Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing

By Michael Winkelman | Go to book overview

determine if the transpersonal experiences necessarily emerge in a fixed order. The differences between Wilber's ( 1980) account of hierarchical consciousness levels and other models of transpersonal consciousness (e.g., Vedic psychology of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi [ Alexander, Davies, et al. 1990]) suggest that transpersonal states of consciousness may not occur in fixed sequences but emerge in different orders based on the intentionality of the specific traditions.


SUMNURY

The ontological and functional basis of shamanism and other shamanistic healers lies in the psychophysiological potentials provided by a particular pattern of biologically based organismic operation, the integrative mode of consciousness. The pattern of parasympathetic dominance, in which the frontal cortex is synchronized by slow wave patterns that originate in the limbic system and related lower brain projections into the frontal parts of the brain, creates an interaction, coordination, and increased coherence of the potentials of many parts of the brain. The diverse circumstances and procedures that evoke this condition indicate that it is a natural state of the human organism, a mode of consciousness. The independent discoveries of access to this mode of consciousness and its potentials has given rise to universal shamanistic practices. Human potentials manifested in ASCs are institutionalizationed to meet human needs in the activities of the different shamanistic healer types, which represent institutionalizations of ASC potentials under different social conditions. Primary differences among ASCs reflect the effects of society in structuring consciousness. The contemplative traditions' investigations of consciousness suggest that there are functionally and experientially distinct conditions with distinct psychobiological characteristics that constitute different integrative modes of consciousness. An integration of brain research with experiential reports will be necessary to determine which of these forms of consciousness have distinct physiological bases (modes) and which only reflect psychological differences (states).


NOTES
1
A biologically derived mode of consciousness suggests that diverse induction procedures represent different means of inducing a common set of changes in brain functioning and consciousness. Consequently, dif

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Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • 1 - Shamanism and Consciousness: an Introduction 1
  • Notes 53
  • 2 - The Nature and Basis of Shamanism: Cross-Cultural and Neurophenomenological Perspectives 57
  • Notes 111
  • 3 - Physiological and Phenomenological Bases of Altered States of Consciousness 113
  • Notes 187
  • 4 - Physiological Bases of Shamanistic Therapies 191
  • Notes 230
  • 5 - Psychophysiological Dynamics of Shamanistic Healing 231
  • Notes 276
  • Bibliography 277
  • Index 307
  • About the Author *
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