Psychology seems to be one of the means people come to seek answers for questions like spirituality and inner peace. There is an innate desire for most of us to have a sense of internal connection to peace that some may call heaven. This article attempts to explain what it means to have or walk toward this state of peacefulness and profound spirituality.
In this articled, I will use Maslow's hierarchy of needs as the foundation of explaining seven steps for walking through a sense of profound spirituality. Some of you may find it beneficial to have this foundation while walking through the ladder of profound spirituality. This article may also shed some light on helping individuals learn how to connect to a fully marvelous and content place within. But remember that this is a process and not a destination. It is not a set of engraved rules but an informative structure to be used as a potential foundation. And also keep in mind that how people climb this ladder may differ for different individuals. Some can work on two or three stages at the same time, some may jump back and forth, and some may get stuck; so there is a variety. The stages are as follow:
1. Satisfying the body's needs: The individual's most basic need is having a physical health. A healthy mind and a healthy core function best in a healthy body. At this stage, the individual may need to become familiar with his body and how it functions. Then disciplining oneself to eat in a way that makes the body more efficient. Exercising, connecting to nature, learning and implementing relaxation techniques are some of the ways to make the body healthier.
2. Satisfying security needs: At this stage the individual needs to take the necessary steps to feel secure in his own skin and in his world. An internal as well as an external sense of security are both important. This may include working toward having a secure job, having a secure place to live, and having an internal sense of trust and faith in the world and the fact that with the right expectation, intention, awareness, and effort; individuals can take steps toward accomplishing what they really need.
3. Satisfying the need for loving and being loved: Once the individual feels satisfied with his overall health and security, it is a vital to learn to truly connect with people and to have fulfilling relationships with others. Whereas before there may have been more of superficial relationships, at this stage the need comes more from a core place.
4. Satisfying the need for having a healthy sense of self: A healthy sense of self is a balanced and aware one. One that does not overestimate or underestimate himself. This is not something that can be achieved overnight, it is a process. In order for people to have this they have to feel like they have worked with integrity to build a foundation for their life and that they are contributing to the world they live in. This will gain them respect and then once that external sense of respect is met the person may find a need to feel this internally. An internal sense of self worth coming from within regardless of the outside circumstance. This is also where the person may focus on self esteem, achievement, mastery of skills, independence, status, prestige, leadership skills etc.
5. Satisfying the need for knowingness and having a logical mind: Curiosity and learning become a need at this level. An attraction to science, culture, history, different religions and a thirst for learning become a priority. There is also an internal attraction toward wisdom. The need to expand one's awareness and to evolve is arising at this stage. This is also where the individual looks for the depth and a sense of meaning.
6. Satisfying the need for emotional health: Emotional health becomes significant at this level. Emotions are a bridge between the conscious and the deeper layers and the person may find the need to become more emotionally healthy, more aware of his emotions, acknowledging them, processing them and responding to them in a productive way. When the person becomes connected to his emotions, he can then learn to respond to them more and become more intuitive. This is also where the individual starts to appreciate and search beauty, balance, and form.
7. Satisfying the need to have a sense of fully functioning self: This is when the person feels like he has found his role, passion, and the meaning in life. At this level, the person has a sense of who he is, he knows his place in this world, has a sense of connection to something bigger, has a rational faith rather than a blind one, and has a sense of stability mixed with flexibility. This is when the person realizes his personal potential, seeks personal growth, and has peak experiences connecting to something bigger than the self. At this stage, he also starts to find the need for making a positive remark on this world, brining peace, awareness, knowledge, and information and sharing it so people can find their own inner peace. After this, the person can get to a place of transcendence which is focused on helping others go through their own self growth process.
At the end, while walking through the stages of psychological development, you have to be realistic and gentle with yourself to be able to walk toward your ultimate spirituality. If you need help at any stage, invest in yourself and ask an expert. You have to honor your sensitivity, emotionally and physically. Don't push yourself too hard, let go of your imaginary imperfections and judging yourself too harshly, and give yourself some credit for trying to do the best you can. Take a break and slow down and be good to yourself. You also have to learn to remove yourself from unkind situations, callous relationships no matter who the person is, and also from misguiding information. Detach yourself from drama and poisonous situations and focus on self growth.
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Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD
Self Knowledge Base & Foundation
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