Inclusive Psychology - Related Materials

An Introduction to Parapsychological Inquiry

Parapsychology, psychical research, and psi research are names for the discipline that carefully studies the evidence for ways of knowing and influencing the world that extend beyond the reaches of our recognized senses and motor systems. Psi is a shorthand term for all of these processes. Some manifestations of psi include telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis (telekinesis). These processes can be studied in their spontaneous forms and also as they occur in deliberate laboratory experiments. Because forms of knowing and influence of a more conventional, but sometimes very subtle sort, may be confused for the direct, pure forms of psychic knowing or influence, researchers in this area must be very carefully prepared so that they can recognize these contaminants or processes that can masquerade as or be confused with psi. Some of these contaminants, confounds, or artifacts include subtle sensory cues, subtle rational inferences, chance coincidences, and so on. Special awareness of these possible confounds must be acquired before one can do competent work in this area, and special designs have been developed in order to deal adequately with such confounds. Those intending to pursue psi research should consult the special resources necessary to inform one about the challenges, as well as the delights, of working in this area. Because this research area is rather specialized, a simple listing of useful resources is provided.

Psi research is relevant to transpersonal studies because the psi processes represent special, alternative forms of knowing and doing. Intention and attention play extremely important roles in psi. Psychic knowing is related to the processes of direct knowing and knowing through being/becoming that are treated in transpersonal and spiritual studies. Psi research and its findings are of special interest to transpersonal studies because of their strong suggestion of the profound interconnectedness of all things.

Another branch of psychical research deals with evidence that is suggestive of the possible survival of individual personality after bodily death. This branch could be called survival research or afterlife (or afterdeath) research. The evidence and conclusions with respect to this area are quite controversial and are subject to several alternative interpretations. The phenomena of interest to this branch of inquiry include: apparitions of the dead, hauntings, some poltergeist occurrences, mediumistic communications, mediumistic physical phenomena, some out-of-body experiences, some near-death experiences, and reports suggestive of past lives and reincarnation. Research in these areas not only addresses the reality status of these possible indicators of discarnate survival but also necessitates a careful reexamination of who and what we are even while we are living. If something survives, what might that something be, and in which ways might that something exist within us or as part of us—and, hence, be a crucial facet of our identify, nature, and being—as we carry on, in this life, as living, conscious entities? If there is something more than our body and brain that might survive the death of the body and of the brain, then that More is a part of our present being that deserves serious attention in our considerations of our nature and potentials, as human beings.

Click to access a selected bibliography for parapsychological inquiry.

Copyright © 2009 by William Braud. All rights reserved.

Scroll down this page to view the following brief articles:
  • More About Inclusive Psychology
  • Essentials of Integral Inquiry
  • What is Transpersonal Psychology?
  • The Transformative Potential of Exceptional Human Experiences (EHEs)
  • An Introduction to Parapsychological Inquiry
  • Views on "Spirituality"
  • EHEs and Their Relevance to Transpersonal Psychology
    The Transformative Potential of Exceptional Human Experiences (EHEs)

    Rhea White coined the term exceptional human experiences (EHEs) to bring together large sets of experiences that previously had been considered in relative isolation from one another. White (1993, 1998a) initially identified approximately 100 kinds of EHEs, which she organized into five major classes: mystical and unitive experiences, psychical experiences, encounter experiences, unusual death-related experiences, and exceptional normal experiences or enhanced experiences. The following descriptions of the five major EHE classes are paraphrased from descriptions provided by White (1997), White and Brown (1998), and White and Brown (2000).

    Mystical and unitive experiences are those in which there is a strong sense of greater connection, sometimes amounting to union, with the divine, other people, other life forms, objects, surroundings, or the universe itself. Often, this is accompanied by a sense of ecstasy or of being outside of one's skin-encapsulated individual ego or self identity. Related to this would be the pure consciousness event that Robert Forman (1997) has studied extensively; he defined the pure consciousness event as "a wakeful though contentless (nonintentional) consciousness" (p. 8), and considered this a form of introvertive mysticism (Stace, 1960).

    Psychical experiences are those in which we learn about or influence the world through means other than the conventionally recognized senses, motor systems, or their mechanical extensions, or rational inference, in cases in which chance coincidence has been ruled out. The four major forms of psychical experiences are telepathy (direct mind-mind interactions), clairvoyance (direct mind-object interactions), precognition (accurate foreknowledge of future events), and psychokinesis (direct mental influences on physical or biological systems).

    Encounter experiences are those in which the experiencer is confronted with something that is actually there but is awesome and wondrous (such as a glorious mountain peak) or something that is not supposed to be there (such as a Marian apparition or a UFO). These could also include encounters with the Divine, angelic beings, mythical beings, or an inner guide. These experiences could be described as encounters with realms or beings that seem alien or other.

    Unusual death related experiences include near-death experiences, strange experiences associated with the moment of death (such as clocks stopping or pictures of the deceased falling at the moment of their deaths), apparitions of the dead, and various apparent communications with the dead.

    Exceptional normal experiences (later called enhanced experiences) are experiences that are at the extreme limit of conventionally recognized "normal" experiences; they are "personal best" experiences. They include experiences such as inspirational experiences, aesthetic experiences, special dreams, exceptional performances, flow experiences, and so on.

    White and Brown (2000) later expanded the list of EHEs to approximately 200 types, and reorganized these into nine classes: mystical and unitive experiences, psychical experiences, encounter experiences, unusual death-related experiences, peak experiences, exceptional human performance/feats experiences, healing experiences, desolation/nadir experiences, and dissociative experiences. The list of EHEs has been updated still further, and the listing now includes 522 experiences.

    EHEs are of interest chiefly for their accompaniments and their potentially transformative aftereffects. These were addressed by White (1997, 1998b) and Brown (1998) and included in what they called "the EHE process." The process begins with an anomalous experience (AE), an unusual experience that cannot be explained in terms of conventionally recognized physical, biological, psychological, or sociological processes. It is possible that an AE will be ignored, dismissed, or explained away. However, if an AE attracts the experiencer's attention and the experiencer wishes to learn more about its possible meaning, the AE is not dismissed; it becomes an exceptional experience (EE). As one continues to work more deeply and extensively with an EE, one begins to uncover other, similar experiences, the EE's meaning and significance deepens, and in the process one can discover and begin to actualize and express more of one's true human potentials. The EE then becomes an exceptional human experience (EHE), and one's self-schema, lifeview, and worldview begin to transform. One begins to shift one's prior narrative to a new narrative, and begins to disidentify with one's earlier, limited, isolated, separate ego-self ("little self") and begins to re-identify with what White called a more inclusive "All-Self" (of a similar concept, William James, 1902/1985, p. 508, wrote, "[One] becomes conscious that this higher part is conterminous and continuous with a MORE of the same quality, which is operative in the universe outside of [one], and which [one] can keep in working touch with . . . ."). One enters the "experiential paradigm," begins to live a new "project of transcendence," and develops a new way of being in the world.

    The narratives we construct may be life-depotentiating (as when we attempt to devalue, explain away, or view unusual experiences in a continuing anomalous or pathological context) or life-potentiating (as when we affirm the exceptional experiences and use them in stories in which they are more meaningful and in which we have a more meaningful place). The nature of the narrative can be known through its everyday life fruits—the life-potentiating ones yielding a more productive, happier, healthier, zestier, and more exciting life.

    Although White and Brown did not mention these, there are bodies of research that add further empirical support to their claims about the value of honoring exceptional experiences. Studies have identified the energy loss and low-level stress that occur when one denies exceptional experiences, and the healthful benefits of disclosing and assimilating these previously excluded experiences (as shown, for example, in the work of Pennebaker, 1995 and Wickramasakera, 1989). Such disclosure can occur through journaling about one's experiences (creating what White called an "EHE autobiography") and through discussing these with others.

    In a recent study, Palmer and Braud (2002) found that EHEs occurred frequently, were perceived as meaningful and important, and their disclosure was perceived as beneficial. Frequent and/or profound EHEs were positively and significantly related to high levels of meaning and purpose in life, high levels of spirituality, "thin" or permeable boundaries, and a tendency toward transformative life changes. Disclosure was positively and significantly associated with meaning and purpose in life, positive psychological attitudes and well-being, and reduced stress-related symptoms. EHEs and their disclosure were accompanied by themes of well-being, meaning, openness, spirituality, need-satisfaction, and transformative change.

    A visit to the main EHE website, and to its informative associated webpages, will provide useful information about exceptional human experiences and about research exploring their nature, triggers, accompaniments, and outcomes.

    References for the sources cited above are available in a separate one-page document.

    Copyright © 2009 by William Braud. All rights reserved.

    What is Transpersonal Psychology?

    Transpersonal psychology can be understood by examining the three meanings of trans and the various meanings of personal. The Latin root trans has meanings of beyond, through, and across. The term personal suggests the persona or mask that we present to the world, something that exists independently as distinctly our own, and something that Alan Watts once so nicely described as our "skin-encapsulated ego." The beyond meaning of trans suggests that we are in some important and essential way More than these things, More than our ordinarily understood personalities. This More indicates that there are ways of knowing, being, and doing in addition to those usually recognized by conventional psychological and philosophical approaches.

    Applied to knowing, this More suggests knowledge acquired not only through our senses and through logic and reasoning, but also through intuition, imagination, direct knowing, psychical functioning, and mystical illumination. It is possible to know through being or becoming the object of knowing and through a kind of sympathetic resonance with the essential nature of what is to be known.

    Applied to being, this More suggests that we are greater—in space, time, and extent—than isolated entities. Rather, we are profoundly interconnected with what usually is considered to be "outside" of ourselves. We share our essential being with others, with all sentient creatures, and perhaps with all aspects of nature and the cosmos as well. This appreciation has taken the form of the view that we (all human beings as well as all of the "ten thousand things" of the universe) are all manifestations of the same ground of being that expresses itself in and through us, and the view of our essential interconnectedness with all other beings. The concepts of pratītya-samutpāda, interbeing, and ubuntu are three reflections, among many others, of these understandings of our extended identity and of our interdependence on others and on all other things.

    Applied to doing, this More suggests that there are ways of acting, influencing, and making things happen in addition to our usual motor functions, physical devices, and effortful actions. "Doing"—within ourselves, with respect to others, and with respect to the physical world—can be accomplished in a direct manner through principles and practices that have been called creative imagination, focused attention, and focused intention; through the types of direct mental influence studied in parapsychology; and through a kind of effortless doing or doing without doing (wu wei) that has long been recognized within the Taoist tradition.

    The additional through and across meanings of trans remind us that the Mores mentioned above can become available to our personality and can be accessed and expressed through and by our more familiar forms of functioning.

    The transpersonal might be described succinctly as ways in which individuals, societies, and disciplines might increase their ambit and become more inclusive and expansive in areas of sense of identity (including ways of being and ways of functioning beyond the typical egocentric mode), development and transformation, conditions of consciousness, ways of knowing, values, and service. The transpersonal also involves recognizing and honoring the spiritual aspects of our being, actions, and ways of thinking. Transpersonal psychology is the name of the academic and scholarly discipline that is devoted to the study of these transpersonal aspects of our nature.

    Copyright © 2009 by William Braud. All rights reserved.

    Essentials of Integral Inquiry

    Integral Inquiry is an inclusive and integrated approach to research developed in 1992 by William Braud. This brief article presents the essential features of this inclusive, pluralistic, pragmatic, radical empirical, flexible, and open research approach in a "by the numbers"format.

    1. Goal

    The overall goal of the approach is to acquire and increment both knowledge and wisdom (logosophia).

    2. Desired Outcomes

    Integral inquirers seek two outcomes for any research project: information (an academic and nomothetic aim) as well as transformation (an experiential and idiographic aim).

    3. Phases and Modes of Inquiry

    Like all other research approaches, integral inquiry addresses three major phases or stages of inquiry:the acquisition of information (study planning and data collection), the processing of that information (data treatment, analysis, and interpretation), and the expression or communication of findings to others (preparation of research reports).

    4. Types of ResearchQuestions

    A distinctive feature of integral inquiry is its emphases on four major types of research questions that can apply to any research topic: (a) what is the nature of the experience (or of the process, condition, trait, or state being studied); (b) how has the experience (or other aspect of the topic) been conceptualized and what has been learned about it, historically; (c) how has the experience unfolded or developed, what set the stage for it, what helps and what hinders it, and what accompanies it; and (d) what are the outcomes or fruits of the experience (or of the process being studied)?

    5. Utility of the Inquiry

    The integral inquirer chooses research projects whose conduct and findings promise to be useful to five types of "recipients" of the project: the research participants, the researcher, the reader/consumer of the final research report, the investigator's discipline and field of study, and society as a whole.

    6. Whole Person Involvement

    Throughout all phases of a research project, both the researcher and the research participants (and even the audience of the reported findings) are invited to involve six aspects of their being in the process of the inquiry: their body, emotions, intellect, spirit, relationships, and creative expression. (By the way, these are the six major facets around which the curricula and holistic pedagogy of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology have been developed.)

    7. Foci of Intention

    During the course of an inquiry, the researcher is invited to focus attention and intention upon seven aspects of the project: right inquiry, right participants, right expression (on the part of the research participants), right reception (of the participants' offerings, by the researcher), right expression (by the researcher to the project's audience), right reception (of the study and its findings by the "consumer"), and right uses and practice of what has been learned.

    8. Modes of Knowing

    Throughout a research project, both researcher and research participants (as well as the audience of the study's findings) are invited to use eight modes of knowing in order to increase their knowledge, appreciation, and understanding of what is to be learned in the project: sensory impressions,words and thoughts, images, feelings, intuitions, realizations in altered conditions of consciousness, sensory and motor automatisms (automatic,"unconscious" reactions), and paranormal and direct means of knowing (knowing through being or becoming the object of knowing).

    9. Sources of Inspiration

    Rather than focusing only what has been found and thought about one's topic in one's own narrow discipline or area of study, the integral inquirer is invited to have his or her research project informed by nine additional sources: the natural sciences; psychology; sociology; anthropology; philosophy; literature; the arts; the various spiritual, wisdom, and folk traditions; and personal and anecdotal evidence.

    10. Communication of Findings

    The researcher is encouraged to use a variety of means of expressing findings and communicating these to one's intended audiences. These include the following ten means: statistical summaries; figures and graphs; tabulated results; themes and distillates; participant narratives; the researcher's own descriptive narration; images and expressive art (including electronic formats); poetry, metaphor, and symbols; fiction; and presentations to professionals and the general public.

    Note: The naming of this integral inquiry approach had nothing to do with the Integral Yoga and Integral Yoga Psychology of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, the integral structure of consciousness described by Jean Gebser, or the Integral Psychology of Ken Wilber. However, the approach has considerable overlaps with these views.

    Additional detailed information about integral inquiry may be found in this unpublished manuscript and in the integral inquiry chapter of William Braud's and Rosemarie Anderson's research book, Transpersonal Research Methods for the Social Sciences: Honoring Human Experience .

    Copyright© 2009 by William Braud. All rights reserved.

    Views on "Spirituality"

    Spirituality is notoriously difficult to define. Indeed, Huston Smith (2001) recently lamented the invention and use of that very term:

    It is a bad sign when spiritual, an adjective, gets turned into a noun, spirituality, for this has a dog chasing its own tail. Grammatically, spirit is the noun in question, and spiritual its adjective. Spirituality is a neologism that has come into existence because spirit has no referent in science's world, and without grounding there, we are left unsure as to what the word denotes [italics in original]. (p. 256)

    Discussions of "spirituality" typically begin by distinguishing spirituality from religion. It is generally maintained that religion has to do with rules, rituals, tradition, beliefs, doctrines, approved or disapproved behaviors; tends to be formalized, organized, institutionalized, exclusive; and focuses on externals; whereas spirituality is more informal, more inclusive and pluralistic, and emphasizes individual, private, subjective experiences. Both religion and spirituality involve themselves with what is considered to be the ultimate ground of being and meaning—what theologian Paul Tillich (1951) referred to as "matters of unconditional or ultimate concern." So, most generally, we can use the terms spiritual and spirituality to refer to one's highest or ultimate values and reality and to one's relationship with those values and that reality. The two terms address the existence and importance of something larger than ourselves.

    Definitions of Spirituality

    In his classic The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James (1902/1985) suggested that the essence of the religious (today, we could say spiritual) sentiment involved a consciousness that

    [one's] higher part is conterminous and continuous with a More of the same quality, which is operative in the universe outside of [one], and which [one] can keep in working touch with, and in a fashion get on board of and save [one]self when all [one's] lower being has gone to pieces in the wreck. (p. 508)

    Two useful contemporaneous treatments of spirituality have been provided by transpersonal psychologist Frances Vaughan and by Jennifer Lindholm and Helen Astin:

    Spirituality may also be described in terms of ultimate belonging or connection to the transcendental ground of being. Some people define spirituality in terms of relationship to God, to fellow humans, or to the earth. Others define it in terms of devotion and commitment to a particular faith or form of practice. To understand how spirituality can contribute to the good life, defined in humanistic terms as living authentically the full possibilities of being human . . . it seems necessary to differentiate healthy spirituality from beliefs and practices that may be detrimental to well-being. (Vaughan, 2002, p. 17)

    At its core, spirituality involves the internal process of seeking personal authenticity, genuineness, and wholeness; transcending one's locus of centricity; developing a greater sense of connectedness to self and others through relationships and community; deriving meaning, purpose, and direction in life; being open to exploring a relationship with a higher power that transcends human existence and human knowing; and valuing the sacred. (Lindholm & Astin, 2006, p. 65)

    Alluded to in the above definitions, but perhaps not sufficiently emphasized, are the relational, communal, interconnected, embodied, earth-based, and nature-related aspects that are important in feminine and indigenous forms of spirituality and in spirituality as lived in other cultures.

    Another characterization of spirituality, as it manifests in business, was provided by Gregory Stanczak and Don Miller (2002):

    Elements of business spirituality that are common across studies include: recognition of the worth and value of people or employee centered management, optimal human development, a working climate of high integrity, creating trust, faith, justice, respect, and love, and meeting both the economic and individual needs of employees. Repeatedly, authors argue that a spiritual workplace, while having subjective effects on morale and universal responsibility, also has significant effects on output and profitability. (p. 8)

    Scott McCulloch (2006) summarized features of spirituality most frequently mentioned in the workplace. These included the sense of contributing to or being connected with something larger than oneself; the importance of seeing one's work or organization as serving others; the need to feel a connection with others; a sense of meaning, satisfaction, fulfillment, and purpose; spiritual well-being or wellness; the sense that one's work environment is supportive of one's spiritual values; bringing one's whole self to one's work; personal development of one's full potential; and direct linkages with values such as ethics, hope, honesty, and forgiveness (pp. 12-13).

    Integral theorist Ken Wilber (1999) once defined spirit as the highest level of being and knowing, in the "Great Nest of Being" (p. 1), and offered no fewer than five different definitions of spirituality:

    1. Spirituality involves the highest levels of any of the developmental lines [of which he offers a dozen or so, including: cognitive, moral, interpersonal, affective]. 2. Spirituality is the sum total of the highest levels of the developmental lines. 3. Spirituality is itself a separate developmental line. 4. Spirituality is an attitude (such as openness or love) that you can have at whatever stage you are. 5. Spirituality basically involves peak experiences, not stages. (p. 4)

    One of the most inclusive treatments of spirituality was provided by author John White (1990):

    Spirituality can be defined, level by level of reality, this way:
    In physical terms, spirituality is recognizing the miraculous nature of matter and the creative source behind the mystery of matter.
    In biological terms, spirituality is realizing that a divine intelligence underlies all life-change and that such change is evolving all creation to ever greater degrees of wholeness in order to perfectly express itself.
    In psychological terms, spirituality is discovering within yourself the ultimate source of meaning and happiness, which is love.
    In sociological terms, spirituality is giving selfless service to others, regardless of race, creed, color, gender, caste, or nationality.
    In ecological terms, spiritual is showing respect for all the kingdoms in the community of life—mineral, vegetable, animal, human, spirit, and angelic.
    In cosmological terms, spirituality is being at one with the universe, in tune with the infinite, flowing with the Tao.
    In theological terms, spirituality is seeing God in all things, all events, and all circumstances, indwelling as infinite light and unconditional love, and seeing all things, events, and circumstances in God as the matrix or infinite ocean in which the universe occurs. (pp. 239-240)

    Spiritual Intelligence

    Our understanding of spirituality can be enlarged by considering features of what has been called spiritual intelligence. Frances Vaughan (2002) described the most important of these features:

    Spiritual intelligence is concerned with the inner life of mind and spirit and its relationship to being in the world. Spiritual intelligence implies a capacity for a deep understanding of existential questions and insight into multiple levels of consciousness . . . awareness of spirit as the ground of being or as the creative life force of evolution . . . awareness of our relationship to the transcendent, to each other, to the earth and all beings.
    Spiritual intelligence opens the heart, illuminates the mind, and inspires the soul, connecting the individual human psyche to the underlying ground of being . . . can help a person distinguish reality from illusion . . . [and] may be expressed in any culture as love, wisdom, and service. Spiritual intelligence is related to emotional intelligence insofar as spiritual practice includes developing intrapersonal and interpersonal sensitivity . . . paying attention to subjective thoughts and feelings and cultivating empathy . . . see[ing] things from more than one perspective and recogniz[ing] the relationships between perception, belief, and behavior. . . . We rely on spiritual intelligence when we explore the meaning of questions such as "Who am I?" "Why am I here?" and "What really matters?" Perhaps spiritual intelligence can also help a person discover hidden wellsprings of love and joy beneath the stress and turmoil of everyday life. (pp. 19-20)

    Another treatment of spirituality as a form of "intelligence" was provided by Robert Emmons (2000) who suggested that spirituality is a form of intelligence, based on the ability of spirituality to foster transcendence; help one enter into a heightened state of consciousness; invest everyday activities, events, and relationships with a sense of the sacred; serve as a resource for solving practical life problems and difficulties; and foster virtuous behaviors.

    Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall have published several works dealing with spiritual intelligence (e.g., Zohar & Marshall, 2000). They identified 12 major qualities of spiritual intelligence: self-awareness, spontaneity, being led by vision and value, holism, compassion, celebration of diversity, field independence, humility, the tendency to ask fundamental "why?" questions, ability to reframe, positive use of adversity, and a sense of vocation.

    Spiritual Practices

    Our understanding of spirituality can be enhanced further by considering spiritual practices. A set of such practices, common to many spiritual and wisdom traditions, has been summarized by Roger Walsh (1999). These include transforming motivation (reducing craving and finding one's soul's desires), cultivating emotional wisdom (healing one's heart and learning to love), living ethically, concentrating and calming the mind, awakening one's spiritual vision (seeing clearly and recognizing the sacred in all things), cultivating spiritual intelligence (developing wisdom and understanding life), and expressing spirit in action (embracing generosity and the joy of service).

    Donald Rothberg (2006), in his articulation of an engaged spiritual life, presented a related set of spiritual practices. Among these are ethical practices, mindfulness in action, clarifying and setting intentions, opening to suffering and compassion, caring for self and for the world, recognizing the value of not knowing and of nonattachment, cultivating a sense of interdependence, transforming anger, acting with equanimity, and acting without attachment to outcomes.

    In our own studies of spirituality, as this appears in the graduate psychology students of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, we have found that facets of spirituality noted by students in assessments of their transpersonal education touch upon virtually all of the aspects mentioned in the above definitions (see Braud, 2006). It is noteworthy that the body, emotions, relationship and community, creative expression, and alternative ways of knowing and perceiving feature prominently in student descriptions of spirituality and changes in spirituality. Often, these processes serve as pathways or means that can allow persons to become aware of, access, and develop aspects of themselves that previously were unknown or unexpressed—permitting them to identify, become more acquainted with, realize, and better appreciate the More, mentioned by William James, that was described at the beginning of this article.

    References for sources cited above are available in
    a separate one-page document .

    Copyright © 2009 by William Braud. All rights reserved.
    More About Inclusive Psychology

    An aim of Inclusive Psychology is to recognize and honor the most important and most useful contributions from all of the various schools or forces of psychology, and to supplement these by contributions from "outside" of psychology as well. This latter is important because parts of the great spiritual and wisdom traditions and parts of certain philosophical systems are rich in psychological insights. It also is useful to include the humanities and the arts as well in one's psychological studies, because these often can convey psychological truths more accurately and more fully than can some of the formal systems of psychology.

    Contributions of the "Four Forces" of Psychology

    From the first,
    Behaviorist/Cognitive, force of psychology we have learned the usefulness of objective, standardized, and usually quantitatively determined principles and practices—especially in areas such as sensory and perceptual functioning, learning, memory, motivation, and thinking. Classical conditioning principles, schedules of reinforcement, motivational principles involving approach and avoidance conflicts and gradients, state-dependent learning, and many others are indeed operative in us and can influence our thoughts, behaviors, and especially our internal reactions and feelings, more frequently and more completely than we might recognize or care to admit.

    From the second,
    Psychoanalytical/Depth Psychological, force we have learned of the importance and power of "unconscious" processes and unconscious motivations, and how these can guide, support, or conflict with our more conscious functioning. Researchers and theorists within this second force also have pointed to the importance of early experiences in influencing our personalities and our patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

    Findings and theories from the third,
    Humanistic/Existential, force have helped us better appreciate and understand the unique nature of human personhood and the personal nature of human experience; issues of existence, choice, and social responsibility; individual potential and growth; and topics such as self, self-actualization, health, love, hope, creativity, our intrinsic nature, being, becoming, individuality, authenticity, and meaning.

    From the fourth,
    Transpersonal, force we have learned how our self-schemas and identities can be expanded to include More of reality, in space and time; how there are More stages of growth and development than usually are recognized; that there are alternative modes of knowing, being, and doing; the importance of our profound interconnectedness with others and with all aspects of nature; the possibilities of transformation and transcendence; and the usefulness of a holistic view of our personhood.

    Just as physics has taught us that the functioning of our physical universe depends upon the four fundamental forces of nature (electromagnetism, gravitation, strong and weak nuclear forces) and their interactions, so too does our optimal functioning as human beings involve the principles and their interactions that these four psychological forces have revealed.

    Contributions From Other Sources

    In addition to including contributions from the more familiar psychological sources mentioned above, Inclusive Psychology recognizes the importance of input from other sources.

    There now are several versions of what have been called
    Integral Psychologies. These have advanced our understanding by including Eastern concepts, principles, and practices as well as those of the West. These Integral Psychologies have great breadth and depth, include both ancient and modern knowledge, and offer useful theoretical, schematized, systematized, interrelated, and integrated contributions.

    Inclusive Psychology benefits from work in the recently developed area of
    Positive Psychology, with the latter's emphases upon positive emotions, strengths, and virtues that enable persons to thrive and engage in more meaningful and satisfying lives. Those within the Positive Psychology movement are helping improve our understandings of topics such as the capacity for love and work, courage, compassion, resilience, creativity, curiosity, integrity, self-knowledge, moderation, self-control, happiness, optimism, hope, gratitude, forgiveness, and wisdom, among many others. This form of psychology also promises to foster better communities through its encouragement of the study and practice of justice, responsibility, civility, parenting, nurturance, work ethic, leadership, teamwork, purpose, and tolerance.

    From the fields of
    Parapsychology and Psychical Research we are gaining increasing evidence for our abilities to gain knowledge and exert influences beyond the range of the conventionally recognized senses and motor systems, and learning that there maybe realities other than those that we customarily assume.

    There are world psychologies, as well as philosophical and metaphysical systems, embedded in the great
    Spiritual and Wisdom Traditions—especially within their mystical strains—and these have informed us about alternative ways of knowing, being,and doing. They remind us that our lived experiences and the universe at large are saturated with both meaning and mystery.

    Literature is another useful source of information about all of our human qualities. Literature teaches through showing, rather than telling—evoking, rather than explaining. The following are just a few places where we can find arguments that psychiatrists—and, by extension, all professionals—can benefit greatly by reading literature and the Humanities in general, rather than remaining tied exclusively to their narrow "scientific" disciplines.

    Why psychiatrists should read the humanities:

    Should psychiatrists read fiction?

    Psychiatry is more than a science:

    Fictional narrative and psychiatry:

    The use of literary analysis in advanced communication:

    Finally, we should not neglect artists, of all types, as psychological teachers. Art is able to convey experiences and knowings that cannot be readily expressed in words. Art is able to do this through a suggestive process of sympathetic resonance. In addition to informing us about content, art-based research methods can complement our more typical word-based and logic-based forms of research and inquiry.

    Each of the knowledge sources mentioned above reveals certain things about us and about the world while concealing still other aspects. By dipping appropriately into these various springs of knowledge, the concealments of some sources can be balanced by the revelations of others.

    Copyright© 2009 by William Braud. All rights reserved.
    "We with our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and the pine may whisper to each other with their leaves, and Conanicut and Newport hear each other's foghorns. But the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands also hang together through the ocean's bottom. Just so there is a continuum of cosmic consciousness, against which our individuality builds but accidental fences, and into which our several minds plunge as into a mother-sea or reservoir. Our "normal' consciousness is circumscribed for adaptation to our external earthly environment, but the fence is weak in spots, and fitful influences from beyond leak in, showing the otherwise unverifiable common connection."

                                                                                       ~ William James

    "I've heard it said there's a window that opens
     from one mind to another,

    But if there's no wall, there's no need
    for fitting the window, or the latch."

                                      ~ Jelaluddin Rumi
    "There is a crack in every thing  God has made."

                                                 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "There is a crack in everything;
    That's how the light gets in."

                                              ~ Leonard Norman Cohen
    "If the doors of perception were cleansed
    every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.
    For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things
    thru' narrow chinks of his cavern."

    ~ William Blake
    "Ultimate truth, if there be such a thing, demands the concert ofmany voices."

                                            ~ Carl Gustav Jung
    "The one consciousnesswhich is whole and integral
    thus divides into twostreams in order to provide
    this subjective-objectiveplay of manifestation –
    this Lila of Bhagavan."
    ~ I. K.Taimni

    Exceptional Human Experiences (EHEs): Their Relevance to Transpersonal Psychology

    The following is a condensation of a recent 3-hr. presentation of mine: Exceptional human experiences (EHEs): Their relevance to transpersonal psychology. Presented at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology's Global Seminar on "Transpersonal Psychology: Its Maturing Practices and Applications," Presentation Center, Los Gatos, CA, January 31, 2009.

    About Transpersonal Psychology

    Transpersonal Psychology addresses several Mores (to use William James' [1902/1985] term) and our relationship with those Mores:
    • More aspects of our nature or identity (we are more than ego)
    • More stages of development (human development can continue far beyond the formal operations stage)
    • More ways of knowing, being, and doing (alternative modes of knowing, existence, and influence)
    • More types of values (these can be called meta-values or being-values)
    • More conditions of consciousness (I prefer this term, rather than the usual "altered states" of consciousness)
    • More realities (William James had proposed a radical epistemology; although he did not use the term radical ontology, the latter follows from radical epistemology)

    Closely related to the above, Wilson Van Dusen (1999) speaks of the "More-than-Self" (p. 42) and how one relates to the latter. Van Dusen provides one of the most straightforward and satisfying statements of the transpersonal stance: "to love, honor, care for, or respect what is more than yourself" (p. 57).

    A strong emphasis of Transpersonal Psychology is transformative change and the conditions that foster or impede transformation. Another strong emphasis is the recognition of, and importance of, deep interconnectedness. Additional strong emphases include transcendence and wholeness (Hartelius, Caplan, & Rardin, 2007).

    About Exceptional Human Experiences (EHEs)

    According to the work of Rhea White (1997), exceptional human experiences (EHEs) are anomalous experiences with transformative potential. Usually, these occur spontaneously. Nine major classes of EHEs have been identified:
    • Mystical and unitive experiences
    • Psychical experiences
    • Encounter experiences
    • Unusual death related experiences
    • Peak experiences
    • Exceptional human performances/feats
    • Healing experiences
    • Desolation/nadir experiences
    • Dissociation experiences

    White and her coworker Suzanne Brown have identified what they call "the EHE Process" in which what initially is an anomalous experience (AE) becomes an exceptional experience (EE) as one attends to and honors it. As one continues to recall, work on, and integrate one's EEs, these become exceptional human experiences (EHEs). The "H" stands for the human potentials that one begins to more fully recognize and live, as the process unfolds. The process involves a progressive dissociating from the ego-self and a progressive associating with the All-Self. It also involves a shift from a life-depotentiating self narrative to a life-potentiating self narrative. One leaves one's previous mindset or worldview and enters a new "Experiential Paradigm." The EHE Process and entrance into the Experiential Paradigm can be greatly facilitated by working on one's EHE autobiography—an account of one's life in terms of one's EHEs, rather than in terms of the usual objective, historical information about one's life. Details of the EHE process may be found in Brown (1998), Brown and White (1997), and White (1997, 1998).

    How EHEs and the Transpersonal Are Connected

    The major lesson that has emerged from research on EHEs is that EHEs are indicative of, and can facilitate, the various Mores with which transpersonal psychology is concerned. EHEs indicate the reality of a deep interconnectedness of humans with others and with all aspects of the Universe, and they can provide opportunities for transformative change. EHEs may bridge (trans—through, across) the personal and the transpersonal. In the terminology of Karlfried Graf Durkheim, EHEs are experiences that are "transparent to transcendence" (in the terminology of Karlfried Graf Durkheim) or "transparent to the ultimate" (in the terminology of Paul Tillich).

    Our Own Research on Exceptional Human Experiences

    In our research on EHEs at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, we have investigated the following aspects:
    ·Nature of the experience (at many "levels")
    ·Triggers (circumstances) of the experience
    ·Accompaniments (at many "levels") of the experience
    ·Impacts, outcomes, consequences of the experience (short- and long-term)
    ·Meanings and interpretations of the experience

    Perhaps of greatest interest are the major accompaniments and aftereffects reported for EHEs. These have included increased awareness, understanding, and realizations; enhanced psychospiritual growth and development; enhanced physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being; greater healing; increased sense of interconnectedness; broadening of thoughts, feelings, and actions; increased coping skills and resources. The experiences serve as reminders of Something More, of our interconnectedness with others and with all of nature, and sometimes they serve as confirmations or affirmations of decisions made and paths taken.

    Psychical EHEs

    Over the years, we have conducted many investigations of the particular class of EHEs known as psychical experiences. The most common and frequently studied forms of these are the following:
    • Telepathy (direct awareness of another's subjective experiences). In the laboratory, such experiences have been studied intensively in the Ganzfeld setting, in which the presence of relaxation and mild sensory deprivation allow one to access more subtle thoughts, images, and feelings that may carry telepathic information.
    • Clairvoyance (direct awareness of remote objective events). The most popular current research approaches to the study of clairvoyance make use of the remote viewing and associative remote viewing protocols.
    • Precognition (premonition; foreknowledge of future events). Precognition has been studied experimentally in the context of precognitive dreams, precognitive remote viewing, the presentiment work of psychologist Dean Radin and others (in which one can have physiological awareness of events a few seconds before those events actually occur), and, most recently, in social psychologist Daryl Bem's work on "Feeling the Future," in which commonly used psychological research designs are used to show that future events or practices can influence present performance across a variety of experimental conditions).
    • Psychokinesis (direct mental influence of the physical world). These direct intentional influences can be upon both inanimate devices (e.g., random event generators) or upon animate target systems (other persons, animals, cell cultures, etc.). The latter, most commonly referred to as direct mental interactions with living systems (DMILS), can involve healing analog studies.
    • Phenomena/experiences suggestive of survival of bodily death (apparitions, hauntings, poltergeist, past life recall, out-of-body experiences). These experiences indicate that something unsual clearly is happening. What is unclear is the correct interpretation of these experiences. The present state of the art and science of psychical research cannot yet determine with certainty whether these phenomena and experiences are attributable to knowledge or influences directly of the discarnate or, rather, might be attributable to psychic functioning of the living persons involved in the spontaneous cases or laboratory studies.

    What is clear, in the many studies of psychical EHEs, is that the two psychological processes of attention and intention are extremely important in such experiences. The key role of intention is revealed most clearly in psychokinesis and DMILS studies, and the key role of attention is best revealed in studies of remote staring detection (in which persons show either conscious awareness or unconscious physiological indications of knowing when they are being stared at by someone beyond the range of the staree's conventional senses).

    The major lessons of research on psychical EHEs are that there exists a deep interconnectedness among humans and between humans and all of Nature's 10,000 things (to use the Chinese Taoist term of the many manifestations in the Universe) and that consciousness and ourselves have nonlocal aspects.

    Interrelationships of Psychical EHEs and Yogic Principles and Practices

    Very important in transpersonal psychology is the ancient Indian tradition of Yoga. A major form of Yoga is the eight-limbed (ashtanga) path of Yoga, based on the Patanjali Yoga Sutras. According to the latter, psychical EHEs (known as siddhis) are expected to occur spontaneously at certain stages of one's yogic practice. Interestingly, many of the experimental conditions that modern parapsychology and psychical research have found to be favorable to psychical EHEs do fit, rather well, various of the eight major practices of Ashtanga/Patanjali Yoga. These correspondences are indicated in the following table.

    Areas of Psi Research and Corresponding "Limbs" of Yogic Practice

    Psi Research Areas
    Yogic Practices

    Yama (restraints)
    Niyama (observances)
    Relaxation research
    Hypnosis research
    Physiological research
    Asana (postures)
    Pranayama (vital energy/breath control)
    Dream telepathy research
    Ganzfeld research
    Pratyahara (sensory withdrawal)
    Concentration/visualization in receptive psi
    Concentration/visualization in active psi
    Meditation research
    Absorption research
    Dharana (concentration)
    Dhyana (meditation)
    Samadhi (absorption)

    It has long been recognized that there are both risks and benefits associated with Yogic siddhis and hence with psychical EHEs. The risks are that these may serve as distractions or attachments that can lead one astray from one's path of spiritual development or can at least delay the walking of that path. The benefits are that siddhis and psychical EHEs may provide entries to the path of spiritual development for persons who might otherwise not be disposed to enter such a path; they may provide evidential confirmations of being "on track" in one's spiritual development; and they may provide evidence for the constructs, processes, and principles of Yoga and of other spiritual/wisdom traditions.

    References and Resources for Additional Information

    Braud, W. (2003). Distant mental influence: Its contributions to science, healing, and human interactions. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads.
    Braud, W. (2003). Nonordinary and transcendent experiences: Transpersonal aspects of consciousness. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 97(1-2), 1-26.
    Braud, W. (2006). Educating the "More" in holistic transpersonal higher education: A 30+ year perspective on the approach of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 38(2), 133-158.
    Braud, W. (2008). Patanjali Yoga and siddhis: Their relevance to parapsychological theory and research. In K. R. Rao, & A. C. Paranjpe, & A. K. Dalal,(Eds.), Handbook of Indian psychology (pp. 218-243).New Delhi, India: Cambridge University Press (India)/Foundation Books.
    Braud, W. (2011). Integrating Yoga epistemology and ontology into an expanded integral approach to research. In M. Cornelissen, G. Misra, & S. Varma (Eds.), Foundations of Indian psychology, Vol. 1. New Delhi: Pearson.
    Brown, S. V. (1998). The EHE process: The objective standpoint. In R. A. White (Ed.), Exceptional human experience: Special issue, background papers II. The EHE Network, 1995-1998: Progress and possibilities (pp. 51-52). New Bern, NC: The Exceptional Human Experience Network.
    Brown, S. V., & White, R. A. (1997). Triggers, concomitants, and aftereffects of EHEs: An exploratory study. Exceptional Human Experience, 15(1), 150-156.
    Cardena, E., Lynn, S. J, & Krippner, S. (Eds.). (2000). Varieties of anomalous experience: Examining the scientific evidence. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
    Hartelius, G., Caplan, M., & Rardin, M. A. (2007). Transpersonal psychology: Defining the past, divining the future. The Humanistic Psychologist, 35(2), 1-26.
    James, W. (1956). The will to believe, human immortality, and other essays on popular philosophy. New York: Dover. (Original work published 1890)
    James, W. (1985). The varieties of religious experience. New York: Penguin. (Original work published 1902)
    Tart, C. T. (Ed.). (1997). Body, mind, and spirit: Exploring the parapsychology of spirituality. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads.
    Van Dusen, W. (1999). Beauty, wonder, and the mystical mind. West Chester, PA: Chrysalis Books.
    White, R. A. (1997). Dissociation, narrative, and exceptional human experience. In S. Krippner & S. Powers (Eds.), Broken images, broken selves: Dissociative narratives in clinical practice (pp. 88-121). Washington, DC: Brunner-Mazel.
    White, R. A. (1998). The EHE process: The subjective standpoint. In R. A. White (Ed.), Exceptional human experience: Special issue, background papers II. The EHE Network, 1995-1998: Progress and possibilities (pp. 49-50). New Bern, NC: The Exceptional Human Experience Network.

    Copyright © 2011 by William Braud. All rights reserved. 

    The true nihilism of today is reductionism... Contemporary nihilism no longer brandishes the word nothingness; today nihilism is camouflaged as nothing-but-ness. Human phenomena are thus turned into mere epiphenomena.

    ~ Viktor Frankl