Spirituality and TA
I am intrigued as to how similar and complementary, TA and spirituality is and will like to put out some ideas and thoughts for discussion.
Spirituality and the TA paradigm
Spirituality is sometimes seen as divine consciousness that leads to unity consciousness; unity consciousness being the feelings and thoughts that make us feel connected and loved. Spirituality gives us a sense of self that is worthy and important in itself and yet connected to and supported by the rest of the universe. In spirituality, there is a sense of a collective consciousness that supports the individual in its quest to achieve its highest potential.
TA processes the collective and individual beliefs that influence a person’s way of thinking and behaving. The theory emphasises that our early experiences determine how we perceive life and events. These experiences and beliefs are mostly influenced by our parents and/or caregivers in early childhood. In later life our Adult ego state, processes the injunctions from our parents and the beliefs and decisions arrived at in and from our “Child” ego state. Both the Parent and Child ego states are influenced by a collective consciousness – what society and culture professes as good or bad.
TA’s main paradigm is that “I’m Ok You’re Ok” – Total acceptance of self and the other. This naturally will include self awareness. Spirituality emphasises oneness – oneness with God, other human beings and the universe.
Similarities in Theories
I see TA as the practical guide and support to Spirituality. TA theories take us to that place where we can individually identify the beliefs and thoughts that lead to us to behave and think the way we do. We can only question and challenge our limiting thoughts and beliefs by identifying and becoming aware of their origins. Only then can we seek out and use current and updated information to change our thoughts, beliefs and behaviour.
Our life scripts push us to play games to reinforce our unconscious beliefs and perceptions in life. In our daily interactions our rackets are activated by the events and relationships that stimulate our scripts. Spiritual leader Caroline Myss uses the term “Woundology”* to describe, what I believe is life scripts, games and rackets. "Woundology” is when people use their “wounds”, bad experiences and/or traumas to identify with certain groups and people. She explains that we also use our “wounds” to identify and align with our personality and with those with similar views on life and personalities. “Woundology”, keeps us stuck with the same group of people because the group members have had similar experiences; it feels comfortable to be part of the group because members have common themes and topics to discuss. In such groups rackets, games and racket feelings are positively high and conversations can go on almost indefinitely. “Woundology” justifies our life scripts and explains our present status and situation in life.
Eckhart Tolle talks of the “pain body”**; the subconscious experiences that subconsciously direct our actions and reactions to life and events. Eckhart Tolle’s pain body is caused by the bad experiences and wounds that we accumulate through the years. We feel comfortable attracting events and interactions that strengthen our pain bodies. The pain body is easily triggered by events or situations similar to those that caused them in the first place. Pain bodies are easily activated and kept active in close and intimate relationships because it is easier to use our close relatives and friends to reactivate and keep the pain body active. The pain body like racket feelings keep us “comfortable” and justifies our view of the world. It also justifies and strengthens our life scripts.
Thich Nhat Hanh, writes and I quote: “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”***
Gary Zukav talks of authentic partnerships. He explains that authentic or spiritual partnerships are open, honest and truthful relationships. The only way, according to Zukav that we can express our authentic selves and achieve inner peace is by having and cultivating authentic relationships. As in TA, Zukav’s authentic self includes feelings, emotions, thoughts and beliefs that cause us to behave and interact in certain ways. When we express these from our Adult and in an Adult transaction we gain and maintain authentic power and inner peace.
Originating from Buddhism, mindfulness is another way of achieving inner peace. Mindfulness is the art of being in the present moment; being in touch with our feelings, thoughts as well being observant, empathetic and in tune with the feelings of the other or others in our presence. In TA terms this would mean being in our Adult at all times and reacting and processing only the information, thoughts, feelings of the present moment. Past experiences might be influencing our feelings and thoughts but we use up-to-date information to process and interact with the other. “Life is available only in the present moment.”****
We need a lot more than the understanding of our past experiences to be able to stay present and think and act continuously in our Adult. Our life script, in-bedded in our subconscious mind, subconsciously pushes us to act and be in certain ways. TA identifies the past experiences that make us react in certain ways. However we need something more to help us speak and behave appropriately in the moment. Something deeper that leads us to simply “be” and be ok. Spirituality explains this way of “being”. An inner peace; a knowing that cannot be explained and yet can be experienced. TA gives us some of the tools to get to that spiritual place where we can say with conviction that we are all ok – I am ok, You are ok.
Lastly my thought for the day is from Thich Nhat Hahn: “When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That's the message he is sending.”***
*Caroline Myss, Why People Don’t Heal And How They Can, Bantam Books, 1998
**Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Hodder Paperbacks, 2001 and A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, Penguin Group, 2005
***Thich Nhat Hanh, Taming the Tiger Within: Meditations on Transforming Difficult Emotions, Riverhead Books, US, 2005
****Gary Zukav, Spiritual Partnerships, The Journey to Authentic Power
***Thich Nhat Hanh, ibid