by John E. Mack, M.D.
We are seeing lately an expanded interest in psychotherapies, human growth-promoting workshops, and spiritually focused methods of inner exploration, which have in common the use of nonordinary states of consciousness to access deeper and more intense experience and emotion. At first glance, these approaches may appear new, deviant, or even radical. In actuality, however, they represent means of rediscovering access to realms of the psyche that have been familiar to ancient peoples and non-Western societies from the beginning of recorded time. Shamanic healing, mysticism, kundalini yoga, naturally growing hallucinatory plants, meditation methods, and ecstatic religious experiences arc but a few of the ways that human beings throughout history have opened themselves to the deeper regions of the psyche.