May 30 2012

Grad School (part 6)

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Tonight, we had a panel discussion on Transpersonal Psychology. Four different people practicing what they would term “transpersonal”. One had a private practice, one did group work, another worked with kids, and one did some kind of body work. Two of them had extremely serene smiles on their faces. They took questions from us, and as Transpersonal Psychology seems to cover a wide range of practices, my question to them was “alright, you’re getting people in touch with their spiritual sides, but what is it? In your practice, have you noticed any consistent patterns to what spirit is? What are we?”

And my question was completely shrugged off.

I’m not sure if it was because they didn’t know, or if they weren’t comfortable addressing such a thing in a classroom setting, or what. I felt a bit like the pariah after they skirted around the issue, even after clarifying for them my views on the subject. When we took a break, I had three other students come up to me telling me they liked my question, and one guy (who’s also in Consciousness Studies, and who looks a bit like Brendan Perry) tell me he really liked my model of How This Works, and that he’d been struggling to come up with a way of visualizing things until he’d heard my analogy (which I’ll include as a footnote to this post).

So, I felt a little bit of vindication from my peers, but I would really like to know what the “experts” thought. But then, maybe as David Elkins said in his conclusion to the piece I quoted earlier:

As a final word, I would like to share my belief that if a theory of the soul is developed, it will probably come from students and psychotherapists. As a professor of psychology, I have found that many graduate students are deeply interested in spirituality, and many were drawn to psychology in the first place because of an intuitive knowing that they were meant to be healers of the human soul. Some of these students are able to maintain this vision, sometimes in spite of their graduate school experiences, and they are the ones who will do their dissertations, research projects, and future theoretical work in this area.

While I don’t agree with every piece of this (I have no desire to heal people, other than people I care about who are in need of healing), I’m going to get all optimistic (start crescendo of inspirational music) and say that I think a new generation of people will be the ones to bring us closer to this. We are going to “do the dissertations, research projects, and future theoretical work in this area.” That is where my interests lie. That is the work I want to do.

(okay, you can turn off the inspirational music now)



My theory of How This Works is rather complex, and I keep finding new bits to add to it. But the basic gist of my “model” that my friend found useful this evening goes like this:

Think of lab equipment designed for handling dangerous substances. Large glass or plastic cases with rubber gloves built into them, that you stick your hands into, to maneuver things around. I think of us, these persona’s that we have, as being liked that gloved hand. Not only are we projecting into 3 dimensional reality (the interior of the glass case), but we’re also coated or translated into it, much like our hand in the glove. In addition, just as it is only our hand that goes into the glove, and into the case, so only a part of us from our higher selves comes into various realities. This is the best I can describe it at the moment. Your mileage may vary, and I may certainly ammend or change this model at any time.

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