This challenging learning process empowers individuals to:
- Develop a deeply-satisfying, meaning-filled life
- Build cultures of health, social justice, and peace in the social systems where they live and work
Psychospiritual self-inquiry and contemplative practice are crucial aspects of this maturational process.
In Western society, psychological and spiritual development have often been treated as separate domains. However, in the last three decades, the fields of psychology, medicine, and education have begun to recognize that an integrative psychospiritual approach to human development can contribute to well-being and maturation. Educators and mental health professionals now teach contemplative practice in ‘non-religious forms’ that can be used as a resource for resilience by agnostics and atheists, as well as by people with a spiritual or religious worldview.
Whether you are an atheist, an agnostic, or someone with a spiritual or religious worldview, psychospiritual self-inquiry and contemplative practice can help you develop a more focused mind, regulate destructive emotions, reduce harmful behaviors, cultivate inner peace, strengthen positive behaviors, and build culturally-inclusive community.
For those with a spiritual or religious worldview, psychospiritual self-inquiry and contemplative practice can also become a vehicle for deepening your relationship with the sacred, transpersonal dimension of being.
During psychospiritual development, individuals engage in two major types of self-reflective practice:
- Contemplation of behavior: When stressed out, angry, or afraid, we tend to become reactive. In such moments, we often act impulsively, in ways that harm ourselves or others. Whether we turn our stress inward, or turn it outwards toward people we love, or towards those with less social power, our reactivity becomes destructive. Psychospiritual self-inquiry and contemplative practice teach us to examine these destructive forms of behavior and change them.
- Elevation of awareness: The stress of our complicated daily lives is like a sticky spider’s web. It ensnares us, binds us, and distorts our perceptions of self, others, and life. It prevents us from experiencing the beauty that surrounds us, our capacity for love and compassion, and the presence of a transcendent dimension in life. Through reflective self-inquiry, meditation, prayer, the arts, immersion in nature, participation in culturally-inclusive community, and other forms of psychospiritual growth, we can learn to rise above our anxieties, perceive life’s mystery and beauty, and relate to other people with the respect, empathic understanding, and compassion that each human being deserves.
As psychology, medicine, and education have begun to acknowledge the spiritual roots of contemplative practice, they have started to re-build important bridges to the spiritual traditions. These bridges can support appropriate boundaries between religion and our public institutions, while recognizing the role that psychospiritual maturation can play in the well-being of individuals and society.
As a leader in this field, Dr. Jared Kass has been teaching psychospiritual self-inquiry and contemplative practice to people from a diverse background of belief systems and faith traditions. His workshops and classes are attended by secular humanists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and members of many other spiritual traditions.
Dr. Kass recognizes that each of these belief systems has integrity and value, when they are taught as a method for psychospiritual maturation. He works with ‘multifaith learning communities’ where individuals from different belief systems and sociocultural backgrounds can learn together, value each other as human beings, and develop skills for building culturally-inclusive community.