From Normal Consciousness to Spiritual Consciousness
William James (1842-1910), who taught the first psychology course in the United States, wrote, “Normal Consciousness is just one point on the spectrum of reality, and there are many, many more.” This truth leads us to others: Normal consciousness is physical consciousness; physicality (materiality) “is just one point on the spectrum of reality, and there are many, many more;” and believing we have only five physical senses keeps us mired in the physical.
James’s words invite us to move beyond the physical into the spiritual, to open ourselves to our spiritual consciousness and senses. Those in helping professions and those whom they serve would benefit from accepting the truth that James offers. In the context of psychotherapy, for example, a client wrestling with addiction will make bigger and faster gains if the psychotherapist taps his or her own spiritual consciousness to help the client understand and eventually stop the addictive behavior.
Spiritual consciousness, by the way, pervades the path of Twelve-Step Recovery. The First Step focuses on powerlessness and the Twelfth Step on spiritual awakening. The psychotherapist whose consciousness is more expansive than so-called normal consciousness can facilitate a client’s traveling the spiritual path of Twelve-Step Recovery by providing him or her with the spiritual means to do so.