While transpersonal psychology has been on the periphery for a long time, its significance may be increasing. It is becoming increasing important for us to explore the "farther reaches of human nature."
Empathy is more than just "putting yourself in someone's shoes." It can stem from the ability to actually sense what another person is experiencing; the ability to "feel with" another person in a way that transcends separateness.
We spend our lives switching in and out of three different psychological states - abstraction, absorption and awareness (or the ‘Three As’). It’s most beneficial for us to be in a state of awareness, in which we’re fully present. How can we spend more time in that state?
How can religion generate both savagery and nobility? How can the principles of religious faith be used to justify terrorism, and at other times encourage acts of great altruism and justice? This only makes sense if we distinguish two fundamentally different types of religion.
How valid are the assumptions evolutionary psychologists make about prehistoric human life, and about 'human nature'? Perhaps evolutionary psychology is appealing because it offers a simple explanation of a wide variety of human behaviors, and because its narrative of competitiveness and individualism fits with the values of our culture.
What can we learn from Indian Americans' attitude to nature? Why were they so shocked by European-Americans' treatment of the natural world? And what was the fundamental psychological difference which generated such a different outlook?
A strong sense of purpose can extend our life span, as well as increase our well-being. Rather than stopping us from living in the present, it can actually enhance the present, by making us more connected, more energetic and more appreciative.
After surviving a car crash, I feel incredibly fortunate to be healthy and alive. There seems to be an enhanced freshness and ‘is-ness’ to everything I see. Why does appreciation have such a powerful positive effect? Why is it the most important factor in overall well-being?
Resentment drains us of our energy and well-being. We may feel that it's a way of punishing the person who has wronged us, but it usually only serves to punish ourselves further. Letting go of resentment through forgiveness can be a liberating process which transforms our lives.
Research shows that gratitude is the most important and effective constituent of well-being. So why do we find it difficult to appreciate the good things in our lives? And how can we transcend the "taking for granted syndrome"?
One of Steve's research interests is 'awakening experiences', moments when our normal awareness intensifies and we feel a sense of connection and meaning. What causes these experiences? Is it possible to control them? Steve's work also examines the sources of psychological suffering - why is it that human beings find it so difficult to be contented? His research also shows that many awakening experiences are triggered by intense psychological turmoil, such as depression and loss. www.stevenmtaylor.com