REAL FREEDOM IS A FUNCTION OF COMPLETE PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT OR 'WHOLENESS': SPIRITUALITY OF 'SELF-TRANSCENDENCE'
theme: The nature of the human personality or 'human nature' is defined in terms of human motives of learning behaviour i.e. human needs. Human needs include the need .. the needs for spiritual growth or 'growth needs', 'spiritual needs' or 'metaneeds' for achievement of 'humanness' or 'self-actualisation'. Self-actualisation is a function of the expansion of identity beyond the ego level of consciousness i.e. ego-transcendance or'self-transcendence' . In the realm of self-transcendance, learning behaviour is motivated by the metneeds ... engages 'metamotivation'.
The spirituality of self-transcendance is the source of moral knowledge or 'morality'... a function of complete personality development or 'moral development' as development of moral consciousness or 'conscience'... wholeness or 'wellness'. Wellness is required for the optimal functioning of the brain... 'optimalearning' and the cultivation of 'creative intelligence'.
"The spiritual life and the highest aspirations of mankind are proper subjects for scientific study and research legitimately qualified for scientific analysis. They are in the world of nature. Consequently the spiritual life or value-life of the human organism is natural and fact based." (Abraham Maslow) Species survival of the human species (homo sapiens) depends on the practice of spirituality as right relationship. Human spirituality ensures the right connection between human beings and the natural environment of which it is a part. We are a social species. We depend on our collective survival on social intelligence made possible with individual evolution of human consciousness to the moral or 'spiritual' plane. The biological function of spirituality is the sustainability of connection of humans with each other. This is prerequisite to peaceful resolution of human problems necessary for environmental conservation.
danger of solely abstract knowledge...
metaneeds... metaneeds as biological components of human nature...
metaneeds are 'metavalues'... metavalues as the basis of religious or 'spiritual life'...
mysticism... peak exerience... transpersonal perspective of 'self-knowledge'... transpersonal psychology...
transpersonal psychotherapy... well-being or 'wellness'... transcendance and freedom... values and the existential split of the 'human condition'...
self-transcendance for effective adaptation to changing environmental conditions...
transcendental meditation... mental liberation...
implications for education... references... Buddha and the 'noble truth'...
Thomas Merton and the 'final integration'..
Danger of solely abstract knowledge...Solely abstract knowledge... abstractions and 'systems'... dichotomized from experiential knowledge is false and dangerous. Human life depends on abstract knowledge which is integrated with the experiential knowledge upon which it is built...
The opposite of abstraction of reality is integration of theory with reality... practice as 'praxis' and depends on holistic perception.
Holistic perception of reality...as 'ultimate reality' as opposed to the consensus reality perceived with distorted dichotomous perception of reality... if the perception is distorted... if the person does not 'see' the category error then their 'reality ' is distorted... they think and behave according to the innacurate distorted perception... their behaviour is destructive and non-adaptive or psychotic... 'psychosis'. The psychotic fails to perceive the distortion of his own distorted perception... According to ancient Chinese philosophy... all observed phenomena or 'reality' can be described in terms of its ultimate essence... an intrinsically dynamic cosmic process of continual flow and change... the cyclical nature of its ceaseless motion is 'Tao' . All developments in nature - those in the social and psychological realms as well as those in the physical world - show cyclical patterns... structure of cyclical patterns described in terms of the two poles that set the limits for the cycles of change...the polar opposites called 'yin' and 'yang'. When the yang reaches its climax and retreats in favor of the yin.... the yin then reaches its climax and retreats in favor of the yang. The polar opposites 'yin' and 'yang' are the extreme poles of a single whole cycle; they are not two separate categories. Tao manifests in the dynamic interplay of two archetypal poles extreme poles of a single whole....... associated with images of opposites taken from nature and from social life. These opposites do not belong to different categories. All natural phenomena are manifestations of a continuous oscillation between the two poles, all transitions taking place gradually and in unbroken progression. The natural order is one of dynamic balance between yin and yang. Category error... dichotomous perception of reality results from the abstraction of reality... divorce of reality from theory... dichotomous perception of reality is result of 'category error' ... perceiving opposite characters as separate categories when in fact they are the extreme poles of a single whole cycle of change. Placing the extreme poles in separate categories is making a category error. The result of category error is perception of opposites... dichotomy... dichotomous perception... limited perception ... limited cognition... innacurate cognition as opposed to accurate cognition based on perception of the whole or 'holistic perception' possible only with transcendence of separate self or 'ego' i.e. 'self-tranbscendance'. Self-transcendance requires death of the self as exclusive subject.... i.e. 'psychological death'. Psychological death and rebirth are experienced in non-ordinary states of consciousness... 'self-emergence'...
Self-transcendence as the basis of freedom Transcendence through consciousness is the basis of human freedom... one 'is' and at the same time one is conscious of one's being. Transcendance of a given situation results from awareness or 'consciousness'. By transcending a given situation through consciousness one frees oneself within certain limits from the necessities of the situation. This opens up alternatives. One can leave the dimension of actuality and enter the realm of potentiality thus creating the possibility of choice and the necessity of decision based on guiding values. The entire sequence - transcendance through consciousness, grasping the potential alternatives and exercising choice based on values - is what constitutes freedom... living according to universal human values... concomitant of freedom.
The capacity for self-transcendence is essential for successful adaptation to a complex social environment... 'adaptability'. The metaneeds are of survival value to the human organism as a social organism. Full functioning as a socially intelligent organism depends on the ability to perceive accurately a complex social environment i.e. 'social adaptability'. Accurate perception of the social environment depends on the instinctive capacity for transcendance of the limited cognition of ego-centered perception i.e. the capacity for self-transcendence. In the realm of self-transcendance, the dichotomy 'selfish/ unselfish disappears. The individual lives by values which preserve the interconnectedness of human beings, namely justice, truth, beauty, freedom, generosity, love and compassion. The spiritual life is biologically functional in its preservation of the interconnectedness of human beings. "At the 'higher' levels of consciousness, the individual lives by values which preserve the interconnectedness of human beings: justice, truth, beauty, freedom, generosity, love etc." . (from Walsh Beyond Ego...)
Values and existential split... the 'human condition': The ultimate ground of values is rooted in the ultimate of being...The universal content of ultimate values stems from the basic existential trinity of antimony, polarity, and the union of opposites. This union is the essence of ultimate values. The union of opposites and the harmonization of the basic existential split are the goals of human striving and form the essential content of ultimate human values. Ontologically, the ground of being is that dimension in which all antimonies are united and harmonized. It is the all-inclusive essence in which conflicts are dissolved in unity. ...One can easily detect in all of man's deepest strivings the attempt to negate, to cancel, to overcome the basic split of his existential situation. This split, caused by consciousness, estranges man from himself and from nature. Freedom becomes a burden. When freedom is a burden it becomes the ultimate source of human anxiety and suffering. The existential structure is found in human experience. The human organism experiences reality in terms of a dialectical unity... consisting of a basic antimony, a polarity of the two antinomic poles, and an ultimate unity of the two. antimony: the basic split derived from the dichotomy of subject and object... whatever we experience is split into two - a subject which experiences ('myself') and an object which is experienced (the world). This applies not only to thought but to all human remembering, imagining, feeling, willing and acting. The basic source of the split is consciousness. This establishes a cleavage between oneself as conscious subject (myself) and the objective situation (the world) of which one is conscious. polarity: the polarity of the two branches of the antimony implies that they are interdependent; one cannot be without the other. Self and world determine each other; subject and object cannot exist, do not exist in isolation from each other. This polarity is an intermediate link betweeen the antimony and the ultimate unity of the two poles. They are only different aspects of something which is ontologically one. This trinity is most lucidly symbolized by the sign of the Tao in Chinese philosophy, by the two intertwined halves in black and white, included in the union of the circle. problem of dichotomies of human situation ... There are two possible avenues towards the elimination of the dichotomies of existence...towards the union of opposites for the maturing individual it is 'union upwards' and for the immature individual it is 'union downwards'. (MATURE) Union upwards ...a tendency or striving towards the harmonization of the existential antinomies without resistence to individuation. Union in general and union upwards in particular are the goals of human striving... The human organism has a tendency to realize itself...Life has an inherent tendency to grow, to expand, to express potentialities.... a pressure toward unity of personality, toward spontaneous expressiveness, toward full individuality and identity, toward seeing the truth rather than being blind, toward being creative, toward being good ... toward fuller and fuller Being, more and more perfect actualization of humanness in exactly the same naturalistic, scientific sense that an acorn may be said to be 'pressing toward' being an oak tree...a single ultimate value for mankind, a far goal toward which all men strive.... self-actualization, self-realization, integration, psychological health.... realization of one's human potentialities ...becoming fully human, everything that the person can become... ...man's tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities ...(to manifest) the directional trend which is evident in all organic and human life - the urge to expand, extend, develop, mature - the tendency to express and activate all the capacities of the organism. Love in the highest sense is union upwards which preserves and accepts the individuality of the 'thou'... (IMMATURE) is 'union downwards.' The evolution towards the awareness of the existential split starts with a state of primeval unity between self and world, individual and group, conscious and unconscious. In the state of primeval unity between self and the world ..psychic events are dominated by the unconscious... The tendency to revert to this state has been called the 'death drive' (Freud) an unfortunate term because the drive does not aim at death. 'Death drive' refers to the tendency towards inertia of living matter which leads to the restoration of a previous less complicated, less tension-filled state of life....a regressive tendency towards the dissolution of the existing state and the restoration of a previous, less complicated state...without dichotomy and without the burden of consciousness and freedom. Escape behaviors are manifestations of union downwards resulting from fear of the unpredicatable.
Needs for personality growth ...spiritual needs or 'metaneeds'... (including need for self-transcendance). Metaneeds are 'metavalues or 'human values'. The growth needs... spiritual needs or 'metaneeds' are natural psychological needs related to consciousness... the so-called 'higher psychological needs'... instinctive needs of the higher value-life or spiritual life of the human organism... 'metaneeds' of 'humanness'... the need to live in the realm of ultimate reality according to the values which define the wholistic perception of reality... of ultimate reality - the Being-values... spiritual, ethical or moral values or 'metavalues' of love, truth, beauty, goodness, perfection, justice, simplicity, lawfulness and so on i.e. 'human values'. Human values are social values which are essential for coherence of individuals in social groups... need for modes of experiencing and being which transcend the needs of limited self-interest... .the usual limits of human experience and identity or 'ego'... beyond self-identity i.e. the need forego- or self-transcendance. Realm of self-transcendance... the transpersonal realms of human existence... a perception devoid of the contaminating effects of human fears, wishes, calculations and so on.
Metaneeds are components of the biological life i.e. 'human nature' Like the physiological needs and the psychological needs, metaneeds are instinctive and have a biological basis. The metaneeds of the value-life are as real and intrinsic to human nature as any other biological needs. The metaneeds constitute an aspect of human biology and as components of human nature, they lie on the same continuum with the physiological and psychological needs. They are components of the biological life of human nature. Metaneeds are needs for spiritual growth... basis of growth motivation or 'metamotivation'. Metamotivation is instinctive 'biological' experience which involves the total acceptance of human nature and its role in human evolution... Metamotivation is associated with healthy psychological development.
Each of the metavalues represents a different facet of the human potential for transcendence of dichotomies. Each can be defined in terms of the others. In the realm of self-transcendance, dichotomies disappear. In the conscious state of self-transcendance... so-called 'dichotomies' are dissolved They are eliminated in the wholistic perspective of ultimate reality. Dichotomy transcendance is a natural characteristic of human consciousness at the level of self-transcendance and therefore a normal aspect of the wholistic perspective. At the transcendental level of consciousness... the 'highest' levels of personality and cultural development... metamotivation leads to the individual's perception of reality which transcends the mutual exclusiveness implied in the unnecessary 'dichotomies' such as good/evil, selfish/unselfish, freedom/responsibility. no dichotomy between 'personal freedom' and 'social responsibility'.
The greatest joy and happiness can be experienced in the contemplation of the 'B-Values' at the higher levels of consciousness. They are like the eternal values of religions which can be adored, revered, celebrated and sacrificed.
Rather than belonging to a domain external to human nature the metaneeds for ego-transcendance are naturally intrinsic to human nature and form the basis of religious and philosophical life. The transcendant, religious, esthetic, and philosophical facets of life are as real and intrinsic to human nature as any other biological needs or psychological needs. The mystic of 'peak' experience (mysticism) of self-transcendance is a 'biological' experience which involves the total acceptance of human nature and the role of the spiritual nature in human evolution. Without having to resort to the 'supernatural', the individual's 'communion with what transcends him' becomes a biological experience which makes it easily possible for him to live in the realm of the B-values.' Like the eternal values of religions which are adored, revered, celebrated, and sacrificed, the B-values satisfy the human longing for certainty. The greatest joy and happiness can be experienced in the contemplation of the B-values. Connection with the realm of self-transcendance is a biological experience which enables the individual to live in the realm of the Being values without having to resort to a so-called 'supernatural' Being.
Metavalues as the basis of religious and philosophical life The metaneeds satisfy the human longing for certainty... the need to live in the realm of spiritual values... music, art, esthetics, science, philosophy, religion. Metaneeds are naturally intrinsic to human nature and form the basis of religious and philosophical life... the life of contemplation. Contemplating the nature of the universe is the same as contemplating the ultimate values or 'B-values'.
The aim of philosophers, scientists, artists, and spiritual leaders is to achieve the same objective which is perception of reality in the realm of self-transcendance... perception of 'ultimate reality', a perception which is devoid of any contaminating effects of human fears, wishes, calculations etc.
The biological basis of metamotivation and the metaneeds of the value-life can assimilate all the functions of organized religions and religious experiences. ... the understanding of 'ultimate reality'... The spiritual life of growth motivation is instinctive The total acceptance of the biological nature of self-transcendance becomes fused with the concept of 'transcendance of death' (in the sens of lack of fear of deathwhich defines 'immortality'.
'The most beautiful proof of an instinctive love of knowledge in the human organism is the universality of religious aspirations. These are equivalent to the characteristics of complete human development to maturity - self-actualisation of the human organism. Maslow on the values of self-actualizing people and the religions: "If the various extant religions may be taken as expressions of human aspirations, i.e. what people would like to become if only they could, then we can see here too a validation of the affirmation that all people yearn toward self-actualization or tend toward it. This is so because our description of the actual characteristics of self-actualizing people parallels at many points the ideals urged by the religions." (Maslow Toward a Psychology of Being p.128)
self-knowledge through self-directed learning
Knowledge through being-love is knowledge of one's capacity for goodness and productiveness or 'self-knowledge' The ability for being-love is a characteristic of a higher level of personal maturity... a pre-condition for perspicuity which is based on the maturity of the knower.
'Self-knowledge' overcomes the division between the subjective self and the objective world. During normal growth and development - with self-knowledge- the individual's outer existence becomes the expression of their concept of themselves. Confidence in values is based on self-knowledge .... With improved self-knowledge and clarity of one's human values, the human individual coincidentally improves knowledge of others and their human values.
Knowledge of one's human values is self-knowledge or 'tacit knowledge' (Michael Polanyi coined the terms ‘tacit knowing’ and ‘tacit knowledge’). Tacit knowledge is knowledge associated with primary human values – compassion etc. Tacit knowledge is knowledge or 'awareness' of one's human values...'enlightenment’... 'consciousness of the inner self' or 'self-knowledge'. Self-knowledge cannot be taught. Whether it is learned depends on the quality of relationship with oneself, with others and with one’s world.At the heart of the urge to develop full human potential is a deeply spiritual yearning for self-knowledge… and knowledge how to live in harmony with oneself with others and with the environment… knowledge for connectedness with oneself, with others and with the environment… feeling connected with human core values… essential values or ‘human values’. Without self-knowledge one is alienated from one’s environment.
Self-knowledge is the vital foundation for enlightened human living.
it includes the effort to become conscious of one's own constitutional, temperamental, anatomical, physiological and biochemical needs, capacities and reactions i.e. one's biological individuality. It is also the path to experiencing one's specieshood, one's commoness with all other members of the human species. That is, it is a way of experiencing our biological brotherhood with all human beings no matter what their external circumstances... experiential knowledge...
The individual can adapt effectively to a given situation by transcending it with the consciousness of human existence as it is integrated with nature.
One can transcend any given situation if one is aware of it. One can 'be' and at the same time be conscious of one's being. This establishes a cleavage between oneself as conscious subject and the objective situation of which one is conscious.
Transcendance through consciousness is the basis of human freedom. By transcending a given situation through one's consciousness one frees oneself within the given limits from the necessities of the same situation. This opens up alternatives... the dimension of actuality is left behind and the realm of potentiality is entered, creating the possibility of choice and the necessity of decision based on guiding values. The entire sequence of transcendance through consciousness, grasping of potential alternatives and the exercise of choice based on values, constitutes 'freedom'. Values are a concomitant of freedom.... The ultimate ground of values is rooted in the ultimate of being... The universal content of ultimate values stems from the basic existential trinity of antimony polarity, and the union of opposites. This union is the essence of ultimate values.
Ontologically, the ground of being is that dimension in which all antimonies are united and harmonized. It is the all-inclusive essence in which conflicts are dissolved in unity.
The basic source of the split in human existence... 'existential split' or 'antimony'... is consciousness. The basic antimony is derived from the dichotomy of subject and object, of 'myself' and the world. With this split, caused by consciousness, the individual is estranged from themselves and from nature so that the responsibility of freedom becomes a burden. It is the existential split which is the ultimate source of human anxiety and suffering... see the story of Adam and Eve.
One can easily detect in all of man's deepest strivings the attempt to negate, to cancel, to overcome the basic split of his existential situation. The union of opposites and the harmonization of the basic existential split are the goals of human striving and form the essential content of ultimate human values.
There are two avenues towards this union ... 'union upwards' and 'union downwards'. These two avenues stem from two basic tendencies of all living matter: a regressive tendency towards the dissolution of the existing state and the restoration of a previous, less complicated state (union downwards), and a tendency toward 'individuation' (union upwards)...the evolution towards the awareness of the existential split starts with a state of primeval unity between self and world, individual and group, conscious and unconscious. ...In this state..psychic events are dominated by the unconscious....The tendency to revert to this state has been called the 'death drive' (Freud)...The 'death drive' does not aim at death. The death drive is the tendency towards inertia of living matter which leads to the restoration of a previous less complicated, less tension-filled state of life....without dichotomy and without the burden of consciousness and freedom... escape behaviors are manifestations of union downwards - death drive - possible avenue toward elimination of the dichotomies of existence... union upwards and individuation - striving towards the harmonization of the existential antinomies without resistence to individuation. "Union in general and union upwards in particular are the goals of human striving." "Love in the highest sense is union upwards which preserves and accepts the individuality of the 'thou".
self-knowledge though self-directed learning
POLITICAL (Concerning power and control) IMPLICATIONS OF SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING: A STAND AGAINST REPRESSIVE INTERESTS:
Ipolitical implications of self-directed learningt is important to emphasize the political implications of self-directed learning. It is important to gain 'political clarity,' an awareness ... Self-direction is part of a cultural tradition that emphasizes the individual's standing against repressive interests...self directed learning of individuals and of groups is a danger for every repressive force...radical change in social, moral, aesthetic and political affairs is often the outcome of a process of self-directed learning in opposition to the educational message imposed from without. Self-directed learning as an 'emancipatory' force
Self-direction is an inherently political idea, an oppositional, counter-hegemonic force. By focusing on the political dimensions of self-directed learning, gaining 'political clarity,' this idea could be made explicit; it might awaken the critical spirit in mainstream adult education Political (concerning power and control) implications of self-direction in adult education: "control over definitions, processes and evaluations of learning rests with the people who are struggling to learn and not with external authorities." Learning is a function of the learning experiences of the learner. As a result it is best evaluated and assessed by the learner. Adult learning as self-directed learning is concerned with personal growth.
Intense private study is one of the oldest, most honored, and productive historical forms of adult education.
Paulo Freire -advocate for more democratic and just social order- contributed to adult education in the United States.
"To study is not to consume ideas, but to create and re-create them... one must start where people are - confront them with 'inequitable political realities'- make them see that without realizing it themselves, they are actually involved in collusions with those inequitable realities.
D.R. Garrison 'Critical Thinking and Self-Directed Learning in Adult Education: An Analysis of Responsibility and Control Issues.' Adult Education Quarterly, 42: 3, Spring 1992, 136-148
The rising need for adult self-education has resulted in an increasing number of opportunities for 'distance education' in the form of university extension programs and correspondence courses. Innovations in communication technology have provided opportunities for people who are otherwise limited because of their location or their family and job commitments... adult
self-education is concerned with people's need to be more in control of their own lives. Educators of self-educating adults are concerned with providing the means for people to be more in control of their own lives... the 'empowerment', 'emancipation' and 'self-direction' of the learner. In a spirit of 'freedom' and 'fellowship, they trust and encourage the learner to take responsibility for his own education and growth through learning. Spiritual freedom is necessary for the development of an individual's natural sense of moral responsibility. Adult self-education involves the same issues as education generally... The terms 'child' and 'adult' refer to different stages in the development of the individual as a whole person. The issue of educational reform for adults is the same as the issue for educational reform for children. In keeping with the moralistic paradigm, the issue of educational reform for 'adult education' is concerned with a quest for new and different authorities. In American education practice, the search for a unique framework or theory upon which to base the study and practice of education has been a persistent challenge.
Learning is most effective when it is based on the wholistic functioning of the brain.
Roger Schank 'The Creative Attitude: Learning to Ask and Answer the Right Questions'...
...children should be allowed 'personal learning' within an adult constructed curriculum. They should be free to make their learning 'personal' and develop their learning skills and mental powers.... the value of 'personal learning' for children
According to Prof. Benjamin Bloom of Chicago- six major outcomes of learning. They constitute the 'ladder of learning outcomes' in the following order: recall, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation.
In the learning process, move up the ladder from recall and comprehension to application, analysis and synthesis...first recall and understand the subject matter...then apply the knowledge by analysing the subject matter, breaking it down into its component parts and adding information where necessary ...In the process of analysis one gains new insights and ideas. which can be applied to the creation of a personal knowledge... put the component parts together in new ways to form a composite whole which in turn creates further insights and ideas. Finally evaluate the effectiveness of the learning process... Learning from experience... Past life experience constitutes an immense database. Memory of past experience is basic to all learning.
Lessons are learned from past experience and then applied to new experience. In a process of categorizing, a mental file is created from which to access information which is useful in the sometimes subconscious assessment of new experiences. This process was identified and described by psychologist William James. Acccording to contemporary psychologist Prof. Roger Schank of Yale University, one needs to be able to control the recollection of past experience so that recall is conscious. (This is consciousness raising) One should be able to control one's access to past experience and analyse it consciously in order to be able to understand a new experience or solve a problem.
Ask penetrating questions:
Small children ask questions naturally as a means of assimilating large quantities of new information. With a questioning attitude, continue to gain knowledge through observation. (basic to Peak Learning). The primary characteristic of a peak learner is the ability to ask good penetrating questions, and to know how to get the answers... asking good questions should not be interpreted as exposing one's ignorance. A questioning attitude exposes one's interest and insight ...creative thinking is based on failure. When an expectation fails, one asks 'why?' and creates an explanation. The ensuing contemplation of a similar past experience leads to a new explanation. Continued analysis of past experiences leads to generalizations which determine new expectations and so on. Failed expectations lead to new explanations and new expectations. In the cyclic process of analysis and comprehension of experiences, personal knowledge is gained with successful expectations. According to Schank, the Peak Learning process involves one's active explanation of experiences and the application of the new knowledge to create accurate expectations for new experiences. One can develop a questioning attitude by looking for the anomalies in everyday situations. Effective learning results from taking active control of one's questioning attitude, refining both questions and explanations, and generating a broader attitude toward learning.
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world." Buddha
Effective learning depends on care of the brain through proper exercise, rest and nutrition.
Self-knowledge as transcendance of limited self-interest... knowledge of the human self or 'Self' (as opposed to the 'self' of the ego)... 'transpersonal perspective'
Knowledge of the spiritual realm of self-transcendance is 'mysticism' ... characterised by 'creative intelligence' which engages the perceptive intelligence of 'intuition'
The psychological development of the human organism... social intelligence involves the cultivation of positive 'healthy' mental components and the discouragement of negative 'unhealthy' mental components. The degree of mental health or 'maturity' is based on the degree of balance between 'healthy' and 'unhealthy' mental components.
Peace is possible only between individuals who are free of fear. Fear comes to an end with self-awareness or ‘self-knowledge’. Self-knowledge is knowledge…understanding of human nature…then we are free of it… free of conflict… free of fear. This is 'true freedom’ To be free we must be aware of who we are we must stop struggling to become something which we are not.
"It has frequently been suggested that the pursuit of self-knowledge is inherently a selfish one that detracts from an involvement with, and contribution to, society. However such criticism is not valid inasmuch as the product of this work is necessarily a transcendence of limited self-interest. Concern with the general good of one's fellow beings and a desire for harmony with the broader universe is intrinsic to the work." (Walsh. Beyond Ego 199)
Implications for education: education for 'wholeness' or 'humanness' of self-transcendence
"...the human mind is capable of transcending apparent empirical 'facts' and can penetrate to the 'world of formative ideas'. Through the power of imagination, we are able to integrate the empirical with the ideal, to place the concrete facts of our experience into a larger context of meaning, evolution and purpose. Physicist David Bohm calls this contexct 'undivided wholeness in flowing movement'. Gregory Bateson called it the 'pattern which connects'. Spiritual traditions have called it the Absolute, the Tao, or God. It is the infinitely creative source of Being." (Ron Miller et al. 1993 The Renewal of Meaning in Education: Responses to the Cultural and Ecological Crisis of our Times Brandon, VT: Holistic Education Press, p.
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.
EDUCATION FOR SELF-KNOWLEDGE It is often suggested that the pursuit of self-knowledge is inherently a selfish one that detracts from an one's involvement with, and contribution to, society... such criticism is not valid since the pursuit of self-knowledge necessarily involves a transcendence of limited self-interest i.e. 'self-transcendance'. Intrinsic to the pursuit of self-knowledge is the concern for the general good of one's fellow beings and a desire for harmony with the broader universe.
It is wrong to say that the pursuit self-knowledge is antisocial. The contrary is more nearly true. It is the failure to pursue self-knowledge which is dangerous to society. Without knowledge of one's own nature, one tends to misunderstand everything that other people say or do, and yet remain blissfully unaware of the significance of many of the things one does oneself. Education for human development is education for self-development and self-fulfillment. The aim of education is the development and fulfillment of the individual's human potential or 'humanity'.
"It is a grave error to accuse a man who pursues self-knowledge of 'turning his back on society.' The opposite would be more nearly true: that a man who fails to pursue self-knowldege is and remains a danger to society, for he will tend to misunderstand everything that other people say or do, and remain blissfully unaware of the significance of many of the things he does himself". (Schumacher, E A Guide for the Perplexed. New York, Harper and Row, l977)
holistic education... is education for human potential or 'self-actualisation' which engages metamotivation of creative intelligence a function of self-transcendance or 'spirituality'...
B-Cognition of 'peak experience': science of intuition... mystical experience... mysticism...
'Peak experience' a term coined by Abraham Maslow is the mystic experience of transcendance... the individual's 'communion with what transcends him' without having to resort to the 'supernatural'...peak experience is a biological experience which involves the individual's total acceptance of his biological nature and his part in natural evolution... peak experience is characterised by an intense feeling of unity with the universe and of one's own place within that unity... the most characteristic quality of the peak experience is that the universe is 'perceived as an integrated and unified whole'... peak experience is a 'mystical' experience ...a natural form of knowledge...
"The mystical experience is a natural form of knowledge in the sense that one needs postulate no special intervention of the deity to explain it. In the mystic experience, the person makes contact with the Way Things Are."(Medawar 49) The peak experience is not merely verbal or intellectual but pervades the being ...peak experience is "so profound and shaking... that it can change the person's character... forever after....
During the peak experience, a kind of knowledge occurs that Maslow calls 'B-cognition'. (Greeley, A. Ecstasy: A Way of Knowing. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1974 20)
"When one perceives that the universe is a unified whole and that one has a place in it, one can overcome extreme mental stresses."( Greeley, A. Ecstasy: A Way of Knowing. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1974 20)or (Psychology of Being page 11)
The most characteristic quality of the peak experience is that the universe is "perceived as an integrated and unified whole."
"Mysticism is knowledge; it is an act of knowing by which a person breaks through to what he thinks is the basic structure of the universe." (Greeley, A. Ecstasy: A Way of Knowing. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1974 82) Medawar, 82)?
Integration of science and spirituality
"These love relationships that go over into the mystic experience of fusion with the world give us our end point (beyond knowledge through love for the object) of knowledge by fusion with the object, by becoming one with it. This can then be considered for theoretical purposes to become experiential knowledge, knowledge from within, by being what we are knowing."(Maslow)
'Peak experience' in science. Abraham Maslow coined the term 'peak experience' to refer to the mystic experience of ego acquiring knowledge in a cognitive process (B-cognition) which involves transcendence of the self i.e. self-transcendence
The mystic or 'peak' experience of transcendence involves the individual's total acceptance of his biological nature and his part in natural evolution.
Without having to resort to the 'supernatural,' the individual's "communion with what transcends him" becomes a biological experience which makes it easily possible to live in the realm of the 'B-Values.'
'Peak experience' is a term coined by Abraham Maslow to refer to the mystic experience of acquiring knowledge in a cognitive process which involves transcendence of the self i.e.self-transcendence'. 'self-experience'
See Religions, Values and Peak Experiences.
The peak experience is the cognition of Being or 'Being cognition' (B-cognition). Maslow describes the peak experience by its most characteristic feature ...as an "intense feeling of unity with the universe and of one's own place within that unity".(Psychology of Being page 11).
Peak experience is a 'mystical experience'.. "B-cognition of the the mystical experience is a natural form of knowledge in the sense that one needs postulate no special intervention of the deity to exlpain it. In the mystic experience, the person makes contact with the Way Things Are."( Greeley, A. Ecstasy: A Way of Knowing. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1974 49)
"Science has its origins in the needs to know and to understand (or explain), i.e. cognitive needs ....curiosity, exploring, manipulating ... (Bronowski, "The Values of Science" in New Knowledge in Human Values, ed. A.H. Maslow, New York: Harper & Row, 1959. Editor Abraham Maslow. New Knowledge in Human Values. New York: Harper Brothers 1959 20)
"The actually mature person....mature in personality development, is not afraid of his humanness... his own nature... able to accept human nature... characteristically open to experience... postambivalent - able to love wholly, able to give himself over to emotion of love and anger, fascination and total surrender to a scientific problem." (Editor Abraham Maslow. New Knowledge in Human Values. New York: Harper Brothers 1959. 38)
The immature - overdefensive, obsessional, controlling and self-controlling. They are apt to dislike the lack of control in others. They dislike impulsiveness, enthusiasm, whimsicality, and unpredictability. The personality of the scientist is relevant
"One trouble with classical science applied to psychology is that all it knows how to do well is to study people as objects, when what we need is to be able to study them also as subjects." (Bronowski, "The Values of Science" in New Knowledge in Human Values, ed. A.H. Maslow, New York: Harper & Row, 1959. Editor Abraham Maslow. New Knowledge in Human Values. New York: Harper Brothers 1959. 54)
"It is the dichotomized, solely abstract knowledge that is so dangerous, the abstractions and the systems that are opposed to or dichotomized from experiental knowledge instead of being built upon it and integrated with it. ...abstract knowledge dichotomizd from experiential knowledge is false and dangerous; but abstract knowledge built upon and hierarchically integrated with experiential knowledge is a necessity for human life." (Maslow, A. The Psychology of Science: A Reconaissance. New York and London: Harper and Row 1966?? page 6)
Taoistic science involves receptive contemplation - nonactive, noninterfering witnessing and savoring of the experience and the 'realness' of nature. See section on Chinese science Capra
The 'enlightened mind' is a witness to the world of changing forms but not affected by it. Pain and suffering come from the false consciousness of ego, that is identification with the transient. The extinction of the illusion of self-centeredness of the ego is 'nirvana'
"The mainspring of creativity appears to be the same tendency which we discover so deeply as the curative force in psychotherapy - man's tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities. By this I mean the directional trend which is evident in all organic and human life - the urge to expand, extend, develop, mature - the tendency to express and activate all the capacities of the organism, or the self. ...it exists in every individual and awaits only the proper conditions to be released and expressed. It is this tendency which is the primary motivation for creativity as the organism forms new relationships to the environment in its endeavor most fully to be itself." (Rogers, C. On Becoming a Person. Cambridge, MA:: Riverside Press 1961. 351)
The essence of understanding is appreciation of the dynamic interconnectivity which is fundamental to the nature of whatever system is being investigated – human nature included.
Meaning of 'God'... God is a concept which represents that which we seek in our longing to become what we truly are... true human or 'divine'. God as the expanded sense of self... to include all of humanity... all of life. God is the infinite self.
The basis of mysticism is questioning. Questioning causes antagonism between mystics and orthodoxy: See Jesus and the rabbis, Buddha and the Brahmins, Sufis and Islam...
Mystical traditions form the basis of many of the world's religions. Mystics throughout the ages have used the science of intuition to arrive at a universal understanding of life. Organized religions stifle questioning thereby creating distance from peoples' inherent spirituality and directing their attention to outer rituals that reinforce dogmatic belief systems.
The way to an increasingly expansive spirituality uncircumscribed by outdated dogma - is through the 'science of intuition' - looking within. To expand your perspective, worship by wondering. The more questions you ask, the more profound the answers and the deeper the questions become.
"The spiritual life is really built upon the fundamental basis of a unified personality." (Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind 266)
Transpersonal psychology is 'humanistic psychology' - a response to the denigration of the human spirit.
'Transpersonal psychology' based on the comprehensive view of human nature...
The term 'transpersonal' was coined in 1917 by Carl Jung ('uberpersonlich') in an article entitled The Personal and the Collective (or Transpersonal) Unconscious. The phrase 'transpersonal unconscious' as a synonym for 'collective unconscious'. A few decades later in the 1960s Abraham Maslow, Stanislav Grof and Antony Sutich used the term transpersonal to describe a new branch of psychology which integrated the understanding of Eastern consciousness disciplines with the humanistic psychlogy which they were promoting.
In 1969 Maslow and Sutich founded the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. The term 'transpersonal psychology' was first defined in 1969 with the publication of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology guided by Abraham Maslow and Antony Sutich and their colleagues.
In 1971 they created,with others, the Association of Transpersonal Psychology. The Association of Transpersonal Psychology was established for research and dissemination of information about the field. Its board of editors includes James Bugenthal, Daniel Coleman ('emotional intelligence'), Stanislas Grof ('spiritual emergence'), Charles Tart, Frances Vaughan...
In 1973 the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology was established in Palo Alto California.
In the different cultures of the world, there is one 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 and viewpoints of the accepted constructs or 'paradigms' regarding the perception of 'human nature'. Paradigms are based on the codification of people's experience and reality as it is perceived and expressed in the linguistic systems of their cultures. People's awareness and perception of reality and human nature is determined largely by cultural norms with respect to the paradigms of the culture. Depending on the cultural norms, certain states of awareness are appropriate and acceptable for an individual in a given social situation. The different paradigms produce different 'psychologies' which differ on the degree of emphasis on the various facets, dimensions or 'consciousness states' of the complex multidimensional human personality as a whole. Consequently the various methods and techniques of the different psychologies are complementary and can provide knowledge about human nature.
In the 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.
Transpersonal psychologists 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.
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' (divinity) 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 (motivation).
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 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 worldviews of both Eastern and Western psychologies. Western 'psychology' has traditionally emphasized the so-called 'ego level' of consciousness 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.
Mental liberation Growth and attainment of a transpersonal perspective can take place at any time and requires mental liberation in four dimensions: 'consciousness,' 'conditioning,' 'personality,' and 'identity'. 'Consciousness' is the central dimension that provides the basis and context for all experience. 'Conditioning' is the dimension of attachment to any objects, persons, particular self-images or behaviour patterns. Conditioned attachments are the source of pain and suffering and keep the mind in bondage. Identity and personality... 'identification'... is the dimension related to the person's emotional baggage... identification with thoughts and beliefs.
In order to live beyond the ego level of consciousness... to attain the transpersonal perspective, the person must become mentally liberated from the effects of conditioned learning...'conditioning' ..the individual needs to let go of conditioned attachments to persons, objects, self- images and behaviour patterns... the individual needs to let go of... detach himself from identifications with personality, personal dramas, thoughts, beliefs, fantasies of the usual waking consciousness state to remove distortions in the perceptions of reality and bring about the liberation of the mind... total freedom as 'inner freedom'. 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.
The transpersonal perspective on the quest for psychological well-being ... 'wellness'... is very different from the traditional Western view. Changes in behaviour, thought, affect, and personality are seen not only as goals in themselves but also as means to facilitate awareness of transcendant dimensions of being.
A frequently mentioned dimension in transpersonal models of human nature is 'consciousness'.
In order to live beyond the ego level of consciousness... to attain the transpersonal perspective, the person must first become mentally liberated in 'consciousness'..
'Personality' and 'Identification' is the dimension related to the person's emotional baggage. 'Identificaton' refers to the identification with our thoughts and beliefs.
Identification with conditioned learning hinders growth of personality
The effects of personality and identification interfere with the full functioning of the transpersonal dimension. Identification with personality and personal dramas hinders optimal growth.
From the transpersonal persective, the dichotomy 'selfishness vs. unselfishness' disappears. The person living at the transpersonal level is selfish in his unselfishness, and unselfish in his selfishness.
In this way the person is liberated from interests, desires and anxieties of the 'ego' realm of the conscious... obstacles to growth are removed and a perspective from the transpersonal realm becomes possible.
The person attains a 'higher' state of consciousness, characterised by an awareness of his connectedness with the rest of humanity and expressed towards others as love and compassion.
Once a person has awakened to the transpersonal dimensions of existence, life itself is held in a different perspective. The individual has greater degrees of voluntary control ... In the dimension of perception, the individual has healthy attributes which include perceptual sensitivity, clarity, and relative freedom from distorted perceptions. The individual lives as a fully realized human being whose " doors of perception have been cleansed." This is the ability to see things as they are, free from distorting influences of desire, aversion, ignorance and fear. This is an aspect of healthy psychological and intellectual growth.
"The healthy person's sense of identity extends beyond the usual ego self-sense... mental health is associated with recognizing, owning and integrating the 'shadow' component of the psyche which comprises those attributes judged to be negative and inconsistent with one's self-image...the very healthy live in the presence of the numinous (filled with a sense of the presence of divinity), the 'sacred unconscious,' the transpersonal self, or pure awareness, and they realize that too. The mystic or 'peak' experience of transcendance involves the individual's total acceptance of his biological nature and his part in natural evolution. Without having to resort to the 'supernatural,' the individual's "communion with what transcends him" becomes a biological experience which makes it easily possible fo life in the transpersonal realm of human existence.
The transpersonal model of human nature provides an effective alternative technique of psychotherapy. - a theoretical model which incorporates the transpersonal dimensions of the multidimensional human personality.
Transpersonal psychotherapy The word 'transpersonal' means 'through or beyond 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, the individual fulfills an instinctive need to live on the 'higher' levels of consciousness. At these 'higher' levels of consciousness, the individual discovers their true nature... 'human nature'. ..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
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... discovering his own true nature, his humanness, his connectedness with his fellow beings and with nature.
"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 cited on page l93 Walsh Beyond Ego: )
"We are what we think...and with our thoughts we make the world."(Buddha)
"In the 'Tao of Personal and Social Transformation,' Duane Elgin suggests that expanded awareness is reflected in a quality of life that seeks harmony with nature, both inner and outer, rather than domination over it. For the person working in these areas there is no question of their connection with, and responsibility for, the larger whole of which they experience themselves to be an inseparable component. For a person beginning to experience what was formerly 'other,' as 'self,' it makes no sense not to acknowledge responsibility and the need for ethicality and service. With the attendant reduction in egocentric desires, there is less wish to impose one's will on nature and others and more interest in harmonizing with them in an ecological and Taoistic manner. Fewer desires means less desire for consumerism or susceptibility to advertising pressures, resulting in a tendency toward a choiceful life of voluntary simplicity." (Walsh l99-200)
Thomas Merton speaks fully of the integration process and discusses the phenomenon of 'final integration' in his description of the monk who has passed through numerous vocational problems and conflicts and who finally resolves the critical, existensial crisis of his life. This integration, this resolution of oneself to one's life work, the taking-on of the work responsibilty, is both psychological and spiritual accomplishment in that the person comes into his own as a specific, distinct individual. Because of this he achieves a kind of spiritual health or wholeness which is a direct result of his own truthfulness, courage, and conscious choices. A 'psychological achievement': First the achievement is psychological because in choosing his work, he takes a conscious, responsible life direction and acts in such a way as to be psychologically "there," all of a piece, understandable, unique as an individual. He knows as the saying goes, "what he wants to be when he grows up." Knowing, he grows up. A 'spiritual achievement': Second it is a spiritual achievement because his life is therafter dedicated to a conscious, intentional manner of living, rather than withdrawing or contracting himself from life, his "livingness," or steadfast functional effectiveness, is his devotional act and consecrates everything it touches because through the faculty of being, he is present in the moment, as life. The vocationaly integrated person does not long for love: he has it. He does not yearn for happiness: he has it. He does not strive for completion, finality, satisfaction: he has these, and he has qualities in the very act and process of doing the work he enjoys. The healthier the personality, the more likely it is that the individual experiences his entire life (including his vocational life) in this abundant manner." (Merton, Thomas. Contemplation in a World of Action. New York: Douleday and Co., Inc. l97l (cited by Walsh pp. l75-l76)
see Marsha Sinetar "Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood" Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., New York, l987(pp. l75-l76)
"Critical perception obliterates the simplistic dualism that establishes a nonexistent dichotomy between consciousness and the world." (Freire Pedagogy of the Oppressed 115)
"The biologist who is concerned with questions of physiology and evolutionary history realizes that self-knowledge is contained and shaped by the emotional control centers of the hypothalamus and limbic systems of the brain. These centers flood our consciousness with all the emotions - hate, love, guilt, fear and others - that are consulted by ethical philosophers who wish to intuit the standards of good and evil. What, we are then compelled to ask, made the hypothalamus and limbic systems? They evolved by natural selection. That simple biologic statement must be pursued in order to explain ethics and ethical philosophy." (Wilson Sociobiology)
Self-transcendance: Mature mind is the healthy mind... perception is free from distortion - sees the 'what is' of reality i.e. 'truth' "In the dimension of perception, attributes of health might include perceptual sensitivity, clarity, and relative freedom from distortion. 'The fully realized human is one whose doors of perception have been cleansed.' (See Smith, H "The Sacred Unconscious." In R. Walsh and D.Shapiro eds. "Beyond Health and Normality": Explorations of Extreme Psychological Well-being." New York, Van Nostrnd Rheinhold)
This is the ability to see things as they are, free from distorting influences of desire, aversion, ignorance and fear.... The healthy person's sense of identity would be expected to extend beyond the usual ego self-sense. On one hand we would expect health to be associated with recognizing, owning and integrating the shadow, that component of the psyche comprising attributes judged to be negative and inconsistent with one's self-image. On the other hand we might expect the very healthy to live in the presence of the numinous (filled with a sense of the presence of divinity), the 'sacred unconscious,' the transpersonal self, or pure awareness, and to realize that they are that too... Motivation would also be a significant dimension of health. The most widely accepted transpersonal model of motivation owes a great deal to Abraham Maslow. He recognized a hierarchical organization of needs in which motives sequentially, i.e. as one level of needs was satisfied, the next level became apparent. The hierarchy ranged from basic survival through security, to sense of belonging to a group, self-esteem, and self-actualization, i.e. all that one is capable of being. In ascending this hierarchy, motives shift from strong to subtle, and from expressions of deficiency to expressions of sufficiency. The needs at the higher end of this scale of sufficiencey Maslow called 'metaneeds orB (being) needs... In his later years, Maslow maintained that beyond self-actualization lay the need for self-transcendance. In tis Maslow saw a drive towards modes of experiencing and being that transcended the usual limits of human experience and identity, i.e. the drive toward the transpersonal realms. Similar hierarchical models with transcendent components are also found in a number of non-Western psychologies such as Sufism and Hinduism.... Several traditions make the suggestions that attachment (addiction) to having one's needs gratified is the source of suffering and that highly developed individuals are likely to be motivated by a desire to contribute to and serve others. Health might thus be associated with fewer attachments and a higher ratio of service-oriented versus egocentric behaviour. Although they do not necessarily fit neatly into any particular formal model, various other qualities have been widely assumed to be characteristic of optimal mental health. These include the recognition that one is responsible for, and the source of, one's experience and one's sense of well-being; greater sensitivity towards others as manifested by enhanced love, compassion, empathy, and generosity; an appreciation of the awesomeness and mystery of life shown by attitudes of reverence, gratitude, wonder and ecological sensitivity; and a wholehearted participation in life, opening fully to the joys as well as to the sorrows of the human condition. " (Walsh pp 120-121)
At the highest levels of well-being-in the transcendent realms where we experience ouselves as pure awareness transcendant to space, form, and time- very different possibilites for describing health become apparent. This realm is clearly transcendent to any existing concept of health. Like the other subjective dichotomies the distinction between health and illness collapses in the deepest levels of being. AS VARIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS DISCIPLINES HAVE MAINTAINED FOR CENTURIES, WHO WE ARE BEHIND OUR ILLUSORY IDENTIFICATIONS IS BEYOND HEALTH AND ILLNES
see Walsh,R and Shapiro D eds. "Beyond Health and normality: explorations of extreme psychological well-being," New York Van Nostrand Rheinhold, date?)
HEALTH-ILLNESS DICHOTOMY AND OTHER "SUBJECTIVE DICHOTOMIES... Dichotomies disappear with increased mental health If the individuals in a society remain attached to that level of consciousness dealing with gratification of physical and emotional needs, then they would perceive a dichotomy between personal freedom "to pursue happiness" and their responsibility to the society, their social responsibility. If those same individuals' level of consciousness is raised to a healthier state, then they would be motivated by so-called 'higher needs' to serve others and to contribute to society. They would not perceive a dichotomy between personal freedom "to pursue happiness" and their responsibility to society, their social responsibility. See 'perennial psychology' "A number of seeming paradoxes follow. Because this essential nature of our being continues to exist beyond any illusory constrictive identifications, it follows that it remains transcendant to the health/illness dichotomy at all times. Thus a movement toward health does not entail changing what we are but rather recognizing what we are. Indeed there is not even any need for movement. As the perennial psychology would have it, "there is nothing to do, nothing to change, nothing to be." (Walsh 121) "It follows, then, that the transpersonal perspective on the quest for psychological well-being is very different from the traditional Western view. Changes in behaviour, thought, affect, and personality are seen not only as goals in themselves but also as means to facilitate awareness of transcendant dimensions of being." (Walsh l2l)
"The readings included in this section include Western and Buddhist perspectives. In "A Theory of Metamotivation: The Biological Rooting of the Value-Life," Abraham Maslow lays out a number of hypotheses about the nature and experience of selfactualizers and self-transcenders. He first describes the hierarchy of needs and suggests that higher needs (metaneeds, B for Being-Values) for truth, beauty, transcendence, etc. are just as biologically based as are the lower, more obviously physiological ones such as thirst and sex. Further, he proposes that the failure to satisfy metaneeds may result in corresponding forms of pathology (metapathology) analagous to those resulting from unsatisfied lower needs. Thus he concludes that transcendant, religious, esthetic, and philosophical facets of life are as real and intrinsic to human nature as any biological needs. (Walsh 121)
"The attachment to any particular experience or attempts to change one experience for another- e.g. the frantic pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain - invariably results in continuing frustration and disappointment." (l86)
The Buddha defines the 'First Noble Truth of Buddhism' thus: 'all life is imbued with suffering.' Consequently the individual must live in a transpersonal 'level' of consciousness, beyond the ego and existensial 'levels', in order to confront and reconcile life with its apparent inevitabilities of loss and death. The individual must understand the three truths which the Buddha claimed would help to lead the way out of the dilemma: first, 'the cause of all suffering is attachment', second, 'the relief of suffering comes from the cessation of attachment', and third 'the cessation of attachment comes from following the eightfold path, a prescription for ethical living and mental training aimed at attaining full enlightenment'. "Once a person has awakened to the transpersonal dimensions of existence, life itself is held in a differnt perspective." (This must be an aspect of healthy psychological and intellectual growth. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (initiated the science of creative intelligence) graduated from Allahabad University as a physics major. In his first book "The Science of Being and Art of Living" he defines the nature of man. (See Maharishi Mahesh Yogi "The Science of Being and Art of Living." International SRM Publications, l966) The following is from chapter 9 l88-200)
"The habit of the mind has been to search outside, to be turned toward external objects of experience in its search for happiness."(37)
transcendental meditation... natural tendency of the mind to wander in search of fulfillment or 'happiness'(p.36) . The mind's attention naturally shifts to the more enjoyable situation (meditative state... 'daydreaming'). The technique of transcendental meditation is entirely natural... based on the very stucture of life... utilizes the natural tendency of the mind to wander in search of fulfillment as a function of the laws of human nature i.e. 'happiness'. Transcendental meditation is an effortless process of integration of life's inner and outer phases involving neither concentration nor control... "(38) is a way of allowing one's authentic nature to express itself thereby releasing oneself from the bondage of tension or 'stress'. Stress is not natural to life and has nothing to do with the reality of human nature. Stress results from the projection of the mind's attention outward through the senses... turning toward external objects of experience in its search for happiness. Stress thwarts the mind's natural tendency to shift towards the inner realm of 'creative intelligence'... spontaneously and naturally living according to the highest values. Creative intelligence is a function of the integration ('yoga' in Sanscrit) of life's never-changing aspect (Absolute) with its ever-changing aspect (relative). Creative intelligence is the 'spontaneous unfolding of life.' (78) "The laws of our own nature carry us to our fulfillment."(37)
Stress can be alleviated... removed... by deep rest such as that obtained in transcendental meditation.
Man can become free by being himself (257) In this context 'freedom' means self-realization. "The realizaion of the self is accompllished not only by an act of thinking, but also by the realization of man's total personality, by the active expression of his emotional and intellectual potentialities. These potentialities are present in everybody; they become real only to the extent which they are expressed. In other words, positive freedom consists in the spontaneous activity of the total, integrated personality."(258) "Positive freedom ...is identical with the full realization of the individual's potentialities, together with his ability to live actively and spontaneously." (270) Maharishi writes "As long as the mind does not function with its full potential and is not in position to use all the faculties it has, its freedom is restricted. Therefore the first important step in making the mind really free is the full unfoldment of its potentialites." ('The Science of Being and Art of Living' 234-235)(Fromm, Erich. Man For Himself)
'science of human nature,' levels of consciousness etc. Jack Forem "Transcendental Meditation" Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the Science of Creative Intelligence New York: E.P. Dutton & Co.,Inc. l974 "How is growth accomplished? Through a series of changes. Without change there can be no development. And indeed, the most characteristic quality of life as we know it is change. Life is eternally changing, and the inevitable flow of lidfe from one event or state to another is an eternal truth ."(l9) "Life has an inherent tendency to grow, to expand, to express potentialities." (Erich "Escape from Freedom" New York: Rinehart, l94l) p.269
"It looks as though there were a single ultimate value for mankind, a far goal toward which all men strive. This is called variously, self-actualization, self-realization, integration, psychological health...but they all agree that this amounts to realizing the potentialities of the person, that is to say, becoming fully human, everything that the person can become" (Abraham Maslow Toward a Psychology of Being 2nd. ed., New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., l968, p. 153)
Man has within him "a pressure ...toward unity of personality, toward spontaneous expressiveness, toward full individuality and identity, toward seeing the truth rather than being blind, toward being crdeative, toward being good, and a lot else."(Carl Rogers p. l55) Man demonstrates this "pressure toward fuller and fuller Being, more and more perfect actualization of his humanness in exactly the same naturalistic, scientific sense that an acorn may be said to be 'pressing toward' being an oak tree, or that a tiger can be observed to 'push toward' being tigerish." (p.l60) Carl Rogers describes "man's tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities, ...(to manifest) the directional trend which is evident in all organic and human life - the urge to expand, extend, develop, mature - the tendency to express and activtate all the capacities of the organism." (Carl Rogers, Toward a Theory of Creativity, in Creativity and its Cultivation, New York: Harper, l959)
"For I have seen the truth; I have seen and I know that people can be beautiful and happy without losing the power of living on earth. I will not and cannot believe that evil is the normal condition of mankind. ......How simple it is: in one day, in one hour everything could be arranged at once! The chief thing is to love others like yourself, and that's the great thing, and that's everything; nothing else is wanted...And yet it's an old truth which has been told and retold a billion times - but it has not formed part of our lives!...If only everyone wants it, it can all be arranged at once."
Greeley, A. Ecstasy: A Way of Knowing. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1974
Maslow, A. Religions, Values and Peak Experiences.
Medawar, P. The Threat and the Glory: Reflections on Science and Scientists. New York: Harper Collins, 1990
Maslow, A. The Psychology of Science: A Reconaissance. New York and London: Harper and Row 1966
Institute of Noetic Sciences (e-mail: research@noetic)
God Without Religion by Sankara Saranam
Walsh, R and F. Vaughan (eds) Beyond Ego: Transpersonal Dimensions in Psychology Tarcher, Inc. Los Angeles l980