Updated: Dec 18, 2019
I believe that we are all on a psychospiritual, transformative journey and this journey can be understood as a process of unraveling the layers of our ‘ego-identity’. This doesn't mean that our ego identity isn't important - it is actually a necessary, healthy and constructive tool for our survival and functioning as human beings! It enables us stay grounded and interact with others and the world around us.
Integration & Balance
However, if we are overly focussed on the development of our ego and ignore the existence of anything beyond this, then we are limiting our potential for healing and growth. I believe it is important to acknowledge transpersonal or spiritual dimensions along our path of healing and growth. Yet again, if we only work with spiritual development and a desire to ‘transcend’ then there is a danger of by-passing our human experience. So, the journey of psychospiritual transformation is all about balance and integration and alongside our spiritual development we must also work to have a healthy, stable and strong ego.
Life consists of challenges and difficulties. We may encounter traumatic experiences, which often cause us to construct layers of ‘amour’ around our true selves in an attempt to protect us from mental, emotional or physical.
These layers are wounded parts of ourselves that can cause us to feel disconnected from our true self and also to feel ‘fragmented’ and incomplete. When we start to unravel these layers we may have glimmers or our true self and eventually this more authentic self can be revealed in its wholeness and totality.
This 'unravelling' is life-long process and there is this constant binding and unbinding or expansion and restriction taking place in our lives. Learning to navigate and be at peace with this spiral like journey is a huge part of what it means to transform, heal and work towards wholeness.
Our True Self
Our true self, or the ‘soul’ aspect of ourselves is interwoven with a collective and unified field of consciousness. Connecting with our true self is about bringing ourselves back into alignment with the collective whole and recognising that we are not separate from each other, but we are each an individual expression of this collective whole.
The Spiral Process of Transformation
It is my experience that our journey towards wholeness and healing is a spiral process, rather than an upwards ‘linear’ ascent. Throughout our life we may have spiritual or transcendent experiences and we may feel like we are ‘progressing’ on our journey. However, there is always this need to return to the deeper level of ourselves and it is continuous process of unraveling these deeper layers.
When we get closer towards a sense of self-actualisation we may have even more difficulties or challenges arise because there is this ‘return’ to earlier life traumas, lessons or triggers that need to be acknowledged and worked through. These experiences all have a purpose of giving us an opportunity to engage in deeper levels of healing. The key is to learn to embrace these difficulties rather than ignoring or trying to surpass them.
The Dark Night of the Soul
I am very much interested in concepts like, 'The dark Night of the Soul', or this idea of descending into an 'underworld' and uncovering the depths of our wounding. There are times in life where we experience this sacred journey and our personal identity, meaning and purpose is challenged. As painful as these experiences are, they are necessary for our renewal and our re-birth.
Honoring the Journey
It’s about honoring this journey and recognising that there is a purpose to the difficulties and to hold space for them. There isn’t something ‘wrong’ with us, there is nothing to fix or to get over, but it is part of the process of transformation and it is a process and that can be difficult. It’s sticky and there are obstacles and challenges that we must face before we can move forward. It’s so important for us to navigate this journey with this awareness so that we don’t get stuck, give up or choose to stay with what is comfortable instead.
For some of us the ‘descent’ is triggered by the onset of an illness, stress and burnout, a breakup, the death of a loved one or a range of traumatic experiences. It literally feels like we have been catapulted into this descent and for others, it may be a more spontaneous or intuitive ‘soul’s calling’ that pulls us there.
Navigating the 'descent' is as important as navigating the ‘ascent’ into transcendent or peak experiences. We are all on this journey, but for some of us – for a variety of reasons - this journey might be accelerated, involve more intense experiences and more 'highs and lows'.
Transcendent or peak experiences can arise spontaneously by engaging in spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga or other healing activities. Some people might be more ‘open’ to these experiences and other people might seek them out by accessing altered states of consciousness. These altered states are reached through the use of psychoactive substances, dance, breath-work (to name a few) or many other activities.
Integrating Difficult Experiences
I recognise that these experiences are part of our transformation and growth, but sometimes these experiences are intense, unsettling, confusing and can be difficult to integrate into our daily lives. There might be a tendency to reject these experiences (if they are confusing or don’t make sense), holding on strongly to our ‘egoic self’ or because society as a whole tends to suppress or pathologies unusual experiences. This can make it even more difficult to speak out about these experiences.
I believe that at some point, everyone will be opened up to some kind of transcendent, spiritual or altered state and might need some guidance to navigate their journey. My work involves holding space for others as they learn to reflect, interpret or rest in both the uncomfortable and blissful experiences along the way.
Jules has an MSc in Transpersonal Psychology, Consciousness and Spirituality and is a qualified Transpersonal Coach. She has drawn on the knowledge of mindfulness, healing, therapy and psychology in which to form her unique approach to psycho-spiritual transformation, healing and growth. Jules is passionate about facilitating people on their journey towards wholeness and helping them to connect with the meaning and purpose behind their experiences.