Transpersonal Psychology

Among Western modern schools of psychology including psychotherapy (before the advent of NLP), Transpersonal Psychology is the most interesting and promising. Three prominent transpersonal psychologists are Ken Wilber, Charles Tart and Stanislav Grof.

The contribution and limitation of each of these transpersonal psychologists are summarised below in a very brief way:

Ken Wilber

Wilber's introduction (or integration) of Eastern esoteric wisdom (above all, Vedanta's model of the "five sheaths (=levels of consciousness)") into Western psychology is to be highly appreciated. His exposition of the spectrum of consciousness helps Western people to understand Eastern esotericism in a quite logical way. The basic concepts of his own model are not new in the strict sense of the word, but the very core of the long traditional Eastern wisdom.

In the author's opinion, Wilber's "The Atman's Project" is the first authentic (successful) attempt in the West to expound what enlightenment (or the Brahman/Atman identity) is, in a purely logical way, i.e., an attempt to logically explain away what is beyond logic. You can read the author's review on this book on the Internet.

Charles Tart

Tart's diagrammatic exposition of human consciousness is ingenious, and helps us to understand "discrete state of consciousness (d-SoC)" and "discrete altered state of consciousness (d-ASC)". He is the psychologist who succeeded in modelling/mapping human states of alternative consciousness the most effectively. His theoretical aspects may paradoxically make him too analytical and logical and prevent him from going into the "transpersonal area" existentially.

Stanislav Grof

Grof's research of the transpersonal area through "chemically induced states of consciousness" including LSD is very scientific, and well documented. His concept of "Systems of Condensed Experience (COEX Systems)" seems to be his own version of Jungian Archetypes. He claims (rightly) that he is beyond Freudian psychoanalysis, but it cannot be denied that he is still functioning within the framework of (Jungian) psychoanalysis. After the use of LSD was made illegal, he invented non-drug-use holotropic therapy using music and breathing exercises, but this method is unfortunately as restricting as other modern psychotherapeutic schools including Primal and Rebirthing. (For this discussion, go to the page "Samskara".)

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