Posted by Earthpages.org
Author: Wade C. Wilson
The fields of hypnotherapy and psychology have much to add to the theory of soul development. This article includes a summary of findings, and presents both a possible check on one’s own readiness to move to the next step, and a suggested path for those ready to move to the final step of development here in Earth.
Dr. Michael Newton added much to the research field about the development path of souls. His research was conducted with patients under the deepest levels of hypnosis so that they could access their soul memories, or in other words, their experiences that had occurred in the period between their successive lives. Dr. Newton (1998) found souls review their past lives in these periods of rest in Heaven, and study what they did right and what they could have done better, with the objective of best solving trials and tests during future lives. Of course our waking conscious does not remember any of this, so actually remembering and then implementing those plans during our life is an unsure proposition guided by the whisperings of our conscious trying to tell us to do what’s right. Unfortunately many times it is simply more expedient to ignore our conscious and look out for what we think is our own self-interests. And yet from a soul’s point of view, often times the goals of the soul’s development are to put the needs of society and others above our self. (Consider the message of Jesus of Nazareth to turn the other cheek, etc. and you’ll see that this is an age old concept wherein highly developed souls have tried to teach younger souls who still need to pass the test(s) of life so that they can move beyond this physical experience.)
A well-known psychologist could be added to the discussion of soul development though he certainly did not use the term in any of his writings. I am speaking of Dr. Abraham Maslow, who is best known for his Hierarchy of Needs Theory (1954); i.e. the Needs Pyramid. This theory is graphically represented by a pyramid that depicts one’s baser physical needs at the bottom of a pyramid, such as food and physical safety while the more cognitive, spiritual and self-actualizing needs are at the top.
Maslow’s theory basically stated that humans needed to satisfy their most immediate needs, represented at the lowest levels of the pyramid by life-sustaining physical and safety needs, before they could move onto their want, or non-mandatory ‘needs’ in the middle and top of the pyramid. Maslow opined that while everyone desired to progress to the top of the pyramid by achieving self fulfillment in life, progress was often disrupted due to problems at the lower levels of the pyramid, such as financial difficulties, the loss of one’s job, divorce, etc. Thus at any point in time, humans will be focused on solving their lowest-level unfulfilled needs in the Needs Pyramid before they are able to move on to those higher, more intangible needs.
While Maslow’s theory has its limitations and critics, there is likely a lot of truth in the basic premise from a Western cultural perspective, which is highly materialistically focused. I can report anecdotally that I’ve been poor and I’ve been financially secure. When I was poor there was little I could focus on beyond trying to figure out how I was going to scrape together money for rent, food, and gas. Being a poor working student in college, this was not an ideal situation when what I needed to be doing was focusing on my studies and ‘finding’ myself as a young adult. Both of the latter were disadvantaged, eventually to the point where I had to take a short break from school so I could finally solve the money problem. Once the money problem was solved, I was then able to go back and finish my college education, and as I became more stable in life, was eventually able to move onto mastering my own path towards self-actualization.
For people who want to achieve self-actualization, consider how you measure up with Maslow’s (1968) fifteen common characteristics of persons who have achieved self-actualization. This could not only serve as a guide-path, but also as a self-check on your readiness to move to the next step in your (soul’s) development.
1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;
2. They accept themselves and others for the way they are;
3. They tend to be spontaneous in thought and deed;
4. They are problem-centered, vice self-centered;
5. They have an unusual sense of humor;
6. They can look at life objectively;
7. They are highly creative;
8. They are resistant to enculturation, but are not purposely unconventional;
9. They are concerned for the welfare of humanity;
10. They are capable of a deep appreciation for the basic life experience;
11. They establish deep, satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people vice shallow, social relationships with many people;
12. They seek peak experiences in life;
13. They have a need for privacy;
14. They have democratic attitudes; and
15. They have strong moral and ethical standards.
Maslow noted that it was not necessary for a person to portray all fifteen characteristics to actually be self-actualized. Further, Maslow did not equate the attainment of self-actualization with a state of perfection. Rather, becoming self-actualized was merely representative of achieving one’s own personal potential and feeling satisfied and fulfilled in his/her life (Maslow, 1954). Given this final caveat, a person may be both self actualized and yet still working towards achieving more self-development and growth in his/her life.
Now let’s say that you have ‘passed the test’ with the fifteen characteristics, above, and you feel you are either somewhat or fully self-actualized. Is your soul’s path of development complete? Apparently not because you’re still incarnating on Earth! So where do you go from here?
Maslow eventually updated his five-level Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid, and divided the former pinnacle, self-actualization, to include a new apex need: transcendence needs. Transcendence needs differ from self-actualization needs in that they are more spiritual and altruistic in nature. Instead of being merely concerned for one’s own needs, the transcendent person is also concerned about helping others to achieve self-actualization; to help them become fulfilled in life like him/herself.
Unfortunately, Maslow estimated that we cannot help everyone achieve self-actualization because only a small minority of people are ready to achieve their self-fulfillment needs. Maslow (1954) estimated that only one percent of Westerners ever achieved self-fulfillment because of competing demands/needs in their life, and the impact of competing societal motivations, such as the attainment of wealth, etc. So take this caveat as a hint if you feel you are on the final path of soul development and desire to fulfill your transcendence needs. You cannot help everyone, so focus your time and efforts on helping those who want to be helped, or by helping society as a whole, such as by volunteering or serving others. Be secure in the knowledge that the other 99 are still walking a path at lower levels of development and while they are not ready yet, eventually all souls will be ready to move on to the next level, and if you are not there to help them along, then maybe someone that you helped will be able to step in and carry on your good works once they are ready.
About the Author
Wade is the author of The Hidden Truth: A logical path through compelling evidence to discover the nature of reality and the meaning of life, available at Amazon and Smashwords. The first half of the book is available for free at http://www.thehiddentruth.us, and http://www.smashwords.com.
- Bill Murray and Actualizing the No Self (lifeasimprov.wordpress.com)
- The World According to Maslow: A Hierarchy of Needs (fruition.net)
- The Words of Abraham Maslow (psychology.about.com)
- Self-Actualizers . . . (lookingupfromrockbottom.wordpress.com)
- Maslow’s Theory of Self-Actualization, More or Less Actualized (brainblogger.com)
- Sucking the Juice From Life (psychologytoday.com)
- Hr dev (slideshare.net)
- Motivation Theories (mayrsom.wordpress.com)
- Maslow’s Hierarchy: The Physiological Needs 1 – Air and Water (hanescoaching.com)
- Altruism: Steps Towards Transcendence (lugenfamilyoffice.com)
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Posted on February 4, 2013, in Psychology, Self-help, Soul and tagged AbrahamMaslow, Hierarchy of Needs Maslow, Peak experience, Self-actualization, Social Sciences. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.