioli method, which is often referred to as a height psychological method. The critique given of depth psychology from this standpoint, is that depth psychology is fundamentally romantic and regressive, since it tries to find transpersonal realms in the unconscious, which is closely related to nature. In Wilber’s words it means that instead of finding transpersonal realms through the ‘front door’ they try to find it through the ‘back door’.
As Grof, Wilber also critisizes the western psychological tradition of being inefficient in saying anything real about the transpersonal realms. He criticizes the western psychological tradition for being reductionist in their way, and states that they try to intrepret transcendence into transpersonal realms as regression into prepersonal realms.
For describing anything ‘real’ about the transpersonal realms, one has to go to the mystic traditions of East and West.
Wilber and Grof both have a critique of traditional western psychology, and both agree upon having to go to the mystic traditions for explanatory models of the transpersonal realms.

We will here take a look at Ken Wilber’s system and after that clarify some of the differences between the two systems.

·   Ken Wilber’s system:
As seen before Wilber’s system consist of three levels; 1) the prepersonal, 2) the personal, and 3) the transpersonal.
Wilber also explains two movements, the outward arc and the inward arc. The outward arc signifies the movement that happens on the prepersonal levels up till the self-conscious, or the personal levels. The inward arc signifies the transcending of the self consciousness and the movement to the higher subtle, or transpersonal, realms. Those arcs are the movement between the two extremes of human consciousness development, the alpha and omega.

·   The Levels:
1.   The prepersonal.
According to Wilber the prepersonal level of existence is the level where an individual has not yet become conscious of its own self. It has here a feeling of unity, one does not distinct self from other. This feeling of unity reminds of the freudian ‘oceanic’ sense of unity. One has no concept of time. This level is bound to the surroundings and the body.
2.   The personal.
The personal level is the level where a self is created. It is the level where one looses the unity with one’s surroundings, since one learns that there is an outside world, and an inside world. This is the level where the person develops language, syntax, and concepts, all means and tools to transcend into the next level. Here one starts to distinguish one’s self and mind with the body and its surroundings.

3.   The transpersonal.
This is the level where true unity steps in. It is not to be confused with the level of the prepersonal level. Because the unity of the prepersonal level is distinct from this level, by the fact that the individual on the prepersonal level is simply just ignorant, or not aware of time, self, and other. The individual on the prepersonal level simply does not make distinctions between self and other because of a lack of awarenes.
On the transpersonal level, the individual has grown an awareness of self and other, an awareness of time, and an awareness of the individual’s unavoidable death.
So by going from the lower to the higher realms, one gains more awareness and insight, and become more consious of its own excistence.
So here one transcends the boundaries of the feeling of self and other, not in the prepersonal way of becoming unconscious of them, but in a way that raises one above the physical distinctions and boundaries.  

·   Form of Development:
The content of Wilber’s system is in this context not as important to investigate as is the form of development. The content of every stage or level is very different, but the form of the development remains the same. We see in Wilber’s system a foreward going development which does not forget or neglect the lower levels in favour of the higher levels, but grows to incorporate each level, so that each level goes from being a whole, to becoming part of a higher system. Like a ladder where every step is dependent on the previous.  So an individual goes ‘upward’ from the low/unconscious level through the conscious level till the higher subtle realms and ultimately leads to Unity.
This development is explained by an occurrence of a differentiation of the lower order structure by a higher order structure, which in its essence is more complex and therefore more unified. The higher order structure that emerges is assisted by a symbolic structure which means that “at each stage of ascent an appropriate symbolic form – itself emerging at that stage – transforms each particular mode of consciousness into its higher-order consciousness.”
As this higher-order structure emerges, the self identifies with this new order and becomes bound to the new structure, until the next one emerges. The self is no longer bound by the lower structure, and does not see that lower structure as the whole, but rather, as Wilber explains, incorporates the lower-order structure into the new higher-order structure as part of that new whole. Wilber points out that the self does not throw away the lower-order structure. The new ‘tools’ of the higher-order is used to incorporate the lower-order structure into the new higher-order structure.
As he explains:
“As the ego-mind was then differentiated from the body it could operate on the body and the world with its tools (concepts, syntax, etc.)”  
Wilber puts up seven main points that is characteristic for each level of development.
“1) a higher-order structure emerges in consciousness (with help of symbolic forms); 2) the self identifies its being with that higher structure; 3) the next higher-order structure eventually emerges; 4) the self dis-identifies with the lower structure and shifts it essential identity to the higher structure; 5) consciousness thereby transcends the lower structure; 6) and becomes capable of operating on that lower structure from the higher-order level; 7) such that all preceding levels can then be integrated in consciousness, and ultimately as Consciousness.”

This sums up Ken Wilber’s system very precisely. As said before, his system is basically, and simply put, a development, or transcendence , from lower to higher levels until there is Unity.
This development through each level is not easy Wilber points out. He explains each development as a form of death of the lower-order structure, and since people are afraid of dying, because they are afraid of loosing themselves totally (As we have seen is impossible according to Wilber, since ones self incorporates every level into the bigger whole, and that this self ultimately will be incorporated into true Unity.), and this fear is what drives people to find substitutional unities through e.g. sex, money, food, religious symbols etc. And this is what he calls Atman project. What is important to notice in this, is that he sees no difference between the death of each level and the biological death of a human being. This is a mere shift and rise in the spectrums of consciousness. The consequense of this system is that one has to go through all levels of consciousness before one can attain true Unity.
We see that there is not the same digging back as in Grof’s system, as Wilber says himself:
   â€œWe grow, we don’t dig back”

Ken Wilber’s system is basically a system where human consciousness development is a process through stages starting from level 1 going to level 3. In that order.

The next chapter will deal with the main differences between Stanislav Grof’s and Ken Wilber’s systems.

The Controversy:
We can see in the two previous chapters that Stanislav Grof and Ken Wilber are both using a wide variety of the western psychological tradition to intrepret certain levels of their own systems. They both find the western psychological tradition to be sufficient for the biographical individual level, or the Prepersonal to the Personal level. They both agree upon the inefficiency of the western psychological traditions to explain anything in the transpersonal levels and find inspiration from more esoteric/mystic traditions for explaining the transpersonal levels. (Though, Stanislav Grof uses, limitly he points out, C.G. Jung for explaining cosmic archetypes occuring in the reexperience of the birth process.).
We see that there are some very basic differences, one of them is the very sense of how to enter transpersonal realms. For Wilber it is an absurdity to enter the transpersonal realms through going into the unconscious levels, this is to him regressive and is confusing prepersonal with transpersonal.
Grof’s research has shown that very often a person does go back through the unconscious, and even goes as far back as reliving the birth-process. Ken Wilber does not find it relevant to take the birth-process into concideration.
According to Stanislav Grof this is a major flaw and renders Ken Wilber’s system highly unsatisfying. According to Grof the fetus’s embryonic existence and the hours spent in the ‘life-threatening’ experience during the birth-process is just as important to take into concideration as the immediate existence after birth, which is where Wilber starts his sytem, if one wants to give a serious and comprehensive explanation of human consciousness.
The basic difference between these two is evolving around the importance of the embryonic and the birth-process.
This difference is based on a fundamental controversy on how human consciousness works. When one reads Ken Wilber’s works it is easy to see that he follows a very chronological order, as pointed out above. Stanislav Grof on the other hand sees human consciousness as working on a holographic level, and states that a client during a session in NOSC does not follow a ‘linear trajectory’. As Grof says in an article where he raises the differences between himself and Ken Wilber:
“Under these circumstances, the therapeutic process does not follow a linear trajectory. If it is not restricted by the strait-jacket of the therapist's professional convictions, it will freely move between the biographical, perinatal, and transpersonal levels, often even within the same session.”     
 The problem when it comes to Wilber, according to Grof, is that Wilber builds up his system based only on his own studies and spiritual practice and follows his own inner logical cohesion. When one puts up a system, logic is certainly a good thing to have, but to neglect such a huge variety of important clinical data that, to Grof, shows evidence of the importance of the perinatal period in sessions dealing with NOSC renders Wilber’s system incomplete.
The argument Ken Wilber can give against this view on the importance of birth and the embryonic existence before birth is that before being born the individual has no consciousness, so it is not necessary to take into concideration when one discusses the evolution of human consciousness. The important period starts immediately after birth when a baby has been separated from the mother and can now start creating an own personal self.
Grof points out again and again that for many persons that works with NOSC daily the embryonic and perinatal realm seems very important to take into concideration when trying to explain anything comprehensive about the nature of human consciousness.

The difference between these two systems, as I see it, lies in the context of the life and works of the two authors. They are diametrical opposites in the sense that Stanislav Grof is a psychiatrist that deals practically with patients. As a consequense of his professional practice he has put up a system that can be used as a model to explain where the client under the influence of LSD or under the practice of holotropic breathworking can enter.
Ken Wilber on the other hand deals with this subject philosophically from texts he has read and from his own personal experiences. He has no clinical practice and tries not to give an explanatory model for patients or clients but rather a theory of how human consciousness evolves in general.
The problem with Wilber’s approach is that he tries to make his own inner logic go for the entirety of humanity, without taking into concideration the experiential data observed and experienced by many individuals.
It might not seem logical for many people, and especially not Ken Wilber, that one can find spirituality through ‘the back door’, or said otherwise, by going through the unconscious levels.
The whole discussion whether to find spirituality through the ‘front’ or ‘back door’ can be asked by the question ‘Can children have transpersonal experiences?’. Of course such a thing would be absurd according to Ken Wilber’s logic. But nevertheless a lot of experiential data shows that children in fact are capable of entering transpersonal realms.
As Grof writes:
“Actual observations have shown that transpersonal experiences, both spontaneous and evoked, are fairly common in children. Ian Stevenson's meticulous study of spontaneous past-life experiences in children involving more than three thousand cases is just the most salient example (Stevenson 1966, 1984, 1987). I have myself observed several clearly transpersonal experiences, including sequences of psychospiritual death and rebirth, in ten and twelve year olds who have participated in sessions of holotropic breath-work”
It becomes clear from reading Ken Wilber’s The Atman Project that an individual has to go through the levels put up by himself in order for the transpersonal realms to be accessed. This logic makes it impossible for children, who according to him have not entered the mature ego-state, to enter the transpersonal realms.
This is not to say that Ken Wilber’s system is all wrong, it might be the case in many circumstances that the model he puts up in The Atman Project might fit for certain individuals. But in the case of what the possibilities of an individual to enter transpersonal realms are his system seem to be too generalising to go for a vast amount of individuals who have experienced entering transpersonal realms by not having to go through each spectrum that Ken Wilber puts forth.

   I have now investigated the systems of Stanislav Grof and Ken Wilber.
We have seen that they each have different goals in their books and come from a different approach to the same area. They both deal with human consciousness and developmental issues in an individual’s life (Grof) and in humanity as a whole (Wilber) and it has been interesting to see what basic difference there are between them in the context of how to enter transpersonal realms.
In Grof’s system, that deals mostly with patients, we see that there is a focus on the birth-process and in the ‘digging back’ of an individual’s consciousness till the reliving of the birth-process and we see how a person through reliving a birth-process is able to enter the transpersonal realms.
In Wilber’s system, that deals with a theory based on his own experiences, we see how a person creates and generates a self-consciousness that stands as the basis for going further ‘up’ into the transpersonal realms, and ultimately this leads to Unity.
We see how these two systems differ in that Grof’s system is a holographic view on how consciousness and the human mind works. This conclusion is derived from a huge amount of clinical data and personal practise of over 35 years. On the other hand as a conclusion of his studies and own self development through practising Zen Buddhism,  Wilber’s system stresses a very logical structure that goes from point Alpha to point Omega.
I have put forth these systems up against each other focusing on the differences between them and ended up supporting Grof’s system in favour of Wilber’s system. I have found that Wilber’s system is unable to argue its cause since what he wants in his system, is to explain human consciousness development and a human potential to enter transpersonal realms according to his system of human consciousness development, and it seems that he neglects too much clinical data that shows his system to be unconvincing when it comes to what the human potential of entering transpersonal realms are.
And this finishes this investigation of the Grof/Wilber controversy.


  LSD-25 was first synthezised in 1938 by Albert Hofmann, and tested on himself in 1943. To read more about this discovery, read LSD – My Problem Child by Albert Hofmann.
  By this is included the entire range of medical model which, according to Grof, is built on the mechanistic worldview. See chapter 5 in Beyond the Brain by Stanislav Grof.
  For a more in depth explanation of all this, one can read the book series which in danish is called Den indre rejse 1-3.
  Otto Rank studied the phenomena of birth-trauma intensely. Stanislav Grof, Beyond the Brain, pp. 171.
  Stanislav Grof, Beyond the Brain, pp. 140.
  Stanislav Grof, Beyond the Brain, pp. 139.
  Stanislav Grof, Beyond the Brain, pp. 139.
  Stanislav Grof, Beyond the Brain, pp. 93.
  Stanislav Grof, Beyond the Brain, pp. 95.
  Stanislav Grof, Beyond the Brain, pp. 96.
  Stanislav Grof, Beyond the Brain, pp. 96.
  Stanislav Grof and Hal Zina Bennet; The Holotropic Mind, pp. 24.
  Stanislav Grof; Beyond the Brain, pp. 97.
  Stanislav Grof, Beyond the Brain, pp. 102 – 131. Here he explains the BPM model in depth.
  I have in due to lack of space put up Grof’s system chronologically, but he often stresses that an individual not necessarily follows the system chronologically.
  Ken Wilber, Introduction to Volume One of The Collected Works of Ken Wilber. Pp. 10.
  Ken Wilber: Up From Eden, pp. 4.
  Ken Wilber, The Atman Project, pp. 5.
  Ken Wilber, The Atman Project, described in chapters 2-9.
  Ken Wilber, The Atman Project, pp. 93.
  Ken Wilber, The Atman Project, pp. 93.
  Ken Wilber, The Atman Project, pp. 94.
  Ken Wilber, The Atman Project, pp. 94.
  By the word transcending Ken Wilber means developing.
  Ken Wilber, The Atman Project, pp. 110.
  Stanislav Grof, Ken Wilber's Spectrum Psychology, URL: 13. december 2004.
  Stanislav Grof, Ken Wilber's Spectrum Psychology, URL: 13. december 2004.
  Ken Wilber, The Atman Project, pp. 53.


·   Primary Litterature:

Grof, Stanislav: Beyond the Brain – Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. USA, State University of New York Press, 1985.

Wilber, Ken: The Atman Project – A Transpersonal View of Human Development. USA, The Theosophical Publishing House (Quest Books), Second Edition, 1996.

·   Secondary Litterature:

Grof, Stanislav with Bennet, Hal Zina: The Holotropic Mind – The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives. USA, HarperCollins Books, 1993.

Wilber, Ken: Up From Eden – A Transpersonal View of Human Evolution. USA, Shambala Publication, Inc., 1983.

·   Article:
Grof, Stanislav: Ken Wilber's Spectrum Psychology. URL: 30/12-2004.



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