Consciousness, Worldviews, Myth, Personal Values, Theories of Development, and Self-Compassion

People far wiser than I have researched and written about consciousness, worldviews, myth, personal values, theories of human development, and self-compassion. However, experience has taught me not only how important these areas are individually, but also how interrelated they are in identifying, exploring, affirming, deepening, evolving, and/or transforming what inspires us and gives us meaning.

While completing a Masters in Religious Education in 1977 at Creighton University in Omaha, I was introduced to theories of moral development (Kohlberg and Gilligan) and faith development (Fowler). That learning brought new insights, which helped me start to move beyond frustrated negative judgment toward understanding how we all grow and evolve in these areas.

Among other things, I learned how important community is in supporting us, when our comfort zones are challenged, and we face new information that appears to overturn our existing ways of thinking and being. In time, I began to realize that those developmental experiences are related to the transformation of consciousness and to how we might shift our worldviews, while still treasuring our values and developing self-compassion.

What I have come to appreciate about James Fowler’s work in faith development is his definition of faith and his commitment to compassion when working with people at different stages of development. For Fowler, faith is ‘an integral, centering process underlying the formation of beliefs, values and meanings’. It is what we consider dear to our hearts and what provides us with a way of leaning into and making sense of life – regardless of our religious, spiritual, or philosophical perspectives.

During the 1990s, I started learning about myth experientially through Jean Houston’s Mystery School and theoretically through considerable reading. In 2015, I was delighted to teach a successful summer course on myth at the University of Edinburgh. Finally, I have found my training with the Barrett Values Center – with its focus on consciousness within personal and collective values, along with my exposure to Ken Wilber’s work, very insightful and helpful.

What follows are resources with which I have some familiarity and knowledge, usually because I have explored them myself.


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