Roberto Assagioli argues that the humanistic and integral conception of psychosynthesis and its methods offer the basis and means to solve the various existential problems that arise in life, due to life circumstances and spiritual emergency
By Roberto Assagioli, 1974, Original Title: Psicologia ed Esistenza Umana, Translated by Jan Kuniholm and Francesco Viglienghi, Assagioli Archive – Florence
The very fact of being alive, of existing — “being in the world”, to use Heidegger’s expression — confronts the individual with a series of situations that can be characterized as existential. These existential situations include the various stages of life, from birth to physical death; attitudes toward evil, suffering, and illness; the wide range of interpersonal relationships, particularly those with family members (mother, father, and their surrogates); psychosexual polarity at all levels; problems of isolation and communication; and finally, attitudes toward nature, the world at large, and the universe. All of these life experiences require “taking a position” and thus the decision-making process. Decisions are acts of will, because deciding is one of the stages of the volitional act.
These, then, are the existential situations that every human being faces. But there is a situation with special characteristics that can be called “existential anxiety” or anguish. The frequency with which it is referred to nowadays requires first a semantic clarification of the term “existential”, and then an accurate understanding of what that term stands for. It brings to mind philosophical existentialism, an expression that is much used, and about which many confusing and mistaken ideas circulate. Existentialism is spoken of as if it were a unitary conception or doctrine, whereas in practice the term is given a number of different, and in some cases even opposite, meanings by those who use it.
But a theoretical discussion of existentialism is beyond the scope of my current argument. Existential situations, however, are not a matter of theory or philosophy, but are real, factual, “lived” and experienced. Existential anxiety or anguish differs from other forms of existential situations in that it is not related to specific external situations, but is produced by an internal crisis.
Although it can take a variety of different forms, its nature and meaning have been described by me in these terms:
“Sometimes after a series of disappointments, not infrequently after a strong emotional shock, such as the loss of a loved one, but sometimes even without any apparent cause, in the midst of the full comfort and favor of fortune, a vague anxiety arises in someone; a sense of dissatisfaction, of lack; but not the lack of something concrete, but of something vague, elusive, which one can not define.
Little by little, a sense of unreality, of the futility of ordinary life is added; all the personal interests that previously occupied and preoccupied him or her so much become “faded”, so to speak; they lose their importance and their value. New problems arise; the person begins to ask about the meaning of life, the reason for so many things that have been accepted naturally before; the reason for one’s own suffering and that of others; the justification for so many disparities in fortune, the origin of human existence, its purpose. This state of agitation becomes more and more painful, the inner emptiness more intolerable; the person has a sense of annihilation; everything that formed his life seems like a dream, dissolved like a larva”.
The independence of this existential anxiety from any external situation was clearly, even dramatically, described by Tolstoy in his Confessions. But usually this existential crisis is only a transitory stage preceding an “inner awakening” that leads to the understanding of a fuller dimension of life and contact with a higher Reality. It leads to the discovery of a new meaning and value in life. Awakening is often accompanied by a feeling of light, feelings of joy and love, and a desire for union and communication with universal Life, with Divinity.
There are descriptions and a wealth of evidence of this new and higher “way of being”. Some of them can be found in the books of William James, Dr. Maurice Bucke and others.
Psychology, the science of man, should provide the tools to understand and manage these existential problems, and provide help in finding their solution. But academic psychology, which developed in the last decades of the last century, is not providing this help. It has modeled itself largely on the natural sciences and has sought to apply to human beings the experimental methods and quantitative criteria appropriate to the study of external natural phenomena. It has thus remained largely on the surface of the human being, without penetrating its true nature. It has studied him in a way that might be called “anatomical”, investigating the various functions: sensation, memory, intelligence, and so on, as if these were separate and disconnected activities of a live subject. It has studied and continues to study the behavior of the human being in the belief that this method will lead it to understand it. But this will not and cannot be the case.
Parallel to this research, clinical and psychopathological psychology has developed mainly along the lines of psychoanalysis. This may be said to have centered its investigations on the unconscious psychological life; but it has turned its attention almost exclusively to the lower and morbid aspects of that life.
Yet not all psychology has remained locked within these positivistic limits, with their largely materialistic preconceptions, in fact if not in name. A number of studies of the human being have been made which may be grouped under the designation of “humanistic psychology”. The title of this “third force” in psychology serves to distinguish it from the other two main psychological currents, behaviorism and psychoanalysis.
At this point another semantic or terminological clarification becomes necessary. The meaning generally attributed to the term “humanistic” outside of psychology is associated with humanistic culture, based on Greco-Roman culture and its subsequent developments, as opposed to the activities of science. By contrast, the term “humanistic” has recently been used, especially in America, to designate a psychology that studies and seeks to understand the human being in all its aspects, needs, attitudes, reactions to life, aspirations, and goals. In a broad sense we could call it an existential psychology.
One of the greatest psychologists and exponents of scientific psychology, William James, was also a pioneer of humanistic psychology. From a certain point of view we can say that he had two personalities: the first, strictly scientific in the above sense, was expressed in most parts of his classic treatise, Principles of Psychology. The second personality, refined and sensitive, had to experience serious existential crises and was therefore acutely aware of his problems. James was gifted with intuition and possessed both breadth of vision and the courage to challenge the academic world. He shows these qualities mainly in his study and examination of parapsychological phenomena and problems, which in his time, even more than now, were taboo — the res vitanda (forbidden ground) of official psychology. James recognized and affirmed what is now the field of interest of humanistic psychology; namely, the existence of latent powers and unused possibilities in human beings.
But it is especially during the last two decades that humanistic psychology has undergone a rapid and flourishing development. Viktor Frankl, Erich Fromm, Rollo May and Charlotte Buhler are widely known names that are closely identified with humanistic psychology; but its main exponent has been Abraham Maslow, since his recent and untimely death psychology has suffered a great loss. After passing through behaviorism and briefly into psychoanalytic work, he recognized their limitations and redirected his interest to the study of the normal aspects of human beings and later to the promotion of the psychology of the “healthy man”. In approaching this study of the whole man without preconceptions, Maslow recognized another factor of the utmost importance; namely that the healthy man is not the last stage in the existence and development of humanity. Indeed, man is often the bearer of aspirations, premonitions, dissatisfactions, and the need for something above and beyond normality.
It is precisely this that is the frequent source of existential anxiety or anguish. There is an insistent leaning towards the higher planes of reality. In formulating his conceptions of human needs Maslow presented a clear interpretation of these facts. He asserts that there are “primary needs”, which he calls “basic”, because they are rooted in the basic instincts; but that in addition to these there are what he calls “higher needs”, which, as he rightly argues, are just as real and demanding as the basic needs. Maslow also studied and described what he calls peak experiences. This leads to the formulation of a “transpersonal psychology”, which in psychology is called the “fourth force”.
However, the study of experiences that transcend ordinary ones had already begun, as mentioned above. Here, too, William James was a pioneer. He presented a masterful review of them in a series of lectures that were later published in his book entitled Varieties of Religious Experience. Giving the term “religious” an expanded meaning, he made it correspond to what are usually called spiritual experiences. Maslow later coined the term “transpersonal” to designate these experiences, which has the advantage of avoiding the vague and multiple senses attributed to the term “spiritual”, as well as certain associations that, with some reason, offend the sensibilities of scientists.
Another pioneer who investigated this field during the same period as James was Dr. Bucke, who published his findings in Cosmic Consciousness. Interestingly, Bucke was prompted to tackle this task by his own personal experience of internal enlightenment. In the strictly religious sphere there have then been many valuable contributions, such as that of Evelyn Underhill in her book Mysticism, and Heiler in Das Gebet (Prayer).
Currently there are intense and widespread developments in this research, particularly in the experimentation with methods and techniques to reach higher and broader levels of consciousness. Before dealing with this, however, I must mention another branch of psychological research, parapsychology. It too has been generally ignored or has run into antagonism from official psychology. This has been due to a number of circumstances, mainly to the fact that research in parapsychological phenomena was originally connected with so-called “spiritualism”, with its emphasis on establishing communications with disembodied entities.
However, recent years have seen developments in a strictly scientific sense. Some universities have supported parapsychology, freed from the problem of survival [i.e. life after death] and focused on the simple examination and interpretation of parapsychological phenomena. One of the main researchers in this field is Dr. Rhine of Duke University in the United States, where for many years he carried out laboratory experiments, which he now carries out independently.
Two universities, one in Holland and one in Germany, maintain a chair in parapsychology, occupied by Prof. Tenhaeff and Prof. Bender respectively, while in Russia there has recently been a development of parapsychological research.
Parallel to the evolution of humanistic psychology, psychosynthesis has been developing for a long time. Beginning in 1909 (65 years ago) an article of mine, “The Psychology of Idea-Forces and Psychagogy,” published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, contained in embryo most of the concepts and methods of psychosynthesis. I will quote some passages from it, not to assert any priority, since this has or should have little interest in the scientific field, but to show how psychosynthesis has from the beginning shared the path of humanistic psychology. I do this also because the latter is far from being generally accepted. The resistance, conflict, and lack of understanding it still arouses indicate that it is still in its early stages. Thus, while psychosynthesis has already contributed to its advancement, there is still much it can do to promote its development and acceptance.
In the introduction to the above article, I referred to the various lines of development in clinical psychology and psychopathology, to studies of religious and spiritual experiences, and to parapsychological (then called “metapsychological”) phenomena. I argued that these studies, so dissimilar and often seemingly antagonistic, complemented and illuminated each other. However, I observed, “Certainly this great synthesis of such different tendencies is just beginning to emerge, uncertain and distant, still opposed by tenacious prejudices and numerous misunderstandings, and it will take protracted efforts by strong minds to bring it into being; but every scholar free from prejudice can make his contribution to this magnificent work”.
I went on to say that a good start had been made with the “recognition of the enormous complexity and ceaseless dynamism of psychological life, of its vast unexplored regions, of its unsuspected extraordinary energies. We begin to see that the psyche is not a rigid, independent thing that can only be observed and described like a piece of quartz or an onion, or that lends itself at best to a few simple experiments, like a frog or a turtle. Science has recognized that the psyche is marvelously plastic and lends itself to being profoundly modified in a wide variety of ways. However, while the psyche is supremely plastic and modifiable, its very complexity and plasticity make it continually elusive to those who seek to shape it. Therefore, in order to modify it in a lasting and beneficial way, it is not enough to act upon it empirically and occasionally, but it is necessary, with the data gathered by means of a rigorous study of its nature and of the laws that govern it, to construct a series of practical, simple, and safe methods that are independent of any special philosophical doctrine”.
The need for an appropriate name for the set of such methods prompted me to propose resurrecting the ancient and beautiful term “psychagogy”, which goes back to Plato. This had the double advantage of indicating on the one hand the practical and active character of the discipline; and on the other hand the fact that it dealt not with the education of separate structures, but with the integral culture of the whole psyche. Here already was the basic conception of “psychosynthesis”, a term which I have used publicly since 1926.
In the face of these possibilities of modifying and transforming the psyche, I went on to say, “All the convenient excuses, all the pretexts and sophistries we use towards ourselves and towards others to justify our weaknesses and our cowardice, and to continue to commit foolishness, are no longer needed. We can no longer say, ‘What do you want? That’s just the way I am’ — ‘This is my temperament and I can’t change it; when I see certain things I can’t restrain myself’, and many other stupidities of this kind. By now we know that our character, far from being rigid and unchangeable, is being changed every day by the action of countless influences, whether we are aware of it or not. It is therefore a question of deciding whether these changes should be left to chance, and thus remain slow, contradictory, chaotic and often harmful, as they are now; or that they be consciously produced and coordinated according to a harmonious plan, intensified and directed to free us from unwanted tendencies and to realize a higher, freer and more fruitful psychic life. There is no excuse for not undertaking this work of mastering our psyche, and for not continuing it unceasingly every day and throughout our lives”.
Turning to the methods to be adopted, the practice to which one must devote oneself in the beginning and in a serious and methodical manner consists of recollection and reflective meditation. “It is evident that one cannot speak of a culture of the psyche if one does not stop living on the surface of consciousness, as it were, and letting the play of ideas-forces take place automatically. Instead, we must withdraw into ourselves and, by means of careful, serene and acute introspection, analyze the entire content of our psyche, free from all fearful restraint and all hypocrisy — without letting ourselves be frightened by unexpected monsters or dazzled by the glitter of some gem. Above all, we must take advantage of those moments of calm to distinguish sharply and definitively between our highest aspirations and the crowd of tendencies, impulses, prejudices and mental habits that constitute the undesirable inheritance of our past, both near and far”.
But such an analysis, such a discrimination, must certainly not remain a pure intellectual recognition. It must immediately, I would say almost automatically, be changed into practical intentions and decisions. In this way the psychological function of the will is called into play, because as I have had occasion to say several times, decision is one of the essential stages of volitional action. Control of the mind requires the performance of numerous, methodical and persistent exercises of concentration. However, the specific exercises to develop concentration are only a preparation for achieving a state of continuous concentration.
Whatever activity we may be engaged in, whether fun or tedious, insignificant or demanding, this state of concentration must keep the mind strictly focused on that activity, to the exclusion of all else. Do not think, however, that concentration necessarily implies effort and tension. On the contrary, perfect concentration can occur naturally, easily, almost automatically. And this is exactly the purpose of the specific exercises. One might object: doesn’t this state of continuous concentration reduce life to something rigid and too regimented? This fear is unjustified. Our mind can act as a filter that rejects the jumble of nagging thoughts and unfounded doubts, but it is happy to give free rein to every beautiful idea, every bright aspiration, every strong impulse. “We can foresee very well the effect which a given reading, a given conversation, the sight of a certain work of art, or the study of a certain philosophy will produce upon us, the feelings which they will awaken or those which they will oppose. If, therefore, we do not systematically make use of these valuable forecasts to modify and improve ourselves, the fault is ours alone”.
This gives us a clear indication of where the responsibility lies for exposing ourselves or others to harmful and negative influences; and neutralizing them by opening ourselves to positive and beneficial ones. It is important to pay special attention to this observation, because nowadays there is a wide lack of awareness of it, and even worse, a deliberate intention to ignore the existence of this individual responsibility. This fact is in itself commensurable with the financial interests of certain powerful groups. So, as a result of this ignorance and cynicism, humanity is exposed to harmful influences transmitted by descriptions and images of violence and pornography. What results is a real psychological smog, more harmful than the chemical one.
Although it is difficult to fight against this pollution on a large scale, everyone can at least try to protect himself and others, especially children and adolescents, by using the antidotes that psychology with its various techniques puts at our disposal. One of the simplest of these is the technique of “Evocative Words”. Presented and circulated by the Institute of Psychosynthesis and other psychosynthesis centers abroad, it has proved and continues to prove effective. Another method is that of “Acting as if,” based on the law that every external act tends to awaken and intensify the corresponding feeling. To quote what I have said elsewhere about this law: “It lends itself to a thousand different ways of application. From putting on a smile to dispel worry, to showing unusual friendliness to a person to stifle resentment that we recognize is unfair”. There are virtually no situations in which the systematic use of these tools does not prove to be of valuable assistance. The use of these psychological methods can foster the development of higher psychospiritual functions: intuition, mystical realization, cosmic consciousness, and inner vision. I concluded the article as follows: “It is time to banish once and for all a priori denials, and to recognize that not only in heaven and on earth, but also in the human soul, there are many mysteries of which our timid reason barely begins to suspect the existence. If, therefore, on the one hand psychagogy must tend to elevate and perfect ordinary consciousness in every way, on the other hand it is also entitled to attempt to extend it, guiding it to the discovery of the mysterious and fascinating regions of the subconscious and of ‘spiritual consciousness’”.
Summing up now the discussion of the present state of psychological research and applications, one can discern in the multiplicity of the different movements and currents, a conflict which reflects, or is an expression of, one of the existential situations I have mentioned. It is the conflict between the static and the dynamic attitude. In every individual, as well as in groups and society, there is a continuous clash between adaptation, the tendency to homeostasis and regression to previous states; and the drive for development, growth, the realization of new possibilities, which might be called “transcendence of the present”. This existential conflict in the field of human psychology manifests itself in many ways. One of these takes the form of a passionate quest for expansions of consciousness, to reach higher levels of life. It is a goal that exerts a strong appeal on many young people today, a typical manifestation of which is the proliferation of what are called growth groups.
But this movement has been met with strong resistance and opposition. The “reasons” for these — or as we would do better to say the causes, because these have little that is “reasonable” in them — deserve to be examined, albeit briefly. One of the most obvious aspects of the drive toward transcendence is the demand for freedom from conditioning by limited ideas and ways of thinking and from restrictions that are felt to be obstacles to a higher and fuller life, to new research in fields previously denied. This demand is met with a reluctance, actually a fear, to take on the personal responsibility and involvement that a deeper participation in life requires. We witness the paradoxical fact that many people claim a freedom that, when they begin to have it, they do not know how to manage. Finding themselves lost, they seek, more or less consciously, new footholds and cling to new and often questionable sources of authority. This fact has been highlighted by both Hermann Keyserling and Erich Fromm; the latter discusses it in his book appropriately titled Escape from Freedom.
A second cause is that those who seek and have transpersonal experiences soon discover that maintaining this higher level, integrating these experiences with their former personality, and giving them a correct evaluation, requires measures of inner discipline and self-mastery. Few, especially among young people, seem to want to know about this; on the contrary, the reaction toward these kinds of ideas is often violent. It is largely due to rebellion against the rigid constraints of the past; but an important cause is the basic laziness inherent in every human being, even those who appear hyperactive in the external world. In this age, active instincts, especially those of self-assertion and of sexual and affective gratification, are greatly accentuated. On the other hand, there is another strong tendency; namely toward a static balance and maintenance of the status quo, eliminating anything, even mental effort, that might disturb it, which is the psychological counterpart of physiological homeostasis. There are people who assimilate both these tendencies, and this makes them ambivalent, and their attitudes and behaviors often contradictory. Ambivalence, a widespread psychological mechanism, makes understandable many of the manifestations of human behavior that surprise and baffle us.
However, the field that elicits perhaps the fiercest hostility among most psychologists is that of parapsychology. This can be explained by the fact that a good part of parapsychological phenomena gives rise to strong doubts about the validity of the conceptions to which many scientists are attached and which are part of their mentality. The most disturbing and revolutionary of these phenomena are those concerning bilocation. A large number of people have had and described the experience of being outside the body while in full awareness. Aware of being detached from it, they have seen it, for example, lying on the bed, and they have also moved out of the room. These phenomena and experiences are by no means new; one finds many examples of them in religious writings and in the biographies of saints and mystics. They are well known in the East, where certain yogis claim to be able to leave and re-enter their bodies at will. But they completely undermine the principle — one might call it a dogma — to which even today’s avant-garde psychologists adhere: indivisible psycho-physical unity.
It would be useful at this point to discuss the relationships and differences between higher, or transpersonal, psychology and parapsychology. Many people who have special sensitivities or who experience paranormal phenomena, such as telepathy and premonitions, regard them as faculties of a higher order, the possession of which justifies a certain vanity and sense of superiority over those who do not have them. They are, however, guilty of an error due to a lack of understanding of the overall parapsychological phenomenology. Indeed, it has been established that paranormal psychic activity can manifest itself in individuals who are not only no more mentally or spiritually developed than others, but who are even intellectually or morally subnormal. But that is not all. Parapsychological sensitivity has been shown to exist in animals as well. Therefore, this self-delusion, this sense of superiority on the part of many mediums and psychics, has no justification. Parapsychological sensitivity is independent of all intellectual, moral and spiritual development.
Another cause of opposition to transpersonal psychology is the individual and collective hostility towards what is “superior” — towards those beings who are at a more advanced evolutionary and psycho-spiritual level than normal people. This is easily explained by the fact that the recognition of the superiority of other beings arouses feelings of inferiority and wounds to one’s pride, vanity and conceit. Thus, even outside the sphere of psychology, many intellectuals of the so-called contemporary culture tenaciously devote themselves to the pleasant task of demolishing the reputations of the best among them, emphasizing their weaknesses and even vices. In this way they hope to bring them back to an ordinary level, ignoring the fact that the presence of these inferior aspects has no bearing on their possession of higher qualities, as this phenomenon is part of the multiplicity and complexity of human nature.
Hostility to what is superior or higher has very harmful consequences, especially in the field of education. Alongside a minority of educators who devote themselves to gifted children, there is a large majority who do not bother to seek out or help such children. The obvious result is that, unrecognized, unappreciated, and unhelped, they rebel and often become antisocial. Research has uncovered the presence of gifted children among inmates in so-called houses of correction (which in most cases might more correctly be called houses of corruption).
Again, this hostility to what is superior finds an apparent but in fact unfounded justification in a false concept of democracy that so many have, consciously or unconsciously. True democracy is about offering equal opportunities to all, not about “leveling down”.
I have spoken of transpersonal psychology not only because of its validity and importance as such, but because it is closely related to the theme of existential crises and their psychosynthetic solutions. Indeed, it will have become clear that not only existential anxiety, not only anguish, but all situations and existential crises in general cannot be satisfactorily resolved in many cases without taking certain factors into account. Although these are commonly referred to as “spiritual”, they are now designated more specifically as activities of the superconscious psychological level, and as subsisting relationships between the “I” or personal self and the spiritual Self, and between the personal self and super-individual Reality.
It is important to keep these influences in mind and to use active methods to revive and utilize them. A basic general principle states that no human problem or conflict can be satisfactorily resolved at the level on which it is found. Only the highest level on which and from which opposing issues can find reconciliation and constructive adaptation can serve the purpose. Moreover, existential situations are often interrelated. In fact, it could be said that to a certain extent this is always the case, since they arise in the life of the same individual, whose various experiences and ways of expression may be diverse and conflicting, but never completely unrelated to each other, since they are all part of his or her totality.
Therefore, the humanistic and integral conception of psychosynthesis and its methods offer the basis and means to solve the various existential problems that arise in education, therapy, individual development, interpersonal and social relationships and those with the Cosmos (at all levels: physical, psychological, spiritual). We intend and hope to collaborate in such a way that our efforts may help humanity to pull itself out of its present situation of disorder, conflict and disorientation — out of its collective existential crisis — and create a new civilization and a new culture in which all its marvelous potentialities may be made objective realities.
 V. Frankl, The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy. p. 3 (Author’s Note)
 I examined the similarities and differences between the various existential conceptions in a paper presented at the International Congress of Psychotherapy in Vienna in 1961, and subsequently published in my book Psychosynthesis, a Manual of Principles and Techniques, p. 3-6. (Author’s Note)
 R. Assagioli, The Awakening of the Soul, 1965, Florence (Author’s Note)
 R. Assagioli, The Act of Will, 1973, p. 107-109 (Author’s Note)
 My monograph, The Awakening of the Soul, cites some of the most typical examples, including the contributions of Tolstoy and Tagore. (Author’s Note)
 The meeting ground for its exponents is the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Statement of Purpose: “The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology is concerned with the publication of theoretical and applied research, original contributions, empirical papers, articles, and studies in meta-needs, ultimate values, unitive consciousness, peak experiences, ecstasy, mystical experiences, B-values, essence, bliss, awe, wonder, self-actualization, ultimate meaning, transcendence of the self, spirit, sacralization of daily life, oneness, cosmic awareness, cosmic play, individual and species-wide synergy, the practice of meditation, transcendental phenomena, maximum sensory awareness, responsiveness, compassion; and related concepts, experiences and activities. As a statement of purpose , this formulation is to be understood as subject to optional individual or group interpretations, either wholly or in part, with regard to the acceptance of its contents as essentially naturalistic, theistic, supernaturalistic, or any other designated classification.” (Author’s Note) (This note was corrected to conform with the published statement in JTP No. 1, 1971. —Tr.)
 R. Maurice Bucke (1837-1902) Canadian psychiatrist. He published Cosmic Consciousness in 1901. Various editions are still in print. —Tr.
 Mysticism: A Study of the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness was originally published in the UK in 1911. Various editions are still in print. —Tr.
 Published in German as Das Gebet by Friedrich Heiler in 1920; translated into English and published by Oxford University Press in 1937 as Prayer: A Study in the History and Psychology of Religion. —Tr.
 Tenhaeff, Wilhelm Heinrich Carl(1894–1981), Professor of Parapsychology and Director of the Parapsychology Institute, State University of Utrecht, Netherlands. — Tr.
 The Italian reads “commensurable” but the context here suggests that Assagioli meant “compatible.” —Tr,
 It is currently available from The Synthesis Center at http://synthesiscenter.org/articles/0125.pdf. It is also available upon request from the Archives of The Association for the Advancement of Psychosynthesis at https://aap-psychosynthesis.org/ and upon request from Istituto di psicosintesi at http://www.psicosintesi.it/english. —Tr.
 Such phenomena are currently referred to as “out-of-body” experiences or OBE’s. —Tr.