The Unfolding Self: Varieties of Transformative Experience


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by Ralph Metzner, PH.D.

Transformational experiences are as unique as they are profound, yet each portrays universal truths of human nature. In The Unfolding Self: Varieties of Transformative Experience,  Ralph Metzner, PhD, unveils common dynamics and archetypes of the transformative experience, offering seekers and those in the throes of personal or societal transformation a reliable guide.

Drawing from multiple disciplines ranging across the world’s cultures (beginning with his collaborations with Dr. Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert at Harvard University in the early 1960s), Dr. Metzner explores subtle concepts using a tapestry of myth, allegory, and historical context.

The Unfolding Self promises to provide its reader with valuable tools to become “wise, impartial judges” in their process of transformation into becoming a more integrated and fulfilled person. Readers who immerse themselves in these masterful descriptions can catalyze their own process of evolution.

No comparable psychology of spirituality exists that draws from such a rich lifework of scholarship, experiment, and spiritual practice. Drawing from multiple disciplines and ranging across the world’s cultures, Dr. Metzner goes beyond his roots in transpersonal psychology to uncover universal structures of spiritual transformation. Readers who immerse themselves in these masterful descriptions can catalyze their own process of evolution.

About the Author

Ralph Metzner, PhD, (1936-2019) was a world-renown pioneer in the study of consciousness and transformative experience. His work stretched the boundaries of traditional psychology by incorporating shamanic methods that transform consciousness and expand understanding of the human psyche.

Metzner was involved in the study of transformations of consciousness since his time as a graduate student at Harvard University, where he worked with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass) on the Harvard Psilocybin Projects. Metzner co-wrote The Psychedelic Experience in the 1960s and was editor of The Psychedelic Review. Metzner earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and psychology from Oxford University and a PhD in clinical psychology from Harvard University.

During the 1970s, Ralph spent 10 years in the intensive study and practice of Agni Yoga, a meditative system of working with light-fire life energies. In the early 1970s he wrote Maps of Consciousness, one of the earliest attempts at a comparative cartography of consciousness; and Know Your Type: Maps of Identity, a comparative survey of personality typologies, ancient and modern. In the 1980s and for a 10-year period, Metzner served as Academic Dean at the California Institute of Integral Studies where he taught courses on “Altered States of Consciousness” and “Developing Ecological Consciousness.” He later became a Professor Emeritus at CIIS.

Metzner’s books include The Well of Remembrance, Green PsychologyBirth of a Psychedelic Culture, and two edited collections on the science and the phenomenology of ayahuasca and teonanácatl.

ISBN: 9780907791959

Additional information

Weight 16 oz
Dimensions 10.8 × 8.3 × 0.5 in