A path toward “peak humaning” is quite hard to figure out, and everyone seems confused. So I want to present a completely simplified and not-at-all complete view of what I think the path looks like for me. I’ve written about this before but, whatever, it’s my blog and I’ll write about whatever I want to
In my mind, becoming a Peak Human involves three steps, none of which can be done without the others.
The first step, your typical enlightenment or awakening via the path of eastern spiritual practices, a recognition of one with the cosmos and a higher being, is worth going for. Why? Because I believe that, fundamentally, we identify with the false notion that what we see with our senses is real. And by slowly understanding that our realities are actually false constructs, we can slowly but surely release our ego structures and realize a joy and happiness (and lower lows, too, such as cosmic depression about “what could be”) that we didn’t think possible. So yeah, a serious meditation practice leads to Insights about the Way Things Are that are totally mind blowing for those willing to keep and open mind and keep going.
But a spiritual practice without a “grounding in the self” is a recipe for spiritual narcissism, an arrogance that aims for spiritual peak experiences that somehow make you special. I’ve talked about spiritual bypassing before, and reaching peak humanness solely through a spiritual practice is just asking for the spiritual seeker to become insufferably obnoxious. So one must also ground themselves in becoming Peak Self via psychotherapy and other self-inquiry practices. In this practice, one actively works to bring the unconscious to the conscious, becoming friends with the parts of ourselves that we’d love to discard and keep hidden (Ala Jung’s Shadow). This realm of growth most closely aligns Maslow and Self Actualization, where we accept our flawed humanness and embrace all of what makes us, us.
Sounds good, right? If we reach the farthest limits of these two realms, we are totally enlightened. Not so fast my friends. Because without the third realm, the realm of connectedness and outward focus, we still risk being insufferable egocentric narcissists. And what is this third realm? That’s easy — the application of the first two realms (spiritual and human) toward the world and others. It’s practicing an all encompassing love and compassion for others, even (and especially when) we don’t like them. The third realm emphasizes service and duty, themes exemplified in major religious texts such as the Gita and the Bible. We must treat others well and cause no harm, and work on accepting our own ordinariness and the wonderful ordinariness of others.
So yeah, as I said, this is completely incomplete. But it’s worth thinking about, because efforts toward any of these disciplines by themselves are pretty great, but taken together? Well, all of us have the capacity to be great sages if that’s what we want. And in this time of “wrong value worship” such as materialism and intellectualism, anything that encourages being a better person is totally the way to go. I’m working on this now quite seriously which is why you haven’t heard much from me on the Interwebz, and I’m having a great time learning and integrating.