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LightSeed.com > Self-Empowerment Center > Articles > Stanislav Grof MD

Stanislav Grof MD

by Bobbi Gay

I began reading hundreds of books concerning psychology about twelve years ago. The first couple hundred or so were to get some background in psychology. I read whole bodies of work from many of the luminaries in psychology. I wanted a reasonable understanding of the human psyche. As I went along a couple major discoveries unfolded. Three notions were to define my future work. These three things were, that the healer is within, that the body holds unfinished business as stuck energy, and lastly that emotional and energetic releases result in greater balance and order in the mind, body, spirit and emotions.

A guiding light for me has been that rapid and complete change can occur when certain conditions are met. Transformation of our unwanted patterns is possible!! I had embraced these ideas a bit at a time as I read and studied. Then one day I heard about this author who wrote a book about transpersonal psychology. Transpersonal psychology was a keen interest of mine and yet for a couple years I didn't even have a name for it.

I ordered several Grof books and began with the one called Beyond the Brain. To say it excited and electrified me is actually too mild. It blew my mind in a delicious way. This was what I had been searching for and I knew it with every fiber of my being. It was as if something inside of me received an infusion of wisdom and purpose. The first time I participated in the Grof technique called Holotropic Breathwork I had the definitive experience of my life. This was a deep and mystical heart opening, that reprioritized my life.

I have subsequently read Beyond the Brain five times. Although I feel as if I thoroughly understand the material, I am always struck by the clarity of Stan Grof's thought processes. I am personally and professionally enriched every time I pick it up, paradoxically I feel as if I'm learning all over again at a deeper level. All the reading I had done prior to Beyond the Brain, culminated in a "felt" recognition of the brilliance in his work.

He understands the human psyche like no one else. He has intellectual courage, and has been willing to stand up for what he has been discovering in his over thirty years of consciousness research. His work embodies the notion that the healer lies within. It points to radical self trust as a stance in life. It embodies the notion that whatever comes up from inside is ultimately self healing no matter what form it takes. In addition it points to tensions held inside as the cause of many psychological disturbances.

Stan Grof's model of the psyche is vast in comparison to "ego psychologies." It encompasses the biographical dimension so familiar in mainstream psychology, as well as gestation, birth, and bonding as formative experiences. In addition it encompasses the realms of experiences termed transpersonal. These are internal experiences that transcend ordinary everyday reality. These kinds of experiences are intrinsically healing and balancing and come from an internal place of deep wisdom. These inner healing mechanisms demonstrate great intelligence when we flow into these experiences and subsequently integrate them.

Stan Grof has written numerous books each of which are original in content and high quality. Beyond the Brain is his most definitive, yet complex work, while Holotropic Mind is geared for the general audiences. He has contributed scores and scores of journal articles to the transpersonal literature. Along with Abraham Maslow he founded the transpersonal movement in psychology. This will be the psychology of the future as we "wake up" to our true nature and potential. A number of years ago with his then wife Christina Grof, Stan was instrumental in helping to found The Spiritual Emergence Network, an organization designed to support people who find themselves having unusual experiences that don't fit into the mainstream model. In addition to this he makes audio tapes such as The Transpersonal Vision : The Healing Potential of Nonordinary States of Consciousness and helps to organize international transpersonal conferences where all the top people in their given fields can come together and enrich each other.

I firmly believe his work will someday be recognized as important enough to stand with the two giants in this field, Karl Jung and Sigmund Freud. It will provide a point of reference and structure for those who take these ideas forward into the new millennium. A split between Stan Grof MD and Jacquelyn Small MSW put me in the uncomfortable position of having to choose programs part way through my certification. I chose Jacquelyn Small because I felt intellectually grounded in the Grof model, and my heart responded to the heart opening process I was getting working with Small. I regret that this "split" happened as my training only included one six day module with Stan. Yet he will always be my intellectual hero, the man is amazing both in the clarity of thought, the vastness of scope and the originality he has brought to the subject of psychology. He remains by far my single greatest intellectual influence and I am grateful for the courage it took to explore and report his work.

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