Tuesday, 21 August 2012

going transpersonal

The work my querents are usually encouraged to do during my readings is what I'd call work of a 'transpersonal' nature. Although Tarot and other divinatory methods are wonderful problem-solving tools that help a querent to focus on their issues, they also encourage deep spiritual consideration. This allows a querent to view their issues as transient and as part of a much larger and more complex cycle which we are ultimately all a part of. Tarot is an attractive self-development tool for those of a spiritual persuasion. Whereas traditional psychoanalysis and talk therapies are often thought of as disciplines which largely write religion and spirituality off as delusions, transpersonal counselling honours Jung's theory that the world is better experienced through inner work and connection with the spirit. Seeking out a transpersonal counselling method means that there is no danger of your spiritual concerns being ignored, discouraged or deemed unhealthy. Instead, a transpersonal counsellor will fully consider and integrate a client's spiritual path into the therapeutic journey.

In utilising transpersonal techniques I ultimately seek to promote feelings of transcendence. The experience of 'ego death', as I like to call it, is integral to the methods I favour. Although the way we view ourselves is important and should be addressed, travelling beyond that self-made image, breaking it down and experiencing what happens when we walk straight through it can encourage feelings of awe, oneness, magnificence, calm and a deep connection to the universe. I truly believe in the value of transpersonal techniques but I also strongly discourage thinking of them as 'fluffy', light weight or minor in terms of their effects. Indeed, a personality that clings too tightly to the ego or that isn't ready to release the tight mental grip they have on their world may not be fully prepared for the doors transpersonal techniques have a way of opening. Entheogens promote ego death and, in much the same way as it's advisable not to mess with mind-opening drugs if you're not ready to deal with their consequences, I'd extend that warning to transpersonal methods in general. The mind is a complex territory and you have to know for sure that you really want to go walking around inside it without a map.

Transpersonal therapy is likely to instigate a significant decrease in issues like fear of death, alienation, blind rage, a sense of detachment, selfishness, phobias, depression, anxiety, addictions, self-esteem issues, and destructive amounts of competitiveness, jealously or materialism. Transpersonal techniques promote the use of empathy to navigate the connections you have with others. They advise you to tap into the overwhelming power of nature, of the all and of the unexplainable and endlessly fascinating tapestry of life. When we allow feelings of wonder to come over us and we consider how precious each moment is, just in and of itself without trying to make it into something it's not, the effects can be life-changing.

Transpersonal therapists utilise some of the following techniques:

- Tarot, Runes and other divination methods
- Reiki
- Breathwork
- Crystal healing
- Soul Retrieval
- Inner Child Healing
- Belief work
- Affirmations
- Vision questions
- Fasts
- Sweat lodges
- Meditation
- Guided visualisation
- Dream interpretation
- Shadow work
- Journalling
- Music/art therapy
- Energy work
- Chanting
- Spiritual rituals
- Hypnotherapy

It has been calculated that the Aborigines spend almost a third of their lives focusing on inner work. Activities such as vision questing, working with power animals and interpreting dreams are considered integral to life. Many indigenous tribes maintaining an insular and spiritual way of life, currently and in the past, have dedicated huge amounts of time to keeping in touch with the spirit, making links with the subconscious and appreciating the relationship between what can be seen with the eyes and what can only be seen with deeper vision. The Westernised world has lost a lot of its ability to hold on to that importance, particularly since the religious and spiritual traditions have broken down and dissipated as our tribes have moved apart, begun different cultural ways of life etcetera. Regaining a sense of spiritual life is totally possible and is a very worthwhile journey indeed. All you need is a place to start, and that place can only be found within.