Continued from Stuck? 2 Early doubts.
Personal crisis and growth
It took more than theories to really change that simplistic materialistic viewpoint that had emerged from my school days. It was in the crucible of everyday experience, of relationship and conflict in the real world – the development of the psyche that began to recognise that it was more than mind.
First, there was body and feelings to be accorded their due. Body rebelled at improper treatment through lack of exercise, late nights, alcohol, etc., and had to be accommodated. And for many years I had not really understood ‘feelings’, hardly being aware of the consequent moods foisted onto those around me. Slowly awareness dawned. The mind had a role, but it was in accepting and working with body and feelings, not repressing them. But this was not all.
After years of an unsatisfactory selfish life style, and years of denial, I eventually realised that I was in crisis. An essential selfishness in my being was leading me on a destructive path, which could destroy my material life altogether. I see retrospectively that an inner battle raged between material desires and spiritual values, with conscience as the insistent arbiter. I made painful changes to my life to get back onto a steady track, towards becoming a personality integrated within itself and with the world.
I was inspired to follow directions indicated by earlier intuitions, eventually discovering meditation. This proved a wonderful systematic tool for personality integration, and for ongoing exploration into what I term my higher self – which seems to correspond with the worlds of soul and spirit apparently universal to human experience and documented by many[i].
Expressed simply, I was embarked upon the process of integration of the personality, resolving the previous dissociation of mind/ feelings/ body, and beginning to connect with my higher self/ soul/ spirit[ii]. Inevitably this led to becoming gradually less selfish and more concerned with the general good – the real experience of a developing spirituality. [I lay no claim to great spiritual achievement, being merely an open-minded explorer and seeker.]
2023 perspective: this is a never-ending process; the only destination lies the other side of the dying process. There are many books that I have read since those days, all highly recommendable. See eg the many reviewed on this blog.
[i] The most influential of my guides (written 2002) have perhaps been the extensive works of Paul Brunton and Alice Bailey. See e.g. The Wisdom of the Overself, Paul Brunton, A Treatise on White Magic, Alice Bailey. There are many others.
[ii] A more modern description and approach to personal development is in Psychosynthesis, Roberto Assagioli.