John Welwood
Embodying Your Realization.
Psychological Work in the Service of Spiritual Development

This paper explores the important place of psychological work in the service of spiritual development, as part of a larger question: how to realize impersonal true nature in a thoroughly personal, human form. The challenging truth is that spiritual realization is relatively easy compared with the much greater difficulty of actualizing it, integrating it fully into the fabric of one's embodiment and one's conditioning. This leads into a discussion of spiritual bypassing— the common use of spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep personal, emotional "unfinished business," to shore up a shaky sense of self, or to belittle basic human needs, feelings, and developmental tasks, all in the name of enlightenment. To more deeply explore the relationship between contemplative practice and psychological understanding, personal and impersonal truth, individuation and liberation, a larger integrative dialogue between East and West is advocated.