Type of intervention: Round table
Title: Transpersonal Education as Service to the Greater Whole
Transpersonal education cannot be reduced to matters of curriculum and established pedagogic models. In offering postgraduate programmes in transpersonal psychology, Alef Trust actualises a new paradigm in which individual and collective integrity, and awareness of the interconnectedness of all things, are central. Our intention focuses on community and the needs of the whole which we serve. Teaching has its place within these values of being.
Our decision at the inception of Alef Trust to operate fully online was not only pragmatic but – more importantly – reflected our belief that we have a responsibility to shape the shared space of the internet in relation to transcendent values – to create a “noosphere”, as envisaged by Teilhard de Chardin. This space, which increasingly defines the age we have entered, holds a mirror to humankind: Do we wish to see the reflection dominated by consumerist needs that sever our connection to planetary values? Or can we envisage a shining mirror in which service to the whole and transpersonal values are shared? In this presentation we will explore a number of areas pertaining to our approach, touching on relational, technological, and applied practices and processes.
One part of the presentation will explore transpersonal coaching as a pedagogical and change process. In this experiential segment, we will explore the relational/connecting space between individuals and all phenomena in order to optimise the conditions for learning and change – open, calm, alert and receptive. This optimising of conditions not only aids one to access the deeper aspects of the psyche, but also to consciously process and embody information so that it can be applied meaningfully and purposefully in pursuits such as intellectual or spiritual development and ecological change (win-win-win).
Exploring ways in which we can bring embodied presence online, another section of the presentation will discuss how technology can serve as a conduit for building educational and transformative communities. Theory and practical applications will be discussed along with examples of what Alef Trust does in the “classroom” to maintain presence and connection with students from around the world while online.
We will round off our presentation with stories of practice and service, exploring how transpersonal education can have a transformative bearing on the future of our human civilization. Over the past two years the Alef Trust has been facilitating the Conscious Community Project, an initiative devised to enable transformational community work around the world. Twelve projects have been initiated, serving critical causes in Mexico, South Africa, Pakistan, and Europe. All of the projects are underpinned by principles of holistic change facilitation, honouring integrative practice and inner ecology as pathways to change. Project leaders have been meeting as an inquiry group, investigating the nature and dynamics of their work and sharing challenges and insights experienced along the way. Here we share glimpses of this work and its emerging results.
Then it’s over to you! Together we will tap embodied and imaginal ways of knowing, and jointly sense into the role that transpersonal education could and should play in our complex and fragile world.
Kendra Diaz-Ford, PhD is a transpersonal research psychologist, yoga teacher and certified Ayurvedic Wellness Coach. Before joining the leadership team at Alef Trust she was Director and Core Faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies in the Integral and Transpersonal Psychology department. Kendra’s research interests include women’s psychospiritual development, postpartum integration, integrative practice and leadership, embodied ways of knowing, and the sacred feminine.
Brian Les Lancaster, PhD is a co-founding director of the Alef Trust. He is Emeritus Professor of Transpersonal Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University; Associated Distinguished Professor of Integral and Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies; and Honorary Research Fellow in the Centre for Jewish Studies at Manchester University. Les is currently a Board member of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology and has previously been Chair of the Transpersonal Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society and President of the International Transpersonal Association.
Jessica Bockler, PhD is a co-founding director of the Alef Trust. She is an applied theatre artist, transpersonal psychologist and educator who works across a range of academic and applied disciplines: From theatre and dance, to arts and health, to transpersonal and integral theory, to transformative learning, to creative community development and leadership. Jessica serves as programme director for the Master’s pathway and specialises in integrative practice, creativity & somatics, transpersonal research methods, and socially engaged psychologies, bringing spiritual perspectives to activism and social change. Jessica is Principal Research Lead for Alef Trust’s Conscious Community Project featured in this presentation.
Jevon Dängeli, MSc is the Transpersonal Coaching Psychology course leader and a personal tutor at Alef Trust. He is also a certified NLP trainer, hypnotherapy practitioner, jumi (judo mind) teacher, and the author of nine handbooks in these fields.