Unleashing the Joy of Self-Transcendence

Self-Transcendence begins with a Peak Experience —
Stepping into the transformative brilliance of Cosmos.

Stunning grand-design spiral galaxy taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

Transcending the separate self
Awesome! Beyond words! Time is lost. Place disappears. That terrible, shame-based self-consciousness that so many humans suffer evaporates in a blissful instant of Beyond Self.

We cease to think critically as feelings of peace and joy take over. We are absorbed into nature, with heightened perception and a profound sense of the interconnectedness of all things.

Spiraling into a cosmic “flow,” we lose all sense of a separate ego self as we slip into a state of oneness with the Divine and the entire universe.

Who peaks?
Peak experiences can happen to anyone at any level of psychological development. From children as young as six to the elderly who may be pondering the deep existential questions that arise at the end of life (if not before), human beings have the capacity to be transported out of their everyday awareness in experiences as simple as a brief “aha moment” of personal discovery all the way to states of unitive consciousness where they understand what William Blake meant when he wrote:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Dealing with the temporary nature of peak experiences

It is universally accepted that peak experiences are “brief, but extremely intense, blissful, meaningful, and beneficial experiences of expanded identity and union with the universe.”¹ The additional fact that such experiences are resistant to willful re-creation is a challenge for seekers of self-transcendence.

Fortunately, psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote extensively on the exceptionally psychologically healthy individuals he identified as “transcenders”—leaving useful and insightful observations to help us light our own path through the mundane to the transcendent.

A key characteristic of the self-transcenders that Maslow and others studied was their propensity to be positively affected by their own peak experiences. Even though the “peaks” were often no more than flashes of insight, they seemed to leave behind an essence of magnanimity, compassion, and selflessness that permanently elevated the transcenders’ way of being so that personal growth became their primary motivation.

Growth-motivation is the way forward
Minute by minute, day by day, year by year. Especially if you are a self-transcender, progress is the law of your Being. And the way to continue growing is to consciously work to transcend your present state of awareness every single day. To transform the elevated states of consciousness that occur in peak experiences into stages of psychological development that become a way of being, rather than a fleeting experience.

¹ Walsh, R. and Vaughan, F. Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision. Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1993, p. 2.

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