A transcendent experience is one that takes us outside ourselves. It connects us with something bigger, more profound, and more powerful than we’ve ever known.
Transcendent experiences often have a lifelong impact on those lucky enough to experience them. So, what is spiritual transcendence all about? Is it possible to become self-transcendent? And most important of all: how can you have a transcendent experience of your own?
We’re going to take a look at some of the foremost experts on transcendence, including American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, and Mindvalley teacher and energy healer, Jeffrey Allen. We’ll explore how you can find your own transcendent experience to start supercharging your spiritual and personal growth.
Discovering Transcendence Definition
If you’re going to have a transcendent experience, a great place to start is in understanding exactly what transcendence is.
So, what is the transcendence definition?
Transcendence can be defined as something that surpasses the bounds of ordinary experience. A transcendent experience is an experience that goes above and beyond our normal, everyday lives.
Jeffrey Allen, Author of Mindvalley’s Unlocking Transcendence Program, explains it this way:
As you start to work with energy, you get to know the part of you that’s bigger than your body. There’s so much more to you than your physical body. As you tap into that, you start to love yourself more, appreciate yourself more. You see the bigger picture. The brighter you.
What Is Spiritual Transcendence?
When people speak of transcendent experiences, they’re often talking about spiritual transcendence.
Spiritual transcendence is a spiritual or sacred experience that changes the way you perceive yourself. This type of experience can happen anywhere, at home, at your place of worship, out in nature — you name it.
Spiritual transcendence offers us a glimpse of something beyond — something intangible but very real that urges us to drastically alter our perception of the world.
What Is The Self-Transcendence Theory?
The Self-transcendence theory was first proposed by researcher Pamela Reed. She suggested that people operate as open systems who keep themselves from self-transcendence with self-made obstacles and boundaries.
She believed that conceptual boundaries fluctuate as a result of human experience. When these boundaries fluctuate, our traits and characteristics are invariably altered.
Self-Transcendence In Maslow’s New Hierarchy Of Needs
Back in the 1940s, American psychologist Abraham Maslow spent an extensive amount of time studying people who had attained great success, like Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt.
He believed that every human has specific needs and that these needs are hierarchical. Each subsequent need can only be addressed after the need below it has been satisfied.
This theory came to be known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which consists of 5 stages.
Later on in his life, Maslow actually added a sixth and final stage in his hierarchy of needs. He called this stage self-transcendence.
Maslow explained that self-transcendence is the need to connect with something bigger than ourselves:
Transcendence refers to the very highest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human consciousness, behaving and relating, as ends rather than means, to oneself, to significant others, to human beings in general, to other species, to nature, and to the cosmos.
Maslow recognized the importance of transcendent experiences. And he knew that those experiences played a big role in what motivates us toward higher aspirations as human beings.
What Are The 5 Levels Of Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs?
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs consists of 5 levels:
The first and most essential need is physiological, which includes food, water, and rest. We must eat, drink, and sleep to survive.
The second need is safety. This includes physical safety from war, natural disasters, and violence, but it also includes emotional and psychological safety from abuse, post-traumatic stress, and emotional trauma.
3. Love and Belonging
The third need is for love and social belonging. We need to feel as if we are a part of a group or tribe. Human beings are innately social creatures. Our need for belonging includes family, friends, social circles, professional organizations, sports teams, and online communities.
The fourth need is for self-esteem. We need to feel that we are respected members of our group and that our contributions are acknowledged.
There are two types of esteem: the esteem we receive from others and the esteem we receive from ourselves, self-esteem.
The fifth need is self-actualization. At this level, we are able to realize our full and complete potential. We are free to become the person we were always meant to be. We recognize ourselves for who we really are and feel safe and comfortable in our own skin.
On this level, we pursue self-expression in all its forms. We develop our talents and pursue higher spiritual goals. We allow our inner creativity to thrive.
What Does Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs Mean?
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs helps us understand our inner drives and motivations. What goals we pursue to have a lot to do with what needs we are currently trying to meet.
When something is lacking, we work to try and attain what we’re missing, whether it be somewhere to sleep, social connectivity, or an experience that opens our perceptions.
Why Is Maslow’s Theory Important?
Maslow’s Theory is important for us to understand, not just at the individual level, but at the level of community and tribe-building.
In fact, this hierarchy is absolutely essential for those in a position of authority over others. Understanding what others need can help you best serve their interests, as well as take care of your own.
What Happens If Maslow’s Needs Are Not Met?
When a certain need isn’t met, we feel the lack. We feel lesser than, incomplete, depressed, anxious, frustrated, and overwhelmed. People cannot move to the next levels in their lives until the needs of the lower levels are satisfied. We cannot think about the ways to achieve self-actualization if we are struggling to put bread on our table.
You likely have a good idea of where you are in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs simply by looking at what goals are of the utmost importance to you in your life right now.
Unlocking Your Transcendence With Jeffrey Allen
So, how can you have your own transcendent experience?
Well, Jeffrey Allen suggests that you begin working on your spiritual fitness:
One of the big benefits of working with your spiritual fitness is that it helps you unlock your transcendence. This is the highest level of your awareness. As we move up in our spiritual growth, we move through stage after stage of evolution. The highest stage is transcendence.