Knowing the Self through Understanding the Mind

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Knowing the Self through Understanding the Mind

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 23-28, 2014 – Esalen

It is entirely possible to verify for oneself that we are part of a caring and intelligible universe. The verification is a kind of proof since it is a way of understanding that is based upon a realization that our mind constantly communicates with us and for our benefit. Communications from the mind are as profound as they are utterly appropriate to our circumstances, for while the scope of the mind is pervasive, its precision is always directed to what is personally and spiritually significant. The self is always seeking completion; hence, our choice of goals, the problems we face, the daydreams and fantasies we have, the seemingly random thoughts that occur during our meditations, and the dreams that visit us in our sleep — each is a doorway into the richest source of insights into our lives.

During this workshop, we will explore a new paradigm that offers a profound understanding of the way the mind functions and communicates with us for our benefit. As we focus on our dreams and daydreams with the simple rules of this new paradigm, we are brought to an awareness that our everyday existence can be the doorway to the profound, and what is often ignored can be the key to our inner development. Pierre Grimes has developed this new paradigm as a path of self-discovery over many years. It has its roots in the Homeric/Socratic tradition. Please bring writing materials and a small tape recorder for recording your dreams.

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Anatomy of Dreams – Pierre Grimes

 

Pierre Grimes demonstrates dreams, dreaming and the structure of dreams explored in philosophical midwifery (philosophical counseling).

These talks were recorded at the Philosophical Research Society where Pierre Grimes gave talks from 1995-1998.

These videos deal with dreams, fantasies and random thoughts as a doorway to understanding the intelligent, caring nature of the mind.

Retreat: Knowing The Self Through Understanding The Mind

Pierre-Grimes-Esalen-Workshop

Week of November 24-29, 2013. Esalen. Big Sur, CA.

Communications from the mind are as profound as they are utterly appropriate to our circumstances, for while the scope of the mind is pervasive, its precision is always directed to what is personally and spiritually significant.

The self is always seeking completion; hence, our choice of goals, the problems we face, the daydreams and fantasies we have, the seemingly random thoughts that occur during our meditations, and the dreams that visit us in our sleep – each is a doorway into the richest source of insights into our lives.

During this workshop we will explore a new paradigm that offers a profound understanding of the way the mind functions and communicates with us for our benefit. As we focus on our dreams and daydreams with the simple rules of this new paradigm, we are brought to an awareness that our everyday existence can be the doorway to the profound and that what is often ignored can be the key to our inner development.

Pierre Grimes has developed this new paradigm as a path of self-discovery over many years. It has its roots in the Homeric/Socratic tradition. Please bring writing materials and a small tape recorder for recording your dreams.

Please note: There will be a celebratory Thanksgiving dinner in the Esalen Lodge.

For more info, or to enroll, click here.

Pierre Grimes’ latest book available on Amazon

Pocket Pierre

The Pocket Pierre

Everybody has problems–and sadly, despite our best efforts, most of us daily struggle with them. As Pierre says, we try everything: “…psychotherapy, quests for heavenly intervention, Zen meditation, the priesthood or coaching Little League.”

The one thing we need is the one thing that The Pocket Pierre provides: a particular type of understanding that finally frees us from the blocks and problems we have struggled with all our life.

What makes this book different than the myriad of self-help books out there? It is based on a wonderful idea: that when it comes down to it, we live through our minds; even our emotions are in the mind.

We can use our minds to see, understand, and get rid of a particular kind of false belief that we picked up when we were young. No one taught us this belief, but we got it by observing family situations and drawing false ideas about ourselves. Why can’t we find these things easily?

It’s because we made the conclusions wordlessly, so we do not even have words for it, until, through Philosophical Midwifery explained in this book and in the Pocket Pierre Workbook, also available on Amazon, we remember the scenes and understand that these deeply-held beliefs are actually false.

In a world of quick fixes and a myriad of therapeutic interventions, The Pocket Pierre offers you something fresh and new. At last, here is something that really works.

Click here to order on amazon.

A Classic Recording: The Sacred Myths of Plato–Plato’s Republic

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A great lecture from Pierre Grimes…

50 Questions for Mastering the Art of Philosophical Midwifery:

By Pierre Grimes, Ph. D.

The following questions are challenges to both the philosophical community and the wider intellectual community and can be considered as central to a mode of philosophical counseling called philosophical midwifery.

Continue reading 50 Questions for Mastering the Art of Philosophical Midwifery:

The Dream Master and The Pathologos

By Pierre Grimes, Ph. D.

Those who are led through our way of exploring dreams gain an understanding of themselves, their reality, and the profound nature of the role of the Dream Master. This approach is philosophical rather than psychological because it is a non-interpretive method that draws all the material for the exploration and analysis from the subject, bringing a recognition of how false beliefs are at the basis of one’s problems. The conclusions reached through this method are tested and verified when they are applied to the individual’s own experience. Thus, the exploration of each dream takes the form of a structured dialogue designed to uncover a subject’s belief system and as such it is a rational method.

Analyzing the content of many people’s dreams brings the realization that man is only partly aware in his waking life of the problems, failures, as well as the victories of his waking life. In the waking world that means that dreams play a vital complementary role in man’s psychic life. Equally, since the method of analysis makes this conclusion obvious, the method itself plays a critical role in dream work. For, in learning about dreams the dreamers learn not only about their personal lives, but learn a method of analysis that has far-reaching consequences. Once the method becomes second nature to dreamers, they apply it to other areas of their lives and learn to anticipate the occurrence of problems, find themselves more fully aware in their lives, and recognize more fully what they had previously ignored.

Dream analysis shows that dreams often carry a theme across many dreams, that there is a significant linkage between dreams, and that later dreams correct or modify the conclusions made in earlier dream analysis. The dreamers learn that the maker of dreams must be aware of the dreamers’ personal past since it uses their past history as the material for the dream; that it can artfully select key images from their past to represent the message of the dream; that is has a grasp of what they themselves have ignored from their waking world and reminds them of its significance both in terms of their present life as well as its implications on their past history. The dreamers realize that the maker of dreams must be awake to their life and is even awake in their life in a way that they themselves are not. This brings a greater realization to the dreamers that something beyond them, that is yet present to them, has an intelligibility that works for their personal good and, hence, is providential in its vision. This maker of dreams we call the Dream Master because its mastery is profound in its understanding and most artful in its production.

The dream master presents a special kind of problem to the dreamer, for the failures and successes that are ignored in the waking world become the subjects of the dream. The analysis of dreams discloses this special kind of problem as having its roots in beliefs about oneself that have been formulated in our early youth but which were never articulated and therefore cannot be recalled by the believer. These beliefs have their origin in early experiences in one’s youth, during occasions when families disclose their fundamental and emotionally held beliefs about life, about themselves, and about family members. From them one draws one’s own conclusions, in private, about oneself and the nature of reality. These beliefs are the root cause of our problems because these beliefs are always, in principle, false. These beliefs are never discussed in the family but live as milieu beliefs and taboos within the family.Invariably, these beliefs were shared when we ourselves were in the state of mind or approaching a success that threatened or challenged the beliefs of the family authorities. Thus, later in life, whenever we face analogous situations or states of mind that would threaten those family beliefs, we withdraw and find a solution that preserves or can be reconciled with those family taboos.

These beliefs are given the stamp of authenticity and are made believable because they were revealed by authorities who gave the appearance of being most caring, genuine and sincere. It appeared that they thought enough to share their fundamental convictions and, so, to reject the belief would be tantamount to rejecting them, leaving one to face the possibility of exile and loss of affection. Thus, while these beliefs shape an image of ourselves and our reality, they are, in principle, false and irreconcilable with our highest ideals. These false beliefs are called the pathologos because they are “sick beliefs.” The pathologos’ are the causes of our sense of dissatisfaction and failure in life. When one’s possible achievements are in contradiction to these beliefs, then blocks are experienced that either compromise one’s achievements or precipitate one’s failures.

The dream presents these blocks and sets them within scenes that show their common dynamic and structure within the history of our life. Through analysis we can unlock those personal blocks to our achievement of excellence and come to a way of analysis that opens up the possibility of leading a more rational life.

The Signs of A Pathologos Problem

By Pierre Grimes, Ph. D.

We have explored the idea that a pathologos blocks one from attaining one’s most significant and meaningful goals but we have yet to define the signs of a pathologos problem. Equally, we have reached the point where we can understand that the pursuit of goals which are less meaningful produce less blocks and that the pursuit of lesser goals are attended with less negative experiences, and we have also shown how these lesser forms are variants of the more fundamental expression of the pathologos; but we have not fully discussed the significance of the relationship between the pathologos and the manifestations of its numerous forms and varieties.

Before discussing the signs of a problem we need to review a few things. First, in the acceptance of the pathologos there is a self-imposed limiting view of the self. This acceptance of a narrow and limiting idea of the self permeates the world view of the subject and whenever the moment is perceived and interpreted as analogous to the pathologos the drama unfolds. It is because this interpretation limits the range of our possible choices and our conduct to the form of the pathologos that we say our lives are fated by the pathologos; for to whatever degree the pathologos is in force to that degree it determines our fate.

Second, in freeing ourselves from the pathologos we can once again ask, “Quo ?” -“Now, where are you going?” Releasing ourselves from the binding power of fate we are able to seriously ask, “What now?” Indeed, we can then ask if there is some higher purpose to life consistent with what has brought us our freedom from our fate. The classic way of approaching this question is to ask, “Being free of our fate, is there a destiny for each of us? Does man have a destiny beyond struggling to be free of his fate?” But, we may ask, “what are the signs of being fated, or of being caught in the power of the pathologos?” And, “what possible way can be say we have a destiny and what signs can we point to that suggest our destiny? Where shall we turn?” It was this interest that brought many to the Delphic oracle, but its prophetic voice was silenced many years ago and to revive it would be a reversal of the most major kind.

We can say this much: there is no mystery about discovering the nature of a pathologos problem because if you are not pursuing the noblest of goals you have a pathologos problem. Whatever convinced you that you can’t or shouldn’t strive for such an ideal is the pathologos belief. It is that belief that undermines one’s choices and distorts one’s style of life as it depreciates one’s goals.

The signs and characteristics of encountering the pathologos with these secondary goals are:

  • setting secondary goals as if they were primary;
  • making practical issues the significant goal of one’s life;
  • the failure to achieve one’s goals with excellence;
  • not preparing adequately for goals;
  • loss of concentration and energy;
  • inability to resist distractions;
  • blaming others, excuses, for not achieving;
  • being unable to maintain the goal;
  • functioning ideally in crises but experiencing stress, anxiety before and after such events;
  • and, letting opportunities go by, sabotaging opportunities for success.

Thus, there are essential differences between goals and dreams. When we speak of some one having goals in philosophical midwifery we mean that the goals are of such a kind that to attain them it is necessary to go through some process, some steps, or some stages. If there are no processes or procedures to gain the goal it is not likely it can ever be attained; it then remains unattainable existing only as a dream.

Equally, there is a difference between experiencing difficulties and the pathologos because it is natural to encounter difficulties in the pursuit of some goal but not so for the pathologos. Sacrifices, hardships and various struggles are to be expected and they vary with each goal, but the pathologos blocks the attainment of goals, creates struggles that are not part of the reality, repeats mistakes of the past, while its roots are unknown.

In the quest for those most meaningful goals one can expect that there will be many manifestations of the pathologos. It is important to chart each of them and relate them to the stages or levels that have been identified to reach such goals. Each of these manifestations would then become the object of an exploration in philosophical midwifery and the set of these manifestations would then be traced back to the experiences that helped shape these formative pathologos beliefs. The unity of these beliefs is the pathologos and that unity will always be expressible in terms of a basic and fundamental idea of the self.

With the rejection of much of those false beliefs a new and more mature quest can begin into the most fundamental question: what after all is the nature of this being we call Man? Is Man a mere collection of beliefs and opinions or is there something more? Does the process of philosophical midwifery bring one to recognize that we can be rational and that this rational method and way of seeing is the start of a better way of being? Does that way of being lead to the mystery of our existence?

Indeed, we can say that philosophical midwifery uses our pathologos problems to introduce us to the need for a rational way of seeing. If there were a pill that could magically remove the pathologos we would still use our method because through it we learn a way of understanding. We can see that even in the worst of man’s conditions there is still rationality, but it is of a restricted kind. The difference between the wisest and the worst among us is that worst don’t know their premises are false when they act out the implications of their ignorance. These are the one’s who fail to comprehend just how much of their life is determined within fixed boundaries.

Warning: The Inherent Risks of our Program

Challenging one’s fate opens one to a new vista, a new kind of life, and that life can be an unfolding of one’s destiny. To whatever degree one leaves the confined and predictable patterns of pathologos behavior to that very degree there is an openness to the unknown. The unexpected is the rule not the exception. The inner development of man moves in unexpected ways, it creates opportunities, and can restructure everything in one’s life. While it is likely that inner growth will bring about changes in the outward circumstances of one’s life it is a certainty that it will transform one’s most basic values and worldviews and with that kind of change relationships are also perceived in a new and vital way. Anyone who embarks on a path of self growth should know this to be true and if they don’t they soon will discover it.

Before anyone decides to enter this program they should realize this fact and fully accept the responsibility for their own development. It is impossible to play safe and embark on the journey of self discovery. Our program is not a safe plaything. Without accepting totally and unconditionally the responsibility for one’s own growth this program will contribute little if anything to your life.