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Some basic propositions and assumptions related to transpersonal understanding:

 

1. We have a universal human need to understand life and to adopt some explanatory framework, belief system, religion, ideals, faith, etc. be it metaphysical or materialistic.

 

2. It is human nature to think and to believe - even though many of one's beliefs aren't or can't be personally substantiated. We invariably think our thoughts and beliefs are true, despite this.

 

3. There is, consequently, a universal tendency to rely on authority, be it familial, cultural, scientific, religious.

 

4. There is a universal experience of some degree of dissonance between one's beliefs, ideals, morals and values and one's actual experience.

 

5. This dissonance creates stress and efforts to resolve it and establish more congruence. We try to change ourselves to fit our beliefs of who we think we should be or to change those beliefs.

 

6. Faith, belief, morals and values can be based on somewhat fixed internalized ideas and cultural norms or more relativistic subjective experience.

 

7. Science and spirituality are based on different kinds of knowing. Science is empirical or based on objective data. Spiritual knowing is based on subjective experience that is not empirical or testable.

 

8. We live in a society where science has a dominant role in explaining or determining what is real or valid. It is important to understand that science can only make statements about what it can empirically observe and test and not about metaphysical matters, which is the domain of faith and religion.

 

9. Genuine metaphysical understanding is based on the fact that awareness can be turned inward (as well as outward to explore the physical world) to explore spiritual dimensions which have been found to be just as ordered and governed by law as the outer world. Eastern practitioners have been doing this and have formulated metaphysical science as Western scientists have developed materialistic science.

 

10. There is a universal human need to experience life in some larger transpersonal connection that involves uniting with: partner, family, nation, group, a cause, larger reality, etc. This can involve sex, love, group affiliation, or spiritual realization.

 

11. There are positive effects from spiritual practices - increased self awareness, emotional peace and stability, mental clarity and inspiration, psychological integration - but each individual is different in which practices are right or optimal for him.

 

12. Ultimately, self development requires that each individual learn to trust in his own experience and choose beliefs, values, attitudes and practices that are an authentic reflection of his experience.

 

13. Each individual goes through a natural process involving rejecting false, simplistic, superstitious or inauthentic spiritual beliefs while examining his own experience in order to formulate authentic beliefs and values. All religions have accumulated some distorted and false notions.

 

14. Being indoctrinated with religious or spiritual ideas, morals, and practices and having these forced on an individual can be traumatic, injurious and abusive.