Personal transcendence theory

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The personal transcendence theory


The personal transcendence theory proposed within this thesis is an outline of a potential self-transcendence path, based on the transcendence and self-transcendence theories outlined and discussed by Viktor Frankl, Abraham Maslow, Pamela G. Reed, C. Robert Cloninger, Lars Tornstam, Ken Wilbur, Alfred Adler, and Scott Barry Kaufman. It is intended to serve as a guide for personal self-transcendence, and to serve as a source of background knowledge for individuals following such transcendence therapies as the Jungian-based transcendence therapy and Transcendence therapy for schizophrenia developed by self-transcendence Research. The information provided should serve to inform any number of individually specific self transcendence paths.

Within this thesis, I will review the transcendence and self-transcendence theories, and discuss how these can be applied to an individual’s search for a deeper connection to self, others, and the universe, to transcend any current limited perspectives of self. I will discuss the benefits of transcendence and provide an indication of what transcendence may feel like at its various stages. I will also provide detailed information on how to use a number of transcendence techniques, as well as providing guidance on how these should be used by an individual seeking transcendence. The intention behind this thesis is to provide the individual with a firm sense of what their path should look and feel like, without being too prescriptive as to their actual route.

A fundamental truth behind self-transcendence, is that each individual will forge their own unique path, and gain their own unique insights and experiences, whilst all the while gathering their own unique truth of self (also known as the myth of self). Because of this, I can’t recommend any specific connections an individual should make, those are up to the individual self. What I set out to achieve, is to provide the knowledge that an individual needs to explore themselves, and through that process, identify exactly which connections they should make, for themselves.

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Thus, I seek to empower the individual to map out their own path to healing and transcendence. However, even with this ambition, there is still a danger that I may lead the individual astray, since the skills and techniques we describe will undoubtedly prove fruitless for some, and be somewhat of a distraction. For that, we apologise in advance, we intend to help, not hinder.

You are unique, there is only one path, your path. The information I provide here, may therefore, be different to what you find on your own journey. Bear this in mind as you read on – each of us has a different map to self-transcendence. Please remember this!

Note: This theory represents the thinking of one person who has studied psychology extensively and has brought together several established psychological and spiritual theories, together with their own to create a cohesive theory explaining human behaviour and spirituality, this should not be seen as anything official and has not been peer-reviewed or published in any established journals.

Transcendence theory

Transcendence theory is a branch of philosophy that explores the concept of transcendence, which means going beyond the limits of ordinary experience or knowledge. The concept of transcendence can be understood in different ways, depending on the historical and cultural context, as well as the philosophical perspective. Some of the main questions that transcendence theory addresses are:

  • What does it mean to transcend the physical world, the human mind, or the rational understanding?
  • How can we know or experience something that transcends our ordinary perception or cognition?
  • What are the implications of transcendence for ethics, religion, art, science, and other domains of human activity?

One of the earliest uses of the term transcendence in philosophy was by Gottfried Leibniz, who distinguished between transcendental and transcendent properties of beings. Transcendental properties are those that are common to all beings, such as existence, unity, and truth. Transcendent properties are those that go beyond the categories of beings, such as infinity, necessity, and perfection. Leibniz argued that only God possesses transcendent properties, and that human knowledge of God is limited by our finite and contingent nature.

In modern philosophy, Immanuel Kant introduced a new meaning of transcendence, which he related to his theory of knowledge. Kant defined transcendental as the condition of possibility of knowledge itself, and distinguished it from transcendent, which means that which goes beyond any possible knowledge. For Kant, transcendental knowledge is not about objects, but about the way we can know objects a priori, before we experience them. Kant identified several transcendental principles that govern our understanding of space, time, causality, and other categories. He also argued that there are some ideas that we cannot know empirically, but only think of as regulative ideals, such as God, freedom, and immortality. These ideas are transcendent in the sense that they exceed the limits of our reason.

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Another influential approach to transcendence in philosophy is phenomenology, which is a method of studying human experience from a first-person perspective. phenomenology was developed by Edmund Husserl, who aimed to reveal the essential structures and meanings of phenomena, without relying on any presuppositions or theories. Husserl proposed the concept of transcendental phenomenology, which is a way of accessing the pure consciousness that constitutes all phenomena. Husserl claimed that transcendental consciousness is not a thing or a substance, but a dynamic and intentional act of relating to objects. Husserl also introduced the notion of epoché, which is a suspension of judgment or belief about the reality or existence of phenomena. By performing epoché, Husserl argued that we can transcend the natural attitude and reach a more authentic and rigorous understanding of ourselves and the world.

Transcendence theory is not a unified or coherent field, but rather a collection of diverse and sometimes conflicting perspectives. However, some common themes and challenges can be identified across different approaches to transcendence. Some of these are:

  • The tension between immanence and transcendence: how to balance the recognition of both the immanent and the transcendent aspects of reality, without reducing one to the other or ignoring their interrelation.
  • The problem of verification: how to justify or validate claims about transcendence, given the limitations and uncertainties of human knowledge and experience.
  • The role of language: how to express or communicate something that transcends ordinary language or logic.
  • The ethical and existential implications: how to live in accordance with transcendence, or how to cope with the absence or loss of transcendence.

Transcendence theory is an ongoing and open-ended inquiry that invites further exploration and dialogue from various disciplines and perspectives.

Carl Jung and individuation

One of the possible ways to achieve self-transcendence, or the expansion of one’s consciousness beyond the ego, is to follow the path of individuation proposed by Carl Jung. individuation is the process of becoming a psychological individual, a separate and unique whole, by integrating various aspects of one’s personality, such as the conscious, the unconscious, and the archetypes (Jung, 1916/1928).

According to Jungian psychology, the human mind consists of three levels: the conscious, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. The conscious is the part of the mind that we are aware of and that contains our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. The personal unconscious is the part of the mind that contains memories, emotions, and complexes that are inaccessible to the conscious but can influence our behaviour. The collective unconscious is the deepest level of the mind that contains universal patterns and symbols, called archetypes, that are inherited from our ancestors and shared by all humans (Jung, 1921; 1933).

archetypes are innate, unlearned, and hereditary models of people, behaviours, and personalities that shape how we experience certain things. Jung identified several archetypes, such as the hero, the mother, the trickster, and the self. These archetypes are expressed through myths, legends, art, religion, and dreams. Jung believed that by recognizing and integrating these archetypes into our conscious awareness, we can achieve a process of psychological growth and individuation (Jung, 1933; 1959).

According to Jung, the shadow is an unconscious aspect of the personality that does not correspond with the ego ideal, leading the ego to resist and project the shadow (Wikipedia, 2023). The shadow contains the repressed or forgotten parts of one’s id and biography, such as primitive, negative, or socially unacceptable emotions and impulses (Jung, 1933; Mcleod, 2023). The shadow is also influenced by the collective unconscious, which contains universal archetypes that shape human behaviour and attitudes (Jung, 1921).

Jung described aspects of the self who are in the personal unconscious part of the shadow as complexes. A complex is a collection of thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories that focus on a single concept (Jung, 1933). The more elements attached to the complex, the greater its influence on the individual. For example, a person might have a fear of dogs due to a forgotten childhood incident. This fear, while not consciously remembered, is stored in the personal unconscious and could cause an irrational response whenever the person encounters dogs (Mcleod, 2023).

To integrate the shadow, Jung suggested that one must acknowledge and confront the repressed or hidden aspects of oneself and bring them to consciousness. This process of individuation would lead to a more balanced and harmonious personality, as well as a greater sense of wholeness and self-realization (Jung, 1921; Mcleod, 2023).

Jung considered individuation to be both a psychological and a spiritual process, as it involves the encounter and union of the self and the divine within human consciousness (Jung, 1951; von Franz, 1964). The self, according to Jung, is the totality and the centre of the psyche, which embraces and transcends the ego. The self is also the goal and the guiding principle of individuation, as it manifests itself through symbols and images that point to the experience of wholeness and harmony (Jung, 1939b; 1963). individuation, therefore, can be seen as a potential technique for self-transcendence, as it leads to the realization of one’s true nature and purpose in relation to a higher reality.

In my collection of theories of self-transcendence, I lean heavily on Jung’s concepts. As I see it, his process of individuation is one of self-transcendence. Jung recognised that the human mind is a collection of self-aspects and that some of these are personal, inner self-aspects and others are collective, outer self-aspects. The techniques he described are relevant to an individual’s self-transcendence journey, some of these will be covered later in the thesis.

self-transcendence theory

self-transcendence theory is a psychological framework that describes how people can expand their sense of self and connect with something greater than themselves. It is based on the idea that human beings have a natural tendency to transcend their physical and mental limitations and seek meaning and purpose in life. self-transcendence theory has been influenced by various disciplines, such as humanistic psychology, transpersonal psychology, spirituality, and existentialism. Some of the main contributors to self-transcendence theory are Viktor Frankl, Abraham Maslow, Pamela G. Reed, C. Robert Cloninger, Lars Tornstam, Ken Wilbur, Alfred Adler, Paul Wong, and Scott Barry Kaufman.

“The will to meaning is a spiritual and primary motivation for self-transcendence; thus, it predicts that spiritual pathways (e.g., spiritual care, self-transcendence) will enhance meaning in life and well-being, even when other pathways to well-being are not available.” (Wong, 2014, p. 3)

self-transcendence is, at its core, about transcending (or rising above) the self and relating to that which is greater than the self.” (Ackerman, 2023)

“The essentially self-transcendent quality of human existence renders man a being reaching out beyond himself.” (Frankl, 1985, p. 10)

“Transcendence refers to the very highest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human consciousness, behaving and relating, as ends rather than means, to oneself, to significant others, to human beings in general, to other species, to nature, and to the cosmos.” (Maslow, 1971, p. 269)

“This state of expanded consciousness is what Reed calls a developmental imperative; like Viktor Frankl and Abraham Maslow, Reed’s theory posits that self-transcendence is a natural and desired developmental stage, which people must reach in order to be fulfilled and to have a sense of purpose.” (Reed, 2003)

self-transcendence is a personality trait that involves the expansion of personal boundaries, including, potentially, experiencing spiritual ideas such as considering oneself an integral part of the universe.” (Cloninger et al., 1993)

Gerotranscendence is defined as a shift in meta-perspective from a materialistic and rational view of the world to a more cosmic and transcendent one.” (Tornstam, 2005)

“Collective transcendence refers to the process by which individuals transcend their own personal interests for the sake of a larger group or society.” (Kaufman et al., 2022)

According to self-transcendence theory, there are different dimensions and levels of self-transcendence that people can experience. These include:

  • Intrapersonal self-transcendence: This involves becoming more aware of one’s own values, beliefs, goals, and dreams, and integrating them into a coherent sense of identity.
  • Transpersonal self-transcendence: This involves connecting with a higher power, a universal consciousness, or a divine reality that transcends the material world.
  • Temporal self-transcendence: This involves transcending the limitations of time and integrating one’s past, present, and future into a holistic perspective.
  • Interpersonal self-transcendence: This involves developing empathy, compassion, and altruism towards others, and forming meaningful relationships with them.

self-transcendence theory has several implications for human development, wellbeing, and health. According to this theory, self-transcendence can enhance one’s sense of meaning, fulfilment, happiness, and resilience in the face of adversity. It can also promote positive behaviours such as creativity, spirituality, altruism, and social responsibility. Furthermore, self-transcendence can have beneficial effects on physical and mental health, such as reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and improving self-esteem, self-confidence, immune function, coping skills, and quality of life.

The self-transcendence theory is supported by empirical evidence from various fields of research. For example, studies have strongly suggested that self-transcendence is positively correlated with psychological wellbeing, spiritual wellbeing, life satisfaction, happiness, and post-traumatic growth. Additionally, studies have found that self-transcendence can moderate the effects of stress, chronic illness, ageing, and death anxiety on psychological outcomes. For example:

  • Pizarro et al. (2021) found that self-transcendent emotions (such as awe, elevation, and kama muta) promoted a global identification with humanity and motivations to help others, as well as increased participants’ well-being through a higher global identity.
  • Martin et al. (2021) reported that two online programs that combined positive psychology exercises and meditation methods resulted in persistent forms of self-transcendence and highly beneficial effects across a broad range of psychological indicators.
  • Lee et al. (2009) examined the relationship between college stress, psychological wellbeing, and self-transcendence meaning of life among Korean college students. They found that self-transcendence meaning of life had a positive effect on psychological wellbeing and a negative effect on college stress.
  • Reischer et al. (2020) identified six elements of self-transcendence based on narrative interviews with 100 adults: temporal expansion, connectedness, existential awareness, generativity, humility, and gratitude. They argued that these elements reflected a shift from a self-centred to a self-transcendent perspective on life.
  • According to a study by Afrashteh and Masoumi (2021), self-compassion mediated the relationship between psychological well-being and death anxiety among breast cancer survivors during the Covid-19 pandemic. Self-compassion is a component of self-transcendence that involves being kind and understanding toward oneself, especially in times of suffering or failure. The authors suggested that self-compassion may be a useful treatment strategy to improve the mental health of cancer patients in the context of the pandemic.
  • Another study by Jagoo (2022) found that chronic stress was associated with accelerated ageing and increased insulin resistance, but emotional regulation and self-control were associated with healthier ageing and longevity. emotional regulation and self-control are also aspects of self-transcendence that involve managing one’s emotions and impulses in a constructive way. The author argued that this research could inform programs and services that would promote emotional regulation and self-control as a way to reduce the negative impacts of stress on ageing

These studies suggest that self-transcendence is not only a desirable goal for personal growth, but also a valuable resource for coping with challenges and enhancing well-being. By transcending the self, one may gain a broader and more profound perspective on life, a stronger sense of belonging and purpose, and a greater appreciation for the beauty and mystery of existence.

According to Reischer, Roth, Villarreal and McAdams (2020), self-transcendence is “the phenomenon of experiencing one’s self as expanding both backward and forward in time; a feeling of connectedness to all of humanity, the earth, and the cosmos; and a turn toward existential concerns such as the meaning of life and future death” (p. 2). Based on their analysis of life stories of late-midlife adults, they identified six research-based elements of self-transcendence: closure, interconnectedness, lifelong learning, secure attachment, Self-actualization, and spiritual pluralism:

  • Closure refers to the ability to resolve past conflicts and traumas and achieve a sense of peace and acceptance.
  • Interconnectedness is the feeling of being part of a larger whole and having empathy and compassion for others.
  • Lifelong learning is the pursuit of knowledge and growth throughout one’s life span.
  • Secure attachment is the formation of stable and supportive relationships that foster trust and intimacy.
  • Self-actualization is the realization of one’s potential and authenticity.
  • Spiritual pluralism is the openness to diverse religious and spiritual beliefs and practices that enrich one’s world-view.

The authors suggest that these elements reflect a humanistic growth story that characterizes highly self-transcendent individuals who narrate their lives as spiritual journeys of personal development (Reischer et al., 2020).

However, self-transcendence theory been criticised in the past for the following limitations:

  • Defining and measuring self-transcendence in a valid and reliable way.
  • Distinguishing self-transcendence from other related concepts such as Self-actualization, spirituality, religiosity, mysticism, and flow.
  • Explaining the mechanisms and processes that underlie self-transcendence and its effects on human functioning.
  • Addressing the ethical and moral issues that may arise from self-transcendence, such as the potential for self-deception, fanaticism, or escapism.

I’d like to address these criticisms:

Measuring self-transcendence, I feel, can only be done as a subjective self-report by self-the transcendent individual. I know that, for example, a self-transcendent individual will feel a total sense of self-esteem and self-confidence; they will no longer need to seek the assurance of others or need to collect external “brownie points” to feel good about themselves. A self-transcendent individual will feel completely connected to everything they need to feel a total self-worth, no adversity will be able to challenge that feeling. Also, they will not have an internal dialogue that includes negative criticism about self, and they will have the confidence to know they will excel at everything they set their mind to, and they will know what they want out of life. However, the true value of transcendence comes from knowing one’s unique truth of self, which is different for everyone, and therefore can’t be measured. This truth of self provides the individual with their own skills, knowledge, self-connections and motivations.

self-transcendence is distinguished from other concepts because it represents the highest level of personal achievement. This subsumes all other concepts, and may use some of these as part of the individual journey towards transcendence. For example, I will introduce the concept of spiritual self-actualisation, which can be seen as the spiritual equivalent to self-actualisation, but I will also introduce such terms as self-universe actualisation, and self-multiverse actualisation. As a general concept, it subsumes all other enlightenment concepts for the individual.

Regarding the concepts of self-transcendence, some of these I have mapped out in other theses, such as the wholeness theory of self-esteem and the human multiplicity theory, which map the human mind and show exactly what needs to be done overall, in terms of connecting to the all that is. However, I will be providing additional information on the mechanics of that process within this thesis, indeed, I hope to fully map out the things that should be done, what it might feel like, and how you connect to your own specific viewpoint of the universe.

I have found that self-transcendence tends to sort out its own ethical and moral difficulties. What I mean by this, is that the self-transcendent path is the path to love, firstly, an unconditional love of a unified self, then an unconditional love of one’s internal universe, these two, lead to an unconditional love of others, which means transcendent individuals have integrity, honesty, honour etc. They will live to the highest moral standard. They are very difficult to manipulate. self-transcendence is the opposite of a journey into ego, which is the cause of the majority of ethical and moral dilemma’s most people find themselves facing. When a person becomes an emanation of divine, unconditional love, love becomes all to them, and they will not seek to harm others in any way.

self-transcendence theory offers a valuable perspective on human nature and potential. It suggests that human beings are not merely driven by biological needs or psychological motives, but also by a desire to transcend themselves and connect with something greater than themselves. By doing so, they can enrich their lives with meaning, purpose, joy, and peace.

This ends the first part of my discussion on personal self-transcendence, I hope that this has made it clear to the reader what self-transcendence is, the theories that influence it, and have given some clues as to what it might feel like, and also its benefits.

I will now go into detail regarding my theories of personal self-transcendence, how it is achieved, what those achievements feel like, and how to use self-transcendence techniques to attain self-transcendence. By way of accomplishing this, I will take each of the four pillars of self-transcendence in turn, suggesting that this should be the order of approach for the prospective self-transcendent individual. However, it must be remembered, that often, spirit has its own ideas, and one may find themselves dealing with aspects of all four pillars simultaneously.

self-transcendence techniques

There are a great many self-transcendence strategies and techniques which individuals may choose to use in their pursuit of greater personal knowledge and self-transcendence. The main deciding factor will be, what works best. I propose here the techniques that are more generally useful to most individuals; however, there are many more.


Mindfulness is a practice that involves paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity, and acceptance (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). Mindfulness can be used as a technique to foster self-transcendence, which is the experience of transcending one’s sense of self and feeling connected to something greater than oneself (Maslow, 1971). self-transcendence has been linked to various positive outcomes, such as wellbeing, altruism, and spirituality (Yaden et al., 2017).

One way that mindfulness can promote self-transcendence is by enhancing decentering, which is the ability to observe one’s thoughts and feelings from a detached perspective (Safran & Segal, 1990). Decentering can help reduce identification with one’s ego and foster a sense of spaciousness and openness to reality (Hanley et al., 2020). A recent study found that mindfulness training increased both decentering and self-transcendence relative to an active listening condition, and that greater decentering predicted greater self-transcendence at the end of the training (Hanley et al., 2020).

Mindfulness can be thought of as the key to intrapersonal transcendence. Referring to the human multiplicity theory, every thought can be understood as coming from a different aspect of self, and the negative thoughts as coming from an aspect of self that is in shadow. Such thoughts can be seen as opportunities to participate in inner dialogue with that self-aspect with a view to moving closer to bringing that self-aspect out of the shadows and back into the unity of self.

Another way that mindfulness can facilitate self-transcendence is by altering one’s perception of body boundaries and spatial frames of reference. Mindfulness training can decrease the sense of having a solid and separate body and encourage more allocentric frames of reference, which involve perceiving oneself from an external or global perspective (Hanley et al., 2020). These changes can lead to a feeling of dissolving into the environment and expanding beyond the physical body (Hanley et al., 2020). A study by Hanley et al. (2020) showed that mindfulness training decreased perceived body boundaries and increased allocentric frames of reference compared to a control condition, and that these effects were mediated by perceived body boundary dissolution.

This technique can be seen as one that can further transpersonal transcendence in the way it allows the self to feel connected to everything and not limited by the boundaries of the physical body.

In summary, mindfulness can be used as a technique to foster self-transcendence by enhancing decentering and altering one’s perception of body boundaries and spatial frames of reference. These processes can help loosen one’s attachment to the ego and cultivate a sense of connection and unity with the world. Mindfulness training can be an effective way to induce self-transcendent states in novice practitioners, as evidenced by empirical studies using objective and subjective measures.

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that involves cultivating a non-judgmental and present-centred awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, and environment (Bishop et al., 2004). One of the potential benefits of mindfulness meditation is that it can foster self-transcendence, which is the ability to go beyond one’s self-centred perspective and connect with a larger whole (Verhaeghen, 2019). self-transcendence can be manifested in two ways: (1) perceived body boundary dissolution, which is the feeling of losing the sense of separation between one’s body and the surroundings, and (2) allocentric spatial frame of reference, which is the tendency to perceive the world from a broader perspective rather than from one’s own viewpoint (Hanley et al., 2020).

Several studies have suggested that mindfulness meditation can enhance self-transcendence by increasing self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-compassion (Dahl et al., 2015; Tang et al., 2015; Vago & Silbersweig, 2012). self-awareness is the metacognitive capacity to monitor and reflect on one’s subjective experience; self-regulation is the ability to modulate one’s behaviour according to one’s goals and values; and self-compassion is the attitude of kindness and acceptance toward oneself and others (Verhaeghen, 2019). These skills can help meditators to detach from their habitual patterns of thoughts and emotions, reduce their self-preoccupation and ego-attachment, and increase their empathy and prosociality (Verhaeghen, 2019; Vago & Silbersweig, 2012).

For example, Hanley et al. (2020) conducted a randomized controlled trial with healthy young adults and found that five sessions of mindfulness training decreased perceived body boundaries and encouraged more allocentric frames of reference compared to an active listening control condition. They also found that the effect of mindfulness training on allocentric frames of reference was mediated by decreased perceived body boundaries, suggesting that relaxing the boundaries of the self can facilitate a more expansive view of the world. Similarly, Verhaeghen (2019) conducted a correlational study with a large sample of meditators and non-meditators and found that mindfulness was positively associated with self-transcendence through the mediation of self-preoccupation and self-compassion. He also found that self-transcendence was linked to lower levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and higher levels of psychological well-being.

Mindfulness meditation is often a practice that one follows as a precursor to becoming fully mindful in normal life. Mindfulness in itself can be quite hard to achieve, in so far as the normal mind can be so cluttered with thoughts that the individual can struggle to keep up. Mindfulness meditation can therefore be used as a training aid in advance of achieving 24 hour mindfulness. The individual can start by practising mindfulness meditation for, say, five minutes a day. They can then increase the duration of the meditations gradually until they can practice mindfulness in an undisturbed meditation session for an hour or so. At this point, they should notice that they are beginning to practice mindfulness in their non-meditative daily experiences.

In conclusion, mindfulness meditation can be used as a technique to foster self-transcendence by developing self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-compassion. These skills can help meditators to loosen their identification with their ego-self and experience a more connected and holistic sense of reality. Mindfulness meditation can help with both intrapersonal and transpersonal transcendence.

visualization meditation

Visualization meditation is a mindfulness technique that involves focusing on a specific image, event, person, or goal and imagining it becoming reality (Healthline, 2020). Visualization meditation can be used as a technique to foster self-transcendence, which is the ability to transcend one’s self-focused needs and interests and connect with a larger reality that is more meaningful and fulfilling (Vago & Silbersweig, 2012).

By visualizing oneself as part of a larger whole, such as nature, humanity, or the cosmos, one can reduce the attachment to the ego and the narrative self, and experience a sense of awe, wonder, and gratitude. Visualization meditation can also help overcome self-image problems by supporting one’s vision of the person one wants to be (Blankert & Hamstra, 2017). For example, one can visualize oneself completing an important task with confidence and competence, or expressing kindness and compassion to others. Visualization meditation can thus help cultivate a positive and flexible self-concept that is aligned with one’s true values and aspirations.

For the purposes of the self-transcendence journey mapped out here, visualization meditation is another key skill for an individual to develop. The concept is pretty straightforward, but needs practice. When, through mindfulness, for example, an individual finds they have a negative thought coming from a self-aspect that they wish to negotiate with. My suggestion is that they should perform that negotiation as part of a visualization meditation, where they can visualize themselves in active discussion with that self-aspect, and in so doing, increase the likelihood of forming a more profound bond with that self aspect.

Also, developing this practice of performing negotiations in the relatively safe environment of a meditation, which would normally be performed in some quiet and private place, away from other people, means that the negotiation won’t be interrupted, and that deeper subjects can be tackled without risking others becoming involved.

Active imagination

Active imagination is a technique developed by Carl Jung to facilitate the dialogue between the conscious and the unconscious aspects of the psyche. It involves engaging with the images, symbols, and emotions that arise from the unconscious, such as dreams, fantasies, or synchronicities, and expressing them in some creative form, such as writing, drawing, painting, or dancing.

By doing so, one can access a deeper level of meaning and purpose in life, and foster a sense of self-transcendence. According to Jung, active imagination can help one achieve self-transcendence by activating the transcendent function, which is the process of integrating the opposites within oneself and creating a new level of consciousness (Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences, n.d.).

Through active imagination, one can confront and reconcile the conflicts and tensions that exist between the conscious and the unconscious, and between the personal and the collective. This can lead to a transformation of the personality and a realization of one’s full potential (Maslow, 1971).

Active imagination can also help one cope with existential challenges, such as mortality and the meaning of life. By exploring the symbols and themes that emerge from the unconscious, one can discover a sense of symbolic immortality, which is the belief that one’s life has significance beyond one’s physical existence (Lifshin et al., 2021). Active imagination can also reveal one’s unique contribution to the world and one’s connection to a larger whole.

For the purposes of this thesis, it is fair to say that all the transcendence techniques proposed here intend to unlock the transcendent function and initiate within the self an active imagination, and that all methods at one’s disposal to promote an active imagination should be utilised, with the focus on intrapersonal and transpersonal transcendence. Sometimes, for example, one can find an object which resonates with a particular self-aspect in a way whereby dialogue with that self-aspect is enhanced and the self-aspect is perceived as speaking through that object. Another example could be that the self-aspect likes to express itself through art.

Dream Analysis

Dream analysis is a therapeutic technique that aims to explore the unconscious meaning of dreams and how they relate to one’s life, and can be used as a tool for self-transcendence.

According to Freud, dreams are a royal road to the unconscious; dream interpretation has thus been an important psychoanalytic technique. His theory of dreams mainly refers to two key points: (a) what are the materials of a dream? and (b) how do these materials work together? The answers to these questions are closely related to an understanding of dream interpretation (Zhang & Guo, 2018).

Freud proposed that dreams consist of two types of content: manifest and latent. Manifest content is the surface of the dream, what we remember when we wake up. Latent content is the hidden meaning of the dream, which can be revealed by analysing the symbols, images, and emotions in the manifest content. Freud believed that dreams are a way of expressing our repressed wishes, fears, and conflicts that we cannot consciously acknowledge. By interpreting our dreams, we can gain insight into our unconscious motivations and resolve our inner conflicts (Zhang & Guo, 2018).

Jung also proposed dream analysis is a technique that can be used to foster self-transcendence. According to Jung, dreams are the expression of the unconscious, both personal and collective, and they provide a holistic image of the dreamer’s psyche, including unconscious aspects (Roesler, 2020). By interpreting the symbols and patterns of dreams, the dreamer can gain insight into their psychological problems, their potential for growth, and their relationship with the cosmos.

Jung also proposed using active imagination, which involves engaging with the dream images in a conscious state and dialoguing with them to elicit their meaning and guidance (van der Linden, 2016). Through this process, the dreamer can access the Self, which is the conjunction of the conscious and the unconscious, and the source of individuation (, n.d.). The Self is also the archetype of transcendence, as it represents the centre and totality of the psyche, and the connection with the universal and eternal (Jung, 1971). By realizing the Self through dream analysis, the dreamer can achieve self-transcendence and a deeper sense of purpose and wholeness.

Therefore, dream analysis can be used as a way of integrating both the conscious and unconscious aspects of our self, as well as our past, present, and future. By paying attention to our dreams, we can access a deeper level of awareness that transcends our ordinary waking state. This can help us to achieve a sense of closure, interconnectedness, purpose, growth, generativity, and symbolic immortality, which are the six research-based elements of self-transcendence identified by Reischer et al. (2021).

In conclusion, dream analysis can be used as a technique to foster personal self-transcendence by revealing the hidden meaning of our dreams and how they relate to our life. By interpreting our dreams, we can transcend our own personal concerns and see from a higher perspective. Self-aspects sometimes choose only to communicate through dreams, this can particularly be the case if that self-aspect is a form of past-life. Also, the dream space can give a much more comprehensive and informative view of the message of that self-aspect.

Intrapersonal transcendence

Intrapersonal transcendence is one of the dimensions, or pillars, of self-transcendence, a concept that refers to various ways of transcending one’s self-boundaries. self-transcendence is a process that promotes or supports wellbeing, especially in situations of increased vulnerability. Intrapersonal transcendence involves expanding one’s self-awareness and self-understanding through introspective activities and perspectives that enhance one’s beliefs, values, and dreams. Intrapersonal transcendence can help people cope with stress, find meaning and purpose in life, and achieve personal growth and fulfilment. Some examples of the tools and techniques that can be used for intrapersonal transcendence are meditation, journaling, art, music, and spirituality (Reed & Haugan, 2021). However, we shall also introduce the concept of the soul retrieval for this part of the journey.

It is intrapersonal transcendence that I would encourage the individual to try to achieve first. This is the journey into the inner self, and I allude to it in my thesis wholeness theory of self-esteem. It is the process of identifying, connecting to and reintegrating all inner aspects of self into a unified whole. It’s a process which has been called achieving Christ consciousness and since these connections are all with aspects of self which are, overall, well-known by the individual, it is the easiest and least challenging part of the self-transcendence journey, hence why I recommend this should be the starting point.

I’ve mentioned a number of self-transcendence techniques, including active imagination and visualisation meditation as being suitable for intrapersonal transcendence, and in that text I have alluded to how this should take place.

Reintegrating self-aspects

The first requirement of intrapersonal transcendence is to identify the inner self-aspect that the individual wishes to reintegrate into their self-concept. They can do this as a part of their mindfulness practice, by identifying a thought that may not agree with what they consider to be their self-concept. I recommend that initially, only friendly thoughts should be identified for integration. Tell those that are negative that their turn will come, that for now, only the friendly thoughts will be accommodated.

Once the incongruous thought has been identified, the next step is to negotiate with that thought, with a view to including it within the individual’s self-concept. This is best done as part of a visualization meditation where the individual can place themselves in an isolated and comfortable environment, without any time pressures, to better visualize the self-aspect they are communicating with.

The exact details of this negotiation are obviously going to be unique to the individual concerned, and they may seem challenging, especially at first, because our self-aspects often represent character aspects and feelings that we have denied of ourselves through distortion; the process of coming to believe that we are something we are not, or, that we are not something that we are.

Becoming a trustworthy individual

A key area which needs to be developed, is the concept of trusting self, and of extending that trust to our self-aspects. The individual needs to believe that at the core of every self aspect is a golden heart. That the process of reintegration of our self-aspects will not cause them harm, and that each individual self-aspect is deserving of trust, love, understanding and mutual respect. This is particularly important, because the self-aspects have a sense of honour, that might be surprising: They will give you the honour you give them. What this means is that, if they know you don’t trust them, they will behave in an untrustworthy way, and, of course, they know what you are thinking, even what you are hiding from yourself. Therefore, if you have hidden from yourself some truth of self, and based on that internalised lie, you try to interact with a self-aspect, they will behave dishonourably, they will lie and mislead you. Conversely, even if you are confused and don’t understand a situation, but accept this and try not to hide it, then they will seek to help you in good faith. So, ego concepts of trying to present oneself as knowing more than the self-aspect being dealt with need to be dropped. Always approach a self-aspect with humility and acceptance that in this particular interaction, it is they who know best.

If the individual adopts this mindset of humble acceptance, then reintegration of those friendly self-aspects will be a reasonably simple task of getting to know them, agreeing for the reintegration to take place and ensuring they are convinced that you are committed to accepting and, where appropriate, expressing their truth. This is how we come to know who we are, this is the beginning of becoming an authentic individual.

integration of aspects of self in shadow

Often, dissociated self-aspects were separated from the unity of self due to trauma and often the case is that this self aspect is carrying pain, or shame or some other emotion that the individual may find disturbing to deal with. They may be concerned that allowing such extreme feelings back into their conscious expression may cause them to become out of control, and may cause them to remember things they want to forget.

This is where the concept of mindfulness becomes important: It is through mindfulness that one can detach from their thoughts and feelings and simply observe. Therefore, before attempting to reintegrate an aspect of self which has such traumatic feelings trapped within it, it’s important that the individual develop their mindful practice sufficiently that they can remain detached during the reintegration negotiation.

For this process of reintegration of inner self-aspects in shadow, the individual will already have developed extra personal resilience by having integrated of those inner self-aspect who are friendly. Those self-aspects can now be of extra help, by serving to guide the individual as to how best to approach the reintegration of those shadow aspects.

My recommendation, therefore, is that when the individual feels ready, they should set aside plenty of time for a visualisation meditation. Once in the meditation, they should consult their integrated self-aspects as to how this process of reintegration should proceed. They will suggest which shadow aspect should be integrated first, they may provide some background information, perhaps some recommendations, then they will also introduce that self aspect when the individual is ready.

The aspect of self is likely to be stuck in a trap of pain, blame, guilt, rejection etc. It is likely they will want to relieve these negative feelings by having the individual express their pain by way of what I call a drama. This drama can feel very daunting, and it’s important to realise that not all dramas need to be fully expressed. Yes, these feelings need to be acknowledged, the aspect of self in shadow needs to regain trust in the individual, needs to feel they will be accepted and loved by the individual, and their drama is part of that search for acceptance and trust. The exact nature of that drama usually determines the nature of the expressive response by the individual. It’s good to remember that the individual also has those friendly aspects of self helping out by providing positive suggestions by way of thoughts.

Possibly, the most dangerous drama, is the death drama. This is where the aspect of self in shadow has lost all confidence in the individual and has decided they should die. What this can often mean, is that allowing the aspect of self to take control of the body means they will try to have the individual commit suicide. However, remember, this is a trust drama, they need to develop truth in the individual before they will come out of shadow and work positively with the individual. They need to be convinced that their thoughts and feelings will be taken seriously by the individual from now on.

Therefore, the individual should acknowledge those feelings, but explain that death is not an option, and encourage the aspect of self in question to take a risk; extend the hand of friendship and reaffirm the commitment to become an individual who is true to self, including the self that is represented by that self-aspect.

This strategy may not work the first time. If the individual fails to get acceptance, then it’s perfectly acceptable to choose to revisit this negotiation. The individual could suggest, for example, that the self-aspect in shadow should remain in the shadows and watch, let the individual prove their commitment by way of future deeds. This way, they can give this aspect of self time to build confidence: They can watch as the individual negotiates with other aspects in shadow, and see how they subsequently honour those thoughts and feelings.

False memories

Sometimes, the drama presented by an aspect of self in shadow may include memories which seem to be false, these may be pretty obvious, or they may be quite believable. This is usually quite rare, but it does happen. The cause of this, is that these are coping techniques for aspects of self who blame themselves for the split from the core self, and they have created a cover story, to make themselves feel better about the situation.

Usually, the memory is representative of the emotional content of the truth behind it, it explains that self-aspects behaviour, without it being the truth. In this case, the individual has two options:

They can accept this as truth, even though they feel it might be false, and continue with the integration. In this case, they would need to understand that this aspect of self will still hold some distortions, but it will bring them out of shadow and into a supportive role. This may be more important for the individual at the time, but they would need to remember that this self-aspect will need to be revisited with careful understanding in future, in order that the true events be revealed.

Or, they can challenge this version of the truth. This could be a high-risk strategy, particularly in the early stages of the reintegration process, as that aspect of self could “dig in” further to their coping strategy, deepening the dissociation. In this case, it’s important to listen to self; listen to your other self-aspects, they will be able to advise which strategy is best.

Sometimes, one false memory is lifted, to reveal yet another! And this second false memory is often more believable. So the individual needs to take care, and not always accept that a breakthrough is all it seems. When this happens, my recommendation is to challenge this second false memory; there is usually an inconsistency that one can find to cast the story in doubt. One aspect of this second false memory situation, is that often, it is used to hide an important and powerful aspect of self, so in a way, it’s a bonus situation.


So far, we have discussed the process of reintegrating lost aspects of self as part of a possibly quite lengthy process which looks at each self-aspect individually, probably stretched out over several months, depending on the age and experience of the individual concerned. My understanding is that we have at least one primary self-aspect created for each year of our life, and that these can create other sub-self aspects as and when they desire. An alternative is to retrieve and reintegrate lost aspects of self as part of a single process called soul-retrieval.

soul-retrieval is a shamanic technique that aims to restore the wholeness and integrity of the self by recovering the parts of the soul that have been lost due to trauma, illness, or other negative experiences. According to shamanic belief, soul loss occurs when a part of the soul leaves the body to escape the pain or danger of a situation, and does not return afterwards. This can result in symptoms such as depression, anxiety, addiction, low self-esteem, or chronic illness (Gaia, 2017).

soul-retrieval involves a shaman entering an altered state of consciousness and journeying to the hidden spirit worlds (non-ordinary reality) where the lost soul parts reside. The shaman then locates and communicates with the soul parts, persuades them to return, and brings them back to the body of the client. The client may experience a sense of relief, joy, vitality, or clarity after the soul-retrieval process (Gaia, 2017).

soul-retrievals can also be performed by the individual themselves, guided by their own friendly self-aspects. The process is the same as mapped out previously, but instead of allocating perhaps an hour a day for the visualisation meditation, the individual would lock themselves away for some extended period of time, perhaps a couple of weeks, and dedicate themselves to retrieving all lost aspects of the self. However, this can be exhausting, so great care has to be taken not to over-extend themselves and to get plenty of rest.

soul-retrieval can be considered a peak experience, which is a term coined by Abraham Maslow to describe a moment of intense joy, awareness, and connection with the universe. Maslow believed that peak experiences are expressions of Self-actualization, which is the realization of one’s full potential. However, he later revised his theory and added self-transcendence as a higher level of human development than Self-actualization. He argued that self-transcendence involves going beyond one’s ego and identifying with a higher reality (Messerly, 2017).

One aspect of soul-retrieval to note is that it tends to be quite highly ritualised and mystical, and may involve some transpersonal self-aspects. Often, at the end of the process, there is a ritual which involves all of the many aspects of self becoming one with the individual concerned. This is usually the point of peak experience for that individual, as they feel for the first time, a total confidence in self, a feeling of power and will that they have never experienced. Imagine, previously the individual was a collection of disparate and often conflicting aspects of self. This meant they struggled to focus on any one thing for long, they’d get easily distracted, they’d lacked confidence and had thoughts that undermined and self-sabotaged themselves; following the soul retrieval, for the first time in their life, they have 100% unanimity within themselves, one unity of self, all pushing the same direction.

The inner-child

The inner child is a concept in popular psychology and analytical psychology that is often thought to refer to an individual’s childlike aspect. It includes what a person learned as a child, before puberty, and how that influences their adult personality and behaviour. The inner child is often conceived as a semi-independent subpersonality subordinate to the waking conscious mind (Wikipedia, n.d.). Some psychologists suggest that the inner child can be wounded by traumatic events in childhood and cause physical or emotional problems in adulthood. They propose various methods of healing the wounded inner child, such as age regression, word association, dream analysis, or spiritual guidance (Kiefer, 1993). Other psychologists argue that the inner child is a rigid and capricious child that manifests itself in the way people build and use cities, creating dangers and isolation for the real children who live in them. They advocate for a more child-friendly urban planning and design that respects the needs and rights of children (Noschis, 1992).

The inner-child is a special self-aspect that is often hidden behind false truths of trauma and abuse. This is often because the inner-child has blamed itself for its dissociation from the unity of self. It is special because it is the first self-aspect to be created, which means it has a direct link to the archetypes and higher self-aspects which form the spiritual lineage of the self. This means that it is the seat of mystical knowledge for the individual concerned. It is also the flow-self, this is the self that is directly in the divine flow of self. healing and recovering the inner-child can be a significant step forward on an individual’s self-transcendence journey.

From a healing perspective, it is the dissociation of the inner-child which sets the scene for many of an individuals future dissociations. It creates a propensity to dissociate. Therefore, healing one’s inner child causes a ripple to take place affecting all subsequent self-aspects. This ripple can, for example, cause many self-aspects in shadow to come out of shadow and into positivity.

The inner-child, is, however, complex, and hides many secrets, healing the inner-child may therefore take some time. The inner child will only be fully healed when the individual concerned is ready. It is the inner-child who decides this.

Speaking your truth

As the individual travels on their self-transcendence journey, they will notice that they have an urge to speak their truth; to tell others about what they have discovered about themselves. However, for most people they will know, these ideas and concepts will largely be unwelcome challenges to their own, probably false self-concept. This means that there is a large probability that they will alienate many of their friends and family, as they try to tell them about their journey, and themselves.

The need to speak your truth comes from within, it’s a pressure that comes from one’s inner self-aspects. They know that by speaking your truth, even if it’s incomplete, will help that truth “bed-in”, it will help that truth become who the individual is, who they see themselves to be. Also, in the process of speaking our truth, further revelations and realisations often occur, so it is important.

This means that the individual following the self-transcendence path needs to take care with whom they tell their truth. One suggestion is to find a good therapist or counsellor, one who is empathic and accepting of the concept of self-transcendence, and who can offer unconditional positive regard. Another option may be to find an online route for expression, somewhere one can speak their truth anonymously and without fear of exposure. However, just as it’s often difficult to find people empathic enough to accept our unique truth, so too, the internet can be a difficult place, an individual’s truth of self is just as likely to trigger online friends as it is those in real life.

If the individual is fortunate, they may find they have one or too friends who can handle their mysterious truth, but it’s important to realise that ultimately, this is usually a solitary journey. That one’s truth, especially when it is emergent and not complete, is unlikely to be spoken to anyone, in full.


delusions are false beliefs that persist despite evidence to the contrary and are not explained by cultural or religious norms (APA Dictionary of Psychology, n.d.). delusions can be classified into different types, such as persecutory, grandiose, erotomanic, jealous, somatic, or mixed, depending on the content of the belief. delusions are a common symptom of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorder, or substance-induced psychotic disorder. delusions can also occur in other mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder with psychotic features, or dementia. delusions can cause significant distress and impairment in social and occupational functioning, and may require pharmacological and psychological interventions.

delusions can often form part of the self-transcendence journey, and it’s something the individual needs to be aware of. There can be numerous causes, but the key thing to remember, is that delusions often happen as a result of an incomplete truth. For example, an unprepared individual, who discovers that some significant archetype, say Jesus, is part of their spiritual lineage, may develop a messiah complex, and think they are Jesus, and start telling the world that they are him. However, if that individual were to dig deeper, they’d find that they are connected to several archetypes, and are, in fact, a unique mix of those archetypes, and in fact, a unique individual, just like the rest of us. delusional beliefs are often adopted by individuals who achieve numinous experience without being thoroughly prepared, their ego then twists the experience into being on about itself, and so the individual adopts this twisted truth as a personal truth.

What can often protect an individual from developing delusional beliefs, is for them to remember that all is self, this means, in many ways, that everyone is Jesus, for example, and therefore they are just like everyone else.

We are about to start discussing transpersonal transcendence, which involves discovering and connecting to our personal archetypes, and it is this stage where the potential for delusion becomes most likely. It’s therefore worth raising this topic and providing some information regarding how to handle delusional beliefs.

The fact is that it’s highly likely that during the individual’s transcendence journey that they are likely to form some delusional beliefs. This can be, for example, a reflection of their archetypes own ego. This may sound strange, that an individual who has had to lay their own ego to rest by removing the falsehoods they used to live by, should have to contend with some higher aspect of self having an ego which may affect them. In some cases, our archetypes very much have an ego, and the danger is, that we form too close of an attachment to them, become too dependent on them, and become affected by their egoistic attitudes.

Therefore, on this journey to the higher realms which I am about to describe. The individual must bear in mind, not to become too awestruck by the characters they discover on their journey, not to become too attached to any single higher self-aspect, and to always remember, that ultimately, all is self – everyone is everyone else, we may be unique, but we are not special.

Transpersonal transcendence

Transpersonal transcendence is an aspect of self-transcendence that involves the experience of spiritual or transcendent aspects of the self, such as identifying with the universe as a whole, having mystical or peak experiences, or feeling a sense of unity with nature or a higher power.

According to Cloninger (2004), transpersonal transcendence is one of the three character dimensions of personality, along with self-directedness and cooperativeness. Character dimensions are learned and influenced by social and cultural factors, and they reflect how people conceptualize themselves and their goals. Transpersonal transcendence is measured by the self-transcendence scale of the Temperament and Character Inventory, which has five subscales: self-forgetful vs. self-conscious experience, transpersonal identification vs. self-isolation, spiritual acceptance vs. rational materialism, enlightened vs. objective, and idealistic vs. practical.

Transpersonal transcendence is related to various psychological outcomes, such as wellbeing, happiness, creativity, altruism, and resilience. It is also associated with different forms of spirituality and religiosity, such as meditation, prayer, yoga, and faith. However, transpersonal transcendence is not necessarily dependent on any specific belief system or practice; rather, it reflects a general openness to the possibility of transcending the ordinary sense of self and reality.

I define transpersonal transcendence as the act of integrating all outer self-aspects into the individual’s concept of self. These outer self-aspects include past-lives.


Some may suggest these are inner aspects; however, I do not think precise classification is important. For this journey of personal self-transcendence, it is helpful if these are integrated during the transpersonal stage, rather than the intrapersonal stage.

It is not correct to imagine that the individual needs to actually integrate all past selves. What I have found is that it is only those past selves which have negative karma, or those that will inform our current truth of self, which need to be identified and integrated. Past-life self-aspects who have karma will have a story to tell, I call this another type of drama, and what I found is that in the main, the task is purely to give expression to their Karmic drama. Typically, this means simply acknowledging their truth, their pain from the past, letting them tell their story and validating their experience. Usually, this is enough to release them from their trap from the past.

Although I have said, it’s not necessary to know all past-lives in order to self-actualise these aspects of self. There is one ritual which can be performed in relation to all past-lives, which does. This is the “pulling in” ritual, where the individual imagines all past-lives strung out on an imaginary rope that stretches deep into the past. And then imagine themselves reeling in this rope, and gathering all their past-selves into themselves. Similarly, they can also imagine another rope stretching way into the future, with all future selves connected to it. Again, they will draw in that lengthy rope, until the end is reached, and so, symbolically, they will bring together the idea of all those self-aspects returning home, to self.

Individuals’ often first become aware of past-live via their dreams, and they can use active imagination techniques to explore these further. Another way of connecting is for them to ask their inner self-aspects to introduce them. Once an individual has reintegrated all of their inner self-aspects, they will find that the organismic self will automatically prepare itself for past-life integration, and those past-lives that are important will become known to them, at the right time.

Past-lives can also be archetypes, in that they can sometimes be significant figures who embodied strong archetypal qualities. The individual needs to therefore take care not to become too attached to individual past-lives. Clearly that life needs to be acknowledged and honoured, but the task at hand, is the creation of a brand-new individual, not a replication of something from the past.

Higher self-aspect

The higher self-aspect in spirituality is a concept that refers to the idea that there is a transcendent or divine part of oneself that is beyond the ego and the physical body. It is often associated with the notion of authenticity, which implies living in alignment with one’s true-self and values. According to some psychological perspectives, authenticity and the true-self play a central role in human psychology and wellbeing, and may intersect with religion and spirituality in various ways (Christy, Rivera, & Schlegel, 2020). For example, some people may experience their higher self-aspect as a source of guidance, inspiration, or connection with a higher power. Others may struggle with their higher self-aspect, feeling alienated, conflicted, or doubtful about their spiritual identity or purpose. These struggles may have negative effects on mental health, such as anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideation (McConnell, Pargament, Ellison, & Flannelly, 2006).

The individual’s higher self-aspect is often the most immediately available of their archetypal aspects. It is the higher self-aspect that has responsibility for many of the individual’s spirit-body functions. For example, the higher self-aspect is responsible for the creation of the primary inner self-aspects and takes the decision to create each one as and when the higher self-aspect needs to offload the self-regulation functions for which it has initial responsibility.

However, the high self-aspect can often pose the individual with problems; there is often a drama between the two that needs to be resolved before a full connection can be established. The higher self-aspect is not, for example, impressed with any egoistic behaviour. Many people embark on the self-transcendent journey for egoistic purposes, and, that being the case, they may well find their higher self-aspect to be missing or not contactable. In other cases, they may find that their higher self-aspect has passed the role over to another character.

Higher self-aspects can be light or dark and, as said previously, may come with a drama that needs resolution. Archetypal dramas are a little different to the dramas already experienced with inner self-aspects in so much as they tend to cover universal themes, and take on much greater significance as a consequence. These dramas can also introduce to the individual numinous experiences which may include receiving deep spiritual insight, experiencing visions, feelings of great energy and emotion. These things could be called hallucinations and hyper-sensitivity, they are just as much aspects of self-transcendence as they are in the psychoses of individuals deemed to be mentally unwell. The difference between the two, is often simply a case of how the individual reacts and deals with them. I wrote an article which tries to explain this here.

It’s for this reason that I suggest that the individual first works on integrating their past-lives, which will have two benefits; past-lives are less complex than the archetypes, they are often mundane and unlikely to have a drama that will challenge the individual’s beliefs too much. Also, the more aspects of self the individual can integrate, the more stable that individual’s character will be, they will be able to handle those archetypal themes, when they come, better.

The archetypes

Jung proposed the concept of archetypes as universal, inherited patterns of thought or images that are present in the collective unconscious of all human beings (Jung, 1959). He identified twelve main archetypes that represent different aspects of human personality, behaviour, and experience. These archetypes are:

The Innocent: The archetype of purity, optimism, and faith. The innocent seeks happiness and harmony, and avoids doing harm to others. The innocent is often naive, trusting, and idealistic. (Example: Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz)

  • The Orphan: The archetype of realism, resilience, and belonging. The orphan understands the hardships of life and seeks to connect with others who share their values and goals. The orphan is often loyal, empathetic, and down-to-earth.
  • The Hero: The archetype of courage, strength, and action. The hero strives to overcome challenges and achieve great things. The hero is often confident, decisive, and heroic.
  • The Caregiver: The archetype of compassion, generosity, and nurturing. The caregiver wants to help others and make the world a better place. The caregiver is often kind, supportive, and selfless.
  • The Explorer: The archetype of adventure, freedom, and discovery. The explorer seeks to experience new things and expand their horizons. The explorer is often curious, independent, and restless.
  • The Rebel: The archetype of rebellion, revolution, and change. The rebel challenges the status quo and fights for what they believe in. The rebel is often daring, defiant, and radical.
  • The Lover: The archetype of passion, romance, and beauty. The lover wants to attract and please others and create intimacy and harmony. The lover is often sensual, charismatic, and affectionate.
  • The Creator: The archetype of creativity, innovation, and expression. The creator wants to make something new and original that reflects their vision and values. The creator is often imaginative, artistic, and visionary. (Example: Steve Jobs)
  • The Jester: The archetype of humour, joy, and playfulness. The jester wants to have fun and make others laugh. The jester is often witty, clever, and entertaining.
  • The Sage: The archetype of wisdom, knowledge, and truth. The sage wants to understand the world and share their insights with others. The sage is often intelligent, rational, and analytical.
  • The Magician: The archetype of transformation, power, and influence. The magician wants to master the laws of nature and reality and shape them to their will. The magician is often mysterious, charismatic, and visionary.
  • The Ruler: The archetype of leadership, authority, and responsibility. The ruler wants to create order and stability in society and inspire others to follow their lead. The ruler is often confident, decisive, and influential.

These archetypes are not fixed or rigid categories but rather dynamic and fluid patterns that can be expressed in different ways depending on the context and the individual (Jung & von Franz 1964). Jung suggested that each person has a dominant archetype that represents their core identity or self-concept but also has access to other archetypes that can be activated or integrated depending on the situation or the stage of life (Jung 1959).

What Jung did not say, is that these twelve, plus one other, mixed their energies to create many other archetypes, and it was these archetypes which religion has named and placed into pantheons. This means, of course, that all the pantheons are part of the same tree.

According to Jungian psychology, personal archetypes are universal, inherited patterns of thought, behaviour, and personality that are present in the collective unconscious of all human beings (Verywell Mind, 2023). Jung believed that these archetypes are influenced by evolutionary pressures and manifest in the behaviours and experiences of individuals (Wikipedia, n.d.). Jung’s four major archetypes are: the persona, the shadow, the anima/animus, and the self (Verywell Mind, 2023). The persona is the mask we wear in social situations, while the shadow represents our repressed or hidden aspects. The anima/animus represents the feminine/masculine aspects of our psyche, while the self is the true, integrated, and balanced self (Structural Learning, n.d.).

I can add to this concept of personal archetypes, that each of us has differing archetypes, often named in the pantheons, who combine and become our spiritual parents. We have a divine aspect to our character which ultimately flowed from these personal archetypes, and part of our journey to self-transcendence, is to recognise, understand and integrate these aspects too.

Therefore, I present the concept that each of us has our own unique mix of archetypes, which give us our own unique divine character. An individual may have, say, five, or seven, or three personal archetypes. These have also been called “flames” and are often visualized as differing coloured flames. One famous type of flame, is the individual’s twin-flame, or divine opposite. This archetype reflects the divine feminine/anima or divine masculine/animus, depending on the sexual orientation of the individual concerned. So an individual who identifies as masculine, will have a twin flame who represents the divine feminine.

Personal archetypes

It’s important to realise that when it comes to one’s personal archetypes, who will be integrated into one’s concept of self, that these will have balanced energies between them. This means that if you have five archetypes, for example, then two will typically be dark, two will be light, and there will be one who is effectively neutral, this one is usually the core archetype of self. What this means is that during the process of integration, there is a correct order for integration. Firstly, the core archetype is integrated, next there are any light archetypes and then finally the dark archetypes. The reason for this is to avoid the individual becoming overwhelmed with dark energies, to ensure there is no danger of negative imbalance, which could threaten one’s peace of mind and wellbeing.

A common mistake many seekers make, is that they come up against their dark archetypes, and due to conditioning and fear, they refuse to accept them as part of themselves. This is actually quite a dangerous thing to do, in so much as a dissociation of an archetype will often carry with it the threat of psychosis. At best, the individual’s growth will stop, and they will suffer from spiritual bypass, at worst, they will suffer psychosis, and risk their future wellbeing. Growth will stop because all archetypes must be integrated in order for the individual to pass into source.

This is not to imply that the individual’s experience with the archetypes will be completely removed from psychosis-like mystical experiences. Those archetypes who are dark, will be in shadow, and they will have a drama to present to them, and most likely, this will be of a mystical nature. I can’t predict what that is going to look like because it will be unique to the individual. This article on positive and negative transcendent experiences may help the individual understand that often, it is their approach to the drama, which determines if it is a positive or negative experience.

What I can say is that often these archetypal dramas take on universal themes, one common theme is that of Armageddon and the destruction of the world. Other themes may involve the battle between good and evil, with the individual seemingly taking centre stage in that battle. However, this is entirely dependent on one’s personal archetypes who need the individual to experience this drama, so they can gain a better understanding of those higher spiritual aspects that caused their creation and provide many aspects to their character.

The key coping strategy with these dramas is simply to try to remember mindfulness, and to let it unfold without losing yourself in it, and to remember to keep grounded as much as is possible.

Types of personal archetypes and condition

The personal archetypes that the individual meets will tend to identify as one of any number of spiritual entity types that they may or may not have heard of. Some may be gods, angels or other types of spiritual entity that are often classified as “good”, and who will therefore be pretty straightforward to eventually accept as being part of self, and a significant influence as to who the individual considers themselves to be.

Admittedly, for most people, this concept that they were formed via the influence of these higher entities will be quite an intellectual leap to take.

However, the most difficult of personal archetypes to accept as self, are those that are dark. Yet, these are needed for balance, and spiritual self-actualisation cannot be completed without having them as integrated aspects of self.

Many of these darker self-aspects have appeared as some of the most terrifying aspects of the spiritual world going. Each individual will have had varying degrees of conditioning that means their “natural” response is to run away from them. For example, these archetypes include devils and demons. Anyone with, for example, a Christian background will immediately have grave concerns for themselves if one of those entities were to enter their mind. I warn you now, if you embark on the journey to self-transcendence, then it is highly likely that you will face just such a challenge, and once you find yourself in such a position, it becomes an “integrate or die” challenge. Or at least, the more you run, the greater they will pursue you, the greater your psychosis or other issues will be. Medication might help, but the chances are, you will be severely depressed for life. This is the core challenge of self-transcendence. It’s the reason why, so far, few people have attained it.

However, there is no need for fear, there is a solution. The truth is, these darker aspects of self, are the ones who can teach the individual the most, and they turn into highly valuable assets, once they have been integrated into the individual’s concept of self. The trick is, for the individual to over-ride their conditioning, for them to stick to the plan and work with these darker self-aspects, until they can be accepted them as a part of individual’s self-concept. This may take some time, and there will definitely be challenges. The temptation during these challenges is to lose honour and lie to them, and that is what their test is about. Darker aspects of self, love integrity, and if the individual retains their integrity as a loving person, then they will pass those tests.

These tests can be gruelling, and they almost certainly will involve mystical experiences. The individual will be put under pressure and made to believe delusional thoughts that increase their sense of danger, then those darker aspects will see how they react. Will they hold on to their love of all with integrity, or will they crumble in fear, and say anything they feel will get them out of that situation? This is what they are looking for, those darker aspects, they are looking for hero’s, they don’t want wimps.

It’s just as well that each of us has walked the hero’s walk many, many times. In fact, becoming our own hero is what we do, it’s our ideal, and these darker aspects help us realise that. They test our mettle like it’s never been tested before.

Hopefully, what I’ve said here, will help the individual be prepared for the challenge.

The source gateway

This next description comes from one’s individual personal journey. I believe that it is probably different for all of us, not least of which is because it involves passing through heaven, and there are heavens for most of the pantheons, so this description is more for general guidance rather than informing of a specific path. Remember, you are unique, your path will be unique to you. You may even be an atheist and still achieve transcendence without ever acknowledging any form of god. In the land of all is self, if all is self, who is the God?


After integrating their archetypes, the individual found that one of the archetypes was acting as a gatekeeper, blocking the path to source, however, as the individual had successfully integrated all aspects of self (spiritually self-actualised), they simply had to integrate this last part of their self-structure into self to pass by, and enter heaven.

“One of my flame aspects also had the role of Godhead – the god who spoke my name and brought the divine thought of self into the plane of existence. The final part of my Self-actualization was for me to integrate the Godhead into my concept of self.

In my mythology of self, it’s this Godhead who judges you. Basically, his job was to check that I was living in truth, that I was not in denial of self in any way. Any lies I told to self about myself would mean rejection and negative judgement from the Godhead.

In this case, I was allowed to pass the Godhead, and in my visualization I saw in-front of me, a rainbow bridge and on the other side stood Mr Gray. I then realized that Mr Gray was the self I was to become, my self-actualized self. I crossed the bridge and merged with my actualized self.”

Mr Gray, is the name the individual gave to an enigmatic aspect of self they’d noticed earlier in their journey, it turned out that this aspect of self represented the “self that I was to become, my self-actualised self”.

The Heavens

“At this point, I heard the voice of God, inviting me into heaven, which I accepted, and I could see there were three levels to heaven. God explained to me that this was my heaven, and there were other heavens representing each religion/belief. This was my heaven, and it had three levels.

At the lowest level was the heaven for the non-ascended beings – individuals who had died without fully self-actualising. Those individuals were in the “waiting room” before choosing to incarnate again, to try once more for Self-actualization.

The next level was for ascended beings who had fully self-actualised. At the top level was the “Council of heaven”, those few members who made the decisions regarding heaven and creation.”

After exploring heaven for a while, the individual was informed that heaven was not the end of the story, that above heaven, there is Source.


“”However,” said God, “there is also Source, and you are invited there”. To which I accepted. God explained that the heavens were still part of the created universe, still part of the dream, and that source was the origin of creation.

At the first level of source, I was introduced to the “level of the Light Beings”, here the duality of the created universe was replaced by non-duality, as a result, the light-being took off the masks of the characters they had played in the created existence and I could see their pure divine selves. I recognized myself as a light-being as well.

There were a few levels to source, more than indicated in the diagram. As I travelled up these layers, the common theme was that the light beings integrated into each other, to ultimately become one, and this happened several times over.”

This is the end of our transpersonal self-transcendence journey, but it’s not the end of this particular story. Our thinking, is that once an individual has found their way to Source, they will find their own way to the higher levels, and these may well be just as unique to self. We do have a page which continues this individual’s journey if you care to look. For the remainder of this journey, I’m going to highlight what may be some key points of note. But also, I’m going to leave things quite vague and general. The last thing I want to do, is give you expectations for experiences which may not be on your path. The only truth is your truth.

Void state

The void-state in spirituality is a concept that refers to a state of nothingness, emptiness, or openness that transcends the ordinary reality and the sense of self. It is often associated with Buddhist philosophy, especially the concept of śūnyatā, which means “emptiness” or “voidness” in Sanskrit (Wikipedia, n.d.). However, the void-state can also be experienced in other spiritual traditions and practices, such as meditation, shifting, or awakening. The void-state can be seen as a state of pure consciousness, where one is fully aware and focused, but not attached to any thoughts, emotions, or sensations. The void-state can also be a source of insight, creativity, and liberation, as it allows one to access a deeper level of reality and truth (Ledbysource, 2022; SpritualBeing, 2022).

To enter the void state, one typically has to approach, from below, via a level of source which is dominated by those two great archetypes, the divine masculine/anima and the divine feminine. However, as stated, this may be entirely up to the individual.

The notable aspect of the void state, is that often, it is a stage where secrets are revealed, in that the universe will reveal a secret of the individual self, and also of the universe itself.

The void state can often give the impression that this is the highest level of attainment, that there is nothing more to know. My advice is not to listen to this suggestion, there is still higher to climb, “home”, has yet to be found. If the individual continues with their quest, they will find, in the void, a gateway to a higher level. This higher level is sometimes called self-universe actualisation.

Spiritual self-universe actualisation

Self-universe actualisation is a term that refers to the process of achieving one’s full potential in relation to the larger context of existence. It involves expanding one’s sense of self beyond the individual ego and connecting with the broader reality of humanity, nature, and the cosmos. It also entails finding meaning and purpose in life, especially in the face of existential challenges such as death and suffering.

At the level of self-universe actualisation, one find’s that oneself is a universe, and that what we call our universe, is actually a multiverse. Each of us projects our universe into this multiverse, and together, we co-create this multiverse together.

Again, this level of actualisation can seem like the ultimate level of attainment, and again, it is not, for the individual will find that there is another level, the level of self-multiverse actualisation

Spiritual self-multiverse actualisation

Self-multiverse actualisation is a term that refers to the process of becoming aware of and fulfilling one’s potential across multiple dimensions of reality, or universes. It is based on the idea that there are many possible worlds or universes that exist simultaneously, and that each one represents a different aspect of our being. By accessing and integrating these aspects, we can achieve a higher level of spiritual growth and creativity.

At this level of attainment, you will find that you are not only projecting your universe into the Earth multiverse, but you are also projecting universes into many, many more multiverses.

Achieving this state is not easy, as it requires overcoming various obstacles and challenges, such as fear, doubt, ignorance, attachment, and egoism. It also requires a willingness to explore and experiment with different modes of perception and expression, and to embrace uncertainty and paradox.

Self-multiverse actualisation can be seen as a form of spirituality that is compatible with various religious traditions, as well as with scientific theories, such as quantum physics and string theory.

Temporal self-transcendence

What is temporal transcendence? Temporal transcendence is the ability to go beyond the constraints of time and to experience a sense of eternity or infinity. Temporal transcendence is one of the dimensions of self-transcendence, which is defined as “expansion of self-conceptual boundaries multidimensionally: inwardly (e.g., through introspective experiences), outwardly (e.g., by reaching out to others), and temporally (whereby past and future are integrated into the present)” (Reed, 1991, p. 51). Temporal transcendence can also be related to the philosophical concept of transcendence, which is “the basic ground concept from the word’s literal meaning (from Latin), of climbing or going beyond” (Wikipedia, 2023). Transcendence can refer to the aspect of God’s nature and power that is independent of the material universe, or to the condition of possibility of knowledge itself, as in Kant’s transcendental philosophy. In both cases, transcendence implies a surpassing of the limits of human experience and understanding. Temporal transcendence, then, can be understood as a way of accessing a higher or deeper reality that transcends the temporal order and connects us with the eternal or infinite. Temporal transcendence can be achieved through various means, such as meditation, prayer, art, music, nature, or peak experiences. Temporal transcendence can have positive effects on well-being, such as enhancing meaning, purpose, hope, creativity, and spirituality (Self Transcendence, 2022).

Temporal self-transcendence also involves transcending the limitations of time and integrating one’s past, present, and future into a holistic perspective. I believe that in completing intrapersonal and transpersonal transcendence, you will have had to confront such issues as your own mortality, coming to terms with the mistakes of the past etc. And also, have realised that there is no time, time being a construct simply of our current reality, which, by this part of the transcendence journey, has been left far behind.

So I feel this needs no further explanation.

Interpersonal self-transcendence

Interpersonal transcendence is a phenomenon marked by total immersion in an interaction, a deep sense of understanding, feelings of mutuality, new insight, and playfulness (Geiman & Greene, 2019). Such experiences can be exhilarating, memorable, and rare. According to Kruse and Schmitt (2019), spirituality and self-transcendence are essential aspects of human personality, self-understanding, developmental tasks, and wellbeing. They argue that spirituality and transcendence reflect the fundamental stories and values that shape our identity and guide our actions. Interpersonal transcendence can be seen as a way of expressing and experiencing spirituality and transcendence in relation to others. It can also enhance the quality of life and resilience of individuals who encounter such moments of connection and meaning. Interpersonal transcendence can be influenced by various factors, such as listening styles, empathic skills, age, and minority group status (Geiman & Greene, 2019).

Interpersonal transcendence involves developing empathy, compassion, and altruism towards others, and forming meaningful relationships with them. As part of the intrapersonal and transpersonal transcendence journey, individuals’ will have developed a profound understanding of unconditional love of self, they will have had to accept the bad, the ugly, the dangerous aspects of themselves with love. They may well have found themselves increasingly isolated as they travelled this path, this seems to be the way of things. However, once an individual has attained the highest level of human experience, it’s highly likely that they will want to share their love with others. They will look to reconnect with others, more than likely, will want to help them, and this is the next stage of their growth. They have grown vastly on the personal side, now it is time for them to grow on the interpersonal side. This, of course, is a test, but it’s one that they will pass with flying colours!


In this thesis, I have described a complete path to personal self-transcendence. It’s one that can be completed by anyone, regardless of their beliefs or physical ability. All that is required is self-introspection and confidence that at the core of their self, is a kind, caring and loving being, and that this is the ultimate truth for all aspects of self, that there is nothing to fear.

I’ve described how Transcendence is understood by others, including Carl Jung, who called it individuation, and I’ve added my own specific detail, as I feel this level of detail has not been widely available or located within one single work, as I have here compiled.

I’ve also described the specific steps that an individual may need to take to achieve personal self-transcendence, and avoided making it specific to any one belief system. In so doing, I hope this will help anyone from any background of belief to be able to reach this highest level of human attainment.

After reading this, together with The Wholeness Theory of self-esteem and The Human Multiplicity Theory, any individual should be able to understand and carry out the steps to self-transcendence identified in my Jungian-based Transcendence Therapy.


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