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When the Impossible Happens: Adventures in Non-ordinary Realities
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When the Impossible Happens: Adventures in Non-ordinary Realities

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  216 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Feelings of oneness with other people, nature, and the universe. Encounters with extraterrestrials, deities, and demons. Out-of-body experiences and past-life memories. Science casts a skeptical eye. But Dr. Stanislav Grof—the psychiatric researcher who co-founded transpersonal psychology—believes otherwise. When the Impossible Happens presents Dr. Grof’s mesmerizing first ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Sounds True (first published January 1st 2006)
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Tim Pendry
This is a truly infuriating book – on the one side, there are some serious insights into the therapeutic value of non-rationalist interpretations of the human condition.

On the other, there is the worst sort of gullible and naive wide-eyed New Age nonsense. Patience started to be strained with the cultish adoration of an Indian guru near the beginning.

Patience threatened to run out completely by the time we got to the crystal skulls. This is a shame because what is good is very, very good.

I am g
...more
Ard
For fans of Stanislav Grof this is a very interesting collection of personal experiences, drawing on the author's long carreer in psychiatry, psychology and study of altered states of consciousness and the influence of psychedelic drugs on the mind. Much easier to read than most of Grof's more scientific books, although his later works are much more accessible than his earlier. Expect stories about projections from the collective unconscious, synchronicities, psychological breakthroughs and expe ...more
Valerie Thompson
Apr 19, 2012 Valerie Thompson rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, but one must in my view and in order to get the most out of it, suspend judgement and step outside societal conventions. If you start judging, oh he/she should not have done that, or I don't agree with that, you will miss out on the best the book has to offer. IMHO, that is!
Noel
Jul 12, 2011 Noel rated it it was amazing
So maybe this guy takes drugs and there are lots of other judgmental comments I could make about this book but who am i in The Grand Scheme of Things? Bottom line is i like Stan Grof... I like his outlook, I like his writing, and I like him...
Bodhi
Jan 07, 2016 Bodhi rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable and intriguing read... It consists of personal anecdotes and those of friends and patients, mostly experiences of altered states of consciousness.
At several points I marvelled and burst out laughing for the faith he puts in these experiences...
In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition the masters never tire to advise meditators, "don't take your (special) experiences too seriously", because even having a vision of the Buddha can become an obstacle if you become attached to it (lik
...more
Nick Mather
Aug 05, 2011 Nick Mather rated it liked it
I read this at a time in my life when I needed great big bowls of fruit loopy "out there." While this book does cover "out there" events and subjects, I found Grof's uncritical acceptance of them off-putting.
Shane Simmons
Dec 06, 2015 Shane Simmons rated it it was amazing
Shelves: alternative
Though this book was not what I was expecting (I thought it was about paranormal experiences, in general), I found it difficult to put down, although it took 3 days for me to read it all.

Grof explains his theories and observations about non-ordinary states of consciousness, with many personal experiences, and his experiences with research. Much of this book focuses on what he learned as a psychologist treating patients with psychedelics (LSD and other drugs). It is all quite fascinating and make
...more
Divad Raizok
Mar 12, 2013 Divad Raizok rated it it was ok
Wasn't the greatest book and the author really is proud of his holotropic breath work technique for him to keep name dropping it throughout.

It's written from a restrained, academic perspective but I can't help but feel the restraint comes from not wanting to be thought of as a loon and the academic part seems a little too self-congratulatory to give credit towards.

A lot of the material in this comes from anecdotes which often come from other people which often comes into question once you real
...more
Sarah
I do read some odd stuff for my research...
Rebecca
May 12, 2014 Rebecca rated it did not like it
I am open to the topic of this book for myriad reasons. But it is so anecdotal and relies so heavily on the concept of "synchronicity" that there's little to chew and too much to swallow.
Sofia
Aug 09, 2011 Sofia rated it did not like it
More of an autobiography and cataloging of interesting things that happened to the author than an actual documentation of alternate mind states and non-ordinary reality. Full of anecdotes. Felt like I was reading a "Today we went to the park..." kind of journal... except it included acid trips. Not one I would recommend.
jay
Jun 30, 2013 jay rated it really liked it
"It seems reasonable to infer that if consciousness can function independently of the body when we are alive, it could be able to do the same after death."

"There would be no hope for the world if we all continued to carry in us hatred for the deeds committed by our ancestors."
Kim Ripley Hartt
Apr 08, 2011 Kim Ripley Hartt rated it it was amazing
we loved this book, being of Czechoslovakia background on mom's side, really made this one special, bob is reading this one over and loves this Dr.'s methodology.
Leabelle
Oct 20, 2012 Leabelle rated it it was ok
Even though I don't agree with Grof's perspectives or practices this book was enjoyable.
Angel
Jun 10, 2013 Angel rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended! Anything by Stan Grof is a must read......
Angrysrilankan
Feb 15, 2010 Angrysrilankan rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club-books
Just to make it clear, I did not finish this terrible book!
Anthony
Feb 03, 2010 Anthony rated it it was amazing
"make the unconscious conscious"... nuff said!
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May 07, 2016
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Grof is known for his early studies of LSD and its effects on the psyche—the field of psychedelic psychotherapy. Building on his observations while conducting LSD research and on Otto Rank's theory of birth trauma, Grof constructed a theoretical framework for pre- and perinatal psychology and transpersonal psychology in which LSD trips and other powerfully emotional experiences were mapped onto on ...more
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“LSD was not a pharmacological agent generating exotic experiences by its interaction with the neurophysiological processes in the brain. This remarkable substance was clearly an unspecific catalyst of the deep dynamics of the human psyche. The experiences induced by it were not neurochemical artifacts, symptoms of a toxic psychosis as mainstream psychiatrists called it, but genuine manifestations of the human psyche itself.” 3 likes
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