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Self Hypnosis for Cosmic ConsciousnessReview - Self Hypnosis for Cosmic Consciousness
Achieving Altered States, Mystical Experiences and Spiritual Enlightenment
by Ronald A. Havens
Crown House Publishing, 2007
Review by A.P. Bober
Jun 19th 2007 (Volume 11, Issue 25)

Stated (xiii, 35, 52) and implicated motives show Havens wants us readers to increase positive awareness and to minimize or avoid the negative, as he did for himself (9) in handling human crises.  He has a flowing unpretentious writing style with a readable font support that purpose.

Of two sections the second lists hypnotic induction scripts of light, sound, love, and vaguer themes capped by an odd political postscript (239) on fallout, Iraq, and global warming.  He reveals a "more grandiose . . . and . . . more selfish motive" to better the world for the young by induced cosmic consciousness recalling the end of the partly anti-Esalen-encounter film Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice that spoofs emotional pillow-thumping.  It fades into a U.N. marble swirl of nationalities feeling as one, typifying Havens's polyanna tone--"I make no apologies for the enthusiastic extravagance. . . ." (xii) against the little negativity he acknowledges, more strongly stated, e.g., by Daniels in Shadow, Self, Spirit  (Metapsychology Online Reviews, Dec. 19, 2006; Vol. 10, No. 51).  He knows naught of Teresa de Avila's sequedades, cosmic-free dry spells.

Studying Havens unexpectedly had me form a phrase for 31 mystic terms (xiii) used to label integrative experience beyond my handful.  I coined "'momentic' (experiential) integration," underlining the process the traditional term integration conveys.  Momentic lies between momentariness [Su; see below] and momentousness [Si].  Elsewhere I call it a series of fulfilled moments.

Prefatory matter aside the first section unfolds five chapters re tort liability to which he'd be wise to add "Don't use your made-up tape while operating machinery, like a car!"  Chapter One recounts his road to hypnology and the nature of cosmic consciousness--he seems not to know Bucke rejected the term mysticism--a topic he develops in the second through useful checklists of ingredients, beneficial sequellae, and Maslovian criteria for novice "peakers."  Chapter Three explains six principles.  The first set of three conjoins harmful effects of judgmentalism with Buddhist insights into consequent suffering while the second disperses suffering in an "explosion of neural activity" (50) using the embryological term pluripotentiality , a concept like Linda Walterreit's implosive phrase for momentic integration in my review of Zen-Brain Reflections (Metapsychology Online Sept. 12, 2006; Vol. 10, No. 37, hereafter "[Zen]"), reported by Havens (vii, 20) as immersion in mystic moments "when all of them come together all at once."

Havens gathers 31 characteristics (22-29), not the 31 labels above, common in literature on momentic integration/pluripotentiality, a.k.a. mystical experience.  By chance, labels I use for it formed a mnemonic acronym DESPISE I hope you won't.  I refer to page/item number; placement isn't perfect; an item may repeat.

Duration:  linear, chronological time:  24/9; 25/11

Extent:  expansion in space or in psyche, including expanded love--23/1c,1d,2,5; 24/8; 25/11; 27/2,3; 28,9

Suddenness:  a "Walterreit moment" [Zen]--23/1c,2; 24/6,7,8; 25/11

Punctuation:  periodicity; repeated experiences or absences thereof--24/10; 25/11; 28/12

Intensity:  emotional impression, increase, decrease--22-3/1a-d; 23/2,3,5; 24/7; 26/2; 28/8,10,11

Significance:  evaluative meaning--23/3,4; 24/6,7,9,10; 26/1-5; 27-9/1-12

Elegance:  style, flavor, "charm" of subatomic-particle spin, including timelessness--23/1b,1d,2-4; 24/9,10; 25/11

I couldn't squeeze in these important criteria:

Paradox--23/5; 24/9; 27/1,3(correctly interpreted); 28/6,9,10

Effability--26/5

Even if you cut the 17 meaning-laden aftereffects in half significance is nearly two-thirds of the previous five!

Evaluating, not experiencing, Havens's induction scripts, I can't predict their effect.  While reviewing I had a minor and a major creative epiphany, unanticipated, given our common hypnotic and mystical interests.  At many points Havens says the like of "you do not have to use . . . the scripts" (85).  That fits his final position: you and I are in charge of what we choose for meaningful growth.

A few flies appear in the ointment as his finger wags (1) against our temptation to skip informational chapters.  Hypnology training may toss you into the middle, explanations being mystifying professionalization of a simple--"nothing inherently difficult or dangerous" (xvi)--meditative process.  As well, Havens's arguments harbor inconsistencies that a glossary would force him to resolve.  Attentive straight-through readers will wince at the caprice I note or, unwary, feel uneasy.  For example, although Havens understands (vi) that the spontaneous diverges from the intentional route he pursues through hypnology, his term alternate (xi, 16, 71) implies a non-alternate, akin to the ambiguous normal (v).  Since he usually implies human behavior shows individual difference (13) the better term variant gives no experience priority.  He wisely refers to "focused attention" (viii) while imposing the misleading word trance, simply the Old French transir as change of focus.  Then the rest of the text says  "move. . .the mind of someone else" (4), "hetero-hypnosis" (83), contrarily arriving at an "I mentioned above [86] that all hypnosis is self hypnosis" completely in accord with my definition [Zen] "Hypnosis:  other-guided focus. . . . 'Other' may be another person or an Assagiolian 'higher self,' but all hypnosis is self-hypnosis." (He should include in his references Roberto Assagioli, Psychosynthesis and Marghanita Laski, Ecstasy.) 

Finally, some minor strictures arise from a list of three dozen misunderstandings about mysticism as criteria from other reviews of mine.  Mysticism:  actually doesn't mean ecstasy as loss of self but rather expansion, speaking to his ongoing confusion of self and ego (6), even though like Jung he views the self, right brain I'd say, as friendly; is not any discipline such as scientology or est , which his Buddhology (33-38) implies, nor any transcendent content or enneagram; is not a deliverance or salvation as from crisis; is not a quest, hypnotic or otherwise, just an experience; involves no dubious concept of the normal or even mental health (vi), much less "psychotic" episodes or neurological anomalies (Point V, xvii).  Re this last, one suffering biosocial difficulties in living would resolve them in ongoing momentic integration, while persons in mystic integration would not imaginably de-integrate therein, all known mystics seeming psychosocially wholesome and practical, though admittedly revealing emotional-behavioral quirks, e.g., Madame Guyon, Juan Yepes, or Teresa.  Still he concurs that mysticism:  is mimetic of the body and the universe, as in Dr. John Lilly's "cosmomimesis"; occurs, the very point of the scripts, by way of a sunset, book, music, or kids waving from an SUV, or even as a single life experience; is not psi , levitation, "celerity" or power walking; involves no gods (xii-xiii) though he sanctifies it as Otto's numinous awe (21).  Eschewing the (oc)cultic, he pooh-poohs the like of copper bracelets and crystals (balls?), though that latter fascination device , Hollywood's swinging pocket watch, has traditionally seen hypnosis-hungry somnambulists go into reverie.  And, counterintuitively, it is highly critical intellectuals like those at this review site who so react more that those "imaginitives."

He betrays Maslovian terminological fuzziness.  Witness these high-flown phrases disdainful of the concrete, feeling:  he "was dissolving into the underlying energy of the universe" (5); "inevitable immersion in the perfection and oneness of all things" (15); "cellular connection to the life force of every living creature on earth" (17).  Left-brain--right-brain, or explicit awareness--implicit awareness, better substitute for his conscious-unconscious.  His perennialism (xiv) free of social triggers relies on reducing the Old Norse mind (xii, 53) as memory to the cranial brain eliminating his intersubjectivity problem (v, xiii-xiv) by fiat.  He experiences cosmic moments as riding in a roller coaster hands up (88), his first hypnosis version of it by "quickly pulling myself out" (5), and as a "world far removed" (xi); I sense it positively, more often as warm outflow triggered through the experiences of life.

Weighing the options the reader may responsibly choose to avoid problems by indeed jumping ahead to the scripts and reach peaks even I couldn't escape in this infectious treatment of momentic integration.

 

© 2007  Anthony P. Bober

 

A.P. Bober has studied a psychology spanning Skinner and a humanistic-clinical view based on existential phenomenology and had been a PhD candidate in a substantive yet philosophic European-based sociology including the "critical" view.  His teaching augmented courses in group theory/"small-group developmental dynamics" (lab) while introducing "sociology of knowledge" and "issues in biological anthropology," with publications in the first two fields.  Currently he is writing a book on mystical experience as metaphorically tied to neuroendocrinology.


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