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How do I know if I have had a transpersonal experience?
IS TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY RIGHT FOR YOU?
How do I know if I am having transpersonal experience? And why would I see a Psychologist?
A transpersonal experience may be defined or felt as an ongoing journey or dimension of one’s life, or as discrete episodes involving expanded consciousness that extend one’s perception into timeless, sacred, or beyond the usual physical and ego-based modes of perception, that, ultimately, then give way again to ordinary consciousness that is acclimatised to an ego-based culture.
Transpersonal experiences can often be associated with a heightened sense of awareness, wellbeing, ecstasy, joy, beauty, insight, innovation, beauty, tranquillity and fulfilment. Why then, would one see a Psychologist in this context?
We observe that these experiences may occur during a time of rapid psychological growth, disturbance and/or destabilisation, as the “centre of gravity” shifts between ordinary and transpersonal consciousness. This can signal a time of deep questioning, major life transitions, sense of crisis, and other changes in one’s life structure or worldview. The journey of integrating these states can involve the resurfacing of previously experienced, yet undigested, material in the psyche. This may include trauma and pain and a re-evaluation of the defensive structure of the psyche that was needed in earlier phases of life.
We might consider transpersonal experience as a vista to how things (and ourselves) can be in potential, or aligned with a new sense of myth for one’s life story, yet the hard part might be the dying of the old myth, the undoing of well-worn coping strategies that were set up to serve a smaller self and worldview. The pain point is not the undoing itself, nor the transpersonal experiences themselves, but the process of digesting what was previously on hold, or undertaking the growing pains of sinking one’s centre of gravity into a more authentic and expanded sense of self.
And so, psychology at a time like this can help to stabilise the emerging, growing sense of this potential, assist in the digestion of previous trauma or pain, and attend to mood difficulties or mental health symptoms not as isolated phenomena but as part of an overall passage in development or healing.
When might you need transpersonal work but not psychology?
For some who identify as being on a conscious path of soul work or initiation, they may require elders, guides, mentors, healers, psychotherapists and the like to accompany them into the deeper work of facing one’s innermost self.