Monthly Archives: January 2013

Holotropic Spontaneity and Carl Rogers II

Carl Rogers was fundamentally concerned with a gradually, spontaneously-appearing human wholeness, which he called a “person”. His experience as a therapist was that, for this personhood to appear, he didn’t need to analyse or to understand his patient according to an intellectual model, nor to “explain” his symptoms. What he needed to do was listen — very calmly, paying very strong empathic attention, clarifying what the patient was saying, reacting gently and acceptingly, but honestly.

If this was done with positive intent, the patient himself would spontaneously start to provide answers from his own natural thinking, feeling, being. This was therapy that came as close to a dynamic act of meditation and healing as one could get without cancelling materialist assumptions. It saw the human being as a system that naturally seeks its own good if consistently given the chance and the environment.

The idea that this was all you needed to do to heal someone provoked uproar, and still does in some as we’ll see, but today there is a lot of evidence that it’s right — the “therapeutic relationship”, for example, and the act of therapy, is shown in tests to be much more important than any particular theory about therapy, in determining success of treatment. This is one of the most reliable conclusions in psychology.

Rogers also demonstrated the truth of his concepts empirically in his lifetime (1902-1987) and was the first clinician to insist on the importance of doing so, a fact his critics conveniently ignore. He worked with patients day in day out for decades. His theories have also generated more research than those of any other clinical psychologist in history, and he often tops polls as “most influential psychologist”.


Holotropic Spontaneity and Carl Rogers I

A lot of this is about spontaneity.

Spontaneity of course can manifest in the “sudden solution” and “sudden inspiration” experienced by most people now and then, often described by artists or scientists etc. It’s dubbed the “Breakout” by Herbert Benson. Artists know the difference between real inspiration welling up, which is natural, and that which is calculated. The key in all these effects is their appearance from outside the system one thinks of as “oneself”.

Spiritually Transformative Experience works in just the same way. It is a natural welling-up, whether it is deliberately sought or unexpected.

When Kundalini comes, for example, sometimes it is dramatic:

Suddenly, with a roar like that of a waterfall, I felt a stream of liquid light entering my brain through the spinal cord… I experienced a rocking sensation and then felt myself slipping outside of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light…

— Gopi Krishna, Kundalini (1967)

One day, when I was meditating… an incredible power rushed through my spine to the top of my head… My whole body was burning… I felt as if my head would explode with energy…

— Hiroshi Motoyama, Theories of the Chakras (1981)

As I was running energy around the orbit… I saw a brownish-gold coil of powerful energy… it had a head like a viper and began to come up my spinal column… when it reached the skull this time there was no mercy and no stopping it… It was as if the top of my skull blew off and I was radiating up into a fountain of light…

— Glenn Morris, Path Notes of an American Ninja Master (1993)

But the welling-up I’ll write about in this series is quieter, and more of an initial preparation in many ways, forming a ground for experience to come. It’s also about coming to see one’s own personality and thus is not merely a quiet process, but it’s a gradual one, generating a new personality that is truer to the soul.


Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers

So, with apologies for the delay, to the excellent Carl Rogers. I will cover him from the SBNR angle, opening up his ideas for anyone’s personal use. (This is a propos of the ‘summaries’ I promised of useful psych for transpersonal purposes.)

In practical terms Rogers is one of the most important important modern sources for self development. To sketch in his ideas really doesn’t take long. He was not a transpersonal psychologist but at every stage I’ll show the direct relevance of his stuff to transpersonal goals and ways, and he will be a major support for a lot of transcendent concepts to come. His work becomes a useful touchstone on issues like natural spontaneity and developing meaningfulness, especially in an initial practice where peace and stability are the watchwords. Anyone meditating and/or doing chi kung, wanting to increase harmony and meaning to prepare for Kundalini, should find this series gives supportive ideas and ways. It will also surreptitiously set up ideas that later prove lot bigger and more important.

Writing on Maslow and other psychologists before, I tended to blend them with other things exercising me. This Rogers series will definitely situate him within subjects I always cover, but will focus directly on his own thinking, with many verbatim quotes. Series after this may not focus directly on psychology for a while as I move to being more of a wissenskünstler, but it will all tie in.

The format is short posts again, at an interval of four days. Hope you enjoy it, thanks for reading!

New series begins on Monday

Carl Rogers series coming up. Apologies for the delay, and after that series there may be more of a delay… life gets crazy but these have not been unproductive delays for this blog either… meanwhile here is some music… :)

Sorry about the wait…

… your captain speaking, we’ve run into a cloud of thought that turned out to have a golden lining of solid inspiration that attracted a large amount of lightning which must now be found room for in our nice cosy Oaken Box. And I am having to frantically re-plan everything I was going to write and to be this year.

Something ought to be along in a sec… I appreciate the patience. Your choice of tea or coffee will be served shortly with a moist refreshing towellette.


More “Do they mean us?” as a cute little article appears on the BBC News website about SBNR. Just a reflection of its growing normality and expectedness.

It’s so precisely what you’d expect that there’s no need to read it: pop peoples with some confusion but perfectly innocuous most of it, academics saying it’ll make you insane, or that it’s a good thing, lots of people who will get re-streamed as time goes on, and in the end quite a fair picture from the outsiders’ perspective. Corresponds well with what I wrote in the series last year. Has no idea of the history. Etc.

The phrase “new age” is absent. That reflects both my wishes and my research. The article also includes more research that agrees with me on the numbers.

Nothing new but just an interesting development. As you were, more shortly but on less actuarial aspects.

Happy New Year, Thankyou, and Updates

I would like to wish all ‘Box readers a very happy new year!

Thanks for all the extra attention and hits on the last series, the new subscribers and the bigger numbers were very welcome! This year I will be continuing the series approach, but we will now be moving into far more mind-melting territories and the series will become more sustainedly intense than anything I’ve done previously.

I’d also like to thank everyone who wrote and commented about my situation, that “karmic oil spill” in my family and so on. I would say that situation is considerably improved. How? That’s amongst the things I’ll be writing about, but a lot of it is chi kung pure and simple. I still do a lot of Jin Shin Jyutsu as well. I’ve now fully learned the meridian forms I wrote about before which have become really important and are part of the healing. But the bigger part is interaction with Kundalini which is a wider subject. Looking for the proper frame(s) through which to view that is something I’ll really be onto this year.

If you offered help for my healing, please may I say that I am very grateful, even if I didn’t happen to accept! I not only appreciate the thought, but I may take you up on it yet. I am still not fully well but I have made huge progress and cannot understand how I have lived my life this long the way I was! Healing of this depth is extraordinary. This episode turns out to be the reason for unexpected difficulties I experienced in my awakening previously, and is dovetailing with a fairly big expansion of my understanding and consciousness. Which is always nice.

I hope I can somehow turn this to profit by the way I write about it here. It’s all down to interaction with Kundalini, the way it spontaneously re-orders the energy system, and how that interacts with other systems. I want to present to you (none too soon some will say) a vision of how this all interacts with the kind of cultural stuff I ended on last year, with history and art and science in a bigger picture, but also with individual psychology and transformation.

What is all this stuff anyway? How does it work, what is the big picture? Writing a blog often atomises subjects by dribbling them out piecemeal but now I want to pull them together. Not that it will be some totalising vision — it’ll interface with what you already see, but I hope expand it in worthwhile ways.

First job however will be to turn that dreadful “About” page into something more representative…

Have a great 2013!


EDIT TO CLARIFY: With the meridian qigong I do four meridians per day, once round the cycle. You do learn the meridians very well. The other nice thing is that it builds in a lot of basic stretching of the neck, lots of lift-and-pour, facial point massage etc. that you then don’t have to do separately.