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Transcendence : A Journey Into Being:- - Part 6 of a series on Personal Development

Transcendence : A Journey Into Being:- - Part 6 of a series on Personal Development

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Published by Peter Creagh
Reflections of Transcendence and its place in an holistic and spiritual approach to therapy
Reflections of Transcendence and its place in an holistic and spiritual approach to therapy

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Published by: Peter Creagh on Aug 23, 2010
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05/29/2014

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Personal Development – Transcendence – The Journey into being
Heartsease Training, Shifnal Shropshire email :
-
petercreagh43@virginmedia.com 
© October 2010 - Peter Creagh, Trainer, Supervisor and BACP Registered Counsellor UKRC
transcendence.doc
1
Return within and make sure that nothing enters in with you .
Ishpriya Mataji 
TRANSCENDENCE – The Journey into Being
Introduction
This is another note in the series concerning existential and trans-personal approaches togrowth and being. It attempts to pull together ideas and concepts from previous notes byCreagh (2005 to 2010). These cover the topics of; encounter and being, the power ofpranayama – breathe control, unconditional presence and the practice of mindfulness.This note continues the journey from the existential perspective explored in the previoustwo years of personal development group (PDG) sessions and particularly the 2
nd
year.This involved looking at 5 Existential Steps; one was the importance of ‘forgettingoneself’. This note is designed to deepen the exploration of this topic through exploringthe areas of awareness and consciousness.Robert Carkhuff (2001), in his excellent outline of a proposed new helping model,suggests that helpers/therapists need to be both interested and involved in assistingclients in their Physical, Intellectual and Emotional (PIE) lives. He contends that these areinter-related and that Therapists need to focus on the PIE aspects of their own life.Increasingly, therapy is beginning to recognise that to these three aspects we need toadd a fourth, namely spiritual. People are PIES people, they have physical, intellectual,emotional and spiritual aspects and, for me, this is a truer explanation of what is meant bythe term holistic.Although in its early days psychology was very interested in the spiritual, (the word
‘psyche’
comes from the Greek meaning
‘soul’
) for much of the 20th Century itneglected this aspect. Increasingly, psychology is beginning to redress the balance.These notes, and this year’s PD Module, begin to focus more intently on spirituality andparticularly on transcendence and self-transcendence. It is designed to prepare for andsupport a day of reflection on transcendence and some spiritual aspects of therapyIn terms of human existence, language is a relatively recent advance. It provides us witha richness of communication. However, language can also be a barrier and this isparticularly true of written language. This is because it can ground us in the cognitive andlead to a mere intellectual exchange. In addition, language is certainly a barrier betweenpeoples of different cultures and ethnicities.The paradox of all the topics in this PD Module is, that in one sense too much has beenwritten about them (much of it cognitive and of little help) and on the other hand there isnothing to write about. Because much of this journey into transcendence is experiential. Itinvolves us in lived experience and with getting in touch with our own innate and deepinner wisdom. However, to provide some basis for experience, reflection and (perhaps)discussion, some brief reflections will be made. Any discussion really needs to be briefand to address deep sharing of lived experience and not mere cognitive chatter.
 
Personal Development – Transcendence – The Journey into being
Heartsease Training, Shifnal Shropshire email :
-
petercreagh43@virginmedia.com 
© October 2010 - Peter Creagh, Trainer, Supervisor and BACP Registered Counsellor UKRC
transcendence.doc
2
Transcendence
Paradoxically ‘words’ are either unimportant and/or misleading or their root meaning canbe helpful. Transcendence comes from the root ‘to transcend’ It has elements of a journey over or above something. Many will have heard the expression ‘transcendentalmeditation’. However, transcendence subsumes this and is much more.Carkhuff’s emphasis on our need to grow in all of the PIE dimensions is a good startingpoint. It stresses and recognises the holistic aspects of being human. Transpersonaltherapy, along with many spiritual thinkers, would add to this the area of spiritual growth.In this sense we are all on a life-long journey. This journey involves us in growing andtranscending all elements (PIES) that mark us as human. This is not a new idea. We areprobably more familiar and comfortable with the idea that we can transcend theintellectual and emotional. But ultimately, self-transcendence involves the spiritual. Frankl(1978) suggests that the journey of transcendence subsumes and over- arches that ofactualisation. It might help to begin to look at this in a diagrammatic form and start at thelevel of actualisation.
Actualisation
Maslow, in his 1943 paper – 
A theory of human motivation 
, outlined a hierarchal set ofneeds. These start from basic survival needs and rise up through a hierarchy. The finalneed is humanity’s ultimate need for self-actualisation. Now Humanistic ideas, sinceHeidegger, Rogers and others have long seen actualisation as a natural occurrence.Many person-centred therapists see it as is one of the Two Primary Principles of thePerson Centred Approach, the other being the Six Necessary and Sufficient Conditions.Humanistic, Existential and Trans- Personal approaches all view self-actualisation as theinnate journey of humans. If we were to look at this journey as a continuum it might looksomething like the line below. This infers that our choices in life lead to either Success(Actualisation) or failure.
 
FAILURE SUCCESS
THE SELF-ACTUALISATION CONTINUUM
Frankl, and other existential proponents, see transcendence as being more importantthan and, as it was, above actualisation.
 
However, before we leave self- actualisation,perhaps this quote from Carkhuff succinctly summaries the choice between success andfailure.
We are born with the potential to grow – no more, no less! Those of us who learn to actualise this potential will know lives of untold fullness and excitement. We will develop growth responses that will enable us to go anywhere and to do anything. Those of us who do not learn to actualise this potential will know lives of waste and tragedy. The Choice is OURS 
.
Robert R Carkhuff (2001)
 
Personal Development – Transcendence – The Journey into being
Heartsease Training, Shifnal Shropshire email :
-
petercreagh43@virginmedia.com 
© October 2010 - Peter Creagh, Trainer, Supervisor and BACP Registered Counsellor UKRC
transcendence.doc
3
More on Transcendence
Heidegger states that ‘being
human is being in the world’ 
. This means that Man (maleand female) is not a ‘closed system’. Man relates to the ‘self’, to others, the environmentand the cosmos. In correspondence between Ishpriya Mataji and Creagh (1992-2009),concerning the nature of transcendence Ishpriya reminds us of our need to ‘
rise above’ the ‘self and our environment’ 
.
She states ‘
our heart’ is as big as our view of the world’.
For me,
 
this brings to mind a picture of man rising above his world in order to seemore of it and thus to, not only increase his field of view, but also to begin to develop auniversal heart of compassion. These aspects of transcendence and compassion areancient spiritual concepts that pre-date Hinduism, Buddhism and most of the ancientSpiritual Traditions.
Man in Exile?
As a species, we have evolved over a period of 4 million years intoHomo Sapiens around 200,000 years ago. We have evidence of a spiritual tradition for atleast the past70,00 years. During most of the past hundreds of millennia, we lived inharmony with the planet and our environment. It is only in our recent past, perhaps thelast 7 to 8000 years, that we began our journey away from this way of living in harmonywith our environment. This also coincides with the growth, in most cultures, of apatriarchal society, with its drive to control. This ‘
drive to control’ 
influences all aspects ofour relationships and has been particularly marked in the last few centuries as manentered the age of industry, mechanisation, technology and, arguably, a somewhatarrogant belief that we could control and exploit our environment.This has led to our increasing ‘exile’ from our environment and , arguably, exile from ourreal self. Yet, at times, we sense this ‘exile’ and perhaps our ‘moments of transcendence’are reminders of our ancient past and times of harmony? For many, this is the spiritualaspect of what it is to be human. This concept of ‘ man in exile’ , although tangential andseparate , is an important element in our understanding of man’ ability to transcend . Forthose interested in exploring these ideas further, its history, arguments and implicationscan be found in O Murchu ( 1997 and 2000)
The Spiritual Aspect
At the spiritual level man relates not just to himself, others, theworld and the cosmos but also to the spirit. For those who believe in a Spirit ( note thecapitalisation) this can lead to a belief in an Absolute Reality.( God) Now whether or notone has this belief, most have some ‘feeling’ or ‘intuition’ that there is ‘something more’and this is often referred to as ‘spirit’But what is the spiritual aspect of Man? Many, including Frankl (2000 ), would contendthat it is the ability of man to self- transcend the self and that this ability is closely relatedto Buber’s concept of the I/Thou relationship, see Creagh(2007).Thus transcendence isnot just a continuum of self-actualisation but one of self- transcendence. This continuumis one where man, as it were, moves UP or DOWN as he/she lives this life in exile withsome glimpses of both harmony and a sense of inter-connectedness with theenvironment and each other.

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