Lewis Thompson’s extraordinary collection of aphorisms, Fathomless Heart, is a seminal event in the modern encounter of East and West. A work of magical, incandescent genius, it is also one of the twentieth century’s greatest literary/philosophical treasures.
If doctors who practice integrative medicine are still a scarce commodity, how much more so medical specialists who still maintain an integrative orientation? Sidney Kurn, a respected California neurologist, is one of that especially rare breed. In this article he gives us a little education in both the science and the business of pharmacological medicine, and its herbal alternatives.
The physical universe is thus no more than a dance of energy spun out of the space that defines it. It seems that the scientists have verified this at a deeply fundamental level. What they have as yet been unable to determine is the source of the energy that keeps it going.
DharmaCafé interviews Louis Dupré, a brilliant and enormously learned Catholic cultural historian and philosopher of religion with a soul deep enough to write respectfully on the likes of Marx and the Romantics and to conclude his anthology of Christian mysticism, “Light from Light”, with selections from a monk named “Abhishiktananda”.
Now that we have been suitably flattered and frightened by the purportedly Mayan deus ex machina of 2012, it is high time we rejected its myth of hardwired inevitabilities. In his latest book, “2013”, Richard Grossinger, America’s great unsung cultural prophet, melds his personal explorations and cosmic reflections to elevate prophecy to a more serving and liberating role.
Now that Buddhism has gone mainstream, the ancient call to renunciation pretty well dropped off the map. But back in the edgy, apocalyptic sixties the name of the game was ego-death.
If the recent hit movie It’s Complicated and the spate of legalization initiatives queuing up in California are any indication, pot has finally achieved mainstream respectability. More remarkably, despite the unrelentingly repressive atmosphere that smothered the first decade of our brave new century, psychedelic research in America has entered its Golden Age. James Fadiman, perhaps America’s wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use, gives us a valuable update.
His iconic poetry stamped the beat generation and helped open the door to the psychedelic sixties. This immortal paen to beauty suggests that the late, great bard may have been even better at prose.
In his review of Stephen D. Smith’s “Law’s Quandary,” Daniel Sheehan, one of America’s leading Constitutional lawyers, asks why the author stopped before the job was done.
Now that Rhonda Byrne’s runaway bestseller, “The Secret,” has garnered more than 2,400 reviews on Amazon.com, the crack DharmaCafé editorial team has decided to swing into action and offer its own review of the book.
Like the speaking stones celebrated by poets, herbs too have a voice of their own. Each one speaks within a community so vast and in a language so rich that, taken together, these natural miracle workers truly represent one of humanity’s greatest treasures.
R.D. Laing was an iconic figure of the sixties. Unconventional, controversial, and undeniably brilliant, how people viewed him then— or remember him now — is itself a kind of historical rorschach test. Since his death, in 1989, he has been praised, plagiarized, imitated, vilified, and increasingly forgotten. Dan Burston, perhaps Laing’s most astute biographer, thinks it important that we remember him.
“Before humans shifted into rational thinking, we saw our world as reflections of us; we knew we existed as a part of the great web of existence. And we therefore understood that non-human animals are different from us in degree only. We did not see ourselves as distinct, as a completely separate species. We knew that other animals operate with awareness, understand the world in different, sometimes superior ways, and respond consciously to the world. We saw them with compassion.”
In this excerpt from his latest book, “The Bardo of Waking Life”, Richard Grossinger once again demonstrates how much our poet/seers have to give to our public policy debates.
At last year’s Venice Biennale and this year’s Winter in Florence exhibitions, Adi Da Samraj’s monumentally sized images have drawn both media praise and a rapturous public response. Art historian, art critic, and practicing artist Celia Rabinovitch assesses his recent essays on aesthetics.
Image: The Pastimes of Narcissus I, 2006 (from Spectra One)
“One mark of our soulless New American Century is the lack of respect for saintly madmen. By that I mean holy seers of the Blakean-Coleridge stripe who could be found on America’s streets as recently as the hippy era. The kind of crazy adepts and enlightened iconoclasts honored by Allen Ginsberg and the beats, holy foolishness in the tradition of Saint Simeon with the dead dog tied to his waist and throwing nuts at the congregation, or Tibetan lama myonpas and India’s avadhutas. Perhaps such holy madmen are still out there among the homeless and the crack whores.”
Transpersonal psychology—the umbrella term for psychotherapies that view human beings as more than just skin-encapsulated egos—has greatly expanded the scope of human psychology. In his review “The Sacred Mirror: Nondual Wisdom and Psychotherapy”, a pioneering anthology about the application of nondualist spiritual views in the clinical circumstance, transpersonal psychologist D. B. Sleeth wonders if some practitioners are overreaching.
“Our challenge is to rediscover the heart of local human community and find ways to realize the depth and richness of traditional cultures that yet allow us the creative freedom we have come to enjoy as individuals in the modern world.”
Like the poet e.e. cummings, floyd merriell writes his name in the lower case to stress the arbitrariness and non-necessity of our egoic self-identification. That humility is conjoined to one of the most interesting intellects in American letters today. In his many books, merrell has demonstrated how the obscure science of semiotics—especially as developed by the great American philosopher C.S. Peirce—can play a fundamental role in developing the emerging new paradigm of an evolving, self-organizating, irreducibly interdependent universe. Here we present merrell’s extended essay on the paradoxical nature of religious truth.
Tanabe Hajime, a founding member of Japan’s famed Kyoto School of Philosophy, studied under two giants of twentieth century philosophy, Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger (the latter’s own philosophy was likely influenced by Tanabe’s Buddhist views). “Philosophy as Metanoetics” was developed from lectures the author delivered in Kyoto during Japan’s disastrous war with America, Britain, and China, the shadows of which fall heavily across its pages. In this “appreciation and celebration” of Tanabe’s principal work, Steven M. Rosen (whose own pioneering writings are laying a foundation for a new non-dual philosophy of science) identifies key elements of Tanabe’s paradox-drenched philosophy and pauses to question whether the Buddhist notion of the relative self needs to be supplemented by a more dynamic vision of absolute being such as is found in some Western phenomenological thinkers.
Continuing our series of Robin Robertson’s “Lessons from Alchemy and Chaos Theory”, it is now time to be introduced to fractals.
DharmaCafe is pleased to present the first in a series of articles connecting the traditional and ancient science of alchemy to the new science of chaos theory written by mathematician, practicing Jungian psychologist, and life-long amateur magician Robin Robertson. Here Dr. Robertson overviews the entire series and introduces several fundamental alchemical principles.
Dr. O. Fred Donaldson travels the world to play with children, adults, and even all kinds of non-human creatures (including wolves!). The mission of his extraordinary explorations of our mundane pastime? Nothing less than peace.
For those who are open to a new and unfamiliar theory of microphysics, an unusual understanding of cosmogenesis, a serious consideration of a host of conventionally-red-flagged, status-quo-tabooed, lunatic-fringe topics (including ancient metaphysics, the Tarot, astrology, Atlantis, and the I Ching), a comprehensive and alarmingly specific correlation of subquantum physics with ancient creation myths, and an across-the-board, no-holds-barred rejection of every significant tenet of twentieth century relativistic cosmology, there is probably no better place to begin.
Michael Eigen is widely acknowledged to be the finest, most profound psychoanalytic writer of our time. In a review of one of Dr. Eigen’s works, Christopher Bollas writes: “Eigen has not only assimilated the works of his intellectual tradition, they have traveled a dense journey into his unconscious and returned in the form of spontaneous original thinking, as rare as the authors he admires. Do we know of any one who writes like an evocative amalgam of William Blake, Mark Twain, Freud, and Raymond Chandler? Eigen’s voice is unique; his vision is singular yet embracing, his mysticism is of this earth yet transcendent, and each of his chapters is a wonderful ‘spot in time’.” Dr. Michael Eigen is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Post Doctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University, and Senior Member of the National Psychological Association of Psychoanalysis. He is also the editor of the Psychoanalytic Review.
Dr.Michael Eigen was interviewed in September 2006 by New York Institute for Psychotherapy Training (NYIPT) faculty and supervisor, Dr. Regina Monti. Dr. Eigen has a relationship with respected NYIPT going back to the 1970’s when he was a teacher and supervisor at the New Hope Guild.
Beginning practitioners of Chinese internal organ massage (Chi Nei Tsang) are taught how to commune with trees. Shouldn’t this be part of everyone’s education?
For all that is being written today about spirituality and the “new biology,” bestselling science popularizer Guy Murchie’s classic work, “The Seven Mysteries of Life”, published in 1978, may come closest to touching divinity.
“In the spring of 2003, I spent a month on a little island in a lake not far from Pucallpa, Peru to drink ayahuasca with the Shipibo curandero, Mateo Arevalo. I had gone down there to investigate a story of a man who, by drinking ayahuasca every other day for two months, had been cured of a melanoma that western oncologists said would kill him within the year. I brought with me two people who also had cancer. They of course hoped that the ayahuasca would cure them, as well.”
A new drug just approved by the FDA, “Lybrel,” is one of a new breed of pharmaceuticals that profoundly interfere with a woman’s menstrual cycle. While a few members of the medical establishment have questioned their safety and value, these drugs have received precious little public discussion. In her forthcoming book “What Women MUST Know To Protect Their Daughters From Breast Cancer,” a pioneering voice in the women’s health movement sounds a serious warning about these strange new interventions in the order of nature.
In a mission that may be unique among contemporary philosophers, Haverford College professor Ashok Gangadean is trying to bring the Unitary Absolute out of the cloisters and into business and government. Here he make it clear that the Absolute “First” is and must be acknowledged as the foundation for a new global reason.
In this excerpt from his forthcoming book, “Bardo of Waking Life,” Richard Grossinger surfaces the uninspected context and meanings of America’s latest mass killing.
Donald Kuspit’s withering critique of postmodern art, “The End of Art,” surgically exposes the mocking, entropic cynicism that has ravaged this creative ethic for decades. It is also an inspired defense of the great aesthetic formally known as “high art”.
Raised in a pious Baptist family in Sweden, Rut Bjõrkman praised the mystics in all religions and was an early leader of European ecumenism. Here she writes about the “overriding importance” of those who must eventually become “the Human Norm” — the saints.
No one has done more to keep the alchemical flame well-lit in American letters than the prolific publisher and author Richard Grossinger. His most recent book, “On the Integration of Nature: Post-9/11 Biopolitical Notes,” is an occasionally whimsical, often profound, and always engaging collection of observations, reflections, reviews, memoirs, recommendations, quips, and asides that ably put his talents on display. DharmaCafe is pleased to offer the first of three brief excerpts from one of America’s most important (and unjustly neglected) writers.
Many good alternative health books have been written by naturopathic, traditional Chinese, and Ayurvedic doctors, some of whom are also MDs. In his well-written and user-friendly “The Fourfold Path to Healing: Working with the Laws of Nutrition, Therapeutics, Movement and Meditation in the Art of Medicine,” Thomas Cowan, MD and friends have finally given Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophical approach its long overdue place at the table.
In the early part of the twentieth century, Rabbi Israel Meir HaCohen of Radun, known as the the Chofetz Chaim (also spelled “Hafetz Hayim”), was a guiding moral light for Jews throughout Europe and the Middle-East. He was revered as a “Cohen Gadol”, “a crystalline figure of genuine purity and simplicity, of creative faith and optimism, of unbroken consistency of purpose and action” who was “an embodiment of all the attributes and virtues of the true hassid.” In this passage from Rabbi Moses Yosur’s biography, Saint and Sage, Hafetz Hayim admonishes us to always practice right speech.