An excerpt from the conclusion to the book, PATHS BEYOND EGO, by Dr. Roger Walsh and Dr. Frances Vaughan – with a dissenting COMMENT by mysticexperiences.net.
“Carl Jung spoke of the importance of gnostic intermediaries, those people who transmit a wisdom tradition by imbibing it themselves and then translating it into the language and concepts of another culture.
“Perhaps the transpersonal movement can function as a collective gnostic intermediary, whereby the timeless wisdom of traditional transpersonal disciplines can be translated. tested, and winnowed, and then can inspire and transform contemporary culture.
“Yet the transpersonal movement is more than a gnostic intermediary. For in addition to translating knowledge it is actively involved in creating knowledge. New techniques are being devised, data generated, and both ancient and contemporary claims are being tested scientifically, philosophically, clinically, and experientially.
“The long-term effects of this enterprise may be far more than we can imagine. Already we have seen a shift to a more generous view of human nature and possibilities. We have moved from a perspective that encompassed only a single, healthy waking state of consciousness to a recognition of multiple states; from viewing normal development as our ceiling to seeing it as a culturally determined limit; from denying lucid dreaming to exploring it in the laboratory; from regarding meditation as a regressive escape to appreciating it as a developmental catalyst; from dismissing mystical experiences as pathological to recognizing them as beneficial; and from devaluing non-Western psychologies and philosophies to appreciating that some of them are, in their own unique ways, highly sophisticated.
“These shifts and more may make transpersonal studies an essential cornerstone in the emerging paradigm. These shifts also may change each of us, for what we do reflects our beliefs about who and what we are.
“The transpersonal vision of our possibilities may therefore call forth our individual and collective efforts to actualize them. This actualization may be crucial for the survival of our planet and our species …”
If my experiences of these “transpersonal” psychological experiences of Reality (MER) are anything to go by, there were no indications they were meant to make me an intermediary to the human race.
Any direction I got regarding humans was to avoid them as a distraction, counter-indicative to an understanding of the existence of the greater Reality being revealed.
Drs. Walsh and Vaughan seem to see a role for humans in the existence of mysticism despite lack of any evidence it is a human invention, or anything humans can control. No one as yet has any verifiable notion of its purpose.
ROGER WALSH graduated from Australia’s Queensland University with degrees in psychology, physiology, neuroscience, and medicine, and then went to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar. He is now at the University of California at Irvine where he is professor of psychiatry, philosophy, and anthropology, as well as a professor in the religious studies programme. He is a proponent of the development of “transpersonal psychology” that includes phenomena such as MER (Mystical Experiences of Reality).
FRANCES VAUGHAN, Ph.D. is an author, educator and retired psychologist in Sonoma County, CA.