The Survival of Consciousness with Stanislav Grof, M.D. & Willis Harman, Ph.D.

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What happens to our conscious self after we die? Is death merely another stage in the life of the soul or spirit? What scientific evidence do we have to answer this question? What wisdom do cultural and spiritual traditions offer us, and what do experiences of non-ordinary consciousness teach us? This is a compelling dialogue with two researchers, who have devoted their lives to exploring these questions. Grof says of his interest in non-ordinary states, "I realized that the Western industrial Civilization is the only group in the entire history of humanity that doesn't honor non-ordinary states, doesn't have any use for them. Every other culture spends a lot of time and energy trying to develop ways, not only through psychedelic plants, but also a variety of other techniques, such as oriental spiritual practices, yoga, Taoism, Sufism, and the different mystical traditions, also aboriginal techniques with drumming and dancing and chanting, and even extreme physical pain. Today, we have not just psychedelics, we have powerful experiential approaches that can basically induce the same spectrum [of experience]." (hosted by Michael Toms)


Stanislav Grof, M.D., Ph.D. is a psychiatrist who has researched non-ordinary states of consciousness for over half a century. One of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology, Dr. Grof is the president of the International Transpersonal Association and a professor of psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and the Pacifica Graduate Institute. He is one of the founders of Holotropic Breathwork. 

His numerous books include:

  • Beyond the Brain (SUNY Press, 1985)
  • Psychology of the Future (SUNY Press, 2000)
  • The Stormy Search for the Self (coauthor) (Tarcher 1990)
  • Beyond Death (coauthor) (Thames & Hudson 1980),
  • LSD Psychotherapy (Hunter House 1980)
  • When the Impossible Happens: Adventures in Non-Ordinary Reality (Sounds True 2005)

The late Willis Harman, Ph.D. was the President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, founded in 1973 to research the possibilities of human consciousness, potential and transformation.

He authored many books including:

  • Global Mind Change: The Promise of the 21st Century (Berrett-Koehler 1998)
  • New Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science (editor with Jane Clark) (Institute of Noetic Sciences 1994)
  • An Incomplete Guide to the Future (W.W. Norton 1979)

To find out more about the work of Stanislav Grof go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How has Western Civilization crippled itself from the exploration of altered states of consciousness
  • What survives death
  • Where does consciousness reside
  • What is Holotropic Breath work
  • What are Near Death Experiences (NDEs)
  • What are out of the body experiences (OBEs)
Host: Michael Toms       Interview Date: 3/1/1994        Program Number: 2446