Russian Foundation of Transpersonal Psychology
International Noosphere Institute
THE BEGINNING OF THE JOURNEY, CARTOGRAPHY OF UNCONSCIOUS
Any travel into the challenging states of mind begins with a dip into the depths of one's own mental life, into the unconscious. No matter if it is a usual dream or that of a guided magic journey of a shaman, the dimensional door, the gating mechanism presents itself and this is how we keep in touch with the subtle-material world. The condition of this "door", or gate and ability to open it and keep in the working state, defines success and safety of our submersions into subtle-material worlds. That is why ancient esoteric or magic traditions took into great consideration special preparing rituals as initiations that were supposed to purify and harmonize the depths of human psyche and to teach basic psycho-techniques of controlling one's own unconscious. Such preparation normally demanded many years of intensive, extensive spiritual and psycho-energetic practice. For example, in Tibetan tantric Buddhism, initial stages of such preparation take from three to ten years (1). The Russian epos about Iliya Muromets, is another example of such preparing initiation. Iliya, was confined to his bed for many years before he obtained the great power. Similar histories can be found in the epos of Siberian, American, and other shamans from the different cultures.
One can enter DSM without any initial preparation, especially when some hallucinatory substances are used. However, the effects of such a journey from chemical inducement can be really destructive and sometimes irreversible. Imagine what could happen if an untrained person tried to ride a pure bred horse not understanding how to pull the reigns and lead when someone has set them in the saddle and push them off on a trot, or better yet if an untrained pilot were to take over flying a plane when it is already up in the air!
For this reason, in the upcoming chapters of this book, there will be a lot of attention paid on the techniques of preparing, integrating and controlling our unconsciousness while describing the cartography of subtle-material reality. In the beginning we will acquaint ourselves with the minimal knowledge concerning our mental life which is necessary for effective use of practical psycho-techniques.
1.1. Cartography of the deep unconscious
As we mentioned previously, the deep unconscious is the door or gating mechanism to which we enter into subtle-material reality. Along with our consciousness, it also shapes the informational space of our mental life. If we compare it to a computer this would be the software that creates a multi-level informational environment through which we interact with the machine like those of the operational systems, different program framings, program languages, etc. If we continue this comparison, behavioral mechanisms of a human could be described as the computer's "gland", its electronic configuration (processor, memory, marginal mechanisms, etc.) We will speak of them later. One cannot learn to work with the computer without at least elementary knowledge concerning its construction (which buttons should be pressed) and software, in the same way one cannot subdue effective methods of work with DSM without knowing anything of these two levels of our mental life.
One of the ancient metaphors describes our mind and consciousness as the surface of a lake, then the unconsciousness is the depth hidden under it. However, the depths do not have the bottom and are connected with the ocean of collective unconscious that unifies all separate personalities.
In picture 1, the simplified structure of the stratas of our unconscious is represented. The rationalized and realized part of our personality is situated on the very top. It contains the sphere of images, language, conscious memories (to which we can turn by our wish and which we treat as a part of our past) and finally our conception of ourselves, our relations with others, our aims and desires. Naturally, such rationalized and idealized picture of oneself is strongly retouched and is usually very far from our real self. The Self that manifests through our behavior, acts and relates with others. In fact this real Self manifests deeper stratas of unconscious our displaced desired, blocked memories, traumatic experience, everything that contradicts our images about ourselves or is simply unpleasant.
This closest strata of the unconscious normally contains the sphere of our past from the very early childhood up to the moment when the child starts to speak. A great amount of displaced or just forgotten fantasies, unsatisfied desires, resentments will be found there. The traditional Freudist psychoanalysis works with that sphere. There is no clear line between it and our consciousness and separate displaced images can suddenly get out of there and appear in our mind. This can happen while we are awake or asleep or in DSM. Still, the strongest and loaded with emotional energy images are usually directly inaccessible and manifest through veiled associations, unexpected moodiness, etc.
The majority of journeys in DSM starts and comes to an end in this sphere due to its relative accessibility, although the participant of the submersion can be absolutely sure that she or he has reached different dimensions of our reality and had a contact with Spiritual teachers of human kind, shamanic spirits or extra-terrestrial, supra-terrestrial of which depends on one's preferences. In fact these are only fragments of things that had been once read or seen on TV. Besides the emotional load of the displaced desires may give to those slivers of the past the brightness and illusion of reality. Such illusive submersions are easy to detect by their amusing monotony, dullness and deductiveness of the obtained information. All this surprisingly reminds of the gutter-paper's articles. Another special feature of such submersions is quick exhaustion and poverty of the information streamlet. Usually the first submersions are the strongest and then they become paler and more monotonous.
Up to a certain extent, this strata of the unconscious presents an entrapment, a labyrinth, where one can easily lose one's way and get stuck, wandering in displaced memories and fantasies and thinking of them as of the worlds of subtle-material reality. The majority of contactors, participants of New Age seminars (a kind of "How to become a real shaman in only two days") and those who use hallucinatory substances normally get entrapped. This concerns anyone who looks for quick and easy way into subtle-material reality.
It is much more difficult to get into the next deeper strata of unconscious. The boundary (the veil) that separates it is much stronger for we enter wandering in memories and fantasies of the first strata of unconscious and this may take us away from it. The term 'veil' provided by American mystic and fantast, R. Zelazny, seems to be very suitable, so we will use it further to define the boundaries between separate stratas of unconscious.
This strata of unconscious includes the world of a child who is unincarnate or is in the mother's womb, especially in the early stages of development. That is a sense of unclear pictures, energies, love that fills the space. "Bardo" experiences, those experiences referred to from the Tibetan Book of the Dead in the passage through worlds of after death reincarnation, and so called karmic experiences are also connected with this strata, although they are situated closer to its boundary, to the first veil.
The experiences of this strata of subconsciousness are as a rule very pleasant (sparkling energy, love filling the world, etc.) As they go together with the lack of logic, thinking it is very easy to forget about the aim of submersion and the directing of the further movement and to get stuck in there. Certainly, nothing bad will happen, one simply falls asleep and then awakens in the normal state but the aim of the submersion will not be reached. That is why the overcoming of the lower boundary of this strata, of the second veil is also not a simple task.
The next strata has a clear beyond-personal nature. It lacks categories and orientation points we are used to having. It is the closest to the images of initial chaos or Indo-Tibetan images of initial emptiness (Shunia.) A person who has reached this level starts to lose orientation and realizes who he or she is and why he or she has come here. For that reason, the probability to fall asleep and to be thrown back to the other previous levels is even higher here. The third and the last veil is situated at the bottom of this strata, it hides the entrance to the collective unconscious.
It is not difficult to notice that the described hierarchy of the stratas repeats in miniature, the order and pattern of our universe. It is not surprising, for the ancient principle of likeness works also on the level of our mental life: the small is in the big and the big is in the small. To put it in a more modern way, self alike fractal organization of micro- and macro cosmos.
The level includes only the most general principles of organization of unconsciousness. Each of the described levels in its turn has a hierarchy of smaller stratas, etc. Besides any strata presents an endless informational space where one can easily get lost. The veil should not be imagined as a kind of a wall in which you try to find and open the door. It is rather a different space dimension that is present everywhere but is available only to the one who knows about it. Imagine that you wander endlessly in the labyrinth, trying to find the exit while it is right over your head in the third dimension of the space. The only thing you need to get out is to raise your head. Hence the successful coming through the stratas of the unconscious demands good knowledge of their cartography and regular clearing of its depths in order to remove the accumulated informational rubbish. Later on we will learn how to do it.
1.2. The structure of the human behavioral mechanisms
Up to this moment we have described the informational architecture of our psyche, now we will concentrate on the mechanisms that realize our behavior, control our emotions and desires, percept and analyse information from the environment. Everything that is responsible for our interaction with material and subtle worlds.
The knowledge concerning this level of our organism is necessary first of all for teaching practical methods of self-control needed during altered state travelling and for controlling one's state in the process of the journeys into the subtle reality. Besides it makes such journeys safer and allows to avoid destructive psycho-manipulative influences in both material and subtle worlds. The main thing is to learn to control our bestial desires and passions, disastrous stereotypes to which we have been used since the early childhood and that ruine us from the inside. All these aspects of our personality are undesirable and dangerous also in our daily life but they are even more destructive and dangereous in the journeys in subtle worlds, especially in their outlandish areas.
Now let us look at the structure of human behavioral mechanisms. Symplifying, one can separate three basic levels responsible for our behavior (picture 2). These are behavioral mechanisms placed in our nervous system. They create a complicated hierarchic system with conscious and unconscious desires and emotional centres on its top. These desires motivate our behavior. On the bottom the simplest motorial reactions, bahavioral stereotypes, perceptional mechanisms are situated.
The second level controles and maintaines the order of behavioral mechanisms and prevents appearing of the chaos. The great importance of this function is connected with the fact that our behavioral mechanisms present dissipative, unbalanced system that, left on its own, quickly moves towards growing chaos and is practically unable to function (2). This is the basic difference between human psyche and modern computers which, beingbalanced systems, do not need such mechanisms of regulation.
Ancient traditions usually connected this second anty-chaotic behavioral level with so-called subtle body (acupuncture channels and chacras) and maintaining of the high level of vital energy. Vital energy seems to be the oldest analogy of the modern conception of negentropy (3). This way that level in particular defines the source of vital sorces, behavioral tonus, the strength of desires and motivation. If ti does not work properly a person becomes apathetic, passive, the strength of his or her grows fader and behavior loses its sense and unity. In other words we see typical features of the chronic tiredness syndrom often appearing in the developed industrial countries.
And, finally, the third and the highest level containes deep behavioral archytypes normally situated beyond local life experience and defining the sense of the human life, its fullness and unity, they are manifestated in the best way in the religious and mystic experience or on the top of creative activity. The exceptionality of human personality, something that differs a human from machine and makes him or her unique is connected with this level. The better the connection of this level with the first behavioral one, the better the last one is controlled by the former one, the higher is creative and spiritual human potential. If this contact is weak or does not exist at all we get a human biorobot drived by blind bestial instincts, a typical necrophil.
The majority of spiritual and really religious practices are oriented towards deepening of this connection, subordination of bestial instincts chaos to higher spiritual goals and sublimation of their energy in upper direction. Many ancient traditions connect this highest third level with human immortal soul, reincarnation and carmic experience. Besides it is often said that subtle body (the second level) is a kind of interface, liason level connecting soul and body (4).
Let us look closer at the organization of the first level, responsible for shaping and realization of behavior and percepting the information concerning environment.
Here the hardest stereotype functions are concentrated they present a kind of external sheath of human behavior. In this case the computer metaphora so popular in the period of cybernetic models rise can be used. However, it is possible only up to the certain extant because the logic of functioning of human behavioral mechanisms is totally different from the principles on which modern computers are built. First of all our behavioral mechanisms present an open unbalanced and selforganizing system without clear centralization and hierarchy.
Modern researches prove that our behavioral mechanisms are based on fractal principles where every level in its turn consists of many smaller hierarchic levels and so on (5). Besides the position in that hierarchy does not have definite character and the level that once has been higher can become lower and the other way round.
The motivation mechanisms and archetypes of internal beehavior are situated on the top of this hierarchy. Motivation mechanisms are responsible for the strength of desire connected with some goals they direct our behavior. Yet, this happens not on the basis of the clear centralization choice but as interferation of few often contradictal desires. As a result different behavioral anomalities can appear unadequate and ambivalent or faulty actions are some of them (6, 7). Only a part of motives and desires is conscious the rest is displaced into deep unconsciousness but still remains active and influences our behavior. The dsecribtion of such subconscious influences can be easily found in the literature on psychoanalysis and transpersonal psychology (8, 9). Motivation energy, in its turn, is strongly depended on emotional centre that regulates delivery of negaenthorpy from the subtle body structures.
Emotional centre observes and controls integral dynamics of dominating motivations and changes in enthropy (the level of chaos) of behavioral system. If we describe the strength of motivation (tyhe strength of desire) as P, the growth of P is usually connected with the lack of satisfaction and its drop with pleasure. The speed of motivation drop is corelated with the strength of pleasure. It reaches its top during so-called orgasmic states when an avalanche drop of motivation, that reached an extremely high value before, takes place. Such states appear not only during strong sexual excitement. They can occur at the moment of great tension experienced by sportsmen, solders or people whose profession is connected with outmost mobilization of inner resources.
During destructive psychmanipulative contacts similar orgasmic states can appear. Nevertheless, their reason is in the sucking out of psychic energy conducted by the manipulative leader that results with the general drop of motivation level (as it was already mentioned above psychic energy, negaenthropy and motivation are strongly corelated). Hence, little pleasure is followed by general weakening, sleepiness and passivity. That creates a desire to repeat the contact and get a bit of new pleasure. A kind of narcotic dependance is established.
In general the lowering of motivation level can develop according to two sceneries. This happens due to dispersion and dissipation of motivation energy (either from theoutside as in the case of 'sucking out' by manipulative leader or from the inside of the behavioral mechanisms. Anyway that leads to growing chaos and increasing enthropy of behavioral mechanisms which is subjectively experienced as lack of strength and depression. Let us go back to classics: 'any animal becomes sad after it has got its pleasure'.
In the other case motivation energy flows towards lower levels of hierarchy activates them and enlarges behavioral activity. This, in its turn, makes connection with the environment stronger and transformates termodinamiccaly open force in dissipative regime. As a result the level of chaos decreases while vital forces and energy grow. Such states occur, for example, in the form of so-called second breath of sportsmen or extatic states of shamans or Sufi dervishes etc.
This way one can say that there is passive pleasure, the pleasure of consumption that puts vital tonus down. There is also pleasure connected with activity which goes together with growing order of behavioral mechanisms and higher vital tonus.
Inner behavior archytypes are also situated in the upper part of hierarchy they define our reactions on variable changes of our internal condition and make strategies of solving daily life situations. The special feature of inner behavior is the fact that it defines strategies of shaping of behavioral programmes which are directed towards interaction with environment and at the same time take into account inner state of a person. For example, a person feels unsatisfied and uncomfortable in spite of the external well-being. Here three totally different archetypes of inner behavior can appear.
One will escape through loud parties, alcohol and sex. The other will turn to sport and intensive phisical training. The third will pray, meditate and practice spiritually. In other words the same inner situation will lead to absolutely different sceneries of the following behavior and possibly the future destiny as such.
Another example is fear provoced by rather concrete circumstanses. One person will mobilize all resources and try to deal actively with the upcoming danger. The other person will panic, try to escape and hide. The concrete behavior realizing the first or the second inner archetype will be defined by typical for this person pattern (archetypes of the outer behavior).
For instanse, active danger overcoming can manifest through subtle political game or through aggression and physical attack. The choice will be defined by external circumstances and archetypes of outer behavior corresponding with them.
This way inner behavioral archetypes define the deepest basis of our behavior, the unique pattern of personality that has been shaped since the very childhood and remaines for life. For example, S.Grof's researches have proved that the source of panic fear, total helplessness in extreme situation could be found in puerperal trauma got during birth-giving process. The probability is especially high when a baby was delivered by caesarean section (8).
This level of our behavior, as well as motivation system, is the most difficult to relearn, although here positive transformation is also possible. However, this demands great efforts and serious spiritual practices. It can be said that the majority of initial practices in ancient esoteric traditions were oriented towards such transformation. These are baptising, monastic vows, many years retreats in the mountains in absolute solitude and work with archetypic signs, mandalas (for example niyama archetypes in Indian Tantric tradition and yoga are directed towards transformation of inner behavior) (1, 4, 10).
archetypes are connected with environment and external cicumstances in a much closer way. Their activity is defined, on the one hand, by motivation energy coming from motivation mechanisms and inner hehavioral archetypes and, on the other hand, by the state of environment and external world. A part of such behavioral archetypes is consciously controlled while another one is more or less autonomous. The latter can be traumatic experience, habits, patterns behavioral stereotypes etc.
Any behavioral stereotype in its active state turns on many smaller behavioral programmes. This chain goes on up to the elementary motorial reactions which define the position of our body effectors. All this complicated hierarchy includes plenty of reversible connections and creates the whole variety of our behavior developing in time. It is important to stress that this system also lacks clear centralisation and the final behavior is defined by complicated interferention of motivation energies delivered from upper hierarchy levels. In other words, the behavior with maximum of motivation energy P is chosen on every level. This energy, in its turn, consists of deliveries from the very different sources (5, 11).
The matter of redestribution mechanisms of motivation energy deserves a separate examination. Significant experimental data allows to claim that it is redistributed according to principle of resonanse. Hence it comes to all other elements of behavioral hierarchy depending on their closeness to the image of receiver. This reminds of the mechanism of radiosygnal transmission which goes to all radio-receivers tuned on the appropriate wave. The more precise and qualitative the receiver's tuning is, the greater is the obtained energy. Such mechanism enables selforganization being a source of unimagible variety of human behavior and its fantastic adaptivity. In this case redestribution of motivation energy can be given with the help of indistinct sets theory (5, 12).
Another way of information transmission used in the vast majority of modern computers sends sygnals only to precisely defined receivers as it takes place in telephone connection. In this case we deal with very hard and strictly determined behavior that reminds of insects' instincts.
Mechanisms of sygnal perception of the environment play an important role in human behavior. Adequate perception of reality and effectiveness of our behavior strongly depend on them. The five senses and extremely complicated system of sygnals elaboration and recognition conected with them are the main source of information to us. The obtained information serves choosing and shaping of the realized behavioral archytypes and for ensuring reversible connections of complicated motorial coordinations.
The special feature of human perceptive mechanisms is their limited capacity. In other words, a person can simoultaneously percept only insignificant part of coming sygnals. For instanse we can see only in the frames of relatively small visual angle. We cannot se things that are behind us. Besides recognition mechanisms of a human can elaborate only limited amount of information. That is why we percept just some part of sygnals that have reached our senses. At the same time the correctness of our decisions and sometimes life depends on the information percepted and elaborated by our brain. Hence, perceptive mechanisms should be previously 'tuned' to percept the information especially important for our aims and tasks.
Such pretuning mechanism really exists (5, 11, 13). It works as a kind of filter selecting only significant information from huge amount of sygnals. This filter is retuned depending on our present motivations and aims. This feature of perceptive mechanisms is widely used in projective tests, for example in Rorschach's test. Different people see different images in the same blot depending on their pretuning.
However, in some cases the mechanism of perceptive pretuning can lead to serious deformation of percepted image of the world and, as a result, to serious behavioral breakdowns. For example in the darkness a dry tree may be seen as a silhouette of a robber. Such deformations provoked by perceptive pretuning can be used in variable manipulation technics.
For instanse a person might not notice undesirable or unpleasant information. Or such information can be interpreted in a totally deformed way but accordingly to received manipulative pattern. Plenty of such example can be found in advertising or history of total parties and regimes.
Naturally, real understanding of rules of perceptive pretuning mechanisms functioning opens the widest possibilities for manipulating human mind but, on the other hand, it is a necessary condition of effective protection from manipulative influences.
Perceptive pretuning mechanisms have extremely complicated multi-level organization. For this reason we will concentrate on a few particularly impotant moments.
The model of the world
The model of the world as a mirror reflects the surrounding us reality, describes important for us rules of natural environment. We choose and shape our behavior, act in one or another way on the basis of this model. Yet, if that is a mirror it is a distorting one, for all prejuducies, superstisions and common stereotypes of environment percepting are also reflected in it. The majority of ancient images of illusive picture of the world, 'maya' are related to this part of our psyche. This illusion leads to endless chasing of phantom of happiness and is a source of suffering an d uselessly spent lives. In consuming society a person since the very childhood is told that the better he or she is off, the happier he or she is. In such model of the world happiness and consumption become synonyms. A person can be incredibly reach but still unhappy, as a result frustration, dissapointment with life and often narcomany come. It is enough to think of unhappy personal life of majority of 'stars' in American 'hotbed of happiness' in Hollywood. In ancient China the behavior of a person entraped by illusions was often compared to looking for a black cat in the dark room, where there is no any cat.
Obviously, the model of the world includes not only our imagination of happiness but many other things to start with phisical imagination of the world and cartography of environment up to concepts concerning life after death, the personality of one's boss, habits of neighbour's dog etc. All this strongly influences our behavior, its direction and concrete realization. That is why the majority of social systems, especially total ones, consciously deform the model of the world in the mind of their citizens, concealing and deforming the picture of reality. All this is beautifully described in the famous book 1984 by Orwell.
It is clear that until a person is entraped by illusions and his or her picture of the world is far from reality there is no point in speaking of any serious spiritual growth. For that reason deep transformation of the world's picture and escaping the entrapment is the most important stage of practically all traditional initiation systems. It can be found in any ancient tradition from the early forms of shamanism to the most sophisticated religions.
Imagination of one's own Self and of what we ideally should be is strictly connected with the model of the world. This model of the ideal Self is established in us in the very childhood and is built step by step during the whole following life. It reflects ethic and moral norms of the society, family's religion. Certainly, it is difficult to follow such ideal moral norms, so unconsciousness often deforms delivered information, making our acts look better. Such mechanisms as perceptive pretuning and censorship serve fulfilling this task.
The strong deformation of percepted information may be conected with work of so-called 'censorship'. The existance of that mechanism in human psyche has been already proved by Freud's works (14). It allows to recompensate up to the certain extant the lack of correspondence between the real human behavior, the real life and the ideal imagination of the Self and reality. It is very difficult to change oneself and the world but it is much easier not to notice existing differences between one's ideals and reality. Such retouching of the existing world is made by censorship. Some part of undesirable information stays simply unnoticed, some part is displaced into unconsciousness, some part is reinterpreted, in other words treated in a totally different way. The mechanisms of perceptive pretuning and so-called 'mythologic filter' a reinterpretation mechanism are fully used here. For example, late in the evening you see a person lying on the sidewalk, he might have a heart attack. Your moral principle demand that you would help him. But it is late, cold and dangereous and obliging mythologic filter finds a suitable interpretation he is simply drunk, he is a pityful alcoholic and you go away without losing your face.
In its work censorship is definitely based on the image of ideal Self, the system of ethic and moral norms with which the obtained information is matched.
This way one more powerful mechanism appears, it deforms our perception of reality and our behavior.
© Evgueny Faydysh. 1999.