Personal and Transpersonal Spirituality

Recreational psychedelic use is social; therapeutic psychedelic use is personal; sacramental psychedelic use is transpersonal.

The shift from the social to the personal is an inward movement away from superficial social relations and occasions towards greater psychological depth and maturity. This involves individuation and self-actualisation, and the clarification, revision and refinement of personal goals and values. It is a genuine and sincere response to the Delphic call to “know thyself”.

This personal psychological journey can be undertaken alone or with the aid of a psychotherapist, counsellor or life coach. It will invariably involve confronting family issues, relationship issues, self-esteem issues, and a host of other related issues. Personal psychological work can also be facilitated by psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (PAP), which helps plumb the depths of the psyche more powerfully and effectively than other modalities.

However, there is a class of issues which go beyond the personal and cannot be properly addressed in a purely therapeutic context. These are commonly referred to as “existential” or “transpersonal” issues. Here we must move beyond the domain of the psychological into metaphysical, theological and mystical realms.

The shift from the personal to the transpersonal is a movement away from self-concern and the pursuit of personal happiness and fulfillment towards a deeper sense of connection and alignment with a Higher Power, however conceived. For most people, this shift occurs later in life, if at all. Where it does occur, it is also a genuine and sincere response, this time to “a serious call to a devout and holy life”.

Spirituality can be of the personal or the transpersonal kind. If it is in the service of the personal self, that is, if it is primarily of therapeutic interest, then it is personal spirituality. If it is in the service of a higher power or principle, “for the glory of God”, then it is transpersonal spirituality.

The sacramental use of psychedelics has social and psychological benefits, but it is ultimately rooted in the transpersonal rather than the personal. It is about re-connection with the source and of existence, life and consciousness, not for our own personal benefit, but in order that we may be become channels of peace and love for the benefit of all. It is not just psychology or spirituality. It is religion.