Emergrent spirituality monograph


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Emergrent spirituality monograph

  1. 1. EMERGENT SPIRITUALITY by DAN KAPICA founder/president Mangrove Seed, Inc. February 20, 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dan Kapica 1
  2. 2. PROLOGUE The purpose of this brief, psycho-philosophical monograph is to explain one critical aspect of a new, structural approach in the emerging field of philosophy of psychology. A new concept called “emergent spirituality” is defined and contrasted to traditional views about the path to personal englightenment. It is excerpted from a larger essay/book entitled The Way Of The Mangrove Seed. The Way of the Mangrove Seed reflects the journey of the founder of the Mangrove Seed, Inc. The essay presents his realizations gleaned from a twenty-two year search for personal meaning and identity. These findings also form the theoretical foundation for his creation of the not-for-profit holistic learning center, the Mangrove Seed, Inc. ∞∞∞ Psychological Integration Is The Prerequisite For Authentic Living Emotionally balanced, psychological "wholeness," is the sine qua non of an authentically expressing S(s)elf, and the essential quality required for harmonious living. This state of cooperative existence is ultimately demonstrated through genuine caring and compassionate human relationships, combined with respectful interactions in the surrounding natural environment. Spiritual Practice Offers A Complementary And Supportive Role For Emotional Balance And Harmonious Living Spiritual practice can complement the development of emotional balance; but, it is not a substitute for, nor an escape from the "emotional healing" required for psychological integration. Emotional balance occurs through a conscious resolution(healing) of developmental issues from one's psychological past. 2
  3. 3. Traveling the psychological path to wholeness, indeed the “road less traveled,” is a lifetime journey ending only with physical death. Carl Jung implicitly described the goal of this transformative process as the “purpose of human existence.” The goal is important only as an idea; the essential thing is the OPUS which leads to the goal; and, that is the goal of a lifetime. Carl Jung, Collected Works 16, p. 400 Simply stated, traveling the path to wholeness is enough for a fulfilled life. The imagined endpoint is only a navigational star. Human existence is really about the journey of the individual . . . a continuous awakening to true personal identity and its authentic S(s)elf expression. Indeed, the journey is the destination . . . where the simulataneous activities of “doing and being” create the meaning and fulfill the purpose of our lives. THE INNER JOURNEY TO WHOLENESS Copyright © 2004 Daniel J. Kapica 3
  4. 4. The above diagram illustrates the inner path to psychological integration and individuation. The psychological path (from left to right) describes a generalized, three stage, human developmental path from separate child, mother, and father to an integrated, singular personal identity. Stage1 above begins at birth with the child separate from both parents who are the “formative potential” for its subsequent development. Stage 1 occupies a long period of time. Stage 2 is essentially the entire “healing process” associated with the “shadow” persona of each human. Stage 3 implies the integration of all elements, both internal and external, that have shaped the personal journey for a lifetime. During this final this stage, personal boundaries are formed, personal truth has been ascertained, and authentic S(s)elf expression is now possible. There are no clear demarcation points for each of these stages. Chronological age and levels of schooling are inadequate markers for the progress and results of each stage of development. In fact, “modern mainstream education” is not really concerned with this developmental process as the fundamental raison d’etre for its curriculum and methodolgy. Perhaps, contemporary “education” might be better described as “indoctrination in skills necessary for getting, performing, and keeping a job.” Sadly, true “educare . . . to bring out from within” . . . is not the primary focus of “industrial age” education. Finally, during and beyond (through S(s)elf balancing) Stage 3, a person is able to accept themselves, other people, and life situations, without judgements and expectations. Through continued S(s)elf balancing of the intuitive and rational beyond this Stage 3, a person becomes able to achieve a continual state of authentic expression and harmonious living. ∞∞∞ 4
  5. 5. THE OUTER PATH OF SPIRITUALITY STAGES 1 2 3 The spiritual path (from left to right) describes the OPTIONAL choice for someone who has become psychologically integrated along their inner path. On a spiritual path, a person consciously chooses to relinquish thier “acquired personality/identity” (stage 3, on page 31) in favor of a more egoless existence and relationship with their outer world. The spiritual path describes a complementary OUTER way or attitude of living in daily life, in contrast to the inner path of psychological transformation into wholeness. Essentially, at this plateau on the human journey, a person has formed a solid inner foundation of S(s)elf worth and acceptance. The focus of development now shifts to the balancing of the inner S(s)elf in the context of everyday living, with its myriad of relationships. After a person becomes “psychologically whole” on their “inside,” (see page 31) they may or may not choose to demonstrate this “wholeness” in the context of their “outside” world . . . their everyday existence of interpersonal relationships. During the pursuit of a “spiritually inspired journey,” the tightly prescribed “boundaries” that define the integrated psyche (resulting from both integration and individuation) are consciously allowed to expand (stage1) and to become permeable (stage 2). A person who has chosen to demonstrate their existence 5
  6. 6. authentically, and in a “spiritual manner,” no longer needs to be compulsively anxious toward their outer world (stage 3). Recent neuroanatomy studies have discovered that the parietal lobe of the brain may play an important role in this spiritual process of self-transcendence (Johnstone and Glass, Zygon, 43:4,2008 and Urgesi, Aglioti,Skrap, and Fabbro, Neuron, 65:3, 2010). Essentially, the notion of “spirituality” is defined as a consciously chosen “attitude” or way of relating to one’s outer world. Of course, the actual process of living both paths is usually intertwined, interdependent, and never fully mastered in a lifetime. Sometimes, a motivational basis for spiritual living includes a relationship with an entity called the Divine. “The pursuit” of a relationship with this external and often anthropomorhic, mythically defined entiy is not by itself alone the path to authentic S(e)elf expression in human form. The traditional philosophical discussion about noumena and phenomena by Kant and Nietzssche notes the limiting perspective for rational thought and behavior of this external “reality” called “the divine.” So too, we must ask again the key question regarding this “God concept” . . . Why is this external “entity” needed at all by humans to live authentically and in ethical relationships? In brief, a “spiritual path” is defined only with regard to the outer manifestation of an inner psychological wholeness. More importantly, the “use of” traditionally defined egoic identity structures as “social masks” for human relationships becomes less necessary as fear is more easily balanced with trust. in decision making. When consciously living a “spiritual life, ” inner and outer balance results through S(s)elf acceptance and forms the basis for a continued “willingness” to reduce the use of false, egoic “boundary identities/masks” in daily living. 6
  7. 7. What Is Emergent Spirituality? This concept of spiritual “enlightenment,” and the various rituals and procedures attempting its realization, is commonly misinterpreted by pantheistic, monotheistic, and non-theistic institutionalized religions. In many “mystical” aspects of these religious traditions, there is a focus on the pursuit of an externally induced and inner realized transformation (e.g. a “unitive,” or “white light” experience) rather than a more essential focus on the pursuit of becoming a psychologically integrated person . . . who then consciously chooses to demonstrate this wholeness in everyday living. Traditional religious “enlightenment experiences” do not require psychological wholeness as a pre-requisite condition for “experiencing God.” In fact, these “mystical” experiences may often occur in persons who are not emotionally balanced (e.g, the Catholic saints St. Faustina (20th century), St. Teresa of Jesus (16th century), St. Gertrude the Great (13th century), St. Margarent Mary Alacoque (17th century), St. Catherine of Siena (14th century), St. Francis, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John of the Cross). This monograph postulates that traditional religious notions of “enlightenment” are not only no longer relevant to modern living, but also may foster psychological distortions and blockages responsible for many dysfunctional human relationships. An alternative concept of “religion as an explanatory and guiding system for human behavior” is warranted in the twenty-first century. By way of perspective, the concept of “emergent spirituality” as an “outer path” ‘reflecting an inner wholeness is referenced in the Christian Bible, “Faith without works is dead. “ James 2: (14-26). Simply stated and without theological obfuscation, the notion of “living your faith” . . . through your actions in everyday life . . . is embedded in this ancient Christian message. 7
  8. 8. Some characteristics of an “emergent spiriuality” are presented here to articulate this “new way” for authentic living. • The path of “emergent spirituality” is the continuing, life-long process of becoming fully human. Maslow explicitly defines “self-actualization to be the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for him [the individual] to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming. Self-actualization according to Maslow is "intrinsic growth” of what is already in the organism, or more accurately of what is the organism itself. Self-actualization is growth- motivated rather than deficiency-motivated. It is predicated on the individual having their lower deficiency needs met. Once a person has moved through feeling and believing that they are deficient, they naturally seek to grow into who they are, that is to self-actualize. Maslow,(1954), Motivation and Personality. • The foundational context for spiritual living is the continual attempt to consciously and respectfully connect with one’s total outer environment, both human and non-human. • The process of “emergent spirituality” is to attain and maintain harmonious external relationships. • A spiritual lifestyle is based on philosophical and psychological principles of balance and authentic meaning relevant to an individual, not to any “social/religious/cultural group.” • Cooperative coexistence is the essential attitude for spiritual living. • The sine qua non of the way of an “emergent spirituality path” is to discover the commonality of “the divine” within everything, and to maintain this “sacred relationship” in daily living. 8
  9. 9. Conscious Relationships Foster Spiritual Growth Moreover, if during the “spiritual” phase of life’s journey, a person enters a fully conscious, interactive and respectful relationship with another similarly “evolved” person, then both persons can often evolve to a new level of authentic individual expression. A new understanding and trust of one’s external world can be solidified and augmented through these conscious interpersonal relationships. Following A Misguided Path Of False Spirituality Special attention must be paid to the often mistaken idea that personal spirituality precedes the development of psychological wholeness, or is totally independent from it. This diagram describes a common mistake of avoiding confrontation and resolution of the “cause” of personal pain. A person, especially one with a “wounded inner child,” might choose to pursue two external options to minimize their inner pain, (1) come to rely on religious beliefs such as in a “God of Salvation,” and/or (2) depend upon other humans, typically in dysfunctional, co-dependent relationships. 9
  10. 10. This “softer and easier way” around their pain wall, instead of through it, may allow a person to claim(and often demonstrate) that they are “behaving” in a spiritual manner; however, the authenticity of this spirituality is suspect. Without psychological wholeness, or at least balance, any manifestations of spirituality are susceptible to corruption and abuse. The lives of many acclaimed “gurus” attest to this statement! Authentic spirituality becomes viable and visible only after(or during) a person’s conscious integration into psychological wholeness. Simply stated, a person must be somebody before becoming nobody. ∞∞∞ Psychological integration and individuation is INNER S(s)elf Realization. Spiritual relationships extend the inner fulfillment into the OUTER world. ∞∞∞ The total impact upon authentic S(s)elf expression caused by following both paths is succinctly stated by Stanislav Grof. “. . . discovering the wise force that guides them from within, many individuals develop a TRUST in the life process as it unfolds. They increasingly experience a deep faith that their existence is developing as it should, perhaps as part of a greater plan. They often stop trying to struggle against the momentum of life, finding that their resistance to its dynamics usually introduces unnessary pain. They find that life works better if they abandon their need to control their situation, allowing the deeper wisdom to guide them.” Stanislav Grof, (1990 )The Stormy Search For The Self 10
  11. 11. Conscious Release Of Attachment To Psychological Past And Future Can Facilitate The Habit Of S(s)elf Acceptance The freedom from an addiction to control outcomes in life situations derives from conscious choices. They facilitate the release of emotional attachments to painful psychological memories (see page 22). Furthermore, fears . . . projections of past resentment into a future "time frame" . . . can be minimized and/or removed from one's belief system. A more clarified perception of inner self worth is dependent upon this cognitive modification of old motivational beliefs created by a fear-biased, rational mind. Learning to fully accept our authentic S(s)elf, warts and all, is a healthy basis for releasing our compulsive need to control. Eventually, a personal non-judgemental acceptance of life situations, as they unfold in the present moment, will form a new belief system based more on trust. And then, from a space of inner S(s)elf acceptance can grow a harmonious outer acceptance of other S(s)elves. Accepting And Giving GENUINE Caring Is The Ultimate Catalyst For Peaceful Living The ultimate reason for successful inner change is the focus on a most basic human need . . . GENUINE caring. The Way Of The Mangrove Seed facilitates a psycho-spiritual journey to consciously reconnect with this inner power of S(s)elf caring(love). If a person can truly accept GENUINE caring on a daily basis, and give away that same caring to other humans, and to all physical forms in the universe, then that person will live in a space of peaceful calm and personally fulfilling interaction with its outer environment. 11
  12. 12. Present Moment Acceptance The quintessential process objective is to facilitate a conscious re-connection with an inner power of S(s)elf acceptance. This goal can be achieved (and maintained) in the present moment, not at some future point in time. Empowerment for a balanced lifestyle is possible NOW! When we dance, the journey itself is the point; when we play music, the playing itself is the point. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment. Alan Watts This process of conscious, present moment awareness allows us to be • Consciously aware of our resentments and fears and those of others • Fully responsible for accepting ourselves and others just as we are in the present moment; and, • Trusting of our inner S(s)elf for clarity and compassion in the caring of our S(s)elf and other S(s)elves. Staying in our hearts, when they are open, is where we can learn how to avoid reacting too quickly to our psychological resentments and fears . . . our pain. When our trusting hearts are masked by fear, we escape into our heads. We defend our mentally perceived threats to survival by trying to control our inner and outer environments. Avoidance of healing our past emotional pain often results in attitudes and behaviors that will project blame and guilt upon others. Thus, we escape from our responsibility to accept all aspects of ourselves, especially the parts of us that feel unloved and unlovable. By assuming a "victim role" a person fosters neither personal responsiblity nor accountability for their behavior. 12
  13. 13. It is your thoughts alone that cause you pain. Nothing external to your mind can hurt or injure you in any way. There is no cause beyond yourself that can reach down and bring oppression. No one but yourself affects you. It is you who have the power to dominate all things. Course In Miracles, Lesson 190 ∞∞∞ By consciously balancing our rational mind with our intuitive "heart-mind" in the present moments of daily life, we can allow internal healing through our compassionate acceptance of our woundedness. Sharing our innermost fears with others, in a space of genuine caring, allows us to be with our inner fears and to move through rather than around them. If we want to open our hearts, we must be willing to build a consciousness of S(s)elf trust. We must learn to re-connect with our innate, but lost, self-worth. From this connection with the source of our wholeness, we can learn to live with fear balanced by trust. 13
  14. 14. EPILOGUE This psycho-philosophical monograph from The Way Of The Mangrove Seed contains bold assumptions and assertions that may offend the sensibilities of some people. This provocative result is not the intent, and apologies are hereby offered to those considering parts of this book as personally disturbing or offensive. Nevertheless, The Way represents a new, structural approach in the emerging field called the “philosophy of psychology.” Some other clarifications are necessary. The understanding of how a person reacts to an inaccurate emotional encoding or rational interpretation of a memory is not based upon an exact “science.” In spite of our use of functional MRI, pet scans and other “seeing” technologies, our explanations offer only “descriptive, not causal” information. Human feelings are not a tangible, precisely quantifiable, nor can we can always anatomically locate them throughout our human body. And yet, they have such a powerful influence in every aspect of our lives . . . whom we like and don’t like, what we will eat and drink, where we will live, and how we will communicate/ interact with our external world. The notion of “two minds” in this book may conjure up the existence of two distinctly different physical brains within the head. The use of two aspects of one mind, rather than two minds is a more appropriate interpretation, in spite of the actual existence of the biological left and right hemispheres of the human brain. Actually, the notion of “two minds” has more to do with conceptual contrasts . . . factual versus emotional, and subjective versus objective. There is a need for more recognition, or at least balance, in the way humans interpret information and consequentially react in their everyday living. We need to understand more about the process of “intuitively knowing.” 14
  15. 15. Finally, the concept of authentic S(s)elf expression requires a fuller explanation. The Way Of The Mangrove Seed supports and promotes the personal freedom that comes from integration of thoughts and feeling; however, S(s)elf expression has qualifications. The behaviors of each person are always subject to the consensual realities of which they are a part. Responsibility for thoughts and actions are always subject, by mutual consent, to the guidelines of the social group. However, the most critical ethical imperative for all authentic S(s)elf expression and harmonious living is that we, individually and collectively, “do no harm.” ∞∞∞ 15