Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies
Thoughts on Therapy
Applications of Meditation in Psychology
By George A. Boyd ©1989
Excerpted from The Yoga of the Seven Mudras:
The fields of counseling and psychotherapy are natural applications of the techniques of meditation. In fact, before psychology separated itself from philosophy as a distinct science, and before Anton Mesmer popularized animal magnetism (a forerunner of modern hypnosis), the arts of counseling and therapy were practiced by priests, shamans, and gurus of different cultures. Prayer, invocation, entering altered states in the healing process, and meditation were part and parcel of the treatment of the physically or mentally ill individual. Meditation has now re-emerged in the field of psychology in the infant discipline of Transpersonal Psychology, which regards human spiritual (noetic) experiences as entirely germane to the practice of psychotherapy, aiming to uncover and integrate the deeper aspects of human psychological growth and bring about actualization of the whole person.
Counseling is a symbiotic subset of therapy. For psychotherapy to begin, a good therapist must use the skills of counseling to engage the inner life of the client. Only after the trust of the client has been gained and rapport established can the deeper cognitive restructuring and personality change that effective therapy brings take place. Too, counseling is often fulfilled by psychotherapy, for the advisement, teaching, and client insight brought by skilled counseling is often wasted when the client's personality is bent by trauma, addiction, negative self image, or poor parenting practices, and cannot utilize the counselor's guidance. Psychotherapy rehabilitates the cognitive, volitional and affective skills of the client, and allows the client to act on guidance that can bring successful results, without the client getting in his or her own way.
Counseling seeks an understanding of the needs of the client and a facilitation of his or her achieving personal needs and goals through the use of the following skills:
Psychotherapy aims at a restructuring of the client's personality to overcome hindrances to successful coping with the demands of his or her own organism, with other people and the requirements of society. These hindrances may be constitutional or genetic conditions that limit functioning, may be due to traumatic life circumstances, the client's own limiting or destructive beliefs, or the action of self-sabotaging defense mechanisms that work below awareness, or other causes. The work of psychotherapy includes:
Psychotherapy is much more ambitious than counseling in that it endeavors to do more, to enable the human being to change, and to profoundly experience him or herself in a new way. Counseling may clarify a client's choices, listen to the client's feelings, render feedback to his or her behavior, and to inform him or her of options or resources, or teach the client new skills, but it does not seek individual healing and reformation as does psychotherapy.
In the actual practice of psychotherapy, counseling skills and therapeutic skills appear to be closely intertwined. The active skills of a psychotherapist include
Paralleling the goals of individual psychotherapy are group therapy approaches. Group therapy can be said to comprise the following types:
Science gives humankind several boons:
Psychology tries to explain, predict and control the complex workings of mind and behavior, as any scientific enterprise endeavors to do in its own sphere. Psychologists venture to explain, classify, and create a comprehensive model of the human being are contained in the theories of its multiple schools. Psychologists' efforts at research are embodied in their ceaseless pursuit to control errors and predict future behaviors. Psychologists' motivation to improve the quality of human life and to control the workings of the human mind and behavior are expressed in its therapeutic interventions in the lives of troubled human beings. Psychologists' quest to inform each new generation of its accumulation of knowledge, principles and methods are demonstrated by its commitment to education of young and old in the science of Psychology.
Each school of psychology, in delineating the subjective experience of human beings and their relationship to the immediate environment and the larger human society, has come up with a distinct model of the psyche. To be accurate, there are probably as many schools of psychology as there are individual therapists and counselors, because each individual practitioner comes up with his or her unique understanding of human nature and capacity. But broadly considered, there are seven major models of therapy that can be correlated to the Seven Rays.
Each of these therapy types makes certain assumptions about a human being. Out of the general models elaborated by the founders of and important thinkers in these movements, and modified in countless minor ways by their students and those that were in turn trained by them, these therapies developed research to learn more about their way of seeing human beings. These models were written about in books, taught to students in classrooms, discussed in psychology seminars, applied in workshops, until this knowledge was widely disseminated to the public. These models also gave rise to the experiments and studies that reified their worldview. New studies and new research gradually modified the original theses and corrected theories of each successive era until the current paradigms emerged.
Despite each of these changes in the original model, the context of how a human being is viewed in each of these models is consistent. That is to say, the metabelief remains the same. A metabelief may be viewed as the larger philosophy about:
This metabelief of each of these models strongly influences what is accepted as relevant data to be studied and attended to during therapy. This metabelief also influences the interventions and techniques which are practiced in therapy.
In the table below, it can be seen that each therapy admits successively more information about what is possible to know about a human being. This in turn colors the goals that each therapy attempts to achieve.
Therapy and Layers of the Psyche
Each of these therapies takes a leap of faith beyond the readily observable behavior and the verbal self-report of the client in the counseling or therapeutic interview. This operating model influences questions these therapists ask, the techniques they utilize, the beliefs about what the information the client gives them means, and their assessment of what the client needs and what to do about it. Also contingent on this larger vision of what a human being is influences decisions on what must be included as a therapeutic intervention, and what is germane to psychological healing.
We can consider, then, that these layers of the psyche, or bands of consciousness, if you will, represent a successive discovery about what a human being is by psychologists. These bands of consciousness can be described as follows:
Each of these bands of consciousness imposes certain limits on the therapist, who is both participant and observer in the therapeutic process. The therapist as Participant actively communicates with the client, establishes rapport and forms a relationship, and initiates an intervention into the client's psychological process.
This intervention by the therapist takes both active and passive forms. Active interventions include direction, confrontation, guidance, self-disclosure, and training. Passive interventions include reflection, being with the client in silence, and establishing an atmosphere of safety and empathy.
The therapist as Observer includes interpretation, formulation of diagnosis, treatment planning, observation of behavior and body language, monitoring one's own reactions to the client's statements and behaviors, the inner cognitive and affective processes that take place in the therapist. It also relates to the larger context from which the therapist views the client and the work of therapy. This meta-observation influences the types of techniques that will be used, and also the level of work at which the client's presenting problem will be addressed.
There are five types of techniques in therapy:
To better understand the application of these four types of techniques, we can begin to assign these techniques to the bands of consciousness.
(1) The theory of conditioning is applied as aversive conditioning or reward conditioning to extinguish unwanted habits and to establish desired ones. COG, TRN
(2) The client is taught how to relax, and how to pair a relaxation response with a successively greater fear or anxiety-producing stimuli. TRN
(3) The client is confronted with the object of his or her discomfort all at once, to discharge the negative emotions. Repeated exposure to this object produces less and less response until there is no longer any response. TRN
(4) The client is rewarded for following a suggested line of behavior with a gift (incentive) or item that can be exchanged for something desired (token). TRN
(5) The client is taught how to set verbal limits, how to be consistent in behavior when setting limits, and how to communicate to ask for what one needs and wants without devaluing or insulting the person from whom it is requested. These methods are used in assertiveness training and parent effectiveness training. COG, TRN
(6) The client is hypnotized to remove an unwanted symptom by the therapist. The client may be also trained in self-hypnosis, or how to use a biofeedback device, to better to control physiological functions governed by the autonomic nervous system, to motivate him or herself to perform desired behaviors, and to extinguish unwanted habits. TRN, EXP
(7) The whole of human behavior can be viewed through the model of the learning theory: how one learns, responds and adapts to environmental stimuli. These principles form a coherent explanation of human behavior and guide to therapeutic practice. COG
(8) The therapist instructs the client in how to more effectively study and utilize his or her memory through learning encoding strategies and forming new study habits. COG, TRN
(9) The therapist interviews the client eliciting specific information for purposes of assessment, case history, diagnosis and treatment planning. The therapist teaches the client how to ask questions and to listen for the answers (inner dialogue) instead of looking to the therapist for advisement or direction. This also may be formalized as a written log or journal and done as an exercise in session, or assigned as homework. COG, TRN, CNS
(10) The client trains the client on how to identify his or her beliefs, and to actively refute or reprogram those beliefs that are irrational or limiting. COG, TRN
(11) The process of communication between two people are analyzed and broken down into their essential components. The therapist identifies the client's expectations, strategies, and motivations in his or her communications with the client's significant others. The client is trained in more effective communication, putting aside ulterior motives and ineffective interpersonal strategies (games), and leaving behind unfulfilling habitual patterns of behavior. The therapist can also extend this analysis to a family or other grouping, identifying the expectations, strategies and motivations in each member of this larger unit. This analysis of communications has been influential in Transactional Analysis and Family Systems Therapy, by identifying the roles and games that individuals and families perpetuate. COG, TRN
(12) The analysis of language and the meaning of words, and how language shapes perception, thought and behavior has been instrumental in developing educational, cybernetic, and therapeutic applications, such as speech training and overcoming dyslexia. COG, TRN
(13) The active intelligence of humans can be measured in terms of general knowledge, aptitude for particular skills or jobs, and areas of proficient and deficient academic performance by psychological and educational testing. Tests have also been adapted to measure people's present emotional state, psychopathology, perception, memory, self-esteem, unconscious motivations, and in many more areas. The techniques of problem solving can be taught to clients to improve performance on academic tests or board exams, and in situations of their everyday lives. COG, TRN, CNS
(14) Goals underlay human endeavors. Once goals have been identified for a client, a specific plan or strategy can be developed to carry it out. The client is trained in scheduling his or her time, procuring and managing necessary resources, organizing his or her thoughts and ideas, and systemizing methods efficiently so that each step of the journey to the goal is cognitively mapped beforehand. The client learns to visualize the goal clearly, and to actively problem solve for whatever unexpected contingencies may arise. The client assembles needed help, learns to relate to and negotiate with people instrumental in procuring resources or carrying out the plan. The client persists in taking action and continues to motivate him or her self until the goal is achieved. Cognitive mapping and goal setting, the organizing of knowledge and behavior is an essential underpinning of cognitive theory. COG,TRN, CNS
(15) The client is led to talk about whatever is on his or her mind (free association). The therapist points out to the client the defenses and resistances that he or she is using to avoid telling the truth about what is really bothering him or her, or covering up some painful or shameful personal secret or unpleasant memory. COG, CNS
(16) The client is led through the therapist's feedback to uncover, relive, and release the painful emotions stored within these sensitive personal areas (catharsis). COG, EXP, CNS
(17) The client is taught to understand and integrate the material that was brought up during the session, and to learn coping mechanisms. The client is educated in alternative strategies to achieve what one desires, in more effective ways to deal with other people in relationship, to understand what the experience means, and ways to accept and cope with the loss of the object or person desired, or other frustrations and disappointments. COG, TRN, CNS
(18) The client is led to examine his or her relationships with the significant people in his or her life. The therapist provides feedback by pointing out to the client when the client is projecting feelings and beliefs onto the therapist (transference). This helps the client to recognize when he or she is projecting ghosts of his or her past onto the therapist and other present life relationships. Alternately, the client may be asked to say what he or she feels to these significant people in his or her life to complete the cycle of communication. This further assists the client to let go of longstanding resentments, disappointments and frustrations. COG, TRN, CNS
(19) While the session is going on, the therapist maintains an outer silence, being with the client in their journey through their past, interrupting the client's reverie only when necessary to say a few words to facilitate the client's awareness of resistance, to avoid distractions, or to maintain the client's attention. However, the therapist is very active inwardly, interpreting the meaning of what the client is saying and his or her body language, analyzing the meaning of dreams or other session material, and formulating a diagnosis and forming a hypothesis about the origin of the client's problems. The therapist may communicate to the client, at an opportune time, and gleaned insight or interpretation of the client's experience. COG, CNS
(20) The time track of personal history is a record of every experience that a human being has had. Some of this experience is unconscious, not readily recalled into consciousness. The aim of therapy is to uncover the precursors of the problems of present day life, by finding their causes in this unconscious portion of the mind. Psychodynamic theory and developmental psychology recognize certain discrete landmarks of development. Successful or unsuccessful resolutions of these developmental challenges affect sexual identity and ability to establish and maintain a sexual and parental relationship. They influence emotional styles of relating to and defending from others, moral maturation, and cognitive growth. Meeting these time-specific developmental challenges allows formation of a stable ego identity, with an ability to cope with the responsibilities of school, work, society, and the problems inherent in daily life and throughout the life span. COG
(21) The present time experience of the ego is vulnerable, sensitive, and fragile. The ego experiences fear and anxiety when it encounters an event, person, experience or thing that it has not yet encountered, cannot predict, and cannot control or defend against. The ego attempts to optimize the survival of the organism to shield against the physical enemies of pain, illness, and death; the emotional enemies of terror, abandonment, and despair; the social enemies of betrayal, disgrace, and failure; the mental enemies of self-doubt, uncertainty, and ignorance. The ego strives for nothing less than total control of the body, the environment and other people, to create safety and predictability for itself and its loved ones. It is in this state of awareness that the client encounters his or her ego. With the therapist's help, the client's ego is able to let go of this tenacious strangle hold on its world, and learn to live with more acceptance, humor, and grace. COG, CNS, EXP
(22) The stored pain of human experience is locked in the body, creating a muscular armor over trauma. By massaging the muscles or using firm finger pressure on deep tissues, the therapist is able to release the energy and stored emotion that is locked in the muscles and tissues. This brings about total relaxation of the body, a release of stress and tension, and catharsis of emotional pain. COG, EXP
(23) The client can be guided to consciously get in touch with a source of physical and emotional pain within the body through creatively combining movement, breathing, massage, and focusing of attention. Once the client has recognized this pain for what it symbolizes and remembers its causes, he or she can make a choice to release it and relinquish the patterns connected with it. Whereas catharsis is a passive, spontaneous release of emotion, release is an active, chosen process. Release brings together physical unburdening, emotional catharsis, mental integration, and conscious choosing in a single, dynamic process. This focused work on specific issues is often seen in "transformational workshops" or other "New Age" therapy groups. COG, TRN, EXP
(24) Through process meditation, the client can learn to access the entire reservoir of the subconscious mind, and release the deepest recesses of pain in human consciousness. Through process meditation, the client is able to release whole areas in the subconscious that were formerly blocked, thereby regaining awareness, rehabilitating ability, and experiencing greater self esteem. Process meditation involves repeating a question over and over again, eliciting data directly from the subconscious mind. Processing the subconscious mind is normally done in an altered state of awareness. If sustained for enough time, process meditation will lead to the experience of breakthrough, leading to ecstatic glimpses into the Superconscious Mind. Process meditation is widely used in "New Age" therapies and other groups such as Scientology. COG, TRN, EXP
(25) Through the technique of repetitive or rhythmic breathing, or rebirthing, the client is guided to re-experience and relive his or her deepest traumas. The client is instructed to monitor his or her belief statements arising from these traumatic experiences. The client is then instructed to consciously formulate affirmations, to re-create a positive, life-affirming belief system. This re-creation reframes the client's experience of past events and reconstructs his or her self-image, allowing the client to function freely in areas that were formerly blocked by inhibition or fear. Rebirthing ultimately leads the client to the experience of "rebirth", the conscious recognition of his or her spiritual essence. COG, TRN, EXP
(26) The pain of human trauma can also be expressed as sound, by screaming and directly expressing emotions. "Primal screaming," as this method is sometimes called, rehabilitates the ability to fully experience emotion, and to communicate emotion as sound. Primal screaming enables the client to access the pre-verbal domain of the unconscious mind, and ultimately gives the client ability to use the full range of his or her voice to express any level of his or her organism or his or her past or present experience. COG, TRN, EXP
(27) The aspects of the whole self can be viewed as subpersonalities. Each subpersonality has a form and character of its own, embodies intelligence, represents unfulfilled needs of the organism, and has a unique voice. By dialoguing with subpersonalities, these split-off aspects of the self can be accessed. The therapist can directly interview them (Voice Dialogue method), or the client can role-play them by taking different postures or sitting in different locations (Gestalt Therapy method). This dialogue between the ego and a subpersonality creates a higher synthesis, resulting in the emergence of the organismic intelligence of the Self. COG, TRN, EXP
(28) The laws of perception enable the organism to be aware of discrete objects in the environment, to recognize language, other people, and to form a global perception of reality. The duality imposed by perception creates apparent splits or divisions in the Self, when in fact, the body-mind of the organism is a unified whole. COG
(29) Through martial arts, dancing, sports, and body building, the client can learn new self-confidence, self-discipline, and mastery over movement. TRN, EXP
(30) The discipline that was exerted on the body to master movement is now directed onto the inner host of subpersonalities that personify one's bad habits, laziness and resistance. The client learns how to confront the enemy within and vanquish it, using the Will. TRN, EXP
(31) The discipline and rigorous honesty that the client used to bring his or her inner house of the mind in order is directed outward in confrontation with others. Having overcome a weakness in him or herself, the client is strengthened to confront it and attack it in others, in an encounter-style therapy. TRN, EXP
(32) The client realizes the meaning of commitment and contract with him or herself and with others. The client learns to value his or her promises, and to keep them. TRN, EXP
(33) The client begins to gain a comprehensive concept of responsibility, and insures that every commitment, contract, obligation, and agreement is carried out with efficiency and excellence. TRN, EXP
(34) The client comes to understand reality as the nexus of real consequences, actual events, and agreements between people and within the framework of the larger society. COG, EXP
(35) The client comes to know him or herself as a being at cause, a point of will, the creator of his or her human experience. EXP
(36) Through the therapist's creation of a therapeutic environment of safety and trust, a client is able to relate his or her present time emotional stream of consciousness to the therapist, ultimately revealing the client's genuine feelings. CNS, EXP
(37) Through the therapist's authentic presentation of honesty and integrity, a client is able to relate his or her present time mental stream of consciousness to the therapist, ultimately arriving at a state of mental calmness and clarity. CNS, EXP
(38) Through the client's recounting his or her life experiences to the therapist, the client comes to recognize the consequences of his or her choices, and begins to develop undersrtanding. CNS, EXP
(39) The client comes to experience love within him or herself, directly as a spiritual essence. The client learns how to differentiate love from lust, attachment, and dependency. CNS, EXP
(40) The client's quest for meaning, value and authenticity is expressed by a ceaseless questioning process: questioning the knowledge he or she has learned; the values that have inculcated by parents, at work, at school, and at church; what life means; what is the self; and what is God. The therapist's challenge is not impose his or her own values and understanding upon the client, but to allow the client to discover his or her own inner voice of intuition and truth. CNS, EXP
(41) As a result of questioning, the flow of intuitive knowledge fills the mind. One by one the questions of the mind settle out, and the client becomes able simply to be aware. Awareness confers on the client the ability to be mindful, to be attentive, and to meditate. This conscious self-monitoring, witnessing, and self-inquiry creates a state of spaciousness, detachment and serenity. EXP
(42) Through the process of meditation and mindfulness, the client comes to recognize an integral center, an essential Person, a Centered Self. The client discovers that the essential Person has the qualities of awareness, intelligence, love, wisdom, serenity, and genuineness. The client also sees that the Centered Self has the thread of all other aspects of personality. It has the masterful power of will. It holds the keys to the subconscious mind and the mirror of perception. It can feel, and relate to other people. It possesses the ability to set goals and to direct destiny. It can use the intellect to problem solve and reflect. It has the capacity to utilize the senses and respond to the environment. EXP, NOE
(43) The client's rehabilitated ability to meditate allows the therapist to guide the client into contact with the organismic collective unconscious. The client experiences ancestral, cellular, genetic, molecular, atomic, and subatomic strata of the collective unconscious. EXP
(44) The client's further journeys into the collective reveal the cultural archetypes and myths, and the client beholds the great ideas and symbols that have shaped cultural experience throughout history. EXP
(45) The client discovers the archetypes of power, and discovers the innate abilities of the Soul. The client may encounter the dawning of psychic abilities, healing or channeling gifts, the emergence of hidden artistic or scientific talents, remembrances of past incarnations, or mystic experiences of the spiritual worlds. EXP
(46) The client encounters the spirit, and the spiritual stream (Nada), with its celestial strains of unstruck music. He or she comes into contact with the unbounded, Unconditional Love of the Soul, and of that Great Life that has been called God. EXP
(47) The client comes to recognize a series of vehicles of consciousness that mirror the multiple planes of existence, and plumbs the height and the depth of his or her Superconscious Mind. EXP
(48) The client contacts the Illumined Mind within, and discovers the inner Teacher and Master. The Illumined Mind conveys exact intuitive knowledge of the nature of every level of nature and consciousness. EXP
(49) These mystic experiences culminate in the direct realization (Gnosis) of the Transpersonal Self. EXP, NOE
Ultimately, the applied techniques of therapy, as practiced by a skilled therapist or counselor, lead the client to open up successive bands of consciousness. Techniques taken from meditation such as [those utilized in the Mudrashram® System of Integral Meditation] are useful tools for therapy. Indeed, meditation provides essential techniques for experiential therapy to explore the realms of the Transpersonal band..
Inspection of bands four through seven, moreover, will reveal that much of the therapeutic work is accomplished through experiential methods. Experiential methods require that a therapist possess a familiarity with techniques of meditation. The therapist needs to be able to gently guide the client into an appropriate altered state of consciousness, to rouse the client from these inward journeys, and to assist him or her to integrate the experience.
There are certain guidelines for using meditation in therapy that should be observed to facilitate the integration of a new technique into the therapist's repertoire, and for the well being and safety of the client.
1) Therapy, and meditation, is more effective when it is matched to the level of development of the client. The dictum, "start where the client is", applies here.
2) Therapy is suitable as a precursor, preparatory to the meditation work for many individuals. The client's unprocessed personal issues become hindrances to transcendence into the higher domains of the Superconscious Mind. When clients try to meditate before they are ready, their unfinished personal business rises to haunt them in the form of nightmarish inner visions, haunting dreams, and feelings of fear, anxiety and discomfort after a meditation experience. Their ego has not been sufficiently strengthened to face the tidal forces of the unconscious that can emerge with overwhelming intensity, and yield puzzling, cryptic messages.
3) Meditation is not appropriate for individuals who have extremely fragile egos, for borderline and psychotic individuals. Meditation leads to greater detachment; these individuals need ownership of the issues of their life. Meditation leads to transcendence; what these individuals need is groundedness, to be brought back to earth. Meditation leads to a mature integration with the Transpersonal Self; these individuals must first complete their maturation into healthy adulthood and integration with human society before setting out on voyages into the Beyond.
4) When guiding a client into an altered state of consciousness, always guide him or her back into his or her normal state of waking consciousness, in full orientation with the environment and with his or her body.
If you leave a client in an altered state of consciousness, you run the risk of your client not being properly attentive to the environment around him or her and having accidents. Left in an altered state, a client may act in bizarre or inappropriate ways. The client may get into compromising, embarrassing, or dangerous situations that he or she would not consider doing in normal awareness. No more than you would give a drunken person keys to his or her car, you should not send out an individual who is intoxicated on the ecstasy of his or her own mind out on to the streets and freeways, into the supermarkets and shopping malls, either.
Another reason for this admonition is that the client may be overly trusting, and lack discrimination and judgement while in an altered state of consciousness. Many of the people in religious cults are trained to remain in a highly suggestible altered state of consciousness as much as possible; meanwhile they are indoctrinated and controlled by the cult leadership while in this state.
4) Be aware of transference issues when guiding a client into an altered state of consciousness. The client may make you into a godlike being, much the way a young child sees his or her parents. The client may project other archaic and collective material on to you in deeper meditations. These will need to be discussed, interpreted and integrated.
5) Unless you are aware of the effects of a meditation technique yourself, it is not wise to try to guide a client using that technique of meditation. Meditation techniques, like skillful therapeutic intervention, require training and experience.
6) You will find that, on occasion, meditation techniques you give to your client will not work. The client will not experience anything, gain any insights, or feel anything. He or she will sit in his or her chair or lay on your couch, bored, frustrated and confused, peering into the blackness behind his or her closed eyes, waiting for it all to end. Do not despair. It happens to the best of us. You should not too be attached to your tool of meditation. If it doesn't work, try something else that does.
7) In deeper therapeutic work, especially in the Transpersonal band, the client may have an awakening of the kundalini. This may be manifested by various physical sensations such as heat rising in the spine or tingling of the extremities; spontaneous movement, jerking or vocalization; and a deep immersion into Superconscious levels of awareness. If you have never seen this happen, it may frighten you and lead you to believe your client has had a psychotic break. This is not the case, but this a special symptom of kundalini meditation.
When the kundalini rises up, it may keep your client in a sustained altered state, beyond when you need to terminate the session. If this happens you will need to decide whether (a) the client can be permitted to remain and enjoy his or her Samadhi in a safe place such as a meditation room or a spare office with supervision while you attend to your next client, or (b) to terminate the experience using a grounding technique.
If you elect the former, you will need to check in from time to time to see how your client is doing. The kundalini experience is normally self-terminating, but the client may require your assistance in re-grounding, especially if this is a beginning experience of meditation.
For work at the Body band, using a behavioral therapy, you will find that autohypnosis and relaxation with imagery techniques will be helpful.
Cognitive work would benefit from using self-dialogue methods or journaling in conjunction with the reflective meditation methods, especially the little sun technique, the mandala technique, and stepping stones technique. These can also be used in aiding creative problem solving and for determining and elaborating the client's personal goals.
Focusing on the feeling center in the solar plexus with gentle, relaxed breathing, may aid exploration of the issues of the Personal History band, and facilitate the free associative thinking that allows catharsis, insight and integration of this material.
Vipassana on the sensations in the body, process meditation, affirmation, rebirthing, movement meditation and opening (both sound and movement), and dialogue with subpersonalities can prove fruitful to assist work on the Organismic band.
Clients on the Will band can be encouraged to use tratakam methods (basic and advanced) to strengthen their will power.
Personal band work can be supported by vipassana of the feelings, thoughts, I AM statements, and voidness of consciousness. A dialogue with the Higher Self, together with receptive meditations on ideas, or inquiry, would be useful in the quest for meaning stage. Awareness can be promoted by either watching the breath, or tratakam of the point between the two eyebrows. The technique of reflection, followed by disidentification would be helpful in identifying the Centered Self. Indeed, any of the centering techniques of the first chapter of the Yoga of the Seven Mudras can be used to contact the Centered Self once the essential Person within has been identified and fully realized.
Any of the transcendence techniques of Kundalini, Nada, Mantra, Raja, Guru Kripa, Jnana, and Agni Yogas can be utilized to lead to a full Realization and expression of the potentials of the Transpersonal Band.
We have said before that the limits of therapy are often conditioned by the state of conscious evolution of the therapist. A therapist who inhabits in a psychodynamic or personal history frame of reference, for example, may have difficulty in accepting concepts like energy trapped in the muscles or tissues of the body, (whether it is called Orgone, Chi, or Prana), and may question the relevance of massage to therapy. The schools that teach therapy may further engrain their own version of therapeutic "reality" in those therapists they train, and intellectual prejudices can be even harder to eradicate than social ones.
Personal growth (maturation) in many ways parallels Transpersonal evolution. For example, a client in therapy gains a progressive insight into the nature of the Self. The meditation practitioner unfolds his or her Transpersonal Self and opens the potentials of his or her Superconscious Mind to reveal new strata of the continuum of possible consciousness, drawing closer to the Divine through the process of transformation and initiation.
Personal growth deals with integrating the material of the conscious, subconscious, personal unconscious, and metaconscious minds, only at the last stage reaching into the Superconscious realms to integrate the "higher unconscious." Transpersonal evolution, on the other hand, begins and ends in Superconscious realms.
Therapy is a specialized tool kit of techniques designed to facilitate personal growth, whereas meditation does its best work when it leads the human attention and awareness into transcendence. This is because therapy requires the focusing of attention on immediate human experience, whereas meditation ultimately leads the attention to detachment from human experience, training the attentional principle in the techniques of witnessing, suggesting, transcending into Superconscious states, and ministering the healing forces of Spirit.
Viewed from its larger perspective, however, the work of therapy continues, no matter to what level of the continuum of consciousness the Soul evolves, Planetary, Cosmic, Supracosmic, or Transcendental. Represented in the form of Being are four eternal principles: the focal point of attention, the conscious witness; spirit, in its quiet dedication and devotion; the Superconscious with its multiple forms and vehicles; and the Soul itself, ever-evolving towards its grand destiny. Ever co-existing with these principles is the representation of a fifth principle, the human life and personality, which is shaped and modeled by the vision of the evolving Soul. Out of this evolving vision arise a thousand therapies, and a thousand religions.
It is not that the vision is so different, but the approach varies between therapy and religion. When the human self and its unfolding life are seen as good and valuable, the work of the Higher Self is to heal and develop the potentials of its frail humanity: this is called therapy. When the human self is seen as evil or depraved, a wretched sinner enslaved to passion or ignorance, the relationship of the spirit with the human principle is one of, at best, tolerance, and at worst, contempt and repugnance: these less compassionate viewpoints have given rise to religion. Therapy sees the beauty of the creature and wants to promote its life; Religion wants to reign in the creature to strict moral observances and austerities, to re-enact ancient rituals endlessly, to rule it with vigilance, discipline and detachment, from afar. Therapy brings love and healing to the creature and person; Religion brings love, guidance and transformation to the spirit, the attentional principle, and the Soul.
I believe that it is when religion can respond to the "lower self" with the compassion and understanding of therapy that it can become a tool to heal the whole individual: the bodhisattva must return from the mountaintop cave to chop water and carry wood. I believe religion can inform therapy with a conscience, an attention to ethics. When therapy, has become decapitated, blindly groping in neurons and protoplasm for the essence of humanity, religion can remind it that the Soul yet lives. It is when therapy can lead us again to reclaim the Transpersonal Self, and that the Illumined and Christ-like Being that religion endeavors to bring forth can minister to the least among us, that is, the human part, that we shall see this rift healed. Then the lower and the Higher shall become as one, and a human being, at long last, can be Whole.