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Transpersonal Psychology

The realm of the transpersonal is becoming more acceptable today, even in mainstream thinking. Rather than seeing ourselves as merely a skin-encapsulated ego" as Alan Watts once described us, many are now recognizing the more subtle connections we appear to all have with other life forms. Most people will accept the well-documented phenomenon that pets know things about their owners (such as when they will come home or that they need medical help) in ways that defy all rational scientific conventions. If pets can experience this connection, why can't we? We can! But only if we are willing to question that which has molded our reality to not include the transcendent in our worldview.

A new field of inquiry in psychology has emerged in the last thirty years, called the fourth force. (The first was Freudian psychoanalysis; the second, behavioral psychology; the third, humanistic psychology; and now the fourth: transpersonal psychology.) Transpersonal psychology seeks to incorporate the spiritual into the therapeutic process. It grows out of this expanding realization that energy is one; that there are multiple, or alternate, realities that many of us have touched in our transcending experiences; that ancient, religious, and mystical traditions have much to say to the condition of twenty-first-century woman and man; and that a transformation is taking place.

Investigators in this realm are examining areas once scoffed at (and still often exploited by hucksters) - such as mysticism, alchemy, astrology, faith and belief systems, dreams, meditation, prayer, and altered states of consciousness - to see how they relate to body and mind processes. Indeed, the existence of fourth force psychology testifies to a growing need for help in explaining, handling, and using such mystical, transcendent/transformational experiences.

Three of these areas - dream analysis, meditation and intuition - are accessible to all of us, and they will be addressed in the next few articles. They require no elaborate equipment, charts, or intermediaries. You can explore them yourself and reap whatever benefits you can from them.

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