I know that there are many people who are very cautious or are ‘sitting on the fence’ when it comes to topics like psychic development and metaphysics, and I think this is due to the fact that these fields have received bad press by using their own jargon such as ‘connecting’, ‘channeling’ and ‘5th dimensional portals’ which sound very mysterious and strange to those who are not part of such groups or circles. So what I really want to do is de-mystify some ideas on psychic development and metaphysics by linking them to the normal process of human self-development and the scientific and psychological research which underlies this development.
A simple definition of metaphysics would be the study and practice of principles relating to the mind and reality which extend beyond our everyday understanding. This means a more universal and expanded framework of thinking than is currently taught in learning institutions.
I have made the statement that psychic or ‘spiritual” growth could be seen as linked to a natural process of self-development, having a gradual learning curve and being part of a continuum of growth which involves mastering new skills relating to feelings, thinking and perception. If we accept that we all have a higher, more spiritual and moral side (sometimes called the higher or authentic self in psychology), this could be seen as similar to a process of self-actualisation, and both personal growth and metaphysics could be seen as having the aim of achieving this self-actualisation.
Of course, metaphysics does present teachings which contain a number of ‘different’ views or ideas on life, death and what supposedly happens after death, some of which may seem radical, and you may argue that these ideas are simply another set of dogmatic beliefs. However, there is an important difference, in that metaphysics encourages free thought and provides an open-ended exploration of self and reality directed at the development of consciousness, in which each person is urged to find his or her own path. Truth is discovered in the heart by those who are sincere in their search, and each is allowed to decide this for him or herself.
To substantiate my earlier statement that psychic development can be linked to self-development, it will be seen that in most metaphysical teachings, similar to courses or coaching in personal development, each person is encouraged to deal with important emotional and psychological obstacles to growth, including repressed emotions, self-defeating thoughts and beliefs and closed paradigms of thinking. I personally do not believe that it is possible to achieve self-actualisation when one is caught in a web of fear-based thoughts and habits based on unpleasant experiences and memories from the past.
Self-exploration (IQ) (Intelligence Quotient)
Metaphysical practices are aimed at self-introspection, emotional and psychological change and the learning of new skills designed to unleash the true creative power of the mind, build new levels of confidence and self-understanding and develop the latent abilities which we all have.
It is a well-known fact that meditation improves mindfulness and increases creativity. At the beginning of the development curve or continuum, metaphysics introduces practices such as meditation and visualisation for the purpose of self-exploration and self-empowerment, radically increasing mindfulness, producing a greater depth of understanding, deeper self-knowledge and the improvement of one’s self-image and self-esteem through self-acceptance. In this way these practices fulfill the same role as coaching or counselling.
Emotional development (EQ) (Emotional Quotient)
The next part of the curve would involve achieving a degree of emotional wellness, or emotional intelligence, which means developing empathy for others, identifying and managing our own emotions, and attaining a degree of emotional resilience to day-to-day challenges which may be stressful. A period of emotional healing is also necessary, during which we let go of lingering emotions from the past such as anger and resentment, and learn to forgive others as well as ourselves for past mistakes. This would apply to normal human development as well as training in metaphysics.
When it comes to emotional wellness, meditation is a recognised practice in some forms of therapy. It has also been shown to be useful as a means of de-stressing, as well as increasing the sense of control and self-mastery, which is certainly related to self-development.
Heightened levels of empathy that accompany an improved emotional intelligence (EQ) would correspond to an increased moral sense, which could also be related to metaphysical practices, which emphasise the brotherhood of man and the aspect of service to mankind.
The development of the mind.
Metaphysical practices also demand a clear and open mind. This means having to deal with outdated ideas, self-limiting beliefs and unwanted emotional ‘debris’ from the past, and ‘shifting gears’ to more universal or holistic patterns of thinking. Both self-development and metaphysics encourage this clearing or healing process, as well as the adopting of a more flexible framework of ideas which allows us to process and assimilate new insights and experiences.
The development of spiritual development or spiritual intelligence (Spiritual Quotient)
However, by its very nature, metaphysics extends beyond normal day-to-day self-development to include building a relationship with our subconscious minds, which will provide the underlying power for advanced new skills such as heightened sense perception, intuition, psychic sight and realisation of the higher self or soul. This meeting/ merging with the true human identity could be viewed as self-actualisation, and be seen as the apex of the developmental curve, or end of the self-development continuum.
The process of psychic and spiritual development as introduced in metaphysics follows a path similar to normal human self-development, but extends this process to include the highest possible levels of self-realisation. In this way it could be seen to have a foundation in human psychology and developmental processes.