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 The Spiritual Journey: Psychospiritual Integration 
 
As the twentieth century comes to a close, we human beings find ourselves moving through a significant time of transition. The call grows stronger every day to let go of our old, limited patterns of thinking and behaving so that we can embrace the new, more harmonious ways of living in the world. We are being urged from within to die to the past and be resurrected.

-- Yogi Amrit Desai

The Blending of Our Human/Spiritual Natures: Humanity's Evolutionary Task at the Closing of an Age
You are being called now to come into your highest expression--to rise fully into "the light of your own soul" and to stand for what you know as Truth. Your time of completion is here! If this is your truth, you will resonate with this message. If not, then that's okay, too. You will, however, hear others in-your life speaking of this "call." Perhaps this book help you relate to them. NOW, if this is your truth, the knowledge you require is going to come quite rapidly as you learn to look within: One small moment of accessing this numinous inner wholeness brings you back in touch with your soul's original purpose for incarnation, reminding you once more of your true life's work and spiritual significance.

Your spiritual nature is a psychological fact. It is the real and transformative force that empowers your life. To deny this core nature of yours is to deny your very Self.

A process of "psychospiritual integration" begins to occur naturally when the ego and soul turn to focus upon one another. When this happens, we've landed at the gateway of the heart. A cry goes out from the hungry and fretful ego, having gone to the edge of its own power. It reaches up toward spirit, and a response is heard from the soul, from the subjective world of the vast collective unconsciousness, in touch with the Greater Story. The soul descends to meet its concretized counterpart with a feeling of compassion and love. As we open our hearts in a willing and accepting attitude, our process of purification begins.

So at first, all hell breaks loose! For as we've already seen through our bare beginnings here, the two aspects of our nature are opposite from one another and complement each other: feminine/masculine, earthy/airy, dark/light, personal/ transpersonal, dense/transparent, intense/light-hearted-- in form as in spirit. Obviously, there would be great upheaval at first, as the two consciously enter one body. Many people, in fact, never even make it to this point of their process of individuation, that of becoming an effective psychospiritual human in the world, an undivided "in-dividual."

When you first invoke a spiritual quality, you can learn to be specific concerning the particular "brand" that will best balance your personality. Then, I must warn you: You'll attract to yourself the tests that will best train you for this new skill! Your body/ego will undergo whatever purification it must to become similar to the ideal you've demanded. You'll probably be put through an ordeal of experiencing its opposite at first. Therefore, it can feel worse instead of better at the start. For example, if "patience" is what you name as balancing an overly active impetuous nature, you'll be showered with opportunities that try your patience to the hilt while your impetuousness is refined.

The soul's main task is to aid humanity in dissolving dualism, helping it learn to live within the tension of the complementary opposites within its own nature.

The task of psychospiritual integration, then, is to honor the dual aspects of our nature, the ego and the soul, the past and the future life, and to see that all are sacred and arise from out of the same life stream, the whole. In this type of personal work, we are adopting Tielhard de Chardin's definition of us as "spirit-matter" who can never be split into an "either/or." To deny our human feelings or our divine heritage either one will lead us into a cul-de-sac of nongrowth and, quite possibly, the repetition of some old painful lesson in living. Both aspects are necessary for the "wholing" of the psychospiritual Self.

To awaken means to become fully responsible and consciously participate in our own personal and collective unfoldment. This natural evolutionary process happens all by itself; we simply learn to get out of its way and cooperate with the larger patterns that are influencing us from within. To assume responsibility for "our part" of this co-creative process, we have to turn inward and seek our truth from within our own nature. Otherwise, we're just doing the same old inauthentic thing: living our lives by the borrowed truths of others' ideas and beliefs about how everything "ought to be," and depending on their bias on how we "ought to heal."

Sometimes, of course, others can be our guides; for their way of viewing things tracks with our direct experience and validates what we are getting for ourselves. Yet, as we know only so well, many of these external theories are just "talk," and only match someone else's intellectual constructs that may appear logical, and worked for them, but do not necessarily speak to us or move us into new ways of being.

Accessing higher potentials within ourselves begins by asking. We start by recognizing these higher dimensions of human consciousness as real, thereby giving them meaning. Anything we make real in such a way then has permission to move in and impact our psyches, but not otherwise! On this planet, we have free will, so anything coming from a higher Source must have our permission to interfere with our lives. This answers that age-old question concerning prayer: "Well, if God already knows everything, then He knows what we need. So why do we need to pray?" Our asking is the key! This is how co-creation works. We do it through a process called "invocation," which is how conscious co-creators pray.

The Power of Invocation: The Call Goes Out; The Response is Heard
The words invocation and evocation describe a mysterious emanation, a voiceless appeal representing an inherent urge toward freedom. This yearning to transcend a condition is innate in every species. It concerns interplay and relationship with two dimensions of consciousness when a shift is needed toward a higher way. As a plant pushes toward the sun, and a child extricates itself from parental influence, we, as a species, push toward the transcendence of our nature into that of the divine Life. Ultimately, this "sacred hunger" causes us to unite with our highest blueprint, bringing our completion.

Invocation is how we access a higher order when we choose to participate consciouslyin our own evolution. When we choose to invoke our Higher Power, we are taking a stand as co-creators in the Divine Plan. We can either do this consciously now and awaken, or unconsciously, as we've done in the past. But participate, we do! So we may as well take responsibility for our part and not simply toss ourselves chaotically into the rapidly spinning spirals of fate.

Invocation is Co-creative Prayer
Invoking is active prayer, a self-assertive way to pray that lacks the passive religious connotations. In the past, prayer was our approach, but this was an emotional appeal, more of a plea of helplessness, asking that God come into our lives and help us. Common prayer often is predicated on the notion that we are weak and ineffectual creatures at

the mercy of an external god not related to us at all. Invocation is prayer for the Aquarian Age, where Self-empowerment is our keynote; it is a co-creative appeal to a Higher Power, indicating we're ready and eager to do our part, as Spirit's hands and feet. The power of invocation gives us a position of strength, yet we know that we don't have the power to create high qualities apart from our God-nature. We invoke them and make a commitment to enact these divine powers through our body/ego as they surface within us from our Source. This is what the co-creation truly means. It is a demand: "Send me my instructions! I am willing to take the ball and run."

Points of Attainment Along the Road
These points of attainment along our road gradually merge our inner aspirations and our outer expression into one life, the building blocks of embodying spirit. These psychospiritual tasks are initiatory in quality, for they each bring us into a new part of ourselves. They each contain a lesson in the balancing of the opposites. They are "trials by fire" that when mastered become great powers we can wield, in love and truth. Though somewhat ordered and hierarchical, these psychospiritual goals do not necessarily come in a linear way. There are fourteen "tasks" or "intentions" briefly described in what follows. In studying these, you may discover more on your own.

1. We enter onto the Path Through pain and suffering, or some sort of bottoming out, we begin to release our preoccupation with the outer world of appearances and turn inward to a way that is more fitting for our nature. Unfortunately, most of us take this step only after extreme devastation. But it doesn't have to be this way: We can learn from our observation of life and the trials we've already overcome, to consciously choose this less traveled inner way.

At this first stage of our journey as conscious co-creators, we sacrifice our attachment to the illusions we've held within the world of appearances. We stop old dysfunctional behaviors and watch ourselves instead of acting out. Keeping a journal of our desires and insights, using a friend or group for support, or going into therapy, are very helpful at this critical stage of our awakening. We have the courage now to say to our inner God:

Let Reality govern my every thought and Truth be the master of my life!

And it does require courage to state this affirmation: It will bring down any illusory aspect of your life, sometimes in one fell swoop! We are tempted no longer by superficial distractions. They bore us. We learn to separate the wheat from the chaff and turn away from things that have no ultimate meaning for us. This is a test of faith.

2. We recognize our true nature. As we begin to trust this inner way, through our own experience of it (for there is no other way to know this path), we begin to realize that we've always known the truth, that we are made in the image of our Creator-God, that we are more than what we appear to be. We see that we don't have to learn a lot of new things; we only need to remember ourselves and why we are here. As inner miracles unfold, and we begin to meet others of like intention, we feel heartened, and we become more certain that our nature is both human and divine.

3. We face and embrace our shadow self. The shadow is the easiest of the archetypes to access. It won't leave us alone until we face it! Therefore, we must "enter into that narrow door" and turn ourselves over to the process of accepting our dark and unloved side. This does require inner work, and usually even some humiliation. But in the midst of loving company of others like ourselves, who are also doing inner work, we can come out of denial about our undeveloped and unconscious side.

4. We reenter our past and release its hold on us. Anyone who inhabits a body has unfinished business from the past. When we enter the path, it's as though a wise intelligence shines a light into the dark closets of our subconscious minds. We are commanded to reenter these old storage bins and dredge up any unresolved emotions or situations that still need to be forgiven. Forgiving is divine forgetting, and for this activity, there is no quick fix available; it is a process.

Forgiveness means to reenact the original "insults," with the objectivity now of the observer self. As we shine the light back into our past, we see not only our helplessness and innocence, but also the ignorance and causes in the lives of those who harmed us. And from our more lofty view, we can see how it all made sense, having come from painful and constrictive fear, the wrong side of love. We begin to see the Bigger Picture. Forgiving ourselves and others for their mistakes and ignorance releases us. It's not about letting others off the hook; they still must face their own errors and harmful ways. Forgiveness is about setting ourselves free of the past.

(Excerpted from Embodying Spirit: Coming Alive with Meaning and Purpose ISBN: 0062552783)
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