There is much uncertainty among professionals and politicians today about the best way to approach all manner of difficulties and there are so many nominalisations offered in political circles about such topics as how to manage national security, finance and the environment. In addition, the psychological strains of modern living must be considered.
Always in contention is: how best to run organisations, educate our children; help unsocialised young adults; treat the rising rates of anxiety and depression; work with addicts; and grapple with the chaotic consequences of broken families, debt and crime.
It is crucial – perhaps now more than ever – that we make use of the wealth of knowledge available to us regarding what we all need to live healthy and fulfilling lives. In the current financial climate, resources are too scarce for our leaders to continue doing what they fancy and hoping for the best.
The Central Professional Foundation & Institute provides a positive vision of how this situation could be changed for the better. It is addressed to practical people and inspired by a larger organising idea than any currently used.
A new idea
Whenever there is widespread uncertainty in any field a new ‘organising idea’ is needed to bring clarity and a wider perspective to any difficulty. An organising idea pulls information together so that our minds can make sense of it. And a viable new idea always has to be ‘big’ enough to encompass and create a context for the earlier ideas that attempted to make sense of things or tackle a problem.
The quality of any organising idea is determined by how much of reality it reveals – the richer the resulting pattern in the mind, the more ‘true’ the organising idea is likely to be. You can recognise a true organising idea by seeing whether it reduces complexity.
Confusion flourishes, mistakes are made and harm inadvertently done when we forget that the way we look at any situation is dependent on an active effort of imagination and thinking. We are not mechanical recording instruments looking out on a fixed world. We organise what we see through what we believe we know.
All the various organising ideas in our own head (and at large in the wider culture) play an active role in shaping our perception and thinking, and thus guiding our actions, individually and as a society. If it is effective, a new organising idea will be able to explain the anomalies caused by existing disparate, and often conflicting, ideas or practices. And the clearer things become, the easier it is to find solutions.
The Convergence / CPFI approach to understanding human behaviour is a relatively new organising idea. It arose out of a solid basis of fundamental research and ever-increasing scientific knowledge about human biology, behaviour and psychology — and a genuine interest in how best to put such knowledge to practical use for the sake of both individuals and society in general.
The Convergence needs
We are all born with a spiritual uniqueness and innate knowledge programmed into us from our Higher being and also through our genes. Throughout life we experience this knowledge as feelings of spiritual, physical and emotional needs. Meeting these needs is essential for our physical and emotional survival.
These spiritual soul qualities were divinely inspired and connect us with purity and Love in the Universe. The feelings of our innate and emotional needs are driven initially by our unique soul essence and has evolved over many years. This is the driving force that motivates us to become fully human and succeed in whatever environment we find ourselves in.
Along with our innate needs the soul and nature gave us ‘guidance systems’ or ‘resources’ to help us get our innate needs met. It is because these needs and resources are our common biological inheritance, whatever our cultural background or experience, that they are called in Convergence Psychotherapy as 'soul qualities and natural givens’.
Our given physical needs are fairly obvious: we need air to breathe, water to drink, nutritious food and sufficient sleep. These are the paramount physical needs. Without them, we quickly die. In addition we also need the freedom to stimulate our senses and exercise our muscles. We instinctively seek sufficient and secure shelter where we can grow and reproduce ourselves and bring up our young.
These physical needs are intimately bound up with our spiritual and emotional needs — the main focus of Convergence psychology.
Spiritual needs are driven by the soul's uniques and individual qualities or values and the emotions create distinctive psychobiological states in us and exist to drive us to take action of some kind. The emotional responses that nature has programmed us with are there to connect us to the external world and survive in it. They mainly seek their fulfilment through the way we interact with other people and the environment. Consequently, when these needs are not met, nature ensures we suffer considerable distress — anxiety, anger, depression etc. — and our expression of distress, in whatever form it takes, impacts on those around us. This is the basis of our Convergence psychology.
In short, it is by meeting our spiritual, physical and emotional needs that we survive and develop as individuals and a species.
Our innate emotional needs
There is widespread agreement as to the nature of our spiritual and emotional needs. The following are fundamental to mental health:
- A sense of security — safe territory and an environment which allows us to relax and develop fully
- Attention — a form of nutrition. To give and receive good quality attention fuels the healthy development of each individual, family and human group. It is also the means by which knowledge is passed on and cultures grow
- Sense of autonomy and control — having volition to make responsible choices (When we feel out of control, especially of important elements of our lives, we become increasingly anxious and even depressed.)
- Emotional intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts ‘n’ all”
- Feeling part of a wider community – a sense of ‘belonging’
- Sense of status within social groups – we need to feel valued by our peers
- Sense of competence and achievement (which comes from successful learning and effectively applying skills – the antidote to ‘low self-esteem’)
- Privacy — opportunity to reflect on life’s experiences and consolidate them
- A validated sense of 'spiritual being' as a unique spiritual 'Soul' or personhood, wanting to express soul qualities here on earth, connected through the heart with the source / the divine and not just simply seeing a body, likened to a piece of meat.
- A sense of meaning and purpose — which comes from both being ‘stretched’ in what we do and think, and being needed.
Our innate resources
Along with our innate natural needs that nature gave us as ‘guidance systems’ or ‘resources’ to help us get our innate needs met. These are also seen as 'convergence' balanced needs and include:
- The ability to develop complex long-term memory, which enables us to add to our innate knowledge and learn
- The ability to build rapport, empathise and connect with others
- Imagination, which enables us to focus our attention away from our emotions, use language and problem solve more creatively and objectively
- Emotions and instincts
- A conscious, rational mind that can check out our emotions, question, analyse and plan
- The ability to ‘know’ — that is, understand the world unconsciously through metaphorical pattern matching
- An observing self — that part of us that can step back, be more objective and be aware of itself as a unique centre of awareness, apart from intellect, emotion and conditioning
- A dreaming brain that de-stresses us every night and preserves the integrity of our genetic inheritance by metaphorically defusing emotional arousals (‘expectations’) still present in the autonomic arousal system (because they were not acted upon the previous day).
- Soul qualities that help us develop to cope with the gray world around us through a sense of love and conscience.
In the light of this knowledge about innate natural human needs and resources we all have a duty to help our health, educational, economic and social organisations implement concrete plans for:
- Maintaining an environment where people can feel secure and go safely about their lives
- Ensuring basic physical needs — for food, unpolluted water, pure air, space to exercise etc. — are reliably available
- Creating a social climate that takes account of each person’s need for autonomy and volition, where they can take individual responsibility for as many aspects of their lives as possible.
- Encouraging and protecting environments and activities to enable children and adults to feel emotionally connected to others, experience and enjoy friendship and intimacy, in the family and beyond, and feel valued by the wider community.
- Providing the conditions (but not prescribing the method) for the cultivation of personal individual spirituality and a culture where all children and adults can find meaning and purpose in life by being stretched mentally and physically in healthy ways.
This CPFI Charter derives from the universal law of all living organisms: That, spiritual and natural law of sowing and reaping, to survive, each living thing must continually maintain and rebuild itself by taking in appropriate nourishment from the environment. You get what you sow. The existence and survival of all life forms depend on this. The specific needs of each species’ are genetically programmed in to drive every member of it to fulfil its potential. When these innate natural needs are met well in the environment it flourishes.
None of us can escape this universal law while we are alive. It is the key to emotional health and clear thinking and, as such, we must take account of its truth in everything we do, including how we die. Every policy and plan should derive from being underpinned by this principle. It ensures fair and wholesome management of human affairs. The prime purpose of government therefore is to ensure that the innate physical and emotional needs of the people it serves are met well.
Three implications of this Charter
- It follows from the CPFI Charter in Convergence that the various departments of government and public services should, at the very least, ensure that their activities do not prevent the people they serve from getting their innate emotional needs met. A clear distinction between ‘needs’, which are either spiritually, physically or psychologically necessary, and ‘wants’, which arise from greed and conditioning, should always be held in mind.
- To the extent that any leader or organisation fails to help people more fully meet their innate natural human needs they are contributing to the generation of mental and physical illness, the rate of increase of which is literally placing the survival of our species in jeopardy. (As we have mentioned, mental illness primarily arises when the innate psychological needs of an individual are not being met in balance.). There is also a need to be reconnected through love, with our soul qualities, to cope with life.
- If our lives are to have meaning and purpose we need to understand the three main ways in which this is achieved. They are: i) By being needed and serving others (as in raising a family, teaching, caring, working in teams for a common goal etc); ii) By stretching ourselves mentally or physically (as in learning new skills, getting better at sport, scientific endeavour, developing a craft or art form, expanding our general knowledge and applying it); iii) By connecting our core being to a power larger than ourselves (as in a philosophical, political, religious or spiritual project).
Achieving mental and physical health
It is the way needs are met, and the way the resources that the divine and that nature equips us with are used, that determine the physical, mental and moral health of an individual. As such, the convergence theories are integral to understanding the human spirit, behaviour and psychology. They are the benchmark position to which we should all refer and defer — in education, spiritual, mental and physical health and the way we organise and run our lives and the country.
It is a law of Nature that when a human being gets his or her innate natural emotional needs met in balanced ways he or she cannot suffer mental illness. Those whose needs are not fulfilled, or whose innate resources are damaged in some way, are the ones who suffer considerable distress and may develop, as a means of coping, mental illness or antisocial behaviours that are a burden to others.
The convergence psychological methodologies, therefore, are integral to understanding human behaviour and psychology. When we are reconnected to our soul qualities and get our innate natural physical needs met we grow up physically healthy; when we connect with the divine and get our innate emotional needs met in balanced ways, we grow up emotionally and psychologically healthy. The spiritual side is ignored at our peril.
A genuine touchstone
Tuning to the Convergence psychologically balanced whole-istic methods helps us think clearly about the way we live and work and the way we are governed. For example, it becomes clear that the prime purpose of government is to ensure that the innate physical and emotional needs of the people it serves are met well.
The knowledge of what people need to flourish allows us to not only assess how well we govern our own behaviour but to see how well those we elect to govern our country and provide services for us are doing their job. We can see at once why things are going wrong in any endeavour.
The convergence psychology ‘template’ gives us the first truly useful lingua franca that professionals and individuals from all walks of life can use to bring clarity and direction to many of the problems we face today.
A viable vision
It is because we are driven by nature to get our innate natural emotional needs met that, if we can’t do so in healthy ways, we will try and do so in less healthy ones.
For example, as a social creature we have a strong need to connect spiritually through our soul qualities and connect with the divine and other like minded individuals and belong to groups and every child is driven to connect up to the main peer group in the wider community around it. So, if the only community in its neighbourhood is a gang of antisocial, binge-drinking youths, he or she will be innately inclined to join it. The quality of the social world around us is therefore critical. This is where the soul qualities are so important to be re-connected to through the heart. Love is..
It follows from this that our mature human duty is to ensure that the organizations we make responsible for our physical and mental health systems, the education of our children and our country’s economic and social viability, all implement concrete plans that are based, not on political dogma, bureaucratic expediency or greed, but on what nature decrees is necessary.
This means that the prime morale duty of any government and all public services is to ensure that the population’s innate natural human needs are being met well.
Three reasons why things go wrong
There are three main reasons why children and adults may be prevented from getting their innate emotional needs met and any one of them is sufficient to generate unhealthy levels of stress in an individual, with the very real danger that anxiety or anger disorders will develop, depression set in, or addictive behaviours take hold. The three factors are:
One: The environment the person lives or works in is ‘sick’ and prevents them from getting one or more of their needs met (as in having to endure an abusive dysfunctional family, living in a threatening neighbourhood, working for a bully or without any autonomy). A person is spiritually deadened and because they are dis-connected to their unique loving soul qualities, through the heart, therefore they are disconnected to the divine source of love and purity and become hardened in their heart towards those around them. The soul becomes veiled in essence and the spirit of the 'human' needs to be revived and made alive through the emotions and re-connected once more.
Two: The person doesn’t know how to operate their internal guidance system from a spiritual perspective, so as to get their needs met through loving behaviour (as in learned helplessness when a person has been conditioned to have low expectations of themselves, or when they don’t know how to challenge unrealistic expectations with universal reasoning, or when someone is misusing their imagination by worrying – which precipitates depression – instead of using it to solve problems).
Three: The person’s innate guidance system is damaged in some way: perhaps through faulty transmission of genetic knowledge (as in the inability to read context, caetexia, seen throughout the autistic spectrum), poor diet (not getting proper nutriment to the brain), poisoning (drugs, alcohol etc), physical accidents to the brain, or psychological trauma (including PTSD).
Duty and responsibility
Since we elect people to take roles in government every citizen has a duty to consider how well we are governed and how our taxes are spent. This means we all have a responsibility to ask the following questions of politicians and managers, and demand clear answers. Each question cuts to the core of the matter by taking account of the Convergence of the Spiritual into the physical aspects of life.
- Is my government successfully ensuring that our basic physical needs can be reliably met — i.e. those for food, unpolluted water, pure air, space to exercise, freedom to move about the country unhindered, quiet time to sleep?
- Is it contributing to a social climate that takes account of the full range of each person’s emotional and physical needs?
- Is it effectively maintaining an environment where people feel secure and are free to go safely about their lives?
- Is it both encouraging and protecting environments and activities that enable children and adults to feel emotionally connected to others, to experience and enjoy friendship and intimacy (in the family and beyond), and demonstrate that each individual feels valued by the wider community?
- Is it providing the conditions (but not prescribing the method) for the cultivation of a culture where children and adults can easily be stretched in healthy ways both mentally and physically (as in education, work, play) so that they find meaning and purpose in life?
- Is it encouraging working practices which take into account the needs of all involved? (Does it, for example, consider the innate needs of teachers and nurses as being as equally important as the needs of children and patients?)
- Is it providing the facilities and services that cater, as best as is reasonably possible, for the sick and vulnerable?
- Is it building trust in public services and raising the morale of those who work in them?
- In any particular situation is it behaving wisely or foolishly with regard to innate needs?
- Is it maintaining good contacts and building co-operative relationships with other countries around the world in ways that consider the innate needs of the people of those countries too?
- Is it providing opportunity to facilitate our spiritual needs of autonomy in our spiritual lives and belief systems, to worship the divine in ways and means which we feel desirous to do so, whilst living in harmony and peace with all..
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