The word transpersonal is a composite of the Latin word trans (beyond or through) and the word personal (relating to the person or body). Merriam--Webster defines transpersonal as 1: extending or going beyond the personal or individual. 2: of, relating to, or being psychologically concerned with esoteric experiences beyond the usual limits of ego or personality.

The word psychotherapy can be broken down into two parts: psycho (from the Greek word psyche, which means "breath, principle of life, life, soul"), and therapy (Greek therapeia, which means "caring for, nurturing of, or healing of").

So I define Transpersonal Psychotherapy as "caring for the soul (or psyche) by attending to one's personal experience, which culminates in an experience of being beyond the limits of ego or personality."

So what does this mean in plain English?

For a moment, read without a need to intellectually understand. If possible, let go of the desire for a concept or definition that states, to your mind's satisfaction, what transpersonal psychotherapy is. See if the following words can touch a deeper place of knowing within your being.

Psychotherapy from a Transpersonal perspective has as its end result a direct experience of one's true identity beyond personality, beyond intellect and body. This result is accomplished by investigation of one's personal experience in the present moment. This investigation involves paying attention to the constant movement of personal sensations (mental, emotional, and physical) as they occur in the present moment, as well as any resistance that arises in response to these sensations. Thus it can be said that Transpersonal Therapy does not seek to bypass or transcend one's personal experience, but to engage it fully, consciously, without the mental commentary with which we usually engage our lives. Finally, one does not arrive at some place that exists beyond the limits of personality as much as one becomes grounded in the depths of life as it is happening in the present moment. It is here that one discovers a new self-identity -- that which is aware of the comings and goings of all personal sensations and phenomena as they arise now, in this moment. This which is aware is completely non-judgmental, non-reactive, and unconditional in its acceptance of life as it unfolds moment-to-moment. It is experienced as "the peace that passeth understanding," and it is available now, not in some future moment. The future can be seen for what it is -- a personal mental fantasy that imagines conditions will be better or worse than conditions are now. The future can never be known. Only the truth of this moment can be experienced and known.

Life is NOW!

What is also discovered during this investigation is how one's mind usually perceives this present moment as lacking in some way, and how our attention is habitually drawn to the idea that another time or place will be better than now. It is quite a revelation to watch one's mind (which is really a useful tool in helping to balance the checkbook or hook up a new computer) distract one's attention to the past or the future in an effort to avoid or resist whatever is happening now. Yet this resistance is almost constant. The self-investigation that is offered in Transpersonal Therapy reveals a simple, yet profoundly transformative truth about reality ­ here, in this present moment, is the only time and place where one's life is actually occurring! Yet, most of the time, our attention is focused on everywhere except our experience in this present moment. So, most of the time, we are totally out of touch with our own lives, and we view our experience through the distorted lens of our mental projections, fears, and resistance. The invitation is to completely immerse oneself in the truth of one's life just as it is unfolding now.

When there is no resistance to what is most true in the present moment, one's life is allowed to unfold in alignment with Transpersonal wisdom, which is deeper, more compassionate, and more knowing than intellectual understanding. Paradoxically, the circumstances of one's life begin to improve when there is no longer a need for them to do so. This often occurs in ways not anticipated or believed possible from the perspective of one's thoughts and beliefs.

What is available when one rests squarely in the midst of his/her experience in the present moment cannot be adequately described in words, although many have tried. The experience of freedom from mental suffering is truly liberating, while conceptual understanding of its possibility is only temporarily reassuring at best. From the vantage point of being aligned with, and accepting of, life unfolding now, one begins to see identification with the body, mind, and ego for what it truly is -- a misperception of reality that is the source of all personal and collective suffering.