Just take a moment and ask yourself, “does my life seem gripped by an assembly line of chores which, as the years go on, create an undertow of sameness?” When you look back and curate your life story, how many exceptional experiences have you had? In western culture it’s not okay to embrace the things that don’t fit neatly into acceptable boxes, we’re meant only to be distracted and addicted with the things that fuel our capitalistic machine. But that’s not the way it is around the world. For some it’s more unusual not to have had out-of-body experiences, not to have communed with the dead, not to completely lose your identity. It’s experiences like those that add dimensionality, texture and deeper understanding to our lives. The can be sprung from the deep recesses of our brains, whether we’re asleep or whether we participate in rituals that release them.
It’s been said that if psychology had a Mount Rushmore, Stanley Kripper’s head would be on it. Stanley is 83 and for the better part of the past 40 years has been a psychology professor at San Francisco's Saybrook University. I found at least 30 books he’s written or co-written on Amazon and close to 1,000 papers on subjects as far-reaching as childhood creativity, combating soldiers' post-traumatic stress disorder, and worldwide shamanistic rituals. He has won more laurels from more organizations than he can keep track of, including several lifetime achievement awards from the American Psychological Association. He’s traveled to every continent, save Antarctica, to participate in mind-altering tribal ceremonies. He’s participated in Timothy Leary’s LSD studies, and been connected to so many famous people that naming them would sound improbable.
While his uber driver got lost and drove him in enough circles on the way to the show that would have many anyone hallucinate, Stanley and nothing but great things to say about her and her journey from Iran. I hope you enjoy this brief conversation with Stanley and that some of his examples of hallucinations, dreams and shamanistic ritual help you figure out if and how how they fit into your own life as you plunge ever more deeply into your amazing journey.
(Image credit: Jeffrey Arguedas)