What does it mean to take a transpersonal approach when it comes to periods of transition? Jane Tipping from ICU, the School for Transpersonal Growth and Coaching, explains.
When we mention that we do transpersonal work, we are often met with “huh, what does that mean?” To start off this article perhaps we should explain. Transpersonal work is the next level of coaching and personal growth. Its literal meaning is “beyond the personal." To sum it up concisely in the words of Byron Katie, it is about uncovering how “all things happen for me not to me." Transpersonal incorporates nonreligious values and spiritual principles, helping individuals discover meaning and purpose in all experiences. This article suggests a different take on our current global issues.
May you live in interesting times
There is an ancient Chinese curse that says, “may you live in interesting times." And do we ever! We don’t believe in the power of curses, and yet there is no doubt we are collectively and globally experiencing a major period of turbulence. It is obvious we are out of balance. Inequality based on race, gender, sexual preferences, corruption, and greed are all coming to light. Our abuse of the earth and non-renewable resources continues to take its toll, and it often seems we are living in dark and challenging times.
We can view this as depressing or as a time of transition and an invitation for a brighter future. Perhaps we are being called to wake up to the need to take more personal responsibility and ask ourselves “what is important here?” and, “what can I do to address the imbalances we have all created?” The values and paradigms that have served us in the past are no longer working.
Trying to control leads to temporary solutions
There is always external action we can take to address important issues. We could reduce our consumption of non-renewable resources; we can create laws and policies that target hateful behaviour, but this is all about trying to control. Control leads to temporary solutions and the issues simply shift and morph like mercury. The most important work starts with our internal values that have somehow allowed us to support destructive and self-serving behaviour.
When we focus on the outer world by assigning blame and trying to create ways to “fix it,” we are simply applying a band aid. We have a temporary solution but remain stuck in an ongoing circle in which circumstances change but the fundamental issues are never addressed. If we instead take the stand that our outer world reflects our inner collective world, perhaps a more significant shift could occur.
Drop the fear and be authentic
The coronavirus pandemic is our most current and tangible challenge that unites us worldwide. It has demanded us to literally “stay inside” and has served as a metaphor. For many, the pandemic has provided the desire and opportunity to reflect on personal values and what is truly important. Issues that have previously run in the background are now coming forward.
We are realising the frustration of staying in work environments that have no soul, defining success by the amount of money we make rather than by living according to values that matter, maintaining superficial relationships while yearning for depth and connection. We have a fundamental desire to drop the fear and be authentic.
Authentic means the real deal, nothing fake. To be authentic means no masks; being just, fair, grounded, honest, caring, and unattached to what others may think or feel. There is no need for approval from others. There is no need for stories or drama. Our identity is clear, and we feel strong and compassionate. To live authentically requires courage, honesty and the willingness to be transparent.
Show up and take action
None of us (or practically none of us) can be 100 percent authentic all the time. If we feel threatened or anxious most of us reach for the mask that will guarantee our survival. We may not be threatened on a physical level, but the flight, fight, and freeze or fawn reflexes kick in and we will do anything to make sure we do not feel shame, guilt, embarrassment, or rejection. It’s our collective programming.
But there is always a part of us that is true and unshakeable, and we know it by looking at the beliefs and values we stand for. We also know it when we come to a firm “no” within ourselves that has little emotion attached. We know something is right, and we do the right thing even if it means we will be judged, criticised, or rejected. This is what this time of transition is asking of us; to show up and take action based on what we know to be values that support life and equality.
ICU offers workshops, retreats, coaching, and training in transpersonal work in the Netherlands, the UK, and Canada. Using (experiential) practical, spiritually based, psychotherapeutic processes, the work assists people of all ages and walks of life to integrate their human and spiritual natures to become authentic, sensitive, passionate human beings contributing to the happiness of their own lives and those of others. Their English online training to become an accredited coach starts September 2, sign up now!