In the present text, I will try to convey my awe, wonder, and appreciation for the so-called transpersonal (meaning above personal, relative, limited).
Transpersonal in this context does not include any existing religion, philosophy, doctrine or New age movement, please. It translates to intimate and subjective empirical knowledge about what has been labelled Spiritual and Divine throughout human history. No intermediate factor (a priest, a guru, a church, an ashram, a mosque, a synagogue or a temple) is needed.
I am almost holding my breath here, for respect, freedom, integrity (of us all) is so important to me. I always state this while sharing in the written word, and it just doesn’t get old, so here we go again:
the thoughts below are only my subjective reality, and no criticism, labelling, diagnosis, or anything of the sort is intended.
Each of us lives in a subjective universe, it seems, and yet we can contribute to each other or not. It is my sincere hope that the text below does contribute at least somewhat.
Stages of human identity development
There is a guy, tall, brilliant, and, as far as I can see, awake. Awake from social, political, educational, religious, etc., systems. His name is Ken Wilber, and he is reputed to be the most read author in the history of humankind. All of his 40 books, I think, are still in print, some in re-re-reprint.
And this guy has come up with, to me, the genius idea of producing the map of all existing states and stages of human consciousness. And as far as I am concerned (and most of the professional psychological, philosophical, and even anthropological world is concerned, it seems), well, he did it.
The Wilber map takes the central stage at our educational Program, and the entire fourth year is dedicated to exploring all transpersonal stages.
I want to share here, though, that there is indeed an identity development going on in our human lives. Mainly I would like to point out two stages: Authenticity and the Subtle.
The first is personal, and the latter is transpersonal or spiritual.
I have sampled all of the levels of the Wilber map and empirically speaking, Authenticity is not as great as it seems on the paper or below.
All of the words, mere words, below are only generalizations and might as well not apply to any of you.
Yes, it is, or it seems to be:
– excellent to be able to stand up and say NO, or YES,
– precious to be able to be personal and authentic in bed, for example, really enjoying oneself,
– great to create our world, meaning that we apriori bow not to any structure from the outside,
– lovely to be able to express feelings and needs in a way others understand and maybe even appreciate,
– essential to be able to share the skills and knowledge of empathy and self-empathy with others,
– it is so dear to be able to have a job just the way we want, to connect only to people we choose, to eat, drink what we want, to have a house exactly as we want, etc.,
– glorious to be able to operate outside the expectations of others, and, above all,
– most important to follow the individualized Will of I and Mine.
Of course, there are not many people who have attained all of the above. I only know a few. Authenticity is indeed rare attainment on this Planet.
That been said, let us take a look at the, what seems to be, not-so-great characteristics of the Authentic level of awareness (as per my personal experiences and according to my observations and sharing of others, and also according to accepted professional literature penned by Wilber, Rowan, Forman, etc.):
– it is only personal, meaning it is conditioned by personal tendencies (limited empathy, energy, the reach of personal outlook, etc.),
– it takes enormous effort to be Authentic, simply because, at this level, personal effort is a must,
– everyone gets burned out at least once at this level, for Ego or the Authentic self keeps pushing the envelope by trying to change and improve things,
– Authentic Self or the Ego needs control, structure to feel secure and content,
– at this level, everything that is not following the inner (personal) reality is cancelled out, ignored, or at least avoided,
– it takes so much energy to emphatically reflect what others feel and need, simply because Ego or the Authentic self still believes and operates on separation and duality (I am me and you are you),
– vulnerability at this level hurts; even one single thought (coming from the outside or inside) might shake the foundations of the attained personal happiness and peace,
– Authentic Self or Ego is timid primarily, meaning that impersonal experiences might leave it troubled and confused,
– even the most flexible and tolerant Ego or Authentic self still needs reassurance, for it is a huge challenge for it to operate outside of its self-created inner reality,
– when offering empathy, when reflecting feelings and needs of others, the best Ego or Authentic self can produce is best guesses (in accepted professional literature, this is called “imagining the real”),
– and again, it takes massive effort to maintain the attained inner psychological climate, etc.
And yet, in comparison to the Mental or Instrumental level (a level before the Authentic level as per Wilber map), all of the above is indeed so much rewarding and positive, that some people I have met seem to take this Authenticity as synonymous to Enlightenment or Pure Spiritual Reality (which is, as per accepted Wilber map, not the case, not even by far).
Interestingly enough, even Marshall Rosenberg, the creator of the NVC system widely employed worldwide, pointed out that at the core of his system is this Beloved Divine Energy, not Ego or Authentic Self. Please, see the whole text if you will; you can read it here >>.
There is so much more one can experience beyond Authenticity in my experiences!
Let us take a look at some of the traits of the spiritual and transpersonal level of awareness, the Subtle level, or the Soul level:
– it is like coming home; it is safe, fluid, accessible, and eternal – no need for any effort,
– there is no need to fix things, to create something anew, for the transpersonal Reality has been the same forever,
– no effort is needed to connect with others at this level,
– empathy for others is not conditioned by effort or amount of self-empathy; it is free-flowing, eternal, absolute,
– they say that there is a book called “Structures to live by” and at this level, well, there are no books, the least of which is called “structure”,
– at this level, the true self, the Soul shines forth powerfully and gently at the same time, no need to fix it or create it from scratch,
– at this level, one is never alone, for the presence of the Soul naturally evokes the presence of other Souls from the Subtle transpersonal realm,
– there is no need to trying to become what we really are at this level, for we already are, way beyond all personal projections from the Authentic self or Ego,
– the Soul is the true Self, and the Authentic Self or Ego is merely her shadow (that’s why the Ego needs all the fuss and circus to be really content),
– the Soul is witnessing all the drama on the personal level and denies nothing, for everything is already in herself.
Dr Marshall Rosenberg (the founder of NVC – nonviolent communication), interviewed:
What does God mean to you?
I need a way to think of God that would work for me, other words or ways to look at this beauty, this powerful energy, and so my name for God is “Beloved Divine Energy.” It was just Divine Energy for a while, but then I was reading some Eastern religions and Eastern poets, and I loved how they had this personal, loving connection with this Energy. And I found that it added to me to call it “Beloved” Divine Energy. To me, this Beloved Divine Energy is life, connection to life.
Is this lack of connection to Divine Energy responsible for violence in the world?
To me, the violence in the world comes about when we get alienated or disconnected from this Energy. How do we get connected when we are educated to be disconnected? I believe our cultural conditioning and education disconnect us from God, especially our education about God.
(please, see the whole interview, if you will, here >> )
Well, at the Subtle transpersonal level, the “God” (for lack of a more flexible word) is experienced as real as you and me and is way beyond the Authentic personal level. It is the Divine in us, in you and me, that acts when the healing of guilt, shame, anger, etc., takes place.
How much more healing could occur if we embraced the transpersonal even more, transforming the timid Ego or Authentic self into this Beloved Divine Energy (as Rosenberg put it)!
– Edmond Cigale, Ph.D.
The list of Ken Wilber’s books can be found here >>
(a new page opens up)