e is a newly-retired psychologist who specialized in neuropsychology. Thank you Dr. Hoffman In all these ways, the assumption of substance-in-separateness contributes greatly to human suffering. David Loy [in, Lack and Transcendence: The Problem of Death and Life in Psychotherapy, Existentialism, and Buddhism. ] is the intuition that what is experienced could annihilate this self.

In gestalt terms, what never becomes figural in our attention over time is eliminated from the “ground” of experience, excluded from the realm of possibility. Of critical importance is contact at the interface of organism and environment, the scene of our sensitivity-arousal-response, where mental activity arises. Simone Weil wrote of “gravity and grace” in describing our conflicting motivations toward pleasure and wholeness. Our new understandings and attitudes are further refined and modified by mindful awareness of experiencing, mindfulness and investigation operating as complementary activities in an ongoing dialectical process at the interface of form and formless. For the past six years with colleagues internationally, I've been researching peak-experiences of our early years. I found Batchelor’s account stimulating and insightful but in some ways incomplete and fragmented. Sometimes, at night, to reach a desired inner state, he listened to recordings of birdcalls. Our substantialist assumptions about self and world are the source of suffering in several ways. From this perspective, “awakening” is living with a kind of experiencing that is not bound by substantialist/dualist assumptions. The “fascinans” aspect is the sense that we have some connection to that mystery and that it could lead to enhanced life, a fullness of being, meaning and value.

At a crossroads/junction currently in my life I looked to Maslow's RV&PE for structure. One is that we naturally organize sensations into whole percepts, not attending to their composite nature. How is it that we would experience it and then “lose” it? Numinous experience might be understood as occurring in the dualist/substantialist condition of consciousness, as a narrowed or sensorium that is suddenly de-repressed, opened to more of experience than can be meaningfully interpreted with existing conceptions of self and world. I found myself drawn toward articulating such a framework, using ideas I have found useful from psychology, phenomenology, and existential thought as well as from Buddhist teaching.

Unfortunately, Maslow as an experimentally-trained psychologist had almost no formal background in theology or comparative religion with which to gain additional conceptual ground in his explorations of numinous experience. It is an encounter with a power that is “other”, a sense of the presence of a reality of a different order, beyond what we understand our separate self to be. The place of the sacred in the history of, Which of the following statements is true about the Buddhist stupa? The implication was clear: We needn't be great religious mystics or even practitioners to undergo an unforgettable epiphany during daily living. Stephen Batchelor begins After Buddhism by expressing his discomfort with the Geluk [Tibetan Buddhist] teaching that a positive description of emptiness is not to be given. Conversely, the “tremendum” is the sense that the mystery might annihilate this self and reality as we know it. Repression occurs partly through active effort, as we receive social messages that certain thoughts, feelings or actions are “bad” and should be eliminated from awareness. Human development involves changes in sentience, and progress along the path can be understood in terms of such changes.

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