7 Ways to Enhance Self-Transcendence
To embark upon the inner journey is to open a door frequented by dreamers.
The soul knows what she’s doing and gladly packs her bags…
the voyage has begun.


Self-transcendence is natural and healthy. How will you nurture it?

Here are some suggestions that I have used in my own life and in my workshops & retreats.

1. Discover what puts you into Theta

Theta is that “twilight” state between waking and sleeping. It is one of the home of inspiration, insight—those great ideas that evaporate if you don’t write them down when they wake you at 3:00 a.m.

Depending on your learning style (auditory, visual, kinesthetic), different environments or activities will enhance your ability to tap into the Theta state more easily. (Suggested reading: The Open Mind by Dawna Markova.)

Observe yourself. What works for you? Take a walk. Take a shower. Go for a drive. Play with your animals. Go to an art gallery. Or a concert. Surround yourself with vital sights, sounds, aromas, textures,tastes, physical sensations—and see what causes you to lift off into that “non-self” space that is purely present and transcendent.

Tip: Activities that stimulate both sides of the brain are the healthiest. This would include any activity that engages arms and legs moving in opposition, such as: walking, running, jogging, cross-country skiing, T’ai Chi, Qigong, dancing. Brain Gym is one of the best.

2. Practice meditation

Not everybody can sit on a cushion for extended periods of time. Perhaps you’re one of those who can. If you are, notice if your meditation contributes to self-transcendence, or do you tend to space out? If you’re more spacey than inspired, you might try some of the more grounded options.

Meditative states can also arise in walking, listening, and the mindful practice of paying deep attention. Experiment with various forms of meditation (even simply following the breath) to discover what best leads you into the “Being” states of actualization and transcendence.

3. Carve out time for creative activities

Just like transcendence, you can’t force creativity. Just ask any artist or writer who’s blocked: Nothing. No ideas. No inspiration. Your mind feels like a desert. And no matter how hard you try, nada!

But you can create an environment that encourages creativity. One of Maslow’s key observations about creativeness is that achieving absorption into what he called “the matter-in-hand” can lead to inspiration, novel solutions, and even self-transcendence.

Try this: Remember a time when you were so absorbed in an activity (concentrated thinking and daydreaming both count here) that you became unaware of anything else going on. What did that feel like? What was your experience? Was it transcendent? What were you doing (or not doing)? Could you include more of that in your daily life?

A key to unlocking your creativity: Don’t worry about “performing” or “perfecting.” Just “noodle.” Allow yourself to “go childlike” and play. It’s the “dance like no one is watching” approach. Have fun and see what happens.

4. Keep a Journal

Even if writing isn’t your strong suit, I suggest keeping a journal. Find a time that works for you and just write something. (See The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. She suggests “morning pages.” Mine are more often “evening pages. It doesn’t really matter.)

One reason journaling works as a self-transcendence practice is that putting your thoughts and feelings on paper gets them out of your head and out where you can see them. They become objects that are no longer running your life. You can decide to keep or discard the thought or feeling and move on from there.

You may also discover that another voice (that voice of inner guidance called The Wise Inner Counselor) may emerge—even in the midst of your complaints, worries, sorrows, or wrestling with a problem. And with it may come encouragement, comfort, solutions, and creative inspiration.

There are many types of journals: daily, gratitude, visual, dream. You can create a journal on any topic you want and put in it anything you want. The goal is to give voice to what in you needs to be spoken.

Try this: Before you begin to write in your journal, pose a question such as: What do I need to know right now? Then open yourself to what comes.

Remember: The Wise Inner Counselor is neither a flatterer nor a critic. This is the voice of Love in you. It always speaks on behalf of your highest good and may surprise you with solutions you never conceived before asking for its guidance.

5. Get out into Nature

My two favorite poet/philosophers (William Wordsworth and John O’Donohue) each found transcendence in Nature. I consider it no accident that they both lived in the “thin place” of the British Isles where mystery inhabits the very soil of the land, the mist in the air, and the sound of the sea.

Of course, there are “thin places” all over the world. Your heart is one of them—when you open it to the profound “is-ness” of Nature herself. Pay deep attention to rivers and streams, rocks and mountains, valleys and glens, tall grasses and tiny lichen. Breath in the scent of harmony abiding in even the tiniest plot of grass, and feel yourself transported into the transcendence of Nature’s wisdom and presence. (Suggested reading: Idylls from the Garden of Spiritual Delights & Healing. It was written from this state of communion with Nature.)

6. Engage in Shadow Work

Several decades ago Ken Wilber and others who had meditated for years observed in themselves and other long-time meditators that sitting wasn’t sufficient for personal growth. Many advanced meditators and spiritual teachers did not sustain their elevated consciousness in daily life. In fact, some of them weren’t at all nice people. The problem proved to be a lack of “shadow work.”

It is natural to avoid delving into your unconscious mind. Who knows what monsters lie in wait? But the real inner work happens when we bring that darkness to light. This is one reason I advocate journaling as a spiritual/psychological practice. Rather than glossing over those “terrible things” we may think or feel, putting then on paper, naming them, letting them have their say where they won’t hurt anybody dilutes their apparent power.

Of course, not everybody is comfortable embarking on this inner journey alone. Which is one reason I’m also a huge fan of psychological therapy when it is focused on growth, not merely medicating away symptoms of distress or grief. Seeing a counselor doesn’t mean you’re sick. In fact, your willingness to dive into the deep end of consciousness means you are seeking greater psychological health. (See The Psychology of Transcendence.)

What approaches support doing shadow work?
Dreamwork is a very powerful way to access the hidden wisdom of the unconscious. You might enjoy the work of Robert Moss. Or find a Jungian therapist who specializes in dream exploration. It’s a very rich exploration.

If you are dealing with issues of the Foundational Needs (where a lot of our disowned early life experiences reside), I recommend seeing a psychological counselor to help you discover what’s hidden in those unconscious places and to support you in the process. You may need to speak with a few therapists to find the best fit for you.

What about enhancing the Being realm?
If fulfilling your reason for being, finding your mission, achieving greater self-awareness is your goal, you might consider working with a qualified (self-transcender) Life Coach.

The Enneagram also offers amazing insight into the unconscious patterns that run our lives and how to transmute them into positive behaviors based on your soul’s intrinsic values. My favorite teachers are Russ Hudson and Helen Palmer.

Remember: Foundational Needs may arise in the midst of your Being Realm personal growth work. The psyche does not draw hard and fast lines between the conscious and unconscious mind. Don’t be afraid to seek the services of a therapist when you find yourself in murky waters.

7. Practice Excellence

Your natural soul gifts are not only beautiful but excellent. Doing great work, no matter what your current position, helps prime the pump of excellence. Any type of energy attracts vibrations like itself. So if you are practicing excellence (living in a way consistent with “intrinsic values“), you will naturally attract more excellence.

Attendees in my workshops on career excellence often ask how to expand their influence. My answer: Bloom where you’re planted. Dig into what is before you. Love it. Master it. And observe how life calls you to what’s next—both personally and professionally.

If you haven’t taken the survey…

Are You a Self-Transcender?
Go directly to the survey form

Learn More…

Into the Fluid Present
One Transcender’s Story
Sri Chinmoy: A Model Self-Transcender

Dive Deeper…

The Psychology of Transcendence
Maslow’s Revolutionary Insights
More about Abraham Maslow
Notes on Being-Cognition
“Resacralizing” Perception

What’s Next?…

Live events with Cheryl. Including an all-day workshop on “How to Be a Self-Transcender.” Interested? Send us a note via the Contact form and sign up for Cheryl’s newsletter to get all the latest information.

Note: Before implementing any of above suggestions, please see our Disclaimer.


Copyright © 2017 Cheryl Eckl and CherylEckl.com. All rights reserved.

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