We will begin today to look at how we can create the kind of life that we will truly love to live. I believe that we can do this by developing character traits or virtues as they are sometimes called. In other words, we will begin to employ strategies from Constructive Psychology. to build a life that we will truly love to live. We will mix these with spiritual practices like meditations and mindfulness. We will describe the virtue or the goal that we want to achieve and then I will give you some sound strategies and practices to achieve that goal. Let’s begin with a general introduction to what we are trying to achieve..
Our journey towards self-actualization can be compared to Michelangelo’s work on the David. We all start off as a slab of raw white marble. During these exercises, we will be chiseling away parts of the stone which contain flaws that keep us from being the beautiful and powerful person that is hidden inside each of us. The first step will be to chop off the big chunks with powerful strokes of the hammer. This is what we will be doing during these grounding exercises.
These activities are designed to heighten our awareness or ourselves as perfectly blended beings of body, mind, heart, and soul. We can only reach self-actualization when all four parts of our being are working in perfect harmony. The key is to view ourselves as having a Higher Self that contains the essence and energies of all four aspects of our being.
We will be using exercises containing new and old psychological practices. You may recognize some activities from the Humanistic Theory, including the strategy of unconditional positive self-regard, and self-actualization, the program title. However, the major emphasis will involve cognitive theory activities, especially constructive psychology, which emphasizes an active process of constructing new knowledge and new life patterns. This is evident throughout the booklet but especially in the section on building a new life story.
We will develop our powers of visualization, or active imagination, as it is referred to by Carl Jung. We allow the Higher Self to interact with the conscious mind by guiding and bringing up images. We then use the images to get in touch with old feelings connected to the negative emotions of fear, anger, and shame. We then guide our mind through transforming images to bring it to the positive feelings of peace, joy, and love, first for ourselves, then for each other, and then for every aspect of life. We then connect these images and feelings to the pleasure center of our brain where our Higher Self can apply the positive energies needed to heal the body, mind, heart, and soul. We refire and we rewire. We change our thinking patterns, and in so doing, we change our behavior patterns. Key to the process of active imagination is the strategy of exerting as little cognitive influence as possible on the visual images as they unfold. The approach is to subdue our mind so that it becomes a passive observer as our Higher Self guides the scene towards a point of intuitive understanding and healing.
However, above all, we have attempted to expand these concepts to include spiritual practices such as meditation, contemplation, and mindfulness. These practices involve the ability of our Higher Self to connect to a universal intelligence that exists within each one of us and within the community of conscious souls. I have made a conscious effort to avoid references to a Higher Power. I believe that all the resources we need already exist within each one of us. The universal intelligence mentioned above is not meant to be another name for a spiritual deity. It is merely the accumulated wisdom of the community of conscious souls, combined with the intelligent patterns of the universe, and above all the quantum energy patterns of our own sentient spirit. Regardless of our spiritual view, I think it is safe to say that we have access to an unlimited source of knowledge, wisdom, and creative power that can help us build a life that we would truly love to live.
This booklet includes five virtues with a set of activities for each virtue. The first three activities are core activities that are designed to last for the full program. The remaining activities are designed to last one week. You may pick and choose which activities you would like to do; however, I recommend you do all of them. The program, therefore, will take five weeks creating just over a one month period of concentrated growth. When we add a few days here and there, it creates a forty day period of transformation, our forty days in the wilderness. When we work on a routine for twenty-eight or more consecutive days, it can become a life-time practice with life-time results. We should be prepared to concentrate all our efforts for this one month period on becoming the person we want to be.
We are looking for paradigm shifts as we go through the course. In these paradigm shifts, we change our thinking and behavior patterns by shifting our mind states from negative to positive energy patterns. At the end of each activity, or series of activities, we will take an inventory of how our core values are changing. We should begin to see our Higher Selves *as powerful and beautiful beings. Our goal is to expand and grow so that we can begin to make a difference in the world in which we live.
We can record our changes in how we view our lives, the world, and our purpose in life, as the weeks go by. I have included a chart at the back of the book (or as a download) to keep track of our daily progress.
* Please Note: We will be using the upper case “H” and “S” for the Higher Self to describe the essence of our being, our Heart and Soul. It is my hope that every time we see these upper case letters, we will be reminded of just how beautiful and powerful we truly are.
You can purchase the Complete Course, “The Grounding Virtues – A Path to Self-Actualization” by Lawrence J.W. Cooper on Amazon.com