Beyond Traditional Religion Spirituality, Depth Psychology,
With Lionel Corbett
in Santa Barbara, CA
Introductory Weekend Workshop
November 12–13, 2005
The nondual tradition has long recognized our essential unity with others and with the world. At the same time, we must take into account the fact that spontaneous forms of sacred experience arise within our dreams, visions, through the body, in our relationships, in the natural world, and within our suffering. The depth psychological tradition recognizes that these experiences arise from a transpersonal dimension of Consciousness. This Consciousness contains what seem to be personal levels of the mind. Here, spirituality and psychology are synonymous, and even our psychological difficulties have a spiritual core. Attention to these manifestations of the sacred allows us to see how the development of personality, whether normal or problematic, has conditioned us in ways that obscure our connection with the Unitary level of reality.
Traditional religions may not be helpful, or may not be an adequate container for our spirituality, for several reasons. They have tried to express the Inexpressible by means of doctrines and dogma, as if ultimate Reality can be contained in the net of conceptual thought. While giving good spiritual advice, they have ignored the unconscious underpinnings of our behavior, often making it impossible to implement their spiritual teachings. Consequently they have little transformative effect on many of their adherents. The politics of the traditions, and their insistence on specific images of the divine, may not resonate with the ways in which the sacred actually appears in our lives. The traditions of depth psychology and nonduality offer alternative approaches to spirituality that allow an expression of our spiritual life without recourse to traditional Judeo-Christian theology and its God-images.