Transpersonal growth, for me, describes the journey a person goes through to be their most actualized self in every moment of life.
Transpersonal growth covers an entire spectrum, with the key being that it is as encompassing of the person as it is all the things a person may see as being beyond them.
What do I mean by beyond? The word ‘transpersonal’ means to go beyond the limits of personal identity. We all grow up with a name, and take that for the most part to be who we are; later, we might adopt our education or work status as pseudo-identities, or our position within a family. Throughout our lives, we experience much, and often what we have lived through and done becomes integral to our sense of identity.
All of these can provide valuable aspects of what we do, or have done, as people – but is any of it who you are? And have you ever given it much thought?
It is easy to grow up going by the default routes that society and your culture offer. Often it is typical (at least in my culture) that a person gets an education, works hard, raises a family and retires with just enough time left to take some leisure in life if they are lucky. Not everyone is in this category, of course, but it is a proscribed life design in today’s world. Whatever route you have gone down in life, it is easy to fall by-default in to some system.
In the massively revolutionized world we live in today, much more is on offer to us and we don’t even realize it. There are countless possibilities in life, and you as a person have unlimited potential to live a satisfying life that is your choosing. You can revolutionize your inner world. When we take conscious action in our lives, and begin to question the norms and values we have been taught, it is often possible to learn an entirely new way of life which resonates with you on a much deeper level. When we go beyond who we’re raised to be, we can become who we are.
Now, when a person really realizes that they want some other way of living, it can be a daunting notion – where do you start? Who is there to help you? And what is it you even want?
For people trying to achieve more in life, there are options. Typical personal development tends to lean towards the external: building practical, technical skills, be that for social applications or within a workplace, or within one’s general life. These are all valuable tools for building the career, social relationships, and lifestyle that a person wants.
Another aspect of growth is what is often considered spiritual or emotional development, and is more concerned with the inner, subjective experiences of the individual. This may take in to account peoples’ world views, beliefs, attitudes, and sense of life-purpose. As well as this, areas such as a person’s belief in a source of Divinity or God within the universe come in to this branch of development.
While there can be much crossover between these two approaches (I’ve simplified things here for the sake of explanation) people often do see these as quite distinct paths. There are the ‘spiritually minded’ people out there, and the ‘business minded’ people – but few things are ever that simple. Waking up to the more extensive definition of who or what you are can radically alter your life, open you up to possibilities you would have never imagined, and truly allow you to create a satisfying life.
People often go in to personal-development programmes, or buy the books and so on, through some conscious decision to change things in their life – but perhaps dramatic life circumstances have pushed you and you feel change is the only option. Similarly, people on a spiritual path often begin their journey through some radical, life-changing experience, which puts them on that path. However you have come to the decision that you want to open your mind and heart to what life has to offer you, you have the ability to take those steps.
The approach I take (and many other holistic approaches out there) aims to address the whole person: more than your often limiting self-views, or those that society would impose upon you. Learning how to acknowledge and grow in to every aspect of yourself will allow you to reach the potential just waiting to be tapped in to by any person who puts their mind to it.
I can’t tell you your path: it’s unique for every individual, and while there may at times be a lot of commonality between people walking their paths, it is ultimately a unique journey, as subjective as the life of any one person. The path to genuine self-discovery can be rough, isolating, even frightening at times; but in even greater measure it is rewarding, it brings about peace and understanding of yourself and the world around you, and lets you step consciously in to the unknown, wherever it may take you.