Spirituality and Personality: The Psycho-Spiritual Controversy

If you have been involved in either therapy or counselling, or spirituality and meditation, in recent years you have probably encountered two basic, polarized viewpoints concerning personality. Essentially it amounts to this: therapists are pro-personality (and its improvement through healing neurosis etc.) while spiritual teachers proclaim personality a big waste of time, since neurotic or not, you are more than your personality.

This is not particularly surprising, since therapy and counseling tend to be concerned with the individual, while spiritual practices are concerned with higher matters. But it does lead the novices and beginners into a quandary where they are faced with the decision of what to do about personality. On the one hand, therapy could be an expensive, futile effort to better the personality, whereas, on the other hand, spiritual practice may offer an excuse to leave personal problems behind, with the justification that you are moving on to more lofty concerns.

In the extensive time I have been engaged in therapy and spirituality I can say that I have discovered the answer to this controversy! And I don’t say it without reluctance and a certain caution, since my answer is liable to offend both camps — therapists and spiritual teachers. Perhaps my answer is less a rejection or abandonment of one viewpoint for another and more of a synthesis. This may be an answer of the best kind – the kind that doesn’t marginalize or dismiss anyone’s experience or viewpoint. For my answer, while radically new and innovative, does not fundamentally disagree with either point of view, but considers each appropriate to the complex, total unfolding process of our human nature and potential.

My answer to the dilemma is to propose a third band of human experience. I call this “the authentic self” and since I am not using any unusual words I need to define this term, because I do mean something specific. The authentic self, in the way I use the term, is the bridge between the personality and the spiritual self. It is arrived at usually, but not always, after a lengthy period of intensive, deep, applied and consistent inner work. This inner work consists of a journey of self-discovery in which one circumvents the self, becoming increasingly aware of the conscious and unconscious material that comprises one’s sense of self, or ego. This involves character, which is essentially defensive strategy or an intelligent, protective reaction to early conditioning, which becomes increasingly calcified and adapted throughout adolescence and adult life. Character is composed of the way in which we survive and protect ourselves from inner and outer stimuli and ultimately avoid really meeting life. It creates a self-imposed prison — limitations in which we feel falsely safe.

Self-discovery also involves cultivating our awareness of personality, or the way in which character (defenses and strategies) is experienced. Both inwardly and outwardly we erect a barrier to experience — life events and other people — which is a mask, façade or persona which eclipses the real person, or our true nature.

We also raise emotional and behavioural patterns out of the murky stratum of the unconscious, out of unawareness, and see just how much our life is lived automatically, as an automaton without real human response, emotional feeling, resonance, empathy or even awareness.

The process of self-discovery involves witnessing, reliving and remembering, practicing awareness and releasing pent-up emotions, returning the bodymind, through self-regulating, self-healing and self-referral, to a natural state of balance, ease and relaxation, and opening to insight and experience. In the short-term the experience is enriching, enlivening and full of dramatic changes. In the long-term through achieving personal wholeness, soul nourishment and insights we reach a threshold, a bridge, a chasm – all variously transitional metaphors that signify a quantum leap, a fourth dimensional change that I have termed “the threshold of transformation”.

The significance of this threshold, and what distinguishes it from all the changes that have gone before, is that is effects are irreversible — it is a step from which there is no going back. Once taken, this step across the threshold will lead you to the condition of authenticity and intimacy with your own true nature.

This insight renders the controversy about personality redundant. But it does depend on our ability to clearly distinguish the psychological from the spiritual.

Junctures, Paradigm Jumping, It Is Never Too Late To Have A Happy Childhood, Choices

choicesChoices: It Is Never Too Late To Have A Happy Childhood

You can change your past. Much like in the movie trilogy, Back to the future, you can change your present that way.

Some 24 years ago, (I have told you I’ve been at this transformation thing for a long time, l.o.l.) I created and ran a group that was called: “Playground: it is never too late to have a happy childhood”

I was especially attracted to that title, because my childhood was really crummy, and I hoped that it was going to work for me.

Though it didn’t do much for me, it did a whole lot for the participants. Wholly unpredictable changes occurred: I didn’t have any explanation for what happened, but people transformed in front of my very eyes, turned from bitter into sweet and accommodating, two of the group miraculously cured from their impotence, got married, etc. etc. Continue reading “Junctures, Paradigm Jumping, It Is Never Too Late To Have A Happy Childhood, Choices”

Got New Years Resolutions?

new years resolutionsWhen you can’t seem to attain your new years resolutions…

When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail 1

I have a better “hammer” for you: it has worked for my multi-millionaire mentor, it will work for you. 2

What to do when all you know fails you? When the hammers don’t work, and you can’t seem to attain your goals?

I was on a radio show today. I was the “minor” guest, and as such, I did not prepare: I wanted to stay present to the conversation the “major” guest had with the radio host, so I can add my 2 cents worth, instead of taking the show to a different place. Continue reading “Got New Years Resolutions?”

The Spiritual Rules of Engagement

If you can only read one book in your whole life, read this book. Especially if you are a woman. But it can be very fundamentally revolutionary for a man as well, except I am not a man, so I can only guess.

I bought this book, The Spiritual Laws of Engagement The Spiritual Rules of Engagement: How Kabbalah Can Help Your Soul Mate Find You together with the Nano: Technology of Mind over Matter.

Characteristically, to me, as soon as I got it, I did not want to read the “Engagement” book. I didn’t want to be engaged, i didn’t believe I can attract my soul mate, so why bother. So I lent it to Sandy, my neighbor, she is 38 or so, single, and desperate. Not me, no siree. Continue reading “The Spiritual Rules of Engagement”

What is Kabbalah and Why Should You Care?

Imagine that you got yourself a car without a user’s manual. Or a computer. And there would be no person that you know that even knows what they are about… these items would rust, collect dust, be in the way… instead of giving you the power to quickly get from one place to the other, or to solve seemingly impossible problems, communicate to millions with your computer.

This is exactly the situation with regards to life on Earth, with regards to human beings.

Billions of people wonder, daily, why they are here, and what they are supposed to do. Are you one of them? I sure am and have been.

Billions of people wonder why life isn’t working the way it is supposed to work… because somehow we KNOW that life is supposed to be satisfying, joyous, and full of light and love and pleasure.

What if there were a User’s Manual, and it were being “translated” little by little, so every human being that is interested in “riding the horse in the direction it’s going” could figure out which direction the horse is going. Because with life it is not that easy: even though the smell (life stinks) gives us clues… but life is ultimately more complicated that riding a horse. Continue reading “What is Kabbalah and Why Should You Care?”

Who am I and what gives me the right to write about Kabbalah

kabbalahchick is Sophie Benshitta, aka Maven SophieGood question, right? You were just about asking that… Gotcha!

OK, simple question, simple answer.

First I tell you what I am not:

  • I am not a Kabbalist. Kabbalists study, practice, and teach Kabbalah full time, for many many years. It could be even said that being a Kabbalist is like an insider… you need to be appointed.
  • I am not a teacher of Kabbalah
  • I am not a guru
  • I am not someone who knows a lot about Kabbalah but doesn’t live it.

OK, then what am I? Continue reading “Who am I and what gives me the right to write about Kabbalah”

Who Were My Teachers in Transformation and Mindset… ?

Well, this could be a real long article, even a book.

I won’t go there! writing a book is way too long for my ADHD personality.

But there is one teacher, who I admire, Colin Wilson (of “Outsider” and “The Mind Parasite” fame, who wrote a book, “The Books In My Life” where he strung about 15 essays into a book, and I learned more from the writers he speaks of than I would have learned, had I read the original books. Continue reading “Who Were My Teachers in Transformation and Mindset… ?”