Thursday, April 25, 2013

Personal versus spiritual development

Welcome to my (and PsychosynthesisForum's) blog. I am a real beginner in the area of social media, hopelessly behind my four kids... (which are 13 to 33 years old). This is my first "real" blog post, after two posts that are more general information about PsychosynthesisForum's products.

I hope that this blog will become a useful forum for discussions around interesting questions about personal and spiritual development, a forum where I in a more active way can meet my internet customers. My other "customers", my coaching and therapy clients, I already meet in an active way.

Regarding spiritual development, I do not mean just religious. I see spiritual development as everything that touches on existencial issues like a deeper sense of personal identity, the sense of meaningfulness, important life goals, etc.

Note that I wrote personal and spiritual development, not or. My experience is that these two go hand in hand, and I often use the following picture to illustrate how I mean that personal and spiritual development are connected:
As the engineer I am from  the beginning, I love graphs... The axises denote age, and the horizontal axis stands for personal development, the vertical stands for spiritual development. The picture shows three typical development paths, and the dashed lines stand for "normal" occurrences of crisis.

The lower curve represents a typical development path of a person in the industrialized countries, where there is a strong focus on personal and professional development. This path ususlly feels OK, up to the point where the person starts to feel "I am no longer coming nearer my life goal" (=the sun in the picture, that stands for our deepest life goal). Or the feeling does not come expressed in words, but more as a sense of meaninglessness, spleen, depression, etc. This is sometimes experienced as periods of crisis. These typically come every tenth year after the age of 30. When they happen, some "press harder on the accelerator", investing more energy, but on "more of the same", as change of job, new car or new partner... Which usually leads to an even larger sense of meaninglessness. Others, on the other hand, "listen" to their crisis, and activate their spiritual development (the curve bends upwards), and a sense of meaningfulness starts to re-emerge.

The upper curve represents those that early in life identify with the spiritual realm. This usually also feels good, up to the point in mid-life when a paradoxical feeling of meaninglessness starts to emerge also for persons in this cathegory, with similar words - "despite the fact that this path should have led me to my deepest goal, it doesn't." And furthermore, life does not work well on a practical level, like income, a home, work, etc. If this person now persists with "more of the same" it often leads to a sense of resignation, cynism, depression, etc. But, if this person takes his or her crisis seriously, and takes hold of his or her personal and professional development, new possibilities will open.

And the curve in the middle may stand for most of us, where it goes up and down, back and forth...

The morale of this description is that both personal and spiritual development are necessary in order to become a whole person, one that is able to embrace both Doing and Being, that is able to express both one's masculine and one's feminine side, that is able to unite Jin and Jang.

How has this been expressed in your life?

In mine it is so that I was a quantum physisist and development engineer up to the age of 40, and then a 90 degree turn into becoming psychotherapist in the area of transpersonal psychology...

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