Tag Archives: transpersonal

Spring Breath of God

With standing room only, the bus sped down the freeway on a bright warm morning. Once we turned onto the bollenstreek, long ribbons of intense blue, mauve, and white stretched to the near horizon. At the same time, the colours seemed to invade inside and pour over us. Fields of yellow daffodils blared spring’s final triumph over the particularly long winter. Every head on the bus turned and gazed. And then suddenly, quite spontaneously, everyone sighed together, “Aaahhhhhhhh.” A breath song of collective awe.

We were headed to Keukenhof Gardens, near the Dutch town of Lisse, famous for its variety of bulb flowers, especially tulips. I was feeling particularly triumphant because I had two Dutch people in tow. My husband had finally run out of excuses and decided to appease his American wife. Along with us was a friend who had actually lived near the gardens for the past 35 years and had never visited them before.

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Celebrate Early!

Happy-Kids Celebrate 2I paint in a sea of Spanish. For the past two years, every Wednesday morning I enter the inspiring atelier of my teacher Luz Jiménez Díaz. She is from Colombia and has lived in The Netherlands for the past 20 years. Most of my fellow students are also Spanish speaking, coming from Mexico, Columbia, and Argentina. They easily slide from Spanish to Dutch to English, sometimes laughing and chatting as they paint.

The large room is full of light. Outside a flower garden, tended by Luz’s Dutch husband Johan surrounds us. You enter the garden by way of a large mosaic terrace Luz designed based on Egyptian images and gods. In late autumn, the garden is still vibrant. White and purple cornflowers flourish while the sunflowers hang forlorn and creamy dahlias struggle against the cold.

A small group of us attempt to bring our imagination to life under Luz’s patient and encouraging eye. When I first started, Luz would often appear before my atrocious splashes of color and say, “Your work is full of feeling.” She would then take a brush and tenderly demonstrate a technique that she wanted me to learn. “Why don’t you try this?” she would ask, and I was completely swept away. Only later did I realize that when she said, “Your work is full of feeling,” it probably needed a lot more technique!

Last week I decided to bring German cakes to share with my fellow aspiring artists. We usually stop mid-way for rich Colombian coffee or herbal tea, accompanied this time with slices of tart, both thickly-layered, one of apple and another of raspberry cream.

“What are we celebrating?” everyone asked.

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Your Significance Reaches Beyond Your Imagination

Our acts of kindness are like seeds in the wind. Surrender them to be transformed into miracles.

Our acts of kindness are like seeds in the wind. Surrender them to be transformed into miracles.

How often do you despair at your apparent insignificance? Between ISIS, Ebola, and the devastation of the world’s climate, what possible difference can we make? Such problems can feel overwhelming and our own meager lives seem so small. Even when we do rise above such feelings of inadequacy, we then might struggle to choose the most appropriate response. What actions can we possibly take at a personal level to affect what is emerging globally?

First of all, you and your actions do matter. My experience is that our significance reaches far beyond our imagination. Even the smallest acts of kindness directed towards rectifying the world’s injustices make a difference. But perhaps most surprisingly and wonderfully, even obscure acts that we may not consider meaningful can make a difference.

Let me offer you an example from my life. Sometimes I write poetry and often I wonder why. What purpose do these poems serve? I scribble them down in a notebook, sometimes share them, most of the time not. But then one day, I received a mysterious letter. The only address on the envelope was:

Catherine Ann Lombard
Giove, Italy

At the time I was living in The Netherlands. This letter, without any street address or zip code, had been forwarded to my new Dutch address from the Italian post office 1300 km (800 miles) away.

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Sunflower Lessons

SunflowerThere are times in my life when I know I am trying too hard. No matter what I seem to do, nothing works, eases forward, sings in tune. For instance, while working in my garden, I can dig the earth, feed it the richest manure, insure it has enough calcium, carefully sow the seeds, faithfully water, fuss over the tiniest plants, pull weeds, and even pray. And still nothing grows. Sometimes I forget about God. Oh yeah, that Guy. He also might have something to say. In fact, his Will (or in psychosynthesis terms, the Higher Self and Transpersonal Will) might be bigger and beyond what I can imagine growing in anybody’s garden. In anybody’s heart and soul.

I recently learned a lesson from my sunflowers. This year they grew with only the Hand of God to tend them. Last year, we carefully planted sunflowers which grew and blossomed. Once the flowers hung heavy with seed, tipping their heads like bowing monks, we cut and left them on our terrace for the birds to swoop down and eat from. The chickadees and blue tits would shyly flutter from the sunflower stalks down to the cut flower heads on the terrace, steal a seed and speed home. By the end of the day, discarded seeds and shells would lay strewn on the terrace floor to be swept away.

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You Are a World Champion

If you’ve been spending the last month watching 22 men chasing a little ball around a green pitch, then you’re not alone. I along with millions of others have also been captivated by the World Cup Tournament. Today the German team appears in the media as World Champions, holding the funny looking gold trophy above their heads. Throughout the tournament, players and their fans have been photographed crying, laughing, beaming, broken, angry, despondent, and joyful. What is this global emotion all about?

World Cup Champions 2014

World Cup Champions 2014

After the final match, my husband and I watched a flustered journalist attempt to interview the German team captain. The reporter could barely put two words together, he was so overwhelmed with emotion. All these feelings with nowhere to go. We look to our national teams for courage, determination, skill and stamina and we bemoan their defeat. The team carries so much more for us collectively as we wave our flags, paint our faces, and wrap ourselves in the designated colors. Now that it’s all over, what will we do?

We might think about our need for outer heroes and heroines (the latter are sorely lacking in football), and how they reflect our personal heroes inside us. All our football players are holding the higher qualities that we long for in ourselves. Perhaps we too are seeking courage and persistence in our own daily struggles along with joy and elation in our own personal triumphs.

Now is the time to try and integrate the feelings that bubbled up during the tournament and make them more our own. For example, I found myself consistently sad at the end of any game, identifying with the losers, wishing everyone could be a winner. What does that say about me? I often criticize myself for not being good enough, a failure, insignificant in this whirlwind called life. But the reality is, I too am a winner in my own way, through my own small everyday battles, sometimes creeping along inch-by-inch with the persistence, faith, and stamina of the best footballer. And when I am successful, I often shy away from the limelight, almost afraid of standing firmly in the winner’s circle.

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Tuning into Transpersonal Will

Besides strong, skillful and good, another aspect of the will that Assagioli writes about is the transpersonal will, which touches on the spiritual dimension of the human being. Many people can lead a rich and useful life without this aspect of will. But others, who have had a direct experience of a transcendent reality, will recognize the transpersonal will operating in their lives. Their goal will be to use the other aspects of will—strong, skillful, and good—to tune into the transpersonal will, come into relationship with it, and use it to act in the world as well.

Transpersonal Will Activates Personal Meaning

We may find ourselves longing to tune into the transpersonal will when we feel a need to understand the meaning of our life. We might feel as if our life—despite our worldly success in work, family, and on a personal level—lacks meaning or value. Or we might be facing a sudden, unexpected crisis, like a death in the family or loss of job, that calls up this need.

The Three Stone Cutters


There is a medieval story about three stone cutters who were cutting granite for a new cathedral. When asked in turn, “What are you doing?” the first replied in an angry tone, “As you can see for yourself, I’m cutting stones.” The second answered, “I am earning a living for me and my family.” And the third said joyously, “I am building a great cathedral.” All were doing the exact same thing, but the first felt a sense of futility, the second a personal purpose in his work, and the third recognized a greater meaning and connection with a greater whole.

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