This presentation is about our human potential – our spiritual, psychological, and social growth, as well as transformation of consciousness, of the inner feeling of our own existence, and the release of conditioning imposed upon us by society.

The unfolding from body to mind to spirit is considered as “stages of development”. In stage 1, “body” stage, we are identified merely with the separate bodily organism and its survival drives (“me” or egocentric stage). In stage 2, mind” stage, identity expands from isolated body and starts to share relationships with many others. The identity expands from “me” to “us” (from egocentric to ethnocentric). With stage 3 the identity expands from “us” to “all of us”. Discovering the commonwealth of all beings is the move from ethnocentric to worldcentric/universal, and is “spiritual” in the sense of things common to all sentient beings.

To be able to move from mind (worldview, belief system) to spirit (mindfulness awareness or no-mind) we need to do “shadow work”. The “shadow” represents unconsciousness, or psychological material that we repress, deny, dissociate, or disown, which then returns to plague us with painful neurotic symptoms, obsessions, fears, and anxieties. Uncovering, befriending, and re-owning this material is necessary not only for removing painful symptoms, but for forming an accurate and healthy self-image.

Forgiveness (to others, ourselves, and the world) is something most important in this therapeutic process. It makes possible transformation of basic feelings at the spiritual level. Only then can we feel compassion for others, self-compassion, peacefulness and gratitude (acceptance of good in self and others). When we forgive others, we let go all of the judgements we may have projected onto them. This change in perception is the essence of change of consciousness. It is not seeing different things so much as seeing things differently.

The last part is focused on mindful living – a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.

Professor of psychology and psychotherapy.
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