One of the tasks counselors-in-training should do (but aren’t required) is to choose a theoretical orientation from which to base their practice.  Theoretical orientation provides a basis for conceptualizing being, including how we develop, how problems come up, how we can solve them.  Basically, it comes down to how you view the world and that man-made construct called “mental health.”  You’re more familiar with the works of theorists than you realize, seeing as how they’ve come to shape our culture greatly.  The concepts of the unconscious, of the great significance of early childhood events in shaping our personalities later, and a whole host of other things (some good, some pretty damn terrible) are thanks to Freud.  If you’ve ever used the terms introvert/extrovert, anima/animus, or collective unconscious, you can thank Jung.  If you’ve ever identified someone as having an inferiority complex or said “ahhh…that explains it” and nodded your head when you found out someone was a middle child/baby of the family/eldest child, Adler’s your man.

Right now, I’m taking a class on all these different theories, and it’s by far my favorite of the semester.  However, I’ve been getting a little antsy because I don’t really mesh with any of the theories we’ve gone over so far.  I mentioned this to a professor I’m working with, and he mentioned to me again a theory (not in my syllabus) called transpersonal theory.  Well…after emailing a few professors in the department to try to hunt down some good, basic literature on what this is, ordering a few books from Amazon after practically having an orgasm when I read through the table of contents of one of them, and getting halfway through the introduction of the one book, I can pretty safely say (though I plan on reading more than 10 pages before I commit) that I found my theory.  My general grasp on it so far is that it’s all about Oneness.  Separation is just an illusion.  And while that’s something I’ve been turning around in my head for a couple months now, it is finally starting to mesh and breathe within me to the point where I can begin to truly grasp what it means.

You know the famous line from Jerry McGuire “You had me at hello”?  Transpersonal theory had me at, “…transpersonal psychology enables human beings to discover their inseparability from all life and their appropriate place in the great chain of being.  Central to this unfolding awareness is the rediscovery of the power of ancient methods to achieving altered states of consciousness, such as meditation, yoga, shamanic journeys…”  The first part of that quote was the set-up, the ‘shamanic journeys’ was the clincher.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to be stumbling upon this.

One interesting fact that the authors point out in the preface is that (at least in 1993 when the book was published) there were few women publishing work on transpersonal theory.  Immediately, I thought to myself, Well, boys, I’m happy to help you out there.  After I discussed this with my professor, he opened up some new ideas for me.  Of course women hadn’t published first.  Because if they had, more than likely, it would have been laughed at, scoffed at, brushed off, ignored, etc.  Within the patriarchy, men had to publish first to validate it before it could be safe for women to come forward and advocate for it.  And that just fucking blows.  I don’t know if some of those men were smart enough to realize that women probably have been doing this and practicing it for years and years, more than likely in some proverbial closet and to know that men were not the ones to “discover” this type of viewing the world.  I’ll find out and keep y’all posted as I read more of the literature.

Some fun things to come as I swim through the waters of this book: meditation and psychotherapy, lucid dreaming and dream yoga as a means of achieving enlightenment, consciousness, healing and wholeness, science and mysticism, compassion and conscious love, the Tao of personal and social transformation and much more…authors include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Ram Das, Ken Wilber, William James, Roger Walsh, Frances Vaughn, and others.   Yeah for learning!


4 thoughts on “Ahhh…

  1. I’m SO excited for you 🙂 Without knowing it had a technical name, “transpersonal psychology” has definitely been part of my journey these last 5-6 years! How cool it has it’s own name! LOL 😉 I can’t WAIT to read more on what you feel about this journey.

    I truly believe that “UNITY” IS both the journey, and the destination – as well as our present moment experience…if we can simply push past all the illusions.

    🙂 Jumping up and down for you here, Aerolin! It sounds as if you are getting ready for a major switch to be thrown – and we’ll all get to share in the LIGHT!


  2. I’m jumping up and down for you, too! I would love to know the title of the book so I can read it. I was going to mention that this sounds very much like the new physics, which is demonstrating more and more that essential oneness is a proven characteristic of the physical universe, which makes sense if it is the structure of our psychology. It also sounds a lot like much non-western spirituality, Buddhism in particular, which just goes to show that it makes a lot of sense!

  3. I love reading all this stuff!! It sounds very exciting for you personally, but also exciting for the world at large. When institutes of learning give credence to a theory or a method, the “weird” suddenly becomes common and acceptable. It seems to be another step towards the world seeing itself as one thing, one entity that must be cared for and tended as a whole.

  4. Grace – I heartily agree that UNITY is both a destination and a journey. Truly, it simply IS. I, too, feel like another major shift is about to take place for me. Very exciting! Yeah for being excited together 🙂

    carolyn – Yeah!! And yes, it’s very much like the new physics. In fact, in the preface of the book, I think, it talks about how the transpersonal vision spans numerous fields from psychology, psychiatry and sociology to anthropology and ecology. I think at one point it mentions physics but I’m not sure. And you’re absolutely right – it’s all about incorporating eastern philosophy and psychology into western areas and blending the two essentially.

    It’s interesting that you mention Buddhism because parts of the book so far discuss Buddhist principles (like maya and enlightenment) as well as Hindu and other eastern spiritual concepts. It had been a long time since I had read about the basics of Buddhist theory, and when I found myself reading them here, something clicked and it all began to make sense for me in a way it never did before. Very cool! The book is called “Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision.”

    signmom – I feel the same as you – it is super exciting for the world at large! I’m also hoping that such a step in increased consciousness will lead to greater balance among the genders, as we all come to embrace our Oneness and see our different roles as being equally important parts of a greater Whole. Whoo hoo!

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