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Josie Gregory 2007- Foundation for Workplace Spirituality

1. Levels of Spiritual Development

An important facilitation skill is to have an understanding of the level of personal / spiritual development the aspirant is working at. (Aspirant means the individual aspiring to achieve spiritual maturity).
In modern Western spiritual development, the best known writer and provider of spiritual maps in the field of transpersonal (spiritual) theory is Ken Wilber. Wilbers first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness, was written when he was 24 years old. It became a best seller. The book began an extraordinary series of writings, which, taken as a whole might tempt some to call it the Fourth Organum i.e. a work as far reaching in its synthesis as Aristotles Organum, Bacons Novum Organum, and Ouspenskys Tertium Organum. It may come as no surprise to find that Wilber has considerable respect for Aristotle, or that one of Wilbers recent titles is called A Theory of Everything. The Spectrum of Consciousness outlined a developmental model of consciousness consisting of an outward arc and an inward arc, or, in more psychological terms three phases: pre-egoic, egoic, and trans-egoic. (Egoic pertains to the ego. Ego is a psychic structure identified as the individuals personality).

Fig.2 Wilbers 2-arc model (taken from The Atman Project) 1

Josie Gregory 2007- Foundation for Workplace Spirituality

Wilber was one of the first to identify the trans-egoic a term constructed out of entirely Western notions equivalent to the Eastern concepts of Enlightenment, liberation, moksha, or nirvana. His second book, the Atman Project, developed the two-arc model further, identifying a sequence of stages from the infantile, through normal adult development, and on through a sequence of transpersonal or spiritual stages to the non-dual, this later meaning `fully realised spiritual being. Wilbers continual development in his writings and status amongst his readership have led him to identify three stages in his own thinking: Wilber-I, Wilber-II, and Wilber-III. Wilber-I has its roots in a Romanticism that Wilber-II rejects, while Wilber-III refines the stages leading up to enlightenment or the non-dual stage (Wilber 1998, p. 243).

It is Wilbers second arc, the inward arc that is called transpersonal, starting with the mature egoic state and developing through a series of higher stages. John Rowan (1993), in adapting the 2-arc model in his book The Transpersonal, has suggested that the main concern of transpersonal psychology is the middle band of this progression, termed centaur by Wilber. The centaur stage of development, preceded by the mature ego and the biosocial bands, relates to Maslows self-actualiser. The centaur is so-called because the image of half-man, half-horse suggests a mind and body in profound harmony. Rowan suggests that psychotherapy of some kind is essential to facilitate the individual to reach this stage, and also that it is a preparation for the later, more spiritual stages. Wilber in his Spectrum of Consciousness devotes a chapter to the centaur, and details how work on the body at this stage can lead to psychological integration. It is these later stages which are both the most interesting from a spiritual perspective, and also the most difficult to categorise and describe. Wilbers most comprehensive map, which includes the two arc model, is his four quadrants. This is not specifically a spiritual map, but locates the spiritual within a framework that also includes the material, the social and the economic (Wilber 2000, p. 61-62

Looking at Wilbers (2000) and Rowans (1993) developmental models one can see that for them spiritual development seriously starts at stage 6 (The Centaur stage). Stage 5 describes the development of the Mental ego, the egoic

rationality and formal operational logic stage as described by Piaget. This is the `normal consensus consciousness of Western society (Personal Stage) which can culminate in the types of peak experiences Maslow refers to for the mature

Josie Gregory 2007- Foundation for Workplace Spirituality

ego starting to look beyond self. To move from this stage to stage 6 requires a deep commitment to personal change, grace and providence. Having built up the personal ego and strong sense of personal identity as essential adult characteristics, the person now wants to transform him or herself into a selfcreative person (to use Herons model). Heron gave his reason for this which I will re-produce here:
By the word `transpersonal I refer to the person changing from one state to another, emerging from identification with egoic separateness into intrinsic personhood: distinctness of being within a wider and deeper unity. In this sense `transpersonal means `transforming. Personhood is not left behind; on the contrary, it enters into its true estate, unique participation in here and now divine presence, the heritage which has awaited it all along. (Heron)

One can see that stage 5 is concerned with the personal level. Individuals who do personal development (psychological) work to reduce ego inflation, anxiety, material attachment, compulsions and other personality traumas are more likely to move to the Centaur stage. According to Rowan (2001) personal development is not an option but an essential pre-requisite to spiritual development if we want to prevent spiritual emergencies. He goes on to say that the centaur stage is where humanistic psychology and practice operates. The aim of humanistic psychology is to develop and integrate the mind-body-spirit of the person in a holistic fashion. This integration is vital before the development moves to the subtle stage if we are to come through the transformation as fully functioning individuals. This section will start with a summary of spiritual development as it is necessary to look at the spiritual domain to understand the place of spiritual facilitation. Some general descriptions will be discussed that will seek to answer the question: What are the indicators of spiritual development? How do we know that this development takes place? What do we look for that tells us it is taking place, both in ourselves and in others? How do we practically and conceptually view such development? (By conceptual I mean viewed from a number of different perspectives transpersonal psychology, mysticism and the esoteric).

Josie Gregory 2007- Foundation for Workplace Spirituality

But first a definition that is also a poem:

Spirituality is a state of connectedness to life It is an experience of being, belonging and caring It is sensitivity and compassion, joy and hope

It is harmony between the innermost life and the outer life or the life of the world and the life universal.

It is the supreme comprehension of life in time and space, the tuning of the inner person with the great mysteries and secrets that are around us.

It is the belief in the goodness of life and the possibility for each person to contribute goodness to it.

It is the belief in life as part of the universal stream of time, that each of us came from somewhere and is destined somewhere, that without such belief there could be no prayer, no meditation, no peace and no happiness.

U. Thant, former Secretary General of the United Nations

Each of us needs to create our own understanding of what spirituality means to us. The above quote is one of the broadest definitions I have found that seems to cover spirituality at the individual, social and cosmic dimensions, and allows for an imminent and a transcendent perspective.

To complement U. Thants definition above, the spiritual can be described in many ways; as a state of Being, as a spiritual impulse, as a sense of awe, as the nonmaterial, the metaphysical, a Unitive experience, an altered state of mind (consciousness) and an experience of a different kind.

2. The phenomenological world of the person

In spiritual development we say that the facilitator needs to understand and work with the phenomenological world of the person. What does this mean?

Josie Gregory 2007- Foundation for Workplace Spirituality

Wilbers developmental map shows that the mythic state is a form of knowledge representational thought that preceded the chronologically mature person, the child, who is still incapable of formal-operational insight; still anthropomorphic; a mixture of logic and previous magic and as such is prepersonal. We might be inclined to think that it is a limited form of early development of the child aged 0-7 years; that the concrete operational stage supersedes this as a higher intellectual development and that the child loses this mythical thinking. For many Westerners that appears to the case, as they use it less in favour of formal-operational knowledge which is fostered and rewarded in schools and society as it helps with abstract thinking and rational logic. What appears to get lost or moves into the unconscious is the mythic thinking that is irrational, intuitive, imaginal modes of knowing that is also part of human knowing. This is a major part of the phenomenological world of the person. Here the living breathing understanding of consciousness, revelation, relatedness and Being find expression. Between the experiential and the imaginal modes of knowing lies faith, meaning (Faith) is the state of being grasped by the power of being which transcends everything that is and in which everything that is participates In this point (the) mystics experience and personal encounter are identical. In both of them faith is the basis of the courage to be. (Tillich, P. 1980, p173).

Wilbers mythic thinking is not to be confused with Herons definition of the imaginal as Heron does not keep non-rational thinking located only in the child. Heron (1992) has being writing about this mode of knowing for many years, giving it equal importance to the three other forms of knowing. (The four modes of knowing are: experiential, imaginal, propositional and practical). I want to discuss the imaginal in some detail as it is here where the I-Thou relationship gets formed and sustained. It is here that the participatory nature of knowledge is co-created and it is here where the spiritual dimension has its life.

The point of this exploration is that while the experiential and imaginal modes of knowing are present to a large extent in children, socialisation and school moves Western man on to the formal-operational (propositional) and practical ways of thinking quickly and by and large seeks to suppress the experiential and imaginal

Josie Gregory 2007- Foundation for Workplace Spirituality

forms of knowing. Yet, it is these latter forms of knowing where we are most likely to have breakthroughs into the spiritual realm. In Tart et all (2000) Chapter 7 offers a discussion on Illuminative presence where these forms of knowing are identified. In terms of the World of Image he says:
This doctrine (the world of images) invites us to reconsider the logical positivist assumption that the experiences of the imagination are `imaginary in the common sense of that word, implying fictitious or arbitrary. On the contrary, it is suggested that the presential awareness that we have of what we might instead call `imaginal phenomena evinces a dimension of being that is ontologically no less real than the sensible world. (p153)

The Imaginal world is topographically so to speak, not embodied in matter; it is placeless, `in suspension. This world subsists according to Suhrawardi (1993b cited in Hart 2000, p153) independently of any corruptible substratum, but nonetheless quasi-corporeally. In this concurrence of matter and spirit a liminal dimension of cognition comes into focus, within which `spirits are corporealised and bodies spiritualised. In terms of spiritual development, the more the aspirant dis-identifies with matter (only), and in this way, intensifying and deepening its apprehension of itself, the more the world of imagery becomes alive to the self. This is the world of the Shaman and the alchemist, both seen as facilitator archetypes. For Heron (1992) and others, Platonic archetypes are as cosmic templates on which the phenomenal world was pattern during the course of cosmic evolution (Hart et al 2000, p. 208). Moving into this imaginal mind means (for Heron, and Corbin) that he can part-take of its creation the great range and sweep of cosmic consciousness; the living power and prime agent of all human perception a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinitive I AM (Coleridge cited in Heron 1992, p. 147).

If we were to juxtapose this `other lived world onto the injunction from mystical traditions to see things differently; to see differently the eternal and temporal dimensions, to see them from the point of view of eternity as opposed to the temporal, then we will see as God sees. As nothing changes in the Godhead, in eternity, it is only our seeing of it that changes.

Josie Gregory 2007- Foundation for Workplace Spirituality

3. Facilitating Spiritual Development

The basic premise on which this section is based is that those who are awake to their own spiritual nature and actively identify with being spiritual human beings are on a journey of spiritual development that can be called the mystical journey or the path of enlightenment or other transformative states.

Using Wilbers states of consciousness theory, The Centaur stage is the bridge between the personal and the transpersonal in terms of levels of consciousness. Authenticity and autonomy are prime values at the 6th stage. The integration of vision-logic mind with the emotional body; the unified bodymind, exploring the existential self, all these are intended to lead to self-actualisation (in Maslows definition). At this stage the work of the aspirant and the facilitator is between the personal and the transpersonal and it is co-creative work. This is distinctively different from working in general psychological counselling and clinical psychotherapy where the work is generally held within the 5th stage. However, at level 6 any residual incompletely healed distress, compulsive behaviours or other archaic trauma need to be attended to and healed. Many spiritual teachers attest to the necessity of this personal work as part of the movement into the transpersonal sphere. The consequence of not doing such personal work and to move straight into the phenomenological (experiential) aspect of spiritual practice creates a danger of spiritual narcissism (which includes ego-inflation, selfabsorption and spiritual materialism), integrative arrestment (meaning that the natural processes through which spiritual realisations are integrated into everyday life are arrested) and for some people spiritual psychosis. (Grof & Grof 1989, Rowan 2001). The spiritual facilitator needs to be able to work at the level of the personal and the transpersonal and know when the aspirant is working on existential issues, spiritual identity issues and when they are working with archaic distress. An example of confusing or conflating personal and spiritual needs can be found in spiritual materialism. Spiritual materialism can be defined as a form of self-deception in which spirituality becomes a subtle means to fulfil egocentric (or anthropocentric) desires. (Chogyam Trungpa 1973, p. 14, cited in Daniels 1997). It is evident when devotees become addicted to peak experiences or sustained spiritual excitement as evidence that they are meditating, or praying or practicing their spiritual development correctly and being rewarded. The great traditions discourage this. Wisdom and knowledge are the goals of the great traditions as

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this leads to enlightenment, the goal is not fixation in experience. The balance between experience and learning from experience is offered by Rowan when he says:
If we take responsibility for ourselves, we are fully human. this is a very important step in psycho-spiritual development, because it is the gateway to the realisation that we must have spiritual experiences for ourselves, we cannot get them from someone else. This is the basic attitude of the mystic in all religious traditions to get inside ones own experience, to commit oneself to ones own experience, to trust ones own experience. (Rowan 2001, p.37). and then to learn from these experiences.

Farrer (2002) points out that spiritual traditions are careful to warn that mystical states are not ends in themselves but as preparation to participate in special states of discernment. There is a warning here against James (1902, 2002) radical empiricism as well as the bias towards experientialism of the whole humanistic and transpersonal movement which Ferrer (2002) discusses in some detail. His main concern is that this (transpersonal) movement uses human experience to validate the spiritual dimension. It is as if humans have created the spiritual dimension all on their own, so that spirituality is spiritual psychology and can be accommodated within the many degrees of consciousness of the individual. Spirituality is then a private subjective experience, rather than participatory and part of the natural order of things. (Heron 1992, Ferrer 2002, Milne 2007) There is another point worth mentioning here as it is crucial. The emphasis on experience and its place in spiritual development is one divider between spirituality as expressed by Transpersonalists and the New Age practitioner generally and most of the Mystical traditions. Part of the thesis of the Cloud of Unknowing (Wolters 1978) is the notion of the `cloud of forgetting. The cloud of forgetting encourages the aspirant to put aside all points of reference(s) previously used; to let go of rules of punishment and reward; to let go of (spiritual) consolation and to move into a state of awe as a stable state and that is it. Krishnamurti taught this in the 20th century as part of his `choiceless awareness and the author of the Cloud of Unknowing said the same in the 13th Century. The `Cloud of Unknowing author was an unknown Roman Catholic monk, Krishnaturti a modern-day Buddha. For mystics to try to focus on experience and on the experiencer is dualistic; it is part of the subject-object split mentioned

Josie Gregory 2007- Foundation for Workplace Spirituality

earlier and it is seen as a distraction from the ultimate goal of Unity with the Source. In summary, spirituality is not about feeling good, emotionally satisfied or having ecstatic experiences. Spirituality is connection to a collective and unitive force that is material, cosmic and beyond to the Creative Void. Facilitating such enlightenment (the Unitive experience) implies the ending of the `I-making tendencies, ending or cessation of obstacles or personality traits, rather than positive terms such as bliss, although this can be sought too as part of the journey. Cessation is the root meaning of the word `Nirvana (Pali Canons)

The proposition offered here is that this Unitive experience is the aim or desire of seekers and all those who consciously embark on the spiritual journey. The aim is to move to the subtle, causal and non-dual states as a constant spiritual state. One might well ask how such aims get reflected in the spiritual life of aspirants engaged in their everyday working environments. Generally, being aware of the different states of consciousness, focusing on ethical and spiritual values and virtues and living the good life (Plato) will bring one to their own state of spiritual maturity.

In exploring this subject of spiritual development there are some presuppositions that are useful to hold on to. These are;
Human beings are best understood in terms of consciousness and its modifications; Consciousness can be transformed by spiritual practices; Individuals can help others do the same by some form of transmission (Rawlinson 1997, p.xvii)

Rawlinson goes on to say:

Consciousness can be seen as divine, as intrinsically pure, or as `empty (all are valid) Spiritual practice ranges from solitary observation of the movement of the mind to temple worship and social activism Masters can be quiet or ecstatic, trying to change the world or quiet indifferent to it Transmission ranges from formal initiation to a glace from the eye of the beloved. (Rawlinson 1997, p.xvii)

Josie Gregory 2007- Foundation for Workplace Spirituality

Essentially there are three broad perspectives on `states of being and spiritual development which we can explore as part of facilitating spiritual development: The psychological (meaning Transpersonal Psychology), mysticism as mystical theology and practice, and the esoteric (metaphysical knowledge). Within these perspectives many people take a theistic stance, (a belief in a God or Gods or supernatural power, while others take an atheistic stance including an animistic/ shamanic stance. And within these dimensions of the existence of a Higher Power, God or Source or not, some people have a leaning to a transcendent disposition while others have an immanent disposition and there are those who are inclined to both. A simple definition of the transcendent disposition is that the individual seeks to move away from or beyond the personality and the world of the senses to a Cosmocentric dimension, believing that Divine Intelligence is beyond the human mind and needs to be sought outside of it, and if one is given access to it, it is because of grace, sacrifice (denial of the material) and the Love of God. The immanent disposition values the human bodymind and believes human beings are part of Divine (Spiritual) Intelligence and through an integration of the world of the senses and the spiritual world we form part of the energy force spiritualising the planet. Exercise: As a facilitator it is important to be aware of some of these orientations and dispositions in spiritual traditions.

3.1 Spiritual Development from a Transpersonal Perspective

From a psychological perspective there is a broad description of `the spiritual offered by Evans (1993) cited in Ferrer: Spirituality consists primarily of a basic transformative process in which we uncover and let go of our narcissism so as to surrender into the mystery out of which everything continually arises (Ferrer 2002, p.34). This `surrender into the mystery implies an experience of a particular kind. It is not unlike Herons definition of feeling as:
the capacity of the psyche to participate in wider units of being; to become at one with the differential content of the whole field of experience, to indwell what is present through attunement and resonance, and to know its own distinctness while unified with the differentiated other. This is the domain of empathy, indwelling, participation, presence, resonance and such like (Heron 1992, p. 16).


Josie Gregory 2007- Foundation for Workplace Spirituality

This psychic state (feelings) is more unitive (mystical), and they do not have the same characteristics as intense emotional states. As far as Heron is concerned, being spiritual and experiencing this feeling state, this distinctness, with varying degrees of intense awareness, is in fact the same phenomenon. (See his description of the imaginal mode (1992)). Heron talks of `spiritual capacity saying it addresses the divine as such. It involves a consummation of participatory feeling in unitive states of being. (Heron 1992, p. 61) Herons orientation appears immanent as he refers to the spirit as a propensity within the person. However he also sees the person as a Spiritual Nomad so could be said to have both a transcendent and an immanent orientation, which puts him beyond the transpersonal.

Another transpersonal description of the spiritual is offered by Corbett (1996, p149) when he says
Spirit is synonymous with archetype; it is the transpersonal principle that gives pattern, meaning, discrimination and order to life.

(Archetype in the Jungian sense) He goes on to say:

When spirit embodies, its effect is affect, often felt as part of a complex. This affective component of the archetype represents its channel into the body. This embodiment is the somatic pole of a process which we call soul, which at the same time produces intrapsychic imagery. In other words, as Hillman (1985) puts it, soul brings spirit into personal experience. The result of this spirit-soul interaction is a process of incarnation (p149).

This incarnation is the spiritual person.

Corbett refers to Kohuts self psychology and its archetypal basis to explain how a person becomes spiritual. Here Kohut refers to a mechanism by which the Self incarnates into the personal self and he offers a psychological rather than a theological meaning to the terms `spirit and soul. Depth Psychology offers a perspective on spirituality without recourse to the tenets of established doctrinal (theological) systems (Corbett 1996, p.5). The main premise in Depth Psychology


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is that there is no concept of divinity that is not the result of direct experience and in fact:
the divine is indistinguishable from Mind or Consciousness itself. The psyche that we label human and divine can be best understood as belonging to an undivided continuum of consciousness. (op cit p.2)

Corbett goes on to say that

the divine as Mind structures the world as we know it, and spirit is actually synonymous with transpersonal levels of the psyche.

And later:
The soul is that aspect of the psyche that feels as if it is personal, but it cannot be divorced from the totality of the larger consciousness of which it is a part. (Op cit, p3)

In this approach it would seem that being spiritual (as an experience) is directly related to the degree of embeddedness of the spirit-soul dynamic and how complete this relationship is. In the original Greek psyche meant the breath, life, soul. Psychic `structures could include the soul, the mind, life force and all levels of consciousness and the definition can change depending on the religious, philosophical and psychological orientation of different authors. So the concept `psyche means different things at different times in history and in different traditions. For Heron the psyche means the human mind and its inherent life, by the person he means the psyche in manifestation as an aware developing being in whom all its modes are brought intentionally into play (p14). (By modes he means, emotional, imaginal, conceptual and practical). He goes on to say that the psyche is the generic term used to describe some of the basic structures and dynamics of the human mind (consciousness). This understanding of the psyche is not far removed from Corbetts (1996) all embracing description of the psyche quoted above and where:


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For the depth psychologist only the psyche is universal and the psyche has an infinite capacity to produce sacred imagery (op. cit. p.3).

Heron (1992, p14) differentiates between the psyche and the person, he also, rather unusually - in psychology, distinguishes between the person and the ego, seeing the person as a spiritual monad (by which he means):

.differentiated centres of consciousness within a cosmic presence. Personhood is one such centre, a particular focus of development within the field of universal consciousness, unfolding a unique perspective within it. (p.10).

This indicates that the psyche is our consciousness in all its states from full `awake awareness to `sleep unconsciousness, from personal consciousness (The I-I am) to altered states of consciousness to divine consciousness. Divine consciousness is to move beyond distinction into the causal, formless, non-duel realm as defined by Wilber (2000). This is a continuum from the personal (human) to the spiritual nature of man and of the universe. For Corbett the continuum moves from the psychological to the metaphysical position, where the latter deals with the myth of consciousness (p3). It also seems to embrace the immanent state in a strong way with only a cautious recognition of a transcendent state indicating that such a state is only possible when true selfhood has been achieved, because a fragile self would collapse under the strain. (Op. cit, p172).

You might be able to see an important difference in transpersonal psychology when compared with other perspectives (Zen, Mystical Theology). The difference is at the level at which different approaches within transpersonal psychology engage with the spirit. In Corbetts phrase: When Spirit embodies and Spirit is synonymous with archetype; and Hillmans phrase when soul brings spirit into personal experience they distinguish between soul and spirit and generally address the soul level as the highest level of engagement in transpersonal psychology. If this is


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so, is this level sufficient to understand spiritual development within different spiritual tradition? For many it will be sufficient and for others it will not. For those who want to go further they will ask the question, what is meant by the `Spark within the soul? What does that mean? For them there is a need to go beyond transpersonal psychology models to engage with the interactive relationship of the spirit-soul that creates the spiritual person. Rowan (1993) keeps alluding to these different transpersonal and spiritual levels in his introductory chapter. This is linked to whether there are symbols or images or whether the person experiences a void:

I simply entered or rather was a timeless, spaceless void which in some indescribable way was total aliveness an almost palpable blackness that was yet somehow radiant. Trying to find words for it afterwards, I recalled the mysterious line of Henry Vaughans poem The Night: `There is in God (some say) a deep dazzling darkness. (Wren-Lewis 1991, p.5 cited in Rowan 1993, p25)

Rowan offers the above quote to illustrate what it might be like to `go beyond the imaginal mind as ordinarily understood into what many would describe as the mystical. The transpersonal level (the Centaur and lower subtle) deals in images and symbols and Jungian psychology and Psychosynthesis typify this approach (within the discipline of psychology). This is also the level of the imaginal mind spoken about by Heron (1992, pp.18-19) and Rowan (1993) who gives an indepth account of this level in relation to soul-making (p59). Herons approach to the imaginal is more philosophical than psychological. Interestingly, the phrase transpersonal has changes over the last 60 years and has become more scientific and deductive. The original definition offered by Jung


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in 1916 was developed more as a spiritual definition by Dane Rudhyar in 1930 (Both cited in Rowan 1993, pp.32-33): Rudhyar distinguishes between the

substantive and conditioned form of the personality to a form of behaviour, from the universal unconditional Self in Man, that uses the personality merely as an instrument.
I have used the term (the transpersonal) since 1930 to represent action which takes place through a person, but which originates in a centre of activity existing beyond the level of personhood. Such action makes use of human individuals to bring to focus currents of spiritual energy, supramental ideas or realisations for the purpose of bringing about, assisting, or guiding transformative processes. (Rudhyar 1983, p. 219. cited in Rowan 1993, p. 33)

This centre of activity could be similar to Herons (1992) `differentiated centres of consciousness within a cosmic presence referred to above. For Heron personhood was one such centre, so other centres could be actioned through the person. Heron (p.62) discusses the meanings of the word transpersonal and his definition is that transpersonal means when a person changes from one state to another; from the state of identifying with the egoic separation to the state of being free from that state. The emphasis I am placing on Rudhyars definition is that it has resonance with the mystical and esoteric traditions where there is spiritual energy, spiritual Being-ness beyond personhood. (Closer to Platonic and Neo-Platonic spirituality). Heron, however would say that this `beyond the person is a misunderstanding of the nature of the person. This is to mix up the ego with personhood, which is never discarded but is transcended. Heron would go so far as to say that the transpersonal also means the transparent; where the psychic and spiritual energies manifest through the person and their full range of activities in the world. (p. 63). Yet others from the mystical tradition would see ego as meaning the whole person. In


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ancient times right up to the middle-ages the term ego had positive connotations and this really only changed to a pejorative term with the advent of psychology in the last century.

How does the above account help us understand spiritual development? The presupposition is that there is a natural movement between the personal, the suprapersonal and the spiritual, not as a hierarchical order as such, (although many writers say it is: Wilber, Heron, Fowler, Avila (see McLean 2003), Underhill, (1999), and others) but that there is a relationship between states rather than saying that there is only one state. If you use Wilbers model the transpersonal can refer to the breakthrough between the personal and higher self at the centaur level and the subtle level, with the following stage the self-transcendence or causal level. For many this latter stage is seen as beyond transpersonal psychology as the apprehension of the transpersonal self and witness must be given up (Clark 1977 cited Rowan 1993, p.115). One enters the Void. Hillman describes working at the transpersonal level as working with polytheism for the purpose of deepening what is there into itself: individualisation and soulmaking (Cited Rowan 1993, p. 35). This fits more closely with the majority of transpersonal practitioners. Hillman has written some excellent books on transpersonal and spiritual development. One of his most popular books A Blue Fire (1991) deals extensively with the metaphysical question of the difference between the soul and the spirit. The above account is necessarily limited to western approaches where transpersonal psychology has been developed. Even then it is a scant account and you are encourages to pick one or two approaches in transpersonal


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psychology to help you to understand its usefulness to your own spiritual development and your facilitation. You will find some approaches in Christopher Bache (Life Cycles 1994 and other publications) Grof & Grof, (Spiritual Emergency 1989 etc.), Charles Tart (Living the Mindful Life and other books), Rollo May (the Meaning of Anxiety 1977 etc.), Assagioli (see Bibliography and his companion Piero Ferrucci (What We May Be -1982) and not least The Course of Miracles (1975) and many others. psychology. 3.2 Spiritual Facilitation from a Transpersonal Perspective holds many good articles on transpersonal

The invitation now is to explore some models of spiritual development that aim for individualisation and soul-making as the main areas of the transpersonal.

(See Maslows Metamotivational Theories, Grof, and Wilbers spectrum of consciousness and Assagiolis Psychosynthesis (Dis-identification stage).

Each of the models of spiritual development will take a position (a cluster of beliefs) on the nature of the person. This is called the ontological position and it seems imperative to know what your position is and the ontological stance of the theory you use as it will guide and bias how you interpret human spiritual development and behaviour.

Rather than start at an abstract level about particular models of spiritual development I am encouraging you to explore for yourselves what Herons (1992) model of the person means for you. This is Herons ontological position where he describes different states of the person matching chronological and maturational development. This is not to say that a person cannot move forward and backwards (or upward and downward) under different conditions but it is saying that, for Heron, there are different states that are ontological in that he is saying this is the nature of the person at that state. Note he does not call them stages


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because this would imply a temporary position with a logical progression from one stage to the next. According to Heron human nature is more unpredictable then that and a person can stay at one state for years or for a lifetime. The states are diagrammed below:

Figure 1 Herons eight states of personhood (1992, p. 53)

Charismatic person The psyche is a continuously transfigured, living Presence

Self-transfiguring self

The psyche realises its psychic and spiritual Potentials

Self-creating person

The psyche is autonomous in healing and actualising self

Creative person

The psyche is autonomous in external behaviour

Conventional person

The socialised psyche adopts cultural roles and rules

Compulsive person

The wounded psyche has defensive splits and repressions

Spontaneous person

The uninhibited psyche expresses its innate impulses

Primal person

Primordial fusion of the psyche and its foetal world

In terms of spiritual development, a person would need to engage in activities which take him or her through various states of being. Heron describes these states at some length on pages 55-75 (Heron 1992) and are worth reading You will see that his model is in line with other developmentalists (Wilber, Assagioli, Underhill and others) in that there are certain pre-requisites necessary to shift states. Shifting states is one definition of personal transformation, in that the person shifts completely (their perceptions, their experiences and their interpretations of their experience) to a greater sense of knowing themselves, others, the world, God or the Divine and the relationships or interconnectedness between these entities. For Heron, the first two states are natural states, by which he means they are not psychologically determined. The following two states can get established concurrently with the previous ones and depend on the relationship that person has with himself, others and the world / cosmos both in general and in particular. According to Heron and others the psyche can and

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does split into emotional bands and thinking, usually as a result of emotional trauma, whether intentional or unintentional. How a person moves from one state to another from this point onwards is dependent on the degree to which the person takes control of her/his life in a `healthy autonomous way. In formal operational thinking the person can differentiate, discriminate and make choices for themselves to a large extent. A person can also move between states depending on the cultural and social environment and also on the strength of their own psychological boundaries. As a philosopher Heron uses Aristotle to support his argument of the conventional person, stating that people need to acquire conventional beliefs and norms before they can become fully rational and moral beings (p57), and this before they can become self-configuring. This statement could be disputed by some theorists who dislike the concept of hierarchy and dislike the emphasis placed on the development of rationalism. For Heron, spiritual development would seem to mean that a person needs to develop a strong, emotionally competent ego and from there transcend ego (individual personality) and move into (dwell in) a transfigured state (p.63).

Moving through the compulsive state implies that a person identifies their psychical splits and the erected false self (p.55). The person acknowledges what they have over-identified with, become addicted to or become a psychological Victim of, events or people in their lives. They are encouraged to work through the emotional trauma associated with such states. In this way they begin the journey to a state of psychic integration through becoming emotionally competence. According to Heron (and Wilber 2000, p.197) while many social and existential traumas lend themselves to secular psychotherapy, those working in sacred psychology see the healing of this (compulsive) state as `soul-making when done from the Centaur level. (Houston 1987 cited in Heron 1992, p56). In the self-creating state this healing of trauma moves the person into a more autonomous state.

The self-transfiguring state is characterised by the persons ability to work with their subtle energies, psychic capacities and spiritual potential (op cit. p61) The difference between these two capacities is important. The psychic capacity works at the subtle dimensions of this world and the subtle worlds in their own right. It involves the imaginal mind into the wider reaches of being (p. 61). Spiritual capacity


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addresses the divine, a bringing together of the participatory feeling in unitive states of being. The subtle worlds lie in the realm of the imaginal mind. This is where change of a certain kind takes place that is considered transforming or transfiguring.

While some of these theorists of transpersonal psychology were influenced by esotericism and occultism, they attached these influences to personality theories and in particular to personal development. A central concept is the different focus on ego development and the trans-egoic development. This is highlighted in Wilbers 2arc model as the inward arc and in the difference between personal synthesis and Psychosynthesis within that model.

In Psychosynthesis, the nature of the person is that she/he is a soul and has a personality. (That is their ontological position) (Hardy 1996, p. 21). The description of the personality is taken from different conceptual maps such as Freudian instincts and drives, social learning theory and the humanistic theory of the unique and potentially remarkable individual. Unlike many other psychological models and

psychotherapies which are only interested in the personality, Psychosynthesis, like Jungian theory is very interested in the soul. For Assagioli, the founder of

Psychosynthesis, the soul is basic and enduring, while the personality, though essential for our time on earth, is transient, superficial and changeable. If you are not aware of the map of the person in Psychosynthesis please see Hardy 1996, p. 23) or wikipedia for a good description and diagrams. The important question is at what level does Psychosynthesis go to when working spiritually? The three levels identified are (1) the consciousness, including the field of consciousness; (2) the unconsciousness; (3) awareness and soul the I and the Higher Self. The personal synthesis seems an essential prerequisite before a person attends higher synthesis. This personal synthesis is about the healthy disposition of the person in terms of their emotional, behavioural and cognitive competence, that is, the person acting as appropriate for the situation, their age and personal values.

A very good book on Psychosynthesis is: Assagioli, R. (1993) Transpersonal Development. The Dimension Beyond Psychosynthesis. (London: Thorsons). Here Assagioli answers the question I raised above about the level that psychosynthesis works at. In describing the superconscious (p31) he says:


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The Self in the (egg) diagram is placed at the highest extreme of the periphery of the personality, partially inside it in a continuous relationship with the superconsciousness and partially outside of the personality. This helps to express its dual nature: individual and universal at one and the same time. This would seem to be a paradox, something the mind is unable to grasp, alien to personal consciousness, it is a state of consciousness which can be, and is being, experienced and lived at certain moments of heightened awareness when a person is lifted out of the limitations of ordinary existence. In such a state one experiences a sense of enlargement, limitless expansion and a sense of being pervaded by an intense joy and bliss. It is indeed a sublime experience which words cannot express. It is here that one comes into contact with Mystery, with the supreme Reality. Of this I am unable to speak; it is outside the confines of science and psychology. However, Psychosynthesis can help us to approach it and to reach the very threshold. And that is no small achievement. (1991, p31)

This is very like Wilbers mature ego/Centaur stages and Herons self-creating person. Skills of discrimination, reflection, discernment, high moral development and values clarification seem essential to facilitate movement from personal synthesis to higher synthesis. Levels of self awareness and soul, the I implies being deeply reflective in terms of the conscious field in general and also in relation to the unconscious in terms of dreams, imagery, creativity and symbolism. This creates communication with the Higher Self. In Psychosynthesis the world of the imaginal mind is soul-making.

Look at Rowans (1993) description of the Centaur stage How does one move to this stage and beyond?

Assagioli describes five critical stages in the process of spiritual realisation: 1 The crises preceding spiritual awakening 2. The crises produced by spiritual awakening 3. The reaction which follows spiritual awakening 4. The phase in the transformative process 5. The `dark night of the soul (Assagioli 1991, p117).

It is an important part of the study of transpersonal and spiritual development that psychological and spiritual crisis are explored. Chapter 10 of Assagioli 1991 and

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Grof & Grof (1989) Spiritual Emergency both offer comprehensive accounts as do most writings on mysticism (See McLean 2003 The chapter on the Fourth Mansion).

3.3 The Mystical Perspective

There is a movement within some faith traditions that addresses many of the key issues of spirituality. This movement can be loosely called mystical theology. It can be found in the Greek, Latin and Russian Orthodox Christian traditions. It can also be found in other traditions outside Christian theology such as Sufi mysticism, and in Zen and atheistic theologies. (Johnson 1978, p.x and also see Wilbers (2000) account under the Causal realm)

The following is a brief overview of selected readings to illustrate the ideas and practices which facilitate spiritual development within the mystical tradition. I start with a quote from a contemporary mystic, Cistercian monk and writer, Thomas Merton (1915- 1968):

Mystical theology seeks to understand the highest union of man with God (outside the beatific vision) and to help us distinguish between experience that is truly supernatural and that which is not from God There is a natural metaphysical intuition of being, even of Absolute Being, or of the metaphysical ground of being. This intuition is certainly found in all the great world religions and in certain philosophies. Aristotle believed it is the highest achievement possible for man, and the root of his true happiness. There is no difficulty in relating this metaphysical intuition to the Satori of Zen. (Merton, T. cited in Johnson, W 1978, p. viii)

Mystical theology dwells on the spiritual dimensions and practices of individuals that helps illuminate the manifestation of God rather than the experiences per se. From the above quote one can see the possibility of mysticism outside religious contexts altogether. This is a relatively recent acknowledgement by spiritual writers and was brought about by the various studies of the underlying spiritual values, experiences


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and beliefs of many mystics and religions. (Notable Aldof Huxleys writings on the Perennial Philosophies written in 1946).
The contemplatives of the Dionysian traditionhad adapted dogma to their own experience, with the result that, in so far as they were advanced mystics, they had ceased to be specifically catholic. To a non-Christian, this seemed the supremely important, the eminently encouraging fact about mysticism - that it provided the basis for a religion free from unacceptable dogma, which themselves are contingent upon ill established and arbitrarily interpreted facts. (Huxley 1946, p97)

The chief characteristic of mystical theology is that it is a negative theology. This means that every positive statement (about God) is immediately qualified by a but that is not it
One cannot grasp the idea of unknowing as long as one clings to the notion of God conceived as a definite, that is to say, defined or limited therefore finite object. Any experience of God as possessing some finite form or idea which we can grasp is an experience not of God, but only of something that remotely resembles Him in an analogical way. (Johnson 1978, p ix) (Therefore it does not seek to humanise God authors italics)

Mystical theology can however be divided into two main spiritual impulses: the devotional practice which seeks essential union of love with God and the nondevotional seeking intelligence with God by stripping self of all illusionary visions, or forms or figures or any other symbolism that is representational of God. These two approaches are `The Via Positiva (Cataphasia) and `The Via Negativa (Apophasia). Both approaches go beyond the imaginal realm discussed earlier, therefore beyond the transpersonal in the established sense of that term and into the Union or the Void.

Mystical Experiences (some examples only) Otto (1958) comes from the theological or religious studies perspective. He expresses the intense experience of the spirit-soul interaction using the term `numinous to describe its unique character. For Otto the essence of holiness or religious experience is a specific quality which remains inexpressible and `eludes apprehension in terms of concepts (Otto 1958, p.5). The term numinous comes

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from the Latin numen, meaning God, linked with the verb nuere, meaning to nod or beckon, indicating divine approval (Corbett 1996, p.11).

William James, (2002) the celebrated author, explored this spiritual experience in some detail and offered the following characteristics or criteria.

Religious (spiritual) experiences are: Ineffability (unutterable) Noetic quality (intellectual quality) Transiency (impermanent) Passivity (inactive, receptive).

Ineffability: When the experience defies expression. The quality of the experience must be directly experienced; it cannot be transferred or imparted to others. The state is a state of feeling not of intellect. (Herons experiential encounter indwelling (1992))

Noetic quality While mystical experiences are states of feeling, (not necessarily emotional) they also seem to be states of knowledge. They are states of insights into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are states of Illuminations, revelations full of significances and importance, yet all inarticulate and have a curious sense of authority for aftertime.

Transiency, mystical states cannot be sustained for long. Mostly it is for about half an hour, or an hour or two at the most. (James 1908. p.381) Recall quality can fade, but when the experiences re-occur they are recognised immediately.

Passivity: While the subject might prepare his state for a spiritual experience, when the characteristic sort of consciousness has set in, the mystic feels as if his own will were in abeyance, and he can feel held by a superior power.

According to James mystical experiences modify the inner life of the subject between the times of their occurrence. He goes on to say that in his view personal spiritual experience has its roots and centre in mystical states of consciousness. Some of the characteristics of this state are described above, and others are a greater / deeper sense of the significance to things already known

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whether a prayer, a relationship with nature, words, sounds and so on. Then there is the feeling of having `been here before or `dreamy states. Sense of the obliteration of time, space, sensations until nothing remains but a pure, absolute, abstract Self. The universe becomes without form and void of content (James 2002, 325). Happold (1970) also talks of the sense of timelessness. However as time is created in the same way as gravity and space are created and the mystical experience moves beyond created material reality into the non-duel reality, it moves beyond time and space. In other words, time is only part of the phenomenal world. The level beyond is to move to the level of (cosmic) consciousness where duality and multiplicity disappear, including the duality between man and Deity. (Happold 1970, p47)

That art Thou! say the Upanishads and the Vedantists add: Not a part, nor a mode of
That, but identically That, that absolute Spirit of the World. (Cited in James 2002. p. 325)

Another characteristic is the conviction that the familiar phenomenal ego is not the real `I. In spiritual development it is this real Self that is explored, rather than the socialise personality self, with the view to being constantly aware and operating from that Self. It is a transformation from the ego to the Real Self which is the spiritual journey for the mystic. For in its nature this True or Greater Self is divine. (Happold 1970, p.48).
(There is a chapter on mysticism in William James (2002, pp 294-332) which is worth reading as it spans the Eastern and Western mystical approaches).

Finally the transcendent as dealing with a shift in personal identity from the physical and temporal to the infinite and eternal, or with mystical union, or with nirvana (Happold 1970, p. 4). The transcendent relates to enlightenment.
No description of the bliss of contemplation is possible: its nature is such that it is unspeakable. Even if it were permissible to speak of it, no words could be found. So mystical writers in general do no more that hint at this glory; they are content to describe the path to the Heavenly City, the pitfalls to avoid, the obstacles to surmount, the training to undergo, the mists to grope through. The author of the Cloud (of Unknowing) does the same. He gives a map of the way, his way, with great


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and attractive simplicity; the snags and the needs are indicated, and the methods to avoid the one and implement the other are set out. (Wolters 1978, p.47)

This mystical journey can take many forms from deeply transcendent experiences to other forms of peak experiences to social and nature mysticism. In my view, these are not distinctly different types of mysticism, rather different manifestations of communion with The Divine Source. There is a continuum of commitment and depth of engagement to the journey with individuals moving through their development either more or less consciously and more or less continually. Some people seem to gain spiritual maturity through their own efforts while others appear to receive spiritual enlightenment through grace from a Divine Source (or a source outside of the self (Underhill 1999, p51)). This raises the question about the place of receptivity and providence in spiritual awakening and their relationship with active soul education by self and facilitators. It also raises the question posed earlier about who is facilitating spiritual development; divine intervention, the person wanting to develop or the facilitator. It would be easy to say, all the above, but how?

3.4 Spiritual development from the Mystical Traditions

We will look at issues of ecstatic (cataphatic) mysticism as the via positiva and `nothingness (apophatic) mysticism as the via negativa and the place of experience in this approach. Spiritual practices from this tradition can cover the unstructured half of Rawlinsons four combinations (1998, p.100) and you are encouraged to read his descriptions of the four main spiritual orientations.

While Rawlinson and many others differentiate between different peoples spiritual orientation, in the mystical tradition there are really only two main approaches or forms of union with the Godhead; the immanent and the transcendent and ultimately these are one and the same. This is quite an important statement for you the reader. If you are not inclined to explore all the possible orientations offered, then just to focus on the immanent and the transcendent will suffice. The main difference is that the transcendent (via negativa and via positiva) would not see a need for the concept of self as agent, (whether self (as personality) or the Higher Self); would not split self as subject and God as object; rather that God is the sole agent and in so


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far as we are in the same Ground of God (the Divine Source) then we are One. The Knower and the known are the same. (Eckhart in McGinn, B. 2001). The two approaches can be summed up by the following:

Via Negativa:
We must not even call God ineffable, since that is to make an assertion about him: He is above every name that is named.

Of Thee our fittest eloquence is silence, while we confess without confession that Thy glory is unsearchable and beyond our reach. (It) proceeds upon the assumption that, since the Infinite is the complete antithesis of the finite, everything that can be affirmed of man must logically be denied of God, who can only be described by negatives. (Herman, 1916, p298)

Via Positiva:
The via positiva has at its heart the sense of God immanent in the world and in the soul, not merely as a cosmic Force, but as personal Love. And for many a Christian mystic God has always been a Person whom he delights to describe positively and in terms of his own highest and best, and whom, more often than not, he completely identifies with and to whom his personal love is given (adapted from Herman 1916, p299)

The main practice of both forms of mysticism is an emptying out of fixed subjective positions and the emptying out of distressed, compulsive or addictive attachments. (Author of the Cloud of Unknowing (Wolters 1979, Heron 1992, McLean 2003, Happold 1970, Wilber 2000). Plato said the only way to find out about justice is to be a just person. Likewise the only way to understand eternity is to experience it. Here we are dealing with what is eternal and what is temporal. We often try to make sense of the eternal from the temporal which is a mistake. What needs to change is the act of seeing eternity, meaning seeing God (or Divine Source). In this place Meister Eckhart and Teresa of Avila, Wilber, Heron and many others would say there is no dualism, no subject-subject or subject-object split as God is in all creation and all creatures are indistinct in the mind of God. Therefore all creatures are God, in the eyes of God. Here is where the immanent and transcendent meet. It is written by some that nature mysticism is to see God in nature, yet for the mystic the very fact of nature is a revelation of God. Nature reveals itself to us, this is God. Nature is not representational of God, it is God. It is not possible to infer the infinite from the finite, to do so is to demote, reduce the infinite to a finite way of being and

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thinking. It is possible to infer the finite from the infinite as God is capable of indistinction and distinction, man is only ordinarily capably of distinction. For many being spiritual means being in a sacred frame of mind (a sacred consciousness) or Presence where there is a `choiceless awareness. Buddhas message was that the heart of spiritual practice is awareness. Awareness means feelings are know as they arise, as they are present, as they disappear; perceptions are known as they arise, as they are present, as they disappear; thoughts are know as they arise, as they are present, as they disappear. `Choiceless awareness was the simple and only teaching of another great buddha, Krishnamurti. (King p.7)

Facilitating such mystical practices takes many forms, depending on the tradition from which the mystical theology comes from. Facilitators of these mystical traditions need to be experienced practitioners themselves and work with a light hand with fellow travellers. One often finds that the teachings are more to do with `what not to do; what to unlearn, how to strip the egocentric attachments so as to be more attached to service to others. Practices that are termed virtues are encouraged. These are perseverance, compassion, honesty, love for others, courage, discernment and many others are part of the mystics journey. Most of all the skill of active receptivity to revealed knowledge seems essential. Many mystics speak of the need to foster the virtue of humility in my view this means active receptivity to divine interventions and divine connection.

3.5 The Esoteric Perspective

The esoteric covers many different secret or mystery (arcane) schools where the disciple is accepted and initiated into very definite ontological and epistemological positions regarding the nature of God (Goddess); the nature of being human and the nature of particular forms of knowledge. Some better known Western traditions are: Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Rosicrucians, and Alice Baileys Arcane School. The Metaphysical approach is one such approach which is more open and might be better described as `New Age and it is offered as an example of `modern esotericism.


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This section is a contribution from Fionnuala Feighan, a metaphysician.

From the Greek, Meta meaning above and beyond, hidden, it implies the part of something that is not immediately visible, it resides in the background, but nonetheless has an effect. Physics looks at the properties of and interactions between matter and energy, metaphysics goes beyond physics to look at the properties and interactions between matter and its Source.

The development of metaphysics, in spiritual terms, recognises one Divine Source of all universal energy, God in all and of all. This Divine Source is the Supreme Thinker, a Universal Subconscious Mind from which all the forms in the Universe emerge.

Man is seen as the expression of God operating through this Conscious Mind, we are all like individual drops of water in an ocean that are uniquely formed but are all from the same essence and source.

Unlike religion, which offers mans interpretation of God and follows an assigned creed, spirituality is remembering ourselves at one with this Divine Source, the essence of which is goodness, truth, beauty, love, peace and harmony.

As expressed by the Metaphysical Society for the Expansion of Human Consciousness.

Metaphysics is a philosophy that maintains we live in a Universe of Infinite Intelligence which permeates all of existence. Our Spiritual Nature is one of total harmony, at One with the Intelligence. When we are out of alignment with our True Self, we experience conflict and difficulties. The work of a Metaphysical Practitioner is to uncover these imbalances in our belief system, to restore equilibrium and help us move forward.

Metaphysical practitioners work with people to reconnect them to their own inner Source, that part that is always connected to and rests in this Infinite Intelligence. Without teaching a creed or promoting spiritual teachings it aims to work with the person to discover the thinking that keeps them separated from their unique expression of this Divinity.


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Early writings on New Thought and the Science of the Mind

New Thought is a system of thought which affirms the unity of man with the Creative Unlimited Life Force. An important contributor to New Thought philosophy was Phineas P. Quimby born in New Hampshire, USA in 1802. Through his close observations of the medical healing practices of the time he began to see the role of the mind in the creation and the persistence of ill health.
Man is made up of truth and belief and if he is deceived into a belief that he has or is liable to have a disease, the belief is catching and the effect follows it. Quimby

After years of treating patients in his own practice he wrote,

My object is to correct the false ideas and strengthen the Truth. I make war with what comes into contact with health and happiness, believing God made everything good, and if there is anything wrong, it is the effect of ourselves, and that man is responsible for his acts and even his thought. Therefore it is necessary that man should know himself so that he shall not communicate sin and error.

Mary Eddy Baker, who later went on to found the Christian Science movement, was a patient of Quimby. Science of Mind is a spiritual philosophy and teaching based on the principle that this Infinite Intelligence individualises itself through us and works with the laws of cause and effect, thought being the cause and form or experience the effect. As a man thinks in his heart so shall the world appear to him. Later threads of Quimbys early work can be seen in the writing of Ernst Holmes. As a preacher and writer he began to outline the core universal laws and principles. He taught that when we align our thinking in this way we work in harmony with out true nature and the Universe.

The Science of the Mind was first published in 1926 and completely revised by the author in 1938 to become the standard teaching text for the Science of Mind Philosophy. In the book Holmes covers the nature of our being at one with the Divine Absolute Intelligence together with the practice and philosophy behind spiritual mind healing.

In recent years Metaphysical spiritual practice has moved towards deeper mystical principles and the expansion of consciousness, where we seek to realise the Divine Power within us in order to deliberately and definitely develop a greater expectancy of good and a deeper realisation of Life.


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We have not grasped the meaning of the omnipresence of God. We do not understand that where God is, I am, that the place whereon we stand is holy ground, that the presence of God is within us, that there is a God closer than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.* (Joel Goldsmith, The Art of Spiritual Healing and Realisation of Oneness (*Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Higher Pantheism)

Metaphyisical Laws and Principles Metaphysics holds that this one Power is ordered by Universal Laws and Principles which are impersonal, exacting and always present. When we understand these laws and principles we can align our thinking.

Some of the main Laws are:

1. The Law of Cause and Effect sometimes also called the Law of Karma this is the main law in operation in the mental realm and it states that for every cause there is an effect and for every effect there is a cause. As our subconscious mind is creative our problems come from ideas and beliefs based on past experience, we have accepted them as truth and they manifested into reality.

SPIRIT (cause) operating through Conscious Mind


BODY (effect)

The Law of Attraction We will draw into our lives that which we think about and believe to be true. This may be positive or negative thoughts and beliefs.


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The Law of Mental Equivalents We cannot draw anything into our lives unless we first create it in our minds. The outward projection of what we see in our inner world will correspond with our thought patterns.

The Law of Growth seeds of thought are first placed in the subconscious if left undisturbed will manifest as experiences or things.

The Law of Reflection - Life is a mirror reflecting back to us who and what we are or what we love or fear.

The Law of Grace transcends that Law of Cause and Effect when we align ourselves with the Truth, we are released

Core Metaphysical Principles are seen as generally accepted truths and like Laws they are exact and expand on our spiritual nature. The Principles of M.S.E.C. (The Metaphysical Society for the Expansion of Human Consciousness) are as follows:
There is One Mind, One Life Force, One Universal Power permeating all existence. This Power to be: Omnipotence (all power), Omniscience (all knowledge) and Omnipresence (being everywhere evenly present). The name by which this Power is known is unimportant. Some descriptions are The Source, Presence, Self, The Unmanifest, The Universe, Power Within, Life Force, Creative Mind, Infinite Intelligence, Energy, God, etc. Mankind to be the expression of this Power as It Individualises Itself as Mind, Body and Spirit. This Power is a Power for Good, operating through the Spiritual Laws of Mind. This Power is experienced as creative and, as it expresses Itself and functions in our lives, we are transformed. On a mental level, each individual creates his or her own reality by means of thought and belief and that by aligning our consciousness with the One Presence we change our experience.


Josie Gregory 2007- Foundation for Workplace Spirituality The Spiritual Nature of man is perfect and that our journey is for the purpose of unfolding that perfection by the upliftment of consciousness and the realisation of our AT-ONE-MENT with Life.

Readings on Metaphysics: The principles of early Science of The Mind thinking can be found in the Holmes, Ernest 1969 Living the Science of the Mind. This book is based on a compilation of essays written during his lifetime. Other popular Metaphysical authors include: You Can Heal Your own Life and The Power is within you, Louise Hay A little Light on the Spiritual Laws, Diana Cooper Living Magically, also Stepping into the Magic, Gills Edwards Realisation of Oneness, also The Art of Spiritual Healing, Joel Goldsmith Awareness, Anthony De Mello Stuart Wilde, lecture tapes series such as Developing Your sixth sense End The Struggle and Dance with Life, Susan Jeffers There is no recognised publication on the practice of Metaphyicsical Practitioner training. Training is provided by the MESC who are recognised by the Institute of Complementary Medicine in the UK.


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Assagioli, R. (1991) Transpersonal Development . London : Harper Collins Corbin, H. (1969) Mundus Imaginalis. Princeton. UP Corbett, L. (1996) The Religious Function of the Psyche. London, Routledge Daniels, M. (1997) Holism, Integration and the Transpersonal in Transpersonal Psychology Review, Volume 1. Number 3. pp12-16 Daniels, M. (1997) On Spiritual Materialism at: Dougherty, R. M. (1995) Group spiritual direction : community for discernment. New York : Paulist Press Evans, D. (1993) Spirituality and Human Nature. Albany, State University of New York Press Ferrer, J.N. (2002) Revisioning Transpersonal Theory: A Participatory Vision of Human Spirituality. Albany, State University of New York Press. Ferrucci, P. (1995) What We May Be. London: Thorsons. Grof & Grof. (1989) Spiritual Emergency: When personal transformation Becomes a Crisis. New York, Penguin Putnam Inc. Happold, F.C. (1970) Mysticism: A Study and an Anthology. London, Penguin Books Harrison, R. (1995) Consultants Journey. London: McGraw-Hill. Hardy, J. A. (1987) Psychology with a Soul; Psychosynthesis in Evolutionary Context. London, Woodgrange Press. Hart, T. Nelson, P. Puhakka, K. (Eds) (2000) Transpersonal Knowing: Exploring the Horizon of Consciousness. New York, State University of New York Press. Hillman, J. (1991) A Blue Fire. New York, Harper Perennial Heron, J. (1987) Confession of a Janus-Brain. London, Endymion Press Heron, J. (1992) Feeling and Personhood. London: Sage Heron, J. (1999) The Complete Facilitators Handbook. London: Kogan Page Heron, J. (1998) Sacred Science: Person-centred Inquiry into the Spiritual and the Subtle. Ross -on-Wye, PCCS Books. James, W. (2002) The Variety of Religious Experience. (Centenary Edition) London & New York, Routledge McGinn, B. (2001) The Mystical Thoughts of Meister Eckhart. New York, A Herder and Herder Book; The Crossroad Publishing Company. McLean, J. (2003) Towards Mystical Union: A modern commentary on the mystical text The Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila. London, St Pauls Publishing Johnson, W. (1978) The Mysticism of the Cloud of Unknowing. Hertfordshire, Anthony Clarke. Nevis, E. (1991) A Gestalt Approach to Organisational Consultancy. New York, Gardener Press. Rawlinson, A. (1997) The Book of Enlightened Masters: Western Teachers in Eastern Traditions. Chicago, IL: Open Court. Rowan, J. (1993) The Transpersonal: Psychotherapy and Counselling. London & New York, Routledge.


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Rowan, J. (2001) Ordinary Ecstasy: The Dialectic of Humanistic Psychology. London, Brunner-Routeledge. Tart, T. Nelson, P. & Puhakka, K. (2000) Transpersonal Knowing: Exploring the Horizons of Consciousness. New York, State University of new York Press. Tillich, P. (1980) The Courage To Be. New Haven and London, Yale University Press. Wilber, K. (2000) Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy. Shambhala, Boston & London Underhill, E. (1999) Mysticism: The Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness. Oxford, Oneworlds Publication. Wolters, C. (1978)The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works. London, Penguin Books