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Finding The Truth That Sets Us Free: challenges of spiritual work

"Come with me, To the palace of Nowhere, Where all the many things are One" Chuang-Tzu

TWO STREAMS

In my experience, those immersed in the worlds of spirituality and psychology have usually regarded each other with mutual suspicion, even hostility at times. On the one hand are those who have studied the great wisdom traditions with their extraordinary spiritual texts on the physical, subtle and causal worlds accessible to human consciousness. On the other, are those modern pioneers who, from the inception of Freud’s analytic methods a mere century ago, have explored the hidden inner workings of the mind at the coalface of human distress. This lack of communication is a pity as they each have unique insights that can prove to be of immense value to one another - and there are some signs that this is slowly becoming recognised (1).

It is not enough merely to work on what we know, we must also work on an emotional level to change how we feel, for healthy growth and development. Hidden layerings of emotional distress and fragments of incomplete knowledge trapped in the subconscious mind are responsible for much illness and mental disturbance, and place a severe blinker on our ability to live fully in the present. Providing a safe environment for the discharge of pain and tensions buried in old, frozen, human needs and emotional trauma can liberate a person from the distorting compulsions of the past to freely choose new behaviour. I believe when these two streams of accumulated wisdom and human experience finally come together, that many of the difficulties and dangers of spiritual work will begin to dissolve.

A HEART BUILT FOR LIFE

Over the years, I have often reflected on the needs and balances for healthy psychological functioning when dealing with the pain of emotional abruptions and disruptions inherent in everyday life. Our resilience through trial and suffering and our ability to find the resources we need are greatly increased when spiritual faith is paramount. It is true that as human beings we are built to embrace all that life brings – built for pain and suffering, conflict and violence, love and hatred, war and death. It is also true that pain can lead us to awareness of the immensity of the human heart, and through it we can find our way back home to our spiritual depths. But we do need great strength to embrace the weaknesses of our human condition. Mostly we reject our weaknesses by hiding them or compensating for them. Only when in touch with our spiritual essence can we embrace them fully. Learning to accept our own authentic humanness, warts and all, is a real antidote to the spiritual arrogance that can come from claiming spiritual experiences, feeling different, special, better than others, taking pride in spiritual knowledge and achievements – all well known traps along the spiritual path.

It is sobering to think that in 120 years’ time, everybody alive on earth today will have died and been replaced. None of us came into life with written instructions, apart from the natural inbuilt governors and regulators of body, mind and heart. As self-reflecting beings seeking guidance, we naturally look to the many cultural traditions of wisdom and faith worked out through countless lives in all extremes of the human condition. Within the stories of those who have walked before us, and those who walk with us now, we each have our own story. In my case, this involved over four decades of spiritual work through the study of Adhyatma yoga (2) , meditation, attending satsang (3) and other practices. Alongside this, as a medical doctor interested in the psychology of human growth and development, I studied Psychosynthesis (4) , a therapy training founded by Dr Roberto Assagioli, who believed in fostering a synthesis of the personality around our deepest identity as spiritual beings facing the profound challenges of living in a relative world.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PSYCHO-SYNTHESIS

Assagioli was a contemporary of Freud and Jung and became the first psychoanalyst in Italy. His interest in world religions led him to explore eastern and western visionary approaches to spirituality and to practice Yoga. He saw that the true dimensions and stature of the human being could not be derived from ‘extrapolating from the pathology of human beings or studying the sick psyche, but that one should study human nature in its greatest, most beautiful manifestations...’ His appreciation of the depth of human potential led him to develop Psychosynthesis – a model of human growth (5) that went beyond the two previously recognised forces in mainstream psychology - Behaviourism and Psychoanalysis - by including most importantly the whole field of Transpersonal Psychology (6) . He saw clearly that the "I," or the self of everyday experience, is not our ultimate identity, but merely a reflection of our creative higher Self. Only by becoming aware of our true essence and attuning with it, can our soul develop, grow uprightly and flourish to its full potential.

Without this spiritual dimension, western psychology offers a rather restricted view of human potential by ignoring the immense powers and capacities of our higher creativity, intuition and will. As one article on therapy and ‘Staying in the Present’ (7) tellingly points out,
‘Although the therapeutic power of…the ‘here-and-now’ has long been recognised by psychotherapists, few people have attempted to account for this power, or to provide a rationale for its efficacy... The authors write that this leaves one of the most central concepts of therapy ‘without an adequate theoretical base’! They point out the insufficiency of western assumptions of time and causality in ascribing all human behaviours and cognitions to past influences of one sort or another. Indeed this makes a true focus upon the present almost impossible since, even those who value the here-and-now are inevitably drawn into the past. Furthermore, the western philosophy that underlies mainstream psychology makes this seem only logical…’

Studying our unconscious processes on the basis of observing behaviour is completely different from the direct observation of consciousness carried on in introspection. As Franz Alexander mentions (8), “There are two roads to all knowledge. One can experience the world as an object, (as in the scientific method) or experience it directly, known as ‘endopsychically’... Our Western culture fosters the method of objective knowledge while Eastern culture has brought the subjective method...to completion.” In my view, the integration of these world views is growing ever more urgent for the peaceful future of mankind.

REALISING OUR TRUE NATURE

Most importantly, in the western behavioural view, what is often ignored altogether is our very Selfhood, our fundamental ground in Being, as Being itself – a view brought sharply into focus through spiritual work – by which I mean the systematic endeavour to realise our true nature or divine essence. Within everyone there is a still voice, if we truly listen, arising from beyond the constructed layers of personality. This essential voice wakes us up to the depths of our own soul, and like a mystical compass within, points us in the direction of true freedom and peace. Consciously orienting towards our true Self as the unifying centre of our being is the direction of spiritual work.

This special work in coming to understand, and eventually dis-identify from, the content of our personal worlds is long and arduous. It is beset by pitfalls and fraught with dangers along the way. It has been described variously as ‘walking along a razor’s edge;’ as ‘fragile as a strand of hair across a chasm of fire’; a journey requiring ‘great faith, great doubt and great determination;’ a way demanding ‘not less than everything’; and may involve a ‘dark night of the soul’ or, as Gurdjieff (9) called the point of transformation, ‘the terror of the moment’ – as a prelude to transcendental Self realisation as That – ‘the true light that lights everyman’(10). The constant magnetic pull to our ground of being as consciousness itself, is to wake up from the sleep of ignorance into timeless peace. Along the way, powerful inner conscious energies emerge which can have a truly healing and transformative effect on people – such as profound experiences of unity; increased respect for the well-being of others and one’s self, and the planet; compassion for those in pain and suffering; unselfish love enacted through heroic deeds...

KEEPING CENTRED

In the western view of the structures of the mind, the ego or familiar sense of I, mediates between the outer world and the unruly passions and fantasies of our inner world. As our self-knowledge increases, we become better adjusted and more harmonious within. However, we need a strong centre to stay balanced while following a spiritual path that offers transcendence of ego boundaries and the dissolving of mental structures. If this is lacking, therapy may be necessary to find stability and to learn how to make healthy relationships, to reduce anxieties and improve emotional awareness and expression etc. Stepping over these important areas of growth in search of spiritual bliss beyond can invite great difficulties.

Robin Skynner, in his essay ‘Psychotherapy and Spiritual Traditions’ writes, ‘Some people following sacred traditions do indeed change a lot, and problems which might have taken them to a psychotherapist fade away imperceptibly; But they may inadvertently take from the spiritual movement that which actually keeps the Ego strong; or some may, as a result of going into a spiritual system, become more closed, narrow and intolerant. This group is the most intractable of all, for the knowledge derived from a spiritual tradition has been put to the services of perceptual advances, of complacency, of narcissistic self satisfaction, of comfort and security.’

THE WOUND IN THE SHADOW

Just as in psychotherapy, the dark side of spiritual work lies in safely uncovering our shadow, our un-lived self, and harnessing the powerful sexual drives and hidden forces of hatred and aggression from under the dominion of ignorance, selfishness and greed. Only by accepting and transforming these can we grow safely and evolve in an integrated way.

In her essay ‘Buddhism and Psychoanalysis’, Nina Coltart, a Freudian analyst, writes, ‘One sees too often that spiritual practice may be an escape from growth. Spiritual growth may for a while be commensurate with psychological growth, the latter here being the road to self-mastery through knowledge, towards a more flexible healthier adjustment to the world in which we find ourselves living out our existence; psychotherapy does not aim at self transcendence, and there may be a sad confusion of concepts when, say, detachment leads to a kind of neurotic spiritual inflation, or a certain depth of awareness leads to a mistaken crudely omnipotent notion that one is nearing enlightenment, or even “has it”. Psychological adjustment is not liberation. The path of spiritual growth cuts off at an angle to that of psychological growth, and to confuse the two may be to get stuck unawares, or with a sense of disillusionment.’

We could consider the ‘ego’ to be a dynamism of Being caught in a closed loop – the circle of our conditioning, based on a compulsive, obsessive movement to ‘get something’ – and avoiding the deeper experience of the fullness of this moment Now. The pleasure principle of the ‘id’ has become incorporated into our emotional psychology as an appetite demanding instant gratification. Within this closed loop in which we appear to live, the compulsive obsessive ego can cause great suffering. One of the main culprits is our overbearing ‘superego’ which is made up of internalised parental voices from our past conditioning. This judgmental internal voice tries to control us – mostly through self critical thoughts, self blaming, often vicious bullying and, sometimes, suicidal self hatred. We can more easily recognise these when we project them onto others – the beginnings of war in all worlds...

The reactive ego commonly resists what it doesn’t know through a ‘felt sense of inner contraction’ which is often expressed outwardly in muscle tension. Such habitual tensions can set up a defensive posture against the fear of being overwhelmed, or one of defiance against being overcome. The contracted ego is built around core wounding which comes from the inevitable gaps in feeling loved as an infant. To survive any perilous gap in safe holding and felt love, our early defence mechanisms split off the ‘bad feelings’, and repress them from conscious awareness to keep the necessary love and nourishment flowing. As Alice Miller(11) explains so clearly, ‘The repression of childhood pain influences not only the whole life of the individual but also the taboos of the whole society.’ From childhood on, we can learn to deny or habitually suppress unwanted “bad’ feelings, – especially powerful feelings of grief, anger, rage and hatred – which lie dormant within, until aroused by traumatic life events or associations of memory.

Such suppression of emotional energy can lead to chronic depression, exhaustion and feelings of being unwell. Psychotherapy helps to uncover these areas for release, integration and healing. Spiritual work may sometimes try to bypass them. Almost none of us escapes harbouring these dark and painful emotions, and unless we can let in the truth of them by allowing ourselves to feel them, we are left with a defensive attitude that can appear to close down the heart. As we begin to understand and process them, they lose their toxic charge and become integrated into the wholeness of our humanity. Gradually we feel more authentic and real – more fully human – and able to understand our self and others in new and profound ways. Not ‘There but for the grace of God go I’, but ‘There go I.’ The implications of such psychological integration, or non-integration, are immense in every field of human endeavour...

‘ABOVE ALL, DO NO HARM’

People in authority over others who have not understood their own powers of hatred and ego defences, inevitably will project this shadow unconsciously onto others and attack it ‘over there’. Where criticism, disowned dark forces and idealistic forms of spiritual behaviour become endemic in organisational conditioning, great harm can be acted out towards those on a spiritual path. The shadow has to be integrated at all levels, organisationally as well as individually. Open systems welcome feed back and constructive criticism. Closed systems avoid it. This can set up a tyranny of spiritual ‘top dog’ where proper self-reflective knowing and decision making are copied by rote and blindly passed on to others with painful, and occasionally, tragic consequences.

Where organisations and hierarchies become controlling and dogmatic, a culture of ‘rule and control’ becomes normalised and easily appears in face-to-face interactions. If such systemic behaviour goes unchallenged, the very structure itself can become a source of oppression. Once a person becomes sensitised to that organisational structure, he or she will conform their behaviour to it – sometimes against their own inner assent and readiness, or natural orientation (12).

In those moments of deep vulnerability that spiritual work can reveal, it is possible to be mishandled by people in authority who are insufficiently trained in inner work or not grounded in true understanding and compassion. For example, pressurising a person to reveal inner secrets prematurely – before he or she is ready – can bring up deep shame and humiliation. This can lead to severe depression, and even suicide if the inner structures are not ready to support the person to deal with the emergence of long buried psychic material. This is particularly so when extremely sensitive issues emerge into awareness such as cruelty and violence in childhood; experiences of sexual exploitation – grooming, abuse, assault, rape or incest; and confusion over gender and sexual orientation. Often people in such distress seek out spiritual community as a place where they can at last be truthful, and find healing and acceptance for who they are. Sadly, it is often in these very areas that so called spiritual ‘teachings’ can be punitively invoked – in support of dogmatic attitudes and prejudicial beliefs – causing even greater suffering and spiritual alienation.

In my medical role over the years, many people following a variety of spiritual practices both outside and within contemporary spiritual communities have come seeking help when in physical pain, fear and distress, states of mental anguish, neurotic confusion and suicidal despair. I have the deepest respect for the healing powers of the human heart and mind when offered sufficient space, safety and trust. At times, I have been appalled by some of the revelations shared with me in confidence about the harm inflicted by those in positions of power and trust – through ignorance, emotional misunderstanding, physical bullying, homophobia, sexual predation, and even occasionally criminal abuse. Although reflective of society’s ills, these seem a particular betrayal of trust within the very ethos of spiritual work, which purports to provide vital sanctuary and scope for the spiritual development of so many thousands of human beings.

COMMON FEARS ON THE WAY

Besides this, the spiritual journey itself can raise many difficulties for people along the way. Our longing for unity, and the resistance to it, go hand in hand. The Self is free from any qualification. In the marriage of spirit and matter, the spiritual energy is received, absorbed and expressed through the vehicle of the personality. For the unprepared, some of the commoner fears (13) around spiritual experience may be –

Fear of responsibility. The sudden influx of fine material and powerful energy, with all its implications, can be overwhelming. If the person has already had to grow up too quickly in the early family environment, he may become full of ‘should’s and musts’.

Fear of losing a sense of individuality. There may be a significant shift of identification away from being a personality who has a Self, to being a Self who has a personality.

Fear of power. Spiritual energy is usually experienced as powerful, or capable of powerful effects. Fear of the misuse of this power is common eg fears of having distorted illusions of being God; experiencing ego inflation and false pride. There may also be fear of becoming ‘attached to the unique experience’ – a state which may last for years.

Fear of change. “If I become the Self then everything will change...” This fear is very much at the level of the personality struggling with the unthinkable.

Fear of being alone. “If I become who I really am, then I will be alone” Here people may need help to work on their neediness and existential issues.

Fear of inadequacy. “I don’t deserve this... This is much too good for me...”
Encounters with unconditional love may trigger old patterns of insecurity. Here, some basic personality work is needed to allow in the finer energy.

Fear of being on the wrong track. Doubts. “What if it’s all bullshit!...What if there is no higher Self?” The opposite of doubt is attentive, non-judgmental openness...

Fear of letting go. The child’s trust and openness is direct. Experiences of hurt and pain can complicate this and create avoidance by holding on to what is familiar, to prevent being hurt again. Here exploration of emotional issues is needed for healing.

Fear of ridicule. “No one will believe me. People will laugh if I try to tell them.” Here work on self esteem and integration are needed…

Fear of death. As the restless ego becomes stiller, our thinking becomes lighter and more diffuse, our mind relaxed and clear. ‘Happiness for no reason’ can spontaneously appear. However as stillness deepens further, we can begin to feel alone, even empty. As ego always wants something, there can arise a deep association with death. Fears of death and darkness can emerge. Here the issue is the fear around the death of ego activity itself, which can either spur us into distracting activity, or sensory indulgence to avoid feeling it.

SPIRITUAL GROWTH AND PSYCHOLOGICAL INTEGRATION

Our spiritual longing for self actualisation, the drive for meaning, the thirst for self fulfilment are universal, as Abraham Maslow (14) formulated in his ‘hierarchy of human needs’. These do need to be met since many human problems and sufferings are not just a form of pathology, but may be a symptom of spiritual malaise. Profound spiritual experiences which open up higher superconscious areas of mind may stimulate, or resonate with suppressed or repressed material in the lower unconscious mind – bringing it suddenly into the light of conscious awareness. This can sometimes be very painful as spiritual energy illuminates the psyche, bringing up unfinished business to be healed and realised in an integrated way. Such crises or awakenings can temporarily overwhelm the personality but not permanently transform it, and we need to deal with the disturbances that arise from conflicting aspects of personality within. In this context, the importance of proper aftercare following ‘coming down’ from intense states of euphoria, joyful communion and powerful company needs to be recognised.

We grow and develop in the presence of loving support. We need space to learn how to know, to find out how to learn. This can only happen through kindness and love towards where we are and whatever difficulty we are facing. This true kindness turns out to be a thread of our deepest identity, encouraging and supporting us to grow and develop through an appreciation of what we truly need... So, do we need spiritual satsang or therapy – or both?

Spiritual satsang is in itself undoubtedly therapeutic as the personality rearranges and integrates itself around a deepening sense of self – whereas therapy can be valuable in helping to reveal painful thought patterns and fixed core beliefs that underlie our emotional reactivity and compulsive behaviours. Emotional healing comes from our willingness to face fully and ‘feel into’ the sense of lack at the core of our deepest and darkest emotions. Most of our fear comes from the resistance to feeling, not the feeling itself. As we look around inside for the feared object, we find there is nothing there! Working through these negatively charged patterns to discover the still, loving and spacious presence we truly are, can radically change our outlook and transform our life.

THE RIGHT USE OF WILL

As our individual will becomes more aligned to the natural will, we come into greater harmony with ‘the way things are.’ However, many areas of our internal world are hidden from our conscious awareness and so are not included in our sense of ‘I’ness. We can often force ourselves, or feel pressured by spiritual authority figures, to exert our will to override and subdue certain aspects of our personality – without first exploring and understanding them. Attempting to control one aspect of mind without an understanding of the whole, risks putting the entire system off balance. Hidden emotional aspects of the mind can easily create energetic power struggles with the body or parts of the personality outside our awareness.

In addition, systematic spiritual work is often demanding of time and energy from people already leading busy lives. ‘Trying to fit everything in’ often results in people feeling very ‘driven.’ Living our lives too intentionally can set up an imbalance in our autonomic nervous system – either over-control with too much adrenalin, or feeling overwhelmed and out of control with flooding of cortisol, and loss of healthy immune functioning. The resultant disturbances in breathing, heart rate variability and loss of auto-immune surveillance etc can cause dysfunction in the internal bodily organs leading to psychosomatic disease – including states of chronic anxiety, depression, exhaustion and insomnia. Only when we reach higher levels of psychological integration can we begin to resolve these inner conflicts instead of trying to control them.

MEDITATION AND THE ART OF RELAXATION

In my experience, along with a natural diet and regular exercise, learning the arts of spiritual meditation (15) and physical relaxation (16) play a vital part in helping to prevent many psychological difficulties and physical disease. These are well researched, healthy behaviours whose effects on the body-mind are harmoniously co-ordinating, reversing the harmful effects of stress. Every physiological pathway studied tends to spontaneously move towards healthy values.(17,18,19,20,21)

When our will is trained in meditation to concentrate attention within, our consciousness becomes channelled from the lowest to the highest level of pure awareness. In Psychosynthesis, our natural will is called the ‘syntropic force of the Self’ because it regulates and harmonises our psychological functions, and ‘steers’ them towards a chosen goal. Along the way, our internalised violence and aggression, our feelings of being unlovable and incapable of choice, transmute naturally into self-affirmation with self esteem (22) – a place of psychological freedom and choice. In the final stages, the boundaries of name, form, and one’s own self as witness begin to dissolve. A state of bliss can arise – as effortless surrender flowing with the rhythm of unfolding reality.

WHO AM I?

The ultimate spiritual question, ‘Who am I?’ is a radical enquiry that immediately points beyond questions of ‘How am I feeling?’, ‘What am I thinking?’, and ‘How should I behave?’ – towards the source of well being itself. This freedom can be lived regardless of whatever is happening. It is a conscious happiness at the core of who we are, underlying all passing mental states. Therapy, at its properly understood level, does offer great help at certain phases of development. Truth however is the greatest tranquilliser because all extremes are reconciled within its orbit. Finally, truth strips us bare, revealing only the purity and radiance of being naked to our Self – simple, and open to the freshness of what is unfolding now.

Interestingly, medical science and psychology are slowly beginning to open up to spiritual wisdom as a source of practical knowledge. One example that springs to mind is the anticipated government initiative to introduce the teaching of Mindfulness meditation to schoolchildren.

A recent feature article (23) in a leading psychotherapy journal reads:-

‘An important yet surprising generator of spirituality in today’s society is psychotherapy. The burgeoning field of ‘spirituality and health’ is ...inspired primarily...by suffering patients who bring the question of spirituality to the clinical setting...tentatively expressing the view that a lack of ‘spiritual meaning’ might have something to do with their malady or despair.

In our non-religious age, people often have inadequate language to express this sense of spiritual absence, but they grope towards it, using intuition, experience and whatever resources they can find, whether these are drawn from religion, popular music, movies, or conversations with therapists and friends. Today we can speak of a grass roots recovery of the spiritual dimension in health and healing. It is a sign that civilisation is in transition, that we have moved beyond the high watermark of secularism, and perhaps live in a post secular age.’

Here it is worth noting, as John Welwood writes (24) , “The psychologising of Eastern contemplative disciplines could rob those disciplines of their spiritual substance. It could pervert them into a western mental health gimmick, and thereby prevent them from introducing the sharply alternative vision of life that they are capable of bringing us.” Becoming too fixated on our personal concerns and psychological maps can obscure what is already here and already free – what is already healthy and well and does not need to be fixed – a pristine purity deeper than our thoughts, feelings and behaviours, or as the Poet Laureate, Tennyson, wrote, ‘closer...than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.’(25)

MYSTERIOUS PRESENCE

In the end, whether understood consciously or not, we are all on a spiritual path, since no one can dispute the mysterious supremacy of Nature over our lives. The difficulties, dangers and pitfalls along the way, when rightly seen, turn out to be pointers to our un-harmable and indestructible essence – an unfailing presence of peace and love. Through our spiritual efforts to realise our deepest Selfhood we learn to face courageously all that life places in our path with a warm heart, a flexible intelligence and an adventurous will. Finally, all we have left is faith – faith in the unbroken continuity of our Being, consciously living Itself through name and form; and trust – that through that same Self, the help and resources needed along the way will simply appear, as they miraculously seem to do. For this, there can be only gratitude.

Dr Alice Greene

BIOGRAPHY

As a holistic medical doctor for over 35 yrs, Alice uses non-drug approaches to health and healing – Homeopathy with dietary and lifestyle changes to stimulate healing; Autogenic Training for profound relaxation and stress management; and Psychosynthesis Therapy, including a variety of other trainings, to help people with personal and professional issues of body, mind and spirit.

Alice has had a life-long interest in self realisation through spiritual development and meditation, including over 40 years in two spiritual organisations, and many other groups along the way.

A graduate of the Psychosynthesis Trust, Alice is a member of the General Medical Council (GMC), the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP); the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) and the Scientific & Medical Network (SMN); and a Fellow of both the British Autogenic Society (BAS) and the Faculty of Homeopathy.

www.dralicegreene.com

Footnotes:

(1) See www.ridhwan.org – A way of bridging the spiritual / psychological dichotomy by offering timeless spiritual insight together with contemporary psychological understanding to address the obstacles to realisation unique to our time.

(2)A traditional yoga of Self knowledge from the Sanskrit: yoga - union; adhi - in the realm of; atman - the self.

(3)Being in the company of truth – from the Sanskrit: sat - truth; sangha - company. I particularly like Papaji’s description of satsang as ‘being in the presence of that which does not destroy love’.

(4)See The Psychosynthesis Trust; www.psychosynthesistrust.org.uk/

(5)Diana Whitmore, ‘Psychosynthesis - a vision for the future?’ Psychosynthesis Journal

(6)Transpersonal psychology is a school of psychology that integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience with the framework of modern psychology.

(7)‘Staying in the present - accounting for the power of the here-and-now: a theoretical revolution’ - BD Slife and J Lanyon. Int J Group Psychotherapy Apr 1991: 41 (2): 145-67.

(8)F. Alexander : ‘Buddhist training as an artificial catatonia’ The Psychoanalytic Review 18 (1931)143

(9)G. I. Gurdjieff, (1866 – 1949), an influential spiritual teacher who taught that it is possible to transcend the state of ‘waking sleep’ to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential.

(10)‘That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world’ John 1:9 King James Bible

(11)‘The Drama of being a child’ by Alice Miller. Virago Press 1995 – see www.alice-miller.com

(12)John Heron. ‘Catharsis in Human Development.’ The British Postgraduate Medical Federation 1977

(13)See R Assagioli, ‘Transpersonal Development’ paperback edition 2008. An excellent read.

(14)Abraham Maslow (1908 –1970), American psychologist best known for creating a theory of psychological health, based on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.

(15)For example, see www.schoolofmeditation.org or Mindfulness training at www.lovelifelivenow.com

(16)For example, various schools of Yoga; or Autogenic Training, www.autogenic-therapy.org.uk

(17)Luthe & Schultz; 6 Vols on Autogenic Therapy in medicine & psychotherapy. Grune & Stratton, New York.

(18)C Magerey ‘Meditation and health’ Patient Management. May 1989 89-101

(19)‘Effectiveness of meditation based programme for pain regulation’ Am J Psychiatry 1992

(20)‘Four year follow up of meditation in pain management’ Clin J Pain 1987:2 159-173

(21)R.Wallace ‘The neurophysiology of enlightenment’: Maharishi Int University Press 1991

(22)Self respect arising from being in touch with one’s natural feelings and being able to express what one does or does not want, irrespective of others’ opinions, approval or condemnation.

(23)David Tacey, ‘Healing Fiction: spirituality and psychotherapy’ The Psychotherapist, Issue 27; 15-17 2014

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