The Transpersonal Way

Healthy Spirituality/Transpersonal Psychology by Dorian Martin for Jennyoga

Can spirituality be good for your health? The answer, according to many researchers, turns out to be, “Yes!”

Transpersonal Psychology, an approach that emerged in the late 1960s, suggests that nurturing and developing spirituality and awareness can help individuals develop greater physical and mental health as well as a deeper personal understanding of themselves. This type of psychology marries a number of approaches and disciplines, including cognitive psychology, humanistic psychology, behaviorism, Eastern philosophy, Western philosophy, mysticism, mindfulness and multiple elements from the world’s various religions.

A Path to Transformation

This psychological approach can help a person transform his/her life. Transpersonal psychology is rooted in the idea that people who are in any form of relationship have a space between them. That space includes a profound spiritual “something” that influences each person, thus causing changes in each party in the relationship.  Each person begins to dwell less on the day-to-day efforts to take care of basic human needs and instead adopts a transcendent approach that takes into account others as well as the universe as a whole. This form of psychology encourages inner peace, trust, a feeling of being fully alive, selfless service and compassion.

Practices such as prayer, meditation, yoga and Qigong can help individuals achieve this state of transcendence. Furthermore, incorporating these practices into a daily routine can lead to real health benefits. For instance, some researchers suggest that transpersonal experiences are tied to optimal mental health. Not surprisingly, this approach can help individuals who are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism and grief or who are considering suicide. Researchers also have found that these types of transpersonal practices can help people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

A Bond to Nature

A practice of transpersonal psychology often involves spending time in nature, which is considered a key factor for optimal health. One study found that prolonged wilderness trips that include natural history as well as solitary time can lead to peak or mystical experiences in both adults and adolescents. This immersion into nature helped many participants’ identify a different way of thinking about the world and their own surroundings. An analysis of these individuals’ journal entries suggested that they started to develop more satisfying responses to day-to-day opportunities and challenges after their experiences on these trips.

Primary Sources for This Blog:

Davis, J. (2004). Psychological Benefits of Nature Experiences: An Outline of Research and Theory with Special Reference to Transpersonal Psychology. Naropa University and School of Lost Borders.

McKeown, P. (1996). Transpersonal Psychology Provides Health Benefits. NewsOK.com.

Tartakovsky, M. (2011). 6 Facts About Transpersonal Psychology. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 19, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/11/03/6-facts-about-transpersonal-psychology/

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