People whom we might consider spiritual also seem to be more joyful in their approach to life. What does it means to be a spiritual person? How are these two connected and what is spirituality from a psychosynthesis point of view?
“A spiritual view of life is extremely revolutionary, dynamic and creative.”
There is a lot of confusion today about what spirituality means. Some people base their spirituality on their behavior—if they do this and avoid doing that then they are leading a spiritual life. But Roberto Assagioli, the founder of psychosynthesis, was a medical doctor and preferred a more scientific approach. Looking at the facts throughout human experience, there have always been people who have “claimed to have experienced a state of consciousness that differed greatly—in quality, intensity and effect—from what we experience normally.” In addition, these people “maintain that these states of consciousness are the result of coming or being brought involuntarily into contact with a Reality which is ‘above’ or ‘beyond’ those which we normally regard as ‘real’.”
Transpersonal experiences in everyday life
This Reality is sometimes called the transcendent, but is actually perceived as something more real, lasting, and substantial than the everyday world. It is truly human experience, as it occurs across all cultures, beliefs, and personal identities, and yet it is not limited by or identified with any one of them. Perhaps you have had such an experience yourself while looking at a beautiful sunset or a newborn child, or perhaps while meditating or in prayer. Often in such a state, we experience a sense of joy or happiness, renewal, and awakening. These experiences of being ‘lifted up’ by something bigger than ourselves are impossible to deny, and they have been documented time and again by the great poets, artists, and mystics.
“When spiritual light is focused on the most complex
of individual or collective problems,
it produces solutions…and spares us much suffering.”
When we interpret and identify with what Assagioli called our ‘transpersonal experiences’ then we add our own personality structures, mental and emotional, and our own personal history to the experience. That is how the same aspect of this Realty can be perceived and expressed in different ways by different people and cause confusion.
But the Reality is the same—a sense of depth, of movement to the center of our being, of being lifted up or expanded, a sense of being freed from hindrances, of empowerment, renewal and resurrection, and even a feeling of oneness with everything. This experience is not limited to only a few, but is a human experience available to all of us. It requires, however, a conscious ascent, what Assagioli termed ‘psychological mountaineering’ which “constitutes a magnificent endeavor, but certainly a long and arduous one.”
Grounded in Reality while in Touch with the Transcendent
A spiritual person is someone who is more in touch with these transpersonal experiences, recognizes them, and is working towards grounding and integrating them into his or her personality. Spiritual persons are aware of their limitations and at the same time are also in awe of their higher potential as well as a greater, superior reality. Spiritual people tend to exhibit more courage, creativity, love and devotion, a sense of responsibility, a sense of cooperation, social consciousness, understanding, and the will as a principle and power of self-control, choice, discipline, and synthesis.
In the words of Assagioli, “A spiritual view of life is extremely revolutionary, dynamic and creative.” So are spiritual people as they struggle to manifest light and joy in this world!
Quotes come from:
Assagioli, Roberto (2002), The Act of Will, The Psychosynthesis & Education Trust, London
Assagioli, Roberto (2000), Psychosynthesis, A Collection of Basic Writings, The Synthesis Center, Inc., Amherst, Massachusetts
Assagioli, Roberto (1993), Transpersonal Development, The Dimension Beyond Psychosynthesis, The Aquarian Press, London