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Health and Pathology in New Religious Movements[1]
by Frances Vaughan, Ph.D.

Copyright © 1983 by Frances Vaughan. All rights reserved.
Used by the Council on Spiritual Practices with permission.

Published in:
Dick Anthony, Bruce Ecker, and Ken Wilber. Spiritual Choices:
The Problem of Recognizing Authentic Paths to Inner Transformation.

New York: Paragon House, 1987.

The risk of a regrettable involvement in a spiritual group depends in large part on the prospective member's capacity for self-deception. Frances Vaughan's article provides ways of inquiring into oneself and into the group and leader one may be considering. A psychotherapist in private practice and professor of psychology at the California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Frances Vaughan, Ph.D., is a past president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology, the author of Awakening Intuition (1979), and a co-editor of Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision (1993). In the following paper she surveys a wide range of motives for joining a group, only some of which reflect genuine spiritual aspiration. The psychological effects of membership may surpass or fall short of the member's original motives, and Dr. Vaughan discusses these possible effects in terms of two basic types of ego attenuation, regressive and transcendent. To distinguish between these is a task which apparently eludes conventional ego psychology, especially as "the principles of healthy development beyond ego-identification may appear to be reversed relative to those of sound ego development."

Our society is currently in the midst of a cultural-spiritual crisis.[2] The decline of American civil religion - those traditional religious observances that combine Christianity with patriotism and social altruism[3] - and the failure of orthodox religious practices to provide genuine experiences of transcendence have created a climate of spiritual deprivation and an intensified search for transcendental answers. Today, it seems, popular demand is for experience rather than theology or dogma, and for the direct inner knowing of mystical states.[4]

While societal unrest and the disintegration of traditional institutions pose a serious threat to existing structures, the popularity of spiritual groups offering a variety of pathways to transcendence calls for a new perspective on the part of observers attempting to formulate practical guidelines for healthy psychological and spiritual development throughout life. The challenge is to evaluate groups that claim to offer pathways to transcendence in terms that make sense to people who want to weigh the potential benefits of joining such groups against hazards of indoctrination, coercion, and authoritarian control.

Popular new religious movements in America include those groups that follow a particular personality, such as Meher Baba, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, or Reverend Moon; those that derive from Eastern disciplines, such as Zen, Vajrayana or Theravadin Buddhism; those that focus on esoteric teachings, such as those of Gurdjieff, Alice Bailey, or the Kabbalah; and those that are oriented toward personal growth and social change rather than explicitly religious training, such as The est training and Synanon.

Evidence of abusive authoritarianism has drawn public attention to such groups as the People's Temple and Synanon, but authoritarianism and abuses of power are certainly not unique to those groups. Cultic tyranny can issue from many sources. It may be a condition in the culture at large, where it is more difficult to identify (for example, scientism), and it may also occur in the behavior of individuals or group leaders unaffiliated with any of the new movements.

The problem of evaluating groups that combine psychology with religious idealism has plagued both psychologists and sociologists for over a decade. Certainly the growth of new religions must be viewed in the context of a broader challenge facing American society, and the breakdown of traditional institutions can be considered both as cause and effect in the proliferation of religious groups and spiritual psychotherapies (see endnote3).

In addition to having popular appeal, many of these groups operate with a high degree of psychological sophistication, offering perspectives on human behavior that could be useful to social and behavioral scientists who are now beginning to consider spiritual growth as an integral aspect of healthy human development. Buddhism, for example, offers a variety of perspectives on consciousness and the mind. When Buddhism spread across Asia from India to Tibet, China, and Japan, it was absorbed by the culture of each area, so that specific indigenous practices evolved. Today we have many culturally transplanted forms of Buddhism in America[5]. Tibetan, Theravadin, and Zen Buddhism are popular sects, but each retains, to a large extent, the trappings of the culture from which it has been imported. A truly indigenous American Buddhism has yet to evolve; it may well be that Buddhism will be absorbed into this culture as a psychology rather than as a religion.[6]

The problem to consider here, however, is not the relative merit of alternative spiritual practices, but the psychological consequences of joining a group that purportedly offers spiritual self-realization. Freedom and autonomy are accorded value in terms of psychological health, but the thirst for spiritual nourishment apparently leads large numbers of individuals to surrender self-determination willingly in order to gain a sense of purpose in a world perceived to be meaningless. The desire to relieve suffering in ourselves and others can also be an incentive to relinquish autonomy and surrender to someone who is presumably better qualified to prescribe behavior for optimum well-being. While the psychological consequences of participating in a group are not necessarily contingent on motivation for joining, the variety of individual motives should not be overlooked.


Part of the motivation for joining a group may be either a temporary alliance for the purpose of satisfying felt needs and fulfilling idealistic aspirations, or a lifetime commitment that provides a viable alternative to the existential anxiety and alienation that seem to be inherent in a materialistic world-view. Indeed, the desire to be part of something larger than oneself seems to be intrinsic to healthy human development on the level of self-actualization[7], the stage at which fulfillment of one's higher psychological potential is felt priority. But spiritual seekers are not necessarily healthy self-actualizers. Those who are looking for someone to whom they can turn over responsibility for their lives are easy prey to idealistic as well as cynical manipulators of the human condition[8].

Some spiritual groups actively recruit members, either on college campuses or in public places such as airports, where people who are feeling alienated, lonely, and lacking in some religious or philosophical support system may be susceptible to the attraction of belonging to a community of people who appear to share common values, a sense of purpose, and definitive answers to the perennial search for meaning. From a psychological perspective, motivation for joining spiritual groups may span a broad spectrum of needs. Individuals may join a group because they are unable to support themselves adequately; because they feel lonely and isolated and welcome the sense of belonging to a community; because they are looking for a teach or substitute parent figures to mitigate the awesome uncertainties of existence;[9] because they are personally attracted to the leader or someone else in the group; because they feel empowered to be more effective in the world as a result of group support; because they genuinely want to make a contribution to the well-being of others; because they want to improve social conditions and relieve suffering; because they feel they are actualizing their potential and progressing along a path of spiritual development; or because of a desire to become spiritually enlightened and attain personal liberation from the conflicts of life.

The process of deciding to join a group, like many of life's major decisions, is likely to be subjective (either impulsive or intuitive) rather than objective (rational and analytical). The process seems more analogous to falling in love than to careful strategic planning. When intuition is well developed as a way of knowing, it can provide reliable guidance for decision-making.[10] For most people, however, reliability only develops after considerable training of intuitive awareness, and even then intuition should not, in my view, be considered a substitute for reason and discrimination. Wholeness implies balanced, appropriate use of all faculties.

Whatever motives or combination of motives predominate among spiritual seekers, groups should not be evaluated solely on the basis of whether or not they satisfy these demands. While the legitimacy of a particular religion may be determined by how well it meets the psychological needs of a given population, Wilber[11] has pointed out that its authenticity depends on the degree to which it actually facilitates transcendence. Almost any religious group can satisfy the desire to surrender to something larger than the separate self, but an authentic, viable belief system must also accommodate psychological needs for continuing integration and transcendence.

From a transpersonal perspective, health and growth at each stage of development can be viewed as a matter of balance, as one self-identification is transcended and a new, more encompassing one is assumed. Some spiritual groups evidently enable people to grow and develop their potential in this manner, while others appear to be detrimental in that they support a regressive tendency to relinquish awareness and responsibility in favor of unquestioning obedience to a charismatic leader or dogmatically enforced world-view. Reductionist approaches to the study of new religious movements add to the confusion by failing to make the crucial distinction between regression to pre-rational states and the attainment of transrational qualities that contribute to authentic transpersonal development. The common tendency to interpret transpersonal experience as pre-personal narcissism[12] is a key element in this confusion and leads to the mistaken assumption that all states not dominated by the rational-verbal ego are pathological and consequently detrimental. Transpersonal development may begin at any age, but is growth beyond ego, not regression and not a substitute for the state of ego development.

Ken Wilber suggests that since society at large is currently undergoing significant transformations, it is incumbent upon social scientists to determine the direction f these transformations (see endnote 12). Is the search for ego-transcendence likely to devolve into pre-rational chaos? Do spiritual groups contribute to either or both of these possible directions? Clearly, no definitive answers can be given for all spiritual groups. Each group would have to be examined as a unique case.

In attempting to evaluate a particular group, it would be useful to determine whether participation in the group promotes pathological regression to pre-personal states or healthy, authentic transcendence of ego. Attempting to determine this from the standpoint of ego psychology is virtually impossible, since the assumptions of that school of thought preclude recognition of the transcendent. The task requires recognition of ego formation not as an end state but as an intermediate stage of evolutionary development. Even then, investigators are faced with differentiating transpersonal from pre-personal states in order to avoid pathologizing genuine transpersonal awareness or mistaking regressive ego loss for mystical experience.

Philosophy teacher Michael Washburn[13] has delineated specific distinctions between pre-personal and transpersonal states. In his view ego transcendence is characterized by: (1) integrated, articulate wholeness in contrast to undifferentiated oneness; (2) consciously cognized intuition in contrast to trance or passive, unconscious perception; (3) faith and grace in contrast to infantile dependence; (4) insight in contrast to undifferentiated perception; (5)spontaneity in contrast to reactivity and impulsiveness; (6) altruism in contrast to narcissism; and (7) purity of heart in contrast to ignorance. Ego development in this framework is viewed as a transition that inevitably involves both alienation and evolution of consciousness. It is at the ego level that conscious, effective action becomes possible.

The manner in which the group or its leader handles the loyalty or disloyalty of members if often very revealing of group pathology. Some leaders overtly threaten potential defectors with physical violence; others threaten ideological or eternal damnation. Others simply withhold love, approval, and recognition. Although we may judge some methods as more reprehensible than others, the effects seem similar. When loyalty is coerced, the person's integrity and sense of worth are undermined. Only when participation in group activities is clearly the result of free choice can it be expected to contribute to healthy self-esteem and development.

The self-sense of an individual who joins a spiritual group may become completely identified with the group. The structuring of knowledge, normally managed by the individual ego, can be taken over by a pathogenic group, just as it is preempted in totalitarian states for purposes of information control.[14] The structure of the group may reflect the development stage of the leader, or it may represent disowned, unconsciously projected aspects of the leader's psyche. The responsibility of individual members for pathogenic group behavior should not be overlooked, however. Attributing negative group characteristics to the leader alone can be misleading. The intrinsically dynamic nature of groups precludes a definitive analysis of separate parts as if they existed independently of each other. Assuming that the group has a leader, an evaluation of the group cannot be divorced, in my opinion, from an assessment of the leader's own level of development and an examination of the master-disciple relationship as practiced in the group.

Mastery implies power in any field, but spiritual mastery has unique characteristics. Whereas mastery at the level of ego consists largely of self-determination and expertise, mastery at the level of transpersonal realization is a matter of integration and self-transcendence. "Masters of the world," says Sufi master Inayat Khan,[15] "are those who have mastered themselves, and mastery lies in control of the mind. If the mind becomes your obedient servant, the whole world is at your service."

In common usage the noun "master" generally refers either to a male having another person subject to his will, or to one who uses or controls at will that which is mastered. As a verb, to master means to subdue, to become adept at a particular skill, or to rule or direct. Whereas ego mastery implies superiority and control of the external world, spiritual mastery implies self-mastery and mastery of the mind. For example, this type of mastery may be developed through the practice of concentration mediation and the strengthening of the will, or by various types of insight meditation that aim at detachment from egoic mental productions. The power of penetrating insight is an aspect of mastery that becomes available when control of the mind has been attained.

Practicing consciousness disciplines that aim at control of the mind can also contribute to the development of psychic powers, those powers of the mind commonly called "extra sensory." These tend to become available at transpersonal levels of development. However, the attainment of psychic powers does not ensure either ethics or spiritual understanding, and such powers may be abused by someone who has not yet transcended egoic identification. In many spiritual disciplines extra-sensory powers are considered by-products of spiritual work and are traditionally eschewed as traps that can lead a spiritual aspirant to ego entanglements in the domain of occult energies, or subtle realm. While healthy transpersonal development demands eventual transcendence of ego, the actual process of growth to higher, more subtle and complex levels of development does not necessarily ensure immediate transcendence of lower levels. In attempting to assess levels of mastery, then, the display of psychic powers by one who has mastered them should not be considered an indication of spiritual mastery. On the contrary, the use of such abilities in the service of ego goals, such as attracting or intimidating followers, should automatically be suspect. A spiritual master who has truly transcended ego could be expected to disdain the use of special powers for purposes of manipulation and control.

To facilitate making the distinction between mastery at the ego level and mastery at authentically spiritual levels, let us review some of the characteristics of each. At the ego level a person is said to be a master of destiny when he or she is self-determining, rather than being subject to control by others. In personal growth, self-determination is often equated with mental health. Clients in psychotherapy improve as they learn to take responsibility for initiating change and designing their lives in accordance with a realistic appraisal of their potentials. Psychological health, however, is not just a function of increasing self-control, but rather a function of learning to maintain an appropriate, dynamic balance between effort and surrender, control and relaxation, assertiveness and receptivity.

In contrast, the principles of healthy development beyond ego-identification may appear to be reversed relative to those of sound ego development. Where self-determination, self-regulation, and appropriate self-concept were essential to developing a cohesive sense of ego-identity, attachment to an independent sense of self can impede progress at higher levels. For example, a display of psychic powers is considered hazardous to anyone using them for ego goals. Just as the spiritually enlightened human being is said to be in the world but not of it, the powers of spiritual mastery are said to be in the master but not of him or her. This attitude can be a safeguard against the risk of ego inflation which transpersonal experience may stimulate, but does not necessarily preclude such risk. One may see oneself as a vehicle of spirit, or identified with spirit, but any personal claims to manipulation or control indicate egoic attachment rather than authentic transpersonal mastery.

The transcendence of ego goals and desires is manifested in the quality of non-attachment. For example, the path of the warrior as described by Don Juan to Carlos Castaneda,[16] demands that everything in life be perceived as a challenge rather than as blessing or misfortune. The warrior chooses to act in the world as if actions mattered, despite perceiving their lack of absolute meaning. A warrior's actions are called "controlled folly," and the warrior has no personal stake in their outcome. Ego attachment to power becomes an obstacle to further development, as does attachment to recognition, success, or any form of personal achievement. In traditions where the master is also a trickster (Gurdjieff, Don Juan), invisibility rather than fame is considered a desirable attribute. The person who wishes to advance on the pat of spiritual development is invariably instructed to practice detachment, for to be attached to mastery is to be ruled by that which one seeks to master. According to the teachings of the ancient Chinese sage, Lao Tsu,[17] a master's leadership based on love and respect is better than leadership based on fear and coercion, but leadership is best when the people say, "We have done this ourselves."

Spiritual masters can use everything as an opportunity for inner development. They do not assign credit or blame either to themselves or others. Authentic spiritual masters, unlike the mass leader who seeks an appearance of infallibility and cannot admit error,[18] are not concerned with winning or losing. They have already won. There is nowhere to go because they have already arrived. By contrast, a leader whose mastery is only at the ego level may actively seek disciples in large numbers. In master/slave relationships that develop at this level, the master is apt to become the slave of his own passions. Genuine spiritual masters, on the other hand, do not hold power as if it belonged to them personally. They know that they do not own (in the egoic sense) the wisdom and power manifested through them.

In the Buddhist tradition the spiritual master knows himself to be nothing. This realization of no-self, the recognition of the illusory nature of ego identifications, is the basis of liberation. The Buddhist practice of mindfulness meditation, which trains awareness of the body, of feelings, of consciousness and truth, is described as a path of spiritual purification for the seeker. Qualifies cultivated in the practice of mindfulness meditation re investigation, energy, rapture, generosity, renunciation, patience, loving-kindness, truthfulness, calm, concentration, and equanimity. A master of this discipline is expected to manifest these qualities, being totally free of "defilements" and negative emotions.[19]

Similarly, the Christian mystical teaching of A Course in Miracles[20] describes "teachers of God" as manifesting the following characteristics: trust (in the power that is in them but not of them), honesty, tolerance, gentleness, joy, defenselessness, generosity, patience, faithfulness, and open-mindedness. Attributes such as love, perfection, knowledge and eternal truth are not on the list because they are held to be inherent in everyone. The task of the teacher in this system is to remove the obstacles to this realization. mastery in this context would be defined as corrected perception.

The paradox is that spiritual mastery is attained through surrender of ego. Ego-motivated striving, therefore, is counterproductive, and the person who would attain mastery must be willing to renounce even the desire for mastery. The Third Zen Patriarch says, " ... even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray ... [W]hen thought is in bondage the truth is hidden."[21]

Although different meditation practices lead to different levels of consciousness, many aim at mastery of the mind and evidently culminate in the awakened state of unchanging awareness of reality as it is, as distinct from transient flashes of insight. When flashes of insight have been stabilized into the abiding light of the awakened state, spiritual mastery has been attained. There are many different approaches to this goal,[22] and every mystical tradition has its own name for the awakened state, but all describe the diffusion of the effects of spiritual practice into waking, dreaming, and sleeping states. Moreover, what requires arduous effort at the outset becomes effortless as the seeker learns to maintain awareness in the midst of other activities. Since an awakened being transcends cultural origins, the enlightened master can be recognized by a person of any faith who has developed the capacity for such perception.

Despite these distinct characteristics of spiritual mastery as defined in religious traditions, it is difficult for the untrained observer to distinguish a genuine spiritual master from a fraudulent one. Of course, anyone wishing to develop the necessary discernment through spiritual practice is free to do so, but the novice who has no training in this area cannot be expected to make accurate evaluations of spiritual mastery, much as anyone who is not trained in science cannot adequately evaluate a scientific experiment.

Nevertheless, in the absence of trained observation, we are called on to make subjective evaluations in choosing a spiritual teacher. Ram Dass[23] has observed that the best protection against being misled on the spiritual path by false teachers is the purity of the seeking. Unfortunately, good intentions do not preclude gullibility. Furthermore, it may well be that our spiritual seeking is motivated by the range of desires described earlier, so that "pure" and "impure" motives are interlaced and operating at once. Self-awareness, therefore, is a valuable asset to the seeker who wants to avoid the pitfalls of spiritual tyranny.

In order to choose a teacher or group with some degree of self-awareness, one could begin by asking oneself some questions. In considering involvement with a self-proclaimed master, for example, one might ask: What attracts me to this person? Am I attracted to his or her power, showmanship, cleverness, achievements, glamour, ideas? Am I motivated by fear or love? Is my response primarily physical excitement, emotions activation, intellectual stimulation, or intuitive resonance? What would persuade me to trust him/her (or anyone) more than myself? Am I looking for a parent figure to relieve me of the responsibility for my life? Am I looking for a group where I feel I can belong and be taken care of in return for doing what I am told? What am I giving up? Am I moving towards something I am drawn to, or am I running away from my life as it is?

Regarding the master, one might reflect on whether his or her presence conveys a feeling of inner peace. The presence of a spiritual master is said to have a soothing and healing effect on others without any intentional manipulation on the part of the master. On the other hand, a charismatic leader who is not a genuine spiritual master can have a hypnotic effect on a group, so as to induce a sense of peace and well-being by intentional manipulation. A particular seeker may or may not be sensitive to the difference. Furthermore, if one is absorbed in a subjective state such as anxiety or despair, the presence of a true master could go unnoticed. Being in the presence of a master might actually be anxiety-provoking to someone experiencing conflict about surrendering to a spiritual relationship or discipline. Whatever form egoic resistance may take, as long as an individual is afraid or unwilling to be honest with oneself and look directly at the truth of one's own make-up and beliefs about reality, it is not possible to perceive another clearly, particularly someone who has attained more advanced levels of development. When a particular leader appears to agree with personal biases and preconceptions, one may be willing to trust him or her without asking any questions. It is easy to question apparently irrational, funny or bizarre beliefs of others, but one's own are usually assumed to be true.[24]

Finally, another important question to ask regarding a purported master is: Does the master manifest compassion, generosity, loving kindness, honesty, calm, and open-mindedness? These questions will not provide definitive guidelines for action, but they can provide a basis of self-awareness and thereby reduce the likelihood of making regrettable choices. Just as parents cannot prevent sons or daughters from falling in love with partners of whom they do not approve, scholarly cautions based on research are not likely to be particularly effective in preventing fraudulent masters from gathering disciples. Individuals who leave groups after being disillusioned characteristically claim that they originally joined with pure intentions, wanting to ally with others for the purpose of making a positive contribution to society. it appears that neither self-awareness nor good intentions are sufficient to prevent errors in judgment. The purity of the seeking, then, may provide some protection, but it may also contribute to naive, unquestioning acceptance of corrupt leadership.

In addition to questions pertaining to self-awareness, anyone who is considering joining a group might be advised to consider the following:[25] Does the group keep secrets about its organization and the leader? How do members of the group respond to embarrassing questions? (For example, does the leader have a Swiss bank account or indulge in sexual relations with group members?) Do members display stereotypic behavior that emulates the leader? Does the group have a party line that does not permit members to express how they really feel? Do members see themselves as having found the only true way? Are members free to leave? Are members asked to violate personal ethics to prove their loyalty? Does the group's public image misrepresent its true nature? Are humor and irreverence permitted?

In many instances recovery from disillusionment with a fraudulent master or pathogenic group is marked by the decision to trust oneself more than powerful leader figures. Denouncing shortcomings and maintaining a noncommittal stance can serve to prevent problematic involvements, but can also stall spiritual development and obscure feelings of vulnerability to deception in an area where we are inadequately trained to make informed judgments. Just as a fearful parent might try to dissuade a child from risking intimacy and thereby cripple the child's emotional development, excessive skepticism can stifle healthy spiritual development. Of course reasonable caution and investigation of group practices certainly are appropriate for anyone considering joining. Yet, if one is capable of taking the warrior stance (see endnote 16) and accepting all experiences in life as challenges, then even a difficult experience in a group can contribute to wisdom and maturity. Many persons who have joined a spiritual group and then left have reported feeling the experience was valuable despite considerable hardship. When an individual leaves a group, an empowering sense of having met the challenge of the experience may be gained in its retelling. This process has been described as a task of psychological growth through restoration of integrity. [26]

Current interest in new religious movements points not only to the dearth of spiritual nourishment in the culture at large, but also to the universality of religious impulses and the desire for genuine transcendence. The vacuum created by the decline of traditional American civil religion is being filled by both exploitative charlatans at one extreme and true spiritual masters at the other. Social scientists can best view the new movements as participant observers, with awareness that observations invariably reflect the level of inquiry. While we are working on expending our perceptual framework, it behooves us to be aware of the limitations of our ability to pass judgment on teachers and teachings we have not been trained to evaluate.

Despite these limitations, we must somehow learn to discriminate between genuine and counterfeit spiritual teachers. In doing so we can bear in mind that transpersonal development beyond the conventional ego-identity is never a justification for the violation of basic human rights or individual dignity. In genuine transcendence the intrinsic value of individuality is affirmed and integrated in a larger context.

In attempting to evaluate spiritual groups, individuals must honestly consider their personal limitations. We must be willing to free our own minds from dishonesty and self-deception if we are to do more than cling to uninformed opinions. In certain instances it may seem appropriate to suspend judgment about a group when different individuals report different reactions to participation. Certainly individual differences make some groups appropriate for some people, and not for other, at certain times. Some groups may be clearly detrimental to healthy human development, but many are ambiguous, and others apparently have contributed to healthy psychological and spiritual growth for at least some individuals who have made a commitment to participation.

Groups could be considered as being stage specific, insofar as any one group contributes to certain areas of development and not others. For example, one who has a highly developed intellect or logical-analytic function might choose to subject himself or herself to rigorous meditation discipline in order to achieve balance by development contemplative awareness, which is not based on the intellect. On the other hand, the same form of practice might not be beneficial for someone who has failed to develop integrity at an ego level.

Most orthodox religious institutions in the West have failed to provide training in contemplation in any disciplined way. Yet healthy human development calls for a balanced integration of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of well-being. The transpersonal dimension of human consciousness cannot be ignored, and there is no value-free stance. Contending human development demands further investigation and exploration. Each of us must choose, despite our limitations, where to look for guidance in this domain.

In the final analysis, efforts at evaluation might best be guided by the words of Buddha: Do not believe in what you have heard; do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations; do not believe anything because it is rumored and spoken of by many; do not believe merely because the written statement of some old sage is produced; do not believe conjectures; do not believe merely in the authority of your teachers and elders. After observations and analysis, when it agrees with reason and it is conductive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.[27]

  1. This article has appeared in modified form in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol.23, No. 3, 1983. [return to text]
  2. M. Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy (Los Angeles; J.P. Tarcher, 1980) [return]
  3. D. Anthony and T. Robbins, In Gods We Trust: New Patterns in American Religious Pluralism (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1981).[return]
  4. J. Needleman, The New Religions (New York: Pocket Books, 1972).[return]
  5. R. Fields, How the Swans Came to the Lake (Boulder: Shambhala, 1981).[return]
  6. W. Anderson, Open Secrets: A Western Guide to Tibetan Buddhism New York: Viking, 1979). [return]
  7. A. Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature New York: Viking, 1979).[return]
  8. S. Keen, "Spiritual Tyranny," Co-Evolution Quarterly, Spring, 1974, 84-94.[return]
  9. E. Becker, The Denial of Death (New York: Macmillan, 1973). [return]
  10. F. Vaughan, Awakening Intuition (New York: Doubleday/Anchor, 1979).[return]
  11. K. Wilber, A Sociable God (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983). [return]
  12. K. Wilber, "The pre/trans fallacy," Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 22(2), Spring, 1982(a).[return]
  13. M. Washburn, "The bimodal and tri-phasic structures of human experience," ReVision, 3(2), Fall, 1980. [return]
  14. A.G.Greenwald, "The totalitarian ego," American Psychologist, 35(7), July, 1980, 603-618.[return]
  15. Hazrat Inayat Khan, Spiritual Dimensions of Psychology (Lebanon Springs: Sufi Order Publications, 1981). [return]
  16. C. Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan(New York: Ballantine, 1968).[return]
  17. Lao Tsu, The Way of Life, translated by W. Brynner (New York: Perigee Books, 1980). [return]
  18. H. Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1966).[return]
  19. J. Goldstein, The Experience of Insight (Santa Cruz, CA: Unity Press, 1976).[return]
  20. Anonymous, A Course in Miracles (New York: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975).[return]
  21. Third Zen Patriarch, Sengstan, Hsin Hsin Ming: Verses on the Faith Mind, translated by Richard Clark (Sharon Springs, Zen Center, New York: 1976).[return]
  22. D. Coleman, The Varieties of Meditative Experience (New York: Dutton, 1977).[return]
  23. Ram Dass, Personal communication, 1980. [return]
  24. T. Hersch, "The phenomenology of belief systems," Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 29 (2), Spring, 1980. [return]
  25. D. Coleman, "Early warning signs of the detection of spiritual blight," Association for Transpersonal Psychology Newsletter, Summer, 1981.[return]
  26. R. Lifton, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism (New York: W.W. Norton, 1969).[return]
  27. Kalamas Sutra, cited in Boorstein, ed., Transpersonal Psychotherapy (Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books, 1981).[return] [Error Creating Counter File -- Click for more info]

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