Psychology

An Introduction to Psychosynthesis: Stages of Growth, part 3

Last time we looked at the third stage in the process of becoming a more whole and integrated person – the realisation of your true Self as a unifying centre in your consciousness. Now we’ve reached the final stage, that of psychosynthesis itself. Here’s the four stages again as a reminder:

  1. Thorough knowledge of your personality.
  2. Control of the various elements of your personality.
  3. Realisation of your true Self – the discovery of a unifying centre.
  4. Psychosynthesis – the formation or reconstruction of your personality around the new centre.

So in this post, we’ll look at stage four and how you go about reconstructing your personality around your higher Self. The following text is extracted from Psychosynthesis by Roberto Assagioli:

4. Psychosynthesis – the Reconstruction of Your Personality around the New Centre

“When the unifying centre has been found or created, we are in a position to build around it a new personality – coherent, organised, and unified. This is the actual psychosynthesis, which also has several stages. The first essential is to decide the plan of action, to formulate the ‘inner programme.’ We must visualise the purpose to be achieved – that is, the new personality to be developed – and have a clear realisation of the various tasks it entails.

“Some people have a distinct vision of their aim from the outset. They are capable of forming a clear picture of themselves as they can and intend to become. This picture should be realistic and ‘authentic’, that is, in line with the natural development of the given individual and therefore capable – at least in some measure – of realisation, and should not be a neurotic, unreal ‘idealised image’. A genuine ‘ideal model’ has a dynamic creative power; it facilitates the task by eliminating uncertainties and mistakes; it concentrates the energies and utilises the great suggestive and creative power of images.

“Other individuals of a more plastic psychological constitution, who live spontaneously, following indications and intuitions rather than definite plans, find it difficult to formulate such a programme, to build according to a pattern; they may even positively dislike such a method. Their tendency is to let themselves be led by the Spirit within or by the will of God, leaving Him to choose what they should become. They feel that they can best reach the goal by eliminating, as much as possible, the obstacles and resistances inherent in their personality; by widening the channel of communication with the higher Self through aspiration and devotion and then letting the creative power of the Spirit act, trusting and obeying it. Some take a similar attitude but express it in a different way; they speak of tuning in with the cosmic order, with the universal harmony, of letting Life act in and through them (the Wu Wei of Taoists).

“Both methods are effective, and each is appropriate to the corresponding type. But it is well to know, to appreciate and to use both to some extent in order to avoid the limitations and the exaggerations of each by correcting and enriching the one with elements taken from the other. Thus, those who follow the first method should be careful to avoid making their ‘ideal picture’ too rigid; they should be ready to modify or to enlarge it – and even to change it altogether as later experiences, fresh outlooks or new clarifications indicate and demand this change.

“On the other hand, those who follow the second method should guard against becoming too passive and negative, accepting as intuitions and higher inspirations certain promptings which are, in reality, determined by unconscious forces, wishes and desires. Moreover, they must develop the ability to stand steady during the inevitable phases of inner aridity and darkness, when conscious communion with the spiritual Centre is interrupted, and the personality feels itself abandoned.

“The ‘ideal models’ or images that one can create are many, but they can be divided into two principal groups. The first is formed of images representing harmonious development, an all-round personal or spiritual perfection. This kind of ideal is aimed at chiefly by introverts. The second group represents specialised efficiency. The purpose here is the utmost development of an ability or quality corresponding to the particular line of self-expression and the social role or roles which the individual has chosen. This is the ideal of the artist, the teacher, the advocate of a good cause, etc. Such models are generally preferred by extraverts.

[My note: as an introvert, I can say that I would choose something based on a mixture of both of those ‘ideal models’. Most people are a mixture of introvert and extravert, so you need something that will appeal to all parts of your being.]

“Once the choice of the ideal form has been made, practical psychosynthesis, the actual construction of the new personality begins. This work may be divided into three principal parts:

1. Utilisation of the available energies. These are (a) the forces released by the analysis and disintegration of the unconscious complexes; (b) the tendencies latent, and until now neglected, which exist on the various psychological levels. Such utilisation demands the transmutation of many of these unconscious forces. Their inherent plasticity and mutability makes this possible. In fact, such transmutation is a process that is continually taking place within us. Just as heat is changed into motion and electric energy, and vice versa, our emotions and impulses are transformed into physical actions or into imaginative and intellectual activities. Conversely, ideas stir up emotions or are transformed into plans and hence into actions. …

Important teachings and examples concerning the doctrine and practice of this transformation of the inner energies can be found in the yoga of the Hindu, in Christian mysticism and asceticism and in works on spiritual alchemy, while some points have been contributed by psychoanalysis. We therefore possess sufficient elements for the formation of a science of psychological energies (psychodynamics), and of reliable and adequate techniques by which to bring about the desired changes in ourselves and in others.

2. Development of the aspects of the personality which are either deficient or inadequate for the purpose we desire to attain. This development can be carried out in two ways: by means of evocation, autosuggestions, creative affirmation; or by the methodical training of the undeveloped functions (such as memory, imagination, will) – a training analogous to that used in physical culture or in developing technical skills such as singing or playing an instrument.

3. Coordination and subordination of the various psychological energies and functions, the creation of a firm organisation of the personality. This ordering presents interesting and suggestive analogies with that of a modern state, with the various groupings of the citizens into communities, social classes, professions and trades, and the different grades of town, district and state officials.”

“Such is a brief outline, the process by which psychosynthesis is accomplished. But it should be made clear that all the various stages and methods mentioned above are closely interrelated and need not be followed in a strict succession of distinct periods or phases. …

“Having absorbed the preliminary instruction on the psychological principles and laws involved, and having learned the various psychosynthetic techniques to be followed, the rest is a question of practice, experience, intelligence, and intuition, which increase according to the need and to the steadfastness of the endeavour. In this way the new regenerated personality is formed, and a new and higher life begins, the true life, for which the preceding one can be considered as a mere preparation, almost a gestation.”


We continue exploring the Psychology of Awakening with a look at the nature of self-realisation and some of the problems encountered along the way in Self-Realisation and Psychological Disturbances

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