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NEW BOOK: Processing Reality: Finding Meaning in Death, Psychedelics, and Sobriety

John Buchanan’s Processing Reality is the first publication in the new Perspectives in Process Studies Series from Cascade Books.

In Processing Reality: Finding Meaning in Death, Psychedelics, and Sobriety, John Buchanan details his search for a paradigm capable of integrating the diverse kinds of data arising out of the scientific endeavor, our philosophical heritage, and insights from extraordinary experience, as well as recognizing fully the value and importance of nature and everyday life.

The author traces both his personal and his academic journey to discover a worldview adequate to all the experiences and ideas from his studies in psychology, philosophy, and religion, as well his encounters with alcohol and drugs, psychedelics and non ordinary states, and addiction and recovery. Using some pivotal experiences-including psychedelic ones-to illuminate the most important questions and revelations that arose in his life, Buchanan attempts to make more accessible the sometimes difficult, often novel, and always fascinating ideas and theories found in process thought and transpersonal psychology.

In particular, Processing Reality acts as an in-depth introduction to Stanislav Grof’s transpersonal psychology and Alfred North Whitehead’s “philosophy of organism.” It is argued that these two revolutionary theories, working together, form the basis for a postmodern paradigm capable of unifying science, religion, and human existence in a way that recognizes the achievements of the modern world, while rescuing spiritual values and vital dimensions of human experience and the natural world that have been lost or obscured along the way. With Whitehead’s process philosophy providing a uniting worldview, and Grof’s transpersonal psychology fleshing out the spiritual dimensions of Whitehead’s thought, as well as offering experiential access to these spiritual depths, this reenchanted worldview is poised to help us address the crises that are facing our society and our planet.

Get Processing Reality by John Buchanan


John H. Buchanan received his master’s degree in humanistic/transpersonal psychology from West Georgia College and his doctorate from the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts at Emory University, where he first studied process thought with William Beardslee—then later with David Griffin. He has been trained and certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner by Stan and Christina Grof. His book, Processing Reality: Finding Meaning in Death, Psychedelics, and Sobriety, based upon his continuing interests in process philosophy and transpersonal psychology, was published in the fall of 2022. Buchanan has contributed a number of journal articles and book chapters on similar topics, and in 2020 was contributing co-editor for Rethinking Consciousness: Extraordinary Challenges for Contemporary Science. Dr. Buchanan also serves as president of the Helios Foundation.