Friday, May 11, 2012

The True Tone Of Our Being

Without the transcendent and the transpersonal we get sick, violent, and nihilistic, or hopeless and apathetic. We need something “bigger than we are” to be awed by and commit ourselves to in a new naturalistic, empirical, non-churchy sense. Perhaps as Thoreau and Whitman, William James and John Dewey did.

Abraham Maslow, the father of humanistic psychology, wrote those thoughts. Maslow was a psychologist that conceptualized a hierarchy of human needs. He saw human beings’ needs arranged like a ladder. The most basic needs on the ladder are on the bottom step. They include: air, water, food, sleep; the next step on the ladder of needs is security and stability, and the next step is the social need for belonging as well as the need for love and affection. The top steps are made of up of self-actualizing needs like the need to fulfill oneself. Maslow’s psychological concepts were based on the assumption that unfulfilled needs lower on the ladder would inhibit the person from climbing to the next step. Humanistic psychology teaches that people possess the inner resources for growth and healing. Each individual is capable of climbing this ladder once obstacles are understood.

There is an energy that vibrates within us that is bigger than we are. It is a non-churchy sense of knowing that we are connected to a stream of consciousness that is rich in creativity and electromagnetic tones. We have deep musical type cords that send messages from the psyche and we feel them vibrate within us. At times, these cords rise to the surface in long rhythms and we touch the inner portion of our being and experience it physically. Those cords are part of our feeling-tone. Our feeling-tone is the timber that holds our physical experience together. Each feeling-tone is unique, but it is expressed in a fashion that is shared by all consciousness focused in our mass reality.

As Plotinus, the great 2nd century philosopher, said:

We must close our eyes and invoke a new manner of seeing… a wakefulness that is the birthright of all of us, though few put it to use.

Our feeling-tone is that wakefulness. While we experience this physical reality, we follow the basic laws or assumptions of that reality and we create the world as we perceive it. Within the framework of our reality we have the freedom to create all aspects of our physical life. We create a painting and become the painting. Our personal life surfaces from within us. We are educated to believe that our world comes from something other than the self so most of us let our feeling-tone operate without objectively knowing it exists. But, it functions subjectively regardless of our level of awareness. As Maslow and Plotinus remind us it’s time to recognize the other subjective portions of the self, and begin to feel the true tone of our being.

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