Personal Development – Transcendence – The Journey into being
Heartsease Training, Shifnal Shropshire email :
© October 2010 - Peter Creagh, Trainer, Supervisor and BACP Registered Counsellor UKRC
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’.
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.