Psychosis = Hallucination+Delusion

Kermit Cole
20
171

Drawing from the Netherlands Mental Health and Incidence Study (n=7075), researchers from the Netherlands and the U.K. examined psychotic experiences and clinical outcomes for groups no psychotic experiences, delusions only, hallucinations only, and both hallucinations and delusions. They found that hallucinations and delusions co-occur more often than predicted by chance, and that co-occurrence was associated more strongly with comorbid affective symptoms, negative symptoms, and persistence of psychotic experiences. “A specific ‘hallucinatory-delusional state’ may represent an early phase of exacerbation of aberrant attribution of salience, increasing risk for clinical outcome.” Results appeared online yesterday in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.

Abstract → 

Smeets, F. Lataster, T. van Winkel, R. de Graaf, R. ten Have, M. van Os, J; “Testing the Hypothesis that Psychotic Illness Begins when Subthreshold Hallucination Combine with Delusional Ideation.” Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, online June 8, 2012

Previous articleNeurofeedback May Improve Self-Regulation of Emotion
Next articleAre We Not Human Beings with the Rights to be Treated as Human?
Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

20 COMMENTS

  1. What Are Hallucinations and How Can They Be Measured?

    Along the perception-hallucination continuum of increasing arousal of the sympathetic nervous system (ergotropic arousal), man–the self-referential system–perceptually-behaviorally (cortically) interprets the change (drug-induced
    or “natural”) in his subcortical activity as creative, psychotic, and ecstatic experiences.

    These states are marked by a gradual turning inward toward a
    mental dimension at the expense of the physical.

    “Self”: The Knower and Image-Maker; and “I”: The Known and Imagined:

    We have seen that the departure from the physical dimension during a voyage on the perception-meditation continuum is accompanied by a gradual loss of freedom, which is manifested in the increasing inability to verify the experience through voluntary motor activity.

    At the peak of trophotropic arousal, in samadhi, the meditating subject experiences nothing but his own self-referential nature, void of compelling contents. It is not difficult to see a similarity between the meditative experience of pure self-reference and St. Teresa’s description of her ecstasy: in both timeless and spaceless experiences the mundane world is virtually excluded. Of course, the converge is true of the mundane state of daily routine, in which the oceanic unity with the universe, in ecstasy and samadhi, is
    virtually absent.

    Thus, the mutual exclusiveness of the “normal” and the exalted states, both ecstasy and samadhi, allows us to postulate that man, the self-referential system, exists on two levels: as “Self” in the mental dimension of exalted states; and as “I” in the objective world, where he is able and willing to change the physical dimension “out there.”

    In fact, the “I” and the “Self” can be postulated on purely logical grounds. See, for instance, Brown’s reasoning that the universe is apparently …
    “constructed in order (and thus in such a way as to be able) to see itself. But in order to do so, evidently it must first cut itself up into at least one state which sees, and at least one other state which is seen. In this severed and mutilated condition, whatever it sees is only partially itself… but, in any attempt to see itself as an object, it must, equally undoubtedly, act so as to make itself distinct from, and therefore, false to, itself. In this condition it will always partially elude itself.”

    In our terminology, the “Self” of exalted states is that which sees and, knows, while the “I” is the interpretation, that which is seen and known in the physical space-time of the world “out there.”

    The mutually exclusive relation between the “seer” and the “seen,” or the elusiveness of the “Self” and the “I” may have its physiological basis in the mutual exclusiveness of the ergotropic and trophotropic systems.

    A discernible communication between the “Self” and the “I” is only possible during the dreaming and hallucinatory states, whether drug-induced or “natural.”

    During the ”I”-state of daily routine, the outside world is experienced as separate from oneself, and this may be a reflection of the greater freedom (that is, separateness or independence) of cortical interpretation from subcortical activity.

    With increasing ergotropic (sympathetic nervous system) and trophotropic (parasympathetic nervous system) arousal, however, this separateness gradually disappears, apparently because in the “Self”-state of ecstasy and samadhi, cortical and subcortical activity are indistinguishably integrated.

    This unity is reflected in the experience of Oneness with everything, a Oneness with the universe that is oneself.” _Roland Fischer. “A Cartography of the Ecstatic and Meditative States.”

    “What we’re learning in our schools is not the wisdom of life. We’re learning technologies, we’re getting information. There’s a curious reluctance on the part of faculties to indicate the life values of their subjects.” _Joseph Campbell.

      • No, I don’t take it that way. Your response is one possibility. Another, the one I believe is true, is that I asked you a question based on your comments that I believe will tell me more about why you comment the way you do. It’s a diagnostic question if you will. I try to understand where people are coming from and to do that, you have to have a conversation and ask questions. That’s all I’m trying to do. So about that question…

        • Perhaps “cognitive dissonance” is an inability to “feel” what the eye sees & stimulates the “rationalization?” And thoughts gets stuck in a Cartesian “mechanical logic,” based on seeing separation, yet not feeling this sense of “oneness?”

          Does our Western “I think therefore I am,” get stuck in a Cartesian circle, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartesian_circle

          Why is “Know Thyself” written above a cave? You sight the words at a millisecond unconscious level of nervous system activity, & the mind only “thinks” it “knows” because its unconscious to it own stimulus from within the cave/body?

          Is the “something from nothing” question motivated by a desire to perceive, or a need to maintain homeostasis (comfort-zone) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_homeostasis via a sense of “I,” in the left-brained narrative of your life?

          “The notion of this universe, its heavens, hells, and everything within it, as a great dream dreamed by a single being in which all the dream characters are dreaming too, has in India enchanted and shaped the entire civilization.

          The ultimate dreamer is Vishnu floating on the cosmic Milky Ocean, couched upon the coils of the abyssal serpent Ananta, the meaning of whose name is Unending. In the foreground stand the five Pandava brothers, heroes of the epic Mahabharata, with Draupadi, their wife: allegorically, she is the mind and they are the five senses.

          They are those whom the dream is dreaming. Eyes open, ready and willing to fight, the youths address themselves to this world of light in which we stand regarding them, where objects appear to be distinct from each other, and an Aristotelian logic prevails, and A is not not-A. Behind them a dream-door has opened, however, to an inward, backward dimension where a vision emerges against darkness…” _Joseph Campbell.

          Words are only metaphors, metaphors for hidden processes within, that we are only just beginning to see & understand?

          From the movie “Avatar,” what does “I see you,” really mean?

          • Our back and forth reminds me of the work of Steve de Shazer, Dick Fisch, Weakland, et al. There really is no such thing as communication; just varying degrees of mis-communication. We always say more or less than we intend to say.

            I enjoyed Avatar! What is meaning? What is sight? is it a purely physical process? An invisible connection between souls? A kind of union that can’t be expressed with verbal language? I imagine you would get lots of responses to that question! The answer to all might just be, “yes.”

      • Sort of.

        Nothingness is a permanent temporary place.

        Nothing exists (no galaxies, planets, bodies or light) but there is thought.

        It is a memory that sparks the “big bang”. Ultra, extremely compressed love energy “explodes”.

        All comes from nothing and all returns to nothing.

        The universe has it’s own life cycle. It is “born” and does “die” (return to nothing).

        In Hindu, the Universe will begin it’s “death” cycle when the 10th gate is open. The tenth gate is the cervix and considering the massive population boom, it is obvious that the 10th gate is wide open.

        Nothing is real. Nothing exists. Nothing is something. It is a permanent (will always exist) temporary place (only in that state of being, nothingness, for a limited time).

        It is a “place” of endless thought.

  2. Perhaps we’ve done the logically obvious & rational thing to far to left & are beginning the pendulum swing back towards the mysterious right, to find balance in the middle path? Hemisphere’s I mean.

    “The psychological dangers through which earlier generations were guided by the symbols and spiritual exercises of their mythological and religious inheritance, we today (in so far as we are unbelievers, or, if believers, in so far as our inherited beliefs fail to represent the real problems of contemporary life) must face alone, or, at best with only tentative, impromptu, and not often very effective guidance. This is our problem as modern, “enlightened” individuals, for whom all gods and devils have been rationalized out of existence.” _Joseph Campbell.

  3. Sure we can have a conversation, although I’m curious as why you start a conversation with a presumption? You could have just asked me why I posted this particular comment?

    “Its diagnostic question if you will.”

    I guess this is what the “mental illness,” debate comes down to David? Are you trying to diagnose me and read my mind?

    I put up a condensed version of Roland Fischer’s, “A Cartography of the Ecstatic and Meditative States,” as an alternate view of the nervous systems role in hallucination & delusion. http://wisebrain.org/papers/MapofMedEcstaticStates.pdf

    You jump straight to this question “something from nothing” and tell me your not projecting your own understanding onto me, and seem to suggest that rational & logical, is the only form of awareness we have?

    You leave out everything Roland says above & make an assumption about what I’m saying and why I post the way I do.

    These states of oceanic awareness which are common to euphoric psychosis etc, have little to do with an everday left-brained cognition, which is overwhelmingly socially constructed.

    Other readers might liken your response to a psychiatric interview? Perhaps this may resonate with others who go through states of psychosis and are bombarded with these type of “logical” questions?

    Rational & logical is an assumption that we can “know,” when the experience of “oneness” is not a knowing of the kind we take for granted in our everyday awareness.

    Its more of a heart felt holistic sensation than just thoughts in the mind, although the mind does try its best to interpret the experience. Your “something from nothing,” does not enter into my thinking.

    The question seems to assume we could “know” the nature of God or the Universe, or whatever metaphor we use to describe our own hidden processes. Or do you have a “complete” awareness of how you function, David? It also seems to be an assumption that our current self-awareness & language are definitive?

    I’ve posted elsewhere that I believe we are emerging into a new state of awareness based of our growing knowledge about systems theories, which includes our own hidden nature. Knowledge that is changing our generally “external” object awareness, in our evolved language of self-interpretation.

    I do believe that when taking new knowledge, like “the polyvagal theory” into consideration, along with all the new awareness of our internal chemical makeup, we can re-interpret the tribal existential metaphors of mythology, to see them in a new light which combines both right-brain intuition & left-brained logic & reason.

    All of the posts I make, point to “natural cause,” for what we call “mental illness,” and just like the Fischer piece above show how the nervous system & the “body” plays a role in “psychosis,” with its positive & negative symptom expression.

    The Bowen theory of an unconscious “emotional projection process,” shows how we react to each other, in the anxiety of the lived moment. The exerts from his writing show how society functions in this unconscious stress related “us vs them” fashion, which is perhaps one of the “hidden” factors in a “mental illness epidemic.”

    If I can ask you a question, what is behind your “something from nothing,” reasoning? Have you had this kind of experience which Joseph Campbell describes so well;

    “When you realize that eternity is right here now, that it is within your possibility to experience the eternity of your own truth and being, then you grasp the following: That which you are was never born and will never die..” _Joseph Campbell.

    “It may be a species impudence to think that the way you understand God is the way God is.” _Joseph Campbell.

    • All conversations start with presumptions no? I certainly meant no offense David. My “diagnostic” question wasn’t mental health oriented it was diagnostic more in the sense of trying to understand your comments. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. You tend to quote a lot from others so I wanted to read “you” more. I appreciate your response. I must say you seem a bit upset in your response though. I hope we can still be cordial Mr. Bates!

      • Of coarse we can be cordial Mr Ross, I must say though you seem to pay lip service to the notion of communication with short questions & reluctance to really engage.

        Are you sure you wanted conversation & not just to “read” me? If your involved with psychiatric survivors or people enmeshed in the medical model system, you may consider how “loaded” the word “diagnosis” becomes when one is on the wrong end of that judgement.

        So about that question… “what is behind your “something from nothing,” reasoning? David.

        • Ha! So you decline to answer my original question to you. That’s fine. You’ve provided enough for me to believe we can be cordial but I belive your reluctance to answer my question to you reflects that you know exactly why I asked it and what I’m trying to determine and your choice is not to answer. We’ve gone as far as we can I think.

          I didn’t realize the word “diagnosis” was loaded for you. Or that you are emeshed in the medical model or a psychiatric survivor. I will bear that in mind in my future comments. For what it’s worth the survivors I know choose to not let words like this impact/control/define them.

          • “Rational & logical is an assumption that we can “know,” when the experience of “oneness” is not a knowing of the kind we take for granted in our everyday awareness.

            Its more of a heart felt holistic sensation than just thoughts in the mind, although the mind does try its best to interpret the experience. Your “something from nothing,” does not enter into my thinking.”

            Perhaps I didn’t answer it to your satisfaction because its a question that comes from a left-brained cognitive sense of awareness, which defends itself from a more “sensitive” felt sense, which has no words of description at this point in our evolution?

            Look at mjk’s comment below & you might see this right-brain intuitive awareness, which you may not have experienced?

            You say you wanted conversation, yet now you want to cut-off?

            And this is not happening in our exchange? As Bowen predicts?

            “The words used in triangular emotional exchange, based on rational thinking, are usually not heard by the other except to defend or prepare a rebuttal. The words can be heard only after the emotion is reduced.” _Murray Bowen.

  4. “eternity is right here now”

    Yes, it is. It amazes me how plenty of spiritual and religious people do not understand that, let alone non-believers. It’s fairly simple:

    Internal
    External
    Eternal

    Eternity is not something that “begins” at some point. It is, it always is and will always be. People talk about living in the “now” which makes me laugh because if you think about it, “now” is the one thing that NEVER exists – it is forever moving, escaping – now, oops gone. now, oops gone. lol

  5. Another exert from Roland Fischer’s brilliant paper, may further illuminate the issue of our awareness of existential reality & our judgments and perceptions about mental disorder?

    “Moreover, subjects with a large standard deviation on handwriting area at T1 (that is, “variable” subjects), tend to be “perceivers,” whereas volunteers with a small standard deviation at T1(“stable” subjects) tend to be “judgers,” in terms of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

    This self-reporting, Jungian-type personality indicator yields simple, continuous scores on four dichotomous scales: extroversion-introversion, sensation-intuition, thinking-feeling, and judging-perceiving.

    The perceivers also overestimate or contract time more than judgers do at the peak of a psilocybin-induced experience: this implies that perceivers move faster and farther along the perception-hallucination continuum than do judgers, who apparently require a larger dose for a comparable experience.

    Space and Increasing Hyper and Hypoarousal

    We call man’s symbolic interpretation of his CNS activity “perception-behavior” and regard creative, “hyperphrenic,” and ecstatic states, as well as Zazen and samadhi, as perceptual-behavioral interpretations of ergotropic and trophotropic arousal, respectively.

    We may now consider some of the perceptual-behavioral changes, or transformations, that gradually develop as the level of arousal increases and decreases along each continuum.

    One of the most conspicuous transformations is that of “constancies”, which in the normal state of daily routine form a learned structure of primary ordering of space and time “out
    there.”

    Although the newborn infant’s only reality, in the beginning, is his CNS activity, he soon learns, by bumping into things, to erect a corresponding model “out there.” Ultimately, his forgetting that his CNS activity had been the only reality will be taken by society as proof of his maturity, and he will be ready to conduct his life “out there” in (container) space and (chronological) time.

    This gradually learned and projected model, then, is the representation of a world ordered and stabilized by self-programmed invariances.

    The adult interprets his CNS activity within this structure of similarity criteria, or “constancies,” and thus experience can be said to consist of two processes: the programmed (subcortical) CNS activity; and the symbolic or perceptual-behavioral (cortical) interpretation, or metaprograms, of the CNS activity.”

    _Roland Fischer, “A Cartography of the Ecstatic and Meditative States,” http://wisebrain.org/papers/MapofMedEcstaticStates.pdf

  6. SENSITIVITY-EXISTENTIAL ISOLATION & PSYCHOSIS:

    “If the human race survives, future men will, I suspect, look back on our enlightened epoch as a veritable Age of Darkness… They will see that what was considered ‘schizophrenic’ was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break into our all-too-closed minds.” _R.D. Laing.

    “Who experiences a “schizophrenic break”?
    Well, there’s a lot of controversy about this! There is a constitutional element, which is often interpreted as a “genotype of pathology”, but this depends on how you see it. I see it as a genotype of sensitivity! Among adolescent siblings in a family, for example, it’s usually the most sensitive one who’s going to catch it.

    So it starts with a feeling of isolation…
    “Yes. Now the symbolic expression of this is falling into a death – not only a death state, but also a death space – the “afterlife,” the “realm of the ancestors,” the “land of the dead,” the “spirit world.” The common experience here is for the person to look about and think that half the people around him are dead too. While in this condition, it’s very hard for one to tell if one is really alive or not.” _John Wier Perry.

    “Humans have three principal defense strategies—fight, flight, and freeze. The Polyvagal Theory describes three developmental stages of a mammal’s autonomic nervous system: Immobilization, mobilization, and social communication or social engagement. Faulty neuroception might lie at the root of several psychiatric disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, depression, and Reactive Attachment Disorder. We are familiar with fight and flight behaviors, but know less about the defense strategy of immobilization, or freezing. This strategy, shared with early vertebrates, is often expressed in mammals as “DEATH FEIGNING.” (capitals mine) _Stephen Porges.

    “Right away at the beginning, the death experience is accompanied by the feeling that you’ve gone back to the beginning of time. This involves a regression, a return to the state of infancy in one’s personal life history. But hand in hand with this is the feeling of slipping back into the world of the primordial parents, into a Garden of Eden. For example, it’s a very common experience to feel one is the child of Adam and Eve, say, at the beginning of time. This is very symbolic, obviously. It’s pretty much a representation of the psyche at the start of one’s individual career after birth.” _John Wier Perry.

    Metaphorically speaking, Adam & Eve, would be the Sun & Earth, with the world taken from Adam’s rib? Can we really have any “cognitive” concept of what our nervous system is “aware” of, pre & post birth. What unconscious level of awareness is Stephen Porges “neuroception” referring to? Consider Roland Fischer’s suggestion about what we may once have “known” yet need to forget in our social/survival mode of functioning?

    Space and Increasing Hyper and Hypoarousal:
    “Although the newborn infant’s only reality, in the beginning, is his CNS activity, he soon learns, by bumping into things, to erect a corresponding model “out there.” Ultimately, his forgetting that his CNS activity had been the only reality will be taken by society as proof of his maturity, and he will be ready to conduct his life “out there” in (container) space and (chronological) time.” _ Roland Fischer.

    Are we not composed of star dust & all those chemical elements?

    Is the typical “self-referential” ideation in a “psychotic break” a rationalized “hyper-sensitivity” to nature & all that lies beyond Eve’s protective atmosphere? A sensitivity which is non-verbal, non-cognitive and is a more refined integration of all five physical senses, when we fall beneath our normal nervous system orientation of “social engagement.” An overwhelmingly “unconsciously” stimulated experience, “rationalized” by the mind as “the TV is sending out hidden messages, just for me?”

    Stephen Porges groundbreaking discovery of a third branch of our autonomic nervous system, shows our unconscious orienting responses are like two different operating systems, to use a computer analogy. (1) Social Engagement, an evolved nervous system responsiveness “innervated” by the feedback signals of head & facial muscles, with their vagal control over the heart. (2) Survival Orientation, an evolved nervous system responsiveness, shared with all other mammals and heightened due to our “sensitive skin,” which under hyper-vigilant threat attains a higher “resonance,” with background sensory information.

    Consider Sylvan Tomkins ideas about affect/emotion and our sensitive skin;
    “The face appears to me to be the central site of affect/emotion responses and their feedback., but I have come to regard the skin, in general, and the skin of the face in particular, as of the greatest importance in producing the feel of affect/emotion. Three of the most compelling states to which the human being is vulnerable arise on the surface of the skin. Torture via skin stimulation has been used for centuries to shape and compel human beings to act against their own deepest wishes and values. Sexual seduction via skin stimulation has also prompted human beings to violate their own wishes and values. Fatigue to the point of extreme sleepiness appears to be localized in the skin surrounding the eyes.” _Sylvan Tomkins.

    ******************

    SYSTEMS THEORY is now being used to understand the complex non-linear feedback systems which integrate our human experience, particularly the early maturation of brain and nervous systems, via environmental feedback. It is becoming increasingly clear that human inter-subjectivity, is more resonant affect/emotion than left-brained linguistics and dialogue.

    Consider Allan Schore’s understanding of our non-linear bio-metabolic-energy transformations, which turn matter into “meta” within the human mind;
    “In physics a property of resonance is sympathetic vibration, the tendency of one resonance system to enlarge & augment through matching the resonance frequency pattern of another resonance system.

    In contemporary bioenergetic theory, information is conceived of as ’a special kind of energy required for the work of establishing biological order’. The processing of all forms of information by the brain, including that embedded in internal representations, occur through transformations of metabolic energy.

    The extraordinary power of the concept of energy transformations derives from the fact that these fundamental phenomena occur on each and every level of living systems, from the molecular to the societal.

    The growing postnatal brain, the physical matrix of the emerging human mind, is supplied with a continuous supply of energy from metabolic processes. A fundamental tenant of this theory states that the assembly of complex systems occurs under conditions of thermodynamic non-equilibrium (a directed flow of energy).

    This energy is utilized to facilitate the cooperativity of simpler sub-system components into a hierarchically-structured complex system that expresses the emergent functions of organizing and maintaining stability.

    Bioenergetic conceptualizations thus need to be implanted into the central core of psychoanalytic and psychological theory, a position they now occupy in physics, chemistry, and biology. Thermodynamics are not only the essence of biodynamic, they are also the essence of neurodynamics, and therefore of psychodynamics.” _Allan N Schore.

    ****************

    If the word “evolution” is to make sense on a felt level of experience, where life actually occurs, should we not consider that it is the body, its five physical senses and the motor act of orienting responses, which informs the subjective awareness of the human/animal mind? Consider;

    “My belief is in the blood and flesh as being wiser than the intellect. The body-unconscious is where life bubbles up in us. It is how we know that we are alive, alive to the depths of our souls and in touch somewhere with the vivid reaches of the cosmos” _D. H. Lawrence.

    “The motor act is the cradle of the mind – The capacity to anticipate and predict movement, is the basis of what consciousness is all about” _Sir Charles Sherrington.

    “The brain is waking and with it the mind is returning. Its as if the Milky Way entered upon some cosmic dance. Swiftly the head-mass becomes some enchanted loom, where millions of flushing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern, always a meaningful pattern, though never an abiding one: A shifting harmony of sub-patterns.” _Sir Charles Sherrington.

    **********************

    In Buddhist art, one must find the stillness within, which allows the movement and thought bubbles of cosmic inspiration to flow. Is there so much more to hallucination, delusion and psychosis than meets our “pathologizing” and fearfully judgmental eyes?

    Consider my recent posts as five weeks of “psychosis” peaked with these “subjective” interpretations;

    “Madness? An attachment awareness of the divine, a sense of eternity in a single moment.

    Mania? I fall out of my braced muscular defense which habitually miss-regulated and thwarted my need of human attachment, and in the spontaneous shift in physiological state, sensory freedom reigns.

    I’m suddenly born again to an awareness of so much, as if all five senses have come back online, after being stuck in the freeze mode of the post trauma trap. In my body, I’m suddenly so alive.

    The positive states of interest, excitement & joy resume their biological process and begin to reorganize my brain stem neural networks to mediate a free and full engagement with the experience of life.

    So enraptured by this spontaneous shift towards positive affect/emotion experience, I subjectively feed this new physiological state of being with emotive scenarios of passion, glory and wonder.

    I’m so overjoyed I can’t still my mind, and its role in my self-nurture during long periods of isolation, automatically continues and I overshoot the runway of my new physiological approach to the experience of life.

    Its natural intent, as the non-linear biological system, which is the organism known as David Bates, is miss-perceived by subjectivity, and the physiological need to BE in the here and now moment, is thwarted.

    Thwarted because I confuse my minds sense of “I” with the deeper consciousness of the sensate experience of the body. The subtle sensations, sensory vibrations and arising images that resonate in an attunement/attachment connection, as that oceanic feeling of oneness, so common to the manic/mystic experience.

    Attachment, Separation & Loss, is perhaps the ultimate challenge to deepening awareness, for a sentient species.”

    **************

    “The ascension is not a rising to “above” it’s a Fall, just as its always been, when you seek awareness of the Universe within, & truly feel the presence of this Eternal Now. In Eastern mysticism, such experience is known as a Kundalini awakening, or in the “stillness” of the great Prince, Buddha being?

    Is it time to re-address the tribal metaphors of life’s meaning, to a species understanding? In a Universe of 96% dark matter/energy. Life is “The Resurrection.” That great symbol of sacrifice we see in Christ on the Cross, as all the Light Matter Energy, sacrificed to create your life? How does the Universe become Eternal? By evolving into a form which can act upon itself, YOU & your children’s, children’s children, forever & ever, Amen! Or whatever metaphor of gratitude you use.”

    Perhaps a culmination of a 32 year journey with classic manic-depression & its resolution as a felt awareness of madness, in my sensitive human animal nature, “acting out?” Or complete B.S. Although there is five years of research about my body/brain & its homeostatic feedback systems, to complement these in-sane statements. Yet, are we not, children of the light?

    When we make the effort to see the bigger picture, can we understand and accept that science & spirituality are converging in this 21st century A.D. Because this is how it happens, as the Universe within, dreams itself awake? In the strange notion of an “Eternal Now” it already did, and we’re just remembering it ALL?

    “The notion of this universe, its heavens, hells, and everything within it, as a great dream dreamed by a single being in which all the dream characters are dreaming too, has in India enchanted and shaped the entire civilization.

    The ultimate dreamer is Vishnu floating on the cosmic Milky Ocean, couched upon the coils of the abyssal serpent Ananta, the meaning of whose name is Unending. In the foreground stand the five Pandava brothers, heroes of the epic Mahabharata, with Draupadi, their wife: allegorically, she is the mind and they are the five senses.

    They are those whom the dream is dreaming. Eyes open, ready and willing to fight, the youths address themselves to this world of light in which we stand regarding them, where objects appear to be distinct from each other, and an Aristotelian logic prevails, and A is not not-A. Behind them a dream-door has opened, however, to an inward, backward dimension where a vision emerges against darkness…” _Joseph Campbell.

    “I always feel uncomfortable when people speak about ordinary mortals because I’ve never met an ordinary man, woman or child.” _Joseph Campbell.