A transpersonal lens: a way of seeing and a way of working
Transpersonal Psychology has become an umbrella term for naming the experience where consciousness extends beyond (trans) the individual or personal. These experiences are filtered through the individual person, hence the word trans personal rather than post personal or non-personal. So by that we mean the wide range of human experience covered by the term and enquired about by 'transpersonal psychology'.
It can also be described as inhabiting the wider spaces within one's being. For some this brings about a state of healing or deeper understanding, even if the outside circumstances are not changed the fundamental shift is from unconscious victim of their own fears and desires, into having an open and accepting relationship with all life, so that in doing so we can become, not just a range of problems to solve or objectives to achieve, but much more resourceful as a person.
Out of the fabric of our everyday lives the 'transpersonal' as an archetype of meaning weaves a cloth of purpose, significance and direction. It creates both an understanding of how we have come to be ourselves and also an imagination of the person we have yet to become. This is the journey of soul making- living our story.
In transpersonal psychology we speak of a variety of meanings clustered around the word 'self'. The first is designated by a small 's' and means the total person, including persona, ego, and the unconscious. This is the everyday self with all the attendant issues of work, career, kids, challenges we experience in our lives and which, as coaches and supervisors we work with.
Self with a large 'S' designates the second meaning - the Self. Within every person is this 'seed' of a Self and all that it may become- all of it's potential up to and including the divine within us. This includes the ability to perceive and experience the numinous, the felt presence of divinity and spirituality. It is often in moments of awe we become aware of a greater sense of ourselves, of life even, as we are moved deeply by a piece of music, a poem, a moment that awakens a sense of meaning for us. It includes the possibility for a single human life to be touched and transformed by something greater than itself.
This part manifests within an individual in the crises and experiences, both high and low, of human living. It is the part of us that 'knows' what in our heart of hearts is our truth.
On this journey, meaning, wholeness, connection is the music and the 'note' that resonant at the core of our bearing is what it listens out for. When we evoke images within us this is one way approach towards a deeper meaning in our own lives and in life at large. The Self, knows much more than we imagine from a small 's' perspective.
Working with clients in coaching and in coaching supervision
In creating a space that is mindful of this richness and this perspective within us all can help with our work. We are, to all intents, echoing the belief that we may be more fully ourselves by opening to a greater and wiser part in ourselves, even if it is not articulated.
Holding this notion as we explore with our supervisees or coaches through imaging work, dreams, visualisations, drawing, story, and the practice of mindfulness and presence, for example, provides another language that is available to help the supervisee to draw upon a wider artistry within themselves. This helps them access another dimension of understanding of their own story, draw upon more of their potential to be effective coaches as they listen with an inner ear, exercise more of their skills and appreciate more of what may be present in the work they do.
As coaches and coaching supervisors we are working more and more with clients and organisations whose questions are wider and more searching than the job, the promotion, the team. Many are exploring issues about meaning, who they are, about the journey of life itself and as such calls upon us to bring a greater depth of presence and a larger container for the breadth of work we do.
Karyn Prentice 2011