Transpersonal psychology draws it's methodology from the many spiritual traditions of the world, including eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, the Yogic traditions of India, and Western Contemplative traditions, and integrates them with contemporary psychology."A great deal of the distress which so many people experience may be traced in no small part to our living as exiles from our own homeland, the inner world of subjective experience. Through psychotherapy, we can overcome the social conditioniong which has taught us to be suspicious and guilty about living from the center out, about truly putting internal wholeness at the highest priority, and about making choices in terms of inner sensing of our own unique needs and wants. When we have gained that liberation, the whole experience of being alive can be subtly different. We know our individuality; we find richness within our flow of awareness; we deal with issues and concerns with greater integrity; and we find the possibility of creative and aesthetic participation in life." (James Bugenthal)
the variety of 'psychologies' in different cultures represent a different paradigm concerning the question 'what is the nature of the human personality' or 'human nature'?
Eastern cultures... mantras...
Levels of human consciousness
what is transpersonal psychology
implications for education
European Transpersonal Psychology Association... Eurotas
What is transpersonal pschyology? ( As featured on Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP) website http://www.sofia.edu/)
The simplest definition is thattranspersonal psychology is spiritual psychology. It recognizes that humanity has drives toward wholeness, toward connecting with and experiencing the divine.
Transpersonal Psychology is the extension of psychological studies into consciousness studies, spiritual inquiry, body-mind relationships and transformation. Carl Jung first coined the term transpersonal (uberpersonlich) when he used the phrase 'transpersonal unconscious' as a synonym for 'collective unconscious'. A key stimulus for the establishment of transpersonal psychology as a distinct field of inquiry was research on self-actualizing persons by Abraham Maslow. Maslow's work addressed not only psychological wounding and personal development, but the study of peak experiences, inspired creativity, altruistic ideals, and personal actions that transcend 'ordinary' personality as well. The work has been refined by scholars such as Roger Walsh, Frances Vaughan, Stanislav Grof, Arthur J. Deikman, Ken Wilber and Charles Tart. Transpersonal psychology now encompasses the study of the full range of human experience, from abnormal behavior to healthy normal functioning, to spiritually embodied, and transcendent consciousness. The exact nature and boundaries of Transpersonal Psychology is still being debated among academics, although there has been much written on the topic. Generally, the field can be said to encompass three major areas: Beyond-Ego Psychology, Integrative/Holistic Psychology, and Transformative Psychology. This model of the field is discussed in depth by Glenn Hartelius, Mariana Caplan, and Mary Anne Rardin in their work, Transpersonal Psychology: Defining the Past, Divining the Future, which can be downloaded in PDF format.
The following compilation by Robert Hutchins, Ph.D., offers ten simple ways to explain transpersonal psychology
1. Transpersonal Psychology is a psychology of health and human potential.While recognizing and addressing human psychopathology, transpersonal psychology does not derive its model of the human psyche from the ill or diseased. Instead of defining ourselves as all essentially neurotic (if not worse), transpersonal psychology makes it possible to perceive the individual as one engaged in the process of development toward full humanity, as exemplified by the words and deeds of great men and women.Transpersonal psychology looks to saints, prophets, great artists, heroes, and heroines for models of full human development and of the growth-oriented nature of the normal human psyche. 2. Transpersonal psychology and transpersonal psychotherapy, in particular, does not see the human personality as an end in itself. Our personal history and the resulting personality traits, tendencies, and attributes are seen as the crust or skin covering our transpersonal essence. Another way of putting this is that the personality the vessel or vehicle which enables the soul and spirit to navigate through the world. Thus, the proper role of the personality is to be a translucent window, a servant to divinity within. 3. Transpersonal psychology is a psychology of human development. As developmental psychologists, we agree with the object relations theorists that there is a continuum of development, in the sense of self and its stability. This continuum begins with individuals who have not achieved object constancy and strong ego identity, people who might be called psychotic. The next step up the development ladder are those with "borderline personality disorder", in whom an unstable sense of self and object constancy have developed. Another step up toward full functionality are those with a strong sense of ego identity and clear object relations, the so-called "normals". Transpersonal psychology, at this point, extends object relations theory by pointing to the next stages of human development, wherein there is disidentification from one's personality or personal identity and recognition of object impermanence or transciency. This stage is typified by the states of consciousness obtained by advanced meditators. A further step in development is posited wherein the person realizes the Supreme Identity (i.e., enlightenment or connection with God), and the relative nature of normal reality, as seen in saints and mystics. 4. Transpersonal psychology is an approach to the whole person. It seeks a balanced development of the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, social, and creative expression aspects of a person's life. Thus, all six areas are addressed scholastically and therapeutically, and integration or balance is sought. 5. Transpersonal psychology goes through the personal to the transpersonal. Far from just transcending our humanity, it is a process of working through our humanity to reach the recognition of divinity within. Thus transpersonal psychology emerges out of personal psychology, as a result of the individual's growth and maturation. 6. Transpersonal psychology is the future norm in psychology, as yet unrecognized by the mainstream. Transpersonal psychology is largely inclusive of and builds on the psychoanalytic, behavioral/experimental, and humanistic psychologies that preceded it. It provides both an extension of and a different perspective from these previous psychologies. It is in no way a denial of the validity of their theories and techniques. It simply places them in a new context. Transpersonal psychology asserts that religious and mystical experiences and the perspectives that derive from them are valid approaches to reality and can be studied scientifically. It is the beginning attempt of science to understand these most meaningful of human experiences. 7. Transpersonal psychology recognizes and studies the different states and stations of consciousness. It recognizes that such different states as dreaming, hypnotic trance, and "waking" consciousness all have sub-levels within themselves and possess their own state-specific systems, their own realities. Further, transpersonal psychology recognizes that not only are there different states of consciousness that one may move into and out of during the course of a day but that there are also stages or stations of consciousness that, through development, one can come to live in relatively permanently. 8. Transpersonal psychology is largely a return to the perennial philosophy identified by Aldous Huxley. Mystical experience and shamanistic healing practices, which have been central concerns of humankind for millenia, are also a focus of transpersonal psychology. 9. Transpersonal psychology is depth psychology. It is part of the therapeutic stream started by Freud and his successors, Jung, Rank, and Reich. Roberto Assagioli, who posited a superconscious, as well as a subconscious, integrated transpersonal and depth psychology, as did Carl Jung 10. Transpersonal psychology is spiritual psychology. It recognizes that humanity has both and drives toward wholeness, toward connecting with and experiencing the divine as well as drives toward sex and aggression.
Mainstream psychology views the psyche in purely local terms i.e. each person's psyche is located and confined within the locus of their physical body. The standard psychological approach lacks the ability to discern the interconnectedness of collective psychology that gives rise to mass events. All minds are linked together and co-operate as integrated parts in a collective, non-local field of consciousness... the scope of modern psychology is extended into new domains with the understanding of the non-local and non-temporal dimensions of the psyche... the role that they play in shaping both individual and group psychology. human psyche as consciousness... is not bound by space and time. The non-local field of consciousness unites all minds in a singular and inherently inseparable unified quantum field. The ollective human psyche operates as a non-local field of energy, information and sentience (the quality of having awareness). Certain functions of the human psyche operate as a non-local quantum field... an interconnected and interdependent mind-field... new non-local or field psychology focuses not on the psyche of the individual in isolation but on the entire field...
In connecting to the transpersonal the
individual connects to their higher expanded self... their expanded
states of awareness. There is the recognition of a connection to the whole
and something larger. This something is The All That Is, God consciousness.
The transpersonal is not religious, but through religion one can have
transpersonal experiences. The transpersonal can be felt in a myriad of
religions, belief systems, rituals, esoteric philosophies, disciplines and
activities. However, to consistently be able to tap into this state at will or
live in this state is quite another situation, and is possible.
The transpersonal is ego inclusive. This is very important. The inclusion of the ego means there is nothing to fix or get rid of in the psyche. The key is to align the ego functioning to the blueprint and reign of the higher self (soul self) The ego's needs and wants are taken into account and harnessed for the benefit of the whole psyche. The desires of the human ego mind are allowed to be defined and refined for the growth, health and total wellness of the person. There are processes that facilitate this process. In this way the ego is seen as a functioning part of a being; however not the total part of a being. an individual is looked upon as a spirit with a soul contained within the very fabric of being a soul purpose and an essential reason for being and living. one is being just by being here. . The living is up to you, and how you live your life. Your unfoldment is in your hands and awareness. Your life and how you live it has a purpose whether you are conscious of this or not.
The conscious awareness and unfolding of this blueprint leads to your reason for being and is seen as being integral to the universe, world, society and universal/divine plan. In this way there are no mistakes, just the possibility of the realization of one’s wholeness and perfection. With this self realization then comes the self actualizing of this awareness of being into the world creating a sense of purpose and deeper sense of peace and fulfillment in one' life.
There is a variety of 'psychologies' in different cultures each representing a shared construct or 'paradigm' concerning the question which is fundamental to them all: 'what is the nature of the human personality' or 'human nature'? The question is answered within the constraints of cultural perspectives... they differ in the degree of emphasis on the various facets dimensions of the human personality... states of awareness or 'consciousness states'... depending on the existent cultural norms different consciousness states are considered appropriate in a given social situation. The different viewpoints are based on the means of codification of people's experience and reality as it is perceived and expresed in the linguistic systems of their cultures. To a large extent, it is the cultural norms which determine people's state of awareness and their perception of reality and human nature. People's awareness and perception of reality and human nature is determined largely by cultural norms with respect to values of the culture. certain states of awareness are appropriate and acceptable for an individual in a given social situation. The different paradigms produce different 'psychologies' The different perspectives of the various 'psychologies' ... their methods and techniques... are not to be regarded as contradictory but complementary they represent different viewpoints emphasizing different dimensions of a complex multidimensional human personality as a whole... and can provide knowledge about the human personality or 'human nature'.
The various 'psychologies' differ according to the'level' of consciousness which is addressed or emphasized. It is through the various methods and techniques of the different'psychologies' that scientists can have access to knowledge about the human mental processes. Consequently, transpersonal psychologists consider that the different 'psychologies' are complementary and not contradictory. Research in this area indicates that all individuals have the potential for expressing the different levels of consciousness. As a result of the paradigm shift, the aim of research efforts would be to formulate a universal theory of the nature of human consciousness. With the acknowledgement of the limitations of the behavioural sciences, along with the recognition of possible limitations of the consciousness disciplines, it is hoped that new paradigms will be created which will incorporate the world views of both Eastern and Western 'psychologies.' The resulting implications for mental health and psychological growth would be profound and far-reaching. Western 'psychology' has traditionally emphasized the 'ego level' of the spectrum of human consciousness states. The assumption that man's happiness depends on the material world, 'high standard of living' and 'wealth,' has proved to be ill-founded. Evidence abounds to indicate that material wealth in excess of the amount sufficient for one's needs is not a source of 'happiness.' Beyond the 'ego-level' on the spectrum of consciousness states, the 'mind level' of transpersonal dimensions of human psychology constitutes the source of self-fulfillment beyond self-interest, the source of a meaningful appreciation for one's own humanity and the humanity of others. ("Beyond Ego: Transpersonal Dimensions in Psychology" Edited by Roger Walsh, M.D. Ph.D. and Frances Vaughan Ph.D., J.P. Tarcher, Inc. Los Angeles l980)
Eastern cultures of Asia and India, consciousness is considered to be indivisible from matter and the primary constituent of 'reality'. The reality of the material world is a reflection of thought and the mind-thought relation is a 'psycho-spiritual system' ...a multipe-states-of-consciousness model of the human personality which is broader than the Western model of the behavioural sciences or 'behaviourism'. The Eastern model involves a wide range of mental or 'consciousness' states and modes of perception... extending from pathological states through normal healthy waking states and including the more profound 'higher' states which lead to profound insights and creative or 'adaptive' behaviour ('adaptability')
The 'psychologies' which are based on the Eastern model emphasize the need for discipline to train the mind in its capacity to alter its state of consciousness and thus its mode of perception.... 'holistic perception'. These are the so-called 'consciousness disciplines.'
In the past, the Eastern consciousness disciplines have been examined by Western scientists from their own point of view i.e applying the assumptions of the behavioural sciences. Not understanding the assumptions of the Eastern paradigms, Western scientists have denied the credibility of other states of consciousness and other perceptions of 'reality'. They have discredited the 'higher' states of consciousness and described practitioners of the consciousness disciplines as pathological, delirious, psychotic and even regressing to infantilism.
Without the mental training prescribed by the doctrines of the consciousness disciplines, an individual can be completely unaware of any fixation to the Western 'psychology' paradigm, in itself psychotic behaviour, defined by the behavioural sciences as the lack of recognition of a distorted perception of 'reality.' The result is a 'paradigm clash.' The behavioural science model is only useful in the study of phenomena which are related to the paradigm of the behavioural sciences. It is not useful for the study of the consciousness disciplines which when viewed from the limited perspective of behavioural science are incomprehensible and nonsensical. Objective investigation of the consciousness disciplines by Western psychology or behavioural science is obscured by the psychological viewpoint of the scientists themselves. In order for Western behavioural scientists to fully understand human behaviour, they need to acknowledge the validity of perceiving the Eastern 'psychologies' as alternative 'lenses' for gaining further insights into the human mental processes. They must acknowledge the so-called 'higher' states which transcend - go beyond - the usual limits of awareness and identity or 'ego'... 'ego-transcendance'.
Objectivity depends on rejection of the assumption that 'higher' states of consciousness represent evidence of psychopathology, delirium, regression to infantilism and limited intelligence. It depends on the willingness to adapt to new research paradigms. Awareness of innaccuracies depends on their training not only in the behavioural sciences, but in the consciousness disciplines as well... depends on their ability to shift their viewpoint from one paradigm to another. Only then can they apply the empirical methods of behavioural science to an objective investigation of the consciousness disciplines.
Levels of human consciousness According to the doctrines of transpersonal psychology, the spectrum of the different states of consciousness represents a hierarchy of different levels of expression of human consciousness... the 'mind level', the 'existential level', the 'ego level' and the 'shadow level'. The 'mind level' represents the innermost consciousness or 'supreme identity' of humanness and is also known as the 'higher' state of consciousness. The 'existential level' represents the individual's sense of identity as a psychophysical organism existing in space and time. The existential level is influenced by the individual's experience in a familial and cultural context and is considered to be the source of rational thought processes and personal will. The 'ego level' represents the state of mind and body separation and the individual's identification with a self-image. The 'shadow level' represents those facets of the personality which are not accepted or acknowledged at the ego level i.e. the individual's tendencies for wickedness or 'evil'. Every individual has the potential for expressing each one of the different states of consciousness.
The spectrum of the different states of consciousness represents the different levels of expression of the human consciousness.
Western scientists known as 'transpersonal psychologists' are interested in formulating a synthesis of the knowledge of Eastern consciousness psychologies with that of Western behavioural science. The aim of their research efforts is to formulate a universal theory of the nature of human consciousness. They investigate the altered consciousness states brought about by psychedilic drugs, meditation, yoga, and biofeedback techniques.... 'spiritual emergence'.... 'transpersonal psychotherapy'. The acknowledgement of the limitations of the behavioural sciences, along with the recognition of possible limitations of the consciousness disciplines they hope to create new paradigms which would incorporate the world views of both Eastern and Western psychologies. Western 'psychology' has traditionally emphasized the 'ego level' from which derives the assumption that the source of 'happiness' is material 'wealth' and a 'high standard of living'. There is abundant evidence to indicate that material wealth in excess of the amount sufficient for one's needs is not a source of happiness.
The source of true happiness lies beyond egoistic self-interest ...the trans ego or transpersonal dimensions of the human psyche ...in the 'mind level' of meaningful appreciation for one's own humanity and the humanity of others. The implications are profound and far-reaching not only for mental health and psychological growth but for education as well.
Implications for education Our current educational systems are almost entirely addressed to the mode of reason. Training of the observational and contemplative modes and affective dimension is almost completely lacking. Even within the mode of reason, most emphasis is placed on the acquisition of data and less on actual training and developing skill in reasoning itself. One of the goals discussed by Tom Roberts in "Education and transpersonal relations" is therefore the expansion of the educative process into these other dimensions. Roberts suggests that though the field is very young, a number of useful and enjoyable techniques exist for facilitating the attainment of traditional and nontraditional goals. One of the most important tasks awaiting transpersonal educators is the exploration of the optimal goals and potentials of such an expanded curriculum.(Walsh p 198)
Thomas Roberts "Education and transpersonal relations"(228-233) "there is emerging awareness that our current educational psychology is not so much wrong as so very limited." "... psychologists are extending their domain to include the study of consciousness" "What do ..states of consciousness have to do with education? Quite a bit, both at the immediately applicable level and in long-range possibilities. Surprising as it seems, teachers and counselors find no problem in figuring out how to use transpersonal techniques in their day-to-day work. Enough books of games and techniques for classroom use have appeared to justify the label "transpersonal education." The immediate uses of transpersonal education stem from applying insights from transpersonal psychology to our ordinary awake state of consciousness (and consequently our ordinary schooling) rather than anything requiring an altered state of consciousness.
Top of page / Introduction / Homepage
How does transpersonal psychology represent a paradigm shift in Western psychology?
Roger Walsh, M.D. Ph.D. and Frances Vaughan "Beyond Ego: Transpersonal Dimensions in Psychology" Edited by Ph.D.,J.P. Tarcher, Inc. Los Angeles l980
Our formal Western 'psychology' as a science of mind and behaviour known as 'behavioural science' is less than a hundred years old and a product of European and American cultures. According to the tenets of this 'psychology' only a limted number of normal consciousness states are recognized: dreaming and nondreaming sleep, and waking. The most desirable dimension of the personality and the most satisfactory for an individual's perception of 'reality' is considered to be the ordinary waking state of consciousness. The behavioural scientists consider that essentially all psychological functioning and phenomena can be codified and communicated through language. Consequently it is through intellectual analysis that they can be understood. They ignore those 'psychologies' which present too many difficulties for objective study. The individual who lives within the context of the paradigm of Western psychology is unaware of its limitations and of the mental distortions which affect his perception of 'reality.' Matter is considered to be the primary constituent of 'reality' and consciousness the product of material brain processes. By defining 'psychology' as the 'mental or behavioural characteristics of an individual or group,' behavioural science becomes only one of the many 'psychologies' described by different peoples and cultures of the world.
In the Eastern cultures, in Asia and India, the consciousness is considered to be the primary constituent of 'reality' and the material world is a reflection of thought. Emphasizing the need for disciplining and training the individual's capacities for altering his consciousness states, these 'psychologies' or 'psycho-spiritual systems' are known as 'consciousness disciplines.' Their doctrines claim that there is a broad range of mental states which include the more profound and more adaptive 'higher' states of consciousness. These lead to the most profound insights of the mental processes which constitute 'reality,' indivisible from matter and the material world. Western scientists have been examining the Eastern consciousness disciplines from the Western point of view. They have denied the credibility of other states of consciousness and other perceptions of 'reality.' Not understanding the assumptions of the Eastern paradigms, they have been applying those of the behavioural sciences. Discrediting the 'higher' states of consciousness, they have described practitioners of the consciousness disciplines as pathological, delirious, psychotic and even regressing to infantilism. Without the mental training prescribed by the doctrines of the consciousness disciplines, an individual can be completely unaware of any fixation to the Western 'psychology' paradigm, in itself psychotic behaviour, defined by the behavioural sciences as the lack of recognition of a distorted perception of 'reality.' Involving a wider range of states of consciousness and modes of perception, the multipe-states-of-consciousness model of the consciousness disciplines is broader than that of the Western behavioural sciences. The result is a 'paradigm clash.' The Western model is useful in the study of phenomena related to the paradigm of the behavioural sciences but is too limited for the study of the consciousness disciplines which appear incomprehensible and nonsensical when viewed from the limited Western perspective.
The behavioral sciences ignore those 'psychologies' which present too many difficulties for objective study. The individual who lives within the context of the paradigm of Western psychology is unaware of its limitations and of the mental distortions which affect his perception of 'reality.' Matter is considered to be the primary constituent of 'reality' and consciousness the product of material brain processes. By defining 'psychology' as the 'mental or behavioural characteristics of an individual or group,' behavioural science becomes only one of the many 'psychologies' described by different peoples and cultures of the world. The variety of 'psychologies' in different cultures represents the variety of shared constructs or 'paradigms' which are concerned with the question which is fundamental to them all: "What is a person"? With differing perspectives and viewpoints regarding human nature, they differ in the degree of emphasis on the various facets of the human personality. The different viewpoints are based on the means of codification of people's experience and reality as it is perceived and expresed in the linguistic systems of their cultures. To a large extent, it is the cultural norms which determine people's state of awareness and their perception of reality and human nature. Certain states of awareness are appropriate and acceptable for an individual in a given social situation depending on the existent cultural norms with respect to the accepted constructs or paradigms of the culture. Thus the different perspectives of the various 'psychologies' are not to be regarded as contradictory. More likely, they represent different viewpoints emphasizing different dimensions of a complex multidimensional human personality as a whole.
In order for Western scientists to investigate the consciousness disciplines, they must do several things. They must first recognize that such investigations involve a clash of paradigms, their own with that of the consciousness disciplines. Consequently they must examine the beliefs and models of the paradigm within which they would carry out the investigations. They must be open-minded enough to reject the assumption that the consciousness disciplines are evidence of psychopathology or limited intelligence. They must be prepared to accept the possibility that the paradigms of these other 'psychologies' may be as sophisticated as their own. They must be willing to adapt new research paradigms which serve to concentrate their attention on the appropriate problem areas. As well as being trained in the behavioural sciences, they must be trained in the consciousness disciplines so that they can be aware of the distinction between their central phenomena and any innacurate popular notions. They must in effect shift their viewpoint from the behavioural sciences paradigm to the consciousness disciplines paradigm. They can then apply the methods of behavioural science in an attempt to clarify the paradigm of the consciousness disciplines. The 'objective' study of human mental processes by Western psychology or behavioural science is obscured by the psychological viewpoint of the scientists themselves. In order for Western behavioural scientists to fully understand human behaviour, they need to acknowledge the validity of perceiving the Eastern 'psychologies' as alternative 'lenses' for gaining further insights into the human mental processes.
Western scientists known as 'transpersonal psychologists' are interested in formulating a synthesis of the knowledge of Eastern consciousness 'psychologies' with that of Western 'behavioural science' and its empirical methods. They have become interested in research of the altered consciousness states brought about by psychedilic drugs, meditation, yoga, and biofeedback techniques. They acknowledge the broad range of consciousness states which extends from pathological states through normal healthy waking states and includes the so-called 'higher' states which transcend - go beyond - the usual limits of awareness and identity or 'ego.' The spectrum of the different states of consciousness appears to represent the different levels of expression of the human consciousness. The 'mind level' or 'higher' state represents the innermost consciousness or 'supreme identity' of humanness. The 'existential level' represents the level of identity as a psychophysical organism existing in space and time. Influenced by the familial and cultural context of the individual's experience, it is the source of rational thought processes and personal will. The 'ego level' represents the state of mind and body separation and the individual's identification with a self-image. The 'shadow level' represents the individual's 'evil' tendencies, those facets of the personality which are not accepted or acknowledged at the 'ego level.' The various 'psychologies' differ according to the'level' of consciousness which is addressed or emphasized. It is through the various methods and techniques of the different'psychologies' that scientists can have access to knowledge about the human mental processes. Consequently, transpersonal psychologists consider that the different 'psychologies' are complementary and not contradictory. Research in this area indicates that all individuals have the potential for expressing the different levels of consciousness.
As a result of the paradigm shift, the aim of research efforts would be to formulate a universal theory of the nature of human consciousness. With the acknowledgement of the limitations of the behavioural sciences, along with the recognition of possible limitations of the consciousness disciplines, it is hoped that new paradigms will be created which will incorporate the world views of both Eastern and Western 'psychologies.' The resulting implications for mental health and psychological growth would be profound and far-reaching. Western 'psychology' has traditionally emphasized the 'ego level' of the spectrum of human consciousness states. The assumption that man's happiness depends on the material world, 'high standard of living' and 'wealth,' has proved to be ill-founded. Evidence abounds to indicate that material wealth in excess of the amount sufficient for one's needs is not a source of 'happiness.' Beyond the 'ego-level' on the spectrum of consciousness states, the 'mind level' of transpersonal dimensions of human psychology constitutes the source of self-fulfillment beyond self-interest, the source of a meaningful appreciation for one's own humanity and the humanity of others.
European Transpersonal Psychology Association (EUROTAS) (http://www.eurotas.org) The first conference of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) was held near Boston around 1981. ITA is an international scientific and educational network with the following purposes: (1) to provide an orientation that can reconcile the viewpoints of various disciplines and formulate a comprehensive and integrated image of human nature; (2) to facilitate the development of new paradigms that will synthesise presently disparate approaches in education, research, teaching, psychotherapy, spiritual practice, the arts and media, socio-economic theory and other areas of human life and knowledge; and (3) to promote scientific research, development, and communication in all areas related to the transpersonal dimensions of human nature. Contact the ITA in Mill Valley, California (tel: + 1 415 383 8779) The ITA and the wordwide Spiritual Emergency Network, a transpersonal approach to personal crisis.
The European Transpersonal Association (EUROTAS) EUROTAS coordinating body of European transpersonal activity was created in 1987 in Brussels, Belgium. EUROTAS and the 'new science of consciousness' based on love for humanity and reverence for life: its goal is a socially engaged spirituality, serving the purpose of planetary well being. Implicit in all this is the search for ways to transcend national boundaries. EUROTAS grew strongly in the eighties and especially in the early nineties as more and more people began to reflect more on philosophical, religious and ethical questions about life, the world,By 1998, EUROTAS included 14 national associations representing some thousands of members as well as having observers from countries from North and South America and Asia. EUROTAS was designed to be a facilitation vehicle to contribute to the rapid changes taking place across our planet which involve the relationship of individuals to one another, the planet and to themselves.... reconciling the viewpoints of different disciplines, sciences, spirituality, philosophy and art. It offers a platform and a system of communication for promoting the holistic transformation of the human being in body, mind, soul and spirit. EUROTAS is a growing facilitating organization, often standing along with its member associations as a oasis of peace in an otherwise hectic and unruly world.
It started out as a discussion group set up to explore the advantages of a pan-European organisation which would support transpersonal work and serve as a link between the various separate European transpersonal associations. Although the discussion group was represented a diverse cross section of professions, ages and nationalities it was only a small cross section of Europeans interested in transpersonal and meditative study. It became clear that a centrally positioned organization would be an effective body for offering resources, assistance and advice to its members and to other interested parties. EUROTAS has developed pragmatically since its modest beginings. It was characterised as a "a non-political, non-religious, non-profit, multi-disciplinary organisation, composed of European transpersonal associations." Its function is to facilitate communication between its member organisations. The free exchange of ideas and information could quickly be filtered down to the grass roots level.
The organization has clear primary
purposes which were set down in the newly written constitution outlining the
1. To provide a context oriented toward reconciling the viewpoints of various
disciplines, including science, spirituality, philosophy and art, so as
to promote a holistic transformation of the human being in body, mind, soul and
spirit. 2. To develop theoretical and applied research in the different areas of
interest of the transpersonal perspective: transpersonal psychology and
psychotherapy, creativity and learning ability, meditation and spiritual
traditions, consciousness and its non-ordinary states, particularly the
ones leading to the experience of the non-dual and unitive consciousness as
described by mystics and traditional wisdom.
3. To help establish a network of organisations throughout Europe in the
4. To facilitate and promote communication among researchers, members of
EUROTAS, and other interested groups and individuals, through conferences,
seminars, newsletters and other publications.
5. To facilitate inter-country projects on promotion of education,
research and service.
6. To promote relations and co-operation with other groups and organisations,
such as the International Transpersonal Association and the
Association for Transpersonal Psychology in the USA, and the many other
representatives of the transpersonal movement throughout the world.
7. To encourage the application of the transpersonal perspective and
conceptual framework to education, the economy, ecology, politics, art and
other areas of human life and society.
India World Congress on Psychology and Spirituality--Jan 5-8, 2008
Ways Through the Wall came out of the Citizenship in an Inter-Related World Conference in 2005. Publisher’s Introduction: Many people from different backgrounds, cultures and faith traditions are beginning to review their concepts of consciousness and spirituality. All agree that more sense and meaning has to be made of our complex, interconnecting world society that is changing at an unprecedented rateWays through the Wall is a book of short essays that demonstrates how some concepts of transpersonal psychology are ontributing in a practical way to our thinking about this fast-changing world The twenty-eight contributors to Ways through the Wall are members of the international transpersonal community. They range from distinguished academics, writers, members of the faith traditions and leaders of spiritual traditions in their own countries to professional practitioners in hospitals, schools and other organisations. They are linked by their common concern for enabling the development of an interconnecting world and their practical experience of working to make things happen This unique book is an invaluable source of hope and ideas to those who seek a way through the wall that prevents our deepest thoughts and spiritual longings from reaching their true expression in a modern, often unheeding, world. It will appeal to professionals interested in a wide variety of approaches as much as to the general reader searching for leads and ideas on their spiritual path
What is Transpersonal Psychotherapy?
There are numerous psychotherapies available to the individual for the treatment of non-adaptive behaviour problems supposedly originating from personality 'deficiencies'. In the major
Western traditions of
psychology and psychoanalysis, the most common model of psychotherapy utilises techniques based on the Western psychological theory known as 'behavioural science'. The techniques of behavioural science
have been developed from empirical methods of experimentation. The model of psychotherapy which is based on behavioural science is known as 'behaviour modification' - so named because it is based on
the scientific verification and measurement of behaviour change. An individual's behaviour is believed to be measurable in terms of self-esteem and ego strength, characteristics which are thought to reflect the
individual's mental health. In the diagnosis and treatment of behavioural problems, behavioural scientists and therapists focus on pathological conditions which can be identified with very clear overt behavioural
patterns and characteristics. Although the techniques of behavioural modification psychotherapy are highly effective in the treatment of behavioural problems, they lack credibility. Psychotherapies based on Western
psychology have placed the emphasis on analytical techniques and measurability. Since they equate mental health with the so-called 'absence' of pathological behaviour, they ignore other dimensions of an individual's
consciousness. They ignore some of the most important aspects of human nature which are the individual's thoughts and feelings. They have excluded the recognition and even acknowledgement of the validity of
subjective experience. They do not recognize that the individual has the potential for attaining the level of awareness which is necessary to bring about the self-healing effects of the consciousness. Consequently
behavioural science is being disqualified from making any valid conclusions about the human potential for attaining optimal mental health and well-being. A shift in emphasis is presently taking place. Scientists of the
various psychologies are investigating the various influences on behaviour and several models for psychotherapy have been formulated. These include 'cognitive behaviour modification', 'humanistic psychotherapy',
'existential psychotherapy' and 'transpersonal psychotherapy'. Cognitive behaviour modification is concerned with the role of cognition in behaviour modification. Humanistic psychotherapy is
concerned with growth as well as health and pathology. It is based on a holistic psychology and has as its central aim the achievement of ego goals and development of personality. Existential
psychotherapy is based on the existential philosophy which focuses on the individual's existence as a continuous struggle with the reconciliation of life and its inevitabilities. Consequently it is concerned with
the individual's search for the meaning of life and the purpose of his existence, the individual's confrontation with death and aloneness, the necessity of the individuals' responsibility for his
destiny and choice of opportunities, and the individual's instinctive demands for authenticity. Existential psychotherapy supports the view that we create our own reality by what we believe. If we
believe in the 'existence' of the 'higher' values such as love, freedom etc. then we can live our lives in accordance with these values and so experience our connectedness with humanity and understand the underlying
unity of all life.
Transpersonal psychotherapy is based on the transpersonal model of human nature - a theoretical model which incorporates the transpersonal dimensions of the multidimensional human
personality. The word 'transpersonal' comes from the Latin 'trans', meaning beyond and through, and 'persona', meaning mask or personality. The word 'transpersonal' means 'through or beyond
the personality'. Transpersonal therapy is truly holistic, encompassing all levels of human experience, including the spiritual, seeking to reveal the person behind the personality. The transpersonal realm of
the human personality lies beyond the ego or existential level and the goal for the individual is to attain knowledge of his total self, to include his humanness as well as his individual
personality. In order to live beyond the ego level of consciousness, the individual must detach himself from his own personal dramas. These interfere with the full functioning of the transpersonal
dimensions. He must also be detached from the personal dramas of other people, a detachment which appears to
detract from involvement with society and is thus easily misconceived and wrongly understood as selfishness. An understanding of the transpersonal model proves the contrary. Pursuing self-knowledge beyond the
ego level of self-interest, an individual fulfills an instinctive
need to live on the 'higher' levels of consciousness. At these 'higher' levels of consciousness, the individual lives by values which preserve the interconnectedness of human beings: justice, truth, beauty, freedom,
generosity, love etc. The dichotomy 'selfishness vs. unselfishness' disappears. The person living at the transpersonal level is selfish in his unselfishness, and unselfish in his selfishness. Transpersonal phenomena
cannot be explained by applying the techniques of the behavioural sciences. The transpersonal model of human nature provides an effective alternative technique of psychotherapy.
In the treatment of non-adaptive behaviour, the transpersonal psychotherapist capitalizes on the self-healing capacities of the individual's own consciousness. Instead of focusing on the ego conflicts
which cause the behaviour problems,the transpersonal psychotherapist focuses on the person as a whole. The transpersonal psychotherapist cooperates with the individual in his efforts to attain awareness on the
transpersonal level of consciousness, transcending his own ego conflicts. The individual learns to extend his identity beyond the existential ego level to the transpersonal level of awareness. On the transpersonal level,
the ego is viewed
in the same way as the 'superego' of traditional psychoanalysis. As the individual can but does not have to identify with his 'superego', so he can but does not have to identify with his ego. This shift in the
identification with the ego reduces its power, resulting in the individual's detachment from its demands. Liberated from his identification with his ego, the 'awakened' individual transcends the ego level of
consciousness... enters the transpersonal dimensions of his personality, attains a transpersonal perspective and discovers his own true nature, his humanness, his connectedness with his fellow beings and with nature.
Transpersonal psychotherapy has a foundational belief in the sacredness and innate goodness of people, people's inherent desire for wholeness and desire to connect with other human
beings. There is a trust in each person's innate will and capacity to grow to self-actualization and further to self-transcendence and realize their true self.Transpersonal Therapy focuses on the Essential Self.
It is the therapist's consciousness which is central in determining the outcome of therapy... therapeutic practice embodies compassion, empathic connection, congruence, unconditional positive regard,
non-judgement, reverence for life, mindfulness and balance, belief in the sacredness of each individual and in the I-Thou relationship (Martin Buber)… the 'space' that is created between therapist and client. The
transpersonal therapist recognizes that on the level of pure consciousness, there is no separation between the therapist and the client. The therapist is not in a superior position and listens with attitude of
suspended judgment and deep respect, open mindedness, wonder and innocence - what is referred to as 'beginner's mind' in Zen Buddhism. It is as if everything that is said, and felt, and thought, was for the
first time ever. While each person has their own thoughts and beliefs and feelings, their experiences cannot be completely separate. The consciousness of one has a direct impact on that of the other. It is in that
shared consciousness, where true empathy and insight can take place for both therapist and client. It is still important at times for the therapist to be discriminating and analytical. The therapist strives to
be completely self-aware, honest, and ’real’ ... genuine… authentic and coaches the client to be the same. This makes for a powerful therapeutic relationship in which tremendous healing and growth can
Sometimes spiritual practices unleash powerful inner forces that can be unsettling, or even frightening. In traditional settings these events were guided by spiritual leaders, mentors or other knowledgeable individuals. In Western society these events are often misconstrued as pathological and out of place... spiritual emergency....
Mantra: the function is to divert the mind from illusion and material inclinations. The vocal sounds of the mantra have inherent meaning independent of the understanding of the person uttering them. One syllable mantras are 'seed mantras'.
What Is a Mantra and How Does It Work? (A Selection from Healing Mantras) Mantras are energy-based sounds. Saying any word produces an actual physical vibration. Over time, if we know what the effect of that vibration is, then the word may come to have meaning associated with the effect of saying that vibration or word. This is one level of energy basis for words. Another level is intent. If the actual physical vibration is coupled with a mental intention, the vibration then contains an additional mental component which influences the result of saying it. The sound is the carrier wave and the intent is overlaid upon the wave form, just as a colored gel influences the appearance and effect of a white light. In either instance, the word is based upon energy. Nowhere is this idea more true than for Sanskrit mantra. For although there is a general meaning which comes to be associated with mantras, the only lasting definition is the result or effect of saying the mantra.
Mantras create thought-energy waves. The human consciousness is really a collection of states of consciousness which distributively exist throughout the physical and subtle bodies. Each organ has a primitive consciousness of its own. That primitive consciousness allows it to perform functions specific to it. Then come the various systems. The cardio-vascular system, the reproductive system and other systems have various organs or body parts working at slightly different stages of a single process. Like the organs, there is a primitive consciousness also associated with each system. And these are just within the physical body. Similar functions and states of consciousness exist within the subtle body as well. So individual organ consciousness is overlaid by system consciousness, overlaid again by subtle body counterparts and consciousness, and so on ad infinitum.
The ego with its self-defined 'I' ness assumes a pre-eminent state among the subtle din of random, semi-conscious thoughts which pulse through our organism. And of course, our organism can 'pick up' the vibration of other organisms nearby. The result is that there are myriad vibrations riding in and through the subconscious mind at any given time.
Mantras start a powerful vibration which corresponds to both a specific spiritual energy frequency and a state of consciousness in seed form. Over time, the mantra process begins to override all of the other smaller vibrations, which eventually become absorbed by the mantra. After a length of time which varies from individual to individual, the great wave of the mantra stills all other vibrations. Ultimately, the mantra produces a state where the organism vibrates at the rate completely in tune with the energy and spiritual state represented by and contained within the mantra.
At this point, a change of state occurs in the organism. The organism becomes subtly different. Just as a laser is light which is coherent in a new way, the person who becomes one with the state produced by the mantra is also coherent in a way which did not exist prior to the conscious undertaking of repetition of the mantra.
Mantras are tools of power and tools for power. They are formidable. They are ancient. They work. The word "mantra" is derived from two Sanskrit words…. the first is "manas" or "mind," which provides the "man" syllable; the second syllable is drawn from the Sanskrit word "trai" meaning to "protect" or to "free from." Therefore, the word mantra in its most literal sense means "to free from the mind." Mantra is, at its core, a tool used by the mind which eventually frees one from the vagaries of the mind. But the journey from mantra to freedom is a wondrous one. The mind expands, deepens and widens and eventually dips into the essence of cosmic existence. On its journey, the mind comes to understand much about the essence of the vibration of things. And knowledge is power. In the case of mantra, this power is tangible and wieldable.
Mantras have close, approximate one-to-one direct language-based translation. If we warn a young child that it should not touch a hot stove, we try to explain that it will burn the child. However, language is insufficient to convey the experience. Only the act of touching the stove and being burned will adequately define the words "hot" and "burn" in the context of "stove." Essentially, there is no real direct translation of the experience of being burned. Similarly, there is no word which is the exact equivalent of the experience of sticking one's finger into an electrical socket. When we stick our hand into the socket, only then do we have a context for the word "shock." But shock is really a definition of the result of the action of sticking our hand into the socket. It is the same with mantras. The only true definition is the experience which it ultimately creates in the sayer. Over thousands of years, many sayers have had common experiences and passed them on to the next generation. Through this tradition, a context of experiential definition has been created.
Definitions of mantras are oriented toward either the results of repeating the mantra or of the intentions of the original framers and testers of the mantra. In Sanskrit, sounds which have no direct translation but which contain great power which can be "grown" from it are called "seed mantras." Seed in Sanskrit is called "Bijam" in the singular and "Bija" in the plural form. Let's take an example. The mantra "Shrim" or Shreem is the seed sound for the principle of abundance (Lakshmi, in the Hindu Pantheon.) If one says "shrim" a hundred times, a certain increase in the potentiality of the sayer to accumulate abundance is achieved. If one says "shrim" a thousand times or a million, the result is correspondingly greater. But abundance can take many forms. There is prosperity, to be sure, but there is also peace as abundance, health as wealth, friends as wealth, food as wealth, and a host of other kinds and types of abundance which may vary from individual to individual and culture to culture. It is at this point that the intention of the sayer begins to influence the degree of the kind of capacity for accumulating wealth which may accrue.
Mantras have been tested and/or verified by their original framers or users. Each mantra is associated with an actual sage or historical person who once lived. Although the oral tradition predates written speech by centuries, those earliest oral records annotated on palm leaves discussed earlier clearly designate a specific sage as the "seer" of the mantra. This means that the mantra was probably arrived at through some form of meditation or intuition and subsequently tested by the person who first encountered it.
Sanskrit mantras are composed of letters which correspond to certain petals or spokes of chakras in the subtle body. there is a direct relationship between the mantra sound, either vocalized or subvocalized, and the chakras located throughout the body.There is a direct relationship between the mantra sound, either vocalized or subvocalized, and the chakras located throughout the body
Mantras are energy which can be likened to fire. You can use fire either to cook your lunch or to burn down the forest. It is the same fire. Similarly, mantra can bring a positive and beneficial result, or it can produce an energy meltdown when misused or practiced without some guidance. There are certain mantra formulas which are so exact, so specific and so powerful that they must be learned and practiced under careful supervision by a qualified teacher. Fortunately, most of the mantras widely used in the West and certainly those contained in this volume are perfectly safe to use on a daily basis, even with some intensity.
Mantra energizes prana. "Prana" is a Sanskrit term for a form of life energy which can be transferred from individual to individual. Prana may or may not produce an instant dramatic effect upon transfer. There can be heat or coolness as a result of the transfer. Some healers operate through transfer of prana. A massage therapist can transfer prana with beneficial effect. Even self-healing can be accomplished by concentrating prana in certain organs, the result of which can be a clearing of the difficulty or condition. For instance, by saying a certain mantra while visualizing an internal organ bathed in light, the specific power of the mantra can become concentrated there with great beneficial effect.
Mantras eventually quiet the mind. At a deep level, subconscious mind is a collective consciousness of all the forms of primitive consciousnesses which exist throughout the physical and subtle bodies. The dedicated use of mantra can dig into subconscious crystallized thoughts stored in the organs and glands and transform these bodily parts into repositories of peace.
A saying from the Vedas claims that "Speech is the essence of humanity." All of what humanity thinks and ultimately becomes is determined by the expression of ideas and actions through speech and its derivative, writing. Everything, the Vedas maintain, comes into being through speech. Ideas remain unactualized until they are created through the power of speech. Similarly, The New Testament, Gospel of John, starts "In the beginning was The Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God..."
In mainstream Vedic practices, most Buddhist techniques and classical Hinduism, mantra is viewed as a necessity for spiritual advancement and high attainment. In The Kalachakra Tantra, by the Dalai Lama and Jeffrey Hopkins, the Dalai Lama states, "Therefore, without depending upon mantra...Buddhahood cannot be attained."
Clearly, there is a reason why such widely divergent sources of religious wisdom as the Vedas, the New Testament and the Dalai Lama speak in common terms. A saying from the Vedas claims that "Speech is the essence of humanity." All of what humanity thinks and ultimately becomes is determined by the expression of ideas and actions through speech and its derivative, writing. Everything, comes into being through speech. Ideas remain unactualized until they are created through the power of speech. Similarly, The New Testament, Gospel of John, starts "In the beginning was The Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God..." in mainstream Vedic practices, most Buddhist techniques and classical Hinduism, mantra is viewed as a necessity for spiritual advancement and high attainment. In The Kalachakra Tantra, by the Dalai Lama and Jeffrey Hopkins, the Dalai Lama states, "Therefore, without depending upon mantra...Buddhahood cannot be attained." Clearly, there is a reason why such widely divergent sources of religious wisdom as the Vedas, the New Testament and the Dalai Lama speak in common ideas.