Psychospiritual

My Passion for Transcendental Psychology

My original interest in psychology at 12 years old was in parapsychology, or ‘ghost busting’. So it is of no surprise that my passion for transcendental psychology emerged when I first discovered this area soon after completing my degree in psychology and the philosophy of consciousness in the 1990s. What attracted me to transcendental psychology was the systematic psychological exploration of spiritual practice throughout cultures across our planet.

What is Transcendental Psychology?

Transcendental psychology looks at the psychology behind spiritual practice without being influenced by religious dogma. This study enquires into what is happening for the person mentally, emotionally, physiologically and spiritually, in religious and spiritual practices. This includes the psychology of altered states of consciousness, the unconscious and states of meditation.

There was a surge of interest in transcendental psychology and investigations of altered states of consciousness in the 1960s, which included some of my favourite thinkers and writers in this area, such as Stan and Christina Grof (psychiatrists), Ken Wilber (psychologist) and John Welwood (clinical psychologist and psychotherapist). Each of these people contributed a wealth of knowledge through scientific investigation and their own psycho-spiritual practice, to Western science about Eastern and other non-Western spiritual practices and altered states of consciousness.

Therapeutic Implications of Transcendental Psychology

One aspect of transcendental psychology that is important beyond enquiry and research is the therapeutic implications of the non-Western approach of spiritual emergence, and Western concepts of mental illness. We can learn a lot about alternative ways to understand and approach mental illness from other cultures and non-Western spiritual practices. The Spiritual Emergence Network (SEN) was founded in 1980, which aimed to increase awareness about spiritual emergence and promote alternative treatment approaches to mental illness, apart from Western psychological and psychiatric practices (Stanislav & Christina Grof, Spiritual Emergence, 1989).

An interesting finding from transcendental psychological research is that spiritual emergence and a psychotic episode have very similar symptoms, however Western and a lot of non-Western outlooks are completely different in their approach. People in some non-Western cultures who are seen to be transitioning through a spiritual emergency are thought to be on a shamanic journey or “a dark night of the soul”. They are not perceived as sick, mentally ill or deficient in their community and they are supported until they emerge from ‘facing inner or outer demons’. The whole process is simply allowed to run its course without community condemnation. Ironically, it is found that there is a higher rate of people who emerge from “psychosis/spiritual emergence” in non-Western cultures than from Western mental health wards and from using psychiatric medication (Stanislav & Christina Grof, Spiritual Emergence, 1989).

So while transcendental psychology is often seen as a fringe area of psychology, its clinical implications could be profound!

Apart from psychosis, transcendental psychology could also have implications for treating depression and anxiety. Alternative therapies that are based on Eastern practices and world-views, such as acupuncture, kinesiology and chiropractic practice, all embrace an understanding of energy flow, chakras, meridian systems, pressure points and multidimensional sources of memory that affect current psychological patterns of thought, emotion and behaviour. These sources of memory include unconscious archetypal memories and past life memories. So based on Eastern medicine and world views, depression and anxiety can stem from deeply held unconscious memories that are outside the sight of the conscious mind.  Again, these types of approaches could have a far reaching and revolutionary impact on contemporary psychological theories and therapies.

The Approach Taken at Conscious Solutions

At Conscious Solutions, when working with the human mind, I recognise unconscious sources of information that could affect people’s patterns of thought, emotion and action that repeat themselves throughout people’s lives. When I work with people to decrease depression and anxiety, I help them to increase awareness of sources of memory that underlie their patterns of behaviour, so they can break free from them. Simply by holding an open mind and liberal philosophy as to sources of these patterns from contemporary psychology, allows my work with many people to flourish.

This is also why I often highly recommend that clients access alternative therapies as well as psychotherapy, to help shift stubborn and pervasive patterns. I have also seen the opposite take place, where no psychotherapeutic work was accessed, only energy work. Likewise, from what I have witnessed, the outcomes were not as successful. In my experience, the best outcomes often come from combining psychotherapy and alternative therapies when it comes to depression and anxiety.

“Western psychology has neglected the spiritual domain, to its detriment, while the contemplative paths have lacked an adequate understanding of psychological dynamics, which inevitably play a major part in the process of spiritual development. As long as these dynamics are not recognised, they affect the spiritual practitioner and the spiritual path in covert ways that can exert a distorting influence on the whole understanding. So, in certain ways, [spiritual] awakening needs psychology as much as psychology needs awakening.”

(John Welwood, Toward a Psychology of Awakening, 2002, Page xvi)

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My Perfect Mirror: Symbiotic Healing in Conscious Relationships

 

What makes conscious relationship different from other types of relationships is that both partners make a conscious commitment to work on themselves personally, interpersonally and spiritually. Rather than committing to an ideal or a concept of “a relationship”, they are committing to a process. This process is a journey of individual self-awareness, and a conscious exploration of intimate relationship including open communication and a sharing of felt experience in the relationship. In a nut shell, people who chose to be in conscious relationship are choosing to look at themselves, and listen to their partner with respect for their wisdom and observations, knowing their partner is their perfect mirror!

Conscious Relating

For conscious relationship to work, both people involved in the relationship need to be open to enhancing self-awareness of their childhood patterns. They need to recognise that these patterns are likely to be triggered in their relationship by their partner. The process of exploring their emotional reactions then becomes an internal psychospiritual one, rather than simply blaming their partner for hurting them or being difficult.

There is an important distinction I wish to make here. In looking to your own patterns for what is being triggered by your partner, I am not talking about martyring yourself by blaming yourself for another person’s bad or unconscious behaviour. To look at yourself is to witness the thoughts, emotions, physiological responses and actions that arise in reaction to your partners actions. For example, it may become apparent that your partner’s behaviour reminds you of your passive-aggressive mother or father, and therefore your reaction is sensitised (or suppressed) to this type of treatment. In identifying your pattern, it may also alert you to the minor problem that the reason why your partner’s behaviour reminds you of your parent’s passive-aggressive treatment, is because your partner’s patterns actually are passive-aggressive.

Unconscious Patterns in Action

This is a real relationship issue in the tangible psychological reality of human interpersonal relating. It also needs to be addressed on the level of psychological healing and as well as energetic healing. If we step back to the hypothetical person who has become aware of their reaction being triggered by their partner’s passive-aggressive behaviour, they too have their 50% of relationship healing to do. Why have they been involved in a relationship where their partner treats them that way? Do they honour or value themselves? Had they learnt a childhood conditioned pattern of unworthiness or tolerating passive-aggressive behaviour, which then kept them in that relationship dynamic?

Both people in this hypothetical relationship had patterns that fit together like a key in a keyhole. And that is why they are the perfect mirrors for each other. While they stay in those unconscious patterns, they will replay that dynamic where one holds the control through passive-aggressive means, and the other is de-valued and “the victim”. They will be caught in a dance of suffering that will either lead to separation or emotional shut down in order to stay in the relationship, unless they heal their respective patterns and the relationship dynamic.

Healing Unconscious Patterns & Relationship Dynamics

No one is good or bad or even right or wrong. In couples work it is usually more productive to adopt a “Both/And” philosophy, if both parties are willing to work through their respective patterns. In conscious relationship work, it is important for both people to embrace compassion and understanding for themselves and each other, while gaining awareness of and responsibility for, their respective patterns. The potential blessing of conscious relationship is that through their union both people will be alerted to, and will heal, those patterns that would otherwise keep them locked in suffering.

In this process it is vital to remain in the mind-set of healing rather than blaming self or other. It is no-one’s fault! The only question is “do you want to continue this dance?” And for the record, by leaving that relationship and finding another one, they are likely to unconsciously re-attract another person with the same pattern, or they will flip over and play out its opposite next time around. This is because we all have patterns that we need to heal! The only way to release yourself from what may feel like torture, is to consciously heal yourself. If your partner is willing to do the same, then co-healing the relationship dynamic could lead to strengthening the relationship.

The above example of this hypothetical couple, is just one dynamic out of many. There are many possible patterns that can be triggered in relationship and played out by a couple. If there are relationship issues that are causing one or more parties grief in their relationship, then therapy with a trusted psychotherapist could help.

Can you see how your partner is your perfect mirror?

What are your patterns that are being triggered by your partner’s patterns?


Unconscious Relationships: The Patterns That Bind Us

 

I have been a couple’s therapist for twelve years and one thing I see over and over again is the uncanny way that couples who were intensely in love and attracted in the beginning of their relationship, become disappointed and disillusioned. The attractive qualities in their partner end up triggering their deepest childhood wounds. It seems almost inevitable that a romantic partner will be the perfect person for pushing all your buttons that you have put so much effort into hiding, even from yourself! There are unconscious reasons for this initial intense attraction, and then later the intense interpersonal struggle with your beloved.

To start off, I will introduce a few general points about intimate relationships. There are five stages of growth that intimate relationships experience to evolve. In the same way that there are life stages for an individual person, there are also relationship life stages. The first stage is the honeymoon stage. This is falling in love… rose coloured glasses… and perceiving your lover as perfect and complimentary to you. You see all their similarities. It is like this stage needs to be absolutely fantastic to get a couple through stage two. Stage two is the stage of negotiating difference. This stage is about power struggles, disappointment, inner wounds, issues being triggered, and fights. All of a sudden you take off the rose coloured glasses and you begin to see all of your beloved differences. It can be a very rude awakening!

Stage three is where after struggling together over years, you step out of the battle to find yourself again after being lost in the process of the relationship. Stage four is a coming back together in a real way. Now you know who this person is and you make a choice to be with them (or not). Stage five is the symbiotic stage, where the relationship takes on a life of its own. Have you ever seen two happy elderly people walking down the street, knowing exactly how to move with each other?

So while intimate relationships can tear us apart and bring us to our knees, the potential is a beautiful healing and connection between two people.

What has all this got to do with unconscious attraction patterns?

After working with so many couples, I believe unconscious attraction brings two people together to potentially heal past unconscious wounds or patterns. It is as if UNCONSCIOUSLY, there is a knowing that this person is the perfect person to match you and bring to your consciousness what is unconscious and needs healing. The patterns fit like a key in a key hole that unlocks the potential to heal with another. Of course, instead of healing we sometimes simply open the wounds and become re-hurt. However, I have faith that it is actually the potential of healing the wounds that unconsciously attracts two people in intimate relationship.

Perhaps that is why when we fall in love we have a sense of familiarity or of “knowing” them before. The unconscious does know all about them! It knows all about us! And it works its magic that we call falling in love.

The difference between successful relationship counselling and unsuccessful relationship counselling, is when both people leave counselling taking responsibility for their 50% of creating the dynamics between them. Often couples enter counselling blaming one person or each other for the relationship difficulties. They usually come into counselling in the second or third stages of their relationship. It is usually a last chance attempt at repairing the relationship before leaving. So the challenge of couple’s therapy is to explore the readiness of each person in the relationship to become conscious of their unconscious patterns that are triggered by their partner. In general, the more we all become aware of our patterns and how they impact on the people close to us, the more real choice we have in changing what is causing us pain and anguish.

Where To Now?

In the later part of January 2012, I will be posting a series of blogs on Conscious Relationship. So tune in later this month for more valuable information on how you can heal your relationship by healing yourself, and then working with your partner to shift the unpleasant dynamics in your relationship.

 

 

Healing Family Legacies

Psychospiritual Reflections 9.1.2012

In my blog “The Difference Between the Conscious & Unconscious in the Law of Attraction” I focused on the differences between the conscious mind and the unconscious, and I looked at what it means to be consciously responsible for choices. Today I want to take a closer look at what unconscious patterns actually are and what is involved in healing them.

Unconscious Family Patterns

Unconscious patterns are made up of memories, images, emotional reactions, beliefs and patterns of behaving that a person is not consciously aware of. While these patterns are unseen by the conscious mind they do however manifest in everyday life as self sabotage or self-destructive behaviour. They also tend to lead to suffering. Therefore, sooner or later we often turn to face ourselves and work through our patterns in order to find freedom from this suffering.

Unconscious patterns can be an individuals attempt at surviving a childhood situation or they can be learnt from the family and therefore a generational pattern. Often what worked to survive childhood pain becomes an unconscious pattern of thought, feelings and actions in adulthood that causes misery. Likewise, it is amazing how powerful family pattern are. We may live a part from our family for decades and believe we have changed so much as a person through those experiences. Yet when we visit our family, low and behold we are seventeen again and back in the family dynamics and patterns. It can almost make you cringe!

In some alternative and esoteric modalities, unconscious patterns may also include pasty life patterns and even future life patterns. Some people believe in their existence and some do not, what I mainly want to point out her though is that if there are past lives, then it is important not to mistake a person or personality in another life as “yourself”. In a similar way that we are not responsible for the unconscious, we are also not our past lives. What I generally find is that whether you identify a pattern as current interpersonal issues, past inner-child issues, or past life memories, the psychological theme of the pattern is the same. The patterns that require healing emerge throughout our lives and are often what cause us the most pain.

The Healing Process

So when we look at healing these unconscious patterns and releasing them, it is easier said than done. Generally I find a combination of modalities is most helpful. Psychological therapies such as counselling, touch therapies such as massage, energy techniques such as kinesiology and mindfulness practice such as yoga are all helpful to release unconscious patterns.

Ultimately conscious awareness is the key to breaking free from these unconscious patterns. When we can see the patterns clearly, we are already 50% there. The more consciously aware of the thoughts, feelings and actions within the pattern, and how it came about, the more we eventually get to a point where we do not have to repeat it. We simply see it for what it is and cease to believe the beliefs behind it.

The next step is one of forgiveness to self and other. This is a process of release… and not condoning bad or abusive behaviour. So when I talk about forgiveness, I am referring to recognising the emotional pain we hold inside ourselves and bringing compassion and understanding into it.

The final step is to learn skills and practices of new more adaptive patterns. We are creatures of habit and the conscious mind does rely of patterns of behaviour. The difference is that we can make more conscious choices about how we respond to events in the world when we know ourselves. We learn HOW to be responsible for our thoughts, feelings and actions. The new patterns may be more mindful rather than emotionally reactive.

Next time I want to look at another type of relationship that has an annoying habit of bringing our unconscious patterns to our conscious awareness. Yes, that’s right… I’m talking about intimate relationships!!! I will discuss the basis of conscious and unconscious relationship and how the Law of Attraction plays such an uncanny role in helping us find our perfect match.

 

Have your say on the Law of Attraction and contribute to the greater consciousnesses of humanity ….

 

 

 

Spiritual Egotism!

 

Today I present the final piece of writing in this series on “The Law of Attraction… Are My Beliefs Ruining My Life?” My last point in that blog was that people who call themselves “spiritual” are actually in the process of identifying with a concept, which is an egoic state. Being spiritual is not an identity nor is it a belief.

 

I heard a story once… I think it was a Hindu story! I cannot remember all of it but here goes… there was a man who loved a certain God and was trying to prove he was the most devoted person on the planet. He succeeded at a range of increasingly difficult tasks to prove his faith and commitment, every time asking the God if he was the most devoted person an on Earth. Each time he got the response that he was not the most devoted. Finally after achieving some super human feat he broke down in exhaustion and asked who was the most devoted… has he not done everything to prove he is the most spiritual person devoted to this God? The God pointed to another man, a humble man in a field who ploughed the Earth every day. The first man turned to the God, confusion across his face, “But this man does not even call himself spiritual!” “Yes” replied the God, “that is the point exactly!”


The Key!!!

The truth is we are all spiritual. Spirit cannot be separated from matter. We may identify at a personality level with one religion or another, or some spiritual practice but as Eckhart Tolle states… these are all sign posts. If we remain looking for sign posts or strongly identifying with sign post then I guess, the belief in the sign post will be strengthened. But this has nothing to do with Spirit.

Irrespective of what a person identifies with, I can feel their connection or disconnection with Spirit or the Devine Presence (or God, if you are Christian). You can simply feel it!!! A person, who authentically walks a spiritual path and is connected to love, shines brightly. Through their own dark night of the soul, facing their inner demons, opening to love and honouring themselves, other people and the nature, they have found a sense of spiritual serenity.

The spiritual path is magnificent and beautiful. It has many thorns and challenges. And it is honourable and certainly, in my experience, worthwhile. Ultimately the key is LOVE. Spirit IS love!!! It does not matter what you call yourself… spiritual or non-spiritual or whatever. When you feel it, there is no mistaking it… it is beautiful… it is LIFE!!!

 

Have your say on the Law of Attraction and contribute to the greater consciousnesses of humanity ….

 

 

It Is A Myth To Think We Can Avoid Emotional Pain Through Spiritual Practice

 

The seventh point I made in my blog “The Law of Attraction… Are My Believes Ruining My Life?” was that we experience emotional processes that cannot avoid through spiritual practice. This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn on my spiritual journey!

Our emotional selves can knock us over if we do not know how to work with and honour our emotions. Anyone who has been railroaded by powerful emotions knows it can be like being hit by a tidal wave and can be very hard to keep your head above water.

An Attempt To Escape The Pain

A lot of people turn to spiritual practices to save themselves from experiencing intense emotions, however this is incredibly mislead! The way most people try to cope with powerful emotions is to withdraw and shut down from them. This is a very natural reaction. It’s like when you put your hand on a hot plate… you withdraw it so it doesn’t burn. In spiritual awakening the opposite happens. We open to experience and to ourselves. This can really throw people if they expected something nice and gentle… the spiritual path is usually anything but gentle, at least until we have shifted of the patterns that cause us the deepest suffering.

It is not surprising that many people from Western countries especially turn to spiritually to alleviate suffering and distress. In Western countries we tend to try to supress emotions and if that does not work we medicate them either legally or illegally. But emotions are out guidance mechanism system, they are there for real reason. So when we ignore them they simply scream louder. They are meant to get our attention and shoe us what needs changing in our lives. As a general rule, the more we dismiss our emotions the more they intensify. So when we use spiritual practice such as mediation, prayer or magical beliefs as a way to escape emotional pain, we are really using these practises as we would a drug. Then they can become addictive to keep the unwanted emotions at bay.

Spiritual Practice Connects Us To Our Emotional Selves

The irony is that practices that raise awareness such as mindfulness, meditation or psychotherapy generally increase sensitivity (hopeful safely) and therefore aim to help us to reconnect with our emotional selves. Of course we want to do this from new and safe perspectives, or from a place of witnessing them rather being overwhelmed over by them, but still the aim is to feel rather than avoid emotion. But in short, it actually healthy to feel our emotion and to connect with who we really are.

So you could say that spiritual practice is likely to intensify emotion at first. Opening our hearts often results in feeling deep anger, fear or sadness before we feel the love. It’s like breaking through the ice on the surface before finding fluid water running in the stream underneath. To stand in our power, courage and truth requires that we overcome fear and inadequacy caught up in the solar plexus. We often hold a great deal of hurt in our bodies and there are real emotional processes that need to be honoured to release that pain. Clearing the energy of these wounds through alternative and intuitive modalities can definitely help the release process along but our emotions do not become superfluous.

Another important aspect of the spiritual journey is as we change our energy, patterns and our gain clarity and strength, our life often changes around us. These inner shifts can result in changes in our relationships, employment and goals in life. And yes, these changes tend to cause emotional pain, even if we feel the inevitability of these changes deep down.

So as we embark on the spiritual journey we do not avoid the emotional pain. It is rather that we gain wisdom to better understand that pain and we develop techniques such as mindfulness to dis-identify from the pain. But it is still there, we just learn to make better choices. Our emotions are here to guide us but if we think we can override the tangible world and our emotional selves we have another thing coming! We don’t just “rise above it” when our partner leaves us, we lose our job and our parent dies. These real emotional processes have to be honoured, even when we are aware of Spirit!

 

Have your say on the Law of Attraction and contribute to the greater consciousnesses of humanity ….

 


 

Who Said We Should Get Rid Of Our EGO?

 

The fifth point I mentioned in my blog “The Law of Attraction… Are My Beliefs Ruining My Life?” was that we are not meant to supress or eliminate our ego. However, how we understand the term “ego” is essential if we are going to know what best to do with it.

Defining the Ego

The ego can be defined in a range of different ways. Freud was the first to use the term ego in his psychosexual theory of neurosis. He was referring an aspect of the self that was somewhere in between the id and the superego. For Freud, the ego was a kind of balanced self between the child-like, impulsive id and the overly rigid, moralistic super-ego.When people are talking about the ego in new age circles, I ‘m sure they are not referring to its original meaning!

Another version of ego that I have heard in new age movement is what Eckhart Tolle speaks about in his “Power of Now” and a range of other books and CDs. When Eckhart talks about “ego” he is referring to thought and emotional processes in the mind. So for him, the ego is equated to the human mind.

Yet another version I hear about in the “spiritual community” and general community at large, sounds more like the term “egotism”. Ego is seen as a bad thing to get rid of. So here we have three very different concepts of ego. There are more definitions however, I’m going to focus on the last two.

The Ego is Our Friend

Eckhart Tolle’ definition of the ego makes a lot of sense to me when talking about the psychospiritual. The ego is all mental and emotional activity of the mind. It includes our personality, values, likes and dis-likes and interpretation of the world. It is our self-identity, conscious beliefs and memories, and the associated emotions attached to those beliefs. Based on this idea of the ego, we are not meant to get rid of our ego, we are simply meant to dis-identify from it.

As living human beings we have a human mind. We are meant to become conditioned and hold psychological patterns in our minds and bodies. The Taoist states that we need to be carved before we can be uncarved… this is the process of gaining wisdom! Our ego has a real role to play in our lives. Without the mind we could not think. We could not interact socially or believe in anything. We could not create technology or society. We would not have unique personalities or be able to day dream. The mind is truly amazing! Yes… the ego is amazing!!!

The problem is not about having an ego, but rather the problem emerges when the egoic mind has control rather than what I will call “our presence”. When the mind drives things, as opposed to being utilised for the creative expressive vehicle that it is, then chaos prevails.

How to Dis-Identify from the Ego

The trick is not to eradicate the ego but rather to master it! Mindfulness, for example, teaches us how to witness psychological reactions consisting of thoughts, emotions and actions, such as what Eckhart Tolle calls the “pain body”. This is process is about dis-identifying from the thoughts and emotional attachments, and simply watch them play out. We then cease to believe that we are the patterns. We take our power back from them and they cease ruling our lives. Only then can we begin to make more conscious choices.

When we witness our thoughts and emotions with space and curiosity we learn to release the attachment to these beliefs and emotions. This kind of disrupts the automatic nature of the pattern. Mindfulness is beautiful! It produces a gap between the observer and the ego (the observed). It allows us to aster the mind rather than being ruled by it.

So in a nut shell, we were never meant to surpass or get rid of our ego. We may be able to witness the mind or master it, but we cannot escape it! We have a living human mind that thinks and identifies as a “self”. This is the ego and it is a blessing!

 

Have your say on the Law of Attraction and contribute to the greater consciousnesses of humanity …

 

 

The Nature of Unconscious Attraction Patterns

How Does the Law of Attraction Work?

If it is Unconscious… What Can I do About That?

The fourth point in the “Law of Attraction… Are My Beliefs Ruining MY Life?” is that the unconscious holds beliefs that work its own kind of magic that we are not conscious of! Our conscious mind may desire a whole lot of material good and types of relationships. However the process of unconscious Attraction does not really work that way.

Through previous blogs we see that the unconscious and awakening spiritual awareness involves a lot more than what we might consciously want. I personally believe alignment between our conscious mind and the unconscious can attract experiences to us. I belief in certain states of mind we are attracted towards certain types of relationships and synchronous events that can lead to successful outcomes. However, I also believe that there are certain themes that we are put on this Earth to learn from. We could call it “soul lessons”, “sacred contracts”, fate or God’s Will. Whatever you call it, this is where certain themes or issues play out and are being resolved through our life experience.

Psychospiritual Themes and Psychological Patterns

Even if we step away from a spiritual understanding and adopt a purely psychological perspective, these themes show up throughout a person’s life. Whether we focus on a person’s presenting issue in therapy stemming from their current interpersonal problems or whether we focus on the inner child or family generational issues, the themes are generally the same. For those who work in alternative or esoteric fields and embrace past lives, again the themes are generally the same. So it is the themes and the psychological patterns connected to those themes that are important here.

Psychological themes have a core belief or issue that the pattern is attached to. Like a spider’s web, everything is built around a core point or a few key issues. These themes differ for all of us. They could be about self-value or worth, they could be about narcissism, control, abandonment, judgement, public humiliation, success, self-efficacy, over or under responsibility, lovability, just to name a few. Patterns are made up of the thoughts, feelings and actions that are the manifestation of the core belief. These patterns could be self-sabotage patterns, addictions, avoidance patterns, or self-destructive patterns. The pattern and the core issues can be identified either through observing a repetitive theme in a person’s life or by the disproportion of the emotional reaction to a current event. These themes may show up in the area of intimate relationship, employment, housing, finances, family, substance abuse or a range of other areas in a person’s life.

So through the last few paragraphs I have worked my way from the unconscious/spiritual dimension of core beliefs and patterns through to the material/practical arena of how they may be manifested.

Responsibility and the Unconscious

As a rule of thumb, in my clinical experience and what is understood in Eastern traditions and alternative therapies, is that generally the outer world and behaviour reflects the inner world, even if the person is not consciously aware of why. This is not the fault of the person, it is normal. Until we do a lot of deep exploration, no one has a clue of what is really happening inside them! So I like to steer clear of saying it is their responsibility or choice to “attract in experiences” and would rather say it is their choice whether they heal or not. Even then there needs to be a readiness and it may not be now. This too is not a bad thing. I have complete faith that people do heal when they are consciously and unconsciously ready to do so. This readiness is essential to increasing awareness and releasing old patterns. But I do want to emphasise if they are not ready it is because they are legitimately not ready…a healthy respect for the safety mechanism in the mind and the unconscious forces in life, is important I belief.

A Combination of Modalities Works Best

Working to release patterns and core beliefs may take a while. They tend to have a circular nature, they are layered as they say in Gestalt therapy… like layers of an onion. Through each layer we understand a little more. The wisdom of that theme becomes deeper. Eventually we see it so clearly we do not need to play it out anymore. We see it for what it is! I love the practice of mindfulness in combination with energy healing modalities for releasing patterns. As a psychotherapist/ psychologist, I enjoy working with people who are working through the conscious with me and are accessing either kinesiology, spiritual healing, acupuncture, a chiropractor or similar fields for the unconscious energy shifts.

The journey is as important as the end result. Life does not stop and we are suddenly perfectly healed. Rather, we wake up every now and then and realise how far we have come.

My Personal Spiritual Healing Journey

For me personally, I realise that I forgot that I used to wake up dreading the day because now when I wake up, I embrace it. I feel excited about meeting new people and seeing where this journey in life leads me. Before I was full of fear, when now I am excited. Before things were heavy, where now they are light. I still feel the full spectrum of emotion and I witness my thoughts as they sometimes replay old patterns, but now I simply witness them without acting out of them. Where that point was when I woke up happy, I do not know. I ventured in and out of the darkness for years while accessing healing modalities, until I integrated the awareness of happiness, outside the patterns that created suffering.

Through this healing process I also became aware of synchronicities that flow through my life. The Law of Attraction seems to work its magic when I am happy and light. It happens when I’m in the right emotional space… the flow… the zone! But I did not get there by sitting around thinking about it. I got there by pro-actively healing myself through counselling, energy clearings, massage, hypnosis, and spiritual healings. I slowly became conscious of that which I was previously unconscious. As one of my beautiful spiritual healers (Barbara Van DeBrug) said… I was pea soup and now I am clear! That took seven years of kinesiology, Barbara’s chakra balances, Miriam Schafer’s Hara healings and counselling! Before I saw Barbara and another healer, (Leonie in Canberra) before her, I’m sure I was black tar!!! I feel blessed for all their help!

Based on accumulated wisdom and guidance, I learnt to make better choices (by “better” I mean more life enhancing rather than destructive). My conscious mind gained clarity and I learnt new ways of being, which yes, involve new ways of “doing”.

So the unconscious mind has its own agenda that our conscious mind may be completely unaware of, or in conflict with. However, as we work to heal and balance ourselves, we learn how to align the conscious with the unconscious. And if we allow it… life’s magic can unfold in ways that do amaze us!

Have your say on the Law of Attraction and contribute to the greater consciousnesses of humanity …

 

 

 

Spiritual Emergency: The Dark Night of the Soul!

I would like to give thanks to Stan & Christina Grof for all their wonderful information on spiritual emergency. My dedication goes to Alli Lawler who was the beautiful woman who introduced me the Spiritual Emergence Network.  And I would also like to thank Kama Frankling for her support and wisdom on spiritual emergence.


In my blog “The Law of Attraction… Are My Beliefs Ruining My Life?”, the third point that was raised was that spiritual emergence without grounded reason can lead to serious mental illness with dangerous implications. Many people are inspired towards the spiritual path because they want to be special or because they think it will bring happiness and enlightenment!!! What most people are not told is that a spiritual journey is actually the harder path. It’s not a Sunday walk in the park… Spiritual awakening is about transformation at a soul level, this sort of stuff often happens through trauma or tragedy. It can shake the core of your being. In spiritual awakening you are changing your old thought and emotional patterns on a deep level and then relearning how to interact with the world and people again. Through the process some people even experience what we term in the West, mental illness such as depression, anxiety and psychosis.

In some non-western cultures Shamans may go through a dark night of the soul before they emerge into the tribe’s Sharman. In the West we would see that person as having a mental illness and possibly a psychotic episode. In these cultures they are seen as a Sharman in training. These cultures understand the psychotic episode to be a deep transformation and spiritual emergence lead by their own inner demons (and maybe outer demons too). People can go through this type of spiritual awakening for years, supported by their communities until they come out of it. Some never come out of it. However it is interesting that there is a far higher rate of these people emerging out of a “spiritual emergence” than there is a person in the West recovering from a “psychotic episode” through the mental health system.

In Eastern practices such as Buddhism, it is also well known that a person can suffer from symptoms of mental illness through regular meditation practice and spiritual awakening. When someone begins to experience symptoms of anxiety, depression or even psychosis through their emergence, they are guided away from spiritual practice to re-ground themselves. It is the only time they can eat red meat, they work in the gardens or fields and they cease meditation practices.

It is no wonder demons and scary images are captured and portrayed in religious art, including Christian art. Spiritual awakening burns through what we want to see least about ourselves. While not all of us go through a full blown spiritual emergency (that looks much like mental illness), spiritual emergence does tend to bring us to our knees in humility. It often throws us into an egotistical state for a while SO WE CAN CLEARLY SEE THE EGO! It’s a little embarrassing, trust me!!! We go sky high and lose our grounding for a while… I was ungrounded for years. It has bouts of pristine clarity and then complete confusion and disorientation. Any underlying unconscious patterns tend to be brought up to the light of consciousness, even when we struggle to remain ignorant and try to avoid what we don’t want to see. If we don’t know what we are doing we can get lost on the spiritual path… it can be a frightening place!

In saying all of that, I do believe with the right psychospiritual guidance, the practice of balance and mindfulness, and honouring the self and others, emerging into spiritual awareness can be a rewarding and honorable journey. The more aware we become, the responsible we can be and the more we can make choices where before we were largely ignorant of ourselves and reacting out of unconscious patterns. For those who chose to walk the path… you have my blessings and be wise on your journey!!!!

 

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Balancing the Spiritual and the Tangible World

The second point in the blog “The Law of Attraction … Are My Beliefs Ruining My Life?” is about balancing the spiritual with the material. When we either chose or simply find ourselves embarking on a “spiritual journey”, balance within our mind, body and the external world are essential if we are to stay sane through the process. Of course, increasing awareness generally creates chaos both within and without, as self-transformation often occurs through experiential change. However, we cannot forget how important it is to come back to a state of balance when we are going through change.

A spiritual journey is simply about opening your awareness to the spiritual dimension of experience that we are already having. Ultimately spiritual connection can help us to heal, especially through practices that honour the self, others and nature. However it is vital to hold balance as an essential ingredient in the process.

In my experience, both within my own spiritual/life journey and what I have heard from others, there is an enormous tendency to become elated and fly sky high for a while. This can happen due to beginning a regular mediation practice, spiritual healing or energetic clearings, or from awakening in other similar ways. When this happens, it is amazing! Everything is beautiful and we can easily be lead to think that everything will be perfect from now on. This is an altered-state-of-consciousness and yes, it is an amazing, beautiful spiritual experience. But it is important not to be fooled!

Spiritual practices that have had thousands of years of evolution such as Buddhism, are aware that these amazing states of being are a “glamour”. They know what goes up, must come down. Depression can result from a period of meditation and psychosis can result from spiritual emergence. I will go into more detail about spiritual emergence and mental illness in my next blog. But for now, it is important to recognise that the intensity of spiritually awakening can fool us when it is beautiful.

Of course, at other times the spiritual path can feel intensely painful too. Whichever way, it tends to take us out of suppressing emotionally charged patterns and issues so we can heal and release them.

Another point about balance is this. One of my favourite authors and therapist, John Welwood explains the balance between Eastern spiritual practice and Western psychology of the mind and science. John wonderfully illustrates people’s processes of healing at a deep unconscious level in his book “Love and Awakening”. The core of this process involves acknowledging the underlying real needs underneath the wounds that are often revealed within the context of intimate relationship. The real need may be to belong, to be loved, to feel valued, to be safe, to be supported, and to connect. The memories of having any of these needs neglected or violated is held in our bodies and energetically until healed. So a spiritual journey will trigger them as will a close relationship. So to balance the Eastern and Western perspective is a great way of moving forward to heal ourselves.

As we embark on these sometimes painful and sometimes beautiful journeys, it is essential to “hold the balance” so we can integrate the learnings into our minds and souls.

Balance is the practice of mindfulness… a process of witnessing emotional patterns and thoughts that come up when triggered. And likewise, witnessing the glamour of the blissful altered-state-of-consciousness when everything shines brightly.

Balance is embracing the Western science of psychology AND Eastern spiritual practices. I believe this is essential as we step into the changing awareness beyond 2012.

Balance is awareness and nurturing of our body, what we feed our mind, and compassion for emotion, as we become increasing more sensitive mind, body and soul. What are we eating, what are we watching on TV (horror movies might not have the same appeal!), what music are we listening, who are we putting ourselves around are all about balance.

Balance is stepping away from the busy human created world and cyber-world and being with nature! And it is stepping out of the simple non-action-of-being, to act and actively create within the human world of our creations.

Balance is our gentle breath… in and out! It is the flow of giving and receiving… It is a “Both/And” reality as opposed to an “Either/Or” reality. It is connection and integration!

Balance is the Key to integration of the material and spiritual!!!

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Have your say on the Law of Attraction and contribute to the greater consciousnesses of humanity …