Self-Transcending Experience (Narrative & Analysis): Part 1 from Administrator's blog

Editor’s Introduction: Transcending Self-Consciousness (by Gregory M. Nixon): Abstract: What is this thing we each call “I” and consider the eye of consciousness, that which beholds objects in the world and objects in our minds? This inner perceiver seems to be the same I who calls forth memories or images at will, the I who feels and determines whether to act on those feelings or suppress them, as well as the I who worries and makes plans and attempts to avoid those worries and act on those plans. Am I the subject, thus the source, of my awareness, just as you are the subject and source of your awareness? If this is the case, it is likely impossible to be conscious without the self (yours or mine), the eye of consciousness, and it must certainly not be desirable, for such a consciousness would have no focal point, no self-that-is-conscious to guide it, so it would be cast adrift on wide and wild sea like a boat that has broken from its anchor. Without self-enclosure, “We shall go mad no doubt and die that way,” as Robert Graves (1927/1966) expressed it.

Transformations of Self and World I: Modeling a World (by Christopher Holvenstot): Abstract: Severe seasonal depression entails the yearly collapse and reconstruction of a functional, useable, meaningful world. This radical annual transformation provides a unique perspective onto fundamental conscious processes by illuminating the cognitive elements and dynamics behind the construction and deconstruction of self-models and world-models.

Transformations of Self and World II: Making Meaning (by Christopher Holvenstot): Abstract: A theater workshop, ostensibly about acting, turns out instead to be about not acting, yet answers a lot of questions about how to act in the real world – ironically, by exploring the world of dreams. This transformational experience provides a view into the realm of the psyche, and this view is used to highlight the inappropriateness of empirical precepts in the formation of a field of consciousness studies.

The Shock of the Old: A Narrative of Transpersonal Experience (by Milenko Budimir): Abstract: Here I present a description of some transpersonal experiences that occurred as a result of meditation practices as well as reflections on those experiences. I connect these experiences with some historical precedents, particularly to sources in the Eastern Orthodox Christian spiritual tradition, but also to contemporary sources as well as some 20th century philosophical ideas. Lastly, I describe how these experiences ended up shaping a new worldview, the most significant and lasting being a deep sense of interconnectedness with the world. This sense of interconnectedness further lends support to an inclusive rather than an exclusive understanding of religious belief, and correspondingly a mystical sense of the world and humans’ place in it.

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