My purpose in writing this series of articles is to show the way these two concepts can be weaved together to explain how the evolutionary New Human will be able to evolve much more quickly. Using these distinctions together the Center’s goal of the democratization of enlightenment can be accomplished much sooner and on a much larger and more accelerated scale.
The Unique Self, according to Marc Gafni’s book Your Unique Self, is what the human evolves into when he trance-ends the ego. It’s not that we get rid of the ego. We can never get rid of the ego. We all need our egos. But when we reach the Unique Self, the ego takes a back seat and we no longer identify with it. Marc goes on to explain by our Unique Self is like no other Unique Self. We all have different and unique perspectives and gifts that only we can give. “I have noticed that this Unique Self, which has a unique perspective, is like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Since we’ve all lived different lives with different experiences and have been on different paths, we are all different observers. So, no two of us is alike. I have noticed that most all the spiritual traditions teach that we must transcend the ego, which is the false learned small self. Maybe these traditions don’t use those words, but here is an example of what I mean. “Jesus said unless you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3.)” Saint Paul said in one of his letters that when this happens “we become A NEW CREATION – behold all things are new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
My intention also through my writings is to explain that all effective learning is somatic, meaning that we learn through our five senses. But true effective learning is not rote but must have meaning. This happens through experiential somatic learning. The only way the brain learns is through sensing incoming stimuli that goes to the brain (through the nervous system). This has been proven by the life of Helen Keller, who was born with no senses but touch, but she DID learn because of her wonderful teacher who got her to experience that words have meaning.
Some of the following information was taken from Thomas Hanna’s (who was the founder of the field of somatics) SELECTIONS FOR SOMATOLOGY: SOMATIC PHILOSOPHY AND PSYCHOLOGY. In this paper, Hanna discusses the philosophical and theoretical roots of an emerging, broader field. Many western philosophers, he says, have spawned new views of learning, of the importance of adaptability, new ways of interpreting religious and psychology phenomena, and more useful and less contentious ways to determining value, ethical or aesthetic. He goes on to say that the process philosophers Whitehead and Bergson were true mentors, early and necessary clarifiers of my way of viewing the physical cosmos. Hanna said that somatology is the holistic science of experience and behavior. He also said that somatology has long been waiting in the wings of history to be discovered and to take center stage as to what it means to be human. However, currently behaviorism has academically triumphed.
Behaviorism led by BF Skinner states that we are products of our environment and nothing can be done to change that. That we are like Pavlov’s dog and (automatons) that have been conditioned to be and behave as our environment has dictated (in other word, he states that we have no free will). But Hanna goes on to say in one of his essays that a “small band of psychologists call humanists in the 60’s was a part of the human potential movement, which stated that we COULD regain control of ourselves and that health involves gaining awareness and control of one’s wholeness. Among these psychologists were Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, Fritz Pearls, among others who have from the beginning had been teaching what was implicitly somatic (even if they did not use that term). One of the great theologians, Paul Tillich, came up with the concept of PROCESS THEOLOGY (in fact we as somas are always in process).
It is my opinion, that one can reach the Unique Self ONLY through such somatic education through various forms of somatic spiritual experience. Hanna liked to talk about Williams James, who wrote The Varieties of Religious Experience. This book was written in the 1800’s. Hanna said back then it could not be proved (that religion is somatic). But now with new neuroscience findings we now know that the spiritual practices of religions of all kinds create new neuropathways in the brain. Indeed, I believe that is what St. Paul meant by becoming a NEW CREATION. We have new insight, new enLIGHTenment. One of the great findings of a host of western philosophers is that reality is subjective. That goes right along with the concept of the Unique Self. We all have a different perception and experience of reality. For more information see – Marc Gafni Your Unique Self, Immanuel Kant, Hume, Haggle, Whitehead, Henri, Bergson, John Dewey, Fritz Pearls – Gestalt Therapy, Paul Tillich – The New Being, William James – The Varieties of Religious Experience, Ken Wilber, and Stuart Heller.
Next time: how does the “wake- up” call to grow sometimes come? A very interesting question.
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